Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Review - Jock by C.M. Foss

Title: Jock
Author: C.M. Foss
Release Date: November 2, 2015

She can't stand them.
Hates them.
Refuses to be one.

Tessa Brooks is strong-willed, sassy, and determined, on the brink of dominating in the testosterone-fueled sport of horse racing. She’s spent her life avoiding the norm, staying true to herself to achieve her ultimate goals.

Her relationship with Jace Hitchen, her brother's best friend, just might be the biggest cliche of all. Over the years, he’s been her protector, her annoyance, her confidante, her crush. But giving in to what she's really wanted for the last ten years could be the very thing that destroys everything she's worked for and wanted. Can Tessa achieve her dreams for the future, but still hold on to the past?

I sure am a sucker for the brother’s best friend books and this is one of the best I read. *Sigh* And it had a vagina heartbeat—can’t get much better!

I have to be honest and say I was a little hesitant to read about horse racing. It has never interested me and I have never been on a horse, but I am a huge fan of the author, as well as the other angle, and I am so glad that I read it. 

Jock is the story of Tessa, aka Midge. She has been fighting her whole life to be something different. She has always dreamed of being a jockey and with her small size it is the perfect job for her. Though, it comes at a high cost. 

“He doesn’t want to go. He wants to fight. He wants to matter. He doesn’t want to go. He just will. Because to fight and do things that matter, sometimes you have to go.”

Jace is Tessa’s older brother, Lawrence’s best friend. He is been around since she was born. He has been her protector, her savior, and her friend. Tessa has crushed on him for a long time and when Jace finally allowed himself to see her as a woman, it really opened his eyes. 

“I wanted so much of her, all of her. I wanted to touch her and consume her, kiss her, make love to her…love her. Was it right? No. No, it wasn’t. But it definitely didn’t feel wrong either.”

I couldn’t put this story down, I had to know what was going to happen. I loved the entire cast of characters, especially the Brooks family! It also really enlightened me into the world of horse racing and how competitive a sport it is; how much a jockey goes through just to ride a horse. It was sweet, sad, funny, and steamy. This was another fantastic read from Ms. Foss! 
~ Review by Tiffany

There probably aren't too many people sitting around and thinking, ‘Do you know what would be sexy? A book about horse racing and jockeys!’ The fact C.M. Foss did—or at least, I'm fairly certain that's how this book came about, and not because of a love of the sport or anything so mundane as that—just proves something about this author. She's creative, she's funny, and she knows how to get right into your heart. 

Tessa Brooks is on the brink of making in the male-dominated, rough and tumble world of horse racing. It's been no easy task, but the years she's invested in it are finally about to pay off. During those tough years, her brother’s best friend, Jace has been one of her strongest protectors. She's crushed on him, desired him, and talked to him about her goals. And now, after all this time, it seems they're finally going to give it a shot. 

But what will Tessa do when it turns out that the man she wants might just be the thing stopping her from achieving her lifelong dream? 

Circle of truth time? Yes, I think so. I actually finished this book several days ago. Normally, I am not so tardy with my reviews, but I couldn't work out what I wanted to say. And, in actual fact, I still pretty much have no idea. Jock was…an experience. A good one—a great one even. One I can't quite explain. But I'm going to try… (Better be ready for run-on sentences, people!) 

You know how reviewers say books are a “roller coaster”? (I'm so guilty of this; it's just an easy way to talk about the ups-and-downs). This book was more like the Disney monorail. It takes you to wonderful places, but it never goes to crazy-high heights and stomach-dropping lows. It eases around the track, same pace, same level of feeling and enjoyment, none of the terror. And I liked that about this book—it was easy, but not simple. C.M. Foss had me constantly moving and thinking, on a low simmer. She had me falling for the characters, worrying about them, questioning their decisions, and angering at their choices, their reactions and their mistakes. But she did it at such an easy pace—oh, man, I know I am missing the chance to use some choice horse puns here—that I didn't know until I was done how much this book had truly reached me. 

Jock wasn't really what I was expecting—but it was funny in a way I've come to recognize as Ms. Foss’ signature style, emotional on a level I didn't even truly recognize until I started trying to explain it, and it was sexy with a little swoon. Seriously, a book about a jockey…who'd have thought?! 
~ Review by Beth

Tessa Brooks is tough as nails. I mean, she's the youngest of six which has left her with a thick skin due to years of teasing and joking from her older siblings. But her toughness goes deeper than that. She's single minded and driven, and this girl is going to dominate the horse racing circuit come hell or high water. That is, if she keeps her feelings for her brother’s best friend from leading her completely off course.

Jace Hitchen is basically a member of the Brooks family. He's known Tessa since she was born, and he's always felt fiercely protective over her. As she blossomed into adulthood, his feelings blossomed with her—he just wants her to give him a chance. Jace also is single minded and driven—and he's set his sights on Tessa.

This story is so rich and beautifully told. The banter between Jace and Tessa is adorable and authentic, adding a depth and playfulness to their relationship that is sometimes missing due to Tessa's single minded focus on her career. The entire Brooks family wormed their way into my heart—boisterous family dinners, place cards, merciless teasing and all. 

I am not terribly familiar with horse racing and so I appreciated the Author's Note included in this book, which provided some insight to why Tessa was the way she was. But even with that information, I struggled sometimes to understand her decisions and I wanted to wring her neck on more than one occasion. It’s a testament to how wrapped up in the story I was that I wanted to bop her in the head and tell her to stop being such an idiot—like she was my own little sister. I mean, it was plain to see that there could never be another man for her than Jace. He is patient and giving and understanding in a way that most people would not be capable of, especially when consistently met with Tessa’s steadfast resistance. 

God, I loved Jace. I loved his smart mouth. I loved how steady and sure he was even when everything was falling apart around him. I loved the safe haven he gave Tessa, even when it wasn’t the kind of haven she was looking for. He just kept trying until he got it right. He's just…wonderful. 

I basically devoured this book, pausing only to wipe the grit from my eyes and try to correct my double vision—the side effect of staring at my Kindle too long. It was a tougher story for me in that I struggled to understand and empathize with Tessa, but it gave us a brutal, unflinching look into the life of a jockey and so it all felt so authentic and real, and it paid off so wonderfully. 

Beautifully and engagingly written, I literally couldn't put it down. Jock is sweet and swoony, humorous and heartbreaking. If you're looking to take your feels on a ride, this is a sure bet! 
~ Review by Shelly

I live in beautiful Northern Virginia with my incredible husband, two awesome kids, three dogs, and two budgies. My husband and I both grew up riding and competing horses and have our own equestrian operation that we run together. In my spare time, I read through the hundreds of stories awaiting me on my e-reader. 

My love of books started early, and my mom used to ration my reading time so I didn't go through them too quickly. I love all things romantic, whether it's dark or light or silly or dirty, but I really love a happy ending! 

In my small moments of quiet time, you'll find me sipping on wine and reading while any movie where people randomly burst into song or dance plays in the background.

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