I could start this blog with my own tiny lie, and say that I was really excited to read this book after reading the first book in K. A. Tucker’s series, Ten Tiny Breaths, but that’s just not the truth. I actually went through the summaries of every book in the series, since I wasn’t sure I would love the whole series (I was right, book 4 won’t be getting a review from me), and I wanted to make sure I got off to the right start, so I started with One Tiny Lie, since that synopsis appealed the most to me. The nice thing about contemporary romance series is that the individual books of the series can often be read as standalones. Yes, it might have been nice to read the first book, since Livie plays a large role in that book, and I would have had a bit more background information on her. However, I can’t say I would make a different decision if I went back in time. Why? Because this book was simply better than the first book, at least in my opinion. Ten Tiny Breaths was still incredible, and I definitely would have gone on to read One Tiny Lie after finishing it. Still, I think that One Tiny Lie got me more excited for the series than Ten Tiny Breaths would have. Now, it could be argued that reading One Tiny Lie first would spoil the first book’s ending, and technically it does. Answer me this though, when in any romance novel ever do the main characters not end up together? Oh that’s right, never. Hence, no real spoilers for Ten Tiny Breaths.
While Kacey self-imploded, Livie did the opposite of her sister; she held herself together and made sure to maintain her grades and handle her parent’s devastating death with admirable strength. “But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “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.” The plan to fulfill that promise? Attend Princeton University. She succeeds, but she never could have seen Ashton Henley, the drop dead gorgeous captain of Princeton’s rowing team. The catch? He’s also a womanizing player. Still, she can’t help but feel something for him, which becomes a problem when she finds out one of his roommates is Connor, the handsome Irish boy, who is exactly the kind of guy Livie always pictured herself ending up with. Connor fits her plan perfectly, so why can’t she get Ashton out of her mind? Livie’s carefully crafted world soon begins falling apart, and she’s left questioning she’s ever planned for her life.
“I walk away. I walk away from the voices, the shouts, the disappointment. I walk away from my deceptions, my mistakes, my regrets. I walk away from all that I am supposed to be and all that I cannot be. For all of it is a lie.”
From what I gathered from reviews before reading the book, Livie is not a very popular character. People seem to think she’s weak, whiny, and a cheater (more on that later). I think the exact opposite. While her older sister turned to alcohol and self-destructive tendencies after their parent’s death, Livie stayed strong. Yes, she didn’t deal with their deaths in a timely manner, and that led to some emotional complications down the road, but she didn’t self implode. As for the complaining, I have to wonder if the people who wrote that know what it feels like to have your entire life plan fall apart right before your eyes. What it feels like to see every dream you’ve ever had crumble, and to have to face a future that suddenly seemed empty. That’s why I loved Livie’s character so much: I connected with her and what she was feeling. What I saw in Livie was an extremely strong young girl, who was having to deal with the loss of her parents, her dreams, and her heart all at once. How would you have handled it? Probably not well, so you can’t blame Livie for making a few bad decisions.
“Irish, if there’s one thing I’ve never been able to forget, it’s a single second with you.”
At first, I hated Ashton. He was cocky, arrogant, and a total asshole. He pretty much forced himself on Livie, and then propositioned her and Kacey for a threesome. Yep, total asshole. Then you find out he has a girlfriend he constantly cheats on. I wanted to quit the book right then and there. I’m so so SO glad that I didn’t. Ashton is suffering. No, you wouldn’t know it looking at him. He’s got an Ivy education, nice house, fancy car, beautiful girlfriend, and everything money can buy. But he’s trapped inside his life. He can’t escape the shackles of his father, and it’s turned him into something he isn’t. In truth, Ashton is actually my favorite male character in the whole series, and definitely one of my favorites in New Adult literature. Despite his initial assholeishness (that’s definitely not a word but whatever), once he realizes how special Livie is to him, he does everything in his power to protect her from his own pain and destructiveness. He never pushes her (aside from the kiss at the beginning), and he loves her in a way that brought tears to my eyes. Once the plot twist is revealed at the end, you gain an entirely new level of respect for Ashton. In fact, by the end of the book you’ve pretty much forgotten how much of an ass he was at the beginning; his character does a complete 180.
Now, I have to be honest, I almost didn’t pick up this book. In fact, I almost blacklisted it. Cheating is a hard no for me, and there is definitely cheating in this book. Hear me out though. While Ashton’s cheating can’t be excused, it is understandable once you have the whole picture. He also never does it maliciously, and does his best to protect his girlfriend’s feelings. I can’t say that his cheating was acceptable (without spoiling the book), but I don’t blame him. And that’s coming from a girl who despises cheaters. Livie, on the other hand, did make some pretty bad decisions regarding her relationships with Connor and Ashton. She should have dumped Connor the moment she realized the extent of her feelings for Ashton. On the other hand, though, Ashton was constantly pushing her towards Connor. Livie’s other life plans were imploding, and Connor was the only remaining piece of the future she had envisioned. Add that to the fact that their relationship had never really developed (all of it seemed to be one-sided, on Connor’s end), and, well, it’s kind of hard to say that she was even in a firm relationship with Connor. Again, I don’t condone her actions, but I understand them.
Despite a few drawbacks I had at the beginning, this book turned out to be 5/5 stars. Ashton was dreamy, Livie was graceful and strong, and the story line moved along perfectly. It was heart wrenching, and pretty painful at times, but every word was woven together beautifully. I definitely recommend One Tiny Lie, even if you weren’t a huge fan of Ten Tiny Breaths.