Sunday, October 6, 2013


Breaking the ReinsCategory/Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: 8/14/13
Format:  eARC
Pages: 348
Source: Received from author for review
Rating: 2.5 stars

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.

**New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel**
**Contains scenes of domestic violence**

I was drawn to Breaking the Reins because it seemed a little different from a lot of current New Adult books. Well, maybe not so much different at the base, but I couldn't remember reading a book set in the world of polo and horse-rearing and rehabilitation. I mean, the only thing I know about polo is that Prince Harry looks mighty good while playing. And the only thing I can say about horses in general is that your best friend putting you on a horse in the middle of a rocky field, then telling you the horse isn't really suited for riding as it takes off in a dead run will scar you for life.

So as far as Breaking the Reins goes....I'm at a bit of a loss here. I don't know if I just completely lacking a heart right now (my husband would say that, yes, this is the case), but I just didn't connect with the characters or the story. That's not to say that I didn't have moments in which I enjoyed the story, or sympathized with Hannah, because I did, very sporadically. But as far as being swept away by passion and emotions? Nope.

Breaking the Reins does deal with some heavy issues. There's the animal cruelty and rehabilitation aspect, which I appreciated. There is also the fact that Hannah is in an abusive relationship, and struggles with breaking free. To see a character who knows she's in a bad place, wants to get away, but continually second guesses herself and puts it off was both frustrating and what I imagine to be realistic portrayal of many abusive relationships. Hannah's boyfriend, though, is more than an abuser. He is a completely deranged psychopath who was scary and intense, but I feel so much crazy was thrown into this character that he became a caricature.

And though Hannah is initially torn between boyfriend Eric and new guy Leo, I would not label this as a love triangle, because as I've established, Eric is a psycho and psychos are not viable love interests. Hannah was a conflicted character, continually torn between what's expected and what she wants. Leo, the new guy, was incredibly charming and good to Hannah. I liked these two and liked them together, but I couldn't truly feel their emotions.

While I lacked a true connection to Breaking the Reins, it is a story that I liked at certain points and could appreciate the themes.

To check out an alternate point-of-view, take a look at this review on GoodReads.

Favorite Quote:

  I took a deep breath, but it wasn't enough. There wasn't enough air to calm me down. This realization was too big, too nerve-racking. It was like I forgot to sweep one single strand of hay from the ground two years ago, and now I was buried under a huge haystack, suffocating, being squashed, with no strength or idea on how to get out.   ~eARC, 51%

Purchase Breaking the Reins
Amazon  |  Amazon UK  |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple

About the author
New Adult author and contributor at NA Alley blog.
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook Pinterest  |  NA Alley  |  GoodReads



  1. I've been feeling kind of heartless with a lot of NA lately. lol

    I might be experiencing damage character overload.

    I do like the sound of the unique setting though.

  2. I really don't like it when I don't connect with the characters. If I don't care, why am I reading? This looks like a pass for me. Great review.

  3. Aww, I had high hopes for this one, Andrea. I'm sorry you didn't connect with the characters or the story so much...I appreciate you being so honest though. You've given us a great review despite this one not working for you. :)

  4. I've been looking up to much weird shit on Amazon with Amanda and Taryn, I immediately thought horse erotica when I saw this title and cover. lol

  5. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I like the cover, though :)

    Thanks for the honest review.

  6. Prince Harry & Damian Lewis are the only firecrotches I'll do, polo or not.

    Anyway, this sounds like it has some interesting juxtaposition, animal cruelty and domestic abuse (emotional?). I don't think this is my kind of plot so I don't think I'll connect with the story as well. You're still a trooper for giving this an objective review.

  7. I'm not sure this one is for me and I have some issues with the cover. Winning line: "Eric is a psycho and psychos are not viable love interests."--TRUS STORY---lol

  8. I don't know if this would be fore me or not. I read a book with horses recently and it was pretty good. I prefer mine to have hot cowboys attached to them though. Thanks for you honest and informative review.

  9. Sorry you didn't like this one. The cover throws me off.

  10. This one might work for me. I was in an abusive relationship for a few years and while I knew I needed to leave him, and even did a few times, we just kept ending up back together. I guess it's because he wouldn't really let me leave. Looking back it seems ridiculous but I remember how it all felt. So I 'get it'. My boyfriend was a total psycho too. So yeah, I'm curious about this. I also like that animal aspect. I'm worried since you had a lack of connection, but I think I would be willing to give it a try still.

  11. Thanks for such an honest review Andrea. You and I have pretty similar taste in books, so judging from what you said about the lack of connection with the characters, I doubt I would care for this one either.

  12. Yeah, I need to connect with the characters or I don't end up really enjoying the book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape


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