Friday, August 23, 2013

The Fixer Upper

The Fixer UpperThe Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Fixer Upper is the latest Mary Kay Andrews novel that I decided to read. I’ve enjoyed past books from her and I think this book falls right into the same level of enjoyment as the others I have read. They’re entertaining without really having to “think.” Sometimes a book needs to be just that. I can also count on Andrews to give me a good dose of Southern charm in her books.

Dempsey Killebrew is a rising star in the DC lobbyist world. Until her boss involves her in a major political scandal. Still trying to recover after being thrown under the proverbial speeding bus, Dempsey limps home to her dad and his new family in Florida. Clearly imposing on her new step-mother’s territory her dad offers her the chance to make them both some money by fixing up a property he inherited from a distant relative. Needing the time to figure out her next move, Dempsey reluctantly agrees.

When she arrives in small town Georgia to begin her flipping adventure, she is dismayed to find a once beautiful house in such a desperate state of despair. Not only does she inherit the task of ridding the old house of floor to ceiling stacks of Nat Geo, she also gets the unwelcome (on both ends) job of evicting a long lost “cousin.” Not only is she unwelcome by Ella Kate, everyone in that one horse town knows everyone’s business. She has the FBI swarming her, town schmoozers (who may also hold the town drunk title) hung up on her, a dad breathing down her neck, an unconventional relationship with her mother, and possibly romance to deal with.

At some point Dempsey has to find her backbone and dig herself out of the mess she never asked for. Maybe a grouchy distant relative and a slow pace of life is just what she needs.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Au Pairs (The Au Pairs, #1)The Au Pairs by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh my...

You know what I would suggest before picking up a book to read it? Look at the publication year. I hadn't done that before I started reading this book and within the first 20 or so pages it was abundantly clear that the world that these characters lived in was worlds away from reality. And I don't mean that in terms of the Hamptons elite vs us working class poors. No. I mean that it was clear that this book was pre-Great Recession. Oh what a laugh that gave me. Especially at one of the main character's father's expense. A disgraced Wall Street lawyer/Manhattan elite that is forced into bankruptcy, into self-imposed seclusion....yeah. Oh what the world was back in 2004.

Anyway, with that being said, this was a fairly enjoyable YA read. The premise is that three 17 year old girls from completely different walks of life converge on the Hamptons for a summer of working as au pairs for the wealthy Perry family. Eliza is a former child of luxury. She's used to having an Am Ex with an unlimited spending limit. Her father's mistakes forced her family into seclusion in Buffalo and she is having trouble adjusting to her new status not as the "It" girl. Mara is a small town girl who is just trying to make this summer money to pay for a car and school. She has a self confidence problem and walks the line between trying to salvage her small town relationship or move on with a boy that she isn't sure she deserves. Jacqui is a worldly beauty from Brazil. She's a woman who knows how to use her best assets to make her life easier. This summer she plans on tracking down her lost true love.

These three girls have quite the summer wrangling the Perry family - and that doesn't just include the 4 young ones! Between learning to accept each other, parties, boys, ex-friends, and plain old exes, they will have the summer that they can't forget. Book 1 was good enough to make me want to read the rest of the Au Pair series.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer is here (Part 2)

Ok, back to the story. 

My Uncle Joe's wake was on a Monday afternoon, the funeral being on a Tuesday. While I don't tend to ellaborate on funerals too much, I have to take a moment to reflect on the funeral mass they held for him. The mass was held in his beloved local Catholic church. What impressed me so was that the priest that did the service was awesome. I just can't explain it. I'm not Catholic, nor do I remotely agree with many of that denominations stances. But this priest was one that makes everyone feel welcome, not judged, someone like your friend. He wasn't preachy. He was completely approachable and you could tell he liked my uncle a lot. On top of that, he was a young priest. I know it sounds stupid, but I am hopeful that maybe this priest might make a difference, if not just locally, in that church. I've long lost my religion. I've documented that on here many, many times. But how weird is it that while I have no desire to hear about some ....story book (to me).... but I'd probably enjoy his services. 

Ok, moving along on track here. Oh, here's the part where I insert the part where I was able to see my cousin who is pregnant with the first grandchild on that side of the family. She's 6 years younger than me. They had to have gotten pg on their first month trying (she had warned me she wanted to get pregnant right after the new year)....sigh. It was hard. Of course it was. But I love her. And there is a part of me that is happy for her. Except I *really* don't like the name she has picked out. Good thing it isn't up to me. I was very graceful with that point. Brownie points for me?

Tuesday night after we all went on our merry ways, I picked my BIL up and we headed back up to Wisconsin...where the next day Rock USA awaited us. Up in line to check in at the campgrounds at 5 am made for a long day. Over the next 4 nights we had a massive party, lol. We had anywhere from 6 to 18 people in our group at any given time. The headliners were Avenged Sevenfold, Twisted Sister, Godsmack, and Van Halen. Ratt played before Van Halen and during Van Halen's set I actually got to meet members of Ratt. I even got a picture with Warren Demartini, the lead guitarist. Very cool for a music lover like me, lol. 

Oh and before I get too far into this, I think I will stop with my RUSA comments because in all of this, there is a great story about the power of kindness. I know that is vague and annoying but I think it deserves its own post. Oh and I lied will have to wait even longer because I'm lazy and I'm still waiting on some pictures from various members of the group so I have to stall some more ;-)