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Retro-Review: Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Posted March 7, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 13 Comments

Retro-Review: Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsReviewer: Holly
Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

A Desperate Young Mother
Rachel Stone's bad luck has taken a turn for the worse. With an empty wallet, a car's that's spilling smoke, and a five-year-old son to support, she's come home to a town that hates her. But this determined young widow with a scandalous past has learned how to be a fighter. And she'll do anything to keep her child safe—even take on. . .
A man With No Heart
Gabe Bonner wants to be left alone, especially by the beautiful outcast who's invaded his property. She has a ton of attitude, a talent for trouble, and a child who brings back bad memories. Yet Rachel's feisty spirit might just be heaven-sent to save a tough, stubborn man.
Dare To Dream
Welcome to Salvation, North Carolina—where a man who's forgotten what tenderness means meets a woman with nothing to lose. here two endearing lovers will set off on a funny, touching journey of the heart. . .to a place where dreams just might come true.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I meant to have this written as part of our Susan Elizabeth Phillips Author Spotlight last month, but I didn’t get around to writing it. Dream a Little Dream is one of my favorite SEP novels. It’s hands down my favorite of the Chicago Stars/Bonner Brothers series.

Gabe Bonner lost his wife and son in a tragic car accident and for the past two years he’s been in a state of deep mourning. He’s been coasting through life, numb and emotionless, waiting for the day when it all will end. But Rachel Stone changes all that the day she shows up at his drive-in; dirty, hungry and desperate to save herself and her son Edward. He should be repulsed by her, but he isn’t. He’s drawn to her in a way he hates. She cracks the icy ball that’s surrounding his heart.

Rachel Stone has returned to the last place on Earth she ever wanted to see again, Salvation, North Carolina. 5 years ago she and her husband G. Dwayne Snopes were the hope and pride of Salvation, a televangelist couple to rival even the most sincere and promising of them. But all that ended the night G. Dwayne disappeared with the life savings of the people of Salvation, bringing shame and scandal to the once prosperous town. Now she’s back, determined to find the stash Dwayne left behind, desperate to save the future of her much beloved son.

At times this novel is hard to read, especially in the beginning when Rachel and Gabe meet. They’re both desperate and broken, though for different reasons and with different ways of dealing with their pain. One of the most emotional things I’ve ever read is when Rachel begs Gabe for a job. The first few chapters of this book are hard to get through, but they showcase perfectly just how far both characters have fallen.

Eventually Rachel and Gabe form a tight bond, though both are reluctant to acknowledge it. The town shuns Rachel, and her house and car are vandalized. Gabe takes on the role of protector, though even he can’t understand why. Despite their change in feelings for one another, they both know they have no future together. Especially since Gabe can’t stand Edward, Rachel’s son.

I loved the strength Rachel showed. It wasn’t easy for her to continue on each day, especially in the beginning, but she did what needed to be done. I would have to say she’s probably one of my favorite SEP heroines. She’s practical and tough, with a smart mouth and a strong will to survive. What’s not to love?

My heart ached for Gabe. I wanted to wrap him in cotton and protect him from the world. I loved that Rachel was the only one who saw him for what he was, and was willing to push him in the direction he needed to go.

Even though this is a darker novel, there are moments of unexpected tenderness and humor. I loved that even though the town hated Rachel, none of them took it out on her son. Everyone, from the townsfolk to the Bonner brothers, was kind to Edward. Well, except for Gabe.

The secondary romance between Ethan Bonner and Kristy Brown, his church secretary, was sweet. It provided relief from the darker tone of the rest of the novel.

Dream a Little Dream is heartwrenching and emotionally compelling. I couldn’t put it down, even when I could barely see the pages through my tears.

5 out of 5

five-stars

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Review: Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Posted September 14, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments


Hero: Bobby Tom Denton
Heroine: Gracie Snow
Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book was one of those books that was just a laugh a minute. It was also one of those books that has you embarrassed as all get out for the characters in the book and then rolling your eyes down the street at characters who use words like malarkey and balderdash…who the heck talks like that?

Gracie Snow does, that’s who.

Gracie Snow is hired to escort, retired NFL Football player Bobby Tom Denton to a movie shoot that he’s already hecka late for. She was hired because of her way with people and her ability to talk people into doing what she wanted and so when she turns up on Bobby Tom Denton’s front stoop, ready to take him to Telarosa, Texas so that the movie making can get under way, she doesn’t expect this job to be so hard. She knew that he would be difficult but she underestimated how difficult.

Bobby Tom, on the other hand was forced into retirement from the NFL with a bum knee and so now he’s making movies in his hometown to keep it on the map and bring money into the little town.

What I enjoyed about this book the most was the interaction between Bobby Tom and Gracie. I thought they were hilarious together, from the very beginning when Bobby Tom thinks that Gracie is a stripper. They bicker and they fight and they laugh together and it makes for one laugh after the other all throughout this book. It’s hilarious…and sexy. I loved how Bobby Tom tried to show Grace who was boss and how Gracie would throw all of it back in his face by pushing his buttons. It was too funny watching these fight their way to true love, it was funny and it was sweet and it was just what I needed this weekend.

As much as I enjoyed this book, there was a lot of stuff that bothered me about it. Bobby Tom’s mercy f*ck, as he called it when he lowered himself to teaching Gracie the art of love making, the way he did it made me roll my eyes down the street and pissed me off but then I’m easy when it comes to athletes so it wasn’t long before I was back to mooning over him. He really is a stud and I just love me some cowboy athletes and that stetson of Bobby Tom’s totally worked for me. LOOOOVVVVEEED IT!

Gracie was a great heroine too, she was one of those heroines that was a plain jane turned hottie mchotness and though I sometimes roll my eyes at these kinds of storylines, this one worked. Gracie pulled off her role in this book and I thought she was a perfect match for Bobby Tom, they just meshed well with each other and I loved how it wasn’t all roses with these two, there was a lot of fire and still a lot of fun and laughter between them, it made for a really fast paced, straight up contemporary novel between two humans and not werewolves and what not, it was great stuff, for real.

This is the second book in the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, a long time ago I reviewed the first book, It Had To Be You on Sanctuary’s Finest, my old book blog…I really enjoyed that book, it was the book that started my love all things Susan Elizabeth Phillips, it introduced me the sporting world of romance novels and this book kept my love of SEP alive. Everyone should totally read The Chicago Stars series and they most definitely should read this book because Bobby Tom is a stud and Gracie is the bomb!

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here.

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Oh SEP, Why??

Posted January 1, 2010 by Holly in Discussions | 12 Comments


You may or may not remember, but back in September when we did the Susan Elizabeth Phillips Author Spotlight we talked about who might be the heroine for Ted’s book. If you remember, Ted was introduced as a sniffling kid in Fancy Pants. SEP hinted for years that she’d one day write his book and she announced earlier this year that she was in fact writing it. At the time she said she wasn’t sure who his heroine would be, Lucy Jorik from First Lady, or Meg Koranda who was first introduced in Glitter Baby and later had a role in What I Did For Love.

In September we discussed it and we all agreed Lucy is the woman we want Ted with. We even posted a poll about it and most of you agreed. I can’t remember the exact number of votes, but Lucy was in the lead but quite a lot when the poll ended.

So it’s with a sad heart that I bring you today’s news: Meg will be Ted’s heroine.

The first chapter of their book was in the paperback version of What I Did For Love and after quite a bit of discussion on her message board, SEP came forward and confirmed the speculation that it will be Meg:

IT’S MEG!!!!! That will become blindingly clear in the next chapter. The key is what has happened to Lucy.(All the clues are in the first chapter.) Mat and Nealy never made her feel as though she had to live up to being adopted by them, but Lucy feels it, something that only gets magnified with Nealy in the White House. The only way Lucy can repay them for everything they’ve done for her is to be as perfect as she can possibly be. And part of that is marrying the perfect man. Except, as Meg sees right away, Ted has become one more person Lucy feels as though she needs to live up to. Our darling Lucy has been slowly losing touch with the wild child she was at fourteen, and marrying Ted is NOT going to bring that wildness, that absolute bravery back to her. They’re so POLITE to each other. As for Ted… OMG! That’s all I’m saying about him for now…except that Lucy and Ted were a terrible match from the very beginning. It’s why I could never write their book. I love them both too much to have them “settle” for each other.

While I appreciate that she’s the author and can do what she wants, I can’t help but feel betrayed somewhat. For almost a decade I’ve been thinking Lucy and Ted would be a couple..and now they’re not. I didn’t care for Meg at all in WIDFL – poor spoiled little rich girl is mad b/c mommy and daddy are famous – and I have no desire to read about her as a heroine.

But that’s just me.

What do you think? Are you as disappointed as I am, or do you think Meg is the better choice?

Thanks to Diana for the link

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