Review: Racing Hearts

cover-racing heartsTitle: Racing Hearts
Author: Melissa West
Series: Hamilton Stables #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: Oct 27th

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In the lush heart of Kentucky, the Hamiltons are racing royalty. To win takes heart and soul—and to love takes the wild spirit of the land itself…

The oldest of three headstrong brothers, Trip Hamilton is considered the best horse trainer in the world. He is focused on winning and nothing more, until a stubborn, sexy rider thunders back into his life, breaking his resolve—along with several of his rules—and taking his heart right out of the gate…

Emery Carlisle has a point to prove. She’ll be the first woman to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby, if only Trip will agree to hire her so she can ride again. It’s supposed to be strictly business, but as the race approaches, and their undeniable chemistry builds, Trip and Emery may be headed for the greatest win of all—as long as the losses of the past don’t gain on them…


Source: ARC from Lyrical Shine (Kensington Books) via NetGalley

This book was an okay read. Some parts of it were enjoyable, but others much less so and there were times when I wasn’t certain I would finish it. My main issues were always with Emery. Yes, she had a terrible accident and it must have been frustrating and hurtful to have her father lose all faith in her. However, that didn’t give her the right to waltz around like a spoilt brat. The way she treats Trip is appalling. He’s supposed to be her boss, but she doesn’t listen to him, she does whatever she wants and, despite supposedly being a great success in the cut-throat industry of racing, she has the temerity to take any slights against her (admittedly failing) form personally. When even she knows she’s racing badly because she’s not focused! She drove me crazy. For a woman of twenty-five she mostly acted fifteen.

As for Trip, it might have been nice to have seen this incredible trainer actually train a horse. Despite wandering around his stables at awful-o’clock in the morning, he doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the horses at all. The only jockey we meet, other than Emery, is an arrogant piece of work that Trip clearly hates but has no power to get rid of. Just who is running his stable anyway? He seems to have absolutely no power to do anything except tangle himself up in his emotions and get annoyed with Emery. And while I fully understand him doing so, I wish he’d done it more often when she really deserved it, rather than snapping at her out of the blue and giving her an excuse to feel hard done by the world.

To be honest I found this whole book over dramatic, with tortured emotions dragging about here and there, moaning like something dying that needed to be put out of its misery. Yes, Emery and Trip had a past. Yes, it had been years since they last saw each other. But why did they have to moon over each other for so long, pretending to fight their feelings, denying they were ever in love, then admitting it to themselves before fighting some more? And why would it have been a bad thing if they had got together? When it got close to the Derby I could see why it might have been an issue, but by then they didn’t seem to care. Which left me very confused.

A bit like that town of Trip’s. What a place. Almost claustrophobic in its smallness. I like a small town romance where everyone knows each other’s business, but this town took it too far. I could also have done without Emery’s aunt and her vendetta with her ex-best friend. I’d have much rather have had less of that, more of actual horses. even if it had just been scenes with Emery riding Craving Wind (terrible name), since they were supposed to have such a special relationship. Instead it was more tangled emotions and flip-flopping moods and teenage-esque strops.

Overall I didn’t enjoy this book anywhere near as much as I’d hoped I would. If you’re looking for a romance set in the racing world, this isn’t it. On the surface, sure, but there’s no depth or colour or detail, except in the lightest sense. However, if you’re not interested in racing but like melodramatic couples fighting the inevitable for no good reason, then you’ll probably love this. Personally, I wanted to tell Emery to grow up and order Trip to get back to work, so if you have no patience with brattish heroines maybe try something else.


Racing Hearts is out October 27th.
Visit Melissa West for more details.

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