Inhale (Just Breathe #1)
by Kendall Grey
Summary: 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.
*This book contains graphic language, sex, and some violence. Not suitable for readers under the age of 18.
**The author will donate all profits from the sale of the JUST BREATHE trilogy to programs that educate people about whales and the challenges they face.
This was an interesting book with a very creative paranormal element. There are two worlds- the Dreaming and Realis. Even though the Dreaming is just a dream for regular people – called Wyldings—the unbalanced Fyre elementals are starting to kill off unsuspecting humans in their dreams. Protecting the balance are the Sentinels, who are regular people with special gifts. Each element has a different impact on people and Gavin is mostly out of his normal Waeter and cannot seem to get it back after the death of his charge. He is assigned to protect Zoe in the Dreaming and the plot thickens from there. This whole world is very clever and relatively well executed, too.
The problem that I had with this book was getting into the story. Only certain sections would grab my attention and hold it, while I found myself trudging along trying to get through the rest. This doesn’t usually happen to me, so I couldn’t figure out why it was happening with this book. It was well written, clever, creative, and interesting, but something about it just wasn’t grabbing me.
This book also suffered from being fairly predictable. Gavin was a broken hearted shell of a person dealing with so much guilt after not being there for his partner when she died. He lost the element that made him whole and he also lost his direction. Zoe was a wonderful and smart girl working hard to get a promotion in her whale research organization and was perfectly happy, but missing something in her life. Of course, these two would somehow connect and be their own missing puzzle piece. Gavin meets her in the Dreaming and she is just a normal person, so she doesn’t think he’s real. Gavin gets close to her to some degree, while also pushing her away continuously. He’s so worried about her safety by getting close to her, especially in Realis, but he also doesn’t prepare her for the danger that the whole concept poses for her.
I started to really get into the story near the end, when the action speeds up. Without giving anything away, Zoe becomes incredibly important to the balancing of the Dreaming and Gavin is the only one who can help her. They work together to restore order.
I thought the ending left something to be desired, which is probably why this is just book 1 and it’s part of a series. Nothing was really solved besides the conflict in the Dreaming, so it left me feeling deflated. As the book neared it’s end, I felt like finally Gavin was going to stop being overrun by guilt and Zoe finally understood this entire Dreaming world. What’s left but for the two of them to explore their feelings for each other? Apparently, it takes a whole other book for this to happen and I have to admit, it was frustrating to me. The reason I avoid a lot of romantic comedy movies is that the entire conflict is based on preconceived notions that the characters have and so much of the conflict is in their own miscommunications and missed opportunities, while the viewer is fully aware that both of the characters just need to get it together. This book felt the same the way to me. I couldn’t fully enjoy all the wonderful aspects of it because of this romantic conflict.
I loved the character of Yileen. He was a pretty minor character, but he was the steady rock that both Gavin and Zoe needed. He was full of great advice and cryptic instructions on how to restore order. Also, I connected with him because I know he knew those two idiots belonged together and needed to just DO that. Sinnder was another interesting character and I wished his inner person was explored a little more. Perhaps in the next book, it will be. There was just something about him that made me think he wasn’t necessarily a bad guy, but at the same time, he was so terrible. I would have liked that angle to be played a little better.
This book was definitely interesting and well written, but it just left something to be desired. I probably will not read the rest of the series because it took so long for this book to grab me. I don’t know if I can take any more of Gavin and Zoe trying to get it together. If these sort of romantic conflicts are totally your thing, then you’ll LOVE this book. I definitely recommend it to others. I know my patience with love stories wears a lot thinner than most other people I know and I think others should give this book a chance.