Thursday, July 18, 2013

Giveaway and Review: Reason to Breathe, Barely Breathing and Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan

"No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?"

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection while pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises - not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth - but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.

Reason to Breathe is an electrifying page turner from start to finish, a unique tale of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and one girl’s fragile grasp of hope.

Emma’s struggle with an abusive home life came to a heart pounding conclusion in the final chapters of Reason to Breathe. Now everyone in Weslyn knows Emma’s secret, but Carol can’t hurt Emma anymore. Some are still haunted by the horror of that night, and some must face the repercussions of their choices. Fans of Rebecca Donovan’s debut novel will discover there’s still much to learn about Emma’s life.

Emma leaves Weslyn and everyone in it behind to attend Stanford University, just as she always intended. A shell of her former self, she is not the same girl. She is broken, and the only way that she’ll be whole again is through forgiveness. Emma must find a way to forgive herself and recognize her own worth before she can receive the love she deserves. This final installment will have readers holding their breath until the very last page.

5 Star Review by Jen Hagen

When we ended book 2 we were all heartbroken at the choice Emma had made for her and Evan.  She had left Evan’s mother a letter that would ultimately keep Evan from going to California, the same place where Emma was attending college.  Out of Breath begins 2 years following the heartbreak where Emma is now a sophomore at Stanford.  

Emma has had one constant in her life and that has been her BFF Sara.  Sara is moving to France for a year for an internship.  Sara has taken the responsibility of who is going to be there for Emma in her absence by receiving Emma’s permission to let one of Emma’s roommates in on her life.  (Sara also has a tumultuous storyline in Out of Breath.)  Everything seems to be remaining stable for Emma until one night when a box of the past is opened and Emma is faced with memories and mementos of her past.  Following this Emma sinks into a downward spiral.

Emma tries to move on from her love for Evan, but she knows in her heart that nothing will compare to what they had.  Luckily the person that she does allow close to her is understanding and is giving her the space she needs to accept him wanting her for who she is and willing to listen to her silence.  Cole is a good guy.  As I was reading  I was reassuring myself that as much as I wanted her to be with Evan at the end of the book, I would be okay with her ending up with Cole.  Emma can’t seem to let go of the walls she has put around her. 

 “I’m stuck in yesterday, and you’re tomorrow.”
Emma’s past/present/future all collide when she has to face a tragedy.  At this point in time, Emma has been struggling for 5 months since the opening of the box and this pushes her even further into her self-deprecation and self-loathing along with a burden of guilt for everyone whose lives have been effected by her presence. 

Evan has now entered her life again and is wanting answers to what happened when she walked out the door 2 years ago. 

 “I was about to venture into the unknown.  But that’s what life with Emma had always been.  The truth might be more than I could handle, but I knew it would change everything.”

Evan is devastated by the current state of Emma… 

“That girl was once full of life, even if she had a hard time seeing it herself.  I had always known it was there.  It was what had attracted me to her in the first place.  And now…I couldn’t see it.” 
Evan wants to help put the broken pieces of Emma back together again, but this time it could be too late.  She has too many insecurities that push her so far down that it seems nobody can pick her up. 

 “I was so tired of fighting.  Tired of hurting.  Tired of the guilt that would never release me, and the regrets that could not be changed.  I didn’t want this life.  There were only so many times I could hear that I should never have been, before I wished it to be true.”
Can Emma let go of the past? But most importantly, will Emma be able to accept forgiveness from Evan and live in the present accepting the love that is given to her.    

“Every breath I breathe is because of you.  Even when you weren’t there to save me, you were my reason to breathe.  And for that I will always love you.  Always.”

Emma finally lets go of everything and tells Evan the biggest secret that she has been holding back from everybody. 

 This is the part where I break your heart…  And you finally get to understand why you should hate me.” 

(And this is where I’m holding my breath waiting to see if he forgives her and if I get  the happy ending that I have wanted since beginning the series.)

I cried throughout the entire book.  This book drained me of any and every emotions that I possess.  I had previously thought that the first 2 books in the Breathing Series were probably the most intense emotional reads I had encountered, but Out of Breath pushes them out of the water and now claims that title. 

Points of view are alternated between Evan and Emma and they flow so well together.  Where one thought ends, the other immediately picks up.  I would have to say that I wished I had read the previous 2 books before reading this one.  There were  a couple references made to instances/actions that had occurred in the previous books, but with no explanation of what exactly had happened or been said.  With all the books that I read, I had a difficult time trying to pull these out of my brain and remember.    

There was one thing in particular that I really wanted to know in this book and when it ended I felt like I didn’t have my answer.  After messaging the author and her giving me the reference point, I could see that my question had indeed been answered but I was too caught up in my own thinking to see it written in black and white.  I love authors who are willing to resolve a reader’s question.

Click here to visit Rebecca's Page

Nook Reason to Breathe

Nook Barely Breathing

Nook Out of Breath

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