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:

Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra

Berkley Pub – Review: 5 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, Edelweiss+, and Berkley for the complimentary advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } All of my reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

Let’s just be honest, I absolutely LOVE the original Little Women. So when I first went into this book I wasn’t sure if I was going to love it because I love the original material that was the inspiration, or if I was going to hate it because it didn’t live up to the original material. I am very pleased to announce that, with the exception of a few insignificant details (come on. Trey? Why? Teddy is not an old fashioned enough name or nickname that it needed to be changed to Trey.), I really loved how the story was handled both with what was kept the same and what was changed.

This book takes the idea of the original characters and puts them into a modern day world. Some of the situations from the original novel are represented in this story through a more modern take (example being Jo being a blogger as an outlet for her writing, rather than working to sell her short stories), as have the characters to a certain extent in order to make them feel like they really belong in this modern life, and other portions of the original story that are not included in this story. This book isn’t the original book in a different time, it looks at these women (yes, Beth included) as modern day adult women, and seeing what that might be like. I really, really, really loved the choice to do that, rather than just telling a new version of the same exact story.

I was immediately drawn into this book, and I loved the reading experience of this book right from the word “go.” I would describe this book as a modern retelling, but also as a family drama with some sweet moments of laughter. And it is filled with real issues and very lovable yet imperfect characters, and you can really tell how much all of these characters care about each other. This book is told from alternating points of view, switching between Meg and Jo, and both voices were so different that even if it hadn’t told me at the beginning of each chapter, I believe I would have been able to tell who’s voice I was hearing. I love character driven novels, and I love hearing multiple of those characters’ voices in a novel, and so it is a really big deal to be able to differentiate between the various narrators. Another thing that I will say is that it was very easy for me to see different parts of myself in each of the sisters, including Beth and Amy who we don’t hear from as much in this novel. I think that there are bits and pieces of each of these characters that any reader can relate to.

I would absolutely recommend this book to my friends, and already have on several occasions. I think that this would be a great read both for people who are fans of Little Women and are looking for a rather cozy, easy retelling to read, as well as for people who haven’t read the original (I know a lot of readers who didn’t read it as a kid and now find it intimidating as an adult) who may be looking for an easier or more accessible way to jump in to the characters and story. I will definitely be rereading this book at some point in my future, and I honestly can not wait until the second book comes out so that I can get more into the heads of Beth and Amy!

He Started It by Samantha Downing

Berkley – Review: 4 Stars

All opinions are entirely my own. All of my reviews can also by found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

TW : murder, kidnapping, runaway children, drowning, gun violence, being followed, manipulation

Y’all. This book was wild. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I have spent more time turned to my husband trying to talk through what was happening in the story. Seriously, I kept turning to him and saying things like “I think this is happening?” and “I’m so confused,” or “OH MY GOSH THIS JUST HAPPENED.”

It even took me talking through it with other readers as a part of a book club to really figure out how I felt about it after the ending, because I knew that I either loved it or hated it but really couldn’t figure it out. I would say if you are going to read this one, read it with some friends so that if you are going to need help unraveling it like I did, then you’ll have some other folks to pick each other’s brains.

Now let’s talk about the characters. None of the characters were really all that likeable. I mean it, none of them. There weren’t even really any of them that I wanted to root for. You knew from the beginning that they were all just basically manipulating each other to try and get what they want. And it wasn’t even like “I’m going to do this bad thing but I have good intentions, or a good reason to be doing it,” it was just kind of that they were all every man for himself and were just being terrible for the fun of it. And normally that would really take away from a book for me, because I’m such a character driven reader. And maybe it’s just because the story was so crazy that those types of terrible people made sense being in it, but it honestly didn’t really bother me this time.

And honestly, there isn’t really much else that I can say without going into some major spoiler territory. This book jumps right into the action almost from the very beginning, so the spoilers and the twists start really early in this book. And since I try to avoid spoilers in my general reviews, I will be stopping here so that I don’t have to try and tip-toe around them.

But hey, if you have read this one already and you want to discuss more in depth with me, send me a DM on Instagram, and we can talk each others ear off all day about the other 96% of the book that I’m not covering here!

Overall I would recommend this book to my friends and other readers, who may be looking for a crazy, sort of creepy read! I mean, hey, it’s still #SpookySeason, right? But you can see at the top of this review that there are a TON of really serious trigger warnings, so please keep that in mind if you are thinking about reading it. I really enjoyed it as a read, but there were a ton of scenes and moments that could potentially be very triggering or problematic for some folks. But all of that aside, if those things won’t bug you too much or if doing a bit of self-care after or during reading will help, then I say this was a really interesting thriller for fall! I think that the best way to read this book would be next to the fireplace or in a bubble bath with a large, LARGE glass of wine. Like I said, lots of self-care!

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Berkley Publishing – Review: 5 Stars

All opinions are entirely my own. All of my reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

Listen to me discuss this book more in depth on the new episode of The Same Page Podcast, which will be released on Wednesday 9/30! Find us on iTunes and Apple Podcasts by searching The Same Page.

TW : steamy read, some medium strength language, estranged parent, some toxic masculinity

You guys. I am honestly so mad that I waited so long to read this one. This was almost a perfect read. This is the rom-com written specifically for romance readers, but that none romance readers would also potentially enjoy. So obviously, I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. I flew through this book in two sittings.

One thing that I really liked about this book was how it took the “second-chance romance” trope on it’s head a bit. When you pick up a second-chance romance book it typically involves a first love coming back and becoming your new co-worker, or the boy who broke your heart accidentally becoming your next door neighbor, or the like. And I love those books and stories. Who doesn’t at least once in their lives daydream about what it would be like it *that* ex happened to come back into our lives, see us thriving, and realize what a fool they were for letting us go? I have definitely been there. But coming at the idea of a second-chance romance from the perspective of a couple who is technically still “together,” since they are still married, was a really interesting way to change it up! I loved seeing this different side of that trope that I already love.

All in all, I seriously loved this book. Like, not only would I recommend it, but I want to make my husband and my friends and also just about everyone else in my life read this. I mean it, I really loved it. I would have started reading the second book the next day if I had a copy of it already. I can’t wait to read the second book, and I can’t wait for the third book in the series to come out. I think that this book should be read under a cozy blanket with a beer (or something equally stereo-typically “manly”) in the early evening.

Faker by Sarah Smith

Berkley – Review: 3 Stars

All opinions are entirely my own. All of my reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads.

This book was such a fun example of both workplace romance and an enemies-to-lovers story! We follow Emmie – copywriter in a seriously male-driven profession and company, and “fake” Bad Bitch POC, and Tate – the coworker who gets under her skin like no other, and they just can’t stand each other. Until, of course, they can. Stand each other, I mean. Because, like I said, this is an enemies-to-lovers book.

One of the biggest issues that I can have with enemies-to-lovers is when the romantic side of the relationship completely comes out of nowhere and they go from hating each other to loving each other within a matter of days. I know that it is possible for this to happen, but it doesn’t typically seem all that realistic, and sometimes takes my brain back to the “he’s being mean to you because he likes you” sh*t that we got told on the playground as kids. The thing I really loved about this book, is that that didn’t seem to be the case. First of all, they were never too terrible to each other even in the “enemies” phase, it really only went a step or maybe two past “sassy, playful banter” at any given time. And second, even with that being the case, you got to feel the appreciation (as well as the sexual tension) building up for a bit before either of the characters really did anything about it. It seemed like they really had time together to feel their connection growing rather than jumping straight to “we’re soulmates,” and I really appreciated that.

My only really big issue story-wise was something that happened with Tate late in the story, after they are actually together. It isn’t the worst thing that could possibly happen in a relationship, but it isn’t quite a “Ha ha, that was a funny thing that happened last week, right? Let’s tell our friends over dinner tonight, because it was so funny and we’re both totally over it.” Spoiler: At his high school reunion, Emmie sees a woman who basically looks exactly like her, who turns out to be Tate’s ex. And he goes up to her and kisses her, and we find out later that he thought she was Emmie. He has a very specific type, I guess?

All of that being said, I would recommend this book to my friends. It was a very fun, and fairly light read, and it was a perfect way to start my 2020. I would say that the best way to read this book would be in a nice long, relaxing bubble bath!

Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey

Berkley Publishing – Review: 5 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, Edelweiss+, and Berkley for the complimentary advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } All of my full reviews can be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on my blog at tacklingtbr.home.blog.

TW: Alzheimers in a parent, dysfunctional family, caretaking of a parent.

Most people who follow me on Instagram or are aware of my blog could tell you that I absolutely LOVED Waiting for Tom Hanks! I am a huge sucker for all things romantic comedy (I start watching Hallmark Christmas movies earlier and earlier every year, my poor husband). And just like I love reading books about people who love reading books, I loved getting to read a story about someone as rom-com obsessed as I am! And so I was already sure I was going to love this book – I am very pleased to announce that I was not at all disappointed. While I loved reading Annie’s story last year, and relating to how much she loved being in her own romantic comedy, it was almost even more fun to get to read Chloe’s story – watching her the whole time trying to deny that she was in one too!

As far as the characters go, all of the key players in this story that I had already had a chance to fall in love with in the first book, so it was nice that this story just jumped right in and gave further information and back story – without feeling like it was trying to give a full introduction all over again, you know? One of my favorite things in rom-coms (both on the page and on the screen) is the sassy and witty banter that can exist between characters, especially when it is present before any sort of relationship is being explored. And that is definitely what you get with Nick and Chloe in this story! It made the dialogue so quick and enjoyable to read, as well. Their chemistry wasn’t entirely un-predictable, but the banter was so quick and the feelings so sweet and relatable that I didn’t really mind that I saw where it was going.

I also really loved the side plot love/hate triangle between Chloe, Annie, and Annie’s movie based off of Chloe. While that obviously isn’t exactly the most relatable situation to be in (sadly not all of us have best friends who get famous and write movies about our lives), all of the emotions driving their discussions and interactions in those scenes felt like they could have been my own best friend and I. One of my favorite parts of this book was those conversations, because in a way you got to see both sides and see why both women were right and wrong at the same time. I found myself really connecting with the emotions driving this bit of the plot, and I would have read an entire book just about the two of them going through these friendship speed bumps, even without all of the other parts where I got to swoon over Nick.

But believe me, there was plenty of swooning. There were definitely a few scenes that were a bit steamier than others, but if you are someone that doesn’t love a typically steamy romance novel, I don’t think those scenes in this book would be too much for you. I would say it was a nice, middle-ground steam level. Maybe even a gateway to something steamier!

Overall I would highly recommend this book to my friends! In fact, I already have once or twice. Maybe three times. I would say that I think you will get more out of this book if you have read Waiting for Tom Hanks first, but that you don’t necessarily have to have read the first one if you only want to dip your toes in to Chloe’s story. While these are characters from the first one, there weren’t too many references to the first book, and the times that there were there was generally enough information given about it to give the reader enough context on it’s own. That being said, again, just read them both. They’re so fun, I don’t think you’ll regret it. In fact, binge both of them over a weekend and maybe throw in a quick viewing of You’ve Got Mail! Make it a full rom-com marathon. But make sure to let me know when, and I’ll bring the popcorn and a bottle of wine!

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Berkley – Review: 5 stars

  • Thanks so much to Berkley and the author for this advanced, gifted copy in exchange for my honest review! All opinions are completely my own.

    I am a girl that loves a rom-com, and I always have been, much to the dismay of some of my friends and exes that wanted to watch just about anything else. Anytime John Cusack is below a window with a boombox, or I hear the words “You had me at ‘hello,'” or just about anything else from this genere of film I laugh and cry and melt in any way you can think of.

    So I relate to our heroine Annie a ton in that way – I grew up with these types of movies, and they provided me with some sort of sweet and hopeful idea of love and romance. So while some of her ways of showing it were a bit silly, I found her very adorable and relatable as a character. Her journey isn’t perfect, either in love or in life, but that made it all the more worth while. And I wanted to jump right into my old yoga pants and slightly inappropriate pizza-themed shirt and watch a movie marathon with she and her best friend Chloe.

    I tend to be drawn towards character driven stories in general as well, as anyone who knows me could tell you, so this story checked a lot of my boxes. Other than our female lead Annie there are a ton of other really fun characters as well, and each is charming and awkward in equal measures in their own ways. No character is put up as the perfect person or a perfect character, although our male lead and Tom Hanks stand in Drew Danforth comes the closest, which I always appreciate. While it can be fun to read about very aspirational people and situations, I tend to think it is way more fun and interesting to read about flawed but kind people, people that in theory you could have grown up down the street from. And while I don’t expect this exact story will happen down the street from me any time soon, I feel like the characters in this book fit nicely into that category.

    Also, talking about this book without talking about all of the classic rom-com cliches would be doing the story and the author a disservice. Now again, I love a good rom-com. Heck. I even love a BAD rom-com. Just ask my fiance. So, personally, I ate them all up in one bite. And this story has them all. The meet-cute (including a definition, for anyone who may be reading and is unfamiliar with the term), the love-triangle, the blind dates, even running through an airport with a motivational song supposedly playing loudly in the background. And since our lead, Annie, is an aspiring screenwriter, we get to see all of these from a very fun perspective – both her hopefullness for true love and her technical eye knowing full well that these are plot devices, and often writing them out in her head before they happen in her life.

    This story was sweet, and charming, and made me laugh multiple times and make my fiance read the passages so that he would know what I was laughing about. This gave me all of the fuzzy feelings and moments that I want out of my favorite movies, and I really enjoyed getting to escape onto this movie set in the middle of Columbus, and getting lost in the hope and silliness of the hopeless romantic. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves these movies, and just wants something fun to read where you know it’ll all end in some sort of a happily ever after.

    Now please excuse me while I go and marathon You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and every other romantic comedy that I can get my hands on. Someone get me a bowl of popcorn and a very large glass of wine!