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!

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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.

Review:

(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?

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!

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

Running Wild (Wild #3) 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, 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: January 25, 2022

Genre: Romance, COntemporary Romance, Adult

Description from Goodreads:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Simple Wild comes the story of a woman at a crossroads in her life, struggling between the safe route and the one that will only lead to more heartbreak.

Veterinarian Marie Lehr knows unrequited love all too well after pining for her best friend, only to watch him marry another woman. It’s a mistake she will never make again, especially not when she can practically hear the clock ticking on her childbearing years.

The trouble is, she can’t seem to find anyone who appeals to her even a fraction as much as that burly bush pilot did. Competitive musher Tyler Brady certainly doesn’t, especially not after the heated altercation with the handsome but arrogant, spiteful man.

Or so she thinks.

While volunteering at the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Marie discovers that first impressions may have been false, and her attraction to Tyler is very real. But his heart belongs to someone else, leaving him with nothing to offer but friendship. Marie’s been down this road before and knows how that ends. Yet, no matter how hard she works to keep from falling for Tyler, it seems she’s doomed to follow her own trail once again.

Review (5 Stars):

TW: death, death during childbirth, loss of child & miscarriage, death/injury of animals, pregnancy

I need to just start this off immediately by saying that anyone who has been feeling unsure about this book because it’s Marie’s story rather than Calla’s has absolutely no reason to. This book had all of the heart and soul of the rest of the Wild series, and we still see plenty of those characters and places that we’ve grown to love throughout the series while having just enough new to set Marie’s story apart from the rest.

And okay I know, you might be saying “no but wait, she’s the one that was trying to get in between Jonah and Calla, so we don’t like her because they are relationship goals.” I get it. Nothing can ever come between Calla and Jonah, or I may give up on love entirely (so sorry to my husband). But she is such a sweet and strong character, and such a good friend to Jonah, and I am honestly thrilled that she finally has a real moment to shine!

I really enjoyed the direction that this story went as well. When it was announced that this would be Marie’s story, I was curious just how Kathleen would make the story and the settings just different enough to not feel like it was reliving The Simple Wild or Wild at Heart, while still making it obvious that it was the same place and moment, and I think that including so much of the sport and setting part of the book on the Iditarod trail was a really fun way to do just that! It felt separate from Trapper’s Crossing, but still left plenty of room for Marie to head back to the places and characters that we already know and love.

Now let’s talk about the new characters that we get in this book. We really get to deep dive into Marie’s family, and I loved some of them more than others (looking at you, Liz. You know what you did.) but the dynamic of all of them together was so fun, and so relatable to me! I have a few older brothers, and it’s always been a bit overwhelming for guests when you get all of us in the same room, so the weekly family dinner scenes were honestly some of my favorites. And Tyler Brady. Obviously swoon worthy. Not much to say except wow and that I will read more about him, thank you. I also fell in love with Marie’s friend/office mate Cory. She was so playful and sassy, and she really stood out to me!

Overall I loved this book. I devoured this book. If stupid things like eating and sleeping and going to work hadn’t gotten in the way, then I would have just sat down and read the entire thing in a single sitting. And I would absolutely recommend it to friends. I would say that the best way to read this book would be curled up under a blanket on a snowy afternoon with a glass of wine or a hot toddy. But no light beer. Sorry Marie, Tyler might not be judging your drink of choice, but I sure will.

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 Simple Wild Series

The Simple Wild

Wild at Heart (Wild #2)

Forever Wild (Wild #2.5)

The Fate & Flame Series

A Fate of Wrath & Flame

The Polson Falls Series

The Player Next Door

Standalone Stories

Say You Still Love Me

Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall

Review and Blog Tour courtesy of Valentine PR

Thanks so much to the author, Valentine PR, and Netgalley for the complimentary advanced 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: November 9, 2021
Genre: Mystery, LGBT, Contemporary, Romance, Cozy Mystery

Book Description from Goodreads:

From the author of Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake comes a cozy mystery that revisits the Golden Age of detective fiction, starring a heroine who’s more podcaster than private eye and topped with a lethal dose of parody — perfect for fans of Clue, Knives Out, and Only Murders in the Building!

When up-and-coming true crime podcaster Liza and her corporate financier wife Hanna head to a luxurious hotel in the Scottish Highlands, they’re hoping for a chance to rekindle their marriage – not to find themselves trapped in the middle of an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery with no way home. But who better to take on the case than someone whose entire profession relies on an obsession with all things mysterious and macabre? Though some of her fellow guests may consider her an interfering new media hack, Liza knows a thing or two about crime and – despite Hanna’s preference for waiting out the chaos behind a locked door – might be the only one capable of discovering the killer. As the bodies rack up and the stakes rise, can they save their marriage — and their lives?

Review (5 Stars) :

Thanks so much to the author, Kobo Books, Netgalley, and Valentine PR for the gifted advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts and participation in the blog tour. All opinions are entirely my own. All of my reviews nd blog tours can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and my blog tacklingtbr.home.blog.

TW: death/murder, description of violence, description of crime scenes

This book was seriously so much fun! I didn’t want to put it down while I was reading, and I was very mad any time I actually had to. Darn work and life getting in the way of my reading!

If you like Clue then you’ll enjoy this book. The big mansion where people keep mysteriously passing away, the kooky and colorful cast of characters, the sense of humor of a serious story that isn’t taking itself too seriously (although we can mostly thank Ruby for that mindset), it really had it all for me. And wrap it all up with an adorable queer couple bow? Yes please.

I will say that I guessed some bits of the ending before we got to it, but there were still some fun surprises for me along the way, so I wasn’t too mad about the few things I saw coming. And I think using Liza’s podcast as the reasoning for the detective work brought a fun, modern twist. Plus, sassy podcaster solving a crime with her adorable wife playing Watson? It was just so much fun.

I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends and family – in fact, my mom has already tried to steal my kindle so that she can read it next! I think that the perfect setting for reading this book would be inside in bed or on the couch under a couple of blankets with snow falling outside. And in honor of Murder Most Actual, the podcast within the book, a glass of wine is a necessity!

Connect with the Author:

Alexis Hall is an English author of urban fantasy, science fiction, and m/m romance. His novels include Murder Most Actual, Boyfriend Material, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, For Real, Glitterland, Iron & Velvet, Looking for Group, and Pansies.

His work has been nominated for to the 26th Lambda Literary Awards, 28th Lambda Literary Awards, and 29th Lambda Literary Awards in the category of Gay Romance.

Website: https://quicunquevult.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/alexishall

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/quicunquevult

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alexis-hall

More by Alexis Hall:

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake

Boyfriend Material (check out my review here!)

Husband Material (Publication date: August 2, 2022)

the Arden St Ives series

the Spires series

Something Fabulous (Publication date: January 25, 2022)

A Lady for a Duke (Publication date: May 24, 2022)

the Kate Kane Paranormal Investigator series

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter

Download your copy from Kobo here!

Check out more of my recent blog tours here:

The Book of Hope by Dr. Jane Goodall

Anarchy in High Heels by Denise Larson

A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K A Tucker

The Book of Hope + Little Free Pantry

Share The Hope Event and Blog Tour courtesy of Celadon Books

“Hope is contagious. Your actions will inspire others. It is my sincere desire that this book will help you find solace in a time of anguish, direction in a time of uncertainty, courage in a time of fear. We invite you to join us on this journey toward hope.”

Jane Goodall, Ph. D., DBE, UN Messenger of Peace, from “The Book of Hope”

Thank you so much to Celadon Books for the gifted advanced copies of this book, and for the invitation to participate in this day of Sharing the Hope event!

In honor of the release of this exciting new book, “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” by Dr. Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams with Gail Hudson, Celadon Books has invited myself and other readers across the US to Share the Hope! Today we all made small donations of food and a finished copy of “The Book of Hope” to Little Free Pantry locations near us.

Learn more about Little Free Pantries

Learn more about Little Free Pantry, and take a look at the map to find on near you here!

Or, take a look at this map by Celadon Books of all the Little Free Pantry locations that received a copy of “The Book of Hope” today!

Learn more about “The Book of Hope”

Description from Goodreads:

In a world that seems so troubled, how do we hold on to hope?

Looking at the headlines—the worsening climate crisis, a global pandemic, loss of biodiversity, political upheaval—it can be hard to feel optimistic. And yet hope has never been more desperately needed.

In this urgent book, Jane Goodall, the world’s most famous living naturalist, and Douglas Abrams, the internationally bestselling co-author of The Book of Joy, explore through intimate and thought-provoking dialogue one of the most sought after and least understood elements of human nature: hope. In The Book of Hope, Jane focuses on her “Four Reasons for Hope”: The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, and The Indomitable Human Spirit.

Drawing on decades of work that has helped expand our understanding of what it means to be human and what we all need to do to help build a better world, The Book of Hope touches on vital questions, including: How do we stay hopeful when everything seems hopeless? How do we cultivate hope in our children? What is the relationship between hope and action? Filled with moving and inspirational stories and photographs from Jane’s remarkable career, The Book of Hope is a deeply personal conversation with one of the most beloved figures in the world today.

While discussing the experiences that shaped her discoveries and beliefs, Jane tells the story of how she became a messenger of hope, from living through World War II to her years in Gombe to realizing she had to leave the forest to travel the world in her role as an advocate for environmental justice. And for the first time, she shares her profound revelations about her next, and perhaps final, adventure.

The second book in the Global Icons Series—which launched with the instant classic The Book of Joy with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu—The Book of Hope is a rare and intimate look not only at the nature of hope but also into the heart and mind of a woman who revolutionized how we view the world around us and has spent a lifetime fighting for our future.

There is still hope, and this book will help guide us to it.

Dr. Goodall’s author bio from Goodreads:

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace is a world-renowned ethologist and activist inspiring greater understanding and action on behalf of the natural world every single day.

Dr. Goodall is best known for groundbreaking studies of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, transformative research that continues to this day as the longest-running wild chimpanzee study in the world. Dr. Goodall is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, a global conservation, advocacy, animal welfare, research, and youth empowerment organization, including her global Roots & Shoots program.

Dr. Goodall has worked extensively on climate action, human rights, conservation, and animal welfare issues for decades, and continues to be a central voice in the work to advance environmental progress.

Today, she is a global phenomenon spreading hope and turning it into meaningful positive impact to create a better world for people, other animals, and the planet we share.

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, U.N. Messenger of Peace

My thoughts during and after reading

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

Links

Learn more about a Little Free Pantry near you here.

Learn more about the Jane Goodall Institute, and make a donation, here.

Learn more about Celadon Books, and some of their other new releases, here.

Purchase “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” here.

Purchase “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” (Book 1 in the Global Icon Series) here.

Anarchy in High Heels by Denise Larson

Review and Blog Tour courtesy of Booksparks

Thanks so much to the author, Booksparks, and She Writes Press for the complimentary finished copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } All of my reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

Book Description from Goodreads:

Anarchy in High Heels is not a state of dress: it’s a state of mind.

A San Francisco porno theater might be the last place you’d expect to plant the seed of a feminist troupe, but truth is stranger than fiction.


In 1972, access to birth control and a burn-your-bra ethos were leading young women to repudiate their 1950s conservative upbringing and embrace a new liberation. Denise Larson was a timid twenty-four-year-old actress wannabe, when at an after-hours countercultural event called The People’s Nickelodeon, she accidently created Les Nickelettes. This bonding together of like-minded women with an anything-goes spirit unlocked a deeply hidden female humor. For the first time, Denise allowed the suppressed satirical thoughts dancing through her head to come out in the open. Together with Les Nickelettes, which quickly became a brazen women’s lib troupe, she presented a series of feminist skits, stunts, and musical comedy plays that led The Bay Guardian to describe the group in 1980 as “nutty, trashy, and very funny.”


With sisterhood providing the moxie, Denise took on leadership positions not common for women at the time: playwright, stage director, producer, and administrative/artistic director. But, in the end, the most important thing her time with Les Nickelettes taught her was the power of female friendship.

Review:

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

Meet the Author:

Author Denise Larson at SRK Headshot Day in San Francisco

After getting a BA in theater from San Francisco State University, Denise Larson pinned her dreams on becoming an experimental theater artist in the 1970s milieu of the Bay Area. Along that path she founded Les Nickelettes. For thirteen years, she helmed the feminist theater company and assumed the role of actress, playwright, producer, stage director, and administrative/artistic director. Then she gave it all up to become a mother and teacher. After a twenty-year career in Early Childhood Education, she retired and took up writing.

Connect with Denise

Website: https://anarchyinhighheels.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeniseL16625579

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

Check out more of my recent blog tours here:

A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K A Tucker

Lindsey Love Loves by Sophie Sinclair

Supermaker by Jaime Schmidt