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🎁2022 HOLIDAY BOOKS & PAIRINGS🎁

November 27, 2022

Dear Beautiful Book Family,

The 2022 Dear Mr. Hemingway Holiday Books & Pairings is HERE, and short and sweet—perfect for everyone exhausted from endless decision-making. In this year’s minimalist guide, I chose five books & five pairings that have DELIGHTED me every which way. This year’s lineup includes a scrumptious new cookbook, a mesmerizing book of poems, a musical memoir, a thriller in a secluded cabin, and a tantalizing tale of love and lust. My pairings are equally satisfying. They can be mixed and matched and open the doors to many products from pretty spectacular businesses. I hope you enjoy my holiday roundup for shopping made easy this holiday season! Be sure to click on the book pictures below to purchase these books for the book lover in your life. Don’t forget to click on the highlighted pairings as well. If you are looking for a more extensive list of Books & Pairings, check out my past gift guides RIGHT HERE!

Happy Reading, Happy Shopping, & Happy Holidays,

Kelly

Seclude Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger (Park Row Books)

Lisa Unger never disappoints. Like so many twisted thrillers, it is better not to know too much before reading, What I can offer you is this—three couples embark on a restful gateway to a luxurious secluded cabin only to be greeted by a dark and stormy night filled with more than just some gorgeous cocktails and mind-numbing edibles. Sketchy cell phone service, a busted generator, and messy characters with a lot of dirty baggage fill the pages of this locked-room mystery. Throw in a few ghost stories, characters have gone missing, and perhaps even a trail of blood, and you’ve got yourself a fast-paced atmospheric read. Don’t let the number of characters in this book scare you. They all come together for a wicked, fun ending! I paired this book with my latest fragrance obsession. NEAR & NATIVE Room and Body Mists are so wonderful. These naturally made sprays are created in Maine and are perfect for spritzing on your body, in your house, in your car, and even on your bed sheets for a hint of fabulousness. My favorite scents are rosewater, Japanese Yuzu, and citrus mint. I adore that they are not overpowering, and I ALWAYS receive compliments when wearing them! Shop for these spritzes RIGHT HERE!

Synopsis:

“What could be more restful than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods with spectacular views, a hot tub, and a personal chef. Hannah’s generous brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’ll be three couples on this trip with good food, good company, and lots of R & R.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. 

A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated pasts, with secrets that run blood deep.

How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?”

And Yet by Kate Baer (Harper Perennial)

If you are new to poetry, let Kate Baer lead the way. This is Baer’s third book of poems I have read, and I fell in love all over again with her writing. Her contemporary poems center around motherhood, friendship, love, loss, and just being a woman. Her poems shine a light on EVERYTHING, and I simply can’t get enough of her writing! I felt 100% seen in her words and believe that this will be true for so many other women. My favorite poems in this collection are Reasons to Log Off and Putting Away the Baby Clothes. This slim book of beauty will fit perfectly inside a fuzzy stocking or nestled between two books on a cozy shelf. My favorite pairing is Poppy & Pout’s Pink Grapefruit Lip Balm and Lip Scrub. To say I am obsessed with this flavor is an understatement. It smells so lovely and fresh, and lip-smacking has never tasted so great! This product combo has been my go-to birthday present to gift my friends this fall, and I have been using them non-stop myself every day. I feel confident that all of the flavors and products from this company will be winners. Have a blast shopping RIGHT HERE!

Synopsis:

“Kate Baer shot into the literary stratosphere with the publication of her debut poetry collection, What Kind of Woman, which became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller.

Kate’s second full-length book of traditional poetry, And Yet, dives deeper into the themes that are the hallmarks of her writing: motherhood, friendship, love, and loss. Taken together, these poems demonstrate the remarkable evolution of a writer and an artist working at the height of her craft, pushing herself and her poetry beautifully and impressively.”

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl (Dey Street Books)

I LOVED THIS BOOK! Grohl’s musical memoir came out near the end of 2021, but I am naming it one of my favorite books read in 2022. You will be very satisfied if you are a music fan and a GenX generation member. Grohl takes his readers on his journey to musical greatest, beginning with his childhood in Springfield, Virginia. From there, Grohl shares his rise to stardom from his time with the punk rock band Scream, Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana, and founding his own band, The Foo Fighters. He shares details of his time on the road, being roommates with the famous Kurt Cobain, and being a father to three beautiful daughters. His writing is intimate, heartfelt, and didn’t feel like an obnoxious celebrity memoir. Despite his musical success, Grohl seems like a down-to-earth guy who loves hard and feels harder. I am obsessed with him and would love to have a cup of coffee with this guy (did I mention he is a coffee junkie?)! Speaking of obsessed, I paired his book with some spectacular socks. Yes, you heard me correctly…socks! Bombas is an incredible company that not only has tremendous socks but also GIVES BACK. For every pair of socks purchased, one is donated. How cool is that? I’ve been wearing Bombas for years in various styles, and I’m gifting them again to the peeps in my life. They are high quality, wash & dry like a dream, and last forever. Shop for all the beautiful feet in your life RIGHT HERE! Be sure to buy Grohl’s book too. You won’t regret it!!!

Synopsis:

So, I’ve written a book.

Having entertained the idea for years and even offered a few questionable opportunities (It’s a piece of cake! Just do 4 hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!) I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child. 

This certainly doesn’t mean I’m quitting my day job, but it gives me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as a young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.”

Feed These People by Jen Hatmaker (Harvest Publications)

Did someone say NEW COOKBOOK ALERT???? I will never apologize for my endless love for new cookbooks, and I even treated myself to Jen Hatmaker’s debut cookbook, Feed These People. I have been following Jen for quite some time now, and one thing is for sure…she is super funny and feels like a best girlfriend. Her recipes are overflowing with flavor, easy to execute, and are for folks who are not afraid to enjoy a good meal. All I have to say is Green Chile Chorizo Queso (with a block of VELVEETA cheese), Pasta Bake with House Cream Sauce, and Shakshuka (I used fresh duck eggs). Now that I have your attention, please grab this book for the hungry people in your life and pair it with Slack Tide Sea Salt, made right here in good old Maine. “Hand-harvested sea salt made in small batches from the deep ocean waters of Maine, and solar evaporated along York’s tidal river.” Can you say PERFECTION??? I used this salt on many of my Thanksgiving dishes, and it’s simply the best. Shop all their salts RIGHT HERE!!!

Synopsis:

“With five children and a close-knit community of family and friends, bestselling author, podcaster, and inspirational speaker Jen Hatmaker has been sharing her love of cooking and food with her fans for years. Now she’s compiled all her favorite sure-thing recipes into one personal and highly entertaining cookbook, including chapters like Food for Breakfast (or brunch so you can drink), Food for Your Picky Spouse or Spawn, and Food for When You Have No More Damns to Give. This is real food for real people.”

Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith (Grand Central Publishing)

Half-Blown Rose is decadent, indulgent, and seductive as all hell⁣. It’s a woman named Vincent and a man name Loup⁣. It’s everything Paris⁣ and a teeny bit Irish⁣. It’s swift love, deep-rooted love⁣, and an intoxicating affair. It’s altruistic yet considerate⁣ and alarmingly sexy⁣. I could not stop reading this electrifying tale with lovers, family, art, and even a Tuscan Villa. I can not recommend this mouth-watering story enough. By now, you should know that I am a huge fan of all the products that come from Cape Gold. Fresh honey, soaps for days (there is even a Dear Mr. Hemingway Soap), shaving balms, and everything in between. Their latest creation is a Cucumber Honey Lotion that will make your skin feel smooth as butter. This magnificent lotion can be used anywhere on your body but works particularly well on your face and, for me…under my eyes. It is luxury in a bottle made with honey from their hives and other natural ingredients. Grab a bottle of this fantastic lotion to pair with Cross-Smith’s book RIGHT HERE!

Synopsis:

“Vincent, having grown up as the privileged daughter of artists, has a lovely life in many ways. At forty-four, she enjoys strolling the streets of Paris and teaching at the modern art museum; she has a vibrant group of friends; and she’s even caught the eye of a young, charismatic man named Loup. But Vincent is also in Paris to escape a painful betrayal: her husband, Cillian, has published a bestselling book divulging secrets about their marriage and his own past, hinting that when he was a teenager, he may have had a child with a young woman back in Dublin–before he moved to California and never returned. Now estranged from her husband, Vincent has agreed to see Cillian again at their son’s wedding the following summer, but Loup introduces new complications. Soon they begin an intense affair, and somewhere between dinners made together, cigarettes smoked in the moonlight, hazy evenings in nightclubs, and long, starry walks along the Seine, Vincent feels herself loosening and blossoming.”

*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!

Happy 122nd Birthday Ernest Hemingway

The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner)

July 21, 2021

Hello Gorgeous Readers!

I am here to share with you that today would have been Ernest Hemingway’s 122nd birthday.  Just to refresh your memory, Hemingway was born in 1899 and died at the age of 61 years of age. He is considered one of America’s greatest novelists and short story writers of all time.  This past spring, filmmaker extraordinaires Ken Burns and Lynn Novick made a three part series on Ernest Hemingway for PBS.  Because of this, there has been a renewed interest in this literary genius!  To celebrate Hemingway on this day, I am sharing with you one of his most controversial novels, The Garden of Eden.

The Garden of Eden was published posthumously in 1986 by Scribner.  The story takes place in the 1920s in the French Riviera and Spain and follows American writer David Bourne and his wife Catherine on their honeymoon.   Catherine announces to David that she has a big surprise for him and that she will be “changed”. She runs off to the local coiffeur (French barber) and has her hair cut short in a masculine style.  She insists that David not refer to her as a girl during certain times and that he too, will be changed to… “her girl”.  

If you are familiar with Hemingway’s other work you might be saying, hmmmmm.  However, just when you think there is enough unexpected drama to work with here, Hemingway brings a woman named Marita into their lives and a new menage a trois develops. Through all of this, David continues on with his writing.  He abandons his original piece documenting his and Catherine’s extended honeymoon and moves on to writing about Africa.  Catherine does not like this one bit and they argue about his disloyalty to her. 

So here is the scoop.  I am an everyday reader and not an English scholar who can provide you with a deep analysis of this book.  I can assure you, there are TONS of qualified people who have done that already.  What I can tell you is that Hemingway worked on this book sporadically from around 1946 until he died.  Because this book was published after he died, it was edited immensely.  Literary scholars argue how much of this writing is actually his and how much was slashed or rearranged before publishing.  With that said, I will tell you my thoughts. 

The Garden of Eden opens up with a classic fishing scene and scrumptious descriptions of food and drink.  My mind immediately went to The Old Man and the Sea and of course, A Moveable Feast. It felt very much like the Hemingway I was familiar with…  straightforward dialogue, and an undemanding prose.  What was different about this novel was its contemporary vibe.  Hemingway was clearly exploring gender roles, transgenderism, and sexuality between the pages of his book.  Catherine appeared uncomfortable in her own skin and was desperately trying to examine her gender and how she fit into the world around her.  She had no guidance in this arena and instead not only leaned on David, but tried to incorporate him into her journey for validation and acceptance.  

My thoughts on David are still all over the place.  Yes he loves Catherine and accommodates many of her wishes, but I am trying to determine where he stands with all of this change. His own feelings on gender roles, love and even marriage are confusing in my opinion.  His nickname for Catherine is Devil, which in all honesty, can be discussed for days on end.  

The Garden of Eden is a tremendous read.  Though it was a huge success in 1986, I wonder how it would have been received if it was published in the 1940s.  I love how it was ahead of its time and fits so well into present day literature. I enjoyed how this wasn’t a plot driven story, but more of an exploration into the main characters.  This is a book I plan on reading again and again and again.  There is so much to unpack that I imagine each re-read will bring more clarity and perhaps even more questions to dissect.

If you are a Hemingway fan or just an inquisitive reader, I highly recommend checking this one out!  An excellent book club choice!

All my best to you!

Kelly

P.S. I Highly recommend you check out the three part series on Hemingway on PBS if you haven’t already.


P.P.S.  Click here to read some of my previous Hemingway Birthday posts.

Click on the book picture to purchase.

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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