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Latest Reads

November 9, 2023

Happy Autumn Reading Sweet Friends!

Today, I am sharing three new books to put on your radar. A spicy rom-com, a father gone missing, and an Air B&B host with a snooping problem are all on tap today. Grab those reading glasses and a cozy blanket, and let’s get reading.

Cheers to Fall Reading!

xoxo,

Kelly

The Guest Room by Tasha Sylva (Henry Holt and Co.)

Tess rents out her deceased sister’s room in her house to help make ends meet. She may appear to be the hostess with the mostess, but she truly is not She has a bad habit of snooping through her tenant’s personal belongings. When she begins reading Arran’s (her latest guest) diary, she is intrigued by his entries and discovers shocking similarities between her and this mysterious woman he continues to write about. As Aaran’s diary entries become darker, Tess begins to wonder who this guy is and how long he is planning to stay. Sylva’s book is a twisted tale that weaves in and out of London’s gloomy streets. Her main character, Tess, drove me crazy with her unreliability, but the constant stalking, slow-burn mystery, and questionable villain kept me entertained until the end. Solid debut!

Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Berkley Publishing)

I was a huge fan of Solomon’s The Ex Talk, and her latest was just as tremendous. So when Chandler takes a job ghostwriting a memoir for C-list actor, Finn Walsh, things get very interesting. Think one-night-stand gone wrong, clumsy sex, followed by some very steamy lessons in chemistry. Solomon’s main characters are absolutely worth cheering for. Their relationship is wildly quirky and refreshingly raw. I loved how their vulnerability bled through the pages. Solomon shined her light not only on a lovable Jewish heroine and hero but on the everyday struggles of living with anxiety and OCD. My favorite part of all is that this heartfelt and hilarious story embodies healthy and wicked fun sex in the best possible way! Cheers to Solomon for another winning tale!

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim (Hogarth Books)

Angie Kim’s newest book centers around a biracial Korean-American family who are confronted with the unimaginable. Everything changes when Adam goes missing while hiking with his son, who has disabilities. There is NO WAY this dad would ever abandon Eugene in the woods when he is not only non-verbal but unable to care for himself alone. So what on Earth happened? Kim’s story sucked me in immediately. What follows is a character-driven mystery that slowly builds as you turn each page. Kim’s attention to detail is impeccable. Being a mom myself brought many feelings to the surface during a lot of the scenes. I love how she blended family crises, disabilities, and untethered emotions seamlessly together. As the mystery progresses, Kim brings enormous awareness to the rare genetic disorder called Angelman disorder. As someone who has worked in the field of non-verbal communication and Autism Spectrum Disorders, I found Kim’s writing absolutely fascinating. While this read captured my attention right out of the gate, it did move slowly in the middle. However, the pace gained speed again towards the end, leaving me to ponder the ending.

*Dear Mr. Hemingway, LLC receives a variety of advance reader copies of books from publishers and authors throughout the year in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it! 

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

Recent Reads

November 3, 2023

Hello, sweet reading friends!

It has been a wicked, busy fall for this reader and writer, but I wanted to update you on some of my most recent reads. Dragons, serial killers, Icelandic noir, and historical fiction are coming your way today. I hope your TBR can handle the extra load!

Cheers to a gorgeous weekend filled with books!

xoxo,

Kelly

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CALL by Kerri Maher (Berkley Publishing)

Oh, My Gosh, Kerri Maher has blown me away once again!  Her latest creation is loosely based on an underground abortion clinic from the 1970s called the Jane Collective.  The story takes place in the 1970s before Roe vs. Wade, sadly making it a timely book for 2023.   The characters in her book are trailblazers in the ever-controversial arena of women’s agency and reproductive rights in a male-dominated world.  Maher’s story has an incredible sense of time and place. The pages are filled with fierce female characters who offer peace, empowerment, and the right to choose to fellow women everywhere. With a compassionate hand, Maher wrote an immersive tale that will have your next book club talking! 

KILLING ME By Michelle Gagnon (Putnam)

I was on a serial killer reading kick when I picked up this hidden gem, and boy, was I surprised. The main character is literally on the HOT MESS EXPRESS TRAIN. She escapes a serial killer only to have another run-in with a different killer and, might I add, a more dangerous one.  Gagnon’s book isn’t true crime-esque or overly gruesome, but instead an entertaining thrill ride with a hilarious dark comedic vibe that had me chuckling on more pages than not.  In between laughs, there was a mystery to be solved that left me a delighted reader!  Have a blast with this one.  

FOURTH WING by Rebecca Yaros (Entangled Publishing)

So, this book caught the reading world by surprise in 2023.  Even though fantasy is not my usual cup of tea, I enjoyed this dragon-slaying adventure.  It was like Harry Potter met Danenerys Targaryen at the Hunger Games but with fabulous contemporary dialogue and a lot of romantic spice.  It’s a chunky book—528 pages, so get extra comfy for the ride!

YOU CAN’T SEE ME by Eva Bjorg (Orenda Books)

 I had the pleasure of visiting Iceland this summer.  I aimed to soak in as many geothermal hot springs as possible and ride gorgeous Icelandic horses among the dramatic landscape.  My other mission was to discover new Icelandic authors so I could always have a little piece of this fabulous country whenever I opened their books in Maine.  I started with Eve Bjorg’s most recent book, which happens to be the prequel to her Forbidden Iceland series (which I haven’t read yet). Even though this was my first book in this series, I not only loved it but followed along effortlessly.  The story takes place at a new futuristic hotel on the Snaefellsness Penisula (think everything controlled by an app) with a very wealthy family at the helm.  A family reunion is happening, and all the drama begins when everyone is under one roof and someone goes missing.  Bjorg’s book is an atmospheric treat.  The ice-cold, menacing air made me want to linger by the fire under my faux fur blanket.  I loved the closed-in feel and boozy vibes.  The characters were unreliable, with baggage galore, and the pages practically turned themself. I was hooked until the last page and pleasantly surprised at the ending.  I can’t wait to read the rest of her series.  This book was the perfect introduction to Bjorg’s series and an incredible escape back to Iceland!  

*Dear Mr. Hemingway, LLC receives a variety of advance reader copies of books from publishers and authors throughout the year in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it! 

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

NEW RELEASE FUN

Wednesdays At One by Sandra A. Miller (Zibby Books), Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl by Renee Rosen (Berkley Publishing), & Girls and Their Horses by Eliza Jane Brazier (Berkley Publishing)

July 30, 2023

Dear Book Lovers,

There is a solid month left of summer here in the northeast, which leaves plenty of time to get your hands on some of the latest 2023 books. Today I am sharing a lovely mix of mystery, glamour and rich people behaving badly. Fill your beach bag up with these new releases and get reading.

Cheers to Summer Reading!

xoxo,

Kelly

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Rosen’s latest historical fiction tale combines Estee Lauder’s rise to cosmetic fame during the late 1930s/40s and her friend Gloria Downing’s great success as cosmetic saleswomen turn assistant cosmetic buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue. This was the ultimate “Kelly” book! I love reading about women who went against society’s grain during a time when their proper place was standing beside their husbands as dignified wives and homemakers with no brain of their own. Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl is filled with all the dreamy lotions and potions that I adore. It made me want to dust an outrageous eyeshadow color on my eyelids, brighten my cheeks with rouge, and swipe the quintessential candy apple red lipstick on my lips. This book is about hardworking women in a male-dominated world who didn’t take no for an answer. It has love and loss, family secrets and conundrums, and best of all—Sparkle and pizzazz! My next trip to the Estee Lauder makeup counter will never be the same again!
Make this book happen! It is a delight!

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Wednesdays at One is a slow burn psychological mystery. Dr. Gregory Weber has a successful psychiatric practice and lives in the Boston suburbs with his wife and two kids. Despite how good he looks on paper, he carries a deep dark secret from his past that riddles him with guilt. His past comes back to haunt him when a new patient named Mira starts attending therapy with him every Wednesday at 1pm. This mystery woman becomes more than a weekly client—disrupting his innermost thoughts, family life, and professional boundaries. Who is this woman and why is she here?? 

Miller’s writing is strong and catchy! She created a thick layer of remorse that was truly palpable. She hints at Gregory’s past often and I longed to learn his deep dark secret. She tapped into her characters on a psychological level filled with deep emotion and tremendous intrigue. I will note that I would not put this story in a traditional “thriller” category. There is however, a unique psychological mystery that builds from the beginning making you want to turn the pages. 

If you enjoy reading about characters grappling with moral dilemmas, family emotional drama, and endings with a twisty vibe…Wednesdays at One is for you! 

Click on the book pic to purchase!

GIDDY-UP!!!!!!! I grew up riding horses. I can still remember the distinct smell of the barn, the stiffness of my saddle, the clip-clop sound of the horses walking AND my riding instructor chain smoking Marlboro Reds during our class (can you even imagine?). It wasn’t elite by any means, but it was a place where I learned to love, ride, and respect these magical creatures. 

Girls and their Horses dives into the competitive world of horseback riding. Say goodbye to the local barn up the street where generic rubber riding boots are the style, your parents wait in the car until your lesson is done, and everyone gets a ribbon for participating in the show. Its time to say HELLO to beguiling showjumping, crazy-ass moms, and epic stables where riders stop at nothing to win it all. Dead body anyone?

Heather Parker moves to an exclusive part of Southern California for a chance to give her daughters everything she never had, including a prestigious riding career. With all the money you can dream of and a bit of determination, she sets up her family in the the most sought after equestrian community. She will stop at NOTHING to make her daughters the best of the best! The stakes are high and she is not the only cutthroat one—the girls are just as devious with an extra helping of backstabbing. 

From sports, to academics, to musical endeavors—moms who will do anything to ensure success for their kids are WILD to read about. Brazier trades “dance-mom ” for “barn-mom” in the best possible way. Her story is fresh and entertaining with a novel subculture I have not come across in my fiction reading. I was immersed in all that goes into competitive horseback riding. Brazier captures the equestrian world with precision and ease making her story uber believable. High end boots and stylish breeches, a famous coach and overpriced horses, and rich people behaving very badly—ALL THE INCREDIBLE DETAILS ARE ON POINT. Throw in supreme family drama, an endless supply of a cash, and a whole bunch of fabulous, yet unreliable characters, and you have yourself a posh murder mystery to be solved. Toss this bad boy in your beach bag and get reading!

*Dear Mr. Hemingway, LLC receives a variety of advance reader copies of books from publishers and authors throughout the year in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it! 

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

BACKLIST BOOKS TO GET A HOLD OF

JULY 3, 2023

Dear Favorite readers!

July is here and it is time for me to start catching you all up on the amazing reading I have been doing. I love reading backlist books. First, there is nothing better than chipping away at my endless TBR. Second, backlist books are typically easier to get at the local library. And lastly, the paperback edition is usually out, making them cheaper to buy. Today I am sharing two backlist beauties to grab for your summer reading!

Enjoy sweet friends!

xoxo,

Kelly

Click on the book pic to purchase!

This was our May #DEARBASICBUDDYREAD selection and it did not disappoint. In my opinion, Shadows of Pecan Hollow sort of fell through the cracks when it debuted in 2022. This under the radar book should not be missed though. It starts off in the 1970s when Kit Walker is abducted at age 13 by Manny Romero. Sadly, Kit welcomes his sense of security and he becomes the closest thing to family she knows. Before long, Kit becomes his partner -in-crime—one robbery after another. Their robberies become famous in the area and they are referred to as the Texas-Twosome. Things get deeper between the two of them and Kit finally reaches a point where his darkness feels like a threat— leading her to not only abandon him, but to start fresh on her own in the small town called Pecan Hollow. Kit sinks into small town living and the close-knit community for thirteen years, making a life for her and her daughter until Manny shows up at her doorstep. 

This book started off with a dark and gritty vibe. Lack of family, living on the go, robberies, and Kit and Manny’s relationship left me with an icky feeling. I had it in my head that this was the trajectory, but was surprised when the story shifted to more of a small-town story where everyone knows everyone and always has your back. Pecan Hollow had a “slight” Stars Hollow feel with a darker edge. Manny coming back into the picture wasn’t as dim as I imagined and the story progressed in a satisfying manner. Frost did such a great job of capturing the atmosphere throughout the story and having a unique group of characters that added their own flare to what was going on. I highly recommend this book. The audio version is also well-done!

Click on the book pic to purchase!

This was my first Katherine Center book and certainly not my last. What I thought would be a straight-up rom-com turned out to be so much more. An old crush turns up as the new school principal at Samantha’s school, where she is the librarian, but he is not the same guy she dreamed about each night before she went to bed. This once fun-loving guy was now an absolute straight-edge jerk, and Sam wants to know what happened. What I love about this story is that it has all the classic rom-com elements we know and love but with some added baggage. The beauty of romance books is that they follow a classic prescription of two people who are going to end up with one another in some way. But of course, before that happy ending, they need to get over the obstacle or obstacles that are preventing them from sealing the deal. What You Wish For most definitely has those roadblocks, and they are ones I haven’t read about in a rom-com. Center blended into her story health issues and tragedies that are sadly relevant and, in some cases—all too common. The biggest takeaway from this gorgeous story was to CHOOSE JOY…and that made me happy!

*Dear Mr. Hemingway, LLC receives a variety of advance reader copies of books from publishers and authors throughout the year in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it! 

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

March Highlights 2023

April 6, 2023

Happy Thursday, Sweet Friends!

April Showers Bring May Flowers…but first, let’s talk about my March reading life. Four debut novels, tons of audiobooks, a favorite author, and some backlist beauties paired with a cozy cup of tea filled all my bookworm needs. Here are some of the books I read and where I landed with each of them.

Whether you read one or 21 books this March, I hope you feel delighted with all the words you consumed!

xoxo,

Kelly

George’s debut novel, Maame, absolutely stole my heart, and the audio version was fantastic. Maddie is a character that I want to hug through the pages of the book. This delayed coming-of-age story lived up to the hype and gave me all the feels.

SYNOPSIS:

“It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced-stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare, and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting. When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts” She finds a flatshare, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it’s not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family and the perils–and rewards–of putting her heart on the line.”

Here is the deal, Appiah’s debut novel will land differently with each reader—heavy themes relating to motherhood, marriage, and expectations in life are deeply explored. She did an exemplary job exposing the darker side of parenting by not sugarcoating Efe or Sam’s emotional journey. Be prepared to have profound conversations about this story.

SYNOPSIS:

“On a Spring afternoon in London, Sam hops the stairs of his flat two at a time. There’s £1,300 missing from his and his wife, Efe’s, shared bank account, and his calls are going straight to voicemail. When he finally reaches someone, he learns Efe is nearly 5,000 miles away as their toddler looks around and asks, “Where’s Mummy?” When Efe and Sam met as teens headed for university, it seemed everyone knew they were meant to be. Efe, newly arrived in the UK from Ghana and sinking under the weight of her parent’s expectations, found comfort in the focused and idealistic Sam. He was stable, working toward a law career, and had an unwavering vision for their future. A vision Efe, now a decade later, finds slightly insufferable. From the outside, they’re the picture-perfect couple everyone imagined, but there are cracks in the frame. When Efe and Sam are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, they find themselves on opposing sides. Fatherhood is everything he has dreamed of, but Efe feels stuck in a nightmare. And when a new revelation emerges, they are forced to confront just how radically different they want their lives to be. Already swallowed by the demands of motherhood and feeling the dreams she had slipping away once again, Efe disappears.”

Hello, filthy rich people. Bea is on a mission to marry for MONEY and have it all. Being a con artist is in her blood, so lying and scheming is as simple as an obnoxious air kiss with people you despise. I LOVED this debut. It was juicy and entertaining and the perfect distraction from the busyness of life.

SYNOPSIS:

“Like any enterprising woman, Bea knows what she’s worth and is determined to get all she deserves–it just so happens that what she deserves is to marry rich. Filthy rich. After years of forced instruction by her mother in the art of swindling men, a now-solo Bea wants nothing more than to close and lock the door on their sordid partnership so she can disappear safely into old-money domesticity, sealing the final phase of her escape. When Bea chooses her ultimate target in the fully loaded, thoroughly dull, and blue-blooded Collin Case, she’s ready to deploy all of her tricks one last time. The challenge isn’t getting the ring but rather the approval of Collin’s family and everyone else in their 1 percent tax bracket, particularly his childhood best friend, Gale Wallace-Leicester. Going toe-to-toe with Gale isn’t a threat to an expert like Bea, but what begins as an amusing cat-and-mouse game quickly develops into a dangerous pursuit of the grisly truth. Finding herself at a literal life-and-death crossroads with everything on the line, Bea must finally decide who she really wants to be. Like mother, like daughter?”

Another debut filled with grandiose living and the ins and out of being rich. Pineapple Street was delightful to listen to on audio. If you are in the mood to bop around inside someone’s head a meander around their life in gorgeous Brooklyn—this one is for you.

SYNOPSIS:

“A deliciously funny, sharply observed debut of family, love, and class, this zeitgeisty novel follows three women in one wealthy Brooklyn clan Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected old-money Stockton family, followed her heart, trading her job and her inheritance for motherhood but giving up far too much in the process; Sasha, a middle-class New England girl, has married into the Brooklyn Heights family, and finds herself cast as the arriviste outsider; and Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t have, and must decide what kind of person she wants to be.”

None Shall Sleep was our #DEARBASICBUDDYREADS March selection. I am calling this Silence of the Lambs “light”—perfect for the YA reader in your life. I enjoyed this one on audio!

SYNOPSIS:

“In 1982, two teenagers–serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell–are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can’t crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case–a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers–things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country’s most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson. Despite Travis’s objections, Emma becomes the conduit between Simon and the FBI team. But while Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he’s an expert manipulator playing a very long game…and he has his sights set on Emma.”

Laura Cathcart Robbins’ memoir, 𝘚𝘵𝘢𝘴𝘩: 𝘔𝘺 𝘓𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘏𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨, is her unimaginable story of addiction and journey to sobriety. Page by page, she details what her daily struggles with Ambien and alcohol looked like back in the day. This book BLEW MY MIND! Incredible on audio!

SYNOPSIS

“After years of hiding her addiction from everyone–from stockpiling pills in her Louboutins to elaborately scheduling withdrawals between PTA meetings, baby showers, and tennis matches–Laura Cathcart Robbins settles into a complicated purgatory. She learns the hard way that privilege doesn’t protect you from pain. Facing divorce, the possibility of a grueling custody battle, and internalized racism, Robbins wonders just how much more she can take. Now, with courage and candid openness, she reveals how she managed to begin the long journey towards sobriety and unexpectedly finding new love. Robbins harrowingly illustrates taking down the wall she built around herself brick by brick and what it means to be Black in a startingly white world.”

Alexis and Logan stole my heart. They both truly came into their own as their stories unfolded. Their fake dating, political dilemmas, and personal baggage make them so much more than a hot politician running for governor and a small-town school librarian. EEEEKKKK…LOVED THIS! Out May 9th!

SYNOPSIS:

“As a shy school librarian, Alexis Stone is comfortable keeping out of the spotlight. But when she’s dumped for being too meek–in bed!–she decides she needs to change. And what better way to kick-start her new, more adventurous life than with her first one-night stand? Enter Logan, the gorgeous, foul-mouthed stranger she meets at a hotel bar. Audacious and filterless, Logan is Alexis’s opposite–and boy, do opposites attract! Just as she’s about to fulfill her hookup wish, the hotel catches fire in a freak lightning storm. In their rush to escape, Logan is discovered carrying her into the street, where people are waiting with cameras. Cameras Logan promptly–and shockingly–flees. Alexis is bewildered until suddenly, pictures of her and Logan escaping the fire are all over the internet. Turns out Logan is none other than Logan Arthur, the hotshot candidate challenging the Texas governor’s seat. The salacious scandal is poised to sink his career–and jeopardize Alexis’s job–until a solution is proposed: he and Alexis could pretend to be in a relationship until election day…in two months. What could possibly go wrong?”

WOW! Charlotte Perkins Gilman was the original feminist. If the history of mental health pertaining to women fascinates you—this is a must-read. The intense imagery blew me away, and Gilman captured her protagonist spiraling into “madness” with an eerieness that I just can’t shake. Freaking brilliant!

SYNOPSIS:

“The Yellow Wallpaper is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the nineteenth century toward women’s physical and mental health. The story also has been classified as Gothic fiction and horror fiction. The story is written as a collection of first-person journal entries written by a woman whose physician husband has confined her to the upstairs bedroom of a house that he has rented for the summer. She is forbidden from working and has to hide her journal entries from him so that she can recuperate from what he calls a “temporary nervous depression-a slight hysterical tendency,” a diagnosis common to women in that period. 

Her husband controls her access to the rest of the house. In the end, she imagines that there are women creeping around behind the patterns of the wallpaper and comes to believe that she is one of them. She locks herself in the room, now the only place where she feels safe, refusing to leave when the summer rental is up.”

This story was wonderful. I loved Jimenez’s leading characters, Alexis and Daniel. They had plenty of chemistry, lots of steam, and developed backstories that added to their “relationship.” Jimenez always manages to write great love stories that have an extra layer of drama and difficult subject matters. This time around, she brought attention to domestic abuse. She did a fantastic job incorporating a heavy topic in a gentle and sensitive manner. The cherry on top was not only a happy ending but a baby goat in PJs! Another winner from this auto-buy author of mine!

SYNOPSIS:

“After a wild bet, a gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddling with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come–the complete opposite of sophisticated city girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable. While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And with every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people. Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him, either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?”

I threw in some personal development this month. Dr. Hyman has been around for quite some time now and he is the guru on clean and wholesome eating. Despite it being very repetitive, I took away some new tips and ideas for my own health and wellness.

SYNOPSIS:

“The key to losing weight and keeping it off is maintaining low insulin levels. Based on Dr. Hyman’s groundbreaking Blood Sugar Solution program, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet presents strategies for reducing insulin levels and producing fast and sustained weight loss. Dr. Hyman explains how to: activate your natural ability to burn fat — especially belly fat; reduce inflammation; reprogram your metabolism; shut off your fat-storing genes; de-bug your digestive system; create effortless appetite control; and soothe the stress to shed the pounds. With practical tools designed to achieve optimum wellness, including meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists, as well as step-by-step, easy-to-follow advice on green living, supplements, medication, exercise, and more, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet is the fastest way to lose weight, prevent disease, and feel your best.”

*I received some of today’s books as advance reader copies from the author/publishers in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it! 

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

How To Sell A Haunted House

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix (Berkley)

March 6, 2023

Hello Reading Family,

Happy Monday! Today I am kicking off the week with a book that falls a bit out of my comfort zone. Can you say HORROR???

So here is the scoop. Over the past few years, I have reintroduced the “horror” genre into my reading life.  The Sun Down Motel, The Whisper Man, Mexican Gothic, and Lock Ever Door are all Horror picks that have worked for me.   Grady Hendrix is a “new to me” author.  I know of his work but, for whatever reason, never got around to reading him until this year.  How to Sell a Haunted House was an excellent horror read.  Unlike some of the previous titles mentioned or the works of Stephen King or Catriona Ward, Hendrix’s latest book has a campy feel, which I loved. Don’t get me wrong, his puppets and dolls are the epitome of creepy, and the thought of a stuffed animal crawling up my bed to attack me has not left my head (and probably never will). However, his graphic scenes are exaggerated, and borderline absurd in the best possible way.  He made it possible to feel terrified while chuckling all at the same time.  My kind of horror.  Hendrix’s characters and storyline are believable, and I enjoyed the puppeteer’s backstory.  Die-hard Horror fans and newbies alike will enjoy his latest. The buzz in the online reading world led me to this book AND this author and I am now officially tackling his backlist books while waiting for his next release.  

Cheers to a fabulous new week!

xoxo,

Kelly

P.S. If you want to try another fun Horror story, CLICK HERE to read all about what I had to say about Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Synopsis:

“When Louise finds out her parents have died, she dreads going home. She doesn’t want to leave her daughter with her ex and fly to Charleston. She doesn’t want to deal with her family home, stuffed to the rafters with the remnants of her father’s academic career and her mother’s lifelong obsession with puppets and dolls. She doesn’t want to learn how to live without the two people who knew and loved her best in the world. 

Most of all, she doesn’t want to deal with her brother, Mark, who never left their hometown, gets fired from one job after another, and resents her success. Unfortunately, she’ll need his help to get the house ready for sale because it’ll take more than some new paint on the walls and clearing out a lifetime of memories to get this place on the market. 

But some houses don’t want to be sold, and their home has other plans for both of them…”

Click on the book pic to purchase!

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

Listen Up

Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier (Berkley Publishing + Penguin Random House Audio)
In the Shadow of the Mountain:  A Memoir of Courage by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado (Henry Holt & Co + Macmillan Audio)

March 24, 2022

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Spring is officially in the air, and my reading life feels wonderfully on point.  I constantly switch up genres to keep up with my ever-changing mood, and it’s the #1 reason I hardly ever get bored with my books.  Today I am sharing two books that could not possibly be more different from one another, yet both were captivating in their unique way.  A memoir about healing from trauma while climbing Mount Everest and a work of spectacular fiction that involves dead bodies and over-the-top rich people is what I am talking about today, so listen up.

In the Shadow of the Mountain:  A Memoir of Courage by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado was phenomenal.  I had the pleasure of listening to this book on audio read by the author.  Vasquez-Lavado leads a group of sexual assault survivors on a trek to Mount Everest basecamp as part of their healing process. Her journey was far from over after reaching base camp, though.  She then joined up with another climbing group and took a shot at summitting the highest mountain on Earth.  Vasquez-Lavado shares her story alternating between her traumatic past and her epic climb.  I was moved to tears by the intimate details of the sexual abuse she experienced as a child and the fallout from these horrific events.  On the flip side, my heart was pounding out of my chest as she climbed for weeks and weeks in unfathomable conditions. Charged with brutal honesty, rich in unique culture, and filled with hope, Vasquez-Lavado’s memoir is a must-read/listen.

After immersing myself in Vasquez-Lavado’s profound journey, it was refreshing to switch it up with an over-the-top read about bored rich people who lie, scheme, and kill for entertainment.  Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier is dripping in cash AND blood and I loved every second of it. Lyla and Graham are incredibly wealthy and enjoy playing games with people.  I’m not talking monopoly or a spicy pickleball competition, mind you.  Nooooo, I am talking about recruiting innocent self-made successful people to live in the guest house that they can destroy financially and maybe even kill if the spirit moves them. How fun is that??? Brazier’s story is a fast-paced, mannerless tale that had me wildly entertained.  Her writing is striking and razor-sharp. Her cast of characters is a spectacular melody of stunning and loopy all in the same breath and I had no problem gobbling up this juicy delight. I listened to Good Rich People on audio, and I must shout out the fabulous narrators who brought this wicked fun story to life.  Karissa Vacker and Sophie Amoss crushed the narration 100%!!!!

Well, my friend…I hope you enjoy experiencing these two incredible books one way or the other. 

Until next time!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly


P.S. I enjoy listening to my audiobooks via Libro.fm.  My audio purchases support an independent bookstore of my choice, which is something to cheer about.  Please feel free to use my member link to get started.

Click on the book pic to purchase!
Click on the book pic to purchase!

Crooked Jesus

The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher (Berkley Publishing)


Today, I am over the moon to share with you Kerri Maher’s latest creation, The Paris Bookseller.  Maher brings to life the extraordinary Sylvia Beach.  Beach is known for her famous English language bookstore and lending library, Shakespeare and Company which she opened in 1919 in Paris. But what many may not know is that she (Shakespeare and Company) was the first to publish the book, Ulysses by none other than Irish writer, James Joyce.  Beach was THE champion for Joyce’s highly controversial book and made it her life’s work (at the time) to not only get it published by Joyce’s 40th birthday (February 2, 1922) but to fight for its seriousness in America where it was banned for so long.  Beach was a force to be reckoned with leaving a huge literary stamp on the world for women, writers, and book lovers everywhere.

January 11, 2022

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

You are the gentleman I need to talk to, that’s for sure.  I was giddy with delight when I ran into you in Kerri Maher’s book and equally excited to get to know your friend Sylvia Beach a bit more.  I am very sure you remember her.  After all, you were there from the very beginning of her literary adventure.  You helped Sylvia move boxes when her new store, Shakespeare and Company was just born in Paris. You spent time with her reading, drinking, and even writing in her shop with fellow expatriates.  You watched her work herself to the bone while trying to keep her business afloat while at the same time publishing her first and only book, Ulysses by James Joyce.  You, my friend, are known for “liberating” her famous shop in person in 1944 when Paris was finally freed from the Nazis and the Second World War. How’s that for a greeting?

Everyone who knows me must realize by now that I have developed an absolute fascination with the writers and artists who make up “The Lost Generation”.  You, of course, F. Scott Fitgerald, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, Gertrude Stein, and of course Silvia Beach.  It doesn’t stop there though.  The literary scene in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s was frothing over with artistic goodness.  So many writers and book enthusiasts made their mark during this era and Sylvia Beach was one of the big ones. Because of this I instantly fell in love with Maher’s new book.  

Maher dropped me directly at #8 Rue Dupuytren in Paris, the first home to Beach’s Shakespeare and Company. Her story follows Beach opening her shop and her fraught journey working with James Joyce and publishing Ulysses.  Every great book needs a stellar backdrop and Maher delivers just that by illuminating the pages of her book with atmospheric prose that made me experience sitting in Shakespeare’s oversized chair amongst the dusty bookshelves and smoke-filled air. I love how alive Sylvia and the cast of characters felt as they engaged in the liveliest of conversations, drank countless cups of wine, and shared effortless Parisian fare. While Maher’s description of this grandiloquent time period set the overall vibe for this story, it was her portrayal of Sylvia Beach that not only stole the show but won my heart forever.

I was so delighted that Maher introduced her readers to Sylvia Beach the PUBLISHER.  Yes, Shakespeare and Company was her first baby, but Joyce’s Ulysses was equally important to her. Beach was an American woman ahead of her time.  Instead of marrying young and starting a family like so many women her age, she fell in love with a woman and started a small business in Paris.  She fought with every breath in her body for Joyce’s work to be read. She painstakingly worked with him and his uneven personality and diminishing eyesight to make unremitting changes to his book.  She went to bat for him countless times with printers, booksellers, and the US naysayers of his work to assure them that his words were truly innovative and worth the read.  She drained her account for his mistakes, her personal life with Adrienne took a hit, and like so many of us modern-day women, she struggled greatly to find the ultimate work-life balance.  Beach prevailed though and delivered the first published edition of Ulysses to Joyce.  

Maher illustrated everything Beach endured with perfection.  Beach’s passion for Adrienne seeped through the pages.  I could vividly see her nicotine-stained fingers and teeth.  I could feel her heart rate increase every time she met with Joyce.  I related to her emotional strain of trying to “do it all” with only finite minutes in a day.  I cheered for her taking on a male-dominated world when she was the one DOING ALL THE WORK.  But most of all Maher introduced me to Beach’s ceaseless love for all things books and writing. At the end of the day, Sylvia Beach was the ULTIMATE BOOK INFLUENCER, and I am so very thankful for her.  

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan (and Sylvia’s too),

Kelly

P.S.  If you need more of Sylvia, James Joyce, and Ulysses in your life, be sure to check out what I had to say about Nora:  A Love Story of Nora and James Joyce by Nuala O’Connor RIGHT HERE!

Click on the book pic to purchase this 5 star read!

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

A Handful of Books…Just For You

A Handful of Books

February 19, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I love my long letters to you recounting my journey with a new crew of characters in their real or fictional worlds. Sometimes though, I am frothing over with so much literary goodness that I simply must gush about more than one book to you.   Because I am forever a mood reader, I require a variety of reading options at my fingertips at all times.  Whether it’s a literary drama, a light an airy romance, or a thriller gone wild, my state of mind always dictates to me my next read.  Here are a handful of book recommendations to kickstart your weekend.   

Happy Reading my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Your bouquet of books awaits you down below.  Arrange these books into your literary lifestyle any way you like. Click on the book pics to purchase or read the full synopsis.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria (Avon Books)

I adored this romance. I did a combination of reading and listening to Daria’s story and both options were quick and delicious. The storyline was definitely a little predictable, but still tons of fun, worth the read and a wonderful pick me up. I loved the characters and the plot was wicked entertaining. Who doesn’t love the world of acting? There was a slow build to the “steamy” scenes making the last 1/3 of the book HOT! I enjoyed the Puerto Rican culture, and the Spanish speaking parts and accents on audio…were fabulous! This was a feel good, put a smile on your face kind of read.

Verity by Colleen Hoover (Independently Published)

Buckle up friends this is an absolute WILD RIDE. This has been the most hyped book I have read in quite sometime, and guess what…….It lived up to every juicy and disturbing detail. If you adore psychological thrillers that are mentally unsettling then this book will WOW you. Not only is the writing quick and captivating, Hoover pretty much nailed a five star ending in my opinion! Absolutely brilliant!

Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman (Atria Books)

A multi-generational Irish family, laugh out loud dialogue and dysfunctional characters you just can’t help but love fill the pages of Hardiman’s debut novel. From an aging grandmother, to an unfulfilled father, to a teen lost in her own way, Good Eggs takes on the trials and tribulations of family life…one character at a time. Hardiman’s heart felt story is peppered with humor that could be construed as inappropriate, but to me was hilarious and on point. I personally enjoy this approach to writing, especially when talking about sensitive topics such as aging, teenage life and infidelity. Good Eggs moved along at a steady pace offering me an equal distribution of comedic relief and tender moments. The ending was a bit over the top, but never the less brought a big smile to my face. I think this story would be incredible as a TV series. Move over Schitt’s CreekGood Eggs is coming to town. This book comes out on March 2, 2021. Pre-order or reserve it from your local library now!!!

The Prophets by Robert Jones, JR. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

The love between two Black and enslaved men in the deep south is enough to grab most readers’ attention. Pair that with a beautiful and heart wrenching story filled with prose that will literally hypnotize you, and you’ve got yourself an extraordinary read. The Prophets is by no means a fast read. Jones’ writing is lyrical and oftentimes reads like a poem. It is one that you consume at a pace that allows time to sit with your heightened senses and experience Samual and Isaiah’s journey, one page at a time.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Berkley)

Radio co-hosts who pretended to have dated in order to share their “fake” past on their award winning show is the premise of The Ex Talk. Another feel good romance for the win with this bright and shiny new release. Enemies to lovers will always be one of my favorite tropes, and Shay and Dominic had me yearning for a “romantic” connection right from the start. This was a slow burn romance with great energy that evens gets a little naughty in the bedroom during the second half of the book. So much fun and perfect to read if you need a little boost to your day.

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.  

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