A few weeks ago I was contacted by an author of equestrian romance novels. She said she had a new book that was due to be released in the middle of July. Would I be willing to read the book and put a review on my blog?
The first thing I did was google her name, Hannah Hooton. She was legit, with a number of books listed on Amazon. The books had good ratings. I'm pretty busy but I was intrigued so I said yes. Hannah is located in the UK but she managed to send me an advance copy of the manuscript (I think it is out now). The wonders of the internet! It only took us three tries to get the book to me -- because I had to figure out how to receive it.
I started reading the book, Share and Share Alike, a few weeks ago. I read the first chapter and stopped. I didn't care for the main character who seemed overly concerned with the state of her nail polish and the curve of men's rear ends.
A week or so after that, feeling guilty, I read through to chapter six. The book still didn't grab me and part of the problem was the jargon. British slang is different than American and I didn't understand most of it. The heroine kept calling one of the men a "toff" which was clearly derogatory but I couldn't figure it out past that. I put the book down again.
Yesterday, with nothing better to do on a hot afternoon I took it with me out on the front porch and read, with Kersey at my feet. Just short of the half-way point the book grabbed me and pulled me in. It is a horse racing focused book and I know very little about that discipline -- especially about steeple chasing, which was the sport in this book. But, the characters were well drawn and I could picture all of them. I had very strong opinions about who I liked and who I didn't. There was a mystery, a who-dunnit, component to the book and I kept changing my mind on the culprit. In the end, I was wrong (but on the right track).
In summary, I'd give the book three stars. I did have trouble with the British jargon, and the names (I couldn't keep all the strange, to me, names straight). I'm a pretty tough customer when it comes to books -- I was a literature major so my four or five star bar is pretty high. However, it was a good story and it did eventually pull me in to the point where I didn't want to do much of anything else until the mystery was solved. I found the mystery more compelling than the romance -- but maybe I've just read too many beach romances in my life. That part of the book was very predictable.
So, if you are looking for a fast read to take on vacation -- to read on the plane or on the beach -- this one works.
The book is available on Amazon or through Hannah's website.