AUTHOR(S): Susan Elizabeth Phillips
SERIES: Chicago Stars #8
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION DATE: August 23, 2016
LENGTH: 384 pages
DATE READ: October 2016
READING CHALLENGES: 2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge
CHARACTER ARCHETYPES: Detective Heroine, Athlete Hero
TROPES: Employer/Employee Romance, Romantic Comedy
RATING: 4 STARS
Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.
Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is...I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just...mildly unhinged.”
Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.
And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.
From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.
Why I Read It...
I don't read many contemporary romances, but Susan Elizabeth Phillips is usually an author that I gravitate towards in the genre. Unfortunately, the past couple of books of hers haven't really been my cup of tea. But, I was excited to see that she was going back to writing in her Chicago Stars universe which is one of my all-time favorite series. I was also super pumped to get a copy of First Star I See Tonight from Avon via their Avon Addicts Program.
What I Liked About It...
1. Piper Dove is exactly the type of contemporary romance heroine I love. She is confident, capable, but a little left of center. I really admired her determination to keep her father's detective agency going even when it seemed like everything was stacked against her. I also loved the fact that the heroine was the one protecting the hero in certain moments.
2. Some of the heroes in Susan Elizabeth Phillips's books can be jerks, but Cooper Graham did not fall into this pattern. As a recently retired athlete, his search for meaning after football felt very real. I loved the little tidbits that the author kept throwing out about his personality like his love for botany. He was also a nice balance between sweet and sexy that I found very appealing.
3. I laughed my way through Piper and Cooper's story with all the scraps they kept finding themselves in. What I really appreciated was the fact that the humor was quirky without being over-the-top or weird. There was more of a balance than I have found in some of this author's more recent books.
4. There is a very large cast of characters, some new and old, that helped bring the book to life. I really fell in love with Piper's best friends who really understood her and her slightly kooky neighbor who is very touchy about her age. And I have to express my excitement at getting to reunite with Heath and Annabelle from Match Me If You Can, my favorite SEP couple ever!
What I Disliked About It...
1. I felt like there were moments where the plot got away from the author. There was a lot going on from Piper's issues with her agency to Cooper keeping his nightclub afloat to the mystery surrounding the attacks on Cooper (or Piper) to helping a Pakistani servant escape to Canada. I don't mind a lot of subplots, but I thought that the romance suffered because there was so much external stuff happening. Plus some storylines were left underdeveloped or hanging in the wind...which made me sad.
Would I Recommend It...
Susan Elizabeth Phillips is an institution in contemporary romance and this book is a good way to show that she still has it. Her characters are well-drawn and the romance is sexy with surprise amounts of drama. It is not my favorite of her books, but I think it is a worthy addition to the Chicago Stars series.
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