Red Blooded by Caitlin Sinead
Published August 3rd, 2015
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Instead of eating ramen and meeting frat guys like most college freshmen, Peyton Arthur is on the campaign trail. Traveling with her mother, the Democratic pick for vice president, she's ordering room service, sneaking glances at cute campaign intern Dylan and deflecting interview questions about the tragic loss of her father. But when a reporter questions her paternity, her world goes into a tailspin.Dylan left Yale and joined the campaign to make a difference, not keep tabs on some girl. But with the paternity scandal blowing up and Peyton asking questions, he's been tasked to watch her every move. As he gets to know the real Peyton, he finds it harder and harder to keep a professional distance.When the media demands a story, Peyton and Dylan give them one—a fake relationship. As they work together to investigate the rumors about her real father and Peyton gets closer to learning the truth, she's also getting closer to Dylan. And suddenly, it's not just her past on the line anymore. It's her heart.
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This book was really good. It's a great mixture of the innocence of new adulthood and the deviance implicated in politics. It had a head-strong, curious protagonist, who's trying to find herself in the answers to question she always thought she knew, just to get shoved into a web of secrets and lies.
It reminded me a little of Scandal, a TV show I've watched religiously and loved. It had all the elements that made me love the show, the mysteries, the screw-up, the cover-ups and the romance.
Right from the start we get immersed in a whole world of complicated etiquette and half-truths, following Peyton. She's the eighteen-year-old daughter of a Vice President candidate and has had to get used to being in the public eye for several years due to her deceased father's best-selling book which included details of her life growing up. Everyone feels like they know her and she's America's sweetheart, but she is not fooled by the illusion. She knows her real friends can be counted with the fingers on her hands and if she ever says something out of line, it could end her mother's career.
So, she's learned to behave and be proper, smile and say only what's expected of her. But when a mean-spirited TV host interviews her and bluntly suggest that her father might not be the man who raised her and the one she's always loved, she starts to unravel. The foundations of her life start crumbling down right before her eyes and she will not rest until she gets the full truth. Luckily, the campaign intern who's been assigned to "handling her", Dylan might be just the one person who can help her get the answer she seeks.
I loved and hated the politics involved in this book. I loved the way everything seemed plausible and even when it's a difficult world to relate to for me, since I know very little about what actually goes on behind the scenes of a real campaign, it felt somehow authentic, with all the unpleasant meetings, the gives and takes, and the power-crazed personalities. It also made me think about the kind of things that I tend to push into a deep corner of my mind so I can avoid them; like how the fate of a whole country rest in the hands of people that are, more often than not, concerned with their own personal interest over the well-being of the people who elected them, which is a thought that makes me break out in hives every time I let it slip past my mental defenses.
The relationship between Peyton and her mother was really complicated and I found myself hating the latter for the most part of the book. I just couldn't compute the idea of a good mother with the one of someone who would put her daughter through all the things that Peyton had to face. I wanted to scream at the woman most of the time for letting her some people on her campaign staff be so rude and insensitive to Peyton.
The romance building up between Peyton and Dylan was really cute at first. I loved the scenes where they got to know each other and found things they had in common. I also loved how Dylan was there for her when she needed someone the most. His constant commitment with the campaign over anything else drove me a bit crazy sometimes, but by the end I had already forgiven him. The thing that bugged me about this relationship was that they were from point A to F skipping point B, C, D, E... If you know what I mean. They were friends and they would flirt and they were attracted to each other, everything was going great. And then suddenly they were REALLY into each other and then came sex. No real dating, no getting to know each other intimately as more than friends before jumping into bed together. They made a great couple, though and I was really pulling for them.
I think the part I loved the most about this book were the bits of the book written by Peyton's father that we get at the beginning of the chapters and I found myself wanting to read the whole thing. It gave me a lot of perspective about Peyton and who she really was and also made me teary-eyed on more than one occasion.
Overall, I think Red Blooded was a solid contemporary read. The writing style was suited for the genre and it read pretty fast. It had everything it needed to keep me reading without wanting to let go of the book. The romance wasn't perfect but it was good nonetheless and the intrigue surrounding Peyton's biological father kept me turning the pages late into the night. I would recommend it for people that like politics but are also looking for a read that's not too dense.
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About Caitlin Sinead
Caitlin Sinead is represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger, Inc. and her debut novel, Heartsick, is available now from Carina Press. Her writing has earned accolades from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Glimmer Train, and Writers & Artists, and her stories have appeared in multiple publications, including The Alarmist, The Binnacle, Crunchable, Jersey Devil Press, and Northern Virginia Magazine. She earned a master's degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University.