Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Title: Heroes Are My Weakness 
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Publisher: William Morrow 
Release Date: August 26, 2014 

New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm
The dead of winter.

An isolated island off the coast of Maine.

A man.

A woman.

A sinister house looming over the sea …

He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre 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 with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. 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.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has always been one of those authors whose books I’ve so desperately wanted to like because everyone keeps gushing about them. It didn’t happen, not until Heroes Are My Weakness.

Take an obscure island with a seasonal economy, harsh winters, puppets, small town intrigue, and two people whose history together have been tumultuous and add all of it and you’ll get this gem of a book. Heroes Are My Weakness was so utterly compelling and romantic and just so darn intriguing that the only reason I put it down was work and a trip to go see the Iron Throne of Westeros. Different book, different genre, I needed to sit on that throne.

The book starts a little bit oddly with a very lively internal dialogue and once you get over that part, you’re hooked. As someone who lives mostly in her head, I sympathized greatly with Annie. Her vivid imagination was brought to life through her puppets and it just worked, you know? It could have gone horribly wrong in so many ways, but Annie and her puppets really made the book. I found that they provided an interesting, if not honest, way of looking and understanding Annie and the people around her. She’s in a town she’s always hated, in an estate that gave her some of her worst memories and she just kept trucking on with her courage and her puppets. I think Annie Hewitt going to be one of my favourite heroines this year. Or maybe ever. I enjoyed how honest she was with her feelings and her opinions and she was just really admirable and it’s really nice finding a character like that.

Theo, on the other hand, I found to be similar to some of the other heroes in other SEP books I’ve read. It’s not that he wasn’t developed or anything, in fact I quite liked Theo’s character. I think I just found Annie more memorable? I guess it’s kind of hard to not be memorable if you have 5 puppet characters talking in your head. Anyway. I did enjoy Theo’s character and I really liked the chemistry between Annie and him. Theo has had a horrible life so far, and I completely understood his cynicism and it worked for him. It was nice seeing him starting to be happier when he was around Annie a lot more. It’s a shame I can’t quite articulate my feelings about Theo, because I did like him, and in fact one of my favourite lines in the book is from him:

“You talked about being a romantic. Romance is nothing! It’s a tiny word that doesn’t come close to what I feel for you.”

It’s not one of those lines that immediately melts your heart even without context, but considering what Theo has gone through and what his and Annie’s relationship has survived, this was definitely an “aww” moment.

And let’s not forget the plot. I had absolutely no idea where this book was going. At all. There were so many questions that needed to be answered. Halfway through the book, I had all sorts of crazy predictions and I was so completely wrong. I totally did not see that coming. At all. This being set in a small town, there was a couple of mysteries that surrounded Annie and Theo’s past and some of the other islanders. I’m not going to say anything about the plot, because I don’t want to spoil anyone but here are three tips I’m going to give you:

  1. Give Annie and her puppets a chance. Sure, it might weird you out a bit, but they’re great.
  2. Give Theo a chance. Just take my word on it. I almost gave up on him and was worried, but nope, totally worth all that stress.
  3. Make sure you have enough time to read and savour Heroes Are My Weakness. There’s quite a bit happening. Don’t read it on a bus because you might almost miss your stop. Don’t read it before work because you’re going to call in sick.

With that long rambly review, it’s pretty obvious I really liked Heroes Are My Weakness. In fact, I knew I liked it 1/4 way in to the book when I realized just how compelling, interesting and unique the story really was. So great. Also, if you need an escape from the summer, this book is primarily set in the winter and there’s a lot of snow. And cold winds. Just give this book a chance. Do it. You won’t regret it!

(This is an aside, but I really like the cover for this book. I just think it’s so pretty!)

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