In Review: All of You (Between Breaths #1) by Christina Lee

Posted September 28, 2013 by Kim in 5 Stars, In Review / 6 Comments

In Review: All of You (Between Breaths #1) by Christina LeeAll of You by Christina Lee
Series: Between Breaths #1
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Penguin/InterMix
Format: eBook, 219 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My rating:

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.

In Review: My Thoughts

“Suddenly I felt like a bona fide man-eater. A Slutasaurus rex.”

The concept of All of You intrigued me from the moment I first read about it. I immediately pre-ordered the book and attempted to wait patiently for its release. So many times with New Adult lit, the storyline basics are the same: innocent, inexperienced girl falls head-over-heels for a promiscuous guy. In this book, however, roles are reversed. The scorchingly hot and sexy guy, Bennett, is a virgin. The girl, Avery, is the more experienced one. I couldn’t wait to find out if this storyline worked. It more than worked, it rocked me.

“Love was only a ridiculous fairy tale that was never satisfying, warm, or safe.”
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Avery watched her mother have disastrous relationships with men as she was growing up and she was determined she wouldn’t make the same mistake. She was in love once in high school, but since then she has closed her heart to love. She’s all about the instant gratification of a physical relationship. I liked Avery almost immediately. I liked her take charge attitude and her confidence. She knew what she wanted and she was going for it. I thought her character was well-developed and deep. She was a strong, likable female lead.
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“I don’t know what this is or what the hell we’re doing,” he said. “But if I don’t kiss you right now, I might explode.”
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Bennett was amazing. First, I love the name. It’s a total hot-guy name. But, Bennett was more than a pretty face and a hot body. He was fiercely protective and a good friend. Bennett didn’t fit any of the usual stereotypes. He worked in a tattoo parlor, but wasn’t covered in tattoos. He was hot as hell and a virgin in his early-20s. But, it worked… really well. He was like a delicious puzzle I couldn’t wait for Avery to solve.

“I want something real,” he whispered. “And I’m willing to wait for it.”

“Are you… waiting for marriage?” 
“No.” He looked me dead in the eye. “I’m just waiting for love.”
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Avery and Bennett initially run into each other at a party. She is immediately attracted to him and tries to pick him up. He all but blows her off. He’s polite, but uninterested. The next day, she sees him moving into her apartment building. Hello, convenience. But, they strike up a friendship first the night that someone attempts to break into her apartment and he rescues her. They begin to spend time together and each of them start trying to reconcile their feelings and desires for the other.
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“Does this mean there’s a possibility you’d take care of me someday, too? Protect my heart just as fiercely?”
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“All day, every day, you’re still stuck in my head – in my every damn thought.”
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Both Avery and Bennett had to struggle with how their attraction for each other would ultimately change things and had to decide whether they were ready to open up to the possibility. Avery wasn’t ready to give her heart away to someone, despite what she was feeling for Bennett. He was intensely attracted to her, but wanted more than just the physical relationship she was aiming for initially. Once Avery knew Bennett’s secret, she backed off out of respect for him. She felt deeply for him and was more than attracted to him, but she didn’t want to push him.
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“I said I was a virgin, Avery. Not a saint.”
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“But you… you already own a piece of me. Don’t you get it?” I yelled, stumbling back. 
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Avery and Bennett’s chemistry was intense. There were some seriously steamy scenes in this book. Hello, shower. That’s all I’m going to say. But they had more than just lust between them. Their feelings were very, very real. They grew together. It might have been instant-lust, but it wasn’t instant-love. It was real and powerful and I loved every minute of it. I laughed and cried. I’m an emotional reader and this one made me feel a lot.

“It means that my heart is ready… to lay down roots.” I said. “I suppose it’s always been ready. It just needed something… to finally believe in.”
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There was more than sexual tension to this book, though. We find out a secret from Avery’s past that has definitely helped shape her behaviors towards men. Bennett helps her deal with the past and encourages her to put herself out there again. One of my favorite scenes in this book is when Avery and Bennett are playing the Five Fingers game. I’d never heard of this before, but in a nutshell, one person asks the other a question and it has to be answered in five words. The truths that come out during their game and the things they say in just five little words blew me away. Such a great scene.

“Your whole life can’t be defined by that one single moment. Or even a series of awful moments.” She held my gaze, and it was difficult not to want to look away. “You are strong and courageous. But it doesn’t mean you can’t lean on others sometimes.”
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Aside from Avery and Bennett’s friendship+, my other favorite relationship in the book was Avery’s with Mrs. Jackson, the patient she cared for at the nursing home. Mrs. Jackson was the mother that Avery needed because Avery’s own mother was pretty unremarkable. She chose men over her own daughter. Avery needed someone she could rely on. Mrs. Jackson provided that in a very special way. She was such a sweet lady. Whether Avery needed someone to just listen or to give her a gentle nudge in the right direction, Mrs. Jackson was there for her.

Christina Lee delivers a book with incredible plot detail and character development. I am so very impressed. With this one, she’s landing on my auto-buy author list.


About Christina Lee

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a fashion stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I've been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I'm addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

I write Adult and New Adult steamy contemporary romance. I am represented by Sara Megibow of the Megibow Literary Agency.

I also own a hand-stamped jewelry business, which requires me to stamp letters and/or words onto pieces of silver. They go hand-in-hand perfectly.


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