Sunday, 4 September 2016

Review ~ Balance (Off Balance #1) by Lucia Franco


Book Description:

Adrianna Rossi is no stranger to the rigorous demands required of her body. Years of pain and determination make her one of the best. Olympic glory is the ultimate goal, and she'll do anything to achieve it. Even if that means leaving home to attend World Cup Academy of Gymnastics, a training center that serves one purpose—producing champions. 

Perfection, precision, and dedication are required of his athletes. When two time Olympian Konstantin Kournakova is persuaded into training the young hopeful, he immediately regrets it. She doesn't come close to his high standards. As the relentless pursuit of her dream keeps her striving, a passion is ignited within him.

Kova's power and domination, coupled with Adrianna's fierce tenacity, reveal there is more for her body to learn. Every interaction can be misconstrued, but there’s no mistaking the darkening of his gaze, the lingering of his touch, or the illicit image of his bare skin pressed against hers. Integrity is on the line. One toe off the beam and their forbidden desires could ruin everything they’ve worked for, throwing it all off balance. 

WARNING: This novel contains explicit content.

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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 stars


“Desire can be deadly. Temptation can be toxic…”


I love gymnastics and having just had my fill with the Olympics when I saw this book it was an auto 1click. What could be more tantalising than a taboo, forbidden romance between Coach and gymnast. Just the synopsis alone had me salivating and even though this is a long book in comparison to most it was so addictive I still read it in one day. This is the first book in a series and the story of Kova and Adrianna will be continued over another two books and I CANNOT wait!!!


“Your body can endure just about anything—it is your mind you have to convince.”


This author had really done her research with regards to gymnastics, we are treated to a wealth of knowledge that really enhanced the believability and really transported you into the gym along with these teenagers where dreams could be made or broken. The rigorous training and regimens that would kill any normal person are just a small part of what these athletes go through and my heart goes out to all these kids that are punishing themselves at such a young age for success. But this book really brings across the dedication and motivation that these athletes have and the extreme lengths they go to get there, it was eye opening.


“I will be completely honest, no other gymnast I have trained has wanted it as badly as you do. It is rare. You have no idea how refreshing this is to hear.”


But while gymnastics features heavily the crux of this story is the forbidden romance between Kova and Adrianna and holy chemistry…this teenage temptress really hones her inner vixen to ensnare the eyes and heart of Kova. Adrianna is fifteen, nearly sixteen when she moves to the coast, to a gym that can train her to be an elite gymnast and move her one step closer to her ultimate goal of the Olympics. Her hometown gym has trained her as far as she can go and now she needs to take the next step. The ex-Russian gymnast Kova, is a business associate of Adrianna’s father and so he trusts him to look after his daughter and train her well and it is not cheap.


“Freaking Coach Kova. Confusing. Contradicting. Exhausting...And maybe a little sinful.”


Konstantin Kournakova was infuriating yet utterly addicting. From the minute this character was introduced my heart beat ramped up a level. He was extremely focused, hardworking, had a great work ethic, was a slave driver but he got results. This was a man that had that air of authority yet actually had an extremely vulnerable side. Was he a predator, for me, no. This was a case of lust and intoxicating chemistry that couldn’t be denied. Could he have been stronger, yes but Adrianna made his decisions extremely difficult. Adrianna was a little vixen and the author has given her a maturity beyond her years even though she was sexually inexperienced. From the minute these two met Adrianna was enamoured and though she knows it is forbidden and has extreme repercussions she cannot help herself, putting both their careers on the line. She was the web and poor old Kova was a helpless fly, he really didn’t stand a chance.


“You have worked too hard to just throw it away, and so have I. Keep your hands to yourself and I will do the same.”


However, Kova has many facets to his personality and some were not nice. This is a man that wants his cake and eat it. He knows what he is doing is wrong, he tries to stop it but it is a fruitless effort. However, if he cannot have Adrianna, no-one else can either. It seems our Kova is extremely possessive and jealous and this was not a great side to his character. This side of him actually perceived him to be an asshole at times and led to some unsavoury dialogue and actions. But, it also showed just how much he wanted her, so at times I felt it was more a defence mechanism to protect his own heart. But bearing in mind he still kept his five-year relationship with his girlfriend going, my empathy for him waivered a lot.

This was an addictive read and as I said above I admire the author for her dedication to this sport, I understand she was a gymnast herself and it really showed. The writing was flawless and totally consuming. The passion and chemistry between these two really was intoxicating and made the fact that it was inappropriate fade into the background. The intimate scenes between these two will leave you needing a fan and your kindle to take a break in the freezer. Seriously combustible. But it wasn’t just their time between the sheets that Lucia Franco delivers, it is also their little glances, the stares, the dialogue, everything just delivers and encompasses their connection with ferocity and intensity that made this one unputdownable story. Their connection was not only sexual, their drive and determination was something they admired and respected and there were some really tender moments where these two open up to one and other and it is this that cements this as more than just lust for me, there was definitely something more for me, whether it was taboo or not.


“I was sixteen. He was thirty-two. There were many laws we would break if we took another step. Not to mention, our careers would be in ruins if anyone saw the position we were in right now. But in this moment, I forgot it all.”


I am in desperate need of book two, I was devastated when I reached the end, these two have really got to me and I want to know what happens, gah!! Lucia Franco, write quickly, please!!

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