Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Title: Ten Tiny Breaths
Author: K.A. Tucker

Genre: NA Contemporary
Publisher: Atria Books

Length: 304 pages
Original Publishing Date: December 9th, 2012
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths #1
Where I got it: NetGalley

Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website

Synopsis from 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.

Main characters: 4/5

Kacey's ice queen act was annoying at first. I get that it was a coping strategy, but it has been so overdone in YA contemporary novels. I was getting to the eye-rolling part before she started trying and her sense of humor cracked me up at some parts. The fact that she was self-aware about her chilly act made it better because I was able to see her internal conflict and understand her coping mechanisms. And, oh boy, her coping strategies. Sometimes I just wanted to scream, "Ughhhh no Kacey!!!". But the fact that I was emotionally involved in her life showed how I connected to Kacey. I also liked that the reader learned about Before Kacey without having flashbacks and without really having anyone "tell" us. Kacey was a fully fleshed out character with quirks and nuances.

Secondary characters: 3.5/5

I immediately connected with Livie initially because of how Kacey described her: "she apologizes when someone bumps into her"? That's me to a T. She was sweet and yet stood up for herself, but I didn't feel like Tucker gave her quite as much attention in bringing out how the accident affected her.
Storm was pleasantly surprising in a lot of ways and I appreciated the fact that she broke through so many of my expectations of her character. She had this was of seeing through people that complimented so well with Kacey. Overall, she was a refreshing character.
Trent had a little douchebag thing going with his comments but it was also kind of refreshing, to be honest. It was different than a lot of YA male love interests. Kacey described it best when she calle dhim "the dictionary definition of contradiction". The fact that he was stubborn and sweet, That being said, the insta-love thing was not cool. The introduction to Trent is that he's handsome and suddenly he breaks through every wall Kacey's ever put up and she has no idea why but she turns to mush. Ughhhh. That being said, Trent improved over the story and I really like where Tucker took the end with Trent.

Writing style: 4/5

Sometimes the writing was a little dense. Especially at the beginning when I was trying to get into the story, I would get stuck in the middle of a large descriptive paragraph and just have trouble moving on. Once I became more emotionally involved and the plot started moving, this mostly went away. That being said, the descriptions were lush and detail-filled and the dialogue was realistic and allowed the character's personalities to shine through. Ten Tiny Breaths was well-paced beyond those beginning chapters and the tension grew as we continued toward the inevitable conflict.

Plot: 4/5
Because it was a character driven novel, the plot mostly revolved around Kacey's continuing stages of grief and meeting Trent. However, the setting of this story adds to the plot, both in furthering the action and in uniqueness. There were a lot of things to be lauded in the ways that Ten Tiny Breaths used its setting and characters to the utmost advantage to create a unique story, if not a unique plotline. I had figured out the twist partway through the novel, but I was still impressed with the way it was done.

Ending: 4/5

There were a lot of ways that this novel could have ended that would have made me mad. Luckily, Tucker found just about the only one that truly worked. The character growth was a bit sudden but we were able to see the process.

Best scene: I'm going to alter this to best line and say it's this one: "This is sexual blackmail!" With that sneak peek, you know you wanna read this one.

Reminded Me Of:  A little bit of You Against Me? Just in some of the themes/romance I think.

A unique and fun secondary cast of characters, beautiful descriptions, dialogue and pacing, the setting

Negatives: Instalove, some stereotypical aspects, tough beginning to get through

Cover: One of the prettiest covers I've seen in a while! I love the simplicity, the gorgeous colors, the girl (with red hair!), everything. 

Verdict: An engrossing read whose fleshed-out and unique characters and setting made up for its slow start and stereotypical parts.

Rating: 7.4/10 (4 stars)

What I Was Listening To: I'm happy to introduce you all to one of my favorite artists, reggae singer Cris Cab. He has done plenty of covers as well as original songs but this is one of my favorites. Enjoy!

Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!

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