Review: Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

Life carries on for the artistic and moody Mitchell brothers.  This story centers on Mathias, who has repressed his creative side for practicality. Until he stumbles upon an unlikely muse – his neighbor Carol’s giraffe. Or maybe it’s his neighbor Carol. 😉

Second Chance Girl is filled with the family dynamics of the Mitchell family as they try to avoid their famous but angry father, and the sweet family dynamics of Carol and her sister Violet. There’s a worthy cause, British humor by a Duke, sparkly buttons, a few art shows, some broken glass, and some broken hearts. For the soft-hearted, there are two well-deserved and well-written romances, a charitable event, and a very cute puppy.  

Happily, Inc is no Fool’s Gold, but it’s still a nice place to visit. 

-calliope

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Review: You Say It First by Susan Mallery

Happily Inc sounds like a pretty cute place to live – especially if you’re Pallas, the owner of a wedding planning company. Brides from all over go to Happy Inc to get married – and I bet some of them will want to stay. Even Nick the sculptor, son of a famous artist, walked into town, got a job, and felt the pull… or maybe it was the pull of Pallas and her love for her work. 

I liked Nick’s touchy family dynamics, especially because Mallery referenced Fool’s Gold characters I was familiar with. Pallas had some strong family interactions as well – that tends to happen with an overbearing mother and a strong willed daughter. 

In the end, everyone figured out what was best for themselves. For some, that meant some sacrifice. For others, it meant swallowing some pride. Either way, I got a view of real love in all its messy forms. 

-calliope

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Review (quick and dirty #3): Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery 

I was so happy to read this smart, fun, contemporary, relatable book about two very different sisters — the farmer and the fashionista. What’s underneath is what really matters, of course, but the ladies needed to find that out themselves. There were nosy gossips, nice guys who definitely didn’t finish last, big jerks who get sent on their merry way, and a couple of romances that made me sigh with giddiness. You’ll get all you bargained for and more in this novel with terrific dialogue and likeable characters. Reminded me of Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor books. Excellent writing. 

-calliope

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Review: A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery


Zoe, her friend Jen, and Jen’s mom Pam are all at different stages of life – Zoe is living alone after a much needed breakup, Pam is afraid to love again after losing her husband, and Jen is getting used to married-with-a-baby life. Life is complicated for each of them, and made even more so because of the dynamic among the three ladies.  

This is a cute story filled with cliches and stereotypes… predictable but enjoyable. I liked Jen’s brother and his lovely way of wooing Zoe without being obnoxious. Pam annoyed me with her meddling, and Jen annoyed me with her self-centeredness. However, I’ve acted just like Pam and Jen in various circumstances, so their ways are pretty realistic! 

A Million Little Things pales in comparison to Mallery’s past novels, but it’s worth a look if you enjoy light women’s fiction. 

-calliope

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Review: Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery


What a lovely story about a mom and her three daughters. Susan Mallery writes four very different love stories in Daughters of the Bride. Awkward Courtney grows up and grows into herself even while the world isn’t watching. A certain music producer is, though, and he has no qualms about telling her. Distant Sienna seems cold until she realizes she’s surrounding herself with the wrong men. Supermom Rachel forgets who she really is until the love of her life helps her remember. 

The three women help their mom plan her wedding, and through the process they begin to know and love themselves more. 

Daughters of the Bride was a feel-good family story on the surface, but Mallery brought her signature spice to one of the couples’ romance. In the family relationships and in the romantic ones, love abounded. 

-calliope

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Best of My Love by Susan Mallery


Shelby and Aidan have self-improvement goals, and they’ve decided to form a mutually beneficial friendship with each other to put themselves on a successful path. They don’t anticipate the whole of Fool’s Gold egging on a ROMANTIC relationship between the two. And they certainly don’t foresee Mayor Marsha putting in her two cents. 

I love all the Fool’s Gold heroes – who wouldn’t? They’re perfectly perfect for their ladies, and they’re swoon-worthy to boot. Mallery did something special with Aidan, though. Shelby got to know him as a friend, totally platonically, before ever diving into something more. Whether something romantic worked out for Aidan and Shelby or not, you’ll have to find out by reading the book. Shelby’s a great catch, so there’s definitely some sort of love story — just wait! 

-calliope

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Review: The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery

    
Life sure surprises us. Maybe we get comfortable for a while, but sooner or later the road we’re on takes a sharp turn. How we handle the turn makes all the difference. 

So it is with friends Gabby, Hayley, and Nicole. Whether it’s upheaval in marriage, with children, or at work, the ladies lean on each other for support and laughs. 

The ladies really worked on being good people to themselves and each other. It was nice to read good conversation that reflected positively on women and their families. 

The beginning seemed very planned, bordering on contrived. I felt like I could practically see the framework of the plot — and it should be invisible to the reader!  However, as the characters grew into themselves, the story flowed better and seemed more natural.  The development of secondary characters helped, too. 

By the end, Mallery had me crying. I appreciated each character, flaws and all, and I saw exactly why these friends were keepers. 

-calliope

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