I originally intended to do an #SPFBO update about the elimination of The Exercise Of Vital Powers from the competition at the semi-final stage, but now I’m going to delay it until tomorrow. Instead, today’s impromptu blog post is a book recommendation for a novel I read last month that greatly exceeded my expectations. The book in question is Just Breathe, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance tale by Sarah Doughty, for which I posted an in depth review earlier today on my book blog Another World, so please go and check it out. I can tell you right off the bat that this book really made an impression on me. As a result, I would love for more people to discover the book and the author.
I don’t recall what brought Just Breathe to my attention other than the fact it is a free download from Smashwords, so it was worth taking a chance on when I was looking for some shorter, lighter reads to get through during October in order to get my Goodreads reading challenge back on schedule. Having read a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal romance over the last decade or so, I basically take it for granted that the books I read in these genres (with a few notable exceptions) will fail to rise above the level of mediocrity, but be quick and easy to read. That being the case, I will readily admit that before I began reading Just Breathe my expectations weren’t high. At best I was hoping for a passably entertaining story that could be read quickly and forgotten within minutes of completion. As it turns out, it’s fair to say I got a whole lot more than I bargained for.
It’s not really necessary to go into how and why the book made such an impression on me, you can just read my review for that. But I can say that reading Just Breathe surprised me greatly, in more ways than one. Firstly, by the time I had finished reading the book, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why Sarah Doughty isn’t one of the biggest names in urban fantasy and paranormal romance circles. When I think about all the most popular authors in the genres, very few have written a novel even half as good as Just Breathe; I actually doubt the ability of most of them to do so.
But above everything else, the thing that really struck me while reading Just Breathe was its depth (something I don’t typically associate with UF/PNR books), and the uncomfortable feelings evoked by the pervasive sense of realness informing me of something dark and unpleasant lurking beneath the surface of the story. And while it can certainly be enjoyed on a purely surface level for its fast-moving, action-filled narrative coupled with the intense and sexually explicit love story, those readers who dare to peer below the surface will find a deeper, more compelling story that is, frankly, disturbing at times.
Reading the book made me an instant fan of the author, and I hope more people will take a chance on Just Breathe, thereby discovering Sarah Doughty for themselves. To people not in the know, I would describe her as the secret love child of Kim Harrison and J.R. Ward because her writing captures everything I enjoy about the work of both authors. I’m very much looking forward to reading more of her work, and I will do so with greater expectations. I can assure anyone who is interested in the book that Sarah is a talented writer and storyteller; and knowing just how much of herself she put into the writing of this story, I can also say she is someone who’s impossible not to admire.
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Just Breathe is a perma-free ebook available to download from the stores below, so it won’t cost you a penny to take a chance on this hidden gem of a novel.
Thanks for reading,