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K. A. Tucker

REVIEW:  One Tiny Lie by K. A. Tucker

REVIEW: One Tiny Lie by K. A. Tucker

Dear Ms. Tucker:

What happened? I confess that while I was reading this book I was convinced it wasn’t written by the same author who wrote Ten Tiny Breaths and had I not read TTB, I don’t know that I would have finished this one. I will say (and this is the reason for the C- grade) that despite all the problems I had with this story, I was compelled to find out what happened, how it was resolved, what were everyone’s excuses/reasons/justifications. I wasn’t satisfied with what I read in the end, but at least it kept my attention.

One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths #2) by K.A. Tucker
Livie is entering her first year at Princeton and she’s being challenged by her sister’s psychotherapist, Dr. Stayner, to do things out of the ordinary. Ever since her parents’ deaths, Livie has been living the life that she believed that her parents wanted her to live. As the blurb says, “‘Make me proud,’ he had said. She promised she would…and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

No one with a degree in psychology should read this book because Stayner’s actions are not just unconventional but would likely lead to a lot of malpractice suits and probably license suspension.

“Make sure to have a shot of tequila. Break dance. Whatever it is you youngsters do nowadays during frosh week. It’ll be good for you.”

“I suggested tequila, Livie. Not crystal meth . . . And no, I’m not recommending tequila because you are only eighteen and I am a doctor. That would be highly unprofessional. I’m recommending that you go and have fun!”

I had a problem with Livie being characterized as somehow *off* because she was shy, didn’t have a boyfriend, and was focused on getting a degree and going to study medicine after. Somehow boys, parties, and acting crazy were Dr. Stayner’s prescriptions for creating a healthy life for Livie.  And how Dr. Stayner describes Livie isn’t how she appears in the book.  Stayner says that she’s super sensitive “You are one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met, Livie. You respond to human heartache so acutely. It’s like you absorb others’ pain.”

Yet, Livie’s actions are of the most selfish and unkind that you’ll read. Livie has a drunken night she can’t remember which results in waking up with a naked man in her roommate’s bed, a tattoo, and a host of interactions she’ll be reminded of later. This one drunken night (which we only see parts of ) results in the manwhore Ashton falling for her. We don’t know why he falls for her, only that after this one event she becomes his “forever” girl and he reminds her of this through cryptic notes and even more confusing actions such as sleeping with other women.

Because Ashton tells Livie that he a) has a serious girlfriend and b) that he’s a manwhore, Livie starts dating Ashton’s sweet and sexy roommate, Connor. Every time they are out together, however, Livie is eating Ashton up with her eyes, having intimate encounters with him, and basically wanting Ashton more than she’s ever wanted Connor. Part of Livie’s therapy, apparently, is to act like an utter asshole because she continues to date Connor even though she has only tepid feelings toward him.

The story is told only from Livie’s point of view, but we eventually learn why Ashton cheats on his perfectly nice girlfriend and how Dr. Stayner steps in to solve everything.  I struggled to be sympathetic with Livie.  It’s not that I wanted or needed Livie to be perfect but I would have liked a) a believable romance and b) some acknowledgment of how awful her actions were.  C-

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker

REVIEW: Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker

Dear K. A. Tucker:

I enjoyed Ten Tiny Breaths but I’m not sure I fully bought into the resolution of the story. It’s a New Adult book set in Miami as two young women try to make a life for themselves absent parents or guardians.  Kacey Cleary moves herself and her sister, Olivia, to Miami after their gross uncle tries to molest younger sister.

Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. TuckerKacey is the only survivor of a drunk driving accident that killed their parents, her best friend and her boyfriend as they were driving back from a rugby match heroine and best friend played in. Kacey has shut down and hardened. She tries not to allow her to feel anything but in the years following the car accident tried to cope with sex, drugs, and alcohol until her sister Livie found Kacey choking on her own vomit. Vowing to live for Livie, Kacey abstains from it all.

In Miami, they move into a small rundown apartment complex where Kacey meets two people that will change her life. The first is Trent, a very attractive guy who lives next door to her and second is Nora Matthews aka Storm. Storm is a beautiful, buxom blonde with a five year old daughter. She gets Kacey a job waiting tables where Storm strips. Storm, more than anyone, breaks through Kacey’s barriers and suggests that whatever painful past Kacey suffered, she can start anew. And for a short time, Kacey wonders if that is true and begins to explore the possibility of a “normal” life, dating Trent, befriending Storm, and looking after her sister.

Kacey narrates the story in the first person. She’s damaged but strong. Her instalust for Trent may be the only jarring note of the entire story.

In this story of healing, forgiveness is an important component and that may rub people the wrong way. The message for Kacey is that by holding on to her bitterness and anger, she’s never allowed herself to fully heal. In Miami, this begins to change.

The real me. Who is that? All I know is that since moving to Miami, my carefully crafted defenses have been attacked from all angles. Even Mia and her gapped tooth grins have managed to worm their way into the cracks in my armor. No matter how many times I tell myself I don’t care, I’m starting to find my heart beating a little bit faster and my shoulders lift a little bit higher when I make them laugh.

But Kacey’s trauma is severe and Trent has a secret that places Kacey’s emotional healing in jeopardy. I appreciated that Kacey’s depression and post traumatic stress syndrome were treated seriously but without judgment. Storm is not just the stereotypical stripper with a heart of gold. She’s three dimensional. Smart and observant and ambitious. The romance Storm experiences is unexpected and sweet.

The real issue is Trent. Trent’s problem and solution to his problem are extreme and I’m not entirely convinced of the HEA resolution. I think the major problem was the ending and how it failed to show how Trent and Kacey could function in a healthy romance.  Given that mental health issues were so important in the story, I felt that a better closure would have been to show us how the two could live their HEA. It’s a provocative storyline. Finally, despite the weighty issues, the pace of the story is snappy and the emotional low notes are interspersed with humor and sexiness. B-

Best regards,

Jane

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