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Review – Pairing off by Elizabeth Harmon

Pairing Off
Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: NetGalley
Reviewer: MinnChica

A scandal-plagued American figure skater’s last chance at gold means pairing up with Russia’s sexiest male skater…who happens to be the first man she ever loved.

“The Cutting Edge” with a Russian twist.

American pairs figure skater Carrie Parker’s Winter Games dreams were dashed when her philandering partner caused one of the greatest scandals in skating history. Blacklisted from competing in America, her career is over…until she receives a mysterious invitation and is reunited with the most infuriating, talented—and handsome—skater she’s ever met.

Russian champion Anton Belikov knows sacrifice. He gave up a normal life and any hope of a meaningful relationship to pursue his dream. And he’s come close—with a silver medal already under his belt, the next stop is the gold. All he needs is a partner. While he’s never forgotten the young American skater he seduced one long-ago night in Amsterdam, he never expected to see her again…never mind skate with her.

When what starts as a publicity stunt grows into something real between them, Carrie and Anton’s partnership will test their loyalties to family, country, and each other. With only a few months to train for the competition of a lifetime, can they master technique and their emotions, or will they lose their footing and fall victim to the heartaches of their pasts?
*Blurb from Goodreads*

Let’s be honest, “The Cutting Edge” with a Russian twist was enough for me to request this book before even reading the rest of the blurb. I loved that movie so hard!! 🙂

Carrie is down on her luck, her partner was caught cheating on the international stage, and she was shunned by association. The chance to skate with Anton might be her last chance to really make a name for herself in the ice skating world. But she has had a huge crush on Anton since the first time they met as teenagers. Keeping her emotions out of the ice rink might be a problem.

Anton has always felt a kind of pull toward Carrie, so when his partner up and leaves him, he requests Carrie to be his partner. Between the language barrier, and learning to skate with a new partner, Anton and Carrie develop a sweet friendship, but Anton wants more than to be just friends. With a big publicity stunt, he might get his wish.

While there were a lot of things I liked about this book, I did have a few issues with it. Mainly the fact that Anton was so wishy-washy about his ex-partner and girlfriend. She was a horrible person, and yet he just went along with it, even after he developed feelings for Carrie, because he didn’t want the drama of dealing with the BS. I can’t say I blame him for not wanting to deal with it, but he was just so blah about it, and that annoyed the romantic in me.

That being said, I did really like this book overall. Carrie and Anton were so different and yet so perfect for each other. Carrie was quiet and reserved and didn’t want to rock the boat because of her experiences with her previous partners. She was a hard worker and an all around sweetheart character. I adored her immensely, and thought she was the shining star of this book.

While I had some issues with Anton, I loved the way he treated Carrie and fell for her. He was seriously taken by her, and he wanted nothing more than the be with her. He was kind and caring and took the time to help her around Russia, learn the language, and acclimate to her new way of life. The way he romanced her really helped me look past his behavior toward his ex and enjoy him as a hero.

I loved that the setting played such a big role in the book as well. Russia itself became another character. The way Carrie explored the city and country and fell in love with it was so fun to read. I absolutely love when a book really incorporates it’s location into a book so deeply. 🙂

All in all I thought this was a unique and fun sports romance book. It wasn’t typical or conventional, but it was still fun and sexy and a wonderful romance. While I found the end to be a bit cheesy, it was the good kind of cheese! 🙂
I give Pairing Off a B-

 

By MinnChica

MinnChica can usually be found with her nose in a book (or nook), and can ALWAYS find a few minutes to read: stuck at a red light, sitting in the doctors office, on her lunch break. She's so addicted to reading that her family frequently threatens to host an intervention. Currently MinnChica is devouring every romance book she can get her hands on, especially ones that feature 'friends to lovers' stories. Some of her favorite authors currently are Ilona Andrews, Jill Myles, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh and Susan Mallery.

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