Book Review: When We Found Home by Susan Mallery

Yet another fantastic stand-alone novel by Susan Mallery! When We Found Home, is an engaging story about finding one’s self through a blended family and unexpected friendships. Callie, Keira, and Malcolm are long-lost half siblings. Their grandfather, a wealthy man and business owner, lives in a large home in Seattle. After living most of his life unaware that all three of his grandchildren exist, he is determined to bring his estranged family together, in his home, and provide them with a lifetime of security and love.

Malcolm has known his grandfather for the majority of his life, but Callie and Keira are not as familiar with the relatives of their father, a man they never knew. Callie has a past that she isn’t proud of, one that put her in jail for a good amount of time. Keira has been in and out of foster homes  for most of her life and has never lived in a stable environment. Malcolm runs the family business with his best friend, Santiago, a guy he met in college. He has trust issues that a 20-something adult should not have to deal with. The three siblings can’t be any more different and have a difficult time learning how to communicate and coexist. The daily struggle of their new lives affects all three of the them on a very deep level.

I really enjoyed the family dynamic in When We Found Home. It touched on some tough topics that children face in foster homes, as well as the struggles that blended families encounter. I enjoyed the mix of characters in this novel. Keira’s friend and Malcom’s love interest, Delaney, was my favorite character from the book. Her back story is heartfelt and raw. Every character in this novel is well-developed and has their own interesting narrative. It made the novel even more interesting because there were so many characters to connect to.

Whenever I have the opportunity to review a Susan Mallery book, I always mention how much I love the animal characters in her novels. This time, though, I wasn’t thrilled with the fact that the main animal character in her book is a cat. With that being said, I don’t hold this against the author, I am just not a cat person; I prefer reading about her dog characters.

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery

The women of Mischief Bay are back in another story of friendship, love, and life. Susan Mallery’s newest novel, A Million Little Things, is the third book in the Mischief Bay series and the second one I have read. I first fell in love with this Susan Mallery’s unique books after reading The Friends We Keep, which is the previous novel in this series. I enjoyed reading about the characters so much and I couldn’t wait for the third installment about the Michief Bay girls. Unfortunately, A Million Little Things follows the characters from the first book in the series, which I never read, The Girls of Mischief Bay. With that being said, it is a good book, just not about my favorite characters from the last book I read.

What I like about many of Susan Mallery’s books is that you can read the entire series or read each book as a stand alone novel. Even though I never read book one in this series, I was still able to follow each storyline of the characters Zoe, Pam, and Jen. Other characters that were briefly mentioned in A Million Little Things are Nicole and Shannon.

Zoe recently broke up with her boyfriend who didn’t tell her he was married. After he finally divorced his wife, he still refused to have committed relationship with her. She works from home transcribing instruction manuals (Can I have this job?) and usually only interacts with her cat, Mason. After getting stuck in her attic, Zoe realizes that she needs to get out of the house more, make additional friends, and find a real man to love.

Jen is the mom of an 18 month old boy, Jack. Jen is basically me when my son was her son’s age, except a little more over the top. She is worried that her son won’t speak even though he understands everything she says and has his own way of communicating back. She has him on a very regimented routine and is very strict about what he does and doesn’t eat. Seriously, Jen could be based on my life just a short year and a half ago. Jen is Pam’s daughter. Jen’s husband is a police officer. Not only does she worry about her son, but also her husband’s whereabouts day in and day out. Jen is Zoe’s best friend. But since she is so obsessed with her son, Zoe barely sees Jen.

Pam has been a window for a few years now. She has a dog named Lulu who has her own wardrobe. Pam worries about her daughter, Jen, and her two sons, Brandon and Steve. When Zoe goes to a Pilates class that Pam routinely attends, she decides that it would be a great idea to set her son, Steve, up with Zoe. On top of that, Pam starts to fall for Zoe’s dad, Miguel. Sounds a bit confusing, right? It is actually kind of hilarious how everyone’s lives are intertwined in A Million Little Things.

I really enjoyed Zoe and Steve’s relationship in this book. When things got tough, he didn’t head for the hills, even though his mom really wants him to. What I also really like about A Million Little Things are the dog characters. Susan Mallery has a thing about giving animals human qualities in her books. This one is no different. Lulu, Pam’s dog, and Mariposa, Miguel’s dog, are main characters.

Susan Mallery not only likes to write about romance in her novels, she is also really good at writing about female friendships. The friendships she writes about are the kind of friendships all adults yearn for. Pam has three friends that she travels all over the world with. She met them on a cruise she took after her husband died and has been traveling with them ever since. What I think is so fun about their friendship is that they pick a special drink that they drink throughout their entire trip. Even though I am a beer kind of gal, I do like to try new cocktails here and there. On their weekend getaway to Arizona, Pam and her friends indulge in a French 75. I can’t wait to try one myself. Also after reading A Million Little Things, I REALLY want a margarita!

VIA

Overall, I enjoyed reading A Million Little Things. It is refreshing to read about a character like Jen who has had trouble adjusting to motherhood. I am not sure why she wasn’t officially diagnosed with postpartum anxiety/depression, though. It is also refreshing to read a contemporary romance novel that isn’t just rainbows and butterflies. I can only hope that I get to read about my friends from the last novel, The Friends We Keep, in Susan Mallery’s next Mischief Bay installment: I miss you, Gabby and Haley! (Because when you think fictional characters are your actual friends, you know you have a problem just like Zoe…)