The Girls of Mischief Bay. Susan Mallery

The Girls of Mischief Bay   Susan Mallery

The Girls of Mischief Bay
Susan Mallery
Published: Harlequin
Date: 24th February 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 416
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there’s a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she’s never seen. He won’t even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time at her Mischief Bay Pilates studio. Can she say enough is enough without losing the man she loves?

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg rose to become vice president in her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she can have it all. And if she can, does she want it?

Although Pam Eiland has a beautiful house and a husband she adores, she feels… restless. She wonders who a stay-at-home mom becomes after the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise her husband brings the heat and the humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she’ll have to redefine herself. Again.

My thoughts
The Girls of Mischief Bay is the first book in a new series by Susan Mallery.  As I read on into the book I began to really enjoy it and followed each of the three main characters with interest as their stories played out.  Three women who are friends – Nicole, Shannon and Pam. Nicole is in her thirties, Shannon is almost forty and Pam is fifty.  I wonder why it is called The Girls of Mischief Bay, these are women – not girls!
Nicole teaches pilates and works hard in her business and loves her young son Tyler.  However her husband Eric has up and left his work and settled in to write a screenplay – oh and to go surfing in the morning.  Meanwhile Nicole struggles on working hard and paying the bills.  Eric seems to be very wrapped up in his own life and vision.  He was a remote kind of character, we never really got inside his head and I had little to no empathy for him.  Nicole and he are drifting apart and this is the struggle and challenge in life for Nicole.
Shannon is very successful – a six figure yearly income. She is a CFO and very competent at her job, prepared to work the long hours it takes.  Yet she hankers for something more, and meets Adam, someone she is attracted to.  He is divorced and shares the custody of his two children week about. For Shannon the challenge is forming a loving and trusting relationship and discovering the ups and downs of moving towards a relationship that could really be ‘the one’.  Shannon is discovering the need to have a child and realises her time is running out.  Will Adam go along with that need, after all he has two children already?
Pam has a loving husband and three grown children – and a delicate little dog – Lulu.  She and John have been married for thirty one years, as the story opens she is struggling with ageing.  She is noticing all those wrinkles and other signs of ageing that no one tells you about until it happens to you! I identify with Pam!  It makes her a little insecure, yet she is such a competent and talented woman who is so supportive of her friends and family.  She also feels her sexual relationship with her husband John is somewhat ‘meh’ so she decides to book a surprise retreat weekend geared towards spicing it up. However soon Pam is dealing with a lot more serious issues than these.
Life throws a number of curve balls for these women to face and work through.  At times I wanted to shake one or two of them, but like in real life it all takes time and things begin to change as time goes by.  For each of these women it was a facing of  the end of one way of life and the beginning of something new. Another stage in life – and with that comes loss and grief, insecurity and being totally thrown.  It also makes way for something new.  
Nicole is to be the main character in the next book and I look forward to seeing where her life leads. She deserves something really good, while she accepts responsibility for what has happened so far, I want her to become really confident in who she is and reach for the stars.  I look forward to meeting again these three friends and their wider circle of family and friends. I wish it was already written.
4.5 stars

The Rosie Effect. Graeme Simsion

Book Cover

The Rosie Effect
Graeme Simsion
Published: Audible Studios
Date: 2014
Format: Audiobook
Length: 9 hrs 9 min
Narrator: Dan O’Grady
Genre: Fiction
Source: Own book

With the Wife Project complete, Don settles into a new job and married life in New York. But it’s not long before certain events are taken out of his control and it’s time to embark on a new project….

As Don tries to get to grips with the requirements of starting a family, his unusual research style gets him into trouble. To make matters worse, Don has invited his closest friend to stay with them, but Gene is not exactly the best model for marital happiness. As Don’s life with Rosie continues to be unpredictable, he needs to remember that emotional support is just as important as practical expertise.

The Rosie Effect follows on from The Rosie Project, and as I enjoyed the latter very much, I didn’t wait too long to listen to the second book.  I am still undecided about how much I liked The Rosie Effect.  Like the first book I chose to listen to the audio version because Dan O’Grady totally nails the narration.  To me he is the voice of Don Tillman!  His voice, his phrasing and emphasis on certain words just brings this story so alive.
Don is totally thrown when he learns that he and Rosie are expecting a baby.  He goes into meltdown. And when he has finished with that he turns to the practicalities of preparing a baby.  He becomes an expert on the total nine months and all birthing possibilities.  You don’t want to know his version of a pram and cot.  Neither would Rosie.  What Don neglects to do is give Rosie the support she needs and fails to be involved in ways that Rosie sees as essential.
I wasn’t that keen on the relationship between Don and Rosie in this book, except perhaps towards the end.  The decision that Rosie came to in the course of events was something I felt might be inevitable. Rosie felt like a shadowy character in this book, she was there in the background, but not really fully fleshed.
Don had a number of other characters to relate to in this book.  They are in New York and there is the old rock star upstairs – George, Dave and Sonia – someone Don helps out with his business and then Sonia later helps Don out in a very funny kind of way.  Then there is Lydia,  he first meets her in a restaurant and then later as his ‘social worker’. Gene also turns up on the door, I found I didn’t mind him so much in this book.
Don because of who he is lands himself in all kinds of funny situations that he takes totally seriously. He also shows the kind of person he is as he bends over backwards for his friends – he just forgot to do that for Rosie in a way that she needed!  
I enjoyed the reference to the media and the way some journalists muddle the facts and the poking of fun at the way airports operate these days.  
If you listen to audio, I would most definitely listen to it rather than read it.  Dan O’Grady takes the book up some notches.
4 stars
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