Corey Reviews Grand Theft Equine & Inner Compass by Margo Moon

Please welcome a new reviewer to the family! Thanks Corey!

I’m not much of a horse person…. My interactions have been limited to reading The Black Stallion and one unfortunate week at a dude ranch where I rode a horse, or rather a horse carried me along off the trail to graze. So I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to love horses to enjoy Grand Theft Equine
by Margo Moon. But, you might find yourself loving women who love horses.

Up front, I found the Foreword to be my least favorite part of the book. It begins with the line “Horses cannot vomit” and then goes into great detail about cardiac sphincter valves. Folks, keep reading, even if these details puzzle you. Our heroines quickly enter stables, stage left. Cailen Eagleton has traveled to Kentucky to get away from an ex-partner she just cannot seem to quit. She is a rider who thinks all trainers are raging egomaniacs, which means trainer Joan Caulder meets a sufficiently suspicious and silent Cailen. Joan’s friend and sometimes lover Brisada “Brie” Contenta recommends Cailen be hired on, and so begins a funny and sexy exploration of old and new love between women living in horse country.

In some ways, this book feels like two novellas put together. The first romantic half is just chock full of sexy scenes and delightful interactions between the three women. However, horse owner Sassy Rainier is also introduced early on and she quickly establishes herself as a too rich, too spoiled, and too crazy stalker of Joan’s affections. The second half of the book jumps into action mode as Sassy’s evil intentions interrupt all the romantic shenanigans.

Every time Sassy made a plot appearance, I impatiently waited for her to go away so I could read more about Cailen, Joan and Brie. All three women nestled right into my heart and also tickled my mind with their sly conversations. I am ready to re-read this book already, although I might skip over some of the Sassy-centric scenes.

I loved Margo Moon’s first novel so much that I snapped up her most recent release Inner Compass
as soon as I read “female hermit” in the description. Journalist Alexis Jule heads to Tennessee to investigate the shotgun deaths of poachers in the Appalachian foothills. She seeks out said hermit, Faye Carson, and quickly feels a connection beyond an interview. Faye in un-hermit-like fashion actually has a few friends: locals Gainey Miller and Theory James are charming and wrapped up in the crime mystery.

Meanwhile, enter Chloe into the story. In great lesfic tradition, she serves triple duties as Alex’s editor boss and old friend and recent ex-girlfriend. The chemistry and banter between Chloe, Alex and Faye made me grin hard. Moon has a talent for exploring dynamics between lesbian friends and lovers in playful, sincere, and sometimes sexy ways.

Chloe’s story steps to the fore in the middle part of the novel, when she meets a woman in uniform and her usual discreet dating life takes a detour. The final part of the novel circles back to the mystery and its conclusion brings all three women together. I was surprised by “who done it,” but then I’m terrible at solving mysteries.

While the cynical side of me questioned how quickly Alex and Faye partnered up, the romantic side loved it. Plus, the crime mystery and Chloe’s more bumpy relationship provided conflict balance.

Margo Moon feels like one of those novelists I “discover” and then find myself compulsively searching the Kindle store for new titles by her. Go forth and read her books. And then urge her to create a limited edition “Page 69 of Grade Seven Health and Personal Hygiene.” You’ll want a framed copy after reading Inner Compass.