This is a hilarious new novel by New York Times best-selling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
©2007 Susan Elizabeth Phillips; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers
"Generously seasoned with plenty of tart humor and snappy dialogue, and graced with a delightfully amusing pair of protagonists trying desperately not to fall in love, Natural Born Charmer is simply irresistible." (Booklist)
This isn't great literature, but it is a nice, fun, even occasionally laugh-out-loud, romantic read. A little predictable, particularly if you have read SEP before (in particular to 'This Heart of Mine', which I do NOT recommend reading too close to this one). But that said, the book delivers what one expects: guy and girl at odds (humorous situations occur), guy and girl work through personal baggage, guy and girl get together. Happy Ending. Some laughs, some quirky secondary characters, and you have an SEP novel.
This is part of her series of books with heros from a football team. These guys are buff and hard on the outside, but soft and sweet on the inside. Kind of cute. For the record, I don't like or watch football -- no matter, thankfully an appreciation or understanding of football is NOT required to enjoy this contempory romance. And thankfully, no dumb jocks.
Our herione is a committment phobe, who is perhaps a little more loose-screwy than I usually like to see in a leading lady -- but she is an artist, so I will mark it up to 'artistic temperment'.
I decided to buy this book after listening to the free snippet. It is a pretty fair taste of both the narrator, and the entire style of the novel. Give the sample a listen, if you think the snippet is funny and engaging, you will likely enjoy the book.
Special thanks to my girls Stacy, Sash and Stef for sharing the Audible experience with me and for being there during my multiple recoveries
Dean Robillard; quarterback of the fictional Chicago Stars is driving along a Colorado back road; bored with his own company when he sees a girl walking in the grassy median dressed like a beaver. With a beginning like this the story weaves a lot of humor and family pathos and drama into a romance that is less a romance novel than anything SEP has written. The plot is typical for a Chicago Stars novel. The quirky, plucky girl is in way over her head with the gorgeous professional athlete. They are thrown together by circumstance and love blossoms. It is unfortunate that they both have enough baggage that it will prevent them from really getting together until the final pages of the book, or final minutes of the audio. Fortunately SEP is a good enough author that she can write life into an doddering plot line. Her characters in Natural Born Charmer are almost real and so sympathetic that you can feel their pain. April and Riley in particular are characters that I really came to care about. There is something here for everyone; even an old jock whose lack of sensitivity has been noted by more than one ex. What I'm saying is, guys give it a shot.
Natural Born Charmer is another SEP classic. Like most of her novels, the characters in this one are flawed but loveable. But I thought the characters in this book were especially damaged. Both Dean Robillard & Blue Bailey have deep-seated abandonment issues that make it difficult for them to trust each other enough to have a healthy relationship. Much of the story is about the the two of them learning to acknowledge & then overcome those issues.
And, like so many SEP novels, it's not only the main love story that makes this a great book, but the various sub-plots. When Dean's parents reconnect, we learn why Dean is so incredibly damaged. Watching their re-blossoming relationship is just as interesting as the one between Dean & Blue. Throw in an insecure but adorable half sister, a curmudgeonly old woman with good intentions, & a group of funny townies & you have a "can't put it down" book. Anna Fields continues to do a wonderful job narrating this series. All in all, if you have enjoyed Phillips' take on romance writing in the past, this will be a great book to add to your collection.
I would listen to Natural Born Charmer again in the future. The characters were so real and made me laugh.
One thing that I like about SEP's novels is that she makes the location/setting almost an additional character in her books. She does a great job of setting a scene (and making you want to visit).
I just loved the opening scene. It grabbed my interest immediately and was so different from any other opener I've read (and absolutely hilarious!). But once all the characters were introduced, I was very much surprised how much depth the story and all the character had. I was expecting more of a light romp and the book is so much more than that.
This is the first Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel I've read, and I jumped right in and listened to four more right away. All her stories are have similar plot points (for instance, always an additional romance with the supporting characters) but each story is fresh enough that it works well. The narrator is excellent. As always, it's his or her ability to voice the opposite sex that makes or breaks a book and Anna Fields does a superb job.
There isn't a lot of substance to this book, but it's perfect for an easy & enjoyable listen. It made me laugh and the narrator added to the fun with her various styles, especially with the dry humour in the book.
A good, light, funny listen.
Audio-fiction ADDICT !
SEP and Anna Fields, what can I say ! I always say this is my best SEP work ever, then I read another book of hers and it becomes my favorite, till the next one at least ;)
I'll make it short and to the point, BUY IT !
I read "Match Me if You Can" by this author, and met the hero of this title in that book. They are not precisely a series, in that you can read this book independently and not feel like you are missing anything. There are overlapping characters, but not overlapping storylines. That being said, I really liked "Match Me", which is why I purchased this book, and I liked it even better.
This book is a bit of a funky Cinderella story, but there are other relationships explored that are almost as interesting and appealing as the love story itself.
The narrator did a fantastic job. She has a well modulated voice, and her character voices for both sexes were excellent. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to her again.
Yes - Anna Fields' narration is so spectacular, and she gives the great characters even more life than Phillips!
The perpetual sarcastic back-and-forth between Blue and Dean; even though I've listened to this book numerous times, I still giggle when I listen to the two of them spar. And, of course, the opening scene in this book is one of my favorite opening scenes in any book I've ever read!
Tough choice: either Dean, Blue, or minor character Nita Garrison.
This is seriously my favorite romance book ever written. A close second is SEP's
I have enjoyed this book so much--you laugh out loud in so many parts. Have listened so many times. I have listened to everyone of her books from the Chicago Stars series (as well as the standalone books). It is funny, heartwarming, believeable. I wish SEP would write another in the Chicago Stars series. Or write any book faster. Her latest book Call Me Irrestible was good as well.
Can't give enough praise for Anna Fields--she is thoroughly missed!! She pulled those characters out so well. I have noted in more than one time in my comments regarding that the narrator can make or break a book--Anna did a stupendous job with each book.
As usual, I really enjoyed the author's very effective combination of humor and romance in just the right doses. However, I'm dismayed that her formula is becoming had. This book is so much like her book Heaven, Texas. Though, I liked this one a bit more. So I would choose this read over Heaven, Texas but save my money and not get both.
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