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review 2018-11-26 12:26
Trial
Not So Happily Ever After - Christina Phillips

This book is #3 in the British Bad Boys series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  It is not necessary to read these in order, but it is enjoyable.

 

Mackenzie AKA "Mack" is still reeling for her feelings for her brother's best friend - when he appears at her door.  They are to help a mutual friend, and not ruin the careful truce that has been declared.  Can that actually work?

 

Will is not sure what to do or say.  He really wants a future with the girl that is just out of his reach.  He also wants a future where he gets to choose.  Maybe the strength will come by standing by the side of the woman who can make it all happen.

 

This was a great story.  I loved the banter with these two.  I really love this trope and hope to see more.  The book has all sorts of heat and sparks between this couple.  The pace moves along well.  I enjoy this series and hope to see more.  I give a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given by Netgalley and its publisher, in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2018-11-22 04:00
A heart-wrenching noir love story.
Know Me from Smoke - Matt Phillips

If you're looking for an example of noir -- in the classic sense -- look no farther than Matt Phillips' Know Me from Smoke. You can tell that's going to be the case from the opening paragraphs. The first chapter builds on those first three or four paragraphs and sets the atmosphere, the mood, the tone for the rest of the book -- and pretty much casts a spell on the reader, too. The second chapter -- where we meet our second protagonist firms that up, and from there Phillips builds on this foundation to deliver a book that will stay with you long after you're done with it.

 

But let's step back from that for a minute -- we begin by meeting Stella Radney. She's in her mid-40's, a lounge singer, and a widow still grieving her murdered husband twenty years after his death. During the robbery that left Virgil dead, Stella was shot as well and the bullet's still in her hip -- a constant reminder that her loss and pain are physical as well as emotional. Both pains seem a bit fresher in the beginning of the book because Stella's been informed that new DNA technology (unavailable 20 years ago), has led the DA's office to reopen the case and they hope to have an arrest soon. Stella's feeling a little raw, hanging on only by more alcohol than is probably good for her and losing her self regularly in the music she performs.

 

Royal Atkins is a free man, a man with a second chance -- a convicted killer released on a technicality and determined to make the best of his second chance. Sadly, a couple of men at his halfway house decide that the best thing for Royal would be to join them and pull a few stickups -- and a few other forms of robbery as well. Royal resists -- but it's as clear to him as it is to the reader that this won't last.

 

Stella and Royal meet and the chemistry is instantaneous. The chapter where they meet for the first time is possibly the best chapter I've read this year -- just magic. For obvious reasons, Royal edits the personal history he tells Stella, and his associates from the halfway house use this to blackmail him into going along with them. He's trying to build a new life, she's trying to rebuild her life, and neither of them want to be alone in the process.

 

So we get to watch the growing love story of Stella and Royal, Royal's history being used against him, the crime spree, and the certainty that this is going to all going to come to a messy end. A little before the halfway point, I put in my notes, "if I stop, some broken people get to live a decent life. If I read another chapter or two, everything will fall apart and lives will be ruined. So tempted to walk away from it." I really was -- I liked these two so much, I wanted to let them have this chance.

 

But there was no way I was going to stop, Phillips' prose was too good to abandoned, and I had to see what actually happened to these characters (no matter how inevitable the end seemed). Seriously, I'd have kept reading just so Stella could think about her relationship to music and songs some more -- those sections of the book are practically poetry.

 

There's conversation between a couple of characters about Pulp Fiction -- and Tarantino's work feels appropriate to this book. But not that movie. Jackie Brown is the movie that this feels like. Maybe the novel, too, but I haven't read Rum Punch. They're both from the same species of sweet, second-chance at love story in the middle of a story of crime, criminals and ex-cons.

 

This is going to go for my entry for "Read a book you chose based on the cover" in the While You Were Reading challenge -- it's not entirely true, but the cover is fantastic and got me to read the blurb a few times, so it's close enough.

 

I love that title, too.

 

There's just so many things that are right about this book, and so little that's wrong. This is a winner -- it'll grab you by the heartstrings, will pull you along through the highs and lows of this story, and only let you go some time after you finish (I'm not sure how long that effect will last, but it's been almost a week and it really hasn't let go yet).

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review 2018-11-01 17:51
Entertaining Contemporary Romance
Fearless - Carly Phillips

Fearless is a great contemporary romance by Carly Phillips.  This is a fairly quick read, perfect for those with limited reading time.  Ms. Phillips has delivered a well-written book and furnished it with great characters.  Kane is a mechanic with his own garage in Rosewood Bay.  Halley is an almost recluse artist.  Kane and Halley's story is loaded with drama, bits of humor and sizzle.  Halley is a bit angsty, but not so much to ruin the story.  I enjoyed reading Fearless and look forward to reading more from Carly Phillips in the future.  Fearless is book 1 of the Rosewood Bay Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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text 2018-10-31 23:21
Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips $1.99!
Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Deepest winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man. A woman.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)
And . . .
A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .

He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.

Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.

Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.

Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It's going to be a long, hot winter.

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review 2018-10-22 15:55
Dream - Carly Phillips

Andrea "Andi" Harmon is Kane's little sister and we finally get to read her story. Now divorced, Andi has been trying to provide a good life for her 8 year old son, Nicky and all she cared about was keeping him away from his abusive father. Why Andi had to fall for the bad boy quarterback in high school, she'll never know. Too bad she didn't realize just how bad he was until it was too late. Because of her ex, Andi lost her best friend, Kyle Davenport....something that she regrets everyday.

Guess who just moved back to Rosewood Bay? Yep, Kyle. He is now Nicky's teacher. When Kyle realizes that Nicky is behind in his reading level, he asks Andi to come up to the school to discuss it. Yep, the old chemistry is still there....too bad Kyle never told Andi how he really felt about her all those years ago....things may have turned out differently.

As Kyle and Andi start to spend more time together, Kyle decides this time he isn't giving up. He will give 100% to get Andi to see him as something more than her old best friend. And boy does he! Andi really had no chance! Of course just when these two have broken down all of their walls from the past, the past comes roaring back in the form of Andi's ex, Billy. This time it will take both Andi and Kyle standing up for themselves so they can finally get their happy ending.

I just loved Andi and Kyle. You can't help but root for two people who are so genuinely nice and good. I also adored their happy ending. It was just perfect!

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