Breathe (Colorado Mountain #4) by Kristen AshleyBreathe by Kristen Ashley
Published December 2012
Series: Colorado Mountains #4
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
three-half-stars
Format: eBook
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In Carnal, Colorado, Faye Goodknight is the town's quiet, shy librarian. She may also be Carnal's last remaining virgin. For years, Faye has had a crush on Chace Keaton, but the gorgeous cop has always been unattainable. She's resigned to live contentedly with only her books for company-until Faye suddenly meets Chace alone in the woods . . .

Chace doesn't think he's the good guy everyone believes him to be. He's made a lot of choices he regrets, including denying his feelings for Faye. Through his choices, he's come to believe the pretty librarian is too good for him, but after their time in the woods, Chace realizes that she may be his last chance for redemption. Soon, their long simmering desires grow to a burning passion. Yet always casting a shadow over their happiness is Chace's dark past . . .

Town librarian Faye Goodknight has been harboring a secret crush for Carnal cop and town-hero Chace Keaton for the past 13 years. Faye has never dared to make a move on him, but now that he is single again, it might just be her chance to step up.

Chace Keaton is made a lot of bad choices in his past, and doesn’t believe that he is the hero everyone sees him for. Guilt and shame lead him to believe that he doesn’t deserve the attention the pretty town-librarian is giving him. But as Faye seeks him out for help with a little, beaten and famished homeless boy who keeps visiting the library, he teams up with her, and he slowly realizes that this may be his last chance for redemption.

What I loved about this book:

  • The complex storyline
  • Some hilarious scenes

What I felt needed improvement:

  • The annoying male lead
  • The writing (too many details, sentences too long)
  • Too many references to previous books, making it a difficult read
  • Too much swearing

Although I enjoyed Chace and Faye’s story, I felt like Breathe was one of the most difficult reads I ever had to deal with. First of all, I didn’t quite connect with the main characters, and secondly: while the storyline was complex but well-thought, the writing and execution of the storyline was – in my opinion – messy.

I can’t say I had the same issue with previous Kristen Ashley books, but here, I found the writing wasn’t on top of its game. To begin with, the sentences in this book could sometimes be a full paragraph long and full of interjections. I found myself re-reading some sentences more than once because I lost the point (or just didn’t understand it), given that Kristen Ashley’s writing doesn’t always follow the rules of syntax. It is also very descriptive, which is not a bad thing, though.

Then, what annoyed me too was the fact that Chace was overly rude, and using curse words and strong language in every single sentence. I don’t mind the heated alpha persona, but the guy would even curse when he was confessing his undying love. I’ve literally exhausted my f-word quota for the next year!

“She wore the fact that she was supremely turned on all over her face. Just from one kiss. It was a fucking good look. It was the kind of look a man would get once and then fight and die to have aimed his way on a regular basis.”

The writing style was quite peculiar because it was an alternating POV, except that Chace’s POV was in 3rd person, and Faye’s was in 1st person. Weird, but you get used to it quite easily.

The entire series is full of different (and very complex) stories, which all connected with the storyline in Breathe. That’s cool because you get to witness previous characters, but I had read the previous books quite some time ago and I had forgotten absolutely everything that happened. The author tried to quickly sum things up and ease the reader into the prior stories, but it’s just too much, too confusing. And in conjunction with the many, many characters from previous books, which all make an appearance, the reader is just lost.

And the one thing I really found ridiculous was Faye. She seemed like such a great intelligent and funny female lead, but then she goes and says she fell in love with Chace 13 (!) years ago and always harbored some kind of hope that they’d end up together so she stood there waiting and saving herself for him? There’s nothing wrong with hope, but the girl has witnessed Chace being a manwhore and a cheating, unkind husband – not even being the “town hero” makes that OK.

“Thirteen years ago, Chace Keaton showed up in town, in uniform, thick, dark blond hair, intense dark blue eyes, handsome white smile, tall, straight, lean body, and I fell in love.”

And of course she has to be a shy, virgin, geeky, Star-Wars-loving town librarian with conservative parents. That’s just a tad too cliche for my liking. But thankfully, she evolves into a much stronger character, who knows what she wants and shows great bias for action. Actually, being with Chace kind of turned her into a little vixen, and despite the fact that I could never truly warm up to Chace, he did bring the best out of her. And she brought out his romantic side, which was a bit too romantic for my taste, because it felt like Chace had a case of split personality when he’s around Faye. The whole manwhore-turns-to-tender-lover thing just wasn’t very realistic.

So why did I not like Chace? Simply because he had his eyes on Faye ever since he came to Carnal, but wasn’t done sleeping around. And by the time he felt he was ready for her, the intrigue made him “unavailable”. But still, he would have been extremely jealous if Faye wouldn’t have waited for him. I also found it idiotic that he supported crime just for the sake of his mother’s mental health. Lives were taken just so Chace’s mother could avoid an extra prescription of Xanax. Stupid, not heroic.

“He wasn’t done enjoying variety and, at the time, she was very young, clearly inexperienced and would require time and care that he had every intention would lead to commitment so he held off on approaching Faye.”

But thankfully (and if you can oversee the flaws I pointed out) the story is humorous, the characters evolve, and their relationship evolves just as turbulently as the side-storylines, which concern the little homeless and beaten-up boy that Faye spots at her library and the threats against Chace. At least, what Kristen Ashley is really good at doing, is wrapping up loose ends: all intrigues, however complex, get resolved neatly.

In summary, it was a good story, but probably not one that I would re-read. However, like any Kristen Ashley book, Breathe is quite a long read, and therefore worth the money if you are not too regarding on the rest.

Detailed Rating
Storyline
4 Stars
Characters
3.5 Stars
Writing
2.5 Stars
All the feels
3.5 Stars
Overall: three-half-stars