Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Minotaur Books – Review: 5 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, Minotaur Books, and Netgalley for the complimentary advanced electronic 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 my blog at

TW: murder, death, gun violence, mention of sexual and domestic abuse, blackmail, custody battles, mention of infidelity

Sassy and sarcastic female lead? Check. Bad ass female friendship? Check. Hot potential-book boyfriends? Check. All wrapped up in a book about book people? Check and check! Oh, and did I mention there is some murder and crime solving thrown in for good measure? This book has it all, and I seriously loved every minute of it!

Finlay Donovan is a bit of a hot mess, and I mean that in the most loving way possible. I feel like I know Finlay, like our souls recognize the hot mess in each other, and we would be good friends. Plus, I know where all of the good hiding spots are, which could come in handy in her new line of work!

Moral of this review so far: I would TOTALLY help Finlay Donovan hide a body!

The characters in this book were so much fun to read about. And they all (for the most part) somehow still felt like real people, even when they were in these seriously crazy situations. Obviously Finlay was my favorite character – sarcastic author-turned-hitwoman, ready to jump right in to the crazy situations that life throws at her, and looking (mostly) fabulous while doing it. But a very close second favorite is Vero, the girlfriend that we all so desperately need in our lives. I always talk about sarcastic or witty banter between love interests in books, and sure there is a bit of that here too, but the book is dripping with that sarcastic banter between these two BFFs too, which makes it all the more fun! I left the book just really wanting to sit down with these two ladies and an entire bottle of wine, and just see what happens.

Overall I would absolutely recommend this book to friends! There is some romance, but it’s not the main focus, so it feels much more like a comedy-thriller, which is just such a fun and gripping combination! I think that it could be a great way to ease people into the romance genre if they are maybe hesitant to read that way. I think the best way to read this book is in a bubble bath that lasts way too long because you don’t want to put the book down, with a glass of wine and maybe a snack. Although I may be a bit biased, since that is how I read most of this one!


Holly Banks Full of Angst (Village of Primm #1) by Julie Valerie

Lake Union 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.

This was such a fun, fast, and sometimes borderline silly read! This had been on my TBR list since it first came out, but for any number of reasons it kept getting pushed to the bottom of the list, and kept getting put off to the next month, and then the next month, and then the next. But I finally read it in August for a book club discussion, and I am so glad that I did! There were so many parts that I fully laughed out loud as I was reading, and I can’t wait to dive in to the sequel and get more Holly Banks in my life!

Holly Banks is such a funny character to me. She was equal parts a relatable, realistic and caricature. Which, I know, is a crazy way to describe someone, and it sounds like those two things would cancel each other out. But if you’ve read it, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t, I guess you have to trust me. But either way, she was so much fun, and I really enjoyed reading her story and getting to peak into her mind.

I will also say that at moments the story itself did tip-toe the line between realistic and silly. One moment she could be sitting and talking to another PTA mom in a security office, and the next she’s chasing that other mom around the school yard and spitting pieces of cookies at her. But those moments were very fun to me, and felt like the author was letting herself and the book have fun, and maybe not taking themselves too seriously, which I really enjoyed. It felt like in a movie or TV show when it jumps into a dream sequence and we get to see that character finally give another character a piece of their mind, or they punch someone in the face and then it turns out it was all in their mind. While these weren’t dream sequences in the same way, because these slightly wild things were actually happening in the case of Holly Banks, but it had that same feeling to it. And I found those scenes just so funny!

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book to friends and other readers. It was a fairly light (with a few exceptions) and fun read, and it is a really quick read as well. I flew through this book! I would say that the perfect way to read this book is with a very, very large glass of wine, and with no My Little Ponies in sight!

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!

Say You Still Love Me by K. A. Tucker

Atria Books – Review: 5 Stars

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

TW : handicap resulting from injury

If you follow my Instagram or my blog, or look through my read/reviewed books on goodreads, then y’all already know that I love me some K. A. Tucker. And so I was really excited to read this book as soon as it came out. Somehow it got pushed farther and farther down my ever growing TBR list, and I didn’t end up reading it until just over a year after it was published. So I had plenty of time to build this one way up in my head prior to reading it. But even with all of the build up, in my opinion, this one lived up to the hype.

This second chance romance alternates each chapter between two times in the female lead’s life – between a sassy and carefree 16 year old Piper at camp Wawa, and present day Piper Calloway, the badass 29 year old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm. And in both of these timelines, we get to watch her fall in love with the handsome and passionate guy-from-the-other-side-of-the-tracks, Kyle Miller.

I loved getting to read both of these timelines! A lot of the time for second chance romance stories that is all you get – stories. You hear about the past through the lead’s memories, or through them telling another character about it, but you don’t get to actually see it happen. And while the past was still told from Piper’s perspective, I found that I was more engaged with hers and Kyle’s story because I was able to actually read about their first summer together as it happened, and as if it was happening in the present tense, rather than just getting a passing “Kyle and I dated in Summer of 2006 and then he ghosted me,” you know? So while I will say that overall I found the present day chapters with adult Piper more enjoyable to read, I think I enjoyed them more because the Wawa chapters were there. If that makes sense.

Now let’s talk about characters. Obviously our leads here are Piper and Kyle, and I really loved getting to read about both of them! This was the kind of book that when it was over I truly missed the characters and wanted to know more about them and what happened after it was over. But I will say that Piper’s two best friends that she is living with in present day, and that also went to Camp Wawa with she and Kyle, completely stole the show for me! Honestly, I loved them so much and I wanted to be friends with them too. A secondary character-best friend to the lead that takes constant advice from and often references her psychic? Yes please. Sign me up for about three more books about these friends.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to friends and readers! I thought it was so much fun to read, it was a great mix of steamy and sweet, and it had the dose of heart that I love in my stories. I stayed up past my bedtime reading this one because by the time I was a few chapters from the ending, I needed to know what was going to happen next! I think that the best way to read this book is in the middle of the summer when you’re looking for a fun and slightly light summer read. Maybe in the afternoon under a tree with an iced tea, or maybe a bit later in the evening next to a bonfire with a glass of wine.

My Reviews for more Books by K. A. Tucker

The Simple Wild (Wild #1)

Wild at Heart (Wild #2)

The Player Next Door

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Harper Audio – Review: 5 Stars

Thanks so much to the author,, and William Morrow Books (Harper Audio) for the complimentary advanced audio 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.

TW : death, murder, suicide, self-harm, revenge, drowning, kidnapping, hazing, abortion, infidelity, “boys will be boys” mindset

I have always been a big fan of Agatha Christie, and this book gave me so many Agatha Christie vibes! It was a really interesting mystery with a weird mix between a slow-burn of a story but still a fast-paced novel that I just didn’t want to put down.

One thing that I really loved about this story was all of the different points of view that we got. This is one of those murder mysteries where just about everyone that you meet could have had some sort of motive. And yes, at times that can seem pretty coincidental like “oh, you had a problem with this person that would be enough for a motive? Wow, so do I! How crazy is that?” But it’s a wedding, so it makes sense that all of the people there would be connected in one way or another, right? So the setting made that a bit easier to get past for me. It made it really fun and thrilling to listen to because even once you found out who the victim was (oh yeah, worth noting that for the first 2/3 of the book they’re just referring to a body, and you don’t find out who it is until much later) there were so many different ways that the story could go that I wanted to keep listening to find out what would happen next.

So let’s talk audio books. This book was PHENOMENAL on audio! Books with tons of different POVs like this one can sometimes be really hard to follow (seriously though, there were so many, you got the bride, the bridesmaid, the best man, the wedding planner, a guest, and I think another one or two) particularly on audio, but this one was done in such a smart way. There were different voice actors/narrators cast for each character’s point of view, and so even if you didn’t remember exactly which voice was the bride and which voice was the bridesmaid, I found it really easy to keep track of which voice was telling which part of the story. And the entire cast did so well, the different voices and the inflections, everything was just really well done. As much as I’m sure this book is a good physical read, I would almost recommend the audio book over the print copy, just to really throw yourself into the middle of the mystery with this amazing cast.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. Sure there were a few parts that were a little bit slower for me, but for the most part I thought it was just a really well written visit to the old days of the classic whodunnit thrillers. And seriously, listen to this one on audio. You absolutely will not regret it. I think the perfect way to listen to this book would be on a stormy winter/autumn night next to a roaring fire place, hearing the rain outside against your windows. It feels absolutely worthy of “a dark and stormy night.”

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

MacMillan Audio – Review: 4 Stars

Thanks so much to the author, NetGalley,, and MacMillan Audio for the complimentary advanced audiobook 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 my blog at

TW : loss of a family member, cancer, grief/mourning, infadelity

This book was so much fun to listen to! Think of The Holiday, but a young woman switching places with her Grandmother. What could possibly go wrong? It turns out, nothing! It’s just a good time for everyone. The audiobook itself was immensely enjoyable, as well, since there were two lovely narrators – a young woman playing Leena and an age-appropriate woman playing her Grandmother Eileen. I loved this, because I always find it silly when there are twenty-something year old actors or voice-actors playing roles of grandparents, when there are so many lovely and age-appropriate men and women that could do the roles just as easily! Plus, you can’t go wrong with both actress’s adorable accents! Everyone loves an English accent, right? It’s not just me?

Getting into the characters, I really loved both of these women. The story is told in alternating chapters between each of their points of view, so we get to see the adventures that each of them go on during their swap, and I loved both of their storylines! Although, I have to say, listening to Eileen while she is on the hunt for a man, online dating, and having sordid sexual affairs, was really fun in my opinion. You don’t very often get to hear about women above about 40 falling in love at all, let alone having any sort of sexual relationship, so I thought it was very different and enjoyable as a story here. Both of these women are sassy, and stubborn, and have a matching quick tongue that they are not afraid to use! I must say, though, I think Eileen was my favorite of the characters. I want to be her when I grow up. Seriously, you go Eileen! Although, elderly and eccentric Letitia may be a close second for me!

I will also say that I really loved the more serious, almost underlying, storyline involving both of them as well as Leena’s mother/Eileen’s daughter Marian mourning the loss of Leena’s sister Carla. They all three of them feel the loss in very different ways, and deal with the grief in very different ways as well, and it was really sweet watching how their relationships with each other grew as they learned how they could slowly work through their grief together.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. And would really recommend the audiobook to those wanting to read it! I would say that this book is perfect for a relaxing Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and a puzzle or a coloring book or something else that may seem equally silly but will be nice and relaxing while you listen!

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Dreamscape Media – Audiobook Review: 5 Stars

Thanks so much to the author,, and Dreamscape Media for the complimentary advanced audio 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 my blog at

TW : estranged parent, discussion of cancer

This book was so much fun! As far as tropes go, fake-dating to real-romance isn’t one that I typically go out of my way to reach for, but I tend to read a good amount of them anyway. And this was a really fun example of it! This book made me laugh out loud in more than one place, and it gave me feels in a few other places as well.

The characters are far from perfect, but that is what I loved so much about them. Luc is a deeply flawed and troubled character, but it made him so much for fun to read than someone that you can only aspire to relate to. As for Oliver, he is the type of character that on the surface seems perfect but slowly becomes less perfect as the book goes on, which was also really fun. I thought that the chemistry was pretty believable, even if the arrangement that began the relationship seemed less than realistic. But as less-than-realistic as it could be, there were enough moments that felt really, truly raw and human that it made the relationship so much more believable, and that made it something that as I listened I needed to learn more about and see what happened next for them.

Let’s talk secondary characters. Luc’s mom (and his mom’s curry, equally a character in my eyes) almost stole the whole show for me. The scenes at her house were just so funny! It really felt like I remember feeling when I would bring boys home for dinner with my family – it was embarrassing, it was silly, and sometimes it was even difficult to get through. These scenes read just those same ways, and made them some of my favorite parts of the whole book!

Luc’s friends are also very big parts of the story, but they weren’t always quite as much fun as his mom was, at least in my opinion. You could tell that Luc had pushed his friends to the side a bit in recent years, and maybe hadn’t fostered those relationships in a healthy way, and so his friends seemed a bit “over it” with everything until the end of the story. I think we’ve all had at least one friendship where that has happened – maybe you or your friend got really drawn in to a relationship, and by the time that relationship ended the friendship had suffered because of it. That made the friendships feel fairly realistic, but it just wasn’t as much fun to read as the mom scenes. And that’s nothing against the writing, only saying that until the relationships with his friends thawed a bit (I would say about 3/4 of the way through the book) they just weren’t the characters whose scenes I looked forward to. Except for Alex, Luc’s innocent and incredibly gullible co-worker. He was hilarious and I want to know everything there is to know about him.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this story! I would recommend reading it, but I might specifically recommend the audiobook – the narrator’s voice was so soothing and nice to listen to, and his different voices to make each of the characters distinctly different were really great. Also, bonus point, if you listen to the audio you get to listen to the British accents. Which is always a good thing in my book! I think that the perfect setting to listen to this book in would be on an afternoon that you decide to take a long drive through somewhere beautiful just for the fun of it.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Ballantine Books – Review: 4 Stars

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

TW: loss of a loved one, depression, use of medications, mention of miscarriage, grief

This book was a roller coaster of emotions that I was not quite prepared for when I picked it up. Sometimes when I am reading a book for a book club discussion, or if I’ve heard enough of my friends telling me that I have to read it, then I won’t always look much into the book before I read it. And sometimes, like was the case with Lydia Bird, I barely even read the synopsis on the back before I picked it up. So I wasn’t necessarily prepared for all of the emotional turmoil that this book would bring up.
So what I would say for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, is read the description before you decide to read it, and make sure it’s something that you’re in the mood for!

I thought Lydia was a really interesting character, and I enjoyed getting to see the different sides of her depending on what she was feeling or experiencing. This book is split into chapters of when she is awake and in the real world, and chapters of when she is asleep and experiencing some sort of parallel version of reality. Because of that we got to meet two different versions of almost all of the other characters as well. Sometimes it was hard to decide if I was enjoying the asleep or awake chapters better, and every once in a while I even had to remind myself that they were two separate “worlds” and storylines. But they were written in such a way that it wasn’t usually too difficult to remember which reality she was in.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who is in the mood for a bit of a heavier read. This is definitely a book that you will want to take your time with, to really think about and sink your teeth into as you read, so I wouldn’t recommend that people try to read it entirely in a weekend. It was a beautiful and interesting story about a woman’s journey through loss and grief, her great love, and if she will be able to get that part of her back again. I would say the perfect setting to read this book would be cuddled under a blanket with your love, and with a very large glass of wine. With all of the emotions in this book, you’ll probably need it!

Wild at Heart (Wild #2 ) by K. A. Tucker

Review: 5 Stars

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

I read The Simple Wild last summer, and it was one of my very favorite books of 2019. So naturally when the sequel came out I was equally ecstatic and terrified. What if it didn’t live up to the first one? Well, Wild at Heart was everything that I wanted it to be and more. It is a true sequel, following the story of the first and picking up right where the first left off, so I’ll try not to give too many spoilers. But know that you should definitely read the first book before diving into this one.

At the beginning of this story, we find Calla moving to Alaska to be with Jonah and to start their company (and their lives) together. So throughout the story Calla is dealing with having moved so far away from her family, and her friends (who always say they’re going to come and visit, but they very rarely do), and Jonah working long hours each day, and feeling like she is lonely and doesn’t know what her purpose in Alaska is yet. Sometimes not even being able to get out of the house becuse she doesn’t drive. I have to say, at times this book was almost difficult for me to read, because I have so recently been going through those same emotions in my own life. My husband is in the military, and I moved to be with him, and it has been the first time that I haven’t been living within about 25 minutes from my family. The friends don’t get to visit as often as they say they will, and when your husband is out working every day but you haven’t been able to get a job, your days spent in this new place and this new house can be very quiet and lonely. I was even relating to Calla on the part about not being able to leave the house, as there were a few months after the move when I didn’t even have a car to go out and explore.

This book did an amazing job portraying those emotions, that I was so familiar with in a way that was honest and at times truly heartbreaking. And while at times it was still feeling too fresh for me, and at times felt a little bit difficult for me to read, it was really amazing getting to read this story with these characters that I already knew and loved going through them, and seeing how they got through them together. It has been a big, ongoing discussion between my husband and I for this early part of our marriage, and it was really nice to feel like I was going through it with these characters too, and seeing Calla learn about herself through it and come out on the other side stronger for it.

This book absolutely, 200% lived up to my hopes and expectations for it that were set by The Simple Wild, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next chapter in Calla and Jonah’s story. Honestly I think I would read about these two until Calla and I were both old and grey if K. A. Tucker kept writing about them. I would recommend this book to anybody at all, though as I said I would make them read The Simple Wild first. Although I keep reading them in the summer, the stories and wintery Alaskan settings of these books make them perfect to curl up with in front of a fire in the dead of winter, maybe with a mulled wine in hand, and your love close by.

Check out my review for The Simple Wild (Wild #1) here

You by Caroline Kepnes

Atria – Review: 4 Stars

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

Listen to me discuss this book more in depth on the new The Same Page Podcast, due to be released on Sunday, 8/30/2020!

TW: stalking, murder, discussion of suicide, violence, explicit sexual language

Well you guys, I broke the bookworm rule. No, I didn’t dog-ear any pages. The other bookworm rule. I watched the show/movie before I read the book. But I finally got around the reading this one, even after seeing and loving the show, and I am so glad that I did! The book and the show are both so wild and compelling on their own, as well as together, and they are just different enough that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything in the reading experience just because I had already seen the show.

Now with that out of the way, let’s get in to it.

This is a really different and fascinating read – it is all told through the eyes of Joe Goldberg, who sees himself as the hero of his own perfect romantic comedy. Meanwhile, the reality of the situation is that he is stalking a woman that he met at work, and eventually drives her into a relationship with him. What made this so interesting, in my opinion, is that I had to remind myself not to be rooting for this guy to get his way – while yes, he is an unreliable narrator, listening to him justify his actions (both to himself and to the audience) automatically makes you feel like you want to be on his side. Spending time in the character’s head and listening to him convince himself that everything he is doing is out of love, and that they are the things that romantic comedies are made of, he charmed me as a reader enough that I was almost surprised every time he committed his worst crimes. Until closer to the end, that is. After a while it is impossible to forget that he is a bit of a monster.

Our two main characters are Joe and Beck, the woman that he has fallen in love with. There are a hand full of other important secondary characters as well, but these two are the cornerstones of this story. And, as stated above, this whole story is told through Joe – we are seeing what he is seeing, and hearing what he is thinking. And as such, Joe comes across as a very charming guy, and Beck is the ideal of a perfect young woman, just how Joe sees her. That being said, none of the characters are perfect people, and honestly very few of the characters are even all that likable by the time that the book is over. Including Joe and Beck. Obviously Joe starts off pretty rough. You know, stalking and hurting people. But even Beck – as the book goes on and Joe is learning flaws about her and having his vision of her tarnished, the same thing is happening for the reader. I would say that all of the main characters were written in a way that I was able to feel about them exactly how the author seemed to intend in each moment without feeling like any of those emotions were forced, or that we were supposed to change an opinion of someone without cause.

Over all, I would highly recommend this book, even if you have already seen the show. As I said in the beginning, they are both different enough that I think they can be enjoyed separately or together. I would recommend this book, or the show, specifically to fans of true crime and psychological thrillers who want to get a different spin on a type of story that they already enjoy. This book is a perfect read on a chilly autumn day with a big glass of wine, maybe wrapped up in a comfy sweater. But maybe not in front of any big open windows. You know. Just in case.