Welcome back to the Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're closing out the week with the perfect addition to your summer read list. It's got the glitz and glamour of the movies with the down home feelings only a small town can give. Don't believe me? You don't have to...yet, but just try to deny it once you've finished taking a gander at today's review. Lights, camera, today's book of choice...
About the book...
Greer Hennessy needs palm trees.
As a movie location scout, picture-perfect is the name of the game. But her last project literally went up in flames, and her career is on the verge of flaming out. Greer has been given one more chance, if she can find the perfect undiscovered beach hideaway for a big-budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town called Cypress Key. 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 explosive climax.
There's just one problem. Eben Thibadeaux, the town mayor, completely objects to Greer's plan. A lifelong resident of Cypress Key, Eben wants the town to be revitalized, not commercialized. After a toxic paper plant closed, the bay has only recently been reborn, and Eb has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. But Greer has a way of making things happen, regardless of obstacles. And Greer and Eb are way too attracted to each other for either of them to see reason.
Between an ambitious director and his entourage-including a spoiled "It Boy" lead actor-who parachute into town, a conniving local ex-socialite, and a cast of local fangirls and opportunists who catch the movie bug, nothing is going to be the same in Cypress Key. Now Greer is forced to make some hard choices: about the people and the town she's come to care about, and about her own life. True love is only for the movies, right? Can Greer find a way to be the heroine in her own life story?
I must admit, I was tickled pink to find out that this novel starts out in my own backyard! No, really; it mentions my town by name. Now grant it, the title character doesn't choose to use it as her location for the next BIG MOVIE, but it's described to a "T". White sand beaches, blue ocean water...too many high rise hotels...oye. Yeah, it use to be more lined with mom and pop motels with a scattering of hotels but a few years back it went BOOM and the rest is history. Nowadays, I leave the beach to the tourists and stick to the other side of the bridge (except for the occasional shopping trip as there happens to be a fairly decent sized outdoor mall on the west end that is worth a trip once in a blue moon). Oh and I gotta say, Greer's induction to the Florida side of things is so HI-larious and yet similar to my own (think an unexpected encounter with the unofficial "flying bird" of the South ...el Palmetto bug ...though mine was in a sink not in a bed ~shudders~). Anywho...back to the story.
The location landed upon is a quaint-ish little town called Cypress Key; personally I've never been but I recognize the name. It has everything the director of the movie wants, and is brimming with small town charm to boot, until all heck breaks loose in the form of an overindulged music turned movie star and a director too big for his chair AND budget. Oye! How our leading lady, that would be Greer Hennessy, deals with him on daily basis one only knows. Well actually we DO know because it involves time spend with friends (CeeJay!), chowing down on the local grub (which involves pizza that shouldn't be called pizza and cookies...more on that later), and keeping in touch with family. She's a good egg, a smart girl, one that looks both ways before crossing the street, and doesn't look a gift horse in the mouth (whatever that means), but she isn't doing that well in the love department.
Coming off a bad relationship, or rather a relationship that was bad for her, has left Greer a bit gunshy and when Eben Thibadeaux (town mayor, real estate agent, motel owner, grocery store owner, etc) comes a calling, her reactions aren't exactly what you would call inviting. Despite all of that, connections are made...but can they be sustained? I mean, we have two parties wounded at the heart with one leaving in a matter of weeks and misunderstandings doing their fair share of mucking things up. The odds are definitely NOT in their favor...but then again, lady luck does like her surprises (a well chosen term considering part of the debate revolves around the demolition of an old casino).
It's been a while since I read this author's work and I had forgotten how far into the character's lives she really draws you...that's a good thing! You really get to know the many sides of Greer as well as that of Eben, Allie, Ginny and a whole slew of others that I shan't list right now but are so worth the know. You see Greer make friends with the locals, reconnect with her father while uncovering the truth of secrets long held, babysit the "big star", and turn the tables on a frenemy in disguise (go go girl!). She's not always right with her impressions of things but she's not afraid to take a step back and try again. By book's end, you feel like part of the family, for better and worse....but mostly better because every Hollywood story needs a happy ending (but for WHOM is the question!).
So in closing, I have to say this is one trip through the lower forty-eight that you won't soon forget. It'll charm its way into your reading list, leave you in stitches now and then, make you drop your jaw a time or two, and cross your fingers that everyone gets their just desserts...mmm, cookies! (Inside joke for those who've read it... ^-^) Recommended for older teens through adult readers, paired with a sunny day out enjoying the best of the season.
About the author...
Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 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 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. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards.
A native of St. Petersburg, Florida (and a diplomate of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm), she started her professional journalism career in Savannah, Georgia, where she covered the real-life murder trials which were the basis of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL.
As a lifelong “junker” the author claims to know the location of every promising thrift store, flea market and junkpile in the Southeastern United States, plus many parts of Ohio.
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.
Married to her high school sweetheart, Tom, she has two adult children and two grandchildren. After a three-year hiatus in Raleigh, NC, she and her husband moved back to their old neighborhood in Atlanta. She also owns two restored beach cottages on Tybee Island, GA, both of which are named for fictional locations in her novels.
Special thanks to Meg at Literary Tandem for the ARC for review and helping keep readers like me (and you!) up to date on what's hot now. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, or the promotions coming soon, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title released earlier this month via St. Martin's Press, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf, virtual retailer, or beach bag (^-^) near you.
Until next time...happy reading!