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Mailbox Monday #531

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews from Tandem Literary for review.

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.

Westworld Psychology by Travis Langley, Wind Goodfriend, Tim Cain, a surprise in the mailbox.

In Michael Crichton’s 1973 motion picture Westworld, people playing out fantasies find their lives in danger when robots built to entertain start to kill, creating an opportunity for viewers to examine an array of psychological phenomena. Today, the HBO television series reframes those questions and fears of technology gone awry in terms of twenty-first century concerns about rapidly evolving AI. The essays in this collection, edited by Travis Langley and Wind Goodfriend, explore those issues, offering fans an in-depth psychological exploration of the Westworld universe, including:

  • When do synthetic people become sentient?
  • When is artificial intelligence simply intelligence?
  • What is the appeal of live-action role playing?
  • Why does the Wild West intrigue us?
  • How far will people go in pursuit of violent delights?

Make a Nerdy Living: How to Turn Your Passions into Profit, with Advice from Nerds Around the Globe by Alex Langley, another surprise in the mailbox.

“How can I make a living at this?” Many nerds ask themselves this question—and now they have an answer. Filled with humor and real-life advice, this entertaining guide explores how you can actually get paid for nerdy passions that range from live-streaming video and prop making to writing and cosplay. Along with general tips for newcomers and in-depth advice for the more experienced, interviews with stars reveal how geeks, gamers, and fans successfully turned their dreams into reality.

Geek Girls Don’t Cry by Andrea Towers, Marisha Ray, another surprise in my mailbox.

What does it mean for a woman to be strong—especially in a world where our conception of a “hero” is still so heavily influenced by male characters like Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman? Geek Girls Don’t Cry explores the subject, offering advice tailor-made for fans of any age. Andrea Towers, who works in public relations at Marvel Entertainment and has written about superheroines for outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, outlines some of the primary traits heroic women can call upon, like resilience, self-acceptance, and bravery, pulling in stories from real-life women as well as figures from the pop-culture pantheon. She also interviews the creators of our favorite fictional heroines, who discuss how they drew from their own experiences to develop these protagonists and how, conversely, their own creations continue to inspire them.

100 Parks 5,000 Ideas by Joe Yogerst

In the sequel to the best-selling 50 States, 5,000 ideas, National Geographic turns to the United States’ and Canada’s most pristine–and adventure-filled–national, state, and city parks with 5,000 ideas for the ultimate vacation. Showcasing the best experiences, both obvious and unexpected, each entry in this robust guide provides an overview of the park, detailed travel advice, fascinating facts, insider knowledge about wildlife, and expert tips for hiking, biking, camping, and exploring. From the geysers of Yellowstone National Park to the Everglades’ Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail and the stunning peaks of Banff and Jasper in Alberta, each page will fuel your wanderlust. Plus, explore the natural beauty tucked away in cities like New York’s Central Park and Boston Commons, and find bonus parks with day-trip suggestions to nearby neighbors. Top 10 lists throughout highlight best-of destinations for river trips, monuments, panoramic views, beaches, and more. This comprehensive book provides all the inspiration and information you need to plan your next park visit–and make it a memorable one.

What did you receive?

The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews

Source: Tandem Literary
Hardcover, 224 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews has the best tagline ever: “easy, breezy recipes with a southern accent.”  This cookbook includes all of Andrews charm and humor with some fantastic recipes that can make you feel like you live at the beach. Whether looking for some fruit-flavored drinks for an evening of conversation and board games or looking to make a dessert that will have the neighbors talking, Andrews has the right recipe for your summer gatherings and beyond.

For book club weekend, I made pig candy, which due to some work in the kitchen at the same time ended up being burnt!  The parts that weren’t, however, were delicious!  You knew they would be — bacon and brown sugar — and that kick of cayenne pepper.  Perfect little treat.

My drink of choice was the Prosecco Sippers with strawberries (I love strawberries), which was delicious.  Think summery, slightly sweet and bubbly white wine with ice.  Delicious for the summer months.  It was super easy to make and delicious.  I also made marinated shrimp, which can be served cold with greens or as an appetizer with toothpicks.  I served it in a dish from which everyone could sample some and it seemed to be a big hit with everyone who tried it.  I even enjoyed it and I don’t like shrimp much.

The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews has a wonderful collection of recipes for every occasion and has stories to accompany her recipes.  I love that she included family photos and more with these easy to follow recipes.  This is definitely a cookbook that I will use again; there are some yummy desserts I can’t wait to try.  Perfect way to kick off Memorial Day weekend.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Mary Kay Andrews graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree in 1976.  She worked as a reporter at a number of papers, and spent 11 years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving to write fiction full-time in 1991.  She published ten mystery novels under her own name between 1992 and 2000, and since 2002, she has authored a number of best-selling books as Mary Kay Andrews.

Mailbox Monday #425

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Benjamin Franklin You’ve Got Mail by Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel, a second surprise copy I’m donating to the library.

If the Future has any remedy for this situation, do not hesitate to provide it. That is to say, Ike and Claire Wanzandae, HELP! HELP HELP HELP.

I am (perhaps not for long),
Benjamin Franklin

Ike Saturday has seen better days. For one thing, his pen pal, Benjamin Franklin (yes, that Benjamin Franklin), is the target of an angry mob after Ike’s plan to help the Founding Fathers with some intel from the future seriously backfired. For another, he’s decided to mail himself back in time with the help of his girlfriend, Claire Wanzandae, and it’s not a particularly comfortable way to travel.

Once Ike tracks B-Freezy down in 1776, it becomes clear that his pal is less than impressed with the irritating, modern-day rescuer, partially because Ike has a habit of making things worse for Ben, and partially because Ben is incredibly cranky when not in the presence of numerous meat pies. Which speaks to another issue for the pair: they have no money, no food, and basically no plan for saving the country. But Claire won’t be able to cover for Ike back home in the future forever, and the British are looking pretty impatient, so Ike and B-Freezy will have to come up with something quickly if they want to avoid an epic, history-destroying disaster.

In this hilarious sequel to Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My . . . , Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel take Ike and B-Freezy’s antics to the next level as this ill-paired (and sometimes actually ill) duo hold the future of the world in their not-so-capable hands.

The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews for review.

You don’t have to own a beach house to enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ recipes. All you need is an appetite for delicious, casual dishes, cooked with the best fresh, local ingredients and presented with the breezy flair that make Mary Kay Andrews’ novels a summertime favorite at the beach.

From an early spring dinner of cherry balsamic-glazed pork medallions and bacon-kissed Brussels sprouts to Fourth of July buttermilk-brined fried chicken, potato salad, and pudding parfaits to her New Year’s Day Open House menu of roast 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.

Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier by Travis Langley and Chris Gore, an unexpected surprise from the publisher that I will pass on to someone who would enjoy it.

The next entry in Sterling’s Popular Culture Psychology series features 20 chapters and exclusive interviews with cast members and Rod Roddenberry. In a fun and accessible way, Star Trek Psychology delves deep into the psyches of the show’s well-known and beloved characters. The trailblazing franchise spans five TV series, 13 films, and countless novelizations. It celebrated, as no other form of entertainment had before, a world filled with space-traveling dreams and human diversity. In the process, it became one of the oldest and most popular sci-fi franchises of all time. Star Trek Psychology uses academic and scientific theories to analyze and answer such questions as Why do Trek’s aliens look so human? and How can the starship’s holodeck be used for therapy? This compilation examines alien neurobiology, discusses identity formation for shapeshifters, explores the importance of emotion for artificial intelligence, and much more.

What did you receive?

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

Source: Tandem Literary
Hardcover, 464 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews is a summer beach read in which the Belle Isle residents view the vacationers as “weekenders” and pay them as little attention as possible, but Riley Nolan’s family has been on the island since it’s inception.  Her marriage to Wendell Griggs may be rocky, but her family’s business has kept the destination raking in the tourists, even if Wendell has grander plans for the place than she or her family imagined.  Andrews’ books are usually fast-paced, romantic reads that are perfect for the beach bag and summer, but this one seemed too jammed packed with too many subplots and mysteries.

Riley uncovers a great many misdeeds by her husband after his death, and she’s forced to rethink her cushy life as a stay-at-home mom to a diabetic daughter, Maggy, who worshiped her father.  Much of the book is spent on the mystery involving her husband’s death, but there are also mysteries and reveals that seemingly come from no where.  They’re woven in so quickly to provide a new suspect that some are just not believable.  Maggy also is a pre-teen and she acts more like a teenager, sneaking out and hanging with the wrong crowd.  Her attitude is reprehensible, and while it might be believable to a certain extent given the sudden death of her father, readers may tire of it.

The quick reunion of Riley and her college crush at the end is sweet, but it’s the initial meeting and build up of their relationship that will leave readers breathless.  It’s clear that they are right for one another, and they want the same things, but will a broken-hearted child break them up for good?  The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews is a good read, and it’s entertaining with all the twists and turns in the mystery, but it seems as though some aspects could have been tightened up to keep the pace on track.

RATING: Tercet

Other Books Reviewed:

About the Author:

Mary Kay Andrews is the author of the New York Times bestselling SAVANNAH BREEZE and BLUE CHRISTMAS, (HarperCollins) as well as HISSY FIT, LITTLE BITTY LIES and SAVANNAH BLUES, all HarperPerennial.

A former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her “real” name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck.

She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), and is a frequent lecturer and writing teacher at workshops including Emory University, The University of Georgia’s Harriet Austin Writer’s Workshop, the Tennessee Mountain Writer’s Workshop and the Antioch Writer’s Workshop. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards.

Mailbox Monday #369

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews from Tandem Literary for review.  She’ll also be at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in May!

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.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, illustrated by Roberto Parada, a win from the PPZ movie blitz — and it’s signed!

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded version of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. This deluxe heirloom edition includes a new preface by coauthor Seth Grahame-Smith, thirteen oil painting illustrations by Roberto Parada, and a fascinating afterword by Dr. Allen Grove of Alfred University. Best of all, this limited special edition features an incredible 30 percent more zombies—via even more all-new scenes of carnage, corpse slaying, and cannibalism. Complete with a satin ribbon marker and a leatherette binding designed to endure for generations, this hardcover volume honors a masterpiece of classic zombie literature.

Fingerprint Monsters and Dragons: Fun Art with Fingers Thumbs and Paint – And 100 Other Adventurous Creatures – Amazing Art for Hands-on Fun by Ilona Molnar for review.

Create engaging art activities with your children – at home or in the classroom. Packed with fun step-by-step instructions, this book teaches you how to make 30 classic fictional foes including trolls, pirates, warlocks, and skeletons with only the tips of your fingers. Create your own fantasy world, no paintbrush required! Kids aren’t the only ones who will enjoy it, artists of all ages can put their finger on the fun of art. Use the characters to spice up you art journals and doodles. Creativity is at your fingertips!

What did you receive?

Review and Giveaway: Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis from GoodReads:

Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance—a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino—which will be perfect for the film’s climax—when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thinadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who’s seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his.

Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it’s too late and disaster strikes?

Review from my mom:

Plot: The plot was exciting, though about halfway through it started to be predictable.  However, that did not detract from my enjoyment of the novel. Some mystery, but mostly fast moving because of the movies that were being made on location.

Characters:  Greer Hennessy was ambitious when she set her mind to accomplishing tasks. Eben Thinadeaux, the mayor of the town who also owned a store, was a busy busy man, which makes romance a challenge.

Setting: The Florida setting was well illustrated with Andrews’ prose. 

Recommended: Definitely recommended for is fast-moving plot; very quick read.

To enter the U.S. only giveaway, you must be a resident with a valid mailing address and over age 18.

Leave a comment below to be entered by May 20, 2015, 11:59 PM EST.

Mailbox Monday #317

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Orphan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian an unexpected surprise from Algonquin Books.

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather Kemal—a man who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs—is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But Kemal’s will raises more questions than it answers. He has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in an Armenian retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather willed his home in Turkey to an unknown woman rather than to his own son or grandson.

Left with only Kemal’s ancient sketchbook and intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles. There he will not only unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards but discover that Seda’s past now threatens to unravel his future. Her story, if told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which his family has been built.

2.  Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews an unexpected surprise from Tandem Literary.

Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance—a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino—which will be perfect for the film’s climax—when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thinadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who’s seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his.

3. Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan, an Instagram win from William Morrow.

A quiet seaside resort. An abandoned shop. A small flat. This is what awaits Polly Waterford when she arrives at the Cornish coast, fleeing a ruined relationship.

To keep her mind off her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey–courtesy of a handsome beekeeper. Packed with laughter and emotion, Little Beach Street Bakery is the story of how one woman discovered bright new life where she least expected–a heartwarming, mouthwatering modern-day Chocolat that has already become a massive international bestseller.

4.  Gorillas in Our Midst by Richard Fairgray, illustrated by Terry Jones for review from Skyhorse Publishing.

Gorillas can be hard to spot, because they are masters of disguise and really good at hiding. Gorillas often have jobs where they get to wear masks—that’s why so many gorillas are surgeons, astronauts, scuba divers, and ninjas. There are adult gorillas and kid gorillas. There are even gorillas that go to school with you. You may think you’ve seen a gorilla swinging by before, but it’s much more likely that he was an orangutan—orangutans are terrible at hiding. You will know when there are lots of gorillas living in your midst because the grocery stores will be entirely out of bananas. In fact, you should always carry a banana with you, because you never know when there might be a gorilla around.

5.  Take a Peek with Peek-a-Bear by Jill Mangel Weisfeld, illustrated by Garry Thorburn for review from STRATEGIES Literary Public Relations.

“Take a Peek with Peek-a-Bear” is cleverly designed children’s book filled with colorful imagery and playful poetry that takes you on a exciting interactive adventure with the character Peek-a-Bear. It is the first of a series of “Peek & Play” books.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #276

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar for review from Harper.

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.

Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn’t need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.

2.  Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews from my mom.

Grace Stanton’s life as a rising media star and beloved lifestyle blogger takes a surprising turn when she catches her husband cheating and torpedoes his pricey sports car straight into the family swimming pool.  Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home, checking account, and even the blog she has worked so hard to develop in her signature style.  Moving in with her widowed mother, who owns and lives above a rundown beach bar called The Sandbox, is less than ideal.  So is attending court-mandated weekly “divorce recovery” therapy sessions with three other women and one man for whom betrayal seems to be the only commonality.  When their “divorce coach” starts to act suspiciously, they decide to start having their own Wednesday “Ladies’ Night” sessions at The Sandbox, and the unanticipated bonds that develop lead the members of the group to try and find closure in ways they never imagined.  Can Grace figure out a new way home and discover how strong she needs to be to get there?

3.  Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming for review from Harper’s It Books.

In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career

A beloved star of stage, television, and film—“one of the most fun people in show business” (Time magazine)—Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father—a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.

When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.

4.  Juliet by Anne Fortier from Anna.

Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved Aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.

This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.

What did you receive?

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

Source: Tandem Literary
Hardcover, 448 pages
On Amazon, on Kobo

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews came unexpectedly in the mail, but my mom decided to pick it up when she was here on vacation.  Rather than write a traditional review, I offered to ask her some questions about her reading experience.

Who are the main characters?

Cara, Brook, Jack, Bert, Gordon, Patricia, Cullen Kane, Marie, and Ryan.

Cara is a florist and wedding planner originally from Ohio who moves to Georgia.  She has issues with love after her divorce.

Ryan and Jack are carpenters who restore buildings.  Bert works for Cara in her shop.  Brook is supposed to get married to Harris, but has a bit of cold feet.  Gordon and Patricia and Marie are Brook’s parents.

Does Cara blend in well with Savannah residents?

She seems to fit in with everyone well, and she has a lot of friends.  She also gets a lot of referrals to her flower shop.  She does floral arrangements for weddings, funerals, graduations, etc.

Is it obvious who Cara’s love interest will be?

Yes.  She meets him at his brother Ryan’s wedding.  They hit it off for a bit and then end up going their separate ways, etc.

What’s the theme?

Love has a restorative power.

Overall impression?

Read to see what happens.  5-star reads.

Mom read this one in a couple of days.  Share your thoughts about this one.

Mailbox Monday #269

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has gone through a few incarnations from a permanent home with Marcia to a tour of other blogs.

Now, it has its own permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1. Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews for review in June.

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.

 

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #215

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is Chaotic Compendiums.

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

 

Here’s what I received from my mom:

1.  Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson

Top plastic surgeon Elijah Creem is renowned for his skills in the operating room, and for his wild, no-expense-spared “industry parties,” bringing in underage exotic dancers and models for nights of drugs, champagne, and uninhibited sex. That is, until Detective Alex Cross busts one of Creem’s lavish soirees and ruins his fun. Now Creem is willing to do anything to avoid going to jail.

But Alex doesn’t have time to dwell on that case. A beautiful woman has been found murdered in her car, a lock of her hair viciously ripped off. Then a second woman is found hanging from a sixth-floor window with a brutal scar slashed across her stomach. When a third mutilated body is discovered, rumors of three serial killers on the loose send Washington D.C. into an all-out frenzy.

2.  Francona by Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy

From 2004 to 2011, Terry Francona managed the Boston Red Sox, perhaps the most scrutinized team in all of sports. During that time, every home game was a sellout. Every play, call, word, gesture—on the field and off—was analyzed by thousands. And every decision was either genius, or disastrous. In those eight years, the Red Sox were transformed from a cursed franchise to one of the most successful and profitable in baseball history—only to fall back to last place as soon as Francona was gone. Now, in Francona: The Red Sox Years, the decorated manager opens up for the first time about his tenure in Boston, unspooling the narrative of how this world-class organization reached such incredible highs and dipped to equally incredible lows. But through it all, there was always baseball, that beautiful game of which Francona never lost sight.

3.  Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction….Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she’s made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds—has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can’t hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life. And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what each of them needs. Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he’s hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he’s ever cared about. Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity. Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs? Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month that might just give it to them.

Here’s what I bought at AWP’s Writer’s Conference last week in Boston:

4.  Tipping Point: 20th Anniversary Edition by Fred Marchant

With his deft and timeless blend of the lyrical and narrative, Fred Marchant explores the wars inside us and the ones we wage in the world: spiritual, familial, political. Says Tom Sleigh, “In the spirit of Wilfred Owen, Tipping Point is a book seared by personal and historical fact.” This 20th Anniversary Edition, with a new introduction by Nick Flynn, celebrates what Sven Birkerts calls, “the larger contexts in which our deeds and gestures come to matter.” Flynn concludes, “Tipping Point arrives, twenty years or two thousand years later, eternal and utterly ever-present.”

 

5.  The Scabbard of Her Throat by Bernadette Geyer

“The poems in Bernadette Geyer’s The Scabbard of Her Throat are saturated by touch: fingers on a throat, hand on a door, wasp, clasped to a cicada’s back, fever to bodies, daughters to mothers, mythologies to linoleum. Her lines soothed, they bruised, they entered my ear and held.” — Cornelius Eady, author of Brutal Imagination

 

Here’s my unexpected review copy:

6.  Midnight Sacrifice by Melinda Leigh

One by one, people are mysteriously disappearing from a small Maine town.

Four months ago, a ruthless murderer killed two people and kidnapped three more, including Danny Sullivan’s sister, who barely escaped. Unfortunately so did the killer, vanishing without a trace into the vast wilderness. When the police fail to find his sister’s captor, Danny returns to Maine to hunt him down.

He begins his search with another survivor, bed and breakfast owner Mandy Brown, but her refusal to cooperate raises Danny’s suspicions. What is the beautiful innkeeper hiding?

Mandy Brown has a secret. But sexy Danny Sullivan, his relentless questions, and the desire that simmers between them threaten to expose the truth. A revelation that puts her family in danger. As more people disappear, it becomes clear the killer is planning another ritual…and that he’s circling in on Mandy.

What did you receive?

Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

I received my copy of Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews from Book Club Girl for her BlogTalk Radio Show on March 25 at 7PM. Check at the end of this post for my thoughts on the show.

About the book (from the author’s Web site):

Chef extraordinaire Gina Foxton doesn’t expect anything to be handed to her on a platter. After years of hard work, the former runner-up Miss Teen Vidalia Onion is now the host of her own local Georgia public television show called “Fresh Start,” and she’s dating the show’s producer.

But when her show gets canceled, and she catches her boyfriend in flagrante delicto with the boss’s wife, Gina realizes that she’s meant for bigger and better things. The Cooking Channel is looking for its next star, and Gina is certain that she fits the bill. Trouble is, the execs also have their eye on Mr. “Kill It and Grill It” Tate Moody, the star of a hunting, fishing, and cooking show called “Vittles.” Tate is the ultimate man’s man, with a dog named Moonpie and a penchant for flannel shirts. Little does Gina know, though, that she and Tate are soon to embark on the cook-off of their lives.

Mary Kay Andrews’ Deep Dish stars Gina Foxton an older sister who is eager to please, cautious, and naive when it comes to men. Tate Moody is the man’s man, grills, hunts, and loves the outdoors. Throw these two in a pot and stir. The results are hilarious, spicy, and steamy. In addition to these polar opposites, you have Gina’s ex, Scott, who is out for himself and every woman he can get his hands on; Gina’s sister, Lisa, who operates without a compass, is passionate, and unable to commit; Val, Tate’s chain smoking, pressure cooker; Moonpie, Tate’s adorable pooch; and let’s not forget D’John, the gay, hair stylist and makeup artist with a heart of gold.

As an aside, one of my favorite character was Moonpie; he seemed to soften the edges the characters create for themselves in an attempt to defend themselves against pain. D’John, the makeup and hair stylist for Gina and Tate, is outrageous, and he provides each of the characters an anchor and support column. Mary Kay Andrews does a great job creating well rounded main and supporting characters.

“‘Oh, my God,’ Lisa said. ‘D’John is so awesome. I love his place. And he always gives me samples of the coolest makeup and stuff. Lemme go too, okay?’

‘Deal,’ Gina said. ‘Just one thing.’

‘What now?’

‘While I’m in the shower, you change your clothes. We are not leaving these premises with you dressed like some hoochie-mama.’

‘D’John’s gay, Geen,’ Lisa said. ‘He so is not looking at me that way.'” (Page 75)

The impending cancellation of Gina’s regional cooking show, pushes her into a reality show cook-off with Tate Moody, who has a successful outdoor hunting and cooking show. Food Fight is where the fun really picks up and Gina is forced to go out and forage Eutaw Island for ingredients before she can whip up a meal and dessert to impress three famous cooks, one of whom hates her guts. Tate Moody is in for the fight of his life even in spite of his hunting prowess as he is forced to make amazing meals out of regular household ingredients, including Frosted Flakes, to impress three judges, even one who hates his guts.

Deep Dish is a look at how one woman can dig deep within herself to find the courage to take ahold of her life and her destiny as well as a book that examines how each of us holds something back from the world and will only reveal our own personality gems to those we love.

Some of the best parts of this book occur when the reality show begins, and though some of the plot is predictable, it is done in a refreshing and new way. Southern cooking is the crux, and readers will be exposed to cuisine they may not see otherwise. Gina’s flashbacks to her family life and her mother’s cooking are vivid and enjoyable. These sections will likely remind readers of times when they smelled certain foods that evoke memories from their childhoods. If you need a light read, this is the book for you.

Book Club Girl’s Show:

I really love how much food plays a role in Mary Kay Andrews’ life and her relationship with her husband. Though she hasn’t thought about writing a cookbook, she would be open to the idea. My favorite little tidbit was about her writing space and how she hangs up all her book jackets on the walls of her writing space to keep herself motivated and writing. And Moonpie is based upon her setter Wyatt–too adorable for words.

About the Author:

Mary Kay Andrews is the author of the New York Times bestselling SAVANNAH BREEZE and BLUE CHRISTMAS, (HarperCollins) as well as HISSY FIT, LITTLE BITTY LIES and SAVANNAH BLUES, all HarperPerennial.

A former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her “real” name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck.

She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), and is a frequent lecturer and writing teacher at workshops including Emory University, The University of Georgia’s Harriet Austin Writer’s Workshop, the Tennessee Mountain Writer’s Workshop and the Antioch Writer’s Workshop. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards.

Married for more than 31 years to her high school sweetheart, Tom, she is the mother of 24-year-old Katie Abel and 20-year-old Andrew. After a three-year hiatus in Raleigh, NC, she and her husband recently moved back to their old neighborhood in Atlanta, where they live in a restored 1926 Craftsman bungalow.

Check out her blog here.

Also Reviewed By:
Redlady’s Reading Room
Diary of an Eccentric