Friday Favourites is a weekly meme hosted by Natalie @ Book Lovers Life where you can showcase a book or series that’s on your Favorites shelf. It could be a book you’ve read recently or a few years back.
As my pilot post for this feature, allow me to feature one of my favorite series in contemporary romance: The Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
The Chicago Stars series centers mostly on the lives of the players and other important personas of the Chicago stars, a fictional football team. The series has a total 7 books and they are all winners, I can personally vouch for that. But allow me to feature my top 3 in this series. These books are not just my favorites of the series and the author but they’re on my list of favorite books of all time.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes some of the funniest, heart-warming, and steamiest romance novels. In a span of a book, she takes you from laugh-out-loud moments with her witty dialogue, to bone-melting sweet scenes, to gut-clenching conflicts, and then back to laugh-out-loud. It’s an exhilarating and so worth-your-while reader experience.
Book # 1: It Had To Be You
Summary from Goodreads:
What if a woman who knows nothing about sports inherits a professional football team? The Windy City definitely isn’t ready for Phoebe Somerville, the outrageous York knockout who’s taking over their home town team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars’ head coach Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. This is the book that began it all. The Chicago Stars are about to take the field…and they’re not the only ones playing for keeps.
This is really the book that started it all. Dan and Phoebe are such strong and admirable characters and I truly love them to bits. I am particularly in awe of Phoebe as a heroine. She’s got everything when it comes to the look department but her beauty has become a burden to her and she battles to regain a sense of freedom when it comes to having a physical relationship because of things that had happened to her in the past. But then Dan enters into her life and it was beautiful watching him break down her barriers, done unconsciously, and giving her the opportunity to live her life as herself and as she truly wants to. Their overcoming their insecurities or problems was just strongly written by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
“Pick you up at noon, hot stuff.”
“Don’t call me hot stuff.”
“Sorry. Hot stuff, ma’am.”
“I don’t want to kiss you.”
“Liar. All this heat can’t be coming just from me.”
“I want children, too. I always have. I just needed to know you loved me.”
“I hope you know it by now. I never loved anybody in my life the way I love you. I want children, but not nearly as much as I want you.”
Book # 5: This Heart of Mine
Summary from SEP’s website:
Molly Somerville (IT HAD TO BE YOU) loves her career as the creator of the Daphne the Bunny children’s book series, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. Then there’s her long-term crush on the quarterback for the Chicago Stars football team her sister owns—that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker (NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE), a man who can’t even remember Molly’s name! Molly and Kevin battle their attraction and each other as they face one of life’s most important lessons. Sometimes love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes—if you’re lucky—it can heal in a most unexpected way.
“All your women are hung up on your good looks. They just pretend it’s your personality.”
“I swear, somebody needs to spank you.”
“You are, like, so not the man to do it.”
“You are, like, such a damned brat.”
It was a kiss made in lonely dreams. A kiss that took its time. A kiss that felt so right she couldn’t remember all the reasons it was wrong.
She was all the dreams he’d lost at dawn – dreams of everything he hadn’t understood he needed until now.
This book is my most favorite in the series. I just love the dynamics between Molly and Kevin. I love that this book can be heartbreaking, funny, heartwarming, and downright romantic all at the same time. I love how SEP presents us with the conflicts not just in the relationship between the hero and the heroine but the conflicts the characters have with themselves, if that makes any sense. The journey is as much about personal developments as it is about finding that happily ever after with somebody.
Book # 6: Match Me If You Can
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
You met star quarterback Kevin Tucker in This Heart of Mine. Now get ready to meet his shark of an agent, Heath Champion, and Annabelle Granger, the girl least likely to succeed.
Annabelle’s endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement . . . even her hair’s a mess! But that’s going to change now that she’s taken over her late grandmother’s matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City’s hottest bachelor as her client, and she’ll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.
Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she’s entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success — the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?
Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she’d do anything to keep her star client happy . . . did she mean anything? If Annabelle isn’t careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town.
“She’s as plastic as you are. I’m telling you, it’s a bad idea. If you every have kids, they’ll come out of the birth canal with Fisher-Price stamped on their butts.”
“It’s time she came out of her shell.”
Heath regarded Annabelle dubiously. “You were in a shell?”
I just love how Annabelle just manages to get under Heath’s skin all the time and without even meaning to. I love the progression of their relationship and the subtle hints here and there about the minute shifts that are happening and the almost clueless-ness of these two. I love their banter and how they are seemingly able to talk about everything with each other.
Here are the rest of the books in the series: they are equally entertaining and heartwarming reads.