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Pairing Off (Red Hot Russians) by Elizabeth…
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Pairing Off (Red Hot Russians) (edition 2015)

by Elizabeth Harmon (Author)

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Member:no1bookaddict
Title:Pairing Off (Red Hot Russians)
Authors:Elizabeth Harmon (Author)
Info:Carina Press (2015), 250 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Rating:****
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Pairing Off by Elizabeth Harmon

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Ice-skating - An awe inspiring sport where poise, grace and beauty take center stage. With her Red Hot Russians series, Ms. Harmon gives her readers an up close and personal look at the drive of the athlete. The successes and losses, as well as backstabbing betrayals that are often overlooked within this beautiful sport. Through fictional characters we get a look at the drama behind the scenes of it all. Pairing Off is the first book in the series. Through no fault of her own, Carrie lost out due to the scandalous actions of her partner. At a crossroads, she receives a second chance to fulfill all her hopes and dreams, but it comes at a price. An injured partner, a foreign country and a complicated relationship are at the forefront of this second chance story. How far will she go to succeed? Good start. ( )
  Lashea677 | Feb 16, 2019 |
I wanted to love this book so much. I've had it on my watch list for a couple of years, waiting for the price to come down enough to justify my purchase of it, as this is a new-to-me author and I pretty much make it a habit not to buy blind. I absolutely fell in love with this year's Olympic ice dancing competition, which made me think about this book and check its price to see if it happened to be on sale since figure skating was at the fore of the Games. Hooray, it was! I snapped it up without a second thought.

The description is pretty much 1000% my catnip, but unfortunately the book did not live up to its premise. I agree with pretty much everything Rhode wrote in her review, plus the following:

(1) The printed Russian language business bothered me. For one thing, you can't print it, like block lettering - it's written in script (I should know, my four years of language training are the reason I can't write in cursive in English anymore). So that bit stood out to me in an otherwise decent rendering of the language and the characters' use of it. Cyrillic is not that hard to learn, and once you do, everything is spelled exactly the way it sounds, so it should not have taken Carrie so long to grasp it. The grammar is hell, but she should have had more functional illiteracy than she did at the beginning.

(2) The characters had uneven development, which affected their chemistry. Anton had much richer characterization, and was much better written/internally consistent. There were lots of little details about him (like blaring Finnish death metal, his colorful apartment, his disregard for "man-wax," hehe) Carrie did not have the same depth. She was basically completely spineless and allowed everyone in her life to walk all over her. Her Big Guilty Secret was NBD (and the anguish she had over keeping said secrets from Anton was eyeroll-inducing).

(3) The internal pacing felt off to me - rushed in some parts, slowed to an excruciating crawl at others. The fact that the actual ice skating took a distinct second seat didn't help - there was no calendar to really anchor the events of the story. The lack of skating was a big disappointment, as I do like my sport romances to have a hefty dose of the actual sport instead of wallpaper.

(4) The [SPOILER]"fake" marriage plot was completely unnecessary. When I got to the reasoning behind it (to win over the judges!) I actually said "WTF" out loud, because seriously - WTF?? It was a terrible excuse to marry the pair off and the drama it caused in the end was OTT in a bad way. They were heading for the altar anyway, why not let them get there on their own?[SPOILER]

(5) There was a lot of telling instead of showing, and subsequently the whole Big Misunderstanding of hiding their secrets/feelings from each other was especially irritating. Considering all they went through, and their determination to make their fake marriage very, very real right from the start, one would hope/think their trust would have a stronger foundation that what was portrayed here. I didn't buy the instalust or the pining that either of them had about a drunken romp in Amsterdam seven years prior to meeting again.

I finished the book, and I did enjoy it (hence the 3 stars), but I didn't love it like I wanted to. I purchased two more books in this series at the same time as this one, snapping them up while the sale was still good, and I hold out hope that it will improve from here. We'll see. ( )
  eurohackie | Sep 23, 2018 |
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