“Just breathe,” my mom would say.
“Ten tiny breaths …
This is a story about a girl who was drowning in the pain of her shattered life and the boy with a dark past of his own who pulled her out and helped her to breath, to live, and to love again.
“Give me your heart, Kasey. I’ll take everything that comes with it.”
This book doesn’t ease you in to the story, it just plunges you right in and submerges you in its beautiful and spiraling journey of pain, horrific loss and heart ache, and then it pulls out back up, until you feel the forgiveness and healing the characters have reached.
Ten Tiny Breaths follows Kasey’s journey as she goes through the stages of her life, healing from trauma, finding forgiveness for unimaginable hurt, falling in love when she thought it was beyond her, and rediscovering the beauty of life.
I absolutely adored the writing style. You truly FEEL the story. You just sink right into every word you read. They are projected onto you in such a way that you have no choice but to internalize them. Feel them. Its one of those books that just has that ‘spark’, you know what I mean? That little bit of extra. This book had it. And despite the seriousness, it also had wonderful laugh out loud moment breaking up the heavy and allowing out to see another side of the characters.
After the death of her parents, best friend and boyfriend in a horrific drunk driving accident of which she was the sole survivor, and an abusive and horrible stay with their aunt and uncle, Kacey takes her sister and heads out on a bus, determined to find them a better life.
But unlike her sister, Livie, Kasey has never been a ‘good girl’. At least, not since the accident. The pain, anger and hatred at the unfairness and trauma of the event has filled her to the point where she feels numb.
So they set up in a small apartment complext in Miami and begin to piece together a new life.
Then in walks Trent. Her gorgeous god of a neighbour in 1B. He’s charming, sexy as all hell, oh, and is also 6’3″ with tattoos, an 8-pack, dimples, and a Harley… yeah… excuse me a minute while I fan myself here… But back to Trent.
“He skates between nice guy and bad boy so fluidly, I never seem to catch the transition.”
He’s the first guy in forever to make her swoon but Kasey won’t let him in at first. Her hurts run too deep and the protective walls she has built around herself are built too high. But slowly, his charm works through her defenses and she can’t help but fall for him.
“I swear he’s going to kiss me.
I swear I’m going to let him.”
“I’m not ready for this. I haven’t prepared. … One… Two… Three… Four… By the time I reach ten, I’m freaking out.”
I loved Kasey’s character and her voice. She was both damaged but strong. Her body had been broken by the accident and she had build herself back up and healed, but emotionally, she was still shattered. Angry, vulnerable, at times violent. I loved that she wasn’t held back by anyone’s judgement of her. She simply was who she was. No BS, no games.
“I have dozens of steel pins and rods through my body, holding me together. Physically. Nothing but ten tiny breaths holds the rest of me together.”
But she had also taken every little piece of the real her – the ‘Before Kasey’ – and bottled it up. And every time a little piece of it would slip out, she’d slam a wall down ensuring it stayed locked up. Protecting herself. It was almost as if a part of her died four years before in the accident and slowly, with the help of her friends and the patience and love of this one guy, she slowly comes back to life again.
I loved that the way the writing style got you right into Kasey’s head. You became totally in sync with her thoughts and emotions. I felt like I was absolutely 100% experiencing the story right through her eyes. No disconnect ever.
I loved how the author took something as simple as the first time they held hands and was able to give it in intensity of a first kiss. Totally beautiful!
“I don’t know what’s happening, what I’m doing, what has taken over all rational thought, but I know I don’t want it to stop. Every fiber of my being is craving it.
This book really drove home how no matter what someone shows you on the outside, you never know what personal hell they are going through inside.
And then HO. LEE.! At about 40%, I put two and two together and figured out a major part of the plot twist and loved it! It gave me shivers! If I was to be picky, I’d say that I wish it had been a tad less obvious, but still, it didn’t stop me from enjoying it.
I really fell strongly for Trent. He was hiding a dark secret from his past but he was just so patient and perfect and so totally swoony! You could really feel how strongly he cared for her.
“His dimples are in full force now. “I want to make you smile. For real. Always. We’re going to go for dinners, and see movies, and walk on the beach. We’ll go hang gliding, or bungee jumping, or whatever you want to do. Whatever makes you smile and laugh more.” His fingers toy with my bottom lip. “Let me make you smile.”
“I’d fix it all for you if I could. You know that, right?” He whispers. I wonder if he’s talking about my scars or the last four years of my life.
“Yes,” is all I say. Yes to all of it.“
I will mention that I was a just a little bit thrown by how non-graphic the bedroom scenes were. I know this is the NA genre and its not Adult, and it wasn’t that the scenes were fade-to-black, but almost more that the acts were glossed over in places. You saw the immediate before and the immediate after but the actual acts were very hazy. It didn’t detract from the emotional connection, but I do wish they had been just a little more present even still within the lines of NA.
The book never made me cry but I did get choked up a few times. Especially during a big tell-all scene at the end. SNIFF!
The last part of the book takes a bit of a turn from the pacing and feeling of the first part. There’s a bit of a twist to the twist, so to speak, that really makes you rethink the whole story from the beginning. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it. It made it… hmm… very… less perfect? hmmm, um, I don’t know really what to say but it yeah, it was unexpected to me. Really makes you think twice about the story. But I can’t say anything without spoiling it so you’ll just have to read it and see for yourself 😉
Don’t let that scare you off though – there is a swoony HEA with an epilogue and all so don’t worry about that!
Book #2 will be Livie’s story and I can’t wait for her story. She was such a lovable character and I’m looking forward to reading a whole book about her. I love KA Tucker’s writing style and any of her future books will be on my automatic to-buy list 🙂
Each book in the series is about a different couple and can be read as a standalone but I recommend reading them in order because they are interconnected.
#1.5 IN HER WAKE
(prequel novella, optional, to be read after Ten Tiny Breaths)
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