Tag Archives: Christina Lee

Book Review: There You Stand by Christina Lee

1a

Title: There You Stand (Between Breaths #5)
Author: Christina Lee
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M
Length: 250 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

Tattoo artist Cory Easton has worked long enough at Raw Ink to know, just by looking at a dude, what his body art reveals, what makes him tick, what even makes him scared. Until he meets the quiet and remote Jude York—so unreadable, so unreachable, and so unlike anyone else, he can’t help but arouse Cory’s curiosity.

As captivating and complex as his ink, Jude is a mystery—and Cory’s falling fast and hard under his spell. Against his better judgment to steer clear.

The rumors of Jude’s past overshadow him—whispers of prison and an unmentionable secret that’s kept him in the protective shadows of a local motorcycle club. As Cory probes deeper, he wonders how much he really wants to know. Especially since Jude has awakened something inside him that has been buried too long—and has him feeling completely alive for the first time in forever…

Grace Review

This is an emotional filled ride about trust, patience, overcoming loss, and finding love.

Having read all of the other books in this series, this initially seemed like a big jump for the author, venturing in the M/M genre. But this story follows the themes of the previous stories, with characters fighting their demons and relying on someone to help them thru the pain. In this case, both Cory and Jude have experienced tragic loss. Sadly, this similarity was only one of many reasons why their connection worked.

While the emotional weight of this book stood apart from other M/M books I have read, there was the common theme of getting someone who was unsure of their sexual preferences, to open up and commit to the idea of being with another man. Cory is a confident in his status as a gay male. I absolutely loved that his Grandmother, his only living relative, approved of his orientation, but at times, seemed to encourage him to find a new guy. God bless her! Jude on the other hand was hard to get a handle on at first. Was he straight, gay, or bi? Turns out it was the latter, but that didn’t mean their weren’t issues with the two coming together physically. The biggest issue being Jude’s ability to trust. This fear was centered on his willingness to kiss, an act he felt more intimate than sex. Given his past history, being used by someone he thought he could trust, I could understand the hesitation.

The relationship between the two was a slow build. There is a big story behind Jude’s closed off nature, which contributed to that slow development. This story had a lot of elements that appealed to me, particularly the inclusion of a suspense element. Without giving away spoilers, as Cory begins to learn about Jude’s past and the threats he faces in the present. It explained a lot about his initial lack of speaking and his hesitancy to commit to Cory publicly. I loved that the reasons for based on security and not a lack of confidence in his orientation.

While they tried to keep things on the down low in order to protect Jude’s safety, I liked how everyone around them caught on to their act and obvious attraction. I was surprised by some of the people that supported/encouraged the relationship, showing that some people are more open minded than I would have thought, and that is definitely a good thing.

Whether you are already invested in this series, or just a fan of the M/M genre, this book will appeal to you (it can be considered a standalone). The story is fresh and kept my interest throughout. And hey, can’t forget about the rimming!

– Grace

*An ARC was received via NetGalley for an honest review.

Amazon

Goodreads

Click on the images below to purchase the previous books in the series:

1a 1b 1c 1d

Advertisements

Pre-Order Blitz (Book Review): Promise Me This by Christina Lee

Promise
Title: Promise Me This (Between Breaths #4)
Author: Christina Lee
Genre: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis
A new love will test the boundaries of passion between a privileged boy next door and the tattooed, blue-haired girl who helps him embrace his wild side…

Nate has developed quite a playboy reputation around campus. It’s not that he doesn’t respect or trust women; he doesn’t trust himself. The men in Nate’s family are prone to abusive behavior—a dirty secret that Nate’s been running from his entire life—so Nate doesn’t do relationships. But he can’t help himself around one girl…

Jessie is strong, independent, and works at a tattoo parlor. Nate can’t resist getting close to her, even if it’s strictly a friendship. But it doesn’t take long for Nate to admit that what he wants with Jessie is more than just friendly.

With Jessie, he can be himself and explore what he’s always felt was a terrifying darkness inside him. Even when Nate begins to crave her in a way that both shocks and horrifies him, Jessie still wants to know every part of him. Testing their boundaries together will take a trust that could render them inseparable… or tear them apart.

Grace Review
This story takes a very different approach to the common theme of sexual dominance, as the male character, Nate, in this book comes from an abusive home.  Yes, childhood abuse is featured in other BDSM type books, but in this case, Nate thought being dominant in the bedroom would lead him down the same path as his father.

I wanted to hand Nate a copy of 50 Shades and tell him to relax.  But clearly, this guy has been so fearful of becoming like his Dad, seeing how his own brother was becoming more like his Dad every day.  A former girlfriend instills that fear in him, when he decides to exude some dominance and she reacts poorly, fearing he was being abusive.  Uhhhh, no.  I would think a normal woman’s reaction would be a lot less accusatory, but yeah, that happened, and was the catalyst for all of Nate’s fear.

Luckily, he has a friend like Jessie, who he nicknamed Blue for her occasional hair color.   Despite seeming like complete opposites, there is an attraction between them, which only grows on a road trip.  Through hints about her previous sex life, Nate senses that she might not reject his dominant tendencies, but might actually enjoy them.

I really liked Jessie’s character, she seems to be the product of a great upbringing.  The complete opposite of Nate’s.  Not only did she have a great connection with her Dad, which guided her career interests, but her relationship with her Mom is equally as strong.  Based on her childhood, she has a good grasp on how to be respectful of others, and is a good shoulder for Nate to lean on.

I also liked how Jessie encouraged Nate to explore his needs, but more importantly, how she helped him seek support.

As I was reading this book, I kept wanting to encourage Nate to go for it, to unleash the monster, so to speak.  And when he did let go on occasion, I kept thinking, well that was kind of tame.  But stepping back from the story, I think, if you are like me, I’m desensitized to the BDSM world based on the smut I read, LOL.   Nate might be a bit naive about what women might be open to nowadays, but his past bad experience made him build up unnecessary guilt and fear.  If this book had come out 2 years or so ago, it would probably be more shocking.

A tattoo on Jessie’s back, inspired by her Dad finally opens Nate up to new possibilities in how to handle his urges.

“Promise me this:
Explore all the different sides of you.  We all have darkness and brightness inside of us.  You won’t know exactly what you’re made of until you embrace all of it, feel it, live it.  Only then will you be able to face all that life has to offer, head-on.”

While Nate coming to an understanding that he could use his dominance sexually and not be abusive, the heart of this story is stopping the pattern of abuse in his family.  A tragic incident proves to be an eye-opening experience for both his Mom and his brother.  And love instead of fear could finally thrive between them.  As for his Dad, my only thoughts are: “see ya”.

I actually like that the author took a unique approach to touching on the subject, and making it a bit different than the previous books in the series.  And speaking of the rest of the series, I enjoyed how she incorporated characters from the other books.  This is a series where each book could be read as a standalone, if you didn’t want to invest in the previous 3 books.  But for those who have read those books, the story-lines of the characters build and progress.  I particularly liked in inclusion of Bennett and Kai into this story.  *swoon*

Overall, while the transition from friendship to love between this unlikely couple seemed a bit sudden, they were actually a perfect fit.  And as they saying goes, they brought out the best in each other.

– Grace

*An ARC was received from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Pre-Order Links for PROMISE ME THIS
Amazon
Barnes&Noble
iBooks
Google Books

Promise teaser

Promise teaser 3

Promise teaser 2

About

Christina Lee

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a fashion stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I’ve always been an avid reader—reading was actually my favorite time of day when I taught second and third grade.

But it wasn’t until I became a local newspaper columnist that something clicked. I finally realized I could turn my love of words into my dream of writing fiction.

I write Adult and New Adult steamy contemporary romance. I am represented by Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency.

I also own a hand-stamped jewelry business called Tags-n-Stones, which requires me to stamp letters and/or words onto pieces of silver. They go hand-in-hand perfectly.