Book Connections, Review

Five Books that Explore Family Complications


Families most likely by their nature are complicated, I guess we can all point to our own complications. And so when books explore these various complications a) we nod our heads or b) we think “well thank goodness that didn’t happen to us”.

Book cover Lucy’s own mother is dead and she would really welcome a mother figure. However her mother-in-law Diana is not that friendly a figure. She is aloof, unemotional, stands by strict beliefs about money and spends her time on a very good cause. When Diana ends up dead – the question is who did it and why? I didn’t like Diana at the beginning but I warmed to her eventually, I listened to this one on audio and that version was well done.

A middle grade book that introduces to us two twelve year olds who discover their dads are in a relationship and they want their daughters to be “family”. Initially the daughters are horrified! Then a firm friendship is formed in spite of their quite different personalities. The dads have their issues because they aren’t alike either and they stop the relationship to the disappointment of the girls. I thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade book and was delighted by all the plot twists and turns.

book coverA family complication happens in this YA novel and so Aria and her mother move provinces in Canada. One of the complications is that on a night out on Halloween Aria spies her father in another house with a young child on his knee and  the woman who answers the door is pregnant. Well! And there is a second complication but I am not saying a word because I hope some of you read this novel.  It explores what it is to be different, to harbor a secret, and it takes a hard look at bullying. Loved the touch of romance and development of the characters. K. A. Tucker I am so a fan.

book cover
This book fits only loosely into family complications, because really its about friendship complications.However what about when friends eventually work through all the relationship complications over a long number of years and recognise that actually they are family. That’s how this one works out, along the way exploring alcoholism, dieting, secrets and deceit. I enjoyed this book although I didn’t love it. I was so happy it was a library borrow!

Book Cover What happens when one sister steals or seems to steal the man you are to marry right from under your nose. Going to be complicated for sure and it is. It’s either fight or flight and Lena chooses flight and I sympathise with her on that. When she returns home ten years later its because her Dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and its all hands on deck. Herself, her sister and brother plus their Dad must deal. In the dealing there is much exploration of memories, of forgiveness and the difference between forgetting and not forgetting. Plus there is a twist that is well signalled and ties in well to the title. And a second twist that I wasn’t that happy with and meant I scored it 4 rather than 5 stars.


Ten Tiny Breaths. K. A. Tucker.

Ten Tiny Breaths book cover

Ten Tiny Breaths
K. A. Tucker
Published: Simon & Shuster 2013
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Elizabeth Louise
Length: 8hrs 58min
Source: Own audiobook

After a terrible car accident destroys her life as she knew it, 20-year-old Kacey escapes to Florida, where she encounters an irresistible man determined to capture her wounded heart.

Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them.

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, Kacey and her 15-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. They’re struggling to make ends meet at first, 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 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 revealing an explosive secret that could shatter both of their worlds.

My thoughts banner
Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker has been in my view since 2013 when I watched it on NetGalley and saw many, many reviews for it.  I just passed it by, it didn’t seem like it was for me!  I am not sure what made me finally give it a go, I must have read an audio review because that is the format I chose.  So I found out then that it was not only New Adult but first person POV and written in the present tense.  Hate that! Well I used to anyway because a sentence or two was only spoken and I was hooked and totally in for the ride.
Kacey was in a car accident, where her parents, best friend and boyfriend were killed and she was left holding her dead boyfriend’s hand until she could be cut out hours later.  Kacey and Libby now need to escape the place where they are living because the uncle is not all he should be.  They set up in a small apartment and Kacey finds work through a neighbour Storm.  
Kacey is a hard nosed young woman, but she has not coped well with the loss and anger that she experiences from the accident.  She has tried many avenues and still nothing works.  She hates anyone touching her hand.  Her anger can be triggered and when it does – Libby is worried by what may happen.  She forms a strong loving relationship with Trent the guy next door, yet this has its difficulties.
I loved the cast of characters, they became like Kacey’s and Libby’s family.  I smiled sometimes and I admit to a few tears too.  I was able to predict what was to be a big shock for Kacey before it happened, yet  I don’t hold that against the book.  I think most if not all readers would see what was coming.
As I listened I was struck by how much damage happens by those who drink and drive and cause accidents that need never have happened.  It impacts for sure those who lose their lives, but what about those on the wider circle who are victims too – the family and friends. Or those who live through the accident.  
The narrator was perfect for the book and I will certainly listen to some more in this series. One prejudiced reader won over!
5 stars