Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan

God, I really want to fangirl all over this series and jump up and down and scream and cry about how amazing I find these three books and how amazing I find Rebecca Donovan at the same damn time. 
She is so effing sweet and nice and yeah I probably will blow her head up but hey we all need our heads blown up a bit, especially if your name is Rebecca Donovan and you wrote the amazing Breathing Series
This series touched a part of my heart and soul and I haven't been the same since. If you have been following me you know that Rebecca Donovan is THE REASON I started reading indie books and authors. At the time I was reading Nicholas Sparks, Stephanie Meyers (over and over and over again), and other mainstream authors who are just as incredible but I wanted something different, I needed something different. So I was browsing through Amazon and landed on Reason to Breathe, it called out to me, I don't remember why I finally downloaded it but I did, and I have been WOWED from the very first chapter in the first book to the very last word in the third one. 

So lets get started so I can blow up Rebecca Donovan's head and fangirl over this shit because let me be honest and tell you that there is no way I cannot write these reviews and not gush over them.. its just not possible..

Reason to Breathe (Book One) 
The book that changed my life
"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.

My Thoughts

When I bought the first book it didn't have that fancy door cover or the fancy girl looking out the window cover, it was the cover that showed half a girl's face and she's wet from rain? Who knows, it didn't matter, the cover is not what sucked me in to read it, it was the description, I just FELT like it was going to be an amazing book, and I was right!

In this book we are introduced to the lovely, broken, funny, smart, courageous, kind, Emma.
She is probably my favorite chick character because of the amount of shit she has been through in her life and she still came out on the other side, frail but alive.

Emma is a high school student who lives with her aunt, uncle, and two little cousins.
Her aunt is a royal bitch who literally destroys almost everything good about Emma but Emma just keeps quiet because she doesn't want to destroy her little cousin's lives. She holds it all in and doesn't tell anyone what really goes on inside that house.
Her only escape is when she is in school, playing sports, or when she is granted permission to stay with her best friend, Sara.

Sara is Emma's best friend and everything a best friend should be. Sara's parents are also everything you hope your own parents are. They are kind, compassionate, sweet, loving and Emma loves being with them.

Even though school is an escape for Emma, she doesn't have friends besides Sara because she keeps to herself, she just glides through school in her bubble not letting anyone in. Not that she doesn't want too but she can't, she can't explain to them that she isn't allowed to do anything outside of school like normal teenagers, she is always on permanent house arrest with no chance of parole. 
She was "fine" with this life but all she was really doing was surviving the best way she knew how.

“I survived by keeping my emotions in check – by maintaining my composure and tucking it all away. I managed to stay under the radar, skating through school without anyone truly remembering I was here. My teachers acknowledged my academic successes and my coaches depended upon my athletic abilities, but I wasn’t important enough to make a recognizable social contribution. I was easily forgettable. That’s what I counted on.” 

That is until Evan shows up and totally throws her life in an upside down whirlwind.
 All of a sudden she is wanting more, she wants to experience life like a normal teenager and not like the recluse she has been. 

Evan... OH EVAN.. my first ever book lie.... I may cheat on him from time to time with other characters but he is my original love.
I LOVE how the author made his character. He wasn't a bad boy needing to be fixed, he wasn't a whore athlete with a bad temper needing to be tamed. He was just Evan, a smart kid who had a passion in photography and surfing. He was also infatuated with Emma from the very beginning and didn't know how to get through her bubble. 

Emma didn't stand a chance when he was near.
He broke her and fixed her all at the same time. He was her protector and he tried to save her from herself and her home life. 
He never pushed too hard but pushed enough to get her to respond and then back off. Emma didn't know what to do with him but she knew she had to keep him.

“We were engaged in a very intricate dance of touching without touching, knowing without saying, and feeling without expressing. We were friends walking along a ledge, a very thin ledge - and I was too caught up in my heightened awareness of his existence to realize how close the ledge was to crumbling beneath my feet.” 

Of course the only problem was her aunt wanted to make sure Emma's life was as miserable as possible and she made sure this happened every chance she got. 
God it was so bad, you have to read it to know what I am talking about but just know you are cringing and broken for Emma and realizing how scared but brave that girl is.

“Well let’s get you back to hell before the devil realizes you’re not home.” 

There were many nights while reading this that I had to put it down and just let the tears fall because it was so heartbreaking and just plain awful.
 The saddest thing is that I knew there were kids who dealt with this kind of thing all the time and I just couldn't take it, I was so torn up inside.

Then the plot gets even more crazy and you are holding your own breath, not taking your eyes away for even a second. You are so full of nerves not knowing how this is going to end, screaming at her aunt for being such an evil cow, and then crying buckets until the epilogue. Then the ending comes and you are screaming 


I was left in tears, totally heart broken for Emma and needing a Zanax for all the emotions running through me. 
THANK GOD the second book was out already because I just had to know what happened next.

It was midnight when I finished Reason to Breathe but I didn't care I dove straight to Amazon and DL the next installment. I had to know what happened, I just HAD to know!!

Which leads me to the next review for 

Barely Breathing (Book two)

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.

My Thoughts

Ok, if you have not read the first book in this series DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW, it will give away what happened in the first book and I'd hate  to ruin the book for you..

When Barely Breathing begins, Emmas dirty little secret is out and everyone knows it now.
She has been physically and emotionally abused by her aunt since she started living with her, nobody knows why her aunt did it other than the fact that she is just plain fucking evil. 
Emma is now trying to get over the fact that her aunt nearly succeeded in killing her and if it wasn't for Evan literally breathing life back into her, she probably would be dead by now.

“I breathed for you... I begged for you to breathe with every breath I gave to you. I kept pleading for you to breathe over and over again. And then… then you did. ~ Evan”  

You'd think that after the first book that Evan and Emma would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after but of course that is far from what happens.

Emma goes to live with Sara and her family after her aunt was put in jail for attempted murder. Her uncle leaves town with the children to go live in Florida with his mother. But there was a curveball thrown at us and Emma's mom comes back into her life and wanting to be apart of her life. 
Since Emma has wanted nothing but her family to love her, she decides to move in with her mom and see what happens.

God, I wanted Emma to finally get the love that she obviously deserved from her mother but of course that didn't happen. And you are again left heart broken for this poor girl who just needs love and acceptance from the people who were suppose to love her unconditionally. I am not going to go into details about what happens because it is so bad and I don't want to ruin it for all of you. Just be prepared to be outraged and broken for Emma.

Evan and Emma are still going strong but she is also very closed off towards him as well, she doesnt let him in completely because she is afraid, which honestly she has every right to be but she is having nightmares and she is barely holding it together. She is closing herself off instead of getting the help she needs. 
You are frustrated with her and everything she was doing to Evan and herself. 

“But you can't keep him in the dark when everything starts falling apart. You're not protecting him, you know. You're pushing him away.” 

Sara and Emma are still BFFs and you love Sara even more in this book because of her love for Emma and how understanding she is. No matter what, Emma always had her in her corner and everyone needs a friend like that.

We are also introduced to a new character, Johnathan.
I wanted to hate Johnathan because I was so in love with Evan I couldn't see straight but I couldn't, I just couldn't hate him. 
He was just as broken as Emma and Emma meets him because he is dating Emma's mother. 
They get close because they have similar histories but come on EWWW he was banging her mother, how could she even think about trying to get close to him??
But she saw a lot of herself inside Johnathan and she couldn't leave him alone, just like he couldn't leave her alone.

“You asked why I stayed when I had every reason to leave ~ I stayed for you. I was drawn to you almost instantly without really understanding what was happening. I will always be here for you, Emma." 

Evan of course hates it and Sara is concerned but Emma just keeps everything to herself until the very end when shit blows up straight in her face and she..she..she...UGGHH I can't say it because I don't want to ruin it for you.

I effing lost it when I read the end and then found out that the next book wasn't out until spring/summer 2013 (you have to realize I read both of these books in Summer 2012) I was so mad!!
I screamed, I cried, I asked God and the AUTHOR why they hated me so much, I needed to know what happened and I needed to know NOW..

I was on a mission.. 
I went on Facebook and found the page dedicated to these books, found Rebecca Donovan's author page, blog, website and checked them religiously.
 I'd like to say I wasn't that crazy but I would be lying. 
I read almost every damn status about Out of Breath (the final book) that I could. 
She was still writing it and I found out more about this author which made me <3 her even more.
She was a lover of Mountain Dew (any flavor and umm yeah SAME HERE.. YUM), she had a badass writing space, she was so sweet to her readers, and she was working just as hard as I was stalking her, writing this last book. 
Her books were also picked up by a publisher and I was so happy for her and her books because they deserved it, she deserved it!! 
Umm Are you scared yet Ms. Donovan?? Is your head blown up enough?? 

 I waited and waited for the next book but while I waited, I discovered more authors.
 You know that part of Amazon where it suggests books similar to the book you just read??
Well, I started exploring and found:
Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, JenniferArmentrout, Samantha Young, Jessica Park, Tammara Webber, J. Sterling...
You get the picture but I could go on and on and on.. 
All these great books, this great community with all of these authors loving and supporting one another, it was amazing. 
Then I found out what book bloggers were and I just had to be apart of this great community, it was a passion I shared with others and I had to get more indie author's work out there. 
Twilight and Stephenie Meyers might have started my love of reading but Rebecca Donovan fueled this passion to start my blog and reading about more indie authors..
I take my bra off to you Ms. Donovan 
( sorry I don't wear hats ;).. 
Has your head blown yet from all this ass kissing?? haha.. Sorry.. 
like I said I am fangirling all over this shit (and a lil embarrassed that I am admitting this LoL).. 
So eventually we get a date for Out of Breath and to say I was excited would be an understatement, I was fucking THRILLED.. 
Do you remember this post..


yeah, like I said, I was excited
 which leads me to my final review of 

Out of Breath (Book three)

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.

My Thoughts

Again.. PLEASE do NOT read this if you have not read the other two books in this series. You will be ruined..

I am going to try VERY HARD not to give anything away with this review, I want to make this as spoil free as possible..

When the second book left off, Emma left Weslyn and everything that was there behind.
She left Evan behind because she did not want to ruin his life, she felt like she was going to break him like she broke everything else. 
She left her mother because her mother did nothing but blame Emma for every bad thing in her life. She never loved Emma like she should have and Emma was even more damaged after living with her mother than she was before. Emma left Johnathan and Evan after their epic battle of testosterone. She didn't go to graduation, she didn't go to prom, she just went straight to Stanford with no explanations to anyone. 

When we see Emma again in this book she is still cracked, damaged, and barely holding it together. 
She is now a sophomore at Stanford living with other members of her soccer team. Her and Sara are still as close as ever but they no longer live in the same zipcode. 
We are introduced to new characters, whom I absolutely LOVE. These new friends have no idea about Emma's past except for Meg, but she doesn't hear it from Emma she hears everything from Sara and not even Sara knows EVERYTHING that happened. 

This group of girls try to pull Emma out of her own head and into reality but it isn't possible, there is just too much stuff left unresolved from her past and she isn't letting herself FEEL anything because she likes to be numb, which only damages her more.

This becomes the overall theme of the book. 
Emma needing to FEEL and HEAL
She will never get over her past and live her future unless she begins to mend her heart and soul.

“She’s just… broken.” Her voice cracked. “And I’m not sure how to help her.”

So you guys know what that means?? 

She needs Evan, she has to explain, she has to talk to him and let herself feel the heartbreak that she caused herself. 

After some intense moments Emma begins to do just that. 
Evan is back in her life because he wants answers, he DESERVES answers and Emma knows this but how can she begin to open up to what happened when she is so use to keeping everything buried deep, deep, insider her?

It's so frustrating and at times I wanted to scream but Ms. Donovan did this on purpose, she had to have done this on purpose. 
If Emma just all of a sudden opens up and spills her inner secrets and turmoil then she wouldn't have kept true to Emma's character. 
It doesn't work like that and yeah I was aggravated with Emma but I understood and gave the author tons of kudos for making the book the way she did. It took guts to not just make everything all rainbows and sunshine just to appease her readers. 
This book wasn't about getting Emma and Evan back together..
 It was about getting Emma's pieces put back together to make her whole again, even if there are still a few cracks left because lets face it, there is no way someone could go through everything that Emma went through without some cracks being leftover.

All I wanted to do was lose myself in the strokes of my brush. Gain control over the chaos that was tearing me apart. And find myself in the one place I would forever feel safe.

And Evan.. oh god as if I needed anymore reasons to love him.. He proves a whole new level of admiration. 
Everyone needs an Evan in their lives, someone to love them as fiercely and as whole-heartedly as he loves in general.
I LOVED that the author put his POV in this book, it didn't confuse me, and if anything it added more heart to the book.
Evan was different in this book, he was more mature, he knew what he wanted and he was finally standing up for himself to everyone and especially to the one girl that practically damaged him in more ways than one. 
He wants answers but does he get them? Can he actually forgive her if he does? Even though he still loves her, he can't get too close because he KNOWS he will get burned. So where does that leave Emma and Evan? 

“Emma, I could never hate you. I’ve told you that before, and it’s still true.” Her expectation that I could made me feel like she’d just punched a hole through my chest. “But I need closure, so I can move on.”

I think the author ended the book how it should have ended and I read on Twitter that the unanswered questions are going to be answered in her new series with..
And of course she hints that it'll be even darker than Emma's story.. 
I really need to start taking anxiety meds with these authors and their dark, twisted, amazing stories!! 

pheeewww... If you haven't figured it out already, this series is amazing and as far as series go, it is tied with how I feel about the Twilight series. I could read these books over and over again and still would love them.. 
They put me on an emotional roller coaster, I experienced every damn emotion under the sun.. 
I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. 

Ok I'm done raving and if you don't read these books then you are missing out

5/5 amazing stars for this incredible series 

If you want to read them for yourself



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