Friday, March 2, 2018

Jen's Review: On the Brink of Passion

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on March 29th for a chance to win an ecopy of your own!

On the Brink of Passion by Tamsen Parker
Publisher: Swerve (March 6, 2018)
Series: Snow and Ice Games, 5
Genre: Contemporary Romance

At the last Snow and Ice Games, Jubilee Buford and her husband and partner Stephen Wallace were on top of the pairs figure skating world. The newlyweds won gold and their future looked bright. But just months after she thought her world couldn’t get any more perfect, Jubilee lost everything. After a scrapped attempt at a solo career, her coach found her a new partner and new possibilities in Beckett Hughes.

Beckett’s had a hard time finding a partner to compete with. Someone who’s as aggressive as he is, someone who’s given up as much of their life as he has for success. He finally found a fit with Jubilee two years ago. She’s not much fun to skate with, but Beckett doesn’t need fun; he needs precision and effort and there Jubilee delivers.

When a housing mix-up in the Snow and Ice village forces them to room with each other, they’re suddenly compelled to recognize each other’s human side. And as Jubilee and Beckett start to see each other as people instead of robots on skates, they discover that they’ve got chemistry between the sheets as well as on the ice. But the flames between them in the bedroom might melt any chance they have at medaling, and that outcome is not acceptable to either one, or the country that’s counting on them to bring home the gold and the glory.

Where to Buy*:
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Reviews for Parker's Books:

Content warning: Loss of a previous partner, grief

Jen's Review:

The Snow and Ice games has been a pretty solid series for me, and I’m a little sad to see this come to an end with On the Brink of Passion, the final book. Even when I had quibbles with some of the plotting, I enjoyed all of these characters and relationships. Each book is linked together by this fictional Winter Olympics-type event, but each book is different. This isn’t a series where I feel like I’m seeing the same characters meet over and over again---each one feels unique! It’s not an exaggeration to say that there’s something for everyone in this series.

On the Brink of Passion stars two figure skating partners, Jubilee and Beckett. Due to a mix-up in housing in the SIG village, they are accidentally placed in the same room. I truly love a good forced proximity plot! Jubilee and Beckett have been partners for two years, and know each other’s bodies intimately in the context of the skating rink, but living in close quarters makes them see each other as individuals.

As a content warning, the primary internal conflict for Jubliee is about grief and loss. Four years earlier, her husband and partner died, and she is devastated at having lost everything. She’s reclaimed her career, but she’s determined never to mix a relationship and a partnership again. It was just too hard to move on and she wants to protect her fragile heart. Beckett on the other hand, is hard-working and serious about his skating, but is looking forward to the revelry of the SIGs. As soon as Jubilee learns they’re roommates, she’s willing to do just about anything to keep him from disrupting her peaceful oasis of a suite with a bunch of random hook-ups.

I’ll be honest, the whole pretext for them getting together as sexual partners is at best a dare, and at worst two people determined to out-stubborn each other. I’m not entirely sure it worked for me, but their relationship changes and it forces them to examine what they mean to each other. This is a book with some uncomfortably awkward sex scenes, where Jubilee and Beckett figuring out what they need, want, and are willing to accept from each other. I often talk about how well authors use sex scenes to show growth in emotional intimacy; and this relationship between Jubilee and Beckett is almost a perfect example of how this can be developed. Tamsen Parker’s work in this series--her ability to show the relationship between body and mind and heart and partner---it is simply extraordinary.

I was incredibly moved by Jubilee’s struggles to move past her grief and fear, and with Beckett’s determination to respect her boundaries while still proving his love and loyalty. A lovely, perfect end to a satisfying series.


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Jen received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

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Thanks for the review, Jen! I really need to start this series! Which I have said for each review you've done. I'm horrible like that. *sigh*

Do you have a favorite winter sports type romance?


Until Next Time,

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