I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

RELEASE DAY and REVIEW: What If by Rebecca DonovanWhat If by Rebecca Donovan
Published by Grand Central Publishing on September 16, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
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What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?

Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn't Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal's shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she's hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

review

My thoughts…

Wow! What If is unlike any other book I’ve read before. It’s beautifully written and masterfully crafted. There are so many layers to this story. It is told from multiple POVs. It engages the reader to really focus on what’s happening not only in present day, but several years back when these characters were four best friends growing up.

I’m finding that writing a review for this book a bit challenging. It would be so easy to give away spoilers without meaning too. So I’m going to just stick with the basics.

The four friends this book revolves around are unique. Each are an integral part to the story. I loved slipping into their world and getting to know them. Ms Donovan did a excellent job with character and story development. I really felt connected to the story and it’s characters.

As I mentioned before, there are multiple layers that make up this story. Each layer is a piece of the overall puzzle. I found myself trying to figure this story out the whole time I was reading it. Every time I thought I might have it figured out something would happen and the story would take another turn. I loved this about the story! It kept me intrigued and kept me turning the page.

Overall, I really loved What If and how it ended! It made me experience so many emotions while I was reading it. It made me think about how I would act if faced with similar situations. It also made me ask myself “What If?”

And finally, it reminded me of how much I love being a reader!!! Of how much respect I have for authors who not only pour so much of themselves into creating stories, but also for the time often spent away from their families in order to bring us readers hours of entertainment.

So to Ms Donovan I say “Thank You.” You nailed it girlie!

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I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Out of Breath by Rebecca DonovanOut of Breath by Rebecca Donovan
Series: Breathing #3
Published by Skyscape on July 2, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
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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…

Out of Breath is the conclusion to the Breathing Series and boy what a series this has been. I absolutely loved it. I’m sort of sad that I’ve reached the end, but I can honestly say that I am very happy with the way things turned out.

Ms Donovan is a new to me author. I have read so many reviews and tweets about this series that I knew I had to give it a try. I’m so happy that I did.

The main and many of the secondary characters are rich with emotions and I really enjoyed getting to know them.

I loved Emma from the beginning. The poor girl has had a rough life. When I say rough I am not exaggerating. I felt so bad for her and all she had to go through.

I think Sara was a perfect best friend for Emma. She continued to support her throughout this entire series. They were as close as sisters and I’m happy Emma had a best friend that didn’t give up on her and walk away.

To say I loved Evan is an understatement. He was amazing. He also didn’t give up Emma even though she broke his heart in book two. (which I was really mad at her for btwf. He accepted her despite all her flaws and loved her unconditionally.

In this book you’ll meet Cole. Surprisingly I liked him. Even though he wasn’t Evan I think he really cared for Emma and tried to be there for her. Unfortunately Emma wasn’t able to give him what he wanted or needed. Sorry if that’s spoiler-ish.

There are a few surprises where Rachel and Jonathan are concerned. I was glad to get closure on those characters.

Overall, this series has had me experiencing a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve cried several times while reading each book. It’s heart wrenching at times. The struggles that Emma had to experience were so emotional I couldn’t help but have sympathy for her. I think she grew a lot as a person by the end.

I’m really glad I invested the time to read this series. It’s definitely one of my favorites and I can see myself reading it again in the future.

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Review: Barely Breathing by Rebecca DonovanBarely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan
Series: Breathing #2
Published by Skyscape on June 18, 2013
Pages: 512
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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"I've spent most of my life trying to make it to a future that still hasn't happened, or avoid a past that won't let me go. I don't remember when I've ever just stopped to live in the present, to hold on to the seconds I'm in."

Emma Thomas’s struggle with an abusive home life came to a heart-pounding conclusion in the final chapters of Reason to Breathe, the first installment of The Breathing Series— Rebecca’s Donovan’s bestselling romantic-thriller (USA Today). Now her secret life has been exposed, and her tormentor can’t hurt her anymore. Yet some are still haunted by that night. The bruises may have faded, but scars and fears, remain. How will she reclaim her life when she's barely breathing?

My thoughts…

This is book two in the Breathing Series. I really enjoyed it. It was a really quick read for me and I’m loving this series.

This book mainly focuses on the relationship between Emma and her mother Rachel. Emma wants to try and see if they can salvage their torn relationship before she heads off to college after she graduates.

Right from the beginning I couldn’t understand why Rachel wanted Emma to call her by her name and not mom. To say her mother has problems is a huge understatement. It seemed fitting that Emma call her Rachel instead of mom though because she was anything but a mother. The way she acted and treated Emma was horrible.

After all the things that Emma has been through you would think her mother would have made a better attempt at trying to mend their relationship. Instead she was selfish and mean. Obviously I didn’t care much for her. I think Emma deserved so much better.

While Evan and Sara are a part of this story they weren’t the main focus of it. I would liked for them to be more prominent in the story, but I understand why they weren’t.

There were a few situations within this one that I didn’t completely understand. It almost seems as though the relationship between Emma & Evan wasn’t what it was in the first book.

Within the pages of this book you will meet Jonathan. He’s Rachel’s younger boyfriend. He tells Rachel he’s 28, but really he’s only 24. He suffers from nightmare’s like Emma and they sort of connect a little bit. I liked him although I had a feeling something was up with him throughout the entire book. I couldn’t quite figure it out until all was revealed in the end.

Speaking of the end. Barely Breathing ends with a cliffhanger which is understandable since this is a trilogy. Thankfully the third and final book is out and I can start on it immediately.

Overall, I really liked this one and can’t wait to start the last book to see how things all turn out.

One more thing. There is a lot of underage drinking within this story. I’m not sure why Ms Donovan felt the need to include this. I suppose teenagers being teenagers.

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Review: Reason to Breathe by Rebecca DonovanReason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan
Series: Breathing #1
Published by Skyscape on May 10, 2013
Pages: 377
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Purchase Links: Amazon
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"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—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―at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.

One girl’s story of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and her precarious grasp of hope: Reason to Breathe is the first installment of the acclaimed Breathing Series.

My thoughts…

This is the first book by Author Rebecca Donovan that I’ve gotten the privilege to read. I’ve read many reviews and tweets about this series, so I decided to take a chance on it. The synopsis drew me in and I couldn’t wait to get started.

The loved the main characters as well as most of the secondary characters.

I really liked Emma’s character. She’s a lot stronger than you would think she would be considering what she has to deal with on a daily basis. I couldn’t help but have sympathy for her. She has been dealt a bad hand in life. Her father died when she was young. Her mother was a drunk and abandoned her. Leaving her to live with her Aunt and Uncle. It was sad. It seemed that she just couldn’t catch a break.

Sara who’s Emma’s best friend was great. I loved the friendship these girls shared. Although Sara sort of knew what was going on in Emma’s home life, she kept her secret even though she didn’t want too.

When Evan entered the picture he immediately befriended and showed an interest in Emma. I couldn’t wait for these two to become a couple, but Emma wanted to remain friends instead of entering a relationship with him. I could understand her issues where he was concerned considering her home life situation, but I still wanted them to be together.

I didn’t care for Drew much. He’s your typical high school boy that’s only after one thing even though he tries to portray that he’s not. I was really glad when he showed his true colors.

I absolutely loathed Emma’s Aunt Carol. She was mean spirited, hateful, vengeful, cruel, and an overall bitch. (sorry language) The things she did to Emma were horrible. I can’t imagine having to live with someone whose suppose to love you, but treats you like you’re nothing.

Emma’s Uncle George was oblivious to what was going on in his own home therefore I didn’t care for him either. Carol always seemed to mistreat Emma when no one was around.

Here are my overall thoughts on this one:

The plot for this story isn’t one that’s overly done. The storyline kept my attention from the beginning until the very end. I cried several times while I was reading it.

It’s so highly emotional and I just couldn’t put it down. I needed to see how things were going to end up, but since this is a three book trilogy Reason to Breathe ends with a cliffhanger. *sad face*

Luckily for me I didn’t discover this series until the third book released. Since I’m very impatient and cliffhangers usually tend to drive me crazy until the next book is released I’m really glad I didn’t discover it until the final book released.

For a debut novel this one is amazing. I’m rating Reason to Breathe five stars because I know that I will be reading it again in the future and will also purchase a print copy for my shelves.

Up next is book two which is entitled Barely Breathing. I’m starting this one right now. 🙂

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