5 Stars / Contemporary / Review

Review: Karma by Carly Phillips

New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips presents her third novel set in the quaint upstate New York town of Serendipity, where fate, fortune and love intertwine…

Officer Dare Barron has had a crush on Liza McKnight ever since he was a teenager. But despite his lifelong attraction, the closest he’s ever come to interacting with her is watching Liza regularly bail out her brother at the police station.

Dare’s dark past with Liza’s brother, Brian, has always kept him from pursuing her. But suddenly Liza finds herself in need of protection and Dare appoints himself as the man for the job. And while the sizzling attraction between Dare and Liza draws them together, the past threatens to keep the two apart forever.

Author:Carly Phillips
Series:Serendipity (Book 5)
Trope(s):Small Town Romance
Point of View:Third Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoints (H&h)
Location:Serendipity, New York, US
Release Date:30th June, 2023
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Fun and sexy series end

5 stars

This is the book of the third and youngest Barron sibling from Serendipity, New York. If you want to get up to speed with the other brother’s stories and the family backstory, grab Serendipity and Destiny. But you don’t have to as this is a complete standalone and Liza is a new character for this book.

Dare Barron is known as the happy-go-lucky, down to earth and easy-going small town cop. It seems as though he likes everyone – except maybe town drunk, Brian, and the sister that’s always bailing Brian out of jail, Liza.

We’re quick to realise that Dare doesn’t dislike Liza – he’s actually smitten with her. While also being frustrated with her actions. He does come across as all the attributes above but it was nice to delve deeper into his personality and find out all the deeper parts of him. He’s basically a good guy, trying his best to get over past traumas while also wanting to do his best by Liza. I liked that he was himself and didn’t apologise for it – but also that he genuinely tried to learn from his mistakes and admitted when he was wrong. Plus he knew that he wanted Liza and wasn’t afraid to go after her. Le swoon!

Liza was really easy for me to like and root for. She comes from a dysfunctional family and she’s learnt to keep herself closed off and not trust anyone. She tries to keep Dare at arm’s length, telling herself to guard her heart – but it’s not as easy as all that when Dare Barron has you in his sights. Liza was a strong and able woman and I liked her no-nonsense personality as well as her vulnerabilities. She herself has trauma in her past and while it shaped her, I didn’t feel it controlled her. Either way, I was with her and wanted her to get her happily ever after. She deserved it.

“…you can’t help but be left with a smile on your face.”

Dare and Liza have a lot of chemistry and they give off sparks together and in the reader. There’s a nice amount of sex in our story and it builds up a great intimacy between our couple. They’ve got a lot of things to work out but it was a good build up to happily ever after.

Yes, Liza is older than Dare and yes, this is a trope I’m not a fan of. But it’s only a 3 year difference and once it’s mentioned, it’s done. It’s not made an issue for the couple or the readers so it’s not a problem for me.

There’s some minor peril taking place in the book which added another dimension to the story which I enjoyed a lot. There was a few people that could have been the culprit and I went into full-on detective mode before it was revealed. I was a little off base in the end.

I admit to being a bit confused by the ordering of the Serendipity series. This book focuses on the third of the three Barron brothers. While some sites have this down as the third book, there are also two other books set in Serendipity that go along with this series but were released before this one. Those extra books are nice little extras but I guess the main books are those of Dare, Nash and Ethan and these three are definitely ones you’ll want to (but don’t have to) read as a set.

There are a few things in this book that could be triggering but I felt it was handled with just enough depth to make me feel something, but not so much that it overwhelms or made me uncomfortable. Carly Phillips, as always, manages to weave her romances into very real situations and very real families and does so with such flair that you can’t help but be left with a smile on your face. The ending was delightful and with the news that Tess is also getting her own story, I’m a happy camper. Definitely recommended.

5 stars

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review*

Carly Phillips gives her readers Alphalicious heroes to swoon for and romance to set your heart on fire, and she loves everything about writing romance. She married her college sweetheart and lives in Purchase, NY along with her three crazy dogs: two wheaten terriers and a mutant Havanese, who are featured on her Facebook and Instagram. She has raised two incredible daughters who put up with having a mom as a romance author. Carly is the author of over fifty romances, and is a NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestseller. She loves social media and interacting with her readers. Want to keep up with Carly? Sign up for her newsletter and receive TWO FREE books at

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The Serendipity Series:

Book 1
Kismet Carly Phillips Serendipity
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5

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