I was warned about Tristan Cole.
“Stay away from him,” people said.
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.
Genre: New Adult (Mature readers)
Rating: …..So hard to do guys! 3.5/5 stars!
First let’s talk about this beautiful cover art shall we? I hate to say that a lot of books make in into my tbr pile based on their covers...but they do! This book was ONE of them. It is stunning. The cover model (Franggy Yanez) is beautiful, but the colors, title font and placement are all so complimentary and simply stunning. It drew me into this book and made me want to check it out.
He’s good right??
This book is self published, which is something that has become really accessible to new writers, and I think it is absolutely amazing, wonderful and inspiring. All the hard work these authors put into their story on top of the drive and dedication to get it out there too us. I find myself reading them a lot. Sometimes they are a little rough, sometimes I think publication may have been a bit premature....but other times you find a story that is filled with so much HEART, it’s no wonder the author pushed it out. The Air He Breathes was one of those heart filled stories.
This is a dual POV story between Elizabeth and Tristan, who have both suffered tragic heartbreaking losses, that have left them damaged and broken and brought together by circumstance. While one is reserved and determined they other is cold and callous. They are both dealing with their grief in different ways yet they have this connection that is almost kismet, as they try to move forward, or forget.
“The hardest part about losing someone you love is the fact that you also lose yourself.”
Elizabeth fled to her mother’s house after the passing of her husband in search of...comfort and solace....a way to breath after such a gut-wrenching loss. She has now decided it’s time for her and her 5 year old daughter to go back home. She realizes that her mother’s home is not the place for her and her daughter and that she needs to pack up, head home and start to really heal while trying to rebuild pieces of the life she lost. She is learning to be independent and though she does struggle with her demons, she stays incredibly put together for her daughter.
Tristan is a shut in recluse who lives in his own world of suffering after the loss of his wife and son. With his perspective we see a time jump to the past and the days immediately following the loss of his family. It is truly a heart breaking and tragic story that lets you feel Tristan’s anguish. He pushes away those close to him, and shuts himself inside of shell of anger and animosity towards others, especially those showing kindness...which he feels is undeserved.
He feels guilty and cheated and although he is really abrasive in the beginning, even then I couldn’t help but love him. I wanted to see his shell crack so badly. And on a more positive note, he is covered in children's literary tattoos, including Narnia, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, all in tribute to his son’s love of books and reading-pretty amazing right?
“If love was a moment, this would be where it existed.”
“Even though I was death, she took the time to resuscitate me. She breathed life back into my soul. She brought me back from the shadows.”
So these two broken souls collide and it’s rocky at first but you see those shields start to slip. Little by little the walls come down and you are so rooting for them to find each other completely and let go of some of their own inner turmoil. Everything starts out with them realizing what they can benefit from the other. They can pretend….the can fake it. They can use one another to satisfy a longing. Of course with time that relationship starts to shift, to become an even stronger bond built off the pain of losing a soul mate and becoming something all it’s own. It’s great to see-Tristan especially- kind of go through this metamorphosis through the story as he grows and learns. I really really loved his character and how caring and sweet he became. Also the “post-it” thing is completely adorable! I could have read 40+ pages of those alone! It was surprising to see him crumble first, and I LOVED that.
“And then, I accidentally fell in love with you.”
“So right now, Lizzie…if you don’t want me to love you, tell me and I’ll stop. I’ll walk away and I’ll stop loving you. Push me away, if you want to. Tell me to go, and I will. But, if there is any small part of you that is okay with this, any part of you that is okay with me accidentally falling in love with you, then pull me closer.”
There are a few shades of predictability that you may pick up on. I sort of started to put some pieces together, but at the end I had a curve ball thrown in that I did not see coming and that excitement kind of cancelled out any thing I may have perceived. There were a few spots where I got a little lost and the story seemed to jump a bit making me think I may have skipped a page somewhere, but pushing on it evened out and I just overlooked it. Small “errors” like that are what caused me to rate this a little lower...only because snags like that tend to pull me out of the story while I try to figure out what is going on.
“As long as air moves in and out of my lungs … as long as I breathe, I will fight for you. I will fight for us.”
This book has so much heart and passion and growth. It will make you cry and it will make you laugh. It has this air of suspense towards the end and I love that. The epilogue gives us a time jump, which those who know me know I LOVE that too!! This book was really well rounded and hit all the facets of a good NA book, and I would totally recommend!
“You’re beautiful. You’re a beautiful, broken kind of monster.”
“Because you’re beautiful. You’re a beautiful, broken kind of woman.”
This is the first book in the elements series, the second The Fire Between High & Low is set to be released in early 2016, however I think these can be read as standalone books.