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Hurricane Creek #1

Anything but Broken

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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.

237 pages, ebook

First published August 25, 2015

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About the author

Joelle Knox

3 books62 followers
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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,059 reviews12.2k followers
August 27, 2015
3 Stars

I'm the girl who always stands in someone else's shadow. The eternal third wheel. It takes two drinks to loosen my tongue, and no amount of alcohol can thaw me below the neck.

Truth be told, I've been waffling over my rating for this book for over a week now. While I enjoyed the concept of the book, the secondary characters and I'm certainly hooked on the series itself, I honestly can't say that I loved this book. I was bored and found myself skimming the majority of the story.

When I first saw the synopsis for Anything But Broken, I knew I had to read it. It sounded oh so deliciously angsty. Add into it the fact that I've heard amazing things about the authors' other series under a different pen name (Kit Rocha) and I was so excited to get my hands on this. Unfortunately when I started reading it, the only thing that was running through my head was

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything that grabbed me either...ever. It started out slow and for me the first half felt very dragging. I kept reading in hopes that it'll pick up soon and perhaps the first 60% is just the build up, but that never happened. I find that NA usually has different types of angst, and being the angst whore that I am, I enjoy it each and every single time. However, as I've come to find here, there can also be a boring type of angst.

The synopsis made it sound like there will be some deep dark secrets and I was waiting for them to be revealed. But when they were? I didn't find them shocking or sinister, but anticlimactic at best. The plot had so much going for it; it just never went anywhere. It was stagnant and dragging. There was nothing to drive the plot. At least not for me. I never connected to either of the MCs. I did like Sean for the most part, but found the heroine fell completely flat for me. The romance between them was lukewarm. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because of Sean's connection to Hannah's sister? For whatever reason, I just didn't feel that strong of a connection between them. It also felt, dare I say it, settling.

The one thing that I did love was the set up for the series and the secondary characters; particularly Evie and Gibb. I can't wait to get my hands on their story because that definitely sounds like it would be exactly up my alley. I'm writing this book off as a fluke in the series or maybe just the mood I'm in? I suppose it's one of those books that you'll either like or be mostly indifferent about. I by no means hated it. Like I said, it just never grabbed me.

ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,066 followers
August 26, 2015
3.5 stars!

This was a bit slow, character driven story. That's usually not a problem with me but when you couldn't quite connect with one of the characters, it becomes a problem. I had a hard time connecting with Hannah. I liked her enough but I'm not a fan with the fact that most of her struggles are all internal. It got better towards the end when she finally opened up but her POV was a struggle for me. I did like Sean. It's refreshing to read about a "bad boy" hero minus the cliched bagged. And I loved his banter with Gibb.

One big plus for me is the writing. These characters have depth and layers to them. So while this wasn't a pure winner for me, I think it's a promising start to this series. Definitely looking forward to Evie and Gibb's story.

ARC provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for NiCoLeTa E. {Addicted To Books}.
1,372 reviews85 followers
November 23, 2015
***3 "Broken" stars**

I was torned with my rating of this book...

It wasn't bad at all, but it didn't wooed me...
I liked the concept but something was bothering me....
I think that my major problem was with the main heroine, Hannah!!!
Yeah, she was a broken person and there were plenty reasons about this brokenness, but i think that she was a little bit overreacting...

But let me get it from the start...

After a tragedy that striked Hannah's family, she had to return back to her hometown after five years of absence...
You see, back then it had been another tragedy that costs Hannah's sister her life, so her parents isolated her away with her grandparents...

Now, she is back and she is so lost that she clings to the only person that he might have a clue about the awefulness of her family. That person was her sister's ex, Sean.
Hannah feels that she can trust him and being around him the dark inside her seemed to vanished away... She doesn't need anything else to buzz it!!!

Yeah, okay!!! Hannah's been through too many shits from her parents, but i didn't like the way that she were haddling them... She aloud them to choke her down and it was kind of depressing to watch it!!!

Except from the above, her family was fake and she was hiding too many things from the world...
They're like to pretend that everything was perfect, but the truth was far beyond than perfection.
And with those parents Hannah learned to pretend as much as they did.

Only Sean managed to vanish this fake mask off her face, but Sean didn't know everything about her.
Her sister once ruined his life and if he finally learn the truth, Hannah will shatter him for once again...

I'm confusing you, right??? Sorry, but this book was a little bit confusing!!!

Sean from the other hand was characterised as the bad boy, but i didn't saw a bad boy at all...
I don't know if he used to be before all those years, but the only thing that i saw was a beautiful, kind, gentle and caring man.

He stood beside Hannah, even though that he was burnt in the past from her crazy sister!!!
He fell in love with her and he wanted so badly to drown her out of her darkness...

I really liked that guy!!!

I have to reffer to the secondary characters which i liked them all, but especially Gibbs and Evie and really i can not wait for their turn!!!
Gibbs seemed like a major duchebag at the beginning but what he did for Hannah was so nice!!! That moment i loved him!!!

He was having a shitty life himself, but he fought it hard and he got the winner of his own life. That was the difference between him and Hannah and i admired him for that...
Evie was also a really good friend and i need more informations about her.... but i already like her...
I hope Gibbs and Evie could find the way to each other!!!

So... as i told you above. It was a nice book, but it could be better!!!
I think that my problem is focused to Hannah's attitude toward her life...
I didn't appreciated it too much!!!
But i would like to see what will happen next...

***ARC generously provided via NetGalley for the exchange of an honest review***
Profile Image for Jayme.
430 reviews444 followers
September 7, 2015
A very nice emotional romance about how tragedy and circumstance brings together two people who fall in love and how in this love can be find strength.

"It’s electricity, it’s fireworks, it’s the thrill I get when Sean takes me out in his car and drives fast— the freedom of flying and the safety of knowing he’ll catch me."

***Quick Review:***

Series: The first in the Hurricane Creek series.
Grade/Tag Tabs: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Racing Romance.
Main characters: Hannah Casey is almost 21 years old, after a five years she returns to Hurricane Creek, bringing her there another family tragedy. Sean Whitlow is a few years older and is an ex boyfriend of her dead sister. He works in his car services, and on weekends takes part in the races on the local circuit.
Secondary characters: Absolutely Amazing. The most important are friends Gibb and Evie, about them will be the second book. But the whole Sean's family are a good team.
Steamy: Yes. It is not erotica but there are some hot scenes.
Sensitive topic: Yes.
Love triangle:

For who I would recommend? If you like emotional book of the New Adult grade, it will be good reading for you.


About the plot: Hannah returns to her hometown Hurricane Creek. She left at the age of 15 on holiday to her grandmother and never came back. During these holiday, her sister passed away, and her parents did not want her back. Said that her family situation ever was good is an understatement.

"Welcome to the Casey house, where everything is fucked up, but don’t you dare say it isn’t perfect."

Hannah returns home when another tragedy happened. Her father was an alcoholic and caused the accident in which he died, and her mother's unconscious. She comes back and has to face the most difficult decisions, including when to detach her mother of life support equipment. The only person she knows and who can understand, is her sister's ex-boyfriend, Sean. She seeking his closeness, understanding, acceptance and a distraction.

Sean leads a peaceful and good life. His relationship with Hannah's sister was crazy and did not finish well. He never had a chance to explain, since she returned from holiday in the coffin. When he sees Hannah, he worried about her, and although do not want again to drown in her family drama, it's stronger than him. He sees the broken girl and wants to help and be her support.

When they more and more spend time together, they feel to each other an increasing of chemistry and growing feelings. Although this is not exactly a straight path.

Final thoughts: Fantastic hero. His relation with his best friend Gibb brought a lot of good scenes. It created the perfect character for the second part. The girl, Hannah, is broken so we can not expect that from the very beginning will be strong and fearless, there is uncertainty, however, her internal monologue was exhausting sometimes. There was some anxiety and despite attempts to introduce mystery it was quite predictable, at least for me. But there are some OMG moments that may surprise you.

Overall it was a very pleasant reading. The best part was the growing feeling and relationship. Here, everything is very well managed. I love their stories, their strength as he showed her how to cope as she became more and more self-confident. And most important how to be good at being a little bad.

“This is your show, Hannah. You’re the one who wants to be bad, so you’re the one who decides what that means.”

Next in the series? Yes. About secondary characters Gibb and Evie. Sadly, not until 2016.

*ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Cristina.
343 reviews321 followers
October 1, 2015
Warning: Not very popular review coming up...


DNF 25%


Don't you just hate it when a book starts really promising and you're really digging it but when the moment comes for the characters to get hot and heavy it's just...nothing?


Everything was going fine until their first kiss when a big light bulb appeared over my head and I had a revelation...


...this two had ZERO chemistry and I'm not a big fan of InstaLove or InstaLust but I need something...anything...


But one thing is for sure...I'm not recommending this one...


*ARC generously provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Michelle.
2,101 reviews1,263 followers
September 4, 2015
ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

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Broken. Having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order. Broken. To have given up all hope. Defeated. BROKEN. In Joelle Knox's Anything But Broken , readers are given a multifaceted look at a fractured, broken, defeated heroine who is just struggling to breathe, live each day, and not be broken when her world and life is crumbling around her as she returns home to Hurricane Creek. So when the cracks are broken and shattered, are the pieces of a heart and life to late to be repaired? Can truth and love be the first step in acceptance and healing or is one just to broken to be fixed?


Joelle Knox takes you down an intense, emotional, raw, heartbreaking tale of Hannah Casey as she tries to survive and deal with the loss of her sister, the death of her father, and deciding when to pull the plug on her mother's life support. The ghost of memories are what haunts Hannah Casey as her family's facade and image of a cookie cutter family comes crumbling down. Returning home to her hometown, Hannah has to manage her family's estate and decide when she will pull the plug. Not only is her family life a mess but also her personal life because she is in a downward spiral. She is barely holding onto a thread because she is flunking out of school and has no idea what she wants to do with her life. So when she reunites with Sean Whitlow, who happens to be her sister's ex-boyfriend, Hannah just wanted to escape and be free. Sean shows Hannah what it means to be free and let go. So as Hannah and Sean begins to develop intense feelings for one another, what happens when the truths and secrets that Hannah kept about her family and sister are revealed? Can Hannah continue to hide behind the facade of rich girl? Or will the pressure and expectations of her comes barreling down, forcing her to turn to alcohol to feel numb? Can Sean be the one to show her that she is anything but broken?

Anything But Broken was such a deep, emotional, tragic, heartbreaking story that pulls you into the book the moment you read the first page. Joelle Knox doesn't give you a simple love story but allows it's readers to feel the depth of loss, heartbreak, and emptiness. Joelle Knox consumes you with these raw emotions so as reader you are emotionally invested in Hannah and Sean. Anything But Broken is a story of acceptance, healing, love, second chances and starting over. In Hannah's complicated world, she found one uncomplicated thing that could be hers. And that was Sean. Sean showed her to its okay to be vulnerable and it's okay to live on the edge. And it's okay to be just you. So in a world of expectations, Hannah Casey learned its okay to go fast, to go slow, but most importantly to enjoy the ride even if it means going through some bumps along the way. So if you are looking for a book that will have your hearts racing, then I recommend you to read Anything But Broken because there isn't anything broken when it comes to Hannah and Sean.


Review can also be found on Four Chicks Flipping Pages: http://fourchicksflippingpages.weebly...Joelle Knox
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,343 reviews1,015 followers
August 22, 2015
Anything but Broken is the first book in the new Hurricane Creek series by Joelle Knox, AKA writing duo Bree and Donna who you may already know under one of their other pen names: Moira Rogers or Kit Rocha. I can understand why these authors choose to write under several names because each of their personas have a very distinctive voice and writing style, I'm a huge fan of everything that they write but not all of their books will appeal to everyone and it's good to have an easy way to tell what you're signing up for before you buy one of their books. Anything but Broken is like nothing they've done before but it still has innate their flare for story telling and for creating characters you'll come to care about.

Hannah hasn't returned to her home town since the death of her sister five years ago but now another tragedy has brought her back, this time a car crash that killed her father outright and left her mother in a coma. Her life is falling apart around her and Hannah doesn't even know how to start picking up the pieces. Sean used to date Hannah's sister and when he realises how alone Hannah is he sets out to take care of her. The attraction between them is intense but Sean is more interested in helping Hannah put her life back together and he doesn't want to rush her into anything. The connection between them is undeniable but they both have plenty of issues to work through if they are going to have any chance at making a relationship work.

Too often I find that NA romances revolve around guys who are players which leads to drama with exes or a lot bitchiness amongst the female characters and I'm sick of reading them so it's nice to find something that breaks the mould. The intensity in this story comes from the character's, from their past experiences and their way of looking at life, so there is actually very little in the way of conflict caused by the people around them. Hannah has been through a lot, her father was an alcoholic and her mother didn't deal with things very well so her childhood wasn't great. Her sister suffered with bipolar disorder but was never given the help she desperately needed because of the way her mother reacted and Hannah has spent years blaming herself for her sister's death and struggling to come to terms with what happened. She felt ostracised by her family and she never got the chance to make peace with them or get answers to the many questions she had. It's had a huge impact on her and now she's struggling to come to terms with everything and find a way to move forward.

Sean was her first crush but as her big sister's boyfriend he was completely off limits, of course five years later everything has changed. She's still just as attracted to him as ever but it looks like he might return the attraction and she's not quite sure what to do with that, especially considering the family secrets she is still keeping from him. I absolutely loved Sean, he was the perfect blend of protective, caring lover and sexy, slightly dangerous bad boy. He was an everyday guy who worked hard to keep his garage running by day and who spent his evenings and weekends as a race car driver. I've never really thought of stock-car racing as particularly sexy but Sean convinced me and I'm definitely looking forward to more of that side of things as the series continues. What I loved most about Sean was his patience and the way he looked out for Hannah, he can see just how broken she is but that doesn't scare him off and he works hard to help her build her confidence and get her life back on track.

Alongside the main couple we also have a great cast of secondary characters, I loved Sean's family and the way they took Hannah into the fold was really nice to see. There is a lot of fun banter between the siblings but they all care deeply about each other and I hope we get to see more of them all as the series continues. Hannah gets the chance to reconnect with her childhood friend Evie and I really loved seeing a strong and supportive female friendship between them, there is no petty jealousy, you just have two young women who care about each other and are there to support each other through the hard times. My favourite secondary character was Sean's friend Gibb though, in the beginning he is very against Sean's relationship with Hannah and I have to admit I was a little wary of his character but he really grew on me. Gibb obviously didn't want to see his friend get hurt and was trying to protect Sean and I could respect him for that but what I liked about him most was his ability to realise when he was in the wrong and the way he stepped up for Hannah to help her deal with something when he was in a unique position to offer her advice. Once we get to know him it becomes obvious that he's a really caring guy and I was incredibly excited to find out he's the hero of the next book.

I was already a huge fan of this writing duo but I'm definitely going to be adding their new Joelle Knox pen name to my list of auto-buy authors. I have a feeling that this is going to turn into one of my favourite NA series and it's definitely one I'll be recommending to anyone who likes to read about realistic, flawed characters who are dealing with tough emotional issues and who find the strength to rebuild their lives.

Thoughts before reading:
I will read anything this writing duo comes up with so HELL YES I want this book!!!!
Profile Image for Jeanne.
537 reviews297 followers
August 19, 2015
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warning: This book touches on suicide and bipolar disorder. It deals directly with mental and emotional abuse, anxiety disorder, and alcoholism. The word "crazy" is also used a great deal.

A harsh reality of adolescence is not all of us make it out alive. Those of us who do survive often carry the weight of those lost lives with us, along with a fair amount of survivor’s guilt. This is one of the quintessential New Adult experiences that I rarely see explored in any genre of fiction, much less with this much care, thoughtfulness, and raw honesty.

Hannah Casey has come home to deal with the aftermath of a car accident that resulted in the death of her father and hospitalization of her mother. As the only living member of her family Hannah is forced to take on real adult responsibilities, and return to a town she hasn’t seen since she was fifteen. While she faces the ghosts of her past, she runs into Sean Witlow, her first crush, and her (dead) sister’s ex-boyfriend. Tragedy brings them together, but it’s love and the possibility of a second chance at happiness that draws them closer. If only those the secrets that have haunted Hannah will stay in the past.

I went into this book with the expectations of a well written, steamy romance intensified by a personal tragedy. While all of this elements are present, Anything But Broken elevates them far beyond my wildest expectations. From the opening scene of the book the skillful storytelling blew me away. In that scene, where Hannah returns to her childhood home, there was a tangible the sense of foreboding that gave it the feel of a contemporary gothic horror, only instead of ghost and castles it had memories and a home gym. That oppressive sense of impending dread that mirrors Hannah's own mental and emotional state felt like a living breathing entity that hung over me while I read. It’s made me tense and anxious to keep reading, in anticipation of the prevail shoe that was destined to drop. And when it did, though I thought I was ready for it, I wasn’t even remotely prepared for how realistic and how emotionally it was, for me.

The writing is flawless. It reads so smoothly, but also lavish in it's world building. I know, that seems like a strange things to say about a contemporary story, but in this case it fits. Hurricane Creek feels like a real place. You fell the humidity of a Georgia summer night, and almost taste the sweet smell of fresh peaches. More importantly,  I feel like I know all these characters. I’ve traveled with them through the backroads of Hurricane Creek, seen them at their highest and lowest. That kind of emotional investment doesn't just happen by accident.

On the surface Hannah looks like your typical romantic heroine. In reality, she is anything but. This girl is a very flawed and deeply damaged young woman. She makes a lot of mistakes, but she also learns from them and grows over the course of the story. Hannah is a beautifully complex young woman, a refreshing mixture of courage, recklessness, and vulnerability that feels so on the spot for being just shy of 21. It meant a lot to me personally to see a young woman allowed to come back from a big fall. I think we often forget how girls are pressured to be perfect to the point that they many fear being written off forever for being human.

As for the romantic leading man, Sean Witlow. WOW! He too seems to be all the classic Alpha male tropes wrapped in a hot mechanic/racer, but he is so much more. It is wonderful to see a young man understand and respect consent, who loves and forgives, but who is also goes through his own character arc. He is actually allowed to process guilt and grief, while growing and learning. He is still a delightfully sexy romantic fantasy, but also a very believable working class man who truly appreciates and respects women.

Hannah and Sean’s relationship is a perfect balance of sweet romantic fantasy and realistic depiction of how tragedy can intensify attraction. I was really impressed with how much time was give to the development of their relationship.  Trust is the foundation of their relationship that carries them into some of the hottest sex scenes I have ever read, even the ones that never involve penis-in-vagina sex. The slow building sexual tension never lets up even when the story reaches both its literal and thematic climaxes. This is top notch erotic romance, and some of the most subversively feminist I’ve ever read. Even within the throws of a sex act that is one of the most classic symbol of masculine dominance the focus is on Hannah’s pleasure and power, and this prioritization of Hannah’s pleasure is emphasized by Sean himself.

The story also has a strong ensemble cast of distinct and endearing characters, who I hope to see get their own spotlights in the rest of the Hurricane Creek series. Gibb and Evie being two of my personal favorites, both are just as complex as Hannah and Sean while having fascinating backstories of their own. I especially love how we watch Hannah’s own view of Gibb changed over the course of the story as she came to know him better. This double duty character development, that felt so organic while reading, is what I'm mean when I say the storytelling blew my mind.

As for the contents of the trigger warning, this story isn’t about suicide or mental illness, so much as it is about the devastation of alcoholism. It is really a story for families of addicts, exploring that painful awakening we all go through at some point in our lives when we realize just how much destruction addiction has done to us and those we love, but also how we could succumb to it someday too. It also unpacks the psychological damage that children of alcoholics deal with, in this case anxiety. Anything but Broken deals with each of these topics with unflinching honesty and understanding that resonated with me on a very personal level.

I cried a great deal while reading this book, both happy tears and very painfully personal ones. I share this not just to applaud the novel, but to further warn other readers who may share some of these traumas. I love this book, and will read it again. But it is very honest and raw, which might trigger reactions with readers who relate a great deal with Hannah's childhood/family dynamics.

I honestly could writing a hundred essays on every detail of this book, and I still might, but for the sake of this review I will just say it is a great, very steamy romance with an honest heart and realistic portrayal of some of the hardest parts of growing up.

Anything But Broken by Joelle Knox will be available on August 25th 2015, but you can pre-order it on Amazon and Kobo now.

Note about the authors: Joelle Knox is the pen name of Donna Herren and Bree Bridges, the talented writing duo behind the dystopian erotic romance Beyond series as Kit Rocha and they’ve penned dozens of paranormal novels as Moira Rogers.
Profile Image for Tori.
2,825 reviews478 followers
August 25, 2015

Anything But Broken by Joelle Knox (aka Kit Rocha aka Moira Rogers) is an NA romance contemporary that deals with little sister crush, second chances, and some serious subject matters. Two strong well developed and likable protagonists build a sweet and sexy romance while discovering some uncomfortable truths about one another, themselves, and their combined pasts. Angsty, broody, and wonderfully romantic with some delightful supporting characters whose humor and support adds some lovely lighthearted moments to break the serious overtones. All in all enjoyable NA, I did have a couple of issues. One, I found Hannah hard to relate to for most of the book. Knox did such a good job showing the readers how emotionally disconnected Hannah was I never felt we really got to see the real Hannah till almost the end. Also, I felt the ending came hard and fast with too little resolution for the serious of this couple's issues. I am looking forward to the next book as this looks to be the start of another winning series for this dynamic and prolific writing duo.

Profile Image for La-Lionne.
482 reviews787 followers
Want to read
August 4, 2015
I'm actually very exited about this book. New pen name, new genre. Interesting... My hopes are high for this one :).
Profile Image for Chelsea.
Author 7 books305 followers
November 9, 2017
Joelle Knox’s Anything But Broken is a tale of grief and redemption built around the core of engaging romance and undeniable chemistry.

Hannah Casey has spent her life wearing the Casey mask, being the perfect daughter and living out the life her mother told her she would have. Now she’s back home in Hurricane Creek because her parents were in a terrible car accident. Her father died in the crash, but her mother is brain dead and on life support. Her strained relationship with them doesn’t matter when she’s the only living relative. She has to be at the hospital with her mom, she has to make decisions. It’d be different if her sister Cait were still alive, but she’s not. Hannah is alone and no longer has anyone around to tell her how to feel.

Hannah reunites with her older sister’s ex-boyfriend Sean. There’s an instant connection between them. They’re both older and different now. It doesn’t take long for them to start seeing one another as people instead of “Cait’s little sister” and “Cait’s ex-boyfriend.” Both have major hangups about this. The guilt of falling for someone so bound to someone you loved and lost is real and deep. Cait’s death further complicates the situation as both feel guilty, both had their lives changed by the event, and both have to fear they’re retreading old ground.

The ghost of Cait permeates the novel, but as a reader I only ever wanted Hannah and Sean to be happy together. Their clear similarities, the way the understand one another and are able to have open, honest conversations and take things slowly. The internal narration lets us understand how deeply these two want to cling to one another even as the dialog suggests it’s totally casual and is just for fun.

It’s more than fun. The electricity between Hannah and Sean is vivid from their first encounter and only increases with each interaction. The slow-and-steady pace of their relationship is appropriate given their respective guilt. The more Hannah accepts her desire for Sean, the more she begins to discover who she is without her family’s orders. However, she never makes her life decisions in the name of staying with Sean, despite the ease and comfort she gets with him. While a distinctly new adult novel, this element elevated the standard NA angst for me into deep growth.

While the heat level is lower than works Joelle Knox writes under other pen names (e.g. Kit Rocha) the emotional knockout of the romance makes the simmering heat in Anything But Broken just as potent.
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,432 reviews1,326 followers
December 30, 2015
Have I expressed the excitement I have that the writing duo of Joelle Knox is now writing New Adult? You may know and love them as Kit Rocha or Moira Rogers, but you should be dying to get your hands on this first in their new adult series.

Anything but Broken features Hannah Casey & Sean Whitlow. Hannah is back in the small town of Hurricane Creek to bury her family… what was left of it anyway. She’s spent her life having her mother tell her what to do, where to go, what to be and now that she’s gone, she isn’t sure what direction her life is headed in.

Sean Whitlow doesn’t need the kind of trouble that comes with Hannah Casey. He had enough of that dealing with her sister but for some reason he can’t keep away from her. With his auto repair shop on its way to becoming successful and the king of the stock car races he’s always had someone… family or friends who have had his back. But Hannah doesn’t have that, and he can’t just stand by and watch her fall apart even if his best friend is urging him to stay away.

I’ve always said this writing duo does relationships amazingly well and they only continue to get better at it with each and every book they release. Hannah and Sean’s relationship has an added layer of complexity simply because of their pasts in this small town, and it made it just that much more interesting and had me turning pages to see just how it was all going to go down.

If you’ve read any of this pair’s other books you also know that they can write the crap out of emotional and sexy scenes… the chemistry between Sean and Hannah was tangible on each and every page and I couldn’t wait to see how they would finally connect and how their relationship would progress.

And can I just say Sean *fans self*. I don’t even get excited about car races, but I feel like I have a bit of a mechanic / car racing fantasy streak after reading this book! He’s so solid… not just because he has a business and is making a life, but he just knows who he is, what he wants and how he’s going to make it all work. He’s there for his family and friends and he doesn’t give up on Hannah when it would definitely be the easy option.

This story does deal with some pretty heavy issues… be warned about that, but it’s not over the top or overly heavy like some New Adult tends to become which I fully appreciate. I thought the plot progressed nicely and I really loved how a certain someone stepped in at the end there even though he wasn’t quite as supportive throughout.

Overall, an amazing start to a wonderful new series by some authors that I love! I’m excited to read more! If you’re a fan of the new adult genre and love a book heavy on sexy, amazing characters and a story that has you so riveted you can’t put it down, then you’re going to want to grab this one when it comes out in August!
Profile Image for Simply Love Book Reviews.
7,018 reviews834 followers
August 25, 2015
JavaGirl's review posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

One of my favorites writing teams, Kit Rocha, have a brand new pen name, Joelle Knox. They created Joelle to write contemporary, new adult books. As excited as I was to hear this news, I admit I rarely read New Adult. I'm not sure if it's because I prefer to read about older characters with whom I might have more in common, or if it's because I have two new adult daughters and I deal with the angst on a personal level. Probably both. Regardless, it's a sub-genre I rarely read but I was willing to give Joelle's debut book a try. I was pleasantly surprised and ended up liking this book and these characters quite a lot. There was plenty of the dreaded angst and drama, but the more I learned about Hannah's childhood and her dysfunctional family, the more I understood and sympathized with her and her choices, even though I didn't necessarily agree with all of her decisions and actions. Hannah has returned to her small hometown for the first time in five years for her father's funeral. It's the end of her family, but it can be a new beginning for her if she is willing to take the risk and open herself up to old friends. She reconnects with her older sister's former boyfriend, Sean. Sean is from a blue-collar, hard working, tight knit family; the polar opposite of Hannah's family. He now owns his own business and races cars at the local track, with a couple of his close friends. I found Sean, his family, and even his cranky best friend, Gibb, extremely appealing. Even though Gibb wants to keep Sean and Hannah apart, his reasons are based on past experience, and for me, were understandable. There are a lot of residual emotions, predominantly guilt and anger, from past events that shape the way these characters relate to each other.

There are some pretty dark subjects in Anything But Broken; alcoholism and the way families of alcoholics are affected, keeping up appearances and secrets, mental illness. Even though coming back home, confronting the past, accepting it and moving on felt like an impossible task for Hannah, it was absolutely necessary for her to ever have a life and find out who she really is.

Hannah has been keeping so many family secrets, sometimes it was painful to read about the devastating toll it took on her. I wanted so badly for her to learn from her painful past, grow up and let people in. Joelle Knox did a wonderful job of making me feel the emotions of all the major characters-Hannah, Sean, Gibb, and Evie (Hannah's old friend and new roommate). For the first time ever, I'm looking forward to reading more in a New Adult series!

Review copy provided for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,025 reviews57 followers
August 27, 2015
ARC received from Joelle Knox in exchange for an honest review.

I think this is a case of it's Me, not You. Perhaps I'm just too old for NA books now because I just couldn't stay focused on the story. I think the pace of the book was too slow for me and left me wanting more.

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I'm sure this story will appeal to a lot of people but for me, I'll stick to the Kit Rocha series.
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,306 reviews725 followers
August 11, 2015
Very well done NA - heroine is dealing with grief and guilt and losing a lot in her life. Hero is a solid rock for her. And a sexy race car driver ;)

Hero's best friend plays a good role in this book as well

Felt like a different voice than Kit Rocha and Moria Rogers. I love all of their voices and I'm glad they are writing this series now!

Review to come
Profile Image for Jessica Alcazar.
3,992 reviews473 followers
October 19, 2015
holy hell .... 2 am read without even blinking!

I was a little apprehensive when I read the blurb of the book because I'm not usually an NA reader. But then I clicked on the author to find out about them and wham ... Kit Rocha duo! #sold

A few things stand out to me:

~I read this book without stopping. Not because it was overly dramatic or suspenseful or even angsty ... it was easy to read. The language and format used in the story sucked me in from page one. As you can see above, it was 2 am when I finished and I didn't even know it.
~The age of the leads and supporting characters never once entered my mind. You see, young people do annoying things (lol), which are totally normal..for their age group that is. But I don't have the patience for it so I try and stay away from books involving this age group. But I never felt it, not once. So again I say ... easy to read.

So the story goes like this ... Hannah Casey is back home because Daddy drove drunk. Got himself killed and Mom is on life support. Someone has to pull the plug and Hannah is the last of the line...

Sean Whitlow is Hannah's deceased sister's ex-boyfriend (say that five times real fast lol) and he was also Hannah's first crush ...

OK, to say that Hannah had a dysfunctional relationship with her family is probably putting it mildly. They were the epitome of small town socialites who put on a facade for the world outside their home opposite that of what their life was truly like. As you read through the story, the past will unfold but it won't be the focus of the story. You will get just enough information to understand Hannah's motivations but it never takes you away from the real story... The story of a girl so withdrawn inside herself and so used to upholding the facade that her parents had created that she has no idea who she is, and the boy who holds her hand while she tears at the layers upon layers of a life she doesn't want so she can figure out who she is.

The connection that Hannah and Sean shared was instantaneous and it was electric. The sparks flew right off the page when they were together. The progression of their relationship felt natural and real. There are sub-plots in this story that deal with some serious issues like alcoholism, suicide and personality disorders. They were unfolded in such a way that helped enhance the story but didn't overshadow the romance.

The secondary characters already introduced have peaked my interest and I can't wait to read their stories!

ARC provided by CrushStar Multimedia LLC via NetGalley for an honest review
Profile Image for Lillian ☁ Cloud 9 Books ☁.
573 reviews336 followers
June 16, 2017
**** 3.5 Stars ****

I don’t want to use the ‘B’ word, but I have to do it.

I was a bit…. B…. Buh….. Bored.

Hannah Casey lost her family. She is the only one left with the secrets. She's in pain, she's lost, and finds help in alcohol. Sean comforts her too, but he's also her dead sister's ex-boyfriend. Too bad she has a secret involving him.

"Caseys don’t get new lives and happily-ever-afters. We just go faster and faster until we crash into the wall.”

It wasn't her constant grieving and depression that made me not love the book. I was fine with that. This is going to make me sound like a slut, but I didn't like how it took her forever to lose her virginity to Sean. The story gets you hot and intrigued, and then it splashes you with ice water. Over... and over... and over again.

The steamy sections weren't steamy to me. But I am interested in reading the next book, and I'm glad it's about Gibb and Evie.


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Profile Image for RachelW (BamaGal).
746 reviews68 followers
June 3, 2017
I'm leaving off this one at 54%. Absolutely nothing has happened, and I'm bored.


First ER, now NA. Great; but I guess Moira Rogers is officially gone forever... :(
Profile Image for Judith.
724 reviews2,662 followers
Want to read
August 11, 2016
Kit Rocha writing as Joelle Knox...can't wait!!

Profile Image for Angie.
1,373 reviews108 followers
September 2, 2015
DNF @ 52%. Boring. The story is moving too slow. The mood is too somber. I don't care about what's happening enough to finish.
Profile Image for Chachic.
586 reviews203 followers
August 28, 2015
Originally posted at Chachic's Book Nook.

Well, this was a nice surprise. I've been breezing through romance novels lately because I've been in mood for them. I found out about Anything But Broken when the writing duo (Donna Herren and Bree Bridges) behind the pen name Joelle Knox was a guest at The Locker Room Facebook group. I saw some snippets that they posted and was intrigued. Tried a few chapters of the book and I was hooked.

At first I was wary of the premise because I thought it would be more than a little awkward that Sean used to date Hannah’s sister Cait. But I didn’t have to worry because it actually worked in their favor. It's been years since Cait suddenly passes away but she's still mourned and remembered by her sister and her ex-boyfriend. Hannah has always had a bit of crush on Sean even though she recognized that he was with Cait. While Sean feels responsible for Hannah because she’s Cait’s younger sister. That’s initially how they see each other but of course, that changed pretty quickly. Sparks fly the moment they reconnect. They both know it’s a bad idea for them to get involved, but they also recognize the chemistry between them. So they start slow. Hannah’s family is pretty messed up and she has a lot to deal with. Sean is the calm within the storm of her life. He keeps her steady and lets her lean on him. He may seem like a bad boy on the surface because he races cars and works in a garage. But then again, he owns that garage and he's such a good driver that he's always in control whenever he races. I really enjoyed Hannah and Sean's interactions and while I wouldn’t exactly call their romance slow burn, I wouldn’t call it instalove either. Here's a non-spoilery snippet:

"I reach up, letting my hand hover for a second before I give in and brush my fingertip across the crooked bridge of his nose. He races cars and gets in fights and takes girls on romantic dates when he knows better.

And when I'm touching him, my life isn't spinning out of control. When I'm touching him, the world might be spinning, but I'm here, in the moment, in my own skin, and that's what I need more than anything."

And it's descriptions like this that convinced me that it makes sense for Hannah and Sean to be together. When Hannah comes back home, she really doesn’t have anyone to help her. Aside from Sean, she also rekindles an old friendship with her middle grade best friend Evie. I really liked that Evie and Sean’s best friend Gibb are both a big part of the story. It was nice that Hannah found a good friend in Evie because she really deserves to have every little bit of happiness that she can find. Sean and Gibb have had each other’s back for years, and I really enjoyed seeing their strong friendship all throughout the story. I also really enjoyed the scenes that had Sean’s loving family in them. His warm and affectionate relationship with them provided a nice contrast to Hannah’s dysfunctional family. The small town setting also worked well for the story. As you can see from the premise, I wouldn’t really describe Anything But Broken as a light and fun read. There is definitely drama in there, because of what Hannah is going through and also because of certain events that happened in the past. But to me, it never felt like there was unnecessary angst. The writing is the kind that makes you feel and ache for the characters. I really just wanted things to work out for both Hannah and Sean. Anything But Broken kept me absorbed until the end. I stayed up late to finish reading it. I will definitely watch out for the next Hurricane Creek novel, which will be featuring Evie and Gibb. Recommended for new adult fans, like readers who have enjoyed Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series or Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,833 reviews143 followers
August 25, 2015
To be a Casey, Hannah must exude perfection in order to keep the facade in place that the Caseys aren’t anything but a respectable family. But that’s not the truth; in fact, it’s far from it, and when tragedy strikes the Casey family yet again, the fractures start to show until it seems like it’s an open sore, festering and oozing pain, sadness, and heartbreak. And all of those feelings threaten to suffocate Hannah until she learns to deal with what’s underneath the surface and the messy reality that she’s left with when everything is said and done.

Even though Anything But Broken is told through both the hero and heroine’s perspective, this is Hannah’s story, and Joelle Knox does a great job of illustrating everything that Hannah’s had to deal with by being a Casey and what it means for her future to simply be Hannah. Hannah is definitely a product of her parents' mandates and being exposed to that type of environment for so long forces her to lose who she really is, which is what she's desperately trying to figure out in Anything but Broken, but that can’t occur until truths are revealed and a plan is put in place in order for her to realize that she no longer has to impress or work to not disappoint her family.

Anything But Broken is definitely character driven, and there’s a lot to unpack and learn about Hannah and Sean, both individually and as a couple. Hannah trying to have a relationship with Sean, someone who knows all about the Casey family secrets, is not going to be easy especially since Sean has been on the receiving end of the Casey mandates.

Hannah and Sean's issues will definitely resonate with readers and the emotional turmoil felt does illustrate what Hannah's going through, but I still didn't feel completely connected to the characters - I felt like their issues weren’t fully examined; there were steps taken towards Hannah reclaiming herself and Sean letting go of past regrets, but I needed a bit more insight so that I could clearly

understand everything that had to be dealt with before the new Hannah could be completely born.

Even days after reading Anything But Broken, I’m not sure how I feel about Hannah and Sean's story. At times, it was slow moving and I felt lost in Hannah’s despair and the way she was coping with that feeling. Other times, Hannah and Sean’s torment resonated off the pages and I was right there with them dealing with the aftermath of harsh revelations. Both Hannah and Sean are dealing with large amounts of regret and guilt, but they find solace in each other despite their shared pasts. Joelle Knox makes it clear why they find comfort by being together, but I just didn't feel like they dealt with their individual issues enough for them to move forward together. I guess I felt like it was more a work in progress and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I just wanted to feel like Hannah and Sean were going to make it no matter what, and I didn’t.

A complimentary copy was provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 poison apples (The Fairest of All Book Reviews)
Profile Image for Julie.
750 reviews148 followers
September 6, 2015

This is a story of Hannah Casey's privileged life, status being the upmost importance. Filled with nothing but neglect, secrets, lies, and denial.

Hannah hasn't been back to her hometown Hurricane Creek in five years after she and her sister Cait were sent to their grandmother's for summer vacation in South Carolina. That summer would be the last for Cait, the result of a tragic accident. Hannah however, doesn't return home, that is until tragedy strikes again and she has important decisions to make.

The first night back in town, she heads to the local bar trying to avoid her empty childhood home and the first person she encounters is Sean Whitlow, race car driver and Cait's ex-boyfriend. He ends up giving her a ride after she's had too much to drink and from there on out they spend time with each other. If anyone knows of the real troubles of the Casey family it would be him after his dealings with Cait. It was always about persona in the small town and the Casey's were willing to do anything to portray perfection.

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Having no one, Sean becomes a friend that spends a lot of time with her, he makes her feel things for the first time, I mean I just can not fathom growing up where money/reputation is everything, even more so than loved ones. You shouldn't be surprised that things start to heat up, the sexual tension drove me crazy! Sean is very aware that those close to him are concerned and don't want him involved with another mess of a Casey girl but he sees her differently than Cait.

Problem is, she is hiding something that will tear him to shreds.

I really enjoyed! Sean was such a delight, I loved him! I really liked Hannah too but her self destruction killed me. I suggest you read it!


Profile Image for Esther .
869 reviews202 followers
September 3, 2015
This was a very well written, intense and multi layered read.

This isn't just a romance novel per say,but it's also a story of our heroine's sad, complicated and tragic upbringing and the effects it's had on her life. We touch on alcoholism, suicide and the disease of bi-polar. Some heavy and intense issues.

Our heroine Hannah, is returning to her home town to deal with the death of her Father and her Mother being on life support. We have a family that has portrayed an image in town as put together but in reality was very broken. Hannah has also lost her older sister years before in a very tragic and sad way. We have secrets that Hannah doesn't want revealed but also Hannah isn't even sure who or what she is anymore.

We begin the story with Hannah in a bar drinking because she is trying to numb the pain. She then sees Sean a boy who she's had a crush on but was forbidden because he was her sisters boyfriend. Sean notices Hannah and walks over to say "hi" and see if she was okay.

The story then unfolds of how Sean (what a hero) comes along side Hannah at her most difficult time to be a friend. He quickly realizes that their is more than friendship that exists between them.

The development of these two characters and their relationship was done very well and with great care. It was multi layered and developed at an excellent and believable pace. Sean was one sweet, hot and lovable hero. Hannah was a more complicated, layered and scarred character. I at times wasn't sure if I really knew her or who she really was. She was somewhat of a mystery to me the first half of the book. But the authors did a beautiful job of tying all her layers together to make her a broken but lovable character the second half.

The secondary characters seemed just as important to the story as the main characters. And I liked every single one of them and can't wait for Gibb and Evie's story.

This had a strong theme of family which I love!!!

Very well written book and had you drawn in from page one.

Netgalley for an honest review.
Profile Image for Isa Books.
150 reviews24 followers
September 5, 2015

3.5 'Loving Sean Whitlow' Stars

This was a beautiful slow paced story about Hannah Casey, the girl who lived under her parents expectations for too long, and Sean Whitlow, the small town guy who sees in Hannah the last thing he needs... It doesn't take him long to change his mind though.

The story wasn't anything to write home about. There was a lot of mystery and expectations that lead to nowhere. I mean, not nowhere, but it lacked something big in the mystery department (and Yes, I am fully aware that this is not a mystery book).

Hannah was a little immature at times, not 'stupid immature' but 'inexperienced immature' if that makes sense, but it didn't bother me much.

What I loved was the slow build. We get to know Hannah and Sean with a depth that is uncommon in books and the secondary characters were so amazing that I can't wait to read their book.

***ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for tonya..
227 reviews242 followers
August 30, 2015
3.5 stars. Struggling to pinpoint why, but this took me a bit to get into and didn't blow me away. Still, it was an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday evening.

Hannah was broken and sad, but still had agency and strength. Her emotional arc was great. I loved Sean full stop. Sexy and sweet and strong. I kind of wish the racing had been more of a Thing, though. Seemed like an after thought.

I think Hannah's issues were handled with grace and realism, and I appreciated that they weren't immediately erased once she fell in love.
September 5, 2015
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I knew nothing about Joelle Knox when I requested this book. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Joelle Knox is another pen name for the writing duo I LOVE, Kit Rocha. If you are one of the people I have forced convinced to read Beyond Shame, you can pretty much guarantee that this will be the same.

Hannah's world is not a happy world. She has returned home for the first time in 6 years. The first time since her older sister died. The day she returns is the same day as her father's funeral. Her mother lies dying in a hospital, and Hannah is completely alone. That brief synopsis alone should be enough to inform you that this is not an action packed book. Almost all of the action takes place inside Hannah. Her inner turmoil as she faces her family's secrets is the core of this book.

She is not a unique person. She doesn't stand out in a crowd. Even she doesn't think highly of herself: "I'm not a bad girl. I'm not even a good girl. I'm fake, nothing but anxiety and false smiles and a hundred hard-learned lessons in being politely invisible." But anyone who has felt the need to make themselves smaller should be able to relate to her feelings. Anyone who has been controlled by their hatred, and felt guilty about it should relate. Most importantly, anyone who has ever feared that maybe they aren't strong enough to fly as high as they dream, should understand Hannah's journey.

Luckily for her, on her first night home she runs into Sean (*sigh). I wanted to mention Joelle Knox's connection to Kit Rocha, because I wanted you to believe me when I say the next statement. The authors have talent in creating male characters that are more than the typical hot mind candy in a book. Their male characters often have more depth and complexities than could ever fit into a single story. Sean is the swoon-worthy male lead, and while it may be easy to label him a bad boy racecar driver with no dimension, he is anything but. "I'm fascinated. By the process, and by the idea of Sean taking something broken and unloved and turning into something precious.

Sean DOES NOT save Hannah. He is just as torn up over his own past with Hannah's family. But he does show her what a life full of love and support can look like. He shows her what she has been missing. He gives her a dream worth fighting for, without pushing her to choose him. Hannah's point of view would lead the reader to believe that only she is at risk of losing everything. Except the expert portrayal of Sean's point of view, subtlety lets us know that really Sean is the one at risk of being shattered.

This is a story about overcoming childhood demons. About fighting to not turn into your parents. And somewhere along the way, a slow burning romance is formed. But this book is anything but just a Romance.
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