Every summer I dream of lounging on the beach and reading paperback novel after paperback novel. Every summer I'm stuck at home for one reason or another (no vacation time, no money, you name it). Instead, I head to my local library and look for books I'd imagine myself reading on the beach, bring them home with me, and pretend. Claire Cook's books always fit the bill, so I recently checked out Summer Blowout.
Bella Shaughnessy is addicted to lipstick with names like My Chihuahua Bites and Kiss My Lips-an occupational hazard, since she works at Salon de Paolo, her family-run beauty salon, along with her four half-brothers and sisters. The owner is her father, Lucky Shaughnessy, a gregarious, three-times divorced charmer with Donald Trump hair who is obsessed with all things Italian. After Bella's own marriage flames out spectacularly when her half-sister runs off with her husband, Bella decides she has seen enough of the damage love can do. She makes a vow: no more men. But then Bella meets a cute entrepreneur, and despite their bickering, they can't seem to stay away from each other. A small, well-tressed dog also finds her way into Bella's life, and her heart, and she decides to chance that, too. When the whole clan heads to Atlanta for a big Southern wedding, sparks fly - in a summer blowout no one will ever forget.
Bella was a quirky, fun narrator.
Her family was delightfully rambunctious.
That's what I love about Claire Cook's books--the characters are everyday people that I can relate to. They have flaws and issues. They argue. They feel lost and confused. Their hearts break. Still, they find their way back, through forgiveness, perseverance, a little help from family, and, sometimes, reinvention.
But Summer Blowout isn't heavy-handed thanks to hilarious dialogue and madcap family adventures. I often found myself laughing out loud.
I also loved all the make-up tips!
So I didn't make it to the beach this summer, but I felt like I got to spend a few hours there with crazy-fun friends.
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