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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!

Get Your Read On

June 1, 2023

Hello Book Family!

Happy June! Boy, time is flying by so fast, and summer is FINALLY within our grasp! I am excited to share a handful of books today, perfect for the “spring-into-summer” transition. Rich people misbehaving, friendships and a few funerals, the ultimate small-town gay wedding, and something to really get your heart rate up! Go snag yourself a copy of one of these books and GET YOUR READ ON!

xoxo,

Kelly

Click on the book pic to purchase!

I love every book Steven Rowley has written. THE CELEBRANTS was no different. Once again, Rowley’s writing is a dreamy concoction of heart and humor with a splash of GenX that, in my opinion, can not be matched. Yes, this extraordinary tale had me blotting my damp eyes on MANY pages, but most importantly, it reminded me to live my life fully and to love my people fiercely. Cheers to Steven, “The Scale of Courtneys,” and ALL the Karen Carpenter songs. 

Publisher’s Synopsis: “It’s been a minute–or five years–since Jordan Vargas last saw his college friends, and twenty-eight years since their graduation when their adult lives officially began. Now Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle find themselves at the brink of a new decade, with all the responsibilities of adulthood, yet no closer to having their lives figured out. Though not for a lack of trying. Over the years, they’ve reunited in Big Sur to honor a decades-old pact to throw each other living “funerals,” celebrations to remind themselves that life is worth living–that their lives mean something to one another if not to themselves. But this reunion is different. They’re not gathered as they were to bolster Marielle as her marriage crumbled, to lift Naomi after her parents died, or to intervene when Craig pleaded guilty to art fraud. This time, Jordan is sitting on a secret that will upend their pact. A deeply honest tribute to the growing pains of selfhood and the people who keep us going, coupled with Steven Rowley’s signature humor and heart, The Celebrants is a moving tale about the false invincibility of youth and the beautiful ways in which friendship helps us celebrate our lives, even amid the deepest challenges of living.”

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Oh My Gosh…BIG GAY WEDDING is my first Byron Lane book. I will be fixing this situation ASAP by grabbing A STAR IS BORED. His new novel has it ALL—A swoony male couple, a small town family farm filled with a motley crew of well-loved animals that had me at “Elaine,” and an INCREDIBLE cast of characters that won me over. Lane’s tale follows Barnet and his hope to marry the man of his dreams at his family’s farm. This is an honest tale of a mom holding on to tarnished beliefs (Hello, Catholic Guilt & dead husband). Lane did a phenomenal job capturing the tender yet wobbly relationship between Barnet and Chrissy. Yes, Chrissy grapples with her son being gay, but ultimately, she is a mama who doesn’t want to lose her baby boy to anyone. This is the greatest “romance” and “family” to root for. Lane’s storytelling bubbles over with hope and a profound sense of joy that truly made me smile. And let’s face it…How FABULOUS is a BIG GAY WEDDING?

Publisher’s Synopsis: “Two grooms. One mother of a problem. Barnett Durang has a secret. No, not THAT secret. His widowed mother has long known he’s gay. The secret is Barnett is getting married. At his mother’s farm. In their small Louisiana town. She just doesn’t know it yet. It’ll be an intimate affair. Just two hundred or so of the most fabulous folks Barnett is shipping in from the “heathen coasts,” as Mom likes to call them, turning her quiet rescue farm for misfit animals into a most unlikely wedding venue. But there are forces, both within this modern new family and in the town itself, that really don’t want to see this handsome couple march down the aisle. It’ll be the biggest, gayest event in the town’s history if they can pull it off, and after a glitter-filled week, nothing will ever be the same.”

Click on the book pic to purchase.

T.J. Newman’s sophomore novel DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Her latest flight tale is Big Screen reading with this BLOCKBUSTER, action-packed story. A plane goes down and sinks into the ocean with passengers still alive. Will they be rescued before they run out of oxygen 😬? High octane page turning GEM! Your adrenaline will be OOC with this one! ⁣

Publisher’s Synopsis: “Six minutes after takeoff, Flight 1421 crashes into the Pacific Ocean. During the evacuation, an engine explodes and the plane is flooded. Those still alive are forced to close the doors–but it’s too late. The plane sinks to the bottom with twelve passengers trapped inside. More than two hundred feet below the surface, engineer Will Kent and his eleven-year-old daughter Shannon are waist-deep in water and fighting for their lives. Their only chance at survival is an elite rescue team on the surface led by professional diver Chris Kent–Shannon’s mother and Will’s soon-to-be ex-wife–who must work together with Will to find a way to save their daughter and rescue the passengers from the sealed airplane, which is now teetering on the edge of an undersea cliff. There’s not much time. There’s even less air. With devastating emotional power and heart-stopping suspense, Drowning is an unforgettable thriller about a family’s desperate fight to save themselves and the people trapped with them–against impossible odds.”

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Laura’s book is the ultimate guide to all friendships. She takes a deep dive into all the different kinds of friends we have in our lives and how each one not only has a special place in our hearts but fulfills a role like none other. Whether you have many or a few friends or are searching for more friendships, Laura’s book is for you. It is wonderful on audio as well—read by the author herself.

Publisher’s Synopsis: “You’d love to have a “ride or die” posse like you see on social media, but instead, you have a host of really good . . . acquaintances. After all, trying to find a soul friend in the midst of dirty dishes, deadlines, and, oh, a crazy busy life can be overwhelming. But what if developing great friendships was actually easier than we thought? And what if finding a “soul friend” wasn’t necessarily our highest goal?

In The Life Council, Laura Tremaine–the writer and podcaster behind 10 Things to Tell You–tells us what we’ve been hoping was true all along: making, keeping, and even releasing friends doesn’t need to be as hard as we make it. This fun and practical guide gives you what you need to: 

  • Create your own “life council” with the friends you already have
  • Understand the ten kinds of friends every woman needs–and how to find them
  • Learn how to evaluate your friendship circle for what’s working and what might need to change
  • Navigate tough conversations with friends
  • Get excited again about the possibility of new friendships

The Life Council will give every woman the help she needs to think about friendships in a new way and find true connection, freedom, and joy in her relationships.”

Click on the book pic to purchase.

This backlist beauty is a wicked fun tale combining a mom trying to find friends and fit in and rich people behaving badly. Needy and obnoxious characters, a small town setting, and a dead body…so much fun. Easy-peasy read that moves fast and is wildly entertaining. 

Publisher’s Synopsis: “The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder. Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless. Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers. When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.”

*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!

All Things Bianca Marais

Click on the book Pic to purchase!

“The strongest alliances you will ever have in your life will be with the women you choose as your family.”

August 23, 2022

Dear Book Family,

One of my favorite authors of all time has a new book out in the world today. Bianca Marais is back, and this time, she brilliantly meshes present-day themes of race, gender, women’s rights, and sexual identity with a spellbinding flair in her brand new magical tale, The Witches of Moonshyne Manor. It is time to hop on a souped-up Harley Davidsonstick and fly on over to Moonshyne Manor & Distillery to meet some of my new favorite characters who are not only fierce friends but WITCHES too.  Being described as The Golden Girls meets Practical Magical, Queenie, Ursula, Jezebel, Tabitha, Ivy, and Ruby are a force to be reckoned with.  Let’s not forget about Widget and Persephone too.  These characters are MY PEOPLE!

So here is what’s brewing in the cauldron.  The witches are trying to save Moonshyne Manor & Distillery from a reckoning ball that threatens to end its existence. As they devise a plan to save their home, we get an inside look into what their lives are really like living as modern-day witches.  Now here is the fun stuff.  There are potions, rituals, and cocktails to keep things mystical.  But more importantly, there is FIGHTING THE PATRIARCH.  The witches are some badass feminists, so If you are hoping for some form of high-stakes heist or perhaps a magical wand or two all in the hands of some powerful women, you will be a delighted reader. 

To say I am obsessed with this book and these colorful characters is an understatement.  Marais writes friendship and aging with grace and humor that had me cackling like a witch. I was utterly blown away by the exquisite details of enchantresses at their finest and sorcery galore. The action-packed scenes that fill the pages are wild and sparkly and will have you on the edge of your broomstick, while the deep-rooted friendships will tug on your tender heartstrings.

The Witches of Moonshyne Mannor is everything I dreamed it would be. I genuinely want to be a witch and hang with this crew! Please make this book happen!

Be sure to check out ALL THINGS BIANCA MARAIS down below.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

xoxo,

Kelly

P.S. Be sure to check out ALL THINGS BIANCA MARAIS down below.

Click on the book pic to purchase!

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 highlights the racial issues and injustices during the Apartheid era. She also looks deeper 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 view significantly contributes 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 family love always holds true.  I feel confident that readers will devour this glorious novel with great passion and love………….just as I did.

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Marais’ story is set in South Africa post-Apartheid during the 1990s. With Nelson Mandela about to be elected and the AIDS epidemic rising, the backdrop of Marais’ novel 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 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 melt your heart and water your eyes. For a 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.

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Talk about FRESH! This time, Marais is not writing about South Africa, the Apartheid, or the Soweto Uprising.  Instead, she wowed me with a short story offered as an Audible Original. The Prynne Viper is a futuristic tale (yes, you heard me correctly) that left me thinking long and hard about the fate of humanity if left in the hands of some crazy predictive software. I was transfixed by this terrifying world, and the idea that mankind could be predetermined by a courtroom jury haunted me for days.  Don’t let the length of this story fool you, though.  Marais’ magnificent storytelling, the entire cast of narrators, and an immensely satisfying ending all neatly fit into a unique two-hour listen. Marais’ ability to switch writing gears by seamlessly transitioning to a completely different genre was wicked impressive, and she will forever be an auto-buy author for me.

Click on the pic to check out this podcast!

Did you know Marais co-hosts an incredible podcast with ​literary agents Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra from P.S. Literary Agency called The Shit No One Tells You About Writing? I listen to this weekly and look forward to all the writing topics explored. Character development, moving the plot forward, creating suspense, writing solid dialogue, and query letter critiques fill my ears with greatness. Marais’ guests are top-notch authors and professionals in the literary field, and I consider this podcast an excellent resource for new and experienced writers alike. I guarantee your writing will not only improve from listening to this but that you will learn a gazillion things along the way.

Click on the pic to read Bianc Marais’ letter to Mr. Hemingwy!

Did you know Bianca Marais was one of the first guest writers on Dear Mr. Hemingway? Be sure to read her letter above to the big guy. Not only does she share an incredible and diverse book, but she also has a few things to say to Hemingway that couldn’t be more on point. Can you say BADASS WOMAN??? Just like her witches!!!!

*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

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

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.

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