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review 2020-06-27 15:00
The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan Mallery
The Girls of Mischief Bay - Susan Mallery

Title: The Girls of Mischief Bay

Series: Mischief Bay #1

Author: Susan Mallery

Publisher Date: February 24, 2015

Publisher: Mira

Format: Kindle

Page Count: 416 pages

Source: Library via OverDrive

Date Read: May 24-27, 2020




I wanted to read something set in California because I am somewhat homesick for the Golden State. Let's face it, I would rather be quarantining in CA than in KS. I have enjoyed Mallery's works in the past and was eager to try a new series not in the romance genre. Hence, I picked up The Girls of Mischief Bay, a contemporary women's fiction title.


Overall, I really enjoyed this look at female friendship with woman at different ages/stages of life, yet can give each other perspectives that help. Hands down, my favorite MC was Pam. Her character arc was so well done and I was emotionally invested in her story. And her discovering another girl squad to go traveling with was a such a sweet ending, contrasting with the darker parts of her arc. Shannon's arc was second favorite; my one quibble with Shannon was that she forgave her man for doing throwing her under the bus when his daughter decided to play mind games with her divorced parents. I would have made him grovel A HELLA LOT MORE.  My least favorite was Nicole; she came across too much like a doormat. Her divorce should have been a release and she was still too much sulking at the end of the book for my liking. Her ex was an useless asshole - good riddance to bad rubbish. I did like that Nicole was a pilates/yoga instructor and owner of her studio, rather than something cutesy like a baker or party planner. 


I am going to continue with the series after my summer project is over.



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review 2020-03-24 18:15
The Friendship List
The Friendship List - Susan Mallery

Please note that I received this via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.


Well this was really good! I enjoyed the two main characters (Ellen and Unity) and their "list". I also felt frustrated with both of them while still rooting them on. I also really liked the epilogue we got in the end. I think Mallery typically does not include those in her romance novels. Both of the heroes (Thaddeus and Keith) were great though I wanted to shake Keith a lot especially when it concerned his daughter. I thought that all of the plot lines were realistic and I think that Mallery did a great job of capturing teenagers who (shocked gasp) actually do have sex. It was nice to see parents in this one talking about it as a known thing along with discussing safe sex and making sure that they are enjoying it and ready.  

Ellen and Unity are long time best friends in their mid-30s. They love their sleepy little home town and are content with their lives. However, Ellen overhears her 17 year old son is scared to leave home for college since he thinks his mother needs him too much. Unity is still in love with her dead husband who passed away 3 years prior to the start of the novel. People have been patient with her, but now even her grief counseling group is telling her she needs to move on. (ASIDE FROM ME: Girl she needs to...badly). When the two friends have a falling out, they both separately realize that they need to move past things in their lives. They settle on having separate lists that they will accomplish over that summer with the winner getting an all expenses paid weekend spa trip with the loser.  


So I actually really did like Ellen and Unity both. Even when I wanted to shake them both. Ellen had cold fish for parents, so after getting pregnant as a teenager she really didn't do much besides go to school and take care of her son. She hasn't had a romance since that time and is scared to lose her son. I did love that she realizes that and takes steps to make sure that he is moves on from her though. 

Unity, woo boy. She got kicked out of a grief counseling group! Honestly at first I thought Mallery wanted us to dislike her since she was so obtuse about things. When she was rude about Ellen's problems, I didn't like her much. But she started to grow on me. She's stuck in her past and doesn't know how to move on from it. I know some romance readers don't like romances with widows or widowers, but I think Mallery did a great job with this character.

The heroes in this one have some..pizzazz? I think I can say that. Thaddeus's backstory was unexpected. Think Magic Mike. Keith was kind of stupid about things here and there, but in the end showed he was a very good dad. Though he was pretty invasive with his daughter's privacy.

The writing was really great and the dialogue was crisp. I loved the secondary characters like Dagmar, Cooper (Ellen's son) and Lissa (Keith's daughter). The flow worked nicely and I found myself rushing through this one. 


The ending was pitch perfect and we get to see a Happily Ever After (HEA) for both characters. The only reason why I didn't give this 5 stars was that I did not quite the initial connection between Unity and her hero. It just didn't work, but then it did and I loved it. Other than that, things were fantastic. 

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review 2020-03-17 17:20
Sisters By Choice
Sisters by Choice - Susan Mallery

Well this is hard. I loved this series and this latest book was a flop with me. I think the main issue that the sisters by choice only works for two of the characters. One of the characters in this story learned nothing and got rewarded for it. The character development was lacking and the dialogue was so off in some places. 


"Sisters by Choice" follows business owner Sophie Lane, her cousin Kristine, and their second cousin (I think that's what she is) Heather. Sophie returns to Blackberry Island after a fire destroys her business trying to start again. Kristine a stay at home mom has bigger dreams for herself, but a husband who doesn't support her. Heather wants to leave the island and her emotionally and physically (at times) abusive mother behind for college. This book follows the three women as they try to get back on track.


So the book at times didn't seem all linked in. We know the three women interact, but mostly it is Sophie and Kristine. Heather does interact with Sophie a lot more than she does Kristine. And I did like all of the scenes with Sophie and Kristine and needed more of that. That said, the three women needed more development.

Sophie is just blind to her faults to the point I got sick of reading about them. I started to get annoyed by her and her "quirks". I also did loath people (Kristine) acting as if her getting married was the only thing she really needed in her life. Gah. At least Mallery stuck with Sophie staying single with no kids throughout. I hate when romance writers do that well the love of a good man changed her. I personally don't want to get married or have kids. Idris Elba can show up here divorced and buck naked and that's not going to change what I want. I just didn't like her love interest (he was smug and talked down to her I thought) and hated how she was just used to prop up another character who didn't need/deserve it.


Kristine was the only story-line I was invested in. Her husband is a sexist. Heck, her one son was on the way to being one. I liked the look at how some people view stay at home moms. I didn't think the ending was realistic to her story-line. 


Heather was an enabler. Her mother and her have a mutual destructive relationship. I felt bad for her at first, but as others said, she needed to get away and move on. I just thought her story-line was boring after a while.

The other characters don't really do much in this. I wish that previous characters had shown up or been mentioned. I loved this series because Blackberry Island sounded magical and fun and we don't get much of the characters interacting with the setting at all I thought. 


The ending was a whatever to me. A secondary character who is the worst gets rewarded and it annoyed the life out of me. 

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review 2020-02-07 03:35
Pretty Good
California Girls - Susan Mallery

My first book from this author. I expected grocery store cookie cutter romance. It was a library shelf surfing find, I needed something light, it was light with a touch of sadness. The characters were all interesting, will developed and likeable. It didn't follow to obvious road of romance novels, it was an enjoyable surprise. I'll give this author another try,

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review 2019-08-31 22:19
Two Stories in One
Meant to Be Yours (Happily Inc. #5) - Susan Mallery

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

So this was a great romance by Mallery. I just found out she has a series called Happily Inc. that I just heard of it. This is the 5th book in the series. I have read her other series and now want to go back and read the beginning of this one. Readers also get a nice bonus of a short story starring a woman we find out is the adopted daughter of a Crown Prince in the Middle East. She falls for a man living in Happily Inc. Since this book already spoiled they are together though I didn't really need that story to be included. Also not going to lie, the whole secret princess or prince romance trope never has done a thing for me. So I finished it, but loved "Meant to be Yours" much more.


"Meant to be Yours" follows wedding planner Renee and resident novelist Jasper. They have both seen each other around town, and Renee is hoping for a friends with benefits situation. She sees Jasper as wanting the same things she does, no ties, just banter, and hot times between the sheets. Of course things don't go according to plan. 

Renee has a lot of secrets and it takes about a good quarter of the book to reveal them all. At first I was laughing at the reveal and didn't think it made a lot of sense, but it actually worked. She has a good heart, but is scared about opening herself up again. And due to her mother's past, is reluctant to have anything to do with animals (yeah you have to read the book, no spoilers).

Jasper is an ex-military policeman who is suffering from PTSD. He is now a best selling novelist and writes stories starring a detective tracking down serial killers. Jasper is in a fix though, he's supposed to end his series and his editor wants the main character married off or at least happy with someone. Trouble is that Jasper can't write women. At all. When he and Renee gets involved he gets some tips from her and I did laugh at him watching "women movies and tv shows" and that he reads Rory Gilmore for filth. Sorry, that whole part of the book had me laugh out loud. 


What I did like besides the romance scenes was that there is a lot of development into these two characters and the rest of the town. We actually get Jasper doing something pretty crappy to Renee and apologizing and sincerely apologizing. We also get a behind the scenes look at weddings and unlike with the Nora Roberts series dealing with that, I wasn't bored to tears and wanting to wring people's necks because of all of the stupid acronyms they used.

The writing was really good and I would say that this book after ten years or so is going to read as dated since it mentions a lot of events and pop culture moments. Not going to lie though the Rory Gilmore things, still awesome. The flow was great though it felt like we were galloping towards a finish that I would have been fine if it took a bit longer.

The setting of Happily Inc. sounds great and like a fun little town.

The ending was sweet and as I said though the rest of the book shows Cade and Bethany's story which I had zero interest in. And it felt rushed compared to this one. 

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