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review 2018-11-27 17:10
The Air You Breathe
The Air You Breathe - Frances de Pontes Peebles
I really enjoyed the friendship of Dores and Graca, the music of samba taking over center stage, whisking them away from a Brazilian sugar plantation to the streets of Hollywood. As the decades fly, the girl’s need each other yet they resent each other. They have a dream and they won’t stop until it is fulfilled.
With no family, Dores is raised by the head cook at the Great House. When family comes to claim ownership of the plantation, things begin to change. Although from two different worlds, an immediate friendship begins as Graca takes to Dores. I loved being a part of the cutters circle. This gathering was held nightly by the plantation workers as they gathered around a fire, singing and playing their instruments, unwinding at the end of their day. Sneaking off after dark, the girls would hide and watch this amazing event, fascinated by the music. Wanting to be a part of these festivity, the girls found their way in, when a radio finds its way into the Great House. A nightly reenactment by the girls of the radio hour, gets the girls closer to the music and gets the day’s events into the hands of the staff. The girl’s love of music and the power of the radio, ignites a fire within the girls. They see their future and they need each other to reach it.
It was a fascinating journey as they left the Great House to become music stars. They were determined in their travels as there were barriers that needed to be crossed and plans that needed to be rearranged. As their strengths started to surface, the girls face some reality, as they decide whose voice will be heard on the radio. They both have strengths in different areas, which are both important to the success of the duo, but they each want their voice to be heard. I found it sad that instead of being grateful and appreciative of each other, the two girls resent and were envious of each other. Yet, I think that without each other, they would have been nothing.
The negative feelings towards each other do not put a damper on this book. They did make me feel angry as I read them though, as I couldn’t believe after everything these women had gone through, this is how they felt. Then, what transpires later, I think reflects some of these feelings.
This book was very detailed and I really enjoyed it. I loved how these two girls got bit by something they loved and set out to make it their dream. As I read, I felt for Dores at times as I thought she was keeping Graca’s interests at heart and forgetting about herself and at other times, I felt for Graca as she acted like a robot, only doing what she was told to do. I did find this novel long at times, wishing they would have cut out a few pages as some details were just too much.
I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you Riverhead Books for having this giveaway. This review is my own honest opinion.


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text 2018-10-20 17:34
Breathe for Me (Be for Me, #1) by Natalie Anderson Free!
Breathe for Me - Natalie Anderson

The last thing Chelsea Greene wants is to be rescued, but that's exactly what happens when she's caught wearing nothing but her swimsuit during a midnight emergency evacuation drill. Turns out her 'hero' is a former lifeguard who has no hesitation in offering the kiss of life. So not happening, right? 

But for emotionally chastened Chelsea, one touch changes everything. She discovers a desire to satisfy this arrogant, demanding tease. Unable to express her own fantasies, she finds unspeakable pleasure in serving his.

Xander Lawson exudes easy charm. He likes a woman unafraid to match his appetite for unfettered fun. He doesn't do complicated or emotional. But the raw need emanating from fragile Chelsea compels him closer. He can't resist spinning a sensual fantasy world around them. 
As passion spills outside their carefully selected boundaries, Xander learns Chelsea's stronger than he first thought. But is she strong enough to handle the intensity he's always kept hidden?

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review 2018-10-19 10:02
Too Close to Breathe - Olivia Kiernan

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan has just returned to work after a traumatic event in which she nearly lost her life. Her first case appears to be a suicide but Frankie is quick to spot a clue that shows the death was caused by someone else. Soon the gears are in motion to track down the killer. And then another body is found.


Don’t be misled if you start to read this novel and think you’ve arrived in the middle of the series. You haven’t. Frankie was involved in an incident and has just returned to work when the body of Dr Eleanor Costello is found. She is still dealing with the ramifications of that previous event as she comes to investigate an apparent suicide that is in fact murder. As the story progresses Frankie has to face that history to discover what is happening in the here and now.


Frankie is brittle, dedicated and takes no-nonsense. She is hard-working and expects that from her team of detectives. She doesn’t come across as that friendly, except with her boss Jack Clancy and fellow detective Baz. The relationship between these three, and Frankie and Baz in particular, brought light relief to what is otherwise a dark novel.  It is the theme of the novel that makes it so dark, BDSM and the desire to feel death without dying is central to the plot but is not used in a gratuitous way. The story travels from Dublin to the coast and becomes a little more personal for Frankie when events happen in her home town. The reader is given only a brief glimpse into her past, but the feeling is there that these are to sow the seeds for further revalations in later books.


Too Close to Breathe is a strong debut and opener to a new series. There are other characters that make up the team, each one with their own specialism that makes for interesting dynamics. I am hoping that future books develop the characters further (with Frankie hopefully being a bit nicer to her colleagues, particularly poor Helen). The reader can only create a small picture of Frankie Sheehan from this novel. She keeps her cards close to her chest. I get the impression almost that every reader of the book will have their own vision of who the characters are.


I had figured out who the culprit was which perhaps explains why I was shaking my head at Frankie as the denouement played out, wondering how she managed to get herself into such scrapes and telling her what she should not be doing. However this did not spoil my enjoyment of the story.


An entertaining, well written novel with an unusual plot, that moves at just the right pace. I look forward to reading more from Olivia Kiernan in the future.

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review 2018-08-14 22:42
New Release Review!
How to Breathe Underwater - Vicky Skinner


There's a lot to unravel here, so bear with me. I'm still in awe of the profound emotional roller coaster I just experienced with this heartfelt story. Skinner has a way with words that elicits your emotions and keeps you engaged page after page.  
Kate is a fairly average teenager, save for one big exception, she's the best swimmer in the state. With her dad as her coach constantly pushing her to do more, be better, work harder, etc. there's a lot of emotional baggage tied into her sport. When Kate's life turns upside down after her dad's affair becomes public, it's more than just a relocation. It is the first time Kate really questions whether she wants to keep swimming now that she's not striving for her father's attention.
I imagine switching schools after growing up with the same team is difficult in itself, then add the pressure of being "the best", any kid would have a hard time. Kate manages to navigate her new circumstances with less than stellar grace and a few bad choices to makes things more challenging. Crushing on the boy next door is adorable and sweet, but navigating through an existing girlfriend and trying to make new friends does not make it easy. 
Kate's struggles with her new family life are an integral part of the story. Divorce is a difficult topic to write about, but Skinner does an exceptional job keeping things just the right amount of heavy without feeling overwhelming. It was important that we see how the divorce is affecting Kate's mom and sister as well. The camaraderie of their shared heartache is a refreshingly honest look at the emotional toll divorce can have on a family. 
Michael and Kate's friendship is the bright light in an otherwise tumultuous world. There's one particular scene that stands out in my mind where they sit in the hallway across from each other in the middle of the night eating ice cream. That sweet moment of friendship made me wish I had a neighbor like that, especially as I suffered from insomnia in high school too. I found their story endearing and frustrating at the same time. It is a splendid story fraught with awkward moments, sweet gestures, and a fair amount of hardship. 
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a heartfelt look at what strengths lie in moving on and forgiveness. 
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review 2018-06-02 21:13
Too Close to Breathe
Too Close to Breathe - Olivia Kiernan

The Irish are fantastic storytellers, and Olivia Kiernan proves that she is going to be one of the best. Too Close to Breathe is the first in the Frankie Sheehan mystery/thriller series and debut novel for her. 


Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan who four months earlier, was almost killed in an attack trying to apprehend a killer. When she is called to a Dublin suburb to investigate the supposed suicide of a woman, Eleanor Costello,  who is found hanging from a rope in her home. At first, it seems cut and dried and the case can be closed but after the autopsy report shows old wounds and broken bones Frankie realizes that this is not a suicide. Of course, the first suspect is the husband.


Another woman's body is discovered with the same MO as Eleanor's. Then Paul Costello is found and that really throws the investigation into a tailspin. Frankie is challenged with all she has to try to figure out what really happened. Frankie is a strong but flawed, a bit rough around the edges, woman who tries to take charge of her demons and keep an open mind in her investigation. With the help of her team, Frankie pulls out all the stops in this case.


Too Close to Breathe is a taut thriller that will have fans of Tanya French and Gillian Flynn excited to read this new author. I really loved the story and definitely want to read more from Olivia Kiernan. 

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