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Review: Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Barely Breathing
Series: The Breathing Series #2
Author: Rebecca Donovan
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 28 Feb 2013
Source: Bought – Ebook
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Amazon

Unanswered questions. Burning desire. Heartbreaking consequences.

The scandalous secrets of Emma’s abuse are revealed, but she still has so much to learn out about her past. Why did her mother leave her all those years ago? What really happened the night Emma’s father died? Were her memories of being happy just a dream?

The repercussions of one horrific night has affected the lives of everyone involved. But with the promise of true love and new relationships, will Emma let it ruin hers for good?

REVIEW 

Please bear in mind that this is book 2 in the series and may therefore contain spoilers for the previous book.

I just have to say right at the start there could not have been a better title for this book as I quite literally held my breath while reading it, the air of tension a tangible presence within the narrative. My stomach was twisted in knots and my heart felt as if it was being squeezed in a vice, Rebecca Donovan’s writing is beautifully heartfelt and heart breaking in equal measure.

Set 6 months after the cliffhanger ending in Reason to Breathe (review HERE) all of Emma’s abuse is public knowledge, Carol is in prison and George has moved away with the children. Emma is living with Sara and her parents while still dating the amazing Evan. She has 6 months left before she is set to go to college, having been accepted to Standford alongside Evan and Sara. Emma’s mother, Rachel,  has been in contact and appears to have changed, wanting to be part of Emma’s life. Against better judgement, Emma agrees to move in with her until college. She is still always putting others ahead of herself and never fails to look for the good in people.

Rachel, is extremely needy, she gives women in general a bad name believing that she needs a man to make her feel whole. She resorts to drink and drugs when she doesn’t get her own way. She is self-absorbed and selfish, it is hard to believe that she could be related to such a lovely person as Emma let alone be her mother. Emma has suppressed her memories of childhood, there is so much she doesn’t know about her fathers side of the family. Revelations are astonishing in both good and bad ways. The story cannot be taken for granted, nothing is predictable least of all the characters. The balance between plot and character development is tantamount to the Einstein of writing.

Rachel is dating a much younger man, Jonathan, who also has an abusive background, he is deeply damaged carrying his own demons that haunt his dreams. As Emma is still having nightmares about that fateful night, she has problems sleeping. Emma and Jonathan connect on an emotional level that only 2 people that have suffered such abuse can possibly understand. However, there is always an undercurrent of unease where Jonathan is concerned.

There are so many variables mixed into the plot that it kept me tied in knots. The sense of unease builds as the story progresses. The plot and characters suck you into their world and refuse to let you go even after the last page.

New characters, Jonathan as well as a perky, friend of Evan’s –  Annalise, whose mother works for Evan’s mother (I hated her instantly). Their introduction really threw the balance of the relationships out of sync. Exasperated by Evan’s fathers dislike of Emma. The only reason for his dislike is the difference in social standing between them, making me want to rant and rail against him. I absolutely hated  that people made Emma feel that she didn’t deserve to be with Evan, especially his father and Annalise. Evan’s mothers support of Emma is wonderful and managed to reignite my faith in humanity.

Emma’s life is still controlled by the incidents of other people, for the most part she has no control over the direction her life takes. At times it is overwhelmingly devastating. Yet Emma feels guilty for the things that happen even though she isn’t at fault. However, her guilt is understandable due to the fact that she has been brought up with constant negativity as opposed to positive re-enforcement. It is difficult to know how Emma is going to be able to overcome all of these things.

The ending of this book almost crushed me with emotion, to say I am anxiously waiting for the third book would be an understatement.

Spotlight: Wait For You by J Lynn

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What do early readers have to say about WAIT FOR YOU?

“J. Lynn creates a wonderful cast of characters that will make you laugh, swoon, and cry. Cam stole my heart.” – Cora Carmack, NYTimes and USA TODAY Bestselling Author of LOSING IT

“For the love of all that is Cameron without a shirt on! Wait for You will have you laughing out loud, fanning yourself and anxiously waiting to know what will happen next.” – Molly McAdams, NYTimes and USA TODAY Bestselling Author of FROM ASHES and TAKING CHANCES

“I don’t think I have ever read a NA Contemporary novel with as much depth as this one. It really moved me and by the end I was just speechless over how inspirational and uplifting it was as well as being sexy and cute and funny and emotional.” – K Books

“Wait For You is uniquely different from anything else J. Lynn’s written but it might possibly be her best work yet.” – Jenuine Cupcakes

“For all of you in love with Aiden and Daemon, PREPARE YOURSELVES! Your heart will have to expand a little more for Cam.” Total Bookaholic

“For the love of all things CAM, this book deserves more than 5 stars.” – Mundie Moms

“I cannot even begin to explain how much I adored this perfectly crafted contemporary.” – Shortie Says

Excited? Ready to see the cover for WAIT FOR YOU?

Image Received from Author

Image Received from Author

Synopsis

Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

WAIT FOR YOU is available now!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Image Received from Author

Image Received from Author

J. Lynn, also known as Jennifer L. Armentrout, is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of the adult romance Gamble Brothers’ series, the young adult Lux Series and award winning Covenant Series. She pretty much writes everything—contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy. All of her books have one thing in common no matter the name or genre: kissing… and stuff. When she’s not busy writing, which is never, she’s usually hanging out with dog Loki, watching reruns of The Walking Dead, or procrastinating on the Internet. You can find out more about Jennifer by visiting the following websites:

Twitter / Facebook / Website

Words of Love: Christian from Take This Regret by AL Jackson

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I am unbelievably excited to welcome Christian from Take This Regret/Lost To You by AL Jackson to Book Angel Booktopia today to help launch my new feature WORDS OF LOVE. 

Over to Christian with his WORDS OF LOVE for Elizabeth (swoon)

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Elizabeth. Beautiful girl. What have you done to me? I can’t sit still. I can’t sleep. I just toss, press my nose into the sheets where you laid, wish you were here. All I can think about is you now, what you’re doing, if you’re thinking of me the way I’m thinking of you. I bet you are. I bet you’re lying on your back and staring at your ceiling. I bet you see nothing but my face. I know it because all I can see is yours. And that smile. God, that smile. I think we’re going to have to do something about these nights because I don’t remember how to fall asleep without you. Two days with you, and you’ve made me forget who I was before I was yours.

And I am.
Yours.
Christian

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Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Lost To You
Author: AL Jackson
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Publication Date: 29 Jan 2013

Synopsis from Amazon

People come into our lives. Some stay, and many go. Some build us up, while most tear us down. They become our friends, our enemies, our lovers, our tormentors.

Christian Davison came into mine, and I knew I’d never be the same.

To Elizabeth Ayers, New York City had always been a dream. She’s worked her entire young life to make it here.

Groomed to one day take over his father’s law firm, attending Columbia University was Christian Davison’s only option.

Neither wanted anything more until they sat across from each other at a café table after being paired as study partners.

Christian wants her, but Elizabeth knows better than to give into their intense attraction. Yet there is little she can do to stay away.

Review HERE

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Image from Author Website

Image from Author Website

Title: Take This Regret
Author: AL Jackson
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Publication Date: 1 April 2012

Synopsis from Amazon

A promise to love her forever.
A betrayal she could never forgive.
A change of heart that leaves her questioning everything she thought she believed.

Can she forgive someone who has committed the u forgivable
Or are there some wounds that go so deep they can never heal?

Review HERE

Review: Take This Regret by AL Jackson

Image from Author Website

Image from Author Website

Title: Take This Regret
Author: AL Jackson
Publisher:  Sapphire Star Publishing
Publication Date: 1 April 2012
Source: Bought – Ebook
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Fantastic Fiction

A promise to love her forever.
A betrayal she could never forgive.
A change of heart that leaves her questioning everything she thought she believed.

Can she forgive someone who has committed the unforgivable  Or are there some wounds that go so deep they can never heal?

REVIEW 

Before I start my review I have to tell you that this book deeply affected me and it was the impetuous behind the Random Ramble on Subjective versus Objective reviewing (HERE) because I know without a shadow of a doubt that there is no way I can be objective about this review.

Another thing I have to state is that this review is deeply personal, soul baring in a way, and  therefore I wanted to state that I am in no way trying to gain sympathy/pity this is just the way things are and the reasons as to why the book affected me so deeply. Now I have that out of the way onto the review.

Although Lost To You is the prequel to Take This Regret it was written after it, but I read it first and to be completely honest with you I am so glad that I did. It gave me the understanding of Elizabeth’s and Christian’s relationship and the knowledge of their feelings for each other that I think I needed in order to fully appreciate the situations and dynamic of their relationship in Take This Regret. I would recommend reading Lost To You first, as it also provides an insight into the external pressure on their relationship and their respective families.

When I read the description for Take This Regret I was more than a little worried due to the word ‘betrayal’ I have a problem with cheating and was concerned that this was the basis of the story. I was so uneasy about this aspect that I emailed Amy to check. She reassured me that the story did not involve cheating BUT she did warn me that some things are worse than cheating. I was pretty adamant that nothing could be worse than cheating, how wrong I was.

I am trying desperately not to give away spoilers but this is one tough  review to write without them.  The basis of the story revolves around family; the decisions we make and the repercussions from each decision. How even the smallest thing can have an impact on the emotional growth and stability of a child’s development. The relationship between parents and their children forms the basis of the child’s future emotional relationships as well as the present. These factors were portrayed in such a heart-felt yet powerful manner that I felt as if my heart was being squeezed especially at the depiction of the father/daughter bond portrayed.

It was this aspect that affected me the most; you are probably aware of my situation even if you don’t know the full details. You are likely aware that I separated from my husband and that my three girls haven’t had the best emotional foundation with their father, or even a stable relationship unfortunately. This book made me examine their relationship with their father closely. It also made me realize that I was trying to maintain their relationship with him at the detriment of their emotional well-being (I know deep right but this is what happened). Elizabeth and Christian’s relationship made be see that even as adults the relationship we have with our parents can still affect the outcome of our lives. Our own childhood defines who we are as adults to some degree but at some point the negative can be overcome and we can be the individuals we want to be defined by ourselves and not our parents.

This book made me realize that not only did I need to move past my own childhood (you’ll learn more about this in my review of Jane  by April Linder) but to provide emotional security for my children even if that meant completely cutting contact with their father but also to reassess their relationship and involvement with their father. At the end of the day it is their emotional development that is my priority not maintaining a dysfunctional paternal influence. It forced to me to look at things in a different way, often emotionally painful but ultimately cathartic.

When I finished this book I couldn’t speak, I had no words to describe how I was feeling I just had ALL THE FEELINGS mixed together. Above all else this story showed that it is possible to overcome anything in life as long as there is love and support ( family/friends/online support system (you know who you are) that includes being able to love yourself for who you are and not what other people want you to be.

I highly recommend Take This Regret just prepare yourself for an emotional roller-coaster.  Weeks after reading it the story lingers in my mind as a constant reminder to be the person I want to be and the mother my children deserve.

Musical Moments: Book Theme Song: Take This Regret by AL Jackson

bookangelmusical

Image from Author Website

Image from Author Website

Title: Take This Regret
Author: AL Jackson
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Publication Date: 1 April 2012

Synopsis from Author Website

There are some mistakes we make that we will regret for the rest of our lives. For Christian, it was the day he betrayed Elizabeth.
Christian Davison has a plan for his life. He is determined to become an attorney and to one day take his place as partner in his father’s law firm. Nothing will stand in his way, not even Elizabeth Ayers and their unborn child.

After Christian cuts her from his life, Elizabeth spends the next five years struggling to provide for her daughter and willing to sacrifice anything to give her child a safe, comfortable life.

For five years, Christian has regretted the day he walked away from his family and will do anything to win them back just as Elizabeth will do anything to protect her daughter from the certain heartache she believes Christian will bring upon them.

When Christian wrestles his way into their lives, Elizabeth is faced with asking herself if it is possible to forgive someone when they’ve committed the unforgiveable and if it is possible to find a love after it has been buried in years of hate. Or are there some wounds that go so deep they can never heal?

They say everyone deserves a second chance.

The lyrics in this song reflect the depth of emotion and plot within this book so well. ENJOY