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Friday, July 10, 2015

"Turning It On" (Elizabeth Harmon) ★★★.5 with GIVEAWAY!!

Turning it On
Red Hot Russians # 2
By: Elizabeth Harmon
Releasing June 29, 2015
Carina Press


Book editor Hannah Levinson couldn’t be happier. This “Nice Jewish Girl” is ready to marry the man she’s longed after for half her life. When her fiancé suggests they audition for Last Fling, a steamy new reality show for engaged couples, she lets herself be swayed. Maybe she’ll learn a thing or two.

Vlad Shustov’s fall from a once-bright career as a competitive figure skater was swift. Now trapped by a shameful past and an uncertain future, “Vlad the Bad” strips for cash. Joining the cast of Last Fling could earn him a fortune—or at least enough to finally leave stripping. But to win the show’s prize, he must seduce an engaged woman, something he can't even bear the thought of.

Hannah's not like any woman Vlad's met before. Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and relegated to the ugly-duckling role she’d worked so hard to shed, can she trust there’s more to Vlad than meets the eye? With sleazy TV tactics shattering the last shreds of the contestants' confidence, they'll have to believe true happiness is not only may be looking right at them.


Hannah sighed and shook her head. “I’m not usually such an emotional mess. It’s just this show. This whole situation! Back there…” she flung her arm wide, in the direction of the mainland. “I’m successful. Accomplished. I have a great job. I live in New York City. Here, all anyone cares about is how hot I am. Or more to the point, how hot I’m not!
            Vlad  nodded sympathetically. “It’s TV. Unfortunately, sex sells better than other good qualities.”
            “Exactly! I can’t compete. I’m not like those other women, and I don’t even want to be. But I have no choice. Not unless I want to lose my fiancé to a scheming bimbo and have the entire nation talking about what a pathetic loser I am. It’s humiliating.”
            “You can always learn to be sexy.” Vlad looked her over. “You’ve got the right equipment. All you need is to learn to use it. I am around sexy women all the time. I could coach you. You know…sexy lessons.”
            “Sexy lessons?” She had to laugh at that. “I’ve never thought of sexy as a learned skill.”
            “It is, though. All about how you carry yourself.” He adjusted his posture and the set of his broad shoulders conveyed a confidence that was undeniably hot.          
            “And who better to teach me than a guy named Vlad the Bad who takes off his clothes for a living?”
            “As Uncle Ivan used to say, it pays to work with best coach you can find.”
            She laughed again, but didn’t entirely dismiss the idea. Putting a little strut in her stuff held surprising appeal. Yet what was the catch? A guy who willingly signed on for a trashy show like Last Fling must want something. “And in return?”
            He thought a moment and Hannah tensed, afraid of what he might ask. Then he gave a decisive nod. “I want you to read my book. Not just query, synopsis, “sorry not right for us,” but the whole thing. You don’t have to buy, but I want honest, professional critique of how to make it better.”
            Honest and professional? Yikes. What would she say if the book was god-awful, which it likely was? He’d pinned so much hope to it, she couldn’t bear to be the one to discourage him. On the other hand, at least she would be gentle and constructive. And if it was good, this was a chance to help him achieve his dream. She imagined taking the book to her boss. Sales and Marketing would drool over this hot Russian male stripper–turned-literary sensation. As would everyone else.  And if it kept Jack from Robynne’s clutches, it was worth the risk.  
            Vlad narrowed his eyes. “So do we have a deal?”
            A bit more certain, Hannah laughed and stuck out her hand. “Deal.”

"Turning It On" by Elizabeth Harmon.  This tells the story of Vlad and Hannah.  They meet on a reality show.  Being honest, I wasn't overly thrilled with the reality show concept, especially with this one dealing with infidelity.  Sadly, it's not so far fetched from shows that are on TV currently.  Hannah, a shy, sweet girl, gets caught up in the show with her fiancé.  While I liked Hannah, at times she irked me.  She isn't a very strong person and is extremely vulnerable.  I like a heroine to be stronger emotionally and mentally.  Vlad is a true Hero in that he looks to rescue Hannah.  And rescue him he does.  I did enjoy how he reaches out to help her grow into her own.   Other than the main characters, I didn't really care for the other players of the "show" and story.  Which, I suppose was the point of the author. since it is a reality tv show storyline.    However, I did like watching the relationship between Hannah and Vlad. It was a joy to see them develop and grow.  After reading the first book of the series (which isn't a necessity to read this one), I was a bit disappointed with this one.  I will still continue to read Ms. Harmon because, although this might not be a favorite, it is still well written and I have faith that the next one will be better.  (received copy for honest review)


I love stories that give a fresh take on classic themes, and feature characters and locations not often seen in romance. Give me a lovable, if less-than-perfect heroine, a gorgeous hero with a heart of gold, take them a little off the beaten path and I'm a happy girl.
I read a variety of genres-- romance to horror and just about everything in between. I am a member of Romance Writers of America. I have worked as a freelance journalist for a number of local publications and am a contributing writer to Romance Writers Report.
When I'm not writing, I love to ice skate, bike ride, hang out at the beach or on my front porch. I love vintage homes, adventurous cooking, spending time with my family and traveling.



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  1. Cat- thanks for hosting my blog tour and for your review of TURNING IT ON. The book was a blast to write and to research, as I learned a lot about how reality TV works behind the scenes and enjoyed incorporating some of those details into the story. I'm also glad you liked Vlad and Hannah's relationship. I'm a big fan of the "opposites attract" trope and loved having a sexy male stripper with a heroine you wouldn't expect. In honor of Magic Mike and all things male stripper, I'll share one of Vlad's strip songs, Hard to Handle by The Black Crowes. Picture a steamy tropic night, a deserted beach front bar, and enjoy.

  2. Thank you for hosting TURNING IT ON!