Review: The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry

The Air He Breathes
Brittainy C. Cherry
Publication date: September 25, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Trade paperback




I was warned about Tristan Cole. “Stay away from him,” people said. “He’s cruel.” “He’s cold.” “He’s damaged.” It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster. But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me. We were both empty. We were both looking for something else. Something more. We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays. Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.

The Air He Breathes has been sitting on my shelf for far too long. It was one of those books that I was sure I was going to love – and that means I put off reading it for a ridiculously long time because I enjoy the anticipation. Not only did the synopsis pull me in – two lost souls who can maybe find redemption in one another *sigh* - but I also had a serious case of cover love. From the cover model (the oh-so-swoony Franggy Yanez) to the muted colors to the overall melancholy feel it gave me, I was hooked. And while this didn’t end up being a five-star read, it was still one that had me utterly invested, captured my emotions and gave me grabby hands for every book by Brittainy Cherry.

Elizabeth left town with her young daughter after suffering a horrific loss. Now back after a year she meets her new neighbor in all his surly, rude glory. Despite his outright hostility, she recognizes a kindred spirit in him - the same kind of loss and devastation she feels. These two together were just all kinds of goodness. There was no insta-love - just two people working through their loss and loneliness the best they could. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t always pretty. Elizabeth was so kind and so patient. She hurt but she had her daughter Emma to keep her grounded and carrying on. But Tristan, he had lost himself in a pit of grief, guilt and anger and had no motivation to pull himself out – until Lizzie.

The hardest part about losing someone you love
is the fact that you also lose yourself.

Cherry really brought this story to life with not only Elizabeth and Tristan but an amazing cast of secondary characters. I’m usually beyond annoyed with the addition of the super-outgoing/pushy/quirky best friend trope and I admit when Elizabeth’s BFF Faye first made an appearance I was rolling my eyes. But Cherry managed to bring me around and I found myself loving their friendship and Faye’s wackiness. Add in the kindly Mr. Henson, Elizabeth’s in-laws, and others and it made for a small town of characters that came to life.

There were a couple things that kept this from being a five-star read for me. The ending took a turn into over-the-top drama that seemed like I was reading a Lifetime movie script. It was just a bit too much and I didn’t think the dramatics were really needed. Another issue was that the dialogue was sometimes unbelievable and pulled me out of the story. Lines like “Show me the shadows that keep you up at night. Kiss me with your darkness” had me shaking my head because, really, who talks like that? But even with those issues, there’s no denying that this one got to me. My heart ached for the two characters, the chapters told from Tristan’s point of view in the past had me blinking back tears, and the relationship between Tristan and little Emma turned me into a pile of mush.

You know that place between nightmares and dreams? The place
where tomorrows never come and yesterdays don't hurt anymore?
The place where your heart beats in sync with mine?  The place
where time doesn't exist, and it's easy to breathe?
I want to live there with you.

This was a truly emotional love story. Cherry didn’t hold back from diving deep into the character’s grief and isolation and it was painful at times. But she balanced that with a beautiful story of the healing power of love after loss. I know I’ll be reading more from this author… just as soon as my heart can take it.

4.25/5 STARS



19 comments

  1. I felt the same way about that one plot point. It was really OTT and seemed to come out of nowhere for me. However, it didn't erase all the really beautiful and emotional stuff that came before it. At least, not for me.

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    1. Yeah, I remember you giving me a heads up about it and when I got to it I was like, oh yeah, this is what Sam was talking about. LOL But even though it took that turn into OTT Land, you're right... it didn't negate how wonderful the rest of it was. My heart just hurt so badly for Tristan. When he showed up at his parents house and poured his heart out at the doorstep I almost lost it. :( And the way he and Emma called each other Tick and Tock. So sweet!

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  2. Wow, this sounds like such an emotional read. I'm glad that it lived up to your expectations. I also completely agree about the cover love. It's gorgeous!

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    1. For good or for bad, I’m a sucker for a gorgeous cover! :)

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  3. I hate over the top drama at the end! I don't mind it so much if it doesn't go on too long and they resolve like mature adults, but still I dread it coming. Still, the story does sound emotional and moving. I might have to give it a shot. :)

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    1. It was silly drama in a relationship sense (ugh, that bugs me so badly) but more like an event that was kinda crazy and OTT. It definitely wasn’t anything that ruined the story for me, though, because I still loved those two main characters! :)

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    2. That should say: it *WASN’T* silly drama. Must learn to proofread! LOL

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    1. It takes something downright epic to get 5 stars from me! LOL

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  5. I like the sound of this book. Thanks for your review. Have a great weekend!

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  6. I've never heard of this, but it sounds really good! It's always nice to pick up a book that's been on the shelf awhile and really enjoy it.

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    1. I’m determined to read more from my own shelves this year and it’s already paid off with a five star read. :)

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  7. *squee* This review makes me so happy. I agree with you...on everything. ;) There were moments - like with the dialog or that OTT moment - when I was taken out of the story a bit. But overall, I was so impressed with Cherry's character development - all of them! - and her ability to craft such a powerful story. Great review, Tanya!

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    1. Thanks Brandee! It was so easy to fall for both Lizzie and Tristan. I love Lizzie’s patience with Tristan - especially when so many others were all too willing to just write him off. And I just wanted to hug Tristan and take that mantle of guilt from him. I can’t wait to read more from Cherry!

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  8. This sounds super great - I do know the GD place where "You know that place between nightmares and dreams? The place where tomorrows never come and yesterdays don't hurt anymore?" and if that didn't get me - this did "The hardest part about losing someone you love is the fact that you also lose yourself."
    I will have to read this one soon!

    Mary

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    1. Glad you liked the quotes, Mary! I definitely recommend this one... it really pulled me in and got to me.

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  9. This sounds like a great read. As I mentioned on a previous comment/post, I loved disgrace by this author so I can't wait to dive into more of her writings. Great review!! You sold me!

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    1. I hope you’ll love it if you decide to try it, Jessica!

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