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Here Comes The Sun

It Had To Be You by Georgia Clark (Atria/Emily Bestler)~May 4, 2021



May 3, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Love is in the air, and it feels like Valentine’s Day… in the beginning of May.  Because of this, I have to share with you the most sprightly and heartwarming book. It Had To Be You by Georgia Clark has all the “feels” and I literally can’t stop smiling.  Love almighty love is the theme here, and Clark delivers a five star tale blending a sprinkle of Modern Love with a dollop of Love Actually.  This twenty-first century romantic comedy is a ray of sunshine and I can’t wait for the world to read it.

Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn have been married for decades.  Their New York wedding planning company, In Love in New York is THE place to go for the ultimate wedding experience.  One night, Liv finds out that her husband had a heart attack while away, and died.  Soon after, Liv discovers that not only did her husband/business partner die, but that he left his half of the company to his GIRLFRIEND, Savannah (excellent time for your jaw to drop).  Why on Earth is he trying to bring these two women together after his death? 

Now that you have the backdrop of the story, let me continue with what happens next.  Liv is baffled when Savannah moves to New York to take on her “half “of the wedding business, and so begins their unexpected journey as business owners and women trying to discover love after loss. To enrich this story further, Clark brings in a cast of characters with their own unique love challenges that all link back to Liv, Savannah and In Love In New York. 

It Had To Be You is a must read for anyone looking for love,hope and a happily ever after.  LGBTQ themes, diversity, and romance were lovingly woven together to showcase the power of love. Clark magically melded together an incredible ensemble of characters that offered a different point of view for each new chapter.  The five storylines were distinct in their own quirky way and I was completely obsessed with each and every one of them.  As a woman in my 40’s, I personally relished reading about Clark’s characters my age and even older. It is so refreshing to see more mature women and men in romance books.  This writer truly knows how to tap into the human heart and I look forward to more books written by her.  

It Had To Be You is a treasure that belongs on everyone’s bookshelf.  It is a well needed hug after a long day kind of book and I can’t encourage you enough to read and savor this all inclusive love story.   

Love and Happiness My Friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly


P.S.  Georgia Clark shared her own happily ever after in Brides Magazine.  Check it out Right Here!

Click on the Book Pic to Purchase!

Let’s Get It On

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters (Atria)

“But she has no time for these dangerous thoughts-she had a scheme to enact, a dowager marchioness to thwart, and a marquess to make miserable.  In short, she was busy.  Busy ladies had no time to dwell on kisses.”

April 6, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Do regency romance novels ring a bell? If I remember correctly, this sub genre was brought to your attention by author Lauren Layne when she wrote to you about her favorite comfort read back in February of 2020.  I have to admit, it has been awhile since I have sunk my teeth into one of these juicy romances set in the early nineteenth century, but after Bridgerton took the world by storm on Netflix this past winter, regency romances are back on center stage.  To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters is out today and its flirty, fresh and everything in between.  An easy-peasy lemon-squeezy read is the best way to kick off spring in my opinion and Water’s latest historical rom-com will have you smiling from ear to ear.

“She did not wish for much in life-a comfortable house, an extensive wardrobe, and a plentiful supply of paint and canvas were all she really asked for.  But the sensation of winning a wager against Willingham?  Yes, she would admit to wanting that rather badly.”

Welcome to high society where the widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are center stage.  These two “friends” turn an argument at a ball into a full on wager.  Diana will turn over one hundred pounds if “playboy” Jeremy marries within the year.  Shortly after, Jeremy brings another proposal to Diana.  He recently received a harsh review of his bedroom skills from his last mistress.  He asks Diana to embark in a brief dalliance with him at his house party at Elderwild, his country estate.  During this affair, Diana can offer him some “constructive” criticism of his intimate most moves, while providing him with a much needed confidence boost. In addition, word will get out that Diana, the independent widow, is open to more interludes herself.  What sounds like a win win situation becomes more complicated as the banter, flirtation and romping intensifies. As Jeremy’s competence in the bedroom becomes oh so promising and Diana’s desire for independence dwindles, the two of them must decide how to proceed when the house party fun comes to an end.

“Jeremy was a man of simple pleasures: a glass of brandy, a hard ride on a horse, a good round of boxing at Gentleman Jackson’s, a tumble with a willing woman.  None of these occupations provided him with expertise that he generally had much cause to call upon, but in that moment, he knew one thing with the utmost certainty:  that moan had not been one of pain, but of pleasure.”

Here is my take.  To Love and To Loathe is an opulent tale that is sparkly and bright.   Who doesn’t love a fiery kiss against a ginormous tree with a gorgeous man who just dismounted his sweaty horse.  Don’t be afraid to raise your hand…mine is way up high. I am talking callous hands cupping your face, a few nibbles on your neck, hair askew, dress ruffled in all the right places, and panting from the sheer thrill of getting caught….you get my drift.   Place this scenario in the early 1800s on a grassy estate with nosy maids lingering around every corner and a few two a.m. booty calls (very classy mind you), and you have the key ingredients to a regency romance. 

Water’s story has a gorgeous atmosphere bubbling over with schemes and desire.  One thing I adored was how forward thinking the women in her book were during this male dominated time.  Waters weaved in contemporary themes of love, relationships and independence in a vivacious way.  Instead of keeping her innermost thoughts and desires stifled out of ear of polite society, her female protagonist expressed them using a paintbrush on canvas and in the bedroom with her “Misteress”, Jeremy.   I absolutely love the evolving relationship between Diana and Jeremy.  Their constant wordplay with one another and coy foreplay left me short of breath. The plot was straightforward, but the main characters’ pasts and individual hankering for intimacy and love kept me not only intrigued, but highly entertained.  To Love and to Loathe is a quick and chucklesome read that is heartfelt and down right a blast.  I hope this book brings you as much joy as it brought me.

Happy reading dear friend.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. To Love and to Loathe is book #2 in The Regency Vows series.  Book one is called To Have and To Hoax.  I did not read the first book in this series, but will happily tell you that book #2 works perfectly well as a stand alone. I of course am running to get the first book posthaste!!!

Click on the book pic to purchase!

Thunder Only Happens When It Rains

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (Gallery Books) May 18, 2021

March 25, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Do you believe in soulmates? Love at first sight, fate brought you together, undeniable chemistry? Having had four wives (at different times) clearly something was amiss for you.  Am I right or am I right? What if you, Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary all had the opportunity to take a DNA test that would tell you just how compatible you were together?  Now that I have your attention, I will politely keep my guesses to myself and chat more about this concept of using people’s DNA to create the perfect match.  I’ve talked to you before about my love for the author duo Christina Lauren.  Well guess what…they are back and taking matchmaking to a whole new level in their latest creation, The Soulmate Equation. Only Lauren can take on DNA and statistics and make it heartfelt and sexy.  Let’s take a look and see what’s going on, shall we?

Jess Davis is our leading lady in The Soulmate Equation.  She is a single mom who busts her tail as a statistician trying to make ends meet for her and her seven year old daughter.  Even though Jess is single, she is not sure if she is ready to mingle quite yet. Her best friend convinces her to take a DNA test put out by the new buzz-worthy matchmaking company, GeneticAlly. Jess is skeptical about this company that basically uses DNA from its participants to create the perfect match.  When the results come back, Jess quickly learns she scored a 98% compatibility rate with her match, which is almost unheard of.  Here is the kicker, her match is none other than the founder of the company, Dr. River Pena.  Because Jess is completely pessimistic and disbelieving of this match,  GeneticAlly calls her into their office to make her a proposition.  The company offers to pay her to get to know River and be photographed with him at events to help promote the success of their match and GeneticAlly as a whole.  The money is of course great, so Jess temporarily puts her worries aside and takes the plunge getting to know River.  As the two of them embark on this new journey together, unexpected feelings occur leaving Jess in the most unique situation. 

Let me first start by saying that Christina Lauren always delivers a timely tale of love and romance.  They truly never run out of new and fresh ways to bring people together.  This dynamic writing pair upped the game for modern day dating with an innovative concept of using DNA to find your ultimate soulmate.   Lauren mixed in messy families, slightly older protagonists and a few unexpected twists to keep this contemporary romance vibrant and unique.  Let’s not forget the sizzle between Jess and River that had me teetering in my seat.   The Soulmate Equation is the perfect afternoon delight!  This bright and shiny new tale will have you smiling from ear to ear!

Enjoy Sweet Friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Be sure to check out what I had to say about Christina Lauren’s book, In a Holidaze!

Click on the book pic to pre-order this spring treat!

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.

My Sweet Tequila Sunrise

Home is Where You Are by Melissa Grace

“Rain taps on the window, and baby, I don’t want to go.  I’d been living my life a lost boy, but in your arms, I’m home.”

February 11, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Love is in the air…can you feel it?  Just a few days away is Valentine’s Day, also my wedding anniversary ❤️❤️❤️.  Chocolate dipped strawberries🍓, Champagne🍾, and conversational hearts💗 will definitely put you in the mood to spend time with the one you love this Holiday.  But, if you are anything like me, a sweet romance novel filled with love is an essential part of my heart filled day.  Because of this, I am sharing the most charming book to set the tone for a feel good, make you feel giddy with love weekend. Melissa Grace’s magical debut novel, Home is Where You Are encompasses all things fabulous. The Nashville music scene, a bakery (oh how I love a story with a bakery in it) and a couple to root for will have you smiling from ear to ear this Valentine’s Day.  Even better, if you have the KINDLE app or an actual KINDLE, you can download this beauty immediately for less than the cost of a latte!  Can you say WIN? Let’s take a peek at your next read!

“Now that I knew what it felt like to hold her in my arms, I never wanted to stop.  My lips ached to touch hers.”  

After Olivia Sinclair’s (Liv) husband leaves her, dreams of having a vibrant music career fade away.  Newly divorced and in her late thirties, Liv manages to find happiness running her successful bakery and hanging with her close friends and her beloved cat.  One evening, Liv’s best friend Ella insists she goes with her to see Midnight in Dallas in concert and attend the backstage event they had special tickets for.  Liv reluctantly goes and is pleasantly surprised when she meets Jaxon (Jax) Slade, the twenty-something year old lead singer of the band.  Sparks FLY between Liv and this much younger man and before they know it, a close friendship develops with a side of potential fireworks.   As their relationship deepens, we learn more about their pasts and what they both truly need to feel fulfilled in life.  While Liv tussles with the scars from her past marriage and the age difference between her and her new man, Jax has his own baggage to sort through, while at the same time falling deeper in love with Liv.   Can these two love birds find peace and happiness from within and with each other?

So here is the scoop.  Home is Where You Are is a simple tale seasoned with the perfect amount of drama and finesse.  I was invested in this story right out of the gate.  Grace’s writing had me up late at night reading because I just had to know where Liv and Jax’s relationship was going.  I really appreciated how Grace gently hit on a few sensitive topics such as grief, loss, drugs and fertility, while at the same time delivering a swoon worthy romance that also offered a dash of comedic relief.  One question I often get when recommending a romance read is… how “steamy” is the writing?  Grace offers her readers heartfelt conversations and intimate glances sealed with a tender kiss or two.  For good measure she may have thrown in some washboard abs, but I am digressing!  Even with the “bedroom door closed”, the passion is very much alive between the pages of this book. 

“Before I could finish my sentence, he ripped his shirt over his head, and I stood face to face with a very gorgeous, very shirtless, Jax.  His chest was smooth, a perfect crease leading down his center, dividing an impressive six pack that narrowed in a V at the waistline of his jeans.  His entire body glistened, damp with the rain that soaked through his shirt.”

With baking, songwriting and a crew of characters I would love to have dinner with,  Home is Where You Are will fill your Valentine’s Day Weekend with love, joy and smiles.  Enjoy!

Much love to you my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  If you adore this book as much as I do, rumor has it… the author is working on a sequel 🤫🤫🤫!!!!!

Click on the book pic to purchase ASAP!

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.  

The Magic of Christmas

In a Holidaze book cover

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren (Gallery Books)

In a Holidaze book cover

 “We ate breakfast in the old, untasting, gulping, early morning Christmas way, unpacking the stockings, down to the candy mouse in the toe, each made a pile of our things for future gloating. From breakfast we rushed into our clothes and tore down the icy road in the glory of the blue-white glistening alpine morning.”   Ernest Hemingway ~Christmas on the Roof of the World (Toronto Star, 1923)

October 21, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Please hear me out before you think I am crazy. I am fully aware that it is the middle of October and the fall mums I love to decorate my yard with have yet to be purchased, while plans for this coming pandemic Halloween are still non-existent. Let’s not mention the fact that Thanksgiving (one of my favorite holidays), is still miles away. As much as I never want to wish time away, I am already excited for the Christmas season. Even though I have been stuck in my house more than usual these days, cozy fires, twinkling lights, and the smell of cookies baking in the oven always bring me peace and happiness.  To add a log to my future cozy fire is Christina Lauren’s latest book, In a Holidaze.  There is no turning back after reading this winter wonder.  A snowy cabin, spiked eggnog, some dreamy “steamy” romance, and a teeny tiny bit of time travel (trust me…this works) is sure to turn any frown upside down.  This smile-inducing story will have you dreaming of Christmas.  

Maelyn (Mae) Jones hates her job, still lives with her parents and has a mad crush on someone very close to her.  The one thing she looks forward to every year is the holidays.  For as long as she can remember, Mae has spent every Christmas vacation at her family’s snowy Utah cabin for the holidays with two other families.  The story opens up at the end of the Christmas festivities.  Presents have been opened, snowy competitions have been won, and boozy bellies can’t fit another bite of turkey. It’s the tail end of the holiday extravaganza and Mae makes a drunken mistake with Theo (her childhood friend) that leaves her head spinning.  With no time for closure, she heads to the airport to thaw her frozen limbs and fly back to her regularly scheduled  life.  On the way to the airport though, Mae gets into a car accident that not only knocks her unconscious, but has her waking up on an airplane heading to Utah to start her Christmas vacation…AGAIN!  Guess what?  She is the only one aware that she just stepped back A WEEK IN TIME.  Will she get to fix her intoxicated mistake, find love with the real man she so desires and turn her unhappy life around?   Time and a few resets will tell. 

I was so happy reading In a Holidaze.  It was the perfect change of pace from all of the October thrillers I have been devouring.  Christia Lauren’s latest rom com is not your typical time travel story.   If you are thinking of  Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander Series or even The Magic Treehousefor that matter, rest assured…this book doesn’t bop through time to that extent.  Instead, Lauren’s book is about second chances…a potential redo ( who doesn’t want that option from time to time?). There may be a slight rewind in time, but nothing to stew and fester over.  Mae seizes this magical opportunity to make things better and take a much needed chance on life for once.  The chemistry between the characters is absolutely fantastic. This book had me grinning from ear to ear from start to finish. With delightful characters, a picturesque atmosphere and a romance that made me swoon, I was in Holiday Heaven reading In a Holidaze

The Holidays are right around the corner.  If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit sooner than later, make reading this book happen!  

You will not regret it! 

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly 

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

In a Holidaze book cover

Batteries Not Included

The Roxy Letters Beauty shot with a chicken

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry (Simon & Schuster)

July 24, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

As I write to you each week, it never escapes me that you too wrote letters. Whether it was to F. Scott Fitgerald, Ezra Pound, or even James Joyce, you were known to write your letters on anything that resembled a piece of paper. To me, there is something so intimate about writing an actual letter as opposed to an email or text (trust me on this one).  Well, Mr. H., I couldn’t help but think of you and even myself when I read Mary Pauline Lowry’s book, The Roxy Letters.  Lowry’s twenty-something protagonist named Roxy scribbles letters to her ex-boyfriend/roommate about the state of her life in Austin, Texas.  If you are looking for a fall over from laughing, I need to escape my life kind of read, look no further…….The Roxy Letters will do the trick. 

Let’s meet our main girl, shall we?  Roxy is in her twenties, works as a deli maid at Whole Foods, is an almost vegan trying to save the animals one face cream at a time, and will do everything in her power to boycott the new LuLulemon store (even though their leggings make her backside look incredible) that just opened in her precious Austin. When paying rent becomes too much for her alone, her ex-boyfriend Everett moves in.  Because they are essentially two ships passing in the night, Roxy decides to vent her discontent with life to Everett via letters.  Her daily correspondences are pretty much a brain dump on paper.  Her every thought is there for the taking and she holds NOTHING back. She cleverly writes to him about her struggles to find a long lasting boyfriend, her desperate need for an orgasm that does not require a battery operated object, and her mission to save Austin, Texas from a corporate takeover.  With her new eccentric friend Artemis by her side and “Dirty-Steve” (her boss from Whole Foods) lingering nearby, Roxy begins to make changes to her mediocre life. 

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.  Lowry’s girl is absolutely delightful and her colorful cast of characters surrounding Roxy help shape her into the woman she longs to be. 

Enjoy this breath of fresh air.  I hope you get a few chuckles out of it to brighten your day!

Until next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  If you are an audio book lover, give The Roxy Letters a go using Libro.Fm and support your local bookstore while listening.  Feel free to use my Referral Code here.  Happy listening!!

Click on the book pic below to purchase The Roxy Letters

Audio Books Worth Your Hours

Audiobooks Worth Your Hours collage

Part 2

Tales From An Audio Book Junkie

June 12, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I have written to you about my love of audiobooks before. In my days, they were actually referred to as “books on tape”. I still catch myself saying that from time to time…especially when my kids look at me like I am speaking a foreign language. Anyway, do you know how many times I have fallen asleep listening to your book, The Old Man and the Sea? Well, it feels like a thousand. As much as I adore that particular book of yours, it is my darling husband that plays it over and over again as he drifts off to sleep. Every now and then he throws on the audio version of your book, A Moveable Feast. I have no problem listening to that book over and over again. Falling asleep to your words from this story ensures my dreams will be filled with Parisian streets, salty oysters, and crisp white wine. Anyway, I digress. Today I am sharing some books that I found to be quite entertaining on audio. A little bit of romance, friendship, mystery, memoir, and time travel is coming your way today. Grab your headphones and hit play! Let the listening begin!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. If you are looking for a way to listen to your books while supporting ANY participating local bookstore, check out Libro.FM. Feel free you use my REFERRAL LINK to get your first month free. Any member can share their referral code. Click on the book pics below to take you directly to their info page.

Abby Jimenez’s book, The Friend Zone, came out last year, and I JUST recently listened to it. I am actually pumped that I was was fashionably late to this fabulous book party. This book was the perfect feel good, pick me up during this uncertain time. Not only did I get to spend the night in bed reading this warm and fuzzy tale, I acquired a new book boyfriend who goes by the name of Josh. Married or not, you can never have too many book boyfriends 😂😂😂. Also, if you end up liking this book, the sequel just came out. It’s called The Happily Ever Playlist.

9 hours 32 minutes

Hachette Audio

Forever Publishing

Synopsis:

“Kristen Peterson doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.”

⁣WOW! I’m embarrassed to say that I did not know who Mikel Jollett was or for that matter, who his band, The Airborne Toxic Event was. Well, after listening to his brand new memoir, Hollywood Park I have a pretty good sense of who this writer and musician is! Mikel Jollett narrates his profound journey from his early childhood In the 70’s to present day with an honesty that spares no details! From his early days living in a cult with his family to his unsettled adolescence and young adulthood, Jollett’s journey was rocky to say the very least. He effortlessly brings his readers into his world of family love, loyalty and survival by exploring the intimate most details from his relationship with his parents and older brother. His writing is stunning and his story is absolutely unforgettable. His emotional memoir will no doubt stir your soul and fill your heart with love. ⁣Bonus……Jollett narrates his audio book.

11 hours 44 minutes

Macmillan Audio

Celadon Books

Synopsis:

“So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults. Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother. But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

In his raw, poetic and powerful voice, Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol. Raised by a clinically depressed mother, tormented by his angry older brother, subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step-fathers and longing for contact with his father, a former heroin addict and ex-con, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician.”

The Guest List by Lucy Foley is absolutely wonderful on audio. Who wouldn’t want to attend a wedding with friends and family on a small Irish island? The privacy from the outside world, the weekend escape from everyday life, one big hurrah with friends and family to tide you over until someone else’s big day. Sounds like the perfect weekend. The narrators’ Irish accents and the icy cold ocean air will make you feel like you are actually on this Emerald Island. There is a creepy vibe while the bride and groom and all their guests get ready for the ceremony. Family drama and dark secrets from their pasts give this wedding day a very unsettling vibe. Throw in some blood and a dead body and you have one heck of celebration. Foley’s slow burn mystery is an atmospheric treat.

9 hours 53 minutes

Harper Audio

William Morrow

Synopsis:

“The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner  – The bridesmaid – The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?”

When I think about time travel, my mind instantly goes to The Magic Treehouse or Outlander. In Margarita Montimore’s new book, Oona Lockhart travels to a different time in her life every New Year’s Eve for one year. Can you even imagine revisiting yourself in the past or for that matter, meeting yourself in the future? If given the chance, would you alter your past knowing that in turn, it could change the future? Montimore offers her readers this, and so much more in her unique tale. Oona Out of Order definitely made me think. Between the pages of this compelling read are funny and light hearted moments coupled with self reflection and a giant splash of pop culture (80s and 90s anyone?). Do not think too deeply about the ins and outs of time travel. Simply enjoy Oona’s wild ride!

11 hours 30 minutes

Macmillan Audio

Flatiron Books

Synopsis:

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever-changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.”

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon is an all-star treat. Here is my favorite quote….“If sexy and adorable had a baby together, the result would be Daniel Collins.” SOLD! Farrah’s book is filled with sass, class, and a whole lot of smarts… did I mention Daniel Collins??? Women lifting each other up, staying true to yourself, and a tall, dark and handsome man lingering in the background….sign yourself up for this one. Such a perfect summertime listen.

9 hours 41 minutes

Forever

Hachette Audio

Synopsis:

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men and no dating.

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy Daniel Collins at work.What are the chances?But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

I Tumble For You

Head over Heals Beauty Shot

Beach Read by Emily Henry (Berkley)

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein (Atria Books)

May 19, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Summertime, summertime, summertime. While you longed for feeling your fishing rod between your hands on a clear Michigan river with endless trout in sight, I ache to feel a book between my hands, my toes in the warm sand, and endless chapters to devour while lounging in my beach chair.  Today, I am focusing on the summertime beach reading scenario (my husband can handle the fishing one another time…if you are interested). Beach Read by Emily Henry (OUT TODAY) and Head Over Heels (OUT JUNE 23) by Hannah Orenstein are two books that you must make time for this summer. Though these books appear to be light and fizzy at first glance (hello, cover love), they both offer a surprise pop of “something more” than your typical rom-com.  Henry and Orenstein give their readers plenty of passion and steam, but they also include characters with complicated pasts and a yearning for self-discovery.  Plan to be swept away to a classic beach town and the competitive world of gymnastics. Friends to lovers, opposites attract, and everything in-between……these books are bursting with goodness. Henry’s and Orenstein’s books will both quench your summer reading thirst.  Bottoms up!!!

All you gymnastic fans out there will love Head Over Heels, the most anticipated hot new release this June.  Orenstein captures the dusty chalk, the intense training, the drive for perfection and the love of the sport with ease. Avery’s Olympic dreams come to an end after an injury occurs during her Olympic trials.  To make matters worse, she is newly single and moving back to her home town in Massachusetts.  In comes Ryan, Avery’s childhood acquaintance and Olympic gold medalist.  When Ryan discovers that Avery is back home, he eagerly asks her to take the job as his assistant coach to Hallie, an up and coming gymnast.   As these two former gymnasts train the next Olympic star, sparks begin to fly on and off the mat. While Ryan struggles with being a male coach during a sexual abuse scandal involving other female gymnasts, Hallie is seeking to figure out how to navigate her life off the mat as a retired gymnast.  Picture twists and turns, switch leaps and layouts and maybe just maybe, some steamy fooling around on a sticky pile of mats.  Head Over Heels has it all…the love of gymnastics, the tension, the hot topics and most of all, the romance.  Can you say… perfect 10!

Lets pirouette over to January Andrews and Augustus (Gus) Everett from Henry’s Beach Read.  These two twenty something college writing rivals are now living next door to one another in their summertime beach houses. January is a romance writer in the midst of the biggest writing slump of her career, while Gus is a successful literary fiction writer managing his own writers’ block.  In order to get out of their respective ruts, Gus challenges January to a writing contest.  Get ready… the competition between the two gets heated, and so does the chemistry.  As they both tussle with the intense urge to be together (and boy do they fight it), they continue to grapple with their thorny pasts. Be ready for January and Gus’ snarky remarks, funny banter and above all, their heartfelt dynamics. The atmosphere of this summer beach town coupled with two hot and heavy novelists on the mission to pen the next great book, equal a book lovers dream.  

If you can’t head to the beach this summer, bring these two summer treats outside with you and take delight in reading them under the warm summer sky.  They will not disappoint!

Happy Reading!!! 

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Thank you to Atria Books and Netgalley for offering me an advance readers copy of Head Over Heels in exchange for my honest opinion.

P.P.S. I was able to read Beach Read before its publishing date as a Book of the Month Club member. Check them out if you are interested. I’ve been a member for over two years now and adore them.

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