Monday, June 18, 2012

Review and Giveaway ~ EXHALE (Just Breathe #2) by Kendall Grey

Exhale (Just Breathe, #2)
Her dreams brought them together, but reality could tear them apart… The man of Zoe Morgan’s dreams isn’t only real, he’s interested. In her. But her boss wants her too, and is leveraging his unsolicited advances with the threat of blocking the huge promotion she's after. When he places a spy on her research team, the intense stranger discovers more than he should, and Zoe fears hiding a relationship with Gavin Cassidy from her boss is the least of her worries. The whale she must protect has been marked for death, and Zoe's old enemy Scarlet is eager to deliver the killing blow. To both of them. Australia’s Sentinels must find and lock the door into the Dreaming before Fyre Elementals launch another attack on innocent dreamers. But corruption and distrust abound, and Gavin believes someone on the Sentinel council is in league with the Fyres. As he reluctantly embraces his new role as council leader, Gavin must not only keep Zoe safe from Scarlet's vengeful clutches, but organize a Sentinel defense strong enough to prevent a full-blown Elemental war—with a traitor fighting by his side. *This book contains graphic language, sex, and some violence. Not suitable for readers under the age of 18. ~From GoodReads

**While there are no spoilers for EXHALE, there may be spoilers if you have not read INHALE.**

**All profits made from sales will be donated to whale research and education programs.**

I have struggled to find the perfect tone for this review. I want to express my wildly enthusiastic love for EXHALE, but I don't want to come off looking like an idiot who doesn't know how to get a grip. So to help prevent my brain from exploding, I'm going to break this baby down. First I will discuss the story, then I will discuss the writing.

Author Kendall Grey created a remarkable, unique alternate world in book one, INHALE (my review) . I have always loved the oceans and the creatures who inhabit them, but never considered them beyond the superficial. Grey, and her main character, whale biologist Zoe Morgan, opened me up to the beautiful intricacies of the humpback whale and the effect man has on the fragile oceanic ecosystem. So for that, I applaud her and her efforts to bring awareness to the cause.

Beyond that, there is the imaginative, wholly unique Dreaming and the Elements. The Dreaming is a parallel world that exists alongside Realis (reality) where people consciousness' go while sleeping or unconscious. And although the Dreaming is a parallel plane, what happens there can effect  reality. The Dreaming is protected by Sentinels, whose job it is to maintain Elemental balance. (This definition taken from the glossary in EXHALE).  Speaking of Sentinels...

Gavin-freaking-Cassidy. I am harcore in love with him. Here is what you need to know about Gavin Cassidy: He's an Australian rock star, he has messy black hair, many tattoos, a lip ring. So basically, he's sexier than sin. BUT...here's the real kicker. Gavin Cassidy is a GREAT GUY. And I don't just mean that he's decent. He is really and truly good, brave, honest, faithful. He could have any woman in the world, and he only wants Zoe.

Dr. Zoe Morgan is the bomb. Plain and simple. She is a world-class biologist, working her dream job. Zoe seems like she should be beyond insecurities, but like most real women, is not. Zoe spent much of her life at the mercy of panic attacks, low self-esteem, a demanding mother. But she has mostly overcome her struggles and is at the top of her game. When you add in that Gavin Cassidy is head over heels for her, and things can't seem to get much better for Zoe. And the sexual chemistry between those two? Forget it. I can't even go there without requiring a cold shower.

But the thing is, there is a hellacious fire brewing in the Dreaming, led by the horrible (and I'll admit it, kinda badass) Scarlett. Scarlett is a Fyre Elemental. She is cruel, vicious, manipulative, vile... just about every evil descriptive you can imagine applies, multiplied by ten. I HATE Scarlett with a burning passion. I want to stab that evil bitch in the eye, but I want to make out with her first.*Did I just say that?*  Does that make me weird??  I'll deal. Anyway, Scarlett will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING to gain ultimate power and get rid of Zoe.

So, there you have it. Gavin and Zoe, working to build a new relationship. Dealing with his duties, her job, and a war.

Now, for the writing. I have many, many books in my life. Very few books can compare to the complete beauty that resides in Kendall's words. And that's fine. There are so many styles out there and I adore them all. But for sheer, staggering lines that I must re-read so that I can fully take in the brilliance, Kendall Grey lands at the top of the list. Her attention to detail is remarkable. The struggles that she puts her characters through are terrifying and brave. Her dialogue makes me laugh out loud and swoon. Basically, even if you think, or know, that Urban Fantasy is not "your thing" or you're not into whales and such, the JUST BREATHE series is a must-read for the simple fact that the writing is beyond compare. These are not simply books, they are works of art. This is a series that has been my privilege to read.

Favorite Quote(s):

I have many favorites. Too many to share. So I've chosen a few. One funny, the rest intense.

"Gavin swept the street again with his Dreamsense. As far as he could tell, no Fyre Elementals had snuck up while his brain evacuated it's cranial real estate in favor of warmer southern climes in Hardwood Heights." (eARC, 2%)


"Their eyes locked and something deep rocked the space between them - like an earthquake shaking things up at the surface, redrawing boundaries in its wake, depositing new emotions to be catalogued." (eARC, 55%)

“Fragments of the future spun past like whirling puzzle pieces with an endless array of combinations. Yet, even with millions of possible outcomes, the same conclusion punctuated every scenario: blissful happiness.
Love.”  (eARC, 57%)

"The shadows outside tamed none of him. No, they cast him as stronger and more dangerous than ever before. He was bigger. Hungrier. Predatory.
He said nothing as he crawled through the window, but his dark, flashing eyes and body stalking toward her spoke volumes." (eARC, 60%)  -Don't worry, this scene is sexy, not scary!

Published June 5th 2012 by Howling Mad Press

You can purchase EXHALE at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY
I am giving away two EXHALE ebooks. Haven't read INHALE yet? No problem. I will give you an ebook of INHALE, too!

My only demand: LEAVE REVIEWS. Self-published authors live and die on reviews. They rely on word of mouth. So, please, please leave reviews.

The winners of the giveaway are: Natasha and Janae. I have already contacted them.

8 comments:

  1. Love that yes please people leave reviews for books you read indie authors in particular.

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  2. Thanks a lot for the giveaway!

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  3. Great review! Can't wait to read this!!! I heart Gavin.

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  4. Fantastic review! And thanks for the giveaway - love that you're demanding reviews. :)

    I heart SP!!!

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  5. LOVE your review!! I seriously love this series and Kendall!! Her writing is beautiful and the books are so amazing. I am looking forward to Just Breathe, but also sad that it's going to be over. (though then she can write us a Sinnder story ;) lol)

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  6. Okay, not reading your review cause I'm still reading Inhale. Almost done - about a 100 pages to go. Then I can come back and read this baby. I so love Gavin.

    Valerie
    StuckInBooks.com

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  7. I am reading Exhale right now based on a previous review I read on your site. Loving the whales!

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  8. Very good review. Added it to my TBR.

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