If you looked at what I read last week (and the week before) you’ll have noticed that I’ve been on a massive Susan Elizabeth Phillips kick and so it’ll be no surprise to you that this week’s BotW is one of them. It took a quite a while to pick out which one was my favourite, but in the end I plumped for Match Me If You Can.
Annabelle is a matchmaker. Or at least she wants to be a matchmaker. She’s taken over her grandmother’s old business and rebranded it to move it away from OAPs towards over achievers. Now all she needs is a suitably overachieving client to find a match for to make her name. Heath Champion has worked his way up to turn himself into a sports agent known as the Python. Annabelle has decided that finding him a wife is going to be the client that makes her name. It doesn’t matter that he’s already got a contract with Chicago’s top matchmaker, Annabelle is sure that she can do better…
All of the Susan Elizabeth Phillips books that I read last week were from her Chicago Stars series, which centres around a (fictional) American football franchise. I don’t read a lot of sports romances, partly because they’re mostly about American sports and secondly because they often feature unreconstructed Alpha heros, which are not always my thing. The difference with these is that all the women are strong, capable, professionally competent and not sitting around waiting to be rescued by the big old man. In this, Annabelle is struggling to get her business off the ground at the start – but not because she’s incompetant, she’s just trying to break into the market. She’s got a plan and she’s executing it. She’s also got an awful family of overachievers trying to persuade her to do their bidding rather than what she wants to do – but she’s sticking to her guns.
In fact, the only bit of the book that didn’t work for me, was late on and revolved around her family – and a lack of resolution of the issues/recognition of how she felt from the hero – but that was a minor blip in a sparky, fun romance which rattles along. This also has some appearances from previous couples in the series, which is always nice if you enjoyed reading about their romances and sets up the next book in the series (which I had actually read first!). With a Phillips book, there’s always a secondary romance going on as well – and this one was a bit different to the usual. I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it at first, but by the end, I was totally won over.
I’ve read four Chicago Stars books in less than a week – which suited me perfectly: satisfying romances, interesting characters that are linked but definitely not the same plots with different names, a bit of humour and not too much angst. Or at least not unrelenting angst. The angstiest of the four was Dream a Little Dream – and even that won me over, despite my dislike of traumatised widows and small children.*
Several of the Chicago Stars books are on offer on Kindle at the moment – including the latest in the series First Star I See Tonight for £1.99, which is much nuts and far more fun than you’d expect for a book which includes Middle Eastern Princesses in its blurb! Match Me If You can is a reasonable £2.49 on Kindle or under £3 if you want a second hand copy of the book from Amazon or you could try Natural Born Charmer – which started me off on this kick last week – for the same prices. Any of these is well worth a look if you want to dip your toe into this sort of book.
*I often find them to be aiming for winsome, but actually irritating plot moppets.