Book Review – All of You by Christina Lee

by Maryse on September 25, 2013 · 15 comments

in My Book Reviews

All of You: (InterMix)
<— Here’s one that I knew I’d probably enjoy, but I didn’t expect to thrill over it, as much as I did… and I absolutely loved it! I read it straight through from 9pm to 2am, and by the time I was done, I was actually still wide awake. Adrenalized. Happy. And from the start of it, I was excited. It got be from the very first pages, ’cause she was giving him sexy-eyes from across the room at a party, and he was so obviously… not interested.

I tried catching his eye, but he wasn’t going for it.

YES!!!!!!! I love THAT!!!

Such a fun reading night. But my reading-evening didn’t start out that way. ’Cause out of my TBR list, I started two books yesterday (and gave them a really good go) and yet neither grabbed me. I was bummed. I had this one next… but I hesitated. Suggested to me by a fellow book enthusiast a week or so ago, I looked over the premise, thought to myself, hrmmm… okay… nothing too different here, but there is *that* slight twist from our usual “bad boy” premise. But if those two “mega-alphas” didn’t do it for me, how was this “sweet sounding” read going to?

Even though it seemed right up my alley, I didn’t know if it would feel different enough to keep me that entertained. I mean, after all, I’ve been pushing the envelope with my book choices, lately. Bad guys, moral dilemmas and taboo subjects have been ruling my romance TBR list, and I’ve been lovin’ it.

This one seemed like our gentler, more “usual” romance read.  On “paper”, it’s your good ol’ “new adult” read. University students, he (Bennett) is a tattooed hottie/tattoo artist and she (Avery) is pretty, outgoing enough, and seems normal in every way. But, she has commitment issues due to a troubled upbringing. I know, right? It’s got everything we’ve come to love (and expect) in this genre, and yet… how is this one any different? It’s one thing to experience one of these for the first few times, but we’re old pros at this genre, by now. It’s hard to keep the stomach butterflies going. Don’t get me wrong, I DO love “new adult” like crazy, but I like to diversify to keep me “fresh”. I like a little shock-value spread out amongst my tattooed bad boys. ;)

But there was that twist again… speaking to me. ‘Cause I forgot to give you a part of the synopsis. He’s a hot tattooed twenty-something year old…. virgin. eekVirgin? Okay so he’s definitely no bad-boy (temporary mini-sulk from me). And don’t forget. She was the one with commitment issues (bad girl?). Hrmm. Yep, okay. Not what I’m usually attracted too (I’m more of a bad-boy/good-girl reader) but I was giving it a go.

At first (and pretty much just at first), I found the dialogue a bit stilted. Great internal dialogue and introspection, though. So I wasn’t sure if it was the author getting into her “writing flow” or if it was the “newness/shyness” factor of the characters just meeting. But it found it’s rhythm. Boy did it ever!

And I realized, my love for certain books, and finding a new “favorite” isn’t necessarily all about the “genre” or might not be obvious in the synopsis. It’s not all about the bad boy and just how alpha he is (although I still have a penchant for ‘em). It’s not even about the gasp-worthy reveals.

It’s all in the writing, the characters’ connection to each other, and our connection to them. And boy did she have it right. This one didn’t have “shock-value”, it didn’t tear my heart out (well, actually it did a little ;) ) but it DID make me fall in love with it, and it held me captive to the point that I love it almost as much as I love my other favorites. And I couldn’t help but express my excitement in a comment, yesterday.

Maryse: … I DID read one last night from last week’s releases, and LOVED it, so that review will be up…

Jean: I am dying to know what you read last night…. PLEASE GIVE US A HINT!!! Won’t know what to read after Unattainable (which I am 50% into)….always have a hard time moving on after those books!

Maryse: haha! Sooooon. I was pleasantly surprised. ‘Cause it’s New Adult (they’re both in University) so I thought I’d be more even-keeled with it (I’ve read so many). But ended up really connecting and whoa – HOT (but in a “different” way). LOVED.

I’d say it’s a good mix in “feel” of Renee Carlino’s “Sweet Thing” and Cherrie Lynn’s “Rock Me”. Romantically intense, angsty, torments us in the most delicious way…. has a weird “circumstance”, and so sweet. But don’t let the “sweet” fool you. I myself, am not prone to jumping into “sweet” books, but this one was GREAT.

Gave me so many butterflies and stomach swoops and heart skips that I started it around 9pm, finished at 2am and didn’t out it down once, and wasn’t even close to tired when I was finished. Darn. I’m in the process of reviewing it right here in the comments. LOL!!! I gotta go and review it for real, now.

Sweet book, huh? Yep. BUT!!!! It’s fraught with incredibly INTENSE romantic tension. We drown in their need and desire for each other.

… the craving to be connected to him in an intimate way had become visceral – I felt it dead center in my chest, traveling south to between my legs – almost animalistic, pining over something you knew you’d never have.

And we’re teased and tormented (oh yes…. tormented – delicious torture!!) in it’s insistence that we wait.

But it’s all for good reason. I get it. I get him (at first I was all… whaaaaaa?) But I get it. Believe it? Well.. somebody that sexy with girls throwing themselves at him in real life? Er… I dunno. LOL! Still, I loved the tease.

Plus, it’s fiction, and I “get” him, and his reasoning in it. I respected it and I LOVED him for it. In fact, it made me love him that much more. You’ll see. Bennett is one of the best, most sexy, most drool-worthy, swoonifiying guys I’ve ever read. And the kisses. OMG THE KISSES!!!!! Scorching.

Just the kissing scenes alone, the personal detail, the affection, the touches, the need to keep going, the breaths…. the emotion and physical reaction to the kissing alone… better than half the sex scenes I’ve ever read. And isn’t that something? That a virgin can be that scorching? And I believed it. Every. single. kiss. And every single… “other” thing.

“I said I was a virgin, Avery. Not a saint.”

*whoooooooooooo* he’s got THAT right. Wow this book is sexy! No worries… believe me. You’ll have fun with this. You’ll LOVE HIM!!!!!

And you know what? I get her, too. I didn’t even think I could connect to her (’cause she’s so nonchalant with “hook-ups”, where I’m one of those “typical” girls that could fall for someone I got that close to). In fact, I’d probably already be falling for them for me to take it there. But as “her”… in her head, I got it. And I realized she wasn’t “doing it” the way I would. She was purposely picking out guys that she couldn’t fall for. That she wouldn’t “lose” herself to.

So what’s it about?

Pretty much all that up there. ;) They’re both in University, she meets him at a frat party (or she tries to, but his friend is more interested in her than he is). She’s surprised at just how bummed she is that he doesn’t seem interested…

I was like some lovesick tween desperate to have my crush finally notice me.

… considering she’s usually not that concerned about that. They are generally all interested… at least enough for one night. Which is all she’s looking for. You’ll see why as her past comes to light in the book.

But circumstances force these two in close proximity again, and now he can’t help but to talk to her. And they become friends. It’s sweet. Oh AND!! It has one of my favorite things (my favorite kinds of circumstances) that I LOVE in “only-friends but might want more” books. Falling asleep together in bed. Innocently ;) of course.

“Shhh… you’re safe with me. You can fall asleep.”

But cuddling can’t be helped. And I was so indulged! And then… it’s seductive. STEAMY!!!! Even in it’s tentative approach, it’s as steamy as anything super-obviously-steamy that I’ve read. I mean… I dunno. There’s just something about allllll of that (and none of THAT) that gets me.

“Avery,” he whispered in my ear. “Why did you do that?”

*whoooo* that!!! *fans self*

Especially the way this author took her time with it. Nice and slow… but still, full-blast scorching. It. GOT. ME.

And why, pray tell, is HE still a virgin? You’ll see.

Mr. Tattoo Artist was proving to be a very intriguing and mysterious guy. There was a story under there somewhere.

No worries. You won’t miss a thing (in that respect)… I’m sure of it. And anyway, who knows what happens throughout the course of the story? Well, of course, I know. And now I think, you should know too. But you’ll have to read it to find out. To feel it. And YOU WILL FEEL IT. ;) Tee hee!!

So all that to say, I just have to give this one 4.5 stars. I was fluctuating between 4 and 4.5 stars all day, but the fact that I have been on cloud-nine thinking of Bennett and the way “he was” and alllllll of him during those stomach swooping moments, and the fact that I was so into it from the start (with no desire to put it down, not even for a short nap), well…

I’m saying 4.5 stars!

Wow, looking back I sure *whooooo’d* a lot in this review. You should have heard me in real-life while I was reading it. *blushes*

P.S. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This book was exactly what I didn’t even know I was looking for!

P.P.S: Because I loved it so much, I have received an exclusive scene from Bennett’s POV, and I will be posting that, shortly. I’ll let those of you who are interested in reading this one catch up, and then I’ll post it. :)

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Tanya September 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM

I have to agree, I really enjoyed this one as well. The build up was almost painful but so worth it in the end. Bennett was amazing. Bad boy look with a heart of gold. Intoxicating combination.

Maryse September 25, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Oh YES Tanya!!!! Excruciating pain, but the best kind of it. Exactly one of my favorite things to feel, while reading.

Jean September 25, 2013 at 12:10 PM

I am on it! 1 clicking now. You have never steered me wrong before Maryse!!

Deea September 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Ooooh I love this review, it’s like you read my mind! :) ) (with both what you said about new adult books in general, likes, types, expectations and what could draw me to this particular story). Adding it to my TBR ASAP pile. (I started a few books as well and haven’t been able to finish them… It’s like they missed something. Or were too much like other somethings. lol. Fingers crossed this does the trick! :) Xo

P.S. The virgin/good guy and outgoing/bad girl who is bummed ‘he’s not going for it’ reminds me of A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger. :P (great read, but I think that one was YA).

Tricia C. September 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

I had to buy it. Thanks to Maryse for screening books for me!!

Amy September 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM

I just bought this the other day, and now I’m really looking forward to reading it. TBR list is shifting yet again. ;)

Off topic – Maryse, Google saran wrap mani. If it’s done right…gorgeous!!

Maryse September 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Amy: I’m looking it up right now!!!

Maryse September 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM

My pleasure Tricia!

And Deea, now I’m going to look up the one you just suggested. I love that kind of pining. It’s nice to have a book-relationship really start in “friendship” only. That’s one of the reasons I loved Beautiful DIsaster so much.

It was so obvious they were into each other, but so much time was spent in the “friendship” zone with so many tiny moments of *oomph* when the lines blurred. LOVE THAT!!!!

Joanna I September 25, 2013 at 2:21 PM

…sold!!! TY Maryse! :)

Noelle September 25, 2013 at 4:33 PM

This book was sooo good! Bennett is one of my favorite heroes. It’s really hard finding contemporary romance books with virgin heroes so I was so excited when I was reading this.

Maryse September 25, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Noelle you are so right. And no matter his “status” he is sexy as heck!!!!!!! The PERFECT book boyfriend. Sexy, sweet, smart and sensuous.

Val September 26, 2013 at 12:59 PM

I just finished this. I started when I woke up and didnt stop. Couldn’t stop. So good. I haven’t met a guy I loved this much in a long time. Thanks for the recommendation. I didn’t want it to end. Except for I needed it to so I could resume my duties as mom to my kids. :)

Maryse September 26, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Val… it gave you *that* feeling again, didn’t it? I dunno – I can’t say exactly what it is, but all I can say is she did him right. * love*

Heidi September 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Thanks for this review! I’m so happy that an author finally made a guy a virgin in a book instead of the innocent girls that have been in nearly every book in this genre! I’ve been in a book funk….reading but not really loving anything that I’ve come across. This is my next one-click :)

Jillian October 27, 2013 at 5:38 PM

I have just fallen in love with a new book boyfriend !!! Bennett is perfect ! I thought I’d never find another Holder or Will from Colleen Hoover’s books but now they have strong competition !
Your review is exactly what I was thinking and feeling Maryse ! Those kissing scenes …… Wow !

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