Review: Breaking Free by Juliana Haygert

Posted 22 April, 2014 by Gabbie in Review / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Breaking Free by Juliana HaygertBreaking Free by Juliana Haygert
Series: Breaking #1
Publisher: Self Published on August 20, 2013
Source: Author
Pages: 401
Reading Challenges: 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge, 2014 Rewind Challenge
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.


Favorite Quotes

“He was broken. I was broken. But perhaps we only needed to give in to each other to be saved.”


Breaking the Reins follows Hannah Taylor as she takes over her Grandmother’s ranch following an accident that took both the life of her grandmother and the life of her horse. Hannah is dealing with her boyfriend, Eric, who is becoming more and more paranoid and jealous, especially after Leo, a Brazilian polo player, shows up and steals his title as number one polo player. But Leo is also on his way to stealing Hannah’s heart as he helps Hannah to restore a horse named Argus. But Eric isn’t going to give in easily, especially to Leo, and drama ensues.

Breaking the Reins was definitely an engaging read. Between Hannah dealing with the death of her horse and Grandmother, dealing with an insane boyfriend, and dealing with her feelings for the new polo player, Leo, there were no boring parts of this novel. The plot was amazingly done for a contemporary, and I wasn’t able to predict any of the major things that happened. It was nice to be surprised by some of the events.

Leading Lady

Hannah was a well-written character. She was passionate, which was the main thing that stuck out for me. She loved the ranch and refused to let anyone stop her from running it. She became passionate about saving her new horse, Argus. She was passionate about Leo. It was just really evident in her character. In addition to that, she was determined, caring, and selfless. I really enjoyed getting to know her character.

Leading Male

Leo was also a passionate character. The thing I loved about him was that we didn’t really know about his past. He had layers and things that he needed to work through, showing that he wasn’t one of those unrealistic fictional boys. He was also persistent, which is the word that I would use to describe him. He, overall, was another phenomenal character to read.


Hannah and Leo tried to resist the pull between them for a large part of the novel, and as the reader, it was torture. They obviously were hot for each other, but Hannah’s boyfriend kept getting in the way. And then Leo’s past got in the way. It was just an obstacle course for the two of them getting together. But when they were together, it was perfect.

Other Characters

Eric was Hannah’s actual boyfriend in this novel. He gave me really bad vibes from the very beginning. I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but he is not a nice person.


Something else that I enjoyed in this novel was Hannah’s relationship with the horse, Argus. Argus was saved by animal control, and was taken to Hannah’s ranch to be fixed. Argus was very distrusting in the beginning, and it was nice seeing him come to begin to trust Hannah and Leo. I really enjoyed the camaraderie that Argus and Hannah had.


Breaking the Reins was a very well written novel that exceeded my expectations. With exceptionally well-written characters and an unpredictable plot, it’s definitely one that I can highly recommend.

4.5 Stars
Gabbie Signature


About Juliana Haygert

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.


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