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The Way You Look Tonight

Home Again by Melissa Grace (July 27, 2021)

July 24, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Happy Saturday! Do you remember when I told you about how much I loved Melissa Grace’s book, Home is Where You Are? Well guess what??? The sequel, Home Again, is coming out for all the world to read on July 27, 2021 and I am here to tell you how fabulous it is. Grace once again dazzled me with her passionate characters and heartfelt tale. The spotlight is on Ella and Cash this time around, and their love story does not disappoint. I am now impatiently waiting for book three ❤️❤️❤️.

“Ella Claiborne is ready to find love again. Long since widowed and with her daughter Grace leaving the country, Ella dives headfirst into the dating pool to ease her loneliness. After her date ditches her at her best friend’s wedding, Ella quickly realizes there’s only one man she’s truly interested in. There’s just one problem–he’s her daughter’s boss.

Cash Montgomery has already loved and lost. After losing his wife to cancer, he isn’t sure he’s ready to put himself back out there, but he finds himself drawn to Ella. After one unforgettable night, Cash begins to wonder if there could be a future for the two of them.

With one devastating phone call, Cash and Ella are tossed into a whirlwind of emotions. Once the dust settles, Cash must decide if he’s ready to let go of the ghost of his former love, and Ella is faced with the realization that grief changes us forever.

Home Again, the second installment in Melissa Grace’s Midnight in Dallas series picks up right where the first book left off. Liv and Dallas are still very much present in this book with their story continuing on in the background, but the main focus is on Ella and Cash’s journey. Second chance love is a trope that I LOVE reading and this magical story of love after loss melted my heart in all the best ways. This time around Grace turned the heat up on her bedroom scenes and I was pretty psyched to get a glimpse early on in the book. Cash and Ella’s chemistry was seeping off the pages and I happily absorbed every bit of it. While the passion was no doubt alive and thriving, so were the relationships between family and friends. The thing I love about Grace is she is extremely thoughtful when writing about all of her characters. She is constantly finding ways to nourish their relationships during times of change and does a beautiful job infusing life’s everyday challenges into their stories. Grace makes me want to jump into this book and hang out with this crew at Sunday dinners. Now that is a sign of a stellar story.

If you are in the market for a touching story filled with tons of hope after sadness, then I can’t recommend this book enough. I imagine you can read this as a stand alone, but I encourage you to read Home is Where You Are first. I am a huge devotee of reading book series in the order they were written 🤷‍♀️. Why skip around when you can read them all 🥰🥰!

Pre-order this book NOW…I INSIST!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Did you know that Melissa Grace was a Guest Writer on Dear Mr. Hemingway? Check out what she had to say to the big guy RIGHT HERE!

Click on this Gorgeous book cover to pre-order this book.

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

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!

Guest Writer~Kristen Granata

Photo Credit~Kristen Granata

March 31, 2021

Happy Wednesday Book Lovers,

Today is the last day of the Indie Author Guest Writer Series. We are finishing off this incredible series strong with romance author, Kristen Granata.    

Kristen Granata is a teacher by day, and an author by night. Known for writing emotional contemporary and new adult romance, she loves creating realistic, flawed characters who struggle through the darkest parts of life and come out stronger on the other side. Kristen is a self-proclaimed “bitter cynic trapped in a hopeless romantic’s body.” Her characters pack a sarcastic punch, make you laugh, make you think, make you ugly cry – and they will always live happily ever after. If you’re a lover of moving, inspirational reads, Kristen’s your girl.

Kristen published her first book, Collision, in March of 2018. Since then, eight more books have been born.  With over 8,000 loyal followers on Instagram, this romance writing diva is one to follow.  Granata’s page is filled with  family life, hysterical videos and all things books and reading.  One thing that I truly admire about Kristen is how she openly shares her mental health struggles with depression and anxiety with her Instagram following. Her message is a beacon of hope to anyone who is suffering: You are not alone. She delicately weaves this theme into her writing, and demonstrates the ability of love to heal trauma.

When she’s not teaching or writing, Kristen is reading, Instagramming, indulging in her messy love affair with popcorn, and annoying her wife and step-daughters by incessantly singing along to The Greatest Showman soundtrack. 

Who else is as obsessed as I am?  

I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H.  Her book recommendation is awesome and she is also paying tribute to one of our previous guest writers.  Enjoy Sweet friends!

Happy Reading!

Kelly

P.S.  Be sure to check out Kristen Granata on all of her bookish adventures RIGHT HERE!

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Being that I suffer from depression, it’s no surprise I immediately fell in love with this book I’m about to recommend to you. I think you’d enjoy it, and I wonder if you’d be able to relate to anything Emery Reed goes through. As you know personally, depression takes control of our thoughts, our actions, and our lives. And it takes Emery on a road trip—one he doesn’t plan on coming back from.

I’ve read On the Way to You, by Kandi Steiner many times since I first read it in 2019. It was recommended to me by a friend, and it was the first Kandi Steiner book I’d read. Her writing is beautiful, like poetry, and every sentence wrapped around my heart. I’ve read every one of her books since then, but this one always stands out as different from the rest.

Cooper is an old soul in a young woman’s body. She’s experienced her share of heartache and tragedy, but it doesn’t bring her down. Something is missing from her life though, and she gets into a beautiful stranger’s car when he asks her to join him on his road trip. Sure, it’s dangerous. Sure, it isn’t smart. But our hearts connect us with certain people we need before our minds realize what’s happening, and Cooper was drawn to Emery that day for a reason.

It’s a heartbreakingly beautiful story watching Cooper as she “comes of age” in a sort of way—you’d no doubt love the adventure she goes on—and watching Emery struggle with a decision no one should ever have to. I especially love how Cooper snoops through his journal, and we get to see some of the real raw darkness that’s inside of Emery. I cried my eyes out when she finds him on the edge of that literal cliff at the end of their trip, and I know you’d be moved to tears if you could read it too.

“There was a war raging inside that head of his tonight, and only he could see it. Only he could fight.”

I’ve dedicated my own writing to bringing awareness to mental health. All nine of my books have serious topics weaved into their love stories. My mission is to help people who are suffering. To help them know that they’re not alone. And to show them that there’s a warrior inside them, if only they’d dig deep and let her out. There’s hope at the end of the dark tunnel of depression. I only wish you’d have found it.

Sincerely,

Kristen Granata

P.S. My very first book, Collision, follows a woman named Merritt who’s reeling from her father’s suicide. It’s a contemporary romance that showcases how we can find hope and love after tragedy. If you’re into emotional love stories that make you cry, then this book is a must-read!

Click here to Purchase!

Guest Writer~Kandi Steiner

Photo Credit~Kandi Steiner

Greetings Book Lovers!

It is Friday friends and I am in absolute love with today’s Indie Author Guest Writer.  Best Selling author Kandi Steiner is on the blog today and I couldn’t be more excited. Steiner is best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories and loves bringing flawed characters to life.  No two Kandi Steiner books are ever the same. If you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, Steiner has got you covered.  I Have been a fan of Steiner for more years than I can count.  Her book, On the Rocks was featured in The 2019 Dear Mr. Hemingway Holiday Books & Pairings.  Be sure to check out my love for this book and what I paired with it for the winning combination!

An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Steiner graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed it to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a diehard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.

When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, snuggling her furry puppy and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys live music, traveling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order. 

I am living vicariously through Steiner today as she shares a book she loves and her  memories of spending time at The Hemingway House in Key West Florida (my trip was cancelled to go there last year due to the pandemic).  Get ready to add ANOTHER fabulous book to your TBR.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!

Happy Reading!

Kelly

P.S. Happy Pub Day to Steiner.  Her book Hazed, was released yesterday!  Be sure to check it out!

Click on the book pic to read!

P.P.S. Connect with this beautiful writer on all her wonderful platforms below!

➜ NEWSLETTER: kandisteiner.com/newsletter

➜ FACEBOOK: facebook.com/kandisteiner

➜ FACEBOOK READER GROUP (Kandiland): facebook.com/groups/kandilandks

➜ INSTAGRAM: Instagram.com/kandisteiner

➜ TWITTER: twitter.com/kandisteiner

➜ PINTEREST: pinterest.com/authorkandisteiner

➜ WEBSITE: www.kandisteiner.com

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

On my 30th birthday, I strolled through the house in Key West that you once called home. I was in awe, standing in your second-story office overlooking the pool and the palms, my eyes soaking in the same views you did while writing some of your greatest works. It was easy for me to understand why that would be your favorite place to sit and be inspired, especially because Key West is one of my favorite places in the world, too.

And of course, having a dozen or so polydactyl cats roaming around doesn’t hurt. 

That wasn’t my first trip to your house. No, that first time was many years ago, when I was early in my writing career and had no idea what the future held for me. But on my 30th birthday, my second time touring your old home, I wasn’t alone.

I was with a boy named Jack.

Jack and I met on Bumble, a dating app that I find is difficult to explain if you haven’t been on it yourself. All you really need to know, however, is that we went on a hike for our first date, and I knew instantly that he was something special.

Two years later, and we are engaged.

Engaged! Writing that word makes me giggle like a schoolgirl, Ernest. I just can’t get over the way it feels to say, “My fiancé!” Our engagement is recent, you see, as he just proposed on March 11th. Maybe that’s why I’m all wrapped up in my ooey, gooey romantic feels and find myself reaching for books that make me feel the same way.

Have you heard of Staci Hart?

She’s a fantastic writer with a knack for romantic comedy, and I’ve never read writing so lush and poignant in all my life. I recently read her latest release, Bet the Farm, and I’ve included it here with my letter for you to read, too. This romantic comedy had me laughing so hard my eyes watered, but even better? The romance made me swoon with big, fat, heart eyes and my hands clasped over my chest. I couldn’t get enough of the main characters, and the setting of this picturesque small town in California was just the icing on the cake.

Did I mention that the heroine is lactose-intolerant, and she’s just inherited her grandfather’s dairy farm?

Trust me — this is a must read.

I hope all is well on your end, and I look forward to hearing about your most recent hunts and boxing matches. You’re still the reigning champion in Key West, no doubt.

Warm Wishes & Whiskey,

Kandi Steiner

P.S.  Also, thought you might find it funny to know that you can name your iPhone when you set it up.  Mine is named Ernest Hemingway. 🙂

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!

Guest Writer~Melissa Grace

Photo Credit~Melissa Grace

March 24, 2021

Dear Bookish Loves,

I am so excited to share with you today’s guest writer.  Indie Author Melissa Grace is on the blog and I am jumping for joy! I was first introduced to Grace on The Indie Author Book Club. I loved her vibe from the second I checked out her website and instagram page…love at first sight my friends.  Grace is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in publications like Medium, Thought Catalog, the To Write Love On Her Arms Blog, and The MightyHome Is Where You Are is her first novel and I absolutely LOVED it!  You can read my rave review of it RIGHT HERE!

Grace is a chronic illness and mental health advocate.  She resides just outside of Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and five (yes, five) fur children, including her hostile kitty, Mama. She is shining her book light on a fellow Indie Author who was one of last week’s guest writers.  How fabulous is that!! I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H.!  In my opinion… Melissa Grace is Some Kind of Wonderful!

Happy Reading!

Kelly

P.S  Check out all of Melissa’s articles RIGHT HERE!

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Confession time. As I sat down to write this letter to you, I felt like I knew you as an author. You felt familiar in the way that our favorite authors do–like a cozy blanket. I started sifting through your backlog and alarm flooded my veins when I realized I’ve never actually read any of your books. But you’re one of the most quotable writers from our history, and I’ve certainly reflected on your words–words that I could wrap myself up in like a burrito–many times.

As I was reading the book I want to tell you about, it was your words that came to my mind. You spoke often during your lifetime about brokenness and the human experience. Frequency Of Attraction by Eve Kasey is the epitome of the beauty that lies within the limited existence we experience under the stars. (Did I mention the killer space theme of the book that is the last in a series of three?) You once said, “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong in the broken places.”

Those words feel as if they could have been spoken about our hero Vadim. Vadim is no stranger to heartbreak. His dark past has him convinced that he doesn’t really deserve love. Our heroine, Quinn, feels the same way. Both characters question if love really exists because truth be told, they’ve not allowed themselves the opportunity to experience it. 

Being the poetic fellow you are, I’m sure you can guess what happens when these two beautiful souls meet. I will warn you, Mr. Hemingway, this book will probably make you blush at least ten times as we get to observe this intricately woven tale of romantic (and sexual) awakening. 

You will witness Vadim’s heart crack wide open as Quinn helps uncover pieces of him he never thought possible, and your chest will ache as we watch Quinn battle with feeling not good enough. You will fight off tears as Vadim pushes away the very person who has made him realize the man he’s always wanted to be. 

This book will make you feel a lot of things. All of the feels, as we like to say nowadays. But the emotion this story made me feel most was hope. So, I want to leave you with a quote from Frequency Of Attraction:

Every one of us is worthy of the greatest kind of love.”

You were right, Mr. Hemingway. The world does break us all. But the thing that can heal even the deepest of wounds will always be love. Eve’s book will show you exactly that.

Sincerely,

Melissa Grace

P.S. You can check out my first book Home Is Where You Are at Parnassus Books  (my fave indie bookstore that you would LOVE) and on Amazon and be on the lookout for the second book, Home Again, later this summer!

Click the Book Pic to purchase!

Guest Writer~Willow Winters

Photo Credit~Willow Winters

March 10, 2021

Dear Book Friends,

I am delighted to share with you today’s guest writer.  Willow Winters is on the blog today and the skies just got a whole lot sunnier.  Winters is a Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY Best Selling Author of romance books. She writes under Willow Winters and under the pen name, W. Winters for her darker and steamier works.  She is the QUEEN of steam, book boyfriends, a few bad boys and most importantly…happily ever afters.  Winters is the founder of the Big Book Lover Box, Top Shelf Romance and the charity, Live a Thousand Lives Project.    With more books published than I can count, branded merchandise for book lovers and a love for all things books and reading, Winters is an absolute gift to the book loving community.  

Winters is an inspiration to young girls and women who dream of writing one day.  During her pregnancy with her daughter, Winters voraciously read all the romance novels she could get her hands on.  In the beginning of 2016, Winters decided to put pen to paper, writing down all the stories she dreamed up each night.  Fast forward to 2021, and Winters is now a mom to three (one of them being a newborn) and living her wildest author dreams.  She has literally built her very own literary empire while “momming hard” during the day and endless writing at night.  

I hope you enjoy her gorgeous essay to Mr. Hemingway and follow her on all her romantic adventures.

Happy Reading!

Kelly 

P.S.  Check out what I had to say about one of Winters’ steamier romances RIGHT HERE!

Dear Mr. Hemingway, 

The gray clouds are staying too long and coming back too soon. I didn’t realize it at first, because we were all living through it.  But my goodness when I look back at the past year, so much of it is gray.  I have to tell you, gray has never been my color. 

They came at first with thunder and lightning; with loud booms and cracks that split the sky at night.  We all saw it, we all felt it and we took shelter.  It’s nothing we haven’t been through before, but Mr. H., it feels different now and I think it’s because of what I’ve just told you: the clouds stay too long and they come back too soon.  They’ve gotten comfortable and I’ve never been used to such settings. 

In the beginning of this past year, I looked forward to the sunny days and moments of warmth.  I craved them and braced myself during the stormy nights.  But hunkering down and waiting is tiring. It feels as if it’s stolen from me, if nothing else, my time, but I know it’s seized so much more.  It’s taken tears and sleepless nights, it’s taken the hopes of what I thought life would be and it’s morphed my expectations into something weaker and lesser than the dreams I had as a child.  Or at least it attempted to do such things, the gray clouds tried, and nearly got away with it.  Not because of the booming thunder, simply because it snuck in and stayed, like I said, for far too long. 

They almost got away with it, Mr. Hemingway.  Almost. 

The thing I’ve learned is that the clouds may come and they may stay, but I’m not alone in all of this.  We brace ourselves because it’s worked before, but maybe it’s time to stand straighter and carry on in a different way even if it seems dreary.  It’s not the absence of clouds that brought happiness before.  That’s what’s important to note.  It wasn’t because of their absence that the world – felt – brighter.  It was because we didn’t hide then.  It’s the hiding and quiet that’s driven me mad. 

Perhaps the laughter and gentle things in life should grace us always … even if there’s no sun shining down. Maybe waiting for better times and allowing the darkness to steal our days and months and even years is where we made our error.  We have forgotten that we can write letters and so much more today and as these days pass slowly yet with a blur, we are always together. 

We live in a time where we are never alone unless we want to be, which is a natural desire at times.  But it’s quite easy to spread youthful memories in vulnerable times, laughter in times of sadness.  We’ve been waiting, we’ve been quiet, and I think even in the shadows of what plagues us, we can hear the joy of celebration and we can share smiles and triumphs, so long as we remember we’re in this together.  

One thing I’ve done while hiding which has made me feel the vibrancy of others is falling into books.  My children get them every night and in the gray skies, I’d forgotten them myself.  They take me to different worlds and on adventures with celestial spheres I’ll never live under but I feel as if I know them well.  Romance has been my saving grace. Not for the knights in shining armor or for the embrace during long, cold nights.  Simply because the dark moments always happen, and yet, so does the love.  It blossoms most beautifully in the end, after weathering the violent storms.  Romance is boldly known for such endings and Mr. Hemingway, I think the world would seem less bothered by any sky at all, if a book like that were always in our laps. 

I am grateful to brace for drearier skies with plans of happily ever afters, as many as I can get my hands on.  

Please remember, we can deliver pleasant moments where often we don’t find them.  It happens so quickly too, in only seconds of our thumbs clicking away rather than twiddling amongst themselves, which, admittedly, I did in the beginning. If we lived in another time, the gray clouds may have wreaked havoc on my weaknesses, but through all of this, I have not been alone and that has saved me.  I may not have been able to hold the hands of distant friends, or kissed my lost loved ones before their sunset, but I shared smiles with them, even on the cloudy days.  

Did you know though, that the shades of grays still paint pictures in the skies and my children have found animals and stories where I used to see nothing of interest but mourning?   My daughter has learned to wear the color as if it is sunshine itself.  It’s quite a beautiful, but unexpected thing.  I must say Mr. H., she doesn’t care for weather at all, it doesn’t dictate her smile and she always looks forward to the bed time stories.  Thank goodness for that.  

Lots of love in all the days and nights, 

Willow Winters xx 

P.S. Be sure to check out my latest book below!

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!

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