Navigation Bar

BOOK REVIEW: All Of You (Between Breaths #1) by Christina Lee

Title: All Of You (Between Breaths #1)
Author: Christina Lee
Genre: NA Romance
 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.

 "I want something real," he whispered. "And I'm willing to wait for it." 
With those eleven simple words, Bennett Reynolds stole my heart. When I originally read the blurb to this book, I knew I had to read it. Immediately. The idea of a NA romance that had a hot virgin boy and a sexy player girl was too good to pass up. Talk about role reversal! 

All Of You is the first book in Christina Lee's Between Breath's series, although it is a standalone novel. And I have to say, All Of You was such an enjoyable read! Among the LOL and awwww moments, Christina Lee wove in some very deep, very beautiful poetry and descriptions of Bennett's art that took my breath away:
"Unfurl your muscles. Slip off your skin. Drop your guts into a heap on the floor. Nuzzle inside the hollow of my bones. Let our breaths mingle as one. Turn liquid for me. Only for me. Bury your essence inside of my soul."
The book is written solely from Avery's POV, and it was so refreshing! It was interesting and out-of-the-norm (in a good way!) to have a heroine such as Avery. She was feisty, hard-headed, but scarred by the emotional trauma of her past home life. She learned some hard lessons from her mother that made her cage her heart, and use guys for only one thing: a release of sexual frustration. 

Avery's a player and she knows it—owns it, even. And she definatly doesn't do boyfriends—never wants to, either. At least, that is until she meets Hot Boy Bennett ...
"You said that was number one." 

"Oh yeah," he said, tucking a smirk on the side of his cheek. "And number two, I figured you were the kind of girl who ate guys up and spit them out for sport."
Just as Avery wasn't your average heroine, Bennett wasn't your average hero. AND I LOVED HIM FOR IT!! Whoops, did that seem a little over-eager? Oh, well ... you'll understand if you read All Of You. ☺

Bennett was an all around nice guy—from the hesitancy in his warm, caramel brown eyes, to the awe-inspiring views of his personal morals and beliefs. For reasons I won't disclose, he swore off casual sex and vowed that his first time would be with the person he loves. And isn't that just ... *sigh with a silly smile * Bennett was sweet, and a subdued shade of strength. He was a hero that I trusted from page one, and I know they're will never be another NA book boy quite like Bennett. ♥
My heart throbbed in my chest as I watch him unbuckle his belt and then unzip his pants. His gaze remained locked on mine the entire time, like this striptease was for me, and me alone. So damn sexy.
They instantly have a connection, but while Avery just wants him to be a quick hook-up, Bennett wants something with her that will last. And that's where they were at a stalemate. Because Avery absolutely refuses to fall in love, and Bennett refuses to settle for anything less. So even though they both want each other—desperately— their conflicting views on sex and love leave a chasm growing far and wide between them.  
His eyes drilled a hole through me, trying to reach inside and grasp on to something. “You can’t, or you won’t?” 

I shut my eyes tight against the truth. “Both.”
As a result, their romance is a bit slow-building, but there is a push and pull to it that amps up the sexual tension. But before anything, Avery and Bennett are friends—which I thought was perfect for Avery's situation. She learned what intimacy was, not just chemistry. As as they grew closer to each other, learning about their paralleled home life, their fears and hopes and dreams, I could feel the cage around Avery's heart dissolving.
I met him in the front of the car, and our eyes locked. His searing gaze reached straight through my chest and grabbed hold of my tattered heart. It stroked and soothed the bruised places like a salve before finally releasing its penetrating hold. 
Admittedly, there were a few things in this book that were so-so for me: The overall plot-line was a wee bit predictable and kinda anticlimactic, though the 'girl player vs. boy virgin' part wasn't. And I didn't really care for Avery's relationship with her friends. Ella was alright, but Rachel was wayyy too over the top. If this book would've given just a bit more oomph, then it would've been an easy 5-Star read.

But even with those few 'eh'-factors, I still thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it for those of you who like a lighter, less-agast romance—with a scorching hot tattoo artist virgin. *wink * But in all seriousness, it was lovely to see a 'tough cookie' (as Bennett called her) like Avery put her past behind her, and open herself up to love and be loved. And, thankfully, after twenty-something years of waiting, I'm glad that Bennett finally found what he was waiting for.

BOOK RATING: 4-Stars. 

P.S. As I mentioned before, All Of You is a standalone novel—but it is a part of Christina Lee's Between Breaths series. Each novel has its own plot-line and new characters. If your interested, here is the series in order: