but I have an INT giveaway running on my blog I'd really like you to enter.
It's for my second blogiversary!
My name is Nemo. This is me on Goodreads
By day I work in IT, by night I turn into a vigilante kitten snuggler.
Is there anything better than a lap filled with kittens and shelves filled with books? I think not.
"A good book resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper." - David Quammen
The reason why this concept is so huge is because it's just not alternate realities. Scott's incapable of explaining, "In the reality I Shifted from, this person was a Very Bad Guy, which is why I suspect them of being the Big Bad in this reality." And I can't grasp why he can't say it! Everyone KNOWS a major Shift happened, they just don't know what was going on in the original world. And everyone knows Scott's memories from the new reality haven't fully returned, and everyone's OK with that. They all know a huge Shift happened, yet no one's talking about it or trying to get Scott to undo his Shift and take them out of a world at war, which is all they've known.
I often feel like my brain's expanding when I read these books.
After Hannah’s grandmother and beloved horse died in a fire that wiped out the barn, she inherits the ranch and manages it whilst attending college and keeping up appearances with the rich polo crowd her boyfriend Eric is involved in. Then Argus appears – battered and tortured, he’s in need of a whisperer to help him recover, and Hannah doesn’t think she’s up to the job – until she meets Leo, Eric’s polo rival, Brazilian, and magic with horses. Hannah finds herself attracted to Leo, but Eric needs her more than ever, and she has to choose between her own life or following the reins someone else has put on her.
That summary is a little poetic, but that’s how I felt about the novel. It’s also about domestic abuse. It’s no secret from the first time we meet Eric that he’s going to be bad news, even though he’s a loving, doting boyfriend. He’s a textbook psychopath and Hannah falls into textbook domestic abuse. Why doesn’t she leave him? Why doesn’t she stand up for herself? Why does she take him back? These are all questions that ALL domestic abuse survivors have been asked, and I feel that Haygert really explains quite well exactly how Hannah feels and why she continues in an abusive relationship despite the obvious danger. He doesn’t start out horrible, and it develops nicely (ugh, you know what I mean) as a plot, and it’s very well balanced. Hannah loves him, and although he wants her to give up college, sell the ranch and marry him, that’s not what she wants.
That aside, let’s talk about nice things. Argus is wonderful, an untrusting white stallion who was horrifically abused by his previous owner and is now recovering with Hannah’s help. The progress is painfully slow, but Argus comes through just when you need him to. I loved him, even if he wasn’t the perfect horse like Midnight from Breaking Fences. Leo was pretty awesome as well, although I couldn’t approve of Hannah making out with him while she was still in a relationship with Eric, even if Eric was a complete tosspot.
Part of me wishes Hannah had come to Leo and his brothers for help earlier, rather than try to sort out her own problems, because what could be hotter than four athletic Brazilian men showing up at your ranch to teach your abusive boyfriend a lesson? Well, that’s not what I got, but a girl can dream. I was actually really happy with the way the novel wrapped everything up.
Don’t read this looking for info on how much work it really takes to look after a horse, because although Hannah gets up early and works hard to look after her horses, she and her stablehand seem to be able to tack up a whole class’s worth in no time at all, when in reality tacking up a horse takes a lot of time and work, as you need to brush them with several different brushes both before and after riding, and clean their hooves. 10-20 minutes for each horse? Before and after the ride? It’s a LOT of work that I don’t think was necessarily represented accurately in this book. I thought it was really weird how Hannah’s team did all the work tacking up the horses for classes rather than making the students do it. But if you’re not looking for horse care, you probably won’t care about details like that.
I read Breaking Fences first, and in my opinion this is the better book. I feel that Breaking the Reins was more intense, more enjoyable, with more conflict, even though I loved Bia’s relationship with Midnight. I might feel that way just because I read them out of order, though. Maybe if I read Breaking the Reins first, I would have appreciated the relative sweetness of Breaking Fences more, the uncomplicated plot, the more relaxed style. Maybe it would have been a welcome reprieve from the heartbreak of Breaking the Reins, I don’t know.
All I know is that I’m pretty keen for a third Breaking book. Hannah’s sister Hilary, perhaps?
It’s been a while since I read a Shifter novel, but this is doing an excellent job of catching me up and reminding me what happened in the previous two. The only issue I have is… the alternate reality people know there was a massive Shift, but they’ve lived nothing but the alternate reality. They seem to be totally OK knowing someone changed their whole world. Scott doesn’t get all his memories of the alternate world, and instead clings to the real world. It’s stretching my brain, that’s for sure.
So I have an ARC for a Strange Chemistry book that's no longer being published due to the imprint ceasing operating.
Should I wait to post a review until the author figures out what she's doing with the book?
Or should I go ahead and read it and review it even though it's not going to be published by SC?
What's the etiquette here?
I was reading in bed, and I can't copy and paste to Booklikes from Goodreads because I don't want to on my phone, too much wanking around. So here's last night's statuses:
I just love the way this massive epiphany has been written. So well thought out and flowing so logically. I really feel for Hannah right now.
Oh my gosh I am so sad and scared for Hannah. I wish she would just tell him to get off her ranch and out of her life. Pick up a knife and defend herself. Anything! I hate seeing her treated this way, but this is textbook domestic abuse. This is really scary shit.
Argus is the best. I love him.
OK now I'm really confused. It says here Leo is 18, but earlier in the novel he was 'almost 21' and in Breaking Fences he and Bia are 22. How old is this guy?!
Shux, thanks for noticing, Booklikes!
Eric not rushing to the hospital reminds me of this one time my best friend called me in tears because her boyfriend's dog may have been blinded in her one remaining eye and her BF was an hour away, so I took her to the 24 hour vet and when we rang to check if BF was nearly there he still hadn't left his mother's house... (dog was ok btw)
Bia moves away from home to attend university, get out from the shadows of her famous brothers, and get away from her controlling father, but matters are complicated when she’s branded the campus slut just for being Brazillian. She finds solace at a nearby ranch and falls in love with a difficult but beautiful horse, Midnight Dream, and his trainer, Garrett, who spends way too much time at the campus than a non-student should and has the burden of the world on his shoulders.
Breaking Fences was my first New Adult novel. I normally read Young Adult but I do occasionally dip into erotic romance, and I was deeply surprised to find that New Adult, at least in this book, is basically a mash-up of the two. Slut shaming abounded, but this is no surprise as it’s also one of the main sub-plots. The romance and kissing scenes wouldn’t have been out of place in one of those raunchier dry-humping YA novels (*ahem Shatter Me or Hush, Hush*) but it was the graphicness of the actual sex which surprised me. That’s not to say that it was more graphic than erotica, just that as a non-New Adult reader it took me completely by surprise. But it was a really great first foray into the genre, and I’m glad I had someone as competent as Haygert to guide me.
I really liked Breaking Fences. I actually made the mistake of picking up Breaking the Reins, the first book in this series, to read for this blog tour, and only realised my mistake when I was quite enjoying the book. I didn’t have time to finish Breaking the Reins before this tour so I’m reading the companion books out of order, but I can safely say that you do not need to read Breaking the Reins before you read Breaking Fences.
It’s a really lovely novel about Brazillian girl called Bia finding her way in life, stepping out of the shadows of her successful family and making her own way. Of course, there’s plenty of horse action as a large part of the novel takes place at a horse ranch, which I loved. There was also lots of ‘will he won’t he’ type romance, although unfortunately Bia was the kind of strong girl who don’t need no man, so she was often brash and brushing off her interactions with the resident hottie cowboy. She was a fun character to read about and I really liked her. She often struggled with the ‘old Bia’ who was loud and violent and comfortable in her own skin, and the ‘new Bia’ who had been affected by campus rumours and was withdrawn, shy, and insecure.
There’s a good cast surrounding Bia including mysterious hottie Garrett, BFF Phoebe, a pushy entitled jerkface called Jonah, and a host of slut-shamed sorority girls who initially wanted to be friends with Bia but quickly turn on her. We also get to see some of Bia’s family and Hannah, who was the star of the first novel. But most importantly, we get to see lots of Midnight, who is a dreamy black colt who falls hoof over hoof for Bia, even though she’s not supposed to go near him. Midnight was all kinds of adorable and I loved her interactions with him.
“There’s no way to explain how two people, or an animal and a person, connect. I guess it’s just like when you fall in love. You don’t choose the person you fall in love with. It just happens.”
Although it is clear Haygert did a lot of research about horses to write this novel, and I wasn’t sure if it was a language barrier because I’m pretty sure English is Haygert’s second language (although she is very proficient with it and the few grammatical mistakes are no more than you would typically find in any self-published novel), or if she simply didn’t know enough about horses to pull it off convincingly, but there were a few tells in the narrative that a horse expert would never make the mistake of writing. It’s not called ‘putting the tack on’, it’s called ‘tacking up.’ And unless a horse has a runny nose and is therefore sick, a horse’s muzzle is never wet like a dog’s, but warm and soft and velvety. Apart from these few minor but jarring errors, the horse stuff was all nicely written.
Seriously, if you like books where horses play a major role, or hot cowboys, or campus stories, or probably even New Adult in general, this book is totally for you. I really enjoyed it and stayed up late at night to read it, and dove straight back into the first novel as soon as it was over. I really hope Haygert writes more about the Fernandez family because I love their love of horses and I’d happily read another.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours and the author for providing a free advanced reader's copy for an honest review.
Seventeen year old Kestrel, the general’s daughter, buys an attractive slave at an auction and grows attracted to him. The slave, Arin, is secretly organising a rebellion to overthrown Kestrel’s people, even though he’s falling in love with her.
That’s basically the summary for The Winner’s Curse. There’s not a huge amount of conflict. I mean sure, there’s ‘forbidden love’ and all that, but it’s only forbidden because the high society people gossip, or something like that. Nothing actually happens to Kestrel when (false) rumours start flying about her taking a slave lover, and although Arin is threatened, nothing happens to him, either. It’s not even forbidden, although Kestrel sure does act like it. Ladies have been known to take slave lovers, so I didn’t even get what the big deal was.
The forbidden love aspect is just icky, too. Mostly because Arin never acts like a slave. Arin is condescending, disrespectful, really fucking angry and treats everyone like an inferior, including those he is supposed to be enslaved to. He talks back to Kestrel in front of people and walks all over her in public. And Kestrel lets him! Similarly Kestrel, who spends most of the book wandering barren hallways and not really doing much (ugh, poor little rich girl), gives Arin special privileges and acts like he’s not even a slave. The whole slave/owner dichotomy is completely avoided because no one really gives a shit that there’s supposed to be a power play here. They also never let their ‘forbidden’ feelings get in the way of bigger issues, such as the country going to war.
Later in the novel(show spoiler)
Kestrel doesn’t do anything, just wanders the house. She never has to live like a slave or work hard because she’s privileged and special (she also doesn’t fight because she’s a tactical person). She waits around for a chance to escape, and even though Arin has declared his love for her, she never returns it. In fact, she betrays him, and he lets her. That’s not love, it’s certainly not romantic, and I felt uncomfortable the whole time reading this supposedly ‘romantic’ book.
I also found the constant point of view shift annoying. The novel felt like a series of vignettes strung together, constantly nattering on small events that meant more than they appeared. There were several POV shifts per chapter, and they never lasted long. The book took the paragraph break for granted in an attempt to pace the book, but I found myself being pulled out of a short story and thrown into another and wondering why I should care about what just happened. Other than that, the writing was rather sweet and elegant, I guess, nice and easy to read and pulled me into the novel without fail (until the dreaded breaks).
Would I recommend it? Not as a romance, and not as a book that explores a power play between slave and mistress. Not as a fantasy, either, for it’s not really a fantasy, nor a historical. It seems to exist in its own queer shelf. The end of the book didn’t even wrap everything up, and I’m left wondering at the fates of some of the secondary characters and pretty much the world as it is. Perhaps this was deliberate in an attempt to get me to read the sequel, but I probably won’t because I’m grossed out by the whole romance thing.
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have even picked this book up based on the cover or blurb if it weren’t for nearly all my high-profile friends going nuts over this at BEA in 2013. I don’t consider it a waste of my time but I do consider it way overhyped.
Bia's a foreigner, but she seems to know what rushes and bids are. I'm not American, and we don't have sororities in Australia, so it'd be a lot more helpful if Bia didn't know what was going on either and needed it explained, because I seriously have no clue. What's a rush and a bid?
I have to question how much this author knows about horses because this is the second time she has referred to the horse's muzzle/nose being wet, and they're not: they're warm and dry and velvety and my absolute favourite place to stroke.