Review Tour: Anything But Broken: Joelle Knox

Anything But Broken
Joelle Knox
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Available August 25th

After five years, tragedy brings Hannah Casey back to Hurricane Creek to bury what’s left of her family. She’s flunking out of college, haunted by scandal, and the only person who cares is Sean Whitlow, an irresistible bad boy with a soft spot for her. The problem? He’s her dead sister’s ex.

Sean doesn’t bleed red, he bleeds motor oil. During the week, he struggles to turn his auto repair shop into a profitable business. But when Saturday night rolls around, he’s the reigning stock-car king of the local race track. He doesn’t know how to lose–or how to walk away and leave Hannah alone with her grief.

Between her grades and her wealthy family’s dark secrets, Hannah’s barely holding her life together. And the last thing Sean needs is to get tangled up with another Casey girl. As the attraction between them spins out of control, they’ll either find a love with no limits–or go up in flames.

Anything but Broken is the first new adult romance from Joelle Knox.

Fall in love with bad boys in fast cars and the girls who can’t help but fall for them.

Joelle Knox is the penname of writing team Donna Herren & Bree Bridges, who also write the bestselling dystopian erotic romance series as Kit Rocha.

​“Everything has to come together. It’s skill, but it’s also luck. If you’re good enough, you can beat better cars. And if you suck, the best car in the world can’t win you checkered flags. Sometimes you have both, but something happens to fuck it all up—a guy spinning out on the back stretch right in front of you, or a caution that blows your giant lead on second place. When you have all three, though, it’s magical.” — Sean, Anything but Broken

Hannah Casey has returned to Hurricane Creek to a house full of ghosts. She never really fit in there, but now is even more lost. The one familiar face who seems interested in helping her is her sister's ex boyfriend, Sean. He's always been a bit of a bad boy, but now he is trying to make good. He gets his adrenaline rush out of car racing, but also runs his own business. In some ways he's safe because he knows some of the family secrets, but he also screams danger. And she has more secrets to tell as well.

She's shy, awkward, lonely  and not sure what direction her life needs to go. She's been locked down by expectations her whole life.  She has felt invisible, but now she needs distraction, thrill, direction, and guidance. She wants to be a little impetuous, bad, or let go and Sean is there to help her.  She has a fear of intimacy, and is shy and anxious. But she longs to feel alive.

Sean has his own demons and is not sure he wants to travel down a questionable path with Hannah. Even though she does not seem like her sister that had a profound, but not always positive effect on his life, she still has issues.

But they find themselves revolving around each other and skating an attraction that is probably not a good idea and they can't seem to resist.

This is a book about a girl whose whole life was based on a facade and lies. And the lies she has had to keep have had consequences on her own life and could also affect others she cares about. There are secrets that have the potential to break them. She's a girl that craves to belong and truly feel. They both have some baggage and issues that affect them. He is a man with strong protective instincts, but also his own fears. This is their story about learning to cope, live, trust, and love. It's about letting yourself be vulnerable and open, takings risks, and having hope. Sometimes people are broken, and sometimes just bent and a little TLC can set them right.

It is an angsty NA book with layers of history and secrets that are gradually revealed. The excitement of the racing added interest and a bit of a dangerous edge. But I did have some issues with this book. I felt a disconnect with the two main characters. I liked Sean, but did not always buy his interest in Hannah. And I had a hard time liking her at times. But that was all part of her problem that you had to dig deep to get to know her. She came off as immature and whiny at times. I had a hard time feeling a connection and real chemistry between them.

I actually liked the side characters Evie and Gibb better with their feisty banter, resistance, and obvious hidden feelings, and I am interested in their story that will continue in Anything but Perfect.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Hannah is a rich girl who is used to hiding all the bad or ugly parts of life. Her family are experts at glossing over the rough parts so that everything looks shiny and perfect on the outside even as they are struggling on the inside. She has a lot going on in her life that makes it impossible to ignore the ugly any longer -- burying what is left of her family is just the tip of the iceberg.

In a way, this was more a coming of age/self-discovery story for Hannah than it was a true romance. Sean knows who he is, has a handle on who he used to be, and knows where he wants to go in life. Hannah is just coasting along, maintaining her family’s expectations of perfection on the outside even when she doesn’t agree with the decisions.

I felt like the “bad boy” persona of Sean was played up in the book blurb, but didn’t actually reflect him. The only bad boy streak I could see was his teen years with Hannah’s sister, but even then it almost seemed as if he was going along with Cait rather than leading the way into trouble. Or maybe that he didn’t come from a family as rich as the Casey family? He runs a successful garage. He has a supportive family and group of friends that want to see him succeed and push him to do so. Yes, he races stock-cars, but he does so as part of an organized sport and is determined to follow all the rules of the course.

But I loved Sean. He had a great head on his shoulders, and experience making tough decisions and living like an adult. He was quick to act, and didn’t worry about what others in their small town would think about appearances.

It felt like Sean and Hannah never really talked about what should have been the biggest (most obvious) reason they shouldn’t date -- Hannah’s sister. They never really dealt with how tumultuous and toxic that relationship was and how it might creep in to haunt a relationship between Sean and Hannah.

I really loved Evie and Gibb and am anticipating their stories taking center stage in Anything But Perfect. They have an interesting set of interactions that I sometimes found myself more interested in them than Sean and Hannah. I can’t wait to find out exactly what has been going on behind the scenes with those two.

Sean’s family is great. His mom, brothers, and sister are just good people and I loved the way they supported him, and quickly absorbed Hannah into the fold as well.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

coming 2016

coming 2016

Who is Joelle Knox?

Joelle Knox is the penname of co-writing team Donna Herren and Bree Bridges. Best friends for years, they’ve been collaborating and publishing together since 2008. As Kit Rocha they write the award winning dystopian erotic romance Beyond series, and as Moira Rogers they’ve penned dozens of paranormal novels, novellas and stories.

Anything but Broken is their first contemporary romance and their first new adult romance.

Why so many pennames? So readers know what they’re getting–and what they’re not.


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