Summer Blowout by Claire Cook.  Publisher: Voice, June 2008

Bella Shaughnessy is addicted to lipstick with names like My Chihuahua Bites and Kiss My Lips, an occupational hazard, since she works as a stylist and makeup artist for her family’s small chain of beauty salons in Marshbury, Massachusetts, 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 and still carries a torch for his first wife, Bella’s mother. 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.

Then Bella meets a cute entrepreneur at a college fair, and despite their bickering, they can’t seem to stay away from each other. He also gives her a brilliant business idea, one that just might allow her to share her makeup expertise with the world. A small, well-tressed dog finds her way into her 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.

This hilarious, rambunctious novel is pure Claire Cook: full of juicy conflict and unconditional love.

Bella Shaughnessy is swearing off men, especially now that her half-sister is dating her ex-husband.  Bella works as a stylist and makeup artist in the family’s beauty salon business.  Her life is not what she expected until she works a wedding party and their pet dog, Precious, is left in her care.  Bella become attached to Precious not willing to give her up by dying her fur and re-naming her Cannoli.  At a college fair, Bella meets Sean Ryan and from that moment on becomes a tug of war/will between the two whether they’ll be more than just friends.  I loved this book because you got to see the emotions of a strong-will woman who know what she wants, but don’t know how to ask for it and as I stated above, it’s a feel-good book.   I definitely plan to read other books by this author.  [4 stars – really liked it]

*new-to-me author

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