REVIEW – Grasping Air by Carrie Aarons

Title: Grasping Air
Author: Carrie Aarons
Series: Flipped #2
Release Date: October 23, 2016

We were the seconds after a grip released the bar, body floating through the air with nervous wonder. Would we successfully grab it again, or would we hit the mat, shattered and defeated?

Peyton Adams learned a long time ago that selfish and detached is the only way to be in life. What most people call shameless or obnoxious behavior, she considers key to getting where she needs to go. Most disapproving of all? USA Gymnastics’ golden boy with an eight-pack, Jared Hargrove. After being cut from the women’s team right before Rio, Peyton is back on the post-Summer Games tour. Not only is she the only one without a gold medal, but her history with Jared won’t stay buried for long.

Control and good manners; the two things drilled into Jared Hargrove’s head from birth. As a four-time gold medalist, he’s always obeyed the rules and reaped the reward. Well, except for the whirlwind week four years ago in London when wild-child Peyton Adams finally got under his skin, and into his bed. She broke his heart, and he hasn’t removed the ice wall around it since. Now she’s back to redeem herself to the world of gymnastics, and it seems, to push his buttons more than ever.

After years of resentment and heartache, can they repair a relationship so badly broken that most people wouldn’t even try? Or will they continue to fall, grasping at any last emotion before they finally collapse?

Bs Review

Carrie Aarons returns readers to the world of Olympic gymnastics with Grasping Air, the second novel in the Flipped series and Peyton and Jared’s story. Told with all of the sparkle and passion that I’ve come to love from this author, this second chance romance was sweet, sassy and overflowing with feels. Having met Jared and Peyton in Blind Landing and getting a preview of their undeniable attraction, I was thrilled to finally hear their story. Thrown together on tour, the small confines of the bus made for some seriously heady sexual tension, plenty of sarcastic banter and the kind of scorching chemistry that threatened to set the pages on fire. I adored getting to know this couple. Peyton’s spontaneity clashed with Jared’s tightly controlled temperament to guarantee an entertaining and unexpected story. Fun, flirty and fantastically feisty, Grasping Air was a light-hearted read and a great addition to the series. 

“It doesn’t make sense that such a serious man and such a wild woman could come together and burn hotter than a supernova. But we do.”

I enjoyed getting to unravel Jared and Peyton over the course of the story. Their opposite personalities and drastically different upbringings made them an ideal match. Jared and Peyton pushed each other’s buttons, forcing one another to reveal pieces of themselves they’d prefer to keep secret, and resulting in some great growth from both characters. I was hoping for a little more exploration of Jared and Peyton’s outside relationships. While I was glad to see Jared with his family and the brief glimpses we got of the couple with the other gymnasts, they felt a bit isolated in this book. I would have liked to further explore Peyton’s relationship with Natalia. I think it would have helped make Peyton relatable and her behavior a little easier to forgive knowing the kind of loyalty and love she was capable of. I did enjoy the moments Jared and Peyton spent with the rest of the team. Seeing how easily they fit into one another’s lives and experiencing the camaraderie they shared with their friends brought some much needed laughter and levity to this story.

“In all of the turmoil between us, I’d forgotten how truly radiant we were during the good moments. How high we’d soared, how fast we’d swung.”

I had some issues with the pacing of this novel. There were a few times where the story moved a little too slowly for my tastes and I would have preferred a bit more depth in terms of the emotional development of Jared and Peyton’s relationship. For instance, I felt like we barely got to experience what happened between them the first time around and that undermined my ability to fully invest in their reconciliation. While I personally wanted a bit more substance and emotional angst from this novel, it should be noted that this book was every bit the sweet, entertaining read I thought it would be. I absolutely adored the premise of Grasping Air. I appreciated the way Carrie Aarons twisted the Olympic gymnastics storyline into something fresh and unique. While this book definitely felt like part of the series, it was its own dynamic and enjoyable entity. If you’re looking for something smart, funny and full of life then Grasping Air definitely delivers and Carrie Aaron’s passion for her characters and the world she has so carefully crafted absolutely shines through.

Rating

Cs Review

Carrie Aarons has once again dazzled me with her enchanting world of gymnastics. Her characters are fun and vivacious, always leaving me wanting more. Grasping Air follows the tumultuous relationship between Peyton and Jared, and boy did it create some serious somersaults. I absolutely adored the push and pull of their relationship and found myself constantly on edge wondering what would happen next.

“While I’m not running in the opposite direction, I’m also not going anywhere near Jared Hargrove. Because not only will he burn me, he’ll ruin me. Completely.”

These two characters truly epitomize the definition of opposites attract. Where one was loud and outgoing, the other was quiet and reserved. Where one liked having focus and something to keep him grounded, the other was a free spirit and appreciated her wings. While Peyton drove me somewhat crazy in the beginning, the insight into her emotions and thoughts were invaluable. She constantly put on this tough exterior, only to hide the bruises on her psyche. While her actions or words weren’t always done in a considerate manner, it was knowing how vulnerable she was that made me soften to her and come to really love and adore who she was. Jared was the opposite in that he didn’t seem like the grudge holding type, yet in those moments of anger and frustration, he was a volcano boiling over. I kind of loved seeing him lose control, whether in anger or passion, because it added that much depth to his personality. What resulted from these two polar opposite characters was an explosive relationship in both the ups and downs. They fought hard, but learned to love harder, and it made this reader fall in love too!

“Because letting someone else in, to protect, help and support you, that required giving away a piece of your heart. I’d paid that price before. And it was far too high.”

My only complaint about this novel was the pacing of it. At times, I wished for more action to drive the plot forward. It’s not that there was anything wrong per say, but for my personal taste, I was left wanting just a little more. There were a couple lulls that I think could have been filled with a deeper connection (i.e. bringing Peyton home for the first time) and it would have kept me invested just a smidge more. That being said, there’s something about a gymnast that will get me every single time. Throw in the fact that both the hero and the heroine take part, plus some time with the couple from the first book, and I was sold. Grasping Air by Carrie Aaron’s was a tumbling pass that mesmerizes you, a bar routine that leaves you gasping, and a vault that makes you hold your breath until that landing is stuck. It’s definitely one that left this judge smiling!

Rating

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Blind Landing (Flipped #1)

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REVIEW – Blind Landing by Carrie Aarons

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Title: Blind Landing
Author: Carrie Aarons
Series: Flipped #1
Release Date: August 4, 2016

Blind Landing

Synopsis

Fear stops dreams in their tracks before they even have a chance. Then again, so do injuries.

Natalia Grekov was born to win a gold medal. As the USA’s top gymnast, she’s calm, confident and ready to make her country proud in just two short months. And her elite athlete lifestyle includes no time for distractions—especially men. When a disastrous fall in practice puts her dreams at risk, it seems the only person who can help her is the one person she wants nothing from.

Spencer Russell is gymnastics’ bad boy. A cocky, laid-back charmer with abs of steel and a witty mouth, he waltzes around the U.S. Gymnastics Training Camp like he owns the place—even though he doesn’t anymore. After an injury sidelined his career and any chance at glory, he’s now just a coach, helping other gymnasts reach their goals. Serious is not a word in Spencer’s vocabulary. But when Natalia tumbles into his life, he’s suddenly sincerely interested in helping the blonde beauty in any way he can.

Can they vault over the obstacles standing in their way? Or will Spencer be the distraction that causes Natalia’s chance at gold to crash and burn?

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Bs Review

Carrie Aarons delivers a sweet, sexy, and delightfully sassy gymnastics romance with Blind Landing. Natalia and Spencer’s story was fun and refreshing, the kind of book that lets you escape reality while you lose yourself in the excitement of chasing Olympic dreams. Having never read anything by this author before, I enjoyed the fresh, natural voice with which this story was told and her easy writing style. Natalia and Spencer were utterly addictive. Not only did they understand each other and the sacrifices that life as an elite gymnast demands, but they made each other laugh, cheered each other on, and shared a chemistry that was downright combustible. I loved the connection that Carrie Aarons orchestrated between Natalia and Spencer. It felt genuine and, despite their best efforts to keep things casual, deep. Their electric personalities and the secretive nature of their relationship led to plenty of delicious tension, flirtatious banter, and heated exchanges that kept me coming back for more.

“My body feels like it’s speeding for this immovable object, like I’m running full speed down the runway at the vaulting horse and I just need to get there to feel that flying, tumbling, out of control weightlessness.”

I had a lot of fun getting to know Natalia and Spencer. While they certainly sizzled as a couple, it was their individual character growth that really intrigued me. Natalia’s fear of injury and Spencer’s lost Olympic dreams definitely made for some emotional moments and Carrie Aarons utilized these vulnerabilities to allow the characters to relate and eventually unravel one another. Natalia was feisty, driven, and sarcastic – a great combination that had me easily connecting with her. While I would have liked a little more detail concerning her fear and it’s initial development in order to really understand the mental block she was facing, I liked the way we got to see her working to overcome it. Natalia’s strength, independence, and fierce loyalty made her the kind of character you can’t help but root for and I found myself wholly invested in her from the very first page.

“One step closer to Rio means one step closer to you having to stop avoiding defining whatever it is we’re doing.”

Spencer was cocky, hilarious, and absolutely yummy. While that was more than enough to have me crushing hard, it was his pure love of the sport that made me absolutely swoon. I love a hero who believes in something so completely; it hints at his ability to give that kind of devotion to the right woman and makes my heart all sorts of fluttery. I would have liked to further explore Spencer’s career-ending injury and the emotional aftermath in order to better understand some of his choices and behavior. However, Carrie Aarons did do a great job utilizing his various relationships in order to reveal the true nature of the character. The support and encouragement Spencer showed his gymnasts, his closeness with his parents, and dedication to Natalia’s success painted a great picture of the kind of man Spencer was beneath the bravado and witty repartee. Carrie Aarons really had me head over heels for her sexy, funny, and passionate hero.

“That’s what love does to you. It makes you feel on top of the world. Like you’re hitting the peak of the best fucking tumbling pass you’ve ever done. And then it brings you crashing to earth. Landing on your neck and breaking your whole body.”

My one issue with this book was the pacing. The first half of the story moved very slowly, and while I enjoyed getting to know the characters, it was almost too leisurely to really hook me right away. Luckily, things eventually picked up and when they did I found myself riveted to the story. I absolutely adored the group of secondary characters that Carrie Aarons has put together. Each peripheral personality promises an intriguing journey of their own and I’m already anxious to get my hands on the next book in the series. I also have to applaud Carrie Aarons on her ability to transport the reader into the world of elite gymnastics so thoroughly. This book was informative, colorful, and overflowing with emotion, allowing me a glimpse into a world that, as an outsider, I’ve never really understood. The incredible detail and vibrant imagery had me living the highs and lows of Natalia’s Olympic journey right alongside her. Carrie Aarons has definitely made me a fan and I’ll absolutely be back for more of the Flipped series!

Rating
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Cs Review

With it being the Olympic season, and gymnastics my favorite sport to watch, I was so excited to see a novel release that would pull readers into a world of flips and tumbling, drama and romance. Blind Landing from Carrie Aarons certainly fit the bill and left me wanting more, more, more! She perfectly balanced a glimpse into the excitement and hype that surrounds athletes’ endeavors to the Olympics with a steamy romance from fun characters.

“Because while I might not have time for distractions like boys or love, it’s clear the universe has other plans. Because it put Spencer Russell directly in my path.”

Perhaps where Aarons excelled the most was in her witty banter and flirty exchanges between the hero and heroine. Given the circumstances of these two characters, there were a lot of innuendos and underhanded remarks. It really created an instant liking to them, purely because of how similar to my personality I found each of them to be. I could easily see both Spence and Nat hanging out with my group of friends on a weekend. Aside from the insane level of chemistry they had together, I really liked each of them as individuals. Nat was so goal-oriented and dedicated to achieving her dream. However, I also loved seeing her acknowledge and overcome the obstacles that were standing in her way. Spence was a hero that I instantly swooned over; he was everything a coach should be. Furthermore, he had all those qualities that I look for in a book boyfriend; he was charming and sweet, funny and supportive, the perfect ten.

“That’s why I love this sport. The things we do with our bodies, they should be impossible. For most people they are. But I’m one of the lucky few that has the ability to do them. And trust me, it makes you feel invincible.”

Aarons also does a fantastic job at bringing the world of gymnastics alive without drowning her readers in it. I found myself smiling when I understood the terminology and could really imagine the different things happening because of how much of a fan I am. However, I think there was also enough of a greater storyline and drama that people who value a good romance would like it as well. Furthermore, she raises awareness about some of the issues facing not only gymnasts, but athletes and general, and I truly appreciated seeing that. Blind Landing was a fast-paced read, perfect for cuddling up with after watching the actual games happening on TV. The author has certainly intrigued me and I’ll be watching for future books that feature the secondary characters!

Rating
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Blind Landing

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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

Grasping Air (Flipped #2)

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Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Author Links

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