Tag: Christina Lee

Review: Two of Hearts by Christina Lee

Posted May 15, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Two of Hearts by Christina LeeReviewer: Holly
Two of Hearts by Christina Lee
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Native American & Aboriginal
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

From the author of the Between Breaths novels comes a gripping romance about finding yourself while taking a second chance at your first love…
Dakota Nakos was always the resilient, strong-willed achiever. But when her father dies and she’s entrusted with the family’s casino, she feels vulnerable, scared, and more than a little emotional —not exactly the best time to see an old lover she’s never really gotten over.
Dakota once meant the world to Shane Garrity. Then suddenly he left town to train as a U.S. Marshal, and their love for each other crashed into a memory. Now he’s come home for her father’s funeral, and one look at the girl he left behind stirs up both memories and regrets, and reignites a fire he feared he’d lost forever.
Dakota may be the same driven girl she always was, but she’s also changed in ways neither could have anticipated. She’s not just a young woman searching for own identity in the Native American community in which she was raised, but one questioning her new life outside her father’s shadow. Above all she wonders if Shane can push past her weakened defenses to rekindle what they once had, or whether the intense blaze between them will ultimately reduce her heart to ashes.

I really thought I’d love this book. I was really curious about Dakota and Shane after Whisper to Me. That they’re all grown up was just icing on the cake.

Shane and Dakota have known each other their whole lives. Shane is best friends with Dakota’s older brother Kai. For years they ignored their deeper feelings for one another until one summer during college they had a fling. When Shane signed up for the US Marshals, Dakota suggested they go their separate ways and he agreed, though neither really wanted to part.

Five years later, Dakota’s father was killed in a senseless mugging and Shane returns home to attend the funeral. He’s close to burnout and ready for a break anyway, so when the manager of the casino Dakota owns/runs asks him to look into some things, he’s quick to agree. Especially since his feelings for Dakota have never gone away. He’s definitely interested in seeing where things go between them, and getting to the bottom of the strange tensions in the casino.

Dakota is deaing with her grief over the senseless death of her father, the stress of taking over the daily operations of the casino and the tribal politics involved with Dakota and her mother, who isn’t Native American, taking over. The last thing she needs is to get tangled up with Shane again. He was too quick to leave last time and she doesn’t plan to go anywhere. Why get wrapped up in him again when his job takes him all over and she’s got deep roots right where she is?

Unfortunately it didn’t work as well as I thought it was going to. Part of it is personal preference. I struggled to get into the story, which focuses a lot on Native American culture. Since that isn’t something I’m familiar with, I didn’t understand a lot of the customs and the struggles didn’t really speak to me. Since the struggles are a main part of the overall story arc, I didn’t really engage with the story. Add to that my frustration with Dakota’s hot and cold attitude, and mostly the book was either frustrating it annoying. I actually cursed out loud at it a couple times. She was all in one minute and then pushed Shane away the next. She was quick to claim to need nothing and no one, but acted clingy and needy more often than not.

I liked Shane and Dakota’s family, both by blood and from her casino. I also liked Dakota when she forgot to let her insecurities rule her life. I believed in the romance, but I wish they’d communicated better and sooner.

Shane’s protectiveness of Dakota and his refusal to let her get away with pushing him away are what really saved the book for me. When I’d get really angry at her for being so flighty, Shane would voice my concerns exactly and reign her back in. I liked the glimpses of Kai and Rachael, too.

While this isn’t my favorite novel from Lee, it’s well written and the cultural issues were interesting.

3 out of 5

three-stars

Guest Review: There You Stand by Christina Lee

Posted April 27, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: There You Stand by Christina LeeReviewer: Tracy
There You Stand by Christina Lee
Series: Between Breaths #5
Also in this series: All of You, Before You Break, Whisper to Me, Whisper to Me, Promise Me This, Promise Me This, Two of Hearts
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 21st 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, m/m
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

From the author of All of You and Before You Break comes a new Between Breaths romance about the silent, inked up skateboarder and the tattoo artist who unravels him piece by piece…

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…

Tracy’s review of There You Stand (Between Breaths #5) by Christina Lee

Cory Easton is more than a bit infatuated with Jude York. Cory tends to walk his dog in the park so that he can watch Jude riding his skateboard. Unfortunately every time he talks to Jude, Cory finds himself tripping over his words – and Jude says little to nothing, giving Cory the impression that he doesn’t like Cory at all. Cory isn’t sure if Jude is gay so he’s also unsure as to whether he should try to make a move or not.

Jude ends up making an appointment with Cory to get a tattoo done on his back. When he disrobes Cory sees the horrible scars that are on his back that the tattoo will cover. This brings up even more questions but again, Jude is being the strong, silent type. Cory manages to break the tension with some yes/no questions and this gets Jude’s mouth moving.

Eventually Jude and Cory start to converse on more than a one syllable level and Cory discovers that Jude likes Cory as well. The problem is that there are still so many secrets surrounding Jude that Cory’s not sure he should get involved. Jude has some sort or relationship with the local MC and Cory doesn’t want to get involved in that. Jude, however, proves to be worth whatever trouble comes Cory’s way.

This was a pretty intense romance between Jude and Cory. We didn’t know much about Jude at first and as more information filtered in I wasn’t exactly sure that Cory should get involved with him. Jude proved that he was worth the trouble and Cory stuck by him even when Jude’s life went a bit haywire.

The relationship between the two men was pretty stilted at first and even throughout most of the first part of the book. I would have liked that part to have gone a little quicker but the continued sexual tension between the two men truly made it all worth it when they finally got together. They were a very hot, sweet couple and I really enjoyed reading about them.

If you’ve been reading the Between Breaths series then I don’t think you should miss this one. If you haven’t (then why not!?) then this will read as a great m/m standalone as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from InterMix. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars

Five Books Everyone Should Read: Author Christina Lee’s Picks

Posted February 1, 2015 by Holly in Features | 1 Comment

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

christina leeWhen I’m asked to name my all-time favorite books, I pretty much become immobilized. Not only because there are too many to count, but also because I believe certain books come into your life at times when you need them most. They appeal to your mood, situation, or circumstance and in that respect, they satisfy something for you in a very personal and profound way.

So in that regard, everybody’s favorites lists would be vastly different. See what I mean?

For my top five list, I wanted to focus on books that touched me throughout my life in a larger way. Books that made me think outside of myself, my mortality, and even the universe. Books that appealed to that inner strength or sanctity that I craved at different times in my life. When I needed a different way to look at the world outside of how I was raised—socially and religiously. Because haven’t we all been there? 😉 Reading always reveals a different footpath or way of thinking. It helps you understand things in a different light, like looking at a painting with your head tilted to one side. As a result, your horizons are expanded. Or at the very least, your curiosity is piqued. Right?

Here are five books that I’ve read over my lifetime that still stick with me in one way or another because of the spiritual gravity they afforded me at a time I needed them most.

seven spiritualthe alchemistthe last lecturemany liveson death and dyingfour arrangements
 

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss

On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I’ll add a sixth: The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Your list might look way different than mine. But that’s the great thing about having so many books to choose from! XO

Promise Me ThisAbout the author: 

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 been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn’t until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I’m addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

Read more about Christina and her books at www.write-brained.com.

Check out Christina’s latest release: Promise Me This

Guest Review: When We Met by A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King and Christina Lee

Posted January 7, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: When We Met by A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King and Christina LeeWhen We Met by A. L. JacksonMolly McAdamsTiffany KingChristina Lee
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

When four girls decide to live off campus together as juniors at a college in Michigan, they expect it to be their best year yet. Little do they know, it’s a year that will change the rest of their lives.

BEHIND HER EYES by A.L. Jackson
Unable to live down her ex-boyfriend’s deception, Misha is determined to avoid betrayal. When, the new guy next door, Darryn starts to get under her skin, her defenses start to crumble. But trusting Darryn seems impossible, especially if he’s not sure he can trust himself.

SAVING ME by Molly McAdams
On the outside, Indy is always ready for a party—but inside she’s breaking. Kier makes a weekly routine of saving the girl next door from herself on Saturday nights… but when will she be ready to remember him on Sunday morning?

FOULING OUT by Tiffany King
Working at a sports bar, Courtney has become a pro at sidestepping propositions from arrogant jocks—which makes her a more elusive catch for campus basketball star Dalton than he expected. But when he falls for the saucy waitress, Dalton will have to rethink his game plan to prove he’s not the jerk Courtney expects.

BENEATH YOUR LAYERS by Christina Lee
In order to ace her fashion internship, Chloe must team up with local college dropout and set builder, Blake—much to her chagrin. But after some "hands-on" experience, Chloe will have to ask herself if Blake factors into her carefully laid plans…

Tracy’s review of When We Met by A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King and Christina Lee

 

When I first picked up When We Met I thought that these were four unrelated stories by different authors so I was more than pleasantly surprised when I realized that the stories were about the four roommates. Once I read the first story I wanted to know about the other girls in the house and I loved that I didn’t have to wait for their stories!

Behind Her Eyes was a great story with Darryn helping Misha overcome her betrayal by the guy she had been dating the previous year. Darryn has his own secret having to do with his knowledge of that betrayal. While Misha felt deceived once she finds the secret out I never felt that Darryn was a bad guy. Misha was primed and just waiting for someone to screw with her again so she may have overreacted just a touch (imho). I would have liked to have gotten to know Darryn a bit more in this story but I still really liked it.

Saving Me starts off with a bang. Poor Indy has been screwed over by her family and then walks in on her boyfriend with another girl. Not only that but there’s an even bigger betrayal by the jerk and it left my mouth hanging open. Indy is a strong character to put up with all of it. She unfortunately heads down an alcohol and men fueled road to self destruction. Fortunately she has Kier there to save her each Saturday night. I really liked this story as it had two people with pretty heavy pasts coming together. The author didn’t try to make light of either of their situations and I appreciated that as Kiers, especially, was not a pretty one. I loved that they could find happiness together after all they’d been through.

Fouling Out had childhood friends reuniting and falling in love. Dalton and Courtney had been friends when they were kids but Dalton’s basketball dreams and his father (mostly the father) had them pulling away from each other. Courtney is bitter about the loss of Dalton’s friendship but realizes that Dalton is a good guy. I liked the pair together but felt what was supposed to be the conflict between them wasn’t really a conflict at all. It’s there and then quickly resolved…and then story ended abruptly. I think I would have liked to have seen a little more from the couple after their “troubles” had been dealt with, but it was cute story nonetheless.

Beneath Your Layers gave us two people from different sides of the tracks, so to speak. Blake believes that Chloe is snooty due to how she dresses but she’s not. Blake’s aunt has him helping Chloe fix up a store for her fashion internship.   The time spent together putting the store together has them getting to know each other and realizing there’s more to each of them than the thought. It was a sweet romance and I really enjoyed it.

The book as a whole was pretty darned enjoyable. Once I picked it up I didn’t put it down until I was done with all of it. The romances were sometimes very emotional, and a bit surprising, but sweet and tender. It was a good combination of both stories and authors as they flowed together quite nicely.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

This title is available from NAL Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Promise Me This by Christina Lee

Posted November 25, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Promise Me This by Christina LeeReviewer: Holly
Promise Me This by Christina Lee
Series: Between Breaths #4
Also in this series: All of You, Before You Break, Whisper to Me, Whisper to Me, Promise Me This, There You Stand, Two of Hearts
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, New Adult, General, Contemporary
Pages: 238
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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.
INCLUDES A PREVIEW OF TWO OF HEARTS.
Raves for Christina Lee’s Between Breaths series:
“This is one New Adult you don’t want to miss.” —New York Times and USA Today bestselling author A. L. Jackson
“Hot, sweet, emotional, page-turner, awesome.”—New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy
“Steamy, honest, and full of heart.” —Roni Loren, national bestselling author Christina Lee lives in the Midwest with her husband and son. She is the author of The Between Breaths Series, including All of You and Before You Break. She also owns her own jewelry business, called Tags-n-Stones, where she hand-stamps meaningful words or letters onto silver for her customers.

Nate and Jessie were first introduced in All of Me, book 1 in this series. I remember being intrigued by them then, but I had no idea I’d love them so much. Jessie is bold, daring and not afraid to take what she wants. Nate is steady, strong and a little bit wild. And definitely in need of someone like Jessie to bring out his bad boy side. 

Because of the way he grew up, Nate fears some of the darker urges he has. Specifically the kind he fantasizes about doing in the bedroom. Outwardly he and Jessie are complete opposites. She’s dark and grungy, with tattoos and an attitude that defies anyone to question her choices. Nate admires her and is attracted to her. He’s afraid of some of the things he wants to do to her. Until Jessie admits, during a silly, drunken game, that she’s been spanked during sex before. Then Nate begins to wonder if his urges aren’t all that bad after all.

Nate is a clean-cut, preppy type. The complete opposite of what Jessie normally goes for. But when she walks in on him getting it on in a public restroom, her opinion begins to change. Instead of the straight-laced jokster, she begins to see the intensity he hides. When he offers to help her with a photography project and they end up spending time alone in a hotel room, she realizes Nate has dark fantasies, one she’s willing to explore. If only he would let her. Instead he’s afraid of hurting her. Afraid of becoming what he grew up with. She’s determined to show him that she’s not only ready, but willing to take everything he wants to give her.

Though they’re outwardly opposites, Jessie and Nate actually have a lot in common. I really love how they connected to and brought out the best in each other.  Especially as it pertains to Nate’s childhood and the way he deals with the anger and shame he feels. Jessie really helped him open up and deal, even going so far as to help him find a counselor. His sexual awakening was especially interesting because it’s usually the woman who has problems dealing with her urges. I liked the way Lee explored the consequences of his childhood as they related to his current sexual practices.

Jessie was a great heroine. She was tough and independent, but also very caring and perceptive.  She isn’t afraid to go after what she wants, but she is cautious about starting something with Nate, since he seems so different than her usual type. Not to mention she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. Speaking of, I like how tight their friendship was, and how much closer they became over the course of the novel. It wasn’t hard to buy into their romance, considering how much they opened to one another.

The story is sexy, intense and the best kind of dirty.  I was fully immersed and wasn’t ready for it to end.  I wanted to make Nate my own.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars