Her dreams are within reach—
All she has to do is learn to hold on . . .
A beautiful young woman with a defiant spirit, A. J. Sutherland spends a small fortune on a horse with a wild reputation, and is forced to sacrifice her position at her family’s stables to keep him. She plans to ride the magnificent stallion in the biggest event of the show jumping season—and she knows she can win. But without the backing of Sutherland Stables, A. J. must rely on a stranger to help her: a man who makes her heart pound, her head spin . . . and who just happens to be a legend in equestrian circles.
When Devlin McCloud’s career was cut short by a tragic accident, he never expected to get back in the ring. But when A. J. asks him to be her trainer, he finds he cannot resist the chance—or his stunning new employer. And what begins as a business arrangement soon becomes something deeper, as Devlin and A. J. learn that even in a sport full of hazards, sometimes the most dangerous thing to risk is one’s heart. . .
Read/Listened for Review
Overall Rating: 3.25
Story Rating: 3.00
Character Rating: 3.50
Audio Rating: 3.50 (Not part of the overall rating)
Release date – July 03, 2012 Run time 9 hours 58 minutes.
First Thoughts on the book: It’s no Black Dagger Brotherhood but I knew that when I started listening to it. There is a nice introduction letter from Ward on the audio that covered how this was her first book, her encounters with getting it published, and with talking to Sue Grafton. I really liked that insight.
What I Liked: Leaping Hearts is a very traditional contemporary category type romance and it comes across that way. It’s relatively short so there just isn’t as much time for character development. I liked the insight into the horse riding world that she gave. I don’t have any real life knowledge of riding or the sport so I enjoyed learning a little bit about it. Ward spends a good amount of time talking about the horse and the horse world.
What I didn’t like: I really thought the characters were shallow . There were things brought up, then just kind of dropped. A few good examples were Devlin’s injury limitations, AJ’s family issues , and the relationship between AJ and Dev itself. Ward brings it up as a plot issue then doesn’t really flesh it out. Example: AJ’s pain in her arm could go really unnoticed to Dev even though the man is with her pretty much 24 hours a day. Dev “knows” something is going on but just lets it go but late is upset enough to end their relationship over it. That just didn’t work for me.
What made me smile: Leaping Hearts is far from the world of the more well-known Ward Black Dagger world. You can see JR Ward’s style in her use of analogies and just the voice that I would call uniquely hers. This may be an earlier work but that style is already coming through.
Audio Specific Review: Leaping Hearts is read by Kate Rudd. She does a decent job though I really struggled with Chester’s accent because it seemed inconsistent. He was a crotchety cowboy or sometimes Irish. I struggled in the beginning to tell who was speaking, almost as if she was reading too fast but that went away by the end of the first disk. Overall I enjoyed her reading of the story.