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Fashion Scenes & Low Rise Jeans

Everybody (else) is perfect

Everybody (Else) is Perfect:  How I Survived Hypocrisy, Beauty, Clicks, and Likes by Gabrielle Korn (Atria Books)

“Under the guidance of 29-year-old Gabrielle Korn, an out lesbian who lives in Brooklyn with her musician girlfriend, Nylon has become one of the most politically-aware, racially diverse, LGBTQ-inclusive, and feminist-forward digital magazines out there since Korn was appointed editor-in-chief in September 2017 (the same time the outlet’s print edition folded).”

January 25, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Women!  You were a fan…I am quite sure of that.  We empower one another to live life to the fullest, love who we want to love, feel confident in our bodies and demand equality in our everyday lives.  But the bottom line is…are we ever 100% happy within our own skin?  How can we get to a place of peace and acceptance of our most wonderful selves, especially when we are promoting this to those around us?  Sometimes a deep dive into the roots of these issues is more telling than a one size fits all answer.  Gabrielle Korn, a digital media expert, former editor at Refinery29 and former editor-in-chief of Nylon shares in her new memoir, personal essays relating to this very issue. Her story is an eye-opening, contemporary account of how damaging the fashion and beauty industries have been (and still can be) to women.  Her writing is fresh and alive and pretty much blew me away.  I hope you will read her book and find wisdom and courage in her words.

I will admit right away that I have never read Nylon (I have seen it referenced in books and on the internet though) and until I read Korn’s memoir, I didn’t even know who she was.  I am telling you this because I loved her book and I loved getting to know her through her writing.  I am not sure how much of a difference it would have made if I had more knowledge of who Korn was and what Nylon was all about.  FYI…Nylon is an international lifestyle publication that focuses on emerging culture (beauty, fashion, music, entertainment, etc.).  Korn’s book is a compilation of essays about her time spent in her twenties working in the fashion/beauty industry and her fast rise to the top of the publication, Nylon.  Korn had a great education, a supportive family and plenty of friendships.  Despite these blessings, she found herself in a cycle of eating disorders and body dysmorphia that not only impacted her health and well being, but had an acute influence on her intimate relationships with women.  Society’s view of sexualality was and still is in constant flux, making Korn’s goal of bringing diversity to this area and to all shapes, sizes and races to the media a constant battle. Fashion Week in New York City was one of the biggest culprits of all.  Stick thin models with dress sizes measuring an xxxs, is not ideal for anyone.

Korn talked a lot about trending body parts and their continuous sway on our self-esteem.  First it was a flat as a pancake stomach, then it was an oversized booty, followed by big boobs or bust.  Let’s not forget the thin waif look or the “strong is healthy” body.  What body part was the focus was and still is ever changing.   Looking in the mirror became a confusing vision for Korn and one that she battled everyday.    

“Even before hashtags, women’s body parts have been going in and out of style for as long as there’s been style.  What’s meant by that, really, is that for the moment, people with a certain physical characteristic are privileged. “ 

With popular body parts comes fashion to highlight them.  From low rise jeans, to high rise leggings, to crop tops to the no makeup makeup look, there is always a trend lingering around tempting us to conform or shaming us because we don’t.  Korn takes us through her days of dressing and undressing in the clothes of our time that were supposed to inspire us to feel beautiful but also had the potential of making one feel empty and not good enough.  She does mention that what you wear still can be valued.  Fashion has changed through the decades and for example, women being able to wear pants was a huge deal.  It was a sign of strength and equality that should be celebrated.  With this comes a hefty side order of  sexism, mental health issues and a variety of eating disorders that keep us from reaching our full potential and most happy selves.  Korn shares how her own eating disorder came to be and her battle to overcome it in a world that was determined to defeat her with unobtainable bodies and beauty standards. 

Through her years in the instrustry, Korn called out the fashion world for promoting diversity and women empowerment, while at the same time, not adhering to their own standards.  

“For any real change to happen in the fashion industry, all of the editors and bloggers and influencers would have to agree to stop showing up for designers that aren’t making an active effort to improve diversity.  That would mean going to probably four or five shows as opposed to the nearly one hundred that happen during New York Fashion Week.”  

Gabrielle Korn’s memoir was a deep-seated read.  I was beguiled with how she shared her most private moments in her life in a way that felt like she was talking in confidence with a close friend.  As a forty something year old straight woman who has never worked in the fashion industry, I could still relate to so much of what she revealed.  I have lived through my fair share of fashion/body trends and unreachable beauty standards and of course…sexism at its finest.  I can’t say that it was all bad (excluding sexism…that is always never welcomed here), but looking back now I wonder if some of it was even worth it.   Some trends worked in my favor, while others had me scrambling or left feeling pretty low.  Through the decades, I have witnessed media, fashion, diets and beauty products make strides towards diversity and inclusion of all shapes, sizes and even genders…at least from my perspective as a consumer. But is society moving in the right direction to meet the needs of our diverse and beautiful world?  Hopefully.  Do I still feel like I am reaching for the stars sometimes?  Absolutely.  But my one take away from Korn is that there are so many outside factors that influence our lives and we can’t change everything, especially all at once.  What we can change though, is our reaction to the cultural influences around us and how we let it seep into our minds and relationships.  We do not have to be a slave to our image.  We can just be who we are and love ourselves, flaws and all.   2021 continues to be an uphill battle. But as the steepness slowly decreases, our strength is increasing. Our bodies are our vessels that carry us through life.  I am focussing more on loving my vessel than hating it.  How about you?  

Much love, health and happiness to you!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Wallace ❤️❤️❤️

Click on the book pic below to purchase this book. It comes out January 26, 2021 🥰🥰🥰

Kelly’s Top 10 Books Of 2020

January 4, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Happy New Year!  We made it to 2021!  Let‘s face it, 2020 was an absolute doozy!  I personally had a difficult time focusing on reading and was in a perpetual state of ruffled feathers.  This year, quality over quantity was the name of the game and I found myself way more picky with my book selections.  If a book didn’t reel me in from page one or work with whatever my current mood was on that day (or hour 😂😂), I tossed it.  Definitely a bit harsh for me, but I truly needed books that distracted me from my distractions and took me somewhere outside of my quarantined mind.  Here are my Top 10 Books Of 2020 in random order!  Whether I laughed out loud or was completely moved, each one of these books spoke to me in a unique way! Click on the book pictures for their full synopsis or to purchase from your local bookstore.   Here we go….

His & Hers by Alice Feeney (Flatiron) ~ This book was sooooo good! I could not put this down.  I listened to this on audio and the narration was incredible.  This was the ultimate suspense/thriller.  Click here to read my past review.

Admission by Julie Buxbaum (Delacorte Press) ~ Can you say,  juicy tale?  I really enjoyed this behind the scene look at what it takes to get into college and how far families will go to ensure their kids receive the creme de la creme education. Buxbaum explored issues of wealth, race, white privilege and more in her latest book. Though this is a work of fiction, it was inspired by the recent admission scandal this past year. I love how the teenager’s point of view is so prevalent in this story. Admission is an eye-opening read that will have you glued to your seat. It is the perfect book club pick. Discussions galore will come out of it.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle (The Dial Press) ~ This book was hands down, the equivalent to a perfect cup of tea!  I am a huge Glennon fan and her book was the breath of fresh air I needed this year.  Click here to read my past review.  

Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey (Crown Publishing) ~ Such a fun read.  Though Matthew’s life is most definitely different than mine, I strangely found comfort and could even relate to some of his words. I love how green lights, yellow lights, and even red lights are all opportunities to halt what you are doing or move ahead.  It is like the universe is talking to us.  Maybe some things do happen for a reason. Nevertheless, I got quite a few laughs from this charmer. Wait until you read about all of his “dreams”!!

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (William Morrow)~ Why all the fuss about this book???? In short, it is the story of a fifteen year old girl and her relationship with her 42 year old HIgh School teacher. It is a book that shines light on things that are strenuous to acknowledge. It is a book that is easier to just not read. It is a book that had my mind twisted every which way. It is a book that never left me, even when my reading time was through. It is a book that made me feel terribly uncomfortable yet completely captivated. It is a book that made my stomach turn and my mind wander. It is a book filled with power. It is a book that is so beautifully written, my heart ached. 

The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare (Dutton)~ I do not think this book has a star rating less than 5+.  Adunni absolutely stole my heart.  I rooted for her with all my heart and soul throughout her journey.  Dare’s book was powerful and complete perfection! If you have not read this yet, make it happen ASAP.  You will have no regrets.  

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)~  I am so glad I squeezed this book in before 2020 ended.  WOW……this was awesome! Robberies, car chases, drugs and family drama….this book was a 100 mph ride that kept my beating heart in business.  Cosby’s writing was colorful, sharp and seriously captivating.  Enjoy this high speed read!!

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez (Forever Publishing)~ Oh La La.  Sloan and Jason…need I say more.  This was the super fun and steamy read I needed this 2020. I loved Jimenez’s last book The Friend Zone, and her follow up was equally as fabulous!  Be prepared to swoon.  Consider yourself warned!

Master Class by Christina Dalcher (Berkley) ~ I am obsessed with this book. Dalcher’s contemporary dystopian tale incorporates contentious issues from the past and present into a fictional world where the unimaginable may not be far from the truth. This was a 5 star read for me.  Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood will be all over this one.  Click here for my past review.

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry (Simon &Schuster) ~ Take it from me, The Roxy Letters is the PERFECT book to slip in your bag when heading to the beach (or pool, or lake, or front porch).  With so many uncertainties in the world, why not escape for a few hours with some much needed laughter and a story that just makes you feel great.  I spent so much of my time reading this book giggling, while my cheeks turned uber pink.  With a heart of gold and a thirst for all things good, Roxy is one to root for. Click here for my past review.

Well my friend, that is a wrap!  Look out for all my bookish love coming your way this 2021.  Until next time…

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Click here to read my last post in December.  If you love a good domestic suspense novel, I have got you covered.  

How To Save A Life

The Beauty in Breaking Beauty shot

The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper (Riverhead Books)

The Beauty in Breaking Beauty shot

September 1, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Every time I read a memoir I say to myself, “ Kelly…..why don’t you do this more often?” I have always been fascinated by other people’s stories…. Sometimes it’s me being nosey 🤣🤣, but mostly I enjoy reading about someone else’s  journey and perspective on life.  Memoirs to me ignite empathy and understanding.  They often bring to the surface, unexplored feelings I never even knew I had. Whether I finish someone’s story feeling inspired, sad, horrified or utterly joyous, I am one step closer to understanding the human spirit. 

I recently read Dr. Michele Harper’s medical memoir, The Beauty in Breaking.  Dr. Harper is an African American, Harvard-educated ER doctor.  Mr. Hemingway… you could have easily swapped stories with this woman.  Like Dr. Harper,  I am sure you saw your share of emergencies while driving an ambulance for the American Red Cross in Italy during the first World War.  You even experienced your own traumas when you were hit with a mortar shell (I hear you even saved a piece of the shrapnel) and survived two consecutive plane crashes.  To say you cheated death a few times is an understatement.  From the war torn battlefields in the 1900s to the modern day ER battlefields, you and Dr. Harper could probably chit-chat all night long. I have digressed…once again. Lets get on with it.

In her memoir, Dr. Harper does a wonderful job weaving together her abusive childhood and past relationships with the wide variety of patients she has treated in the ER.   Her experience working as a physician in a hospital as a Black woman and the ethical boundaries that are pushed in such an intense setting was extremely eye opening.    Dr. Harper also brings to light the racism and sexism she experienced and witnessed in her career and reveals the flaws that exist in our healthcare systems today.  

What I truly loved about Dr. Harper’s memoir was how her encounters with patients helped her with understanding her own trauma and relationships.  At times,  I felt like I was in the middle of a Medical TV Drama. The intensity of waiting for your next patient to come crashing through the hospital door, to the painstakingly devastating outcomes that are often endured, Dr. Harper’s medical details are not for the faint hearted.  However, what her book offers that most medical dramas lack, is the human connection to her patients.  Day in and day out, Dr, Harper worked on healing her patients.  It was through this process of remedying and restoring health in others that she truly began to heal herself.   I love how she incorporates her yoga practice into her medical practice.  Like medicine, she believes that yoga too, needs to be practiced everyday for optimal gains. Through the patients she comes in contact with everyday and her selfcare journey, she taps into the value of truth and happiness.  Her writing is intellectual, thought provoking and filled with compassion. I am thrilled to have Dr. Harper’s book on my bookshelf.  

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. I not only enjoyed reading this book, but I also enjoyed the audio version as well. If you are an audio book enthusiast, check out Libro.fm for all your listening needs. Your purchases support your local bookstore of choice 🤗🤗🤗.

Click on the book pic to purchase.

Cover of The Beauty in Breaking

Girls…Run The World

Untamed and Fierce, Free, Fire Beauty Shot

Untamed by Glennon Doyle (The Dial Press) &
Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire:  The Guide To Being Glorious You by Jen Hatmaker (Thomas Nelson)

August 24, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I am coming at you today Mr. H. with a whole lot of girl power. I hope all your “masculinity” can handle it 😂. I am talking about the fabulous Glennon Doyle and Jen Hatmaker!  These two motivational ladies are the “QUEENS” of self love and all things good in the world.  They know how to navigate the murky waters of religion and sexual identity. With empathy, they champion those who struggle. They are “momming” hard with all the rest of us, sharing their triumphs and challenges with their kids every step of the way.  They believe in the power of relationships and the people around us. But most importantly, they want to live their most authentic lives.  Both women have the gift of connecting with their audience.  When I read their words or listen to them speak, it feels like I am in a room with one of my closest girlfriends. They are inspirational, compassionate, and downright hysterical. Let me move forward now and tell you about their latest books!

I have been following Glennon Doyle forever.  I have read her previous books, Carry on, Warrior:  The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, and Love Warrior:  A Memoir.  I have listened to many of her interviews and podcast appearances and basically feel like she could be my next-door neighbor.  In her latest book, Untamed, Glennon once again invites her readers into her life sharing intimate details of her family and her mission for equality and all things good in the world. She shares with us her divorce from her husband (and father to their three children) and her love story with her wife Abby (ummm…greatest woman soccer player ever….just saying).  She talks about the importance of knowing who you are and how the relationship you have with yourself is your foundation, your home base in the world.

What I love about Glennon is that she embraces the awkward questions revolving around sexual identity, politics, sobriety, parenting and more.  She understands that so many of us are trying to figure out the hard stuff.  Let’s face it, life can be messy at times.  It’s having the guts to ask edgy questions that bring clarity to oftentimes difficult issues that moves us closer to the truth.  Glennon welcomes these conversations and nourishes them with her heart and soul. She shows her readers how to take on the gritty issues…She firmly believes that “We Can Do Hard Things”. She is so right…We totally can do hard things.  I can do hard things and so can you.  I felt so well balanced after reading Untamed.  Such a much needed pick me up during these strange pandemic times.  I hope you enjoy Glennon’s book as much as I did.

Let’s move on to the lovely Jen Hatmaker.  So Jen is another powerhouse woman that I have also been following for many, many years.  I am a fan of her Podcast, For The Love and an even bigger fan of her personal journey as a woman of faith and a motivational speaker.  Here is the thing about Jen.  She does the work.  She doesn’t just talk, talk, talk.  She examines, explores and researches the tough topics.  She is not afraid to try new things and she embraces failure.  Her latest book, Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire has everything you need to know about owning your space and not having to justify to ANYONE who you are.  Jen encourages women to stop hiding, pretending or posing as someone else.  It is all just too exhausting.  Our one and only life is ours and we need to live it well and live it truthfully.  When we do that, guess what happens…we flourish.  One thing that is awesome about her book is that it is not preachy. Jen makes it very clear that even though our journey’s  may look similar, each of our endgames are different.

Jen is the best girlfriend to her readers.  She shares the importance of our friendships and “vibrant relationships” in our lives.  She shares her personal exploration with religion and God and all the hiccups along the way.  She shows her readers how to examine their own faith (if they want to…again, no pressure) and figure out what is right for them.  Jen speaks about her friendships and faith with absolute honesty. That is what makes her shine.

Jen is no stranger to the everyday challenges of being a woman. Weight issues, self-esteem, wrinkles, loneliness and raising kids…Jen dives right into these issues with experience and of course, a whole lot of humor. Her book inspires me to be the best version of myself.  While I continue to nourish my relationships with my friends and family, I will most importantly be taking care of my one true self.  That feels pretty incredible to me.  Enjoy this treasure during these unprecedented times.  

Well my friends, Glennon Doyle and Jen Hatmaker are two women that not only speak their truth, but are vibrant with fantastic wisdom that so many of us women can truly appreciate. There is something for everyone in their books. Whether all or even just parts of their writing resonate with you, I hope you embrace their positivity and love yourself.  

Until next time!

Your Biggest Fan!

Kelly

P.S.  I did a combination of reading both books and listening to them on audio.  I am not going to lie,  both authors narrate their respective books so it is almost like listening to a super long fabulous podcast.  I loved both books on audio.  Jen adds extra commentary and clips from relevant podcasts, which enhance your listening experience of her book.  If you are an audio lover, be sure to check out Libro.fm.  I am a huge fan.  Your purchases go directly to the local bookstore of your choice.  How cool is that?

Click on the Book Pics below to purchase.

“Ernest”Chitter Chatter

Ernest Chitter Chatter collage with Abdi Nor Iftin

The Dear Mr. Hemingway Book Discussion Group You All Have Been Waiting For…

 

July 10, 2020

Dear Lovely Readers,

I am excited to announce The Dear Mr. Hemingway Book Discussion Group….”Ernest” Chitter-Chatter With Kelly & Friends.  My goal is to connect all of my readers (and me too) with a wide variety of fabulous books and incredible authors.  Not only will you have the chance to discuss a monthly book with other book lovers from around the world, but you also will have the opportunity to connect with the author as well. All your burning questions can finally be answered by authors you know and love.  Not too shabby.

As of right now, there are two parts to this group.  You can choose to be in one or both parts.  Part one is a private group chat on instagram with our DMH community on a specific date about one of the monthly book choices.  The second part is a ZOOM with you, me and the author.  Talk about fun!!!!!

𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞-𝐮𝐩 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐥⁣:

𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎 (Still time to join for final conversation and ZOOM)⁣

𝘊𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘔𝘦 𝘈𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘯 by Abdi Nor Iftin⁣

Private Instagram Chat on July 9th & July 23rd⁣

ZOOM~End of July…TBA⁣

𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎⁣

𝘛𝘪𝘯𝘺 𝘐𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans⁣

Private Instagram Chat on August 20th⁣

ZOOM~ 7pm August 24th⁣

𝐒𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎⁣

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘪𝘰𝘯’𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘍𝘪𝘧𝘵𝘩 𝘈𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘶𝘦 by Fiona Davis⁣

Private Instagram Chat September 24th⁣

ZOOM~End of September TBA⁣

𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎⁣

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘞𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘞𝘩𝘰 𝘒𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘛𝘰𝘰 𝘔𝘶𝘤𝘩 by Michele Campbell⁣

Private Instagram Chat October 22nd⁣

ZOOM~End of October TBA⁣

𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐑𝐕𝐄 𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐒𝐏𝐎𝐓 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐎𝐍𝐄 𝐎𝐑 𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐄 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐒𝐄 𝐁𝐎𝐎𝐊 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐓𝐒

👇👇👇👇👇

dearmrhemingway@gmail.com⁣

or DM me on Instagram @dearmrhemingway

Look forward to chatting with all of you

Kelly

P.S.

There is still time to join in on our July book pick. It is an awesome read with so much to talk about! Join in the fun!

Click the book pics below to purchase

July Discussion Read

Ernest Chitter Chatter Collage with Call Me American with Abdi Nor Iftin

Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin

June 29, 2020

Hello Lovely Readers,

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their summer. Over here at Dear Mr. Hemingway, I am constantly developing new bookish ways we can all connect over our love of reading. This month, I am hosting a book discussion on an extraordinary memoir by Abdi Nor Iftin…Call me American. Abdi was born in Somalia and shares his story from living in war torn Mogadishu to becoming an American citizen. What’s even better, Abdi lives here in Maine very close to me 🤗!

For the month of July, The Dear Mr. Hemingway community will be reading Call Me American. On July 9th and July 23rd, I will be facilitating a private group discussion on this memoir over on Instagram. To participate, all you need is an instagram handle. It is super easy and really fun. BONUS……….At the end of July, I am hosting a ZOOM Session with Abdi with everyone who is in our book group (Date TBA).

Here is what you need to do to participate……

  1. If you have an Instagram account, simply DM me on there @dearmrhemingway, and I will add you to the group. You will automatically be alerted to the Zoom Session.
  2. If you do not have Instagram, but would like to join in on the Zoom Session with Abdi to ask all of your questions, please email me dearmrhemingway@gmail.com, writing BOOK DISCUSSION in the subject line. I will add you in.

Check out the Synopsis in the postscript!

I look forward to our discussion.

❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S.

Synopsis

“Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop and watching action films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. Eventually, though, Abdi was forced to flee to Kenya.In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why America still beckons to those looking to make a better life.”

Click On the book pic below to purchase!

Audio Books Worth Your Hours

Audiobooks Worth Your Hours collage

Part 2

Tales From An Audio Book Junkie

June 12, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I have written to you about my love of audiobooks before. In my days, they were actually referred to as “books on tape”. I still catch myself saying that from time to time…especially when my kids look at me like I am speaking a foreign language. Anyway, do you know how many times I have fallen asleep listening to your book, The Old Man and the Sea? Well, it feels like a thousand. As much as I adore that particular book of yours, it is my darling husband that plays it over and over again as he drifts off to sleep. Every now and then he throws on the audio version of your book, A Moveable Feast. I have no problem listening to that book over and over again. Falling asleep to your words from this story ensures my dreams will be filled with Parisian streets, salty oysters, and crisp white wine. Anyway, I digress. Today I am sharing some books that I found to be quite entertaining on audio. A little bit of romance, friendship, mystery, memoir, and time travel is coming your way today. Grab your headphones and hit play! Let the listening begin!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. If you are looking for a way to listen to your books while supporting ANY participating local bookstore, check out Libro.FM. Feel free you use my REFERRAL LINK to get your first month free. Any member can share their referral code. Click on the book pics below to take you directly to their info page.

Abby Jimenez’s book, The Friend Zone, came out last year, and I JUST recently listened to it. I am actually pumped that I was was fashionably late to this fabulous book party. This book was the perfect feel good, pick me up during this uncertain time. Not only did I get to spend the night in bed reading this warm and fuzzy tale, I acquired a new book boyfriend who goes by the name of Josh. Married or not, you can never have too many book boyfriends 😂😂😂. Also, if you end up liking this book, the sequel just came out. It’s called The Happily Ever Playlist.

9 hours 32 minutes

Hachette Audio

Forever Publishing

Synopsis:

“Kristen Peterson doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.”

⁣WOW! I’m embarrassed to say that I did not know who Mikel Jollett was or for that matter, who his band, The Airborne Toxic Event was. Well, after listening to his brand new memoir, Hollywood Park I have a pretty good sense of who this writer and musician is! Mikel Jollett narrates his profound journey from his early childhood In the 70’s to present day with an honesty that spares no details! From his early days living in a cult with his family to his unsettled adolescence and young adulthood, Jollett’s journey was rocky to say the very least. He effortlessly brings his readers into his world of family love, loyalty and survival by exploring the intimate most details from his relationship with his parents and older brother. His writing is stunning and his story is absolutely unforgettable. His emotional memoir will no doubt stir your soul and fill your heart with love. ⁣Bonus……Jollett narrates his audio book.

11 hours 44 minutes

Macmillan Audio

Celadon Books

Synopsis:

“So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults. Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother. But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

In his raw, poetic and powerful voice, Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol. Raised by a clinically depressed mother, tormented by his angry older brother, subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step-fathers and longing for contact with his father, a former heroin addict and ex-con, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician.”

The Guest List by Lucy Foley is absolutely wonderful on audio. Who wouldn’t want to attend a wedding with friends and family on a small Irish island? The privacy from the outside world, the weekend escape from everyday life, one big hurrah with friends and family to tide you over until someone else’s big day. Sounds like the perfect weekend. The narrators’ Irish accents and the icy cold ocean air will make you feel like you are actually on this Emerald Island. There is a creepy vibe while the bride and groom and all their guests get ready for the ceremony. Family drama and dark secrets from their pasts give this wedding day a very unsettling vibe. Throw in some blood and a dead body and you have one heck of celebration. Foley’s slow burn mystery is an atmospheric treat.

9 hours 53 minutes

Harper Audio

William Morrow

Synopsis:

“The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner  – The bridesmaid – The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?”

When I think about time travel, my mind instantly goes to The Magic Treehouse or Outlander. In Margarita Montimore’s new book, Oona Lockhart travels to a different time in her life every New Year’s Eve for one year. Can you even imagine revisiting yourself in the past or for that matter, meeting yourself in the future? If given the chance, would you alter your past knowing that in turn, it could change the future? Montimore offers her readers this, and so much more in her unique tale. Oona Out of Order definitely made me think. Between the pages of this compelling read are funny and light hearted moments coupled with self reflection and a giant splash of pop culture (80s and 90s anyone?). Do not think too deeply about the ins and outs of time travel. Simply enjoy Oona’s wild ride!

11 hours 30 minutes

Macmillan Audio

Flatiron Books

Synopsis:

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever-changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.”

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon is an all-star treat. Here is my favorite quote….“If sexy and adorable had a baby together, the result would be Daniel Collins.” SOLD! Farrah’s book is filled with sass, class, and a whole lot of smarts… did I mention Daniel Collins??? Women lifting each other up, staying true to yourself, and a tall, dark and handsome man lingering in the background….sign yourself up for this one. Such a perfect summertime listen.

9 hours 41 minutes

Forever

Hachette Audio

Synopsis:

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men and no dating.

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy Daniel Collins at work.What are the chances?But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Guest Writer~Fiona Davis

Author Edition

February 29, 2020

Dear lovely readers,

Today is another fabulous day on the blog. It is the fourth week of the Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writer~Author Edition series. I am so thrilled to tell you about today’s author, Fiona Davis. Let me first start off by saying that Fiona is the National Best Selling author of The Dollhouse (Dutton), The Address (Dutton), The Masterpiece (Dutton), and most recently, The Chelsea Girls (Dutton). Whether she takes you through Grand Central Terminal, the Chelsea Hotel, a famous New York residence, or the glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, New York City is the heartbeat of her stories. Her books are filled to the brim with vibrant characters, stunning time periods, and very satisfying storylines. With sprinkles of glamour, hints of mystery, and a dollop of dazzle, Fiona’s books will not disappoint you. Be on the lookout for her upcoming historical fiction novel staring the iconic New York Public Library. The Lion’s of Fifth Avenue (Dutton) hits book stores in July 2020 🤗🤗🤗.

Before you read what Fiona has written to Mr. H., I want to thank her for participating in this project. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that she took time out of her very busy schedule to contribute to this Blog. I personally enjoy getting to know my favorite authors and what books they enjoy when they are not writing their own. Who doesn’t love a great book recommendation from a magnificent author!!!!!!!

I hope you enjoy Fiona’s letter. It is a good one!

Happy Reading Friends,

Kelly

P.S. Did you know that before Fiona Davis began her writing career, she was an actress off-Broadway, in regional theaters, and on BROADWAY 😮😮😮!!! The cool factor here is pretty high.

________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

What if you learned as a child that you were descended from a long line of witches, and had powers to envision the future? That’s how Augusten Burroughs’s memoir begins when as a young boy on a school bus he experiences a dark premonition about his grandmother. He arrives home just as his mother is getting the news that the grandmother has been in a car accident (luckily, she recovers). Augusten has a gift, explains his mother, just as she does, and as did many of their ancestors.

But Toil & Trouble is more than a witching tale, it’s also a love story about the relationship between Augusten and his agent/husband Christopher, as they move out of the city and settle in an ancient house where Augusten is certain that the towering maple tree in the front yard is out to get him (he’s not wrong). It’s a beautiful story of two men maneuvering through sickness and health, all while raising a trio of oversized dogs and putting down roots in the community. It’s about Eddie – a handyman who is as personally offensive as he is good as his job – and who winds up unexpectedly becoming one of Augusten’s favorite people.

One of the reasons I connected so strongly with this book was that I’d recently made a similar purchase, and was struck by the ways a house becomes almost like another member of the family. My home also has its own special quirks and demands and every so often groans like the Dowager from Downton Abbey after she’s had too much sherry. Is it a ghost from its past life as a farmhouse? Or just normal settling? Either way, I’m not going anywhere.

Toil & Trouble reminded me to listen to my intuition and made me laugh out loud with Burroughs’s twisted turns of phrase. The ending is astonishing, wrapping up the themes and plotlines with breathless abandon. This memoir won’t disappoint.

Yours in spirit,

Fiona

P.S. To find out why I have such an affinity with buildings, check out my latest novel, The Chelsea Girls, which is set in New York’s iconic Chelsea Hotel.

Click here to purchase Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs

The Best Books of 2019!!!

Collage for Best Books of 2019

December 31, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Can you believe that today is the last day of 2019? The last day of this DECADE???? This year has turned out some tremendous reads. Today I am sharing my top nine reads of 2019. Whether I was excited, crying, horrified, or genuinely scared, these nine books delivered the feels!!!! My reading motto is and always will be READ WHAT YOU LOVE~LOVE WHAT YOU READ! If you follow this way of thinking…your reading life will be stellar! So without further ado…My top nine of 2019 (in no particular order)!

1. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (Doubleday)~This is the ultimate family drama/saga. It stole my heart ❤️❤️❤️!!

2. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (Gallery Books)~Smart homes, technology and keyholes officially terrify me 😱.

3. The Testaments by Margaret Attwood (Doubleday)~This book was absolutely BRILLIANT! Click here for my blog post!

4. The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves (St. Martin’s Press)~I ran out of tissues reading this love story. My heart melted…….is a good way!!! Click here to read my blog post.

5. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Celadon Books)~This book absolutely lived up to the hype. Clever, sharp and impossible to put down.

6. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)~ Whitehead does a fantastic job depicting the south in the early 1960s while getting his point across without overly graphic descriptions of the unimaginable.

7. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press)~ A poetic, thought provoking and stunning read.

8. Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison (Harlequin)~ An elite all girl boarding school, a murder and a couple of mean girls……..this was great!

9. If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (G. P. Putnam’s Sons)~. This South African story tugged at my heart strings. A truly beautiful story! Click here to read my blog post.

Well Mr. H…………..That is a wrap! Cheers to another decade of reading!!!!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Did you know that the most read book in the world is The Bible and according to PBS “The Great American Read”, Harper Lee’s To Kill a MockingBird is America’s most loved novel.

Whistle While You Work!

Maid book cover

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive By Stephanie Land

February 5, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Oh, how I love a good memoir, especially one that I can read in just one sitting. Maid, by Stephanie Land, will have you glued to your seat until the very last page. Land shares her experience as a single mom who lived in poverty while cleaning houses for a living. She is smart, hardworking, and determined to make ends meet for her and her daughter.  In her book, she poignantly recounts her daily struggles to thrive in impoverished conditions. Her story is one of survival. It is filled with truth, grit, and everything in between. I encourage readers to read her story and share it.  There is much conversation to be had.

Stephanie Land’s dream was to become a writer.  Her plans shifted when she discovered she was pregnant.  Despite the challenges she encountered with her baby’s father, Land was committed to having her baby and raising her on her own.   She documents her journey as a single mom living in homeless shelters and various government-supported housing. She works as a cleaning lady, while taking classes at night to get her bachelor’s degree.  Her work is long and grueling with low pay. Her only respite is when her daughter goes to her father’s house on some weekends. She relies on food stamps and other programs to keep her family afloat. Living penny to penny, she is trapped in a system that provides no incentives to make or save money.  She is stuck on the poverty wheel that just keeps spinning. By not working enough, Land can’t afford to live or qualify for assistance. By making even slightly more money, her childcare voucher and rent subsidy are threatened. Her life is a complete catch 22 with no way to break out.

Stephanie Land’s book is her personal account of what poverty looks like in America.   She debunks common stereotypes of people living in the lowest socioeconomic class. She makes it very clear that not all poor people are stupid, lazy, and living off the system for kicks and giggles.  Land gives her readers a taste of the social stigma felt as a recipient of social welfare programs. She makes visible how quick society was to judge how she spent her money and how she spent her time.  She shows you behind the scenes of being a cleaning lady and how often times she didn’t feel like she was a valued human being in her client’s homes, but instead, just a faceless nobody cleaning the unimaginable for such small pay.  Most importantly, Land invites readers into her emotional world of parenting alone under undesirable circumstances.

Stephanie Land’s book was a pleasure to read.  Her writing is simple and easy to follow. Her words flow smoothly, allowing the pages to practically turn themselves. Though this is her story and her story alone, it shines light on the frustration of living in poverty and the flaws in our welfare system.  I believe in hearing people’s stories. Passing judgment is easy. It’s truly listening to someone’s words that proves to be more difficult. The saying, “ Until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”, holds true with this story. I urge readers to read Maid by Stephanie Land.  I hope her story continues to build compassion and understanding in others.

Readers will most certainly have plenty to talk about.

Happy reading!  Until next time Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan!

Kelly

P.S.  Did you know people generally whistle when they are happy or when they are trying to get their mind off something they are doing that they do not want to be doing (i.e cleaning)?  Whistling is oddly a male dominated activity as well. Most whistlers do not even realize that they are often times producing sounds that are totally annoying to the people around them.  Lastly, the song, “Whistle While You Work” was written in 1937 for non other than the Disney movie…..The Seven Dwarfs.  I wonder if Stephanie Land can whistle????

Click here to buy Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive By Stephanie Land

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