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The Yogi of Wall Street

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Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeleine Henry (Atria Books)

January 12, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Let’s talk about a crazy coincidence?  I am writing to you in the middle of a global pandemic and you actually know what I am talking about.  Covid-19 for me and Spanish flu for you. Wow…who would have thought.  Remember the busyness of everyday life?  School, work, deadlines, hanging with friends and family (geez…even War for you).  The everyday grind has drastically changed, but I got to relive the feeling of being overcommitted and overworked in Madeleine Henry’s book, Breathe In, Cash Out. As I go through my days (Groundhog Day Style), it was refreshing to get a glimpse into the world of ruthless banking on Wall Street (boy I miss NYC), while also getting my zen on with some much needed yoga. Henry delivered a soul searching story that not only enlightened me with wisdom and laughter, but seriously charmed the pants off of me.  Let’s take a look, shall we.

Allegra Cobb… a self taught yogi and one time American Yoga National Competition Champion, is also a straight A Princeton grad who works as an analyst at a cut throat, top tiered bank on good old Wall Street. Now that was a mouthful. Biding time until her year end bonus comes in (should be a juicy one), Allegra is seriously contemplating leaving her financially secure job to follow her dreams  of becoming a yoga teacher.  While she struggles with disappointing her father and battles her innermost demons, she meets up with the ultimate yoga guru (and her yoga idol), Skylar, for some realignment in her life.  Skylar has a very successful yoga career and is a superstar on instagram.  Allegra desperately begins following her advice on how to integrate more mindfulness and yoga into her life in order to discover her true and authentic self.  The more she works with Skylar though, the more she begins to realize that working over a 100 hours a week in a grueling banking job, which basically strips you of your soul, may not be all that different from Skylar’s world of shiny leggings, seven chakras and photo perfect poses for instagram.  And of course, just to add a splash of sparkle to her conscience examining days, a bit of romance is lingering in the background.  Time is ticking on her mental well being and Allegra needs to figure out which path she should travel next.  

Breathe in, Cash Out was a breath of fresh air. It was the perfect distraction to my stay at home days filled with work, Zooms and teenage boys surrounding my every move.  I love books (fiction or nonfiction) where someone is pondering a major life change.  Even though Allegra’s story is a work of fiction, it still dazzled me and all my dreams.  But self exploration aside, Henry’s book is down right hysterical. As I revisited my own days of working a gazillion hours a week and took a hard look at the current state of my downward facing dog (not that pretty these days), I found myself doubled over with laughter.  And of course, one of my favorite parts of Henry’s story was the wee bit of romance that kept my heart fluttering.  It did not overpower the story one bit, but was equivalent to a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of a fabulous cappuccino……the perfect touch!.  

Allegra is a character you want to root for because guess what…there is a bit of her in all of us.  During these strange days of more time with our thoughts than ever, it is impossible not to engage in a tad of introspection. Whether switching jobs or shifting our mindsets, change is not always a bad thing and Henry’s main girl is a gentle reminder of that.  But of course every leading lady needs a gaggle of characters around her to add some more shine to her story.   Mark (Allegra’s boss who she accidentally sleeps with 😮), and Tripp, Chole and Puja who sit in close proximity to her everyday, were an absolute delightful addition to Henry’s story.  And of course the lovely Skylar…the spice to this wicked fun tale.  I always say that a touch of spice is always quite nice…am I right???

I hope you enjoy this easy breezy and quite frankly, humorous read.  It sure added a twinkle and some much needed stretching to my day!

Until next time my friend!

Namaste!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Madeleine Henry has a new book coming out on February 9, 2021 called The Love Proof!  I am reading it now and will be telling you all about it very soon. In the meantime, give it a quick pre-order ❤️❤️❤️.

P.P.S. I alternated between reading Breathe In, Cash Out and listening to it on audio. Both were equally wonderful.

Click on the book pic below to purchase!

Breathe in, Cash Out

Fly Me To The Moon

Book Recommendation

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker (Atria Books)

January 10, 2021

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Between the fishing, hunting and the massive overdose of nature, I would imagine Alaska would not only have been the ultimate adventure land for you, but probably the star of a short story or novel.  Though I have never been myself, it is on my wicked long bucket list of places to go.  Let’s face it, for those of us in the lower 48, there is something captivating about this off the grid state where the wilderness is your backyard and mother nature rules the roost. In the meantime, I love reading books while I relax in my cozy chair (during a pandemic) with this majestic state as the backdrop. K.A. Tucker’s, The Simple Wild fulfilled my Alaskan dreams.  Not only did I get to experience Alaska’s beauty between the pages of her book, but I got to meet some pretty wonderful characters along the way. Let’s take a look, shall we!

Calla Fletcher was born in Alaska to Wren and Susan Fletcher.  After two years of living with a small child in Alaska, Susan couldn’t take it anymore.  With her husband gone all the time as an Alaskan Pilot (he owned his own charter plane company) and his priority remaining in the sky instead of with his family, Susan moved to Toronto with Calla to start again.  Fast forward 24 years and Calla is now 26, running a lifestyle blog with her friend in Canada.  Through the years she has had minimal contact with her father making him pretty much a complete stranger.  One night a friend of her father’s in Alaska calls alerting Calla that he is sick and may not have much time left.  Calla doesn’t take the decision to go see her father lightly, but in the end books a week long trip to see him one last time.  Her instagram loving days and fashion flare are rudely interrupted when the Alaskan elements do not mix well with her platform sandals and connecting to the internet is virtually impossible. Not to mention the rude Alaskan pilot who flies her alone on the last leg of her trip in a puddle jumper of a plane. Let me backup for one quick moment.  The pilot she meets is named Jonah and he works for her father.  He is a rugged, badass Alaskan pilot who gets a high from flying in the most dangerous conditions (Think Tom Cruise with a beard and a baseball cap flying around mountains and glaciers… Top Gun style).. Did I mention….drop dead, flannel wearing gorgeous.  Sorry, I digress.   As Calla gets settled in her Dad’s house and works on getting to know the man that is her biological father, she slowly discovers the complexities of his life.  While she detests living in close proximity to Jonah, their rocky start relationship begins to bloom into something very unexpected.  The more time Calla spends in Alaska with her Dad and his right hand man, Jonah, the more she realizes how difficult it is going to be to go back to Toronto.  The clock is ticking on not only her plane ticket back home, but on her father’s life.

Let me just say this…I LOVED THIS BOOK!  Tucker did a beautiful job creating an Alaskan atmosphere that I could experience through words from the comfort of my own home (with high speed internet).  I am a huge fan of the enemies to lovers trope and Calla and Jonah’s ever evolving relationship took the prize for me.  The banter between them was sharp and hysterical.  And while yes, there was a burning romance slowly developing throughout the story that I so deeply desired, there was also so much more.  Tucker knows how to tap into relationships with her writing.  Whether it’s Calla and her father, Calla and Jonah, or even Calla’s mom and her new husband, the emotional baggage is heavy and runs deep with this crew of characters.  This book definitely stayed with me until the very end.  I found myself constantly dreaming of Calla and Jonah!  Sorry… that is a flat out lie.  I really only dreamed of Jonah.  There!  I said it!  Moving on now.  So here is the scoop…when The Simple Wild ended, I yearned for more.  And guess what??? There is a sequel called Wild at Heart that I can’t wait to dive into.

That’s all I’ve got for today my friend!

Until next time…

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  I am secretly hoping that you have not read this book yet because if not, I am officially the last person on earth to have read it.  Talk about late to the party!  Gotta love these backlist beauties!

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

Guest Writer

Bree Hill Guest Writer Graphic

Bree Hill
Bookstagram Bonanza Edition

Guest Writer Bree Hill Graphic

October 14, 2020

Dear Book Friends,

If you are looking for love, you have come to the right place. Today’s Guest Writer is a retired Air Force police officer turned stay at home mom turned successful book lover/influencer. Bree Hill is the queen of romance reading! She is the creator of the very successful Bookstagram page, @falling4romance. If you are looking to read something from this genre, then Bree is the girl for you. I tend to visit her page quite often when I need a little more love in my life. In addition to all the work she does for her own page, she also is a contributing writer for Reading Women and Frolic and has been featured on the What To Read Next podcast and Shelf Love podcast. WOW!

Bree is a full time college student, wrapping up her degree in History, hoping to teach middle school one day. She picked up her first romance novel in 2017 and has been an avid reader of the genre ever since. When not reading, or chasing after one of her kids, Bree can typically be found having coffee at a local coffee shop or out for her morning run.

I hope you enjoy Bree’s letter to Mr. H. Romance is in the air everyone…….take a deep breath and enjoy!

P.S. This past summer, Bree was named one of the top 24 Black Bookstagrammers to put on your radar by BuzzFeed (can you say…the real deal?).

______________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

One thing 2020 has shown me, is that the world can use a little more (or a lot more) romance. We need more love stories, more happy ever afters. Romance has been my go-to genre since I picked my first romance novel up back in 2017. I remember checking out a Debbie Macomber Christmas romance novel from my local library, and the genre instantly became a new life companion. Through dark mental health moments, retiring from the job I’d been doing since I was 18 and constant hits, we’ve been experiencing in 2020, I have always been able to depend on romance. 

A favorite romance from this year, that I recommend every chance I get is, The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel. Here’s the thing: I read and finished this book back in July, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it yet! When you look at the cover of this book, you see this gorgeous yellow cover with the beautiful illustrated version of our heroine, Liya Thakkar and our hero, Jay Shaw. You see the cover and immediately think, “This is going to be a good time.” It is a good time, and so much more. This book is genius. Liya is a successful bioengineer in Houston, Texas who goes to her parent’s house for dinner one night. Unbeknownst to her, her parents have invited over Jay Shaw and his Mother, as a setup, hoping Liya and Jay will marry. As any 2020 woman would do, Liya bolts it out of there! When she goes to work the next day, she runs into Jay again because he is the lawyer her struggling company has hired to help them out. 

I love a good workplace romance. I love a not-so friendly to lovers romance too but what I love even more is how romance authors weave in serious issues women face into their stories, all with the promise of a happy ever after at the end. Liya is a sexual assault survivor and because of who her assaulter was, she’s basically been alienated from her community and by members of her own family. She is tough and maintains control at all times after having survived a situation where she didn’t have control. There is a scene in this book that still makes my blood boil every time I think of it and that I remember physically experiencing along with Liya when it happened; it was heartbreaking but the moment I think she and I as the reader, realized it was time to let go and move on. Romance authors are putting in work! Don’t let the pretty illustrated covers or promise of a happy ever after fool you; their stories include some hard hitting, real life issues. The happy ever after is the gift for making it through.

The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel should absolutely be on your to be read list.

Remember, Kindness is Free

Bree

P.S. Click on the book pic below to purchase.

The Trouble Hating You book cover

 

The Bitter And Sweet of Cherry Season

By Molly Fader

Harlequin Trade Publishing~2020 Summer Reads Blog Tour~Women’s Fiction & Romance

June 15, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I feel like so many of the books I have read lately have me thinking of you, especially your younger days. Today I am talking about a book that took place in one of your old stomping grounds. The story I just read was set in a cozy farmhouse surrounded by a cherry orchard in Michigan. You remember Michigan, right? You may not have been picking cherries, but you definitely enjoyed some high-quality outdoor time there. In Molly Fader’s latest book, The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season (and may I add her 50th book), the gorgeous state of Michigan is part of the spectacular backdrop of this heart warming family drama. Fader’s book stars three generations of women…Peg, Hope and Tink. Each one of these gals won me over with their courage, strength and willingness to start again. When Hope and her daughter Tink surprise Aunt Peg in the middle of the night on her doorstep, family secrets are slowly revealed, the taste of of new life is sampled and love is just a barn door away. There is nothing like cherry season to bring a family together. This homey and sweet tale was the perfect lazy afternoon treat!

Until next time my friend! Happy Reading!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S. Check out the synopsis of The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season:

Everything Hope knows about the Orchard House is from her late-mother’s stories. So when she arrives at the Northern Michigan family estate late one night with a terrible secret and her ten-year-old daughter in tow, she’s not sure if she’ll be welcomed or turned away with a shotgun by the aunt she has never met.Hope’s aunt, Peg, has lived in the Orchard House all her life, though the property has seen better days. She agrees to take Hope in if, in exchange, Hope helps with the cherry harvest—not exactly Hope’s specialty, but she’s out of options. As Hope works the orchard alongside her aunt, daughter, and a kind man she finds increasingly difficult to ignore, a new life begins to blossom. But the mistakes of the past are never far behind, and soon the women will find themselves fighting harder than ever for their family roots and for each other.”

Click on the book pic below to purchase.

Check out Molly Fader’s Website for more feel good books.

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.

Click on the book pictures below to purchase and pre-order.

Guest Writer~Lauren Layne

Author Edition

February 19, 2020

Dear Readers,

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Can you believe another week has gone by? Even though I wish time would slow down, I cannot wait for Guest Writer Wednesday each week. I am so excited to introduce you to today’s author, Lauren Layne!!!!! Lauren is literally the queen of romantic fiction and happily ever afters. She is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling Author who has written over 30+ books 😮😮😮!! This stiletto loving girl has also been featured in Oprah Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. With over a million copies of her books sold and living in Manhattan with her husband (her high school sweetheart), Lauren is truly living her happily ever after. Her latest book series called The Central Park Pact Series (Gallery Books) includes Passion on Park Avenue, Love on Lexington Avenue, and Marriage on Madison Avenue. Guess what…..they are all out now. Go grab the series and start reading!

I hope you enjoy Lauren’s letter to Mr. H. She was so wonderful to me when I invited her to be a Guest Writer. Not only did she say yes to my invitation without hesitation, but she was lovely to chit chat with via email. If you venture onto her website, you will see that not only does Lauren write books, but she shares with her readers and fellow writers business tips, writing strategies, and how to be a minimalist in so many different domains. She is an absolute inspiration to us all. One of my favorite articles by Lauren is titled, Why I No Longer Use A Paper Planner. Though I haven’t made the jump to all digital yet, I am getting closer every day…I think. Anyway, a big shout out to this gorgeous author and all that she does. Many thanks, Lauren Layne!! You have made our day!!!!!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S. If you want to be inspired by Lauren even more, read about her journey from being an avid reader to the best selling author. This is what it’s about!

________________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Some people have comfort foods. Or comfort socks. Or comfort blanket, candles, movies, that they’ll seek out when life seems to be nipping at their heels a little too aggressively. I, Mr. Hemingway, have comfort books. Specifically, comfort romances, because there is no feeling in the world like the reminder happily-ever-after can and does exist.

I have a handful of comfort reads—those books that I’ll crave when I’m tired or frustrated. But I reach for one book more than any other: It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas. It’s a Regency romance, and a favorite of mine, for all the reasons Regency is so delicious. The time-period has wonderful built-in conflict because there are so many rules. Who you can court. Who you can marry. How long a man and woman can be in the same room together. What it means for fingertips to brush without gloves. There are so many reasons for certain characters not to be together, that it’s all the more rewarding when they overcome those reasons.

Lillian and Marcus’s story captures all of that tension to perfection. She’s headstrong and inappropriate. He’s uptight and proper. She hates his stuffiness, he disdains her disregard for following rules. They set off sparks every time they come together on the page, but the incredibly skilled Kleypas knows exactly when to start layering in softer, more tender moments, allowing readers to feel along with Lillian and Marcus, the shift from being challengers to confidantes, from enemies to lovers.

Where It Happened One Autumn shines most is the more Lillian and Marcus get to know each other, the more sure we readers are that happily-ever-after will persist long after the end of the book. The controlling Marcus is so certain he wants a biddable wife, the headstrong Lillian so sure she wants a husband she can control, and it is such a delight when they realize that what they really want is someone who’s their equal. They challenge each other, they fight for and against each other, and fall deeply, irrevocably in love in the process.

If you love moments where your heart seems lodged in your throat, your stomach feels full of butterflies, your entire being full of longing, I’m confident you’ll enjoy this book as much as I do.

Yours in literature,

Lauren

P.S. Mr. Hemingway, if you’re at all interested in reading contemporary romance with this same push-pull tension, I think you may enjoy some of my own love stories, found here: Lauren Layne Books

Click here to purchase Where It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

Books About Bookshops About Books About Bookshops

The Little Bookshop on the Seine cover

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin (Harlequin)

January 17, 2020

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Wander the streets of Paris and you will never return home the same. La Ville Lumiere (The City of Lights) is what she is called. Paris sucks you in with the taste of your first cafe au lait.  A city where art and intellect are the norm and glamour and romance is the marinade of choice. Imagine being cozied upon an old weathered leather couch feeling the draft of a door opening and closing. Mini clusters of people stand in line with coats half-zipped juggling their mittens and handbags while balancing new books in their empty hands. Outside the air is crisp, the wine is just a sip away and La Tour Eiffel in glowing in the background.  I bet this sounds all too familiar Mr. H. At the end of the day, what could be better than being seduced by shelves of Parisian books while nibbling on a buttery croissant reading the works of famous writers?????? Nothing. There…I said it. This actually sounds perfect. If this is something that delights you, then look no further.  Rebecca Raisin’s new book, The Little Bookshop on the Seine, will whisk you away to the streets of Paris in the blink of an eye.  And Guess what…..no passport needed.  Here we go.

“Paris was a haven for lost souls.  A place for reinvention. The type of city that would keep your secrets like the most loyal friend.”

Sarah Smith, owner of a little bookshop in the small town of Ashford, CT is looking for a change.  When her bookshop rent increases and book sales struggle to cover the growing costs, Sarah falls into a rut.  It doesn’t help matters that the love of her life, Ridge, is traveling on assignment for the next year. In comes Sarah’s French friend, Sophia.  Coincidentally, Sophia contacts Sarah around this time with a proposition. Grappling with her own personal life, Sophia proposes that she and Sarah switch jobs.  Sophia will run Sarah’s small town bookshop in Ashford, while Sarah runs Sophia’s bookshop in Paris. This seems like the perfect opportunity for Sarah to rediscover herself while exploring a new city.

When Sarah arrives in Paris, it is briskly brought to light that this bookshop swap was not the even trade she was expecting.  With unreliable staff and an unimaginable workload, Sarah finds living in a foreign city harder than she imagined. As the weeks go by, Sarah tries to immerse herself into the magical culture. Managing the Paris bookshop, yearning for her hometown friends and longing for her beau Ridge, all take the allure away from her French experience.  As the Christmas season approaches, Sarah is more unsure than ever of her future.

A book about books and bookshops is a book lover’s dream.  I absolutely adored Rebercca’s Raisin’s new book. Moving to Paris to reevaluate your life always makes for a good story.  Throw in working at a Parisian bookstore, and I am in heaven. Sarah was such a lovely character to spend time with. Her Ashford friends and Paris co-workers all added charm to her cozy tale.  I absolutely loved her and Ridge. Her longing to be with him seeped through the pages. Though their relationship wasn’t the main source of entertainment, it does offer a few quick doses of heart pounding romance. And for the record….. Ridge is quite desirable.  The Little Bookshop on the Seine is the perfect literary treat for book lovers. If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of your own life, snuggle up under a blanket by the fire and enjoy this heartwarming story.  It will no doubt bring a smile to your face.

Write to you next week Mr. H.

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for inviting me on this blog tour for Romance and Women’s fiction. Thank you to Harlequin and Netgalley for the ARC of this book.

Check out the links below to Purchase The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin.

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

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