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read what you love • love what you read

Triple Threat

Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins (Harper)
The Editor by Steven Rowley (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison (Mira Books)


May 10, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Today I am coming at you with not one, but three books to quench your reading desires. Caul births, Jackie O. and a cliffside villa on the coast of Italy is what’s in store for you with this triple threat selection.  Even though all three books could not have been more different, they all are fantastic reads in their own special way and I highly encourage you to add them to your TBR.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

J.T. Ellison did it again with another juicy tale.  Her Dark Lies is overflowing with danger, luxury and secrets galore.  The writing is atmospheric, the characters are layered, and the setting is so incredibly stunning.  A wedding on a remote Italian island sounds fantastic, right?  Throw in a huge storm, a lot of cash, dead bodies and few potential ghosts, and you’ve got yourself quite the tale.  Ellison wowed me with her nod to Daphne du Maurier.  Paying homage to one of her favorite books (Rebecca) in Her Dark Lies was absolutely stellar!  Check out what I had to say about her previous book, Good Girls Lie, RIGHT HERE!

Switching gears…I am a huge fan of Steven Rowley’s, The Editor.  Let me just reiterate that we book lovers LOVE reading about writers, getting published and anything literary related. Now, picture Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as the editor of an author’s debut novel, and you are officially in the middle of one charming tale. James Smale is the quintessential struggling writer who finally gets his big break with one of the major publishing houses with none other than Jackie O. as his editor.  Who would have thought that this former first lady would not only be editing his book, but also helping him come to terms with his dysfunctional family.  Wit and style paired with wisdom and grace fill the pages of Rowley’s book. I seriously adored Rowley’s humor and found myself chuckling throughout his book (James’ boyfriend Daniel, is an absolute riot in my opinion).  I loved how The Editor hit all the marks for me.  American royalty, family secrets and bookish delight, all tied up into one heartfelt novel equals perfection!  Be sure to stay tuned because Rowley has a new book coming out on May 25, 2021 called, The Guncle, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  

My last read was probably the most unique one for me.  Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins follows the Melancon Family from Harlem who are known for their caul, a special layer of skin that is used for healing and fertility.  Let me backup and explain what a caul birth is because I had no clue before reading this book and had to google it for clarity.  A caul birth is basically when a baby is born in an intact amniotic sac.  It is pretty rare and happens in less than one in 80,000 births according to Healthline (knowing this helps to understand the magic behind this story). I loved how Jerkins took this miraculous occurrence and gave it a touch of sorcery to create her story.  The Melancon women are famous for their healing skills and helping moms have successful pregnancies. Women from all over come to these women, willing to pay the steep cost for a piece of their caul.  When the plan falls through for Laila to acquire some caul to ensure a safe pregnancy, she is crushed when her baby is stillborn.  From there, the story takes flight.  Race, gentrification, money, morals and family secrets are all explored in depth with a hint of magical realism to keep things fresh and a wee bit peculiar.  There is so much to unpack from Jerkin’s story.  It is a WONDERFUL choice for your next book club.

Well my friend…three books for the price of one for the win today!

Happy Reading!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Click on the book pics below to purchase these gems from your local Indie Bookstore!

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.

Guest Writer

Guest Writer Zubs Malik graphic

Zubs J. Malik
Bookstagram Bonanza Edition

Guest Writer Zubs Malik graphic

October 30, 2020

Dear Book Friends,

TGIF!!!! Today is the last day of The Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writers~ Bookstagram Bonanza Edition. I can’t believe how fast that went by. I am super excited to introduce you to today’s final writer…Zubs J. Malik.

Zubs is an award winning book blogger based in London and behind the account @zubscovered on Instagram. Over 20K book lovers (including me) are obsessed with her dreamy book account. Gorgeous book covers, cozy blankets, fresh flowers and awe inspiring content grace her Bookstagram page each day. Zubs loves highlighting indie authors, upcoming new releases and all the classic reads you can possibly imagine. When the going gets tough, head on over to Zubs. She is not afraid to have the hard conversations or to help her followers make sense of some of the more complicated issues surrounding us each day. She continues to bring awareness to racism, Black Lives Matter, #ownvoices, diverse reading and Covid-19 with sensitivity, dignity and grace.

Zubs lives in London with her husband and three sons (another boy mama🤗🤗). She initially embarked on a legal career but then decided to be a ‘stay at home’ mom (mum) when her first son was born in 2009. She is currently a High School/Secondary School English teacher and avid reader.

In January 2018 Zubs lost her mother and in a desperate attempt to cope with her loss she turned to books to offer her some form of escapism from her grief. With a gentle nudge from her husband towards Bookstagram, Zubscovered was born. 

“My mum always told me that there was more to me than just being a wife, a mother and a daughter. She wanted me to ‘make waves’ in the world and always encouraged me not to waste myself. When she passed away, I felt like half of my heart died with her. But her passing also pushed me to find ME and I think that was her parting gift to me.” 

When Zubs is not bookstagramming, teaching or raising babies she loves to run and cook delicious foods. In fact, she actually has stated before that she initially wanted to create a food account! She is an advocate for all things books and reading and all things good in this beautiful world. She is a true friend to all and I insist you check out her page and follow her on all of her bookish adventures.

Much Love and Reading,

Kelly

P.S. Zubs is a wicked fast reader. She typically can read a book from start to finish in under 5 hours 😮😮😮


Dear Mr Hemingway, 

It has, in fact, taken me quite some time to finally put pen to paper and write this letter to you. Living in a world with so much uncertainty and fear I needed to really think about the ‘type’ of book that I put forward.

Would I choose a book that is full of humour and offers your readers a sense of escapism? Or would I opt for a narrative that deliciously satisfies the adrenaline one feels when reading a fast-paced thriller?

But, alas, I decided against them both. All seemed somewhat irrelevant and I thought perhaps what people need to read is simply – Hope. 

That despite the improbability of our current situations, there is hope. There is always hope. We must believe it.

In a world where humans tend to make assumptions about race/religion/culture based on old news, media, preconceived notions and prejudice, books like this MUST be read. 

Bianca Marais’ If You Want to Make God Laugh, is a fictitious tale with so much heart, but also educates its readers on a medical epidemic, the thoughts and feelings of its citizens post-apartheid and introducing the reader to the beauty of the country. Not just the beauty of a nation. The beauty of its people and how our very thread is connected without us even knowing. 

I spent hours perusing post-apartheid SA and the Aid/HIV epidemic in the 90s. Did you know, Mr Hemmingway, that South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world? 7.1 million people living with HIV? Yes, nor did I. I read this book and then I researched. That’s how much it stayed with me.  

I left my heart in South Africa 11 years ago and Bianca, took me back. She opened my eyes, she showed me a world that I did not know existed and more importantly Mr Hemingway, she gave me hope.

I hope she gives you hope too.

Much love, 

Zubs 

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

If you want to make God Laugh book cover

Author Bianca Marais was also a Guest Writer for Dear Mr. Hemingway. Click Here to check out her letter.

Ernest “Chitter-Chatter”

August 2020 Book Discussion

Tiny Imperfections by Alli Frank & Asha Youmans (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

 

July 24, 2020

Dear Beautiful Book Friends,

Last night the Dear Mr. Hemingway Community had their final book discussion and Zoom with Author Abdi Nor Iftin. I am not going to lie…it was incredible. No worries if you were not able to join, there is more chit chatting about books coming your way. The “Ernest” Chitter-Chatter August book pick is Tiny Imperfections by Alli Frank & Asha Youmans. This book is an absolute juicy treat! You will not want to miss dishing about this gem. There are two ways to join in. The first is to participate in a private instagram chat (spoilers and all) with me and the book group after reading the book. The second option is to read the book, then join in on an exclusive ZOOM with me and Alli & Asha! You can also participate in both options. Check out the details below….

Please Email me at dearmrhemingway@gmail.com or message me on Instagram @Dearmrhemingway to reserve your spot.

𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝟐𝟎, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎~Private Instagram Chat with Kelly and Book Group⁣

🌹⁣

𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝟐𝟒, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎 𝟕𝐩𝐦 𝐄𝐒𝐓~ZOOM with Kelly, Alli & Asha and YOU! ⁣

🌹⁣

𝐒𝐲𝐧𝐨𝐩𝐬𝐢𝐬⁣

“All’s fair in love and kindergarten admissions.⁣

At thirty-nine, Josie Bordelon’s modeling career as the “it” black beauty of the ’90s is far behind her. Now director of admissions at San Francisco’s most sought-after private school, she’s chic, single, and determined to keep her seventeen-year-old daughter, Etta, from making the same mistakes she did. ⁣

But Etta has plans of her own–and their beloved matriarch, Aunt Viv, has Etta’s back. If only Josie could manage Etta’s future as well as she manages the shenanigans of the over-anxious, over-eager parents at school–or her best friend’s attempts to coax Josie out of her sex sabbatical and back onto the dating scene.⁣

As admissions season heats up, Josie discovers that when it comes to matters of the heart–and the office–the biggest surprises lie closest to home.“⁣

I am also hosting a GIVEAWAY of this fabulous book. There will be 2 lucky winners. You can enter on Instagram right here OR, leave a comment on this post and you will be entered to win.

Can’t wait to chit-chat will all of you!

❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S. Here is what’s ahead!

Reserve your spot for future events!

Click on the pic below to purchase the book!

 

“Ernest”Chitter Chatter

Ernest Chitter Chatter collage with Abdi Nor Iftin

The Dear Mr. Hemingway Book Discussion Group You All Have Been Waiting For…

 

July 10, 2020

Dear Lovely Readers,

I am excited to announce The Dear Mr. Hemingway Book Discussion Group….”Ernest” Chitter-Chatter With Kelly & Friends.  My goal is to connect all of my readers (and me too) with a wide variety of fabulous books and incredible authors.  Not only will you have the chance to discuss a monthly book with other book lovers from around the world, but you also will have the opportunity to connect with the author as well. All your burning questions can finally be answered by authors you know and love.  Not too shabby.

As of right now, there are two parts to this group.  You can choose to be in one or both parts.  Part one is a private group chat on instagram with our DMH community on a specific date about one of the monthly book choices.  The second part is a ZOOM with you, me and the author.  Talk about fun!!!!!

𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞-𝐮𝐩 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐥⁣:

𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎 (Still time to join for final conversation and ZOOM)⁣

𝘊𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘔𝘦 𝘈𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘯 by Abdi Nor Iftin⁣

Private Instagram Chat on July 9th & July 23rd⁣

ZOOM~End of July…TBA⁣

𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎⁣

𝘛𝘪𝘯𝘺 𝘐𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans⁣

Private Instagram Chat on August 20th⁣

ZOOM~ 7pm August 24th⁣

𝐒𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎⁣

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘪𝘰𝘯’𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘍𝘪𝘧𝘵𝘩 𝘈𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘶𝘦 by Fiona Davis⁣

Private Instagram Chat September 24th⁣

ZOOM~End of September TBA⁣

𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎⁣

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘞𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘞𝘩𝘰 𝘒𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘛𝘰𝘰 𝘔𝘶𝘤𝘩 by Michele Campbell⁣

Private Instagram Chat October 22nd⁣

ZOOM~End of October TBA⁣

𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐑𝐕𝐄 𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐒𝐏𝐎𝐓 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐎𝐍𝐄 𝐎𝐑 𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐄 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐒𝐄 𝐁𝐎𝐎𝐊 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐓𝐒

👇👇👇👇👇

dearmrhemingway@gmail.com⁣

or DM me on Instagram @dearmrhemingway

Look forward to chatting with all of you

Kelly

P.S.

There is still time to join in on our July book pick. It is an awesome read with so much to talk about! Join in the fun!

Click the book pics below to purchase

Guest Writer ~ Bianca Marais

Author Edition

Guest Writer, Author Bianca Marais

March 11, 2020

Dear Book Lovers,

I am ecstatic today! One of my favorite authors is on the blog. Bianca Marais, author of Hum if You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) is talking about a book she loves. I am not going to lie, her letter is stellar and truly holds Mr. H. accountable WITH A CAPITAL A!!! Bianca is originally from South Africa and now lives in Canada. Before Bianca got into writing, she started a corporate training company and volunteered with Cotlands, where she assisted care workers in Soweto with providing aid for HIV/AIDS orphans. She currently runs the Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative to empower young black women in Africa to write and publish their own stories. How wonderful is that?

I have nothing but kind words to say about Bianca. When I started Dear Mr. Hemingway a year and a half ago, I was a social media newbie. My Instagram/FB photos were lame, I had no idea what a hashtag was, and Instagram stories were not in my wheelhouse. I loved working on this website but made constant errors, had difficulty linking things, and had no clue how important SEOs were. With that said, Bianca was one of my first followers and has stuck around ever since (I think I have improved 😂😂). She is kind, approachable, and a fabulous resource for book recommendations. Bianca has been faithful to this guest writing series, sharing everyone’s post and cheering her fellow authors on. She is a wealth of knowledge and an absolute doll to work with. I look forward to meeting her in person one of these days 🥰🥰. I want to thank her to the moon and back for contributing to this series. If you haven’t read her books…make it happen. they DO NOT disappoint.

Happy Reading Friends,

Kelly

P.S. Bianca was actually bit by a Giraffe 😯😯 and has a scar to prove it 🦒🦒🦒!! Scary, but kind of cool!

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

In researching your history in order to see what might possibly connect you to the incredible South African short story collection, “If You Keep Digging”, that I’d like to discuss with you today, I discovered that you traveled to Kenya, Tanzania, the Congo and Rwanda between the 30s and 50s.

I must be honest, I balked at the pictures of you standing proudly with your trophy kills, especially the lion and the leopard whose heads you mounted on your walls. I try to tell myself that it was a different time then and I shouldn’t judge you too harshly for all that big game hunting. Even if I did, I know that you wouldn’t give a sh*t what I thought of you, because that’s the kind of person you were.

Which does tie me into the author whose work I’d like to tell you about. Keletso Mopai, too, is a badass. And she, too, doesn’t much give a damn what others think about her. You also both have very similar writing styles in that Ms. Mopai appears to subscribe to the iceberg theory writing technique. She writes in a very minimalistic way, allowing the deeper meaning of each story to shine through implicitly.

That is, however, where your similarities end.

While many of your stories deal with your idea of masculinity – specifically the belief that real men keep doubts and insecurities to themselves while having to constantly prove their manhood – Ms. Mopai explores toxic masculinity, and the effect it has on families. In your short story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”, you show the title character as someone who transitions from emasculation to full manhood just by shooting buffalo. In Ms. Mopai’s “Monkeys”, we see the fallout of that kind of mindset, and how toxic masculinity often manifests in domestic violence when a man who suppresses his emotions uses his fists to express them.

Her brilliant collection, published by BlackBird Books, includes twelve incredibly diverse stories told from a wide range of perspectives. It explores South Africa’s fledgling democracy in the years after the end of apartheid, and the themes Ms. Mopai touches on include social class issues, racism, colorism, mental illness, sexuality, abandonment, identity, the push and pull of family dynamics, the oppression of women as well as unfulfilled potential.

Anyone who wants to read more about marginalized identities, or who is interested in diverse reads, needs to get this collection immediately. Look out especially for “Monkeys”, “Skinned”, “Madness”, “Becoming a God” and “Fourteen” which I particularly enjoyed.

Yours in the eternal quest to expand one’s horizons,

Bianca Marais

P.S. Since you never got to South Africa in your travels, you might want to read my two novels which are based there: Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh. I know you’ll agree with me when it comes to my abhorrence of the canned lion hunting industry as touched upon in LAUGH. I’m not sure what you’ll make of my badass women.

Click On The Book Pictures Below To Purchase

Click here to see what I had to say about Hum if You Don’t Know the Words.

Click here to see what I had to say about If You Want To Make God Laugh.

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.

Jackson & Marais ~ Authors To Love

Book Covers for Never Have I Ever and If you want to make God Laugh

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson & If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

July 15, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I have said it before and I will say it again…summer reading is simply the best. Let’s face it, time seems endless on a sweltering hot day. What makes this summer feel so exceptional is that all of the new release books are over the top marvelous. The authors are strong, their writing is spot on and the stories are unique. Today I am going to share two new books I just recently finished for this July that are completely disparate. The first one is a heartfelt drama that takes place in South Africa by Bianca Marais. The second one is a contemporary American thriller by Joshilyn Jackson. If you have never read anything by these authors before, then now is a great time to start. Both of these books are perfect for reading on a sandy beach, poolside, or with the windows open on a warm summer night. So without further ado, let me share with you these two ladies’ latest creations.

Joshilyn Jackson’s Never Have I Ever is her ninth novel.  Let me be clear……her books rock!.  Here is the set up. Amy Whey is hosting book club for all of her suburban neighbors.  Her evening of cocktails with the ladies and some casual book talk about their latest read turns extremely bizarre when a new neighbor shows up to the party with an agenda that does not include discussing House of Mirth.  Roux is the new girl in town renting a house in the neighborhood with her teenage son.  Even though she doesn’t know anyone at Amy’s house, she takes it upon herself to make herself at home and hijack the party with her uproarious behavior and a game of “Never Have I Ever”.  Before Amy knows it, her predictable book club has turned into an intoxicated mess with secrets oozing out of everyone’s mouth. Once the neighborhood crew is gone, Roux reveals her true self to Amy.  She unexpectedly drags up Amy’s dark and secretive past, blackmailing her and threatening to ruin her perfectly happy life with her husband, step-daughter and infant son. Amy needs to decide if she should pay her the money to keep her past a secret or find another way around it.  Without giving too much a way, Jackson’s book is a flawless cat and mouse suspense offering readers the exact amount of thrill to keep the pages constantly turning. Family love and friendship with a side of skeletons in the closet equal a tremendous read. This fast paced novel comes out July 30th, so pre-order it NOW!!!!!!

Shifting gears a bit now.  My next July read for you is Bianca Marais’ new book, If You Want To Make God Laugh (This comes out TOMORROW).  Be prepared for a whole different experience with this highly emotional book.  Marais’ story is set in South Africa post Apartheid during the 1990’s. With Nelson Mandela about to be elected and the AIDS epidemic on the rise, the backdrop of Marais’ story is intense.  Her book follows three different characters in alternating chapters. Zodwa is a seventeen year old black girl living in poverty. Not only is she eight months pregnant and caring for her dying mother, but she also is carrying a very unsettling secret.  Ruth and Delilah are two estranged middle-aged sisters who reunite unexpectedly at their family’s old home. Delilah is a former nun whose past continues to haunt her. Ruth, in the process of a divorce, is trying to figure out her new life. While the sisters are sorting out the details of their family home and individual baggage, they are surprised one evening when a newborn black baby is left on their doorstep.  The story gradually unfolds with Marais delicately revealing how each of these three women’s lives are connected and eventually come together. She tackles many sensitive subjects including corruption in the church, racism, AIDS, and homophobia, while shining light on the political atmosphere of South Africa at that time. Be prepared to have your heart strings pulled in all different directions while reading this book.  The characters will absolutely melt your heart and water your eyes. For an added bonus, fans of Marais’ Hum If You Don’t Know The Words will be surprised at the cameo appearances in her story. I hope you enjoy this read.  It is truly a beautiful story.

Well my friends, be sure to put these two delights on your TBR list for this summer.  Be on the look out for more wonderful summer reads in the weeks to come.

Happy Summer and Happy Reading!!!!

Until next time Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Thank you to William Morrow and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for giving me the opportunity to read these two books in advance in exchange for an honest review.  It was an absolute pleasure!!!!!!

Click here to purchase Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Click here to purchase If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

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

The Loved One

Hum if you don't know the words book cover

Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

March 29, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Oh boy, Mr. H. I had the pleasure of reading such a beautiful book. Not only did this story tug at my heartstrings, but it also introduced me to some loveable characters that have not left my side since I finished their story. Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais tells the story of two strangers who come into each other’s lives during heartbreaking times. With the Apartheid era and the Soweto uprising in South Africa as the backdrop, Marais crafted a story filled with love, loss, and hope for a brighter future.

Marais’ story is narrated by the two main characters in alternating chapters.  The first character is Robin Conrad, a 9-year-old white girl living with her parents in Johannesburg in the 1970s.  Her only exposure to the South African world around her is limited to her sheltered home life and her parents’ prejudiced views.  Robin experiences a tremendous loss early on in the story, forcing her to go live with her Aunt Edith, miles away. Life changes drastically for Robin when she is introduced to an environment so different from where she was raised.  Our second character is Beauty Mbali. Beauty is an Xhosa woman whose older daughter goes missing at the start of the Soweto uprising. To Beauty’s surprise, her daughter played a significant role during this uprising, while fighting for the cause.  Devastated by the news of her missing daughter, Beauty leaves her two young sons behind to search for her.

Now that you have met the main characters, here is how they collide.  Robin’s Aunt Edith’s independent lifestyle is rocked when she becomes her primary caregiver.  Her job as a flight attendant is jeopardized when Robin arrives. In order to keep her job and continue to live as a free spirit, Edith hires Beauty to be her caregiver in her absence.  As a black woman living during dangerous times, Beauty needs this job to remain in the area safely while searching for her daughter. These two individuals from vastly different societies slowly find rhythm together in their day to day lives.  However, as Beauty’s search for her daughter intensifies, so does Robin’s need for Beauty’s presence.

Having been born and raised in South Africa, Marais writes about her home country with clarity and ease.  She skillfully sets the scene for her historical drama by cleverly intertwining her two main characters in a fashion that highlights the diverse languages and rich cultures of South Africa.  Marais’ book shines light on the the racial issues and injustices occurring during the Apartheid era. She also takes a deeper look at Robin’s significant loss and what grieving and coping skills look like for her living under these circumstances.  Marais paints a picture of a young girl fearful of losing the people around her and desperately seeking love and security during uncertain times. What I truly love about this book is how authentic these main characters are. There is no doubt that their point of views greatly contribute to the  depth of this story. Where Robin’s interpretations and narratives have a flare of childish innocence and at times even humor, Beauty’s account is overflowing with cutthroat determination and motherly love. Together they bring readers into a world where equality isn’t in fashion, but the love of family always holds true.  I feel certain that readers will devour this glorious novel with great passion and love………….just as I did. I am over the moon that Bianca Marais has another novel coming out this July! Keep the books coming Bianca!!!!!!!

Until next time my Friend.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  If you enjoy reading about this time period, check out Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.  His book is a wonderful companion read to Hum if You Don’t Know the Words.

Click here to purchase Hum if You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

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