September 29, 2014

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Before You Break (Between Breaths #2)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Before You Break (Between Breaths #2), by Christina Lee
Published February 18, 2014
Publisher: Intermix/NAL Trade
Format: paperback, obtained from the publisher
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) A college baseball star isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a past so dark, he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about Ella Abrams that goes beyond attraction—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache 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 a suicide help line 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 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….

The second book in Christina Lee's outstanding new adult Between Breaths series, Before You Break, will be out in paperback format on October 7, 2014. If you haven't had the chance to pick it up when it was only out in digital format, your chance is coming up again, and I would definitely not pass it up. 

Quinn is a shell of who he once was, especially since, for the past few years, he's been living someone else's life out of a sense of guilt and self-loathing. Ella is the first person who makes him feel more like himself, but she's dating someone else. One night, in his despair, Quinn calls the suicide prevention hotline and talks to Gabby, not realizing it's Ella. Ella as well doesn't realize he's Quinn, and as Gabby starts helping assuage his guilt, Ella starts showing him how to live his own life again.

I really love books that feature cases of mistaken identity (Easy by Tammara Webber, anyone??). It feels like you hold your breath through the whole book, waiting for that moment when both parties' lightbulbs go on and they realize who the other person is. You just KNOW that moment will be there somewhere, and it seems like all events and moments lead up to that one. And, then all you can do is grab the popcorn and sit back and see what happens.

But, I think the best part about those types of books is that the reader gets to see both sides of these people up front - the public side and the private side. Before You Break was like that. In person, Quinn was a star baseball player, a loyal member of a campus fraternity and the loving son of a politician. Ella was sweet and bubby, dating class-A asshat Joel, and apparently, pretty dense since she continues to put up with Joel's womanizing ways.

But, when Quinn and Ella are on the phone with each other as Daniel and Gabby, pretenses are dropped, at least on Quinn's part, and he's finally able to unload all the guilt and sadness he still carries around from his best friend's death. Although the guilt-from-a-best-friend's-death story line has been done numerous times, I really enjoyed the slightly different take on this one. The discussion of suicide took the story in a bit of a darker, more serious, direction, but it was handled with care. It didn't take over the story, as these deep elements sometimes seem to do.

The connection and passion between Ella and Quinn helped alleviate some of that seriousness, I think. Books that delve into deep and sensitive subject matter sometimes have this dark pall over them, and even with an HEA, you sometimes just feel sapped of all energy when you reach the end. I didn't feel that way with Before You Break. When Ella and Quinn were together, the tone was lighter. And their sexy times were VERY sexy. I loved every minute of it. So, at the end, I didn't feel like I needed to go drown my sorrows in a tub of Ben & Jerry's. I was happy and satisfied - all good things.

Before You Break is told in dual POV, with Ella and Quinn switching off chapters. We see plenty of Avery and Bennett from book 1 in this series, which is always something I love. I am very much looking forward to following both these couples now through the rest of the series.

1 comment:

Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) said...

Great review. I thought that for the issues that this book covers, it wasn't too much. The author did a great job with this one.
Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous