Book Review: Riding High by Vicki Lewis Thompson

May 23, 2014 Book Reviews 1

Book Review: Riding High by Vicki Lewis ThompsonRiding High by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Series: Sons of Chance #14
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Published by Harlequin on May 20, 2014
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads
Also in this series: Rolling Like Thunder

Saddle up!

There ain't a rider that can't be thrown. And large-animal veterinarian Regan O'Connelli was thrown hard when he discovered his fiancée with his best friend. Now he's starting his life over at the Last Chance Ranch, run by the tightly knit Chance clan. But damned if his libido hasn't perked up over the spirited redhead who looks a lot like trouble.

Lily King is the queen of anti-structure. Turns out, that makes running a horse sanctuary a challenge. Regan's help is exactly what Lily needs, not to mention the seriously sexy sparks that are flying between them. Now she just has to convince this fallen cowboy to dust himself off and get back in the saddle and into her bed!

Also by this author: Riding Home, A Last Chance Christmas, Rolling Like Thunder

Fourteenth in the Sons of Chance romance series revolving around the Chance family and their friends in Shoshone, Wyoming. The couple focus is on Lily King and Regan O’Connelli.

I couldn’t wait to dive into Thompson’s new installment in the Sons of Chance saga, and was particularly grateful to receive this eARC. No, I’m still gonna do an honest review…*grin*!

My Take
This is typically Thompson with a sweet romance filled with decent people with whom you’d love to be friends. Although there are some people I’d be happy to see dumped at sea.

Then there’s Lily with her big heart as she slowly realizes that Nick and Regan made some good points — our Lily is the poster girl for “I can’t say no”. I can get behind Lily’s philosophy, and I do agree with her to an extent. However — ain’t it always the way? — kids and critters all need boundaries, even Lily.

I have to confess I’d react the same way Regan did, but…sigh…the more mature approach would have been to sit down and talk about it. I hate maturity… Still there are benefits to Regan’s leaving, and his actions could lead to a match made in heaven, or the Peaceful Kingdom, anyway, lol. Both will learn from each other and make peace with their pasts.

Regan does have some cool horse whisperer moves that make a lot of sense. I should think the concept behind it would work for any animal. And Lily learns some very useful pointers about running a sanctuary. I do love that Regan feels inspired by Lily, even when she gets nasty.

It falls apart for me when Lily starts making really stupid decisions too fast. She doesn’t take the time to think this out, well, not right away anyway. I do love the direction Thompson takes this, with Lily finally thinking straight and following through. Even better when she realizes what she’s done—yeah, Lily! There’s a good lesson in this, to sit back and think about cause and effect, and how to get around it. And looking at the consequences of her current policy on the other animals. It just takes slipping outside your own whirlpool of habit.

Bethany and Nathan Bledsoe get a mention, and Drake’s got a surprising revelation for Regan. Definitely an ego boost for Regan!

A very worthwhile story on so many levels…

The Story
It’s not good. That rainbow paint job brings up bad memories of his hippy parents’ lifestyle, and that first impression isn’t helped by some jerk thinking he can dump his overgrown pig on the sanctuary.

And yet worse when Regan finally meets the sexy Lily King, a soft-hearted woman who just can’t say no.

The Characters
The so-very-colorful and very smart Lily King had some success with a video game and wants to share her bounty with a worthwhile charity — the Peaceful Kingdom Horse Sanctuary sold to her by the Turners. Her parents were two of Nick’s favorite high school teachers. Wilbur is a potbellied pig Lily accepted a short time ago. Harley is a potbellied pig his owners want to dump. Alfred G. Dinwoody is the ex-boyfriend who did not have matching values.

Regan O’Connelli is a doctor of veterinary medicine and indulging in the refuge of the Last Chance Ranch. Nick Chance is his brother-in-law and business partner. He has seven siblings and was relieved to escape Bianca Spinelli and Seamus O’Connor’s, his parents’, footloose lifestyle—they didn’t want a hyphenated last name, hence the O’Conelli.

The horses include Buck, the flower-eater; Sally is not the shy bay mare; Strawberry is a big roan; Rex is the palomino and the herd stallion; Sandy is a sweetheart of a gelding; Molasses; and, Taffy, who may be the breaking point between Regan and Lily;

The Chances
Sarah is the Chance family matriarch. Mary Lou is the ranch cook who is married to Watkins, one of the ranch hands. Regan’s pregnant sister Morgan, a realtor, is married to Gabe; his twin sister, Tyler, an event player, is married to Alex Keller (he handles Last Chance’s marketing) whose sister, Josie (she owns the tavern Spirits and Spurs), is Jack’s wife; Cassidy, the youngest O’Connelli, has apprenticed to the Chance housekeeper. Nick, the family vet, is married to Dominique, a photographer, and they have an adopted son, Lester.

Drake Brewster is his former best friend—ejected from that prized spot when Regan found him betraying that friendship. Jeannette Trenton is Regan’s former fiancée. Buck Brannaman is the original horse whisperer.

The Prologue
Eleanor Chance writes of grandson Nicholas’ predilection for helping injured animals. The latest is named Hercules. Henry Applegate is the large-animal vet. Jonathan and Sarah like this direction. Jack, the oldest, has a wild streak while Gabe, the youngest, is the most competitive.

The Cover
You can’t help but love this cover. The shirtless Regan is so happily comfortable laid back against that hay bale, a hand to his straw cowboy hat and one thumb hooked into his jeans pocket, you just can’t help it. I reckon Thompson’s books must sell simply because her name is on it, as the title of the story is not quite the smallest font on the cover.

I’m not sure where the title is coming from as Regan is not Riding High, although…I suppose you could say that Lily is until reality hits.

PR photo of Kathy Davie
Reviewed by Kathy Davie, who is fast gaining followers in Goodreads and Amazon for her honest book reviews. Passionate about reading, writing, and editing, she searches the Internet for tips, tricks, and warnings with a keen interest in ideas that will foster reading in children as well as adults while aiding writers in their craft. Kathy blogs daily at KD Did It Takes on Books.

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