Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

April 18, 2013 1 - 1.5 Stars, Bad Romance, Horrible Heroines, New Adult, Nonsensical, Offensive, Stalkers Are Not Sexy, Terrible Twists 15 ½

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths # 1
Published by Atria Books on February 12, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 262
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Four years ago Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend, and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, holding her boyfriend’s lifeless hand and listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty-year-old Kacey and her fifteen-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. Struggling to make ends meet, Kacey needs to figure out how to get by. But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.

Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes, deep dimples, and he perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds.
I think this book takes the award for most ridiculous and jaw-droppingly insulting twist I’ve ever read.  But let me back up for a moment.  I don’t read a lot of New Adult, primarily because the female main characters are typically weak and insipid, and the men are often boorish, creepy stalkers.  But when I read the synopsis for Ten Tiny Breaths, I thought it would bring something new to the table.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.

For something a little light-hearted before I get into why this book made me so angry, I’m going to list out just a few examples of the author’s depictions of the various ways her characters stare at others’ bodies:

  • “Trent smirks as his eyes gaze over my body, stopping to survey the tattoo on my thigh for a moment before flittering back up to my face.”
  • “His eyes shamelessly take in my body.”
  • “A lusty gaze wanders over my frame again.”
  • “His eyes skim my arms now…”
  • “Still, I feel eyes on me, drifting over my curves, sizing me up…”
  • “His gaze lingers too long on my cleavage”.
  • “The little bald man’s eyes bug out, riveted by Storm’s ass.”
  • “Lewd eyes drift over my chest and back up.”
  • “Bright blue eyes, spilling over my body, settling on my chest for a long moment.”
  • “He gives Livie another quick once-over.”
It’s equal opportunity, because the ladies do it, too!
  • “My gaze moves up and down the length of his gorgeous, hard torso, stopping at his belt.”
And since the men are testosterone-laden ogres, they do it to other men:
  • “Officer Dan sizes Trent up…”
OK, so we know everyone is either sizing someone up or getting sized up.  What happens in between all this staring and gazing and eye-wandering?  We’ve got our narrator Kacey who suffered a terrible tragedy when a drunken driver killed her parents, best friend, and boyfriend and left her severely injured.  Understandably, she’s emotionally messed-up.  To illustrate the point, we are beaten over the head with repeated demonstrations of Kacey’s toughness.  She threatens, she hisses, she’s abrasive, and don’t even THINK about trying to touch her.  It’s difficult to imagine what men would find so attractive about her that they are compelled to come on to her in a variety of gross ways, but apparently she’s beautiful and has a great body, and I guess that’s enough.  This includes her hot neighbor, Trent, he of the rippling eight-pack.  (Because a six-pack just isn’t good enough.)

I was initially kind of OK with this story, but when Trent is introduced, he seemed to fall into that
category of obnoxious NA men: smarmy, arrogant, sexually aggressive, and a creepy stalker.  Kacey gets a job as a bartender at a strip club (don’t ask), and Trent comes in every night alone and sits and watches Kacey.  But he ignores the strippers who throw themselves at him, so it’s charming!  Keep in mind that he starts this behavior very soon after meeting Kacey.  Kacey also demonstrates her own charm by fantasizing about “ripping the guts out” of one of these strippers.

I know that there are plenty of readers who like this kind of guy because books like this sell well, but give me a nice, normal guy!  I promise I will read, and most likely enjoy, a book without a character who treats women like a possession.

All of these people were distasteful to me, but as Trent became less stalker-ish and Kacey started to soften, I began to tolerate them.  But then Trent pulls a major asshole move, and Kacey gets pissed and confronts him.  He offers a lame explanation and squeezes out a few tears, and she forgives him.  Seriously?  That’s all it takes for this purported bad-ass, tough as nails chick?

There were a couple of other things that bothered me.  There were two instances of violence of women towards men that were both laughed off and portrayed as cute and charming.  Violence perpetrated by women should be regarded as despicably as violence perpetrated by men.  Why do female characters get a free pass when they hit men?  I’ll never understand that.  Also, as is common to this genre, many secondary male characters are portrayed as sex-crazed perverts.

I haven’t even gotten to the worst part – the absolutely ridiculous twist.  Knowing what we know at the end, it is IMPOSSIBLE to reconcile the Trent at the end who is (I have to choose my adjectives carefully) kind and oozing with sincerity, with the cocky, arrogant guy we met at the beginning.  It makes NO sense, and as a reader, I felt insulted.

OK – so you want to know the big twist???  If not, skip this paragraph.  Trent’s real name is Cole.  He loaned his car to his drunk friend who ended up killing Kacey’s family, boyfriend, and best friend.  Kacey knew the identity of Cole and blamed him for the accident.  When his family attempted to contact her afterwards, she slapped restraining orders on all of them.  Cole/Trent stalked Kacey online for two years, hacked into her e-mail and found out she was moving to Miami.  It gets even more romantic when he picks up and moves to Miami, too, and rents the apartment next door to her. As I mentioned above, he hits on her in obnoxious, arrogant ways and if there is any remorse, he certainly hides it well.  He’s a charmer, right?  This is all presented to us as no big deal and as evidence of Trent’s enormous grief.  Kacey learns all of this by accident and has a breakdown and is sent to a mental hospital.  Her doctor (who was also Trent’s doctor.  Say WHAT????) immediately sends Trent’s father into her hospital room – purportedly part of her treatment, although the pesky restraining order Kacey has against Trent and his parents is never addressed.  I mean, is this not crazy?  Would ANY doctor do any of this?  And then the doctor forces a meeting between Kacey and Trent, again in complete violation of the restraining order and probably in violation of any doctor’s code of conduct.  Then Kacey and Trent/Cole go on to blissful happiness.  The end.  END OF SPOILERS.

Most shocking of all is that this book is apparently the first in a series.  I don’t understand why, because the epilogue wraps up all of the unpleasantness in a pretty, tidy bow, and I don’t know what else a sequel could possibly explore.

Note – I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for review.

Review posted at Goodreads


15 Responses to “Review: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker”

  1. Kathleen

    OK, so now I have to know the twist! bookbuuz (at)

    I hear you about the women as possessions thing. I just finished a book where the male wants to “own her” as the way of saying he wants them to be together. Or the many, many books where the guy springs the whole “I must be the dominant one in bed” thing WHILE THEY ARE IN BED TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME. Sigh.

    Great review.


  2. Natalie Bell

    Great review! I debated requesting this, but am just overloaded right now and kind of dislike books about people getting over death. So, wow, I’m glad I didn’t cave to this pretty cover.

    I’m in total agreement that any violence should be looked down at. It’s not “cute” when a girl hits somebody else. Period.

    That picture is hilarious, btw.

  3. rivie bleu

    WOW, 1 star? That disappointing huh. Maybe that’s why is New Adult lol. I don’t think I’ve read New Adult books, their either YA or normal adult books. I don’t understand the New Adult concept yet, maybe I should read one to see if I like it. I don’t think I’ll choose this one though. You should have written the twist and put “SPOILERS” before you started ranting about it

    • rivie bleu

      Huh, that’s interesting lol, I don’t know how else to put it. What was his point of going after her?
      If that’s how it ends, I don’t see it having a sequel either. That sounds like continuity mistakes, maybe I’m misunderstanding, like with the restraining orders.

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat


      He went after her because he was SO remorseful and wanted to express it. So what better way then to stalk her?

      No continuity errors – it’s probably a problem with how I explained it. The restraining orders were taken out right after the accident.

      Also, re: the sequel – I’ve since read on GR that it will focus on Kacey’s sister. I should probably update my review. Thanks again, Rivie, for making me do more work. 🙂


  4. winterlillies

    I didn’t read this book, but when I was with the ex-blog, one member was asked by Tucker to review it (when it was published as an indie) and I proofed that review although I didn’t pay attention to details. LOL! Since leaving ex-blog, etc I’m no longer in in contact with members, but I know this book ranked high on their list of book favorites and I’ve been avoiding it.

    It’s scary that women out there (esp young women which this is marketed towards) will read this and think that is normal behavior. It’s not. Trent/Cole seriously needs help and if someone slaps a restraining order it’s not “hey let me find you,” information. I know there’s tons of reviews that rave about it and I wonder if no one else is bothered by this behavior. It would bother me immensley.

  5. Kay

    Ummm… I’m not sure I have words. lol I also now want to read this just to see the horribleness, it is almost like a train-wreck that I now can’t take my eyes off of. This is weird since I have seen a lot (although not all) positive reviews on this one and it doesn’t sounds good. Thanks for your honest review!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge