Three Sentence Synopsis: Bella has been betrayed by her half-sister, who slept with her ex-husband. At a public makeup demonstration, she meets entrepreneur Sean Ryan, who helps her start a sideline business. Misunderstandings ensue, involving her personal life and the family business, conflict is resolved, and Bella and Sean eventually end up dating.
Recommendation: This is a quick airplane/beach read. Light and fluffy, this book should take little time to finish. However, the characters are not well-drawn, the book suffers from product placement overload, and the motivations are thin at best. The best part of the book was the pacing.
Bella Shaughnessy is a woman scorned and betrayed. Her half-sister, Sophia, is now dating her ex-husband, Craig, a situation Bella finds intolerable. Her family is trying to keep peace between the sisters, especially since both Bella and Sophia work at the family salons. However, at a college fair Bella meets Sean Ryan, an entrepreneur who is selling a “How to Get into College” kit in the booth next to her. He admires her work (she’s a makeup artist) and suggests she start her own makeup kit for women. While doing the makeup for a wedding party, she is paid to take care of a pair of unruly children, then a dog. No one ever comes back for the dog, so she decides to keep Precious (who is later renamed Cannoli), then begins to create her personal makeup kit. Bella’s makeup knowledge combined with Sean Ryan’s sales knowledge ends up making the personal makeup kits a nice sideline for Bella. She invites him to her nephew’s wedding in Atlanta and he accepts, but later refuses when her ex-husband shows up one night to talk. Bella ends up flying to Atlanta with Cannoli and attends a college fair with Sean Ryan, where he tells her he’s interested, but he doesn’t want to be the rebound guy. At the wedding, Sophia flirts with Sean right in front of Bella and Craig. Bella confronts Sophia and tells her to get her own life then kicks Craig out of the reception. She then turns to Sean and tells him that he has to make a choice: she’s either a business associate or more. Sean eventually chooses more and they end the book dating.
Summer Blowout by Claire Cook ranks as one of the fastest chick-lit books I’ve ever read and for good reason. It’s badly written. I could not identify with the main character, Bella Shaughnessy, her family, or anyone else in the book. The only people remotely interesting were her brother and brother-in-law. Overall, the pace was good, but the rest of the book suffered. The product placement was staggering (to say the least).