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Unbreak Me

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What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything. Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky. LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea t What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything. Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky. LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea that Andra might be lonely—or eating frozen TV dinners. He bakes his way into her kitchen with a lemon velvet cake, and offers her cooking lessons that set them on the road to romance. But even their love can’t escape the shadow of what they've been through. Despite their growing friendship and his gentle rapport with the horses, LJ is still an outsider facing small-town suspicions. Before they can work through their issues, LJ is called home by a family emergency. In the centuries-old, raggedly rebuilt streets of New Orleans, he must confront memories of Hurricane Katrina and familiar discrimination. And Andra must decide if she’s brave enough to leave the shelter of the ranch for an uncertain future with LJ.


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What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything. Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky. LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea t What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything. Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky. LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea that Andra might be lonely—or eating frozen TV dinners. He bakes his way into her kitchen with a lemon velvet cake, and offers her cooking lessons that set them on the road to romance. But even their love can’t escape the shadow of what they've been through. Despite their growing friendship and his gentle rapport with the horses, LJ is still an outsider facing small-town suspicions. Before they can work through their issues, LJ is called home by a family emergency. In the centuries-old, raggedly rebuilt streets of New Orleans, he must confront memories of Hurricane Katrina and familiar discrimination. And Andra must decide if she’s brave enough to leave the shelter of the ranch for an uncertain future with LJ.

30 review for Unbreak Me

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Unbreak Me has such a beautiful cover, and the story inside is just as enchanting. Andra Lawler lives a lonely life on her family’s ranch. She was assaulted in college, and the trauma keeps her closed off. Andra needs help with foal training, so she hires a cowboy, LJ Delisle, from New Orleans to help her. LJ notices right away that Andra is lonely, and he bakes her a cake… and then teaches her how to cook. The two slowly fall in love. LJ is an outsider to town, and many don’t trust him. Unbreak Me has such a beautiful cover, and the story inside is just as enchanting. Andra Lawler lives a lonely life on her family’s ranch. She was assaulted in college, and the trauma keeps her closed off. Andra needs help with foal training, so she hires a cowboy, LJ Delisle, from New Orleans to help her. LJ notices right away that Andra is lonely, and he bakes her a cake… and then teaches her how to cook. The two slowly fall in love. LJ is an outsider to town, and many don’t trust him. Eventually, he has to leave due to a family emergency. He faces his own fears surrounding the trauma of Hurricane Katrina, and at the same time, Andra must decide if she can leave the ranch to be with LJ. Unbreak Me is a sweet romance, but with the trauma in the background of both main characters, there is plenty of depth. I loved both LJ and Andra. They were written with such compassion. I also loved that LJ cooked for Andra. Unbreak Me is a comfortable, well-written story with plenty of heart. I loved the settings and how beautifully they were captured by the author, and most of all, I loved the messages, the hope, and the love. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie - PhDiva Books

    A bold, socially-conscious contemporary romance novel that explores everything from race, culture, and social status in the midst of an emotional love story between people with darkness in their pasts. The characters in this story just broke me down and built me back up while reading it. Beautiful! Andra Lawler lives an isolated life on a horse ranch her family owns in Montana. Though her life seems lonely, Andra finds that the only time she feels free from the anxiety and panic attac A bold, socially-conscious contemporary romance novel that explores everything from race, culture, and social status in the midst of an emotional love story between people with darkness in their pasts. The characters in this story just broke me down and built me back up while reading it. Beautiful! Andra Lawler lives an isolated life on a horse ranch her family owns in Montana. Though her life seems lonely, Andra finds that the only time she feels free from the anxiety and panic attacks that plague her are when she is out on the ranch with the horses. Nearly five years earlier in college Andra was kidnapped, drugged, and assaulted. With the details of her attack splashed across the headlines, Andra has never been able to escape it. Andra’s pain makes others uncomfortable. Even her own family doesn’t know quite how to treat her after those horrible events. When Andra needs help to train her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans named LJ Delisle. LJ has always loved horses, but opportunities to train them are scarce in New Orleans. When he makes the decision to pursue this opportunity and leave behind his ailing mother, he never expected to meet someone like Andra. LJ slowly breaks down Andra’s walls through his care of the horses, his excellent home-baked goods, and his affable disposition. But LJ has his own dark past he is working to hide. And the people in their small town don’t fully accept him. Their friendship develops slowly—they are two damaged souls who may be just what the other needs to heal. But as things between them become more solid, an emergency in New Orleans causes LJ to return home. Andra is learning to trust men again, but has she healed enough to leave the safety of her family homestead and follow LJ? This book wrecked me in a beautiful way. This is not your average light-hearted romance. If I’m honest, I don’t even know if I’d put this in the romance category, though it certainly fits there. I felt this book was so much more! There is a darkness to both Andra’s and LJ’s stories. These are two individuals who have taken a beating by life. The themes of this book are authentic and handled with dignity and raw authenticity. Everything from the challenges they face being an interracial couple to Andra’s assault, to living through the trauma of something like Hurricane Katrina were told in a way that showed the struggle and the reality, without being unnecessarily salacious or provocative. These are examples of the sort of struggles that may underlie many people. Some we don’t even know. One interesting thing about LJ was the way he seemed good-natured, fun, and light. And he is those things. But because that is what he presents to the world, many may not look deeper and see the full experience of him as a person. The pain, shame, strength, and vulnerabilities he carries. Andra was another wonderful character. I thought the author did a truly fantastic job showing how trapped she is psychologically by what she has gone through. How those around her experience both the desire to help her heal, but also the fear that they don’t understand how to approach her. This leads her to feel even more alone. But let’s end as the book does with the theme being healing, love, and accepting others. A beautiful message for a beautiful book. Thank you Berkley for my copy. Opinions are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    Michelle Hazen creates a beautiful love story between two characters that come from very different backgrounds. It wasn't the beautiful background of Montana or New Orleans that stole my heart but the romance between the two characters that just made me weep! Hazen weaves a true raw, heartbreaking, and beautiful love story that folds across these pages so effortlessly. I just fell completely head over heels for the big creole cowboy ;). L.J you can come over anytime and make me one of your famou Michelle Hazen creates a beautiful love story between two characters that come from very different backgrounds. It wasn't the beautiful background of Montana or New Orleans that stole my heart but the romance between the two characters that just made me weep! Hazen weaves a true raw, heartbreaking, and beautiful love story that folds across these pages so effortlessly. I just fell completely head over heels for the big creole cowboy ;). L.J you can come over anytime and make me one of your famous cakes <3. The author definitely broke me heart a few times but only to have my heart back together :). This was my first novel by Hazen and can't wait to see what is up Hazen's arm in the future :). Thank you so much to Netgalley and Berkley for the arc in exchange for an honest review. 4 strong stars! Publication date: 8/13/19 Published to GR/IG: 8/12/19

  4. 4 out of 5

    Skye Kilaen

    I didn't manage to finish the sample. I was uncomfortable with the Black MC's descriptions of New Orleans - it didn't sound like any way I've heard Black New Orleans folks talk about their city - and then I found out on Twitter that his initials, LJ, stand for Lyndon Johnson "because his parents saw Lyndon Johnson speak once and were impressed." (quote from JenReadsRomance) Uh, no. Unless I see a tidal wave of Black reviewers endorsing this book, I'm not going any further. I'm told th I didn't manage to finish the sample. I was uncomfortable with the Black MC's descriptions of New Orleans - it didn't sound like any way I've heard Black New Orleans folks talk about their city - and then I found out on Twitter that his initials, LJ, stand for Lyndon Johnson "because his parents saw Lyndon Johnson speak once and were impressed." (quote from JenReadsRomance) Uh, no. Unless I see a tidal wave of Black reviewers endorsing this book, I'm not going any further. I'm told there is a comprehensive review that unpacks the book's issues on a larger review site, so I'll update this when it's live. Update #1: Here's a Twitter thread that gives additional details about not only race issues, but the hurtful misunderstanding of PTSD: https://twitter.com/LaQuetteWrites/st... Update #2: An ongoing (as of the time I'm posting this) thread going through the Kindle sample scene by scene: https://twitter.com/mel_thegreat/stat...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bookgasms Book Blog

    Holy Hannah. This book just knocked my socks off. A dynamic mixture of sweet, heartwarming romance set against gritty, honest, and thought-provoking real world trauma, Unbreak Me was incredibly compelling and impossible to put down. I was fascinated and heartbroken and swooning like crazy - sometimes all at the same time. This story was incredible, and important, and I suspect it will be sticking with me for quite some time. I loved the tone of the storytelling. I loved how Ms. Hazen opened my eyes to a wor Holy Hannah. This book just knocked my socks off. A dynamic mixture of sweet, heartwarming romance set against gritty, honest, and thought-provoking real world trauma, Unbreak Me was incredibly compelling and impossible to put down. I was fascinated and heartbroken and swooning like crazy - sometimes all at the same time. This story was incredible, and important, and I suspect it will be sticking with me for quite some time. I loved the tone of the storytelling. I loved how Ms. Hazen opened my eyes to a world I have no first-hand experience with, but didn't make me feel like I was being educated. I was being drawn in immediately. I was given these characters who were so lovable and relatable and just...wonderful. And then I was given all the ways the world had hurt them. And it resonated with me in a way I can only attribute to the masterful way this author handled the storytelling. She opened my heart, shook it up a bit, and then pieced it back together in a way that feels a little raw and tender from the journey it took, but completely satisfied all the same. I loved this so much. The balance between lighthearted flirty romance and heavier emotional punches was just right for me. Sure, it was heartbreaking - but the feel of that didn't outweigh the joy of experiencing LJ and Andra falling in love, and it definitely didn't diminish the fierce love I have for both of these characters (and frankly, LJ's mama). It was layered, and nuanced, and perfectly written. I didn't even see this book coming, and it absolutely bowled me over! ~ Shelly, 5 Stars

  6. 5 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker

    3.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. L.J. loves horses but opportunities to make a living training them in New Orleans are slim, so when he manages to get offered a job in Montana, he wants to take the chance. Leaving the Ninth Ward community and his mother who suffers from Lupus is hard but L.J. has a dream and when he catches sight of Andra, she starts to become a 3.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. L.J. loves horses but opportunities to make a living training them in New Orleans are slim, so when he manages to get offered a job in Montana, he wants to take the chance. Leaving the Ninth Ward community and his mother who suffers from Lupus is hard but L.J. has a dream and when he catches sight of Andra, she starts to become a part of them. It's been five years since Andra was kidnapped but her panic attacks haven't stopped and the only time she feels free is working with her horses. She has to fight to hire L.J. onto her father's ranch but there is something about him that calms her being in his presence. L.J. and Andra are two souls looking to separate their pasts from their futures and through each other might just find the strength to love everything about themselves. Everything that had been done to her body was public property. Unbreak Me was a very character driven story focusing almost completely on the lead characters Andra and L.J. Their backstories and all the pain that came with them, matched each other even in their differences. In college Andra was drugged, kidnapped, and raped. She lives in a smaller town in Montana, so the trial and all the details were public knowledge. The townspeople know the whole story and side-eye her all the time and her own family isn't quite sure how to act around her. The author did a commendable job getting Andra's pain across the pages, the isolation, the guilt, the anger, and caged in feeling from people only seeing you one way now. Her father, brother, and bestfriend didn't quite get enough page time to be fully flushed out characters but even their absence from the pages helped to show how Andra felt alone and trapped into this new singular existence. L.J. was a character who at first seemed completely affable, fun, and carefree but as we get to know him more, you see that while that is part of his natural disposition, he still works at coming off that way. He carries the pain, anger, and horror from surviving Hurricane Katrina and what it means to be a six foot five black male in America. His struggle to take care of his mother, still give back to where he comes from, and honor his own dreams was affecting. The attraction and connection he felt towards Andra seemed a bit fast or instant, in terms of the repercussions he could experience from it but their time together was slow moving and written very deliberately. “I don't want your daddy to be right about me, Andie-girl.” The words were so low they were no more than a rumble in the places where his neck touched her forehead. “I don't want him to be right about me, either.” she whispered back. And she didn't let go. Through L.J. and Andra, this story touches a little on sexism and heavier on racism. The societal stratagems aren't expounded or deeply thought out but rather how internally racism effects L.J. emotionally and externally physically and opportunity wise. Andra's father plays a role in showing how ignorance isn't an excuse and how Andra needs to learn to see what L.J. is telling her instead of trying to explain instances away to try to make things more comfortable. While these weighty issues aren't delved very deep into, they are touched on in how though L.J. and Andra might have a connection, relationships don't happen in a vacuum, racism effects become a conflict between the two but not enough to give such a weighty issue it's due. These people weren't untouched by their past, and they didn't expect her to be, either. This was a very deliberately paced story with L.J. working to get Andra to be comfortable around him and be able to act on and enjoy the chemistry they had between each other. Even with a more thoughtful pace, I thought the story worked well on capturing the reader but I also thought a little latter in the second half the story started to drag and lose it's drive when L.J. and Andra were in New Orleans. The ending was also quick to wrap up, these two had some pretty big issues laid out and the bow felt somewhat simplistic. However, L.J. and Andra were two characters that definitely pull you into their world and you'll feel for all their emotional ups and downs. There are no easy answers to hard problems but having a caring hand to hold along the way can make all the difference, and it doesn't hurt if they're a Stetson wearing man who can cook southern style. She grinned, and blushed the tiniest bit. “Next time we do that, will you wear your cowboy hat?”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    This book deserves all the stars! Unbreak Me is a powerful book, one that takes on racism and sexual assault, but also the beautiful love story between two unlikely people. It was easy to fall in love with Michelle Hazen's characters. LJ Delisle and Andra Lawler couldn't be any different, but both equally touched my heart. LJ is charming and easy going, not a simple thing for a man who has faced the devastation of Katrina and racism as he builds a career as a horse trainer. This book deserves all the stars! Unbreak Me is a powerful book, one that takes on racism and sexual assault, but also the beautiful love story between two unlikely people. It was easy to fall in love with Michelle Hazen's characters. LJ Delisle and Andra Lawler couldn't be any different, but both equally touched my heart. LJ is charming and easy going, not a simple thing for a man who has faced the devastation of Katrina and racism as he builds a career as a horse trainer. Andra, on the other hand, is closed off emotionally after a horrific kidnapping and rape. They share a love of horses and it's what brings them together under the big Montana sky. Andra hasn't let anyone close since her assault. She trains her horses and attends occasional family meals, but she's haunted by her experience. LJ arrives in Montana not knowing Andra needs to be handled like the wild horses he's been hired to break. Instead, he barges into her life, teaching her to cook and smile, and eventually open herself back up to intimacy. I couldn't have loved him more as he broke down Andra's walls and brought her back to life. LJ's easy going personality hides the things he's gone through. He left his mother behind in New Orleans, having to choose between family and his need to live out his dream. Even as far north as Montana, he finds himself facing closed off attitudes from just about everyone as they take in the color of his skin. He's heroic as he takes this in stride, especially as he and Andra fall in love. When LJ leaves suddenly, Andra really shines. She has to take chances to prove to herself just how strong she is. And, while LJ was the catalyst that started the process, it was Andra that finds the strength to fight through her PTSD to be whole again. Both Montana and New Orleans shine as honorary characters in Unbreak Me. With family in New Orleans I've spent a lot of time there and Hazen captures the magic of the city perfectly, from the sights and smells, to the lonely sound of the saxophone. 5 stars for Unbreak Me. Heat level: 3.5 I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for honest feedback.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

    Unbreak Me is a journey to healing for two unlikely individuals. For 5 years Andra Lawler has been training her horses and living a solitary existence on her family’s ranch in Montana. Her attack has left her with PTSD and in a state of limbo. LJ Delisle has left New Orleans in hopes of getting a job as a trainer and move past the years of post-Hurricane Katrina. Through the simple art of cooking lessons this young cowboy begins to work his magic with Andra, and she finds herself on a path of he Unbreak Me is a journey to healing for two unlikely individuals. For 5 years Andra Lawler has been training her horses and living a solitary existence on her family’s ranch in Montana. Her attack has left her with PTSD and in a state of limbo. LJ Delisle has left New Orleans in hopes of getting a job as a trainer and move past the years of post-Hurricane Katrina. Through the simple art of cooking lessons this young cowboy begins to work his magic with Andra, and she finds herself on a path of healing. When LJ is called home with a family emergency, she follows and finds out how much New Orleans and his family and friends, make up a big part of who LJ is. Working through their issues isn’t an easy road, with her triggers and his sense of responsibility warring with his desire of a better life, they somehow find a way to both get what they want and need to have a life together. I fell in love with the cover and then fell in love with the story. It was engaging, and contemplative. Both characters struggled with their tragic pasts and the author delicately touched on the issues both faced on a daily basis. There was a nice balance of story and romance. Eventually they worked out a compromise and was able to move beyond their past and find happiness together. Review copy provided for a voluntary review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelsie Maxwell

    Unbreak Me Michelle Hazen Unbreak Me is a daring contemporary romance by Michelle Hazen. LJ Delisle is a 28-year-old, 6’5” black Creole cowboy from New Orleans who has traveled west for a job interview for a horse handler at the Lawler Ranch. LJ has issues related to physical and emotional trauma he suffered during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. LJ has repeatedly faced racial discrimination and knows that his physical stature only adds to the perception that he is a dangerous person. A Unbreak Me Michelle Hazen Unbreak Me is a daring contemporary romance by Michelle Hazen. LJ Delisle is a 28-year-old, 6’5” black Creole cowboy from New Orleans who has traveled west for a job interview for a horse handler at the Lawler Ranch. LJ has issues related to physical and emotional trauma he suffered during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. LJ has repeatedly faced racial discrimination and knows that his physical stature only adds to the perception that he is a dangerous person. Andra Lawler is the daughter of the owner of the Lawler Ranch. She sent LJ the interview invitation. Andra has issues related to a physical assault that occurred when she was in college. She’s broken but doesn’t want to be. LJ sees Andra’s vulnerability and seeks to draw her out of the protective shell she has built around herself. LJ and Andra will have to battle their inner demons and the stigma that society and their families have placed on interracial relationships. Unbreak Me is well-written but drags towards the latter half of the story, however the pace does pick back up before the ending. The author is successful in her utilization of scenery and has created well-developed, memorable characters. She has boldly tackled issues of race, social status and cultural differences. Overall, the story is emotional and completely enjoyable. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to readers of contemporary romance, especially western romance. The explicit sexual content may be offensive to some readers. I was chosen to read an advance copy of this book as part of Penguin's First to Read program. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margaret (xoxoLibro)

    I literally haven't stopped gushing about Unbreak Me since I cracked the first page. I give it all the stars. ALL THE STARS. I loved it so much I went back to the beginning and started it again. See gushing below...but if you just want the quick summary: Read this book for the feels, for the warm laughter, for the horses, for real glimpses of racism and trauma, for the healing, for the kindness and love, and of course, for the HOT sex. My #1 reason - LJ. He's perfection, actual perfec I literally haven't stopped gushing about Unbreak Me since I cracked the first page. I give it all the stars. ALL THE STARS. I loved it so much I went back to the beginning and started it again. See gushing below...but if you just want the quick summary: Read this book for the feels, for the warm laughter, for the horses, for real glimpses of racism and trauma, for the healing, for the kindness and love, and of course, for the HOT sex. My #1 reason - LJ. He's perfection, actual perfection, on the page. There's the obvious stuff, like he's tall, dark, handsome, and he has a great sense of humor. But he's so much more than a dreamy hunk of man meat. He's strong and he's vulnerable in all the right ways. He's patient and kind, letting Andra tell him what she wants and needs. He brings his hometown of New Orleans to life on the page. And he loves his mama! My other #1 reason (hey, it's my review and I can have as many #1's as I want) is ALL THE HEALING. Suffice to say both LJ and Andra have dealt with trauma in their past. Assault, racism, natural disasters, near-death experiences, and poverty have all left their mark on these two. Together, they build enough trust and love to bare these parts of themselves, finding love and acceptance along the way. My final #1 - Is that Andra takes her own power back. LJ reminds her of other ways to live, of who she used to be, and that she can decide who she wants to be now. But it's Andra herself who chooses to step outside her comfort zone. Andra who decides to make peace with her body. Andra who stands up for what she wants. LJ is primed to be her knight in shining armor, but it's Andra who does the work. <3 Honorable mentions - As a white woman married to a Puerto Rican man, I related so much to Andra's experience of feeling too small, too quiet, and too bland around LJ's family and friends. It's amazing how we can simply laugh about our differences when it's the two of us, but when you add in others to the mix, those differences stand out so much more. Ok, now that I've written an entire essay, I'm going to get back to my reread!

  11. 4 out of 5

    1-Click Addict Support Group

    A quiet gem… I heard cowboy and, of course, I pounced immediately. What I received was a man who was that and so much more in a layered story that will be with me for a while… LJ was an intriguing character. On the outside, he was full of laughter, always ready for a dirty joke or a teasing comment. Underneath his go lucky exterior, however, was an insightful, caring man who loved fiercely and protectively, and was completely aware of the often harsh world he lived in. He a A quiet gem… I heard cowboy and, of course, I pounced immediately. What I received was a man who was that and so much more in a layered story that will be with me for a while… LJ was an intriguing character. On the outside, he was full of laughter, always ready for a dirty joke or a teasing comment. Underneath his go lucky exterior, however, was an insightful, caring man who loved fiercely and protectively, and was completely aware of the often harsh world he lived in. He also knew his way around the kitchen, was straight up cowboy sexy and had a southern drawl… Andra could have been the spoiled rancher’s daughter but instead she was a down to earth and hard-working former rodeo queen. Her fairytale life was altered forever by an assault that she still dealt with, the trauma rearing its ugly head whenever it wanted. Hiding, buried in work, she kept herself aloof from a world that refused to let her move on. LJ was a breath of fresh air as he treated her not as a victim but as a survivor. A flesh and blood, normal woman… LJ ruffled her feathers and everything else, as his presence stirred up emotions and feelings in herself, and others, that opened up Andra’s eyes as well as my own. Their relationship, their love, opened up a powder keg of conflicting priorities and racism that bubbled just under the surface. The author schooled me, and Andra, on these harsh realities through the devastating simplicity of it all… With Wyoming and New Orleans as beautiful backdrops, their journey was in parts an education but also a testament to the resilience and power of humanity and love. A new author to me, she has left me with a story I won’t soon forget… ~Diane, 5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy Bruestle

    I won this book through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review... So... the book was okay...the story didn’t have as much to it as it could’ve...but that’s solely my own opinion. I am used to reading books with lots of action, so I might be a tad biased. The writing is absolutely AMAZING though! I was tempted to give it 5 stars just for the writing alone! Incredible imagery! And wow-zeeeee with the sex scenes! Talk about hotness! 🔥❤ I could literally picture everything in this bo I won this book through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review... So... the book was okay...the story didn’t have as much to it as it could’ve...but that’s solely my own opinion. I am used to reading books with lots of action, so I might be a tad biased. The writing is absolutely AMAZING though! I was tempted to give it 5 stars just for the writing alone! Incredible imagery! And wow-zeeeee with the sex scenes! Talk about hotness! 🔥❤️ I could literally picture everything in this book perfectly! It was comparable to watching a movie in my mind! That’s how wonderful the writing truly is! The author did a fabulous job and definitely has some serious talent! Like I said though, my only issue was that there could’ve been a little more going on to keep readers interested and to keep the story from becoming predictable as well. All in all, I am glad that I won this book to read! Thank you!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann Marlowe

    Unbreak Me broke me. This book grabs hold from the first pages and doesn't let go until the end. I loved sweet, sweet LJ and tough, but soft Andra from the start, but as more and more of their layers were revealed, I fell more in love. They both seemed so different from each other from the outside, but their interest in horses brought them together, and their backgrounds, though so different they might drive them apart, were arguably so similar they allowed them to know each other unlike anyone Unbreak Me broke me. This book grabs hold from the first pages and doesn't let go until the end. I loved sweet, sweet LJ and tough, but soft Andra from the start, but as more and more of their layers were revealed, I fell more in love. They both seemed so different from each other from the outside, but their interest in horses brought them together, and their backgrounds, though so different they might drive them apart, were arguably so similar they allowed them to know each other unlike anyone else in their lives. It's an absolute delight to see how LJ approaches Andra through his experience of training horses, drawing her out with patience and good humor. And though he seems easy-going and at peace, Andra is able to reach that place in him that he tries to keep hidden. Together they are perfection, but of course, nothing's ever so easy, and society, history, and family complications threaten to make different choices for them unless they can figure out how to put together all the puzzle pieces of their lives. The chemistry between them is palpable from the start, and the eventual heat is worth the slow burn tension. The details about Andra's personal history and LJ's experience in New Orleans add even more emotional depth to an already fraught story. I had tears by 20% and I'm not a crier. Really satisfying read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    TeriLyn

    **Unbreak Me generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** 2 "And you make me believe..." Stars This started off so strong for me and I was eager to learn more about the characters and their back stories. Less 20% in though it started falling. So many details without much depth made the book flat and bit dull for me. I was neither invested nor excited. The story had potential with the heavy topics introduced such as racism, sexual assault, and biracial romance. But/>2**Unbreak **Unbreak Me generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** 2 "And you make me believe..." Stars This started off so strong for me and I was eager to learn more about the characters and their back stories. Less 20% in though it started falling. So many details without much depth made the book flat and bit dull for me. I was neither invested nor excited. The story had potential with the heavy topics introduced such as racism, sexual assault, and biracial romance. But the more the story progressed the more those topics just lingered there without much digging. The culminating conflict and resolution spurred from those things. There were some really excellent, sweet moments between the two characters during their courtship that really stood out. Further the understanding and patience from both of them regarding their plights was great too. Scattered moments of vulnerability and a true kinship kept me going in this contemporary romance book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maxym Martineau

    Michelle Hazen creates a beautiful, dynamic world with incredible backdrops from two very different settings. But it wasn't the plains of Montana or the magic of New Orleans that stole my heart, it was her main characters. The breadth of their emotions and conflicts they face had me turning pages late into the night, hoping and praying they'd find a way to make love work against all odds. Unbreak Me left me with a feeling of warmth in my heart, and I can't wait to see what's on the horizon for H Michelle Hazen creates a beautiful, dynamic world with incredible backdrops from two very different settings. But it wasn't the plains of Montana or the magic of New Orleans that stole my heart, it was her main characters. The breadth of their emotions and conflicts they face had me turning pages late into the night, hoping and praying they'd find a way to make love work against all odds. Unbreak Me left me with a feeling of warmth in my heart, and I can't wait to see what's on the horizon for Hazen.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I LOVED this book. There are serious issues at the core of it. Racism, sexual assault, debilitating anxiety, even the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. These are all handled with such obvious tenderness for LJ and Andra, and such hope and power ... and somehow it still manages to be funny and sexy. And did I mention funny? And sexy? I fell in love with these characters, and their friends and parents ... I miss being in this world. Definitely going on the "to be reread" shelf. I LOVED this book. There are serious issues at the core of it. Racism, sexual assault, debilitating anxiety, even the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. These are all handled with such obvious tenderness for LJ and Andra, and such hope and power ... and somehow it still manages to be funny and sexy. And did I mention funny? And sexy? I fell in love with these characters, and their friends and parents ... I miss being in this world. Definitely going on the "to be reread" shelf.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heather Fleet

    There are a lot of words I could use to describe this story, yet none that can truly depict its brilliance. My emotions were raw and ripped, countless of times throughout, only for Michelle to put me together again (somehow) in the end. Andra and LJ were two pieces of a puzzle meant to be, but went through some personal hellfires to get to where they landed. I loved Andra like a bestie and LJ... he is a THE ULTIMATE book boyfriend. ❤ Bold and beautiful story telling. There are a lot of words I could use to describe this story, yet none that can truly depict its brilliance. My emotions were raw and ripped, countless of times throughout, only for Michelle to put me together again (somehow) in the end. Andra and LJ were two pieces of a puzzle meant to be, but went through some personal hellfires to get to where they landed. I loved Andra like a bestie and LJ... he is a THE ULTIMATE book boyfriend. ❤️ Bold and beautiful story telling.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book is raw and devastating at times, but full of so much heart. It tackles unbelievably tough subject matter, setting that turmoil against vivid backdrops that had me dropped smack dab in a Montana ranch, then sweating on the streets of New Orleans. The story will stay with me for weeks to come.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Maroulis

    Michelle Hazen delivers an authentic and engaging love story between two unlikely people trapped in the mire of their past. Artfully written, this story will take you on the most romantic highs and lead you through the heartbreak that is exactly what real life responsibility is all about. I've never wanted a leading male character to be real more than I wish I could find Lj on a ranch in Montana.

  20. 4 out of 5

    AJ

    3.5 stars! This is my first book by this author, an emotional and dramatic love story between two people from very different lives, but both struggling to move on from trauma in their pasts. With strong themes of trauma recovery and social inequality, this book is more than just a romance, and is a really well-written character-driven story that kept me engaged from start to finish. Andra Lawler lives and works on her family’s horse ranch in Montana. Still deeply traumatised by a terrifying assault that oc 3.5 stars! This is my first book by this author, an emotional and dramatic love story between two people from very different lives, but both struggling to move on from trauma in their pasts. With strong themes of trauma recovery and social inequality, this book is more than just a romance, and is a really well-written character-driven story that kept me engaged from start to finish. Andra Lawler lives and works on her family’s horse ranch in Montana. Still deeply traumatised by a terrifying assault that occurred five years previously while she was in college, she lives an isolated life where she mostly avoids the company of others – in particular, the presence of men outside of her family. LJ Delisle is a 28 year old Creole cowboy from New Orleans. He’s a man running from his past, and from the small-minded prejudices that he lives with as a 6’5” built, black man, but he’s looking to make a life for himself doing a job that he’s passionate about, and Montana and the Lawler ranch is the best place to do it. Andra and LJ don’t get off to the best of starts, but from the moment she sees him with her horses, she recognises him as a gentle soul, and she knows that he is the right man for the job. She advocates for him to stay, and he becomes a part of her everyday life, living and working alongside Andra and her family. It doesn’t take long for him to recognise that all is not well with his new employer, and he goes out of her way to befriend her, facing her issues head on and working to bring her out of her shell, and it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Despite their differences, and the issues that they are dealing with, there’s something very special about these two together. They both feel the connection, and LJ is such a sweetheart, with a cheeky wit and a sharp intelligence, it’s impossible for Andra not to fall for him, and I fell right along with her! He is gentle, kind and caring, and infinitely patient, and the progression of things between them is beautifully written. His knuckles skimmed down the back of her arm so lightly that the rough yarn of her sweater woke up her entire body, her skin rippling with goose bumps. “Now that might be flirting.” “Might be?” she asked breathlessly. His breath stirred her hair, as if he’d bent a little closer. “Depends on if you want it to be.” But all that they feel for each other isn’t enough to erase the pain of their pasts, and they have a lot to work through. It’s sad and it’s painful, and my heart ached for them, but wow, they handle it well! Patiently, openly and honestly talking about all that they are feeling and taking things slowly. But just when it seems like they are getting somewhere, a family emergency calls LJ home, switching the action to his New Orleans neighbourhood, still devastated by Hurricane Katrina, where he is forced to confront all that he has been trying to move on from. I really like the way that this book is very much focussed on the characters’ individual journeys, with the romance effortlessly blended into that. We have three stories which seamlessly intertwine as Andra and LJ share their pasts, leaning on each other as they deal with it and all the while falling harder and harder for each other despite it all. “I know it ain’t right, but I can’t stand the idea of letting you go so you can look for somebody better.” “I don’t know what I need,” she said, her voice breaking. “But if it’s not you, I don’t want it.” There is a strong focus on social themes such as racism, culture and class, and it’s really beautifully handled. I’m sure every country deals with its own versions of this, but I found it particularly horrifying reading about LJ’s experience, especially as he recounted the events that occurred during, and especially since, Hurricane Katrina. Hearing about it from his perspective and watching him still deal with the fallout and try to make the best life he can for himself against almost impossible odds is heartbreaking. “Look.” He held their hands up in front of her face, her fingers starkly pale against his. “Just look, for once. They’re never going to look the same. And when white people claim they’re color-blind, they don’t notice the difference, it’s a lie. My history is not your history; my culture is not your culture. I don’t want them to be. I’m proud of who I am and where I come from. All I want is to not be the last one rescued in a flood but the first one to wind up in handcuffs.” It’s a really well written story with lots of heart and a beautifully sweet romance. I really enjoyed this one! 3.5 stars. An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Novel Grounds

    I got this book in the mail a few months ago and it was such beautiful story. It was emotional and so jam packed with plot that I didn't think the author could wrap it up in one book, but she did and she did it beautifully. This book truly was an emotional rollercoaster that broke you. It ripped you to pieces quite a few times. Then, the author took her time and put everything back together into a beautiful mosaic. Andra and LJ were the best. I don't even know what else to say about them. I loved LJ HARD I got this book in the mail a few months ago and it was such beautiful story. It was emotional and so jam packed with plot that I didn't think the author could wrap it up in one book, but she did and she did it beautifully. This book truly was an emotional rollercoaster that broke you. It ripped you to pieces quite a few times. Then, the author took her time and put everything back together into a beautiful mosaic. Andra and LJ were the best. I don't even know what else to say about them. I loved LJ HARD core. He was everything I wanted him to be. Flawed but also, truly just exactly who Andra and him needed for them to become, them. Gah. I read this months ago and it still gives me all the feels! Can't wait for the rest of the world to read this book!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sandee

    An very engaging contemporary romance between two survivors of physical and emotional abuse. Once a survivor of sexual assault the other a survivor of Katrina. Emotionally engaging, occasionally funny and sometimes shocking, the story captured me. I loved the ending. Sometimes the story went too deep into details and the plot dragged but it always brought me back. I received a free copy from Hidden Gems but this is my voluntary review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I have read many of Michelle Hazen's books and love her style of writing. While her stories have sexy scenes, there is also a lot of depth to the stories. Characters with dark pasts or challenges to face. She weaves a tapestry of emotions together - humor, pain, despair, hope, anger, betrayal, love, faith - that make the stories compelling. Unbreak Me managed that as well. Two unlikely characters - one who is fighting for a better life, the chance to do what he loves, all while having to leave t I have read many of Michelle Hazen's books and love her style of writing. While her stories have sexy scenes, there is also a lot of depth to the stories. Characters with dark pasts or challenges to face. She weaves a tapestry of emotions together - humor, pain, despair, hope, anger, betrayal, love, faith - that make the stories compelling. Unbreak Me managed that as well. Two unlikely characters - one who is fighting for a better life, the chance to do what he loves, all while having to leave the mother and his community that he loves and face misperceptions about him because of the color of his skin. The other suffered unspeakable horrors at the hand of a kidnapper/rapist, and while she escaped and is back home, everyone treats her differently and broken. This unlikely duo forge a friendship that defies the odds and pulls on the heartstrings. LJ and Andra found their way into my heart and made me want them to find their happy ending, despite his sick mother, her stubborn father, a community that wasn't ready to accept them as a couple. Once I started reading I didn't want to put the book down. When I finished, I was sorry to have reached the end wanting more of Andra and LJ (and their parents who are characters in their own rights). Definitely worth reading.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    I received an ARC of Unbreak Me, and being a fellow horse girl, I couldn't wait to read it! This isn't your "typical" romance novel, Unbreak Me just has so much HEART. And horses. It gets you coming and going =) I think what set this book aside for me was the male lead...I adore a non-traditional, non-alpha romantic interest. LJ was everything...he cooked, he loves his family, he's a consummate horseman... it's the ultimate in "cowboy" fantasy for this girl =) More than that, he's understanding, I received an ARC of Unbreak Me, and being a fellow horse girl, I couldn't wait to read it! This isn't your "typical" romance novel, Unbreak Me just has so much HEART. And horses. It gets you coming and going =) I think what set this book aside for me was the male lead...I adore a non-traditional, non-alpha romantic interest. LJ was everything...he cooked, he loves his family, he's a consummate horseman... it's the ultimate in "cowboy" fantasy for this girl =) More than that, he's understanding, and really cared about our leading lady's heart, mind, and fears from a previous situation. All of this is just laced into a beautiful love story of its own right. Well done, and a good read if you want a feel-good book that will hit you in the feels.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brandi Atchison

    Hazen’s new book Unbreak Me is a wonderfully inspiring read. We all have those things in our past that we have to work at overcoming, some are just bigger than others. Love has a way of sending us what we need when we’ve given up on ourselves. … ”I want my life back. I don’t want to just make it through one day at a time, counting myself as lucky if I don’t have a panic attack.” ... Andra Lawler, is the daughter of a Montana horse rancher, and is an award winning horse trainer. An as Hazen’s new book Unbreak Me is a wonderfully inspiring read. We all have those things in our past that we have to work at overcoming, some are just bigger than others. Love has a way of sending us what we need when we’ve given up on ourselves. … ”I want my life back. I don’t want to just make it through one day at a time, counting myself as lucky if I don’t have a panic attack.” ... Andra Lawler, is the daughter of a Montana horse rancher, and is an award winning horse trainer. An assault five years ago has left her feeling like a stranger in her own home, and even worse in her own mind and body. She can’t look at man without fear and is plagued by crippling panic attacks ever since. Needing help training her foals, she faces that fear and hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy with a thousand watt smile and a laugh as big as the Montana sky. LJ Delisle (De-lye-el), is a college graduate with a business degree, and a Hurricane Katrina survivor from the Lower Ninth and is all too familiar with discrimination. He left his job and home in New Orleans and drove to Montana for an interview and a chance at training horses his way, with a gentler touch. He didn’t expect to find a broken woman in need of that same touch. He can’t stand the thought of her being alone or eating frozen TV dinners. What starts as cooking lessons to ease the loneliness for both of them turns into a friendship with the potential to be more. Before they have the chance to find out LJ has to return home for a family emergency. Together they will have to find a way to bridge the distance between them.

  26. 5 out of 5

    The Reading Realtor Michelle Diomede

    Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen I am voluntarily reviewing this ARC. This book gave me a serious case of the feels. It is beautifully written with characters that feel real and subject matters that are relevant. Andra was the victim of a terrible crime and is fighting her way back mentally and emotionally. L.J. is a horse trainer that came to her ranch for a job not looking for love, but there she is right in front of him. One of the obstacles they face is that he is black and she is whi Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen I am voluntarily reviewing this ARC. This book gave me a serious case of the feels. It is beautifully written with characters that feel real and subject matters that are relevant. Andra was the victim of a terrible crime and is fighting her way back mentally and emotionally. L.J. is a horse trainer that came to her ranch for a job not looking for love, but there she is right in front of him. One of the obstacles they face is that he is black and she is white. When I started reading, I didn’t see that as a challenge, but as the story evolved, it became problematic. The subtly of predjudice is ever present and honestly hard to face, but this book dares to go there and expose it. I was moved by the complexities of this love story. Unbreak Me, is a multi layered, beautiful story that exposes a multitude of different types of predjudice, without getting political. The love story is epically beautiful and moving. Both Andra and L.J. are in need of healing, and they save each other. This book gets all the stars. I absolutely loved it! I want to give Michelle Hazen a standing ovation!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anna Theurer (Anna's Bookshelf)

    4.5 stars Unbreak Me is a beautifully written love story between two wonderful characters with the backdrop of rural Montana and urban New Orleans. It is a story of healing and hope and it puts you through all of the feels. Andra is a small town girl who suffered something terrible, leaving her with crippling anxiety. LJ finds himself as a horse trainer on her ranch after surviving the horrors of Hurricane Katrina. Both characters are survivors and they find friendship, healing, and love togethe 4.5 stars Unbreak Me is a beautifully written love story between two wonderful characters with the backdrop of rural Montana and urban New Orleans. It is a story of healing and hope and it puts you through all of the feels. Andra is a small town girl who suffered something terrible, leaving her with crippling anxiety. LJ finds himself as a horse trainer on her ranch after surviving the horrors of Hurricane Katrina. Both characters are survivors and they find friendship, healing, and love together. I adored LJ - he is strong, sexy, insightful, humorous, and caring. I loved how he was always trying to put a smile on Andra’s face and I also loved seeing how much he cared for her, his mama, his friends, and the horses. Essentially LJ is the perfect book boyfriend. This engaging love story is multilayered with rich culture, likable characters, and incorporates important issues that are both real and present today with honesty and respect - racism, sexual assault, mental health, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina years later. I received this book for free from Netgalley.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barb Lie

    Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen is an inter-racial love story between two troubled souls. LJ Delisle, our hero, is a Haitian-Creole horse trainer from New Orleans, who arrives at a horse ranch in Montana to apply for a job. Andra Lawler helps run the ranch with her father and brother, and she is the one who trains most of the foals. When LJ arrives, he notices Andra calmly handling the horse she is training, and recognizes how good she is. When he walks to meet her, he accidentally causes her to fa Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen is an inter-racial love story between two troubled souls. LJ Delisle, our hero, is a Haitian-Creole horse trainer from New Orleans, who arrives at a horse ranch in Montana to apply for a job. Andra Lawler helps run the ranch with her father and brother, and she is the one who trains most of the foals. When LJ arrives, he notices Andra calmly handling the horse she is training, and recognizes how good she is. When he walks to meet her, he accidentally causes her to fall, and she goes into a panic shock. Though her father tries to run off LJ, Andra sees that he is just the person who can help her train the horses, especially after she puts him through the tests and the horses seem to love LJ. Both Andra and LJ have issues in their lives that causes them grief, and working with the horses alleviates the pain of their past. LJ lived with his family when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the area he and his family and friends lived; even years later, with little money, they live in terrible conditions. Andra is closed off from socializing with the people on the ranch, even partially her family. 5 years earlier, she was kidnapped and abused, though she managed to escape; but she still is haunted by nightmares, and suffers severe anxiety panic attacks. Andra is very uncomfortable dealing with people, especially knowing the local townsfolk still stare at her. What follows is a friendship between LJ and Andra, as they work together. LJ is very charming, and goes out of his way to help Andra relax and try to enjoy things, such as his wonderful cooking and boastful laugh. She begins to enjoy his company and even laugh more. When LJ learns more about what happened to her, he finds it hard to control his anger, as he has come to care for Andra, even if her father wants him out. When their relationship begins to escalate into a possible romance, LJ is afraid to push her, worrying about her attacks. When his mother becomes ill, he leaves to go back to New Orleans and help care for her. Andra will take it upon herself to travel to New Orleans to talk LJ to come back, and meet his mother and friends while staying there for a bit. When her father calls her home, the question is will LJ and her find a way to fulfill the love they have for each other, especially with all the obstacles surrounding them? Unbreak Me was very well written by Hazen, with the story covering a number of issues, such as; racism, sexual assault, anxiety, panic attacks, aftermath of Katrina and family. It was also a love story of two unlikely people who faced slim odds in finding a way to stay together, despite the complications. Unbreak Me was a very good story, which I suggest you read. Barb The Reading Cafe

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gladys

    Sometimes you discover a book and it surprises you in the best way possible. For me, this was one of those books. After reading Andra and L.J.'s story my heart is lighter but my mind is full. I thought that this was such a beautiful and powerful romance. The storyline is a cleverly crafted blend of touching romance, harsh realism and timeliness. The characters and their story are very complex. Each has a painful past, has endured trauma and now they carry with them the baggage that resulted from Sometimes you discover a book and it surprises you in the best way possible. For me, this was one of those books. After reading Andra and L.J.'s story my heart is lighter but my mind is full. I thought that this was such a beautiful and powerful romance. The storyline is a cleverly crafted blend of touching romance, harsh realism and timeliness. The characters and their story are very complex. Each has a painful past, has endured trauma and now they carry with them the baggage that resulted from having survived to tell the tale. These issues and raw emotions weigh heavily into the story and you can easily see that they have played a huge part in shaping who they are and how they see and deal with the world. There is so much here that will make your heart ache at the unfairness and injustices but also bright, shining moments of the good things in the world that give us all hope to keep going and maintain the belief that things will get better. This is not always an easy read simply because it often strikes too close to home to be so. In my opinion though it is so worth every moment of unease to experience such a memorable and moving romance. I am posting of my own volition a sincere review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    JJ

    Michelle Hazen has presented her readers with a book that is so deep, profound, touching and thought-provoking that you won’t want to put it down. This is so much more than your typical romance story. It’s about two people that couldn’t be more different, coming together at an unexpected place and time and how they manage the hardships life has presented them. Be prepared for the unexpected and be prepared to fall in love with these two people...and don’t be surprised if your heart is Michelle Hazen has presented her readers with a book that is so deep, profound, touching and thought-provoking that you won’t want to put it down. This is so much more than your typical romance story. It’s about two people that couldn’t be more different, coming together at an unexpected place and time and how they manage the hardships life has presented them. Be prepared for the unexpected and be prepared to fall in love with these two people...and don’t be surprised if your heart is more open by the time you reach the end of the story. I received a reader copy of this book with no obligation except to post an honest review. My heart is filled with this deeply touching story. Michelle has earned five stars for this book along with my deep appreciation for a job well done.

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