Monday, October 12, 2015


These Battered Hands Laurel Ulen Curtis
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Cover Designer: Hang Le



Blood, sweat, hard work, and a disconcerting lack of tears—my entire life—was meant to culminate in a flourish of glory and significance.
I’d thought I’d always known exactly what that meant.
But I’d had the timing wrong by about three minutes.
I knew now.
This moment wasn’t everything. The one person I found myself wanting more than anything during it was.
One preconceived notion can haunt you for the entirety of your life.
I thought I owed it to myself and to everyone who’d ever backed me to do what wasexpected. What was right. What I was supposed to do.
But nothing is forbidden in love. Not circumstances or propriety or the denial of the object of said affection.
I knew now.
This was it.
If I wanted it, I had to take it.
This gymnastics love story is more than grips, rips, and battered hands. For Calia Nickleson and Nikolai Bagrov, it was everything.

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His eyes were like actual pools of watermoving, flowing, and changing color along with depth. Each time his focus shifted, so did mine, zeroing in on a new fleck of deep blue and trying to help it float through the much more abundant aqua. Their magnetism made it hard to focus on his words, but I wouldnt have traded those moments spent studying their nuances for all of the words in the dictionary.
Sure, looks were shallow and words could mean everything, but in those split seconds when his eyes changed before my own, I would have sworn on my every Olympic medal it was the opposite.
And right now, I needed the comfort of that feeling. I needed it to swaddle me in its warmth and make everything feel right again.
The word wrong had never been a concept worthy of my focus, but as I tried to make sense of what was happening, denying its existence was no longer an option.
Up felt like down and left very nearly tricked me into believing it was right.
Voices called out to me constantly and on repeat, but none of them were the one I wanted. Like they were speaking through water, every pronunciation of my name seemed foreign and unwelcome, and my brain did nothing but scream another.
I tried valiantly to talk my uncooperative body into bending to my will, but for the first time in my life it wouldnt.
Digging deep down into my gut, I found the last vestiges of my energy and willed them into one single action.
Into one single word.
Priorities shifted and silence mocked me.
My entire life had been a series of events all specifically driven toward this very moment. Id known all of my work was meant to culminate in a flourish of glory and significance. Id known thered be a second in time when I knew why each part of my life had played out the way it had. Why Id worked, why Id sweat, why Id fought to keep going well after most peoples journeys were done.
Id even known it would probably happen nowon this stage, in front of all of these people.
Id just had the timing wrong by about three minutes.
But I knew now.
This was it.
The thing I found myself wanting most during this momentthat was everything.
He was everything.

Calia is a professional gymnast heading for her third try at Olympic Gold. Calia eats, sleeps, and breaths gymnastics and doesn’t have a personal life. She is extremely closed off and comes across as a bomb waiting to explode because she is holding so much in.

Nik is a former gymnast hired by Calia’s father to train and coach her for the Olympics. Nik is kind of lost and lonely trying to deal with the loss of his parents 6 months prior. He took the job because he needed a change to help him cope. Nik is very good at seeing what is under Calia’s cold exterior and what she needs to hopefully win.

I did enjoy what I knew of Nik’s character but I had a hard time warming up to Calia. I would have liked more depth into both characters to feel a connection to the story. I am a fan of this author’s previous books but I wasn’t a huge fan of the style in These Battered Hands. The last word in each chapter hooked you into the first word of the next chapter. While I think it was unique and I give props for a new idea, it just didn’t work for me and messed up the flow.

These Battered Hands is an enjoyable read and for readers looking for something a bit different you may love this.
Nik meets Callie when he is hired as her new gymnastics coach. Callie is striving to make her third Olympics team and Nik is hired to help redine her techniques. I liked both characters, but I didn't really feel the connection between them. Overall, I liked the story, but it seemed disjointed at times.



Laurel Ulen Curtis is a 28 year old mother of one. She lives with her husband and son (and cat!) in New Jersey, but grew up all over the United States. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, and puts that to almost no use other than forecasting for her friends and writing a storm chasing heroine! She has a passion for her family, laughing, and reading and writing Romance novels. Shes also addicted to Coke. The drink, not the drug.




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