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89 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2012
I wanted to hit a few somebodies upside the head with a shovel while I was reading this book - just wanted to point that out. It was breathtakingly well written and a beautiful story, but I just wanted smack some people around and tell them to get the heck out of the story because they were ruining EVERYTHING. I was pretty p-ed off. But then again I laughed, and I snorted, and I talked to the characters (like a weird-o; thank goodness I'd been reading it in my bedroom) and, when I finished, I blubbered like I had my first break up. I could literally feel my heart breaking when I finished (but then again, it was 3am....). At the end of the first book (Reason To Breathe) I was mute. Depressed. I didn't know what to think, nor say. I was speechless. My grandma and her friend joked that they needed to take me to therapy or something. When I read something, I'm highly affected by its outcome and its emotion. And then when I finished this book.... I just didn't want to talk, nor acknowledge anybody the next day.
All I can say is, thank god there's a third book coming, and Rebecca Donovan, you are a true artist with words.
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2012
I just recently read Reason to Breath, so I only had to wait one week to get my hands on Barley Breathing, but it was a LONG week! It was well worth the wait though. I loved the story and felt myself get even more involved with the charters though out the book.

I have to say one of the things I like the best, is how messed up Emma is! I found myself getting so frustrated with some of the choices that she made, but they all make sense, considering how her life has been. So often in stories, characters will live though horrendous situations only to come out perfect and well adjusted at the end. Emma's dysfunction is part of what makes her so believable and likeable to me. I also loved Even is this story. His responses and reactions were also very believable. He got made and frustrated at all the right times.

I disagree with others, who have said it was another cliff hanger ending. It left me wanting more, and anxious to see where the next book will take everyone, but we were not left hanging like the first one, so don't worry. You may not like how things are left at the end, but it is wrapped up

I think these books would make a great TV series. As I was reading, I could almost see where each episode would end, leaving you on the edge of your seat until the next week, and the season finales would leave everyone dying until the next season!

I can't wait for the next book!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2012
I first want to say this is a good book but I just couldn't enjoy it like I wanted to. It was too intense for me and I spent most of the book angry because Emma's choices were pissing me off at every turn. I was hoping after spending most of the book angry that I would get a happy ending to be able to end the book not being so mad. lol Well the end sucks and its not a happy ending so I just have a bad taste in my mouth all around and I kind of regret even reading it.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2012
I have never reviewed a book, but after finishing last night, I felt I needed to. Let me first say that I love this series and am a huge fan of Rebecca Donovan, but I think she failed to deliver with "Barely Breathing". Although this is not a review for "Reason to Breathe", I feel that RTB was much more thought out and an altogether better story line. I felt it was completely believable, other than Evan's random move across country, but I realize why she had to make him disappear for a while. RTB had such raw emotion, with a well-thought out plot and the perfect cliff hanger ending that left you begging for more. We saw fantastic character development with Emma and fell in love with her relationship with Evan.

That being said... I was hugely disappointed with BB. I read every teaser Donovan gave and anticipated where the story would go. Little did I know, it was going nowhere close to what I had envisioned. I was disappointed, initially, with the fact that the story picks up about 6 months after the attack. I wanted to badly to go through the healing with her. I wanted to see how relationships would change. I wanted to know the reactions people had when they found out. I wanted to sit next to her in the courtroom. We got absolutely nothing but a vague account from Evan near the end of the story.

My major gripe with this book, however, was the lack of any type of plot development. There were so many story lines that seemed so suspenseful, but went absolutely nowhere. For example, I thought Analise would have a pivotal role in this book. So much led up to there being more going on between her and Evan, but that story line ended with her giving up and telling Emma not to break his heart?? And what about Drew? They seem to have this 'moment' at his party, and then sit in a hot tub together where he stares at her and Evan and then... nothing. Sara's big attitude in the beginning was so random. I thought it had to do with something she had done with Evan, but ended up just being because she was sad about a lack of love? How about Chris, the random college kid who ate cereal next to Emma in the beginning... I thought for sure he would reemerge at some point. Did anyone else think that Leyla and Jack would actually come into play in the book? I thought so, especially after she received the Christmas card. And how about her mom... where did that story go? It was just overly repetitive with her mom getting drunk and saying hurtful things and then acting like it never happened. Nothing ever developed from that story. And the mysterious man who tells her she's now extremely wealthy... She never tells anyone but Sara and then it's as if that had never happened...

My second issue with this book was how believable it was, or should I say, wasn't. We're supposed to believe that this girl, who wouldn't even look her mother in the face when she came to her games in RTB, all of a sudden makes a rash decision to move in with her. I thought that throughout RTB, it was evident that Emma yearned to live with Sara and be "sisters". She had a stable environment and everything she had wanted when living with her aunt and uncle. It also seemed like her character went backwards with progress when it came to having a backbone and standing up for her self. So many things bothered me in this book - her all-of-a-sudden spontaneity with taking a random ride to New York with Jonathan, although she wouldn't go on vacation with her best friend or boyfriend; the fact that she becomes an overnight what? millionaire, billionaire?...

I literally said "what just happened?" when I read the end. I can't believe that a story with so much potential had a sequel that just failed to deliver. Too many flat characters, too much repetition and over all... not enough Evan.

I waited a long time to finally read this book, thinking I'd be dying for the third. I wanted to be able to savor this one as I had with Reason to Breathe. In the end, I've decided not to purchase the third book. I'm going to let Emma's story play out in my head the way I feel it should have headed. I know that not every story needs to have a happy ending, but I feel it should be slightly realistic. Overall, I just feel the fans were let down.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2012
The author goes and writes this story of a poor girl Emma (Emily...please, that drove me crazy too) that is abused beyond comprehension yet she is able to make you dislike her. How can that even be possible. She has an amazing best friend and boyfriend that would give up his entire world for her. She has this amazing life ahead of her and I am okay with the idea that she will struggle along the way, but the fact that she was able to survive through all that abuse and then just move in with Rachel and trusts the mom's boyfriend with no questions asked or any concerns to be had. Emma couldn't trust or connect with this boyfriend who was madly in love with her because she didn't trust anyone but as soon as some stranger would come along that was everything wrong for her she would trust them no questions asked. This book drove me crazy. Thinking about Rachel and Jonathan just makes me sick. HE HAD SEX WITH HER MOTHER, she witnessed it, he wants to date her and she wants to confide in him!!! I can honestly say I skimmed through the chapters of this book and I wish I would have never read either of these books. All they did was make me mad. Not an enjoyable read AT ALL!
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2012
When I read the first book in the trilogy, I was very pleased and waited for the second book to come out, although I was a little confused and disappointed in why there even was going to be a second book. Most authors today are making trilogies, but sometimes it's better to just leave it at one book. As soon as it was published, I was so excited and bought it without a second thought. What a huge waste of seven dollars.

Emma is so wishy-washy throughout the whole book that sometimes I wished that Carol HAD killed her.

Even before I purchased the book, I was always wondering how the author would make the second one. What would be the storyline? Well, it turns out there wasn't a storyline. The whole book was just filled with how she wished her mother liked her and wished her mom would stop drinking. (She HAD to move in with her because she felt "out of place" at Sara's. I can understand wanting to maybe visit her because of the horrible time she was going through, but to move in after thinking about it for five minutes? It seems very far-fetch.) Donavan creates another male character just so when things are going right with Emma and Evan, he comes into play and practically ruins their relationship. It's a horrible plot. The whole book is just one big screw-up. I will give Donavan credit for the first book, however. The story-line was great, the characters were believable, and I even liked the cliffhanger ending. It should have been left at that, though. She should have kept the readers guessing or put the ending she was supposed to put in (see her website).

One thing that just bothered me to death was when Emma said that her therapist prescribed sleeping pills for her. A therapist cannot prescribe any type of medication; that is a psychiatrist's job.

Emma finds herself in the position of having to choose between the scary, horrible, creepy, murderer, used-to-date-her-Mom friend or stick with the heartfelt, compassionate boyfriend. What's so hard about that choice? I found myself comparing it to Twilight. The only thing that was missing was the sparkles. That's pretty bad.

And the ending. Oh my God the ending! She makes so that there has to be another book (oh, please, just end my suffering...not a third...) and it is because of the stupidest reason! Emma just walks out on Evan after he fights with Jonathan and goes to California without a second thought! She acts like a selfish brat.

The whole book is unrealistic. Don't waste your money.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2012
I wanted so badly to like this book, but the leading character is very unlikable, along with most every other character in the whole book. The only character you can find yourself rooting for is the wonderful guy whom had the back luck of loving the lead character - who we were suppose to have compassion for, but I ended up despising due to how selfish she was - and how badly she treated poor Evan. The books end up leaving you empty and angry - and no Evan does not have a happy ending.

Do not recommend at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
In "Barely Breathing" we find out what happens to Emma after the climatic finish of "Reason To Breathe". I was relieved to find out that the truth of Emma's abuse had been exposed and Emma's aunt received the punishment she deserved.
In book 2 we see Emma finally free from her abusive home life and watch her engage in social activities, gain friendships and settle into her relationship with Evan, whilst trying to grapple with the constant nightmares of her abuse that plague her most nights. While Evan's love and protectiveness of Emma is beautiful and it clenches at the heart strings, their relationship is impacted by those same nightmares.
Just as you think that Emma can finally move forward and begin a fresh chapter in her life .... Emma's mother and her younger boyfriend Jonathan enter the scene.
After 5 years, Emma's mother (Rachel) re-enters her life and then we begin to learn the truth about Emma's family life before her dad's death, the relationship of her parents and the reality of Emma's relationship with her mother. Although Rachel was not physically abusive, seeing her actions continuing to cause hurt to Emma was heartbreaking as you wondered how much more this poor girl could suffer through.
For me the surprise character was Jonathan as I never expected for him to have such a big impact to the storyline and for the developing relationship between him and Emma. I was angry with her for turning to Jonathan for comfort when Evan was so desperately trying to support her and wanting to be the one she turned too.
The final chapter of this book left me devastated ... made worse that I now have to wait for the final instalment of this trilogy "Out Of Breath" to be released in 2013 to find out what becomes of Emma and what is destined for Emma and Evan.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2012
I have patiently been waiting for book two to come out. So today when I got home from work I immediately downloaded Barely Breathing. If you think the first one was better, well it was. But, Barely Breathing has a way of fitting all the puzzle pieces together. You know a book is amazing when you constantly scream at the character for their stupidity then applaud them for their courage.

In Barely Breathing new characters are introduced. If you've read book one and are hoping to see where ended at the beginning of book two then you'll be sorely disappointed. You don't find out what exactly happened that night (in Reason to Breathe) until halfway through the book (although you do get a glimpse with tiny flashbacks every once in awhile)

Let's just say, In Barely Breathing, Donovan once again delivers with the angst, the drama and did I say angst? The plot starts with Emma and her friends continuing their senior year. We learn from chapter one that Emma decides to live with her birth mother. At first, it seems like any typical mother-daughter relationship trying to patch up years of bonding. Through the middle of the book you find out that there's more to Emma's birth mother than meets the eye. THAT coupled with a few new character looking to come between Emma and Evan's relationship is enough to want you to tear your hair out-in a good way :)

And the ending? Well, let's just say it'll leave you wanting for more. I can't wait to see how Book 3 hopefully unfolds.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
I read this book after the horrifying ending of the first one. I didn't really think a second book was necessary save for the cliffhanger ending. I wasn't sure how the author could manage a second book, and quite honestly, she shouldn't have.

This book was almost more of a trainwreck than the first. I rated the first book 3 stars mostly because it was too wordy and had way too many of the same phrases page after page. I thought the storyline was compelling and appreciated the author writing about such a heavy subject.

Though the editing was better in this book as far as grammar and punctuation go, the characters still did way too much grinning, smiling and smirking and grinning and smiling wider. Every time I saw those words I wanted to punch something or throw my reader across the room. I swear the author uses a replace function and replaces every single "said" with some other word like grinned, muttered, murmured, smirked, sighed. I had a hard time imagining how conversations went between the characters in the book, as no one seems to ever "talk".

Word Count:

Grin/Grinned-89
Smiling-28
Smile/Smiled-262 (!!!!) That's a whole lot of smiling for people whose lives are that traumatic all of the time.
Smirk/Smirked-67

I hated the introduction of both the mother and Jonathan. Rachel is a horrible person and it bothered me to see the MC continue to be a punching bag, just this time verbally instead of physically. And Jonathan....ugh... Just the though of her considering any kind of relationship with the guy that she caught her mother having sex with gave me the heebie jeebies.

And I hated how Emma continues to play Evan and use him. Time after time she shoves him away only to reel him back in. The dynamic between those two is as dysfunctional as any of Emma's relationships. And yes, I understand that someone who has been through what Emma has been through will be damaged and have issues with relationships, but it felt like the author just continued to throw crap into the book just to have violence and drama.

I didn't think, after reading the first book, that a second book was necessary, and I REALLY don't think a third book is. I mean, two full books and the MC hasn't seemed to grow up or change for the better AT ALL. All I could do is sigh as I read the epilogue and mentally prepared a list of what would happen in book 3. Emma will go to college. Meet a jerk guy, think that's the only thing she deserves. Stay with him even though he treats her like crap. Stand by him and push Evan away. Maybe hook up with Jonathan (eeeew) because she thinks HE is what she 'deserves'. Any way I look at it, I can't see a way that a third book will redeem the second one, and I have zero interest in even trying it to see.
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