Cover Image: The Breathless

The Breathless

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Member Reviews

I tried reading this book but sadly I didn't make it very far while reading this book. I think that the different point of views made it a bit difficult to understand . I usually love this author's books and I hoped that this one would work out for me.
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I was looking for amazing Gothic-style suspense in The Breathless, but the writing took all the creepiness away from me. It just didn't do anything for me and I did not finish it, so I will not be writing a formal review.
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This seemed promising since it was described as an emotional mystery but I did not get any of that. I just felt like the character did lots of sighing and not enough emotions.
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I am very very sorry for responding late. I have been on hiatus for a long time that I haven't checked the books granted to me here on Netgalley. I am hoping for your kind considerations. Thank you.

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I'm kicking myself for not reading this sooner! This is a dark, beautiful tale set in Southern gothic territory. The plot and story are seamlessly intertwined to keep the story moving at a wonderful pace. It's full of richness and depth of mystery that kept me turning pages long into the night. I will definitely recommend The Breathless to my mystery loving friends!
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This book sort of defies explanation. The plot is fairly shadowy. lacking in clear events. We're meant to draw conclusions based on a handful of facts. Even without detail, though, our intended assumptions are pretty clear. THe plot is potty at times but the actual line to line writing is admirable.
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The book kept me riveted for quite a while, but something in the end was missing.
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This was very dull and dry in the beginning and not enough to make me finish this story.
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The Breathless is a YA, paranormal, Southern Gothic but what sets it apart from from other paranormal, YA, Southern Gothics is its setting, the characters and their history. I loved that it was set in Alabama, along the Gulf Coast as most seem set in Louisiana or the Carolinas and the addition of the proximity of the water played an important role in the story.

Parts of the novel are set in the mid-nineteenth century giving us a glimpse into the past of Blue Gate, the once grand but now crumbling home of Mae and her family. It was both different and enjoyable that, despite it being the nineteenth century in the Southern United Sates, this story didn't involve slavery. It also gave us a fresh portrayal of magic and how it came into the characters' lives. (If I really think about it, I'm not sure how that family didn't have some kind of help, paid or otherwise but , oh well.)

We have a mystery in not only Ro's death - what happened, how it happened, who's to blame, why - but in where Cage has been for the past year. The questions around Cage's reappearance, where he's been, why he was gone - and why he doesn't seem to know Ro is dead - add an extra layer of intrigue and uncertainty to the story.

I really liked how Mae had to try to figure out if Cage could be trusted, to find out what happened to her sister, to understand the green book and her family's history all while still grieving. It impacts her decisions, how other characters are behaving or would react and why seems 'right.'

The Breathless had an original setting and origins of both the characters and paranormal elements and the mystery was well done and surprising at times. When the book was finished, though, there were a few things left unexplained (Some that could be inferred, maybe, from things said in story but some I just don't know about.). I wish we'd been given more explanation about these things or, if there were answers, that they'd been more prominent.

I am still puzzling out a few things but this was a fun, original read and I would like to read more from Tara Goedjen.

(Rating: 3.5/5)
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One year ago Roxanne Cole’s body was discovered on the beach…and her friend was seen fleeing. Cage hasn’t been seen since, until the day he shows up at the Coles’ asking for Ro like nothing had happened. Cage claims to have no memory at all of the past year and after Ro’s sister Mae discovers a secret little book, she’s beginning to believe him.

The Breathless was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and when I did, I immediately dove in. Not only did it sound super intriguing, but it also seemed perfect for fall/Halloween reading! ..guys, The Breathless was a DNF. I got 49% of the way through before I finally called it quits. How can a book about dead girls and magic be boring?! I felt like it wasn’t going anywhere, there was a gross love triangle that seemed to be in the works (Mae is Ro’s little sister and one boy was Ro’s boyfriend, the other had a crush of Ro. ew.) and I simply didn’t care enough about the story to keep going.
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Wow!!! Super fun, atmospheric southern gothic -- where has this been all my life?! Make sure to pick this up when it releases in October!
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Roxanne Cole died a year ago, and her family still hasn’t come to terms with her death. Ro was the light of the Cole family, and everything has been dark since her death. Her boyfriend, Cole, vanished the night she died, and no one has seen him since, but when he shows up at the door to Blue Gate Manor asking where Ro is, Mae doesn’t know what to think.

Her sister’s death hit her hard, and Mae is still struggling, but to Cole, Ro was just alive yesterday. When Mae finds the little green book that was never far from Ro’s hands, she also finds dark secrets about her family’s past, and realizes that Ro might be gone now, but that doesn’t mean she has to stay gone.

The Breathless is a creepy Southern gothic mystery that tells three stories:  the present-day tale of Cole and Mae struggling to deal with Ro’s loss, Cole’s memories of his relationship with Ro, and a dark time in the family’s past. The setting adds an eerie layer to an unsettling story, as Mae finds out just what was in that little green book. The storyline about the family’s past does deal with a history of racism that was common in that era, but does not glorify it, instead it reveals the results of such violence and hate.
(Galley provided by Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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Let me completely honest with you here.  I finished reading The Breathless a couple of weeks ago and have just been sitting on writing this review.  Why?  Because I have no idea really what to say to you about it.  And I have been finding myself still lost in thought over things that happened in this story.

The Breathless was one of those books where you read it and it just makes you think.  A lot of things happen in this story and the writing is beautiful.  But there is something about it that makes you keep going "hmm" when it's over and done with.

The Breathless is about a girl named Mae.  Her sister had suffered a tragic death - the kind where they think she was murdered and they think that her boyfriend is too blame.  However, her boyfriend has been missing since it happened...almost a year.  Her sister then finds this mysterious book and other strange things start happening....

One thing really just rolls into another and you find yourself spellbound by the story within.  Yes, sometimes you can pretty much see what is happening, you don't really find yourself caring that much.  The story telling is superb and it makes up for that *some* of the story is predictable.

Now, you may recall that I told you I keep thinking on this book.  And it is because that despite being able to predict things, there were other bits I was not.  And there are strange bits littered throughout the story.  It was one of those books that when I finished I was really tempted to go back and reread it again.  To see the things that I missed.  Part of me thinks, though, that if I were to do that I may be even more confused than I am.

There is just such an air of mystery and intrigue to The Breathless.  I am not really sure if we are supposed to be able to decipher all of the strange.

I have really wanted to discuss this book with someone since I read it, so please contact me once you finish!

My Rating
5 Stars

This review is based on an eARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone
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The Breathless is compelling and atmospheric. Just FYI: tt’s not an in-your-face, page-turning kind of book, but the kind of book that slowly and masterfully weaves its spell over you.

Mae’s sister Ro died almost a year ago and everyone thinks that Ro’s boyfriend, Cage, killed her.

But maybe things aren’t that simple. Mae finds a little green book that belonged to her sister and begins to unravel a twisted tale of dark family secrets that goes back generations.

The Breathless gives the reader Mae’s perspective and Cage’s, and also goes back in time to show the reader how Ro’s death is connected to a whole (creepy) family history.

You will need some patience for this one but I think the payoff is ultimately worth it!
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This novel had a great premise with loss, romance, and the pull of magic. The characters were al present for a mystery/romance that get a reader excited and swoon at the same time. Unfortunately, they never got past the concept. The story was all there, it simply was not put together in a fashion that kept the reader engaged or brought it all together. It was almost like reading a first draft. The progress of the story was very stunted. It was frustrating to jump from one person to the next without much resolved or explained each time. Breakthroughs in the mystery were random and seemed thrown in instead of naturally flowing with the plot line. Secondary characters, especially Fern, were used as a means to the end and lacked definition. Mostly, this novel lacked refinement. I felt that after some more revisions and by adding details throughout, this story could flow better and be a great read. As of now, it is too muddled and sporadic to keep teens interested.
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*3.5 Rating

Southern Gothics are my sort of reads once October hits. I love crumbling antebellum homes, Spanish moss, family secrets, and the possibility of the paranormal walking among the living. If you've ever visited cities like Charleston or Savannah, you might have considered that the line between reality and fiction could blur just enough to make some of the local lore seem real. While I've never visited coastal Alabama, I can only imagine that the setting is similar to the aforementioned cities, which is why I couldn't resist reading this one when it came to my attention.

The novel is told in multiple voices, but mainly follows Mae and Cage. Mae is the younger sister of Cage's girlfriend, Ro, who was found dead on the beach almost a year ago. All the signs of blame for the death point to Cage who ran and has been missing ever since. Mae isn't sure what to believe as she knows how deeply her sister cared for Cage, but she knows that Ro's death is anything but normal. When Cage shows up on the doorstep of their crumbling mansion in coastal Alabama requesting to see Ro, things take a turn. It appears Cage has no memory of that fateful day and can't help shed light on what truly happened to Ro, but for some reason Mae can't bring herself to believe he had anything to do with her sister's death. The pair begin a quest to uncover the secrets of Ro's death which will lead them down sinister paths of long forgotten family secrets and dark magic.

The magic system in this one had a lot of potential, but I felt that there were holes in it. I didn't get any sense of closure between the family's past and the current situation aside from Mae's choices in the final chapters. I still have so many unanswered questions which leaves me feeling as if I missed something along the way. I also felt like some elements in the final chapters were explained too easily and neatly. 

I felt like this novel hit only the top of the iceberg. I wanted the author to go deeper and explain more thoroughly. There was a lot of potential here, but the execution missed the mark a bit for my tastes.

I did like the setting and Mae's tenacity. She couldn't settle for not knowing everything about what Ro was involved in prior to her death. Another aspect I enjoyed was the relationship between Ro and her grandfather.

All in all, this was a weird read for me. It had some spooky elements, but not enough to get my heart racing. The historical elements of the novel felt more complete than the contemporary segments. The writing in places was deeply atmospheric which I loved, but the overall execution of the plot was lacking. I needed fuller plot sequences and more character development. I also was not a huge fan of how the novel jumped around so abruptly between Mae and Cage.  I find myself firmly lodged between loving this one and disliking it altogether. It had enough merits to keep me reading, but required some patience on my part.

One Last Gripe: I didn't love any of the main characters which made it difficult to immerse myself in their lives.

Favorite Thing About The Book: The setting

First Sentence: It isn't a night for raising.

Favorite Character: Grandfather Cole

Least Favorite Character: Fern - she was odd and creepy
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“That was the thing about life–people always assumed there’d be more time. More time to say hello, more time to say I love you. More time to say I’m sorry. Until there wasn’t.”
-Tara Goedjen, The Breathless

When Mae’s sister Ro dies an unexpected death, her world is thrown upside down. No one knows how she died or who did it, if she was even murdered. The only person that was with Ro at the time of her death was her boyfriend, Cage. What is even more suspicious, is that he took off just after her death and hasn’t been seen for a year. Is he guilty? Did he kill Ro? If not, why did he run?

The book is told in rotating point of views between Mae and Cage, with the inclusion of flashbacks. These were my favorite chapters of the book! The flashbacks were of Mae and Ro’s ancestors from the 1800s. I feel these chapters really added to the plot and helped form a cohesive narrative, explaining things that we otherwise wouldn’t understand.

Mae stumbles across a journal of her sister Ro’s one day while in Ro’s room. She hopes to learn more about Ro by reading her journal. She gets more than she bargained for when she learns that it is a book of dark magic that has been passed down her family line. She even comes across a spell for resurrecting the dead. Would you bring back your loved one, knowing there is a cost? I really enjoyed this addition of the dark magic to the story. It added to the mysteriousness.

I was a bit confused what some of the things in the journal meant. I don’t think everything got completely explained and I still have some questions that didn’t get answered. I wish the book had explained everything just a bit more thoroughly.

Overall, I think this was a good read for the Halloween season. This story includes ghosts, mysterious deaths, resurrection rituals, and dark magic. I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and Tara Goedjen for an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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The Breathless, the ones who cannot join us in the living, the dead, and sometimes the dying. The Breathless is mixture of dark magic, death, and what happens when you love too deeply. It sheds light on the darkness we sometimes have in our souls and how hope can sometimes lead you to do bad things.

What I enjoyed most was that this book was a big mystery to me at first. From page one I didn’t exactly know what to expect and what began to unfold before my eyes ended up being a dark and turbulent chain of events that blurred lines between right and wrong. However, there were some times I got confused about the storyline (which is admittedly my own fault for only glancing at the synopsis and not getting myself acclimated with how this story was going to go). I was expecting this to be a bit more paranormal, but instead it was very witchy and I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline I got.

I felt very in the mood for Halloween while reading this and the spookiness of it made me very happy. I think that the best way to experience this novel is going in only knowing the synopsis and just a little bit about the general vibe this book has.

With atmospheric descriptions, a unique storyline, and a old spell book connecting past and present, The Breathless will delight and scare you until the very end. This book will jar you and make you question what is really going on and even what you would do if you had a chance to bring a loved one back from the dead.
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So one word for this book, tragic. There was not a whole lot of happiness throughout this book, which is to be expected when dealing with death, but I had not expected it to be so heartbreaking. I thought the book was a little slow at times. However, by the end of the book, it picks up quite a bit and I flew through it. There are flashbacks to the 1800’s which I really enjoyed and could have used more of those. The history of the family was really interesting. I did actually like the way Cage has flashbacks to what happens throughout the book. I thought those were really well done. Mae is such a sweet quiet girl, so unlike her sister Ro. I really appreciated her quiet way. The relationship between Cage and Mae is a complex one for sure. Mae has to determine if she can trust Cage and you see a lot of who she is while she is determining if she can trust him. Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it was a little too depressing for my taste.
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I am of two minds about this book.

One half thinks it was a very interesting mystery with some definitely spooky parts that made my heart beat fast and my breathing slow. I enjoyed the author's tone and cadence. She has some evident story-telling skills. The mystery itself was engaging, and I found myself reading just to know the answer. (It was worth it! WORTH IT!)

The other half... well, it is nitpicking at one main thing. Mae is such a weakling character. Two boys (who are both obviously still mooning over her dead sister, Ro) display interest in her, seemingly primarily because of her resemblance to Ro.........what? And Mae is just like, "Okay, that's fine! I'm cool with that. Which one do I choose?" Oh, Mae. You are worth so much more than that!!!!

Anyone who knows me is aware that a weak character who doesn't get stronger is a sure-fire way to earn my ire. However, the mystery was strong enough to overcome that.
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