Review: Breaking the Reins

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
17730510Title: Breaking the Reins (The Breaking Series #1)
Author: Juliana Haygert
Publication Date: August 14, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Horses, Abuse

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.

**New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel**

**Contains scenes of domestic violence**


Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and author for providing an eBook copy of this novel. This in no way affected my views of the novel.

Breaking the Reins is a whole lot different from Haygert’s other novel, Playing Pretend. This wasn’t a light read, in fact, it was very heavy with all those domestic violence involved. However, this gave more power to the story, especially between Hannah’s family and the love triangle of Eric/Hannah/Leo. Although I haven’t read much books that involve horses and polo, they just fit in this novel, and opened me to more books. I’d definitely be more open to read books that involve horses next time! This novel made me feel like I was really in the book, and I was just so engrossed with it and just found myself kept on turning the pages and couldn’t put the books down (even though I was really running late for school by then.)

Hannah, the female protagonist, was a very realistic character. At first, she seems to be that perfect lady, which was expected of her by her family, but later on, she is just someone very simple and down-to-earth. I love the way she stands firm with her own decisions, despite a lot of clashes. I love the way that she is scared and feels fear, but tries to do things anyway.  I love how she’s just so selfless and tries to help even though she’d just get hurt. However, there were at times that I didn’t like her, most especially when she kept on convincing herself about Eric, even though it was kinda clear that he doesn’t love her. Another time was when she kept on asking Leo to distance himself from her, even when the attraction between the two of them was simply beautiful. I didn’t like it when she just kept on making excuses and reasons, even when she knows the answers deep down.

Eric? He should just go to hell. He was an ass, and I really really really hated him right from the start. He seemed a beautiful character at first, but I can’t really help but feel there’s something off with him. In the end, his true colours show that he is not but a jealous, possessive, controlling freak. Ohmycrap. Go away, Eric. But even with his ugly, despicable personality, Eric gave more intensity to the whole novel.

Leo seemed also to be like an oh-so-perfect boy, especially when he was so sweet, caring, and just simply awesome, that’s why I couldn’t just find myself to get really attached to him. Not to mention that he’s a foreigner that came from Brazil, which was more plus points. However, his background story just shows that he’s just like any person that has his own flaws, too.

The secondary characters were also amazing. They weren’t just mere secondary characters; they gave life to the novel itself. They were just great support system to all the primary characters. The incorporation of Hannah’s grandmother also gave more force to the conflict between Hannah and her family and Eric. I’d love to hear more of the story Bia, Leo’s twin sister, though. She’s just simply amazing, and I’m looking forward to Breaking Fences!

The romance between Leo and Hannah was simply beautiful. It had a slow development, and it was passionate. It was not selfish, and it helped the both of them grow as better individuals, who can find the ability to love and trust again.

It was hard reading the Portuguese words that Leo and his family used because the dictionary was placed at the start of the book, and I’m reading an eBook copy; however, it was nice that the Portuguese language was included in the novel as it gave further emphasis that Leo was from another country. It felt more realistic that way.

I couldn’t give this a five-star rating because it didn’t really get me into a very big book hangover, but Breaking the Reins is an astounding, gorgeous read about family, friends, love and trust despite all the hardships that we’d ever come across with in life. I’d give this a 4 or 4.5 stars. This is a must read to any contemporary romance reader!



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