Reviews Breathe by Kristen Ashley

You know that feeling when a book completely transports you to another world, captivating your senses and emotions from the very first pages? That’s precisely the experience I had when I picked up “Breathe” by Kristen Ashley, a contemporary romance novel that had been on my radar for quite some time. As an avid reader and a devoted fan of Ashley’s work, particularly her beloved Colorado Mountain series, I had high expectations for this highly anticipated release. Little did I know that this book would not only meet those expectations but would exceed them in ways I could never have imagined.

The circumstances that led me to finally dive into “Breathe” were not entirely pleasant. Work had been relentlessly demanding, leaving me mentally and emotionally drained. I found myself craving an escape, a respite from the stresses of daily life, and a chance to immerse myself in a world where love, passion, and hope reigned supreme. It was during this period of exhaustion that I remembered the unread copy of “Breathe” patiently waiting on my bookshelf, beckoning me to explore its pages.

From the moment I read the book’s summary, I knew I was in for a treat. The premise of a shy, introverted librarian harboring a secret crush on the town’s brooding, yet honorable, police officer immediately piqued my interest. I’m a sucker for the “opposites attract” trope, and the idea of these two characters finding their way to each other despite their differences had me hooked. As I delved into the story, I was immediately drawn into the small town of Carnal, Colorado, a close-knit community where everyone knew each other’s business, yet an undercurrent of secrets and hidden desires lingered.

The characters, particularly Faye Goodknight and Chace Keaton, were incredibly well-developed and relatable, each with their own unique quirks and backstories. Ashley’s vivid descriptions painted a picture so vivid that I felt as though I was walking the streets of Carnal alongside these characters, privy to their innermost thoughts and emotions.

One of the book’s greatest strengths, in my opinion, was the emotional depth and character growth that Ashley masterfully wove into the narrative. Faye’s journey from a shy, introverted librarian to a confident, self-assured woman was both inspiring and empowering. Her unwavering belief in Chace, even when he doubted himself, was a testament to the power of love and acceptance. On the other hand, Chace’s struggle with his past demons and his reluctance to embrace happiness was heartbreakingly real. Ashley did an excellent job of portraying the complexities of his character, making him flawed yet incredibly endearing. His transformation from a self-loathing man to someone who finally allowed himself to be loved was both poignant and uplifting.

However, I did find some aspects of the book a bit predictable at times. The plot followed a fairly standard romance novel formula, with the inevitable misunderstanding and temporary separation before the grand reunion and happily ever after. While this didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment, I would have appreciated a few more unexpected twists and turns to keep me on my toes.

There were several moments in “Breathe” that left a lasting impression on me, moments that I found myself revisiting long after I had finished the book. One scene that particularly stood out was when Chace and Faye had their first intimate encounter in the woods. Ashley’s descriptive writing and attention to detail made the scene sizzle with passion and intensity, while still maintaining a sense of tenderness and vulnerability. The raw emotion and honesty in that scene were palpable, and it solidified my connection to these characters on a deeper level.

Another memorable moment was when Chace finally opened up to Faye about his past mistakes and the guilt he carried. The raw emotion and honesty in that scene were palpable, and it solidified my connection to these characters on a deeper level. I found myself holding my breath, hanging on to every word, as Chace laid bare his soul, allowing Faye – and the reader – to truly understand the depths of his pain and self-loathing. It was a powerful moment that showcased Ashley’s exceptional storytelling abilities and her talent for crafting emotionally resonant scenes.

One aspect of the book that truly impressed me was Ashley’s exceptional writing style. Her ability to craft vivid imagery and evoke powerful emotions through her words is truly remarkable. Her characters felt like real people, with complex personalities and relatable struggles. I found myself invested in their lives, cheering for their triumphs and aching for their sorrows.

Ashley’s dialogue was also a standout feature. The banter between Faye and Chace was witty, playful, and often downright hilarious. Their interactions felt natural and authentic, adding depth and humor to their budding relationship. I frequently found myself chuckling out loud at their exchanges, marveling at Ashley’s ability to capture the nuances of human interaction so perfectly.

As I turned the final pages of “Breathe,” I found myself reflecting on the lessons and insights I had gained from this captivating story. One of the most profound takeaways for me was the importance of self-acceptance and letting go of past mistakes. Chace’s journey to forgive himself and embrace his worth was a powerful reminder that we all deserve happiness, regardless of our past transgressions. It made me question the self-imposed limitations I had placed on my own life and the ways in which I had allowed my past to dictate my present.

Additionally, Faye’s unwavering faith in Chace and her ability to see the good in him, even when he couldn’t, taught me the value of unconditional love and support. It made me appreciate the people in my life who have stood by me through thick and thin, believing in me even when I doubted myself. Their unwavering presence and encouragement have been a constant source of strength, and “Breathe” served as a poignant reminder to cherish and nurture those relationships.

Without a doubt, I would wholeheartedly recommend “Breathe” to anyone who loves a good contemporary romance novel. Kristen Ashley has crafted a beautiful, emotionally charged story that will leave you feeling uplifted and hopeful, a true testament to the power of love to conquer even the darkest of demons. For fans of Ashley’s previous works, particularly the Colorado Mountain series, this book is an absolute must-read. It seamlessly ties into the larger universe she has created, while still standing strong as a standalone novel.

Even if you’re new to Ashley’s writing, “Breathe” is an excellent introduction to her captivating storytelling style and her ability to create unforgettable characters that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. It is a book that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul, reminding you of the transformative power of love, forgiveness, and the courage to embrace one’s true self.

In the end, “Breathe” was more than just a romance novel for me; it was a journey of self-discovery, healing, and the power of love to conquer even the darkest of demons. It reminded me that sometimes, the greatest adventures can be found within the pages of a book, and for that, I am forever grateful to Kristen Ashley for crafting this remarkable story. As I closed the book, I felt a sense of renewal, a renewed appreciation for the beauty and complexity of human relationships, and a newfound determination to approach my own life with the same unwavering courage and resilience that Faye and Chace embodied. “Breathe” is a book that will stay with me for years to come, a testament to the enduring power of love and the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

5/5 - (1 vote)

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