Review: The Boardwalk Bookshop

Review: The Boardwalk BookshopThe Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery
Published by MIRA on May 31, 2022
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 448


FINAL DECISION: The story was good enough to keep me reading to find out what happens, but honestly, the endings were pretty obvious from early in the book. I did enjoy the journey as a reader, but nothing in this would encourage me to return for another read.

THE STORY:  The story of three women who have adjoining businesses. The story is how they build their friendship and also deal with their romantic relationships, which are a mess for each in different ways. Bree is wounded from a lifetime of being used and emotionally abused and is determined to never let anyone close again. Then she meets the brother of one of her business neighbors. Mikki has the perfect divorce. Her ex and she have managed to deal with everything in an adult mature manner. But when Mikki begins dating, her ex decides he wants her back. Ashley is happy with her live-in love, until she realizes that she wants marriage and he wants a commitment, but not marriage.

OPINION: I enjoyed this book overall but I really don’t like this format of books. I didn’t feel like I got to know enough about any of the three (why is it always three these days?) women. The book is more like three novellas combined in one with much of the stories kept separate from one another (with the exception of Bree and Ashley). My biggest complaint is really about the focus of the book (which is my fault and not that of the book itself). I prefer romance over women’s fiction precisely because the romance only goes so far in women’s fiction. Unfortunately, I really could have read more about Bree and about Ashley’s romances. (I thought that Mikki’s story was pretty good in this book). So while I kept reading this book to find out what happened, I wouldn’t pick it up again.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book would be properly categorized as Women’s Fiction rather than romance.


STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.



Review: The Friends We Keep

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Friends We KeepThe Friends We Keep (Mischief Bay, #2) by Susan Mallery
Series: Mischief Bay #2
Published by MIRA on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 402

FINAL DECISION: Not a book for me.  The three story format left me feeling that each story was superficial and I couldn’t truly feel a connection with any of the characters.  This book is women’s fiction or chick lit and focused more on the personal journey of the women characters than on the romance although there are happy endings.

THE STORY: THE FRIENDS WE KEEP are the stories of three women friends experiencing different challenges with children and men.

Gabby Schaefer is a stay at home mom who can’t wait until her twins are ready for Kindergarten so that she can return to work and have time to herself.  When a problem with her stepdaughter causes a crack in her own marriage, Gabby is forced to examine her own desires and expectations.

Hayley Batchelor desperately wants to be a mom.  Multiple miscarriages and expensive futility treatments have put a strain on her marriage as Hayley’s single minded pursuit of a biological child has overtaken everything else in her life.

Nicole Lord is divorced with a young son.  What has shaken her is how little her ex-husband meant to her life. When a new guy comes into the picture, she doesn’t know if she wants to take the chance.

OPINION:  This book was well written, but not the type of book I like to read.

The book focuses on the personal issues of each of the three women and I found each of them shallow, self-absorbed and selfish as the book begins.  They don’t seem to be able to communicate with the men in their lives and selfish go around concerned with their own wants and desires.

As the book went on I saw them change somewhat but because of the shortened nature of stories, I never got attached to any of the characters.  I felt a distance and couldn’t get absorbed in their stories or care about them. The stories all end satisfactory but the entire book felt surface and obvious to me.  I could predict how each of the stories would end and they did not feel complicated at all but rather simplistic.

I liked Nicole’s story the best because it closeness to romance made it feel like a novella. It felt that the only way she could be satisfied was by finding a man without any flaws. Rich, but he really just cares about children and his disabled sister, loves her son, makes no mistakes with her.

Too much of this book was spent with me banging my head on the wall being annoyed with these women. No matter how well written, I don’t want to spend my time with people I wouldn’t like in real life.

WORTH MENTIONING: The beginning of Nicole’s story is told in book one of the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE FRIENDS WE KEEP is the second book in the Mischief Bay series.  This book can be read on its own as I did not read the first book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.