Summer Blowout [NOOK Book]


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 ...
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Summer Blowout

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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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Cook updates the themes of love and disenchantment that drove Life's a Beachand Must Love Dogsin her latest beacher. Bella Shaughnessy, a makeup artist whose solace in times of hardship is finding just the right lipstick to match her mood, gets a divorce and quits men after discovering that her husband of 10 years has been seeing her younger half-sister, Sophia. During a wedding job, she gets stuck with dog-sitting Precious (who "looked kind of like a flying squirrel") and quickly gets so attached that she takes drastic measures to keep the dog. Can other kinds of attachment be far behind, as cute and easygoing Sean Ryan enters the picture? Sufficient comedy and romance keep readers entertained until the last page. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Lipstick rules in this sunny romance tucked inside a Boston family's chain of beauty salons. Recently divorced makeup artist Bella Shaughnessy is going down swinging as she reacts to newcomer Sean Ryan and the gnawing possibility that developers are sabotaging her family's original shop. Cook's (Life's a Beach) ability to make families' foibles ring true-and funny-ensures a delightful read. Snap this one up and enjoy the makeup advice.

—Teresa Jacobsen
Kirkus Reviews
Cook's fifth (Life's a Beach, 2007, etc.), about a family of beauticians, falls as flat as a badly layered mullet. The formulaic chick-lit elements are duly provided: family craziness, brand-name-dropping, egregious infidelity. Lucky Larry Shaughnessy gave Italian names to his five children and to the chain of beauty salons he runs in the Boston area. Why? Well, he's been an "Italiophile" ever since he spent his first honeymoon in Tuscany, and "how much money could you really charge at Salon de Seamus?" Daughter (and narrator) Bella recently lost her husband Craig to her half-sister Sophia. This makes work awkward, since all of Lucky's offspring, along with two of his ex-wives, are employed in the salons. Makeup artist and lipstick addict Bella cute-meets rich, handsome Sean Ryan at a college admission fair where she's providing makeovers and he's test-marketing a "college application survival kit." They exchange wisecracks and snappy comebacks, but not, just yet, bodily fluids. Burned by bad relationships, both have commitment issues. Among the other developments: Bella, assigned to prettify a bridal party, dognaps the bride's neglected tiny terrier, dyes and crops the dog's fur and renames her Cannoli. There are a few funny bits, as when the Shaughnessys, including gay stylist Mario and his spouse Todd, perform a hair intervention to force Lucky to give up his Donald Trump coiffure. But the climactic ensemble scene in Atlanta, where the family congregates for a nephew's wedding, is not the madcap laugh-fest it labors to be. Nor is eminently self-satisfied Bella the sort of wryly self-deprecating protagonist the genre requires. Intense beauty-product placement may be this novel's onlyselling point. Agent: Lisa Bankoff/ICM
Elin Hilderbrand
"As intoxicating as a seat at the top of the Ferris wheel... might be the most fun you have all summer."
Meg Cabot
"Charming, engagingly quirky, and full of fun, Claire Cook just gets it. Summer Blowout is irresistible!"
Carole Goldberg
"A laugh-filled look at love... Nobody does the easy-breezy beach book with a lighter hand than Claire Cook...In Summer soon find yourself on another of Cook's delightful tours of the funny side of big family life."
Amy Cohen
"As someone who struggles with humid, willful, occasionally explosive summer hair, I only wish every Summer Blowout were so completely satisfying. Claire Cook is at her irresistible, charming, dishy, can't put it down best."
Good Housekeeping
"Laugh out loud."
The Times-Picayune
"The exuberant and charming Claire Cook (ask anyone who saw her at this spring's Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival) is one of the sassiest and funniest creators of contemporary women's fiction... Summer Blowout, is every bit as much fun as Must Love Dogs and Life's a Beach."
"Summer Blowout is primed, like Cook's previous novel Must Love Dogs... to become a big-screen romantic comedy."
Fresh Fiction
"Claire Cook is back again with what surely will be this summer's biggest hit. Her fifth novel delivers not only a hilarious read, but also divulges tricks of the trade make-up secrets that every girl will love! Without a doubt, SUMMER BLOWOUT is the perfect styling tool needed to give you that coveted summertime look."
Family Circle
"You won't have to don your sunglasses for this sunny delight by the author of Must Love Dogs. Makeup artist Bella Shaughnessy has a thing for lipstick-with names like Catfight, Damaged and Revive-a family that gives new meaning to the expression blended (thanks to a half-sister who's dating Bella's ex-husband) and a ban on men (see half-sister). Which is too bad, because she's just met Sean Ryan, an entrepreneur with sparkling eyes and a proposal, business that is-or is it?-for Bella. As refreshing as an icy drink on a sultry day."
The Patriot Ledger
"Cook has a gift for telling an entertaining and funny story that is light enough for a beach read, yet weighty enough to get under your skin and into your heart. Her characters are quirky and inconsistent, good-hearted folks who make mistakes and have regrets, but none of the damage is lasting. Love and forgiveness beat out hate and revenge."
Jill Miner
"Claire Cook is one of our favorite authors. We love her fun, goofy, big-hearted reads filled with comfortably, familiarly, mildly-flawed characters that most often pass for family. Summer Blowout is Claire Cook's best novel yet. From My Chihuahua Bites lipstick to Italian/Irish family 'staff meetings' to a dyed-and-highlighted incognito pooch, Summer Blowout is poised to blow OFF the shelves -- with the paperback Life's a Beach sailing right behind it!!"
Jackie Blem
"Claire Cook has done it again - Summer Blowout is another great summer beach read that will make you laugh out loud darn near every page...There are many giggles and makeup tips in this breezy summer read - it's too fun to miss (especially the 'combover intervention' - you just HAVE to read it)."
Jenny Sweedler
"Summer Blowout was a laugh-out-loud-in-public good time. Bella felt like a best friend, and she was just hilarious. A great all-around read, and it really makes me wish it was ALREADY summer."
Peg Patten
"Book an appointment NOW for summer's hot read: SUMMER BLOWOUT by Claire Cook. Bad hair day? Bella Shaughnessey's repartee is the quick fix! Ask your bookseller to pencil you in for the laughs. Walk-ins welcome!"-
Kathleen McGonagle
"Summer Blowout is vintage Claire Cook -- this funny and clever novel about a makeup artist beginning a new life is sure to be in beach bags this summer. Cook has a knack for turning the mundane into the unique, and her characters are eclectic and original."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401396435
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 6/3/2008
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 121,826
  • File size: 469 KB

Meet the Author

Claire Cook
Claire Cook is the bestselling author of the novels Life's a Beach, Must Love Dogs, Ready to Fall, and Multiple Choice. A teacher of physical fitness and creative writing, she has had previous stints as a copywriter, radio continuity director, garden designer, and dance and aerobics choreographer. She lives in Scituate, Massachusetts--often called the Irish Riviera--with her husband and two children. Visit her website at:


Raised on Nancy Drew mysteries, Claire Cook has wanted to write ever since she was a little girl. She majored in theater and creative writing at Syracuse University and immersed herself in a number of artistic endeavors (copywriter, radio continuity director, garden designer, and dance and aerobics choreographer), yet somehow her dreams got pushed to the side for more real-life matters -- like marriage, motherhood, and a teaching career. Decades passed, then one day she found herself parked in her minivan at 5 AM, waiting for her daughter to finish swim practice. She was struck with a now-or-never impulse and began writing on the spot. By the end of the season, she had a first draft. Her first novel, Ready to Fall, was published in 2000, when Cook was 45.

Since then, this "late starter" has more than made up for lost time. She struck gold with her second book, Must Love Dogs. Published in 2002, this story of a middle-aged divorcee whose singles ad produces hilariously unexpected results was declared "funny and pitch-perfect" by the Chicago Tribune and "a hoot" by the Boston Globe. (The novel got a second life in 2005 with the release of the feature film starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.) Cook's subsequent novels, with their wry, witty take on the lives of middle-aged women, have become bestsellers and book club favorites.

Upbeat, gregarious, and grateful for her success, Cook is an inspiration for aspiring writers and women in midlife transition. She tours indefatigably for her novels and genuinely enjoys speaking with fans. She also conducts frequent writing workshops, where she dispenses advice and encouragement in equal measure. "I'm extraordinarily lucky to spend my time doing what I love," she has said on countless occasions. " The workshops are a way to say thank you and open doors that I stumbled through to make it easier for writers coming up behind me.''

Good To Know

In our interview, Cook shared some fun and fascinating anecdotes with us:

"I first knew I was a writer when I was three. My mother entered me in a contest to name the Fizzies whale, and I won in my age group. It's quite possible that mine was the only entry in my age group since "Cutie Fizz" was enough to win my family a six-month supply of Fizzies tablets (root beer was the best flavor) and half a dozen turquoise plastic mugs with removable handles. At six I had my first story on the "Little People's Page" in the Sunday paper (about Hot Dog, the family Dachshund) and at sixteen, I had my first front page feature in the local weekly."

"In the acknowledgments of Multiple Choice I say that even though it's probably undignified to admit it, I'm having a blast as a novelist. To clarify that, having a blast as a novelist does not necessarily mean having a blast with the actual writing. The people part -- meeting readers and booksellers and librarians and the media -- is very social and I'm having lots of fun with that. The writing part is great, too, once you get past the procrastination, the self-doubt, and the feelings of utter despair. It's all of the stuff surrounding the writing that's hard; once you find your zone, your place of flow, or whatever it is we're currently calling it, and lose yourself in the writing, it really is quite wonderful. I've heard writers say it's better than sex, though I'm not sure I'd go that far."

"I love books that don't wrap everything up too neatly at the end, and I think it's a big compliment to hear that a reader is left wanting more. After each novel, I hear from many readers asking for a sequel -- they say they just have to find out what will happen to these people next. I think it's wonderful that the characters have come to life for them. But, for now, I think I'll grow more as a writer by trying to create another group of quirky characters. Maybe a few books down the road, I'll feel ready to return to some of them -- who knows?"

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    1. Hometown:
      Scituate, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 14, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Alexandria, Virginia
    1. Education:
      B.A., Film and Creative Writing, Syracuse University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Summer Blowout
By Claire Cook
Hyperion Copyright © 2008 Claire Cook
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2241-0

Chapter One LIPSTICK IS MY DRUG OF CHOICE. I GRABBED A TUBE of Nars Catfight, a rich, semi-matte nude mauve, on my way out of the salon. Easy access to beauty products is one of the perks of the business.

There were lots of cars in the parking lot, but I saw him almost as soon as I pushed the door open. He was sitting in the driver's seat, leaning back with his eyes closed. I was surprised I couldn't hear that big fat snore of his all the way from here.

I was across the parking lot before I knew it. I had a large chocolate brown shoulder bag with me, and I swung it sideways to gain some momentum. Then I picked up speed and hurled it at the windshield as hard as I could.

My ex-husband jumped like he'd been shot and crashed his head into the window beside him. In that instant I understood every wronged woman who had ever run over her husband. Or cut off his penis. I could have killed him. Easily. And then gone back for seconds.

Craig was looking at me with real fear in his eyes. I liked it. He looked down at the ignition, maybe calculating his chances for escape. He reached for the button and lowered the window about two inches. "What the hell was that?" he asked through the crack.

"What the hell was that? What the hell are you doing here?"

"Sophia's car's in the shop," he actually said. "She needed a ride."

If there was a gene for getting it, my former husband had clearly been born without it. "You're pond scum," I said. "No, you're lower than pond scum. If there's anything lower than pond scum, you're it." I stretched forward and started picking up the contents of my shoulder bag, which were scattered all over the hood of Craig's stupid Lexus. He didn't even own it. It was leased. I hoped he got completely screwed when it was time to pay for the scratches.

My Nars Catfight, which had somehow ended up on the hood, too, twinkled up at me. I reached for it and covered my lips in slow, soothing strokes. A round hairbrush rolled to the pavement. I bent down and picked it up, then stood and pointed the sharp end at him. "Get off my father's property. Now."

Craig shook his head, like I was the one with the problem. "Bella, it's Sophia's father's property, too."

"Great," I said. "Let me go find him for you. Then he can be the one to kill you."

That did it. Even before he'd left one of my father's daughters for another one of his daughters, my father hadn't been too crazy about Craig, and he knew it. He started up the ear. "Just tell Sophia I'm waiting down the street for her, okay?"

"Sure," I said. "I'm all over it."

Up until then, he'd been looking over my head or off to the side of my face. Now he looked me right in the eyes, just for a second. Despite myself, I felt a little jolt of something, possibly insanity. Embarrassing as it would be to admit it, I had this sudden crazy urge to keep him from driving away.

I rested one hand on the hood of the car. Craig flinched. "How're the kids?" I asked.

He put the car into drive. "They're not your kids, Bells," he said. "Forget about them."

* * *

I MADE IT 10 MY FIRST GIG in record time, possibly propelled by the smoke coming out of my ears. Then I waited. And waited.

I couldn't take it anymore. I fumbled in my makeup kit so I could sneak another quick fix. After some consideration, I decided Revlon Super Lustrous in Pink Afterglow was a good choice for a recently divorced brunette with green eyes and ivory skin who'd just attacked her ex-husband's car and had lips that were a lot dryer than they used to be.

The housekeeper came in again. "He's on the telephone right now," she said.

I rolled down my lipstick fast. I popped the top back on and tossed it into my makeup kit.

"Thanks," I said. I tried to be discreet, but I couldn't resist running my tongue along my lower lip, savoring the rush as the emollients kicked in. The thing about lipstick is that, unlike the rest of life, it never lets you down. At least for the first five minutes. And even when it wears off, there's still the never-ending quest for a better, longer-lasting shade to keep you going.

"Can I get you anything?" she asked.

I knew it wouldn't be polite to say, Yeah, my client, so I just shook my head. When the housekeeper turned to walk away, I could see that the seam in her panty hose was crooked beneath her tight khaki skirt. A black skirt might have been more forgiving, but with khaki it really ruined the whole effect. Who even wore panty hose anymore, and the extra points she should have gained for the effort were more than canceled out by the appearance of a crooked crack. Or a possible buttocks imbalance. Apparently she didn't have any friends working in the house. A good friend tells you when your crack looks crooked.

I looked at my watch again. If the governor-running-for senator actually showed his face during the next five minutes or so, I'd just about make it to my next job. No wonder they'd pawned him off on me. Sophia, who was his regular makeup artist, was also the regular makeup artist for the senator running for reelection against him. Since they were having a preseason televised brunch debate at Faneuil Hall at eleven, they both needed makeup at the same time. I would have picked the other guy, too.

I grabbed a round black Studio Tech foundation compact and opened it. Yup, it was still MAC NW25. Partly to kill time, and partly just in case he turned out to be lighter or darker than he looked in the newspapers and on television, I reached into my kit and pulled out NW23 and NW30. I should have checked in with Sophia, but we weren't exactly speaking.

I'd commandeered one of the bay windows in the library to arrange my makeup, and then I'd pulled a wing chair over in front of it. It was my best shot at getting some decent light in this mausoleum. The gold and maroon velvet drapes appeared to have been there since the Boston Tea Party. The dark, leathery books on the floor-to-ceiling shelves didn't look much newer either.

My cell phone vibrated and danced around inside my purse. I wouldn't normally answer it while I was on a job, but because the client wasn't there yet, I reached in and picked it up. "Hello," I whispered.

"He's off the phone now," the housekeeper's voice whispered back.

I held out my cell phone and looked at it, then put it back to my ear. "Great," I said.

"Can I get you some coffee?"

"Nope," I said. "But thanks for asking.'"

My stomach growled. Mario had brought in breakfast sandwiches for everybody this morning, but I'd forgotten to grab one on my way out of the salon. Craig's Lexus would probably have ended up wearing it anyway, so I supposed it didn't really matter.

Off and on for the last hour, I'd been eyeing a huge library ladder on rollers that hooked over a brass track way up near the ceiling. I walked over to it. I put one foot up on the second rung, gave a little push, and lifted my other foot off the floor. It was kind of like riding a very tall scooter. Maybe I could at least find a decent book to flip through while I waited. I wondered if Governor What's His Name had actually read any of these, or if a decorator had found them for him. Massachusetts didn't have a governor's mansion, so this was probably just an overpriced rental.

I was halfway down one wall and picking up speed, when the housekeeper cleared her throat behind me. I figured it would be undignified to say Oops, so I just braked with my free foot and climbed off. I pulled my periwinkle tank top down to meet my chocolate brown capris. "Nice to see you again," I said. Not for the first time I noticed that her upper lip could use a good waxing.

"He's almost here," the housekeeper said. "'He said to tell you it only takes him four minutes."

I wasn't sure that was something he should be calling attention to in an election year, but I knew my place, so I didn't say anything.

"He's eating his eggs, then he'll brush. Then he'll have me call for the car. And then he'll be in." She looked over at the window where my stuff had been camped out almost as long as the dust in the drapes. "Are you sure you're all set for him?"

A man poked his head through the heavy wooden doorway. He took a minute to look me up and down, in that creepy way at least one teacher in every high school in America has been checking out his students since the beginning of time. I glared at him. He was shorter and paler than the governor, or at least the way I imagined the governor, probably only an NW15. His lips were chapped, and his skin looked a little flaky, too. Moisture starts from the inside, so upping his water intake and adding some fish oil capsules would be his best bet. Of course, class starts from the inside, too, and as far as I could see, he didn't have a prayer in thai department.

He finally finished ogling me and put his hands in his pockets. "And what are you pretty gals up to in here?" he asked.

The housekeeper tugged at the waistband of her khaki skirt in a fruitless attempt to realign things behind her. "We're just waiting to give the governor a little touch of makeup before his interview," she said.

The man shook his head. "Makeup," he said. "Better him than me, I guess." He leaned back into the hallway. "Gals," he yelled. "Free makeup in the library. Any takers?"

The look I gave him should have curled his eyelashes, but he didn't appear to notice. An anorexic blond with the wrong shade of hair for her complexion strolled in, gave me a bored look, then walked back out. The man followed her. The housekeeper followed the man.

I stood alone.

Sometimes the makeup artist is like a rock star. She's the guru you've been searching for. She can help you change your looks and maybe even your life. Other times, the makeup artist is like a maid. The toughest part is that you never know which one it's going to be when you walk through the door. Clearly, I was not having a rock star kind of day so far.

I walked over to a shelf, closed my eyes, and grabbed a book. I was hoping for a good one, but it turned out to be something boring about torts. Whatever they are. For lack of a better idea, I balanced the book on top of my head and took a couple of long, gliding steps. In health class back in sixth grade, we'd actually had to practice this to improve our posture. In hindsight, it wasn't a bad idea. It's not makeup, but good posture can go a long way toward creating the illusion of beauty.

And not to be depressing, but aren't some of the best parts of life really just an illusion?

Chapter Two THE FUNNY THING ABOUT WAITING IS THAT YOU wait and you wait and you wait. And then, suddenly, time speeds up like crazy, and you're there.

The housekeeper walked in with the governor right behind her. "Three minutes." he said.

"I'd heard four" slipped out before I thought it through.

"I don't need much," he said as he plopped down in the chair. I realized the book was still on top of my head, not that either of them seemed to notice. I dipped my head and caught the book with one hand, then handed it to the housekeeper. She walked it over to the exact shelf where I'd found it. Maybe she'd been a librarian in her last life.

I draped the governor in a black makeup cape. I applied some Laura Mercier foundation primer with a triangular foam sponge. I was happy to see that my first instinct had been right. He was definitely a MAC NW25. I opened the compact fast and rubbed the other side of the sponge back and forth until it was coated, then started covering his face in long, quick strokes. Even though I was in a rush, I paid special attention to his ears. I mean, my reputation was at stake here. There's nothing worse than turning on the TV to see some guy with red or white ears.

I grabbed my MAC powder blush in Angel. In an uncharacteristic lack of judgment, MAC had discontinued this shade, but I'd bought up enough to last me forever, as long as I was careful. Nars Orgasm is a great blush, too, but I didn't want to give this guy the satisfaction. And Angel looks good on everyone, even politicians. I dabbed some right on the apples of his cheeks.

"That's not blush, is it?" the housekeeper asked.

"Of course not," I lied. "It's only bronzer."

She nodded. "He likes a good tan."

With guys like this, I'd learned to get the foundation and blush on fast and set it with some loose powder. Then, if I had time, I'd go back in and fine-tune. This guy could certainly use some concealer, since he had major dark circles under his eyes, and some serious discoloration at the inside corners of his eyes, not to mention the outside corners of his nose. But you have to pick your battles.

Sure enough, just a few pats with the powder, and he stood up. "Mirror," he said to the housekeeper.

"He wants a mirror," the housekeeper said to me.

I reached for my mirror and angled it up at the governor-running for-senator. He nodded approvingly at himself. When he looked away from the mirror, he seemed to notice me for the first time. He reached for my hand and shook it. "I'd appreciate your vote in November," he said. Then he turned and started to walk away.

I was tempted to leave the black cape on him. It might even help him win the election, since it gave him a bit of a superhero vibe, I thought. But I grabbed it and pulled. A good makeup artist always removes the cape before her client goes on television.

* * *

GETTING FROM THE BACK BAY to the new conference center in the South End was a nightmare, but at least there was plenty of parking. I grabbed a coffee on the first floor and followed the signs for the Summer College Fair.

"Sure, just stroll in whenever you feel like it, Bella," my brother, Mario, said.

"Yeah, make us do all the prep work," my sister, Angela, said.

"Nice of you to bring us some coffee," my half sister Tulia said, as if I couldn't see that she already had one right beside her.

I took a long slow sip of my coffee. "Nice to see you, too," I said when I finished. "At least most of you."

My half sister Sophia looked away. Apparently her candidate hadn't kept her waiting forever like mine had, since she'd managed to beat me over here. A sudden picture of Craig sitting outside with his Lexus idling so she wouldn't be late popped into my head.

I pushed it away. I fumbled in my bag and pulled out a tube of Dolce Vita. Ha.

"How'd it go, anyway?" Mario asked.

I gave my lips a quick fix before I answered. "Asshole," I said.

"Him or me?"

I smiled. Of all my siblings, Mario was my favorite. "Both."

Mario smiled back. "Did you airbrush him?"

"Nah," I said. "I didn't feel like carrying the spray gun. I had to park way down the street."

Mario shook his head. "He'll be a mess on HDTV. Next time, use it, okay? I pitch us with cutting-edge airbrush makeup. It's what sets us apart."

I rolled my eyes.

Mario gave me one of his looks.

"Sorry," I said. "I didn't think it was that big a deal."

"Okay, but you're going to have to use it in here. We'll need to move fast."

Good thing I'd brought my airbrush stuff in with me. I knew Mario would never fire me, but he was definitely capable of making me run back to my car. "So, why exactly are they having makeup and nails at a college fair?"

Mario shrugged. "Apparently it's the new big thing to attract spoiled rich kids and their parents to higher education. I hear they've got a massage booth and a fortune-teller, too."

The family business had grown beyond the small chain of salons owned by our communal father. We also did on-site television hair and makeup in the greater Boston area, plus weddings, funerals, and pretty much anything else that came in. Since my life imploded about a year ago, I'd been hitting the road as a makeup artist on the days I didn't work at one of my father's hair salons, usually Salon de Lucio, but sometimes Salon de Paolo, or one of the others. I needed the money, since I planned to stay single and reinvent myself in some totally fascinating though as yet undetermined way.

I took another long slug of my coffee and tried not to think, which was becoming one of my specialties. Mario combed his freckled fingers through his curly brown hair, then clapped his hands. "Okay, everybody. Here's the deal. I got us our full day rates, plus parking and supplies, so keep track of your sponges and cotton balls, and make sure I get your parking receipts. And I said we couldn't work legally without disposable mascara wands, and I certainly wasn't going to pay for them at thirty-nine cents a pop." He smiled. "Eventually they caved."


Excerpted from Summer Blowout by Claire Cook Copyright © 2008 by Claire Cook. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    Don't judge a book by it's cover.

    This book looked and sounded like a lot of fun.... but it wasn't. It was boring. I couldn't make it beyond page 70.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2008

    Claire Cook Charms Again!

    I'm a journalist on Cape Cod who received an advance copy of Claire Cook's most recent book, 'Summer Blowout' last winter. I've interviewed Claire several times, and have read all five of her books. I find Claire to be a complete delight, and I think that 'Summer Blowout' is her best book yet - and this from someone who has long held on to 'Must Love Dogs' as my absolute favorite Claire Cook book. 'Summer Blowout' will be the must-read book this summer. I would encourage readers to grab a copy of this book, a tube of their favorite lipstick, and prepare to be delighted and transported to the delightful world of the Shaughnessy's - the most entertaining faux-Italian/Irish clan you'll ever meet. Candace Hammond

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

    Different than I thought

    Normally I know what book I want before I go to buy a book so I don't waste my money. This was an impulse buy that I thought would be fun to bring on the beach to read. Big mistake. It was totally different and boring. Some parts were confusing but that may be because of my lack of attention to it. I could not even finish it.

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  • Posted October 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Claire Cook is hysterical!

    Claire Cook is just plain fun to read. Her Summer Blowout characters are engaging, while a bit left-of-center. I laughed out loud. If you haven't read Claire Cook yet, grab any one of her books, and enjoy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    A Fun Chicklit Romp

    Claire Cook is a feel good author. You cannot be negative after reading her. Summer Blowout is realistic, funny and offers insight on many subjects, not matter what your field of interest may be. Take an afternoon to get into this quick and easy read and feel better for it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2008

    summer blowout was a great read

    i loved this book i read it within 2 days i already recommend to my other friends.if you want to read something that's offbeat & funny pick this up.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2008

    Must Love Summer Blowout

    Claire Cook is the best selling author of 'Must Love Dogs', which was made into a movie starring Diane Keaton. Another of her well-known works is 'Life's A Beach'. If you are familiar with these, you're in for another lively fiction, this time about a young woman, Bella Shaughnessy, of pure Irish stock who lives in Marshbury, Massachusetts. Bella's father recreates himself and his offspring into 'Italians', establishes a small chain of Tuscan-flavored beauty salons in which all his children and three ex-wives are employed. Bella has a fetish for lipsticks with shade names that work into the story to suit her mood, story action or her sex life. 'Summer Blowout' isn't just a romantic novel, it's flat out LIFE, written in the first person, effervescent and humorous style of Ms. Cook. She is a physical fitness and creative writing teacher, as well as wife and mother of two children. Do you see the 'non-stop' in her credentials? That's exactly how she writes--spirited, sassy, belligerent and determined. Bella swore off men after her husband took up with her half-sister, to whom Bella was more of a doting mother than a sister. But Sophia grew to like everything Bella had, so she didn't think twice about having Bella's estranged husband. Betrayal and loathing color Bella's life. She grows into her own person and the development of her character captivates the reader. The resolution to all her personal and familial conflicts--well, you'll just have to read this engaging story and see for yourself. As an added bonus, you'll learn more about foundation makeup, eye treatments, mascara and lipsticks than any beauty manual could hope to impart. Wouldn't be surprised if 'Summer Blowout' morphs into film in the near future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2008

    Ms. Cook has done it again!

    This was sure a fun book to read, and I liked that even though this family had their ups and downs, but they stayed together. Specially, when the sister's have different of opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2008

    A fun beach read!

    After 10 years of marriage Bella Shaughnessy's husband leaves her and after the divorce he starts dating Bella's half-sister Sophia. To make matters worse all of Lucky Shaughnessy's children, from 3 different wives, work for Lucky in his hair salon/make up artist business so Bella has to work with Sophia on a daily basis. On one of her make-up artist gigs Bella meets Sean Ryan. Bella however is still hurting over her ex and her sister's betrayal so she keeps him at arm's length and just when Sean starts to break down the wall Bella puts up, he starts to get cold feet about dating a recently divorced woman. Summer Blowout is a fun quick read. I quickly fell in love with Bella, her dysfunctional family and her new puppy with highlights in his fur. I highly recommend this book for chick-lit lovers even though it's lighter than the typical 'working girl gets boy' chick-lit story. Cook's writing is genuine with lots of humor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2008

    Summer Blowout

    Claire Cook's books have a way of touching me while always making me laugh. I read this book at the end of a very long week, and it was the perfect antidote to the stresses of life. Her characters are warm, funny and real and she writes with a voice that rings true. I'm always sad to come to the end of the book, I guess the best books leave you wanting more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2008


    What a wonderful summer read. I laughed, I cried, and all the characters are wonderful including Cannoli the dog. I learned so much about make-up application and other hairdresser hints. I didn't want this book to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2008

    Summer Blowout

    There are certain books that impact you, often in subtle ways. Summer Blowout's effect on me was more tangible - after I finished I wore lipstick for the first time in years. And started using moisturizer twice a day! This book was a lot of fun. Claire Cook writes entertaining stories that move along. They never bog down, and keep you laughing along the way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    Carefree Amusing Read that won't disappoint

    Claire Cook once again ventures into the genre of the ¿living is easy¿ summer beach read with her latest book, Summer Blowout. Bella Shaughnessy¿s fascination with makeup, particularly lipsticks with names such as Kiss My Lips or Catfight, is the daughter of loving but divorced Irish parents. Her father, Lucky, was married three times, but still holds a place in his heart for Bella¿s mother. He has a mania for all things Italian ever since their honeymoon in Tuscany. His sociable persona and outlandish mannerisms are part of his charm, and what endears Lucky to the family and clientele alike. Set in the Marshbury area around Boston, the Salon de Lucio is the main salon that is next to the family home. The other salons, including Salon de Paolo, have apartments above them, and Bella Shaughnessey lives in the one above de Paolo. Bella¿s life revolves around the family business of beauty salons where she works as a talented makeup artist and hair stylist. The Shaughnessy family mans the small family chain of beauty salons with Bella¿s four half-brothers and ¿sisters and in-laws, both current and past. While sounding like a happy, loving family, we quickly realize the conflicts that exist are what make this story percolate. Central is Bella¿s marriage that dissolves when her husband runs off with her half-sister. Bella is rightfully bitter and cautious and swears off relationships until she encounters a young, captivating entrepreneur, Sean Ryan. With a business idea, he introduces a way for Bella to use her talents to her advantage and on her own with no family connection. On her own, Bella thinks she can be happy with no man or attachments. However, enter purely by accident, one small fuzz ball of a pup that Bella falls for and finds it is a love that is worth taking a chance on. This is where Cannoli enters to steal Bella¿s heart and often times, the story! Bella and Cannoli become inseparable much to the chagrin of many of the family members. But Bella finds it easy to confide in Cannoli and trust her heart to this tiny dog. As Bella¿s new business venture grows, so does Bella¿s interest in this charming businessman, Sean. However, with Cannoli in her life, Bella is content and doesn¿t want any more entanglements or relationships. Fighting to not let desire take over, Bella keeps her distance in this business relationship with Sean Ryan until things come to a point on a crazy family wedding weekend in Atlanta that will change Bella¿s life forever. Readers, who enjoyed the shoes in Beth Harbison¿s Shoe Addicts Anonymous, or designer clothes in Lauren Weisberger¿s The Devil Wears Prada, will become quickly caught up in Summer Blowout. Cook¿s story revolves around the world of makeup artists and hair stylists. Fans of her other books, including Life¿s A Beach and Must Love Dogs, will find Claire Cook continues to entertain with this latest romantic riotous romp! Fans won¿t be disappointed if they are looking for a carefree amusing summer read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2008

    Summer Blowout - great summer read!

    Summer Blowout is about Bella, a hairdresser, in an Irish 'spelled I-t-a-l-i-a-n' family of hairdressers. The story is like a perfectly seasoned marinara sauce with a pinch of hope, heartache, determination, laughter, wit and love - with an extra pinch of humor 'to 'boot''. For dessert there is the little dog, Cannoli, that Bella adopts - sort of. It's a great read and even has some cosmetic tips I found useful. I really enjoyed it!! ALF

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews

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