Saturday, February 13, 2016

As You Breathe Again - Molli Moran

If there is one thing I can never tire of, it is love stories and I am sure you noticed I posted a love of romance novel reviews this last week. Hello, it's Valentine's Day tomorrow! While I don't buy into the merchandise and ridiculous demands that people connect to the day, I do love the extra love in the air. Since T and I can't be together tomorrow, because his job could care less, I have spent my time getting loving from my books. They're almost as good. ;)
I do know one thing about romance novels though, it is easy for them to get old, so hopefully the different story lines in the books this past week have kept you interested, no matter what age or genre preference. The final book for this week is As You Breathe Again, a cute, small town love story about an interracial couple and the personal challenges they overcome to find one another.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Published: February 4, 2016
Many thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon Goodreads
Reece Walker has been drowning himself in alcohol since his ex-wife's death and he doesn't know how to recover from her death and be the father he needs to be for their son. He knows he needs to get his act together, especially after friends and family call him out for his appalling behavior, but it all clicks together when he sees Delaney Shaw again. All the feelings from a year ago come rushing back to him, but he's not sure he can be the man he needs to be for her if he can't even be the man he needs to be for his son.
Delaney Shaw is jobless, disenchanted by city life, and missing her best friend. When Quinn offers her a summer in the small, southern town of Baylor, Lanie can't think of anything better. Seeing Reece brings back a lot of old feelings, but those feelings won't matter if Lanie can't finally face her past and learn to let love in.

I was hesitant about this book, I really enjoy interracial couple novels, but I had a couple friends mention this one was a bit over the top. I found myself enjoying it, despite the fact that I do think Lanie, as a character, was focused on her skin color more than anyone else was. I really liked Lanie and Reece as a couple, especially the city girl country boy trope. They weren't identical characters so their relationship didn't come easy, both definitely had their fair share of personal drama to handle, and then the tie in of small southern town with prevalent racism to deal with. I liked reading Lanie's personal growth the most; I think she had fantastic friends, interesting family dynamics, and had a desired personal goal in mind that played right into this novel. Reece, on the other hand, was the kind of character I couldn't like at first, because I kept thinking of his son. His relationship with his ex-wife proved to be a bit confusing, but was overshadowed quickly by his relationship with his brothers, his father, and the friends he surrounded himself with.

The best part of this book though, hands down, was how the characters owned their flaws, recognized they needed to figure out themselves first, and put a relationship with one another at the very bottom of the list. They worked on their friendships, they worked out family issues, and made themselves independent as people before they finally came together as a couple. There was no insta-love, there was no crazy drama, there was just natural personal development and relationship flow. I cannot tell you how often a romance novel puts me off due to how quick relationships move, so I have to hand it to Molli Moran, Reece and Lanie make for one sweet couple.

There are a few parts of As You Breathe Again that came up flawed for me, however they didn't keep me from enjoying the novel. I didn't understand Delaney's sleeping around or Reece's relationship with his ex-wife, but maybe I missed something. I felt like Delaney never faced her old self directly, and while I am all for one-night stands, she treated it so flippantly, but would act like it was a bad quality later on. Then there's Reece dealing with his loss, and while he admits that he and his ex were friends that easily could have fallen back into a relationship, they remained separated prior to her death. That said, I couldn't understand the two together and I couldn't connect the ex-wife to his life with son. I do think how he finally dealt with the loss was done incredibly well. Finally, there is the interracial relationship. I understand people are unfortunately still racist, especially in certain areas of the US, but I didn't support it being tied almost directly to being Southern. There were also times when Lanie would focus on the black qualities about herself far more than anyone else was, I'm sure this was meant to help us connect to the character, but it actually left me feeling more confused with her desire to move to a community she so closely related to prejudices. The general dynamic of the interracial relationship was handled very well and I could distinctly see both characters, especially when they let their love outshine other character's rude comments.

Overall, As You Breathe Again is a great novel from Molli Moran. While I did not read book one in The Walker Boys series, I do think I'll be going back to read it now, because the characters mentioned in this book are so intriguing to me.

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