Campaigning for Christopher by Katy Regnery

Blurb:
26159697Christopher Winslow, the youngest of the four Winslow brothers, was born with a silver spoon in his privileged mouth, which has made it difficult for him to establish his credibility in the fast-approaching congressional race. Working against the clock to assure Pennsylvania voters that he is forthright, trustworthy and able has been an exhausting challenge, but Christopher’s chances at beating the incumbant look good.

Julianne Crow, a plus-size model struggling to make ends meet, jumps at the chance to make a little extra cash on the side. What does she have to do? Slip something into Christopher Winslow’s drink and take some very naughty pictures with him.

But Christopher is nothing like Julianne expected, and when her actions sabotage his hard-earned campaign only a month before the election, her guilt is overwhelming. She offers Christopher her help in an effort to repair the damage she’s caused, but can anything change the fact that he sees her as an opportunist and a mercenary? When she starts campaigning for Christopher, he may find out there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Return to the world created in the English Brothers books with this fresh foursome of scorching hot Winslow Brothers!

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My Review:
3.75 stars — OMG you guys, I was having such a hard time coming to terms with how I felt about this book, and honestly my skepticism started with the Note From the Author at the very beginning.  She talks about doing research and choosing to go with American Indian or Indian to refer to Julianne based on what she learned, and my whole being just rejected that.  I wondered if she actually talked to anyone, or if she’d had someone of that race read the book and gut check it.  And even though it’s really not super important to the overall story, it caused me to do my own research after I finished the book.  And I discovered one VERY important thing (besides discovering that it’s an extremely complicated issue, and that Ms. Regnery did not make a bad choice as I’d thought): the term Indian is considered much more offensive in Canada (where I live) than in the US.  AHHHH!!!  I feel so much better!  So my whole being rejected it b/c it’s different up here!!  I wish I’d looked into it right away from the beginning, b/c I’m not sure how much that coloured my reading, you know?   But anyways, you gotta love when a book causes you to learn something new for yourself.  Yay for knowledge!

ANYWAYS.  As seems to be the case with so many of my reviews for this series, I start off with a related, but not necessarily helpful piece of babbling.  The thing is, I really love reading diverse books, but I’m often wary of them as well, particularly when the author does not share that diversity…can I trust that they got it right?  As a white woman, will I even know?  But at the same time, I WANT to see this diversity.  I want to see characters that reflect the varied world that we live in, so I applaud Ms. Regnery for giving us Julianne, of the Lakota tribe of South Dakota.  And for not just having it be a throw away element of her character, but something that really defined her and the story that she tells.  I felt for her and all that she went through growing up, and I thought that while she had her struggles, she was also a very strong and admirable character.  Which is funny considering how the story begins.  She’s not so admirable at the start.

I can honestly say that I was SOOOOO leery of this aspect of the story (that’s hinted at in the blurb).  Maybe it’s because drugging a person is so anathema to everything in me, that I could not imagine what would transpire to make it OK for Jules to resort to that.  And the great thing is that while we saw her motivations, it *wasn’t* a good enough reason.  Why is that great?  Because she doesn’t excuse it for herself.  She made a HORRIBLE mistake and decision.  And she never backs down from that or plays it off.  From the moment she gives herself time to think, and then investigate, she does what she can to make it right.  Because you know what?  People do make very bad decisions from time to time, based on a multitude of reasons, but still bad decisions in the end.  And every time she lifted her head and sucked it up and quietly apologized and forged ahead, but also didn’t take too much sh*t as time went on, I just wanted to applaud.  Because I can love a flawed character that understands their flaws and works on them.  I admire that.  She was honestly my favourite character of this story, I LOVED her growth and change, I loved that she was forthright about her feelings, I loved that she didn’t play games.  And I loved that she respected herself and made hard decisions that were right for her.

Christopher wasn’t bad either, but I’m not entirely sure I had the same level of connection to him.  He had so much rage after being taken advantage of, and honestly, RIGHTFULLY SO.  But it was hard to fall in love with him.  Because *we* as the readers could see inside Jules’s heart, but he couldn’t.  So when he would snipe at her and same horrible things, it was just hurtful and hard to remember the context of where he was coming from.  I wanted him to be better.  And don’t get me wrong, he did get better.  But it was hard to reconcile his own development with the development we were seeing in Jules.  And I’m not sure what you could have done to make that work better, b/c it made sense.  But maybe I’m just not cut out for the enemy to lovers trope.  I don’t deal well with conflict.  Especially when it’s not born of sexual tension, but where the tension is there in spite of the conflict.  It was hard to get into.  And I kind of wanted to know more about Christopher’s campaign…or maybe not that so much as to see HIS passion.  We saw Jules’s passion, and we saw how much she admired his passion based on his platform.  But I wanted to see him get all riled up and passionate about things he believed in.  I think that would have endeared him earlier.

OK, so we have a heroine that I adore, and a hero that I liked, but took me longer to love.  Which would probably have had this book at a solid 4 stars for me (what? it’s my review, I’ll rate how I want).  But there were some niggles, hence the loss of a quarter star.  Who was the black hat man?  Why was that never resolved?  And why bother making Jules plus-sized if it’s never going to come into play?  I mean, it’s nice to have a plus sized girl, but it’s honestly mentioned like twice the whole time, so why put it there if you’re not going to give it some play.  Heck, we never even know if Chris likes plus sized girls.  It’s not bad, just a bummer.  And where was Alex?  I LOVED seeing Elise and Preston, and even a bit of Margaret and Skye.  But why was Alex never with his wife?

So that’s it, that’s all folks.  Imma gonna go pre-order me a set of Winslow Brothers paperbacks for the signing in May.  As much as I dissect these books and how I feel, I really do enjoy them.  They entertain, they give me a solid romance, and sometimes they even make me think and learn.  Sweet.

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The Cranberry Hush by Ben Monopoli

the cranberry hushBlurb: Vince Dandro might be going through the quietest quarter-life crisis of all time. He lives alone, works in a comic book shop, and has a crush on his coworker he can’t seem to act on. Like an old comic book, his life’s colors have started to fade. Everything brightens when Vince’s long-lost friend Griff appears on his doorstep in the middle of a blizzard. They were roommates in college, so close back then that Griff’s girlfriend called them “lifebuddies” — but Vince’s love for Griff had ended the friendship, he thought, forever. They haven’t spoken in years. Why has Griff shown up again? And, more importantly, can Vince handle his return?

Vince and Griff are two twentysomethings struggling to find their places in the world and in each other’s lives. This is a story of friendship and love, both unrequited and requited, and of learning how to fly through the post-college void, which just might hold more than a cranberry hush.

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Favorite quotes

The tiny pessimistic devil who usually sat on my shoulder and who’d warned me not to even bother with Griffin in the first place suddenly conjured himself in my stomach and began crawling up my throat, making it tight.  I wasn’t sure whether to cry that fucker out or throw him up.  I thought I might do both, and collapse in a puddle of tears and puke.

“But doesn’t it feel weird to have the potential to fall in love with every person you meet?  All your friends?”  “I don’t think so,” I said. “I think it’s weirder to only be able to fall in love with half the people you meet.”

I lived in tones and inflections, in glances and winks and stupid little taps.  I analyzed and sought meaning from stupid meaningless things.  It was a constant tug-of-war between what I wanted and what was reality

3.75 Stars 

This book is weird. This book is about nostalgia and basking in what could have been. It’s also about not being able to move forward until you deal with what’s behind you. It’s also about love.  It’s kind abstract honestly.  All these words are floating through my head, you know, and none if them are really tangible. Its not like one event or a turn of events you can pinpoint and say, “Oh, thats what this book is about.”  Its not like that at all.  The whole book itself is about the intangibles, and being able to move past them. It’s just very weird for me because I am not used to reading these kinds of books.

This book is about everything and nothing at the same time for me.  The love that was written into the story was just very oddly worded for me. I didn’t become emotionally involved with it.  I was kind of detached while reading because the way this was written came off as clinical to me.  I had a hard time getting into the book because of that style. But for some reason I could not put it down.  The transitions between flashbacks and present day were choppy to me.  I found myself going back and having to re-read them to make sure I was in the right time frame.

It seemed that every character had dual representations for Vince.  Griff repesented his past, comfronting it and moving forward.  Zane represented his present and not being able to move forward with it until he dealt with his past. At least that’s how it came across to me.  I’m glad I read it, I just don’t know if I would recommend it. This is one of those books that you have to be very clear on what the persons reading interest are.

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Shifters After Dark 6 book box set

shifters after darkUnfortunately, this set is no longer available to get on Amazon. Sorry guys.  I have tried to see if it was on B&N and Kobo but have had no luck. If you know of a store that carries it I would love to know.

You can find it on Goodreads though, not that that is any help: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23456673-shifters-after-dark

Of Wings and Wolves by S.M. Reine

Synopsis: When 20-year-old Summer Gresham, a coed with a secret shapeshifting ability, is singled out for a prestigious internship, she’s stunned to discover Nash Adamson emphatically requested her. A rebel angel in exile, Nash has more than a few secrets of his own. With an angel war in the making and Summer at its crux, Nash has to choose what matters most: their love, or his freedom.

3 Stars

 This book was pretty slow for my tastes.  And the storyline was kinda hard to follow, like it wasn’t very cohesive if that makes sense.  The love portion was decent and the writing was technically sound, but things happened a bit too fast for me and I didn’t connect with the characters on a deep level that I usually do. I don’t think I will be reading the next one.

Seven Years by Dannika Dark

Synopsis: Lexi Knight hasn’t seen Austin Cole since her brother’s funeral seven years ago. Now a dangerous bounty hunter, Austin reveals he’s also an alpha Shifter. But there’s another shocking twist, putting Lexi’s family in danger. Can their relationship be salvaged from the ruins of their past? Book One in a bestselling series about family, second chances, and finding that person who completes you.

4 Stars

I liked this one a lot.  It had struggle both internally and externally.  Lots of action that I love with shifter stories.  And the steamy scenes were very well written.  The only think I will say that didn’t blow me away was the fact everyone wanted her.  It was like some super scent that permeated off her in waves that drove everyone wild with lust.  It didn’t sit well with me for some reason.  I would read the next one.

Hood’s Obsession by Marie Hall

Synopsis: Lilith Wolf, daughter of the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, is in heat–and being handfasted to the first male in her village to tame her wolf isn’t an option. So when Giles Damien comes calling, she journeys off with him to Fyre Mountain, crossing paths with an angry water dragon, a pub full of Merry Men, and rock dwarves with a taste for flesh … and maybe falling in love. These are the fairy tales no one ever told you about…

4 Stars

I am a huge fan of Marie Hall and have read most of these books already so I immediately liked this one as well.  I fell hard for Giles as soon as he appeared in this book.  Their conversations had a wide range of simple and easy going to intense and heartfelt.  I need to catch up on this series.

Bloodsick by Melissa F. Olson (box set exclusive)

Synopsis: Sashi’s mother warned her not to get involved with werewolf problems. But Sashi, a witch who uses her magic to help cancer patients, has never made a habit of ignoring pain. When she meets an abused shapeshifter, Sashi will risk everything–including her fledgling relationship–to save a woman who can’t save herself. An Old World novella from the author ofDead Spots, Trail of Dead, and Hunter’s Trail.

4 Stars

I think this one is a prequel that was written after the fact.  This one had me a little twitchy. I usually don’t have any triggers when I read but this book is very violent. Extremely violent I would say.  I may have got a little nauseous reading it.  She is very descriptive in her details.  The plot is very intense and a bit complicated. It has so much going on in it and I had to take my time reading it because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with all the storylines going on.  But it has lots of paranormals in it. Witches, werewolves and vampires to name a few.  I like when a book focuses on more than one species.  Like paranormal diversity. J  I am def going to read the next one because I liked it.

The Dark of Twilight by Kate Danley (box set exclusive)

Synopsis: Ever since she was a child working in his kitchen, Aein always longed to join Lord Arnkell’s army. When that day comes and she is sent on patrol with fellow warrior, Lars, it seems her dream has come true. But something has followed her home. When Arnkell’s wedding is interrupted by a werewolf attack, the dream shifts into a nightmare… Book One in the brand-new epic fantasy series Twilight Shifters.

4 Stars

This book took a bit for me to get into.  It had a steady pace and I got a little impatient reading it honestly.  The story is very original though and that’s what kept me from giving up.  It had political intrigue and action along with a bit of romance.  All great things for a well-rounded book in my opinion.  I want to say I will read more of this series but I have so many that I may have to put this one aside for a but and come back to it later.

Heartsong by Kate Danley (box set exclusive)

Synopsis: By night, as a Gabriel Hound, the fae Brinn runs with The Wild Hunt.

3.5 Stars

This book wasn’t bad but it didn’t hold my attention for very long at a time.  The story was good but it moved a bit slow for me.  The details were many and sometimes over abundant for my tastes.  I liked how they were able to share so much of themselves with each other without letting jealousy or vanity get in the way.  And there personalities were more serious than I usually read so that may have made me loose interest as well.  I don’t think I will be reading the next one in this series.

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