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{July 26, 2013}   {Review} Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths #1)

17571742From Goodreads: 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.

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It’s been four years since the accident that irrevocably changed Kasey Cleary’s life, sending her on a downward spiral, unable to connect with others, let alone shake their hands. Insistent on doing right for her younger sister, the novel really begins with Kasey and Livie arriving in Miami via bus, side-stepping the catastrophic event that sends them on the run, their uncle’s attempt to sleep with Livie. This was a godsend; I am always nervous when a synopsis hints at sexual abuse being a part of the story, and it was this that actually stopped me from picking up the novel for such a long time. But there is no sex abuse in this story. Uncle Raymond laid down and Livie took flight to Kasey’s room directly, as Tucker tells her readers fairly early on, which was an extreme relief for me. So, if that’s what’s keeping you on the fence about reading this story, don’t let it stop you. In fact, the entire first paragraph and a half of the synopsis has already happened when the story begins, and readers learn very limited things about Kasey’s aunt and uncle as the main focus is on the now, on the arrival in Miami and the girls’ attempt to create a normal existence.

I have to admire Kasey. She works hard to protect her sister and keep her own emotions in check, however, she is extremely damaged inside, pushing everyone away, exuding extreme hatred for the drunk driver and the boys in the car that crashed into her and her family that fatal night. Consumed by her fear of touch and her hatred of for the boy who livid, she runs the gauntlet of emotions, never realizing just how much she is hurting the one she loves most: Livie.

Of course, Trent was a very swoon-worthy character and I loved the interactions and angst between him and Kasey. They are great for each other, and watching him wear down her barrier was amazing. I was thankful, as well, that Tucker utilizes the “fade to black” style when dealing with most of the sexual interactions, and that she didn’t linger on the ones that provided more details. Less is more, and I’m more interested in the plotline in my stories than in the sexual deviances. Tucker totes this line very well, and I give her kudos for keeping the focus on the emotional upheaval of Kasey.

Tucker sets up the story so that readers will very quickly realize what Trent’s secret is, and though I would have liked to be more surprised, I enjoyed the focus on healing from past wounds of the soul. This book is really about healing and less about the secret and sexual angst between the characters, and I enjoyed how well Tucker fleshed out all her characters throughout the novel.

While the ending of the novel was very tidy and quite nice, I was sort of hoping it would end differently as, for me, it would have seemed a little more realistic. However, I think that’s my jaded sense of life coming through, pessimism, really, so don’t mind me. Three stars.

3 stars

Atria Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel via Netgalley.



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