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My What If Year 1/22/23

My What If Year: A Memoir by Alisha Fernandez Miranda (Zibby Books)

Dear Book Family!

I am so excited to share the first book to be published by ZIBBY BOOKS. 𝘔𝘺 𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐𝘧 𝘠𝘦𝘢𝘳: 𝘈 𝘔𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘪𝘳 comes out on 𝐅𝐞𝐛𝐫𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝟕𝐭𝐡. Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy. ⁣

I loved my first career, married a fabulous guy, and gave birth to three bouncing baby boys. Now that I am deep into my 40s, though, I can honestly say I sometimes miss when I was younger, and the future felt “wide-open”—endless possibilities. Alisha’s memoir is a grand reminder that those days actually still exist, and it’s never too late to make a change. The future is as bright as you make it, and it’s time to seize the day! ⁣

Alisha is happily married and a mom to twins while being the CEO of her own company…That was until she decided to shake things up. Like so many of us, Alisha hit a wall. She was exhausted from balancing the daily grind of work with raising a family. The spark she once felt for making the grade disappeared, and she found herself at a crossroads. Stay the same but without any shine or take a leap of faith and discover what brings her joy. Alisha decided to spring forward, hit pause on her successful career, and embark on an experimental year working as an intern in four different areas. Each one of these experiences put an end to the lingering question— “What if?” and gave the idea of “success” a brand new meaning. ⁣

Alisha’s openness and honesty reveal that human growth, happiness, and experiences never stop evolving…even after you turn 40. I connected with her writing because it felt like we were a couple of mom friends having a cup of coffee in the middle of the day, processing our lives out loud. Alisha’s story is about pushing through uncertainty to see what could happen. I loved how I laughed my butt off and pondered my future all at the same time. 

I adored reading 𝘔𝘺 𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐𝘧 𝘠𝘦𝘢𝘳. It was a much-needed chat with a good friend at the end of a l-o-n-g week. Alisha’s memoir is the ultimate travel guide to second chances, a much-appreciated ode to self-care, and a classic nod & wink to reignite the joy in your life at any time. Make this book happen! 

xoxo,
Kelly⁣

Click on the pic to Pre-order

*I received an advance copy of My What If Year: A Memoir from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it!

*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

Sylvia & Anne 1/17/23

𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘪 𝘈𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘰𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘈𝘵 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘪𝘵𝘻: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘚𝘺𝘭𝘷𝘪𝘢 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘯𝘯𝘦 𝘚𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘰𝘯 by Gail Crowther (Gallery Books)

Hello Reading Family! ⁣⁣


If you have been following me for a bit, then you may remember that I have been on a Sylvia Plath kick this year. I’ve made it my mission to learn ALL about her. My next read on my Plath journey was extra special. 𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘪 𝘈𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘰𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘈𝘵 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘪𝘵𝘻: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘚𝘺𝘭𝘷𝘪𝘢 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘯𝘯𝘦 𝘚𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘰𝘯 by Gail Crowther explored not only Plath but also Anne Sexton. Let me add that Crowther is officially my new go-to author. ⁣⁣
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Plath and Sexton were both extraordinary poets. They were friends and bitter rivals who shared not only a talent for writing but also a world of mental illness and trauma. I love how Crowther drew parallels between these two ladies across multiple domains. She thoughtfully used her looking glass to consider their childhoods, sexual behavior, marriage, motherhood, writing lives, mental health, and suicides relating to their work and livelihood. ⁣⁣
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Crowther’s side-by-side examination of these two women accentuated their need to put words down on paper and highlighted their understanding of each other’s work in a male-dominated world. While I was intrigued by how Crowther showcased their writing worlds, I was FASCINATED by how mental illness was such a dominating force in BOTH their lives. For me, the direct comparison of Plath and Sexton not only reiterated how trapped women were in their expected roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers in the 50s and 60s but how past trauma and intricate upbringings play a role in one’s ability to thrive. ⁣⁣
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Today’s incredible advances in psychology and psychiatric care are astonishing when you compare them to what these ladies endured. Reading about Plath and Sexton (who is still very new to me) is certainly not comfortable. Their lives are heartbreaking and extremely upsetting to read about. Their writing, however, is a front-row seat into their beautiful minds. I can only imagine how brilliant their future writing could have been. If only………⁣⁣
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Xoxo,⁣⁣
Kelly⁣⁣

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*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

An Old & A New…Just For You 1/16/23

Just The Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica (Park Row Books) CLICK on the pic to purchase!

I am embarrassed to say that 𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘱𝘭𝘦 is my FIRST Mary Kubica book 🤦‍♀️. She hit the nail on the head with her latest domestic thriller, which leaves me deeply wondering…Why on earth haven’t I read her before? ⁣

Here is the scoop…All I need you to know is that Kubica’s book is the perfect ending to a long week. It’s unpredictable, highly entertaining, and doesn’t require a lot of work from the reader. I zipped along the twisty path she paved, casually tripping on the strategically placed obstacles along the way. I am a big fan of her characters and, of course, fell for their polished exteriors while squealing with glee as they, bit by bit, began to unravel. I happily soaked up the buried secrets, feelings of guilt, and layered lies as they seeped from the pages. I loved how Kubica rejuvenated the typical “unaccounted” for female character with a missing husband for a pleasant change (Hallelujah). All in all, Kubica’s tale is a yummy popcorn thriller that I devoured with great delight. It relieved me from a tiresome reading slump and has me eager to conquer her entire backlist.⁣

𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘱𝘭𝘦 hit bookstores everywhere on JANUARY 10th! ⁣Go grab a copy!

SYNOPSIS:⁣

“ Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then, a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.⁣

Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.”

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine


EEEEKKKKKK…I FINALLY read 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘔𝘳𝘴. 𝘗𝘢𝘳rish by Liv Constantine, and I do not even understand… how or why I’ve waited this long to do so. Nevertheless, Constantine’s book is a juicy thriller chock-full of over-the-top wealth (I love this), style at its finest, and a delicious dose of manipulation…if I do say so myself. ⁣

The premise of this book may appear straightforward at first glance, but I can 100% assure you that it is not. Amber Patterson is tired of being a run-of-the-mill gal who is anything but memorable. Everything changes when she meets Daphne Parrish. To Amber, Daphne has IT ALL—the successful husband, a lavish lifestyle, and everything and everyone at her fingertips. Amber finds a way to befriend Daphne and neatly tucks herself into her sumptuous life. And that, my friends…is when all the thrilling shenanigans begin! ⁣

The pacing of Constantine’s book was outstanding. I could not stop turning the pages. The first half of the book is told from Amber’s perspective, then shifts halfway through to a second narrator. This surprised me in the BEST POSSIBLE WAY. The two perspectives created mystery and intrigue that had my mind bending every which way and THE ENDING…CHEF’S KISS!⁣

The phrase, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” takes on a whole new meaning between the pages of 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘔𝘳𝘴. 𝘗𝘢𝘳rish!

All I have to say is SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!⁣

*I received an advance copy of Just The Nicest Couple from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it!

*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

Top 5 Reads of 2022

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This was such a THINKER and 1000% book club material. I LOVED the unique exploration of women impacted by a serial killer on death row. A character analysis at ITS FINEST! Definitely going to be a future reread! ⁣

SYNOPSIS FROM THE PUBLISHER:

“Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours. He knows what he’s done and now awaits execution, the same chilling fate he forced on those girls years ago. But Ansel doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated and understood. 

Through a kaleidoscope of women–a mother, a sister, a homicide detective–we learn the story of Ansel’s life. We meet his mother, Lavender, a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation; Hazel, twin sister to Ansel’s wife, inseparable since birth, forced to watch helplessly as her sister’s relationship threatens to devour them all; and finally, Saffy, the detective hot on his trail, who has devoted herself to bringing bad men to justice but struggles to see her own life clearly. As the clock ticks down, these three women sift through the choices that culminate in tragedy, exploring the rippling fissures that such destruction inevitably leaves in its wake. 

Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, Notes on an Executionpresents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it simultaneously unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our system of justice and our cultural obsession with crime stories, asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the psyches of violent men.”

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Every star in the sky goes to Hubert Bird. And I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE. My heart was a blubbering mess reading this tender story on aging, family, and loneliness! ⁣

SYNOPSIS FROM THE PUBLISHER:

“In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship, and fulfillment. But it’s a lie. In reality, Hubert’s days are all the same, dragging on without him seeing a single soul. Until he receives some good news–good news that, in one way, turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again into a world he has long since turned his back on. The news that his daughter is coming for a visit. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out. 
Along the way, Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship, and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . . Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows, will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?”

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Everything this author writes is GOLD! I loved EVERY SECOND of her dark psychological thriller with a disturbing cult as a backdrop. BANANAS in the BEST POSSIBLE WAY! ⁣You can read a detailed review from me right here.

SYNOPSIS FROM THE PUBLISHER:

“While in college in upstate New York, Shay Evans and her best friends met a captivating man who seduced them with a web of lies about the way the world works, bringing them under his thrall. By senior year, Shay and her friend Laurel were the only ones who managed to escape. Now, eight years later, Shay’s built a new life in a tony Texas suburb. But when she hears the horrifying news of Laurel’s death–delivered, of all ways, by her favorite true-crime podcast crusader–she begins to suspect that the past she thought she buried is still very much alive and the predators more dangerous than ever.

Recruiting the help of the podcast host, Shay goes back to the place she vowed never to return to in search of answers. As she follows the threads of her friend’s life, she’s pulled into a dark, seductive world where wealth and privilege shield brutal philosophies that feel all too familiar. When Shay’s obsession with uncovering the truth becomes so consuming she can no longer separate her desire for justice from darker desires newly reawakened, she must confront the depths of her own complicity and conditioning. But in a world built for men to rule it–both inside the cult and outside of it–is justice even possible, and if so, how far will Shay go to get it?”

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I am here to share that it is 100% possible not to want a 671-page book to EVER END. To say I savored every word in Backman’s final book of his Bear Town trilogy is an absolute UNDERSTATEMENT!  #Benjiforever

SYNOPSIS FROM THE PUBLISHER:

“Over the course of two weeks, everything in Beartown will change. Maya Andersson and Benji Ovich, two young people who left in search of a life far from the forest town, come home and joyfully reunite with their closest childhood friends. There is a new sense of optimism and purpose in the town, embodied in the impressive new ice rink that has been built down by the lake. Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The destruction caused by a ferocious late-summer storm reignites the old rivalry between Beartown and the neighboring town of Hed, a rivalry which has always been fought through their ice hockey teams. Maya’s parents, Peter and Kira, are caught up in an investigation of the hockey club’s murky finances, and Amat–once the star of the Beartown team–has lost his way after an injury and a failed attempt to get drafted into the NHL. Simmering tensions between the two towns turn into acts of intimidation and then violence. All the while, a fourteen-year-old boy grows increasingly alienated from this hockey-obsessed community and is determined to take revenge on the people he holds responsible for his beloved sister’s death. He has a pistol and a plan that will leave Beartown with a loss that is almost more than it can stand.”

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This story tapped into how tragic, messy, and beautiful life can be. Shapiro’s writing is raw and introspective, and I loved feeling ALL THE FEELS while devouring this family drama. ⁣

SYNOPSIS FROM THE PUBLISHER:

Signal Fires opens on a summer night in 1985. Three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything on Division Street changes. Each of their lives, and that of Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the Wilf family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken. On Division Street, time has moved on. When the Shenkmans arrive–a young couple expecting a baby boy–it is as if the accident never happened. But when Waldo, the Shenkmans’ brilliant, lonely son who marvels at the beauty of the world and has a native ability to find connections in everything, befriends Dr. Wilf, now retired and struggling with his wife’s decline, past events come hurtling back in ways no one could ever have foreseen.”

*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

#DEARBASICBUDDYREADS JANUARY SELECTION

January 9, 2023

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone is settled into the new year. Today I am sharing our January selection for the #DEARBASICBUDDYREADS online book club. We will be taking it back a decade and reading Pines by Blake Crouch, which is the first in a trilogy. I loved 𝘋𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘔𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 and 𝘙𝘦𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯, so why not see what this author’s backlist beauty is all about!!!!⁣

As always, we will be reading our selection at our own pace this January, followed by a private Instagram chat at the end of the month.⁣

Check out the synopsis below and come visit me on Instagram @dearmrhemingway to join.

Cheers to all the fabulous reading in 2023!⁣
xoxo,⁣
Kelly

𝐒𝐲𝐧𝐨𝐩𝐬𝐢𝐬⁣
“ One way in. No way out.⁣
Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a mission: locate two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase.⁣
As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation turns up more questions than answers: Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out?⁣
Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan farther from the world he knew, from the man he was, until he must face a horrifying fact–he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.”

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*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

🎁2022 HOLIDAY BOOKS & PAIRINGS🎁

November 27, 2022

Dear Beautiful Book Family,

The 2022 Dear Mr. Hemingway Holiday Books & Pairings is HERE, and short and sweet—perfect for everyone exhausted from endless decision-making. In this year’s minimalist guide, I chose five books & five pairings that have DELIGHTED me every which way. This year’s lineup includes a scrumptious new cookbook, a mesmerizing book of poems, a musical memoir, a thriller in a secluded cabin, and a tantalizing tale of love and lust. My pairings are equally satisfying. They can be mixed and matched and open the doors to many products from pretty spectacular businesses. I hope you enjoy my holiday roundup for shopping made easy this holiday season! Be sure to click on the book pictures below to purchase these books for the book lover in your life. Don’t forget to click on the highlighted pairings as well. If you are looking for a more extensive list of Books & Pairings, check out my past gift guides RIGHT HERE!

Happy Reading, Happy Shopping, & Happy Holidays,

Kelly

Seclude Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger (Park Row Books)

Lisa Unger never disappoints. Like so many twisted thrillers, it is better not to know too much before reading, What I can offer you is this—three couples embark on a restful gateway to a luxurious secluded cabin only to be greeted by a dark and stormy night filled with more than just some gorgeous cocktails and mind-numbing edibles. Sketchy cell phone service, a busted generator, and messy characters with a lot of dirty baggage fill the pages of this locked-room mystery. Throw in a few ghost stories, characters have gone missing, and perhaps even a trail of blood, and you’ve got yourself a fast-paced atmospheric read. Don’t let the number of characters in this book scare you. They all come together for a wicked, fun ending! I paired this book with my latest fragrance obsession. NEAR & NATIVE Room and Body Mists are so wonderful. These naturally made sprays are created in Maine and are perfect for spritzing on your body, in your house, in your car, and even on your bed sheets for a hint of fabulousness. My favorite scents are rosewater, Japanese Yuzu, and citrus mint. I adore that they are not overpowering, and I ALWAYS receive compliments when wearing them! Shop for these spritzes RIGHT HERE!

Synopsis:

“What could be more restful than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods with spectacular views, a hot tub, and a personal chef. Hannah’s generous brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’ll be three couples on this trip with good food, good company, and lots of R & R.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. 

A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated pasts, with secrets that run blood deep.

How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?”

And Yet by Kate Baer (Harper Perennial)

If you are new to poetry, let Kate Baer lead the way. This is Baer’s third book of poems I have read, and I fell in love all over again with her writing. Her contemporary poems center around motherhood, friendship, love, loss, and just being a woman. Her poems shine a light on EVERYTHING, and I simply can’t get enough of her writing! I felt 100% seen in her words and believe that this will be true for so many other women. My favorite poems in this collection are Reasons to Log Off and Putting Away the Baby Clothes. This slim book of beauty will fit perfectly inside a fuzzy stocking or nestled between two books on a cozy shelf. My favorite pairing is Poppy & Pout’s Pink Grapefruit Lip Balm and Lip Scrub. To say I am obsessed with this flavor is an understatement. It smells so lovely and fresh, and lip-smacking has never tasted so great! This product combo has been my go-to birthday present to gift my friends this fall, and I have been using them non-stop myself every day. I feel confident that all of the flavors and products from this company will be winners. Have a blast shopping RIGHT HERE!

Synopsis:

“Kate Baer shot into the literary stratosphere with the publication of her debut poetry collection, What Kind of Woman, which became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller.

Kate’s second full-length book of traditional poetry, And Yet, dives deeper into the themes that are the hallmarks of her writing: motherhood, friendship, love, and loss. Taken together, these poems demonstrate the remarkable evolution of a writer and an artist working at the height of her craft, pushing herself and her poetry beautifully and impressively.”

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl (Dey Street Books)

I LOVED THIS BOOK! Grohl’s musical memoir came out near the end of 2021, but I am naming it one of my favorite books read in 2022. You will be very satisfied if you are a music fan and a GenX generation member. Grohl takes his readers on his journey to musical greatest, beginning with his childhood in Springfield, Virginia. From there, Grohl shares his rise to stardom from his time with the punk rock band Scream, Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana, and founding his own band, The Foo Fighters. He shares details of his time on the road, being roommates with the famous Kurt Cobain, and being a father to three beautiful daughters. His writing is intimate, heartfelt, and didn’t feel like an obnoxious celebrity memoir. Despite his musical success, Grohl seems like a down-to-earth guy who loves hard and feels harder. I am obsessed with him and would love to have a cup of coffee with this guy (did I mention he is a coffee junkie?)! Speaking of obsessed, I paired his book with some spectacular socks. Yes, you heard me correctly…socks! Bombas is an incredible company that not only has tremendous socks but also GIVES BACK. For every pair of socks purchased, one is donated. How cool is that? I’ve been wearing Bombas for years in various styles, and I’m gifting them again to the peeps in my life. They are high quality, wash & dry like a dream, and last forever. Shop for all the beautiful feet in your life RIGHT HERE! Be sure to buy Grohl’s book too. You won’t regret it!!!

Synopsis:

So, I’ve written a book.

Having entertained the idea for years and even offered a few questionable opportunities (It’s a piece of cake! Just do 4 hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!) I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child. 

This certainly doesn’t mean I’m quitting my day job, but it gives me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as a young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.”

Feed These People by Jen Hatmaker (Harvest Publications)

Did someone say NEW COOKBOOK ALERT???? I will never apologize for my endless love for new cookbooks, and I even treated myself to Jen Hatmaker’s debut cookbook, Feed These People. I have been following Jen for quite some time now, and one thing is for sure…she is super funny and feels like a best girlfriend. Her recipes are overflowing with flavor, easy to execute, and are for folks who are not afraid to enjoy a good meal. All I have to say is Green Chile Chorizo Queso (with a block of VELVEETA cheese), Pasta Bake with House Cream Sauce, and Shakshuka (I used fresh duck eggs). Now that I have your attention, please grab this book for the hungry people in your life and pair it with Slack Tide Sea Salt, made right here in good old Maine. “Hand-harvested sea salt made in small batches from the deep ocean waters of Maine, and solar evaporated along York’s tidal river.” Can you say PERFECTION??? I used this salt on many of my Thanksgiving dishes, and it’s simply the best. Shop all their salts RIGHT HERE!!!

Synopsis:

“With five children and a close-knit community of family and friends, bestselling author, podcaster, and inspirational speaker Jen Hatmaker has been sharing her love of cooking and food with her fans for years. Now she’s compiled all her favorite sure-thing recipes into one personal and highly entertaining cookbook, including chapters like Food for Breakfast (or brunch so you can drink), Food for Your Picky Spouse or Spawn, and Food for When You Have No More Damns to Give. This is real food for real people.”

Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith (Grand Central Publishing)

Half-Blown Rose is decadent, indulgent, and seductive as all hell⁣. It’s a woman named Vincent and a man name Loup⁣. It’s everything Paris⁣ and a teeny bit Irish⁣. It’s swift love, deep-rooted love⁣, and an intoxicating affair. It’s altruistic yet considerate⁣ and alarmingly sexy⁣. I could not stop reading this electrifying tale with lovers, family, art, and even a Tuscan Villa. I can not recommend this mouth-watering story enough. By now, you should know that I am a huge fan of all the products that come from Cape Gold. Fresh honey, soaps for days (there is even a Dear Mr. Hemingway Soap), shaving balms, and everything in between. Their latest creation is a Cucumber Honey Lotion that will make your skin feel smooth as butter. This magnificent lotion can be used anywhere on your body but works particularly well on your face and, for me…under my eyes. It is luxury in a bottle made with honey from their hives and other natural ingredients. Grab a bottle of this fantastic lotion to pair with Cross-Smith’s book RIGHT HERE!

Synopsis:

“Vincent, having grown up as the privileged daughter of artists, has a lovely life in many ways. At forty-four, she enjoys strolling the streets of Paris and teaching at the modern art museum; she has a vibrant group of friends; and she’s even caught the eye of a young, charismatic man named Loup. But Vincent is also in Paris to escape a painful betrayal: her husband, Cillian, has published a bestselling book divulging secrets about their marriage and his own past, hinting that when he was a teenager, he may have had a child with a young woman back in Dublin–before he moved to California and never returned. Now estranged from her husband, Vincent has agreed to see Cillian again at their son’s wedding the following summer, but Loup introduces new complications. Soon they begin an intense affair, and somewhere between dinners made together, cigarettes smoked in the moonlight, hazy evenings in nightclubs, and long, starry walks along the Seine, Vincent feels herself loosening and blossoming.”

*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

DEAR FRIDAY~11/18/22

November 18, 2022

Dear Friday!

Whooooo hoooo, you are here. However, I can’t say I am heading into a calm and relaxing weekend. Nope…not even close. While I hope to squeeze in some reading time and hopefully a few long walks, my focus will be grocery shopping and Thanksgiving meal planning. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite, and I am fired up in the best possible way to cook and entertain this holiday! Bring on the pumpkin pie. Bring on the homemade gravy. I CAN”T WAIT!

In addition to Thanksgiving, next week also brings THE 5TH ANNUAL DEAR MR. HEMINGWAY HOLIDAY BOOKS & PAIRINGS. This year I am doing it a little differently from years past. I will have a MINIMALIST GUIDE and a super cool ONE-CLICK guide. Be on the lookout for these handy dandy shopping guides for the book lovers this holiday season.

In the meantime, enjoy all this week’s fabulousness!

xoxo,

Kelly

SHHH…CAN’T YOU SEE I’M READING

Click on the book pic to purchase!

I am chipping away at Caroline Kepnes’ YOU series this year. I am very disciplined with these books, reading each before watching the corresponding NETFLIX season. THIS IS SO HARD TO DO! I say this not because the books are bad. Kepnes’ writing is freaking fabulous, in my opinion. I simply love a binge-able show, and so far, NETFLIX has delivered. I love Hidden Bodies, which is the second book. There are three published books in this particular series, and a fourth is coming in 2023. I am pretty pumped that the publishers sent me an advance reader copy, and my goal is to finish all four books before the new year PLUS watch all the shows! Be sure to check out what I had to say about YOU…book one on GOODREADS RIGHT HERE. Stay tuned for my thoughts on book two very soon!

I CAN’T HEAR YOU…I’M WEARING HEADPHONES

Have I ever mentioned my friend Dara Levan to you? Dara is a gorgeous writer and a beautiful soul I met in the ZIBBY MAG writing community. Though we have never met in person…YET, we have had a few morning coffees over zoom and lots of fun online conversations. Dara has an incredible podcast called EVERY SOUL HAS ITS STORY, which is an absolute gift to its listeners. I LOVED the recent episode with author Rea Frey. They talked all things books and writing, balancing life, social media, and my favorite…walking barefoot!!!! Be sure to give this episode a listen RIGHT HERE!

I WRITE THE SONGS THAT MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD SING

Still no songs, people 🤷‍♀️! This week, I have been finishing my famous Holiday Books & Pairings Guide. This year I am shaking things up with two smaller guides that are perfect for anyone suffering from DECISION FATIGUE! Can anyone relate????? While you are patiently waiting, be sure to check out all my past Holiday Guides!

DEAR MR. HEMINGWAY HOLIDAY BOOKS & PAIRINGS 2018

DEAR MR. HEMINGWAY HOLIDAY BOOKS & PAIRINGS 2019

DEAR MR. HEMINGWAY HOLIDAY BOOKS & PAIRINGS 2020

DEAR MR. HEMINGWAY HOLIDAY BOOKS & PAIRINGS 2021

NETFLIX & CHILL

OH MY GOD…THE ENGLISH is something pretty amazing to watch. My husband read an article in the NEW YORK TIMES about this series on AMAZON PRIME and convinced me to watch it with him. I’ll admit that at first, I wasn’t that interested. Frontier life, cowboys and Indians, blah, blah, blah. If I wanted to watch a story from the late 1800s, I would tune into LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Seeing that Emily Blunt was the leading lady sealed the deal for me. Goodbye, Emily from THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, and hello, Cornelia Locke. Staking claims, ancestral homelands, revenge, and so much more happen in this gorgeously shot western mini-series. The characters are raw, the landscape is stunning, and the stakes are life or death. This show hit me in all the emotional places, and I can’t stop thinking about it. There are six episodes, so the commitment is super light. Episodes one and two flowed pretty well. Episodes three and four were a bit confusing because the show packs in A LOT (a tad too much). Episodes five and six tied everything together, leaving me with a wicked sad hole in my heart. I HIGHLY recommend checking THE ENGLISH out RIGHT HERE. We also found it very helpful to watch with English subtitles. Some accents are thick, and reading the captions helped a ton! I would seriously ride horses with Chaske Spencer ANYDAY! You will see why!

WHAT THE HELL AM I MAKING THESE PEOPLE FOR DINNER AGAIN?

Even though I am gearing up to make the BEST TURKEY of the year next week, I haven’t forgotten about the good old roasted chicken. Now that I am knee-deep into Fall with Winter getting ready to knock down my door, my roast chicken game is STRONGER THAN EVER! This week I roasted two whole chickens stuffed with a sweet Italian sausage and apple mixture that elevated this meal to a new level. I am a massive fan of the food blog, CHASING THE SEASONS. Nikki Marie’s recipes are classy, elegant, and easy to make. Check out her roast chicken with sausage and apples RIGHT HERE! I can assure you that this meal came out phenomenally. I served it with crusty bread and a ginormous green salad! Nikki was also a guest writer on DEAR MR. HEMINGWAY. Check out what she had to say to the big guy RIGHT HERE!

MY BODY’S A TEMPLE…BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

OK. So this is the workout I have been following most recently. I’ve shared in the past that I am a big fan of BEACH BODY home workouts. 6:45 is AWESOME. Tons of weight lifting, but more importantly, lots of mobility work. The program is six days a week, 45 minutes long, and lasts twelve weeks. I AM OBSESSED! I feel like I am getting stronger and even a bit more flexible. I will also add that I do not work for BEACH BODY and never plan to. I am just sharing what workouts I enjoy with anyone interested.

FRIDAY I’M IN LOVE

I am so excited about my new Christmas tree. I have always wanted more than one tree for the Holidays, and I finally made it happen this year. Our main Christmas Tree is a freshly cut beast from a local Maine tree farm that brings me all the holiday feels. This second one is a “fake” tree, and I love it with all my heart just the same. It is decorated with picture frame ornaments containing a snapshot of my kids on their birthdays. My boys pose each year on their birthday with their cake or special dessert, and I happily frame it in a monogrammed ornament with their name and the year. As of right now, there are 43 picture frames on the tree. My goal is to do this until everyone turns 18 (maybe even longer 🤷‍♀️). My next plan is to frame a small picture of my hubby and me as a tree topper. How fun is that? Seeing my babies on it through the years, I can not express how full my heart is.

*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

DEAR FRIDAY~11/4/22

November 4, 2022

Dear Friday!

You are here, and I am not even the slightest bit mad about it. I am not one to wish a week away or time in general, but this week was a DOOZY! I traveled for a wedding this past glorious weekend. Even though I felt refreshed from the alone time spent with my hubby away from the kids, I started the week with a significant sleep deficit. Throw in a sick kiddo home ALL week and a few abandoned (and much-needed) routines, and my week was a bit off-centered. Instead of focusing on the things that frazzled me, I am cherishing the beautiful things that kept me grounded and put a smile on my face (AKA…spending more time with my youngest). And in case it slipped your mind, FALL BACK this weekend and set the clocks back one hour. The plus side to daylight savings is that we gain one magnificent hour of much-needed sleep. This dark and cold season is the perfect excuse to cuddle up by the fire, sip something warm, and get lost in a cozy tale.

Cheers, Friday!

xoxo,

Kelly

SHHH…CAN’T YOU SEE I’M READING

Click on the book pic to purchase!

It’s officially November and a new month equals a new #DEARBASICBUDDYREADS selection. For Non-fiction November, Katie and I chose Stolen by Elizabeth Gilpin. This memoir sounds absolutely harrowing, and I can’t wait to dive in. Some early feedback from readers in our group is that the audio version (read by the author) is very good. At this point, I am leaning toward listening, but will keep you posted when I get started. Our private group chat is held over on Instagram, so be sure to DM me at @dearmrhemingway over there to join us. If you want to watch Katie and I reveal this month’s pick LIVE, CLICK HERE! Be sure to check out the synopsis and READ WITH US!

SYNOPSIS:

“At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever.⁣
The nightmare began when she was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night by hired professionals and dropped off deep in the woods of Appalachia. Living with no real shelter was only the beginning of her ordeal: she was strip-searched, force-fed, her name was changed to a number and every moment was a test of physical survival.⁣
After three brutal months, Elizabeth was transferred to a boarding school in Southern Virginia that in reality functioned more like a prison. Its curriculum revolved around a perverse form of group therapy where students were psychologically abused and humiliated. Finally, at seventeen, Elizabeth convinced them she was rehabilitated enough to “graduate” and was released.⁣
In this eye-opening and unflinching book, Elizabeth recalls the horrors she endured, the friends she lost to suicide and addiction, and–years later–how she was finally able to pick up the pieces of her life and reclaim her identity.”

I CAN’T HEAR YOU…I’M WEARING

HEADPHONES

I am not typically one to “drink the cool aid,” but I decided to take a sip of Taylor Swift’s latest album, and I am OBSESSED! I’ve had MIDNIGHTS playing in the background since it came out, and I LOVE IT. It’s fun, moody, has a bit of an edge, and works for me 100%. MAROON and YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN, KID, have been my favorites, but I adore all the songs. The best news is that she is going on tour again, and I hope to see her because she makes me feel oh so YOUNG again, and that’s a good thing!

NETFLIX & CHILL

I am in between shows, so my hubby and I are re-watching VEEP…a political comedy starring Julia Louise-Dreyfus. This is pee-in-your-pants-my-stomach-hurts-from-laughing kind of funny, and it’s perfect for unwinding at the end of the day. It is WILDLY inappropriate, so consider yourself forwarned. Click here to check it out.

WHAT THE HELL AM I MAKING THESE PEOPLE FOR DINNER TONIGHT?

My answer to that question is NOT MUCH! My enthusiasm for cooking this week was lower than low. I kept it simple by making a few go-to meals such as pot roast and burritos and added in a pizza night to keep things exciting. Tonight my plan is for the five of us to go out for dinner and catch up as a family—all in one place with no phones or places to escape. Now, I may not have executed an epic weeknight meal plan this week, but I did make fresh bread, and that is literally the GREATEST. Not only was it a cinch to make, but it made my house smell homey and like someone baked in it for hours. The best part of this bread is that it is delicious and only has FIVE INGREDIENTS! Because of this, I would advise using the beer you love and high-quality honey for this recipe. It will make a difference. Also, be sure to grease your pan EXTRA EXTRA. I did not, and the bread was hard to get out. I think I will use parchment paper next time. HERE IS THE RECIPE! Happy Baking!

I WRITE THE SONGS THAT MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD SING

Still no songs…sorry. As I mentioned earlier, this week didn’t “flow” well for me. Hiding away and reading is my number one way to re-center myself. But a close second is writing and creating. The past few weeks, I’ve spent some time with Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz and The Parent Compass by Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, MA & Jenn Curtis, MSW. I have always been very selective about what books I write about for my blog. Not only do I put my heart and soul into what I am writing, but also A LOT of time. These two books still linger in my mind and could not be any more different. Be sure to click the links above and read what I said.

MUST I PARENT THESE CHILDREN?

Click on the book pic to purchase!

YUP!!!!!! This is happening! For the love of GOD, I CAN NOT believe that I have entered this new-to-me arena of parenting. I just picked up this book from various parenting sites after reading about how wonderful it is. This is Fiske’s 39th Edition, so it’s safe to say it’s a good one. If you are beginning this process with your kiddo or will be in the next year or so, keep this book in mind. It has a 2-3 page write-up on almost every college in the United States. The information provided is the perfect combination of stats (acceptance rate, cost, financial aid, etc.), the primary focus of studies, student life, campus offerings, and more. I find this book easy to navigate, with digestible information that does not overwhelm me. It is also great for your college-bound kid to poke through. Because it is one “chunky monster,” it can be used as a doorstop once your teen gets into college!

FRIDAY I’M IN LOVE

Have you noticed an increase in junk mail lately? I am baffled at the waste whenever I grab the mail from our box. Junky advertisements, random papers, and piles of catalogs fill my poor mailbox to its breaking point. This, of course, does not include the essential pieces of mail, such as bills and cards—things I want to be able to find. As I thumbed through last night’s pile of crap, a few noteworthy catalogs caught my eye. Even though I’ve seen these stores and ordered from them occasionally, I usually don’t give them a second glance before sending them to the recycling bin. However, Halloween is officially behind us (PRAISE BE), and I am dreaming of the holiday season. So when I spied candy canes, ornaments, and whimsical garland on a glossy page out of the corner of my eye, my heart skipped a beat. I quickly nestled those magical-looking catalogs under my arm, grabbed a cozy glass of red, and beelined over to the couch. I flipped through every one of these catalogs reading through each description as if it was a holiday romance novel while allowing the sparkling images to occupy my mind. I sat cuddled on my couch dreaming about reindeer sheets and a poinsettia quilt draped on my bed, holiday lights dangling from every window, cozy fires created from perfectly stacked wood piles next to the fireplace (meanwhile, I have an electric fireplace), and Christmas trees decked out in various themes in EVERY room of my house (even the bathroom). Do I want to buy everything in these catalogs? YES! Will I buy anything from these catalogs? NO! Here is the thing— these catalogs provided me with 20 minutes of pure joy. And yes, after I finished swooning over the plaid blankets lined with faux fur and stockings hung with care on overdressed mantels, I delivered these bad boys straight to the recycling bin—but not without thanking them first!

#DEARBASICBUDDYREADS~NOVEMBER 2022

Stolen by Elizabeth Gilpin (Grand Central Publishing)

November 3, 2022

Dear Book Family,

I am so happy to announce our #DEARBASICBUDDYREADS NOVEMBER PICK. We will be reading Stolen, by Elizabeth Gilpin. There is no doubt in my mind that this memoir won’t spark the most intense conversations. Check out the WILD synopsis below and head on over to @dearmrhemingway on Instagram to join. If you want to watch Katie and I announce this pick LIVE, CLICK HERE. As always, this is a read at your own pace situation followed by a private Instagram chat at the end of the month. ⁣COME READ WITH US!

xoxo,⁣
Kelly


𝐒𝐘𝐍𝐎𝐏𝐒𝐈𝐒 ⁣
“At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever.⁣
The nightmare began when she was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night by hired professionals and dropped off deep in the woods of Appalachia. Living with no real shelter was only the beginning of her ordeal: she was strip-searched, force-fed, her name was changed to a number and every moment was a test of physical survival.⁣
After three brutal months, Elizabeth was transferred to a boarding school in Southern Virginia that in reality functioned more like a prison. Its curriculum revolved around a perverse form of group therapy where students were psychologically abused and humiliated. Finally, at seventeen, Elizabeth convinced them she was rehabilitated enough to “graduate” and was released.⁣
In this eye-opening and unflinching book, Elizabeth recalls the horrors she endured, the friends she lost to suicide and addiction, and–years later–how she was finally able to pick up the pieces of her life and reclaim her identity.”

Click on the book pic to purchase!

*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

Try A Little Tenderness

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz (Atria Books)

November 2, 2022

Happy Hump Day, Book Family!

Today I am sending a big shout-out to ATRIA BOOKS for sending me an ARC of Jacqueline Bublitz’s debut novel Before You Knew My Name. FIVE STAR READ all the way, and guess what????? It just came out, so be sure to grab yourself a copy after you read my rave!

Bublitz’s book is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in a long time. The gist of the story seems simple —Ruby, a thirty-six-year-old woman, discovers a young woman’s murdered body in a New York City park while out for a jog. Here is the truth— this is not just another story about a murder. Instead, it is a poignant tale that takes an extraordinary gaze into the fragility of life, death, and HOW and IF we remember those who have left us to a brutal hand. This story is unique because it is narrated beyond the grave. You heard me correctly. Alice Lee is telling the story from above. The first thing this book reminded me of was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Because I read Sebold’s book over 15 years ago, I will not even attempt to make comparisons. I am only mentioning it because it was a five-star read for me and narrated by a dead girl, which is an unusual way to tell a story.  

Before You Knew My Name gave me head-to-toe chills while breaking my heart one small crack at a time. This book is a THINKER. Bublitz plunges into what it means to be human through the eyes of a young, murdered woman. Are the remains of a woman’s gruesome body all that will define them? How can one snapshot of what they were wearing or what they didn’t tell us what kind of person they were? Is that it? Can one heinous swoop of life erase all that came before? What happens when no one claims a nameless body? How does one thrive after a brush with a ruthless crime? Why do women have to change THEIR behavior to remain safe in this world?

To say I highlighted the bejesus out of this book is an understatement. Bublitz explored the powerful connection between the living and the dead by melding together two woman’s stories. To write from the perspective of a spirit or a ghost, if you will, gave her prose an eerie touch and, quite frankly, left me speechless in the best possible way. I realize this may sound a bit over the top, but Alice’s voice offered me an intense feeling of floating above the pages. As I consumed this book, it was like I was a bird looking down into the dark shadows of the story. There is an ache to Alice’s voice that I can’t shake, and to get a glimpse into her world before her death and on the threshold of finding a sliver of happiness… Dented my soul.  

I can’t babble enough about how much I loved this book! Bublitz shined a bright light on an unfortunate and timeless tale of women’s safety in what can often be a cruel world. She draws attention to the nameless people swiftly taken from this life and those impacted by their inhumane departure. She looks deeply into the existence of memories and the human need to be loved.  She introduced me to Alice, Ruby, and Noah…Characters whose stories will linger in my mind for a long time.  

I will stop my rambling now. Run and get this book! The End!

Click on the book Pic to purchase!

xoxo,

Kelly

*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

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