All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Ten Tiny Breaths – K.A. Tucker

on December 10, 2013

Ten Tiny BreathsTen Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths #1)
K.A. Tucker
Atria Books
2013 (originally 2012), 278p
Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster AUS

Four years ago when she was 16, Kacey’s life changed forever when her parents, her best friend and her boyfriend were all killed in a car accident. Kacey was the sole survivor and it took a year in hospital for her to rehabilitate. Still haunted by nightmares of being trapped in the car with her family and those she cared about dying around her, Kacey and her younger sister, who wasn’t in the accident, are leaving the past behind and making a fresh start. Escaping from their overly religious aunt and sleazy uncle, Kacey and Livie take a bus to Florida and their new apartment. And their new life.

At first it’s a struggle to make ends meet and Kacey isn’t interested in making any friends. But then a friendship forms with Storm, a gorgeous Barbie lookalike and single mother in the apartment next door to theirs and she helps Kacey secure a better paying job. Against her will, Kacey finds herself coming to love and value Storm and her and her young daughter quickly become a huge and important part of Kacey and Livie’s lives. And then there’s Trent Emerson in Apartment 1D.

Trent Emerson is gorgeous and Kacey, who has no trouble refusing advances and keeping men at a distance, finds that she can’t employ her usual methods with Trent. She wants him and she can’t think straight when she’s around him. Trent seems desperate to find a way to her heart, not just her body and eventually Kacey’s walls begin to crumble as she finds happiness and lets herself begin to feel again. But then, as Trent pushes her to embrace healing and therapy, she finds out that he is guarding a terrible secret… something that might mean there’s no going back from heartache to the happiness they once had.

This book is relatively short but it packs a pretty large punch from the opening scene which is Kacey dreaming of the horrific car accident she was in four years ago. Now 20, she exists on a diet of bitterness and isolation. For a while she filled the void left in her life with alcohol, drugs and one night stands but the fact that she frightened her younger sister one night after a bender meant that she gave that all up, for Livie. Now Kacey and Livie have fled to Florida to find a new life, one where Livie can flourish and not live in fear of her bedroom door opening at night.

I loved the characters of Storm and her young daughter Mia, who live in the apartment next door. Storm works in an adult bar serving drinks (although she does occasionally dance, not in the way that the other strippers do) and she gets Kacey a job in the same place. The characters at the bar are interesting and add a lot to the story too. Kacey begins to very slowly lower the walls around herself and allow other people into her life – she and Storm become good friends and she even begins to consider the bouncers at the bar her friends too. And then there’s her semi-fledgling relationship with Trent, the gorgeous boy in 1D. Trent wants to help Kacey heal from her terrible tragedy, he wants her to live her life to the full and although he pushes her, it seems to come from a good place. However, Trent has a hideous secret and when that is revealed, all is suddenly thrown into a new sinister light and Trent’s motives have to be questioned.

I don’t think Trent’s secret is at all hard for readers to guess, it unfolds a piece at a time over the course of their interactions and by the time it is revealed to Kacey, the reader already knows. But that doesn’t lessen the story or the impact and the way in which the book plays out after the secret is revealed is partially its strength. Because it’s one of the few novels I’ve read where a character has suffered a major trauma, where the emotional damage inflicted, isn’t just fixed with time, or a hot man. Kacey is damaged psychologically having held the hand of her dead boyfriend while they tried to cut her out of the car, having felt the body of her dead best friend slumped beside her, having heard her mother take her last breath. Nothing is going to be an easy fix for that, not even Trent’s blue eyes and dimples. And this book makes Kacey recognise that and after Trent’s secret is revealed and she can’t cope with the revelation, she is finally able to get the help that she so desperately needs. But only after her younger sister makes her see how Kacey’s own behaviour frightens Livie so much and that every day, she fears for Kacey’s life. The scene between the sisters where Livie begs her to accept the help on offer is beautiful. Because there’s probably nothing else that would’ve been able to convince Kacie and in order to do so, Livie had to bring out the big guns and hurt her. She makes Kacey realise that she wants to get better, that she wants to heal and let go of a lot of this trauma. But it isn’t easy and the book really emphasises what she goes through as she attempts to learn to forgive and move on.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would and even though this is a series, this one is a complete story and the next book will revolve around Livie. She’s not a particularly fleshed out character in this story (it’s very much Kacey and Trent’s story, with a bit of Storm finding her happy ever after too) so I’m looking forward to a book from her point of view and seeing what she’s really like, given she’s had some time to grow up and mature and move on from the trauma of the time of this book. And the third book revolves around Cain, who runs the club Storm and Kacey worked for, and I can’t wait to read that one! He was only in this briefly but he’s definitely interesting.

8/10

Book #314 of 2013

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