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Recent Reads

November 3, 2023

Hello, sweet reading friends!

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

Cheers to a gorgeous weekend filled with books!

xoxo,

Kelly

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

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

KILLING ME By Michelle Gagnon (Putnam)

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

FOURTH WING by Rebecca Yaros (Entangled Publishing)

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

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

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

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

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

Love Me Tender

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Penguin Random House)  August 17, 2021

August 12, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Never judge a book by its cover, right?  I can’t say that any of your first edition book covers (or even later ones) persuaded me to read your work (sorry 🤷‍♀️). However, the words you wrote made up for some wickedly boring covers. I will admit though that I was instantly seduced by the cover of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s newest sensation, Velvet Was the Night.   Luscious lips coated in a sticky pink gloss about to take a drag off of a tantalizing cigarette being gracefully handled by pointy manicured nails with a drizzle of smoke permeating the air!!!    Ummmmm, I had to see what’s inside! And guess what????  I am happy to report that the pages of this historical noir were just as mesmerizing as its cover.   Let’s take a look.

Moreno-Garcia’s latest work of art takes place in Mexico City during the 1970s, the start of the “Dirty War”.  Our leading lady Maite is for all intents and purposes, a bored and lonely secretary who enjoys her weekly romance comics with a small side of kleptomania.  When her neighbor goes missing, Maite is determined (out of sheer annoyance) to find her, which leads us to Elvis.  Elvis is a young gentleman who unofficially works for the government as a member of the HAWKS.  His position is everything he despises…attacking, torturing and basically killing protesters.  Elvis and Maite’s paths get tangled when they discover they are both searching for the same missing woman but for entirely different reasons. Maite is very surprised to learn the depths of this search. Government involvement, Russian spies and a whole lot of danger give this underwhelmed secretary an unexpected run for her money.   

Velvet Was the Night was 100% my cup of tea.  I loved how the setting was smothered in dimness with a heavy sense of danger lurking in the background.  I enjoy sunny stories with blue skies and laughter from time to time.  Who doesn’t? However, being engrossed in a slow burn mystery while drenching myself in inky vibes brings me tons of reading joy. I want to feel like I am somewhere different.  I read to learn, to escape, to bear emotions that are different from those in my own life. Moreno-Garcia invited me somewhere tense and unsettled while occupying my mind with an absorbing tale.  I just adore when my reading expectations are met. 

Maite and Elvis’ are not polished or shining brightly through the pages for that matter. In all honesty though, sparkly characters are not the ones who rock my literary world.  I prefer the dreamers, the characters with jagged edges. While I was wildly entertained with a weary secretary suddenly getting involved in such threatening affairs, I was also thrilled to be engaged in a setting/time period that opened my eyes to a part of history I knew very little about.  Lastly, Moreno-Garcia brings on the noir, lonely hearts and political “riff” with an incredible nod to vinyl and good old fashion rock n’ roll.  Authors who braid in the love of music (forbidden music in this case), always win me over. 

Velvet Was the Night comes out August 17, 2021.  Be sure to grab yourself a copy!  Now, “A Little Less Conversation” and a whole bunch of reading please!

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Be sure to check out what I had to say about Moreno-Garcia’s previous book, Mexican Gothic.

Click on this incredible book cover to purchase!

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

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