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review 2020-12-03 07:24
Ladies' Night
Ladies' Night - Mary Kay Andrews

Definitely not one of her best books, but not nearly as poor as I was led to believe.  Admittedly, it's set in my home town, which never fails to delight me as my home town only read made it on to the map in the last 15 years or so.  But I enjoyed following the main character's vision and her hard work on restoring the Cracker house, and I thoroughly enjoyed the romantic interest's background of owning Jungle Jerry's, a fictional but entirely accurate take on Sarasota Jungle Gardens, right down to the parrot that rides a bike. 


Nostalgia definitely bumped the rating on this book at least a star; the villains were too villainous to be real - although in Florida non of them were impossible - and the plots were superficial at best.  I always hold up her non detective fiction against her an early work of hers, Hissy Fit, and this falls far short of that incredibly readable story, but it's not, as I said, her worst.  Living as far from home as one can get and still be on the planet, I thoroughly enjoyed the virtual trip home, so, 4 stars.

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review 2020-07-07 02:24
Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews
Savannah Blues - Mary Kay Andrews
SAVANNAH BLUES by Mary Kay Andrews
Okay, yes, it is chick lit. BUT, it is GOOD chick lit. Andrews is my favorite author for when I am mad at the world (don’t ask) and I need a picker-upper. She gives me a good story with interesting characters, some local touches, a lot of romance, a bit of “southern” and good writing with a few laughs on the way to getting the bad guy and having a happy ending.
Weezie, the wronged wife and soon to be divorcee, has been consigned to the “coach house” while hubby lives with wife number two in the “big house”. Best friend, Bebe, comes to the rescue when Weezie is caught standing over the bloody body of wife number two. Bebe brings along the hunky chef of the best restaurant in town who tries to help with interesting results (he must have a great staff because he is rarely at said restaurant).
Lots of fun and skullduggery, a bit of antiquing and home repair, along with many twists and turns in the romance department make this a great read for a quarantine summer.
5 of 5 stars

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-07-15 12:46
The Invaders by Pat Shipman
The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction - Donna Postel,Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews

TITLE:  The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction


AUTHOR:  Pat Shipman


NARRATOR:  Donna Postel




FORMAT:  Audiobook


ISBN-13:  9781494563097




"Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe-descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But when modern humans eventually made their way to Europe 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Ever since the first Neanderthal bones were identified in 1856, scientists have been vexed by the question, why did modern humans survive while their evolutionary cousins went extinct? The Invaders musters compelling evidence to show that the major factor in the Neanderthals' demise was direct competition with newly arriving humans. Drawing on insights from the field of invasion biology, Pat Shipman traces the devastating impact of a growing human population: reduction of Neanderthals' geographic range, isolation into small groups, and loss of genetic diversity. But modern humans were not the only invaders who competed with Neanderthals for big game. Shipman reveals fascinating confirmation of humans' partnership with the first domesticated wolf-dogs soon after Neanderthals first began to disappear. This alliance between two predator species, she hypothesizes, made possible an unprecedented degree of success in hunting large Ice Age mammals-a distinct and ultimately decisive advantage for humans over Neanderthals at a time when climate change made both groups vulnerable."





I do not have a good relationship with audiobook - I tend to wool gather or fall asleep while listening to them. So I might have missed something and couldn't flip back to check.




This book is something of a detective/mystery novel where the author tries to find out why the Neanderthals went extinct.  Her hypothesis makes use of ecological theory to suggest that modern humans have the same effect on the environment as any other invasive species competing with native animals for the same/similar resources - thus Neanderthals and other megafauna could have survived the cold climate at the time but could not survive the climate and the additional competition with modern humans and their pet wolves/dogs.  The changing climate, changing food sources, other animals in the area, generic invasive species and their effects, hunting techniques, the arrival of modern humans, competition for the same/similar resources, as well as the domestication of wolves/dogs is discussed. The title of the book doesn't really fit with Shipman's hypothesis though, as according to the text, Neanderthals were already on their way out before homo sapiens (aka modern humans) migrated into Eurasia and the semi-domesticated wolf-dogs only arrived (according to available fossil evidence) after the Neanderthals were gone.  The dogs only make an appearance about 3/4 through the book, if anyone is looking specifically for that information. 


I'm not entirely convinced by her argument.  The timing is a bit erratic, with Neanderthal populations declining before modern humans arrived and a large time gap between Neanderthals and domesticated wolves.  She also doesn't take into account that dogs were domesticated from an extinct species of wolf that might not have behaved in the same way as the Grey wolves used in her study (she generally ignored all the other canid species and their interactions with humans).  The author admits that there isn't enough evidence currently to say whether her hypothesis is correct or not, and that new advances in dating and additional fossil sites are required to either prove/disprove her hypothesis.  Shipman's hypothesis of why modern humans domesticated wolves/dogs and Neanderthals didn't, is fairly interesting and new information seems to provide some confirming evidence.  There is also some issue with her stating that Neanderthals ate only meat and didn't change their diet (especially in comparison with brown bear diet changes), when other studies state that some Neanderthals ate meat, others a mix, and some others ate mostly vegetables and thus changed their diet.  There is also no mention of Denisovians (probably due to lack of evidence at time of publication).  The DNA data on Neanderthal-Modern Human hybridization/interbreeding is also out of date.  This makes me wonder what else is out of date and how that effects the hypothesis.


Pat Shipman helpfully makes a point of differentiating between speculation and inferences from hard, empirical evidence.  There is a lot of space dedicated to dating of specific finds and analysis of particular fossil evidence.  She does however, tend to repeat herself too often and harp on the same theme far too much (I got that humans are an invasive species after the first paragraph, I didn't need a whole chapter on the subject and several reminders throughout the book). 


An interesting, but flawed, book.



NOTE ON AUDIOBOOK:  Postel has a pleasant voice, narrates well and at a decent speed.


Humanity's Best Friend: How Dogs May Have Helped Humans Beat the Neanderthals

The Evolution of Puppy Dog Eyes

Some Neanderthals Were Vegetarian — And They Likely Kissed Our Human Ancestors






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review 2019-06-12 09:37
Beach Town
Beach Town - Mary Kay Andrews

I actually finished reading this two days ago, but I've recently become insanely obsessed with a silly game on my iPhone, and I've been ... distracted  Luckily, I remember enough about the book to clearly remember that for the most part it was ... ok.  Actually, probably not quite as good as ok, but the setting fed my optimism bias enough that I'll remember it as being an ok read.


The MC is a location manager for the film industry, tasked with finding the perfect "Old Florida" town: run down, palm tree laden, white beach bordered.  This mandate was arguably the most interesting part of the writing for me; as a Florida cracker myself, I actually remember "old Florida" and genuinely wish we could bring it back.  And I have to say, Andrews nailed "old Florida" in a way that's startling, especially given that Andrews is a Georgia girl.  Cypress Key (which I'm assuming is fictional), is described as just outside of Gainesville and Alachua, so definitely in the northern part of the state, but her description of it so closely mimics my own home town - right down to the old casino at the end of a pier and a decrepit boathouse at the base of the bridge, that I felt right at home.


The rest of the story though, was just plain average.  The romance didn't spark, the lack of reality in the timelines, and complete absence of the red tape involved in filming a movie; the complete cliche of the 'star' being an out of control coke head.  All of this just felt dialled in and lacked any of the complexity that I've found in Andrews' earlier work.  It was ok enough that I don't regret buying my copy used, but had I bought it new I would definitely have felt underwhelmed with Andrews' effort.

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review 2019-02-23 06:27
Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach - Mary Kay Andrews

Title : Sunset Beach

Author: Mary Kay Andrews

Genre: romance, cozy mystery

Pages: 432

St.Martin's Press

May 7 , 2019

author's websit: https://marykayandrews.com/


Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist.

Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

My thoughts
Rating: 5
Would I recommend this book? A Big Yes ( in fact as soon as I saw Netgalley had it to request I went and told a friend she had to request it)
Will I read any more by her? a big yes
When it comes to Mary Kay Andrews's books there always warm , fuzzy and fun to read , no mater what the season is or what your day is like, their easy reads that you can pick up and just set back and enjoy with a touch of romance and mystery that will make you smile and laugh out loud, their the perfect beach reads or if you just when you want something to brightening your day or night , because she has a way with her characters that will make you just set there and shake your head at the shenanigans they get in to. AS with this book Sunset Beach , before you know it your felling in love with the characters , and wanting to visit the places that are mentioned in it. So if you haven't picked up her books you need to do so . With that said I want to thank Beatrice at St.Martins as well as Netgalley for letting read and review Sunset Beach exchange for my honest opinion , and I can't wait to read more by her books.

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