Read It! Nicole Says…Read These Books

By Nicole McManus

These two authors are always on my must-read summertime list. Mary Kay Andrews is one of the few authors who make me laugh out loud, while I have not found a single author who writes about nature with such passion as Mary Alice Monroe.No beach bag is complete, without these authors’ latest books!


The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

A hurricane has been predicted to hit the Southeast coast, so people evacuate to the mountains, and that is how this group of strangers meets. The Phillips own a horse farm and have invited their friends to escape the storm by staying with them. As the strangers get to know each other, they begin to realize the physical items you save aren’t necessarily the most important things. However, the relationships built during a disaster form unbreakable bonds.

Mary Alice Monroe’s characters are in the midst of a hurricane evacuation. Under the stress of being cooped up, secrets come out and they are forced to deal with the past. They each focused on bringing whatever possessions and animals that they could fit in their cars, but as time goes by the focus shifts to what they truly value. Readers will be transported to the beautiful mountains as they ride out the storm.

Mary Alice Monroe is one of my favorite authors. You feel her love of nature within each chapter. This was a unique book, as it is set in the mountains instead of the beach. I have always loved the mountains, and I hope to one day visit them. Through reading this book, I feel like I could add another checkmark to my reading travel book! Over the last few years, we have all been affected by severe storms, whether hurricane, floods or fires. Mary Alice Monroe raises the poignant question of what would you save during a disaster? We can all relate to the emotions her characters experienced. She also shows that we all help each other when facing the unthinkable.

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Life happens in ebbs and flows. At her mother’s funeral, Drue is blindsided when her estranged father shows up married to her childhood rival. When they offer her a job, she only accepts to claim access to grandparents’ beach home. Now damaged by past storms, the house means everything to her, but is she able to continue working for people who make her miserable? Add in a suspicious death and possible corruption, and Drue has todecide which side she wants to be on,because trouble is brewing in Sunset Beach.

Readers love the southern wit that Mary Kay Andrews’ sassy characters exude. Some readers have been fans for years, dating back to her mystery series written under the name Trocheck. With this book readers will get to enjoy both. There are a few mysteries intertwined in the drama of Drue’s life, and this quiet beach town is brought to life in the descriptions. This book is an ideal read for a day at the beach.

Mary Kay Andrews’ books are always a fun read. She throws in twists and turns, while her characters find themselves in awkward scenarios. I easily read this book over the course of two afternoons and look forward to discussing it with our book club later this summer.

About this writer

  • Nicole McManus

    Nicole McManus loves to read, to the point that she is sure she was born with a book in her hands. She writes book reviews in the hopes of helping others find the magic found through reading. Contact her at

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