BOOK REVIEW | Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

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.

blurb from Goodreads

This is primarily a negative review and contains a few spoilers. Of course, these are my thoughts and feelings and I am in no way trying to stop you from reading this book. If you’ve already read this book and have a different opinion than I do, I would genuinely love to hear it!

I tried reallllllly hard to like this book. I think it also says something that I finished the book this morning and by the time I sat down to write this review, I had forgotten 85% of the character’s names. I had to look them up and write them down before I could continue.

The first few pages were honestly enough for me to decide that this book wasn’t for me. I’m not sure if there was something in the writing or if it was because I found Kacey, the protagonist, to be incredibly unlikable. However, I kept reading in the hopes that things would change. And they did, eventually, but only for a brief moment and only because of the side characters.

Ten Tiny Breaths was a perfect example of insta-love. Not. Into. It.
After Kacey and her sister made their way to their new life and new apartment in Miami,  and before they were even settled, Kacey was suddenly in the laundry room. I think it was because the apartment came furnished and she wanted to wash the bedding. Anyways, she went to wash it and then a hot, mysterious boy appeared and she was making eyes at him/making a fool out of herself. While somewhat cute (cue me feeling embarrassed for her), the whole ordeal was described as being out of character for Kasey. So then, of course, the reader instantly knows that this guy is”special” and the angst starts. Okay, fine. I can deal with angst. What I cannot deal with is when there’s a broody character (in this case, Kasey) that clearly has problems, and the author thinks that a love interest is going to fix them. That’s not how it works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As the story continues, Livie, who is Kacey’s sister, starts talking about “old Kasey” coming back because of having this “incredible guy” in her life. Woah man. Kasey has major PTSD. That doesn’t just magically disappear, no matter how hot your “boyfriend” is.

Speaking of this hot “boyfriend”, I have a lot to say about Trent. I got major bad vibes from him immediately. The landlord let it slip that he was also a new tenant that paid in cash which cued instant sirens in my head. Dude’s obviously got baggage. But throughout the story, he was really pushy and manipulative towards Kacey. He wanted her to go to therapy, he wanted her to tell him her secrets and her history that she wasn’t ready to tell, blah blah blah. I get that some people need a little push. But tricking her into a group therapy session is way more than that and I found it tremendously disrespectful.

As for Kacey, I do not like her. Don’t get me wrong, she had been through a lot and had every single right to not be a happy person. However, that does not give her an excuse to be rude. You can be friendly to people without letting them know a single thing about your life. The way she treated every other character was unnecessary. Like, I am ALL for sassy and powerful and just generally being a Bad Bitch but Kacey didn’t even come close to that. As well, there was a weird mixture of her sticking to her guns while also letting Trent push her around. I feel like someone with that much trauma wouldn’t succumb that quickly. Then again, I have zero say in how PTSD affects people.

While I don’t want to give away the twist to those who are interested in reading this, I am really, really frustrated with what happened after. It’s the biggest reason why I didn’t like this book. So, I have to say it: Honey! His entire relationship with you was a lie!!!!!!!!!! He STALKED YOU! He only wanted to make you happy for his own benefit. Why isn’t that enough for you to be like okay nope bye?? I’m all for forgiveness but that was a HUGE thing to forgive and I don’t buy it. ESPECIALLY when Kacey is supposed to be all about protecting herself and her sister. Going back to that is the furthest thing from protection.

The one thing I really liked about this novel were all of the side characters. It was really exciting that the owner of the strip club wasn’t a sleazeball. I really liked how Storm was a badass single mom. Kacey’s sister, surprisingly, didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. The plot twist, which I had figured out waaaaay in the beginning, happened really late. There were a lot of pieces that were resolved far too quickly and we got a rushed ending. The side characters weren’t developed enough in the story. One minute something was suggested or hinted at, like the start of a relationship, and then suddenly two characters were moving in together. Where was the buildup? I don’t know the length of time that the novel went on for but probably not long enough for the epilogue to actually make sense.

I really didn’t want to stick with this series but I just read the synopsis’ for the next ones and they’re about the characters I actually cared about (though I’m sure when it’s from their own POV it could change).  I’m SO MAD because as much as I didn’t like Ten Tiny Breaths, I actually want to read the next books. I haven’t yet decided if I will…well played, Tucker.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy Ten Tiny Breaths. There was too much pining, an unhealthy relationship, and far too many unrealistic bits. Maybe I’m just jaded and not in the right place for romance. Maybe I’m asking for too much. Nonetheless, this was not a novel I enjoyed.

Have you read this novel or any of the sequels? What were your thoughts?


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