Doing it at: 73%
Catnip: Strong Female Lead; Circus; Russians; Piercings; Alpha; Las Vegas; Gymnasts Are So Bendy; CoHo Exception
Shame Scale: No shame, I read a paper copy of this and the cover is so pretty, I took it all over town with no qualms. Plus it reads like a Real Book.
Fantasy Cast: Cooper Neilson (I’m sorry that’s just where my brain goes!); Anna Kendrick
Love is a circus
“Every day,” he says lowly, “I hold a person’s life in my hands. The circus is based one-hundred percent off trust. I give it all to someone, and they give it all to me.”
The best aerial technique won’t land 21-year-old Thora James her dream role in Amour—a sexy new acrobatic show on the Vegas strip. Thora knows she’s out of her element the second she meets Amour’s leading performer. Confident, charming and devilishly captivating, 26-year-old Nikolai Kotova lives up to his nickname as the “God of Russia.”
When Thora unknowingly walks into the crosshairs of Nikolai’s after-show, her audition process begins way too soon. Unprofessional. That’s what Nik calls their “non-existent” relationship. It’s not like Thora can avoid him. For one, they may be partners in the future–acrobatic partners, that is. But getting closer to Nik means diving deeper into sin city and into his dizzying world.
Thora wants to perform with him, but when someone like Nikolai attracts the spotlight wherever he goes—Thora fears that she’s destined to be just background to his spellbinding show.
Amour Amour had all the catnip in the world for me, when I read the blurb online that it was like Center Stage at the circus I was So Sold. We’ve mentioned our Center Stage obsession more than once, right? Both Mary and I love dancing movies, and I’m still on my quest for a book about a male ballerina (besides Julian Marquet in the Dollanganger books of course), Nikolai the Russian-Aerialist-Alpha was pretty close to my dream though, guys.
Thora is a gymnast, with big dreams, who has come to Vegas to try out for Aerial Etherial (think Cirque de Soleil). There’s one tiny slot, and even though she’s never even done any of the required tricks professionally she’s still going to try. Thora has spunk ( we aren’t Lou Grant, we love spunk), and a positive attitude even though everyone in her life has pretty much told her she’ll never make it. Thora is all “F you guys, I’m living my dreams.” She uses a couch surfer app to find a place to stay during the auditions, which is how she and her rolly suitcase ends up at one of Vegas’ hottest clubs — exhausted and fresh off the airplane in her workout clothes and sneakers. And that’s how she ends up getting her nipple pierced by The God of Russia, right on the club floor. It’s complicated, please just read this one and see what goes down for yourself.
Thora and her freshly pierced nipple show up for her audition, and discover that this God of Russia is the star of the show she’s up for, and he doesn’t seem super thrilled to see her. And Thora thinks Nikolai (the God) is trying to sabotage her, by the time she figures out that he isn’t its pretty much too late, and she doesn’t land the role. But since she knows that going back to Ohio will result in her NEVER being in the circus, she chooses to stay in Vegas anyway and just try to get in with another troupe, or wait for another opening in AE. When Nikolai finds out that she isn’t leaving Vegas, he offers to train her. As friends. Even though he likes her spunk too, and thinks she’s cute, and kind of wants to spelunk her.
Nikolai’s introduced as intimidating, possibly wild, and irresponsible. Your typical bad boy hero, who will need “tamed” by our heroine. But in reality he’s a near perfect book boyfriend. He’s steady. The trustworthy rock that his family revolves around, who wants to help Thora regardless of how that effects him and his growing feelings for his little mouse. Always a sucker for a cute nickname, I’m pretty into how Nikolai calls her Myshka (which is Russian for little mouse). It doesn’t hurt that he’s also 6’5, ultra protective, and scorchingly hot. Good work, Ritchie Twins, we salute you.
Thora’s slow fall for Nikolai, and her astonishment that he’s actually falling for her are well written. A lot of our romance heroines are strikingly gorgeous but still playing all “aw shucks, no one could ever like me”, Thora is average. She’s cute, smart, cheerful, and determined. She feels as much like a Real Girl as a book character can get. The two are training together, sharing close quarters, and taking things very very slowly. Like really slowly. We didn’t get to the doing it in Amour Amour until 73% and I didn’t even care, I’m invoking the CoHo Exception.
Nikolai is a big guy all over, and Thora is petite, a lot of humor and hot talk is derived from Thora’s worry that they quite literally will not fit together physically.
Even a bitter tall girl can appreciate how hot it must be to have a man who is essentially your own private giant. And not a giant in a Hagrid type way. I was imagining their size difference being similar to Hayden Panetierre and HER Russian. But with Thora being much more delightful, and Nik being way hotter (tell me if I’m the right path here, K& B). They DO fit though, and it is everything a girl could hope for in her book commixtion.
Along with Nikolai we get his messy extended family, all of whom are in the circus and live in the hotel where Aerial Etherial perform. The Russian’s are fourth generation performers, and there’s no expectation that any of them will do anything EXCEPT be in the circus. Thora finds herself tangled up with Nik’s younger siblings: sweet, angsty Katya, kleptomaniac Luka, and flamboyant Timo. I was #TeamTimo from the moment we meet him at a blackjack table, clad in short shorts, a leather jacket, and cowboy boots. Can we get a Timo book? I’ll read it and recommend it to all of my friends and the internet at large.
Big raves for every aspect of Amour Amour, and while I was reading this, Mary was reading Addicted to You and loving it. We met the writers at the Black and Gold event and they are A-Dorable, now we’re super fans. If you’ve got a thing for circuses (maybe you also loved the Sweet Valley High Special Edition where Jessamyn Wakefield joins the circus as a bareback rider), or a thing for Russians, or a thing for sweet, funny, well written romance novels add Amour Amour to your must list.
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