Tuesday 29 September 2015

Release Day Blitz, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway ~ These Battered Hands by Laurel Ulen Curtis

These Battered Hands
Laurel Ulen Curtis
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Cover Designer: Hang Le

Book Description:

Blood, sweat, hard work, and a disconcerting lack of tears—my entire life—was meant to culminate in a flourish of glory and significance.
I’d thought I’d always known exactly what that meant.
But I’d had the timing wrong by about three minutes.
I knew now.
This moment wasn’t everything. The one person I found myself wanting more than anything during it was.


One preconceived notion can haunt you for the entirety of your life.
I thought I owed it to myself and to everyone who’d ever backed me to do what was expected. What was right. What I was supposed to do.
But nothing is forbidden in love. Not circumstances or propriety or the denial of the object of said affection.
I knew now.
This was it.
If I wanted it, I had to take it.

This gymnastics love story is more than grips, rips, and battered hands.
For Calia Nickleson and Nikolai Bagrov, it was everything.

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His eyes were like actual pools of water—moving, flowing, and changing color along with depth. Each time his focus shifted, so did mine, zeroing in on a new fleck of deep blue and trying to help it float through the much more abundant aqua. Their magnetism made it hard to focus on his words, but I wouldn’t have traded those moments spent studying their nuances for all of the words in the dictionary.
Sure, looks were shallow and words could mean everything, but in those split seconds when his eyes changed before my own, I would have sworn on my every Olympic medal it was the opposite.
And right now, I needed the comfort of that feeling. I needed it to swaddle me in its warmth and make everything feel right again.
The word wrong had never been a concept worthy of my focus, but as I tried to make sense of what was happening, denying its existence was no longer an option.
Up felt like down and left very nearly tricked me into believing it was right.
Voices called out to me constantly and on repeat, but none of them were the one I wanted. Like they were speaking through water, every pronunciation of my name seemed foreign and unwelcome, and my brain did nothing but scream another.
I tried valiantly to talk my uncooperative body into bending to my will, but for the first time in my life it wouldn’t.
Digging deep down into my gut, I found the last vestiges of my energy and willed them into one single action.
Into one single word.
Priorities shifted and silence mocked me.
My entire life had been a series of events all specifically driven toward this very moment. I’d known all of my work was meant to culminate in a flourish of glory and significance. I’d known there’d be a second in time when I knew why each part of my life had played out the way it had. Why I’d worked, why I’d sweat, why I’d fought to keep going well after most people’s journeys were done.
I’d even known it would probably happen now—on this stage, in front of all of these people.
I’d just had the timing wrong by about three minutes.
But I knew now.
This was it.
The thing I found myself wanting most during this moment—that was everything.
He was everything.

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 3.5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“And you never truly missed something until it was…Gone.”

This was a sports romance with a difference and it was a difference that I loved. I haven’t yet read a book centred around the life of Olympic gymnasts and I loved delving around into the lives of these athletes. The pressure that they put on themselves as well as pressure from their peers and family is huge and add to that the stereotypical ideals of age, build, diet and so on there is so much external interference it is a wonder any gymnast can concentrate at all.

“…but the toxic thoughts that haunted her weren’t her own. They were the seeds planted there by everyone else who put her out in the fucking boat destined for the big show and left her to drift.”

Callie is a twenty-six year old gymnast and already has two Olympics under her belt. She has always placed well but never good enough. She knows that this will be her last Olympics what with most competitors being ten years her junior so she is going all out to make her mark this time around…but first she needs to qualify.

Gymnastics is in Callie’s blood, her father owns a gymnastics gym so she has free reign to train whenever she wants, her father has kind of been the pushy parent and seems to dictate everything surrounding her career, she still lives at home too so she has no way of separating herself from his overbearing ways. However, he does seem to come good with one idea and that is the employment of a new gym coach. Callie’s father is of the opinion that as he is a professional gymnast and is around the same age as Callie that she will take notice and maybe even listen…but first meetings are not that great.

I loved Nik, he was a broken soul but he was a demon tumbler. He had strength, he had passion but most of all he had experience and he had a huge heart. Neither Nik nor Callie had ever had romantic interests what with their careers dictating their romantic interludes so when they actually connect it is a shock to both of them.

“The bad boy’s long gone, and the hopelessly devoted version has taken his place.”

Callie was extremely stubborn and closed off, she kept herself to herself and didn’t have friends, she didn’t even talk to fellow gymnasts, she was lonely, but it was self inflicted. In order to succeed she had made many sacrifices and it was Nik that showed her that that needn’t be the case. These two were chalk and cheese but they were so well suited. They both needed someone and their paths crossed at just the right time. The brought each other to life.

“I was telling it…As us.”

I loved the writing style and the fact that the last word in each chapter hooked you into the first word of the next chapter was unique and had me guessing the word from chapter to chapter. The story flowed really well and it was a real page turner for me. With dual point of views it did go someway to building that character connection but for me something was lacking. I didn’t feel as if I really got to know them as individuals. I would have loved for more back story. I also felt the ending was a tad rushed, with so much happening towards the end I felt it needed a little more fleshing out. Even taking that into account, I really enjoyed their story.

“I learned to love those battered hands, but I learned to love you better.”

I will also never be able to look at Second Skin Spray the same again without thinking of these two, purple glitter and battered hands.

About the Author:

Laurel Ulen Curtis is a 28 year old mother of one. She lives with her husband and son (and cat!) in New Jersey, but grew up all over the United States. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2009
with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, and puts that to almost no use other than forecasting for her friends and writing a storm chasing heroine! She has a passion for her family, laughing, and reading and writing Romance novels. She’s also addicted to Coke. The drink, not the drug.




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