August 3, 2013

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker

August 3, 2013

K. A. Tucker's Young Adult series Ten Tiny Breaths is more than a typical contemporary novel for young adults. It deals with young characters with serious real life conditions in adult situations.

Title: Ten Tiny Breaths
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths #1
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Papoti Books
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. 
But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D. 
Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair. 
But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

Author, K.A. Tucker, used great examples of metaphors to create vivid imagery to help readers understand what the characters go through and how they feel. The storyline was original and the pace was carefully written. It covers very serious topics such as PTSD, and making ends meet and providing for another person under your arm at such a young age. Each character brings something different to the table, so pull up a chair. They all went through something and are still living with the after effects of it all, so they somehow become each others rocks to get through it. Usual New Adult books share the same concept like starting college or a band, but this digs deeper realistically because, like Kacey, not everyone can go to school.

Being inside Kacey's mind was entertaining. She has the sense of humor that I understand and enjoy, and can't help myself from a laughing fit. Her mindset, however, I had trouble seeing certain things the way she saw, and believing the things she did. Though I do understand why because she's suffering from PTSD in ways I haven't. She struggles with offering her forgiveness to those who ripped her family from her. With every tragic event a survivor goes through, they cope in rather unagreeable ways. Kacey turned to alcohol, drugs, and meaningless sex in exchange of forgetting the pain momentarily until her sister begged her to stop living that way. So Kacey turned to kickboxing, and turning over a new leaf in their move to Miami. While starting a new life in a new place doesn't always mean leaving old ways behind. Kacey's sister fears that if she doesn't get help soon, she'd fall back into her old destructive habits. I loved how feisty and strong, yet compassionate she is. That is one hell of a combination. As much as I admired Kacey's relationship with her sister, her relationship with the unconventional doctor was extremely comical given the situation.

Trent Emerson. He's the newest addition to my list of book boyfriends. Even though he did the things he did that ended up hurting Kacey. Since he was in the same boat as Kacey, his idea of fixing things was not properly well-thought out and instead became more of a coping mechanism. What was refreshing was that he did not put up an arrogant bad boy/playboy facade. He was just himself...well, the new reinvented him that he tried so hard to be anyway. I was kind of disappointed the sex scenes were fade to black because they've built so much anticipation and fought temptation to wait for the right time, so I didn't feel that part of their connection in the next level in their relationship. I felt something was up with Trent at first, so the plot twist that lands Kacey in a treatment facility didn't surprise me. Trent and Kacey share a world of pain: Kacey felt she had died along with her family in the accident, and Trent believed he did too, so he changed his identity. Forgiveness is another aspect they struggle with. In a way, he lost his family as well as himself, just as Kacey had. While they both seeked help, Trent's unconventional "goodbye" to Kacey as part of their recovery process had me teary-eyed. I almost wish that Trent had his own POV because I'd really like to dive into his mind.

In some ways I can relate a little to some characters, and in that, I think Trent understands me more than he realizes (being fictional and all, le sigh). I loved how the characters each found their HEA in the end, though I wish the epilogue was a bit longer. But on the other hand, that's not needed because the rest is up to the readers imagination. Yes, the book may end, but the story lives on. Kacey's moms breathing mantra never worked for her before because she didn't understand it until Trent came into her life and became her breath of life. There's a reason why there are particular lines that are repetitive that didn't make sense in the beginning, but makes sense in the end. Kacey was Trent's saving grace, and Trent was her salvation. They finally found their way to each other again above water. Needless to say, the story is a wild ride but it is such a thrill. I'm glad that Kacey and Trent crossed paths and paved a new one together. 

Memorable quotes:

Kacey's mom: “Just breathe. Ten tiny breaths … Seize them. Feel them. Love them.”

Trent: “I don't hate you. I could never hate you. Give me your heart, Kacey. I'll take everything that comes with it.”

Kacey: All the while mentally tearing Ben's tongue out of his mouth a d shoving it up his ass so he can get a firsthand taste of what an asshole he is.

Trent: “What’s wrong is that every morning and every night, I lie in bed wondering why you’re not beside me.”

Livie: “What if he's a psychopath who tries to stuff kittens in ATMs?”

Trent: "Isn't it exhausting?"
Kacey: "What?"
Trent: "Keeping people out.”

Kacey: “You don't want me, Ben. I'm seven layers of fucked up with a side of bullshit.”

Kacey: “And if that’s all he’s looking for then we’ll set fire to his balls.”
Storm: “What?”
Kacey: “What can I say, Storm? I’m into some weird shit.”

Kacey: “Forever’s a long time.”
Trent: “Forever’s not long enough when it’s with you.”

Kacey: Society is better off with me in a gym.

About the author

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. 

She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. 

Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Read the rest of the series

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