Hoofbeats (Kristin’s Review)

Title: Hoofbeats
Author: A.J. Marcus and Nicole Godfrey
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Release Date: February 12, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
3.5 stars out of 5


After a run of bad luck, gifted horse trainer Cole Frasier thinks he’s lost his touch. When he’s offered three times his normal rate to gentle a stallion, he needs the money badly enough he jumps at the opportunity, even if his boss is of questionable morality.

Once he meets Midnight Blood, he knows there’s something special about the horse, but he doesn’t know how special until he begins sharing dreams with the magnificent steed.

Derek Dancing Hawk is a horse shifter trapped in his horse form due to guilt over losing the wild herd he was guarding. When he meets Cole, as Midnight Blood, he wants to find a way to be human again. During a fight between Cole and the ranch foreman, he manages to shift and save Cole, but his transformation from horse to human is captured on camera. This not only gives Cole’s boss blackmail material, but also creates the need to warn the horse shifter council of the threat to their anonymity. The existence of shifters is a closely guarded secret, one they will go to great lengths to keep.

Hoofbeats was a delightful read. It had just the right balance of sweetness, humor, and tension that kept me turning the pages. The enchanting twists were just wonderful to read.

Cole is trying to get his mojo back after a horse under his care had to be put down. He takes an assignment in Colorado to work with a flighty stallion. Midnight Blood – aka Derek is a Guardian horse shifter, who lost his herd several years earlier, and can’t find his way to shift back to human. He doesn’t want to shift back, until he meets Cole.

And this is what I liked about the story – I liked Derek’s and Cole’s relationship dance. I really enjoyed Derek’s point of view as a horse, his equine humor shone through and I liked being able to read his thoughts. The dream connection was different and interesting – it confused me at first – I thought I had missed some pages – but once I figured out what was going on it was an interesting way to get around the whole horse can’t talk business. Nicely done. I also really appreciated once Derek and Cole figured out there found out they were connected and soul mates, the authors avoided the use of the term “mate”. A very overused term in the shifter books and I didn’t see it used here, and if it was, it was not noticeable. ((Golf clap!))

I have just a handful of quirks with the overall story. My first one is Mr. Lopez. Very nicely done as a slimy antagonist, but something felt rushed toward the end of the book where he was hands off prior, and then, all hands on. There was also one comment from Cole about not wanting to take the job because he didn’t trust Mr. Lopez, but in the beginning of the story, he was taking the job because he desperately needed the money and needed to get his mojo back. Seemed contradictory.

I struggled a bit with the story was Grandma Jean. For an elder, she came across too much like a giddy teenager, the female bestie or an over eager sister. She just didn’t quite fit “Grandma Jean”. Auntie might have been better?

And, lastly I thought the appearance of the Enforcers – shifters who watch the competition circuit and I’ll assume elsewhere – came somewhat abruptly. Cole, Derek, and Elizabeth (bad guys wife) were on their fifth field competition when the Enforcers showed up. I would have liked to have seen at least one earlier competition with a forewarning before the big “Your in trouble!” scene. I also had some issues with the Enforcers just automatically assuming the worst.

I admit, I had a couple of flashbacks to my Black Stallion books while reading this. And that was a looong time ago.

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Advance Review Copy

Galley copy of provided by in exchange of an honest review.



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