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Romantic suspense isn't my usual reading genre, but I love horses, and romance + horses is a combo that made me grab this book. I'm so glad I did. It kept me up way past my bedtime several nights in a row. The main characters are unusual for romance (particularly the heroine) and well-drawn, and the secondary characters have wonderful quirks that made me smile. The romance is believable, poignant, and lets the reader savor the characters' unfolding emotions and the sexual tension instead of rushing the experience. The racetrack setting is beautifully detailed and interwoven through every page. I felt I was living at the track, too. In short, I loved sharing my evenings with this book and I'm excited about future ones from this author. Thanks for the read!
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on August 13, 2015
I am with other readers. I enjoy Dick Francis and this author could have done a good job with good character development and an engaging plot. However the graphic sex was gratuitous, unnecessary and I just skipped over it. It also was unrealistic at some instances distracting a seasoned undercover agent from doing his job. He and the female lead seemed completely unable to control themselves and when the urge hit everything else could be interrupted and let's get it on. I will not be reading any more by this author which is too bad because it could have been a good book. If sex in a story advances the plot that is one thing but explicit and unnecessary and just plain unrealistic sex-for-the-sake-of-sex ruined a good story for me.
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on May 2, 2013
The story line was engaging. The timing was execellent. At times the action was so intense you couldn't stop reading, then you would come into scenes that were so descriptive it was like moving in slow motion. The sounds and smells of the track became real. The colors of the flowers and the sky made a strong visual impact. Emotional the characters were at times likeable and not-so-likeable-just like the people who surround me every day. Unfortunately, combining these wonderful aspects with graphic sex scenes and unrelenting foul language didn't work for me. One reason I bought this book was the reference that claimed Petersen to be the new Dick Francis. The talent is there. The subject matter is there. Even the romance could be there. Just wish it was cleaner as I would have enjoyed reading more of this author's work.
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on October 6, 2011
Jockeys and Jewels by Bev Petterson - A Book You Can't Put Down
Jaw dropping, oh my god amazingly a great read. Honestly, I did not want Bev Pettersen's book Jockeys and Jewels to end. If you don't love horses and know anything about them you will come to love them by the end of this story. I confess to being an avid horse lover and one thing that stood out for me if how obvious it is that Pettersen knows her way around horses, barns, tracks and the horse industry.

The reader is introduced from the get go to Kurt MacKinnon, who is smart, wary and a harden cop--he's basically seen all the bad in the world but what totally grabbed me was how Pettersen makes you come to love this undercover guy. We learn more about his character through the treatment of his horses and that weaves its own magic in the story. Julie West is a struggling apprentice jockey and longs to be taken serious in a field dominated by men. When Kurt's ex-partner gets killed this sets Kurt and Julie on a collision course. Let's just say sparks fly once they meet.
The character development in this book was a real page turner. I loved the sexual tension which came off as totally real between Kurt and Julie and I hated the bad guy, Otto, who I was supposed to hate. I kept waiting for a horse to kick him where it counts.

The mystery layered in this book kept me turning pages because I too wanted to find out why Kurt's friend got killed. I'm not going to spoil the book for readers because this mystery is unique with a fresh perspective on smuggling and I loved it. Set in Canada that grabbed me and I can't wait to get my hands on Pettersen's other book Color of My Horse. I loved that this is an Indie publication but honestly have no idea why a BIG publishing house didn't swoop this book up. Pettersen is a three time Rita finalist - no easy feat - and anyone who read the first three chapters of this book had to be hooked! My gut feeling is those publishing houses that said no are crying now. Can't wait to read more of Pettersen's work.

Bev Pettersen
[...]
Jockey and Jewels
[...]
"Color My Horse"
[...]
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on September 20, 2015
Kurt MacKinnon is an ex-cop who has turned to primo horse trainer. His ex boss called him after his old partner is found murdered. Archer wants him to come out of retirement to head for a race track where Connor had been snooping around. Julie is a jockey who is looking for the big horse and big break. She is strong and independent and her racing career is number one priority. But no one can resist MacKinnon and his prize horses. It was a fun, romantic story. But as much as I love horses and cowboys, I was totally lost with all the racing terminology and world. Much of it went right over my head and I found myself flipping over the parts where I was lost and moved on to the real story. A good suspenseful, romantic book.
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on May 28, 2012
I was ready to purchase another book by Bev Pettersen and noticed Jockeys and Jewels on a special free read so I downloaded it.

Wow! Great story line, good dialogue, and well constructed characters. I could barely put it down once I started reading it.

I spent a few years in the Thoroughbred racing industry and like reading romantic suspense/mysteries with a horse theme and Jockeys and Jewels was right up my alley. The backstretch, barn, and racetrack scenes were well constructed and typical of racetrack characters. I was transported back to my racing days, everything described as I remembered.

Kurk, an undercover cop has taken a leave of absence from his job after his supervisor talked him out of resigning, is training top ranked Thoroughbred racehorses. His former partner, Connor, is murdered at a racetrack in Calgary and his supervisor talks Kurk into taking a couple of horses there and investigate the murder. The top suspects are an abusive horse trainer, Otto, and Julie an apprentice jockey who was the last known person to talk to Connor. Julie is struggling to get trainers to notice her and let her gallop her horses in the morning workouts in hopes that they will let her ride their horses in races.

It is important to note that it is really tough for a woman to get ahead in the racing industry. It is still very much a good old boy's club and the men on the track can be really brutal to the women and not many want to give a female jockey a chance.

Kurk has Julie gallop his horses in morning workouts and she especially gets along with his ADD stallion Lazer. The exercise rides I found a little unbelievable in parts. Julie weighs 107 pounds which is the same weight I was back when I was galloping. The horses that got out of control on her she was easily able to get back on track. Its just not that easy. I've had stallions decide they're going to take another lap and it takes a lot of effort to bring them back under control, not just soft words, pulling back on the reins, standing in the stirrups, or tapping them on the shoulder. These are hot horses bred for one thing only - to run fast. Its not easy for a woman that size.

Kurk and Julie move into a romantic relationship with ups and downs and getting the wrong message and Kurk struggling with whether or not to reveal that he is working undercover. The ending was flat and a little disappointing to me. I would have liked to know what direction it was taking to lead to a happily ever after for this couple or at least find out if it was a serial and the characters would come back in the next novel where we'd see their romance deepen.

Overall it was a well written book and I'm looking forward to reading more of Bev Pettersen's novels!
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on April 1, 2012
This was a Member Giveaway on LibraryThing, in ebook form - thank you! A longer version of this review is at: [...]

What it says on the tin for this one is a mystery/romance in the racing world. And it hits all of those elements pretty equally: Kurt is looking for the reason the dead cop, Connor, was looking at the track's stables, why he was murdered, as well as who did it. Naturally enough, he finds himself irresistibly attracted to Julie, and vice versa. And the book is placed in a detailed racing setting. Unfortunately, I think it fell a little bit short on all three components.

I find the title rather unfortunate. Alliteration for alliteration's sake - spoiler or not - is not a positive, and the fact that it is a big fat spoiler for the mystery aspect of the story is a shame.

I can't say I cared about anyone in the story; some of the minor characters were enjoyable, but the main focus was on people I couldn't drum up much interest in. Kurt's lack of finesse as a lover (in the old-fashioned use of "lover" as well as that more commonly used now) is off-putting, and Julie - a driven, ambitious apprentice jockey who wants to ride more than anything else - just made me angry as she proceeded to get comprehensively drunk the night before her first big race. The stupidity blew my mind. "Kurt stepped from Lazer's stall, his expression inscrutable, and the butterflies in her stomach morphed into giant moths. Was he disgusted with her drinking last night?" If he wasn't, I was.

It was a quick read, and mostly enjoyable; it could have been better.
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on May 28, 2012
What an awesome author. Just downloaded another of hers. I had a hard time putting this one down. Characters were in sync with the storyline. All of them could be easily related to. The story line was not what I expected at first but once I got a few chapters in, I couldnt put down. Of course the happy ending makes it all worth while. Thanks for the complimentary copy of this book.
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on January 13, 2014
Kurt MacKinnon was a great cop but he has moved on to be a very successful horse trainer. When his ex-partner Connor dies while investigating something dodgy in the horse industry, Kurt tries to find out what went wrong. His knowledge of horse racing ought to give him an inside edge. A little more subtlety with the title would have been fantastic as it spoilt the story. Kurt was a bit of an oddity as a hero. He was supposed to be a confident, successful trainer but it often came across as arrogant or immature and his investigation as fairly transparent. He provoked the main suspect time and time again and then got his feelings hurt when the person retaliated. It seemed as if he used Julie’s innocence to his advantage in their relationship and professionally so I found it hard to relate to him at all.

Julie might have been an adult but she was written as a naive teenager. She is trying to make a name for herself as a rider and so is willing to ride mistreated animals and tolerate abuse from trainers. She clearly has talent but has to fight against gender discrimination to get decent mounts. Her youth is shown when she drinks to excess the night before a big race (a big no-no) and her desperation when she chooses to ride while injured.

A lot of thought was put into representing the horse racing world and to be honest, it wasn’t pretty. Pettersen dealt with the serious issue of animal abuse but I found it upsetting that none of the characters reported the abuser to authorities or really tried to stop it. Kurt freed one horse which ought to have been a heart-warming moment but ultimately gave the criminal the funds to purchase another horse and do the same thing again. For someone who was an ex-cop, surely he would have been aware of animal cruelty laws? Likewise, the race officials turned a blind eye.

While I appreciated the world-building, I thought Kurt was just a bit too much of a bully and Julie just a bit too fragile for a relationship between the two to come across as sweet.
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on July 6, 2011
Review Jockeys and Jewels

When I read a book it's from start to finish - in one sitting. I laughed and cried while the characters were being swept away in Jockeys and Jewels. I enjoyed this novel so much that for the last hundred pages I disciplined myself to read no more than ten pages at a time. I wanted to rush through, but at the same time, I wanted to prolong the experience for me - to stretch out the delicious story to that happy ending I knew was coming.
The characters were flesh-and-blood beings - not paper-doll types - and included the good, talented, bruised, and those irreparably damaged. The story entertained, even frightened me in places. Truly.
As I read I lived in the intriguing and exotic world of the racetrack. Jockeys and Jewels made me want to read and experience more. Five stars. Looking forward to reading Bev Pettersen's newest novel Color My Horse.

Maxine Marten
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