Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review - Balance by Lucia Franco

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.

Purchase Balance Today!
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Book 2 in the Off Balance Series
Coming April 23rd
Preorder EXECUTION —>

The move to World Cup Academy of Gymnastics is the greatest challenge Adrianna has encountered. Punished for Coach Kova's overwhelming desires, she's reeling with resentment while she sits out the first meet of the season. As Adrianna fights to regain her focus, he pushes her body to the extreme, leaving her mentally and physically exhausted.

Kova underestimates Adrianna's endurance, and gravitates more toward her, despite his internal battle raging within to stay away. They try to disentangle themselves, but the tension between coach and gymnast mounts, engulfing them both in a forbidden world of deception and passion.

The one place where they should never feel alive, is where they find complete absolution. But one slip, one wrong landing, a missed grip, and everything they built can come tumbling down, damaging both their professional and personal lives.

My Review
5 Stars

I swear, I was so skeptical going into this book.  Besides it being extremely forbidden, it's a sports romance, and I’m not a huge fan of sports romances.  Lucia had a way with making this book so much more than just a gymnastics book.  Once the story picked up around 15-20 percent, I was hooked.  I felt the love the characters had for the sport and it didn’t bother or bore me whatsoever.  I remember telling M about how long Balance is -608 pages to be exact- she wondered how it could be so long.  I remember telling her that there was literally nothing Lucia could’ve taken out. There was not one point in this book that I thought things could’ve been removed to make the story shorter.  Literally nothing.  The story just flowed perfectly, and I was soooo captivated by it.

I’m no stranger to Lucia’s writing, so I knew that wasn’t going to be an issue.  We all know she’s a very talented author. (And if you don’t know, now you do.)  The girl can write.  I am also a HUGE fan of forbidden romances, but DAMN, Lucia doesn’t play.  She set out to write a forbidden book, and BOY OH BOY DID SHE NOT DISAPPOINT.

“For a moment, time stood still. Everything was forgotten except the two of us standing in the empty gym. We were inches apart, an intake of breath away from doing something that would go against the rules, and the law. The code of ethics. Morals. And for whatever reason, none of that mattered to me.”

Adrianna is a gymnast whose dream is to go to the Olympics, and Kova -sexy, delicious, Kova- is the coach that is hopefully going to make her dreams come true.  What starts as a strictly professional coach/student relationship, later becomes exactly the opposite. 

“Nothing was forced. It was a craving woven with lust, a newfound hunger clawing inside.”

I knew about the age difference with Adrianna and Kova before going into it.  I really wasn’t sure how I would do with it -because of how young Adrianna was-. I thought it would be hard to for me to like Kova -because of how much older he was-. I felt like there would be no way an author could execute this in a way that I would want -or be ok with- them being together.  But of course, Lucia knew what she was doing. 

“This was past just physical attraction. This was animalistic. And highly forbidden, which just made it that much better.”

Damnit!  Dare I say I’m team Kova?!  Shit, he won me over guys! He is all types of sexy and he was just EVERYTHING.  He was an asshole.  He was mean.  He worked Adrianna hard. *pun intended* And he did all of that with his sexy freaking Russian accent. *YUM*

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

What I really liked about this book *and I feel like it’s a big part of why the age difference was no issue for me* was that Adrianna came off older than she was, though Lucia kept some elements which reminded the reader that Adrianna was, in fact, still young.  It was realistic. I mean in today's day in age, girls are far beyond their years, at least I know I was. And though it’s wrong, it’s something that happens.  But that's the beauty of reading fiction.  Its just that.  FICTION.
 Lucia had a way of portraying Adrianna as if she were older, and much more mature than other girls her age.  The lifestyle she lived called for her maturity.  It was all part of the allure that I assumed is what kept Kova interested in her. Lucia has a way with words.  I began the book feeling like there was no way I’d ever like Kova, and ended it wanting -no needing-  more!

“If you need me, all you have to do is say something. That is what I am here for, Ria.”

Balance is a book that is not for the faint of heart.  If you don’t read forbidden books, or are skeptical about forbidden books, -or books with an extreme age difference- then don’t read this. BUT, if you don’t mind a highly sexy, highly forbidden book, do yourself a favor and buy Balance by Lucia Franco! 

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