February 28, 2014

Title: Before You Break
Author: Christina Lee ♥ @Christina_Lee04
Series: Between Breaths
Publisher: Intermix (Penguin)
Published: February 18, 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: 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.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition. 

check out our review of book 1 All of You

Celeste’s review: 3 stars  This is a going to be a mixed review. I’ll talk about what I really liked, and what didn’t work quite as well for me and you’ll see why I ended up in the middle with this one.

I devour New Adult novels like it’s my job. So many times we see the same story over and over again: broken boy and girl find each other and become whole. This one was a bit different though, as Ms. Lee dealt with a really delicate subject: suicide. Yes, it’s popped up before, but this time we saw it through both sides of the coin here, through the victim’s eyes and through the eyes of their friends and family…and it was done in a sensitive way that made me really think and feel what each side went through.

Yes, tragically both Ella and Quinn lost someone close to them, but they each handled the deaths so differently. While Ella didn’t contemplate suicide herself, she dealt with it first hand. Quinn on the other hand had reasons to believe his life might not be worth living. Maybe it was fate that the two of them met, or just coincidence, but they had an attraction to each other that went beyond the physical…it’s as if one person took a weight off the other’s chest and lightened their load, but it truly worked both ways. So yes, what I really liked was how the story was set up for them to truly complete one another.

What else did I love? Quinn. He was delicious. Why? Because he was sexy, quiet, brooding, tortured, and HOT. I could go on, but I will just leave it at that. Trust me.

While I really enjoyed the concept of the story and Quinn, there were a few things I struggled with. One was the way Ella and her friends spoke to each other. Yes, this happened it book 1, but I had hoped not to see it again. It was crass and totally tasteless. I don’t call my girlfriends d*ckhead or a$$hat or d* llweed and I never will. It made me have no value or respect for their friendships.

Now, I just finished Katie McGarry’s Pushing The Limits Series, which is a polished piece of genius, so I get it, this story had a lot to live up to.  The writing style here was totally different so maybe it’s like comparing apples and oranges, and I guess it just comes down to personal taste. I found the feeling I was left with was that I just needed more…more telling and less showing with the wording. Yes he was hot and she was luscious, but I needed to feel it, not just see the words on paper…I don’t know, I just wasn’t totally satisfied or drawn in.

And lastly, I just couldn’t believe that Quinn and Ella didn’t recognize each other’s voices. I don’t think a hotline was the best idea. Maybe an email or web chat instead? That part just didn’t jive.

So would I rec this story? Hard to say. A lot of people I get recs from loved it, but it just wasn’t something that I personally connected with. So, maybe I’m the oddball here. If lots of your friends liked it, I say give it a try and maybe you will love it too.

Christina’s review: 3.5 stars! My thoughts on the plot idea are very similar to Celeste’s opinions. I thought it was refreshing as a reader to be able to see how one subject- youth depression and suicide- could connect two characters so wholly, but have them showing how one tiny detail can have them be so completely different. While Ella feels very strongly about it after her brother committed suicide and she feels somewhat responsible, the way she dealt with it so positively made a very big impression on me. Quite her opposite, we have Quinn, who feels burdened with guilt over the death of his best friends  and contemplates taking his own life often, seeing it as the big escape when the pain and loss get too overwhelming. I felt like Ms. Lee handled this very delicate subject with all the poise and respect it deserved; and ultimately, I feel like there will be a lot of people that connect with this book and its characters because of it.

I really enjoyed the two main characters in the book and the journey they took both independently and together. I liked watching each of them come into themselves, and realize their worth and that they had the power to change the things they were in control of and let go of the weight of guilt that threatened to tear them apart. I’m also a big fan of the chemistry they shared. The author can write kissing scenes that will set off fire alarms. And siiiiigh, Quinn was one dirty-talking, brooding swoony mofo. I could picture him so easily in my mind. I also loved loved loved that Quinn wouldn’t sex her up until he was able to give her all his dirty secrets. That made me fall for his character a little more.

As for why I couldn’t rate this book higher, I also have to agree with much of what Celeste wasn’t a fan of in her review. While I have been known to call my friends crude names (lovingly, of course), I found it to be quite excessive in this book. When spread throughout in moderation, I find that the nicknames that characters have for each other can show the kind of bond that they have, but when used with such an overabundance as it was in this novel, it became a huge distraction and made the chats– ones that I felt were full of wise advice– get lost in the moment and lose their value. I also agree that it was a little unbelievable that they wouldn’t recognize one another’s voices over the phone at some point, but I could suspend disbelief and let that slide for the sake of the book. My biggest issue of all was that while I loved the heat they had between them, I was really disappointed that Ella didn’t make him talk sooner, that she was okay with letting their relationship continue to build and let him dictate where it would go instead of taking charge like she told herself she would– that she would no longer allow herself to be a passenger in her relationships or in her life.  

And while Celeste is unsure about whether she’d rec this book or not, I know that I would. I think the way the author delivers the plot and has the characters work through their own issues can resonate with a lot of readers because depression and suicidal thoughts are very real, and sometimes crippling, so it helps to know that you’re not alone, even if it’s only fictional characters that you have reminding you. If not for that, then read it because Quinn is seriously hot and those makeout sessions will have you racing for a cold shower. ;D

A very special thanks to Intermix (Penguin) and NetGalley for providing us with an early edition of this title in exchange for an honest review.

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