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Watermelon Queen

Passerby by Britney King

So here I am, standing over two dead bodies, surveying the blood splatter, wondering if I’ll ever be able to find wallpaper this pretty again.  It’s like two paths diverged in a wood.  I know this isn’t a Robert Frost poem, but bear with me, it’s my favorite, and at this moment, my mind is going to strange places.  

July 22, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Today is a GREAT DAY!  One of my favorite/go to authors has a new book out and I had the pleasure of getting an early peek at it.  Passerby (Out Today), by the lovely Britney King was my perfect Saturday night read. King never fails to thrill me with her suspenseful tales and her latest did not disappoint.  Small town living and dead bodies wrapped in a bit of southern charm is what’s on tap today my literary friend.  Grab an ice coffee and your sunnies….the heat is on!

I personally find thrillers tricky to talk about without spoiling all the juicy surprises.  Because of this, I am sharing just the basic storyline and will tell you why it worked for me.  Jester Falls is the quintessential small town where you went to kindergarten with the local police officer and there is a life long feud between two of the big families in town.  Ruth Channing was born and raised here with her brothers and runs the Magnolia House, the most popular bed and breakfast around.  One of her brothers comes home with a random girlfriend that he quickly decides to marry. Ruth is on to her though.  After some digging around, she discovers that her sister-in-law, to be, has been lying about her name and her past.  To make matters worse, mysterious murders are happening under foot leaving Ruth suspicious and concerned for her family’s well being and the livelihood of The Magnolia House. 

It sounds lovely.   But it wasn’t all fun and games.  It takes an incredible amount of strength to hold a person under the water against their will.  Thankfully, not nearly as much to entice them to get sloppy drunk.  If you can imagine that, the rest is easy.

Now let me share with you the really good stuff.  The story is narrated by Ruth and the anonymous Passerby.   Let me just add real quick that I LOVE an undisclosed narrator.  Talk about fast paced and keeping me guessing !!!  King immediately presents two dead bodies and someone struggling with what to do about it right out of the gate. What I quickly learned was that King was teasing me with a scene that happens later on in the book, hooking me and reeling me in to the finish line.  The characters in Passerby weren’t exactly loveable, but instead hardened and even layered for that matter (side-effect of small town living).  As I was trying to figure out who was responsible for the different murders, I can honestly say, I was STUMPED! King threw me of course every step of the way and having that secret narrator made the journey way more fun.  In case you are wondering, yes there are murders and a few dead bodies, but the story is not overly graphic.  Passerby moves at a speedy pace, so plan on reading this in as close to one sitting as possible.  I promise, it’s easy to do.  

Enjoy this stellar read!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. See what I had to say about some of Britney King’s other books.

Kill Me Tomorrow

Savage Row

The Book Doctor

Click on this fabulous book cover to purchase!

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

The Underworld

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (Celadon Books) June 15, 2021


June 10, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Ahhhhh, the moment the world has been waiting for is less than a week away.  Alex Michaelides, author of the best selling book, The Silent Patient is back with summer’s most anticipated read.  The Maidens comes out June 15th and it does not disappoint.  Don’t get too comfy basking in the sun reading this thriller.  Plan on having to remove your sun soaked body from your beach chair to pick your jaw up off the ground when you finish.  Need I say more?

So here is the set up.  Mariana is a newly widowed group therapist.  One evening she learns that her niece Zoe’s close friend is brutally murdered at Cambridge University, where the girls attend school.   Mariana, once a student there, heads on over to comfort her niece and get to the bottom of things.  She is convinced that Professor Edward Fosca is the murderer.  This bewitching professor of Greek Mythology may be well loved by fellow teachers and students alike, but there is a mysterious air to him that just doesn’t sit well with Mariana.  For one, he has an ongoing obsession with Persephone (the goddess of death) and two, he has a gaggle of girls that make up a secret society called The Maidens that worship and learn from him privately.  The first girl murdered is a member of this underground group and soon after, another member is murdered as well.  Coincidence???  Mariana’s connections at the university coupled with her therapy skills, allow her to dig deep into this case, but not without ruffling a whole bunch of feathers.  As she explores the death’s of these women, Zoe’s relationship with them and Professor Fosca’s love of Greek tragedy, Mariana believes she is getting closer to the truth.  Is the Professor guilty of all these murders?

OK, so the premise of the story seems rather simple, but do not be fooled.  Finding out who killed these university women and why is what we are trying to discover. Beware though, the road to that realization will mock you every step of the way.  Michaelides did a brilliant job misleading me on every page.  He not only directed me down many deceiving paths, but peppered in some back stories and even a few side characters that muddied up the water and kept things beguiling.  Here is the thing. Dark and moody campus novels with a few dead bodies are 100% my jam.  Bring on the academic vibes, distorted passion and exclusive secret societies…I am in!  I loved Michaelides intricate details on Greek mythology and the psychology element he infuses into his tale.  He has mastered having a therapist in his story once again.  If you have read The Silent Patient, then you will appreciate the subtle nod he gives to it in this story.  Always fun in my opinion. 

Here is the scoop, Michaelides set the bar as high as it can go for his future novels with his 5 star debut, The Silent Patient. I truly believe his sophomore novel reached that bar and will be loved this summer by all the book lovers looking for a solid, high quality read. Remember though, comparison is the thief of joy so LET IT BE!

Reading The Maidens is the perfect escape from the daily grind.  That is what we are looking for this summer, am I right? It’s a sand between your toes, cocktail in your hand entertaining summer book.  I am not going to lie, it felt so amazing to stimulate my brain with a dark thriller instead of obsessing over work, laundry and what to feed my family next. Any chance to sit in my beach chair for an extended period of time is an absolute win for me. I literally remained seated (miracle) until the very end (remember, I had to pick my jaw up off the ground when I finished).   I mean how perfect does that sound? Go grab yourself a copy on pub day or if you are feeling spontaneous…..pre-order it today from your local indie bookstore.  My job is done here. Happy Reading!

Until next time!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly


P.S. Michaelides was inspired by  In Memoriam A. H. H. by Alfred Lord Tennyson – 1809-1892.  Check out this poem RIGHT HERE!

***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!

The Art of Seduction

Kill Me Tomorrow by Britney King

“When Ali steps up to the podium, she adjusts the mic.  She starts her talk with a question.  How many of you have ever been seduced?  What was it about that time in your life that felt exciting?

Ali knows the answer, of course, even if the audience can’t quite put their finger on it.

It was the uncertainty.  The highs and lows.  The push and pull.  Attraction without polarity cannot be sustained.  Once the excitement is gone, you might as well just be friends.”

April 1, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

You should know by now that my love of psychological thrillers is a real thing.  I will always adore your writing, but every now and then I need to read a book that really messes with my brain. A mind bending story with sharp turns and more twists than a pretzel is what I crave more often than not.  My go to author for this kind of fun is Britney King.  Any one of her books paired with a fabulous glass of pinot noir is my perfect Friday night.  Her latest book, Kill me Tomorrow is out TODAY, and let me tell you something….it did not disappoint.  Let’s take a look!

“Don’t focus on what you fear.  You know where all the walls are.  If you look at what you’re afraid of, you’ll literally steer into it.”

Ali is our leading lady of this story.  She is a well known sex therapist who practices what she preaches.  She is not afraid to put herself out there on a dating website with her gorgeous looks, complex past and mysterious baggage.  Her moodiness and habit of abruptly disappearing leave her men drooling for more.  Next we have Ethan who is a former FBI agent turned Private Investigator.  He is hired to investigate a possible suicide, but lands on a string of murders all with a common thread. All of the dead gentlemen were on the same dating website as Ali.  Ethan needs the money from this gig to provide for his kids who live with his ex-wife. He goes undercover on the dating website and lands a date with Ali, one of his suspects.  As the two get to know one another (lots of “sexual healing” going on guys), the plot truly thickens.  Ethan has his own theories about all of these murders, but in order to prove them right, he needs to stay alive.  Easier said than done in a Britney King book. A perplexing sex goddess, secrets galore and a potential serial killer keep this story moving at a tremendous pace.   At what cost will this mystery be solved?

“My cheek pressed against the cold tile.  I think, so this is how it ends.  There’s a rattling in my chest, the kind you hear stories about.  It tells me I don’t have long.”

I can only leave you with a taste of this story in order to not give ANYTHING away.  What I can tell you for sure is that King writes multifaceted characters who lack reliability and have killer charm. PERFECTION! There are three POVs in Kill Me Tomorrow:  Ali, Ethan and the killer. Mystery narrators in thrillers are my absolute weakness.  They add an extra layer of creepiness and “whodunit” to the story keeping me guessing until the very end. King’s latest creation is sensual, ominous and down right binge worthy.  I personally found this book (and her last book Savage Row) not as graphic as some of her previous books… just throwing that out there to curious readers.  The best part about King’s book is that you can try and guess your way through this story all you want, but she will stump you in the end!

Cheers to this thrilling tale!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Kill Me Tomorrow has a PLAYLIST. Check it out over on SPOTIFY! How cool is that!!!

P.P.S. Here is where you can find the lovely Britney King. Go say HI to her. She would love to hear from you!

Website: https://britneyking.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BritneyKingAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BritneyKing_

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/britneynking

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/britneyking_

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Britney-King/e/B00CDXPIFO

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7035217.Britney_King

Click on the book pic to purchase

Be sure to read what I had to say about Savage Row and The Book Doctor. Add them as well to your Britney King TBR!

A Handful of Books…Just For You

A Handful of Books

February 19, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I love my long letters to you recounting my journey with a new crew of characters in their real or fictional worlds. Sometimes though, I am frothing over with so much literary goodness that I simply must gush about more than one book to you.   Because I am forever a mood reader, I require a variety of reading options at my fingertips at all times.  Whether it’s a literary drama, a light an airy romance, or a thriller gone wild, my state of mind always dictates to me my next read.  Here are a handful of book recommendations to kickstart your weekend.   

Happy Reading my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Your bouquet of books awaits you down below.  Arrange these books into your literary lifestyle any way you like. Click on the book pics to purchase or read the full synopsis.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria (Avon Books)

I adored this romance. I did a combination of reading and listening to Daria’s story and both options were quick and delicious. The storyline was definitely a little predictable, but still tons of fun, worth the read and a wonderful pick me up. I loved the characters and the plot was wicked entertaining. Who doesn’t love the world of acting? There was a slow build to the “steamy” scenes making the last 1/3 of the book HOT! I enjoyed the Puerto Rican culture, and the Spanish speaking parts and accents on audio…were fabulous! This was a feel good, put a smile on your face kind of read.

Verity by Colleen Hoover (Independently Published)

Buckle up friends this is an absolute WILD RIDE. This has been the most hyped book I have read in quite sometime, and guess what…….It lived up to every juicy and disturbing detail. If you adore psychological thrillers that are mentally unsettling then this book will WOW you. Not only is the writing quick and captivating, Hoover pretty much nailed a five star ending in my opinion! Absolutely brilliant!

Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman (Atria Books)

A multi-generational Irish family, laugh out loud dialogue and dysfunctional characters you just can’t help but love fill the pages of Hardiman’s debut novel. From an aging grandmother, to an unfulfilled father, to a teen lost in her own way, Good Eggs takes on the trials and tribulations of family life…one character at a time. Hardiman’s heart felt story is peppered with humor that could be construed as inappropriate, but to me was hilarious and on point. I personally enjoy this approach to writing, especially when talking about sensitive topics such as aging, teenage life and infidelity. Good Eggs moved along at a steady pace offering me an equal distribution of comedic relief and tender moments. The ending was a bit over the top, but never the less brought a big smile to my face. I think this story would be incredible as a TV series. Move over Schitt’s CreekGood Eggs is coming to town. This book comes out on March 2, 2021. Pre-order or reserve it from your local library now!!!

The Prophets by Robert Jones, JR. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

The love between two Black and enslaved men in the deep south is enough to grab most readers’ attention. Pair that with a beautiful and heart wrenching story filled with prose that will literally hypnotize you, and you’ve got yourself an extraordinary read. The Prophets is by no means a fast read. Jones’ writing is lyrical and oftentimes reads like a poem. It is one that you consume at a pace that allows time to sit with your heightened senses and experience Samual and Isaiah’s journey, one page at a time.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Berkley)

Radio co-hosts who pretended to have dated in order to share their “fake” past on their award winning show is the premise of The Ex Talk. Another feel good romance for the win with this bright and shiny new release. Enemies to lovers will always be one of my favorite tropes, and Shay and Dominic had me yearning for a “romantic” connection right from the start. This was a slow burn romance with great energy that evens gets a little naughty in the bedroom during the second half of the book. So much fun and perfect to read if you need a little boost to your day.

Twisted Sister

Alex Six by Vince Taplin

“Some people describe a heavy silence as loud, which is bullocks because real silence is so quiet you can hear your heartbeat in your eardrums.”

January 31, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

As I have mentioned to you in my previous letters, we are STILL in the middle of global pandemic (sorry to keep bringing this up). As you know my friend, my attention span has been on the fritz lately.  However, instead of letting my reading life take a hit, I have upped my thriller game this month.  These days I am REALLY enjoying fast paced books that I can simply just read, enjoy and not overthink.  Alex Six by Vince Taplin was the perfect evening treat for me.  This sexy psychological thriller chilled and excited me in all the right ways.  I devoured this book in under 24 hours and my guess is…you will too.  Let’s take a peek.

“She slumped back in her chair, holding her neck with a goofy, surprised expression.  You should have known I’d bark back, bitch.  Her eyes turned off, leaving her with a final, dim, expressionless gaze.  She looked pretty.” 

Alexa (Alex) lost her husband before they had a chance to have children.  Now that her equally wealthy and powerful husband is gone, she is longing for a baby.  In comes Victor.  Victor is happily married with a young child, a rental property manager and basically…your average Joe.  Somehow, Alex lays eyes on Victor and discovers that he is a spitting image of her late husband.  Can you say Doppelganger?   Alex approaches him and offers a large sum of money to be her sperm donor.  She may have lost her husband, but she could still have a child that resembles him (ummmm, creepy).  Victor struggles with his decision, but in the end decides that this is quick cash that he could really use.   Because there will be no physical interaction with Alex, telling his wife doesn’t seem necessary, especially since she is struggling with her mental health after the birth of their child.  Well let me just tell you this…things do not go smoothly for Alex.  As she continues to up the ante for Victor, she becomes obsessive over the situation, and in all honesty…quite horrifying .  With Victor’s wife continuing to deteriorate and the exchange between him and Alex increasing in intensity, things start to spiral.  And that my friend is where I must leave you.  I would hate to spoil your own reading experience.

I am happy to share that if you are in the market for a fast psychological thriller…look no further.  Alex Six was absolute BANANAS and I loved every minute of it.   A powerful woman and a man with questionable morals always makes for a good tale.  But Taplin does better than that.  He manages to add in a psychotic stalker, a few cringe worthy scenes and a whole lot of crazy to keep the pages turning faster than lightning. The slightly unpolished sarcasm and dialogue was literally the cherry on top!  Cheers to an entertaining book that kept me reading nonstop until the very end.  I may never look at a bottle of vanilla extract the same ever again, but I will definitely be grabbing Taplin’s next book!

Until next time my dear friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Victor’s wife loved to bake cookies, and so do I.  Check out my all time favorite cookie recipe RIGHT HERE!!!

P.P.S.  Check out Vince Taplin RIGHT HERE!!!

Click on the book pic below 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.  

Eight Days A Week

The Wives book cover

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher (Graydon House)

December 30, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Oh, readers…do I have a book for you. Fans of psychological thrillers will consume Tarryn Fisher’s latest book, The Wives at top speed. Her story revolves around Thursday, a married nurse living in Seattle. Thursday’s marriage is unconventional. She only sees her husband Seth, one day a week (Thursday). Why is this you ask? Well, Seth is also married to two other women. Because Thursday’s love for Seth is so intense, she agrees to this Polygamist marriage.

Unlike the sister wives you may know from popular television shows like Big Love and Sister Wives, Seth’s wives know of each other, but have never met.  That is the arrangement. Over time, these provisions weigh on Thursday.  When she finds a piece of paper in Seth’s pocket with one of the other wives’ names on it, Thursday begins digging around for information.   What she discovers is not at all what she expects. Unfortunately, I need to stop there. Revealing too much, may put you at risk for a spoiler. Trust me… you will want to see this story unfold, one page at a time.

Taking place in the rainy cities of Seattle and Portland, Oregon, The Wives is a thrilling read.  Fisher’s book does what all psychological thrillers should do……..play tricks with your mind!!!  At times, it was difficult to decipher between what was real and what was not. As the plot thickens, plan to hear your own pulse beating with every turn of the page.  Be prepared to unleash your very own detective skills. Each page is thoughtfully sprinkled with clues that make this story anything but a modern Polygamist love story. With an explosive ending that begs to be read again, The Wives will daze your mind like no other.  Enjoy!

Until Next time Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Thursday clearly needed another day with Seth in her rotation. Don’t we all wish there were eight days in a week? The Beatles did too. Though there may be more than one experience that inspired the name of their famous song, I think the general idea is obvious! Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Eight Days A Week was released in 1964 and remains popular to this day!!! I personally love it.

Click here to purchase The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

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