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The Magic of Christmas

In a Holidaze book cover

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren (Gallery Books)

In a Holidaze book cover

 “We ate breakfast in the old, untasting, gulping, early morning Christmas way, unpacking the stockings, down to the candy mouse in the toe, each made a pile of our things for future gloating. From breakfast we rushed into our clothes and tore down the icy road in the glory of the blue-white glistening alpine morning.”   Ernest Hemingway ~Christmas on the Roof of the World (Toronto Star, 1923)

October 21, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Please hear me out before you think I am crazy. I am fully aware that it is the middle of October and the fall mums I love to decorate my yard with have yet to be purchased, while plans for this coming pandemic Halloween are still non-existent. Let’s not mention the fact that Thanksgiving (one of my favorite holidays), is still miles away. As much as I never want to wish time away, I am already excited for the Christmas season. Even though I have been stuck in my house more than usual these days, cozy fires, twinkling lights, and the smell of cookies baking in the oven always bring me peace and happiness.  To add a log to my future cozy fire is Christina Lauren’s latest book, In a Holidaze.  There is no turning back after reading this winter wonder.  A snowy cabin, spiked eggnog, some dreamy “steamy” romance, and a teeny tiny bit of time travel (trust me…this works) is sure to turn any frown upside down.  This smile-inducing story will have you dreaming of Christmas.  

Maelyn (Mae) Jones hates her job, still lives with her parents and has a mad crush on someone very close to her.  The one thing she looks forward to every year is the holidays.  For as long as she can remember, Mae has spent every Christmas vacation at her family’s snowy Utah cabin for the holidays with two other families.  The story opens up at the end of the Christmas festivities.  Presents have been opened, snowy competitions have been won, and boozy bellies can’t fit another bite of turkey. It’s the tail end of the holiday extravaganza and Mae makes a drunken mistake with Theo (her childhood friend) that leaves her head spinning.  With no time for closure, she heads to the airport to thaw her frozen limbs and fly back to her regularly scheduled  life.  On the way to the airport though, Mae gets into a car accident that not only knocks her unconscious, but has her waking up on an airplane heading to Utah to start her Christmas vacation…AGAIN!  Guess what?  She is the only one aware that she just stepped back A WEEK IN TIME.  Will she get to fix her intoxicated mistake, find love with the real man she so desires and turn her unhappy life around?   Time and a few resets will tell. 

I was so happy reading In a Holidaze.  It was the perfect change of pace from all of the October thrillers I have been devouring.  Christia Lauren’s latest rom com is not your typical time travel story.   If you are thinking of  Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander Series or even The Magic Treehousefor that matter, rest assured…this book doesn’t bop through time to that extent.  Instead, Lauren’s book is about second chances…a potential redo ( who doesn’t want that option from time to time?). There may be a slight rewind in time, but nothing to stew and fester over.  Mae seizes this magical opportunity to make things better and take a much needed chance on life for once.  The chemistry between the characters is absolutely fantastic. This book had me grinning from ear to ear from start to finish. With delightful characters, a picturesque atmosphere and a romance that made me swoon, I was in Holiday Heaven reading In a Holidaze

The Holidays are right around the corner.  If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit sooner than later, make reading this book happen!  

You will not regret it! 

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly 

P.S. Click on the book pic below to purchase from your favorite local bookstore.

In a Holidaze book cover

Guest Writer

Graphic for guest writer Carrie Torrisi

Carrie Torrisi

Bookstagram Bonanza Edition

Guest Writer, Carrie Torisi graphic

October 7, 2020

Dear Lovely Readers,

I am so excited to introduce you to today’s Guest Writer…Carrie Torrisi. Carrie is the mastermind behind the ever so popular Bookstagram (fancy name for Instagram for book lovers) page, @bostonbookfanatic. If you have never visited Carrie’s Instagram page, then HOP TO IT! She loves reading family dramas, particularly multigenerational and nonlinear/dual timeline stories. She does an impressive job highlighting the latest books, promoting authors, and featuring debut novels. Carrie is one of the creators of #thesixspotlight and a co-creator of the @mystery.book.club on Instagram.

Carrie’s book recommendations are a slam dunk. If you are looking for something to read, look no further. With over 42,000 followers (I am most definitely one of them), it is safe to say that this Boston Book Fanatic has got you covered. And guess what…this isn’t even her day job! A successful lawyer by day 😮 and respected book lover/book influencer by night, Carrie is awe-inspiring!!! How on earth she has time to ride her deeply loved Peloton bike is beyond me. I hope you enjoy her stellar letter to Mr. H. Its a keeper!

❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S. Carrie’s coolness doesn’t stop there… she even has a cat named RBG. Can you say GIRL POWER!

______________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Perhaps a book that’s comprised of individuals sharing the darkest moments in their lives isn’t the best to recommend to someone whose tumultuous life was filled with mental health struggles and ended in suicide.  However, given that the biggest takeaway from everyone I’ve talked to about this book is that the stories made them feel less alone in their struggles, perhaps you would have found some comfort in it, as well.

I know not everyone wants to read an emotional book, but if you’re going to read just one this fall (hell, even this year), then make that one be Craigslist Confessional by Helena Dea Bala. Are you going to be sad?  Oh, most definitely.  But are you also going to feel connected to strangers and fellow readers in a way that you didn’t know possible?  Also yes.

Helena gave up her law career to follow her passion. That passion?  Listening to strangers share their problems.  What started as a conversation with a homeless man who panhandled near her office led Helena to place an ad on Craigslist (hm, how to explain Craigslist to you… or the internet…  This letter will be far too long so just imagine a huge billboard in the city square that anyone can see.) offering to meet with strangers and listen anonymously to them as they shared whatever they felt they couldn’t tell anyone else.  An offer to allow them to unburden themselves and ideally walk always feeling a bit emotionally lighter. She got thousands of responses, and Craigslist Confessional was born.

As a lawyer who sometimes gets caught up in the daily grind (we all know how that goes, right?), I so admire Helena’s decision to leave her unfulfilling legal career behind and choose a path that gave her a sense of purpose. Especially given how wild that path seemed and how it, um, didn’t seem like it could possibly lead to any kind of income. Thankfully, people saw the value in these stories and now not only do we all have an opportunity to read them, but hopefully Helena will have a long and prosperous writing career ahead of her.

This book is made up of 40 individual stories from people going through the gamut of personal problems.  It’s split into five categories:  Love, Regret, Loss, Identity, and Family. Some of the stories will break your heart, some of them will bring you bittersweet joy, some of them will open your eyes to different experiences, and some of them you’ll relate to on a deeply personal level.  ALL of them will make you feel like you’re less alone. And ALL of them will remind you that we can never truly know what is going on behind a person’s façade. 

I’ve listened to people discuss these stories and connect over some of the deepest and darkest moments in their lives.  I’ve watched friends discuss their failed pregnancies and lost babies and rather than being crushed by sorrow, they’re comforted by their solidarity.  I’ve listened to people reference a moment in one story or a particular chapter where they thought, “yes, I’ve been there,” or “whoa, that’s me.” I’ve heard others say that they found their pain and struggles validated within these pages.

If you’re looking for a book with a happy ending where everything is tied up in a neat little bow, then be warned that this isn’t it. These stories are captured from a single conversation that Helena had with these individuals and are focused on whatever they needed or wanted to share to unburden themselves, so we don’t find out how their lives or situations turned out. While that might be hard for some, I found that it allowed me to be hopeful for them even in what seemed like the most hopeless of circumstances.

Reading Craigslist Confessional has reminded me not to be so quick to judge others and that there isn’t a single person whose life is all happy all the time. It’s truly a must read.

All the best,

Carrie – Boston Book Fanatic 

P.S. Click on the pic below to purchase this book!

Author photo of Carrie Torisi
photo credit – Carrie Torrisi

Guest Writer~Lauren Layne

Author Edition

February 19, 2020

Dear Readers,

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Can you believe another week has gone by? Even though I wish time would slow down, I cannot wait for Guest Writer Wednesday each week. I am so excited to introduce you to today’s author, Lauren Layne!!!!! Lauren is literally the queen of romantic fiction and happily ever afters. She is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling Author who has written over 30+ books 😮😮😮!! This stiletto loving girl has also been featured in Oprah Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. With over a million copies of her books sold and living in Manhattan with her husband (her high school sweetheart), Lauren is truly living her happily ever after. Her latest book series called The Central Park Pact Series (Gallery Books) includes Passion on Park Avenue, Love on Lexington Avenue, and Marriage on Madison Avenue. Guess what…..they are all out now. Go grab the series and start reading!

I hope you enjoy Lauren’s letter to Mr. H. She was so wonderful to me when I invited her to be a Guest Writer. Not only did she say yes to my invitation without hesitation, but she was lovely to chit chat with via email. If you venture onto her website, you will see that not only does Lauren write books, but she shares with her readers and fellow writers business tips, writing strategies, and how to be a minimalist in so many different domains. She is an absolute inspiration to us all. One of my favorite articles by Lauren is titled, Why I No Longer Use A Paper Planner. Though I haven’t made the jump to all digital yet, I am getting closer every day…I think. Anyway, a big shout out to this gorgeous author and all that she does. Many thanks, Lauren Layne!! You have made our day!!!!!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S. If you want to be inspired by Lauren even more, read about her journey from being an avid reader to the best selling author. This is what it’s about!

________________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Some people have comfort foods. Or comfort socks. Or comfort blanket, candles, movies, that they’ll seek out when life seems to be nipping at their heels a little too aggressively. I, Mr. Hemingway, have comfort books. Specifically, comfort romances, because there is no feeling in the world like the reminder happily-ever-after can and does exist.

I have a handful of comfort reads—those books that I’ll crave when I’m tired or frustrated. But I reach for one book more than any other: It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas. It’s a Regency romance, and a favorite of mine, for all the reasons Regency is so delicious. The time-period has wonderful built-in conflict because there are so many rules. Who you can court. Who you can marry. How long a man and woman can be in the same room together. What it means for fingertips to brush without gloves. There are so many reasons for certain characters not to be together, that it’s all the more rewarding when they overcome those reasons.

Lillian and Marcus’s story captures all of that tension to perfection. She’s headstrong and inappropriate. He’s uptight and proper. She hates his stuffiness, he disdains her disregard for following rules. They set off sparks every time they come together on the page, but the incredibly skilled Kleypas knows exactly when to start layering in softer, more tender moments, allowing readers to feel along with Lillian and Marcus, the shift from being challengers to confidantes, from enemies to lovers.

Where It Happened One Autumn shines most is the more Lillian and Marcus get to know each other, the more sure we readers are that happily-ever-after will persist long after the end of the book. The controlling Marcus is so certain he wants a biddable wife, the headstrong Lillian so sure she wants a husband she can control, and it is such a delight when they realize that what they really want is someone who’s their equal. They challenge each other, they fight for and against each other, and fall deeply, irrevocably in love in the process.

If you love moments where your heart seems lodged in your throat, your stomach feels full of butterflies, your entire being full of longing, I’m confident you’ll enjoy this book as much as I do.

Yours in literature,

Lauren

P.S. Mr. Hemingway, if you’re at all interested in reading contemporary romance with this same push-pull tension, I think you may enjoy some of my own love stories, found here: Lauren Layne Books

Click here to purchase Where It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

The Best Books of 2019!!!

Collage for Best Books of 2019

December 31, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

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

GIVEAWAY FOR SUBSCRIBERS

UnHoneymooners Subscriber Giveaway Graphic

May 14, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I am so excited that The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is coming out TODAY! To celebrate the release of this Funny Romantic Comedy, I have a special giveaway for my wonderful subscribers. The winner and the friend they refer will each receive a brand new copy of this fabulous new release. Can you say BUDDY READ?? How cool is that? Here is how to enter…

1. Subscribers refer one friend to subscribe to Dear Mr. Hemingway for one entry.

2. Email me the name of the person you referred dearmrhemingway@gmail.com

3. That is it!!!!!!!

4. One entry per Subscriber

5. Giveaway closes on Sunday, May 19, 2019 11:59pm EST

6. For a full list of rules, check out the privacy policy here.

7. Everyone must be subscribed in order to win.

8. U.S. only

Have fun and Good Luck!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. This is a personal giveaway. This giveaway is not affiliated with the publisher or author.

April Showers Bring More Books and Pairings! Happy May Reading!

April 29, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Spring is finally in the air. Not only do April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring shiny new books. Today I am sharing four books that will be coming your way this May. I am also including my 2019 May book pairings that will complement and embellish your lovely new reads. Enjoy this special spring post Mr. H. Happy shopping and happy reading!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. My links are not affiliate links. I do not make compensation from these links. Some links may be in collaboration with a book store solely for exposure.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (May 14, 2019)

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is the quintessential rom-com read for this May. I adored this book with all of my heart and reading soul. Olive’s identical twin sister is getting married. At the wedding, the entire wedding party except for Olive and the best man (Ethan) get severe food poison. Here is where the plot thickens. Olive’s sister’s honeymoon to Hawaii can not be canceled or they lose the trip entirely. In order to not let this trip of a lifetime go to waste, Olive and Ethan go on the trip together instead. Here is the scoop though……..they despise each other. The story follows them on their Hawaiian adventure pretending to be the married couple by sharing the honeymoon sweet and participating in all of the honeymoon activities together. The Unhoneymooners is light and funny with a fantastic Hawaiian backdrop. Christina Lauren does an incredible job transporting readers to this island getaway. Readers will be flipping the pages as fast as they can to see how Olive and Ethan manage this trip together as sworn enemies. Will these two pseudo love birds end up surviving this trip together with their ever-changing emotions? Can they maintain this lie throughout their stay? Will they maybe even learn to like each other? Pack your suitcases readers…….. you are going to Hawaii. Enjoy your trip!!!!!!!!

**This ARC was provided by Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

P.S. I highly recommend protecting your new book with a gorgeous book sleeve by NERDFACESLEEVES. Warning…these book sleeves are adorable. You may find yourself ordering more than one.

Books and Pairings for The Unhoneymooners:

Click here to check out these wicked cool book sleeves

Click here to purchase The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Things My Son Needs to Know About The World by Fredrik Backman (May 7, 2019)

Here we go, readers. Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Fredrick Backman. I will read absolutely anything this man writes. His new book, Things My Son Needs To Know About The World is a heartfelt read on the joys and fears of parenting. Having three sons of my own, I was instantly attracted to this book. Backman’s book is essentially a letter to his newborn son in the form of short essays about what his son needs to know about life. His writing is beautifully crafted and pulled hard at my ever dangling heartstrings. He essentially emptied his brain on the pages of his book with his own parenting fears, mistakes, and hopes for the future. He writes of the everyday dealings with newborn poop and sleepless nights to the importance of finding your people, the benefits of being in a band, and of course.…soccer. His love for his son is bursting through the pages of this book. Not only does his writing offer his son unique advice and raw explanations of life thus far, but it is also (most definitely) a love letter to his beautiful wife. Be prepared to laugh your face off, cry your eyes out, and be left with a warm and fuzzy feeling after reading the last page of this short, but sweet book. Backman delivers another effortless read.

**This ARC was provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

P.S. There is no doubt that you will want to highlight everything that Backman has to say. To keep track of your favorite parts of the book, check out these Book Darts by MODERN MRS. DARCY.

Books and Pairings for Things My Son Needs To Know About the World:

Click here to check out MODERN MRS. DARCY’S Book Darts

Click here to purchase Things My Son Needs To Know About The World by Fredrik Backman

How Not To Die Alone by Richard Roper (May 28, 2019)

How Not To Die Alone is Richard Roper’s debut fiction novel, and let me tell you this…it is GOOOOOOD! If you enjoy books with offbeat lead characters that need a little extra cheering for, this is your read. Andrew works in the field of public health. Trying to find the next of kin for someone who died alone is a job that is anything but cheerful. His only interactions are with his co-workers and his online friends who have shared interests in electric trains. Living alone as a middle-aged man is draining for Andrew. Sick of answering questions about marriage, girlfriends, and kids, he spontaneously lies during his interview for his current job by saying he has a wife and two kids. This little lie was easy to keep up at first but becomes increasingly difficult to manage as time goes on. When a new co-worker named Peggy joins his team, things get tricky. What appears to be an outlandish lie on the outside, may in fact be Andrew’s way of coping with his gloomy past. What I love about this story is that so much light shines through the dark undertones. With death and funerals lingering in the background, Roper still manages to lighten the load with his lovable characters and unique storyline. It is impossible to read this book and not be rooting for Andrew and Peggy. Fans of Fredrik Backman’s Britt-Marie Was Here and Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine will cherish this quirky read.

**Thank you to Putnam Books for sending me an advance copy of this book to read, review and share on Dear Mr. Hemingway!

P.S. If you want to enjoy the smell of May Flowers from the April Showers all year long, snag yourself the candle…NICE STEMS (smells like fresh flowers and green leaves) from NUBBLE LIGHT CANDLE COMPANY. You will not regret it.

Books and Pairings for How Not To Die Alone:

Click here to check out NUBBLE LIGHT CANDLE COMPANY’S NICE STEMS Candle.

Click here to purchase How Not To Die Alone by Richard Roper

Passion on Park Avenue Book Cover
Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne (May 28, 2019)

Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne is the perfect New York City romance. Who doesn’t love NYC in the springtime? This book has it all. Cocktails, Central Park, to die for Manhattan apartments, and above all…Love in the Big Apple. Naomi Powell is the CEO of one of the biggest jewelry companies in the country. With a successful company and the financial freedom she worked so hard for, Naomi now mingles with Manhattan’s elite. Despite her success, Naomi’s rag to riches tale leaves her feeling insecure in her professional and private life. Her life becomes a bit more complicated when she moves into a new, but very familiar apartment building. Naomi quickly runs into a gentleman (Oliver) in her building that is not only gorgeous but turns out to be someone from her childhood she deeply despises. How will she deal with their daily interactions and secretive past? With a dilemma on her hands and two new girlfriends (she uniquely meets) to help her navigate the muddy waters, Naomi embarks on a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and love. Layne’s writing is delightful and quite touching to read. Her story has a dash of snark, a sprinkle of wit, and a whole lot of NYC charm. Passion on Park Avenue is a romantic comedy filled with lovable characters that you can’t get enough of. Buckle up your stilettos and put on your sunglasses…you are about to strut down Park Avenue. Enjoy this easy breezy read.

**This ARC was provided by Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

P.S. Mark your place in your book with a gorgeous Elastic Jewelry Bookmark from BOOK ART BOOKMARKS. So long paper bookmarks. Dress your book up in style with this one of a kind page saver. Park Avenue deserves a little bling!!!!

Books and Pairings for Passion on Park Avenue:

Click here to check out these fabulous bookmarks

Click here to purchase Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

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