Book Review + Sale and Giveaway – The Accidental Assassin by Nichole Chase

The Accidental Assassin Tour

Welcome to the next stop on the blog tour for The Accidental Assassin, a new adult contemporary novel by Nichole Chase. See below for my review, information on the book, buy links, and details on her giveaway. Also, during the tour, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99!

The Accidental Assassin by Nichole Chase

The Accidental Assassin by Nichole Chase

Synopsis
Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London.

When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try.

Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list.

As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?

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My Review
The Accidental Assassin was such a fun, unique twist on the new adult romance genre. The characters are quirky and likable and the plot weaves danger and humor, keeping me glued to the virtual pages.

Ava is an American house-sitting her honeymooning best friend. Owen is an assassin assigned to taking out one of the other inhabitants in the same building where Ava is staying. When Ava accidentally backs over the target with her car, she finds herself in the middle of a murder-for-hire plot, relying on the the hot, yet mysterious, Owen to survive.

Plot
The plot is unique in the new adult genre, at least for me. It’s a romance, nestled in danger, surrounded by nearly non-stop action. Nichole Chase pulls off a charming tale of an unlikely heroine, some intense chemistry, and a fast-moving thrill-ride, that is reminiscent of Janet Evanovich but really is all its own.

Characters
Ava is likable from the opening paragraph and even Owen makes it hard to dislike him. What with being choosy about who he’ll kill, and ensuring there is never any collateral damage and all. These two seem like an unlikely pair, and yet the attraction is palpable from the first meet. The supporting cast are all equally interesting, right down the shop store clerk and the arms dealer.

World Building
The world of spies and assassins comes alive between the pages, the settings feel authentic, with pop culture references thrown in to connect readers with the story even more.

Writing
I love Nichole Chase’s style. She tackles tough subject matter with traces of humor, but never making light of a serious topic.

Top Five Things I Loved about The Accidental Assassin:
1. Ava. She’s a fun, refreshing heroine who had me rooting for her from the first page.

2. Owen. He’s smexy, intelligent, and loyal. Hard to beat that combination.

3. The settings. Everywhere from Owen’s cottage in Oxford to the streets of Notting Hill were as alive as the characters who inhabit them.

4. The plot. A fun idea that was wonderfully executed.

5. The banter. I loved watching Ava and Owen going tit for tat, amping up the chemistry in a playful way.

Bottom Line
The Accidental Assassin is a fun, fresh take on new adult romance with a twist.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: The Accidental Assassin
Author: Nichole Chase
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Pages: 354
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

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Author Nicole Chase

Author Nicole Chase

About the Author
Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories.

She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at the Romance Academy.

Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats.

When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

Where to Find Nichole Chase
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Amazon

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Giveaway
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Book Review + Giveaway – The Phoenix Campaign (Grace Colton Series) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

The Phoenix Campaign (Grace Colton #2) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

The Phoenix Campaign (Grace Colton #2) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

Synopsis
Ambition. Lust. Sacrifice. Politics just got a whole lot sexier.

Grace Colton’s life is a blur—security, appearances, and a desperately fast ramp-up to Election Day. Political consultant Jared Rankin is pulling the strings to win the White House with the Conover-Colton ticket.

But the fragile relationship Grace and Jared forged could be ruined by secrets traded for political leverage. She’s hiding her new relationship with Jared from the public, and concealing a deeper secret from everyone.

When Grace reveals the explosive truth to her running mate, squeaky-clean Senator Conover must confront his own haunted past. Grace’s future—and their campaign—could be ruined by the lies meant to protect what they love most.

Peek behind the curtain and under the covers in this sexy political drama that exposes the true cost of ambition, lust and sacrifice.

The Phoenix Campaign is an erotic romance set in the world of presidential election politics. Recommended for mature readers due to sharp dialogue, wickedly hot sex, and a few delicious taboos. This full-length novel is second in a series but can be read as a standalone.

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My Review
The Phoenix Campaign is a solid follow-up to The Phoenix Candidate. With the Conover-Colton campaign well underway, Grace’s secret could not only destroy her relationship with Jared, but could undermine the campaign itself. Keeping secrets drives a wedge between Grace and Jared, and Jared brings in Sasha, a ball-busting campaign manager, to take over with Grace so he can focus on Shep. Things go from bad to worse when tragedy strikes her office. And when Shep’s own secret is revealed, things go from truly awful to nearly insurmountable.

The romance threads through this story, the same as the first book in the series, but now that Jared has declared his love for Grace, their conflicts arise from secrets, half-truths, and lies. Once again, the strength of the book lies in the politics rather than the romance. Not that the romance isn’t well done, its just that romance is pretty formulaic, but the political aspects of this story are incredibly well done, it’s like an episode of The West Wing, Scandal, and The Good Wife all rolled up into one.

World Building
Once again, the political world building is incredible. The scandals, the intrigue, the backstabbing, they’re all so juicy and believable. Campaign events, debate prep, everything you think you know about presidential campaigns is here, with lots of steamy sex, because it’s D.C. after all.

Plot
The main plot is still the romance between Grace and Jared, but it’s almost a neck-and-neck race to see if the political plot will overtake the lead. There’s so much undermining both plot points, with some of the same things affecting both, the author just keeps piling it on. But the campaign is by far the strongest, most unique aspect of the story. That said, it probably wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the romance, so I’d say these two plots are as co-dependent as a vampire and the human he loves.

Delicious subplots involve Grace’s chief-of-staff, Trey, as well as Shep’s big secret, which I never saw coming, although I did figure out the second half of the secret once the first part was revealed.

Characters
The characters are still complex and believable. There wasn’t quite as much character development this time around, but Grace still has a good arc, and Jared has his own arc that’s super-compressed.

Ending
I liked the ending. It wasn’t the jaw-dropping conclusion we got in the first book, but it wraps up the main story lines, leaving open just enough for the third and final book in the series.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About The Phoenix Campaign
1. The Politics. I’m still a political junkie, so the political bits were savored like the last bite of a key lime cheesecake.

2. Mama Bea. What’s not to love about Trey’s mom? She’s a spitfire with a heart of gold.

3. Jared. He loves deeply, even though he doesn’t always know how to express it. But the way he quietly pulls strings behind the scenes to orchestrate what he wants for Grace is really sweet, even if a little (okay maybe a lot) controlling.

4. Shep Conover. If he was running for president, he’d get my vote right now!

5. Sasha. She grew on me slowly, the same as she did Grace, but by the end, I adored her. She is exactly what Grace needs. Once this series is over, I’d love to see her in another series, or heck, even on The Good Wife. She could give Eli Gold a run for his money!

Bottom Line
The Phoenix Campaign is equal parts romance and political intrigue and 100% pure fun.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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About the Book
Title: The Phoenix Campaign
Series: Grace Colton #2
Author: Heidi Joy Tretheway
Publisher: Jasper Ridge Press
Release Date: April 20, 2015
Pages: 228
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Author Heidi Jo Tretheway

Author Heidi Jo Tretheway

About the Author
Heidi Joy is a sucker for campfires, craft cocktails, and steamy romance in books and real life. She sings along with musicals (badly), craves French carbs, and buys plane tickets the way some women buy shoes.

Her first career as a journalist took Heidi behind the scenes with politicians, rock stars, chefs, and detectives, all of whom inspire her stories. Heidi Joy is currently working on her eighth book from her home in Portland, Oregon. She adores hearing from readers at author.heidi@gmail.com.

Where to Find Heidi Joy Tretheway
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Newsletter

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Giveaway
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Book Review – Sammy’s Hill (Samantha Joyce) by Kristin Gore

Sammy's Hill (Samantha Joyce #1) by Kristin Gore

Sammy’s Hill (Samantha Joyce #1) by Kristin Gore

Synopsis
Comedy writer and middle daughter of Al Gore, Kristin Gore has written a funny and moving debut novel about life on Capitol Hill as seen through the eyes of Samantha Joyce, a twenty-six year old health care analyst to Ohio Junior Senator Robert Gary.

Hard working, idealistic, extremely competent as well as neurotic and prone to daydreaming, Sammy, as she’s known to her friends, has little time for anything, much less a relationship. But in the midst of lobbying and late-night dinners at the office, she meets Aaron Driver, who is hot, smart, and sweet, and who, after a night of binge drinking at a bachelor party, proclaims his love for her.

But how will Sammy balance her seventy-plus hour weeks with her budding romance, while keeping her best friend’s slimy boyfriend from hitting on her, and making time for family, who insist her outfits match the centerpiece.

My Review
This debut novel by the middle daughter of former Vice President, Al Gore, is a hilarious, witty, page-turning comedy with a sliver of politics running through it. Twenty-six year old Samantha Joyce is a newly arrived staffer for the junior Senator from Ohio with expertise in health care. Released in 2005, the topic was timely with health care reform front and center, but it’s still as fresh ten years later as it was back when I first read it.

Sammy is idealistic, nervous around members of the opposite sex, a little neurotic, and forever hopeful. As she works on the issues for her boss, she tumbles into a romantic relationship. While billed as chic-lit, this is more than that. It’s equal parts politics, which no doubt Kristin Gore has the experience to accurately portray, and lighthearted romance. I loved the story, the politics, and the characters. I’m looking forward to picking up more by Gore.

Plot
The main plot is Sammy’s goal of getting health care reform passed, but a strong subplot is her romance with Aaron Driver, and both are done really well. It’s definitely a fun, light read that moves quickly. The political process is interesting, even if it’s told in a humorous way. Well, let’s face it, politics is pretty much a joke in this country anyway.

World Building
Set on Capitol Hill, Kristin Gore has a solid handle on the world she’s set her story in. Considering her parentage, it’s understandable. I love her witty take on D.C, the procedures, and the political infighting.

Characters
Sammy is quirky in the best sense of the word. I know a lot of people have compared her to Bridget Jones, but she’s really her own kind of awesome and she comes off adorkably so. The rest of the cast is just as delightful, but much less neurotic.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Sammy’s Hill
1. Sammy’s quirks. She worries about everything and anything, including things that probably would never happen to anyone, but that’s all part of her charm.

2. Capitol Hill. The setting is as fascinating as the characters and often just as colorful and off-balance.

3. Health care. Because even after the Affordable Care Act, it’s still an important topic.

4. Politics. I’m a political junky, so the wonky plotline was pure confection.

5. Aaron Driver. He’s one of the really good guys and it’s nice to see that guys don’t have to be total alpha male types to get the girl.

Bottom Line
Sammy’s Hill is a quirky political romantic comedy with fun characters and a timeless plotline.

About the Book
Title
: Sammy’s Hill
Series: Samantha Joyce #1
Author: Kristin Gore
Release Date: June 15, 2005
Pages: 336
Category: Romance, Mystery, Chick Lit
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Author Kristin Gore

Author Kristin Gore

 

About the Author
Kristin Gore is an American author and screenwriter. She is the second daughter of Al and Tipper Gore.

Gore has published three novels, Sammy’s Hill (2004), Sammy’s House (2007), and Sweet Jiminy (2011). She co-wrote the screenplay for the 2015 film Accidental Love, and the narration for the 2007 documentary Arctic Tale.

She was also a writer for the animated sitcom Futurama and the long-running sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live.

Where to Find Kristin Gore
Goodreads | Facebook

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Book Review – The Phoenix Candidate (Grace Colton Series) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

The Phoenix Candidate (Grace Colton #1) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

The Phoenix Candidate (Grace Colton #1) by Heidi Joy Tretheway

Synopsis
Fans of Scandal, House of Cards, and The Good Wife will love Grace Colton…

Congresswoman Grace Colton is the most famous woman in politics—and the loneliest—until a drawling, sexy stranger offers her one night, no strings and no regrets.

Grace wakes to an empty hotel room and a phone call: the dark horse for the 2016 presidential election, Senator Shep Conover, is considering her as his vice presidential running mate. But first, Grace must be vetted and coached by Shep’s political consultant, Jared Rankin, who already knows too many intimate details about her. He’s Mr. One-Night Stand.

Grace is torn: Play nice with Jared to join the senator’s ticket, or play hardball and back the slick frontrunner? Grace must decide where her loyalties lie and if she can trust Jared with her future—and her heart.

The Phoenix Candidate is an erotic romance set in the world of presidential election politics. Recommended for mature readers due to sharp dialogue, wickedly hot sex, and a few delicious taboos. This full-length novel is first in a series and can be read as a standalone.

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My Review
I almost didn’t finish this book. I hated the first chapter. I hated the characters. Could’t stand either one of them. And even as the story progressed, I disliked them. I did’t understand Grace, hated Jared, couldn’t get why she put up with his controlling ways. Then, somewhere around the 60% mark, it clicked for me. I got her, why she made the choices she did, why she was willing to give so much to a selfish, controlling bastard like Jared. The fact that I made it that far into a story where I didn’t like the protagonist or the love interest is a testament to the strong writing and gripping political intrigue that Heidi Joy Tretheway brings.

I love politics. I’m a junkie. And part of what made this book appeal to me was the comparison to The Good Wife, one of my all-time favorite TV shows. But Grace is nothing like Alicia Florek. Except she is. Alicia allows a lot from Peter, because of her family or her career. There is a lot of Alicia in Grace, but Grace is her own person. And about that same time that I felt like I saw glimpses of a Grace I could love, could root for, and even respect, the plot took off at a frantic pace.

Plot
While this is technically a romance, and touted as an erotic romance at that, it’s really so much more. It’s a political thriller with a steamy romantic co-plot. Freshman Congresswoman, Grace Colton, is a far-left liberal on guns and the environment, two political hot potatoes that helped her get elected in the wake of personal tragedy. When her name is bandied about as a potential running mate for two of the Democratic parties’ top presidential hopefuls, those issues could be a liability. The political wheeling and dealing is almost as hot as the sex. Tretheway threw in several plot twists that upped the stakes and kept me turning page after page.

World Building
The world building is simply fantastic. Everything from the way Portland, Oregon is portrayed, to the Washington beltway is authentic. The author pays so much attention to the little things, the locations are like word paintings in exquisite detail. And the politics are about as real as it gets.

Characters
So, I didn’t love the characters initially. I didn’t even like them, but I couldn’t deny that they were incredibly well crafted, three-dimensional people. But by the end of the book, I loved both Jared and Grace. That’s some rock-solid character development. The supporting characters, everyone from Trey and Mama Bea to Darrow and Conover, are extremely well crafted.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About  The Phoenix Candidate
1. The politics. The political landscape, the backstabbing, the games, are all so, so believable.

2. Trey. As Grace’s right-hand man, he has her back in every case and keeps her grounded.

3. Lauren Kennedy Darrow. She’s delicious as the polished antagonist with a complex backstory. So fun to hate.

4. Jared. Yeah, it took me almost three quarters of the book to warm up to him, but once I did, I did in a big way.

5. Grace’s Interview. When she gaffes on national TV, it’s epic!

Bottom Line
This is a smart, sassy political thriller, rolled in romance with lots of steamy sex, but it’s the politics that really set it apart.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: The Phoenix Candidate
Series: Grace Colton #1
Author: Heidi Joy Thretheway
Release Date: January 12, 2015
Publisher: Jasper Ridge Press
Pages: 254
Release Date: January 12, 2015
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Author Heidi Joy Tretheway

Author Heidi Joy Tretheway

About the Author
Heidi Joy is a sucker for campfires, craft cocktails, and steamy romance in books and real life. She sings along with musicals (badly), craves French carbs, and buys plane tickets the way some women buy shoes.

Her first career as a journalist took Heidi behind the scenes with politicians, rock stars, chefs, and detectives, all of whom inspire her stories. Heidi Joy is currently working on her eighth book from her home in Portland, Oregon. She adores hearing from readers at author.heidi@gmail.com.

Where to Find Heidi Joy Tretheway
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Newsletter

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Giveaway
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Signed paperback copy of The Phoenix Candidate
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