September 18 – September 24

New Releases and Publications

Hello, friends – and happy Tuesday! Welcome to another round of new releases that I was lucky enough to get an early copy of, and have either already read or are upcoming on my #TBR.

These books could be gifted from the publisher through sites like NetGalley or Edelweiss+, they could be electronic copies gifted directly to me from the publisher or the author, an early audiobook copy through the publisher or Libro.fm, or even a physical copy that has been sent to me from the author or publisher. I am so thankful for all of the reading opportunities that I am given through these various sources, and I am excited to share these new releases!

In these weekly posts I will include a 20% review if I am currently reading the book, as well as a link to my full review if I have already finished the book. And if I have not yet started the book by the time this is posted, I will leave those spots blank and edit the post to add them in later!

A Cigarette Lit Backwards

Author: Tea Hacic-Vlahovic

Publication Date: September 20, 2022

Genre: Fiction

Page Count: 240 pages

Thanks so much to the author, Overlook Press, and Edelweiss+ for the gifted advanced e-copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

Set in the punk-rock scene of the early 2000s and vibrating with the intense ache of bad choices and deep longing, a needle-sharp portrait of a young woman and how far she’ll go to find acceptance

Kat is dying to be accepted by the North Carolina punks; she is totally desperate to seem cool. At a punk show, she ends up backstage with a rock star and gets noticed by a photojournalist. And then—a dream come true for Kat—her reputation as a groupie icon skyrockets. But to maintain this notoriety, Kat makes a series of devastating choices, and soon enough, she becomes unrecognizable to herself and others.

Tea Hacic-Vlahovic’s A Cigarette Lit Backwards is a sometimes funny, often brutally honest novel about ambition and self-discovery and how a world of glamour and cool exerts its bold and breathless pull. In prose that seduces, glitters, and exhilarates, Tea Hacic-Vlahovic has written a novel that is both a wild party and a somber reckoning, consolidating her status as a thrilling and essential new voice for our time.

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

The Kiss Curse

Author: Erin Sterling

Narrated by: Shannon McManus

Audio Publication Date: September 20, 2022

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Witches, Adult, Contemporary

Audiobook Length: 7 hours 45 minutes

Thanks so much to the author, HarperAudio, and Libro.fm for the advanced audio copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

Welcome to Spooky Season!! The follow-up to Erin Sterling’s New York Times bestselling hit The Ex Hex features fan favorite Gwyn and the spine-tinglingly handsome Wells Penhallow as they battle a new band of witches and their own magical chemistry.

Gwyn Jones is perfectly happy with her life in Graves Glen. She, her mom, and her cousin have formed a new and powerful coven; she’s running a successful witchcraft shop, Something Wicked; and she’s started mentoring some of the younger witches in town. As Halloween approaches, there’s only one problem—Llewellyn “Wells” Penhallow.

Wells has come to Graves Glen to re-establish his family’s connection to the town they founded as well as to make a new life for himself after years of being the dutiful son in Wales. When he opens up a shop of his own, Penhallow’s, just across the street from Something Wicked, he quickly learns he’s gotten more than he bargained for in going up against Gwyn.

When their professional competition leads to a very personal—and very hot—kiss, both Wells and Gwyn are determined to stay away from each other, convinced the kiss was just a magical fluke. But when a mysterious new coven of witches come to town and Gwyn’s powers begin fading, she and Wells must work together to figure out just what these new witches want and how to restore Gwyn’s magic before it’s too late.

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

September 11 – September 17

New Releases and Publications

Hello, friends – and happy Tuesday! Welcome to another round of new releases that I was lucky enough to get an early copy of, and have either already read or are upcoming on my #TBR.

These books could be gifted from the publisher through sites like NetGalley or Edelweiss+, they could be electronic copies gifted directly to me from the publisher or the author, an early audiobook copy through the publisher or Libro.fm, or even a physical copy that has been sent to me from the author or publisher. I am so thankful for all of the reading opportunities that I am given through these various sources, and I am excited to share these new releases!

In these weekly posts I will include a 20% review if I am currently reading the book, as well as a link to my full review if I have already finished the book. And if I have not yet started the book by the time this is posted, I will leave those spots blank and edit the post to add them in later!

Send Noods: 50 Amazing Noodle Recipes that You Want Right Now

Author: Chloe Godot

Illustrated by: Alice Potter

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Cookbook

Page Count: 128 pages

Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin’s Press, and Castle Point Books for the gifted finished copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

Get the noods you really want!

Things are looking hot. Chloe Godot’s Send Noods is a cleverly tantalizing book of 50 noodle recipes that will never fail to whet your appetite. When your actual DMs are just too cringeworthy and you’d rather have a bowl of ramen to keep you warm at night, turn to the cookbook that really satisfies.

Each chapter is organized to help you find your perfect match, from Chapter One: The Little Black Book of Basics, which steers you toward every good ol’ base sauce and broth you’ll ever need, to Chapter Two: Heart Warmers, that always deliver on their comfort-food promises, to Chapter Five: The Hotties, that leave you hungry for more. Go ahead and ogle the piping-hot illustrations of your deepest cravings, including:

– F*boy Fettuccini
– Red Flag Red Sauce
– Looking Fresh Pesto
– How You Doin’ Homemade Italian Sausage
– U Up? Udon
– Sex Is Cool, But Have You Tried My Pho?
– Swipe Right Ramen
– Slide into My DMs Strozzapreti
– Mack on This Mac ‘n’ Cheese
– Dreamboat Arrabiata

Complete with Alice Potter’s playful illustrations and explicit instructions that make each recipe’s intentions known, Send Noods is the book of hot dishes that will satisfy epicureans in ways unsolicited DMs just never could.

20% Review:

Since this is a cookbook I won’t be including a 20% review. But check out my full thoughts on this book at the link below!

Check out my full review here!

The Best Friend

Author: Jessica Fellowes

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Adult, Mystery

Page Count: 320 pages

Thanks so much to the author, Minotaur Books, and Netgalley for the gifted advanced audio copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

Following the intense, toxic friendship of two kindred spirits across their lifetimes, The Best Friend is a dark, suspenseful novel and first standalone from Jessica Fellowes, New York Times bestselling author of the Mitford Murders series and the companion Downton Abbey books.

Bella and Kate. Kate and Bella. From childhood they were bosom friends, Bella sensible and cautious, Kate gregarious and just a little dangerous.

Yet in spite of their intimacy, their trust is fragile. Men came into their lives and things changed: a black seed was set in the heart of their relationship. Over decades, acts of both cruelty and love ferment until one shocking event tests them more than ever. Neither will escape unscathed.

Reminiscent of Elena Ferrante and Sally Rooney, and for readers of Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny and Ashley Audrain’s The PushThe Best Friend explores the darkest corners of female friendship, a place where loyalty and betrayal intersect with deadly consequences.

20% Review:

This is SUCH a quick read! I got through the first 30% or so in the first sitting without even noticing, and I’d have finished it already if I didn’t have to do annoying things like work. A good portion so far is written as dialogue, without quotation marks or notes of which character is speaking, which makes it read a bit more like a play than a novel. As a theatre person, I’m finding this to be a really fun and interesting departure from the norm! But this format might not be for everybody, so keep that in mind before reading.

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

The Make-Up Test

Author: Jenny L. Howe

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Adult

Page Count: 336 pages

Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Netgalley for the gifted advanced e-copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

ONE TO WATCH meets BEACH READ in this smart, swoony, romantic comedy, in which two college exes find themselves battling against each other—and their unresolved feelings—for a spot in a prestigious literature Ph.D. program.

Allison Avery loves to win. After acing every academic challenge she’s come up against, she’s finally been accepted into her dream Ph.D. program at Claymore University, studying medieval literature under a professor she’s admired for years. Sure, grad school isn’t easy—the classes are intense, her best friend is drifting away, and her students would rather pull all-nighters than discuss The Knight’s Tale—but she’s got this. Until she discovers her ex-boyfriend has also been accepted. Colin Benjamin might be the only person who loves winning more than Allison does, and when they’re both assigned to TA for the same professor, the game is on.

What starts as a personal battle of wits (and lit) turns into all-out war when their professor announces a career-changing research trip opportunity—with one spot to fill. Competing with Colin is as natural as breathing, and after he shattered her heart two years ago, Allison refuses to let him come out on top. But when a family emergency and a late night road trip—plus a very sexy game of Scrabble—throw them together for a weekend, she starts to wonder if they could be stronger on the same team. And if they fall for each other all over again, Allison will have to choose between a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and what could be a twice-in-a-lifetime love.

Charmingly bookish and unequivocally fat positive, The Make-Up Test embraces the truth that people can sometimes change and grow, even when you least expect it.

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender

Author: Kit Heyam

Narrated by: Kit Heyam

Audio Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Nonfiction, History, LGBTQIA+, Transgender

Audiobook Length: 8 hours 2 minutes

Thanks so much to the author, Hachette Audio, and Libro.fm for the advanced audio copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

A groundbreaking global history of gender nonconformity  

Today’s narratives about trans people tend to feature individuals with stable gender identities that fit neatly into the categories of male or female. Those stories, while important, fail to account for the complex realities of many trans people’s lives.  

Before We Were Trans illuminates the stories of people across the globe, from antiquity to the present, whose experiences of gender have defied binary categories. Blending historical analysis with sharp cultural criticism, trans historian and activist Kit Heyam offers a new, radically inclusive trans history, chronicling expressions of trans experience that are often overlooked, like gender-nonconforming fashion and wartime stage performance. Before We Were Trans transports us from Renaissance Venice to seventeenth-century Angola, from Edo Japan to early America, and looks to the past to uncover new horizons for possible trans futures. 

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

Marple: Twelve New mysteries

Authors: Agatha Christie, Naomi Alderman, Leigh Bardugo, Alyssa Cole, Lucy Foley, Elly Griffiths, Natalie Haynes, Jean Kwok, Val McDermid, Karen M. McManus, Dreda Say Mitchell, Kate Mosse and Ruth Ware

Narrated by: Alex Kingston, Adjoa Andoh, Miriam Margolyes, Celia Imrie, Chipo Chung, Adrian Scarborough, Imogen Stubbs, Alison Steadman, Jodhi May, Cathy Tyson and Ramon Tikaram

Audio Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Mystery, short Stories, Anthologies, Thriller, Crime

Audiobook Length: 11 hours 28 minutes

Thanks so much to the authors, HarperAudio, and Libro.fm for the advanced audio copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

A brand-new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Mystery’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.

This collection of a dozen original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.

Naomi Alderman
Leigh Bardugo
Alyssa Cole
Lucy Foley
Elly Griffiths
Natalie Haynes
Jean Kwok
Val McDermid
Karen M. McManus
Dreda Say Mitchell
Kate Mosse
Ruth Ware

Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Agatha Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

Always the First to Die

Author: R. J. Jacobs

Narrated by: Petrea Burchard

Audio Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Adult

Audiobook Length: 8 hours 33 minutes

Thanks so much to the author, Dreamscape Audio, and Libro.fm for the advanced audio copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

For fans of Riley Sager with a classic slasher twist, Always the First to Die follows a former horror movie actress as she returns to the set of her most iconic film, only to find that the strange circumstances begin to resemble the plot of her most famous film.

After her husband’s death, Lexi has refused to return to the Pinecrest Estate on the Florida Keys, too many hard memories on that strip of land. Memories of meeting her husband on the set of an iconic horror movie. Of being cast as an extra, of watching herself get killed on screen. And of scoffing at the rumors of the Pinecrest Estate “curse,” until she witnessed a cast member die that very summer. But when her daughter sneaks away to visit her grandfather, legendary horror movie director Rick Plummer, Lexi is forced to face her past. That’s when a Category Four hurricane changes course, and hits the southern coast.

Unable to get through to her daughter, Lexi drives to the Keys in the wake of the storm. What she finds is an island without cell service, without power, and with limited police presence. A desolate bit of land, with only a few remaining behind: the horror director, the starlet once cast as the final girl, the young teenager searching for clues of her father, the mother determined to get off the island, and…the person picking them off one-by-one.

Soon enough Lexi’s life begins to resemble Rick’s most famous horror film, and she must risk her life to save her daughter before someone, or something, destroys them all.

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

Bindle Punk Bruja

Author: Desideria Mesa

Narrated by: Frankie Corzo

Audio Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Adult, Mystery

Audiobook Length: 14 hours 10 minutes

Thanks so much to the author, HarperAudio, and Libro.fm for the advanced audio copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

A part-time reporter and club owner takes on crooked city councilmen, mysterious and deadly mobsters, and society’s deeply rooted sexism and racism, all while keeping her true identity and magical abilities hidden –inspired by an ancient Mexican folktale.

Yo soy quien soy. I am who I am.

Luna–or depending on who’s asking, Rose–is the white-passing daughter of an immigrant mother who has seen what happens to people from her culture. This world is prejudicial, and she must hide her identity in pursuit of owning an illegal jazz club. Using her cunning powers, Rose negotiates with dangerous criminals as she climbs up Kansas City’s bootlegging ladder. Luna, however, runs the risk of losing everything if the crooked city councilmen and ruthless mobsters discover her ties to an immigrant boxcar community that secretly houses witches. Last thing she wants is to put her entire family in danger.

But this bruja with ever-growing magical abilities can never resist a good fight. With her new identity, Rose, an unabashed flapper, defies societal expectations all the while struggling to keep her true self and witchcraft in check. However, the harder she tries to avoid scrutiny, the more her efforts eventually capture unwanted attention. Soon, she finds herself surrounded by greed and every brand of bigotry–from local gangsters who want a piece of the action and businessmen who hate her diverse staff to the Ku Klux Klan and Al Capone. Will her earth magic be enough to save her friends and family? As much as she hates to admit it, she may need to learn to have faith in others–and learning to trust may prove to be her biggest ambition yet.

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

A Curse of Blood and Stone (Fate and Flame #2) by K.A. Tucker

Review and blog tour courtesy of Valentine PR

Thanks so much to the author and Valentine PR for the gifted, advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } My reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

Publication Date: July 12, 2022

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Fiction, Adult

Book Description from Goodreads:

“I do not know how to love you and be a good king to my people.”

From jewelry thief to interloper to queen-in-waiting, Romeria flees Cirilea a traitor to all. But the yawning distance between her and Zander troubles her more than any king’s bounty on her head. While Zander may have escaped by her side, he seeks to regain his throne, and no immortal will ever welcome her as Islor’s queen. She fears it won’t be long before Zander abandons her as everyone else she’s ever loved has.

Zander sacrificed his crown to save Romeria’s life, yet he dreads what her existence means for the future of his realm. As Ybaris’s plan to destroy Islor unfurls, a more insidious threat, orchestrated by rival fates, lurks beneath the surface. He can offer his allies no honest explanation for why he protects the Ybarisan princess and takes counsel from Queen Neilina’s caster, leading those closest to doubt his wisdom—and his allegiance. 

As their company aims for the Venhorn Mountains, steered by prophecy, Romeria is desperate to wield her newfound abilities to undo Princess Romeria’s treachery before the kingdom tears itself apart. But with the mortal rebellion swelling, bolstered by the gift of Ybaris’s poison, it may already be too late.

From internationally bestselling author K.A. Tucker comes the second novel in her Fate and Flame series, an adult fantasy story that should be read in series order.

Review: (5 Stars)

TW: death/murder, violence, reference to sexual violence, some description of gore

You guys, I thought I loved A Fate of Wrath and Flame. And then A Curse of Blood and Stone came into my life. This world and these characters have really made their way into my heart, and I can’t wait to get more of them all!

This book picks up minutes after the events of the first book, and our leads are on the move – so this book feels a bit like a long road trip. You get to see lots of new locations that are either brand new to us or were briefly mentioned in the first book, and it lets you really focus on the characters and their relationships, which I loved! There are a handful of more tense scenes, but over all it’s more of a journey-centered story than more typical adventure, so if that isn’t your style it may feel like a bit of a slow read at times.

My favorite part of this book was that we see more of Romeria and Zander’s relationship, but even more than that we really get to see Romeria figuring out who she is in her new body and new world, and all of the power that comes with them. She really feels like she’s getting her feet under her, and I have really loved getting to see what that process looks like for her. She’s such a badass lady and such a fun character, and I can’t wait to see how she continues to grow! I would seriously read so many books about Romeria.

Overall I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends. But keep in mind that like I said earlier it does immediately follow the first book, so they definitely need to be read in order! I think that the perfect way to read this book would be on some sort of outdoor getaway – camping, glamping, a cabin in the mountains with a glass of wine, you take your pick. But this book feels like it’s begging to be read out in nature and on an adventure!

Meet Kathleen:

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the internationally bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wild, Be the Girl, and Say You Still Love Me. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, Oprah Mag, and First for Women.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto.

Connect with Kathleen

Website: https://www.katuckerbooks.com/

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/36Ga0W8

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QPwJZs

Facebook:  http://bit.ly/2MYEDhK

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1468548700062461

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katucker_/

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2FqzR8K

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2rZkYXP

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorkatucker/

My Reviews for more by K.A. Tucker

The Fate and Flame series

A Fate of Wrath and Flame (Fate and Flame #1)

The Simple Wild series

The Simple Wild (Wild #1)

Wild at Heart (Wild #2)

Forever Wild (Wild #2.5)

Running Wild (Wild #3)

The Polson Falls series

The Player Next Door

Standalone stories

Say You Still Love Me

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

Once Upon a Book Club: Adult Box March 2022

The Oceanography of the Moon by Glendy Vanderah

I was so excited to received the Adult Book box from Once Upon a Book Club for the month of March, with the clue “To the Moon and Back!”

Take a look below for information on the book and gifts that I received in this box, my review of the book, and more – but keep in mind that there will be spoilers on the gifts!

Thanks so much to the folks over at Once Upon a Book Club for gifting me with this box! Check them out for yourself, and use my code TACKLINGTBR at check out for a discount!

About the Box

The To The Moon and Back box was Once Upon a Book Club’s adult box for March 2022! Each box contained a copy of the book and four wrapped gifts to tie into the book – bringing the book and reading experience to life!

Page 55

She guides me out onto the wooden pier. It’s unsettling to walk toward that watery blackness as if impelled down a gangplank to my death. She positions me at the end of the pier and has everyone turn off our flashlights. She tells me it takes a while for retinas to acclimate to darkness. As my eyes adjust, I’m standing in millions of stars.

A small, USB star light that shines star patterns onto walls or the ceiling.

Page 114

“While I’m running water into the tub, she knocks on the door and hands me a book. The cover art looks like a child’s drawing of two people holding hands, the lines connecting stars in the night sky. The constellation is Gemini, the twins. I settle the book onto the bookrest Sachi and Alec gave me for my sixteenth birthday…”

A faux book pamphlet including the novel A Box of Broken Stars details on the cover, plus a wooden and plexiglass bookrest.

Page 195

“I take the rock out of my pocket and hold its cold angular shape in my fist. I’m not sure if I should give it to her.”

A black tourmaline along with the explanation of its healing properties.

Page 211

“I’ve been too distracted to pay much attention to his necklace. The only jewelry I’ve seen on him is the expensive watch he always wears. It’s a key, the old kind I see in antique stores.”

A gold, key pendant inspired by Vaughn’s.

Page 223

“I hold her against my chest. I recognize this song. It’s ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.”

A QR code to listen to the song, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ by The Beatles

About the Book

Published by: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: March 22, 2022

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Mystery, Magical Realism

Page Count: 330

Description from Goodreads:

A heartfelt novel of shedding secrets, facing the past, and embracing the magic of love and family by the Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Where the Forest Meets the Stars.

After the untimely deaths of her aunt and mother, young Riley Mays moved from Chicago to her cousins’ Wisconsin farm. Here she found solace in caring for her extraordinary adoptive brother, exploring the surrounding wild nature, and gazing at the mystical moon—a private refuge in which she hides from her most painful memories. But ten years later, now twenty-one, Riley feels too confined by the protective walls she’s erected around herself. When a stranger enters her family’s remote world, Riley senses something he’s hiding, a desire to escape that she understands well.

Suffering from writer’s block, bestselling novelist Vaughn Orr has taken to the country roads when he happens upon the accommodating, if somewhat unusual, Mays family. He’s soon captivated by their eccentricities—and especially by Riley and her quiet tenacity. In her, he recognizes a shared need to keep heartbreaking secrets buried.

As the worst moments of their lives threaten to surface, Riley and Vaughn must find the courage to confront them if they’re to have any hope of a happy future. With the help of Riley’s supportive family, a dash of everyday magic, and the healing power of nature, can the pair let go of the troubled pasts they’ve clung to so tightly for so long?

Review:

(My review will be added at a later date!)

About the Author

Glendy Vanderah is the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of Where the Forest Meets the Stars and The Light Through the Leaves. Glendy worked as an endangered-bird specialist in Illinois before she became a writer. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in rural Florida with her husband and as many birds, butterflies, and wildflowers as she can lure to her land.

For more information, visit http://www.glendyvanderah.com.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/glendyvanderah/

Link to Purchase the book:

Learn more about Once Upon a Book Club, or order your next read, here!

The Burning Pages by Paige Shelton

Minotaur Books – Review: 3 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin’s Press and Minotaur Books for the gifted, advanced copy of this book, as well as NetGalley for the gifted e-copy in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } My reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on my blog at tacklingtbr.home.blog

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Fiction

TW: murder, arson, mention of attempted kidnapping

If there is anything that I love, it’s books about book people, and especially if those book people are also in a setting surrounded by books. Like, for instance, a book person who works and spends most of her time in a cute little bookshop in Scotland. You know, as a random example.

This was a fun mystery with a whole lot of storylines that until the end you’re not quite sure if they’re all connected in some way or not. There’s just a lot going on. I liked each storyline, and I do like how they do fit together in the end (spoiler? I guess?), but I will say that once or twice it got difficult to try and keep everything straight. There were characters with little roles in the smaller scale plots that I had to go back and remind myself who they were and how they were related to the story a couple of times.

I will say, I’m sure part of that is because this is book 7 in this series of cozy mysteries, and is the first one that I’ve read. I’m sure all of the main characters, and maybe some of the more supporting characters as well, were introduced in length in the previous novels, so maybe if I’d read the previous 6 books I would have had a little bit easier time with that. I don’t know that the problem would have completely gone away, since I was mostly having the trouble with folks related to the specific mystery. But either way, take that with a grain of salt.

One other small thing to note is that a lot of the dialogue is written out in a way to be read in a Scottish accent. This made it really fun and feel really immersed in the setting, but definitely keep in mind that you may need to use your own deductive reasoning to figure out a couple of words or sayings if you’re not familiar with it.

Overall I would recommend this book as a fairly easy cozy mystery. I figured out the ending before I got there, but isn’t that part of the charm of a cozy? I tend to think so, anyway. I think that the perfect way to read this book would be curled up in a comfy chair in a little bookshop, or at home surrounded by your bookshelves.

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

April 24 – April 30

New Releases and Publications

Hello, friends – and happy Tuesday! Welcome to another round of new releases that I was lucky enough to get an early copy of, and have either already read or are upcoming on my #TBR.

These books could be gifted from the publisher through sites like NetGalley or Edelweiss+, they could be electronic copies gifted directly to me from the publisher or the author, an early audiobook copy through the publisher or Libro.fm, or even a physical copy that has been sent to me from the author or publisher. I am so thankful for all of the reading opportunities that I am given through these various sources, and I am excited to share these new releases!

In these weekly posts I will include a 20% review if I am currently reading the book, as well as a link to my full review if I have already finished the book. And if I have not yet started the book by the time this is posted, I will leave those spots blank and edit the post to add them in later!

Rules for Engaging the Earl

Author: Janna MacGregor

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Regency

Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for the gifted, advanced e-copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London.

Constance Lysander needs a husband. Or, so society says. She’s about to give birth to her late husband’s child―a man who left her with zero money, and two other wives she didn’t know about. Thankfully, she has her Aunt by her side, and the two other wives have become close friends. But still―with a baby on the way, her shipping business to run, and an enemy skulking about, she has no time to find the perfect match.

Enter Jonathan, Earl of Sykeston. Returned war hero and Constance’s childhood best friend, his reentry into society has been harsh. Maligned for an injury he received in the line of duty, Jonathan prefers to stay out of sight. It’s the only way to keep his heart from completely crumbling. But when a missive from Constance requests his presence―to their marriage ceremony―Jonathan is on board. His feelings for Constance run deep, and he’ll do anything to make her happy, though it means risking his already bruised heart.

With Constance, Jonathan, and the new baby all together, it’s clear the wounds―both on the surface and in their relationship―run deep. But when the nights come, their wounds begin to heal, and both come to realize that their marriage of convenience is so much more than just a bargain.

20% Review:

This book is not shy about throwing you right into the story! We get a short prologue showing our two leads when they were young, to show their previous relationship and their feelings about each other, and then it jumps right to Jonathan’s journey to Constance in London. The events that the back cover mentions (her marriage and finding out about her husband’s deception, Jonathan receiving her letter, etc.) aren’t shown in the book, only the events that follow. I understand that all of it may not have been necessary, but I would have liked to see Jonathan’s initial reaction to hearing from her after all of those years. Other than that, I will say I’m not yet feeling that same draw that I get when I’m really invested in the story. That may very well come later, but so far the story has gotten off to a slightly slow start for me. I’m definitely keeping an open mind, hoping that that will change!

Check out my full review here!

Rules for Engaging the Earl (The Widow Rules #2) by Janna MacGregor

St. Martin’s Press – Review: 4 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for the gifted, advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } My reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Regency

TW: description of battle injuries/scars

Anyone who tries to say they aren’t a sucker for a childhood best friends to lovers story is lying to you and also themselves, and they can’t be trusted. There, I said it. Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at this book in particular.

This one started off a bit slow for me, because the two leads are apart for a good chunk of the book to begin with. When I picked up this book I didn’t realize that it was a second in a series, however, and that the two friends that Constance spends this portion of the book with are characters that you met and undoubtedly fell in love with in the first book (A Duke in Time). I really loved the bond between these three women throughout this book, so I think if I had that love of them going into it then the beginning wouldn’t have felt so long for me. So maybe this is one best read in order, purely for that relationship!

But now on to this story’s love match – Constance and Jonathan. They were best friends in their younger years, and you can tell they both secretly knew that they were each other’s futures, but they never shared that out loud. Bring in the steamy second chance romance! I really loved their relationship. It was a little bit difficult at times, because sometimes it’s hard to read a character treating someone else so coldly, even if you know they’re trying to protect them and that it will all work out in the end. And there are definitely some of those moments in this book where Jonathan was really cold and hurtful to Constance. But what I loved is that that time wasn’t just brushed under the rug like “well he’s not like that anymore, so it doesn’t matter” which I think can tend to happen in those types of stories. Both of these characters knew and acknowledged that that treatment was wrong, and we really got to see them make the choice to move forward anyway, and see him really work to make himself better.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to friends! Like I said earlier, though, I may need to go back and read the first one, and might recommend that folks read it in order so that they don’t miss any of that badass female friendship! I think that the best way to read this book would be outside in a garden, with the sunshine on your shoulders, and maybe a cup of tea or coffee in your hands. Bonus points for a fresh garden picnic, but not all of us have the Earl of Sykeston’s grounds.

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

April 17 – April 23

New Releases and Publications

Hello, friends – and happy Tuesday! Welcome to another round of new releases that I was lucky enough to get an early copy of, and have either already read or are upcoming on my #TBR.

These books could be gifted from the publisher through sites like NetGalley or Edelweiss+, they could be electronic copies gifted directly to me from the publisher or the author, an early audiobook copy through the publisher or Libro.fm, or even a physical copy that has been sent to me from the author or publisher. I am so thankful for all of the reading opportunities that I am given through these various sources, and I am excited to share these new releases!

In these weekly posts I will include a 20% review if I am currently reading the book, as well as a link to my full review if I have already finished the book. And if I have not yet started the book by the time this is posted, I will leave those spots blank and edit the post to add them in later!

Pay Dirt Road

Author: Samantha Jayne Allen

Publication Date: April 19, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense

Thanks so much to the author and Minotaur for the gifted, advanced copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

Friday Night Lights meets Mare of Easttown in this small-town mystery about an unlikely private investigator searching for a missing waitress. Pay Dirt Road is the mesmerizing debut from the 2019 Tony Hillerman Prize recipient Samantha Jayne Allen.

Annie McIntyre has a love/hate relationship with Garnett, Texas.

Recently graduated from college and home waitressing, lacking not in ambition but certainly in direction, Annie is lured into the family business—a private investigation firm—by her supposed-to-be-retired grandfather, Leroy, despite the rest of the clan’s misgivings.

When a waitress at the café goes missing, Annie and Leroy begin an investigation that leads them down rural routes and haunted byways, to noxious-smelling oil fields and to the glowing neon of local honky-tonks. As Annie works to uncover the truth she finds herself identifying with the victim in increasing, unsettling ways, and realizes she must confront her own past—failed romances, a disturbing experience she’d rather forget, and the trick mirror of nostalgia itself—if she wants to survive this homecoming.

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

April 10 – April 16

New Releases and Publications

Hello, friends – and happy Tuesday! Welcome to another round of new releases that I was lucky enough to get an early copy of, and have either already read or are upcoming on my #TBR.

These books could be gifted from the publisher through sites like NetGalley or Edelweiss+, they could be electronic copies gifted directly to me from the publisher or the author, an early audiobook copy through the publisher or Libro.fm, or even a physical copy that has been sent to me from the author or publisher. I am so thankful for all of the reading opportunities that I am given through these various sources, and I am excited to share these new releases!

In these weekly posts I will include a 20% review if I am currently reading the book, as well as a link to my full review if I have already finished the book. And if I have not yet started the book by the time this is posted, I will leave those spots blank and edit the post to add them in later!

This May End Badly

Author: Samantha Markum

Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction

Thanks so much to the author, Wednesday Books, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for the gifted, advanced e-copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

Pranking mastermind Doe and her motley band of Weston girls are determined to win the century-long war against Winfield Academy before the clock ticks down on their senior year. But when their headmistress announces that The Weston School will merge with its rival the following year, their longtime feud spirals into chaos.

To protect the school that has been her safe haven since her parents’ divorce, Doe puts together a plan to prove once and for all that Winfield boys and Weston girls just don’t mix, starting with a direct hit at Three, Winfield’s boy king and her nemesis. In a desperate move to win, Doe strikes a bargain with Three’s cousin, Wells: If he fake dates her to get under Three’s skin, she’ll help him get back his rightful family heirloom from Three.

As the pranks escalate, so do her feelings for her fake boyfriend, and Doe spins lie after lie to keep up her end of the deal. But when a teacher long suspected of inappropriate behavior messes with a younger Weston girl, Doe has to decide what’s more important: winning a rivalry, or joining forces to protect something far more critical than a prank war legacy.

This May End Badly is a story about friendship, falling in love, and crossing pretty much every line presented to you—and how to atone when you do.

20% Review:

This book is such a fun read so far! The story is really just starting to dip it’s toes into the fake-dating trope (which I love and am quite excited about), so it’s mostly been talking about the pranking and rivalry so far, but I have not wanted to put it down! I really like Doe as a main character, and being in her head while she talks (thinks?) about the school rivalry is honestly making me feel like I’m back in high school with her. While they may not have been the best years of my life, things like school rivalries and first love are so fun and nostalgic to look back on, making this a really delicious read so far! I can’t wait to fall in love with Wells, because I get the feeling I will.

Check out my full review here!

Left on Tenth

Author: Delia Ephron

Narrated by: Delia Ephron

Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Genre: Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction

Audiobook Length: 7 hours and 38 minutes

Thanks so much to Hachette Audio and Libro.fm for the gifted, advanced audio copy of this book!

Description from Goodreads:

The bestselling, beloved writer of romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail tells her own late-in-life love story, complete with a tragic second act and joyous resolution.

Delia Ephron had struggled through several years of heartbreak. She’d lost her sister, Nora, and then her husband, Jerry, both to cancer. Several months after Jerry’s death, she decided to make one small change in her life—she shut down his landline, which crashed her internet. She ended up in Verizon hell.

She channeled her grief the best way she knew: by writing a New York Times op-ed. The piece caught the attention of Peter, a Bay Area psychiatrist, who emailed her to commiserate. Recently widowed himself, he reminded her that they had shared a few dates fifty-four years before, set up by Nora. Delia did not remember him, but after several weeks of exchanging emails and sixties folk songs, he flew east to see her. They were crazy, utterly, in love.

But this was not a rom-com: four months later she was diagnosed with AML, a fierce leukemia.

In Left on Tenth, Delia Ephron enchants as she seesaws us between tears and laughter, navigating the suicidal lows of enduring cutting-edge treatment and the giddy highs of a second chance at love. With Peter and her close girlfriends by her side, with startling clarity, warmth, and honesty about facing death, Ephron invites us to join her team of warriors and become believers ourselves.

20% Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I start reading this book!)

Review:

(This will be added at a later date, once I have finished this book!)

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

Wednesday Books – Review: 5 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for the gifted, advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } My reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction

TW: discussion of sexually predatory behavior towards a minor, discussion of homophobia, bullying

I really, thoroughly enjoyed this book! I think with YA romances it can be a little bit tricky sometimes to find the balance of the romance between two characters who are at an age that they are really starting to explore the steamier sides of romance, but also acknowledging how young the characters still are – no matter how adult they may think they are. And this book captured that really beautifully for me – the feeling that these characters are still kids, and still learning and growing, but that they very much see themselves as the adults that they are just a year or two shy of being.

There were SO MANY characters to fall in love with in this book! You’ve got to love a good, old fashioned ensemble cast, right? At least, I do.

Let’s start with the friend groups. The Winfield boys were really intriguing to me as I was reading – from the description you know that they have to all come together at the end against a bigger, better cause, so I was looking forward to seeing how the author humanized these characters to Doe, and maybe even brought her around a bit to their side, and I thought that the background that she gave them was really interesting. Nothing groundbreaking, but really well told.

As for Doe and her group of best girlfriends, there were so many different personalities in the group, and I think the author did a really good job of showing those personality types both clashing and blending, and the love that these girls had for each other through both types of interactions. No friend group is going to get along perfectly all the time, or always agree, so I love it when authors (especially in children’s or young adult stories) show those sides of it too. Especially in a way that shows that not only is it normal but also healthy, and that it doesn’t mean you love your friends any less.

And okay, let’s briefly touch on Wells. I loved him. A whole lot. Like, if I had read this book in high school he may have been my dream guy. I loved him, I loved their relationship, I love the fake-dating trope. It just all really worked for me!

Overall I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends. In fact, I think I may have already recommended it once or twice in conversation. I thought it was such a fun and engaging read, and I will definitely be purchasing a physical copy to put on my bookshelf in case of future re-reads. I think that the best way to read this book would be curled up with a cute guy on a big red arm chair, but if you can’t get that, then I guess any comfy reading nook will suffice. But someone or something cute to cuddle is mandatory!

Link to Purchase on Amazon: