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Friday, December 15, 2017

Shining Through by Elizabeth Harmon - Book Review, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Tabitha's figure-skating career would be complete if she'd win the Olympics. Tabitha has worked towards this goal her entire life. She has an impeccable reputation and has made a lot of sacrifices to get where she is today. The same goes for her family and Tabitha desperately wants to win to give something back to her mother and sister for what they've done for her. However, the pressure is immense and Tabitha has already failed before because of too much stress. Will she be able to handle it this time?

When Tabitha meets Russian bad boy skater Daniil she realizes she should have some fun for the first time in her life. He's just as determined as she is to win and they have a lot in common, so he understands where she's coming from. Unfortunately Daniil also has a reputation. Should Tabitha believe everything that's being said about him? After one magical night a tempting invitation follows. Should Tabitha accept? Would spending time with Daniil harm her career or will she get a boost through skating together? What will happen to them when the season is at its peak, will they both win at the games and in love or will they end up with a broken heart and shattered dreams?

Shining Through is a fascinating romantic story. I love ice skating and really enjoyed reading about Tabitha's career. She's a driven person, but she's also someone who doesn't always follow her dreams. Tabitha and Daniil come from different backgrounds and can learn from each other. Tabitha never takes anything for granted and has to work incredibly hard for every achievement. Daniil managed to get in trouble a few times, he never has to worry about money and he can do whatever he wants to do. He doesn't know what it's like to be loved though. He teaches Tabitha how to loosen up and she shows him how to take responsibility and put in as much effort as possible. Besides their common professional interests they have plenty of sparks and they are a good intellectual match as well, which is a great basis for a story.

Elizabeth Harmon writes about competing, winning, losing, passion, love and dreams in a great descriptive way. It's easy to understand her main characters. I enjoyed reading about the movement on ice, the choice of music, the being part of something and the creativity of the athletes and their trainers. I liked how Elizabeth Harmon combines this with a wonderful love story. Shining Through is a terrific book filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Advice

If you love romantic stories and like figure-skating you should definitely read Shining Through. It's the fourth book in the Red Hot Russians series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

About Elizabeth Harmon


Elizabeth Harmon loves to read and write romances with a dash of different. She is the author of the Red Hot Russians sports romance series, and her debut novel, Pairing Off is a 2016 RITA Award Finalist.

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.

Links


Why This Good Girl Loves Bad Boys
Guest post by Elizabeth Harmon

Show of hands… who loves a bad boy hero?

Yep, me too.

There’s something about putting myself in the shoes of a heroine drawn to a sexy man she knows she shouldn’t want, yet she just can’t stay away from.

Maybe he’s a rock star with a bad reputation. Maybe he’s a biker, who lives outside society’s mainstream. Maybe he came from a good family, and grew up with every advantage, but then something in his life went very, very wrong.

As the heroine walks his dangerous path, we breathlessly turn the pages, waiting for him to be redeemed by love.

I started as a historical romance fan and adored reading about rakes, rogues and the proper ladies who fall for them. When I turned to contemporaries, I found so many bad boy heroes, I would never run out.

But the ones I love best aren’t the extreme Alphas who star in so many dark romances. If the Kindle best seller lists are any indication, obsessive, possessive billionaire hitmen have lots of fans, but I just don’t happen to be one of them.

The bad boy I like the best has been through hell but still has his heart and humanity intact. He’s got charisma, he’s got courage. He’s a scarred, tattooed survivor. He plays by his own rules and somehow, seems to land (mostly) on his feet.

While the rest of the world might see him as a dangerous outsider, the heroine knows that on the inside, the bad boy is a good man.

He helps her step outside her safe world, and she knows that if things go wrong, he’ll be there to set them right. He’s seen the worst of life and lived to tell about it. And if he’s still trapped in a hell of his own making, she can be the reason he needs to change.

Those are qualities I’ve tried to bring to the hero of my new release, Shining Through, the fifth book in my Red Hot Russians contemporary romance series.

U.S. figure skating champion Tabitha Turner has spent her life living up to others’ (and her own) high expectations. Heading into her final competitive season, she’s feeling the pressure and keenly aware of everything that she’s sacrificed in order to become one of the world’s top skaters. When she meets Russian skater Daniil Andreev, she’s drawn like a magnet, despite his reputation for trouble.

Daniil, the son of a Russian oligarch and a British supermodel, has spent most of his life rebelling against his family, an oppressive coach, and the Russian sports ministry, which never approved of him. Heading into a Winter Games season he’s determined to put his mistakes behind him and establish himself as a contender for gold.

When Tabitha tempts him to help her take a secret walk on the wild side, he gives her a taste of the freedom she craves, never expecting that one unforgettable night will turn into something more.

One of the things I love most about Daniil and Tabitha is that they accept each other and at the same time, inspire one another to grow and change.

Bad boy Daniil helps Tabitha find the courage to set aside her manufactured Ice Queen image and be true to herself, both in skating and in life. Good girl Tabitha inspires Daniil to set aside his past hurts and never give up on his dream.

Excerpt

“After a tough day on the ice, she’s hitting the hard stuff.”

Daniil Andreev leaned against a tall table, a few feet away. Dressed in skinny jeans, a black leather jacket, and with smudged liner around his eyes, he looked like a member of Green Day who’d wandered into the wrong party.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she snapped, angry that the mere sight of him brought flushed cheeks and noodle-knees.

He came and stood beside her at the bar. His dark eyes looked that much darker because of the smoky color surrounding them. His lashes were so long, she wondered if he was wearing mascara too. Regardless, it took nothing away from his masculinity. It took guts and confidence to carry off the look. Daniil had both.

“Nothing bad, I promise. I enjoyed your program today.”

Tabitha shut off her phone. “I’m glad someone did.”

“I’ve been where you are.” He spoke in a quiet voice and leaned closer. She caught a whiff of Polo Black. He would have to wear her favorite men’s fragrance. “Not only are you disappointed for not skating as well as you hoped, you feel you disappointed others.”

She tried to shrug off the hurt. “No one said this season would be easy.”

“Are any of them?”

His penetrating gaze searched to see behind her public face. Too bad for him, she was a pro at keeping it hidden. She stirred the ice in her drink and offered a careful smile. “So you’ve been where I am. How did you deal with it?”

“I used it as motivation to prove everyone wrong and did what I had to do to stay in the sport. Even things that hurt my pride.”

This sounded intriguing. “Like what?”

“Like training in Lake Shosha, instead of Moscow or Petersburg.” His casual shrug suggested there might be other things, but pushing for more seemed rude. Nor was she sure she wanted to know. “Anyway, three seasons ago, everyone thought my career was over. Everyone except me. Now, I’m on the verge of making it to Grenoble. Whether I get there because of bronze medals, or gold, I’m there just the same.”

Tabitha knew she put too much pressure on herself, but her entire career had been about succeeding against the odds and you didn’t do that without striving for perfection. “Until today, not making the team was just this vague notion I tried not to think about. Now it feels like something that could really happen. But I can’t let it. I’ve worked too hard to fail now.”

“You aren’t going to fail.”

He spoke slowly, enunciating each word. His tone was gentle, but insistent. He believed in her, and she felt bolstered by it, even if she didn’t share it. “You sound so sure.”

His gaze held hers, and a spark of attraction flew between them. “I am.”

Giveaway

Two very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of their choice from The Red Hot Russians series by Elizabeth Harmon.


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

10 comments:

  1. Shining Through sounds like a fascinating romantic story that puts the world of competitive figure skating under the spotlight. My favourite kind of romance hero is a combination between the playboy and the bad boy.

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    1. Hi Solange, Daniil has been a playboy in the past, but this season, he's all about skating--at least until he meets Tabitha. Writing sports romance set in figure skating has been a lot of fun, and I love it when new readers are drawn in.

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  2. It sounds great! I like my romantic heroes on the tattooed rough but sweet side :)

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  3. Replies
    1. Good luck Raymond and thanks for commenting.

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  4. I have to say, I much prefer a heroine, though he has to have a spine! I like men who show human foibles and know them!

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    1. Ruth, Daniil has made mistakes in his past and is trying hard to correct them, but fears it might be too late. Tabitha who has overcome so much to become one of the world's top figure skaters, inspires him not to give up. thanks for commenting

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  5. I love romance stories and ice skating so I am looking forward to reading this! I love a hero that is strong, kind, and has his stuff together.

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    1. Daniil has the strong and kind parts down and wants very much to get his stuff together. Falling in love with Tabitha gives him the best reason yet. Thanks for commenting

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