Author: Kendall Grey
Publisher: Howling Mad Press, LLC
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Length: 453 pages
I happened across Kendall Grey on Twitter (kendallgrey1) not too long ago, an exciting day for me because shortly after I was being sent a review copy of her book Inhale. It came with many warnings: could be too graphic for you, rated R, etc. I promised I’d give it a try, and frankly, despite the fact that she was correct on most counts (the girl knows her work, knows what it is) I still enjoyed it.
Grey laments in her blog post titled Bless My Heart:
Not everyone is going to like my book. Some people won’t get it. They won’t like my style or my voice. Others will say the language is too rough. There’s too much graphic sex. Not enough graphic sex. Too much back story, yet they don’t understand the world building. Too many stereotypes. Predictable. The plot has holes big enough to fly a space shuttle through.
Worse, some readers will say, “It was okay.” Or they won’t be able to finish it. *GULP* Twist the knife in a little harder, why don’t ya?
And what I’d like to tell her: “Who cares?!” I’m a reviewer who doesn’t like peoples’ books sometimes, I wrote a whole post about not liking Kostova’s ‘voice,’ I often get irritated at novels with too much graphic sex (The Outlander series, prior to this book, my one exception). I admit that back story has a time and place, even though I’m a sucker for it. Plot holes big enough to fly a space shuttle through are more my husband’s issue with life, not mine… But using stereotypes with purpose rather than laziness and character development are highly important to me.
Grey, you stayed true to your vision, and that, I appreciate. Your characters are believable, and your story engrossing and imaginative. I’m not hooked on the genre, but I’ll definitely be reading more of your work.
After years of working in a bookstore and running the literature section, I see/hear the words “urban fantasy” or “romance” and I expect cheesy, terrible writing. It’s snobbish, I know, but I just assume it will be L.J. Smith with more adult content. I agreed to review this book, however, after perusing Grey’s blog (kendallgrey.com) and discovering that she uses a lot of ‘colorful language’ in the realm of ‘pardon my French’, but her writing is quite good. Plus, I’m a sucker for people willing to use the word “wafted,” it’s one of my favorites.
Reading Grey’s work reminded me exactly of how I felt when I read Twilight. It’s not to my particular taste, I prefer my love stories of the Jane Austen variety and my fantasies J.R.R. Tolkien or Robin McKinley style. It’s not something I want my daughter reading, but I read the thing in nearly one sitting and was captivated by the adventure and Grey’s multi-leveled worlds. Just as I understood why the masses were maintaining an unhealthy obsession with Twilight, I’m actually shocked that Grey hasn’t got a larger cult following. I’m surprised that the next installment in the Just Breathe series isn’t the most anticipated release since Eclipse hit the shelves in August of 2007. I can think of about fifty regulars at my store that would be all over it if they knew about it. (And yes, I plan to share that information with them.)
That being said: it’s far more adult than Twilight. So, don’t go passing this around to twelve year old girls to devour; but if you’re an adult who likes to read paranormal romance, who reads purely to escape real life for two hundred pages (or for 453 pages in this case), Inhale is right up your alley. Just like Grey knows what she writes, you know who you are… it’s worth it to you to go buy yourself a copy.
Now, just because I’m not that person and I speed read through parts that seem like they are getting too hot and heavy (I’m a fan of my fast forward button in movies too), and maybe you’re not that person either, don’t be completely opposed to checking out Grey’s work. Grey has thrown in some awesome stuff that steps outside the urban fantasy stereotype and gives us something to latch onto: Whales. Grey’s love for whales has overpowered all the stuff that I don’t necessarily care for in these books and become something beautiful. Referred to as a “word diddler and whale champion” in the author biographical blurb in the back of the book, the coolest thing about her and this new series is that All profits from sales of the JUST BREATHE Trilogy will be donated to whale education programs. Not something I expected to read at the opening of an urban fantasy novel. That in itself is worth tossing some money Grey’s way and picking up her book the first chance you get, even if you only intend to donate it to your local library for someone else to enjoy.
Visit JustBreatheNovels.com and browse through the series playlist, a little mood music while you read is always lovely. Also check out: www.cetaceanresearchnetwork.com and www.facebook.com/KendallGreyAuthor.