Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Title:Natural Born Charmer
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published: Feb 2007
Grade: 7/10

Series: Chicago Stars/Bonner Brothers, Book 7

First Line:
It wasn’t every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of a road, not even in Dean Robillard’s larger than life world.

Why I Chose this Book:
I've heard a lot of romance readers mention Susan Elizabeth Phillips are her books always sound kind of fun. When I do read romance, I read paranormal or historical, so I wanted to give a contemporary one. This is SEP's latest and it was in the library, so I decided to give it a go.

When millionaire Dean Robillard meets Blue Bailey, she couldn't be more down on her luck; her ex has stolen all her money and she's got no place to go. A football hero, Dean is taking a holiday while recovering from a career-threatening injury. He'd planned a solo road trip to get his head together. The last thing he needs is a damsel in distress tagging along for the ride. However, despite Dean's misgivings the two find themselves thrown together and soon Blue has moved into his home and is merrily turning his world upside down. Their attraction is mutual but can their relationship really survive when the only other thing they have in common is their distrust of love?

My comments:
This was a fun read.

Phillips has a snappy, cheerful writing style that flowed into her story, even when it was covering less than cheerful moments.

Both the hero and heroine were immediately interesting people - Blue with her odd name and her beaver costume, and Dean who is so initially amused by her. Their dialogue is immediately snappy, yet each seems to have an instinctive understanding of the other. The story soon shows that they both have more problems understanding themselves.

While Dean and Blue are the stars of the book, Phillips makes all the background characters fun and interesting as well. I did feel that this was occasionally to Blue and Dean's disadvantage as some time that could have been used getting to know them better was sacrificed for the sake of the secondary characters.

Since those secondary characters made a sparkling cast I didn't really mind. Each one of them made an impression and it was nice to see them grow towards their own happy endings as Dean and Blue worked on theirs.

By biggest complaint was that I sometimes got a tell-not-show feeling from the text - not in regards to the plot, but in terms of the progression of Dean and Blue's realtionship. I felt I knew what was developing between them more because the text told me, than because I could see it for myself. But at the same time, I bought into it completely, and was very happy to see them happy together.

I can't really explain it, I think there was just a slight feeling of something not having been done quite as well as it could have been. But that didn't stop me liking the book and I'll happily read more of Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Nita Garrison was a wonderful character, and quite delightfully real. On first meeting she's a nasty old lady, but as time progresses we see what's hidden underneath, and that she keeps underneath instead of miraculously opening up and becoming sunshine and light as might have been done with her. Yet it is easy to believe it when Blue reveals that she's been anonomously helping the needy in the community for years.

So while I haven't given this a really high grade, mostly due to that elusive "something missing" feeling I'm left with, I really enjoyed the book. I read past my bedtime last night and had to make a conscious decision to stop instead of just keeping going until I was finished and paying for it in the morning.

I like SEP and I'm sure I'll be reading more of her work, although probably from the library at this point.

No comments: