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 Bellator Saga

Bellator sagaBlurb: Two souls intertwined. One epic love story.

Get swept away in the passionate romance between political opposites Caroline Gerard and Jack McIntyre in the first half of The Bellator Saga.

This set contains the first three books in the series, Dissident, Conscience, and Sojourn.

Dissident
Rising Democratic star Caroline Gerard is reluctant to fall in love again after losing her husband. Can Republican playboy Jack McIntyre break through her grief and capture her heart? Told mostly in flashback and set against a chilling fascist backdrop,Dissident is a rollercoaster ride of political intrigue, passionate romance, and undying love.

Conscience
Caroline faces the biggest challenge of her life when confronted with the cruelty and sadism of her captors at The Fed. Hope fades quickly, even as she holds onto her one last bit of sanity and her unshakable belief that her husband will rescue her. But is that faith just a mirage?

Sojourn
Reeling from her experiences at The Fed, Caroline tries to forge ahead and create a new identity. But that’s hard to do with the ghosts of the past constantly whispering in her ear. She is determined to find the rebellion and move on with her life, but what will she find when she arrives there?

Includes bonus material featuring a deleted scene from Sojourn, a sneak peek at Phoenix, and a never before released love scene told in Jack’s first person point of view!

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Average rating for the set: 3 stars

This set is on sale for 0.99 cents right now!

Favorite quotes:

I think good people need to stand up for what’s right before there’s no one left to do it.

Fifteen feet to freedom and of course they were sitting ducks.  Again she wished for a gun. Loaded or not.  Operational or not.  She’d kill for a goddamn butter knife.  A spork, even. Dental floss.  Anything.

Any harmless gnat can turn into a monster when granted access to power he doesn’t need or deserve.

She was going to say it was ridiculous, then realized it wasn’t.  People saw what they wanted to see, heard what they wanted to hear.  They’d readily believe the easiest story. An Occam’s Razor of ignorance.  She’d always been warned that her idealism would turn into the worst kind of cynicism.  Now she knew that had been an accurate assertion.  Any scrap of her political romance with the American public was gone.

Dissident rating: 3.5 stars

I received this set from the author in exchange in an honest review.  A very heavy political theme in the book, it was very much outside of the usual realm of genres that I read.  When I read the excerpt originally, I thought it was an erotica, and in fact it can be labeled as being duel genre. But for the most part the plot line was purely political thriller. I’ve read books like this before in my late teens and early twenties, just not at the age where I am now.  Where I can really understand what they are talking about.

The verbage was…it was heavy reading.  I felt like I had to do homework to finish this book.  There were numerous words in it that I didn’t know what they meant and I had to look them up.  And then the detail in the political aspect of their jobs was very intense. I’m not even sure it needed to be that detailed, I think the author’s style is to write that way.

The book was good.  I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone though.  Would I read the rest of the series? No, I’m not gonna finish it. It just wasn’t for me. It was written well, but the story line didn’t make sense to me with regards to the erotic component in it.  It was like two stories as one and neither of them had to do much with the other, IMO.  On one hand you had this really great love story, of two opposing members of congress.  I thought that was enough, but then she threw in this political intrigue and it just threw me out of the story. And there was a lot of flashbacks, going back and forth.  In all honesty no questions were answered, I mean, it is a thriller so I expect a certain suspense level but you still don’t know what happened between those times. It’s all conjecture and speculation and the suspense was so high that I couldn’t…there was nothing that was gonna top it if that makes sense. There was no climax that was gonna make it worth it for me. She built it so high that eventually it just toppled over and I wasn’t interested in finding out what was going on.  I did like the love story. It was awesome because it was about people who are my age. It wasn’t about teenagers and their impulsive emotions or their insecurities.

The fact that she is a widow added a lot to her background in the story. I was very impressed with her friendships that she had with Chrissy and her staffers. Her children didn’t play as big a part in the story as I would have expected.  I wasn’t feeling that too much. There was not a whole lot of focus about her role as a mother.  The book was good, it was just too detailed for me, and there was not enough climax in it.

Conscience rating: 3  stars

This story focused on her getting captured and tortured; quite frankly I couldn’t handle it. It was too gruesome for my tastes and when she would flashback to an erotic scene it would take me right out of the seriousness of the present story line if that makes sense. Maybe I am just too emotive a reader to be able go back and forth so easily. I just couldn’t do it.

We sorta find out what happens to the country and why she was wanted in the first place. I expected more, her detailed background was missing in this one.  I was looking forward to having THE answer to why.  What did she do that was so terrible as to warrant torture of the highest level?  What did Santos do to wrangle control of the president’s seat and convince the public that it was normal for so many people to go missing? I guess I am supposed to fill in the blanks here but I am just a bit of a dense reader.

Sojourn rating: 2 stars 

This one just focuses on her recovery and her mental stamina after she gets rescued from the facility known as The Fed.  Her hope that just won’t die no matter how hard she tries to bury it. I was excited to get to this one because I thought for sure that all my questions would finally be answered but alas, I was to be disappointed again.

It was too long and slow in my opinion for a third book.  By now I expect the characters to have a good ebb and flow.  The story line should be established fairly well but it was still the same one from the first book. I was still trying to find answers to the my original questions.  There had been no progress so I felt I was just re-reading the same book again except with a few new characters.

All in all, I’m glad I read it.  It has an interesting look into what it means to be a politician, affecting change and standing up for what is right, even if it costs you what you hold most dear.

This book satisfies the Political spot on my book bingo card.

Book Bingo

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