Ten Tiny Breaths by KA Tucker

Publisher: Papoti Books (December 9, 2012)

Format: Kindle

Reviewed by: Judith

As an aside for anyone who cares about these sorts of things: I put out an open call for a new fictional boyfriend recently and luckily, this book’s hero, Trent, stepped up to fill the void. 8 pack, blue eyes, dimples, and so much guilt that it’s palpable. Just the way I like ’em. Swoon on a stick!

Plot:

Kacey’s life is changed irrevocably when her parents, best friend, and boyfriend are all killed during a drunk driving accident that she just barely survives. Fast forward 4 years and she’s still reeling from the aftereffects. She’s moody, aggressive, and has a tendency to lash out at the least provocation. She refuses to smile and has a weird hangup about hand holding. The only thing that gets her through each day is wanting the best for her little sister, Livie. When she learns that her sister’s guardian not only lost their inheritance at a black jack table but also tried to molest her sister, Kacey packs them both up and heads to Miami, hoping for a clean break and a fresh start. What she doesn’t anticipate is two sets of neighbors bent on breaking through her tough girl facade: on one side there’s single mom, Storm, and her daughter, Mia; on the other, it’s sexy enigma, Trent. All three try to help Kacey and her sister get through the trauma of the past so they can live a better future. But the results aren’t exactly what you’d expect and when Trent pushes too hard, Kacey finds herself forced to confront a part of her past she’d rather keep buried.

Review:

Ok this one’s tough for me to rate, folks! “Why, Judith” you ask? Well, it’s because Ten Tiny Breaths is well written and engaging but for me, just didn’t live up to its potential. The plot is good though a bit far fetched. Also without giving away too much, there’s a big “twist” about 3/4 in that I could see coming a mile away but I kept hoping against all hope that the author wasn’t going to go there and finally after a lot of smoke and mirrors she did. It’s not a big deal and is an interesting twist but personally, it detracted from the reading cause the phrase, “Is what I think about to happen about to happen???” kept running through my head on a continuous loop.

Now you guys know me: I have a penchant for books

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set in seedy locales like broken down apartment complexes and strip clubs. I like a complex heroine who has to deal with the ramifications of the past. I like when, much like an onion, she is comprised of many layers (a la Shrek) and the longer you read, the more layers get pulled back and revealed until the end result is this beautiful girl ready to start anew. But what I don’t like is reading about people who don’t deal with their internal crap and let it fester and grow until they’re just a big old mess with nothing but hatred and rage inside and become like black holes with a tendency to suck in all that is good and spew out nothing but darkness. And while I give mad props to this book for tackling some very real subjects like suicide, drunk driving, grief, redemption, and the sex industry, my one gripe is that over time I found the heroine to have so much anger and rage that she was not at all a person I wanted to root for. At times Kacey gave us glimpses of who she could be: a strong and complex heroine with a capacity to love that is amazing. She obviously cares for her sister and wants to do everything possible for her to have a good life, but she could never just face her past and deal with her problems enough to get her life together. For a person that every one keeps claiming is so strong, most of her thoughts and actions just felt weak and selfish. There were points when she kept trying to throw away an amazing guy like Trent or a sweet friend like Storm because she was too scared to let anyone in. It was aggravating over time and after the plot twist, I found myself skimming just to see what happens.

The two things I simply adored about the book, were Storm and Trent. Storm is your sterotypical single-mom working at a strip club but even through that, I found the character to be a bright spot. She was warm, caring, and doing all she could for her young daughter. It’s what we all hope for in a mother. Trent is a bit more complex – like Kacey he’s pretty broken on the inside though he never lets it show. In contrast to how selfish Kacey can be, this kid is a solid and steady rock. When he messes up pretty badly, he tells Kacey it’s because he too has problems and she realizes that he never once let on that he was hurting. In my mind that’s because he’s actually a strong person. Not someone trying to mimic a strong person like her. He’s part bad boy, part sweet guy next door and his initial interactions with Kacey will make you melt…and then go knock on your neighbors’ doors in the hopes that they’ve been hiding some secret stash of sensitive hotties JUST.FOR.YOU!

In the end, I’m giving this book a 8/10.

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 7. Kacey, girl, you need to work on all your anger and guilt! It’s like listening to a broken record as you expound again and again on what a bad person you are who is now so strong for living through such horrible things. And you really need to work on how you treat your on-off bf, Trent, and your best friend, Storm. You’re really kind of “bitchy” and you know when the character dubbed as an angel by all the other characters outs you as a bitch, you have serious issues.

How much did I like the love interest: 9. Trent has a whole lot of guilt and a lot of stalkerish qualities but he more than makes up for them with all of his hotness. He is dreamy and sexy even when you realize he’s just as crazy as Kacey!

How believable is the plot: 8. Pretty believable. My only qualms are the plot twist and the fact that bad things are the impetus for the move to Miami and yet no one ever thinks to go to the police.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. This was very, very well written! Amazingly so even! I was surprised at the complete lack of editing issues and how fluid the dialogue is. It’s sexy but not smutty as well which is a hard line to walk.

How much did I want to keep reading: 9. This is essentially a love story so obviously I wanted to read on and on so I could figure out if Kacey and Trent ever get together.

Final Score: 8/10. Like I mentioned earlier, this was a tough call to make! The book is well written and interesting but the main character was just such a debbie downer. I couldn’t see past her neurosis and anger long enough to like her as a character and obviously that colored my whole view of the book (well duh! The book is about her!). I think you should read it but keep in mind that the subject matter is hard to deal with and you’re going to be confronted with one angry chick!

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