Breathe by Cari HunterBreathe by Cari Hunter is an enthralling mystery and romantic suspense story that will have you laughing out loudly at the characters’ bizarre antics and it will also keep you anchored to your seat because you won’t want to put the book down or turn your kindle off.

Bad luck seems to follow Jemima Pardon in all areas of her life. She is a paramedic and she has been living with asthma for as long as she could remember. Whenever she is on the clock at work, Jem always braces herself for a stressful shift. She always seems to attract the kind of jobs that appear simple at first but they often go downhill really fast and no one at her workplace wants to team up with her.

A simple twist of fate and another distressing job brings Rosie Jones into Jem’s life and her luck looks like it’s changing for the better. Rosie is energetic, she always appears to be on the verge of laughter and she isn’t intimidated by the fact that Jem and her inhaler are a package deal.

All is well with Jem’s world because things are finally starting to fall in place for her until a teenager dies under strange circumstances. Rosie and Jem get sucked into the investigation but everything begins to unravel very quickly when their lives are on the line.

Will Jem and Rosie be able to have a chance at love in the midst of murder, mayhem and the relentless downpour of the century?

The Characters

April: Jemima “Jem” Pardon is a paramedic and she goes above and beyond to assist any patient under her care. My heart really went out to Jem because she has a really hard time with keeping a partner to work with her on the rapid response vehicle and her love life mirrors her professional life. I couldn’t help but adore Jem’s courage and her willingness to go the extra mile for others because most people would rather do everything by “the book” but Jem doesn’t think twice about rushing in and doing something completely unorthodox in order to save a life (Jem is definitely a one in a million kind of gal and I’d love to hang out with her!)

Rosie Jones is a police officer who has a knack for rushing into action first and asking questions later. I just love a spontaneous woman because there’ll never be a dull moment when she’s around! Rosie has a one-track mind when it comes to working on a complex case, especially if it involves minors and she won’t rest until she gets the answers that she seeks. Rosie has joined my long list of fictional crushes because she’s a woman in uniform with the biggest heart ever and she is romantic to the core.

Sheena: I enjoyed the gentle chemistry between the two leads and I loved that they were both well fleshed out enough that I found myself feeling like I knew them.

The Writing Style

April: I can always count on this superb author for an entertaining late night read because this story clearly portrays the good, the bad and the downright shady sides of Manchester City. There’s only one thing that I love more than eating chocolate cake on a rainy day and that’s devouring a compelling mystery that has a good dose of humour coupled with witty and sarcastic banter and endearing characters (this story has earned two coffee mug honours because it has all of the above!)

Sheena: It was fun watching them both go about their jobs but Jem in particular was a treat. You can tell that Hunter is writing from first hand experience and that gave the book a depth that I enjoyed tremendously.

The Narration

Sheena: The audiobook for Breathe is narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent and it reminded me yet again why I love her work. Her voices are clear and interesting, her storytelling is flawless and she nails the personalities of the characters. Her work is so good that you no longer even hear her doing it, you just experience the story in its full glory.

The Pros

April: I don’t know if anyone will believe this but I’ve had the adventure of a lifetime when I tagged along with Jemima on her rapid response vehicle. I’ve always held all medical professionals in high esteem but I’ve got to give Jemima the highest of fives because she has done some things on a few jobs that would have left me speechless for weeks. By the way, this story got two thumbs up from me because I’m a huge sucker for an intriguing cops and medics romance (I always get weak in the knees as soon as I find out that a gorgeous butch goddess in uniform is one of the main characters!)

Sheena: I loved the day-to-day elements of the story, how we got to see Jem and Rosie at work with colleagues and cases and having to deal with exes and bosses. This slice of life way of storytelling kept me intrigued and invested the entire way through.

The Cons

April: Even though there was a lot of local slang used in this story; I didn’t have any issues with understanding and following the dialogue between the characters, however, some readers may have difficulties with understanding some of the local terms and phrases.

Sheena: The cover and blurb make it sound like way more of a thriller or suspense than it is.

aprils favourite booksThe Conclusion

April: If you enjoy stories that feature cops and first responders who meet and fall in love under the most unusual set of circumstances, then I can certainly say that you’ll love this book because you’re not going to find anyone quite like Jemima or Rosie. If they were real women, I’d be the first in line to befriend them because my life would be filled with lengthy laughing sessions, countless cups of delicious tea and spontaneous adventures!

Sheena: This book was not at all what I expected and yet I really enjoyed it. More of a romance with a slight police procedural in the background than the thriller I was expecting. But if you go in and just enjoy the sweet romance and the day-in-the-life-of story then you will have fun. It’s definitely worth it especially on audio because the awesome Nicola Victoria Vincent does a spectacular job of narration.

Excerpt from Breathe by Cari Hunter

“Kash, this is Jem,” she said to distract him. “Jem’s the para from Barton last night. We only seem to meet in puddles.”

Jem gave a small smile and a wave, and Kash spluttered a little before disguising his reaction beneath a theatrical throat clearing.

“You two are on a hell of a streak,” he said.

“Tell me about it.” Jem finished laying out her kit and took the bag back. “Tube first, the long, pale blue one. Then the syringe and this holder thingy.” Almost lying on the ground, she cranked the lad’s mouth open with a metal blade and peered along the blade’s length. “Tube,” she said. “Rosie, just stop compressions for a tick. Perfect, go again. Syringe.”

Rosie watched as Jem secured the tube, her brow furrowed in concentration until she seemed satisfied that everything had gone to plan. Her quiet assurance was a far cry from the timid uncertainty she’d shown the previous night.

“That’s better,” she’d said, mostly to herself. “Thanks, Kash.”

“No problem.” He abandoned his attempts to stay dry and sat on the grass. “Major Crimes and SOCO are also en route,” he told Rosie. “I’ll have a scout around and see what I can see. Where exactly was he found?”

Jem aimed her torch toward the river, circling its beam on a tree with spindly branches. “He was stuck in there.”

Kash walked carefully in the direction she’d indicated, examining the ground for signs of a struggle or evidence the lad had been anywhere but the water. As he followed the path of the river, his dark outline merged into the shadows and the driving rain, the occasional bob of his torch beam the only proof he was still out there.

“Do you want to swap?” Jem asked Rosie. “It’s tiring after a while.”

Rosie shook her head, despite the ache across her back. “I’m all right.”

“We’ll never get him out of here. Not like this.” Jem stroked a muddy strand of hair from the lad’s forehead as if in apology. “Helimed don’t fly at night, and we won’t be able to do CPR properly while we carry him. The docs will probably call it on scene.”

“He’s just a kid,” Rosie said. She pressed down harder, doing her best textbook CPR, as if that alone might somehow change the outcome.

Jem’s shoulders were slumped in defeat. She used her free hand to rub her face. “It’s been too long, and his skull’s in bits. Even in a hospital, I doubt he’d have come back from this. Stuck here, he’s had no chance.”

“Shit,” Rosie whispered.

Jem nodded. “Yeah, it is.”

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781635555240
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Narrator: Nicola Victoria Vincent
  • Cari Hunter Online

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About the author

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My name is April Adams and I am an accountant at a civil service office. Even though I read a wide variety of lesbian fiction, I enjoy mystery and thriller books the most because I love the state of suspense the stories have me in until the end and I find out “who’s done it.”

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Sheena is the founder of The Lesbian Review.

She discovered lesbian fiction when she was 19. Radclyffe and Karin Kallmaker soon became favourite authors and she spent a large part of her hard earned income on shipping books from to her home in South Africa.

Over the years she became frustrated with purchasing mediocre lesbian fiction feeling like it was a waste of her money and time. And so she decided to share only the best books and movies with lesbians who are looking for only the best. And so, The Lesbian Review was born