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

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

4.5 Stars

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
Open internationally

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Signed paperback copy of The Phoenix Candidate
Name a character in the sequel

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