Review: Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan

Out of BreathTitle: Out of Breath (Book 3 of The Breathing Series)
Author: Rebecca Donovan
Genre: YA/Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

A funny thing happened last year.  I was going through a reading surge.  I’d read two or three books a week in the search for something that gave me ‘more’.  More as in not the usual or expected.  I wanted something that challenged me and made me think.  Pieces that leave me reflecting on my own life and taking inspection on my thoughts and attitudes were on my wish list.  That’s when I found Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan.  That book left me wanting more, not just because of the cliff hanger but also because of the story line.  It’s not usual to read a book about a young woman who is being abused.  Most independent authors wouldn’t touch that storyline with a ten foot pole because it’s not what people want when they read for entertainment.  Somehow Donovan made it work.  While the abuse was a theme in the book, the main theme was how individuals who suffer through abuse survive.  What mechanisms do they use to get to the next day?  The second book, Barely Breathing, was no different.

Like many others who were waiting impatiently for the final installment of The Breathing Series to be released, I was ecstatic to receive the book.  I would finally be able to find out what happened to Emma, Evan, and the whole gang from Weslyn.  What I didn’t expect to find was hope.  In Out of Breath, Emma has become self destructive.  She’s becoming all of the people who have hurt her in the past.  She’s abusing her body and herself.  It’s so easy for her to do because this is what she has been taught.  How can she believe in love and forgiveness when the words of the ghosts of her past reverberate through her mind?

 “You’ve worn guilt like an iron mask, welded to you, because you’re convinced that you’re to blame for what happens to everyone else.  You martyr yourself for things you’re not responsible for.  And you end up hurting the people you care about because you push them away, believing you’re protecting them.”

I really don’t want to spoil any portion of the book for you since I’d like you to get the same amount of enjoyment and surprises that I received while reading it.  Just know that just about all of the characters from the series make an appearance in Out of Breath.  A few are more welcome than others.   I believe the re emergence of these characters are pivotal to the development of Emma.  Fighting her demons and fellowshipping with her angels is what is going to help her rise to be a better person.

I’ve always loved that tree, I thought to myself as I watched her run her fingers around the trunk.  Her eyes lifted to take it all in.  She had always connected with that tree too, making it the perfect location for the swing I’d made for her.

The swing that I’d hope would keep her coming back here.  Back to me.”

Rebecca Donovan has done something special with this series and more importantly within the covers of Out of Breath.  She has taken the emotions and mindset of someone who is without hope and exposed them.  She has put into words what some people can only feel.  Donovan has translated emotions that are usually only demonstrated by destructive behavior by those who have experienced trauma and dark pasts and put them into language that can be reproduced.  I think this will be the hardest part for some readers who just cannot relate to the darkness that Emma feels.  It may be hard for them to understand true despair and emptiness.  For those who have experienced it or have loved ones who have, it can be seen as a relief and cathartic to be able to say, “Exactly!  How did she know this?”

Most importantly, Donovan brings hope to those who struggle.  As shown in Emma’s story, coming to grips with you past is never easy.  Just having the strength to have a voice about what matters is a difficult task.  Forming the words to express your emotions or to admit your own wrongdoings is a powerful step towards redemption.  My favorite quote from the novel is below.  Anyone’s name can be put there instead of Emma’s as this story could have been a depiction of their life too.

“Hold on to this life, Emma.  You’re so much stronger than you think you are.”

Although some parts are easy to follow, if you’ve not read the first two books in the series (Reason to Breathe and Barely Breathing) you will not understand the actions by the characters.  I highly recommend reading each of the books in order.

Note: I was given an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest review.

 

the Englishmancover

Review: The Englishman by Nina Lewis

the EnglishmancoverTitle: The Englishman
Author: Nina Lewis
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Book Description:

Anna has landed her dream job as an Assistant Professor of English literature at a prestigious college in the South. Instead of charging ahead with her career, however, she is confronted by hurdles, pitfalls and mysteries. Why does no one restrain the demented hoarder who secretly uses her office as his private storeroom? Who is responsible for her sudden loss in salary? What is behind the vandalism in her department? Is it a personal attack against her irreverent and somewhat unconventional teaching style?

Professor Giles Cleveland is supposed to mentor her in all this, but he’s arrogant, sardonic, condescending, disconcertingly attractive and – Anna keeps reminding herself as the temptation to start a kamikaze affair with him becomes overwhelming – absolutely out of bounds. Anna and Giles grow increasingly reckless and it is only a matter of time before they will be caught and Anna’s career will crash and burn. But when the crash comes, it’s worse than Anna imagined. And far better than she could have dreamed.

Continue reading

Rebecca Donovan Fan Chat Promo

Fan Chat with Rebecca Donovan

Join us on Monday, June 24th as we chat with Rebecca Donovan!

Rebecca Donovan Fan Chat Promo

 

To join in, go to our Chatzy Room and enter password: Lovers

Remember, this chat is SPOILER FREE!  We don’t want to ruin anything for those who are just starting the series.  Bring you questions and a few liters of Mountain Dew.  This is going to be a fun event!

Acts of Kindness

Acts of Kindness Gift List

Hello all!  If you donated to or tweeted about the Acts of Kindness Fundraiser for Oklahoma, you were able to enter to receive an awesome author/poet gift.  Below is the list of those who received one!  Please start checking your inbox for our confirmation message to you, but remember this takes time.

Thank YOU from the bottom of our hearts for helping us make a difference!

 

Cover Reveal: Taboo by P.J. Bayliss

PJ Bayliss Taboo

Synopsis.
Taboo is a compilation of 365 (English) Haiku’s poems; many of which break traditional rules for producing Haiku poetry. This rule-breaking author has provided numerous examples in his book that will entertain, amuse, and delight the reader to varying degrees. The book is divided into four ‘seasons’ of Love, Passion, Pain, and Sensuality. The last Season in particular, Sensuality, will captivate readers and let them journey into an unravelling scene of erotic lovemaking.

Taboo appears to be the first eBook on Kindle to offer 365 Haiku’s for readers to enjoy.

Outlets
Exclusive to Amazon.com worldwide from June 1st.

Author’s Bio.
PJ Bayliss live’s in New Zealand within an idyllic countryside setting on the outskirts of one the country’s largest cities. He is a humble and very private individual who has finally recognized his hidden artistic within writing to produce sensual poems & sexually orientated short stories.

He combines his naturally gifted artistic talent with years of corporate experience with top international fortune 500 companies to produce, and share, his eloquent works of fiction for all to enjoy.

Connect with PJ on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads using the links below.

Twitterfacebookgoodreads_icon_256

Acts of Kindness ~ Help for Oklahoma Fundraiser

Fellow book lovers,

Please join the Lovers as we raise funds for the communities affected by the tornado in Oklahoma.  All of your donations go directly to the American Red Cross to help those in need.  The American Red Cross will provide the basic human necessities (food, shelter, and water) as well as emotional support to those affected that are desperately needed during this troubled time.

 We hope to raise $2,500 by June 7th.  Will you help us get there?  Click the follow icon to take you directly to our fundraising website!

Acts of Kindness

We are fortunate and honored to have authors and poets contribute books, swag, and their words to reward you for your efforts.  See the list below for what you could win by donating to the cause.

This list is growing with additional authors, poets, and prizes that will be added so keep checking for the most up to date information!

If you’d like to be entered in our giveaway, please complete the Rafflecopter AND email proof of donation to verify@literatiliteraturelovers.com so that your name can be entered in the drawing.

Enter our Rafflecopter Giveaway for a Chance to

With much thanks and gratitude,

~ Lovers Karen, Elizabeth, Michelle, Rosette, Tiffany, and Amanda

We Want YOU To Be A Guest Reviewer!

Fellow book lovers…

Have you read the latest thriller and need to find a place to scream about how much you loved it?  Did the mystery novel you just finished leave you feeling like a super sleuth?  Dreaming of alien life forms after the sci-fi spectacular that wouldn’t let you sleep?  Has the latest contemporary fiction novel left you pondering life? If so, we’re looking for YOU!

The Literati Literature Lovers are looking for guest reviewers for the following genres:

* Mystery
* Thriller
* Paranormal
* Science Fiction
* Contemporary Fiction
* Historical Fiction

Do you fit the bill?  Contact us by clicking the picture below!

LLL Heart

Mother’s Day Book List: Gift Ideas for the Special Lady in Your Life

You officially have less than 24 hours to get your mother or another significant lady in your life a gift to show your appreciation.  We Lovers have come up with a short list of books that may be a perfect addition to your Mother’s Day gift list.  We hope you have a beautiful day!

Child of Mine Title: Child of Mine

 Author: Judy Mollen Walters

 Genre: Contemporary Fiction

 Synopsis: What lengths would you go to in order to become a mother? Midwife Katie Cohen-Langer delivers babies for a living, but despite years of intensive infertility treatments and growing desperation, she can’t have her own child.

As families grow under Katie’s careful watch, her husband wants to move on to adoption. But Katie, who was adopted as a newborn, can’t bear the thought of never having a biological connection to anyone.

So she sets off on a journey to the other side of the country, along with her emotionally unstable sister, to find her biological relatives.

What she discovers about her roots –and about the parents who adopted her — rocks her world in a way she never could have expected. And even as she deals with what she finds, she still needs to figure out a way to become a mother.

Always Something There to Remind Me Title: Always Something There to Remind Me

 Author: Beth Harbison

 Genre: Romance/Contemporary Fiction

 Synopsis: Can you ever really know if love is true? And if it is, should you stop at anything to get it? 

Two decades ago, Erin Edwards was sure she’d already found the love of her life: Nate Lawson. Her first love. The one with whom she shared everything–dreams of the future, of children, plans for forever. The one she thought she would spend the rest of her life with. Until one terrible night when Erin made a mistake Nate could not forgive and left her to mourn the relationship she could never forget or get over.

Today, Erin is contentedly involved with a phenomenal guy, maneuvering a successful and exciting career, and raising a great daughter all on her own. So why would the name “Nate Lawson” be the first thing to enter her mind when her boyfriend asks her to marry him?

In the wake of the proposal, Erin finds herself coming unraveled over the past, and the love she never forgot. The more she tries to ignore it and move on, the more it haunts her.

Always Something There to Remind Me is a story that will resonate with any woman who has ever thought of that one first love and wondered, “Where is he?” and “What if…?” Filled with Beth Harbison’s trademark nostalgia humor and heart, it will transport you, and inspire you to believe in the power of first love. Continue reading

Vlog Review: Starlight by Alexandra Richland

Below is our very FIRST vlog review post!!! :)

Starlight CoverTitle: Starlight (Starlight Trilogy Book #1)
Author: Alexandra Richland
Genre: Historical Romance
Cover Design by:  Rakestraw Book Design
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

addtogoodreads1amazonBarnes and noble

Book Description:
October 1952 finds eighteen-year-old Marie Bates relocating from her rainy hometown in the Pacific Northwest to the sun-soaked streets of Los Angeles, California. Marie’s plans for a teaching career take an unexpected turn when she’s asked to film a screen test at a major motion picture studio.

Renamed Elizabeth Sutton by the studio heads, she lands her first role as an extra. On set, Elizabeth spies Aidan Evans, a rebellious, twenty-three-year-old Method actor from New York. Branded as a stuck-up troublemaker by his famous Hollywood peers, Elizabeth suspects a tragic secret lurks behind Aidan’s steely facade.

As their careers hit the fast track and friendship evolves into romance, the expectations of Hollywood stardom threaten to shine a spotlight on Aidan’s dark past before he can make peace with it. Elizabeth must help Aidan confront the painful event that shattered his life and conquer a terrifying truth before it destroys him and their future together.

The first book in the Starlight Trilogy, Starlight is a story of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

FIVE REASONS TO READ STARLIGHT:

1. A sweeping technicolor tale of forbidden romance.

2. A detailed homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.

3. Cameos from many of your favorite classic film stars.

4. Transformation of a small town girl to silver screen starlet through Hollywood’s unforgiving lens.

5. Close-up of a 1950s bad boy channeling a tragic past and the stress of sudden super stardom through the art of Method acting.

Review:  Continue reading

Beautiful Stranger Cover

Recipe: Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren Inspired Cocktail Tutorial

Scotch is Max Stella’s drink of choice. When looking for a drink recipe that included a bit and a bit of Sara, who mellows out his playboy status, I came across the Whisper. As a non Scotch drinker (I’ve tried Laphroiag :/ ), this recipe is tasty! It’s one that deserves to be sipped and enjoyed.

Whisper Cocktail Recipe

2 oz Scotch (I chose MaCallan, of course)
2 oz French Vermouth
2 oz Italian Vermouth
Crushed Ice

Pour Scotch and both vermouths into a cocktail shaker over crushed ice. Shake for 10-20 seconds until blended. Strain cocktail land pour into highball glass. Serve immediately and take a photo of yourself drinking it.

Variation: For a sweeter cocktail (aka a bit more of Sara), add 1 tsp of simple syrup to the cocktail shaker along with the liquors before shaking.

Check out the instructional video below made using Google Glass! LLL is so innovative!

Beautiful Stranger Cover

Review: Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren

Beautiful Stranger CoverTitle: Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard #2)
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Erotica/Adult Romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rating: Five fingers and a palm! (That’s 5 out of 5)

Synopsis:
A charming British Playboy. A girl determined to finally live. And a secret liaison revealed in all too vivid color. Book two in the NYT Bestselling series.

Escaping a cheating ex, finance whiz Sara Dillon’s moved to New York City and is looking for excitement without a lot of strings attached. So meeting the irresistible, sexy Brit at a dance club should have meant nothing more than a night’s fun. But the manner–and speed–with which he melts her inhibitions turns him from a one-time hookup and into her Beautiful Stranger.

The whole city knows Max Stella loves women, not that he’s ever found one he particularly wants to keep around. Despite pulling in plenty with his Wall Street bad boy charm, it’s not until Sara–and the wild photos she lets him take of her–that he starts wondering if there’s someone for him outside of the bedroom.

Hooking up in places where anybody could catch them, the only thing scarier for Sara than getting caught in public is having Max get too close in private.

Review:
LAWDAVMERCAY!  I don’t know how they did it! I really don’t!  The authors that brought us Beautiful Bastard have somehow created a man that rivals Bennett Ryan.  They went H.A.M. (hard as a mofo) with this book, brought out the big guns, and made our hero British.  That’s right, ladies.  Just go ahead and drop your panties now because Max Stella is here and he’s gonna do you right.  Not only Max, but they also brought us Sara Dillon who is the luckiest unlucky woman in the world.  She leaves a horrible relationship and finds Max soon after.

Max Stella.  That’s a name made for moaning if I’ve ever heard one.  I don’t even know where to start with this man!  Fingers.  Yes, let’s start with fingers…Read this in British with a deep voice (that’s a British accent).

“Three finger of Macallan’s, Pete, and whatever this lady is having.  She’s been waiting a spell, yeah?”  He turned to me, wearing a smile that made something dormant warm deep in my belly.  “How many fingers would you like?”

Mmmmm….Scotch.

SIKE!
Continue reading

Gabriels Inferno Rapture

Gabriel Series/Sylvain Reynard Links

As you may know, our blog was formed because of our love for Professor Gabriel Emerson.  Since we began, we’ve professed our love of the series and SR has been kind enough to stop by the Love Shack a few times as well.  We bribed him with doughnuts, coffee, and fine Corinthian leather to get him to stop by.  Just kidding!  He’s Canadian which means he’s nice which means he stops by when we ask. (Yay!)

We’ve pulled all of our links concerning Gabriel and SR that we’ve posted over the last few months in celebration of the cover reveal of Gabriel’s Redemption.  This list doesn’t even include the author interviews where the series or SR is mentioned as an inspiration. Enjoy!

Always the sticky leaf: SR’s Charity Page Contribution 
Lover Tiffany and The Professor: My Love for the Gabriel Series
Lover Elizabeth loves Gabriel: My Love Affair with the Professor
Lover Amanda spends Valentine’s Day with G.O.E.: Valentine’s Day with Professor Emerson
Lover Amanda really, really loves chatting about the series: Always on My Mind
Lover Karen muses about kindness: What is Kindness?
Our first guest blogger was SR: Art and the Poetry of Desire by Sylvain Reynard
The Professor stopped by the Love Shack and gave us a lecture: “Courtly Love” by Professor Gabriel O. Emerson

Thanks for reading!  We can’t wait till December 3, 2013 for the release of Gabriel’s Redemption, can you?  Be sure to enter our giveaway for a set of print copies of Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture!  The giveaway is open to U.S. residents until MIDNIGHT, Friday, April 26th!  Enter below and good luck.

Gabriel Giveaway

Review and Giveaway: Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Reason to Breathe Cover - Lover ApprovedTitle: Reason to Breathe
Author: Rebecca Donovan
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

“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.

Review:

Love helped me live life instead of just survive it.

She has straight A’s, is a soccer star at her school, and attractive.  She doesn’t speak much to or hang out with anyone, only with her best friend, Sarah.  She’s the girl who hopes to go unnoticed and to make it through high school to attend college far from home.  She has a good reason to keep her head down and try to be a ghost of a person; she’s regularly abused at home.  Being noticed at school, or even worse, at home will only lead to hurt.  Her classmates believe she’s stuck up and her family at home believes she’s worthless.  This girl could be anyone, but in Reason to Breathe, her name is Emily “Emma” Thomas.

My world was delicately balanced, but the scales never hung even. When something improved, something else had to crumble.

Rebecca Donovan has done a fantastic job with this book!  While reading, I was on the edge of my seat.  Emma not only has to live a lie by pretending that everything is alright at home, but with also her first love interest in Evan.  She’s walking the fine line of trying to be normal so he doesn’t know what’s it’s like for her at home.  Emma has to live this way to protect herself.  Any happiness she has in the world can be shattered and broken by her abusive aunt, Carol, and by an uncle who turns a blind eye to the torture inflicted upon her.
Continue reading

April Monthly Selection

Reason to Breathe CoverTITLE: Reason to Breathe
AUTHOR: Rebecca Donovan
GENRE: Young Adult
RECOMMENDED BY: Amanda
“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.

Arouse CoverTITLE: Arouse (Spiral of Bliss #1)
AUTHOR: Nina Lane
GENRE: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
 RECOMMENDED BY: Michelle and Karen

“One day I’m going to touch you in a thousand different ways and show you how to touch me,” he said.

And he did.

Struggling with a tormented past, undergraduate Olivia Winter once led a practical but isolated life. Then she met Professor Dean West, a brilliant scholar of medieval history who melted Liv’s inhibitions and taught her the meaning of both love and erotic pleasure. But after three years of a blissful, lusty marriage, Liv and Dean now face a crisis that threatens everything they believe about each other…and sex might not be enough to save them.

 

Beautiful Stranger CoverTITLE: Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard #2)
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
GENRE: Contempory Romance/Erotica
RECOMMENDED BY: Michelle and Amanda

“One day I’m going to touch you in a thousand different ways and show you how to touch me,” he said.

And he did.

Struggling with a tormented past, undergraduate Olivia Winter once led a practical but isolated life. Then she met Professor Dean West, a brilliant scholar of medieval history who melted Liv’s inhibitions and taught her the meaning of both love and erotic pleasure. But after three years of a blissful, lusty marriage, Liv and Dean now face a crisis that threatens everything they believe about each other…and sex might not be enough to save them.