Title: Jockeying for You
Author: Stacy Hoff
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: September 28th, 2016
Shelves: Contemporary; Romance; Sports
Format: Kindle Edition (177 pages)
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars
Jake Carter is on a mission—to prove his family wrong. He may have bought a troubled horse, but he’s hired Ryder Hannon, a “horse whisperer,” to get his horse back on track. She’s more than just a trainer to him, she’s the woman he’s been looking for.
Ryder Hannon, a thoroughbred horse trainer, has a big problem—fighting her fear of racing again. Her emotional scars run deeper than her physical ones. But her romantic feelings toward handsome, uber-rich, stable owner Jake Carter is a bigger problem. Is Jake truly in love with her or is he using her to get back at his smug family?
When Jake’s jockey gets injured, he wants Ryder to race. He knows deep down she wants to live up to her family’s legacy. So why does she keep fighting him—and her destiny?
I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
“I’m going to inspire you to get back in the saddle. No matter what it takes.”
I was given the opportunity to read new novel Jockeying For You by Stacy Hoff and since I love sports romance novels, I was excited to read it. I’ve enjoyed a lot of sports romance novels, and what drew me to this novel is that the main female character is the one involved in the sport. Admittedly, I haven’t read many female-focused sports romance fiction, so I was excited to read this one!
After buying disobedient horse Handsome Dancer, Jake Carter seeks the help of ‘horse whisperer’ Ryder Hannon to train Handsome in the hopes that he can earn himself a substantial amount of money by racing him. After a serious injury during a race ended her short-lived jockey career, Ryder continuously convinces herself that training horses, instead of racing them, is the safest and therefore best path for her. As Jake and Ryder’s business relationship grows romantic, Jake tries to convince Ryder to follow her jockey dreams – despite its accompanying risks and challenges – and ride Handsome Dancer to victory.
One thing that stood out to me about this novel, is that it has a pretty perfect balance of romance and sport, which I feel is hard to come by in sports romance fiction – typically with the romance aspect overtaking the sport (given the genre however, I suppose that is to be expected). In regards to the featured sport of horse racing in the novel, it’s apparent from the start that great care has been taken into adequately explaining this world of horses and horse racing. As someone with absolutely NO knowledge of this sport, this was pretty necessary and much appreciated! What’s more is that these explanations of horse-related terminology wasn’t presented to us in a blatant way, and were instead woven into Ryder and Jake’s narratives and dialogues, so that these explanations didn’t interfere with the pacing of the novel.
My favourite character of the novel by far was Ryder. Her initial fear, and later, determination to succeed within the male-dominated world of horse racing, despite facing adversaries in the form of her male peers, made her a character you really root for. As mentioned, I’ve read little contemporary fiction that featured sporty-female MC’s, but from those novels that I have read, the women are characterised as being rather masculine, or feel the need to reject their femininity in order to be taken seriously. Ryder however, is characterised as being quite feminine, and it is actually her femininity that makes her such a successful horse trainer. I just liked this extra touch. Another character that interested me was Mindy, a fellow female jockey and Ryder’s friend. It would have been nice to have seen more of her character so that the reader could gain another female perspective of what it’s like as a female jockey, given that this plays a rather significant role within the novel.
As for Jake, I liked how completely supportive he was of Ryder as a trainer, and later a jockey, within a overwhelmingly male occupation. Jake’s POV also brought with it a lot of the novel’s humour which I liked, as he tried, and failed, to quell his feelings for Ryder. My favourite thing about Ryder and Jake’s relationship was the constant support Jake gave Ryder, as he was very aware of the daily struggles Ryder faced, both as a female jockey, and from her past racing accident. Their romance was well paced for the most part, although I feel that their relationship was rushed in the novel’s last chapter – so much so that I found it to be quite jarring. I also found the HEA epilogue a bit too cheesy for my tastes. I will admit that I wasn’t very interested in their romantic relationship, and towards the end of the novel, I actually found myself to be much more invested in Ryder’s journey to get back into racing.
Jockeying For You was a fun read. I’ve read a lot of sports romance novels this year, and it was a nice change for me to read a sports romance novel centred on a female character. While I wasn’t very involved in the romantic aspect of this novel, I really enjoyed the sport, which pleasantly surprised me. I think this novel would be perfect for a rainy day read!