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It Had to Be You
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on September 16, 2002
Phoebe Somerville inherited the Chicago Stars from her no good father amid incredible controversy. Phoebe tries to make the best of it in spite of the opposition she's facing. Heading the opposition is the gorgeous Dan Calebow. Dan Calebow is the Stars head coach and when he meets the Marilyn-esque Phoebe he is immediately attracted to her although he doesn't respect her. Because of her looks and a traumatizing past experience, Phoebe plays the part of the bimbo to the max. It takes Dan a while to see through her charade and find out that there's a brain to go with the dazzling good looks.
It Had to Be You is the first of the Chicago Stars books and the last one I read ( I worked my way back for some reason ) it is probably not as well paced as the rest but it was one of her first books but regardless this is a great read and it is a nice introduction to this brilliant author and her excellent stories. If you like SEP do not miss this one!
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on December 11, 1997
When is a bimbo not a bimbo? When she's as smart as Phoebe Sommerville, that's when. Free-spirited Phoebe has inherited a football team and her half sister, but she's not about to let either cramp her style. Phoebe and her dog, Pooh are Susan Elizabeth Phillips' answer to Dorothy and Toto in the "Wizard of Oz" -- complete with unlikely Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. Phoebe's following her own yellow brick road through the football season toward the AFC championship title that will secure her legacy. Along the way she finds Coach Dan Calebow, another one of the author's good-old boys with a heart of gold. He and Phoebe are like oil and water, but it doesn't prevent sparks from flying in some of the most unusual and funny love scenes I've read in quite a while. While this is the third book, I've read in Phillips' Chicago Stars series, it's her first novel. The pacing isn't as quick as it is in subsequent novels. It's good to watch a writer develop. "It Had to Be You" is a keeper.
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on April 1, 2004
Phoebe Somerville, a voluptuous blonde with a pin-up girl body, has just inherited the Chicago Stars professional football team from her cold and callous father. A sports team is the last thing this New York lady wants, plus she sees it as manipulation from the grave, by her father, to coerce her into doing as he wishes. His age-old demand for her to do something meaningful with her life, and quit hanging out with homosexual men. In order to remain owner of the team, the Stars have to win the Super Bowl, a long shot at best. So she decides to do nothing, until the team's sexy and aggressive head coach, Dan Calebow, pays her a visit. Nothing is getting done because Phoebe isn't showing up to work. The last thing Dan wants is some blonde bimbo to own and run the team, but he has no choice at present. But Phoebe is not what she seems. Her oversexed demeanor is a cover for the trauma of her past. And Dan begins to realize there's a brain with that body, and he can't help desiring both.
This is the book that started it all - the first installment in the Chicago Stars/Bonner Brothers series. We are introduced here to Phoebe's sister, Molly Somerville, a troubled teen at this point, who is the subject of the last book, "This Heart of Mine". Also we are introduced to my favorite hero ever, Bobby Tom Denton, whose story is the next (and best) in the series, "Heaven, Texas".
Once again, Ms. Phillips builds multi-layered characters that are real people with real problems. She is a master at doing this. I especially found the character of Phoebe vastly interesting. It is a sexy, fast-paced story laced with humor. Even though I loved Phoebe's character, her history of trauma bothered me. The screening of details written was handled well, and obviously that occurrence helped form her character, but I just don't like reading about this kind of thing. Plus the slimeball ultimately got away with it. The climatic ending was also a little over the top for me, and seemed a mite far-fetched. I'll refrain from further explanation, since it would ruin it for those who haven't read the book yet. I haven't been reading these in order, so I believe I read this book third. I have yet to read, "Dream a Little Dream", but out of the rest, this is probably my least favorite. Don't get me wrong, this book is still very good and definitely worth reading!
For those who would like to know the order of the series, it is as follows: It Had to be You, Heaven Texas, Nobody's Baby But Mine, Dream a Little Dream and This Heart of Mine. Enjoy!
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on April 29, 2000
This is the one about the gorgeous and outrageous heroine who inherits a football team from her less than loving deceased dad & butts heads & falls in love with the teams bullheaded jock Head Coach. Now, I hate football (and most sports), so I had doubts about liking this book. Well, the first chapter had me in stiches & she continued the pace throughout the book. When I began the book I thought, "Oh, no, the heroine is a major bimbo" but I soon learned she was so much more than she appears. She has to overcome a tragedy from her past that has haunted her her entire life. I am still amazed (a week later) at how Ms. Phillips handled two serious issues and still manage to create a laugh out loud book.
The hero is a wonderfully arrogant, funny, and sexy guy who's looking for "a baby making, bread baking, good loving woman" (not exact quote but close) to settle down with but gets Phoebe instead. I loved this book! It made me cry and laugh and I actually didn't mind learning something about football!
For all you animal lovers: There's also a doggy named Pooh (poodle) who gets into all kinds of trouble in Chapter One. I also hate poodles but again Ms. Phillips managed to make me like this one (g).
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on April 18, 2000
This was my first SEP book, and I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were a little too high as the other readers' reviews for 'It Had to Be You' were so very much in the 5-star range.
This book was quite liberally sprinkled with warm and funny moments but at times, all those blasts of testosterone and bouts of chest-thumping emanating from Dan were just a little tired. For most of the book, his precious sensitivy was too deeply buried in macho swaggering, anger and denial. And Phoebe! Although she makes a rather different and fascinating heroine, she does spend quite a lot of time acting like a complete fruitcake!
About halfway through the book, I found myself wishing that Dan and Phoebe would just grow up, forget their one thousand and one hang-ups and just give in to their feelings for each other ... they certainly were beautiful together during those too-rare occasions when SEP finally let them have a go at it. When all is said and done, I wish SEP had let these two people have more fun with each other ...
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on September 17, 2002
I cannot believe that the heroine Phoebe is only prentending to be a "bimbo"? She really is one, honest. SEP would like for readers to believe that Phoebe is a very intelligent woman hiding behind the "bimbo" mask. This book is even reprinted?? Isn't one print of this book worst enough? The heroine loves to dress in sluttish clothes to prance around in front of her fellow football employees, coaches, sister, reporters, basically in front of an audience. And SEP even uses words like "sturt" to show that Phoebe is doing it on purpose. The book starts out with Phoebe wearing something highly inapporiate for her father's funeral showing that she doesn't care. She had pose nude for a man's magazine, slept with the photographer and supposedly many men, although I believe that is also another of her ploys. Then she and the coach for the football team Dan does not get along. Somehow Dan always comes out the loser and Phoebe just wiggles her butt and breast and all men comes to her aid. How is that for women liberators? If that is not a woman going back to caveman tactics I don't know what is. Phoebe's little sister Molly (who will get her own book, which is just as bad as this one) hates Phoebe and makes up many lies about her. Eventually there is some sort of scandal and Phoebe risks losing her football team,... there is a mention that Phoebe can no longer act the "bimbo" because everyone including the press and media "knows" how "intelligent" Phoebe is and she could no longer get away with the brainless sex kitten act. Save your money for something better. I'm certainly glad I did. I borrowed this book from someone else. The sequel "This Heart of Mine" lacks romance, and tries to bring together two characters who are not suited for one another.
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on September 30, 2002
Heroine: voluptuous
Phoebe Somerville had them all fooled. The blonde bombshell, va-va-voom vixen shielded a hurt innocence and sharp intelligence within. As an overweight, graceless child unloved and unwanted by her father, she had it out with him and ran off from home to lead a life of which he couldn't approve. In turn, the old man stuck it to her in his will by forcing her to inherit his football team (and her teenaged half-sister) for a few short months, to prove that she could really make something of herself. A mixed blessing at best, since Phoebe loves her little sister, but can't stand football. And she can't stand the team's hunky coach, either!
Stars Coach Dan Calebow is hard, driven, and cold. How could he be anything but, with a nickname like "Ice"? Though dedicated to his sport, he was more inclined to living fast and loose when it came to women. Dan used to love them hot and wild but a bad marriage and empty, brief physical encounters have left him craving a baby-loving kinda gal who can warm his frozen heart. But right now his top priority is getting hoochie-mama-turned-temporary-team-owner Phoebe's luscious backside outta the big boss's chair so he can get his team, and his life, back on track.
Can these two damaged souls discover how much they truly have in common with each other before it's too late?
What worked for me:
I must say this is the first time I've ever seen football mixed with romance in a story. That certainly made it unique and did allow for several funny quips from the heroine.
I also liked underlying theme of healing and bonding, especially where the two sisters were concerned. (Molly has her own story covered in "This Heart of Mine", for those folks who enjoy family series.)
Size-wise Phoebe was built a bit curvier than is currently en vogue, a la Jayne Mansfield. (Actually the descriptions in the book had me picturing the hero and heroine as Tom Berenger and Jennifer Tilly.)
What didn't work for me:   
I've always been a bit uncomfortable with rape scenarios in my romance novels, though in this case the heroine is trying to recover from an assault that occurred years earlier.
I felt that the contrived conflicts made the characters seem juvenile.
A solid read, especially if you like truly despicable villains and prefer your hero and heroine to be firmly at odds with each other. A few good comic as well as dramatic moments shine in this story, but it may not be humorous enough for some readers nor suspense-filled enough for others.
Warning: This book has some steamy sex scenes and coarse language in its pages.
If you liked "It Had to be You" you might also enjoy: "This Heart of Mine", "Plum Girl", "Lola Carlyle Reveals All", "Fast Women", "His Seductive Revenge", "Dear Cupid", "Looking for Laura", "Too Much Temptation", "Say You're Mine", "Carried Away", or "Walking After Midnight".
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on October 21, 2000
There is just something about Susan Elizabeth Phillips that makes her writing so great! I'm not sure if it's her rhetoric or if it's the plot or what it is. But there is a quality about her work that defines it as a level above the regular romance writer. Since reading "It Had to Be You," I am now a football fan! Phillips takes an approach towards football that views the game as somewhat sexy, and I guess that viewpoint has rubbed off onto me. Although Phoebe Sommerville and Dan Calebo aren't my favourite SEP characters, they're fun and there is a special chemistry between the pair. I think it is interesting how Phillips takes two characters that are completely different from each other and throws them together. Moreover, Phillips creates each character as sort of an anomaly. Because Phoebe is beautiful, one would naturallly assume that she's just another "dumb blonde." It's a pretty stupid stereotype, but prevailing regardless. Instead, Phoebe's not only beautiful but she's smart and she's artsy and sort of Bohemian and sensitive and artlessly unaware of how beautiful she really is. Furthermore, Dan, although a former jock and the "Stars" head coach, consists of much more than just the "dumb jock" persona. He's intelligent and wears glasses and he's not into wild and kinky sex. Okay, maybe the kinky and fun part. Anyways, I don't want to give away too much of the story, but this is another winner. I definitely recommend "It Had to Be You."
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on September 26, 1998
This book is the one of the best ones I have read from her. The story line revolves around Phoebe Somerville inheriting a losing football team. The main characters in the book, Phoebe and Dan Calebrow were two people searching for the same thing -- LOVE. They were each attracted to one another on first sight. Both were rejected by their parents during their childhoods. Dan having been abused by his father and unloved by his mother. Phoebe, on the other hand, had grown up knowing that her father never really accepted her and didn't love her either. Her mother had died when Phoebe was young so she never really knew a mother's love. Along with the football team Phoebe also inherits 15 yr. old Molly, her half sister. Molly/Phoebe didn't get along but learned to love one another as the story progressed. I felt the story line was great and kept my attention all the way to the last page. I wished the story didn't end. The epilogue was the best...I found myself laughing, crying, sighing, smiling! I wish the world had more books like this!
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on December 9, 2001
OK - so I tried a whole stack of modern romantic fiction on the recommendation of a friend of mine and while I liked some of it, most of it I just couldn't enjoy. Perhaps the best of the them (for me anyway) was "Welcome to Temptation" by Cruise - but this one I just couldn't enjoy at all.
Right from the initial set up where Phoebe Somerville comes back pretending to be something she isn't - sporting small rat-like dog and dressing up at a funeral to mislead everyone (so they would think the worst of her) I just felt this was one cliche after another with little respite.
I suppose I like my cliches to be a bit original (Joke! Joke!) - or maybe it was the initial set up Funeral scene which turned me against the rest of the book. I have to admit I skimmed from about page 100 as 360 odd pages started to seem as daunting.
The basic story is that Phoebe Somerville (who we are breathlessly informed on page2 has lovely slender legs but nice plump hips and breasts - lucky old her eh?) inherits a football team from her distant father - however the coach Dan Calebo takes an instant dislike to her. Not to worry - in true form Phoebe takes an instant dislike to him as well - and so together they traverse the unsurprising route to bed and true love. Love's particular highways in this case I think are too well travelled. There is nothing really mysterious or hidden in her - everything is explained in short order - that Phoebe is not really a heartless, money grubbing fiend she is pretending to represent takes only a couple of pages to reveal for instance.
I guess when it comes to humour I'll still stick with Janet Evanovich and her incredibly funny/sexy Stephanie Plum series.
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