October 31, 2013

Review: All Of You by Christina Lee

October 31, 2013
Gender roles are reversed in Christina Lee's New Adult novel All Of You. Avery and Bennett has found something in each other to test them to their limits. Will she finally give all of her to him? He's already accepted her in his heart, but is he ready to accept her in bed? Find out in this game changing book.

Due to sexual content, this may not be suitable for readers under the age of 17. Contains mild non-graphic backstory of attempted rape.


Title: All Of You
Author: Christina Lee
Publisher: Intermix (Penguin Group USA)
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks




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.



Christina Lee turns the tables when it comes to stereotypes in society. So what you read in the blurb is right. The guy in the story is the one who is a virgin, while the female character is the one who sticks to a no-strings casual hookup. Bennett is the relationship type, Avery is not. (That's the reason why I jumped at the chance to read this little number). There's a reason for that. Both like to keep it that way because of what they grew up with. Avery almost had her virtue ripped away from her by one of her mother's boyfriends years ago, and Bennett having to be the man of the house while growing up. Running away from her own heart is what Avery does best. That is, until she meets Bennett-- or rather, Bennett moves into the same apartment complex that Avery currently resides in. The temptation to give in to the very thing they try to stay away from is as heavy as the sexual frustration they struggle with whenever they are around each other.

Avery has a steel cage around her heart that is locked with an encrypted padlock that only Bennett knows how to crack. But since their first encounter/meet and she pursues him and he rejects her, she has no idea why it affects her. Bennett throws Avery off her A game. That night on, she couldn't enjoy casual sex anymore. After someone tried to break in her apartment, she stays with Bennett upstairs for a few days. The more time they spend together, Avery soon finds herself opening up to him in a way that she has never done with anyone of the male gender before. There were many times where I wanted to wake Avery up or pull her out of the clouds that is stubborness (is that a word?). I can't even count how many times it is proven that Bennett is not like any of her mother's former deat beat boyfriends, especially Tim. For starters, he's got morals, which not very many guys (or people in general) have. He's grade A boyfriend material, and Avery doesn't see sense for a while. Despite her stubborness towards the male species, I like how independent and headstrong she is. She's more compassionate than she lets on.

Bennett is a different type of intense. Get ready to add him to your list of literary boyfriends, ladies! He may be a smoking hot tattoo artist, but he's also a family man who is still a virgin. By choice. That's right. He is a breath of fresh air. I find that admirable because you don't find very many guys with the level of morals Bennett keeps close to his heart. He had to watch his little sister raise a kid while still in high school, and Bennett didn't want to put that upon himself or anyone else so early on in life. Don't get me wrong, Bennett loves kids, in fact he's great with them. He takes good care of his three little sisters and nephew. He's not saving himself for marriage, he's just waiting for love. And he's waiting for Avery. Avery wants to bed him, but he's not having it. If he's going to let her take him to bed, he wants all of her, including the one thing she couldn't give anyone else-- her heart. In the meanwhile, Bennett just bids his time until Avery comes to her senses. Bennett ups the ante on the swoon factor. What I would do to dive into his mind. The world needs more people like him. Humanity could use a little morality.

The secondary characters in this story are so vital, especially one of the patients at the senior home she works at, who wormed her way into Avery's heart without her even noticing. I'm talking about the grandmother figure, Mrs. Jackson. Mrs. Jackson kind of grew on her. She's the grandmother that Avery briefly had in her childhood. She is such a hoot. She knows Avery more inside and out. She also calls Avery out on her bullshit which is what I found a very important trait in her. Aside from comic relief, she has a lot of insight as much as a sense of humor. They say that the old are wise, and it really shows throughout the story. Not having such a stable/close home life with her family, Avery involuntarily found a family in Mrs. Jackson. And when time was up for her, it hurt more than Avery anticipated. Like Avery and Mrs. Jackson's daughter, she would have loved to meet Bennett. 

Avery's very vivacious psychologist-in-training best friend has been there for her through every up and down. Their friendship is so keen and they are hilarious when they are hanging out or even texting each other. Their banter and crass humor will have you in a fit of laughter every time. Rachel was something else. Mediocre at best. Moving on to Nate, Bennett's friend. When he was first introduced, I didn't think much of him. Right off the bat, it was obvious he's a player. But he turned out to be a swell guy and a great friend to Bennett, to Avery even. I kind of wish he was present more in the story.

Avery's little brother, Adam, and his girlfriend are good kids. He, like Bennett, is a relationship type. I was surprised that he turned out to have a good head on his shoulders given the love lives their mother and Avery have had. Avery's relationship with her brother is still tight-knit even though she moved a couple of hours away to attend college. Avery cares and worries so much for him and his safety, fearing that he would turn out like those guys-- namely Tim.

Unfortunately for Avery, the ghost of her past reared his ugly head after all these years. As for the aforementioned break in, it was predictable as to who it was. I'm just at a loss as to how he found her. Then again, the guy is a creep. I'm guessing he snooped through her mom's stuff to find her address. What I can't believe is that he tried to finish what he started years ago right outside the courthouse after her mother got a restraining order on him. After Bennett gives a few swings, and is on the receiving end of a rib-breaking kick (literally) sends his tail between his legs, it serves him right after all the bad that he has done. Karma paid him a good visit, that's for sure. It was long overdue, I'll say.

There's some pushing and pulling on Avery's part and third parties involved, but eventually she takes Mrs. Jackson's advice and decides to give Bennett a chance. After all, Bennett is not like any of her mother's old boyfriends from the past. She just needed that seed branded into her brain for which Mrs. Jackson did a good job of planting. When Bennett accepts her in bed, Avery accepts him in her heart, and that made his first time special when the time came for them to make love for the first time. I'm glad that Christina Lee didn't overkill the sex like some NA novels have overdone. Once was enough to keep you sated.

I think the ending could have been more keen. For one, after that creep of her mother's old boyfriend Tim got arrested, Avery's lawyer said that he might not even get jail time. So where does that leave him? On the prowl again? It didn't feel like much of a closing, but I'm glad that Avery finally decided to bite the damn bullet and let Bennett in, not only in her bed but in her heart.



About the author
Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives near Cleveland with her two favorite guys. She's addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything.

New Adult/Young Adult author. NA Contemporary Romance ALL OF YOU, out now (Penguin/InterMix). The companion novel, BEFORE YOU BREAK releases February 18th, 2014. Repped by Sara Megibow. 

Also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry.



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Keep an eye out on Christina Lee's new book Before You Break

Release Date: 2/28/14

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