Sisters by Choice by Susan Mallery

Hello Kittens! I hope everyone is adjusting to life under quarantine as best as they can. I have to admit that I am starting to go a little stir crazy. As much as I love reading, eye-strain is real, so even I have to take a break every now and again. Things are so off-balance for me that I did something that I have not done in a really long time…two things actually. I accepted a book recommendation from someone who’s tastes I know are different from mine and I started a book that was in a series without knowing anything about the series or having read any of the previous books. It turned out to be a great move. Readers, I stayed up all night to finish this book. I literally read the whole thing in a 12 hour span with a few breaks in between. I was up until 4am because I couldn’t make myself put it down (although it probably didn’t hurt that I knew I didn’t have to worry about going to work that morning). This one came out a little over two months ago now and it wasn’t really on my radar, but it is a sweet and simple read that I think is just the ticket for these stressful times. Pick it up if you get the chance.

Title: Sisters by ChoiceSisters by Choice (Blackberry Island, #4)

Author: Susan Mallery

Author website:

Publisher: Mira (imprint of Harlequin)

Publish date: February 11, 2020

ISBN: 9780778310020

Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

I should start off by revealing that I am not a Susan Mallery fan. I don’t have anything against her, I just tend to prefer a grittier kind of writing and I’m not a huge romance reader. That being said, i’ll be giving her releases a little more of my attention in the future. I don’t know why, but I had pegged her in my mind as more of a Danielle Steel-type writer. This book actually reads more like a Jenny Colgan novel, so if you like her work, definitely give this one a try. Also, if the world is just all too much right now, this is a great escape.

We start off by meeting Sophie Lane, a type-A personality who is on an unimaginative and fairly uninteresting second date. Then she gets a phone call that changes her entire life. The business that she has built from the ground up has just gone up in flames. No one was hurt, but she’s going to have to start all over again, and to make matters worse, when she relocates to a new factory to get started, none of her former employees are willing to go with her. Fortunately for Sophie, the new location is in her hometown, a sweet little coastal area of Blackberry Island, Washington. Who needs loyal employees when she’s got family, right?

Kristine Fielding is Sophie’s cousin and long-time Blackberry Island resident. She is married with three young sons and seemingly has the perfect home life. She also has a small successful baking business on the side that she runs out of her home kitchen. She does it all… but her boys are growing up and she’s starting to want more. When a local property that’s perfect for a bakery storefront comes on the market, she desperately wants to expand her baking dream. She does the research and prepares to discuss the plan with her husband. She’s supported his dreams for their entire marriage, so he’ll be happy to help her build hers, right?

Amber Sitterly is Sophie’s cousin. Amber and her daughter, Heather, begin working for Sophie once she gets her factory up and running, but just because they’re family doesn’t mean all is right in paradise. Amber has a victim mentality about all aspects of her life, nothing is good enough for her, she deserves more than she gets, and she shouldn’t have to work hard for any of it. Heather supports her mother, depleting her savings to give her mother what she wants, but Heather has bigger dreams. She wants to get away from her mother and her negative influence and make something more of her life. Heather works hard and sees working for Sophie as an amazing learning opportunity, as long as Amber doesn’t screw it up for both of them. Amber wouldn’t do anything to undermine Heather or hurt Sophie’s business, right?

And then there’s Dugan. He’s a sexy tai chi instructor who might be just the relaxing no-strings man that Sophie needs. He’s simple and good in bed and seems to be willing to keep their relationship in the “with benefits but no emotional attachments” category. At the same time, he seems to know a lot about her business, and he’s always butting in with advice that she didn’t ask for. When it turns out that Dugan’s more than a pretty face, Sophie has trouble fighting the urge to cut her losses and move on.

This is book 4 in the Blackberry Island novels, and despite having not read any of the other novels, I was able to follow the story line without confusion. Actually, this book was so engaging that I may be picking up the other books in the series the next time that I get a chance. My one issue, if you can call it that, is that these characters are prone to making the same mistakes over and over again, which stretches the believability aspect a little. But that was it. If you are looking for a good escapist novel over the next few weeks, this one would be a good option.

Disclaimer: None needed this time. I picked up this title from the library pre-quarantine.

My rating:

lemonade_iconlemonade_icon2 glasses of lemonade= a book that you could probably recommend to family and close friends.  They may not like everything that’s in it, but they’re not going to start sending you cards with holy scripture written in them as messages to get you back on the path of righteousness after reading them either.

This was a great book but it definitely has a few steamy scenes. Unless you know the person, I would be cautious about a recommendation without a heads up about the steam-factor.

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