Requested Review: Color My Horse by Bev Pettersen

Format: E-bookcolormyhorse
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Westerhall
Hero: Mark Russell
Heroine: Jessica Boone
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 16, 2011
Started On: January 16, 2012
Finished On: January 19, 2012

I was a bit apprehensive diving into my second book by Bev Pettersen, not because she tells a bad story, hardly that. Jockeys and Jewels which was my first Bev Pettersen turned out to be a good read for me because there was a lot of horse jargon involved that detracted me a bit from enjoying the story that unfolded. But I was absolutely delighted to discover that true to Bev’s word, Color My Horse turned out to be one of those stories that was hard to put down because of the sheer number of emotions that coursed through me while I was reading the story.

Jessica Boone is the heiress to the Boone fortune. With a controlling grandfather who wants to map out her life the way he wants it, Jessica is a woman who is stuck in a hard place with no way out. With her skiing career a choice no longer available with a severe knee injury, Jessica grabs at the last straws to assert her independence. She bargains with her grandfather to allow her to give her the cash she needs to start her own dog kennel. But it does come with a price. Jessica has to work at the Belmont racetrack for a set period of time, living entirely on what she earns from her job, failing to do which she has to come work for her grandfather.

Enter 31 year old Mark Russel, who is a horse trainer, who runs a tight ship with his workers with his no nonsense attitude towards horse training as well as life in general. Mark has the fear that he might turn out to be just like his father; a man who thought with the wrong body part when it came to alluring females. And when Jessica’s grandfather coerces him into accepting Jessica on board, Mark doesn’t expect the rich heiress to last much longer than a day mucking stalls and scrubbing down horses which is a far removed life from that of a woman of the elite society.

However, Jessica surprises Mark and herself as well when her resolve to to regain her independence gives her the strength to persevere in spite of all odds being stacked against her. Jessica is a character who is so very full of life. She tends to spread vivid color everywhere she goes, spreads a kind of joy that intrudes and cracks the reserves around Mark’s emotions before he is even aware of it happening. Though Mark tells himself that it is only a heady sexual attraction and desire that he has towards his newest employee, feelings of the much deeper kind continues to develop as both of them indulge in an affair that leaves them both wanting more.

What makes Color My Horse such a fabulous book to read is the way Bev Pettersen brings the story to life. Her love for horses shines through marvelously and I couldn’t help but pout just a little bit because I live in a country where running into a horse is an impossibility. I loved how Bev paired off someone whose bright outlook on life lights up the life of a man for whom looking after the horses that he loves means everything. The thread of suspense that is woven throughout the story just served to be the icing on the cake and I loved every single minute of Jessica’s journey towards discovering all that she is capable of and in the process finding the love of her life.

With all the things that I loved about the story, there was just one teeny tiny thing that irked me for a bit. I couldn’t get over just how little Mark seemed to be affected by Jessica’s return towards the end of the book. I know that Mark is a man who is reserved in his display of emotions and the fact that he continues to carry on Jessica’s “traditions” when it comes to looking after horses does tell a lot about how he feels towards Jessica. But I would have loved the ending a bit more if Mark had been a bit more forthcoming about his feelings towards Jessica, and maybe while he was at it, if he had tried to reach out to Jessica a bit sooner. But in the end, I guess it all comes down to Mark’s character and the fact that he doesn’t stray far from how his character is portrayed throughout the story.

Recommended for those who love character driven romances, those who love stories where heroines who are full-of-life meets up with the reserved type of hero. And of course, for those who loves horses. You cannot find an author who practically grabs you with the way Bev brings the culture and life of horse training and racing to life like she does.

Favorite Quotes

Mark just stared as she spoke about plastic flowers in the winter, but he couldn’t focus on her words. He’d never realized he had such a possessive streak. Possessive with horses, sure, but not with women. Never with women. She was leaving in a week, was extremely high maintenance, not to mention Boone’s granddaughter. And he hated those gaudy purple braids.
But life would be so gray when she left. She didn’t just color his horse, she colored his world.
Unable to speak, he stepped forward, pulled her into his thumping chest and simply held her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords

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Requested Review: Jockeys and Jewels by Bev Pettersen

Format: E-bookjockeysandjewels
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Westerhall
Hero: Kurt McKinnon
Heroine: Julie West
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 12, 2011
Started On: September 25, 2011
Finished On: September 28, 2011

Kurt MacKinnon is a horse trainer who handed over his resignation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police eleven months back, refusing to let the lies and deception that ruled his life in undercover work drain him out any longer. But Kurt gets pulled back to do one more undercover job, to bring to justice the man/woman responsible for the murder of one of his trusted colleagues. Kurt’s knowledge about horses and his profession makes him the ultimate choice for the undercover mission that involves infiltrating a horse race track to find out the person responsible and to find the reason behind the murder.

23 year old Julie West is an apprentice jockey who dreams of becoming a jockey as revered and experienced as her mother had been. A suspect in Kurt’s investigation, Julie is not what Kurt expects her to be and from the first moment, it becomes hard for Kurt to be objective where Julie is concerned as her refreshing honesty about everything pulls him in far deeper than anyone else has in a long, long time.

Julie tries hard to keep things professional between herself and Kurt but finds herself unable to do so as Kurt’s charm and underlying kindhearted nature that peeks through makes him more and more irresistible. So finds Julie breaking the rules which had governed her adult life about mixing business with pleasure, all the while not knowing Kurt’s true agenda when it comes to her and the rest of her colleagues at the race track.

Blended with details about horses, racing and the life of a novice jockey who wants to make it big, together with the detecting and undercover work of a determined undercover agent, Jockeys and Jewels is a novel that proved to be an entertaining read. Because I am not someone who has much familiarity with horses since I live in a country where the only time we encounter a horse is when its on TV, I found myself fascinated with certain aspects of the horse racing world. Though I felt that there was a bit too much on the horse racing aspect at times, for someone who loves horses, racing and the world of jockeys with a bit of romance and suspense tossed right in, Jockeys and Jewels would be a gem of a read.

Kurt’s character comes off as the brooding hot variety and he has a hard time keeping his feelings in check when it comes to Julie. Kurt does prove in the end that he has no intention of letting Julie go because for the first time in his life, Kurt finds someone worthy of letting into his heart, body and soul as his mate for as long as he lives. Julie at first is skittish as a newborn colt when it comes to succumbing to the attraction that fires up between herself and Kurt from the very first moment. But as little  by little Kurt charms his way into her emotions and heart, Julie learns to let go, though she doesn’t have a clue as to the real reason behind Kurt’s appearance at the race track.

Bev Pettersen has got that innate talent of telling a good story which I know would only continue to improve with each publication.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

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