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๐ŸŽ2022 HOLIDAY BOOKS & PAIRINGS๐ŸŽ

November 27, 2022

Dear Beautiful Book Family,

The 2022 Dear Mr. Hemingway Holiday Books & Pairings is HERE, and short and sweetโ€”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 thisโ€”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.ย 

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 hellโฃ. It’s a woman named Vincent and a man name Loupโฃ. Itโ€™s everything Parisโฃ and a teeny bit Irishโฃ. It’s swift love, deep-rooted loveโฃ, and an intoxicating affair. It’s altruistic yet considerateโฃ and alarmingly sexyโฃ. 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 todayโ€™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 Bublitzโ€™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!

Bublitzโ€™s book is one of the best debut novels Iโ€™ve read in a long time. The gist of the story seems simple โ€”Ruby, a thirty-six-year-old woman, discovers a young womanโ€™s murdered body in a New York City park while out for a jog. Here is the truthโ€” 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 Seboldโ€™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 womanโ€™s gruesome body all that will define them? How can one snapshot of what they were wearing or what they didnโ€™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 womanโ€™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 Aliceโ€™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 Aliceโ€™s voice that I canโ€™t shake, and to get a glimpse into her world before her death and on the threshold of finding a sliver of happinessโ€ฆ Dented my soul.  

I canโ€™t babble enough about how much I loved this book! Bublitz shined a bright light on an unfortunate and timeless tale of womenโ€™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 todayโ€™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!

All Things Bianca Marais

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โ€œThe strongest alliances you will ever have in your life will be with the women you choose as your family.โ€

August 23, 2022

Dear Book Family,

One of my favorite authors of all time has a new book out in the world today. Bianca Marais is back, and this time, she brilliantly meshes present-day themes of race, gender, womenโ€™s rights, and sexual identity with a spellbinding flair in her brand new magical tale, The Witches of Moonshyne Manor. It is time to hop on a souped-up Harley Davidsonstick and fly on over to Moonshyne Manor & Distillery to meet some of my new favorite characters who are not only fierce friends but WITCHES too.  Being described as The Golden Girls meets Practical Magical, Queenie, Ursula, Jezebel, Tabitha, Ivy, and Ruby are a force to be reckoned with.  Letโ€™s not forget about Widget and Persephone too.  These characters are MY PEOPLE!

So here is whatโ€™s brewing in the cauldron.  The witches are trying to save Moonshyne Manor & Distillery from a reckoning ball that threatens to end its existence. As they devise a plan to save their home, we get an inside look into what their lives are really like living as modern-day witches.  Now here is the fun stuff.  There are potions, rituals, and cocktails to keep things mystical.  But more importantly, there is FIGHTING THE PATRIARCH.  The witches are some badass feminists, so If you are hoping for some form of high-stakes heist or perhaps a magical wand or two all in the hands of some powerful women, you will be a delighted reader. 

To say I am obsessed with this book and these colorful characters is an understatement.  Marais writes friendship and aging with grace and humor that had me cackling like a witch. I was utterly blown away by the exquisite details of enchantresses at their finest and sorcery galore. The action-packed scenes that fill the pages are wild and sparkly and will have you on the edge of your broomstick, while the deep-rooted friendships will tug on your tender heartstrings.

The Witches of Moonshyne Mannor is everything I dreamed it would be. I genuinely want to be a witch and hang with this crew! Please make this book happen!

Be sure to check out ALL THINGS BIANCA MARAIS down below.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

xoxo,

Kelly

P.S. Be sure to check out ALL THINGS BIANCA MARAIS down below.

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Having been born and raised in South Africa, Marais writes about her home country with clarity and ease.  She skillfully sets the scene for her historical drama by cleverly intertwining her two main characters in a fashion that highlights the diverse languages and rich cultures of South Africa.  Maraisโ€™ book highlights the racial issues and injustices during the Apartheid era. She also looks deeper at Robinโ€™s significant loss and what grieving and coping skills look like for her living under these circumstances.  Marais paints a picture of a young girl fearful of losing the people around her and desperately seeking love and security during uncertain times. What I truly love about this book is how authentic these main characters are. There is no doubt that their point of view significantly contributes to the depth of this story. Where Robinโ€™s interpretations and narratives have a flare of childish innocence, and at times even humor, Beautyโ€™s account is overflowing with cutthroat determination and motherly love. Together they bring readers into a world where equality isnโ€™t in fashion, but family love always holds true.  I feel confident that readers will devour this glorious novel with great passion and loveโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ.just as I did.

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Maraisโ€™ story is set in South Africa post-Apartheid during the 1990s. With Nelson Mandela about to be elected and the AIDS epidemic rising, the backdrop of Maraisโ€™ novel is intense.  Her book follows three different characters in alternating chapters. Zodwa is a seventeen-year-old black girl living in poverty. Not only is she eight months pregnant and caring for her dying mother, but she also is carrying a very unsettling secret.  Ruth and Delilah are two estranged middle-aged sisters who reunite unexpectedly at their familyโ€™s old home. Delilah is a former nun whose past continues to haunt her. Ruth, in the process of a divorce, is trying to figure out her new life. While the sisters are sorting out the details of their family home and individual baggage, they are surprised one evening when a newborn black baby is left on their doorstep.  The story gradually unfolds with Marais delicately revealing how these three womenโ€™s lives are connected and eventually come together. She tackles many sensitive subjects, including corruption in the church, racism, AIDS, and homophobia, while shining light on the political atmosphere of South Africa at that time. Be prepared to have your heart strings pulled in all different directions while reading this book.  The characters will melt your heart and water your eyes. For a bonus, fans of Maraisโ€™ Hum If You Donโ€™t Know The Words will be surprised at the cameo appearances in her story. I hope you enjoy this read.  It is truly a beautiful story.

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Talk about FRESH! This time, Marais is not writing about South Africa, the Apartheid, or the Soweto Uprising.  Instead, she wowed me with a short story offered as an Audible Original. The Prynne Viper is a futuristic tale (yes, you heard me correctly) that left me thinking long and hard about the fate of humanity if left in the hands of some crazy predictive software. I was transfixed by this terrifying world, and the idea that mankind could be predetermined by a courtroom jury haunted me for days.  Donโ€™t let the length of this story fool you, though.  Maraisโ€™ magnificent storytelling, the entire cast of narrators, and an immensely satisfying ending all neatly fit into a unique two-hour listen. Maraisโ€™ ability to switch writing gears by seamlessly transitioning to a completely different genre was wicked impressive, and she will forever be an auto-buy author for me.

Click on the pic to check out this podcast!

Did you know Marais co-hosts an incredible podcast with โ€‹literary agents Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra from P.S. Literary Agency called The Shit No One Tells You About Writing? I listen to this weekly and look forward to all the writing topics explored. Character development, moving the plot forward, creating suspense, writing solid dialogue, and query letter critiques fill my ears with greatness. Marais’ guests are top-notch authors and professionals in the literary field, and I consider this podcast an excellent resource for new and experienced writers alike. I guarantee your writing will not only improve from listening to this but that you will learn a gazillion things along the way.

Click on the pic to read Bianc Marais’ letter to Mr. Hemingwy!

Did you know Bianca Marais was one of the first guest writers on Dear Mr. Hemingway? Be sure to read her letter above to the big guy. Not only does she share an incredible and diverse book, but she also has a few things to say to Hemingway that couldn’t be more on point. Can you say BADASS WOMAN??? Just like her witches!!!!

*Book links provided in todayโ€™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

*I received an advance copy of The Witches of Moonshyne Manor from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I donโ€™t like itโ€ฆI donโ€™t share it!

The 1950s & 1960s Housewives in Fiction

August 16, 2022

Dear Book Family,

Today I am incredibly psyched to share four books that depict women living in the 1950s & 1960s.  I will NEVER NOT be fascinated with this period in our history.  I adore being a wife and a mother, but I also enjoy my opinions and ways of doing things that most definitely do not match up with the era I bring to you today. Some women were complacent with their expected roles as wives and mothers. Others rebelled or suffered from undiagnosed mental illnesses.  My book selection shows the superficial glamour of these times for women and the limitations and repercussions of such an oppressive era.   Yes, women could vote, but they were still second to their male counterparts in everything elseโ€ฆexcept child rearing, vacuuming, and making dinner.  Enjoy these four splendid books and wicked remarkable and courageous leading ladies!  I sure did!

Happy Reading,

Kelly

Click on the pic to purchase!

Oh, my fabulousnessโ€ฆ.๐˜“๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜Š๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜บ by Bonnie Garmus is an absolute delight! It not only lived up to its incredible hype but exceeded all my expectations. โฃ โฃLeading lady Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in a manโ€™s world. She is more intelligent than most men in her field and will only bend so far to conform to her expected role as a woman in the 1960s. โฃGarmusโ€™ book is not only the perfect mix of clever & crisp but also delivers a witty & thought-provoking storyline. The cast of characters is perfection, and Elizabeth Zottโ€ฆan absolute trailblazer. Quite frankly, 2022 could use a splash or two of her grit and passion! โฃ

Synopsis:

โ€œChemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But itโ€™s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobelโ€“prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love withโ€”of all thingsโ€”her mind. True chemistry results. โฃ
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But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of Americaโ€™s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabethโ€™s unusual approach to cooking (โ€œcombine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chlorideโ€) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isnโ€™t just teaching women to cook. Sheโ€™s daring them to change the status quo. โ€œโฃ

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 I have been DAZZLED! On Gin Lane by Brooke Lea Foster is the quintessential summer read.  Glitzy characters in Southamptonโ€ฆYES PLEASE! Fosterโ€™s atmospheric tale centered around leading lady Everleigh (Lee) Farrows and her dishy fiance Roland.  Foster explores one of my FAVORITE periods as of late, the 1950s.  A handsome fiance, a trust fund in her name, and a glamorous life in Southampton are everything a woman could dream of during this period, but it’s simply not enough to quench Leeโ€™s thirst.  Leeโ€™s desires soar way beyond a suburban homemaker galore, and she refuses to be shaped by societyโ€™s expectations.

While I admired Fosterโ€™s exploration of Leeโ€™s advanced grit and desires during this time, I was pretty enamored by the buried secrets and family drama that not only propelled her story forward but had me turning the pages at a rapid pace.  And letโ€™s not forget the New York pizzazz and sun-soaked Southampton atmosphere that had me yearning for my high heels and a day at the beach.  Chefโ€™s Kiss!

Synopsis:

โ€œEverleigh โ€œLee,โ€ Farrows thinks she finally has life all figured out: a handsome fiancรฉ named Roland, a trust in her name, and a house in Bronxville waiting for her to fill it with three adorable children. That is, until Roland brings her out to the Hamptons for a summer that will change everything.

Most women could only dream of the engagement present Roland unexpectedly bestows on Leeโ€”a beachside hotel on the prized Gin Laneโ€”but Leeโ€™s delight is clouded by unpleasant memories of another hotel, the Plaza, where she grew up in the shadow of her motherโ€™s mental illness. Shaking off flashbacks, Lee resolves to dive into an unforgettable summer with poolside Bellinis, daily tennis matches, luncheons with her Manhattan circle, and her beloved camera in tow. But when tragedy strikes on the hotelโ€™s opening weekend, the cracks in Leeโ€™s picture-perfect future slowly begin to reveal themselves, and Lee must look deep within herself to determine if the life sheโ€™s always wanted will ever truly be enough.โ€

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The Lunar Housewife, my first book by the fabulous Caroline Woods, is set in the 1950s in NYC with leading lady Louise, trying to make her mark in the male-dominated literary world while being in a sparkly relationship with a publisher of a brand new magazine. Woodโ€™s book is a page-turning historical fiction novel that reads like a mystery. She nailed the periodโ€™s cold war vibes, stylish scenes, and depiction of women and their limited choices.  She braided into her historical mystery the CIAโ€™s use of American arts as propaganda with perfection and even had controversial writer Ernest Hemingway in a small supporting -role.  Louiseโ€™s interview and โ€œfriendshipโ€ with Ernest Hemingway were the cherry on top for me! Lastly, Woods cleverly incorporated Louiseโ€™s science fiction love story she was drafting in-between chapters.  It was wicked fun to draw parallels between the two different worlds with similar tales.   Please make this book happen.

Synopsis:

“New York City, 1953: Louise Leithauser’s star is on the rise. She’s filed some of the best pieces at her boyfriend Joe’s brand new literary magazine, Downtown (albeit under a male pseudonym), her relationship still makes her weak at the knees, and the science fiction romance she’s writing on the side, The Lunar Housewife, is going swimmingly. But when she overhears Joe and his business partner fighting about listening devices and death threats, Louise can’t help but investigate, and she quickly finds herself wading into dangerous waters. As Louise pieces together rumors, hunches, and clues, the picture begins to come together–Downtown‘s strings are being pulled by someone powerful, and that someone doesn’t want artists or writers criticizing Uncle Sam. Meanwhile, opportunities are falling in Louise’s lap that she’d have to be crazy to refuse, including an interview with America’s most famous living author, Ernest Hemingway. Can Louise stand by and let doors keep opening for her, while the establishment sells out and censors her fellow writers? As her suspicions and paranoia mount, Louise’s novel, The Lunar Housewife, changes shape, colored by her newfound knowledge. And when Louise is forced to consider her future sooner than she planned, she needs to decide whether she can trust Joe for the rest of her life.”

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๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜“๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜š๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ข ๐˜—. By Lee Kravetzย is one of the most magnificent debut novels I have read in a long time. I LOVED IT! This story is centered around Sylvia Plathโ€™s novel, ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜‰๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜‘๐˜ข๐˜ณ, and is told from the perspective of Estee (our present-day POV who discovers Plathโ€™s original manuscript for ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜‰๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜‘๐˜ข๐˜ณ), Dr. Ruth Barnhouse (a psychiatrist who treated Plath in the early 1950s at Mclean Hospital after a suicide attempt), and Boston Rhodes (a literary rival from the late1950s).โฃ
โฃ
I was captivated by how well Kravetz combined three time periods into a clever literary mystery while giving Plathโ€™s life-changing novel a HUGE nod. He showcased the 1950s from a womanโ€™s viewpoint that revealed the struggles of being a wife, mother, and writer in a โ€œmanโ€™s world.โ€ He offered an inside peek into the mind of Plath during some of her darkest hours. But most importantly, he blended the beautiful yet devastating life of Plath with a swirl of fiction in a way that celebrates this cherished writer in a highly satisfying manner. โฃ

Synopsis:

“A seductive literary mystery and mutigenerational story inspired by true events, The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. imaginatively brings into focus the period of promise and tragedy that marked the writing of Sylvia Plath’s modern classic The Bell Jar. Lee Kravetz uses a prismatic narrative formed from three distinct fictional perspectives to bring Plath to life–that of her psychiatrist, a rival poet, and years later, a curator of antiquities. 

Estee, a seasoned curator for a small Massachusetts auction house, makes an astonishing find: the original manuscript of Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, written by hand in her journals fifty-five years earlier. Vetting the document, Estee will discover she’s connected to Plath’s legacy in an unexpected way. 

Plath’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ruth Barnhouse, treats Plath during the dark days she spends at McLean Hospital following a suicide attempt, and eventually helps set the talented poet and writer on a path toward literary greatness. 

Poet Boston Rhodes, a malicious literary rival, pushes Plath to write about her experiences at McLean, tipping her into a fatal spiral of madness and ultimately forging her legacy. 

Like Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, and Theresa Anne Fowler’s Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. bridges fact and fiction to imagine the life of a revered writer. Suspenseful and beautifully written, Kravetz’s masterful literary novel is a hugely appealing read.”

*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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The WesternMost Bookstore in the United States

August 15, 2022

Dear Book Family,

I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the WESTERNMOST BOOKSTORE in the UNITED STATES last week. Talk Story Books @talk_story_bookstore nestled in the small town of Hanapepe on Kauai, was such a treat to experience. I absolutely REFUSED to leave the island until I checked it out! New books, old books, vintage books, used books, and then some fill this charming bookstore from head to toe. I could have wandered around for days in this magical place! 

If you visit the beautiful island of Kauaiโ€ฆ be sure to fit this gem into your plans.ย 

xoxo,
Kelly

P.S. Check out their website RIGHT HERE!

Cocktails & Book Tales With Ashley Winstead

July 28, 2022

Dear Fabulous Readers,

I am so excited to announce that I will be going LIVE on Instagram with author Ashley Winstead tonight at 8 pm EST. We will be discussing her new book, The Last Housewife, which comes out on August 16th, and a bunch of other fun things. I hope to see you all there. If you happen to miss it…It will be saved to my Instagram account and can be watched later. In the meantime, here is what I said about all three of her books.

Happy Reading!

Kelly

The Last Housewife (Sourcebooks Landmark)

Iโ€™m not going to lieโ€ฆ the potency of some of the scenes is mind-blowing and carries significant weight throughout the story. Survival and redemption ring true, but so does emotional and physical trauma. โฃ
โฃ
Winsteadโ€™s book was BANANASโ€ฆ in the BEST possible way. Hereโ€™s the scoopโ€ฆ Her writing is RAZOR-SHARP, and her attention to detail is veritable. She led me into a dark sadistic world filled with power and humiliation beyond anything my imagination could ever even try and muster up on its own. โฃ
โฃ
I loved how Winstead brilliantly weaved in themes from some of the foundational thinkers of our time. Rigorous thoughts and pieces of writing from Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, and good old Dante were no doubt examined and creatively incorporated into this psychosexual tale, and I was obsessed with every second of it! โฃ
โฃ
Because The Last Housewife is graphic in nature, it may not be a good-fit read for sensitive readers. Winstead offers trigger warnings for her story in the actualโฃ Book and on her website. Please DM me for specific content warnings if you are in need. โฃ

Synopsis:

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 deathโ€”delivered, of all ways, by her favorite true-crime podcast crusaderโ€”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 itโ€”both inside the cult and outside of itโ€”is justice even possible, and if so, how far will Shay go to get it?

Fool Me Once (Graydon House Books)

๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ ๐˜”๐˜ฆ ๐˜–๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆโ€ฆa ROMANTIC COMEDY Yes, you heard me correctly.ย  Winstead shifted from four-wheel driving up a steep hill in a blizzard to effortlessly cruising in a convertible down a long, windy country road.ย  What does this jumble of words mean, you ask?ย  It implies that ๐€๐ฌ๐ก๐ฅ๐ž๐ฒ ๐—ช๐ข๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐š๐ ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐ฉ๐ฌ.ย  ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ ๐˜”๐˜ฆ ๐˜–๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ is a ginormous departure from her other work, and it is literally โ€œswoon-worthy,โ€… a phrase that thriller readers may not be well-versed in. ย  ๐‹๐ž๐ž ๐’๐ญ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐ž๐ง ๐‹๐š๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐งโ€™๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š ๐ฌ๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ง๐-๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž, ๐ž๐ง๐ž๐ฆ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ-๐ญ๐จ-๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐š๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฅ๐š๐ญ๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ.ย  Heartbreak, trust issues, politics, green energy, and laugh-out-loud scenes line the pages of ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ ๐˜”๐˜ฆ ๐˜–๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ.ย  Let’s not forget the serious banter and chemistry between our two potential โ€œlove-birdsโ€ that left my cheeks on the rosy side.ย  With fantastic rhythm and a wicked fresh storyline, ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ ๐˜”๐˜ฆ ๐˜–๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ deserves a place on your shelf.โฃ

Synopsis:

โ€œLee Stone is a twenty-first-century woman: she kicks butt at her job as a communications director at a women-run electric car company (that’s better than Tesla, thank you), and after work she is “Stoner,” drinking guys under the table and never letting any of them get too comfortable in her bed…
That’s because Lee’s learned one big lesson: never trust love. Four major heartbreaks set her straight, from her father cheating on her mom all the way to Ben Laderman in grad school–who wasn’t actually cheating, but she could have sworn he was, so she reciprocated in kind.
Then Ben shows up five years later, working as a policy expert for the most liberal governor in Texas history, just as Lee is trying to get a clean energy bill rolling. Things get complicated–and competitive–as Lee and Ben are forced to work together. Tension builds just as old sparks reignite, fanning the flames for a romantic dustup the size of Texas.โ€

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife (Sourcebooks Landmark)

WOW! I could not put this thriller down to save my life. ย This oneย kept me guessing literally to the very end. My heart was racing, and my mind was bending with every page I read. ย All of the characters had significant issues, and I trusted no one. This book is dark academia at its finest! Can you say SPECTACULAR!ย 

Synopsis:

โ€œTen years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to her southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to seeโ€”confident, beautiful, indifferent. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelbyโ€™s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends sheโ€™d been closest to since freshman year.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heatherโ€™s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that nightโ€”and the yearsโ€™ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.โ€

Cape Cod Summers With Jennifer Weiner

July 25, 2022

Dear Summertime Loving Readers,

I am 100% in love with all of Jennifer Weinerโ€™s โ€œSummer Books.โ€ ๐˜‰๐˜ช๐˜จ ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ and ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ kept me company on the beach the past few years here in coastal Maine. AND this year, I happily devoured Weinerโ€™s latest, ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ  with my toes nestled deep into the warm sand. โฃToday I am happily sharing all three of her summer books with you, hoping you will enjoy them on a warm sunny day. At the end of the day, ๐ˆ ๐š๐ฆ ๐š ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐š๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐—ช๐ž๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ซโ€™๐ฌ ๐›๐ž๐š๐ฎ๐ญ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ก๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐จ๐ซ๐ž, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐š ๐ ๐จ๐จ๐ ๐จ๐ฅ๐ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐‚๐š๐ฉ๐ž!โฃ

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Jennifer Weiner wowed me again with another family drama. In her latest creation, a wedding is in the works for Ruby on the shores of Cape Cod, bringing her family together for this special day. What is a joyous wedding if it doesnโ€™t create tension, raise questions, and reveal past and present family secrets?โฃ

Weiner made me feel like I was vacationing in a small town on Cape Cod. I could hear the ocean waves, feel the mist of the sea air, and smell the hydrangea bushes in full bloom. Using her ideal backdrop, Weiner plopped me in the middle of a unique family drama. Secret pasts, blended families, and new discoveries keep this story floating without a cloud in the sky. ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ is told from multiple points of view, including one โ€œunusualโ€ voice that ties all of the individual storylines together. This book is one for your beach bag!

Synopsis:

โ€œWhen her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarahโ€™s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the familyโ€™s beach house in Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market.

But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. Ruby has always known exactly what she wants, but as the wedding date approaches, she finds herself grappling with the wounds left by the mother who walked out when she was a baby. Veronica ends up facing unexpected news, thanks to her meddling sister, and must revisit the choices she made long ago, when she was a bestselling novelist with a different life. Sarahโ€™s twin brother, Sam, is recovering from a terrible loss, and confronting big questions about who he isโ€”questions he hopes to resolve during his stay on the Cape. Sarahโ€™s husband, Eli, whoโ€™s been inexplicably distant during the pandemic, confronts the consequences of a long ago lapse from his typical good-guy behavior. And Sarah, frustrated by her husband, concerned about her stepdaughter, and worn out by challenges of life during quarantine, faces the alluring reappearance of someone from her past and a life that could have been.

When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.โ€

Click on the book pic to purchase!

So, about ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณโ€ฆAbsolutely phenomenal! I love how Weiner took on a complex subject matter with dignity and grace. The fallout from experiencing trauma comes in all shapes and sizes, and Weiner highlights the struggles of surviving sexual assault with an unexpected twist. This book did have a heavy subject matter, but Weiner’s beautiful writing made it easy to digest. The characters in ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ felt natural, and I was invested in their stories 100%. Weiner knows how to write female characters better than anyone and constantly hits on relevant topicsโ€ฆAnd letโ€™s face it, the Cape Cod atmosphere is ALWAYS on point!

Synopsis:

“Daisy Shoemaker canโ€™t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful, her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows sheโ€™s got it good. So why is she up all night?

While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, sheโ€™s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisyโ€™s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisyโ€™s making dinner, Dianaโ€™s making plans to reorganize corporations. Dianaโ€™s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisyโ€™s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?”

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Weinerโ€™s Big Summer did not disappoint. I enjoyed how her coming-of-age drama managed to capture contemporary themes of body shaming, social media, self-love, and forgiveness. Weiner blended these issues into her story in a way that allows readers to empathize with the different characters in the book and relate to them on a personal level.  I was pleasantly surprised halfway through her book when she switched gears and threw a mysterious twist into the mix.  A chick-lit and mystery combinedโ€ฆwho would have thought that this combo of genres would work so well?  Guess whatโ€ฆit absolutely did. Throw in an ocean breeze and a warm Cape Cod summer night, and I am a delighted reader.  Once again, Weinerโ€™s book had me glued to my couch, completely enthralled.  I hope you have the same experience.  

Synopsis:

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasnโ€™t spoken one word to Drue in all this timeโ€”she doesnโ€™t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social mediaโ€”so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everythingโ€”except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphneโ€™s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. Sheโ€™s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friendโ€™s siren song.

#DEARBASICBUDDYREADS JUNE SELECTION

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron Books)

May 23, 2022

Dear Reading Friends,

Katieย @basicbsguideย and I are so excited to announce our June Book Selectionโ€ฆ๐˜•๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐Ÿby Leigh Bardugo. I have been wanting to read this for SO LONG and my dreams are finally coming true ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. Does an Ivy League School, secret societies, dead bodies, and some dark magic sound good to you???? Sounds magnificent to me! Check out the synopsis below AND JOIN US! โฃ
โฃ๐Ÿ
This is a read at your own pace situation during the month of June followed by an EPIC private chat on Instagram with me, Katie, and the whole ๐ƒ๐„๐€๐‘๐๐€๐’๐ˆ๐‚๐๐”๐ƒ๐ƒ๐˜๐‘๐„๐€๐ƒ๐’ crew. The chat date will be announced shortly! DM me over at @dearmrhemingway to join. You need to have an Instagram account to participate.
โฃ๐Ÿ
๐€๐‹๐’๐Ž..If you need a push to read ๐˜•๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ, let me tell you thisโ€ฆ the sequel to this tale is called ๐˜๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜‰๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต and it comes out in January 2023. Join us and you will be ready to take on book two when it makes its way into the world ๐Ÿ˜!โฃ
โฃ
xoxo,โฃ
Kelly

โฃ๐Ÿ
๐’๐ฒ๐ง๐จ๐ฉ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ:โฃ
โ€œGalaxy โ€œAlexโ€ Stern is the most unlikely member of Yaleโ€™s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicides. Some might say sheโ€™s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the worldโ€™s most prestigious universities on a full ride. Whatโ€™s the catch, and why her?โฃ
โฃ
Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yaleโ€™s secret societies. Their eight windowless โ€œtombsโ€ are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Streetโ€™s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.โ€

Cleopatra’s Dagger & An Honest Lie

April 26, 2022

Hello Gorgeous Readers!

Today I am sharing two books that couldn’t be more different from one another. On tap is a psychological thriller that will knock your socks off and a slow-burn historical mystery with a few dead bodies floating around. Let’s take a peek at these spring 2022 releases, shall we?

Cleopatraโ€™s Dagger by Carole Lawrence (Thomas  & Mercer)

Cleopatraโ€™s Dagger was a delight to read.  Lawrence immediately transported me to New York City circa 1880.  Her writing is rich in detail and showcases a feminist journalist way ahead of her time. A serial killer, mysterious dead bodies, and an Egyptian flair fill the pages of this book. I went into this novel anticipating gruesome details and an unsettling storyline; however, I found her writing more intriguing than disturbing.  There were twists along the way that kept me guessing and a โ€œwhodunnit vibeโ€ present throughout the book.  I believe that historical fiction and mystery lovers will equally enjoy this slow-burn historical mystery.

Synopsis:

“New York, 1880. Elizabeth van den Broek is the only female reporter at the Herald, the city’s most popular newspaper. Then she and her bohemian friend Carlotta Ackerman find a woman’s body wrapped like a mummy in a freshly dug hole in Central Park–the intended site of an obelisk called Cleopatra’s Needle. The macabre discovery takes Elizabeth away from the society pages to follow an investigation into New York City’s darkest shadows.

When more bodies turn up, each tied to Egyptian lore, Elizabeth is onto a headline-making scoop more sinister than she could have imagined. Her reporting has readers spellbound, and each new clue implicates New York’s richest and most powerful citizens. And a serial killer is watching every headline.

Now a madman with an indecipherable motive is coming after Elizabeth and everyone she loves. She wants a good story? She may have to die to get it.โ€

An Honest Lie by Tarryn Fisher (Graydon House)

An Honest Lie is my second Tarryn Fisher book, and what can I sayโ€ฆI am a fan.  This novel is a story of survival, redemption, and everything in-between. It is written in two different timelines with a horrific cult as the backdrop. I adored the complexity of Fisherโ€™s characters and was captivated by each messy layer that was slowly unpeeled. I was pulled in many directions, which kept me briskly turning the pages to see what happened next.  One minute I was lingering in sadness, and the next minute I felt like I was on an over-the-top roller coaster ride. Most importantly, though, Fisher kept me wildly entertained while I basked in the sun poolside over spring break.

Synopsis:

โ€œLorraine–“Rainy”–lives at the top of Tiger Mountain. Remote, moody, cloistered in pine trees and fog, it’s a sanctuary, a new life. She can hide from the disturbing past she wants to forget.

If she’s allowed to.

When Rainy reluctantly agrees to a girls’ weekend in Vegas, she’s prepared for an exhausting parade of shots and slot machines. But after a wild night, her friend Braithe doesn’t come back to the hotel room.

And then Rainy gets the text message, sent from Braithe’s phone: someone has her. But Rainy is who they really want, and Rainy knows why.

What follows is a twisted, shocking journey on the knife-edge of life and death. If she wants to save Braithe–and herself–the only way is to step back into the past.โ€

Happy Reading my friends!

xoxo,

Kelly

Click on the book pic to purchase.
Click on the book pic to purchase.

May #DEARBASICBUDDYREADS SELECTION

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak (Little, Brown & Company)

April 25, 2022

Hello Beautiful Readers,

The month of May is just around the corner, and Katieย @basicbsguideย and I have selected ๐˜•๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜—๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ by Anna Pitoniak for our next Buddy Read! โฃ
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Itโ€™s time to dive into something with chills, drama, ambition, and intensity and we anticipate Pitoniakโ€™s 2019 book will deliver.โฃ
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As always, this is is read at your own pace situation with a killer private chat at the end of May!โฃ
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DM me over on Instagram to join in the madness!โฃ
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xoxo,โฃ
Kellyโฃ
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๐’๐ฒ๐ง๐จ๐ฉ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ:โฃ
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โ€œ๐€ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž, “๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐ ” ๐ง๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ฅ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ฉ๐ฌ (๐‹๐ž๐ž ๐‚๐ก๐ข๐ฅ๐), ๐๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐๐ž๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐›๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฆ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š๐ฆ๐›๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง, ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฒ๐š๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฒ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž. โฃ
๐Ž๐ง๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ. ๐Ž๐ง๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐ฐ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ. ๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐œ๐š๐ง’๐ญ ๐›๐จ๐ญ๐ก ๐ฐ๐ข๐ง.โฃ
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Stella and Violet are best friends, and from the moment they met in college, they knew their roles. Beautiful, privileged, and reckless Stella lives in the spotlight. Hardworking, laser-focused Violet stays behind the scenes, always ready to clean up the mess that Stella inevitably leaves in her wake.โฃ


After graduation, Violet moves to New York and lands a job in cable news, where she works her way up from intern to assistant to producer, and to a life where she’s finally free from Stella’s shadow. In this fast-paced world, Violet thrives, and her ambitions grow — but everything is jeopardized when Stella, envious of Violet’s new life, uses her connections, beauty, and charisma to get hired at the same network. Stella soon moves in front of the camera, becoming the public face of the stories that Violet has worked tirelessly to produce — and taking all the credit. โฃ


Stella might be the one with the rich family and the right friends, but Violet isn’t giving up so easily. As she and Stella strive for success, each reveals just how far she’ll go to get what she wants — even if it means destroying the other person along the way.โ€

Click on the book pic to purchase.

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