ARC Review: Before You Break by Christina Lee

Posted February 17, 2014 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 4 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: Before You Break by Christina Lee
Before You Break

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: #2 Between Breaths
Genres: New Adult Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Intermix
Released on February 18, 2014
Pages: 223
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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I haven’t delved into the New Adult books much, but this one caught my attention and made me want to read it. A college baseball player struggling with his past falls for a girl with her is healing from her own troubled past, but coincidentally happens to be the phone operator who he calls at the suicide prevention line. Naturally this is no light and fluffy read with that sort of premise, but refreshingly it wasn’t loaded down with unnecessary angst either. These are typical college-age kids and they are pretty into each other and the background is a frat house much of the time, but I liked how they don’t tumble into the sack right the second they get the opportunity. I loved the relationship building and I enjoyed that there are some barriers to overcome, but stupidity isn’t one of them. Most definitely, I found this one engaging and refreshing in so many ways even though the themes are tough ones.

Quinn is alone in his room and struggling with the weight of guilt and hopeless feelings he has about continuing on. He doesn’t see the point anymore. He’s been trying to hold it together and do what he thinks will please others to alieve his guilt, but its still as strong as ever. In desperation, he calls the suicide hotline to talk to someone.

After her brother’s suicide, Ella decided that taking up a career in psychology was a good fit for her. First she just wanted to understand and then she realizes that she loves to help people. From the moment ‘Daniel’ calls in, he reminds her of her brother Chris and she really tunes in. He doesn’t share the first time, but he does keep calling back and more pores out of him. Ella’s heart just aches for this guy who doesn’t see himself as anything, but worthless and undeserving.

Quinn was surprised that his brief conversation with Gabriella helped a little and he’s able to keep going. He finds himself interested in his frat mate’s girlfriend. He hates the way Joel treats Ella and that he is with girls behind her back. What she sees in Joel and why she remains with him, makes Quinn wonder because she is smart, sweet and gorgeous. Then one night he helps her when she is sick and the interest moves into attraction on both their parts. She has a boyfriend he reminds himself.

Ella sees the writing on the wall and finally breaks it off with Joel. She tentatively starts up something that can’t be given a name with Quinn. They are both cautious, but things get deeper. He’s holding back and she knows it.

As I said, this book was good stuff. The plot was strong and the themes relevant. The romance had a nice build that both sizzled and gently flowed. Both main characters were near perfection. Ella seemed like a wishy-washy sort at first, but she grew and Quinn was the catalyst. Just as Quinn helped Ella grow; she helped him. I loved seeing that happen. I was most impressed that they were both principled types who cared more about the relationship even though they talked different at first just because they were scared of what they were getting into. Family time with Ella’s folks was a great scene too. Quinn fit right in with her big Polish family. I would have liked to have seen his snooty parent’s reaction to Ella, but I guess that’s the point- they are always absent in his life.

The characters from the previous book are there as is the gal who gets her story next, but this worked well as standalone.

So all in all, loved this one and will definitely be going back for more from the author. Those who enjoy NA Contemporary Romance with a serious theme and a scorching hot couple should grab this one up.

My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.

About Christina Lee

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip gloss, salted caramel everything, and believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Oh I’ll so have to try this one. Interesting way to have them “meet”. And it’s a sports romance? Yep. Total junkie I can’t walk away from those 🙂

Sophia Rose
8 years ago

It was fun reading the sports scenes b/c he plays the same position I did in college- catcher. He didn’t have his mind on what he was doing much of the time though. LOL

Braine TS
8 years ago

Wonderful review, Sophia! I’m all for romance but it’s the extreme angst and almost impossible situations/torture in NA that turns me off sometimes. This sounds like a winner though

Sophia Rose
8 years ago
Reply to  Braine TS

I know what you mean. Because of the suicide and guilt stuff along with his jerky parents and her loser ex-boyfriend, this one didn’t need any more pathos than it already had. I was glad they had good heads on their shoulders. When the crisis scene came, it wasn’t drawn out- they talked through it and moved on. I was so relieved that there wasn’t going to be days or weeks of torture.