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:

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Once Upon a Book Club: Adult Box March 2022

The Oceanography of the Moon by Glendy Vanderah

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

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

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

About the Box

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

Page 55

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

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

Page 114

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

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

Page 195

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

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

Page 211

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

A gold, key pendant inspired by Vaughn’s.

Page 223

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

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

About the Book

Published by: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: March 22, 2022

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

Page Count: 330

Description from Goodreads:

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

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

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

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

Review:

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

About the Author

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

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

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

Link to Purchase the book:

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

The Burning Pages by Paige Shelton

Minotaur Books – Review: 3 Stars

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

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Fiction

TW: murder, arson, mention of attempted kidnapping

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

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

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

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

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

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

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

St. Martin’s Press – Review: 4 Stars

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

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Regency

TW: description of battle injuries/scars

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

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

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

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

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

Wednesday Books – Review: 5 Stars

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

Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh

Simon & Schuster – Review: 4 Stars

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

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Fiction

TW: whitewashing POC, some racially/culturally insensitive language

I will start off here by saying that I really loved this book! Once I finished it I messaged my husband and told him that it might have already cemented itself as one of my favorite reads of the month, that’s how much I enjoyed it.

I want to say early on in this review, however, that I am not Indian, so I don’t have that insight into the story or characters that own-voices reviewers might have. I have seen some folks talking about this book in reviews and elsewhere online that the way it was written and the way the people and culture were represented may not have been as accurate or respectful as some folks would have liked, which is what will keep this from being a 5-star review for me.

A huge part of the plot of this book is that Manny is spending the week with Sammy (the love interest) and his family to really get a taste of the Indian culture that she didn’t experience growing up, and that she’s never felt like she’s had access to. I’ve seen a lot of people online talking about how what is basically a week-long boot camp on how to be Indian is problematic because there is no one specific way to represent any culture or community, and I absolutely agree with that. The author makes a specific point more than once throughout the book to acknowledge this, and to have multiple characters tell Manny that or show her their own versions of their culture.

I think that the author adequately acknowledges this and it is therefore an intentional part of the story, as well as Manny’s character development. However, as I said in the beginning, since I am not a member of this culture I don’t believe I’m the one to speak on this. I’ve lowered my review by one star to reflect this, and will gladly re-evaluate it in the future if more own-voices reviewers come out to speak on it.

All of that being said, I think that the book was well written, and the characters were entertaining and engaging. And I absolutely fell for Sammy – I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t! For me, this was a book that I didn’t want to put down.

Overall I would recommend this book to friends and fellow readers, but with the above note. I think that the best way to read this book would be out at a park or someplace with the buzz of activity and a large glass of white wine!

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

Reputation by Lex Croucher

St. Martin’s Griffin – Review: 5 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, St. Martin’s Griffin, and NetGalley for the gifted, advanced e-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.

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Adult

TW: sexual assault/rape, loss of family members, alcohol related death, underage drinking/drug use, drinking to excess

When I read the description of this book and saw that it was being billed as Jane Austen and Mean Girls, I was already sold on it. Truthfully, I was so excited to read this book that I was a little bit worried that it would disappoint me, especially after seeing some of my friends posting kind of a mixed bag of reviews about it. But it really lived up to that for me, and I found that I really, thoroughly enjoyed the read. It was Emma and Mean Girls and Bridgerton all kind of rolled into one, and I really loved it!

I will say that you have to enjoy flawed characters for this particular read, because there are really only the smallest handful of characters that I would classify as innocent in this story it’s basically Betty and a few (but not all) of the adults, and that’s about it. But all of the characters truly believe that they are in the right and that they are faultless, which made it very believable for me and gave the characters room to reflect and grow. Everyone thinks they’re the hero in the story, at least on some level, right?

Also I was swooning over Thomas a few times. Quiet and brooding but really in touch with and open about his feelings, and ready to shout his love from the rooftops? Yes please.

The story starts off a bit slow – a fairly normal pace for a regency, with a ball here and there but not much else happening, but definitely taking the pace more from the Jane Austen-side versus the Mean Girls-side – but it really picked up by the halfway point. This didn’t bother me because I do tend to read my fair share of regency, so I’m used to a bit slower pace especially before the scandals of the stories really get going, but be prepared for it if you aren’t.

I would say that this book definitely wouldn’t be for everyone, but it was absolutely for me. I would recommend it to my friends who enjoy regency and want a fun twist on a familiar type of story. I would also recommend it to friends who enjoy more contemporary stories that are wanting to dip their toes into regency, because with the ties to Mean Girls (there’s literally a take on the classic “Get in, loser, we’re going shopping” line) would make it a pretty accessible introduction to the genre. I think that the best way to read this book would be lounging in the comfort and safety of your bed with a rather large glass of wine.

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

St. Martin’s Press – Review: 3 Stars

Thanks so much to the author and St. Martin’s Press for my gifted, advanced physical copy, as well as NetGalley for the e-copy, 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.

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adult

TW: murder, sexual assault/rape, domestic abuse/violence, miscarriage/anembryonic pregnancy, loss of parents, dementia/Alzheimer’s, addiction (alcoholism, kleptomania, binge eating), gaslighting, and COVID-19

I was so excited to be receiving an early copy of this book, because I have really loved books by Sally Hepworth in the past. And I really and truly wanted to love this book. For the first third or so I really was enjoying it – it was suspenseful at times and messing with my brain a little bit, in the way you expect a book with potentially unreliable narrators to. But by the end I really couldn’t get behind this book.

For the most part the characters were interesting and flawed and felt realistic and human. I will say that I had a hard time relating to or sympathizing too much with Tully, but I’ve never dealt with kleptomania or any related addictions, so maybe she would be a perfectly written and relatable character to someone with more of those shared experiences. I found myself liking and relating to Rachel the most, though. She seemed to be the audience surrogate to a certain extent – she was the one putting some of the pieces together and trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, so I enjoyed her chapters the most.

Now let’s get into what I didn’t like about this book – I feel like there is a fine line between an unreliable narrator and gaslighting all of the characters (and therefore the audience) to the point that even by the last page nobody trusts or believes their own memories or understanding. A book can have an ending that is left up to interpretation without making it seem like all of the women in the book are out of their minds, you know? By the end of this book it felt a bit like the takeaway was that women, and particularly abused women, can’t be trusted to know their own minds or to understand what is happening to and around them. I know that that couldn’t have been what the author was trying to get across, but from an outside perspective, that was how it felt after closing the book, and it felt a bit gross.

I will say that I have heard through the grapevine that there is an added portion in the final copy of the book that completely changes the outcome of the story. Both of my gifted copies were the advanced, unfinalized version, so I have not seen this new addition. While I would be interested in picking up a final copy and reading this added paragraph to see if it changes my feelings towards the book, unfortunately at this time I can only review based on what I have read.

Overall I’m not sure that I would recommend this book to my friends, and if I did I would make my feelings stated above very clear in the same breath as the recommendation. I think that the book is well written and I’m sure that there are people who would love it. And like I said, maybe if I read that added bit in the final copy then it would change my opinion a bit as well. But at this time I don’t see myself returning to this book or recommending it very highly, without knowing outright that the person I’m talking to would love it.

If you or anyone you know is the victim of domestic violence, please don’t wait. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

Link to Purchase on Amazon:

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:

Unlock Your Storybook Heart (You Are Your Own Fairytale #3) by Amanda Lovelace

Andrews McMeel – Review: 5 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, Netgalley, and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the gifted advanced e-copy of this collection in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } All of my reviews can be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

Publication Date: March 15, 2022

Genre: Poetry, Feminism, Nonfiction, Adult, LGBTQIA+

TW (from the book): eating disorders, mental illness, self-harm, sexism, queerphobia, death, grief, trauma, and possibly more

It should not be any surprise at this point that I loved this collection. While sometimes difficult to read based on the subject matter, Amanda Lovelace’s collections are my favorite for this type of poetry. It isn’t the more traditional sweeping, lyrical poetry that people might think of first when thinking of the genre, but it’s just as meaningful and a bit more approachable as a read.

This might be my favorite of Amanda’s collections that I’ve read so far. And I’ve read all but one or two of the collections that have already been published. The Women Are Some Kind of Magic trilogy helped me a lot when I was younger and needing help getting through some of the emotional baggage that I wasn’t quite ready to unpack yet, and it helped me when I was a bit more ready to go through it all as well. And the You Are Your Own Fairy Tale series really feels like what I have needed each time I’m reading them.

The stories in this collection really felt like they touched my heart while I was reading them. While there are, as always, some pretty major trigger warnings for this collection, I would say that if you are able to read it without being in an unhealthy place emotionally, then I would absolutely recommend it. I think it is a great read. And again, if you’ve been wanting to dip your toe into more poetry but you’re maybe intimidated or don’t know where to start, this could be a really easy and approachable way to try it out.

More collections from Amanda Lovelace:

the Women Are Some Kind of Magic trilogy

The Princess Saves Herself in This One

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One

The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One

the Things that H(a)unt duology

To Make Monsters out of Girls

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost

the You Are Your Own Fairy Tale trilogy

Break Your Glass Slippers (check out my review here!)

Shine Your Icy Crown (check out my review here!)

Standalone Collections

Flower Crowns and Fearsome Things (check out my review here!)

Link to Purchase on Amazon: