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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 🥰🥰🥰

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,

Kelly

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!

Bits & Pieces

Pretending book cover

Pretending by Holly Bourne (Mira Books)

November 30, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I am excited to tell you that I just read my very first Holly Bourne novel and I can’t stop thinking about it.   Bourne’s latest novel, Pretending, blew me away.  She tapped into all of my emotions in one swoop.   What I thought was going to be a light and fluffy experience, turned out to be an emotionally raw and engaging read with quite a few laughs on the side.  Let’s take a deeper look into this novel, shall we!

Before I dive into telling you about this book, I need to let you know from the start that Pretending includes rape, sexual assault and recovery.  There is no avoiding it or skipping past it in this novel.  If this subject matter is triggering or one that you are uncomfortable reading about, please gently put this book aside.  

April is single and in her early thirties.  As much as she wants to find Mr. Right and settle down, there is one thing getting in her way…SHE HATES MEN!  She makes it very clear how awful they are from the start.  Her angry tone towards the male population may seem over the top at first glance, but you will quickly learn its origin given her traumatic past.  Being sexually assaulted by her ex-boyfriend took away a part of April she can never get back.  Men want carefree women with no worries.  Women who ooze body confidence like no other.  Women who care, but not too much.  Women who are secure in who they are.  Women who are interesting and want to go to cool places… like Africa.  Women who effortlessly look fabulous all the time.  You get the idea.  The problem is that April is none of these things.  The potential to be that “type” of woman was stolen, along with a part of her soul by a man.  Who on earth wants to date damaged goods?  Baggage is only sexy at the airport on the way to a romantic destination with your lover…am I right?  April can’t get past that fact that once a man sees her for who she really is, they will no doubt run the other way.  

“I want to have someone in my life who completely and utterly knows me, and has earned the knowing of me by their unwavering willingness to stick around while I slowly reveal it all.  It only grows with time and commitment and dedication, and that only comes with someone deciding you are worth the investment to become knowable.  Someone who believes the bits they will learn about you will make them love you only more, not less.”

On a quest for revenge on her ex and on all men who walk the earth, April decides to test her theory out on a dating website.  Instead of being April (her true authentic self), she pretends to be Gretel, a fictional version of herself that encompasses all things that she believes men “want” in a woman. The plot thickens when she starts dating Joshua.  Being “Gretel” seems to be working.  Joshua is smitten with her.  However, as the weeks go by, the real April starts creeping in and Gretel becomes more exhausting to manage. Ultra cool Gretel is difficult to keep up with when flashbacks from April’s past make unexpected appearances while with Joshua.  Her feelings for Joshua become muddy while overseeing Gretel and April’s emotions simultaneously.  Will Joshua see through the lies and discover the “real” woman he is dating?

Pretending worked for me on so many levels.  What I absolutely loved about this book is Bourne’s writing style.  April’s journey toward healing and recovery was written with not only the greatest sensitivity to a difficult subject matter, but with a dark comedic vibe that had me laughing out loud.  Because her private thoughts and vulnerability are fully exposed between the pages of this book, it was easy for me to connect with April.  I personally enjoy getting into a character’s head space while reading.  It is the complexity of their innermost thoughts that oftentimes drive the story forward.   There were definitely times in the book where I wanted to shake what I thought was “sense” into April.  I may have even tried to push her into therapy to process her trauma if I could. However, this is April’s story, and as it unfolds, I quickly realized that what may seem like a traditional and more straightforward approach to healing, may not be her direct path.  “Pretending” to be someone else with an innocent man to seek answers you so desperately need may not sit well with the moralists out there (fair point).  But sometimes storytelling is what we need to truly digest the magnitude of awful things in life.  It also introduces the reader to Joshua, who I really want everyone to meet. Joshua, Joshua, Joshua!!!!

Pretending was the perfect afternoon read.  I am not going to lie, at first I thought the combination of rom-com with the sexual assault component was strange.  It felt weird, even slightly inappropriate to be chuckling and swooning over a gorgeous guy on one page and absolutely horrified and distressed on the next page.  It worked though.  Bourne weaved together an entertaining read about romance, love and self discovery while tackling the issue of sexual assault and recovery with thoughtfulness and grace.  I loved April and her journey and my feelings for Joshua…well lets just say, you will find out soon enough!!!! 

Much love and reading to you!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Thank you to Mira Books for the advance reader copy of Pretending and for having me on this amazing Blog tour. Pretending is out NOW!!!!!

Click the book pic to purchase from your local bookstore.

Barley Tea Just For Me

The Story of Mina Lee Cover

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim (Park Row Books)

Questions & Answers with Author Nancy Jooyoun Kim

August 18, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Hello there and happy Tuesday! Today I am doing something different on the blog. I am sharing with you and all my readers a Q&A with author Nancy Jooyoun Kim about her debut novel, The Last Story of Mina Lee. I absolutely love reading about countries and cultures different from my own. It is a wonderful way to explore the world from the comfort of my own couch (perfect during a pandemic). In Kim’s book, Koreatown, Los Angeles and Korea are the backdrop, with family secrets taking center stage. During the Q&A, Kim talks about what inspired her to write this novel, the impacts of the Korean War on her family and mother-daughter relationships. She also talks about the importance of Korean food and why she incorporated it into her novel (drool worthy). Be sure to read the synopsis below and enjoy the Q&A with Nancy Jooyoun Kim. I hope this inspires readers to check out this book.

Until next time my friend,

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. The Last Story of Mina Lee comes out September 1, 2020. A big thank you to Park Row Books for the sneak peek of this anticipated read. Thank you also to Nancy Jooyoun Kim for participating in the Q&A. 🤗🤗🤗

Synopsis

THE LAST STORY OF MINA LEE opens when Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, doesn’t return her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, Los Angeles, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous and invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.”

Q&A with Nancy Jooyoun Kim

1. What was your inspiration for writing The Last Story of Mina Lee?

I wanted to write a story that I had never seen before, a story that explored the complicated interdependence between an immigrant mother and her American-born daughter, the ways in which they love, need, and sometimes resent each other. For example, as the only child of an immigrant single mother, the protagonist Margot loves her mother more than anyone in this world. She needs her. But at the same time, she resents how, growing up, she has to work at her mother’s store over the weekends and during school breaks. She resents how her mother refuses to talk much about her past, and Margot’s father, her origins as well. I also wanted to write a story that centered women, in particular marginalized women, and show how they not only live but lead extraordinary lives. Although this novel begins with a tragic ending for Mina, she is nonetheless very much the hero and the heart of this story—a woman who took risks and created change, a life for herself in surprising and unconventional ways.

2. Did you have to do any research during the writing process?

I didn’t need to do much research while writing this book because I’m very much a product of the communities that I write about. I might’ve asked friends or people I know some questions about Korea and Korean culture, but it was all very casual.

3. Korean food is mentioned throughout your book.  Was this done intentionally? 

As Margot tries to figure out what happened to her mother on the night of her death, she experiences Koreatown as an adult for the first time in her life. As she goes out to eat at Korean restaurants with her friend Miguel and spends time in her mother’s apartment by herself, Margot realizes that food was not only a way for her mother to show love; it was a way of teaching Margot how to nourish and take care of herself in a world that is often harsh.

4. How important is Korean food in your life and what is your favorite Korean meal?

I always say that “Korean food” is just “food” for me. It’s very much a part of who I am, and was perhaps, as it is in many immigrant families, one of the principal ways my mother showed me love. I don’t have a favorite Korean dish because I love so many of them depending on the occasion, the weather, the mood. But some of my favorite banchan (side dishes) include yangnyeom gejang (spicy raw crab), myeongnanjeot (fermented pollock roe), and kkaenip (pickled perilla leaves). All I need is one of those and a bowl of rice.

5. What was your favorite food-related scene to write and why?

There are so many food scenes, moments, and images that I love in this book. But the most memorable food scene for me is about three-quarters through the novel—after Mina and her friend Mrs. Baek reunite after over twenty years apart. They go to a restaurant and have soondubu jjigae together. I love the delicacy, the tenderness of this scene, how each of these two characters is attempting to rekindle and navigate this friendship with the guardedness that comes from being hurt and heartbroken so much. Mina also realizes that despite how strong and supportive Mrs. Baek has always been, Mrs. Baek needs Mina and friendship just like everyone else. Mina played and can play a large role in Mrs. Baek’s life and her survival too.

6. Which character in the book do you relate to the most?

I like to believe that I am both all of my characters and none of them at the same time. But I’m closest to Margot in age and certainly I know the challenges of being the daughter of an immigrant single mother. I also know how difficult it can be in your twenties. That was actually a terrible time for me because I found myself being pulled, or pulling myself in so many different directions. But I had to make all those mistakes to get to where I am today. I’m glad that decade is over!

7. Even though the Korean War technically ended in 1953, major turmoil still exists today between the North and South. How has Korea’s past and present situation directly impacted your life?

Both sides of my family come from what is now North Korea. As children, my parents fled the north during the war. So at the age of 13, my father left his home in advance of his mother and siblings, not knowing that a permanent border would forever keep them apart. For his entire life, he never knew what had happened to them, if they survived the war or if they continued to live behind the border, a border that continues to divide not only a culture and country but real families whose lives and identities have been shattered.

There were so many painful things, worries, and regrets, traumas, that my father and mother did not talk about when I was growing up. Silence was a form of protecting us, and themselves. But the silences in my family also left me with a lack of understanding of my parents, just as Margot never quite knows her mother’s story, even if the reader does. It’s these silences that I’m attempting to capture and write through and out of in my work. I think one of the beauties of fiction is how it can bring together the impossible in one story. For me, the conversations that would and could never happen in my life happen in this book.

8. “Movement for her mother was essentially an experience of loss that Margot, American-born, could never imagine.  And yet, Margot herself had inherited the same anxiety about driving fast, particularly on freeways.  She thought too much about the experience of speed itself, its danger, rather than getting somewhere at last.”  Can you speak to the experience of movement for both women?

What I really love about the structure, the dual narrative, of this book is that we experience how both Margot and Mina, are at turning points in their lives; they are both thrust into new narratives about themselves, new ways of being alive. For example, the book begins for Margot with the death of her mother which forces her to question who she is without her. (Who is Margot if she is not someone’s daughter?) While the book begins for Mina when she enters the United States in order to start a new life after the death of her husband and daughter. (Who is she now without being someone’s mother or wife?) Both of them are in mourning, mourning the dead as well as their past identities and lives. They are both terrifyingly unmoored and free to reinvent themselves. What story should they each tell now about who they are? So movement is very much tied to identity in this book.

9. Why did Margot resist embracing her past so much?  

It’s important to note that Margot never experiences the Mina that we, as readers, see, know, and love throughout this book. Margot never witnesses her mother fall in love. She never knows the full story of why she had fled to America. Although her mother clearly makes so many sacrifices for her, Margot views her mother as often harsh, secretive, inaccessible. For this reason and in the context of a society that often doesn’t fully embrace other cultures, as an adult, Margot resents her mother; she is ashamed of what her mother represents because she has internalized some of the mainstream views, even xenophobia, and racism against her. She judges her mother by the standards of the larger culture: “Why didn’t her mother learn to speak English?” Of course, this is only until her mother dies, which opens up the opportunity to finally get to know her mother, not only as a mother but as a woman with an extraordinary story and life.

10. What is the number one take away you want your readers to leave with after finishing Mina’s story? 

I hope this book sparks conversation about the mysteries, the secrets, and the silences within our own families. I hope this story encourages readers to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask of the people whom they love the most. I hope we risk discomfort more.

11. At one point, she said that “the fear of hell kept her alive.” How much did religion play a role in Mina’s life?  

Religion and places of worship play an important role in immigrant communities, often serving as resource centers where people find each other and themselves. For Mina, the church is a place where she can simply insert herself every Sunday and feel as if she belongs through sermon and song. For the most part, she doesn’t involve herself too much socially in the church, but she finds solace once a week in the crowd.

12. Do you have plans for another novel? If so, can you share with us any details?

Yes, of course! I’m writing my next novel which also takes place near Los Angeles’ Koreatown and centers on the life of a Korean American family still grieving the mysterious death of the mother five years ago. Since I live in California where the housing crisis is very real and ongoing, the book explores issues of gentrification and homelessness through the lens of an immigrant family, struggling in their own ways to belong.

Click on the book pic below to pre-order

The Bitter And Sweet of Cherry Season

By Molly Fader

Harlequin Trade Publishing~2020 Summer Reads Blog Tour~Women’s Fiction & Romance

June 15, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I feel like so many of the books I have read lately have me thinking of you, especially your younger days. Today I am talking about a book that took place in one of your old stomping grounds. The story I just read was set in a cozy farmhouse surrounded by a cherry orchard in Michigan. You remember Michigan, right? You may not have been picking cherries, but you definitely enjoyed some high-quality outdoor time there. In Molly Fader’s latest book, The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season (and may I add her 50th book), the gorgeous state of Michigan is part of the spectacular backdrop of this heart warming family drama. Fader’s book stars three generations of women…Peg, Hope and Tink. Each one of these gals won me over with their courage, strength and willingness to start again. When Hope and her daughter Tink surprise Aunt Peg in the middle of the night on her doorstep, family secrets are slowly revealed, the taste of of new life is sampled and love is just a barn door away. There is nothing like cherry season to bring a family together. This homey and sweet tale was the perfect lazy afternoon treat!

Until next time my friend! Happy Reading!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Check out the synopsis of The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season:

Everything Hope knows about the Orchard House is from her late-mother’s stories. So when she arrives at the Northern Michigan family estate late one night with a terrible secret and her ten-year-old daughter in tow, she’s not sure if she’ll be welcomed or turned away with a shotgun by the aunt she has never met.Hope’s aunt, Peg, has lived in the Orchard House all her life, though the property has seen better days. She agrees to take Hope in if, in exchange, Hope helps with the cherry harvest—not exactly Hope’s specialty, but she’s out of options. As Hope works the orchard alongside her aunt, daughter, and a kind man she finds increasingly difficult to ignore, a new life begins to blossom. But the mistakes of the past are never far behind, and soon the women will find themselves fighting harder than ever for their family roots and for each other.”

Click on the book pic below to purchase.

Check out Molly Fader’s Website for more feel good books.

Books About Bookshops About Books About Bookshops

The Little Bookshop on the Seine cover

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin (Harlequin)

January 17, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Wander the streets of Paris and you will never return home the same. La Ville Lumiere (The City of Lights) is what she is called. Paris sucks you in with the taste of your first cafe au lait.  A city where art and intellect are the norm and glamour and romance is the marinade of choice. Imagine being cozied upon an old weathered leather couch feeling the draft of a door opening and closing. Mini clusters of people stand in line with coats half-zipped juggling their mittens and handbags while balancing new books in their empty hands. Outside the air is crisp, the wine is just a sip away and La Tour Eiffel in glowing in the background.  I bet this sounds all too familiar Mr. H. At the end of the day, what could be better than being seduced by shelves of Parisian books while nibbling on a buttery croissant reading the works of famous writers?????? Nothing. There…I said it. This actually sounds perfect. If this is something that delights you, then look no further.  Rebecca Raisin’s new book, The Little Bookshop on the Seine, will whisk you away to the streets of Paris in the blink of an eye.  And Guess what…..no passport needed.  Here we go.

“Paris was a haven for lost souls.  A place for reinvention. The type of city that would keep your secrets like the most loyal friend.”

Sarah Smith, owner of a little bookshop in the small town of Ashford, CT is looking for a change.  When her bookshop rent increases and book sales struggle to cover the growing costs, Sarah falls into a rut.  It doesn’t help matters that the love of her life, Ridge, is traveling on assignment for the next year. In comes Sarah’s French friend, Sophia.  Coincidentally, Sophia contacts Sarah around this time with a proposition. Grappling with her own personal life, Sophia proposes that she and Sarah switch jobs.  Sophia will run Sarah’s small town bookshop in Ashford, while Sarah runs Sophia’s bookshop in Paris. This seems like the perfect opportunity for Sarah to rediscover herself while exploring a new city.

When Sarah arrives in Paris, it is briskly brought to light that this bookshop swap was not the even trade she was expecting.  With unreliable staff and an unimaginable workload, Sarah finds living in a foreign city harder than she imagined. As the weeks go by, Sarah tries to immerse herself into the magical culture. Managing the Paris bookshop, yearning for her hometown friends and longing for her beau Ridge, all take the allure away from her French experience.  As the Christmas season approaches, Sarah is more unsure than ever of her future.

A book about books and bookshops is a book lover’s dream.  I absolutely adored Rebercca’s Raisin’s new book. Moving to Paris to reevaluate your life always makes for a good story.  Throw in working at a Parisian bookstore, and I am in heaven. Sarah was such a lovely character to spend time with. Her Ashford friends and Paris co-workers all added charm to her cozy tale.  I absolutely loved her and Ridge. Her longing to be with him seeped through the pages. Though their relationship wasn’t the main source of entertainment, it does offer a few quick doses of heart pounding romance. And for the record….. Ridge is quite desirable.  The Little Bookshop on the Seine is the perfect literary treat for book lovers. If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of your own life, snuggle up under a blanket by the fire and enjoy this heartwarming story.  It will no doubt bring a smile to your face.

Write to you next week Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for inviting me on this blog tour for Romance and Women’s fiction. Thank you to Harlequin and Netgalley for the ARC of this book.

Check out the links below to Purchase The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin.

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Which Way Should I Swipe?

Husband Material book cover

Husband Material by Emily Belden (Harlequin)

January 3, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Welcome to 2020!  A New year with brand new books!  What is not to love? What I choose to read depends on my mood. Sometimes I crave something with twists and turns and utter suspense.  While other times, I have a hankering for historical fiction or a fabulous memoir.  Most recently though, I have been enjoying cuddling up in bed with a warm and fuzzy read.  Something that doesn’t rattle me right before I start to count my sheep. Husband Material by Emily Belden was the perfect comfort read at the end of a long day.   Let me give you the scoop.

Charlotte Rosen is a 29-year-old widow of five years.  She lives in an apartment with her roommate, works as a social media analyst, and is in the process of developing the latest and greatest dating app.  After work one day, Charlotte arrives home to a surprise package containing an urn of her late husband’s ashes. Not only does Charlotte now have to revisit a host of emotions, she has to interact with her “lovely” (not really) mother-in-law.  In addition to her new found drama, Charlotte runs into Brian, her late husband’s best friend. As they reconnect, feelings between the two of them become complicated. Just when she thinks the ice underneath her can’t get any thinner, a truth bomb drops about her late husband’s past that has her questioning their entire marriage.  Will she be able to come to terms with the past while rebuilding her future?

Husband Material is a heartwarming tale.   I loved how Belden tied in Charlotte’s love for mathematical data and algorithms into her personal and professional life.  I am more than happy to report that Charlotte is a lovable protagonist that is easy to root for. The characters around her make up the perfect cast for this delightful story.  Charlotte’s struggle to let go of the past in order to move forward with her future is something that most people can relate to in some shape or form. For a book that revolves around death and loss, Belden did an excellent job at keeping her story light and uplifting with a dab of humor and romance.  Happy Reading Friends!

Talk soon Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Today’s post is part of Harlequin Trade Publishing Blog Tour:  Romance and Women’s Fiction Winter 2020. Thank you to Harlequin for for inviting Dear Mr. Hemingway on this tour.

If you would like to read this book, check out some of the buying options below!

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781525805981_husband-material.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Husband-Material-Emily-Belden/dp/1525805983

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/husband-material-emily-belden/1129908343?ean=9781525805981#/

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525805981

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/husband-material-12

Google Books: https://books.google.com/books/about/Husband_Material.html?id=0sR6DwAAQBAJ

Giddy-Up…Get Your Holiday Romance On!

Cowboy Christmas book cover

Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates

Harlequin’s Holiday Blog Tour

December 4, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

December has arrived and the Holiday season is in full swing. Here in Maine, the ground is covered in snow, the fireplace is roaring and cozy reading is officially the name of the game.  I am a sucker for curling up on my couch under a blanket and devouring romance books. Who doesn’t want to end their day (or start it) reading a story filled with an all-consuming passion, earth-shattering desire, and smoking hot chemistry between characters? Throw in a happily ever after, and life is pretty darn good! Because of this, Dear Mr. Hemingway is proud to be a part of Harlequin’s Holiday Blog Tour. Romance books in all of their glory with a holiday twist are something I can get behind. I am so excited to tell you about the first book I chose.

Gold Valley, Oregon is the place to be this December.  Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates is the latest book in her Gold Valley Series.  Here is the scoop. Caleb Dalton (AKA …sexy cowboy) is in love with single mom, Ellie Bell.  There is of course one major roadblock standing in the way of this romance. Ellie is the widow of Caleb’s best friend (I am serious).  However, when Caleb finds out that Ellie is finally in the market for love again, he decides to put his guilt aside and try to make all of Ellie’s Christmas wishes come true.  Will Ellie and Caleb fall in love? Will they both have a Christmas to remember? I think you need to read this to find out.

What I love about Yates’ new book is that it is the ultimate feel-good holiday romance. Though the plot may be simple, her details are scrumptious.  I kid you not, the steam between Caleb and Ellie is seeping from the pages of this book.  Their appetite for one another is ravenous when they are in close quarters (you can totally feel the heat). Let me be clear though.  This is not a fifty shades of whips and chains kind of romance. This is standing in the snow with rugged hands on your face while fingertips are tangled in your hair while deeply kissing you kind of romance (ok…sometimes hands are grabbing other things too, but I’ll let Maisey Yates tell you that part).  Putting all the sweltering heat aside, Yates’ book is really just a good old fashioned love story. Small town holiday charm, characters that are easy to root for, and a Christmas wish come true is all we really need.

Cowboy Christmas Redemption is not the first in Yates’ Gold Valley Series.  There are actually quite a few books and novellas that precede this book.  With that said, this is the first book I have read in the series. Rest assured, it reads very well as a stand-alone novel.  Of course, be prepared to want to backtrack when you are done. Now that I have a taste of Gold Valley, I am really looking forward to visiting again.  Readers…..let loose and have some fun with this book. Feel hope, feel weak at the knees, feel sexy, and most of all……….feel love! I hope you enjoy this romantic holiday treat.

Happy Holidays Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Thank you to Harlequin for having me on their Harlequin’s Holiday Blog Tour and for the gifted digital copy of Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates.  It is always a pleasure!

Click here to purchase Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates

I Love You A Bushel & A Peck

Meant to be yours book cover

Meant To Be Yours

By Susan Mallery

October 22, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

There is nothing better than kicking back with a good old fashion romance book. A story filled with magical first kisses, romantic tension, and a happy ending is my kind of escape. Susan Mallery, #1 New York Times best-selling author has written countless (and I mean countless) romance novels. Her latest, Meant To Be Yours hits shelves today. It is the fifth book in her Happily Inc. series. If you are looking for a story that will put a smile on your face, then start filling that dusty bathtub with some suds. Put down your thrillers, memoirs, and courtroom dramas for just a moment. Relax in the warm bubbles while your mind drifts to a town named Happily, Inc. I hope you enjoy your stay.

Renee is a wedding coordinator who specializes in “theme” weddings in the town of Happily, Inc. One would think that someone who plans the biggest day of someone else’s life would be gaga over getting married. One would be wrong. Renee’s past makes her weary of ever settling down. When her mother arrives in town for visit, things start to get interesting. In comes Jasper, Happily, Inc.’s resident novelist (love that there is an author in the actual story). Jasper is struggling with writing his next mystery book. Writing about a love interest for his lead character in his book is not coming naturally. He doesn’t have much to draw from his own love life since returning from his military assignment. His PTSD makes him feel less than whole. Taking on a relationship just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for him. However, when Jasper runs into Renee at the local bar, they hit it off. While neither of them are looking for a relationship, “friends with benefits” seems to be the perfect solution. Though their time together is piping hot, it also becomes complicated. Can they each battle their pasts in order for a brighter future together?????

Meant To Be Yours was the perfect lazy morning read. In a town where everyone knows everyone, Happily, Inc. was reminiscent of Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls and BlueBell from Heart of Dixie. Let’s face it, small towns always have the best drama and romances. Mallery’s characters each have their own unique storylines that make all of their relationships with one another entertaining. It was the banter and steamy bedroom scenes between Renee and Jasper that kept the pages turning for me. Details of Renee’s crazy themed weddings and Jasper’s novel writing process were most certainly delightful. Animal lovers will adore how Mallery incorporated her love of animals in this story. From rescued pets, to an animal preservation to a woman who can interpret what animals are thinking, our fury friends most definitely have a supporting role in this romance. Most importantly though, it was the hope and anticipation of a happily ever after that left me feeling giddy. Though I haven’t read any other books in Mallery’s Happily, Inc. series, I can honestly say that this worked fine for me as a stand alone book. I am eager to start from the beginning to learn more about the cozy town of Happily, Inc. and all of its lovely occupants. I hope you enjoy this comforting romance!!! Happy reading and happy soaking!

Write to you soon Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for inviting me on this Blog Tour: Romance & Women’s Fiction ~Fall/Winter 2020. Be sure to check out Susan Mallery’s website and all of her wonderful books.

Click here to purchase Meant To Be Yours by Susan Mallery

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