Sisters by Choice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

Susan Mallery, who resides in Seattle, is a New York Times bestselling author. She writes romance and women’s fiction books.  Some of her most notable books are the “Fools Gold” series.  
“Sisters By Choice” follows Mallery’s tradition style of writing. I have read nearly every book written by Susan Mallery and fallen in love with many of her characters.  
“Sisters By Choice” is the fourth book in the Blackberry Island series.  “Barefoot Season”, “Three Sisters” and “Evening Stars” are also part of this series.  Even though these are a series, they can also serve as stand alone novels. 
The setting, Blackberry Island, has been described in great depth throughout the series.  Susan Mallery has even created a website devoted to the town and its history that will help readers become more captivated by the location.  You can view that information at
Girl Power.  That is the overall theme of the story.  Three cousins who are each embarking on a journey of self-discovery and realization.  Each cousin has their own problems and must learn how to overcome these problems while growing as a person.  
Sophie Lane had left the island to build her business empire.  A fire causes her to lose everything, and she must rebuild from the ground up.  Relocating to Blackberry Island has provided her with the opportunity to be closer to family but proves challenging when none of her employees want to move with her.  She has to start over from scratch, which forces her to look at herself and her leadership style.  Can she relinquish control and give up her “I am always right” attitude in time to save her business?
Cousin Kristine is a stay-at-home mom of three boys.  She married her high school sweetheart, but lately has been feeling like she needs something more.  However, in chasing her dreams, she is being forced for choose between them and her husband.  His lack of support has Kristine reevaluating everything about their relationship.
Heather is the daughter of Sophie and Kristine’s first cousin Amber. Amber is a manipulative, controlling woman who has left Heather to take care of both herself and her mother.  Heather has worked since she was 16 to support the both of them, and in the process has lost her dream.  
The characters, even the minor characters, all provide complexity and depth to the story.  Kristine is the character I most resonated with. She is wrestling with the idea of what she wants out of her life, while still trying to stay true to her family.  I feel she also had the most growth in the story.
Amber is the character I liked the least.  She is manipulative, narcistic, and controlling.  Everything that happens to her is someone else’s fault and she cannot take responsibility for herself.  She had no growth in the story, and I disliked the way that everyone always caters to her. 
While I always love reading Susan Mallery’s books, this one was not one of my favorites, but was still a good read. The overall rating that I would give this book is a 3.5 out of 5. I think the issue for me was the controlling and manipulating relationships that were entangled in the story line.  The ending left me wanting to know more about each of the characters and how their lives end up.
I think that the relationship dynamics between Amber and Heather, as well as Kristine and her husband could be triggering to someone who has been involved in controlling and emotionally abusive relationships.  
 “Sisters by Choice” has a February 11, 2020 publication date from MIRA Publishing.  It can be purchased from amazon in Kindle format for $9.99, paperback for $11.59 and hardcover for $18.99.
I was given an advanced reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review..
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I just finished reading the latest Susan Mallery novel, Sisters by Choice, the 4th book in the Blackberry Island series. It was an enjoyable, quick read. The story follows three cousins: a single CEO, a married SAHM who is searching for more, and a young 20 year old trying to find her place in life (which his hopefully far from Blackberry Island). Throughout each chapter, the story unfolds through the POV of each woman, although their lives are wholly intertwined. There is not as much “romance” in this book as in her other series, but watching as each of their relationships with their husband, new boyfriend, and mom grow and change was very satisfying. For fans of Susan Mallery, a must-read.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
#SistersbyChoice #NetGalley

Please note that the copy I received (that I read on my Kindle app on my phone) had a lot of spacing issues. Anytime a word started with an "f," it was followed by an extra space. Also, it was VERY hard to tell who was "speaking" when the POV changed as there were no breaks or symbols between paragraphs.
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Susan Mallery has done it again. Sister's by Choice is not your typical contemporary romance novel. Sophie, Heather and Kristine are family but each woman has their own lives that come with its own set of problems. They are able to rely on each other in their time of need but its still up to them to make the changes they need to get the life they want. One of my favorite characters is Dugan as he defies the societal male role. And then there is Jaxsen who fits it to a tee. Both of these men play an important role in the book and the way that Mallery balances the different roles is extraordinary. Reading this book brought on a lot of moments where I was encouraging the characters or shaking my head at their decisions. At the same time it had me bursting with laughter at the conversations as I was able to imagine the witty banter in play. Take a chance and read this book if you haven't read a Susan Mallery book before. If you have, then you won't be disappointed. A great read, that i'm looking forward to reading again.
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Sisters by Choice is about three cousins. Each have their own problems but struggles to find their way. Sophie is a bit of a control freak but meets her match when a man with a lot of patience enters her life. Kristine has a husband and three boys but needs to be more than just mom running everyone's world. Her husband is quite on board when she wants to open a bake shop. Heather is 20 and under her mother's thumb. She's been taking care of her mom since she was 16. She's working several jobs to keep them afloat and then with the help of her cousin and a stranger she might finally get a shot at her dream if she can break away from her mother. This is a dramatic look at three women's lives. It at times was fun and intense. Not quite a the fairy tale we all hope for but none the less realistic. Heather's mother was a bit over the top for me and i got really tired with her. If she was in capable of working due to age or injury i might have understood but the women is not even 40. You have to try to put yourself in these ladies shoes to try to understand them. I enjoyed the story but it was not one of my favorites of the series.

Find out more about this series and Susan Mallery here
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An amusing and lovely story about families and the interaction between three cousins. Sophie Lane’s life changes in a heartbeat and she returns to Blackberry Island to rebuild her business. Her cousin Kristine is married with three sons and is hoping to open her own bakery. Her cousin Amber is selfish, expecting everyone to take care of her, especially her daughter Heather. Sophie has control issues and is unable to delegate, always needing to be in total control. As her business grows, can handsome Dugan Phillips help her to relax and learn to let go? The author travels seamlessly between the cousins’ individual issues as Kristine works to convince her family that opening a bakery is something she needs to do? Will Heather see that moving on from her selfish mother is the best thing for both of them? A wonderful return visit to Blackberry Island. I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)
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A great addition to the Blackberry Island series. Sophie's business, Clandestine Kitty, burns down in California, so she moves home to Blackberry Island to rebuild the company. She is a control freak and has a hard time delegating tasks. She is trying to figure out how to run a successful company and trust employees to help. She also ends up having a fling with the local Tai Chi teacher who is not quite what he seems...

Meanwhile, her cousin Kristine wants to start a bakery business, but her husband is less than supportive. He desires a full time stay at home wife and mom to their three kids. Kristine is a very relatable character as she tries to find the line between supporting her family and her own dreams without compromising either.

Finishing off the cousins is selfish Amber, the least likeable character of this book. Her poor daughter, Heather, is trapped taking care of both of them and the book focuses more on Heather trying to discover freedom and a better life. Amber is a character you wish you could just slap really hard. 

There is some romance thrown in, but this book leans more towards women's fiction. Everyone's story is so well woven together and Susan Mallery has once again written a great story that I found very hard to put down.

Thanks to the author for a review copy.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley and once again, Susan Mallery captured me from the start. I was expecting the threes cousins but as I started reading there were so many other characters that made such an impression on me.  There was Jaxsen who was married to Kristine.  When I first met him, I thought there is more under the surface and when I learned more about him, I felt the same way that Sophie did when she told him the facts.  There was, Bear who Sophie hired to manage the warehouse.  He was the first person she hired when she was getting the warehouse ready.  It was hard for Sophie to give up control of anything to do with her business but she hired people that were just as determines as she was so it made for some wonderful dynamics.  
Then there was Amber and she made my blood boil.  Dugan was a surprise that just kept on with more unexpected things.  There were many people that kept this book so charged with things that had such an impact.
This is a must-read book to add to your list and preorder it to get it the day it is released.  It was amazing reading this book and discovering all the different feelings that it brought up in me.  It isn't many books that do that.
Thank you, NetGalley for the ARC.  If I could give it higher than a 5, I would.
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Book 4 Blackberry Island Series
So happy to see new book in this series, Book 3 was in 2014.

Sophie is married to job - CK Industries began in a bedroom now is in a warehouse which goes up in flames forcing changes from a big move to leasing a new larger warehouse.
Kristine married and raising 3 boys trying to mold them into gentlemen.
Heather works and saves only to have her mother "need" it all.

As women, since young age taught to accommodate husband, kids, family, friends
lessons learned become lessons relearned

I want my kitty to be a Clandestine Kitty
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I always enjoy Susan Mallery books. So far I want to live in Fool's Gold, Happily Inc., and now on Blackberry Island. That being said, this was my least favorite of the four books in the Blackberry Island series. I loved Kristine - she was determined and wasn't going to back down until she was able to chase her dream. I despised Amber. There is literally not one good thing I can say about her. I'm torn about Heather. I can see why she did the things she did, but I would have liked to have seen a little more growth in her character sooner. And then there's Sophie. I really want to like Sophie, I really do. But she's just so unlikeable so much of the time. I mean, I really can't figure out why anyone would want to date her, work for her, or even hang out with her. 

All in all I enjoyed this book. I mean, it's a Susan Mallery book...what's not to enjoy!!

**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
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I have mixed feelings about this story. I love this author’s books and was excited to dive in.  The characters in this story were a bit rough and I couldn’t connect to them or their storylines. If anything I found myself disliking them and their views on situations. Not every book is for everyone so I encourage others to give it a chance. I will continue to look forward to each book this writes and can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
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I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend to everyone.
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Sisters of choice is a wonderful story about cousins who have hang ups but stick together. The characters are interesting and the storyline will keep you reading until the end. A control freak learns to give up some of hwr power and maybe find love.
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Another fantastic book by Susan Mallery.  A great addition to the series.  Good plot and character development.  I highly recommend this book.  My thanks to the publisher for my advance ebook.  This is my unbiased review.
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This is my first title in the series. From my research each books can be read independently.  This storyline focuses on three female cousins. Sophie's cat food company burnt down in California and has left her completely heartbroken. She makes the decision to restart the business in her hometown of Blackberry Island in Washington State. Sophie is an alpha female and has a hard time asking or accepting help. Her cousin Kristine is a stay at home more of three tween/teen boys but want more, her dream of starting a bakery becomes a challenged as her husband still wants her to be housewife. Amber the third cousin has a toxic and attachment issues with her twenty year old daughter Heather  who Amber manipulates to get her daughter to take care of her. This reads first and foremost as women fiction with a pinch of romance thrown in. Ms. Mallery goes in depth of how Sophie tries to start back up her business and her learning to accept help from her employees, there is also a love interest thrown in for her where she constantly battles with him and finding hard to accept Dugan as a man who could be right for her. Kristine faced with the challenge of if she would lose her husband over wanting her dream of a bakery and Heather having to decide is she going to go for it and leave the island or remain where her mother will be constant burden to her. This was a terrific read, I have read Susan before but I really truly enjoyed the different dynamics she created in theses storyline and how those of us who may seem so strong can be just as vunerable as anyone of us. Enjoyed the gritty realism of a marriage  having tremendous challenge a mother/daughter relationship that realistic is not have a truly good ending but a realism of life challenges and a woman accepting that she is lovable and she is loved. Review on goodreads and amazon.
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Ms. Mallery has hit another one out of the park!  

Sophie, Kristine and Heather are actually cousins, but they are as close as sisters.  They would do anything for each other.  

When Clandestine Kitty, the business that is Sophie’s whole life, burns to the ground, she moves back home to Blackberry Island to try to rebuild.  Her family is there to support her.  Even though everyone wants to help her, Sophie has control issues and has difficulty letting go and letting them help.  She thinks that she is the only one capable of doing every job right.  Even after hiring a warehouse manager, she can be found operating a forklift after business hours.  Sophie struggles to let her employees do their jobs without her help.  She takes micro-management to a new level.

Kristine is the mother of three boys.  She loves being a mom and runs her home and family flawlessly.  But, something is missing from her life.  Her dream is to some day own a bakery, but her husband, Jaxsen, is happy with things the way they are.  He doesn’t want Kristine’s attention anywhere but on him and the family.  

Heather dreams of leaving the island and going to college and making something of herself.  She has been working and taking care of her mother, Amber, since she was sixteen.  Not that her mother couldn’t take care of herself, but why should she if Heather will do it?  Amber has spent her whole life feeling sorry for herself.  She is a professional victim. She blames everyone else for problems she created herself.

I enjoyed reading about these three women as they struggled to reach their goals.  I recommend  Sisters by Choice and the entire Blackberry Island series.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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This novel was a delight. I love women's fiction and few do it better than Susan Mallery. Though it is Book #4 in the series, it is not necessary that you read the previous books in order to enjoy this one, but it does help!
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Sisters by Chance may be the 4th book in a series, but it easily stands alone if you haven't read the others (like I hadn't!). You know when a book is well written, it hits makes you FEEL. I found that many times throughout the book. The storyline just had so many triggers for me with non-mothering mother drama, or low-self-worth issues that I found it was getting my anxiety up in places....but it's just because Susan Mallery wrote those storylines soooo very well. The book may have hurt a little to read, but don't get me wrong, it was still an amazing read. So full of great characters, and great storylines. It was a really quick read for me, less than 24 hours! So I will definitely be reading more Mallery books in the future!
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SISTERS BY CHOICE are actually relatives, cousins to be exact. But growing up together as a tight knit trio makes them feel more like sisters. So that is the family basis or premise of SISTERS BY CHOICE. Amber, Sophie and Kristine now grown women with very diverse lifestyles and lives and I must put an emphasis on diverse. 
Sophie talks about Lily and Mrs. Bennett as if they are single human mothers, more about them later or better yet meet them in SISTERS BY CHOICE along with a cadre of delightful characters. Some you will instantly like, others not so – by design. This is Susan Mallery we are talking about and she knows character development – all sorts of characters. 
It is a unique ability to enable readers to forge a connection with characters that solely reside on a written page but Susan Mallery has always accomplished this feat.
SISTERS BY CHOICE will have you cheering for Kristine as she tries valiantly to forge ahead with a longtime dream/plan to build a business off amazing baking talents. Kristine also is a master of organization – a skill honed bringing up three sons, keeping a home and a cottage industry with her cookies and muffins. 
Sophie has drive which has kept her CK business alive and well but we now see her facing many challengers both business and personal. Sophie has to face facts about her inability to take a step back and trust others with CK Industries which is undeniably her baby. CK needs to grow. Sophie needs to acknowledge her need for help if that is to happen.
And last is Amber. Amber is pitiful, untrustworthy, selfish and candidly unlikeable. Her only redeeming virtue is her family connection to cousins Sophie and Kristine and her amazing daughter Heather. Heather has supported Amber since she was sixteen and negotiations her own life through the many challenges Amber throws in her path. Heather has plans but they require separation from a life time of placating her mother. Amber truly does not deserve her daughter or cousins. 
SISTERS BY CHOICE is a work of love and is about love. Each character in SISTERS BY CHOICE is bound by emotional attachments to each other, to their families and to their career choices. SISTERS BY CHOICE is a reality check kind of story. People’s lives seem to be on a good comfortable track but then you have to look more closely to see the cracks in that façade. Just like in real life the characters in SISTERS BY CHOICE are facing their own realities, some pretty, others not so. But it is their lives and now it is in their hands to decide whether to let things continue or shake things up. Change is difficult but staying the course isn’t always the best choice. So enjoy watching people face these challenges. SISTERS BY CHOICE is another winning story by Susan Mallery.
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Sisters by choice, I love the Blackberry Island series by Susan mallery... so excited that I was able to read this from netgally Thank you.
Sophie's business burns to the ground so she had to literally pack up and move back to Blackberry Island her home place.. and start from the ground up but she didn't trust anyone she thought she had to do it all herself. And her business was the most important thing to her CK. 
Some of my favorite characters in this story was Heather and her, self-centered mother who thought everything revolved around her... Heather did everything for her mother and in the end I think that all worked out .... another part of the story that I found to be intriguing with Sophie and Dugan how their story comes together.... Heather's not trusting of Dugan in the beginning things come out and soon she finds out ..... this was really a wonderful book I don't really want to give away any spoilers I don't like to do that in  my review because I would like for everyone to enjoy the story as much as I did I hope that everyone picks up a copy and reads it.. I am of Susan mallery fan and I  would definitely give her more stars than allowed if I could...
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Hooray! Another outstanding book written by Susan Mallery. Three main storylines revolving three women and the choices they make from their family histories and backgrounds. A simple a common book theme. Ms. Mallery brings attention to the little tiny things that makes these women look at themselves and the routes taken. I think everyone can relate to any or all these women or can see someone they know like them. Kudos for having smart and strong minded men. It is always nice to be around positive uplifting people.
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