Hello, Summer

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews

Published:  May 5, 2020 – St. Martin’s Press

Review copy courtesy of the publisher, Tandem Literary, NetGalley

Description:

It’s a new season…

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.

For small town scandals…

When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat—and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”

And big-time secrets.

Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman—a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer. (publisher)

My take: I’d intended to read this book on the beach in Florida but the universe had other plans. I’m happy to say this book is the perfect escape during these days of quarantine. I love how it started with Conley’s going away party in Atlanta – only to find out the job she was going to Washington D.C. for has disappeared before she had a chance to head north. Her only choice is to head home to the small Florida town where she grew up. Her grandmother lets Conley know that she is expected to pitch in and help her sister at the struggling weekly newspaper owned by her family. Hello, Summer is filled with family dynamics, quirky characters, a juicy political story for Conley to chase, and a flame from her past. Which is to say it’s my kind of book. A perfect beach read, quarantine read, or wherever read. I really enjoyed it and recommend to fans of Mary Kay Andrews.


 

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Pub. date:  May 7, 2019 – St. Martin’s Press

ARC provided by the publisher, Tandem Literary, NetGalley

Description:

Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist.

Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

Sunset Beach is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews’ signature wit, heart, and charm. (publisher)

My take:  Drue Campbell is a thirty-something woman at loose ends.  Her mother recently died, she lost her job, and an injury has ended her favorite hobby. Just when it doesn’t seem like life can get any worse she is forced to accept a job offer from her estranged father. On the bright side, she discovers that she’s inherited her grandparents’ cottage on Sunset Beach. So at least she has a roof over her head – or a partial roof. Working at her father’s personal injury law office could expand Drue’s horizons and perhaps her non-existent dating life. She’ll find a future she’d never thought possible. Mary Kay Andrews filled her latest novel with interesting characters, a sunny Florida Gulf Coast setting, and a mystery or two that might involve someone close to Drue. I really enjoyed Sunset Beach and hope for a sequel. The possibilities for Drue and company are endless.


About the author:

Mary Kay Andrews is The New York Times bestselling author of The High Tide Club, The Beach House Cookbook, The Weekenders, Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Connect with MKA:

Website: https://marykayandrews.com
Newsletter: https://marykayandrews.com/newsletters/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marykayandrewsauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marykayandrews/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mkayandrews
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21387.Mary_Kay_Andrews


 

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews plus US Giveaway

Description:  When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons attorney Brooke Trappnell to her 20,000 acre barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never actually met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter, but why enlist Brooke and not the prestigious Atlanta law firm she has used for years? Brooke travels to Shellhaven and meets the cagey Josephine, whose home is a crumbling pink mansion at the edge of the turquoise sea.

Over the course of a few meetings, Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, dark secrets, betrayal, and a long-unsolved murder. She is hiring Brooke for two reasons: first, to protect her island from those who would despoil her land, and second, to help her make amends with the heirs of the women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth, and Varina. To fulfill a dying woman’s wishes, Brooke must find Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met. But in doing so, Brooke unleashes the makings of a scandal that could make someone rich beyond their wildest dreams…or cause them to be in the crosshairs of a murderer….

The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best: a story shrouded in mystery, Spanish moss, verandah cocktails, 1940s dinner dances, love lost, and possibly…love found. (publisher)

My take: The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews is the story of a group of women who are connected by secrets. When the group widens to include a new generation of women those secrets may be exposed and could have devastating consequences for all – or maybe the truth will set them free. The dual-storyline alternates between events of 1941 and present day. The historical backdrop and social construct of the 1940s give depth to the novel. There’s a big mystery to be solved as well as a few smaller ones. I appreciated the occasional twist in the plot. I also enjoyed the characters – some were quite colorful and made me laugh. All in all, an entertaining read that I can recommend.


Praise for The High Tide Club:

“Andrews creates a story that is at turns suspenseful, sad, and hopeful, with plenty of surprising twists.Her dialogue is natural and funny,and even her minor characters are fully drawn with unique voices…Another satisfying summer read from the queen of the beach.” —Kirkus

“A compelling novel about the people and places that shape a life and the secrets that create ripples for generations. With a unique setting, mysterious flashbacks, romance, and a surprising twist, this book will not disappoint readers looking for a juicy escape.” —Booklist

“Andrews has crafted a smart and wonderful beach read with a lot of rich Southern and historical details.” —RT Book Reviews

“Nothing says the start of summer like a new book from Mary Kay Andrews…An irresistible story of love, friendship, and skinny-dipping.” —PopSugar, Best New Books for Spring

A Southern Living Beach Books recommended read!


About the author:

MARY KAY ANDREWS is The New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House Cookbook, The Weekenders, Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Connect with Mary Kay Andrews:

 


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The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews

On Sale Date: May 2, 2017
Hardcover | 272 pages
St. Martin’s Press
Cooking / Courses & Dishes
$29.99 USD, $41.99 CAD
ISBN 9781250130440, 1250130441

Description:  Perennial New York Times bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews brings to your kitchen a gorgeous cookbook full of her favorite recipes that Publishers Weekly has called, “a true primer on Southern cuisine.” Presented with the breezy air that have made Andrews’ novels a summertime favorite, THE BEACH HOUSE COOKBOOK is sure to find a place at your kitchen table. From an early spring dinner of cherry balsamic pork medallions and braised Brussels sprouts with bacon, to Fourth of July buttermilk-brined fried chicken, to her New Year’s Day Open House menu of charcoal-grilled oysters, home-cured gravlax, grits n’ greens casserole, and lemon cream cheese pound cake, this cookbook will supply ideas for menus and recipes designed to put you in a permanently carefree coastal state of mind all year long.

You don’t need to own a beach house to enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ recipes. All you need is a year-round appetite for delicious, casual dishes cooked with the best fresh, local ingredients. The book’s 16 carefree, crowd-pleasing menu plans are designed around holidays and occasions (“Low Country Boil,” “After a Day at the Beach,” “Game Day Dinner,” “Lazy Weekend Brunch,” “Easter Lunch”), but the 90+ delectable recipes can be mixed and matched to highlight your favorite apps, sides, mains, desserts, and beverages. (publisher)

My take:  One of my go-to authors is Mary Kay Andrews. Her novels are always entertaining and invariably land on my favorite beach reads list. That’s why I was so excited to receive a copy of The Beach House Cookbook. Andrews compiled her favorite recipes in a beautiful cookbook. The photos are gorgeous and will tempt the reader to try each recipe. Scroll down for one of those recipes. Lemon cake is my favorite and I can’t wait to try the Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake!

The book is divided into theme meals such as Low Country Boil, Fourth of July Dinner; Full Moon Party, and Christmas Brunch. There are many more and each one looks amazing. I especially enjoyed the short description and credit that MKA included with each recipe.

With Mothers Day and Fathers Day coming up soon, The Beach House Cookbook would be a wonderful gift for the cook in your life. Highly recommended.


About the author:  MARY KAY ANDREWS is the New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels, including The WeekendersBeach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former features writer for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she finds an outlet for her passion for cooking, entertaining, and decorating with vintage finds at the homes she shares in Atlanta and Tybee Island, Georgia, with her husband, Tom, and their two grown children, Katie and Andy, as well as grandchildren Molly and Griffin. THE BEACH HOUSE COOKBOOK is her first cookbook.

Connect with Mary Kay Andrews online:
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THE BEACH HOUSE COOKBOOK: Easy, Breezy Recipes with a Southern Accent
by Mary Kay Andrews
St. Martin’s Press (May 2, 2017)
Named one of Publishers Weekly‘s “Best Books of Summer 2017”

Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake
No Southern cook should be without a pound cake recipe in their repertoire. This recipe originated with my late sister Susie, who got it from her emergency room coworkers at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Later, on the advice of famed food chemist Shirley Corriher, I upped the moistness ante with the addition of extra egg yolks, vegetable oil, and sugar. Bake it low and slow, and you’ll have a triumph.
 *  *  *
Ingredients:
  • 7 large eggs, divided
  • 3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Powdered sugar, sweetened whipped cream, and lemon zest curls for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan; set aside.

2. Separate the eggs, reserving 5 egg whites and 7 egg yolks in separate bowls. (Save the extra whites for another use.) Beat the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

3. Beat the sugar, butter, cream cheese, and oil with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating until the yellow disappears. Beat in the extracts.

4. Combine the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into slices, garnish with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and lemon zest, if desired, and serve.


Also from Mary Kay Andrews:

Praise for the New York Times bestseller The Weekenders – out in trade paperback May 2, 2017!
“Fast-forward to summer with this breezy mystery.” – RealSimple.com
“This book has all the makings of a beach read…The perfect blend of drama, humor, intrigue, and just a touch of murder.” – Bustle
“Atlanta’s prolific chick-lit queen returns to her roots as a mystery author with this frothy tale of divorce, shady real estate deals and murder…Venturing into plots a tad darker than usual, Andrews still finds room for humor, romance and zany characters worth spending a weekend with.” – Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Andrews’ novels, such as Save the Date and Beach Town, are the epitome of relaxing yet involving summer reads, and her latest is no exception…Andrews blends romance, intrigue, and soap-opera-like twists in this entertaining novel about a gossipy beach town.” – Booklist


Review/US Giveaway: The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

  • the weekendersTitle:  The Weekenders
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  464
  • Published:  May 2016 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Tandem Literary

Description:  Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends–and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything. (publisher)

My take: It’s Memorial Day weekend and Riley Griggs and her daughter are waiting to board the ferry over to Belle Isle for the start of the summer season. She’s upset that her husband is a no-show since he promised he’d be there. Little does she know he’s gone – forever.

There’s a mystery (or two) to solve, some romance, and a gorgeous setting. There are some difficult family relationships especially between Riley and her mother and Riley and her daughter. Lets just say the apples didn’t fall far from the trees and the frustration of each was understandable at different times.

The Weekenders is a typical Mary Kay Andrews summer beach read. As you might expect from one of her novels there are a smattering of quirky characters, a great best-friend for Riley, and a pretty wonderful love interest for her too. I enjoyed it all and recommend you find time to read it this summer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, and Summer Rental, all from St. Martin’s Press, as well as The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues, all HarperPerennial. On May 17, 2016, St. Martin’s Press will release her 24th novel, THE WEEKENDERS. A former journalist for
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she divides her time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, Georgia.


PRAISE FOR THE WEEKENDERS:

“Andrews blends romance, intrigue, and soap-opera-like twists in this entertaining novel about a gossipy beach town.”—Booklist

 “As her fans can already attest, Andrews has this ‘perfect beach read’ label down pat — and then some. The Weekenders is not just good, it is beyond good… Summer doesn’t truly begin without a Mary Kay Andrews book in your beach bag, so here is another winner and Top Pick just for you.”—RT Book Reviews

 “Your house has been foreclosed. Your husband is AWOL. An old flame has rematerialized. How could things get worse? Uh, your daughter’s entering puberty? That’s the kettle of fish in which the Queen of the Summer Read dumps our heroine in the fun and frothy The weekenders. Think sun, sand, romance, drama and a fine sheen of witty commentary.”—AARP


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the weekenders

Sunday Post and a mini review

Happy May!

IMG_5334

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Forever Beach (6:7)  The Obsession

Last week on Bookfan:

sister dear-2   Lone Heart Pass (4:26)

Reading plan for this week:

The Obsession


Mini review:

  • Change of Scene (4:5:16)Title:  Change of Scene: A novella
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  100
  • Published:  April 2016 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  This 100 page prequel novella to Mary Kay Andrews’s bestselling novel Beach Town is sure to delight fans and new readers alike.

Greer Hennessy is a movie location scout whose latest project has literally gone up in flames. After an avocado field accidentally catches fire on the set of her new movie, she is out of a job and practically run out of town. With her feisty grandmother Dearie, a Golden Age starlet who still has a lot of vigor left in her, complicating her life, Greer needs a bit of a rest. But Greer’s own mother then drops a bombshell on her that will change Greer’s life completely, and raise questions about her own father that she can’t ignore. In desperate need of a second chance, can Greer find what she’s looking for in the one last job she can get: a movie called BEACH TOWN? But first, she needs to find the perfect spot…  (publisher)

My mini review:  If you haven’t read Beach Town, Mary Kay Andrew’s most recent novel, you’ll want to read Change of Scene first. It covers the weeks leading up to Beach Town and gives a little more texture to Greer’s background.

If you’re like me and read Beach Town last year you’ll enjoy revisiting Greer’s story. I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of the author. My thanks to the publisher for sending a review galley to me.

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

  • BeachTownTitle:  Beach Town
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 2015 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Greer Hennessy is a movie location scout who needs to find an old school Florida beach town. What she’s found so far are planned beach communities that look far too sanitized and Disney-fied. Then she comes upon Cypress Key – a small seaside town that time seems to have forgotten. She also finds the mayor of Cypress Key who makes her heart skip a beat.

Eben Thibadeaux is a jack-of-all-trades as well as the mayor of Cypress Key. He is willing to work with the Hollywood group but wants to save a historical building that the director would like to blow up for the shoot. And that’s just a small part of the difficulties that arise during the production. He also has family issues to take care of.

Greer is forced to face her past when her estranged father contacts her. He happens to live an hour away from Cypress Key. Is everything she’d been told about him the truth? How far will she open her heart to new possibilities? Mary Kay Andrews’ heroine had me equally frustrated and sympathetic throughout the novel but, in typical MKA style, I was satisfied with her growth by the end of the book.

Beach Town is an entertaining novel. It has drama, romance, conflict and a Florida beach town setting. For me, it hit all the marks of a fun beach read.

Q and A with Mary Kay Andrews – US Giveaway BEACH TOWN

NEWmarykayandrewsQ&A with Mary Kay Andrews  (provided by the publicist)

New York Times bestselling author of BEACH TOWN

http://marykayandrews.com/the-books/books-by-mary-kay-andrews/beach-town/

https://www.facebook.com/marykayandrewsauthor

https://twitter.com/mkayandrews

Q: The main character in Beach Town, Greer Hennessey, is a movie location scout. What made you choose to write about Hollywood and the movie business?.

A: I’m the nerd still sitting in a darkened theatre waiting for the location credits to roll at the end of every movie. I’ve always been a big movie buff—and I’m always as intrigued by the real settings of films as I am with the film itself. Also, my daughter Katie issues filming permits for some of the dozens and dozens of film, television and advertising shoots that take place every year in our town.

 

Q: What research did you do into the movie business and the various roles on a movie set when writing Beach Town?

A: I actually went out to L.A. to research the places where Greer lived and worked. I took the Paramount Studio tour, visited a movie costume house, and shadowed a film location scout during a shoot in Atlanta. I interviewed three location managers and the hair and make-up artist who became the inspiration for CeeJay in the book.

 

Q: Is Cypress Key a real place? If not, is it based on any place particular?

A: Cypress Key is based on the real, charming Florida town of Cedar Key. I fictionalized the town heavily in the book which is why I didn’t call it Cedar Key.

 

Q: How did you settle on the FL Gulf Coast as the setting for Beach Town?

A: I wanted a sleepy, virtually untouched town for the setting of the book—which the fictional movie producer Bryce Levy describes as “a cross between the town in Jaws and Body Heat. Most of the East Coast is so heavily developed, I thought the Florida Gulf Coast was virtually the last frontier. Just as Greer does in Beach Town I started looking for my setting in the Panhandle, in Panama City Beach, and then worked my way down the coast until I discovered Cedar Key.

 

Q: Did you run away from home again when writing this novel? Where did you go this time? 

A: I actually ran away to Cedar Key, FL! The first time I stayed in a tiny tourist motel somewhat like a mini version of the fictional Silver Sands Motel in the book. The second time when I came back I rented a tiny cottage overlooking the Gulf. I find “embedding” myself in the inspiration setting helps put me in the world of the book when I’m writing. But the largest portion of the book got written at our Tybee Island vacation home, Ebbtide, which is named after a beach house in an earlier novel, Summer Rental.

 

BeachTownQ: In Beach Town, Eb Thibadeaux is the mayor, town engineer, and owner of the grocery store, motel, and boat yard. What or who inspired this small-town Jack-of-all-trades? Have you known folks like Eb?

A: I’ve lived in a couple small towns where it seems that a small number of people take responsibility for making things run. In my own town in the Atlanta area, years ago the city manager was also the chief of police. Eb is purely a product of my imagination, but I wanted Eb to be the kind of person who sees what needs to be done, then rolls up his sleeves and makes it happen. He’s an entrepreneur as well as a do-gooder.

 

Q: There is a dachshund in Beach Town. How did you select this breed? Tell us about your own pets.

A: I liked the idea of having an outdoorsman like Eb having a small rescue dog—because Eb is a rescuer. And dachshunds just strike me as funny. Golden retrievers are the Heidi Klums of the dog world—and dachshunds are the Amy Poehlers. Our own dogs are English Setters—bird dogs, although the only thing they hunt these days are hand-outs around the supper table.

 

Q: What qualities make up the ideal beach town for you?

A: I love an old-school feeling. No high-rise condo towers, no fast-food joints. Just a couple of narrow, sandy roads where families meander down to the beach or ride bikes to the ice cream shop, rows of beat-up wooden cottages, a couple of good hang-out type restaurants with ice-cold beer and good seafood, and of course the beach—preferably wide with sugar white sand.

 

Q: What is your all-time favorite beach town and why? 

A: I suppose the beach town I grew up near—Pass-A-Grille, in St. Pete Beach, FL is my all-time favorite. It’s where my siblings and I learned to jump into the waves from my father’s broad, sunburnt shoulders, where my teenaged girlfriends and I hung out summers, slathered in baby oil and iodine, and where I went “parking” with my very first boyfriend, necking in the front seat of his mother’s Dodge Valiant. It’s also where I got very drunk on under-aged purchased beer the weekend of high-school graduation—with my now-husband.

 

Q: What can you tell us about your next book? 

A: It’s set on an imaginary barrier island off the coast of North Carolina, and I’m actually considering throwing a murder into the plot, just to keep things interesting.


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BeachTown


Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

Save the Date

  • Title:  Save the Date
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction; Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  June 2014 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  A Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn’t believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in.  Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all. Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark wit and keen eye for detail, mark your calendars for Save the Date!  (publisher)

My take:  I enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ novels. I like her wit and eye for detail as mentioned in the synopsis. If you’re not fond of detailed descriptions be ready for a book heavy with wedding flowers and house restoration details. Me? I enjoyed reading about it all.

I also liked Cara and Jack’s story. They had chemistry but are they willing to give in and risk their hearts for a chance at love? There’s a bit of mystery in the disappearance of the bride of the wedding that will solve all of Cara’s financial problems. She has to find that bride! And something is up with Cara’s assistant at the shop.

Will Cara ever catch a break? You’ll have to read to find out. Save the Date is the perfect book to take to the beach this summer.

Spotlight/Giveaway (US): Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

Save the Date

ABOUT THE BOOK
With her trademark wit and gift for storytelling, Andrews delivers the perfect bouquet of intrigue and romance when Savannah florist Cara Kryzik lands the wedding of the season. Brooke Trapnell and Harris Strayhorn, part of Savannah’s high society, hire Cara to be their wedding planner for their July wedding at Cabin Creek, the Strayhorn plantation in the South Carolina low country. Cara kicks into high gear, relieved she will finally be able to pay off the debt she owes her father. With only six weeks to plan the wedding, Cara, along with her dependable assistant Bert, is determined to solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials.

In the midst of all the planning, Cara finds herself falling for Jack Finnerty, the “dognapper” who accidently steals her golden doodle Poppy when she runs out the door one hot summer morning. Recently divorced, Cara no longer believes in love and is focused on keeping her stressed-out clients happy. Until the chic new florist from Charleston, Cullen Kane, decides to open up shop in Savannah and do whatever it takes to destroy her business, and in the process, her relationship with Jack. And when the bride goes missing putting the wedding in jeopardy, Cara must find her and figure out whether love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all.

 PRE-ORDER: 

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books a Million
Indiebound

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mka-author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels including Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues.

 

PRAISE FOR LADIES’ NIGHT (now out in paperback)
“Bestseller Andrews is at the top f her game, delivering a smart, funny, perfect-for-summer read with a hopeful heart.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Her newest novel offers another engaging and satisfying tale of life, loss, and love.” —Booklist

“Andrews presents a delightful novel…A wonderful blend of action, repartee and offbeat characters in a just-plain-fun story. Humorous and witty, and as entertaining as a good night out.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Mary Kay Andrews’ novels have become a summer staple like a new pair of sandals. The New York Times bestselling author returns with the perfectly mixed cocktail of romance, mystery and comedy…” —Raleigh News & Observer

“This is her best book yet, and it combines all of the strengths we have come to expect from this audacious and beguiling author.” —Huffington Post

“Mary Kay Andrews blends heartache and hilarity in a story line filled with surprises.” —Southern Living

“A court-ordered therapy session is the site of the action in Andrews’s zesty, amusing latest…” —People

“If there were a literary genre dedicated to great beach books, the novels of Mary Kay Andrews would set its standard for excellence.” —Cape Gazette

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Good luck!

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

christmas bliss

  • Title:  Christmas Bliss
  • Series:  #4 Savannah series
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Chick Lit; Christmas
  • Published:  October 2013 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher (via Lisa – thanks, Lisa!)

My take: I’m blaming the time of year for it taking me almost 2 weeks to get through the first few chapters. Once I had time I found it difficult to put the book down! 

Weezie Foley’s wedding plans are in full swing and her BFF BeBe’s first baby is due in a few weeks. When Weezie’s fiancé Daniel comes down with a bad cold while he’s in NYC being a guest chef at a four star restaurant, she drops everything and flies from Savannah to New York to give him some TLC (and see the city and all it has to offer). When Daniel shares some news that could be life changing for them both she gets a little nervous. Meanwhile, BeBe is in full-nesting mode when the father-to-be takes what he promises will be his last charter fishing client out for a day. When he doesn’t return at the promised time BeBe gets worried.

So, you can see there’s a lot going on in this book. Like I said, once I had time to sit and actually read for a while I was on board for the roller coaster ride that Christmas Bliss is. It was cute, entertaining and gave me a few laughs – typical Mary Kay Andrews.

Recommended to fans of the author and the series. I enjoyed seeing what Weezie and friends were up to and hope there’ll be more adventures to come.  Christmas Bliss is part of the Savannah series but it can stand on its own.

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews (audiobook)

Title:  Summer Rental

Author:  Mary Kay Andrews

Narrator:  Isabel Keating

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  June 2011 – Macmillan Audio

About:  (from the Goodreads synopsis) Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves in their mid-thirties and at the crossroads of life and love… A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what each of them needs.

My Take:  The first half of the book pretty much fills the reader in on each character’s background. When Dorie brings home a woman to rent one of the beach house bedrooms the story picks up. She’s on the run from her crook of a husband and needs a place to hide out. There are also sparks between Ellis and Ty, the owner of the rental house. Ty’s about to lose the house to the bank so he’s  moonlighting as a bartender and day-trading during regular hours. The rest of the time he’s trying to keep his renters happy by getting rid of bugs, you know – landlord stuff. Ellis is the one who lets him know when anything’s wrong but she has to do it via email. The email exchanges between the two were quite funny and endearing.

I really liked Isabel Keating as narrator. I’m not from the south but if the conversation between author and narrator at the end of the audiobook is any indication, she did a great job on the voices.  I learned that Keating is the only narrator of Mary Kay Andrews’ books and the author is thrilled with her performances.

So, despite my feeling that the first part of the book was a little slow, I enjoyed Summer Rental. Listening to it made me feel like I was on the beach and enjoying vacation with the characters in the novel. Recommended to fans of Mary Kay Andrews and enjoyable beach reads.

Source:  I bought it.

Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews

Blue Christmas
Synopsis:

It’s the week before Christmas, and antiques dealer Weezie Foley is in a frenzy to garnish her shop for the Savannah historical district contest. She’s ready to shoot herself with her glue gun by the time she’s done, but the results are stunning. She’s certainly one-upped the owners of the trendy boutique around the corner, but suddenly things start to go missing from her display, and there seems to be a mysterious midnight visitor to her shop.

Still, Weezie has high hopes—perhaps in the form of an engagement ring from her chef boyfriend, though Daniel, always moody at the holidays, seems more distant than usual. But throw in Weezie’s decidedly odd family, a 1950s Christmas tree pin, and even a little help from the King himself (Elvis, that is), and maybe there will be a pocketful of miracles for Weezie this Christmas Eve.

* * * * * * *

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this novel. I read Savannah Blues last month knowing I had Blue Christmas on my tbr shelf. Mary Kay Andrews has a way with words that just makes me smile.

It was fun to see what Weezie, Daniel and their wacky relatives and friends were up to. I loved the descriptions of Weezie’s Christmas decorating project as well as the debacle that was Christmas Eve family dinner. There’s a bit of a mild mystery woven into the story.

All in all, it’s a light, fun holiday book and I look forward to reading Savannah Breeze.



Show Me 5 Saturday – Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews


That’s A Novel Idea has started a new MEME called Show Me Five Saturday. This meme will give each blogger an opportunity to give a brief description of a book they have read or reviewed during the week. It will work like this: Each Saturday you will post the answer to these questions. The number indicates the number of answers you will provide.

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week

2 Words that describe the book
3 Settings where it took place or characters you met

4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it

5 Stars or less for your rating?



1. Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews

2. Chick-Lit, Mystery

3. Savannah;
the local antique furnishings scene (especially at Beaulieu, a “crumbling rice plantation”);
Weezie’s carriage house (behind her ex-husband’s townhouse).

4. Liked: the humorous writing of Ms. Andrews;
the main characters (Weezie and all her family and friends);
the budding romance of Weezie and Daniel;
the fact that I want to call my sisters and good friends to suggest this book.

5. 5 stars because it was such a fun read. I looked forward to picking it up again as soon as I had to set it down. There’s a sequel, yay!

Cover Image

From my bookshelf

The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

Cover Image

Synopsis:

After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father’s offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. All it will take, he tells her, is a little paint and some TLC to turn the fading Victorian mansion into a real-estate cash cow.


But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. “Bird Droppings” would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol–pink dump with duct-taped windows and a driveway full of junk. There’s also a murderously grumpy old lady, one of Dempsey’s distant relations, who has claimed squatter’s rights and isn’t moving out. Ever.


Furthermore, everyone in Guthrie seems to know Dempsey’s business, from a smooth-talking real-estate agent to a cute lawyer who owns the local newspaper. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the pesky FBI agents who show up on Dempsey’s doorstep, hoping to pry information about her ex-boss from her.


All Dempsey can do is roll up her sleeves and get to work. And before long, what started as a job of necessity somehow becomes a labor of love and, ultimately, a journey that takes her to a place she never expected—back home again.


My thoughts:I like a book that has me laughing as I turn the last page. The Fixer Upper is smart, funny, and pretty much charmed my socks off. The political scandal is secondary to what I think is the main story – no, not the house rehab – I think its more about Dempsey fixing her life. Or at least figuring out what she wants to do with her life instead of trying to measure up to her parents’ expectations. In the process she meets some wonderful people in Guthrie who show her some of what life has to offer. If you’re looking for a good book to read this summer, you can’t go wrong with The Fixer Upper. It will be in bookstores on June 23.


Thanks to Kyle at HarperCollins for the review copy.




GIVEAWAY



HarperCollins made available 5 copies of The Fixer Upper.


(Usual rules: no P.O. Boxes. US/Canada residents only)



1. Your entry must include your email in the comment



Contest ends June 18, 9pm (EDT)