REVIEW: THE STEPSISTERS, BY SUSAN MALLERY

Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.
 
 
 
potpourri thoughts

The Stepsisters is a tale about a dysfunctional family and the aftermath of divorce and custody issues.

As we meet Daisy and her children, learn about the problems in her marriage, and then see her reconnecting with her stepsister Sage, we begin to realize how their childhood traumas have followed them into adulthood.

Then Daisy’s half sister Cassidy arrives on the scene at a very challenging time, and we predict more chaos and frustration for Daisy.

But what happens instead is the beginning of real communication and how they each start to reexamine the misunderstandings that led to the rift between them.

I liked how they slowly began to develop a real friendship.

But would it last, or would additional betrayals come along to thwart their efforts? Just when I thought there was no hope, I liked how they all slowly began to repair the wounds. 4.5 stars.
 
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REVIEW: LIFE & OTHER INCONVENIENCES, BY KRISTAN HIGGINS

Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her—until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?l

potpourri thoughts

From the very first page of Life and Other Inconveniences, I was immersed in the family dynamics and the intriguing characters. They felt so real, and they kept me smiling, laughing, and sometimes crying.

Emma was my favorite character, along with her daughter Riley. Genevieve, whom we came to know a little better when her alternating narrative took over, kept me intrigued. She was a mixed bag of sadness, loss, and the kind of staunch grit that comes with her background and experiences.

There were times that I could almost empathize with Clark, Emma’s father, but he was such a weak imitation of the life he could have had.

So many troubled characters who could have had more, but who sank to the lowest of lows when confronted with difficulty. Or those little inconveniences that life throws at us. These were the characters against whom we cast the truly great ones, like Emma and Riley.

Then we meet Miller, and watch him deal with his challenging daughter Tess, and the combination of Emma and Miller made my heart soar. A lovely 4.5 star read.

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