Review: “Breath to Bear” by Paula Dombrowiak

Series: Blood & Bone, #2

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: November 30th, 2021

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CW/TW: Mentions of drug and alcohol abuse, mentions of death and cheating

Jack O’Donnell
I thought telling my story would purge my demons, but it didn’t. If anything, it brought them closer to the surface.
Now, they’re threatening to drag me back into the darkness and stop me from moving on with the journalist who captured my story and my heart.
The guilt I bear is heavy, the road I’ve traveled long and littered with scars that run deep.
I’ve been down this road before, in love with two women at the same time.
It didn’t end well.
Erin’s running scared – for good reason – but I won’t let her get away that easy.
I know what I need to do, but am I strong enough to let go of the past?

Erin Langford
Journalists are supposed to be objective, to look at a story as if you’re outside a window looking in.
That’s what I was taught.
That’s what I should have done.
Instead, I fell through the glass and right into Jack O’Donnell’s bed.
The memoire I was supposed to write turned into more than I bargained for.
I’m in too deep.
So far gone.
He’s like a bad drug, making his way through my veins, and stopping my heart.
Yet, I still want more.
There’s just one problem – he’s still in love with someone else. She’s the ghost in the room, the girl that ruined him for all others.
Am I strong enough to be the one to help him heal?

You know those books you pick up without knowing what to expect from it and then you come out of it completely exhausted because all of your emotions and feelings have been ripped apart and put back together? Yeah, that’s what Paula Dombrowiak did to me with the first two books in the Blood & Bone series. When I read the first book, I was torn about my feelings for Jack and Erin. The book was told through flashbacks as Erin wrote the story of Jack’s life, and he was painted like a villain. I definitely appreciated the lack of filter and none of the sugar coating as Jack told his story, but I struggled to like him or his connection with Erin.

But then, Paula wrote this book and suddenly all those doubts and concerns were gone. Because Jack O’Donnell? He redeemed himself. So yes, it’s important to read the first book before you dive into Breath to Bear, because there’s so much to unpack and understand before you dive into the story of Jack and Erin.

“This woman lights me on fire and turns me to ashes every time.”

Breath to Bear isn’t your typical rockstar romance, which was another reason why this appealed to me so much. You’ve got this aging rockstar who plays at bars and small events and a music journalist who has already told the story of his life. There are so few secrets left between them, but the weight of those secrets and the truths they hold are the most damaging. All my negative feelings for Jack from book one were shut off as I read book two, because he is such an open character. The chapters written from his point of view are heart wrenching and deep, but also funny and introspective. I appreciated how much he acknowledged and apologised for his flaws, because Jack is far from perfect. He knows that he’s made all these mistakes and that he’s ruined relationships, but he is willing to admit them too.

Erin was the most brilliant character in this book. She came across as small and naive in book one, but you see her fierceness and her absolute brilliance in book two. Erin has been through her fair share of struggles––nothing like what Jack went through, of course––but she’s pushed herself up and taken what she wants without letting anyone tell her otherwise. Erin’s journey to where she is now was full of ups and downs, but she’s finally found where she belongs. I think of all the characters that Jack interacts with through the course of the books, Erin is the only one I wanted to protect. Not that she’s incapable of protecting herself, but she’s so deeply involved in Jack that it becomes hard to believe she knows what the right thing to do is. I admired her tenacity, her friendliness and her love for what she does and the people around her. I could have happily read an entire book just following Erin on her journey all over America to discover music. The soul of this woman blew my mind.

Their relationship goes through so much and I think that’s what really got me. The love is there, but it’s so complicated. I like that even though they have their happy ending, we get put through the wringer just as much. Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster, because this book will make you smile, then laugh and possibly even cry more times than you’d like. It’s powerful and it’s magical. And their love story is so wonderful. I loved that you thought you knew how things were going to be, but then it changes course drastically. And yet, they find all their happy endings and magical moments.

Paula Dombrowiak hooked me from the moment I started Blood & Bone and ripped me to shreds as I read this book. And now I’m so deeply invested in the lives of these characters and I can’t wait to see what comes next. 

Thanks to Paula Dombrowiak and Wildfire Marketing Solutions for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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