Review by Suze
Nora is heartbroken. After losing the man she loved she put everything she still had to give in her job and designed a beautiful house in Amity Bay, Antarctica. The guesthouse is mostly self-sufficient. Nora is an architect and has done the largest part of the work, but someone else took credit for it and stole her promotion in the process. Now Nora also doesn't have a job any longer. There's no reason to leave Amity Bay together with her ex colleagues, instead Nora wants to be on her own and hibernate.
Alexei is head of Amity Bay. Because of the luxurious guesthouse he might not be able to stay though. The lodge threatens the existence of his beloved town. He thinks it's empty, left behind by the people who built it with no consideration for others, and is surprised Nora is still there. Alexei doesn't know who she is and as Nora likes him she doesn't tell him the truth, but when they become closer it's bound to come out. Will she be able to heal in Amity Bay or will it bring her more despair?
Nora is kind and talented. She works hard, she cares about what she does and she's good at making plans. I immediately loved her. She's sad, but she also still has hope and is taking baby steps towards a better future. I admired her strength and think she has a great personality. Alexei is a gentle man. He's passionate about his village and he loves the cold climate. There are plenty of sparks and a beautiful connection between him and Nora, but he has to be careful with her as she's still fragile. I liked his good and understanding nature. I really enjoyed reading about this unusual couple and couldn't wait to find out if they'd have a future.
Heating It Up is an original romantic story. I loved the brilliant cold setting. Antarctica is an interesting place to read about and I was spellbound Elizabeth Harmon's descriptions of the cold, the isolated life and the inventiveness of the people who are living there. Amity Bay is a fantastic mix of cultures. While outside it's brutal inside it's cozy and warm. I liked that contrast very much, it's special and it adds extra charm. I instantly fell in love with the stunning setting, the unpredictable weather and the warm-heartedness of the story and think Heating It Up is a terrific unique winter read.
If you like heartwarming love stories with a beautiful setting you'd love Heating It Up. It's part of the Red Hot Russians series, but can easily be read as a standalone.
About Elizabeth Harmon
Quirky settings. Loveable, if imperfect heroines. Gorgeous men with hearts of gold. Contemporary romance author Elizabeth Harmon loves them all.
A graduate of the University of Illinois, she has worked in advertising, community journalism and as a freelance magazine writer. She feels incredibly blessed to have a career that allows her to spend her days imagining "what if?" and a loving family that keeps her grounded in the real world.
An adventurous cook, vintage home enthusiast, occasional actress, and entry-level figure skater, Elizabeth makes her home in the Midwest, where life is good, but the sports teams aren’t. She loves to hang out on her front porch, or at her favorite local establishments, enjoy good food and wine, and talk writing with anyone who will listen.
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a contemporary romance author who has three books out in the Red Hot Russians sports romance series. I’m happily married, a mom, and live in the Midwestern United States. I love snowy nights, red wine and cats. Plenty of other things too, but those are three things I’m enjoying on this cold January evening, as my sweet feline naps on my desk while I sip Cabernet and talk about romance. This romance writing job totally rocks!
2. What makes your heart beat faster?
Aside from jogging, LOL? If we’re talking romance novels and films, it’s the big, Hollywood-style grand gesture, like Harry’s mad dash across New York City to tell Sally he loves her in When Harry Met Sally. I love putting those in my stories.
3. If you could create the perfect romantic day what would it look like?
It would begin with a leisurely, early morning, followed by a delicious breakfast—preferably cooked by someone else. Then it would include something outside, walking, bike-riding or hanging out at the beach, in the summer; a snowy hike or ice-skating in the winter. In late afternoon, there would be time for rest and…relaxation, followed by a massage. I’d conclude it with a delicious, candlelit meal…followed by more relaxation. ;)
4. Who is your favorite romantic couple?
Belle and the Beast, from Beauty in the Beast. I love Belle’s courage in facing the Beast and eventually seeing the goodness behind his fearsome exterior. I also admire her intelligence and loyalty, and the way her love gives the Beast hope. I used a little of this trope in my second Red Hot Russians book, Turning It On. Though the hero is anything but beastly on the outside, inside he’s quite damaged and doesn’t feel like he’s worthy of love until a brainy heroine shows him otherwise.
5. Could you describe what romance means to you?
Hope is the center of it…the belief that we can all become better people by accepting love, and returning it. It’s the essence of romance fiction and why I write it.
6. Do you find it difficult to write about romance?
Writing love scenes can be challenging, because they’re not only physical, but also emotion-driven, and finding the right balance can be tricky. I prefer to write them late at night, with no interruptions. The most fun parts of the story to write are when the hero and heroine open up to one another, sharing their histories and often-painful pasts. In my new release, Heating It Up, which is a novella, the book’s short length means it comes early. Other times it’s much later. The scene in Pairing Off, when Carrie tells Anton the truth about the night her mother died, makes me tear up whenever I read it.
7. Can you tell us about your most romantic experience?
There’s one I often share about a December night in Chicago with my future husband, sitting in a 95th floor bar, watching the snow fall over the city. But there’s another snowy night I remember fondly, Valentine’s Day, 2014. I’d found out a few days before that my series had sold to Carina Press but because my agent was still working out the contract details, I couldn’t tell anyone—except my husband of course. ☺ We went to this lovely French restaurant that overlooks a charming Victorian town square in a town not far from where we live. We sat by the window, toasted our marriage, our family and this exciting new path I was about to embark on. It felt like a dream about to come true, and the man I love was just as excited.
8. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you're in a romantic mood?
Anything happy! Rock, country, pop, jazz or classical. Just nothing sappy or sad, please.
9. Which country personifies romance for you and why?
France and Italy, because of the beautiful architecture, lovely rolling landscapes, amazing food and wine, all of which I find quite romantic. But given my love for wintery nights and rustic landscapes, I think I’d find Iceland and northern Canada quite romantic. The Russian city of St. Petersburg combines cold weather and architectural beauty, and is definitely on my list of places to visit.
10. What can we expect from you in the future?
Later this month, I’ll release the next book in my Red Hot Russians series. Heating It Up is the story of Alexei (younger brother of Getting It Back’s hero, Misha), who lives in a very unusual, not to mention cold, place. Like Alexei, I’ve always been fascinated by Antarctica and thought it would be fun to set a book there. And while the setting is unusual, small town romance fans should feel at home in Amity Bay.
I’m also working on Shining Through, a full-length novel, due out in September. Shining Through returns to the world of competitive figure skating, just in time for the upcoming Winter Olympics. By then, I should be ready to talk about what’s ahead for 2018!
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Three very lucky readers of With Love For Books will be able to choose an eBook from Elizabeth Harmon's backlog.