Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker (2013, Atria Books)
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.
For some reason I was reluctant about this book. I saw nothing in the blurb that really popped for me and really, if I’m honest, it was the title/cover that caught my attention the most.
Well consider me well and truly told off. This book completely blew me away.
Everything about the characters and the setting and the narrative style just seemed to ‘fit’ what I like to read/write myself.
What worked for me?
Kacey – I really liked this character’s voice. Told from her POV, I was digging her attitude. I also like how her ‘issues’ weren’t thrown at you too hard. Just led in, gently, gently. And then KAPOW you’re hit at about 70% with a shocker I never saw coming.
The ‘twist’ – Is it really a twist? It’s more like a jaw dropper. A heart stopper. I was like ‘Whaaaat?’ Very clever writing because when you go back over everything you’ve just read it’s like ‘ohh, of course!’
Supporting Cast – the secondary characters were fantastic. I loved them all. And I’m excited to read the next books and learn more about them.
What didn’t work for me?
The ‘ship – I mean. I wanted the HEA. So badly. But I wasn’t entirely comfortable with how things played out. I mean, who could be? After that ‘twist’ I was in awe. I was also a little bit disgusted. And a little bit scared.. because how would they find that HEA after THAT?
I found this to be a refreshing and most welcome read. It’s one of those ‘at last’ books that you feel stupid for not reading earlier. I also thought that the psychological elements felt well researched and was relieved that the dream thing wasn’t pushed too hard. I hate dream sequences when they have specific ‘import’ on the plot or characters, because shit, it’s a dream!! But it was handled brilliantly here. Same for analepsis. There was just enough flashback to keep the reader clued in, but not so much that you got bored.
The chemistry between Trent and Kacey was palpable and I was almost screaming at my Kindle for them to just hurry up and get down to it!
A really compelling story. A very happy 5 out 5 from me!