Strangers in reality, inseparable in dreams…
After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.
Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country. ~ From GoodReads
Inhale is the first book in the Just Breathe series by debut author Kendall Grey. Zoe Morgan, whale researcher and advocate, haunted by the tragic events of a past research trip, heads to Australia with her team for the opportunity of a lifetime. Gavin Cassidy, Australian rock star and Sentinel, has spent the time since his last partner’s tragic death in a haze of booze and sex. Doubtful of his ability to ever be an active Sentinel again, Gavin is happy to stay in the Realis, away from the responsibility the Dreaming requires of him. But the Dreaming has other plans and when these two damaged souls together, their fate and the world’s is changed forever.
Okay. This review is going to be so, so tough. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write this review in a concise, cohesive manner without fan-girling all over the place, and it’s a tough job. When Grey sent me the book, I was so curious, based on the synopsis, that I had to open it up right away. I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. I mean, what is the “Dreaming” and the “Realis”? And what the heck is a Sentinel? What they are, what the entire concept is, is the inventive, invigorating shot in the ass that the urban fantasy genre needs.
I know you probably want or expect me to explain what exactly Inhale is about. Truth is, I can’t even begin to explain the world the author has created. And…I don’t want to. But, WOW, what an amazing concept! I want each and every reader to go into Inhale like I did, with no preconceived ideas, no one over explaining and telling you what to expect. Just dive in and prepare to be blown away.
Lest you think I’m a tease, I will share what I can about Inhale. The characters. Let me start with Zoe Morgan. What an amazing heroine. I want to be Zoe when I grow up! She’s pretty much a badass, a scientist who spends her life researching and protecting whales. How freaking cool, right? She is willing to take on anyone and anything to protect the creatures so beloved to her. But, Zoe has her fair share of problems, too. Raised by her emotionally distant, impossible to please scientist mother, Zoe feels as if she’ll never be good enough. Combine that emotional damage with the loss of a baby whale and a disaster of a relationship with her boss, Zoe is ripe for redemption. Despite the fact she is down, Zoe never becomes pathetic or whiny. She keeps moving forward, bit by bit, inching towards her future.
Which leads me to Gavin. So help me, I want a Gavin Cassidy of my own. That man… Just thinking about him has reduced me to sentence fragments! I can’t think of another fictional guy lately who has gotten under my skin quite like Gavin (and that’s saying a lot because I’m constantly falling for the fake guys). Gavin is layered and complicated. On the outside, he’s swagger and sex appeal. I mean, seriously, what’s hotter than a tattooed rock star, an Australian one, no less? Can you even imagine? But when you get to know him, when the author takes you inside his head, that’s when the real Gavin Cassidy truly shines. Because, for as much appeal as he has on the outside, the heart of Gavin will make you fall in love. Yeah, he's sexy and he knows exactly what to do to make almost any woman melt, but he always has a sweet, tender nature inside of him. The man has a gooey soft center. Honestly, what is sexier than a man who can literally have any woman he wants, but wants the woman who stands apart from the rest; the one who can stand toe-to-toe with him and take on the fury of the Elements?
Any good adult urban fantasy must contain smoking hot chemistry between the lead characters, in my opinion. Kendall Grey delivered. When Gavin and Zoe were together, simply talking or working together, it was lively and fun. But the chemistry between the two? Good gosh. Let’s just say, I had to fan myself off after reading some of their more “invigorating” scenes. Check. Mate.
Here is the gist of what makes Inhale such a stand-out book: plain and simple, the writing. As much as I loved the concept, and the characters, what really blew my mind was Kendall Grey’s ability to immerse me so fully into this world that I didn’t know or understand, and she made me care. I fell in love with the concepts of the story, I was invested in the outcome. Readers (myself included) are constantly harping on the issue of showing vs. telling. Never once in this book did Grey rely on using the character words to do her work. She did a brilliant job of using each word to convey what the reader needed to know. The characters never said “I feel”, they didn’t have to. There was never a question of their thoughts or feelings, not with amazing lines like this:
“He ran the backs of his fingers down her cheek, and pity pin-balled inside his rib cage until it knocked a hole through the floor of his stomach.”
That is gorgeous, poetic writing, plain and simple. Gavin doesn’t need to say a word describing his feelings. With a line like that, what more is there to say? Each paragraph of every page contains a beautiful gem like that. It made reading the book a wonderful, sensory-filled experience that I feel so lucky to have had.
Inhale is rich and intricate, but not overly complicated. The story is woven in such a magnificent manner, with little pieces coming back together in ways that I never expected. The story stole my attention, and my emotions. I loved the characters, their inner working, their relationships to one another. I only talked about Gavin and Zoe. But Inhale contains many characters, good and evil, who will make you smile, shake your head, and scream. I had no idea how the story would end. I knew, that as the beginning of a trilogy, the ending wouldn’t be completely water tight. It had to be open-ended to some extent. And, to be sure, there is plenty more story to be told. But I was shocked by the complete and satisfying manner in which Grey ended Inhale. As a reader, I was elated and completely satisfied, and hungry for more. I haven’t been this excited over a new series in quite some time.
(I had a terrible time narrowing me selection down. The writing is beautiful and funny, with tons of worthy quotes to choose from.)
“Water Elements or not, when the Dreaming called, he came running like the bitch he was. Or innocent people woke up dead.”
“He’d face an army of Fyres by himself, walk into the bloody sun if he had to, but don’t ask him to hold her. He’d never be able to let go.”
Expected publication: May 1st 2012 by Howling Mad Press
Source: Received from author for review.
Giveaway ends April 2, 2012 at 11:59pm,e details: You must be 18+ years of age to enter. You must live in a country that allows you to receive kindle books via Amazon. You must fill out the form below.
The winners are: Montana and Autumn.