Room to Breathe - Nicole Brightman


I think I've reached the bottom of the barrel with this one. Room to Breathe is BAD. Just the worst. It makes fanny packs and the Macarena look amazing in comparison. Worst book I've ever read? Probably. Some things just shouldn't be on sale for people to read. Was this edited? I don't fucking know. It doesn't LOOK edited, but maybe it was EVEN WORSE before the editors got to it.


Things like this:

The truth is the only thing keeping me from walking out the door right now is the thought of not seeing him every day breaks my heart. It has been such a short amount of time that we have spent together but it has been some of the best times I have had in years. I want him. I want to be his and him to be mine.
And this:

It is over all feminine and what I would have expected to find in an English country manor. There is a dressing table and chair opposite the bed. Also a small table and high back chair with a lamp. There is a door, that is closed, that assume leads to a bathroom.

And, fuck my eyes, this:

"Your ass was made for spanking honey," he says as he smacks the other side.

Commas are really funny that way. You see, they have to be used for a lot of sentences to make sense. When they are misused, or not used at all, we all end up with with mental images of people spanking honey with asses. If you didn't have that mental image until I mentioned it, I REGRET NOTHING.

But the story. Holy balls, you guys, THE STORY. It is an incomprehensible mindfuck of epic proportions. The story in Room to Breathe goes from bad to worse and keeps growing like a malignant tumor of SUCK. Reading it from the perspective of a narrator who is so shallow that her brain is an abandoned pool of matter in a wading tub somewhere did not benefit the experience.

Meet Cora Allen!
I've affectionately dubbed her Cora Sue, and she's a real peach, this one.

"I pause for just a moment in the door way. "If you change your mind, you know where to find me." I smile over my shoulder and give my ass a smack. I giggle and head out of the room.

She's a little nobody from America, living in England for an undetermined amount of time and depending on the generosity of her English relatives. Cora Sue has no schooling, no ambitions, no friends. Naturally, she's the speshulest little snowflake to ever flutter out of the snowflake factory. When pressed to describe what she really wants to do with her life, Cora Sue squeaks out something generic about "traveling" and helping bring the water to people without water, despite have no experience or knowledge about bringing water to people without water, and that's supposed to make us think Cora Sue is a good person.


But holy bananas, that woman has some wet panties for the hero.

Meet Lord Eric Ashford!
I've affectionately dubbed him Pimp!Jesus. This will make more sense later. He's a real English gentleman.

"Me telling you that I want to 'fuck the hell out of you' isn't vulgar because it is just true. But if I were to say about ninety percent of the things that came out of her mouth in front of you it would just be wrong."

Sexist AND hypocritical. My favorite kind. Pimp!Jesus is described as a an English "Lord" throughout the story. Yes, the "L" is capitalized in the text. No, that is not the correct way to write it, unless it's being used as part of the proper name. Therefore, when Cora talks about "that Lord at the pub" or whatever, I immediately think of Jesus. And boy, did I have a lot of fun with that. So Pimp!Jesus is the lord of something, I guess. He's a member of the House of Lords, so he has to have a title. But nope. Just Lord Eric Ashford. Whether he's an earl or viscount or baron, WE'LL NEVER KNOW.

I read a lot of Regency Romance. That omission drove me BATTY.

So, Cora Sue meets Pimp!Jesus when he nearly runs her over while DRIVING DRUNK. This story should have ended here with her gruesome death his arrest, but I will never be that lucky. Anyway, she thinks he's a sexy penis, panties dampen, blah blah blah. Then it cuts to third-person present, so it read like I was watching a History Channel documentary, and Eric's all turned on by her mouth and blah blah blah.

They go on a date and abuse an Aston Martin by fooling around on it. Cora Sue is smitten, but she acts all cool when Pimp!Jesus is like, "I just fuck ladies for fun. I have dead wife baggage. Don't get clingy." And I figured that the story would go in the direction of Cora Sue teaching Pimp!Jesus to love again or whatever, but no. NO THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENS. Yes, Cora Sue does get clingy, but that is only a tiny fraction of the WHA-TO-THE-WHUT in this story.

Pimp!Jesus has a big, dark, and terrible secret.

That secret is that he is a pimp.

I'll wait until you stop laughing.

To be fair, he says he isn't a pimp, and after he recruits Cora Sue, she says that she isn't a prostitute. In Pimp!Jesus' estimation, he's just a nice guys who wants to hook wealthy men and women up with "charges" who they probably/most likely/definitely have sex with, even though they don't PAY for the SEX. The charges are just like assistants who dress up in expensive clothes he buys for them and wine and dine with the friends his status brings them. Sure, their very JOB is to be at the beck and call of another human being, who's allowed to be bossy because he/she is rich, but that's not weird in any way, he says. It's an honest business, he says. Nothing shady at all. He's just a matchmaker who's only in it to protect mistresses from - I don't know - being thrown back out on the street after their benefactors are done with them.


The point is that I have eyes and more logic than this book, and Pimp!Jesus is definitely running a prostitution ring, even if he doesn't know it.

So he recruits Cora Sue to his incredibly legal business as a "charge," and she's totally down with it because doing this will help her achieve her "dreams" of traveling, wearing expensive name brands, and maybe helping villages without water get water in vague water terms because research is NOT this book's strong suit. Cora Sue's cousin, her only relative in the country, tells her that she can't tolerate her becoming a whore. And Cora Sue thinks her cousin's being a judgmental bitch. And her cousin's like, "If you do this stupid thing, never come back again!"

As can be expected, we never see Cora Sue's cousin again.

All that Cora Sue has left in England is Pimp!Jesus, because it's apparently really hard to make friend in 18 months(?), and he's more than willing to tell her how hot/beautiful/different/fun/gorgeous/sexy she is at every opportunity. There's nothing I hate more than reading about a hero complimenting a self-insert Sue for a whole story, so thank Pimp!Jesus for Lucinda, the fucking best.

Lucinda, another of Pimp!Jesus' wards, hates Cora Sue at first sight. The author writes Lucinda as this unbelievably mean villain, the kind that you wouldn't buy as actually existing in a million years. She calls Cora Sue fat right after they're introduced. Who says that to a stranger? LUCINDA DOES because she cannot possibly exist, but her presence in the story gave me laughs for days. Of course, Cora Sue "sets down" Lucinda right away with the typical "UR JUST JELLUS!" arguments that make me heart aflutter. It's adorable.

Cora Sue and Pimp!Jesus start fucking, and it's boring and the same every time. Naturally, Cora Sue attaches herself to the object of her affection like mold on a two-week old tuna salad, and she doesn't even try to be secretive about it. Therefore, EVERY STUPID PERSON at Pimp!Jesus' stupid estate knows that they're fucking.

At one point, Pimp!Jesus spanks Cora Sue with a hairbrush. My sex drive has yet to return.

The story starts to perk up when Cora Sue walks into Pimp Jesus' office and sees that he's about to have a threesome with Fabulously Evil Lucinda and Dumb As Rocks Claire. And Cora's like this:

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And she flails away to have a panic attack outside, in the freezing cold, IN HER SWIMSUIT. Now you're shaking your head trying to figure out why Cora Sue would be outside in the freezing cold in her swimsuit, and that's because she's a bloody idiot and wanted to coax Pimp!Jesus out of his office for a swim so they could take part in some more loving sexitudes or whatever. Why she doesn't wear a cover-up around the FANCY ENGLISH MANOR with OTHER PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE remains a mystery.

So Cora Sue almost freezes to death outside, but Pimp!Jesus saves her from her pathetic panic attack. Sadly, he WASN'T having a threesome with Lucinda and Claire. They were attacking him with their feminine wiles, and he had to fight them off because there's only ONE vagina for him, and it unfortunately belongs to Cora Sue.

The story's big event is a gala at Pimp!Jesus' estate in which he shows off his charges to the highest bidders. Cora Sue is all nervous because she doesn't know all the fancy dances, and that brings us this incredibly hilarious piece of dialogue:

"I don't know about the dancing part. I know how to drop it like it's hot but something tells me this isn't the kind of dancing you are talking about."

DROP IT LIKE IT'S HOT! Is it 2004 again?

Cora Sue, you see, is a pinnacle of class. I mean, check out what she wears to fancy dinners on fancy English estates with fancy people attending:

I am wearing a short strapless hot pink dress that is flowy from just under my breast to about mid-thigh. The top part around my breasts is covered in crystals.

So classy.

Because they suck, Cora Sue and Pimp!Jesus start walking circles around each other and having self-created issues. Cora Sue attracts a Daddy Warbucks for her gold-digging ways, and there are drawn-out scenes of her waiting for Pimp!Jesus to pledge his undying love and tell her to stay. At the same time, Pimp!Jesus wants her to stay but decides that she wants to go to Japan with a Scottish guy because that will make the plot drag on forever.

At no point do these people TALK to each other about this or actually DO what they want to do. Because they are idiots.

Cora Sue leaves to many sad monologues and dreary days, and Pimp!Jesus decides he must tell her that he loves her. So he follows her to London and tells her that he loves her. And I'm thinking, FINALLY this book will fucking end. But Cora Sue is the devil, so she's like, "YOU DO NOT LOVE ME! YOU SENT ME AWAY! NEVER TELL ME YOU LOVE ME BECAUSE YOU LIE!" Apparently, girlfriends can just be "sent away" to Japan like rich people send their kids to boarding school?

And Pimp!Jesus is like, "But I DO love you."

But of course that doesn't matter because I had to suffer more.

After Cora Sue's departure date for Japan, Pimp!Jesus is all sad, and his faithful assistant comes into his office with joyful "bad news":


My first reaction was one of shock. What an insensitive thing to do to poor Japan in a fictional romance. My second reaction was one of elation. Cora Sue was finally gone!

But then she wasn't, because she never went to Japan.

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Cora Sue reveals that she didn't go to Japan because Fabulously Evil Lucinda trapped her in a wine cellar and went in her place. And now Lucinda is dead.

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This book is the antidote to happiness.

C'est fin.