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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Just Remember To Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles (Book Review)

Just Remember To Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles
Book 1: Thompson Sisters series
Publisher: Cincinnatus Press
Publication Date: October 15, 2012
Format: Paperback - 280 pages / Kindle - 754 KB / Nook - 785 KB
ISBN: 0988273608
ASIN: B009442XCQ
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Just Remember To Breathe

Disclaimer: I received the book from the author / AToMR Tours in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

Alex Thompson’s life is following the script. A pre-law student at Columbia University, she’s focused on her grades, her life and her future. The last thing she needs is to reconnect with the boy who broke her heart.

Dylan Paris comes home from Afghanistan severely injured and knows that the one thing he cannot do is drag Alex into the mess he’s made of his life.

When Dylan and Alex are assigned to the same work study program and are forced to work side by side, they have to make new ground rules to keep from killing each other.

Only problem is, they keep breaking the rules.

The first rule is to never, ever talk about how they fell in love.

Book Excerpt:

I was late when I got to the Arts and Sciences building, and ran up the six flights of steps to the third floor, knowing the elevator would take forever. I checked my phone. It was three o’clock. I needed to get there right now.

I counted down the room numbers, finally reaching a dark hall. The light was out at the end of the hall, casting the area in not quite darkness. There it was, room 301. Next to the door, a student sat, his head resting on his fist, face turned away from me. He was reading a book.

I took a breath. His hair reminded me of Dylan’s, but shorter, of course. That, and his arms were… well, very muscular, and he was tanned. This guy looked like someone out of a catalog. Not that I went fainting over guys with big biceps, but seriously, a girl can look, right?

As I approached though, I felt my heart begin to thump in my chest. Because the closer I got, the more he looked like Dylan. But what would he be doing here? Dylan, who had broken my heart, then disappeared as if he’d never existed, his email deleted, Facebook page closed, Skype account gone. Dylan, who had erased himself from my life all because of a stupid conversation that shouldn’t have happened.

I slowed down. It couldn’t be. It just… couldn’t be.

He took a breath and shifted position slightly, and I gasped. Because sitting in front of me was the boy who’d broken my heart. Quietly, I said, “Oh, my God.”

He jumped to his feet. Or rather tried to. He got about halfway up, and a look of excruciating pain swept across his face and he fell down, hard. I almost cried out, as he tried to force his way back up. I started forward to help, and he said his first words to me in six months: “Don’t touch me.”

Typical. I had to stuff down the hurt that threatened to burst to the surface.

He looked… different. Indefinably different. We hadn’t seen each other face to face in almost two years, not since the summer before my senior year in high school. He’d filled out, of course. In all the right places. His arms, which I vividly remembered being held in, had doubled in size. The sleeves of his tee shirt looked like they were going to burst. I guess the Army does that for you. His eyes were still the same piercing blue. For a second I met them, then looked away. I didn’t want to get trapped in those eyes. And damn it, he still smelled the same. A hint of smoke and fresh ground coffee. Sometimes when I walked into a coffee shop in New York, I’d get an overwhelming sensation that he was there, just from the smell. Sometimes memory sucks.

“Dylan,” I said. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m waiting for an appointment.”

“Here?” I asked. That was crazy.

He shrugged. “Work-study assignment.”

No. No way.

“Wait a minute… are you saying you’re in school here?”

He nodded.

“What happened to the Army?” I asked.

He shrugged, looked away, then gestured toward the cane.

“So of all the schools you could have chosen, you came here? To the same place as me?”

Anger swept over his face.“I didn’t come here for you, Alex. I came here because it was the best school I could get in to. I came here for me.”

“What, did you think you could just show up and sweep me back into your arms after ignoring me for the last six months? After erasing me from your life?”

He narrowed his eyes, looked at me directly. In a cold voice, he said, “Actually, I was hoping I just wouldn’t run into you.”

I stifled a sob. I was not going to let him get to me. I spat back, “Well, looks like we both had some bad luck. Because I’m here for my work-study assignment, too.”

His eyes widened. “You’re going to be working for Forrester?”

“Is he the so-called author in residence?”

He nodded.

“Oh, God,” I said. “I’m going to be sick.”

“Thanks. It’s great to see you too, Alex.”

I almost shouted at him, but a jovial voice down the hall called to us. “Hello! You two must be my new research assistants!”

A ridiculous looking man, trying way too hard to look like an author with a capital A, walked toward us. He wore a tweed jacket, with leather patches on the elbows, and corduroy pants. He couldn’t have been much older than thirty-five, but he wore reading glasses perched halfway up his nose.

“Well, hello,” he said. “I’m Max Forrester.”

“Alex Thompson,” I said. I glanced at Dylan. He was glaring at me.

“Dylan Paris,” he said.

“Come in, Alex and Dylan. My apologies for being late. Sometimes I get lost in the throes of creation and forget the time.”

Forrester’s back was already to me as he unlocked his door. I rolled my eyes. Lost in the throes of creation, indeed. You could smell the whiskey on his breath from fifteen feet away. Smelled like he’d gotten lost in the nearest watering hole.

Dylan waved me ahead of him. He was leaning heavily on the cane. What happened to him? I walked in behind Forrester, and Dylan followed me, limping.

“Sit down, you two, sit down. Can I get you some tea? Water? Or something with a little more, um… life?”

“No thanks,” Dylan said, grimacing as he eased himself into his seat. Once seated, he leaned his cane against the wall. His expression was unreadable.

“I’ll take some water,” I said, just to contradict him.

Forrester filled up a small glass with water at a tiny sink in the back of the office and brought it to me. My eyes narrowed a little when I got a look at the glass. It was filthy. Eww. And there was something oily floating on top of the water.

I pretended to take a sip, then set it on the edge of the desk.

“Well, let’s get down to business,” Forrester said. “Do you two know each other?”

“No,” I said, forcefully, just as Dylan said, “Yes.”

Forrester liked that. A smile lit up on his face, then he said, “I bet there’s a story there.”

“You’d be wrong,” I replied. I glanced at Dylan, and said, “Nothing significant at all."

My Book Review:

Just Remember To Breathe is a poignant love story about second chances that simply takes your breath away.

Alexandra "Alex" Thompson and Dylan Paris met three years ago on an exchange student program trip to Israel. There was a mutual attraction at first sight even though they come from very different backgrounds and opposite sides of the country, but the trip would forever change their lives. For two years they had an on/off long distance relationship that encompassed Alex's senior year in high school and first year of college at Columbia University, and Dylan serving in the Army in Afghanistan. During Alex's first year at Columbia University, a misunderstanding occurs between Alex and Dylan during their Skype date, and it results in a break up that leaves both of them heartbroken and shattered. When the new school year starts, Dylan is a wounded veteran registered at Coulmbia, he and Alex unexpectedly meet again at a work study assignment, they try to avoid one another but they are still drawn to each other. With an intense past relationship that ended with two broken hearts, and personal demons between them, can Alex and Dylan find a way to give their love another chance?

Author Charles Sheehan-Miles weaves an emotionally intense and gut wrenching love story that pulls at the heartstrings. Written in the first person narrative in the present time with flashbacks to the past; with chapters alternating between the point of view of Alex Thompson and Dylan Paris; and richly descriptive settings in Israel, New York, Afghanistan and San Francisco; the reader gets swept away in a powerfully intense and palpable story about the complicated love relationship between two young adults from very different worlds.

This intriguing story flows seamlessly as the reader connects with both Alex and Dylan as their story unfolds. You can't help but get drawn into their lives as Alex and Dylan gives the reader their perspective on the ups and downs of their relationship. This multi-layered storyline has enough drama, emotion, twists and turns that keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages. I loved that the storyline has Alex and Dylan dealing with various issues in their relationship: opposite attraction; different upbringing / rich v poor; alcoholism, drugs, rape; and devastating war injuries including PTSD and Brain Injury. The author does a wonderful job of providing flashbacks into their past history along with the present and other events that eventually lead up to a satisfying and sweet romantic ending.

With a cast of characters who are realistic, flawed, and easy to relate to;  a mixture of humorous and heart wrenching dialogue and interactions; and a storyline with enough emotional pull that you can feel the intensity of Alex and Dylan's love and agonizing turmoil in their relationship; Just Remember To Breathe is a wonderful love story that makes you believe in the power and beauty of second chances.

Just Remember To Breathe is the first book in the Thompson Sisters series. While this book can be a stand alone read, to fully appreciate the Thompson sisters' stories, I would suggest you read the series in sequential order.


About The Author

Charles Sheehan-Miles has been a soldier, nonprofit executive, short order cook, IT manager and run a restaurant. He doesn't believe in specialization. He currently works as a communications and outreach specialist for a law firm representing disabled veterans.

Charles lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife Veronica and their two children.

FACEBOOK - Remember To Breathe Group Page


  1. Just found your blog from Fellow Jersey Girl here! This looks like a good book. I'll have to add it to my ever teetering stack of TBR books.

    1. Hi Melissa! Thank you for visiting my blog, always nice to meet other Jersey Girls! I know what you mean about the ever growing TBR list ... lol Hope you get a chance to read the book, it was really good! :)