Review

The Stepsisters. Susan Mallery

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Published: Harlequin – Mira
Date: 8th June 2021
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery is a book about sisters. Daisy and Sage are stepsisters, Daisy and Cassidy are half sisters as are Cassidy and Sage. A little complicated but not really. Their relationships with each other didn’t get off to the best of starts.  All thanks really to a mother figure who wasn’t that great at being a mother.

When Cassidy ends up at Daisy’s house after a bad accident, the three sisters have a second chance to discover what being sisters could mean. It is a rather pitted path, fraught with hiccups, very poor decisions and the need to stretch and grow on all their parts.

Daisy’s marriage has hit a rough spot and I have to say I really had no sympathy for the inept, complaining husband who projected all his feelings onto Daisy. He was one of two unlikeable characters in this story.

Each of the women grows considerably in the course of the story, and each finds a satisfying way forward. They change because they communicate with each other, they hang in there and recognise where they got things wrong.  They discover a friendship and a supportive base that would I imagine sustain them for the rest of their lives.

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Susan Mallery  Social Links:

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0778331806

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-stepsisters-susan-mallery/1137495093?ean=9780778331803  

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-stepsisters-9780778312031/9780778331803 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778331803 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488211577-the-stepsisters 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Stepsisters/Susan-Mallery/9780778331803?id=7843731390040 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-stepsisters-by-susan-mallery-paperback/-/A-81262171# 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Stepsisters-Paperback-9780778331803/194267274 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-stepsisters/9780778331803-item.html 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-stepsisters 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-stepsisters/id1527864349 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Susan_Mallery_The_Stepsisters?id=8bn3DwAAQBAJ 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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A week of much the same as other weeks! I watched the moon eclipse here between 10:30 pm and 11:30pm with a clear starlit sky, its always good when there is no cloud cover for something that only comes around every so often.

What I read last week:

Enjoyed all these. The Queen of Hearts was a audiobook. Review for The Stepsisters this week and now I want to read more of Georgette Heyer.

What I am reading now:

One off my print TBR shelf.

The Possibilities

And I have started listening to The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley. (23 hrs plus) I nearly returned it to Audible because a bit of it is set in New Zealand and the narrator does a terrible NZ accent that is like a parody. I managed to calm down and talk myself into staying with it. I was going to head out and buy the book instead!!

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Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

Challenging Reads

How to Mend a Broken Heart.  Rachael Johns

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Book Connections, Reading challenge, Review

Challenging Reads

This year I am trying to do the Emilie Richard’s Reader challenge that she has on her Facebook page.  It is informal and so I don’t count it as “must do”, but I look each month and see what I can incorporate. It has helped me take three books off my actual shelf and read them and the other two I got at the library.

January: A first responders story or book.
book cover It may be a stretch to count this as a first responders book but because it involved those who were part of a mass shooting in a mosque in Christchurch and Husna responded to those shot around her and then was shot herself I count this as a very first responder’s story.

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February: This book was read in response to a person who changed the world in some way. A biography of Eunice Kennedy. She really did focus on making the world better for those with disabilities and started games that would eventually become world wide for the disabled. An extremely well researched, well written book. Eileen McNamara brings alive Eunice Kennedy, with all her amazing drive and passion and flaws. She was a woman who I think never took no for an answer. She fought for the injustice she saw about her. She worked politically and hands on with those especially with intellectual disabilities and really did change the way these people were treated and seen. She was just so herself. A marriage that seems to have been successful on many plains and children who have travelled on in her spirit with today’s insights incorporated. While I am not sure I would have liked her, I certainly applaud her for all that she achieved. The book itself is so well written, it just draws a reader in

book cover March – a book that was either a diary or a novel that had a diary within it. I chose The Light Over London as a diary is found by Cara in 2017. It takes us back to when Louise Keene a young British women enlisted and became part of a women’s gunner team. It is told well and seamlessly goes between each era. Some secrets, some heartache, lots of courage and second chances. I enjoyed it, although I did find it just a little slow moving.

book coverApril challenge was a book from the Times Magazine all time 100 list or the Guardian 1000 books list.  Well that’s quite a choice, but very few of them were that palatable to me. In the end I went with A Wizard of Earthsea, which is fantasy and I vaguely remember liking many, many years ago. I decided to reread it, and it was like new as I had remembered very little of it. It’s main character is Ged who is involved in a long journey to find out who he is and who his real enemy is. He goes through danger, loss and suffering. And has his victory that is a start. (There are a number more books). My favourite character in this book is Vetch who is a true friend for Ged.

Historical Fiction.

I am sure I read Georgette Heyer before but am not totally sure. I so enjoyed this book set mostly in France. Some of the language and customs were quite foreign to me and it intrigued me. For example the men would “show a leg”. I am guessing it was kind of putting one leg forward and bowing? Leonie was an enormously fun heroine and the Duke of Avon turns from a somewhat notorious gentleman into someone hardly recognised by those close as he falls for Leonie. The dialogue was often witty and there was enough little twists and turns to keep me turning the pages.

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Review

How To Mend a Broken Heart. Rachael Johns

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Published: Harlequin Australia
Date: 5th May 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

 How to Mend a Broken Heart is set in New Orleans and is rich in detail and atmosphere of this place. I have to admit it’s not a place I am drawn to, however I soon managed to let that go and enjoy the story.

Felicity has made the big step go going to New Orleans to gather herself and step out into a new life. We have met her before in How to Keep a Secret. While you don’t have to have read that book, it was still great to see what she is up to now. Her marriage fell apart in a spectacular way in that book. Flick is a taxidermist and has jumped at the chance to move from Australia to New Orleans to look after a taxidermy shop for three months.  She wants to be by herself for awhile. But… 

Zoe her daughter has been what she thought was happily married until one day she is shocked and there is only one place she wants to be … with her mother. 

So we follow the ups and downs of both Felicity and Zoe, the adventures and challenges they have.

My favourite character was actually Mrs H an old woman who is a recluse and grumpy and idolises her cats. When one dies she finds her way to the taxidermy shop, and this is where the story really takes off for me.

There are love interests of course, an old mansion and maybe a ghost. Life lessons are learned and a new era begins.  If you are a New Orleans lover, this is one for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Thanks everyone for joining in. I love reading how you are all doing and what you are reading. I learn so much about various parts of the world.

My week has been of  course reading and quilting and a little time with a friend. Oh and of course a little exercise with this Japanese American 80 year old mother and daughter. Yes2Next.

Great for when I don’t want to go out into the weather when its too windy or cold.  How did I ever do without You Tube.

What I read last week:

Both very enjoyable books.

What I am reading now:

These Old Shades

And still listening to The Queen of Hearts.

Up next:

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Review

Books I Have my Sights On.

At this time of year its a great time for books and of course my eyes are always bigger than my reading capacity. But I still have to have them!

When Stars CollideThis one publishes at the end of June. I will most likely buy it on Kindle and later get it in paperback. It is another book in Susan Elizabeth Phillips Chicago Stars series. I have read all the others. This has an international opera singer and a football player of some sort. Contemporary romance.

What a Happy FamilyLast year I enjoyed Well Behaved Indian Women by this author. and I ‘d like to read this year’s one publishing in June. It is about an American -Indian family. It’s not at my library so I think I need to put in an order!

Incense and SensibilityThis one comes out early July and I will either buy it on Kindle or listen on audio.  This one is #3 in the Indian Raje family who live in America. I really enjoy this author.

Hana Khan Carries OnI enjoyed Ayesha at Last last year by this author and so I decided to buy this one. It is on the way to me.  It is set in Toronto and has a Muslim character. It is slotted as a romantic comedy, but if its like Ayesha at Last it will not be a daft one!

The Moon over Kilmore Bay This book publishes later this month and I have it pre-ordered it. I have come to enjoy this Irish author and so I pretty much automatically buy her books. It is about some one returning home but have to wait and see exactly what it’s all about!

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Review

The Clover Girls. Viola Shipman

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Published: Harlequin – Graydon House
Date:  18th May 2021
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

Elizabeth, Veronica, Rachel and Emily met at Camp Birchwood as girls in 1985, where over four summers they were the Clover Girls—inseparable for those magical few weeks of freedom—until the last summer that pulled them apart. Now approaching middle age, the women are facing challenges they never imagined as teens, struggles with their marriages, their children, their careers, and wondering who it is they see when they look in the mirror.

Then Liz, V and Rachel each receive a letter from Emily with devastating news. She implores the girls who were once her best friends to reunite at Camp Birchwood one last time, to spend a week together revisiting the dreams they’d put aside and repair the relationships they’d allowed to sour. But the women are not the same idealistic, confident girls who once ruled Camp Birchwood, and perhaps some friendships aren’t meant to last forever…

The Clover Girls is a thought provoking read. Viola Shipman writes about three girls who met at summer camp over the years and formed a rich friendship. But did it stay that way?

Each of the girls has their own life challenges in childhood and adulthood. Now three of them are back at Camp Birchwood faced with how they have become within themselves and with each other.

The story explores the theme of friendship, what helps a friendship survive and what brings about the demise of one. As you read it will have you reflecting on summertime camps (if you went to one) the friendships you have had along the way in life and what has happened to them.

The book has quite a bit to say about marriage, family, following dreams, staying true to yourself and really living. What truly matters?

An enriching read, a medium paced novel that leaves time for entering into the lives of each of the women, seeing the light and the dark, and the way each makes a journey that counts.

A story with some strong messages about women, life, politics and of course – friendship.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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I did get some good reading done earlier in the week and then…. I fell down the rabbit hole of quilting.  It’s really like books, I see all these patterns and fabric I want to get into, and of course I can’t do it all… but I want to! Rather like wanting to read all those books I just don’t quite make it to.

What I read last week:

Had a good reading week. Loved all the books completed.  The Ellery Adams book was audio and very good in that format. I’ll just have to keep going with the series as I will with the Debra Webb books. It had that fast pace I was needing.  I love women’s fiction but sometimes I need a change and that was perfect.

What I am reading now:

The Australian/NZ cover of this book. I am really enjoying it.  For review.

The Last Night in London

Up next:

I enjoy this Australian author and the book has come in from the library.

The Jam Queens
And I will start listening to
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Last Week’s Posts

The Summer Seekers.  Sarah Morgan

Another Generation of Readers

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Book Connections

Another Generation of Readers

I love seeing the young ones in our extended family loving books. Sitting next to my great niece last week, Miss 8 year old (just) wanted to know had I read the Harry Potter books. I explained to her that when the first book had come out “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, I had bought it to read to my 11 to 12 year olds class. And they had been bored by it and I gave up half way through. (They were the only class I ever had that just weren’t into books.)

Well Miss 8 year old says to me, “Well you could have just gone on to read them for yourself!”The words of the wise.

Her grandmother commented on the book she was holding – a large book of fairytales. “Oh I consider this my light reading!” she says. I enjoyed this fun book talk.

Today I am sharing five books the young ones in my family are reading

Miss 8 year old.

Harry PotterShe has read the first three books in this series, no doubt her parents read them aloud to her first. They are both very talented in the read aloud area.  They read aloud to her every night.

Mirabelle Breaks the RulesThis is the latest in the series she is also reading. Harriet Muncaster is a British author and so talented with her drawings. “Mirabelle’s mum is a witch, her dad is a fairy, and she is a bit of both.
When Mirabelle goes off to witch school she promises not to cause any mischief . . .
But then potions class goes a bit wrong and flying practise is a disaster.”     I’ve bought her this series and she always is excited to get the next one.

Mr. 7 year old.  The cousin of Miss 8 year old.

The bad guys 7 This is a series too and this is number 7. By an Australian author. These are graphic novels and the bad guys are really good guys.

We are half way through the series and he did inform me he’d like them all!  (I’ve been buying them for him. Whatever it takes to get boys into books.)

SlimeWhen Mr. 7 year old got a nasty infection behind his eye he had to spend quite some time in hospital last month. His grandmother bought him this book and she has been reading this one to him. It’s their book.  A British author who seems to be very popular among NZ children!

Miss 5 year old. Sister to Mr. 7 year old.

I find her a little more difficult to buy for, it can’t be “too young” because she sees the other two and their books and she likes to keep up with them. However I hit the jackpot with this book recently and so I have two more in the series organised for her birthday coming up.

The Princess in BlackShannon Hale – the author lives in Utah, USA.  “Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her ! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? ”

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Review

The Summer Seekers. Sarah Morgan

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Kathleen is eighty years old. After she has a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move into a residential home. But she’s not having any of it. What she craves—what she needs—is adventure.

Liza is drowning in the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza long for a solo summer of her own.

Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.

When Martha sees Kathleen’s advertisement for a driver and companion to share an epic road trip across America with, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. She’s not the world’s best driver, but anything has to be better than living with her parents. And traveling with a stranger? No problem. Anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?

The Summer Seekers I discovered as I read, was the kind of book I like. 

Firstly interesting characters. Kathleen has lived a life, she likes adventure and not being stuck safe somewhere. She lives in a delightful cottage with a half blind three legged cat. She has a few things in her life that haven’t been faced or acknowledged. She keeps to herself and isn’t free around emotions and touch.

Her daughter Liza is a modern mother, caring for the family, holding down a job and supporting a busy family life with teenage daughter twins. But… she is denying her own needs, and she wants to organise her mother and make sure she is safe. 

Martha is delightful but without a job, and when Kathleen wants a driver for a trip across America well she is game to give it a go.  Her family are not that supportive of her so she doesn’t recognise the wonderful qualities she has… until she meets Kathleen.

There is a fun road adventure in a red convertible, with plenty happening along the way. But what is more important than the outer journey is the inner journey that each of the women make.

It’s a very satisfying read, I liked that it didn’t dwell on long details of the trip, it moved along very smoothly. More time was given to what was happening for each of the characters and the journey of self discovery they were making.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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photo Sarah Morgan

Author Bio: USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy, contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and her trademark humor and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. Described as “a magician with words” by RT Book Reviews, she has sold more than eleven million copies of her books. She was nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award three times: once in 2012 for Doukakis’s Apprentice, in 2013 for A Night of No Return and in 2017 for Miracle on 5th Avenue. She also won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their Top Pick slot. As a child, Sarah dreamed of being a writer, and although she took a few interesting detours along the way, she is now living that dream. Sarah lives near London, England, with her husband and children, and when she isn’t reading or writing, she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.

Buy Links: 

Harlequin    Indiebound   Amazon       Barnes & Noble 

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Author Website              Twitter: @SarahMorgan_                  

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