June 22 - July 6
(Links to Goodreads)
#1 Reason to Breathe ★★★★ (4 Stars)
#2 Barely Breathing ★★★★ (4 Stars)
#3 Out of Breath ★★★ (3 Stars)
by: Rebecca Donovan
I have let myself stew over this review far too long. As far as books #1 and #2 go I could not say greater things. But when it comes to book #3 it’s all downhill and I barely have anything nice to say. Thus, the reason for the joint series review. Otherwise, I’d have two sane and nice reviews and one review that may have some of my hair attached to it straight from my head. And I know I am not the only one who read the first two in series and anxiously awaited book #3 mostly due to the awful cliff-hanger we are left with. And it’s not just the waiting that pissed me off, it was the total destruction of the series that I could not come to terms with.
Emma has a shitty life, no doubt about that. She is sent to live with her aunt and uncle when her mother is unfit to care for her. Unfortunately for Emma, her aunt hates her. Hates her so much she sees nothing wrong with assaulting and belittling Emma as often as she can. Poor Emma just wants to graduate and get away from her home-life-hell. She doesn’t want to hurt her younger cousins or get them taken away so she keeps quiet about the abuse doing everything she can to stay out of the house as long as possible. Playing sports, staying with friends and going to the library are her escapes. That is until she meets Evan.. (Swoon moment)
Evan is from a prominent family who don’t exactly accept Emma. But none of that matters to these two as they fall in love and work out a plan to get Emma out of the house. The end of book #1 proves how futile Emma’s efforts were and she is seriously injured at the hands of her aunt. (Total cliff-hanger).
At the start of book 2 Emma is recuperating a horrific life-ending event with Evan by her side.
Somewhere along the way Emma begins to accept her mother back into her life. Abandoning her wasn’t enough and Emma has a awful case of survivors guilt. She wants to mend fences with her only remaining family and decides to move in with her mother. Horrible decision. At first things are great. Until her mother starts to drink, date men Emma’s age and blame Emma for every horrible thing that has happened in her life. In comes Jonathan, her mother’s boyfriend. Though he is nearer to Emma’s age, he seems to care for her mother until her true colors begin to show. Like Emma he suffers guilt and does not want to leave her mom in a lurch. The two bond and their pasts connect them in a way Emma could never relate with Evan.
But of course things can always get worst and for some reason Emma is always the star of the apocalyptic blow outs that always follow her around. Her mother turns out to be an even bigger disappointment and Jonathan drops a bomb that Emma cannot wrap her head around. When Evan and Jonathan come to blows (pretty much over Emma) she finds herself at a cross roads. Another huge cliff-hanger awaits.
After that fight Emma leaves and thus the start of the horror that is book three. I guess what made me angry more than anything was the huge time gap between the books. How the hell? No, why the hell??? Ughhh… So frustrating. Not even that it’s literally heartbreaking when Emma and Evan are not together. Of course the book is them reconnecting but it didn’t matter. I don’t even want to say much more about book #3 other than it ruined the series for me. Emma inherits money from her late father and even seems like a different person. In earlier books when she was being abused she was strong, brave and a fighter. I didn’t get that here. Not only that I wanted more of a conclusion with Jonathan and that fell flat. Evan and Emma may work through their issues but I didn’t care. As usual this book was far too long and I am surprised I finished but I had to see how it ended. And ended it did, not with a bang but more of a dud. Totally ruined the previous two books which I loved, even long and wordy as they were. If you’re feeling brave and looking for an interesting read, the first two fit the bill. They are emotional, beautiful and inspiring, but book #3 takes all that away. So read at your own risk.