Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#46 [2016/CBR8] "First Star I See Tonight" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I just can't quite let Susan Elizabeth Phillips go. I've been at least a little disappointed in most of her recent books, and I think I've outgrown her. But every time she puts out a new book, there I am on the waitlist. First Star I See Tonight (2016) just came out in August, and I read it as soon as I could put my hands on it.

I enjoyed parts of this one, and I generally liked the characters. However, I think the magic of Phillips is lost for me. I don't quite trust her anymore to provide heroes and situations I don't object to, so I read her books just waiting for something ridiculous or offensive to happen. Also, although I realize romance novels are not where you go for realism, I had a hard time believing in the story line or some of the characters.

Piper Dove used the last of her money to buy her father's private investigation firm after her father's death. Piper's mother died when she was young and she was raised by her father. Her father required absolute toughness from her (no crying) but also shielded her from the world. He would not let her follow in his footsteps as a private investigator because he didn't want her to get hurt. Her first (and only) job is to tail the famous and beloved former quarterback of the Dallas Stars, Cooper Graham. Graham is remarkably observant and/or Piper is not very good at her job because he spots her very quickly and confronts her. She tries to play herself off as a crazy fan, but Cooper quickly figures out the truth. Cooper eventually hires Piper to work at his new nightclub, finding corruption within his staff.

After a (weird) little side plot where Piper works as a driver for the incredibly rich and spoiled royal family of some kind of oil-rich middle eastern country, it becomes clear that someone is going after Cooper Graham. His nightclub is targeted and he is personally attacked. Piper is determined to get to the bottom of it all and protect Cooper. Needless to say, with all the time the two are spending together, they can't keep their hands off each other and feelings start to develop. The main hang up for their relationship is that the two each have to individually realize how they feel about the other. Then, (and the way more annoying part) Piper doesn't believe that Cooper would fall in love with someone like her (a nobody) so she pushes him away. The last scene that finally gets them together is so far fetched and unnecessary, it made me wish the book had ended earlier.

This book wasn't all bad. I read it quickly and never got bored. I also often liked Cooper and Piper. It was refreshing to have a heroine that was so independent and generally good at what she does. However, Piper didn't really seem believable. As far as I could tell she didn't have much experience and most of her knowledge came from "taking a couple of classes" about the subject. I don't see how not working out and taking a couple of classes can make you an expert in self defense. The fact that Piper is really strong and tough allows Cooper to be the typical alpha male and not come off as too much of a bully. Sometimes this went a little far, with the idea that Cooper can do anything he wants because Piper would beat him up if she doesn't like it: not believable and not completely logical. The side plot with the royal family was weird. Also, there's a plot point about Piper's racist neighbor not being racist that was also weird. Finally, you can't shoot a gun in the middle of Chicago (a ritzy neighborhood at that) without someone noticing.

loved the first books I read by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. They were funny, sexy, and emotional. They were also some of the first romance novels I'd ever read and before any of my serious relationships. I'm afraid to go back to those same books now because I can't view them from the same point of view. I'm afraid I will be bitter with disappointment. That being said, I will continue to read Phillips' books as she writes them.

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