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…..
Mary Kay Andrews is one of my ‘go to’ authors and Beach Town is one of my favorites of hers!
Greer Hennessy needed palm trees.
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? Told with Mary Kay Andrews inimitable wit and charm, the New York Times bestseller Beach Town is this year’s summer beach read!
Mary Kay Andrews, better known as MKA to her fans, is a favorite author of Jessica’s Reading Room! Her novels are fun, easy to read beach reads. Her newest novel, The High Tide Club, was released in May and I (Jessica) attended the book launch in Decatur!!! It was my first MKA signing! Kim was also able to attend a signing. There will be pictures below!
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Published: May 8, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.
Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.
The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best, a compelling and witty tale of romance thwarted, friendships renewed, justice delivered, and true love found.
Mary Kay Andrews is easily one of my favorite authors ever! She is the queen of funny, Southern fiction and her books are perfect for summer! The High Tide Club is no different. Andrews manages to pull fabulous, fascinating places out of her imagination and then makes them sound like real places that if you tried hard enough, could visit for yourself. Talisa Island is a barrier island off the coast of Georgia, where the Bettendorf family vacation seat of Shellhaven is located. My first inclination was to go straight to Orbitz to book a hotel in St. Ann’s so I can charter a boat to take me to Talisa.
The story of how the High Tide Club came into being and the mysteries surrounding the women, both in the past and present, kept me turning page after page and before I knew it, I was done! It was easy and engaging and I found myself empathizing and rooting for Brooke. I will admit that as much as I loved Brooke and her mother, Marie, and old Josephine, and the residents of Talisa Island, I found myself brisling against Felicia. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m a racist, but I really disliked her bitterness and the way she kept falling into the victim mentality. I’ve said this many times before, I hate politics in fiction and the last thing I want while reading a story, is to be lectured.
But, to hopefully balance out that opinion, I think the true hero of this book is old Varina! I fell in love with Auntie Vee from the very first time she stepped into the story and her grace and poise throughout the entire book is downright enviable! She refuses bitterness, to think badly of her friend, to accept her niece’s bad attitude. She offers forgiveness quickly and accepts what and who God sends to her life willingly and easily. She is the perfect example of the classy, Southern lady that I aspire to be! I like to pride myself on being able to figure things out relatively quickly when reading mysteries and thrillers, but I gotta hand it to MKA, she got me with this one! By the time the mystery was unraveled and the villains revealed, I was shocked and surprised with my mouth hanging open! High five, MKA, high five! Honestly, if it weren’t for the PC undertones that kept cropping up, I’d have given this book 5 stars! This is the almost perfect summer and beach read!!
The High Tide Club Book Launch:
I was so excited to attend my first book launch by MKA. There were A LOT of people there! We even got to meet “Mr. MKA” and others from her family. It was a great launch. Some of the ladies that attended go to every MKA signing that they can! They are all friends and know each other well. I got my book signed, got a swag bag of goodies, some audio arcs and audio books, and had some good food! Everyone had a good time! Here are some pictures from the launch:
Jessica with MKA! I was the second one to meet her and get my book signed!
The decor on the tables was so nice!! I wanted to take it with me!!
You know it’s time to party when there is a disco ball! 😉
MKA with “Mr. MKA”!
MKA’s daughter and grand daughter- it was a whole family affair!
Here is a picture that was taken of the crown from MKA’s perspective! There really were a lot of people! And do you see Jessica? It’s like “Find Waldo”!
Courtesy of MKA Facebook page
Kim went to Nag’s Head, NC for her book signing. She is a repeat MKA offender:
Her past signings: