Category Archives: Michelle Hazen

Review: Breathe the Sky by Michelle Hazen

Title: Breathe the Sky by Michelle Hazen
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Two strangers start out saving animals and end up rescuing each other in this heartwarming romance from the author of Unbreak Me.

Mari Tucker is a wildlife biologist who scoops bunnies and endangered tortoises out of harm’s way on construction sites. Still haunted by her past, she takes the most remote jobs in the Mojave Desert to avoid people and hide from her ex. It’s a simple, quiet life filled with sweet animals and solar-powered baking until she ends up assigned to Jack Wyatt’s crew.

Construction foreman Jack Wyatt’s loud, foul-mouthed temper keeps even the most rugged of men on his crew in line. No mistake is overlooked, because out in the desert it could mean life or death. In his opinion, the job site is no place for sensitive biologists, especially one as shy as Mari. But instead of wilting from the heat and hard work, Mari wins over Jack and his crew one homemade brownie at a time.

Jack and Mari find a comfortable rhythm, building a friendship that’s rare for both of them. After Jack’s rocky childhood, they have more in common than they’d imagined. But even the Mojave sun can’t chase away the shadows when the past is determined to track them down…


Breathe the Sky by Michelle Hazen  is a marvelous contemporary romance with a breathtaking setting.

Following years of abuse, biologist Mari Tucker has escaped her ex-husband, Brad and started a new life for herself. She works in the Mojave Desert with a handful of other biologists who are monitoring a crew installing electrical lines. Mari is quiet, keeps to herself, and dreads the day Brad finds her. Due to her past, she is sensitive about loud and aggressive men, so the last person she wants to monitor is foreman Jack Wyatt. But as she gets to know him, Mari realizes they share more in common that she originally believes. And when she begins spending time with him outside of work, will Mari act on her growing attraction for brash, yet gentle, Jack?

Jack might have left Alabama but he still carries the scars from his abusive childhood and dysfunctional relationship with his brother Leroy.  Jack does not suffer fools lightly and although he is foul-mouthed and shouty, he genuinely cares about the men working for him. He is under a lot of pressure to keep the project moving so he impatiently and emphatically refuses to listen to the biologists’ explanations about why they are protecting certain species. But when Mari is assigned to watch him and his crew, Jack appreciates her quiet way of getting her point across.  Jack is protective of Mari but will he let down the walls he uses to keep everyone at arms’ length?

Mari and Jack’s relationship gradually shifts from professional to friendship to romance. Mari takes the first hesitant step to friendship but Jack is hard to read. She does not push hard but she is persistent as she sets aside her fears of rejection.  Jack is certainly enamored by Mari, but due to his past and the negative voices in his head, he is initially a little uneasy about  their budding friendship. Mari opens up to him about her past and while Jack tells her some details about his, he tends to be tighter lipped. Just as their romance is beginning to gain traction, Mari’s knee-jerk reaction and unrealistic expectations put a future together in jeopardy. For his part, Jack is willing to give her the space she requests but a family emergency is an additional threat to their relationship.

Breathe the Sky is a slow-growing, heartfelt romance. The characters are beautifully developed with back stories that tug on the heartstrings. The Mojave Desert springs vividly to life and provides the perfect backdrop for Jack and Mari’s heartwarming romance. With a few obstacles for Mari and Jack to overcome,  Michelle Hazen  brings this charming love story to an uplifting, sigh-worthy conclusion. A must read for fans of contemporary romances.

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Filed under Berkley, Breathe the Sky, Contemporary, Michelle Hazen, Rated B, Review, Romance

Review: Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen

Title: Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 303 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


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.


Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen is a poignant novel of healing and love.

Andra Lawler lives on her family ranch in Montana.  Following a horrific assault several years ago, she finished college then moved home in order to feel safe. She spends her days training horses and avoiding her family and friends.  But after hiring New Orleans native and horse trainer LJ Delisle, Andra gradually emerges from her self-imposed isolation. Their time together is filled with laughter as LJ charms her while teaching her cook.  Andra and LJ share a mutual attraction, but will their respective issues destroy their chance at happiness?

Andra went through an absolutely unspeakable ordeal that still affects her.  She has managed to find a way to cope with her fears, but in doing so she lives a very isolated life.  Andra is content to keep her distance other people in order to feel safe. Deciding to hire a new trainer is her first act of rebellion against her overly protective father, but will Andra continue her solitary routine?

LJ is very excited about his new job training horses for the Lawler family. He also loves living on the Montana ranch despite how very different it is from New Orleans.  LJ is fun-loving and quick to laugh but underneath his amiable exterior lies a man who never forgets the racial divide that exists between him and the rest of the world. He also carries the horrors of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

LJ is a force to be reckoned with as he gently slips through Andra’s rather formidable defenses.  His upbeat personality is difficult to resist and soon he and Andra spend every free minute together. Their friendship is somewhat carefree but real life does intrude in unexpected ways. Just as they are beginning to explore their attraction, LJ must return to New Orleans to help his mother.  Dismayed by his departure, Andra steps out of her comfort zone and she soon discovers she is much stronger than she believes.

Unbreak Me is a heartwarming romance that features a realistic storyline and two very appealing characters.  Although Andra and LJ are from very different backgrounds, they bring out the very best in one another. Their relationship is an absolutely joy to watch unfold but there are times their inability to communicate threatens to derail their future together. Montana and New Orleans serve as the perfect backdrop for this heartfelt story and both locations spring vividly to life.  Michelle Hazen brings this engaging romance to an emotional yet uplifting conclusion.  I thoroughly enjoyed highly recommend this captivating novel to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Michelle Hazen, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Unbreak Me