Katie @basicbsguide and I are so excited to announce our June Book Selection…𝘕𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘩 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 🐍by Leigh Bardugo. I have been wanting to read this for SO LONG and my dreams are finally coming true 😃. Does an Ivy League School, secret societies, dead bodies, and some dark magic sound good to you???? Sounds magnificent to me! Check out the synopsis below AND JOIN US! 🐍 This is a read at your own pace situation during the month of June followed by an EPIC private chat on Instagram with me, Katie, and the whole 𝐃𝐄𝐀𝐑𝐁𝐀𝐒𝐈𝐂𝐁𝐔𝐃𝐃𝐘𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐃𝐒 crew. The chat date will be announced shortly! DM me over at @dearmrhemingway to join. You need to have an Instagram account to participate. 🐍 𝐀𝐋𝐒𝐎..If you need a push to read 𝘕𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘩 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦, let me tell you this… the sequel to this tale is called 𝘏𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘉𝘦𝘯𝘵 and it comes out in January 2023. Join us and you will be ready to take on book two when it makes its way into the world 😍! xoxo, Kelly
🐍 𝐒𝐲𝐧𝐨𝐩𝐬𝐢𝐬: “Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicides. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.”
I have three books for you today and they are all so very different from one another. These three works of fiction each have their own unique vibe and I am thrilled to share them with you. I am offering up a man in search of his soul, a courtroom drama set way into the future, and a mystery around some Nazi stolen artwork. I can honestly say that I was swept away by all three of the books below. I was shocked, entertained, made to think, and above all…simply wowed by these three authors. I do believe there is something for everyone in today’s round-up. Happy reading and listening!
Until next time dear friend!
Your Biggest Fan,
First up is The Selfless Act of Breathing by JJ Bola. All I can say is that I absolutely LOVED this book. Bola’s writing knocked my socks off, that is for sure. His main character Michael truly lost his way and my soul literally ached for him. His journey is beyond profound and left me with a feeling of sadness that was hard to shed. I was mesmerized by his introspection and oftentimes found myself drifting off into my own world of ruminating and reflecting on life, love, and loneliness. The connections with the people he met along the way truly highlighted his internal needs and fears and I was in absolute awe of how Bola could take on the heavy themes of suicidal thoughts, race, culture, and family using a poetic tone. The Selfless Act of Breathing is a raw and powerful read and I highly recommend it.
“Michael Kabongo is a British-Congolese teacher living in London on the cusp of two identities. On paper, he seems to have it all: He’s beloved by his students, popular with his coworkers, and the pride and joy of a mother who emigrated from the Congo to the UK in search of a better life. But behind closed doors, he’s been struggling with the overwhelming sense that he can’t address the injustices he sees raging before him—from his relentless efforts to change the lives of his students for the better to his attempts to transcend the violence and brutality that marginalizes young Black men around the world.
Then one day he suffers a devastating loss, and his life is thrown into a tailspin. As he struggles to find a way forward, memories of his father’s violent death, the weight of refugeehood, and an increasing sense of dread threaten everything he’s worked so hard to achieve. Longing to escape the shadows in his mind and start anew, Michael decides to spontaneously pack up and go to America, the mythical “land of the free,” where he imagines everything will be better, easier—a place where he can become someone new, someone without a past filled with pain.
On this transformative journey, Michael travels everywhere from New York City to San Francisco, partying with new friends, sparking fleeting romances, and splurging on big adventures, with the intention of living the life of his dreams until the money in his bank account runs out.”
Next up is Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr. Run, don’t walk to grab yourself a copy of this literary gem. The dazzling art world, high-stakes journalism, and the history of Nazi stolen artwork during the Second World War are well framed in this remarkable literary mystery. Barr’s story is teeming with intricate details and a chic background that pairs well with her multi-layered and quite juicy characters that undeniably lit up the pages of this book. The combination of unparalleled research weaved into modern-day fiction was THE creme de la creme for me. Every luscious page I read made me more ravenous for the next because I simply had to know what happened next. I refused to cease my reading adventure until I reached the wicked satisfying ending the Barr so meticulously delivered. At the end of the day, there is nothing better than being immersed in a world where the past meant everything and secrets kept everyone in the game. Woman on Fire was an absolute pleasure to read.
Lisa Barr’s stunning creation is the true work of art here and SHE is… The Ultimate Woman on Fire!
“After talking her way into a job with Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual—and very secret—assignment. Dan needs her to locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: legendary Expressionist artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire. World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum wants this portrait of a beautiful, mysterious woman for deeply personal reasons, and has enlisted Dan’s help to find it. But Jules doesn’t have much time; the famous designer is dying.
Meanwhile, in Europe, provocative and powerful Margaux de Laurent also searches for the painting. Heir to her art collector family’s millions, Margaux is a cunning gallerist who gets everything she wants. The only thing standing in her way is Jules. Yet the passionate and determined Jules has unexpected resources of her own, including Adam Baum, Ellis’s grandson. A recovering addict and brilliant artist in his own right, Adam was once in Margaux’s clutches. He knows how ruthless she is, and he’ll do anything to help Jules locate the painting before Margaux gets to it first.”
Last but never ever least is The Prynne Viper by Bianca Marais. Marais, author of Hum if You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh is back with something 100% fresh. This time around she is not writing about South Africa, the Apartheid, or the Soweto Uprising. Instead, she wowed me with a short story offered as an Audible Original.The Prynne Viper is a futuristic tale (yes, you heard me correctly) that left me thinking long and hard about the fate of humanity if left in the hands of some crazy predictive software. I was transfixed by this terrifying world and the idea that mankind could be predetermined by a courtroom jury haunted me for days. Don’t let the length of this story fool you though. Marais’ magnificent storytelling, the full cast of narrators, and an extremely pleasing ending all neatly fit into a unique two-hour listen. Marais’ ability to switch writing gears by seamlessly transitioning to a completely different genre was wicked impressive and she will forever be an auto-buy author for me.
“In a futuristic world where predictive software can map out the lives of every living person and their descendants, Naomi Prynne is on trial. The charge: endangerment by way of a pregnancy.
Thirteen jurors will determine whether Naomi is allowed to carry the pregnancy to term, but the jurors are also all plaintiffs, the software having predicted how Naomi Prynne’s child will affect each of them in life-changing ways. Among them: a history professor who has given up on her own dreams for the sake of the greater good; a student participating in his first-ever trial who’s about to discover an earth-shattering truth; and a former mathematician, who knows all too well the dark machinations of the state, but is prohibited from speaking out against them. The future of the Prynne Viper – an acronym for “viable person” – is in their hands.
But this Prynne Viper is unlike Naomi’s other pregnancies. This time, Naomi Prynne is carrying a secret, one with the power to alter the future into something incalculable, and therefore, unpredictable.”
I am so excited to introduce you to today’s guest writer. Andrea Nourse is the author of four women’s fiction novels and the co-founder & co-host of the Indie Author Book Club, which I am a HUGE fan of. Andrea and her Indie Author Book Club co-host (who you will meet later on in this series) share their own experiences as Indie Authors on their podcast in addition to shining light on fellow Indie Authors.
Andrea’s passion for writing and all things Indie is evident in her involvement in the literary community. She is completely transparent with her writing journey and is a wonderful mentor to experienced and new writers alike. If you are looking for a fresh and exciting book club, look no further….Andrea has got you covered. She just so happens to co-host a group discussion on a new Indie book each month. And by the way, last month’s book selection was not only a gem, but also introduced me to a new author. You can actually read about it HERE.
Andrea currently lives in Nashville with her husband, Jeff, and their two children, Jackson and Annabeth. She has a BS in Mass Communication from MTSU and an MBA from the University of Memphis. When she’s not reading, writing, or Bookstagramming, she enjoys pretending to know how to bake, swooning over Chris Evans, and scrolling Netflix without ever finding something to watch.
Andrea is a beacon of light to readers and writers everywhere. I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H. I am looking forward to adding her book recommendation to my own TBR.
P.S. Her latest book, After Everything, gets a BIG thumbs up from me!
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
I should probably start this letter with an apology. You see, I’ve never read one of your books. I am very familiar with you, but this is more so because of your famous felines and less so because of your books, which I am sure are lovely. Now, with that awkwardness out of the way, I’d like to tell you about a book that reintroduced me to the magic of fantasy novels.
Saving Ellie by Whitney R.B. was the first indie book I fell in love with. Werewolves. Found Families. Mystery. Folklore. It has all the ingredients that make a book feel like home.
When I first met Whitney and Saving Ellie, it had been years since my first foray into fantasy and werewolves, and it had been just as long since I’d picked up one that I loved just as much as the first. All of this changed when I met Ellie and Ash. I fell headfirst into their world and never wanted to leave.
Whitney’s prose is as beautiful as her characters. The words flow from the pages and bring the characters and the lore to life. Her dedication to her craft and her characters is inspiring. After releasing Saving Ellie in 2019, Whitney completely rewrote the book and re-released it in January of 2021. Imagine my thrill when I learned I’d get to meet Ellie and Ash all over again and rediscover new facets of their character and story.
I am still in the beginning of my new adventure with Ellie and Ash, but I can tell you, Mr. Hemingway, it is just as perfect and beautiful as the first time. As a lover of felines, I understand you may have reservations about exploring a book filled with werewolves, but I assure you this is a story you do not want to sleep on.
P.S. My next book, Out of Anywhere, hits shelves (virtual and some physical) on June 1, 2021!
Today is a wonderful day! The Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writer is Selina A. I have been chatting with Selina for a few years now. Even though she is literally half a world away, we still have wonderful conversations about books and writing. I adore how we can bounce ideas off of one another even if I am having my evening cocktail while Selina is brewing her morning coffee (the internet is pretty amazing sometimes). This beautiful girl from the “land down under” is the creator of the extremely successful Book Blog, Check Your Shelf and Bookstagram account, @checkyourshelf_. Selina is constantly devouring and reviewing books for her page. Contemporary romance, thrillers, historical fiction, fantasy and YA are all her jam. If you are looking for some new authors to read, Selina has got you covered. Be sure to visit her BLOG to get an inside scoop on some fabulous Australian authors.
Selina lives in beautiful sunny Sydney, Australia with her husband and two young girls. When not reading you can find her baking, going for long walks, recreating TikTok dances (in her head) or obsessing over her growing collection of succulents (which do not want to stay alive). Her usual day job is as a digital marketing manager, so you could say all her time spent online is ‘research’.
I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H. I now have ANOTHER book to add to my very own TBR!
P.S. According to Selina, you really need to Check Your Shelf before you Wreck Yourself 😂!
Dear Mr Hemingway,
Do you know what an alphahole is? Well grab a stiff drink and strap yourself in, because you’re about to find out!
When I think about fall reading I think cozy blankets, a steaming hot mug of tea, some chocolate and…hunky fae, merman, fallen angels and werewolves?
Sarah J Maas really needs no introduction. Well actually, perhaps you may need one. She’s the queen of young adult fantasy, intricate world building, books that get thicker as the series continues, repetitive uses of the same word (sorry couldn’t resist) and the writer behind #bookstagram favourite Rhysand from the infamous ACOTAR (A Court of Thorns and Roses) series. Sorry, what? Oh, I can explain #bookstagram another time…
Her ACOTARseries was one I picked up last year after I saw rave reviews. And I’m so glad I did! I used to enjoy reading fantasy as a teen, but hadn’t really read a proper series since then. After loving ACOTAR I knew I had to pick up her first adult fantasy offering, House of Earth & Blood…and I wasn’t disappointed.
Ernie (may I call you that?), don’t be fooled by the size of this one! It’s one of those books that make you abandon all your responsibilities (children included), furiously turning the pages, when, before you know it, you’ve finished a whole block of chocolate, the kids are in bed (how did they get there?) and you’re wondering whether you should dye your hair red a la the main character Bryce. There’s a lot of detail in these pages, however in the hands of the skilled Maas, it all comes together as it needs to.
Bryce and her best friend Danika are living their best lives in the pulsing Crescent City. By day she’s an assistant to a prominent arts dealer. By night, she parties hard with her friends, club and boy hopping like no tomorrow. Until tragedy strikes.
Becoming quickly embroiled in a mystery that could shake up the very fabric of Crescent City, Bryce teams up with the infamous Umbra Mortis, Hunt Athalar to solve the crime. I really enjoyed the mystery aspect here, and found it a refreshing twist on the usual fantasy set up.
Speaking of Bryce, can I be her when I grow up? On the surface she’s a bit of a party girl, but she’s multi layered and a total badass pocket rocket too…she may be small but she can definitely hold her own! Packed with action, intrigue and alphaholes galore, this is one to definitely add to your fall reading list!
P.S. alphahole = an alpha male who takes their controlling/ demanding ways a little too far. Get it??
Happy Friday everyone! I am so happy to introduce you to today’s Guest Writer, Chase Waskey. I met Chase online a few years ago when I was starting up Dear Mr. Hemingway. Through the years, we have managed to chat all things books and writing, while never even meeting in person. Chase is the creator of the very successful BLOG, The Bookend Diner, and Bookstagram page, @thebookend.diner (over 28,000 followers 😮). If you have never visited her blog or Instagram page…MAKE IT HAPPEN. You will not be disappointed.
Chase started her account in April of 2019 as a creative outlet for discussing the books she was reading and the different cookbooks she was sampling recipes from. The name “Bookend Diner” stemmed from her combination of books and cookbooks but also from her desire to open up her own bookshop diner one day. Chase’s account highlights all of her favorite reads and cookbooks. She does a phenomenal job creating a “buzz” around upcoming titles and her photography is absolutely lovely to look at.
Chase lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her two dogs, cat, and husband. Two of her favorite books are Where the Crawdads Sing and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Chase is a coffee lover, has a serious sweet tooth, and, rumor has it…wants to raise chickens (just like me ❤️).
I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H. The book she recommends today is officially on my TBR. Thanks Chase!
P.S. Chase just celebrated her birthday yesterday. If you pop on her page, be sure to wish her well 🎉!
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
Do you ever feel like you’ve taken on too much at one time?
In a world that is filled with things to do, places to be, and people to meet, I often find myself saying “time needs to slow down”, “where has the day gone?” or “there’s just not enough time in the day.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that this is the case and, to be completely honest, I don’t like it. I find myself aching to have more time to sit back and enjoy the beautiful fall day and to have the opportunity to take my dogs on an extra-long walk.
I recently received a book that made time stand still for me because I genuinely felt as if the author reached into my mind and extracted these thoughts that I had tried, and failed, on multiple occasions to formulate. Once she had pulled these thoughts from my mind, she then sat down and wrote a book. I’ve not encountered a book that was so eloquently written and able to portray such pure, heartfelt emotion. But, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue did just that.
Right as I finished reading this book, I read that it took the author, V.E. Schwab, nine years to put this book together. It shows. This incredible, breathtaking, heartbreaking, resonating story reflects all of those years of research, note-taking, formulating, and creating.
It took me a solid week to read about Addie LaRue because as much as I wanted to know her story, I also didn’t want her story to end. I didn’t want to miss a piece of her beautiful life and the world that she saw. I felt as if I were walking along beside her through this three hundred year journey of loneliness. Can you imagine? Three hundred years of being alone, of no one remembering your name, and not being able to leave so much as a footprint in the snow behind. But, yet, she did, and she became stronger with each year that passed.
While reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, I kept thinking that this would make a remarkable movie, but then I would think that there is no way that a movie could ever do this story justice. I’m still torn on my feelings, but I do know one thing; I want Addie LaRue’s story to live on, and I want to read it and live it over. It is not a book that should be read once but read again and again.
Nine years was what it took to put this beautiful book together and, in my opinion, it was nine years well spent.
My dear Mr. Hemingway, I hope that you will take the time to read this beautiful story.