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.”