Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert
Release Date: August 14, 2013
Format: eARC, 400 pages
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Description 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.
What really intrigued me about this book was the horses. I thought it was a super cool premise to have the MC run a ranch and try to take care of poor Argus. And then on top of that, there was the abusive relationship. I was incredibly interested to see how it all fit together in one book. Whether it would feel random and scattered or what. The result, though, was actually way better than I could have imagined. This book was so good! Juliana Haygert did a great job of tying all those details of this story together into a book that I truly enjoyed reading.
As a character, Hannah didn't exactly WOW me. But she is also a respectable MC and I don't hate her. I don't even think she's that bad. She's okay, I'd say. And then Leo...oh goodness. THIS GUY. He is kind and caring and absolutely wonderful. I understand why Hannah was so into this dude. And their romance? Ah! So great. I do think their feelings started off rather quickly, but there is NOT insta-love. They do not by any means start throwing around the L word before it was acceptable for them.
Eric. At first, I actually liked Eric. He didn't seem like a bad guy, and he seemed like he cared. But then time went on and...things got huge. You'll discover that for yourself, but I'm just saying that I want to punch Eric in the face. Also, Juliana did a nice job of writing the relationship between Hannah and Eric. When reading about an abusive relationship like this, it's easy to get mad at the girl for sticking around. But in this book, it's all explained in Hannah's mind (and whatnot) so that...I get it. I HATE IT. But I also get it. That doesn't mean I agree 100% with how Hannah handled that problem, but still. It's nice to understand.
Argus! I love that horse. So cute!
I'd have to say my only real issue with this book was that I predicted what was going to happen. PREDICTABLE. I was completely pulled into the story by that point that I didn't get bored anyway, but predictability happened nevertheless.
The ending of this book is something I love and approve of. I also think that I would LOVE to see more Hannah and Leo. Together. Because they are all kinds of adorable.
Overall, I highly enjoyed reading Breaking the Reins and has a cool enough premise that it's definitely a worthwhile New Adult story to give a chance. Plus, you probably want to meet Leo. Ohmygosh, so hot. ;)