The Fixer Upper
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrated by: Isabel Keating
Published: June 23, 2009
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Fixer Upper by a favorite of ours: MKA (better known as Mary Kay Andrews). We both really enjoyed this one!
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.
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Mary Kay Andrews is easily one of my all time favorite authors. She has a way of capturing real Southern towns filled with real Southern people faced with outrageous, hilarious problems. Her characters are some of the funniest I have ever read about and the situations they find themselves in are unforgettable and crazy, yet totally believable.
Poor Dempsey Killebrew (MKA creates the awesomest names) finds herself in the middle of a federal investigation as the scapegoat for a rich and powerful DC lobbyist. She goes from sleek executive to house flipper in overalls all in a week. By the time I finished this book, I was ready to go flip a house. And you gotta understand, I am the least creative, crafty, construction minded, practical person you will ever meet.
Enter father-son, small town, legal team of Carter and Tee Berryhill and now you’ve got the elegant Southern gentleman factor. And, of course, Tee, fabulous man that he is, throws Dempsey’s world even more askew. But my favorite character of all, Ella Kate Timmons. Old, crotchety, and set in her ways Ella Kate and her yippy cocker spaniel, Shorty. If for no other reason, y’all need to read this book simply to meet Ella Kate. I normally listen to the audiobook, and the narrator brings such life to each character. Isabel Keating narrates several of MKA’s books, and if I see that she’s the narrator for a book, I don’t even read the synopsis, I just buy it.
This is such an awesome book and I recommend it to anyone who wants a fun, hilarious, heartwarming read.
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: August 28- September 8, 2018
Mary Kay Andrews (MKA) is a ‘go to’ author of mine; her books are always so much fun and The Fixer Upper is another of those! She really captured the genuine small town feeling for me with Fixer Upper. I could picture everything she wrote as I listened to the audiobook. Everything was very descriptive and even the descriptions of Birdsong (the house) are well written.
I felt for Dempsey in her situation that she goes through. She’s an innocent (situationally and in life) and you want her to pull through everything successfully. It is crazy to believe how quickly she goes from a high class junior lobbyist to an overall wearing ‘do it yourself’-er in a small town. She obviously missed her calling in life!.
The heart of the novel is Ella Kate! She is an older woman very much set in her ways and tells it like it is and does not care what you think! She was my absolute favorite character and I would love to read more books with Ella Kate! You just have to read Fixer Upper to understand….
As previously mentioned, l listened to the audiobook version of Fixer Upper. I would recommend listening to the audio version as the narrator, Isabel Keating, does a superb job. Her portrayal of Ella Kate is 100% spot on!
The Fixer Upper is recommended.
**If reading The Fixer Upper gets you in the mood to buy a house that needs fixing up, we would be willing to sell ours…..
Author: Lynette Noni
Published: May 1, 2018
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Whisper by Lynette Noni! Thank you KCP Loft for our copy! One great thing about double reviews is that you get both of our thoughts on books. Kim loved Whisper though it wasn’t really for me. I sent it to her after I read it as I thought it would be a book she would enjoy and she did! Here are both of our reviews:
“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.
I believed them. That was my mistake.
There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.
I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.
For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.
As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
Jessica sent me this ARC book, thinking that I’d like it, and boy howdy, was she right! Secret government complexes and experiments are my jam! Whisper had me from the first page. Jane Doe’s situation is unique . . . you don’t know who she is. She won’t even acknowledge her own identity. I went thru the entire book before I had even a clue about who Jane is. Yet I liked her. I knew nothing about her, yet I liked her. She handles herself far better than I ever could, were I in her situation. Noni does an excellent job of making you feel the things that Jane is feeling and thinking. You like other people based on Jane liking them. You feel the fear that Jane does when the schedule she was forced into for the last two years, is interrupted. I was so caught up with Jane and what was happening to her, I could barely put the book down!
And what’s interesting is that there is so little information given for most of the book. Everyone else in Jane’s life seems to know what’s going on, but it’s not until halfway thru that Jane is given any information. I love Ward, and Cami, and Enzo just as I’m supposed to. They’re wonderful people who care for Jane and help her whenever possible. I hate Vanik because of his insane recklessness while experimenting on Jane and because she hates him. I kept from forming an opinion on Falon and Manning until the end because I knew that I didn’t have all the information yet. And for someone who hates anticipation and wants to know what’s going on from the very beginning, I’m shocked that I liked this book as much as I did. The fact that so little information is present makes this book more interesting.
I think this book would be great for teens. There is some language, but nothing too bad and the story is interesting enough to hold wandering teenage minds. I really liked it and I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out!
Dates Read: April 19-May 3, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
I first have to say that I am selective with my sci-fi and fantasy. Thus, I am not the target demographic for this novel. But KCP Loft sent it to me and I love them as a publisher, so I had to read it. Oh, and the cover is just pretty!!
There was nothing wrong with Whisper, in fact it is well written and the characters are likeable. I liked Jane Doe and wanted to know what was going to happen to her, which is what kept me reading. This looks to be the first in the series, so there will be more to come! And I loved Cami: she was just adorable and everything all rolled into one person. She’s the sweet ‘little sister’ type everyone wants in their life! Then there is Ward- I had mixed feelings about him throughout… Do I like him or not? Should he be trusted or not!?!?He is a mystery that you keep changing your mind about, but still feel something for.
I wanted to know why Jane Doe does not talk. What’s going to happen if she does? Will it really be as bad as she seems to think it is if she speaks? What did she do in her past? And what is her real name?!?!? It was my curiosity in those questions that kept me reading. When they slowly got answered it was an ‘Oh, ok” moment. It was nothing earth shattering for me. Again, this is because of me and not the novel.
I really wished I enjoyed Whisper more. The cover alone is perfect. The girl on the cover is how I pictured Jane Doe. As it looks to be the beginning of the series, I was expecting a cliffhanger ending, but there was not: YAY!! There is an ending, but also room left open for future novels in the series.
If you enjoy YA and sci-fi give this one a try. Thank you KCP Loft for my copy to read and review!
Today Kim and I both review The Dispatcher by John Scalzi. We both listened to the Audible version which is masterfully narrated by Zachary Quinto. It is a short book, the narration is 2 hours and 18 minutes. Needless to say both Kim and I loved The Dispatcher!
Author: John Scalzi
Narrator: Zachary Quinto
Published: October 4, 2016
Audible: 2 hours 18 minutes
Book Description from Goodreads:
One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone – 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don’t know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life.
Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher – a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death’s crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.
It’s a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it’s too late…before not even a Dispatcher can save him.
Zachary Quinto: Best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes – brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi.
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
This was a short, simple mystery, with a doozy of a twist! I had never heard of anything like the dispatchers before. If a person is murdered, then 9 times out of 10, they’ll end up alive and well in their bed at home. I’m not sure where that idea came from, but I love it! And I’m totally crushing on Tony Valdez . . . it helps that he has Zachary Quinto’s voice. 😊 I liked that it was a short listen; the author didn’t detail every little thing in every room, conversations weren’t repeated, and the mystery was easily solved with some good, old detective work. It’s simple, enjoyable, and easy. I really enjoyed this audiobook!
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Dates Listened To: March 16-18, 2018
The Dispatcher has an interesting premise to it: If you die at the hands some someone else, 999 times out of 1000 you come back to life. If you die of natural causes you do not come back to life. It is a mystery why this started happening, but we do learn about the first person that this happened to. The Dispatcher is short at just 2 hours 18 minutes long. And it covers a lot in that short time period! I listened to the Audible version which was narrated by Zachary Quinto and I couldn’t help but picture him as Tony Valdez as the story progressed.
Tony is a Dispatcher, one who helps to bring people back. In other words, he murders them. We see several examples of Tony doing his job, which he has done for eight years. One of his dispatcher friends disappears and it is a race to find out what happened to him.
This is a novella that will make you think about many things: who could become a Dispatcher and how do they handle their job when there is that one chance out of 1000 that the person will not come back? What does someone experience when they die and then come back? There are also theological, ethical, and moral issues that surround this story and the novella brings those up as well.
I liked Tony’s character and hope that Scalzi will expand on him and write more. If this ever comes to life on film I hope they cast Quinto in the Tony Valdez role!
The Dispatcher is highly recommended.[Top]