Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ten Tiny Breaths

So it seems to me that lately books have been cyclical. Or rather genres, subject matter, settings are cyclical. A few years ago we were reintroduced to vampires and werewolves by Twilight. Not that we didn't already know about them and their obviously sexy tendencies (and lest you think I am pretending to be immune rest assured I'm not. I love me some vamps and weres.) but Twilight seemed to usher in a new phase of them. No longer did we have the Louis and Lestat types...oh no...we had the tortured, I can't bear to take a human life type. I'm not a huge Twilight fan. I've seen all the movies. I've read all the books. They were OK. Not great. But not as bad as 50 Shades (yes Ohio...I said it). Vamps made way for shifters, shifters made way for witches and so on...

The cycles of books and their popular genres seem to change more often than a teenage girl's hairstyle after she discovered Pinterest. I grew up reading bodice rippers. He kidnapped her. She hated him. Then one night they were both overcome and suddenly, bang, snap, pop, OHHHH, it was love. And they lived happily ever after. (And though I'm snarky about it I have to admit that The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss is one of my all time favorite books. I love the drawnoutness of it. Its a beautiful and well written story.) From bodice rippers I moved on to historical romance and from there to contemporary romance (Nora Roberts is my go to) and then I got side tracked by Harry Potter and my life was changed forever.

I was left looking for the elements of romance and the supernatural. I love mythical anything. I love vampires, werewolves, psychics, witches, faeries. And I love love. Enter Twilight and so I went through, and am still partially into, an urban fantasy meets supernatural romantica phase. I've found some wonderful series in this very wide and diverse genre (the aforementioned and reviewed here Mercy Thompson Series being one of them) and will continue to read this genre. But lately it seems the book world is turning to either dystopian futures (a'la The Hunger Games...also a favorite) or jacked up, messed up in the head women and the men that heal them....and so this brings me to my review for today, Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker.

Gorgeous cover, no?
Kacey Cleary is nineteen years old and the only survivor of a car crash in which her mother, father, best friend and boyfriend were all killed. She suffers major injuries but is still awake and aware enough to hear her mothers last breath and to feel the warmth of her boyfriends hand in hers fade before the paramedics and firefighters can get her out of the vehicle. This understandably leaves her scarred both physically and emotionally and our Kacey is very messed up in the noggin.
The story starts with Kacey and her little sister Livie (who was not in the car) getting off a bus in Miami with all their worldly possessions. We are quickly informed that they had gone to live with a religious fanatic of an aunt and a drunk gambler of an uncle who caused them to flee because he had crawled into bed with Livie. Not good.
When they arrive in Miami, Kacey proceeds to find them lodging and a job at Starbucks, enrolls Livie in high school and they settle in. Kacey however is still holding on to demons and is incredibly filled with rage. After having spent time trying to manage her feelings with drugs, alcohol and random sex she discovers that kickboxing is a good outlet for her anger and pain. But she is still not the Kacey that Livie remembers and doesn't know how to get back there or even if she wants to.
Enter Trent and Storm. Kacey bumps into Trent in the Laundromat of their apartment complex and is instantly mesmerized by his utter gorgeousness. He introduces himself as one of her neighbors, flirts a little and leaves her wanting more. Storm is the stripper next door with a heart of gold. That sounds harsh but its the best way to describe her (and besides I genuinely liked the character). She is a bartender at a strip club and has a 5 year old daughter named Mia who immediately takes a shine to Livie and becomes a sort of stand in maternal influence on both girls.
Trent and Kacey quicky develop and I couldn't help feeling that it was a little too intense on his part almost right from the start. I can't decide if this is a happy accident or author device though so, I'll go with device. Trent wants Kacey to be healed. He wants to make her happy. To fix her. Kacey doesn't think she can or wants to be fixed but she knows she seems to not be able to be without Trent. Until...his secret is revealed. And let me tell you...its a doozie.
I was prepared to dislike this book. I've read a few horrible books recently (one that very closely resembled sludge even) so I figured this one was going to suffer from the "beautiful cover, horrible story" syndrome I've run up against of late. Not so. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised.
HoweveriIt was a shaky book...I will say that. Some of the plot twists necessitated some suspended belief and I can say I wished some of the events weren't glossed over. There were a couple places in the story where there was some considerable action with no follow up after. No mention of it after. Just gloss. Obvious plot points to make the story move. But while I noticed it, it didn't really detract from the story. I was genuinely interested in Kacey.
The climax was a bit predictable but its hard for a book like this not to be. You know the hero has to be hiding something and that something is going to be a pretty big deal to the heroine. But the resolution in this story was interesting. I loved the theme of the book.
Crap dialogue is always a deal breaker for me. If the dialogue isn't convincing I can't get into the rest of the book. I need both internal dialogue (if I'm reading first person) and external dialogue between the characters to be believable in order to invest myself in a character and story and there were no problems there. I think this is the reason I was able to accept the glossed parts. I could have been hearing the dialogue in a movie rather than reading it. Major points to the author there.
There were some sexual situations but nothing incredibly in depth. And by in depth I mean descriptions of everything going on. There was enough to satisfy the need to know what was happening without all of the details. I wouldn't have minded them, but either way is fine. The lack didn't detract from the story.
All in all this was a good book. I enjoyed reading it and am curious to see if there is a follow up. I'm especially curious about Cain. I feel like this character has some untapped potential and there were some cryptic comments made (maybe, hopefully, purposefully...please?) that would indicate that a possible future offering may be about him.
With a price of $2.99 in the Kindle store and $8.99 for a paperback, I'll definitely be recommending it to friends (and blog readers). It was in no way a waste of my money.
Have you read it? Do you want to? Tell me all about it in the comments. And don't forget to subscribe at the bottom of the page in order to get more reviews.

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