Adult Reviews Standalones

Review | Fighting to Breathe by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Spoiler Free Review

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.8 / 5 stars.
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds.
Length: 204 pages.
Trigger Warnings: loss of a loved one, depression.

Shooting Stars Book #1

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“I’m alone, adrift at sea, fighting to breathe, with no one there to rescue me.”

Lea Lamb and Austin Wolf were young when they fell in love. They never imagined the future could hold anything other than together-forever. When Lea’s father dies in a tragic fishing accident, she’s crushed under the weight of her grief and catches a glimpse of another type of future, one she knows she’s not strong enough to face. 

Austin is angry. For the past fifteen years, he’s believed the woman he loved with every ounce of his soul left him without so much as a backwards glance. When Lea unexpectedly returns to their hometown, all the years of heartache inside Austin bubbles to the surface and presents itself as blinding rage.

Faced with the truth about the past, a newly discovered secret, these former lovers will learn that if they want to have any chance at the future they’d given up on all those years ago, they will have to rescue one another from drowning in pain so debilitating it will leave them both fighting to breathe. Contains mature themes.

This book came as a shock to me, considering I’ve read many of this author’s work before. In fact, she is one of my most read authors overall. With that said, I think this might be one of her best novels in terms of emotion and characterization.

“She is still breathing, while I’m fighting for every breathe I take.”

From the very beginning (literally from the prologue), we get a taste of how devastating the situation is. And then, the moment I stepped into chapter 1, I was sure that I would cry at one point or another (at least, if you’re an emotional blob like me). It was impressive how Aurora Rose Reynolds helped us form such a strong attachment with the people in this story as quickly as she did. Sometimes it’s hard for me to connect with characters outside of the main ones, which means I don’t usually care if something bad happens to them, specially so early on in the story. But, in Fighting to Breathe, Lea is going through so much and her inner struggle is so evident that we can’t help but feel all of that right along with her.

On that note, I do wish we could’ve witnessed a little more of the healing she went through. This part of her journey is very much tied into the romance, and it is clear that her happiness does not depend on her relationship status, for she continues to work through it even at the end. Still, once Austin and Lea reunited and reconciled, it seemed that that aspect of the narrative went to the backseat until it showed up again towards the end.

“I tried to fight it,” she whispers.

“I know you did, but you don’t have to fight alone, not anymore,” I tell her.

Lastly, I did enjoy the romance. As a fan of Aurora Rose Reynolds, I know that she likes writing insta-love, and when it isn’t, our characters usually have a history. On this case, I was surprised by the approach because it forced the characters to have actual confrontations and conversations about what they’d been through, which can be rare in this genre.

Overall, this book is the proof that Aurora is versatile. My eyes teared about a hundred times and the emotion in her writing was unlike anything of hers I’ve read before. If you enjoy second-chance, dramatic romance, I think you might really like this.

Setting: ★★★.8 / 5 stars.
Plot: ★★★.8 / 5 stars.
Characters: ★★★.7 / 5 stars.
Writing: ★★★.8 / 5 stars.
Pacing: ★★★★ / 5 stars.
Steaminess: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

My main rating is not an average from my breakdown, but an estimate of my personal enjoyment.