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Blog Tour: Before You Break by Christina Lee {Review+Giveaway}

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Welcome to my stop on the Before You Break blog tour hosted by The SubClub Books!
Today I am excited to share my review as well as a giveaway with you all!

Before You Break (Between Breaths #2)
   by: Christina Lee

Publication Date: Feb. 18, 2014
Publisher: Intermix
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 226 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Google Books
My Rating: 5/5 stars

A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control…

The star catcher of the college baseball team isn't supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working the suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far.

*A companion novel to ALL OF YOU*

Praise for Christina Lee's All Of You:

"Hot, sweet, emotional, page-turner, awesome." —New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy

“This is one New Adult you don’t want to miss.” —New York Times and USA Today bestselling author A. L. Jackson

"Steamy, honest, and full of heart.” —Roni Loren, national bestselling author

Where do I even start this review?! Christina has provided us with another swoon-worthy, compelling romance that had me engaged from start to finish! I read All of You last year and absolutely fell in love with Avery and Bennett, as well as Christina's writing style! Being her debut novel, she definitely knocked it out of the park! While I loved Avery and Bennett, I absolutely fell so hard for Quinn and Ella. They are such beautifully written characters and watching them form a relationship with one another was my favorite part. Disclaimer: Christina is the Queen of Sexual Tension. Yes, really. I have dubbed her as this on Twitter so it's official. She literally had my stomach in knots when it came to these two, and it's amazing how incredibly sensual a simple touch and a gaze can be.

There is a very serious undertone to this book and I felt Christina did a good job of incorporating that into the novel as a whole. Having lost her brother to suicide, Ella now works at the campus suicide hotline, offering advice and an ear to those who need someone to talk to. While Ella has come to terms with her brother's suicide, she still misses him every day and wishes there was something she could have done to prevent it. Upon receiving a call from a boy named Daniel, she is haunted by how broken he sounds and tries to offer him solace and encouragement to open up. Ella has no idea Daniel is really Quinn and he has no idea the Gabriella (Gabby) he is talking to is really her. I liked that Quinn finally opened up to someone about his guilt and shame of his past, but I also dreaded the moment the two found out they were talking to each other, as their relationship is so fragile and new.

I really liked Ella's character. She is sweet, almost shy, and really a good girl. Her boyfriend Joel is a jerk and I hated the way she let him treat her, even when she was starting to have doubts about their relationship. I am really glad Lee didn't drag this out or make Ella one of those co-dependent girls. Joel presents familiarity and comfort and also a link to her brother. That is what makes Ella hesitate in her decision to break up with him, even though their relationship hasn't been the same for awhile. She knows it's wrong to date Joel and have such intense feelings for Quinn, so I'm glad Ella made the right call. 

Quinn. I don't even know where to start. He is such a beautifully broken boy that I just wanted to sweep into my arms and never stop hugging. He isn't like his frat 'brother' Joel who, while having a girlfriend, is constantly on the prowl and even dishonoring that relationship. He hates how Joel treats Ella, and after taking care of her one night almost mentions that if she were his, he'd never treat her the same way. Quinn hasn't really dated anyone, only the casual hookups, but with girls outside of school. The guys give him flack for this, but Quinn hasn't found someone he wants to step into that world with- until he meets and gets to know Ella. Yet, Quinn doesn't feel he can offer her what she needs. His guilt and shame weigh him down and he believes Ella deserves so much more. Even after she opens up to him about her past, he is terrified to open up to her as he knows she won't stick around, especially with someone as awful as him. His relationship with his parents is strained, as they don't give a shit about him- they only care about keeping up appearances as his father is a politician. After the accident, Quinn had not gotten the support and love that he needed, and therefore doesn't feel he is deserving of it now.

Quinn and Ella have sizzling sexual tension, but there are so many sweet moments between the two of them and watching them essentially heal one another is one of my favorite parts of the novel. Ella is the one who shows him compassion and provides him with hope- something he hasn't had in a long time. In exchange, he is the one who shows her how a woman should be treated, respected, and revered. No one has called her beautiful or made her feel the way Quinn does before. As I said, Ella is almost shy when it comes to Quinn and her appearance. While her ex-boyfriend had no problem with their sexual relationship, she is still self-conscious, as she is curvier than her friends and other girls. Quinn erases that self-doubt and he had my heart skipping beats over how tender he was with her. 

The one qualm that bothered me was the way Ella would interact with Avery. Hearing her call her friend 'bitch' and other names like that (in fun, mind you) just seemed a bit out of character for the sweet girl. Ella can hold her own with the frat guys, as she grew up with brothers and video games, but it just seemed strange hearing her refer to Avery that way. Avery, on the other hand, I can totally see referring to her friends like that and even Rachel, but from Ella it didn't work for me.

Even then, that didn't really bother me because I loved this book so stinking much. After I finished, I instantly wanted to go back and reread it. Seeing how easily Quinn and Ella accept one another- faults, baggage, and all was really inspiring and seeing them both open up about a very painful, very real issue is pivotal to the development of this novel. I like that Quinn and Ella's relationship developed slowly as Quinn needed to get to a place where he no longer felt the crushing burden of his guilt and shame. Lee has written a beautiful story of redemption, love, and hope and I cannot wait to read Rachel's story next!

At the theater, we bought popcorn, Milk Duds, and large sodas. After we settled in our seats in the crowded room, I opened the box of chocolate caramel confections and dumped them in the large tub.

“Um,” Quinn said, scratching his chin.

“Sweet and salty—it’s a must-have for movie watching.”


“Yes, seriously.” I picked up a Milk Dud, flanked it with two pieces of popcorn, and then brought it to his lips. “Here. I guarantee you’ll fall in love. You’ll never watch a movie without them again.”

“If you say so. . . .” He dragged the sweet and salty mixture into his mouth but kept my fingers enclosed between his lips. I held in a gasp while he ran his tongue over my thumb and then sucked on my forefinger before releasing my hand and chewing what remained.

“Agree,” he said around a mouthful of popcorn. “Wouldn’t want to be without them ever again.”

Quinn’s gaze latched on to mine. It felt like a bundle of feathers had been let loose in my stomach. “Guess you’ll have to come to every movie from now on. So I don’t forget.”

Speechless wasn’t even the word for what I felt in that moment. Dumbfounded might have been more like it, or maybe just struck stupid, because I couldn’t even move my lips to form any coherent words.

When the movie previews began, he turned toward the screen and reached for my fingers, interlacing our hands. Then he leaned close to my ear and said, “I expect you to feed me just like that the entire movie.”


Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor. He's irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she's perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother's bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won't accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son--her two favorite guys. She's addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job. She also owns her own jewelry business, called Tags-n-Stones, where she hand-stamps meaningful words or letters onto silver for her customers. She loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on: www.christinalee.net.


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  1. I adored this book too! Quinn is the best and I fell hard for him. I loved Ella and Quinn together and the tension was off the charts! My heart broke for Quinn so many times and I just wanted to make all the pain go away. Fantastic review Jessica!

  2. I heard the guy in this book is a good candidate for my good guys are hot list :)
    Looking forward to reading this one.

  3. AH! I keep hearing such good things about this! :D I really need to get to it!! (Also, loved that excerpt!)

    Great review, my friend!

  4. This was such a good book. I adored Quinn and Ella and am so pleased with how Christina developed their relationship.
    Great review!

  5. Holy wow! Great review, Jessica. I must start this series soon. You said you loved Avery and Bennett, but Quinn and Ella seem like a great couple. I like how their relationship starts. And that they accepted each other, flaws and all. That's what love is about. *sigh* I loved that excerpt, too. Thanks for sharing them. :)

  6. Eeep I completely adored this book!! Quinn & Ella's relationship was so sweet. I agree that the slow build of their romance was perfect & it broke my heart at the guilt Quinn put on himself and I just loved that it was Ella who was able to help him move past it. I just know Rachel's book in going to be awesome too! Fabulous review girl :D

  7. Great Review! Yes, she is the queen of sexual tension. I was anticipating every little touch, gaze, and moment between these two. I agree, the friends referring to each other as "bitch," really bothers me too. I'm looking forward to reading Rachel's story too. It sounds like it's going to be a great one!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escapr

  8. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this book. I was excited after reading the blurb, but seeing how much you loved it makes me even more excited!


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