Once Upon A Book Club: Adult Box December 2022

The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano

I am so excited to have received another box from one of my favorite bookish subscription services, Once Upon a Book Club! This time I received the Adult box for the month of December, with the clue “Melody of Madness!”

Take a look below for information on the book and gifts that I received in this box 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 Melody of Madness box was Once Upon a Book Club’s adult box for December 2022! Each box contained a custom edition of the book designed specifically by Once Upon a Book Club, as well as three wrapped gifts to tie into the book – bringing the book and reading experience to life!

Page 62

“I said, don’t drink the tea.”

A set of two 10oz. Glass Mugs

Page 205

“The blanket edged down, and I felt her racing heart against my shoulder, a wild tempo of fear, and closed my eyes.”

A 51″ X 71″ Polyester & Flannel Moonlight Sonata Blanket

Page 302

“‘So you never have to face the darkness.’ He took my right hand and wrapped my fingers around what felt like matches.”

A set of two Taper Candles

About the Book

Published By: Fleming H. Revell Company

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance, Mystery

Page Count: 378 pages

Description from Goodreads:

“Darkly premised and brilliantly presented. The Lost Melody serves a pitch-perfect blend of history, romance, mystery, and faith.”– Booklist starred review


When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant’s father dies, he leaves to her the care of an adult ward she knew nothing about. The woman is supposedly a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. The woman’s portrait is shockingly familiar to Vivienne, so when the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.

The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know. But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?

Fan-favorite Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women’s independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era–and now.


Unfortunately, I ended up DNF-ing this book at about the halfway point. I was having a really hard time feeling invested in the story or the characters, and I wasn’t feeling like I was looking forward to getting home from work and picking this book up to learn more.

I have no specific complaints about this book, besides to say that at this time it wasn’t the right read for me.

I am definitely keeping an open mind to the possibility of picking it back up in the future, either with this gorgeous physical copy or jumping into it in an audio format!

About the Author

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence.

She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.

Link to Purchase the Book

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


End of Story by Kylie Scott

Review and Blog Tour courtesy of Valentine PR

Thanks so much to the author, Graydon House publishing, Netgalley, and Valentine PR for the gifted advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts and participation in this blog tour. { partner }

Publication Date: February 14, 2023

Published by: Graydon House

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Adult, Fiction

Romance Trope: Forbidden Romance/Ex’s Best Friend

Page Count: 320 pages

Description from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling sensation Kylie Scott’s sexy, smart and unconventional opposites-attract love story looks at what happens when fate refuses to give up on what’s meant to be…

When Susie Bowen inherits a charming fixer-upper from her aunt, she’s excited to start living her best HGTV life. But when she opens the door to find that her contractor is none other than her ex’s best friend, Lars—the same man who witnessed their humiliating public breakup six months ago—she isn’t exactly eager to have anyone around whose alliance is with the enemy. But beggars can’t be choosers, and the sooner the repairs are done, the sooner she can get back to embracing singledom.

Things go from awkward to unbelievable when Lars discovers a divorce certificate hidden in a wall and dated ten years in the future—with both their names on it. It couldn’t possibly be real…could it? As Susie and Lars work to unravel the document’s origins, the impossibility of a spark between them suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched. But would a relationship between them be doomed before it’s even begun?

“Sweet and spicy—the unique setup, top-notch banter and charming enigma had me hooked.” —Anna E. Collins, author of Love at First Spite

Review (4 stars):

TW: toxic relationships (romantic and familial), loss of a family member, injury from a car accident

I was excited to read this book when I initially read the description, but this Seattle-based girl really fell in love once I started reading it and realized that it was set right here in my own back yard! Is there anything more fun for a reader than reading books set in your hometown?

Let’s talk about the characters. I really enjoyed Susie and Lars as our main character and love interest! I thought that they were both fun characters to read, and that they played off of each other nicely. I can totally see how these two characters would fall for each other. I wish we had gotten a dual POV so that we could see a bit of the process of him falling in love with her – especially since Susie was so reluctant to love all the way until the end of the book, I think it would have been nice to get a bit of his side of the love story too and maybe get a bit more of the he-fell-first side of the story.

I thought that the story itself was a really interesting idea, with a mystical and mysterious divorce certificate appearing out of nowhere, but obviously you do lose a bit of the realism in the story that way – so if you are someone that prefers to read stories that could really happen to anyone, keep in mind that you’ll want to go into this one with an open mind for the unexplainable.

I will say that one bit of the writing style took me a little bit to warm up to – and that is the way Susie’s inner monologue played out in the book. There were lots of sarcasm and slightly silly asides to herself that I wasn’t expecting, and like I said they took me a little bit of time to warm up to. I think partially because this book jumps right into the story (I think they find the divorce certificate on page 8 or 9), so there wasn’t really a ton of time to acclimate to the story or writing style.

I will also say that at times during conversations between characters it was a little bit tricky to determine which character was talking, but I’m not sure if that was the way it was written or if it was the fact that the galley I read had not yet been properly formatted, so take that bit with a grain of salt – entirely possible it is fixed in the finished copies!

Over all I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends and my fellow readers, especially my friends who live nearby – I mean really, reading a book set in your city is so much fun! I think that the perfect way to read this book would be curled up with a cat and a pint of ice cream. Molly Moon’s would be preferable, but if you’re not local, then anything delicious and sugary will do in a pinch!

About the Author:
(Taken from the author’s website, listed below)

Kylie is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best-selling, Audie Award winning author. She has sold over 2,000,000 books and was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year four times by the Australian Romance Reader’s Association. Her books have been translated into fifteen different languages and she is based in Queensland, Australia.

Connect with the Author:

Website: https://kyliescott.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kyliescottwriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KylieScottbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6476625.Kylie_Scott

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Kylie-Scott/author/B009CJ8188

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@authorkyliescott

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kylie-scott

Verve Romance: https://ververomance.com/app/KylieScott

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

The Hustler Next Door (Polson Falls #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: January 3, 2023

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Adult

Romance Trope: Enemies to Lovers

Page Count:

Book Description from Goodreads:

From the international bestselling author of The Simple Wild and Ten Tiny Breaths comes a new stand-alone enemies-to-lovers, small-town romance.

Justine MacDermott is in what she would call a transition period: squatting in her best friend’s house and working in an appliance store in Polson Falls while the man she was supposed to marry starts a new life with someone else.

She’s definitely not thinking about slashing his tires and wishing his vital extremities would fall off.

When newcomer Garrett Harrington strolls into Murphy’s looking to buy a refrigerator, Justine convinces herself she’s found her rebound. Or the next love of her life. Either works. But a chance encounter leads her to discover that Garrett isn’t who he made himself out to be, and he’s more interested in hustling her kindly old boss out of his family business—and using her to do it.

Furious at being fooled by yet another man and itching for retribution, Justine enlists the help of unlikely townsfolk to battle Harrington Group’s big-city development plans for Polson Falls.

It’s all going to plan … until Justine finds herself crossing enemy lines.

The Hustler Next Door is set in the Polson Falls world. Books in this series can be read in any order.

Review (5 Stars):

Thanks so much to the author and Valentine PR for the advanced gifted e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts and participation in this blog tour! All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } All of my reviews, and my full blog tour, can be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on my blog at tacklingtbr.home.blog

TW: infidelity

When I read The Player Next Door in 2020, Justine was one of those sassy-best-friend types that stuck with me for a while, even though she wasn’t the main character. She was just so much fun, and I could tell that if she were someone in my real life she’d be the ride or die friend I always wanted. So when I heard she was getting her own story and romance, I couldn’t wait to jump into it! And I am glad to say that, in my opinion, she held up to the high hopes and dreams that I had for her.

This is an enemies to lovers story (which should surprise nobody. With Justine at the heart of it, would we expect anything less?), and I will say that the actual romance storyline doesn’t get started until you’re a good portion of the way through the book. There’s the sexual tension between our two leads right from when they meet in the beginning, and there are some fun and flirty scenes after that, but they don’t jump into the romance portion until later on, focusing a bit more on the enemies-portion of the plot.
I enjoyed this, personally, and was glad for it. I tend to think that if a story is enemies-to-lovers then you need a good amount of time in the enemies territory before you jump headfirst into romance, otherwise it doesn’t feel like it fits into that trope. But for folks only here for the romance, that could be a drawback to this particular story.

Overall I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends and fellow readers. It’s a fun, fairly quick, fairly lighthearted read, and it made a perfect last read of the year! I think that the best way to read this book would be on a quiet night with some sort of delicious pistachio baked good.

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 Polson Falls series

THE PLAYER NEXT DOOR (Polson Falls #1)

The Fate and Flame series


A Curse of Blood and Stone (Fate and Flame #2)

The Simple Wild series





Standalone stories


Link to Purchase on Amazon:

Witcha Gonna Do? by Avery Flynn

Review and Blog Tour Courtesy of Valentine PR

Thanks so much to the author, Berkley Publishing, Netgalley, and Valentine PR for the gifted advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts and participation in this blog tour! { partner }

Publication Date: December 6, 2022

Published by: Berkley Publishing Group

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal/Witches, Contemporary, Adult

Romance Trope: Enemies to Lovers

Page Count: 336 pages

Book Description from Goodreads:

An unlucky witch and her know-it-all nemesis must team up in the first of a new, hot romantic comedy series from USA Today bestselling author Avery Flynn.

Could it possibly get any worse than having absolutely no magical abilities when you’re a member of the most powerful family of witches ever? It used to be that I’d say no, but then I keep getting set up on dates with Gil Connolly whose hotness is only matched by his ego. Seriously. I can’t stand him. Even if I also can’t stop thinking about him (specifically kissing him) but we’re going to pretend I never told you that part.

So yeah, my life isn’t the greatest right now, but then it goes straight to the absolute worst hell when I accidentally make my sister’s spell glitch and curse my whole family. And the only person who can help non-magical me break the spell? You guessed it. Gil the super hot jerk.

Now we have to work together to save my family and outmaneuver some evil-minded nefarious forces bent on world domination. Oh yeah, and we have to do all that while fighting against the attraction building between us because I may not be magical, but what’s happening between Gil and I sure feels like it.

Review (3.5 Stars):

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

I was so excited to receive an early copy of this book to review! People who have seen my Instagram or my recent books on Goodreads know that I LOVE a cozy, witchy romcom. Honestly, if they could make up my entire reading list from September through November, I would probably be content. And while I haven’t read anything by Avery Flynn up until this point, I’ve heard really fun things about her books from my fellow romance readers.

All of that to say, that I had really high hopes when I started this book a few days ago. And I really did enjoy the book quite a bit, but there were just a couple of small things that kept it from being a 5-star read for me.

To get this bit out of the way, let’s talk about our characters. I thought that Tilda and Gil were really fun as our leads – they were interesting characters in their own right, and I enjoyed their chemistry together. What can I say – I’m a sucker for an enemies-to-lovers storyline. I also really think that the secondary characters shine in this story, obviously the group of The Misfits that we spend most of the book with, but also some of Tilda’s more colorful family members. (I’m looking at you, Griselda).

The one thing that I will say I didn’t love with this romance was that with enemies-to-lovers, a lot of what typically makes that work is the big conflict or misunderstanding in the two characters’ shared past that makes them both think that they were wronged, and it’s why they’ve hated each other for years, and blah blah blah. We didn’t really get any of that explanation or backstory in this case, and I do feel like I was missing it. It didn’t fully keep me from feeling invested in the relationship or anything that dramatic, but I want to know why you’re so opposed to being together. And we didn’t get that this time around.

Another quirk about this book is that with the dual POV, we also get both of the main characters breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to you as a reader. Think the style of a 90s sitcom, or the main character/narrator in a Disney Channel Original Movie. I think that this bit in particular will be a bit divisive with readers, and already is in some of the reviews that I’ve seen. While this doesn’t seem to have been a favorite for a lot of folks, I actually enjoyed it. I thought it was a fun way to get some of the characters’ (especially Tilda’s) sense of humor, but I can definitely see how this device wouldn’t be for everyone.

I will say though, while on the topic of the dual POVs, that I don’t know that the two characters had different enough voices. Every once in a while I had to flip back to the start of the chapter to remind myself whose head I was inside of, because I couldn’t really tell from the writing. This is something that could still change in the final edit, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

Oh okay, one last thing about the character voices and the writing. They say “fuck” a lot. Like, A LOT. And I am someone that swears pretty freely and frequently, so I definitely don’t mind some adult language in my books. But these characters used this one particular curse word about as frequently as a teenager trying to show how mature and grown up they are by swearing, you know? I don’t mind it being in there, but I think that it could maybe have been dialed back the tiniest bit. Even if only for one of the characters – another opportunity to make the POVs feel separate.

Okay, now on to the last point. The last thing that kept me from really fully loving this book. It felt a bit like the book was confused on what age it was being written for. Like I said earlier, at times it felt almost DCOM-like with the fourth wall breaking narration and some of the sillier shenanigans that the two characters get into together, so there was once or twice that I looked back at the listed genres to see if it was a YA book and I just didn’t remember. But then about halfway through the book the slow-burn romance turns to full on, spicy, sex on the page scenes, that definitely keep the book squarely in the adult column.
Again, I enjoyed the comedy that these narrations could provide, and it’s no secret that I’m not afraid of some spicy scenes in my books. But it just felt at times like these two aspects of it were meant for different books, and they just got unceremoniously combined in the editing phase.

Okay one more thing worth noting – this book is downright silly at times with the way the witchy world was built for the reader. We don’t get a ton of traditional world building that you would expect from a full blown fantasy novel, but we do get little glimpses into it. And from what I was able to gather, it is a witchy-version of our current world, where they still watch the Superbowl and Daniel Craig 007 movies, but they use Witchygram instead of Instagram.

All of that being said, I would still overall recommend this book to my friends and fellow readers, and I’m looking forward to the continuation of the series.
I don’t think that it’s perfect by any means, but not every book needs to be! It was still a fun, fairly light, quick read. But my words of wisdom would be that if you are going to read it, really lean in to the sillier sides! I think you’ve got to if you’re going to really enjoy it.

About the Author:

When Avery Flynn isn’t writing about alpha heroes and the women who tame them, she is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. She has three slightly wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband, and has a slight shoe addiction. Find out more about Avery on her website, follow her on Twitter, like her on her Facebook page, or friend her on her Facebook profile. Also, if you figure out how to send Oreos through the internet, she’ll be your best friend for life.

Connect with Avery

Website: http://averyflynn.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4894804.Avery_Flynn

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Avery-Flynn/e/B00560LIP0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AveryFlynnAuthor

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AveryFlynn

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/avery-flynn

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

Once Upon a Book Club: Young Adult Box September 2022

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

I was so excited to have received another box from one of my favorite bookish subscription services, Once Upon a Book Club! This time I received the Young Adult box for the month of September, with the clue “True Crime in Paradise!”

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 True Crime in Paradise box was Once Upon a Book Club’s young adult box for September 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 53

“As Rafi pulled back the muslin sarong that made up the doorway of her makeshift tent, she looked out at the sea view and breathed in the delicious saltwater air.”

A tropical sarong made of chiffon.

Page 140

“His eyes, both dark pools sparkling with the reflection of the campfire, locked onto Rafi, and she couldn’t help but drown in them.”

A small, stone tabletop fire pit.

Page 220

“Rafi turned around to see him but was instantly blinded by his flashlight beam.”

A small, gold flashlight with “One More Chapter” on the side with a USB charger.

Page 268

“Jack’s hand, poking high out of the center of the gang, gripped a nail file like a butcher knife, and it came down in a forceful, terrifying swish.”

A glass nail file with “There is beauty in everything” written on the top.

About the Book

Published by: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: August 30, 2022

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Retelling

Page Count: 320 pages

Description from Goodreads:

One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.

Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.

But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected . . .

Review (3 stars):

Thanks so much to the author and the folks at Once Upon a Book Club for the gifted copy of this book, as a part of their September 2022 YA box that I received in exchange for my honest thoughts and sharing on my social media. { partner } All opinions are entirely my own. All of my reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on my blog at tacklingtbr.home.blog

TW: discussion/suspicion of murder

I absolutely LOVED The Mary Shelley Club, so when I saw that the author’s newest book was a young adult satire of the hot mess that was Fyre Fest, I was pretty excited to jump into it! I watched those Fyre Fest documentaries and found them a bit amusing just like everyone else, so I figured this book would be right up my alley.

I will say, though, I think that this book just narrowly missed the mark for me. I enjoyed it well enough, but I definitely didn’t love it like I was expecting to, or devour it in one or two sittings because I just couldn’t put it down. I think that after finishing and putting it down, I just felt a bit..mehh? Like I just didn’t have any strong feelings towards it one way or another.

And while this is very obviously satirical, I will warn folks going in that some moments are a bit more on the nose than I may have liked, and might make you roll your eyes a bit.

For example, the rock star’s girlfriend, the hottest super model working right now, is named Hella Badid. No really. Hella. Badid. I rolled my eyes a bit when they first said it, but I chuckled thinking that it was just going to be a one-off joke. After all, she’s not stuck on this island with everyone else, so I figured it was a one and done. And then a few chapters later she became a really major plot point and everyone on the entire island was talking about her. So I had to read the name HELLA BADID so. many. times. So, you know, keep that in mind going in.

Also I think that the plot was a really interesting idea, but could have come together a bit more in execution. It ended up being a whole lot about “they’re pretty and I’m not and that is the conflict on the island” rather than the trapped on an island murder mystery that the cover and synopsis would suggest. It just felt a bit messy, and like I got a different book and story than I think I went into it expecting.

Overall, while I would recommend this book, I would maybe recommend The Mary Shelley Club over it. If the cover and description for this one sucked you in like it did to me, you’ll get the YA murder mystery vibe you may be looking for more from the other. But all of that being said, it was still an enjoyable enough read, and I wouldn’t discourage folks from reading it either. Just know what it is you’re jumping head first into, and maybe make yourself a tropical cocktail to go along with it.

About the Author

Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller, KILL THE BOY BAND, NO GOOD DEED, and the upcoming THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB (Henry Holt Books, 2021); her love of 80s movies, 90s boy bands, and horror flicks hugely influences her work. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @goldywrites.

For more information, visit https://goldymoldavsky.com/

Link to Purchase the Book:

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

What a Trip by Susen Edwards Blog Tour

Review and #FallPopUp Blog Tour: Courtesy of BookSparks

Thanks so much to the author, She Writes Press, and BookSparks for the gifted finished copy of this book in exchange for my thoughts and participation in this blog tour! { partner } My reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

Publication Date: November 15, 2022

Genre: Fiction

Page Count: 424 pages

Description from Goodreads:

In this dramatic coming-of-age novel we meet Fiona, an art student at a New Jersey college who is brilliant, beautiful, and struggling to find herself. Through her eyes we relive the turbulent culture of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, the first draft lottery since World War II, the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, the Kent State University shootings, and the harsh realities of war for Americans in their early twenties.

Fiona’s best friend, Melissa, is in a dead-end relationship, pregnant, and going nowhere fast. After Melissa’s abortion, Fiona and Melissa spend a week in Florida, where they are introduced to tarot cards and the anti-war movement. Following this experience, Melissa becomes obsessed with the occult; Fiona, though intrigued, approaches the tarot cautiously, with the voice of her conservative Christian mother screaming in her head.

After Fiona’s return from Florida, she begins dating Reuben–a journalism major and political activist. Reuben decides to move to Canada to avoid the draft and encourages Fiona to accompany him. But is that really what she wants? Caught between her feelings for Reuben and her own aspirations, Fiona struggles to define herself, her artistic career, and her future.


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

About the Author:
(Taken from the author’s website: http://susenedwardsauthor.com)

“I’m one of two people in New Jersey who can say they have lived in two official White Houses (the other person being my husband, Bob).

I grew up in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and now live in the Joseph and Minnie White House in Middlesex Borough NJ (more about that later). 

I received a B.S. in Education and a minor in English from East Stroudsburg University, an M.A. in Professional Studies, and twelve graduate credits in online teaching from Thomas Edison State University. My degrees tell a small part of my educational background. I’ve taken courses in everything from professional development to massage therapy, from real estate to creative writing. 

My husband Bob and I founded and directed Somerset School of Massage Therapy, New Jersey’s first state-approved and nationally accredited postsecondary school for massage therapy. During my tenure I was nominated by Merrill Lynch for Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

After the successful sale of the business, I became an administrator at Middlesex College. Currently I’m secretary for the board of trustees for my town library as well as president of the friends of the library. 

I spent forty years as a massage therapist and health care educator. I’m an animal lover and do my best to be a steward of the environment. My passions are yoga, cooking, reading, and writing. 

In 2005 we purchased the Joseph and Minnie White House, the childhood home of Margaret Bourke White, probably the most famous 20th century female photographer. Restoring the house has been a labor of love. Bob and I continue to live here with our two fuzzy feline babies, Harold and Maude.”

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

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?


(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!

Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage

Review and Blog Tour courtesy of the Author

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

Publication Date: March 15, 2022

Genre: Nonfiction, Neurodiversity/Austism Spectrum Disorder

“People want so desperately to fit in that they forget what makes them stand out. Be loud. Take up space. Our differences are our strengths.”

Mickey Rowe, Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage
Description from Goodreads:

My name is Mickey Rowe. I am an actor, a theatre director, a father, and a husband. I am also a man with autism. You think those things don’t go together? Let me show you that they do. Growing up, Mickey Rowe was told that he couldn’t enter the mainstream world. He was iced out by classmates and colleagues, infantilized by well-meaning theatre directors, barred from even earning a minimum wage. Why? Because he is autistic. Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage is Mickey Rowe’s story of growing up autistic and pushing beyond the restrictions of a special education classroom to shine on Broadway. As an autistic and legally blind person, living in a society designed by and for non-disabled people, it was always made clear to Mickey the many things he was apparently incapable of doing. But Mickey did them all anyway–and he succeeded because of, not in spite of, his autism. He became the first autistic actor to play the lead role in the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, landed the title role in the play Amadeus, co-created the theatre/philanthropy company Arts on the Waterfront, and founded the National Disability Theatre. Mickey faced untold obstacles along the way, but his story ends in triumph. Many people feel they are locked out of the world of autism–that it’s impossible to even begin to understand. In Fearlessly Different, Mickey guides readers to that world while also helping those with autism to feel seen and understood. And he shows all people–autistic and non-autistic alike–that the things that make us different are often our biggest strengths.

Review (5 Stars):

TW: in-depth discussion of ableism, discussion of sexism/racism, statistics related to death/murder, physical/mental abuse of children by family, police violence, postpartum depression, bullying

I always want to start off reviews for biographies and memoirs and the like by saying that I don’t necessarily like rating them because the stories in them are so personal to the author, and just because I might not see myself in it or relate to it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. That being said, this was an easy 5 stars for me.

This book. I read this book once when I first received the galley at the end of 2021, and then just reread it again in order to write a review for the publication date, and I found myself flying through it both times. And while I am good friends with the author, and am so freaking proud of my friend for this thing that he has created, I don’t think that that is the reason I was able to read through this so quickly both times. Sometimes I struggle with nonfiction and memoirs because they can tend to lean into statistics and be a bit dry, but not this one.

Even the parts of this book that do lean more factual with statistics and mentions of news stories felt narrative, and that’s all thanks to the way Mickey wrote them. Instead of feeling like a text book or a school lecture during these parts, it really did feel like chatting with a friend about these issues. And that’s how the whole book felt. I really believe that anyone picking up this book, even if they have never heard of Mickey Rowe before that moment, could feel like they really know and connect with him by the end of the story. And to be able to say that and that you learned something from the same book is really special, I think.

Obviously, looking at the trigger warnings at the beginning of this review, there are a couple of parts that can be a little bit difficult to read just because of the content that is being discussed. But I think that it is absolutely worth pushing through those parts if you’re able to, because they are so important. So much of our communities are facing these same issues every single day that Mickey is talking about in Fearlessly Different. It would be easier if we could think that these are isolated incidents, but they aren’t. So I think that this book is really important as a tool to really make those experiences visible to those of us that aren’t experiencing them.

I would recommend anyone read this book. Whether they are autistic or neurotypical or somewhere in between, I think that this is a story and a point of view that we don’t see nearly enough of coming from the people whose stories they are. And hey, I read an electronic version, but if you are a fan of audiobooks I would recommend it for this book as well. Mickey reads his story for the audiobook, and I can only imagine the way he is able to bring everything to life through that medium. I think the best way to read or listen to this book would be on a slow Sunday morning with a cup of tea, while you are able to really take in the information in a calm and comfortable setting.

Want to learn more?

Check out these amazing resources (along with many more listed in the back of the book) for more information!

Disability Memorial: https://disability-memorial.org/

Autistic POC Fund: https://autismandrace.com/autistic-people-of-color-fund/

Autistic Women and Non-Binary Fund: https://awnnetwork.org/

Meet Mickey:

Mickey Rowe (he/him) has had a prolific and varied career as an actor, director, consultant, and public speaker; now highly sought after both nationally and internationally. He was the first autistic actor to play Christopher Boone, the lead role in the Tony Award-winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. He has also appeared as the title role in the Tony Award-winning play Amadeus and more. Mickey has been featured in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, PBS, Vogue, Playbill, NPR, CNN, Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, Forbes, and has keynoted at organizations including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Kennedy Center, Yale University, Columbia University, Disability Rights Washington, The Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, the DAC of the South Korean government, and more. Mickey was the founding Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre, which works in partnership with Tony Award-winning companies such as La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. He is the Author of Fearlessly Different – In bookstores everywhere March 2022. Mickey Rowe is in Seattle on the land of the Duwamish people past, present, and future.

Connect with Mickey

Website: https://mickeyrowe.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21609793.Mickey_Rowe

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themickeyrowe

Twitter: https://twitter.com/themickeyrowe

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

Happily Ever After Cookbook

Blog Tour courtesy of Valentine PR

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

Publication Date: February 1, 2022

Genre: Cookbook

Description from Goodreads:

Immerse yourself in the world of romance with book-inspired recipes! Bestselling authors of your favorite novels teamed up with private chefs to develop original dishes. Now you can cook your way to a happily ever after…

Enjoy New Orleans Gumbo from Kennedy Ryan’s RITA-Award Winner Long Shot. Then bite into Texas BBQ Tacos from USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s The Wright Brother. Follow it up with Diablo Cookies from Dangerous Temptation by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Giana Darling. Finish your evening with an Underworld Cocktail inspired by New York Times bestselling author Katee Robert’s Wicked Villains series.

This sensual journey will surprise and delight readers!

Billionaire heroes and strong heroines come to life with these recipes…

The Happily Ever After Cookbook contains exclusive appetizers, soups, main dishes, desserts, cocktails, breakfast, and bakery recipes. Bring romance novels to life with these literary dishes. It will look great on your keeper shelf next to your favorite books.

FULL LIST OF AUTHORS INCLUDED: Cora Reilly, Laurelin Paige, Adriana Locke, Meghan Quinn, K. Webster, Amelia Wilde, Giana Darling, Katee Robert, Kylie Scott, Alta Hensley, Amo Jones, Sara Ney, K.A. Linde, Jenika Snow, Q.B. Tyler, Corinne Michaels, Maya Hughes, Melanie Harlow, Kelly Elliott, Kandi Steiner, Susan Stoker, Kennedy Ryan, M. O’Keefe, Fiona Cole, Willow Winters, AM Hargrove, L.B. Dunbar, Terri E. Laine, Monica Murphy, Jana Aston, Susannah Nix, A.L. Jackson, Teagan Hunter, M. Robinson, Pepper Winters, Sienna Snow, Emma Scott, Skye Warren, Mia Sheridan, Kate Canterbary, Tasha Boyd, Danielle Romero, Louise Bay, Aleatha Romig

My thoughts while cooking:

Even first just flipping through the pages, this is such a fun cookbook for readers! Each recipe lists what book it is featured in or inspired by, and some include notes from the author on why they love this recipe, or excerpts from the books of characters making and enjoying them! Even as someone who hasn’t read a good number of the books, I had a really fun time going through and seeing what everyone (real and fictional) had to say about them.

My husband and I love to snack for dinner, especially during busy weeknights, so instead of picking one of the more involved recipes we chose three smaller scale ones – two appetizers and a cocktail. Much more our speed when we’re working and taking classes and just overall running around like crazy people. Let’s jump in to what we made!

The first thing on the table was my husband Nick’s contribution – the cocktails! He made The Penny Cocktail, for Master of Sin by Sienna Snow. Nick loves to make a cocktail, and tends to follow his heart rather than a recipe, but this was definitely a worthwhile one. I will say that this cocktail is a mix of tequila and whiskey, so it is probably not for the faint of heart!

The first of our appetizers were the Parmesan Brussels Sprouts, for Dark Reign by Amelia Wilde. We LOVE a good, crispy brussels sprout – so much so that we tend to get them anytime we go out and see them on a menu – so this was the first of the recipes that we picked out. The recipe was delicious, and it made a very good helping. I will say that we make brussels sprouts often enough that we’ve got it down to a science, and these ones didn’t hold up quite as much as others we’ve made in the past. Following the recipe it just felt like there wasn’t quite enough of any of the flavorings (balsamic vinegar, thyme, pepper) to make much of an impact on the flavor, so they mostly just tasted like plain brussels sprouts. We may make them again to add a bit of an extra crunch to a salad, though, because I think it would be a perfect addition!

On to the real star of the evening – the Bruschetta, for All He’ll Ever Be by Willow Winters! This recipe was my first pick, and we were so happy with it that we ended up snacking on it most of the night. And I can tell you from personal experience that it makes for great leftovers! I had a few extra tomatoes to use up, so I made a bit of a larger batch than the recipe called for, but what can I say – much like Nick, I don’t always follow recipes very well, and unless I’m baking I honestly hate having to pull out measuring spoons! Of all of the recipes, this is the one I know for sure we’ll make again, especially once the summer comes around and I tend to over-buy tomatoes by the armloads. It was light and fresh and delicious!

Full List of Books Mentioned:

Stroke of Midnight by K. Webster

Come Back For Me by Corinne Michaels

The Butterfly Effect by Kelly Elliott

All He’ll Ever Be by Willow Winters

My Cone and Only by Susannah Nix

Dark Reign by Amelia Wilde

Secret Beast by Amelia Wilde

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Wicked Devil by Daniela Romero

Escort by Skye Warren

Captive Bride by Alta Hensley

The Wright Brother by K.A. Linde

Fake by Kylie Scott

Unconditional by Q.B. Tyler

Big Bad Wolf by Jenika Snow

The Perfect First by Maya Hughes

One the Rocks by Kandi Steiner

Finding Elodie by Susan Stoker

Silver Brewer by L.B. Dunbar

Money Man by Terri E. Laine

Forever Right Now by Emma Scott

Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter

Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige

The Pawn by Skye Warren

Overture by Skye Warren

Jock Row by Sara Ney

The Silver Swan by Amo Jones

Inked in Lies by Giana Darling

Sway by Adriana Locke

The Locker Room by Meghan Quinn

For the Love of English by A.M. Hargrove

The Boss Who Stole Christmas by Jana Aston

Eversea by Natasha Boyd

Show Me the Way by A.L. Jackson

Complicate Me by M. Robinson

Mr. Mayfair by Louise Bay

Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly

Desperate Measures by Katee Robert

Where the Blame Lies by Mia Sheridan

Private Property by Skye Warren

Master of Sin by Sienna Snow

King of Shadows by Amelia Wilde

The Reluctant Bride by Monica Murphy

Drive Me Wild by Melanie Harlow

Ruined by M. O’Keefe

Voyeur by Fiona Cole

Hard Pressed by Kate Canterbary

Net Worth by Amelia Wilde

Survival of the Richest by Skye Warren

Diamond in the Rough by Skye Warren

Devil’s Deal by Aleatha Romig