September 2, 2013

Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert

Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert
Release Date: August 14, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 400
Series: n/a
Review Source: eARC through Xpresso Book Tours

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.
My Thoughts:
As soon as I read this synopsis I knew it would be a book I just had to read. I love the TV show 'Heartland', where the main character lives on a ranch with her family and works with injured horses. I've been saying for years that I wanted to read Heartland in book format (yes, I know the show is based on the books ;)), and with 'Breaking the Reins' I finally found that.

The concept of the book was great by itself, but thankfully the execution was fabulous as well. I adored reading about the ranch, horse rehab, and Hannah bonding with Argus, an injured horse. Despite my love of New Adult books, one of my complaints about the category is that so often the romance is the only focus of the book. Despite books taking place during college there's no class-time or assignments or any aspect of a life outside of connecting the hero and heroine. So I absolutely loved it here where there were main focuses outside of the romance. The polo club had a great importance, and all the work with Argus was a main part of the plot.

I enjoyed Hannah as a character, even though I couldn't always understand her logic. Leo was a really great character: a truly nice guy, despite what he thinks. I liked how there was a real and growing connection between him and Hannah, and it really showed how much he cared about Argus when he worked with him. Eric was a real piece of work. He was so horrible, someone who you know is bad, but who shows his true colours more and more as the book goes on.

My one complaint about 'Breaking the Reins' is that it got a bit melodramatic toward the end. It seemed like it wasn't enough for the character to be run of the mill bad, he had to be crazy bad. What saved it for me is that technically everything that happened was plausible, it just seemed a bit over the top. Nevertheless this is a very entertaining and largely well written novel, and I definitely recommend it to New Adult fans or to those wanting to check out the category.

The Cover:


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  1. I totally agree about a lot of NA books with college settings having no mention of actual life - like college kids can actually afford to never study or go to class and still pass. I went to college and, yeah that's not realistic! I'm glad this one is focused on more than the romance itself. So happy you enjoyed it, Ashley!

  2. Haha, as I read the synopsis I too totally was reminded of Heartland! I've seen a few episodes, but my co-blogger Katy is a big fan so maybe she'd like this book too!


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