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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,


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

All Aboard

Confessions On The 7:45

Confessions On The 7:45 by Lisa Unger (Park Row Books)

December 14, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Have you ever wanted to vent your inner most thoughts to a complete stranger?  Marital problems (sorry, I know you had a few), work issues, family, etc.  I mean, it’s kind of like unloading the contents of your brain onto a therapist, except free of charge.  And let’s face it, some people just have that “I will listen to you free of judgement, please come talk to me” kind of look.  Am I right?  I would imagine that most random conversations with strangers are harmless and simply part of being human.  But what if you were unaware that a stranger you just chatted up a storm with knows EVERYTHING about you?   Hmmmmmm!  I do believe we have a story here.  Confessions On The 7:45 by Lisa Unger begins with a nanny-cam gone wild, a train ride home from work, and all the dirty little secrets that were shared.  Lets see what happens when the train pulls into the station, shall we.  

“But when she did miss the train that night-she didn’t even bother trying to get to the station-it created a space that hadn’t been there before.  Just a little over two hours between the 5:40, which she normally took, and the 7:45, which she intended to catch after finishing up a few things at the office.  In that gap, she could feel herself expand.  She wasn’t working.  She wasn’t mothering.  She just was.  She could think.  And truth be told, Selena did have some things she needed to think about.  These things were a white noise in the back of her mind.”

Selina’s day doesn’t exactly end on a high note.  After she misses her train home from work, she kills some time at the office until the next train arrives.  As she scrolls around her computer, she decides to check out the nanny cameras in her house, including the one she secretly moved to her boys’ playroom.   When she turns it on she is greeted with live footage of her husband all up “and in” I might add, the nanny’s business.  Can Selina’s day get any worse?  Cheating is nothing new for her.  She has fallen victim to her husband’s indiscretions once before, but this time….it really hits a nerve.  She makes her 7:45 train and begins talking with a woman named Martha sitting next to her.  Martha senses Selina’s bad day and the two begin to talk.  It was effortless sharing with one another.  Martha revealed that she was having an affair with her boss, while Selina hinted at her husband’s infidelities.  The ladies part ways after they arrive at their respective destinations and Selina heads home to her beloved sons and pig of a husband.  The next morning though, Selina’s nanny doesn’t show up for work.  She is eventually reported missing and presumed murdered.  Did her husband kill the nanny?  Do the police know about the nanny cameras?  And why does Martha suddenly call to hang out when they never even exchanged phone numbers???  EEK….I wish I could tell you more, but the rest is up to you to discover.

Confessions On The 7:45 was filled with instant drama. Once Selina missed her train and the nanny-cam started rolling, I was in!! Unger’s book is filled with incredibly flawed characters with hidden pasts and secrets oozing out of their pores.  The pacing was perfect, the plot was well developed and the suspense was on point. The storylines hop around a bit in the book, but Unger did a fantastic job knitting it all together.  Cheating husbands with a dash of mysterious strangers and a splash of deception make a toxic cocktail.  Throw in a few dead bodies, a couple of con artists and twists to catch you off guard, and Confessions On The 7:45 is your next stiff drink.  Bottoms up!

I hope you enjoy this thrilling ride…choo choo!!!!

Until Next time!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. Lisa Unger is the author of 19 books and counting.  Be sure to check her out RIGHT HERE!

Click on the book pic below to purchase.

The Jury Has Spoken

Savage Row by Britney King

Savage Row by Britney King

December 3, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Can you believe that it is ALREADY December? Between work, inconsistent school schedules for the kids, holiday shopping and the pandemic we are STILL IN, finding time to read can be a real struggle.  There is nothing worse than starting a book and only being able to read a page or two each night before sleep robs you of your last quiet moments of the day.  Today my friend, I have a book that will make it impossible to fall asleep after just a few pages.  This book has built in momentum, pages that practically turn themselves and a riveting storyline with an ending to please.  Britney King’s latest psychological thriller, Savage Row, is out now!  It’s time for your bedtime story!

“I remembered how he had looked from the jury box, like a cornered animal.  Vicious, glowering, savage.  And powerful.  The way he’d scan the courtroom, challenging anyone who dared meet his eye.  The way he looked at people was unnerving, as though it would be his greatest privilege to snuff them out, to annihilate them.”

Many years ago, Amy Stone was a juror on Jack Mooney’s trial (an undomesticated criminal), putting him behind bars for a very long time.  At the end of the trial, Amy went on with life with her husband Greg, their two daughters and working as a realtor.  Life was normal (ok, somewhat normal) until one day Mooney showed up at one of Amy’s house showings.  Mooney was released from jail after a decade of prison life and is seeking revenge on Amy for being one of the people in favor of his imprisonment.  After they reunite briefly, Mooney begins stalking Amy and her family.  Because he wasn’t doing anything obvious, the police were of no assistance.   As the stalkings increased and became more dangerous to her family, Amy and her husband took matters into their own hands to keep their family safe and get rid of Mooney once and for all.  Things get more complicated than they realize and unpleasant things begin to happen. Will they be able to keep their family safe and get rid of Mooney once and for all?  This my friend, is probably every juror’s worst nightmare…am I right?

So here is the scoop.  Savage Row is the ultimate page turning psychological thriller.  Your nights of falling asleep while reading end here. King is the queen of putting the pedal to the medal and hooking her readers in from the start. Her characters once again are complex and made me question everything about them (can you say trust issues?).  There was a touch of something devilish in each and every one of them that added to the suspense of the story.  King served me a plethora of twists, turns and mind messing characters all on a gorgeous silver platter.   I will say that I found Savage Row to be less graphic than some of her previous books.  This did not compromise the story one bit and is merely a side note for those who have read some of her previous work.  At the end of the day though, I am an ending girl. Guess what?????  King nailed it.

Happy Reading!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  Be sure to check out Britney King and all of her work by clicking here.

Click on the book pic below to purchase!

“Ernest” Chitter-Chatter

Ernest Chitter Chatter Graphic October 2020

October 2020 Book Discussion

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell (St. Martin’s Press)

October 1, 2020

Dear Book Friends!

Can you believe that it is OCTOBER??? Wow…fall is in full force, that’s for sure. In my opinion, the best way to kick off October is to read a thriller. This month’s “Ernest” Chitter-Chatter book pick is The Wife Who Knew Too Much by bestselling author, Michele Campbell.

There are two ways to join in. The first is to participate in a private instagram chat (spoilers and all) with me and the book group after reading the book. The second option is to read the book, then join in on an EXCLUSIVE ZOOM with me and Michele Campbell! You can also participate in both options. Check out the details below….

Please Email me at or message me on Instagram @Dearmrhemingway to reserve your spot.

October 21, 2020~Instagram Rolling Private Chat

October 22, 2020 7pm EST Zoom with me, Michele Campbell and YOU!

Book Synopsis:

“Meet the first Mrs. Ford⁣

Beautiful. Accomplished.⁣

Wealthy beyond imagination.⁣

Married to a much younger man.⁣

And now, she’s dead.⁣

Meet the second Mrs. Ford.⁣

Waitress. Small-town girl.⁣

Married to a man she never forgot,⁣

From a summer romance ten years before.⁣

And now, she’s wealthy beyond imagination.⁣

Who is Connor Ford?⁣

Two women loved him. And knew him as only wives can know.⁣

Set amongst the glittering mansions of the Hamptons,⁣

The Wife Who Knew Too Much is a decadent summer thriller about the lives of those who will do anything for love and money. Who is the victim? Who is the villain? And who will be next to die?”⁣

Happy Reading Everyone!!!

I can’t wait to chit-chat!




Click on the book pic below to purchase!

The Wife Who Knew Too Much

You Thrill Me Right Round Baby

In Case of Emergency and His and Hers Beauty Shot

In Case Of Emergency by E.G. Scott (Dutton)

His & Hers by Alice Feeney (Flatiron Books)


August 12, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Today I am writing to you about two books that literally thrilled me to death. Suspense and crime fiction have really added some zest to my summer days.  I’m not going to lie though, you weren’t exactly Mr. Thriller back in the day.  As you are aware from previous letters, I will always rely on your simple, yet zealous writing.  But once again, I am leaving the thrills and chills to a few others.  Let me introduce you to E.G. Scott and Alice Feeney.  Even though these authors are relatively new to me as a reader, they have won me over with their recent books.  I believe you would have enjoyed these two authors’ company (ok…technically there are three. See my postscript for the explanation).  I can imagine you and E.G. Scott discussing writing techniques and the ever changing publishing industry, while you and Alice Feeney swap stories of your shared experiences as journalists. I am sure your conversations would be accompanied by some sort of fabulous drink.  Perhaps a stiff, no nonsense alcoholic bevy or even a frothy cappuccino would do the trick.  Anyway, I digress.  Here is the scoop on today’s post. Feeney and Scott know how to write stories that bring on the goosebumps.  I am talking heart pounding, quick shivers of mind bending crazy that run through your veins kind of writing.  Let’s check out their latest creations. 

First up, we have E.G. Scott’s, In Case of Emergency.  When thirty something Charlotte’s career as a neurosurgeon abruptly ends, she takes on the world of acupuncture and holistic healing.  Here is Charlotte in a nutshell.  She is a member of an online support group for trauma survivors, she struggles to keep her new business afloat, and she believes her mysterious and secretive boyfriend, Peter, has gone missing.  To add a shake of salt to her already open wounds, she is called in to help identify a dead (presumably murdered) woman in town.  The crazy thing is, Charlotte has no idea who this woman is or why this “Jane-Doe” had Charlotte down as her “in case of emergency” contact.  Here is where all of the questions come in.  Why on earth is Charlotte being questioned by the police, who IS this mysterious dead woman, and where the hell is Peter?  Throw in Charlotte’s ex-junkie best friend/co-worker, an officer and a gentleman, and a whole lot of acupuncture needles going every which way, and this book is crazy good!  Scott’s fast paced story will have you effortlessly dipping in and out of chapters until the very end.  Enjoy this summer treat!  

Next up is His & Hers by Alice Fenney.  This book is ridiculously incredible on audio.  I repeat, this book is ridiculously incredible on audio. So, I guess the saying goes…there are two sides to every story, right?  Well… in Alice Feeney’s latest thriller, there may be yet another side.  The story starts with Anna Andrews, a temporary TV Presenter on BBC (filling in for Cat Jones on a never ending maternity leave).  When her dreamy presenter job is jeopardized, she is asked to cover a murder in Blackdown, Surrey.  It turns out that the woman murdered was a childhood friend of hers.  Anna’s ex-husband, Jack Harper, is a detective at the scene of the murder and may be a suspect in this horrid crime.  Shortly after this woman’s body is discovered, a string of murders occur nearby, thickening the plot of this already juicy mystery.  His & Hers is told from alternating POVs… Anna and Jack’s. Feeney’s story moves quickly and is gushing with unimaginable twists and turns.  She meticulously exposes her characters’ pasts and closely guarded secrets every step of the way.  I mentioned two sides of every story, but sometimes…there is a possible third 😯!  Feeney offers up the POV of the “killer” for an extra layer of creepy.  Be prepared to be sucked into this very dark read from page one.  Fans of true crime stories who just adore the craftiness of a well mannered serial killer will drool over this book!  Enjoy your pounding pulse everyone! 

That is a wrap my friend!  

Until next time!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  Did you know that E.G. Scott is the pseudonym for two writers…Elizabeth Keenan and Greg Wands. These two authors have been friends for over 20 years.  How fun is that?  Also, rumor has it that His & Hers was picked up for TV…WOW! I know I will be watching. 

Click on the book pics below to purchase!


Buzz Go The Murder Hornets

The Book Doctor Beauty Shot

The Book Doctor by Britney King

June 19, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

As much as I love your writing and getting lost in your words, I sometimes crave a thrill that you simply can’t deliver (no offense). The breathless feeling from dangling off the top of some absurdly wild amusement park ride. The feeling of my heart literally pounding out of my chest.  My mind playing tricks on me.  You get the idea, right?  Not to worry though.  While you are my go-to for simpler prose and a straightforward story, Britney King is my go-to for evocative writing and suspenseful storylines.  Her latest book, The Book Doctor, is a menacing read filled with unsettling vibes (not for the faint of heart) that supplied me with a book rush I so needed. The best part is, I enjoyed it from the comfort of my Adirondack chair.  Let’s get to it.

“Stories are everywhere just waiting to be found.  And finally, living is making peace with the fact that you are very likely going to be the villain in someone else’s story, even if you believed you were doing the right things.”

With so many psychological thrillers, a clear and concise synopsis is often hard to do without compromising the story.  I will share with you the basics, but please know…The Book Doctor encompasses depth and layers that go beyond the scope of any summary.  George, once a famous writer, is trying to make the ultimate comeback with one more book.  His publisher sends over a young gentleman apprentice named Liam to help him with his writing.  George is on to him immediately.  There is something more to this young, good looking and ambitious man than just helping out with some storylines.  Is it possible that he is actually committing disturbing crimes all for the sake of good writing?  With mainstream success lingering in the background, can George ignore his instincts in order to finish a soon to be best seller?   

Buckle up…King’s new book is a dark and creepy ride with twists and turns every step of the way.  I was mesmerized by her unrestrained plot, graphic imagery and warped characters. Full disclosure…King’s book has vivid scenes of death and murder.  She showcases deranged thoughts that will give even the squeamish-free reader the chills.  Fans of the hit show Dexter, will be in heaven with this book.   If you are looking for a distraction, King’s book will fulfill your wish.  The only thing you will need to worry about when reading The Book Doctor, is how fast you can turn the page.  One thing is for sure…..this mind gripping tale was the perfect binge worthy read.  Pair this psychological thriller with a glass of something fabulous, and you’ll have one hell of a night!  

Until next time my dear friend!

Your Biggest Fan


P.S. Thank you to the lovely Britney King for sharing with me her new book to read in exchange for my honest opinion. What can I say…I am a huge fan.

Be sure to check out her WEBSITE for all of her books, blog and future works.

Click on the book pic below to purchase!

Row~Row~Row Your Boat

Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle (Park Row Books)

May 26, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Who doesn’t love a warm summer day at the lake? Swimming, fishing, and boating on these glassy waters make for the perfect afternoon. I know you have spent your fair share of time on a lake. Your honeymoon with Hadley on Lake Walloon in Michigan (sorry the weather was crappy for you guys), and let’s not forget your 10 days on Lake Maggiore in Italy while on medical leave during the first World War. Let me ask you this though…did you ever see a dead woman floating in one of those lakes while you were relaxing onshore or boating around?  Well, in Kimberly Belle’s latest book, Stranger in the Lake, there is more than one dead woman floating around Lake Crosby, NC.  Sometimes a beautiful lake is nothing more than a bottomless body of murky water where secrets lie buried.  Let’s dive in!

Charlotte and Paul are newly married and live in his gorgeous NC lakeside house.  Charlotte was born and raised in a trailer park, while Paul lived a charmed life.  Their small lakeside town loves to gossip about their relationship…Paul’s wealth and Charlotte’s lack thereof.  One evening, Charlotte walked down to their dock to get something off the boat.  She peers over the side of the boat and discovers a dead woman floating in the water face down. Terrified, she quickly calls the police and her husband.  Coincidentally, Paul’s late wife was found dead and floating in the exact same spot years ago. When the police questioned Paul whether he knew the deceased, he lied and told them he had never seen her before.  Charlotte becomes suspicious considering she spotted her husband talking to this strange woman in town the previous day.  Charlotte even went as far as introducing herself as Paul’s wife before they parted ways.  Why did Paul lie to the police and have Charlotte lie as well?  What is he trying to hide? As Charlotte tries to piece together the evidence of the dead women found in front of their house, she grapples with the authenticity of her relationship with her husband. As the past begins to surface, everyone becomes a suspect.

Small town drama and a slow burn murder mystery is what’s on tap in Kimberly Belle’s latest creation.  Icy cold lake water, a blanket of fog and a mansion set on a hill make this story an atmospheric treat.  In a town where everyone knows everyone, secrets are abundant and lying is a way of life.  Belle’s latest book grabs you from page one and keeps you reading until the very end.  With twists and turns along the way and a surprise ending, this gripping tale is the perfect escape.  Enjoy your time on the lake!

Happy Reading and Happy Swimming!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. Stranger in the Lake comes out June 9, 2020. Click on the book pic below to pre-order from your local Indie Book Store.

Murders & Mysteries & Madness…Oh My

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson (William Morrow)

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs (Thomas & Mercer)

May 12, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

MURDER! Is it madness, or maybe, just maybe, a curated act that offers on a silver platter, a mystery to be solved? Today I am talking about Peter Swanson’s latest book, Eight Perfect Murders, and John Marrs’ new book, What Lies Between Us. While Swanson’s book pays tribute to eight brilliant fictional murder mystery novels, Marrs’ book takes a deep dive into a strained (ok…demented) mother-daughter relationship…murder included! Though they are two completely different reads, they both invite you on a rollercoaster of a ride that will surely make your heart skip a beat. Beware…sharp and twisty turns ahead!

Let’s start with Eight Perfect Murders. According to Swanson’s protagonist, Malcolm Kershaw, it is quite possible to commit the perfect murder.  In fact, Kershaw published a blog post for his bookstore a few years ago citing eight works of fiction that in his opinion, showcase the most seamless and unsolvable murder mysteries to date. The title of his post, “Eight Perfect Murders”, included Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History. Lo and behold, his blog post comes back to haunt him when the FBI contacts him about a string of recent murders and their possible links to the eight books he wrote about.  As Malcolm shares his reasonings with the FBI, he also plays the part of a sleuth behind their back, only to discover more than he bargained for. Is it truly possible to mimic a murder found between the pages of a book?  Plan on relishing this literary dream.  Swanson’s bookish tale is the perfect bedtime story for every crime fiction lover out there. While a local bookstore and the smell of old books set an atmospheric backdrop for the inner bibliophile in you, literary deaths are brewing on every page of Swanson’s book.  He does a phenomenal job intertwining fictional works from the past with present-day crime.  The pages are oozing with secrets, lies, and memories from a time long ago. Sink deep into your couch for this one.  You won’t move until you finish!

Switching gears ever so slightly, John Marrs’ new book, What Lies Between Us takes a strenuous mother-daughter relationship to the next level. Maggie has always protected her daughter Nina, no matter the cost.  From birth, through a very trying adolescence, Maggie has done everything in her power to shield her daughter from the cruel and unusual world she lives in.  So why…why, is Maggie chained up in the attic bedroom of her adult daughter’s home?  This my friend, is a question I cannot answer.  How could I, without spoiling the biggest psychological thriller out there. I will tell you this…Marrs’ book is absolutely bonkers!  And I mean that as a compliment. I was hot glued to my seat reading the pages of this book faster than I could turn them. Maggie and her daughter Nina not only narrate the story in alternating chapters but using dual timelines. The past and the present from both narrators slowly merge together offering an ending that will blow your mind.  Their individual stories are oh so twisted and completely insane. I had to actually pick my jaw up off the floor several times during this book. There is absolutely no getting off this ride until the very end.  Buckle up!  You will need to read this in one sitting!

Enjoy these two crazy gems!  

Until Next time Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. If you have not read or are planning on reading any of the eight books mentioned in Swanson’s book and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, be forewarned.  There are major spoilers.  

P.P.S.  I Love you Mom!

Click on the book pics below to purchase!


***The chick featured in the photograph is Eleanor. She was a week old when this picture was taken. She is a White Crested Black Polish Bantam. ❤️❤️❤️

Simon Says…”Read This Book”!

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer (St. Martin’s Press)

April 9, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

During your life, you experienced your fair share of despair. There was never a shortage of troubled times for you Mr. H…that’s for sure. It is now April 2020, and we are in the middle of a global pandemic…the Coronavirus (Covid-19). Comparing our experiences is pretty much like comparing apples to oranges. However, what they do have in common is uncertainty, which carries its own set of luggage.  Stress, worry, sadness, wonder, and confusion are just a few emotions that are now officially a part of our repertoire. One thing I know for sure is that escaping reality for even just a few minutes is often the break our brains need.  For many of us, reading is our respite. I may not be eager to read a post-apocalyptic novel, but a sick and twisted, domestic style psychological thriller is the PERFECT getaway for my mind. The New Husband by D.J. Palmer is the quintessential roller coaster ride of thrills and suspense that will not only hold your attention but will have you guessing until the very end.  Doesn’t this sound like a lovely distraction???

The synopsis of Palmer’s book is pretty straight forward.  You can rest assured, I like to tread lightly when talking about thrillers and suspense novels so as to not accidentally leak any spoilers.   If I seem vague, you will thank me for that later. First, we have Nina, mom to a middle school daughter, and a high school son. She is greeted suddenly with the horrific news that her husband, Glen, has gone missing and presumed dead.  Months later, she begins dating Simon, a middle school teacher at her daughter’s school. Simon is a widow as well, losing his late wife to suicide. Simon seems perfect to Nina. He is the opposite of her late husband Glen, who in hindsight, wasn’t really meeting her or her family’s needs. Here is where I have to leave you hanging.  Nina begins discovering things about Glen’s past that leaves her with more questions than answers. In addition to this, Simon, Mr. Wonderful, is beginning to appear less wonderful and more peculiar as time goes by. Bottom line… Nina may love him, but does she really know him???

The first half of this book is a slow and steady burn.  Palmer sets the scene (did I mention this takes place in New Hampshire…..Live Free or Die), while acquainting his readers with all of the characters.  Though the initial foundation of this story seems sturdy enough, red flags are peppered throughout signifying that something is amiss. The speed picks up quite a bit during Act II.  This is far from a love story of two widows finding love. This my friends is a disturbing story that will bend your mind every which way. Palmer does a killer job keeping you on your toes while trying to figure out what this “new husband’s” agenda is. I am not going to lie, the vibe is warped, the tale is twisted and the ending is insane…. that’s a good thing. With that said… I LOVED IT! This fantastic distraction is my cup of tea! Will it be yours???? 

Stay safe and healthy my friends.  Read more books! They are good for your soul!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  If you live in the New England area, D.J. Palmer gives a nod to the restaurant Surf located in Nashua and Portsmouth, N.H. I have dined at the Nashua SURF and let me tell you this…Their Miso Marinated Salmon is out of this world. Check one of the locations out if you are ever in the area. You will not be disappointed!

Click on the pic of The New Husband below to pre-order. This book comes out Tuesday, April 14th 🤗🤗🤗.

Round and Round They Go

The Familiar Dark cover

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel (Dutton)

March 26, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Ok…this past year, I have really been craving books that offer me a thrill, a few chills, and a suspenseful mystery to be solved. When I was offered up an early look at Amy Engel’s new murder mystery, The Familiar Dark, I gobbled it right up. I went into this book predicting murder, investigations, ever-changing suspects, and some twists and turns along the way. While my predictions were on par, I was pleasantly surprised by how much more this book had to offer.  Playing out more like a small-town drama with a side dish of murder, The Familiar Dark is perfect for crime mystery and drama lovers alike. Let’s see why….

Eve, a single mom, was born and raised in the small town of Barron Springs, Missouri, where poverty and vengeance are the driving force in this ever so bleak town.  While working her shift at the local diner, Eve is interrupted by her police officer brother with news that her twelve-year-old daughter and her best friend were found murdered on the town playground.  Life for Eve is put on hold until she finds out who did this to her only child. While the town police (including her brother Cal) investigate these murders, Eve takes it upon herself to dig around her crumbling town for some answers.  It’s seeing her drug-ladened mother and revisiting her abusive past that helps put the pieces of this mysterious puzzle together.  

The most difficult part of The Familiar Dark for me was the opening scene. The story begins with a well written and emotionally charged murder of two pre-teen girls. Though it is not super gory, the intensity of this scene was the ultimate punch in the gut (especially being a parent).  I’m not going to lie, it did make me pause and wonder if I could go on reading (it is only 2 pages). Well, I am so glad I pressed on. So many murder mysteries are driven by the actual crime itself. Not so much with Engel’s harrowing tale. Instead, it’s her characters and the town they live in that moved this story forward.  The town of Barron Springs is so well illustrated. There is a hardness to this seedy town that reeks of impossibility and despair. Engel truly exposed damaged and raw to the bone characters. She captures Eve’s utter grief and fury while exposing the ugly spirits and dirty souls of the people around her. Socio-economic status and poverty is an intricate maze with no end in sight.  While Eve’s character has an overflowing urge to break free from her past life and reach the end of this never-ending path, others in this story continue on this endless journey with breathtaking hopelessness.  

The Familiar Dark is a soul-stirring mystery that I couldn’t put down. While the grim atmosphere sucked me into its bottomless pit, the desperate characters kept me wanting more of their stories. Engel kept me guessing throughout her story.   She had me fascinated by Eve’s cruel family and the vicious life cycle it fueled. This story has it all…love, loss, grief, and secrets GALORE. I highly recommend this book to those reluctant to read murder mysteries and to the die-hard suspense seekers.  The Familiar Dark has something powerful to offer all readers.  Above all, this book is a wicked fast read. A quality I do so admire! 

Happy Reading My Friends!

Talk to you soon Mr. H!!!!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  Thank you to Dutton Books and Netgalley for the advance reader copy of The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel.  What a treat to read and write about!

Support your local bookstore during this unbelievable time!  So many local bookstores are still delivering and/or have the curbside pick up.  Choose your personal store and make it happen. Click on the book pic below to get started on purchasing a copy of The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel.

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