November 20, 2013

Braine Reviews: Synchronized Breathing by Tara Ellison + Giveaway

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 14, 2013
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop
Source: Publisher
Genre: Women's Lit | Contemporary
Nothing announces the failure of one’s life quite as loudly as having to move back in with your mother at the ripe old age of thirty-five. Unfortunately for Scarlett Spencer, her marriage has recently imploded and she’s headed to Beverly Hills—toddler in tow—to move in with her oversexed mother, CeCe. But maneuvering life back at home isn’t the only challenge . . .

After being a stay-at-home mom, Scarlett wades back into the Hollywood employment pool with hilarious results. Even more terrifying is the prospect of reentering the dating world. She soon learns that balancing motherhood with the unique demands of Hollywood men creates a new twist on the dating dilemma. Tired of dating jerk after jerk, Scarlett goes on a self-imposed “man-diet,” which isn’t easy when her mother is perpetually on a manhunt. But in the quiet of this new man-free existence, Scarlett discovers what is really important in her life.

Synchronized Breathing is a cheeky, light-hearted story about moving on and realizing that mother doesn’t always know best.

SYNCHRONIZED BREATHING is Tara Ellison's debut novel which is basically a tale about a woman going through that difficult post-divorce phase. Most of us have been through some sort of break-up, if not a divorce, so I guess we can all relate to Scarlett's sense of loss, the feeling of being adrift and that need and want to rebuild a new life and finding order amidst the chaos. And as if her impromptu freestyle classes on single motherhood isn't challenging enough, Scarlett also had to figure out her employment situation, or lack thereof, and had to go through some interesting situations to pay off her bills. As expected, there's a string of relationships post-divorce which in a nutshell were disastrous and and at the same time empowering for Scarlett. So really, SYNCHRONIZED BREATHING is your reliable Women's Lit, full of optimism and learning the hard lessons of life.

One of SYNCHRONIZED BREATHING's stronger points are Scarlett's friendships and her relationship with her mother. The flow of estrogen power in this book is sincere, encouraging and heartwarming. Having reliable girlfriends while you're going through a debilitating period in your life is GOLDEN and Scarlett's proved to be gems. My favorite has to be Scarlett's eccentric and over the top mother, Cece. Cece's got more game than Scarlett and her friend's combined and what I liked best about her was she was very supportive and was never condescending to Scarlett. As for the customary mother-daughter post divorce lectures, Cece limited it to sage manhunting tips which gave me some pretty good laughs despite some of its awkwardness.
When you meet the man you want to be with forever, you want forever to begin right now
Scarlett Spencer. Throughout SYNCHRONIZED BREATHING I can't help but feel like Scarlett is TEllison's fictional alter-ego because there's a lot of similarities between the two based on her bio and author pic. Regardless of, I give Scarlett mucho props for her resilience and sheer optimism. Divorce is one thing, getting your sexy back is a whole 'nother level. For me , this was the highlight of the entire novel as it showcased Scarlett's strength as a character. We see her go on a rebound then genuinely fall in love with someone only to get her heart broken again and again til she finally understood that she needed to love herself [again] first before she can truly move on. Scarlett's journey to self-love was gradual and full of potholes and speed bumps and I loved how she handled all that with a lot of sense of humor which made some of the sadder parts easier to bear.

Starting SYNCHRONIZED BREATHING I was expecting a romantic chick-lit and instead I got a story that's all encompassing and something a lot of female readers can relate to. Though this is a story about love, I wouldn't call it strictly contemporary romance because TEllison gave us so much more than gorgeous men and hot 'n steamy romantic interludes. TEllison gave us a great life story about falling down and getting back up with heaping servings of positivity it's nothing short of inspiring. Read the [penis] excerpt below for a quick laugh.

“Every marriage is work, but the trick is to pick someone you actually want to be married to.” Susan smiled at me. 

Susan was my opposite in almost every way. Logical and levelheaded, her pragmatic view of life was so foreign to me that I often thought she was speaking another language.

“I’ll try to remember that for next time,” I said. “If there ever is a next time.”

“You gave it your best shot,” she said. “Personally, I thought you should have bailed right after you found all those nude photos. You’ve been very tolerant, as far as I’m concerned.”

“What photos are you talking about?” Autumn asked. “Why I don’t know about this?”

“You’ve been away on location. Tell her.” Emma nudged me.

“One day, while I was using the computer, I stumbled upon his extensive nude photo collection.”

“Of other women?” Autumn shrieked.

“No . . . that would actually make a certain amount of sense. They were all nude pictures of him, but mostly just of his dick.”

I got up and put another log in the fire, as Autumn scrambled to reclaim her jaw from the floor.

Stunned silence followed, so I pressed on. “His penis obsession was hardly a new thing. After all, it was his most prized possession, but seeing the photos en masse was a bit much. There were hundreds of pictures of his penis—chilling out in the garden, lathering himself in the bath, erect penis checking the mailbox. It was nuts. It was like that traveling Gnome series of photos—but each one featuring his dick in a new pose. Even his winking asshole made some artistic cameos!”

“Jeez . . . how on earth did he manage that?” asked Autumn, instantly intrigued.

“See . . . all that yoga pays off.” Susan’s quip sent Emma into hysterics.

“Hey, I’m not saying the guy isn’t creative! It’s amazing how creative you can be when you have nothing to do all day but play with yourself.” I squeezed myself back on the couch in between Emma and Autumn.

“Wow . . . I had no idea. I guess he’s not the total bore I thought he was after all,”  Autumn said with awe. “I just had less and less respect for him and that’s a very difficult thing to overcome in a marriage, especially with all of our other issues.”

“So, what did you say to him?” Autumn was now almost bouncing out of her seat with excitement.

“I asked him what he was doing with all the photos. He laughed and said he was ‘just having some fun’. He even turned one of the photos into his screensaver so that twelve gleaming images of his penis greeted me every time I used the computer. It felt like I was living with a teenage boy who’d just discovered the pleasures of wanking and not a nearly-forty-year-old man. CeCe caught an eyeful too. She was there when I found them.”

“What did she say?” asked Emma.

“She said she was underwhelmed.” 

“And let’s face it, CeCe would know!” Susan said, sending Emma into another fit of giggles.

“Wow. I had no idea.” Autumn continued to grapple with the news. “He just looks so . . . vanilla to me.”

“That’s what all the gay guys do,” said Emma. “They send each other pictures of their dicks! Do you think he flipped to the other team?”

“Who knows what he was up to? All I could think was ‘What am I doing here?’ I’m exhausted from nursing and caring for the baby all day and night while my unemployed husband blasts music and dances around naked in the garden taking pictures of his cock, like some demented elf.”

Purchase Synchronized Breathing
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Tara Ellison was born in London and raised between Sydney and Hong Kong. Her childhood was spent immersed in American culture and she eventually realized her dream of moving to the US to pursue a career as an actress. The acting career was not a good fit and she spent many years trying to figure out what to do next. After a difficult divorce, she turned to her love of writing and Synchronized Breathing was born.

Link up with Tara

Good luck!


  1. Synchronized Breathing sounds realistic and touching. Great review. The cover is really pretty too.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. Yes, the cover is what drew me to the book.

  2. Wonderful review, this sounds like an inspiring second chance book. Great review Braine :)

  3. Sounds like a lot of people can relate to this book. Great review :)

    1. I don't know why but I find your comment funny, Mel. I certainly was able to relate to the rebound part, men are pigs!

  4. This sounds like a great pick-me-up read; my relationship isn't on the fritz (*knocks on wood*) right now though so I'll save to save this one for a rainy day.

    1. In that case, I hope you'd never find the NEED to read this.

  5. Yes I def think most can connect with that sense of loss even if not as profound as divorce

    1. True. I guess loss is a universal concept that a lot of people can relate to.

  6. I didn't know this one but the cover is cute. I confess that like you I would have thought it to be a romantic chick-lit. I love to read some like that from time to time.

    1. This genre is my "palate" cleanser. I turn to this kinds of reads, less romance, no fantasy, high in life to reboot my reading appetite.

  7. Thanks for sharing a great review, Braine. Synchronized Breathing sounds amazing. I loved your comment about getting her sexy back! (not sure I ever had it ;) Scarlett seems like a great heroine - inspiring and real. And I love books with strong female relationships. I'm adding this to my TBR.

    1. Hahaha! Brandee you underestimate yourself, I'm certain you more than got your sexy back ;)


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