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Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert
Publication Date: August 14, 2013
Source: eARC via Xpresso Book Tours via author
Get it: Amazon | B&N | Kobo
Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.
After a fire takes her grandma’s life and kills her horse, Hannah’s immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can’t turn away even though she’s not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.
Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.
But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.
Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert is what I call one outstanding and well thought New Adult novel!
I’m going to start with Hannah. She wanted a simple life. She wanted to attend college and keep her grandmother’s ranch. She wasn’t into the money and fancy things that was part of her life. I liked Hannah for simply being Hannah. She wanted to do what she wanted to do and she didn’t let her father, mother, boyfriend, or anybody else tell her what she should or shouldn’t do. She was noble, wanting to give those she loved the care and help she thought she could give. I thought she was an amazing character for the all these things and for the way she handled herself and the situations she was in.
The romance in Breaking the Reins was a very complicated one. There was Eric, Hannah’s extremely jealous boyfriend and Leo, kind and big hearted polo player from Brazil. Leo wasn’t perfect but the way he helped and cared for Hannah and his patience for her and his love for horses and passion for polo was what really made me adore him. Eric was a different character altogether. It was hard for me in beginning because I saw how kind and sweet Eric could be. I saw why Hannah fell in love with him in the first place. It wasn’t until he slowly started to show his abusive, evil true colors was when my emotions went in the other direction from like to absolute hateful rage. He was the worst person ever and it was so hard to take in who he was and what he did because of my initial impression of him. I completely commend Haygert for the way she created, built up and developed Eric’s character all the way.
My favorite part of this book is the work Hannah and Leo put into healing Argus. With Leo’s help, Hannah really stepped it up with Argus. There were many many set backs that even had me frustrated, but Hannah learned to be patient and not only gave her dedication, but her love to the horse. The scenes with Hannah and Argus having small breakthroughs had my heart bursting with love and joy and brought tears to my eyes. The relationship they slowly built with each other was the most beautiful thing I have ever read. I was so completely touched by what Hannah did for Argus, but especially was he did for Hannah. I loved that horse so much!
Haygert did an awesome job at packing in the emotions and reactions that Hannah was feeling. I totally felt her anger, fear, pain, love and turmoil throughout the book. The plot moved along nicely, it wasn’t slow or rushed either and I liked that. The book wasn’t entirely unpredictable, but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the book. I was still surprised by other things that were revealed along the way. There was a realistic feel to the novel and nothing felt forced, especially what Hannah went through and how she and Leo fell in love. She balanced the romance with her plot giving both equal importance without one overshadowing the other. My only complaint was some of Portuguese words and phrases that weren’t translated. I used my imagination to fill it in and got too lazy to keep checking the glossary. Other than that, I really loved Breaking the Reins.
All in all, Haygert brings something unique not just to NA, but to other contemporaries as well. Breaking the Reins has a bit of everything a contemporary romance needs from sweetness to darkness and just the right amount of Argus to truly steal your heart away.
*Thanks so Xpresso Book Tours and Juliana for sending a copy for review purposes
I was not compensated for my opinion
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