New York Times bestselling author and Queen of the Beach Reads Mary Kay Andrews delivers her next blockbuster, Hello Summer.
It’s a new season... Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.
For small town scandals...
When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat—and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”
And big-time secrets. Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman—a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer.
MARY KAY ANDREWS is the New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels (including The Homewreckers, The Santa Suit, The Newcomer; Hello, Summer; Sunset Beach; The High Tide Club; The Weekenders; Beach Town; 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), and one cookbook, The Beach House Cookbook.
A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia. After a 14-year career working as a reporter at newspapers including The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the final ten years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.
Her first novel, Every Crooked Nanny, was published in 1992 by HarperCollins. She went on to write ten critically acclaimed mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In 2002, she assumed the pen name Mary Kay Andrews with the publication of Savannah Blues. In 2006, Hissy Fit became her first New York Times bestseller, followed by twelve more New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. To date, her novels have been published in German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech and Japanese.
She and her family divide their time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, GA, where they cook up new recipes in two restored beach homes, The Breeze Inn and Ebbtide—both named after fictional places in Mary Kay’s novels, and both available to rent through Tybee Vacation Rentals. In between cooking, spoiling her grandkids, and plotting her next novel, Mary Kay is an intrepid treasure hunter whose favorite pastime is junking and fixing up old houses.
This chick-lit book as a ton of twists and turns. I loved this book so much, and the only rest it is not 5 stars is that I wish the Grandmother character was in the book more. I loved all the characters. There is romance, mystery, and family issues in this book. The drama in this book makes you want to keep reading. I listened to the audiobook of this book, and I really enjoyed the audiobook. If you want to read this book you should check out the audiobook.
I’m gonna do likes/dislikes for this one cause I’m a little conflicted and I hope writing this out helps me decide what to rate it.
What I liked: ✅ Great setting and small town vibes with quirky and interesting characters ✅ Felt like a true guilty pleasure read with lots of gossipy tidbits about the town residents in the form of a column in the local newspaper ✅ Decently engaging mystery that didn’t totally stump me but was interesting enough
What I disliked: 👎🏻 It was a brick like almost 600 pages and it really didn’t need to be, easily could’ve been 200 pages shorter and I don’t think a beach read should ever be over 300 pages. Go ahead and @ me, 340 max and I will die on this hill! 👎🏻 There was a lot of political stuff going on and no thank you, I get enough of that in real life 👎🏻Conley wasn’t the most endearing main character and I never felt fully connected or invested in her life 👎🏻 Many parts were super predictable and since it was longer than the Bible dragging it out did no one any favors 👎🏻 I wanted more romance and less whodunnit
Ok that did help, think I’m gonna give it a middle of the roadish ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and call it a day.
When Conley Hawkin’s new job falls through, her only option is to hightail it home to Silver Bay, and a job writing for her family’s paper, The Silver Bay Beacon.
Soon Conley is in the thick of things after witnessing the death of a local Congressman. Seeing as she is a reporter, she can’t help but write the story for her family’s paper, causing quite the stir. Some of the townsfolk however, aren’t happy with the investigative reporting being covered by the Beacon and make their feelings known.
Good thing Conley has a few people on her side!
An audiobook that kept me completely charmed throughout by one of my favorite narrators, Ms. Kathleen McInerney! 3.5 Stars
Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook.
So Mary Kay Andrews has been referred to as the queen of beach reads and really that is quite true with this latest. Hello, Summer is Mary Kay Andrews latest contemporary romance that actually has a touch of mystery with the lead being a hard hitting journalist always chasing the truth in the latest story.
Conley Hawkins left her small beach town in the rearview mirror years ago to chase a career as a journalist. Conley actually had made a success of her career winning awards and working for a large paper in Atlanta but she continued to want more setting up a new job for more money but just as she was packing up to leave Atlanta the job fell through.
With her plans going up in smoke and no where to live or work Conley jumps in her car and heads south to the town she grew up in. Conley’s sister had taken over the family business running the small paper The Silver Bay Beacon but after arriving in town Conley quickly stumbles on a major story and finds herself working for her sister.
Hello, Summer takes the normal contemporary and puts it on a high octane path with such a fast paced hard hitting lead. We still have plenty of family drama with some romance mixed in but it was so much fun following along with Conley as she uncovered decades old scandals and stayed on top of current news. With plenty of edge of your seat intensity this one really kept the pages turning as I not only fell in love with the characters and setting but had fun with the breaking news stories along the way.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
We all know Mary Kay Andrews is the Queen of summer reads. I read her books every May when they typically publish. I was super excited for Hello, Summer and let me just say this did NOT disappoint!
Conley is a big time reporter and is leaving her current company to start a bigger and better job. The day of her going away party her sister sends her an article that the company she's transitioning to is going under and her current company already found her replacement. Not knowing where to go, she drives to her G'mama's house in Florida to sort things out. Once she's there she gets some pressure to help with the family's local paper and it ends up being more than she bargained for.
Conley gets involved with a former high school flame as well as in the middle of a family political scandal. She is a witness at a scene of a crime and has to literally fight for her life. All the while she is trying to make amends with family she hasn't visited in six years after she randomly shows up on their doorstep. Conley goes through about every emotion trying to really figure out what the important things are and she must learn to enjoy what's right in front of her.
I loved this book so much and I think that it's MKA's best one yet. It is quite lengthy (500 pages) but I read it in under 2 days because I wanted to know what was going to happen with Conley and the rest of the characters. This is written in short chapters and they make you want to keep turning the pages as there were a few story lines going on at once. I felt the characters were relatable in some way or another. I also felt totally transported to the beach town Silver Bay and felt like a fly on the wall watching it all play out.
What I loved most about this book was it had everything I want in a book. It had characters I loved and characters I hated. It had a soft love story. It had a political family with a scandal. It has an investigation playing out. It has family drama, secrets and relationships that work through their problems. It had a strong female lead who figured out what she really wanted in life, not because anyone else told her what she should want. It had beautiful descriptions of the beach and sunsets. It just had everything I always look for in a beach read
Overall, this book was stellar. It may seem intimidating with the page count but don't let that stop you. I promise it's worth the read and I will definitely be recommending it to all during this summer season!
Thank you to St Martin's Press, KCCPR and Tandem Literary for my ARC and finished copies of this book. Go pick this one up now!
A perfect bit of escapism for quarantine. I read it in a day, whisked off to the gorgeous Florida coast which is so vivid you can feel the waves lapping your feet (without wanting to die from the humidity in real life). A terrific depiction of an unraveling news story as well, with a tenacious journalist as likeable, determined, and ambitious heroine doing the unraveling.
2020 has been anything but normal. Everything going forward is referred to as the "new normal". A phrase that certainly works for some situations but in the case of a Mary Kay Andrews book comes out, we know that we are in for the same perfect blend of summer, romance and mystery. We know that the vibrant yet tranquil looking summer cover is anything but calm when you start reading. Hello, Summer follows ace reporter, Conley Hawkins as she abruptly takes a career detour back to her hometown in the Florida panhandle. Having worked at a large newspaper in Atlanta, the award-winning reporter's career is set to take her to the national scene in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Conley finds herself unemployed. She heads south to lick her wounds and regroup at her Grandmother's beachside cottage . Returning home means seeing her sister who is the editor in chief of the towns local paper. Conley and her sister have a rocky relationship at best but their grandmother as owner of the paper, exercises her owner's rights and hires Conley to work at the paper while she's home. Conley, an ace investigative journalist, is now competing for a byline with the elderly local town busybody. That's until late one night, Conley and her former boyfriend, witness the death of a local congressman in a car explosion. Channeling her inner Bob Woodward, she knows that there is more to the congressman's death that a simple freak accident. There are lots of twists and turns in Andrew's book. If you can't physically go to the beach this year, get a copy of Hello, Summer. Sit back in your favorite comfy chair with a tall glass of liquid sunshine and open the book to page one. You will find yourself transported to warm, sandy beach with more excitement and mystery than any actual vacation you've ever taken.
Living in Myrtle Beach, it's hard to believe this was my first MKA book...
I really, really liked it though! Great characters (Rowena!), great story, but it was definitely way longer than it needed to be. The first 300 pages should have been 100. But once I got to the halfway point, I flew through it.
Looking forward to going back and reading her other books!
Since it is summer and hotter than hell I felt Hello Summer by Mary Kay Andrews is an appropriate book to dive into. I have to admit i was dreading it a bit. I expected a chick lit book with lots of romance and sex. This is my first Mary Kay Andrews book. I was surprised it was not as anticipated. A nice drama, with a bit of mystery and romance. I will be reading more of this authors books in the future.
The beach cover is deceiving and I felt a bit disappointed. This is more of a mystery with family drama. The mystery does push the reading along so it’s not a total wash. MK does write great characters, plot and beautiful locales and this is no exception. This one has lots of high ratings so it might be the book for you but not for me!
Well, summer has officially started with Mary Kay Andrews book Hello, Summer!! A fun and witty story about a journalist trying to figure her life out when her job falls apart and find herself smack in the middle of a scandal. I love her books and this one does not disappoint. It has family drama (more than one family...), love interest, friendships tested, a stalker and a dead man wrapped up in mystery. The makings of the perfect beach read!!! There's action, excitement, fun, some sass, and love all on the beach!!
I love the southern settings and MKA always puts just the right mix of suspense with southern charm. It was entertaining and will keep you guessing! I loved the characters!! I mean, who doesn't love a boy next door love interest??!! While the book is a hair long, it reads very quickly. She keeps a good pace and the plot line interesting enough that you won't put it down. MKA fans will love this one!! If you haven't read any of her books, jump on into the world of MKA and summer with this one!!! You'll love it!!
My thanks to Mary Kay Andrews, St. Martin's Press and netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Andrews has done it again. I love romance, mystery, dysfunctional families, drama. You get it all . I was so happy to read Conley and Skelly's story. I loved the whole newspaper and small town. I can't get enough of Andrews books. This one had mysteries on top of one another. You are going to love the grandma and I just can't say enough about the whole stoary. This ending was a perfect ending for this lazy summer read. 5 stars and HIGHLY recommend this beach read. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.
Mary Kay Andrews has delivered another great novel with well-rounded characters and a compelling story line. Conley, a reporter in Atlanta, has accepted a new job. Just as she is about to start, there is suddenly no new job. She decides to return home to Silver Bay, FL, where her family has published a small paper, The Beacon, for years. While sending out resumes, her grandmother asks her to write for The Beacon; when she comes across a story of a beloved local politician's shady past, she has some decisions to make, while reconnecting with an old crush complicates her career plans. Hello Summer's combination of romance, mystery, and the beach were a winning combination for me! Thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Mary Kay did her usual fantastic job on this book. But I must tell you her writing style has changed a lot from her beginnings. The topics are less frivolous. The storylines and characters are more profound and more mysterious. The last few books have less humor and off- the- wall characters in them.
This book was filled with mystery, intrigue, family, murder, unlikable characters (and I must admit that it took me a very long time to connect with and warm up to, Conley Hawkins, our main character) lies, romance and the usual luscious descriptions of the deep South.
This book will be a must-buy for avid Mary Kay Andrew's fans, and I highly recommend this book to those that love a good mystery and tales of the South.
Nothing says Summer than a Mary Kay Andrews book. I've become a huge fan of hers and I still have her backlist to get through. This is her newest story and its another winner.
Conley quits her job to accept another one but things don't go as planned. So she finds herself back in Silver Bay, her hometown. Without a job and living again with her grandmother, she accepts a temporary job with her sister. She runs the family owned business, The Silver Bay Beacon. Conley ends up witnessing an accident that involves a local congressman. From there, she wants to write the story, but soon finds more scandals in the local town than she bargained for. This book had everything: mystery, family dynamics, a little romance, and along the way finding yourself. If you're a fan, like myself, don't hesitate to pick this one up or if you haven't read MKA before, than I recommend giving her a try.
**Thank you to Goodreads giveaway for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
***Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Another fantastic read from Mary Kay Andrews! Hello, Summer is great for a summer read, or if you are looking to escape from everyday life. There is a little bit of romance in this one, but the main focus is on Conley's journalism and the accident that she witnesses. It was a bit of a tome at almost 500 pages, so I was happy that I decided to do the audio. Kathleen McInerney made for a lovely narrator, and I loved the way she did each character's voice. Doing the audiobook made things go by pretty quickly, but there are also short chapters as well which clearly helps.
Before Hello, Summer, I had read the last two books from Andrews and loved them, and while I really enjoyed this one, it wasn't quite a five-star-read for me. I think it was a little too long with some of it feeling unnecessary, and Conley wasn't as great of a character as I have come to expect from MKA. Plus I just wanted a little bit more romance and less of the political aspect. However, don't let that stop you from reading it because it is definitely still worth it and there are a lot of things I did love about the book. It ended up being very twisty, and I loved the addition of the HELLO, SUMMER column (clearly where the book got its name).
Hello, Summer is a fun Sothern Lit novel, and although I wouldn't completely consider it a beach read, it was definitely fun and endearing. MKA is an autobuy author for me and nothing has changed from reading this book. I adored the end of it, and there were so many parts that made me laugh. I also really enjoyed the journalism aspect and love that MKA is writing about what she knows. If you are a fan of this author then I definitely recommend reading Hello, Summer.
This book has gotten many rave reviews on NetGalley so I requested it. Sadly, I could not get interested in this story. Just not for me. I’ve enjoyed other Mary Kay Andrew books so i will continue to read them. DNF at 25%. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for my honest review.
So cheesy and predictable. A woman moves back to her hometown. She meets the boy next door, who makes her food at the soda fountain. An adorable grandma, a prickly sister and other cute small town characters. All have cute, southern names. The main character solves a mystery, saves her newspaper, and gets the hot guy. Blah, blah, blah Why do authors love the idea of characters forgetting to eat so that someone cute can feed them?? It pops up again and again. Is it taught in creative writing seminars? I’m truly mystified.
I picked up this book expecting to love it but was so disappointed. I’m a librarian and a patron mentioned that she loved this book and this author. She wanted a recommendation for a book or author and I struggled to find one for her because I wasn’t familiar with this author or book. I’m glad to have read this so now I can help the next person better but it was torture reading this book.
This book was published this year (2020) and yet it reads like chick lit from the 90’s. It all felt super outdated. It’s about a hotshot journalist finds who herself temporarily unemployed and works at her family’s newspaper that *gasp* dOeSn’T uSe ThE iNtErNeTs 😱.
At one point in the beginning one of the characters shit talks millennials despite BOTH OF THEM BEING MILLENNIALS. That’s right. Millennials are almost 40.
The main character is incredibly boring. She insists being called by her middle name despite the fact that she’s come back to her hometown. Just because they call you something else at work doesn’t mean that everyone needs to call you Comly (idk if this is how it was spelled I listened to the audiobook) SARAH. She’s only has hardships when it means she can use it to win an argument. Everyone bends backwards for her and the people who don’t are literally evil.
The main love interest is the guy next door who was married but is divorced now because his ex was evil and takes care of his mother who has Alzheimer’s. Also he’s a doctor. But he’s boring too! There isn’t really chemistry and I was told over and over that they have “history” but I really wasn’t feeling it. Also (Spoiler) the mother with Alzheimer’s conveniently dies when love interest and she-who-refuses-her-own-name get married. That’s right. Refrigerator grandma.
Rowena was best character and only character with a personality.
Like I said before, I was really wanting this to be good. But now I’ve read a crappy book and I’ll have to lie to that library patron about never having read this book from now until forever.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I received this book for free in exchange for a review.
I normally really enjoy reading MKA books. This one has a good story line but needed to be reduced by about 150 pages.
I felt like there was maybe too much back story and too many characters trying to be tied into the story.
Introducing Rowena. Rowena writes a gossip column called Hello Summer. You would think this character plays a large roll in the book right? As the is the title of the book.. Wrong.....minor part and I'm still not sure her purpose or necessity in the book.
Introducing Bobby Bright. Local nighttime radio host who also does news reports. Character is introduced in the first couple chapters, plays no major role in most of the book, is supposed to have a mysterious past that gets mentioned but wasn't even significant enough to matter to the storyline. But he does in the end save the main character!??!?! Again, unsure why he is even necessary for the story.
I felt like most of the book was this way. Random and inconsequential.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve picked up a Mary Kay Andrews novel and frankly, after reading Hello Summer, I’m a bit baffled why I’ve slighted her for other authors’ lighter and presently more trendy fare. I guess that her books don’t exactly “fit” into today’s more flippant Rom-Com style, nor do they match the parameters of the latest buzz books. However, Hello Summer reminded me that Andrews writes a great story, with terrific characters, superb pacing and worth my time for sheer escapism.
Conley is a journalist without a job- and finds herself back working on the family newspaper in the quaint town where she grew up - with no plans to make it permanent. Her hot shot efforts rake up lots of muck, following the suspicious death of a senator- and horrifies the genteel citizens who prefer to have their muck nicely swept under the rug.
I enjoyed this story immensely- a terrific light mystery, sweet and humorous people and an iffy romance - all of which entertained and kept me reading avidly, and left me refreshed.
Wow, had my interest right from the beginning. Full of Political corruption, a death, dysfunctional family and just a tiny bit of romance thrown in. Conley Hawkins had left her small town Florida town to be a bigwig journalist in a big city. She is now to take a new position in a new city and that goes up in smoke so she goes running back to Florida to live with her grandmother until she gets a new job. Her family business is a small town paper and she wants no part of it. Especially since her older sister is in charge and hates Conley. Conley is out one night when her and a friend encounter an accident scene before anyone else gets there. It happens to be the local congressman and he is dead. So she goes digging into his life and his past and starts writing for her families paper and turns up a lot which puts her life into danger. I could not put this down. Thank you to St. Martins and NetGalley for the review.
HELLO, SUMMER is not the first and definitely not the last Mary Kay Andrews book I have read. Mary Kay has a way with words and she grabs you right from the very first page and never lets you go. Newspaper reporter, Conley Hawkins, is getting ready to leave her job in Atlanta for a brand new one in Washington, D.C. If I were to say she’s excited about the new position it would be a huge understatement. However, things don’t always go as planned and her new company closes down before she ever gets to start her new job.
After her new job falls through, Conley finds herself back in her hometown working for her family’s small town newspaper. Lucky for her, she soon uncovers a huge scandal involving the death of local Congressman Charles Symmes Robinette. I loved her Grandma Lorraine and the newspaper staff. Also, Winnie, the housekeeper who’s been with the family for generations. I also love the story of Conley and Sean Kelly and their past together and how they became friends once again. HELLO, SUMMER really held my interest and the setting in the South is my newest weakness.
The stories and memories that Conley and Sean tell as the book goes on about their relationship as neighbors are very funny. At times, I was laughing out loud and that can be very embarrassing when sitting on the beach by yourself! Not that I was sitting on the beach, just saying! They are both denying that they have feelings for each other, but they are both big liars! I could not put HELLO, SUMMER down and enjoyed every minute of it!
If you are looking for an awesome beach read, HELLO, SUMMER will not disappoint!
I loved the main characters in HELLO, SUMMER and the secondary characters were just as awesome.
I always enjoy a good MKA book and this one didn’t disappoint. I love how this isn’t your typical shallow beach read… It’s so much more. Don’t let the length deter you. It covers love, mystery, backstabbing, lies, political intrigue, and has a generous sprinkle of feminism. There’s just something about Andrews’ books… I find them comforting and joyful. I always feel happy when I’m done.
The latest book by Mary Kay Andrews again offers a good story, some excellent characters, and an intriguing read. She has an ability to depict southern living, southern living in the panhandle of Florida for this novel. If you are familiar with the area, many of her descriptions will ring true, from the small town featuring prominent churches to the way the residents all seem to know one another, as well as their ancestors back for several generations. In this story she offers us a picture of a small town lawyer who manages to carve out a career as a successful 18 term member of congress who excelled in bringing lots of federal dollars into the area. The result is that he is revered by most of the locals who don’t want to hear anything negative about him; but that’s difficult when he dies in an unexplained car accident. She includes his grasping, second wife and his “born with a silver spoon in his mouth” son who both approach life with an air of entitlement that many residents are willing and even complicit in their maintaining. On the opposite side of the story are Conley, the protagonist of this story who is a dedicated news reporter with personal experience in what it feels like to be abused by the son. She is also a member of the town’s aristocracy, albeit a different segment that is represented by bankers, the founder of the local newspaper and friends who all grew up on one of the more prominent streets in town and went on to contribute to the town’s continuing existence as one of those idyllic small southern towns where everyone knows each other and graciousness is is way of life. Conley is somewhat the odd person out here, having moved to the metropolitan city of Savannah and become a successful print reporter until circumstances upend her career path and she has to return home for what she plans will be a short hiatus. There are multiple story lines here, including Conley’s relationship with her long time friend and neighbor, Skelly, who owns the pharmacy in town, her sister Grayson, who took over running the family paper and is paying for that decision with problems in her marriage, her grandmother, the a grande dame of the town who exhibits all the charm as well as the steel spine that epitomizes a segment of iconic southern women, and her housekeeper, who is more a friend than employee and has her own reasons to hate the now dead senator. All these differing story lines dovetail beautifully into a tale that is part discovery of how the senator died, part description of southern living, perhaps from a standpoint that is dying out, and an awakening of what is truly important in life. Hint: It may be a career, it may be something entirely different. This is an easy book to read, with no major surprises, but still a satisfying end to the story. The characters and town are so well drawn the reader will have no problem picking it up, putting it down to go shell some bean,burr some strawberries, or take a quick dip in the ocean and then come back to spend some time with Conley and company.
I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.
I went into this one thinking ROMANCE and SUMMER FUN, but ended up with a big, fat MURDER MYSTERY. The synopsis says Andrews is Queen of the Beach Reads, but suspenseful books are not what I want to read while I'm lounging on the beach. I want romance! I want hot, fiery passion! I want something light and funny! I do not want deer guts, entitled white men, and a main character that only cares about herself.
Additionally, Conley doesn't witness an accident, she stumbles across one after it happens (a very significant detail). She also doesn't have an "old heartbreaker" causing trouble (if anything, she was the one that broke someone's heart), and the "new flame" is an untended ember in a bonfire. Skelly (hated his nickname, but liked the guy) was a childhood friend and old neighbor, so he and Conley had a past. He was interested in getting to know who she was now, but Conley was too focused on what she wanted to stop and consider someone else's feelings. She frequently told Sean Kelly (Skelly? Get it?), her G'mama, and her sister, Grayson, that she was only there temporarily. She could clearly see how her being around had positively impacted their lives, yet she wouldn't even entertain the idea of staying.
The book was too long, and I disliked how many different articles and bulletins I had to read. Most of the information was meaningless (like what people were wearing at an event), and I wish all of that had been condensed so only relevant information was shared. I didn't need to read an entire news article that the characters were going to discuss at length over the next few pages. Conley also used people when she was working on a story, by asking them for favors, or betraying their confidence. She simply cared about the rush of writing on a deadline. That's shitty, selfish behavior.
Also, I was on page 60 when the POV changed without warning, which was incredibly frustrating. Suddenly, we're following a strange man around instead of Conley. We know who he is on the simplest of levels, so nothing of consequence. He seems like a nice guy, but alludes to something dark and life-altering in his past. I honestly had no idea why his input was necessary for the story, and think it could have been reworked to make everything less confusing and more mysterious. His observations made certain things transparent, instead of them being alluded to over time. I understand what the author was trying to accomplish, but maybe save all his thoughts for the end? Like, they find his journal or something instead?
However, with that being said, I did enjoy the overall story that Andrews crafted within the lengthy 558 pages of Hello, Summer (yes, it's a beast). This was my first Mary Kay Andrews book, and it will likely be my last. It has nothing to do with the book itself (which really did have an exciting murder mystery), and everything to do with the fact that these aren't the types of stories I typically go for. I want more kissing and fun dialogue, and less murder and manipulation. I was surprised numerous times throughout Hello, Summer, and felt like Conley really had to work for the information she received. It felt believable, although her personality left a lot to be desired.
The secondary characters were complex and interesting, each of them contributing to the story in their own way (oftentimes obnoxiously (looking at you, Rowena)), and the plot kept me invested in their lives. If you enjoy a good murder mystery, or like piecing together clues and trying to determine the outcome before the main character, then Hello, Summer might be a book for you! The story itself was well-written, even if the synopsis was a bit misleading. (★★★☆☆)
The calendar may disagree with me but Summer, 2020, starts on May 5 when the new Mary Kay Andrews book is published. I am a major fan and every year she publishes a perfect beach read to get her readers ready for the lazy days of summer. Her new book continues her trend of well written books with believable characters and a beautiful setting in a beach town.
Conley is leaving her job as a reporter in Atlanta and headed for an even better job in DC. Her car is packed and her condo has been rented and all she has to endure before she hits the road is a going away party from her colleagues. She finds out during the party that the new job has fallen through. She has no job, no prospects and nowhere to go, so she heads home to Silver Bay, Florida, to her G'mama's house. Her grandmother is a feisty 90 plus year old who lives with her long time housekeeper Winnie, who is almost part of the family. Her estranged sister, Grayson, also lives in Silver Bay and is the editor at the Beacon, a small newspaper owned by their family for years. After some persuasion from her grandmother, Conley decides to stay in Silver Bay and work at the newspaper until she can find a big city job and advance her career. The first job that her sister gives her at the newspaper is to proofread and re-write the gossip column, called Hello, Summer, that has been written by an old, quirky, long time town resident who loves to get the gossip and feels that she is the pulse of the community.
Life changes for Conley when she arrives at an accident scene where the local Congressman is killed. He is a war-hero and much loved in the community but when Conley starts to look into his background, she finds a first wife and 2 children who are never mentioned plus several very expensive houses and a very rich lifestyle. She and Grayson agree that this is a mystery worth looking into. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it becomes to her. Her story also gets noticed by CNN and this may be her ticket out of town.
This is the book that everyone will be reading this summer!
Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
If I could gather up every single Mary Kay Andrews book and take them all on vacation to the beach, having them be all I read while I was there, it would be sheer heaven. Better yet, if I was renting one of Mary Kay's beach houses in Georgia while on said vacation, well..... WHAT IS a descriptive word better than heaven??
I won't lie, picking up a Mary Kay Andrews beach read is an automatic for me. I always know I am going to like them, so reviewing her books is never hard. The best part is that I never know what I'm going to get when I open it up, and Hello Summer didn't disappoint. Coming in at a little over 500 pages, you may be frightened when you first pick this one up, most summer reads aren't so lengthy. But I promise you, the size doesn't matter, I still flew through it in a day and almost wished there was even more..
When Conley Hawkins dream newspaper job falls through she finds herself back home in her sleepy beach town of Silver Bay. Worse yet, she gets sucked into helping her sister with the run down hometown newspaper, The Beacon. When Conley happens upon an accident where a prominent member of the community is killed, of course she needs to investigate, and the more she noses around, the more risky her investigation becomes to her and her family. With a big mix of mystery, family drama, and a lovely chunk of romance, Mary Kay Andrews has written another page turning summer read that delivers the escape you are looking for without the weight of an exhausting saga.
Light, airy, and pleasant to read, I highly recommend Hello, Summer. You can never go wrong with any of Mary Kay's books, and now we have another to add to the list.
Thank you to @marykayandrews and @stmartinspress for the gifted copy of this book for my honest and unbiased opinion.