Review: Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars, Book 2
Sensuality: 3
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Bobby Tom Denton
Heroine:  Gracie Snow
Date of Publication: January 1, 1995
Started On: February 1, 2010
Finished On: February 1, 2010

Though this book wasn’t as satisfying as the last two of the Chicago Stars series that I read, Bobby Tom and Gracie’s is pretty charming in its own way. Gracie Snow, having grown up and worked with old people all 30 years of her life, has never experienced the deep gut wrenching passion that people always talk about. But things make a drastic turnabout when she is hired by the company that is shooting the first movie that ex-Chicago Star football player Bobby Tom has signed onto star in. A fatalistic knee injury which had cut his fantastic football career short, Bobby Tom is a man at odds who doesn’t know what to do with his life when all he has known is to play football and the live the life that goes along with being a football player.

From the moment Gracie sees Bobby Tom, its lust at first sight. Here was a man who could show her everything that she has been missing all her life, though Bobby Tom doesn’t show the slightest inclination that he found her even the least bit attractive, not surprising when he is always surrounded by beautifully made up blonde women with massive chests of which Gracie is the polar opposite. However, this doesn’t deter her from the job she has been handed, that is to drag Bobby Tom’s ass to the movie site so that they could start with the shoot.

However, things hardly go according to plan when Bobby Tom refuses to budge even an inch and leave with Gracie on the flight as planned. Gracie forces Bobby Tom to take her along on the road trip that Bobby would rather take to his hometown (where the movie is to be shot to revive the local economy), and finally they arrive after many detours 3 days later than her boss expected them to. Fired for incompetence Gracie is rehired upon Bobby’s insistence and an arrangement is struck with the producer so that Gracie wouldn’t ever find out that it is actually Bobby who is paying Gracie’s salary.

Before even half way through the novel, Gracie acknowledges that her feelings towards Bobby Tom has turned into love, which she vows Bobby Tom would receive and Gracie be the first person in his life to actually give something to him without expecting something in return.

However, things hardly go according to plan as matters of the heart have a way of their own and to worm its way into someone who has put up such a strong shield against all those women who seem to throw themselves at him, it proves to be a tough journey towards facing the inevitable truth in their feelings towards one another.

A nice little side story of Bobby’s mother and the town’s bad boy Way makes things a bit more enticing for the reader. All in all a pretty good read, recommended for those who love novels with a quirky sense of humor, passion and love.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars, Book 1
Sensuality: 3
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero: Dan Calebo
Heroine:  Phoebe Somerville
Date of Publication: October 13, 2009
Started On: January 31, 2010
Finished On: February 1, 2010

As I mentioned in my previous review, reading Molly and Kevin’s story made me want to start from the beginning of the Chicago Stars series. And to my surprise once I started reading the first book in this series, I realized that I had in fact read this book sometime back, but decided to go ahead with the read since a book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips never fails to amuse, entertain and tug at your heartstrings.

Phoebe Somerville works hard at projecting the image of the perfect bimbo. With a voluptuous figure that people compare to Marilyn Monroe’s, the sexy simpering idiotic female is a role that Phoebe has perfected over the years since she ran away from her father. Posing for nude art pieces and hanging out with gay men had eventually made her father Bert Somerville, owner of the Chicago Stars football team remove Phoebe from his will. However, it seems Bert once again gets the last laugh from the grave when he wills the ownership of the Stars team to Phoebe till the end of the season thinking to teach his only failure in life a lesson she wouldn’t forget.

Dan Calebo, the head coach of Stars is everything Phoebe abhors in a man. Too masculine and aggressive for comfort, Phoebe finds herself unable to pull off the blonde bimbo facade that has saved her from becoming intimate with men for the past sixteen years. Likewise, Dan cannot stand the idea of someone as scatterbrained as Phoebe managing his football team.

From the moment these two opposites butt their heads together, the inevitable sparks fly. Though Dan has plans to find a nice homely woman and settle down with 2.5 kids, he never factored into the equation how he might start to feel for Phoebe once he gets to know the story of the woman behind all the glitter and makeup. Its inevitable that these two would crash headlong into love with each other, if they could just trust each other just a little and learn to look behind appearances that these two try real hard to keep up.

An enjoyable story of how two strong willed people from polar opposite backgrounds come together, this is a story true romantics would deeply relish, whose characters would stay with the reader for a long time afterwards.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars, Book 5
Sensuality: 3
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero: Kevin Tucker
Heroine:  Molly Somerville
Date of Publication: March 17, 2009
Started On: January 30, 2010
Finished On: January 31, 2010

First of all, I just have got to say, what a great read! This book has everything that makes a great romance. Susan Elizabeth’s charm never fails to evoke all the right emotions from the reader.

I haven’t really been reading the Chicago Stars series in order, a fact which I am thinking of remedying by starting from Book 1 of the series, the story of Molly’s sister which I am really interested in reading after seeing quick sneaks into her life with Dan Calebo.

Molly and Kevin’s story is a fascinating one, not just the story of how they find one another and quickly fall in love, but rather a journey these two take in finding the love they could both have with one another if given half the chance. At first glance, Molly and Kevin couldn’t be further apart from one another if they tried. A children’s books author, her characters you find are closely linked with Kevin’s escapades over the years, Molly has had a huge crush on Kevin as long as she can remember. Not that football jock Kevin even knows she exists. With the continuous string of the doll faced women with no brains of their own that parade through his life, Kevin seems to be at the top of his game playing for the football team managed by Molly’s sister Phoebe.

Though Molly doesn’t seem to realize it, she has got this streak of restlessness inside of her which lands her in trouble from time to time. This is what ends her up in Kevin’s bed, seducing him in his sleep and an outraged Kevin who gets rightfully pissed off about being  taken advantage of. Kevin makes Molly promise to him that if there ever were consequences of their coming together she would let him know, which of course Molly doesn’t when she finds herself pregnant.

Molly’s well meaning family, Phoebe and Dan are both shocked when they find out Molly is pregnant and jump to all the wrong conclusions about who took advantage of whom when they find out that Kevin is the father. Kevin slams back into Molly’s life and makes her marry him, though Kevin can barely be civil to the woman who has turned everything in his life upside down.

In the end, mere hours after getting married, tragedy strikes which quickly spins Molly’s world out of control. Once again, its Kevin who shakes her out of depression, takes her off on a trip to Wind Lake, and finds herself running the quaint bed and breakfast that Kevin inherits from his aunt which Kevin wants nothing to do with. Here Kevin faces his demons from his childhood face on, with Molly finally finding peace within herself in this beautiful place.

Tentatively, Kevin and Molly find in one another friendship, and finally red hot desire for one another, that makes Kevin sweat profusely at the idea of getting all his emotions involved in finally inevitably falling for Molly.

This is truly great story with a lovable cast of side characters and of course who wouldn’t love Molly’s fictional characters Daphne and Bunny with their witty and adorable insights into the beginnings of each chapter of the book. Highly recommended for those who love a good romance with a witty cast of characters that could make you smile, make your heart ache just a little and finally end you up with a bunch of happy tears at the truly deserving happy ending!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Format: E-book
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars, Book 4
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Gabe Bonner
Heroine: Rachel Stone
Date of Publication: February 1, 1998
Started On: December 25, 2009
Finished On: December 26, 2009

The next book in the Chicago Stars series, this is the story of Gabe Bonner, younger brother of Cal from Nobody’s Baby But Mine. There were tidbits of Gabe’s story in the previous novel and my interest was piqued to find out whether the author had ever gotten around to writing Gabe’s story since I felt in my gut that it would be a fabulous one and I’ve got to say it definitely has been a worthwhile read.

Gabe Bonner, a man who lost everything he held dear to his heart when his wife Cherry and son Jamie died in a hit and run accident is a man who just goes through the motions of living a life. A veterinarian who has no interest in healing animals after the accident, he turns all his attention to fixing up the drive-in movie theater in town just so that it would give him something to do to keep those dark memories at bay.

Rachel Stone, a woman who is nearly at the end of her wits for the constant struggle for survival of her and her young son Edward Stone, is a woman who is scorned and hated by everyone in Salvation. Her ex-husband Dwayne had been a televangelist who had ripped the community of their savings, the sole blame of which Dwayne had successfully swayed his followers to believe lay on Rachel’s shoulders. Even then, Rachel is determined to make things work for her son and in a desperate attempt to earn money forces Gabe to hire her to work at the drive-in even though he makes it no secret that he can’t stand to be around Edward and her.

However, gradually Rachel and Gabe both find that they can’t deny the need they arouse in each other, though Gabe still has problems communicating with Edward, who thinks Gabe is no good for his mother. On one side of the story is the tale of how Ethan Bonner the reverend of  Salvation finds himself having to confront his feelings for his life long friend and secretary Kristy who has always loved Ethan from afar.

With everyone except Gabe, Kristy and Jane rooting for Rachel, and a town full of people who refuse to hide their animosity for her, Rachel and Gabe finds that within themselves lie an unending amount of courage to face anything and that this woman who has not a penny to her name and survives with dignity and pride can finally heal Gabe and teach him how to love again.

This story is one packed with complex relationships and emotions that leaves one wanting to finish the book till the last page is through. I loved every bit of the Connor brothers’ stories and have to say that Susan Elizabeth Phillips has done a marvelous job in creating such wonderful characters that would stay with you for a long time even after you finish the series.

Purchase Links: BooksOnBoard | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Half.com

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Review: Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Format: E-book
Read with: Adobe Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars, Book 3
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Cal Bonner
Heroine: Dr. Jane Darlington
Date of Publication:February 1, 1997
Started On: December 22, 2009
Finished On: December 25, 2009

Dr. Jane Darlington may be a brilliant physics scientist but she doesn’t really have a clue about what life is all about. Growing up alone with a father, who didn’t know what to do with such a brilliant child with no love lost between father and daughter, all Dr. Jane yearns for is a child of her own, whom she would protect with every fiber of her being, so that mockery & isolation from fellow peers is not the only thing her child would know in life. The only problem for Dr. Jane is finding a suitable candidate to father her child, someone who is dumb enough to compensate for her brilliance so that their child would not be labelled a ‘freak’. By a twist of fate, Dr. Jane meets with Jodie, one of the groupies that were forever after the Chicago Stars, who had been assigned the task of finding a high class prostitute as a birthday present for Cal Bonner.

Someone whose career in football is about to end, Cal Bonner doesn’t do commitment well. Afraid of acknowledging the fact that his high profile career is about to end, Cal doesn’t want or need anyone tying him down. Jodie finds the suitable candidate to pose as Cal’s birthday present from the team members when she meets Dr. Jane and quite by chance finds Dr. Jane fascinated with Cal Bonner thinking him to be a dumb jock, a highly suitable candidate to father her child.

Thus begins the highly entertaining story of how Cal finds himself with a woman who is able to give as good as she gets, someone who has an uncanny understanding of himself, and someone who could really get under his skin if he ain’t careful about it. Finding out that Dr. Jane tricked him into getting herself pregnant with his child, when he wasn’t ready at all for such a thing, pushes Cal over the edge and demands Dr. Jane to marry him and vows he would destroy Jane for tricking him and cheating him out of what he wants in life.

Throw in the highly unusual members of Cal’s family and you have got on your hands one hell of an enjoyable romance. I loved every bit of Cal’s and Jane’s encounters filled with moments of laughter, uncertainty, scorching passion and unbeatable romance with a great happy ending at the end. Highly recommended!

Purchase Links: BooksOnBoard | Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Format: E-book
Read with: Google Chrome
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero: Alex Markov
Heroine: Daisy Devreaux
Date of Publication: February 1, 1996
Started On: December 19, 2009
Finished On: December 19, 2009

This is the third time I have read this book, and I would have to say that the story of Alex and Daisy never gets old. Its a beautiful love story with a strong cast of characters, each playing a vital role to make this story a worthwhile read.

Alex Markov was rescued by Daisy’s father Max when he was twelve years old from the constant physical abuse he was facing under his uncle Sergey. Max had bought Alex from his uncle and seen to his education. Alex had shaped into a cold, aloof man who has a strong sense of honor and pride which he holds onto with his life.

Daisy is the direct opposite of Alex. An illegitimate child, the only mistake her diplomat father had made in his entire life, Daisy had lived her whole life trying to gain the approval of a father who has never really seen what a remarkable woman Daisy had turned into, regardless of the promiscuous lifestyle  Daisy’s beautiful mother had subjected her to. Vulnerable, kind and easy going to a fault, Daisy’s father considers her to be a fluffy scatterbrained individual whom he arranges to be married to Alex for a period of six months. Broke without a dollar to her name, Daisy has no choice but to go ahead with the marriage or face prison for maxing out her credit cards and finding all the creditors after her, the result of shopping extravagantly to make up for the profound sense of loneliness she has been feeling since her mother died.

Alex thinks no better of Daisy than her father and vows to give her a fair chance to work through the temporary arrangement which Alex has agreed to with Max. Alex introduces Daisy to the life of living and working in a circus, and for someone like Daisy who has a perpetual fear of animals this doesn’t prove to be an easy feat. With a husband who doesn’t want to have to do anything with her except grudgingly acknowledge the intense feelings of passion that Daisy is able to arouse in him, Daisy finds herself unprepared for what is about to hit her.

Alex doesn’t trust his wife one bit and when she is framed as a thief, Alex serves her with the sentence of cleaning up the muck of the animal stalls at the circus. Daisy proves she has a backbone of steel when with determination she surpasses everyone’s expectations of her by sticking to her punishment regardless of the fact she is innocent of the crime.

Regardless of the cold layer of indifference Alex tries to put up with, he soon finds himself intrigued with his new wife, whilst Daisy slowly teaches Alex how to care, love and share with his better half.

Things get interesting when Daisy gets pregnant, something which Alex had made Daisy swear she would take all the necessary precautions against. In a moment of anger, Alex loses the woman he only realizes too late that he has fallen for, and the lengths Alex has to go through to win Daisy’s love back would touch any romantics heart.

The author is known for her talent in weaving a romantic tale filled with laugh aloud moments together with moments of intense passion that makes this book one worth re-reading from time to time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance. Am sure that you wouldn’t be disappointed!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | AbeBooks | BooksOnBoard

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