March ’21 TBR

2021 is moving at an uncomfortably fast pace. Truth be told, I am still processing LAST March when the pandemic really start to begin. My company had us begin working from home on March 16th, so that’s also coming up on its 1 year anniversary already (which is hard for me to believe). About this time last year, I really started to struggle to find my reading groove. There were so many unknowns and I just couldn’t focus on what I was reading (or really anything, if I’m being honest). I’m happy to say that I am in a much better spot, mentally, this year and have been absolutely crushing my reading so far! I have a fun and reasonable TBR planned for March, so let’s dive into the books!

I’m going to be tackling some short-ish books to start off the month because I want to be able to promptly start off Tome Topple Round 14 whenever it kicks off (more on that later). My first book I’m reading Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. I’ve been a Swanson fan since The Kind Worth Killing. The plot of this book sounds like it’s going to be a fast-paced thrill ride. A local book store owner creates a list of the top 8 most unsolvable murders of the mystery genre. Soon after, the FBI show up and start asking questions. Apparently there’s a copycat murderer on the loose who’s killing individuals that follow the list! Next up, will be Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. Since Dexter is getting a reboot later this year, I wanted to pick back up the series and revisit this world. Dearly Devoted Dexter is the second book in the series and continues to extend the story from book one (Darkly Dreaming Dexter). Depending on how much time I have left, I might also try to squeeze in Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi. Destroy Me is the first novella in the Shatter Me series and takes place between books one and two. I’d like to try to read at least the first half of this series this year (maybe I’ll get adventurous and read the entire thing). It’s funny, I was just talking tonight about how I need to get better about committing to reading series in a timely fashion. In the past, I’ve never enjoyed binge reading series but I think I am going to take another shot at that this year.

All of these shorter books are to position me well to start Tome Topple on time. I am happy to announce that I’ll be back as a co-host for Round 14!! I have a formal announcement post coming later this week with all the details for this round, including my TBR and all of the reading prompts! Be sure to check back!!

March is sure to be a fun month and I’m looking forward to all the books I have planned! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What did you think? Are you a Dexter fan? Excited about the reboot coming this Fall? As always, I love chatting with you so please sure to leave a comment or tweet me @ItsMrGeekToYou on Twitter!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple: Round 13 / November Recap

As I said in a previous tweet, October was FAST and November turned out to be even FASTER! How is that even possible!? I had an… interesting reading month filled with amazing books and very mediocre books. In total, I read 7 books this month and I’m still on track to hit my goal of 52 for the year! Not only did I get a lot of reading in, I also had the pleasure of co-hosting one of my favorite read-a-thons, Tome Topple (more on that later)!

As I previous mentioned, I read The Witches by Roald Dahl and The List by JA Konrath. Neither of these books were that amazing. The Witches was a rather morbid story but The List was quirky and entertaining. I really enjoy Konrath’s unique writing style. The plots are always inventive and I can’t help by get sucked into his stories!

After The List, I moved onto the masterpiece that is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab. This book was FANTASTIC and it was just what the doctor ordered! While this wasn’t my typical read, I relished in the world and story that Schwab created. The premise was awesome – to escape her destiny, Addie makes a deal with a “Dark God” to free herself. This deal comes at a cost, no one can remember Addie after they’ve left her presence. Addie lives for over 300 years, roaming the earth, stealing what she needs until one day she meets Henry… and Henry can remember her. For me personally, this book really took shape about halfway through when Addie meets Henry and the “adventure” really begins. The story flowed in such an amazing and poetic way. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, move it to the top of your TBR ASAP.

Rounding out the month, I read a couple self-help books. The Person You Mean To Be By Dolly Chugh and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Dolly Chugh was a featured speaker at a recent work event. I was able to hear her talk and was blown away by how personable and relatable she is. I decided to pick up her book, The Person You Mean To Be, on audiobook because she narrated it. I don’t want to “review” this book because the subject matter isn’t meant to be entertaining – it’s meant to be informative and challenge / stretch your views. Did I agree with all of the ideas presented in this book? Absolutely not. Did these views challenge my to think in different ways and looks at certain topics from a different angle? You bet. This is one of the only books on GoodReads I didn’t give a star rating to because I’d encourage everyone to pick this up and give it a try. After I finished Dolly’s book I moved onto Atomic Habits. Atomic Habits was HANDS DOWN one of the best self-help / development books I have ever read. Clear gives you real, actionable advices for helping you to start new habits or break bad ones. I think what I appreciated the most about his take on habits was very rarely did he make the book about him (i.e. I did this or I struggled to do this) and instead talked to principles and actuality. He was also extremely easy to relate to! I found myself taking notes on ways to implement these strategies in my everyday life (and New Year Resolutions are coming)! If you’re looking for ways to build better habits, give this book a try. I can confidently say you’ll find it extremely useful!

The last couple books I read this month were Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo and The Toll by Neal Schusterman. Clap When You Land was an interesting book and, again, not something that I typically pick up. The story is about two sisters, who don’t know they are sisters, until their father dies in a tragic plane crash. The story is told from each of the girls’ perspectives. Acevedo did an incredible job giving each of these characters a unique voice. There was small nuances and cultural influences that really shown through into each of the characters. My last book I finished was The Toll and that was ONE HECK OF A FINALE. I started the Arc of a Scythe trilogy on New Year’s Day of and made my way through all 3 books over the course of the year. Scythe and Thunderhead (books 1 and 2, respectively) were absolutely incredible. I heard iffy things about The Toll, so I subliminally pushed it off. While it was a little on the long side (there was definitely some fluff that couldn’t been cut out) I found the story to be interesting and engaging. There were some interesting twists sprinkled throughout and I found the ending to be pretty spot on. It wasn’t too perfect or cookie cutter and had just enough grit and uniqueness!

Tome Topple Wrap Up

I was incredibly lucky to help co-host Tome Topple Round 13. I had a blast leading reading sprints and talking books with all of the other readers participating in the read-a-thon. I have to hand it to Sam (from @ThoughtsOnTomes) and the rest of the co-hosts, they do an incredible job running things. I’ve participated in this read-a-thon several times before and never realized how much work goes into creating it! I work in eCommerce for a retailer, so the week of Thanksgiving was a little crazy for me. I ended up finishing my only tome (The Toll) on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Another round is scheduled for February-ish, so I am hoping to topple a few books during that round since life should be a lot calmer then!

We’re well into December, so I’ll be posting a TBR soon and then my year in review wrap up! Hope everyone is staying safe and I’ll back with another post this week!

Until we meet again,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple Round 13: Announcement + TBR

Hello my fellow readers!

I am happy to announce that I am going to be helping to co-host the upcoming Tome Topple Read-A-Thon (Round 13)! For those of you who aren’t familiar, Tome Topple is a read-a-thon created by Sam from Thoughts On Tomes. The object is simple, read some chunky books that are over 500 pages! Throughout these 2 weeks, there’s a team of great people who will be hosting reading sprints, Instagram challenges and they even introduced a Discord channel this year for live chatting! Another fun element of this read-a-thon is the “bingo” card they adopted earlier this year! The object isn’t to get bingo but an organized way to track your reading prompts!

The prompts for Round 13 are as follows:
– Tome on your TBR the longest
– Tome you started in another round (of Tome Topple)
– Tome in a series you haven’t read in awhile (“awhile” is subjective and completely up to you)
– Tome in a genre you don’t normally read
– Read 1 tome
– Read a seasonally colored tome
– Read an audiobook tome
– Most recently acquired tome
– Tome by an indigenous author*

*I’m going to include a list of books by indigenous authors at the end of this post, for those who are interested!

My Tome Topple TBR

With each round of Tome Topple, I get progressively better – making more and more progress on my TBR! I am going to set the bar high this round to help motivate me to read more. One day, I hope to hit Scholar status but for now, I’m going to work for Sage!

I’m going to start off with The Toll by Neal Schusterman. This is the third and final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. Scythe (Book 1) was the first book I read this year and I absolutely loved it. It was interesting, fast paced and an absolutely fantastic read! I picked up Thunderhead (Book 2) in April and also thoroughly enjoyed that entry. I wanted to read the entire trilogy this year and I’m going to accomplish that goal! Next up, I am going to give Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. Legendborn has been getting RAVE reviews lately and I’ve heard that it’s an absolutely fantastic read. I’ve read the summary and the premise seems right up my alley! My last book that I hope to tackle is The Last Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve been wanting to read Sanderson’s The Starlight Archive for quite awhile. The recommended reading order has always been to start with Mistborn trilogy before flipping over to The Stormlight Archives. I thought now would be the perfect time to get started. Plus, I can continue the next 2 books in this series in December or early next year!

So there you have! A quick breakdown of Tome Topple and all of the books I hope to read this round! I’m really looking forward to co-hosting and reading all of the big books. Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou) + @Tome_Topple and all of the other co-hosts! Are you planning to join in? What books are on your TBR?

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN/INDIGENOUS TOMES
Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Benang: From the Heart by Kim Scott
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
The Red Convertible: Selected and New Stories, 1978-2008 by Louise Erdrich
The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King
Carpentaria by Alexis Wright

Tome Topple Round 12

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time again! Tome Topple has announced a new round starting this Saturday (8/8), running until Friday, August 21st. If you aren’t familiar with Tome Topple, the premise is simple: Read tomes! A “tome,” for the purposes of this read-a-thon, is is any book over 500 pages.

Similar to Round 11, the “bingo card” format is making a return to help participants track their completed reading prompts. While some of my books align with the prompts, I’m not going to force myself into it this round. I think by reading what I want to read, I’m going to have more success! While I don’t have an exact TBR, I have several books queued up and I’m going to read whatever fits my mood!

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

  • I have been looking forward to starting the Dark Artifices trilogy for quite some time (unfortunately, I had quite a few books to read to get to this point). I officially caught up and am able to start reading Lady Midnight! I am absolutely kicking off Tome Topple with this book. I’m excited to return this world and have heard phenomenal things about this book and series! Reading Prompts: Tome with the most Pages; Read 1 Tome

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

  • I’ve seen a ton of Mariary’s books but never picked one up. A few years ago, HBO announced that they were turning Big Little Lies into a 1 season, mini-series. I had no intentions of watching the show but for some reason ended up catching a couple episodes and was hooked! The TV show had an incredible cast and storyline was so wild you couldn’t wait to see what happened next! Definitely not my typical TV show (or book) but I’m looking forward to digging into this one. Reading Prompts: Tome from a genre you don’t typical read; Standalone tome

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

  • The first book I read this year was Scythe and I absolutely loved it! Shortly after I finished that, I moved onto Thunderhead which was also a stellar entry in the series. The Toll is the third and final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. I am anxious to see how this all ends but I’m also not ready for the conclusion. Based on the Shusterman books that I’ve read, I have high expectations for this finale (and I have a feeling it’s going to deliver). Reading Prompts: A tome by a Black author; Most recent tome

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

  • I read Strange the Dreamer last year and did a quick reread (listen) during the last round of Tome Topple as a refresher. I already know this is going to be an incredible read and I’m ready to have my emotions thrown into a blender. Taylor doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to writing a heart-wrenching story. I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters and them getting, hopefully, some semblance of a happy ending! Reading Prompt: Tome audiobook (partially); Tome started during a past round

Twilight by Stephanie Meyers

  • I am not afraid to rag on Twilight. I’ve never read these books before because I thought the premise was silly and it wasn’t something I would enjoy. I’ve contemplated reading these for the last several years (to put facts behind my opinions) but have always decided against it. I think I am going to attempt to read the first book in this series and write a funny, honest (sort of parody) review for the book afterwords. If nothing else, I think it will make good blog material! Not sure if this will make it into my Tome Topple TBR but be on the look out for a funny review coming soon!

Well, that’s my alleged TBR for this round of Tome Topple. Like the previous round, I’ll be doing a check-in (or two) and a wrap up after the read-a-thon has concluded. Be sure to stop back and follow my reading journey! Are you participating in this round of Tome Topple? What’s on your TBR? Share your books in the comments!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

Tome Topple Round 11

Over the last couple years, I started to really enjoy watching book reviews and discussions on YouTube (specifically these channels: Thoughts On Tomes, PersueProject and Daniel Greene).  Late last year, I saw a video for the “Tome Topple Read-A-Thon,” which was started by Sam from Thoughts On Tomes.  The main objective is simple, to read books with more than 500 pages.  I’ve always loved the idea of a read-a-thon or reading prompts (i.e. read a book with a red cover), but I never took the plunge until recently.  In February, I decided to participate in Round 10 of Tome Topple.  I created my TBR (To Be Read) to align with their reading prompts and was ready to roll.  Unfortunately, it didn’t end (or start) well for me.  I wasn’t done with my current book when the read-a-thon began, so I got off to a late start.  In the end, I didn’t even finish one book (granted, I was reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare and that book is near 750 pages).  For Round 11, which started this Saturday (May 9th), I have a whole new plan and I’m ready to read!

Tome Topple uses a “Bingo Card” style format for tracking the prompts (which I’ll share below).  These prompts help you to create your TBR, stay engaged and just lighten up the read-a-thon. This is run by a great group of people and they are constantly encouraging you to “read more.” They host reading sprints on Twitter and also have several other ways to interact (like a GoodReads group).

This format is strictly for tracking your prompts, no need to get “bingo.”

I’m, aggressively, aiming for Sage status which I can accomplish if I read all of the following books (but let’s be honest, I’ll be thrilled if I reach Student):

Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle, #2) by Christopher Paolini

  • It has been years since I first read Eragon but I thoroughly enjoyed the story and have been looking to get back into this series.  This book will count for the “tome that has been on my TBR for the longest” and “a tome that’s part of a series” prompts.  

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

  • Last year I decided I wanted to start reading Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles.  Little did I know that this was going to become an epic journey.  I decided to read the books the way that Clare recommends (The Mortal Instruments 1-3, The Infernal Devices trilogy then The Mortal Instruments 4-6).  The Bane Chronicles will be the last of the 3 supplemental books I have to read before I can move on to The Dark Artifices (this series has received nothing but praise, so I’m really looking forward to it).  This book will count for the “standalone tome” and a tome with an “AAPI main character” prompts.

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

  • I have been seeing nothing but great feedback and praise for Priory of the Orange Tree.  This is quite the tome and I’ve been a little intimidated by how long it is (coming in at nearly 850 pages).  A good friend of mine read this not too long ago and she raved about how great it was! Definitely looking forward to this one!  This book will be counting for the “adult tome” and “a genre I don’t typically read” (adult epic fantasy) prompts.

Strange the Dream (Strange the Dream Duology, #1) by Laini Taylor

  • This will actually be a re-read for me and I’ll be listening to this via audiobook. I read this early last year and absolutely loved it.  The whole concept of this novel was so unique and engrossing but the end was pretty traumatizing.  I’d like to read the sequel, Muse of Nightmares, later this year so I thought brushing up on the story with an audiobook was the perfect choice!  This book will count towards the “tome audiobook” prompt.

Like I previously mentioned, Tome Topple starts this Saturday (May 9th) and runs through May 22nd.  For more information, check out their Twitter account (@TomeTopple) or Sam’s YouTube Channel (Thoughts On Tomes).  If you’re able, grab a tome and read along with me!  I’ll be providing quick updates on my progress and thoughts on my current reads, both here and on Twitter (@ItsMrGeekToYou), over the coming weeks.  Have you read any of the books I mentioned?  Feel free to leave some thoughts or feelings about them in the comments but, please, no spoilers!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek

PS – I am not affiliated with Tome Topple. I think it’s an excellent idea and wanted to help spread the word!