Book Review: Balance (Off Balance #1) by Lucia Franco #BookReview #Balance


By Lucia Franco


My thoughts:

I apologize in advance if my review offends some, but these are my true feelings about the book. This review does contain a few spoilers. 

After a very involved conversation with a good friend over this book, I had to read it to see for myself what all the fuss was about.

After reading All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, I was challenged with similar content as far as underage sex, but it was something I could overlook based on the 13-year-old’s character and how she was raised. In this book we have Adrianna, a 15-year-old who is fairly mature for her age. She’s practically emancipated from her parents because they’re never around and Adrianna spends the majority of her time in gymnastics training. She does love her parents, but doesn’t have much guidance from them at all due to their absence. Now, Adrianna has decided that she wants to up her game and begin training at a new facility. Her dad finds her a gym where the coach is actually one of his friends. She’ll be living here a few hours from home and training 40+ hours a week as she works to be part of the World Cup elite team. After taking one look at her new coach (Kova), she about falls to the floor. He’s that gorgeous–very different from Adrianna’s past coaches.

This book was ‘meh’ for me at best, probably because of the age gap between Kova and Adrianna. I couldn’t get into their ‘romance’ which really isn’t a romance at all because there’s zero love. Plus, I just flat-out didn’t like these characters and thought Adrianna was disrespectful and incredibly annoying. Kova who’s 32 years old isn’t much more mature than Adrianna either; in fact, he’s incredibly irresponsible and cheats on his other girlfriend while repeatedly offering the morning after pill to Adrianna so she doesn’t get pregnant. Also, he thinks by waiting to have sex with Adrianna until she’s 16 puts him in the safe zone, but he’s wrong. Sure, consenting age is 16, but from what the law says, 32 years old is not within the legal age bracket.

I personally found certain sexual descriptions disgusting too and it was hard to endure. Adrianna’s parents are jerks and her mom doesn’t even care when she gets an injury. The only character that was bearable here was Hayden, Adrianna’s teammate and friend. So, you can see why I just really didn’t enjoy this book.

The blurb is deceivingly disastrous too. Why wasn’t it mentioned in the blurb that Adrianna was only 15 years old going on 16? If there were a disclaimer, people could choose whether or not to read it. I feel like that’s an important detail that was left out with controversial behavior such as this.

I’ve read this entire book from front to back. If I were to rate it based on the writing alone I’d give it four stars, but it doesn’t seem right to rate it that high because this wasn’t a book I truly enjoyed. Books are entertainment, and here we are with a story that seems very relevant. These things happen, whether they’re right or wrong, and I’m not sure the author is promoting underage sex by writing a story such as this. The underage law was mentioned multiple times in the story. To me, when you write a story like this, It doesn’t mean you condone these behaviors, but with this being categorized as an erotic romance, I can understand how some see it that way and feel that a precedent is being set.

When reading books like this I remind myself of other stories or genres like crime and murder. Murder is illegal as well and people still get away with it all the time. There are many stories with troubling content like rape, and child abuse as well, just like in the movies. These aren’t favorites for me which is why I don’t read them that often. While this book isn’t for me, I’m not going to beat the author down for writing it. The author writes well; however, the story was a bit drawn out at 600+ pages. I won’t be continuing with this series; however, I might check out more books by this author in the future.

2.5 stars

This book has been removed from Amazon for the time being, but can still be found on Goodreads:

  • Paperback, 608 pages
  • Published September 1st 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (first published August 28th 2016)
  • ISBN: 1536882941 (ISBN13: 9781536882940)
  • Language: English
  • Series: Off Balance #1

From Goodreads:

Adrianna Rossi is no stranger to the rigorous demands required of her body. Years of pain and determination make her one of the best. Olympic glory is the ultimate goal, and she’ll do anything to achieve it. Even if that means leaving home to attend World Cup Academy of Gymnastics, a training center that serves one purpose—producing champions.

Perfection, precision, and dedication are required of his athletes. When two time Olympian Konstantin Kournakova is persuaded into training the young hopeful, he immediately regrets it. She doesn’t come close to his high standards. As the relentless pursuit of her dream keeps her striving, a passion is ignited within him.

Kova’s power and domination, coupled with Adrianna’s fierce tenacity, reveal there is more for her body to learn. Every interaction can be misconstrued, but there’s no mistaking the darkening of his gaze, the lingering of his touch, or the illicit image of his bare skin pressed against hers. Integrity is on the line. One toe off the beam and their forbidden desires could ruin everything they’ve worked for, throwing it all off balance.

WARNING: This novel contains explicit content.

Thanks for reading my review. Have you read this book? Feel free to leave your comments below.

♥️ Mischenko

16 thoughts on “Book Review: Balance (Off Balance #1) by Lucia Franco #BookReview #Balance

    1. That’s obviously the big issue here: people aren’t happy with the category. I guess it shouldn’t be considered a romance. When I think of Fifty Shades, there’s more of a relationship there. If I remember correctly, don’t they stay together and have a baby? In this story, there certainly isn’t love at all. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never made it to the third book so I don’t know how it ended. The only thing that did keep me going was that there was a romance of sorts. I agree with you. I read something last year (maybe the year before) that called itself an erotic romance but it was long…very long on romance. That kind of thing befuddles (hmm…just aged myself there, right? lol) those of us looking for romance and not just sex in our novels. It also shows that a lot of writers (and readers) don’t understand what true romance is. (Kicking out the soapbox now. Phew! 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Lydia

    Great review. I appreciate your honesty. I’ve been curious about this book for a while. I was a teenager once and I know what I was like at that age. Without oversharing, I’ll just say: right or wrong, I don’t blame anyone for the choices I made; I own them. I’m curious to see how much of myself I’d see in Adrianna. When I read, I see the world through the eyes of the main characters and let’s face it, fiction is a reflection of the real world. It’s not alway unicorns and rainbows. Trolling fiction writers and demanding their books be banned will not change our reality.

    Thanks for posting your review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lydia. I appreciate your thoughts on it. My goodness! Some of the things I did as a teen…it’s such a confusing time, at least it was for me. If we could go back and relive it, I’m sure we would all change things. I had a best friend who’s sister was out having sex at 13, but she was so mature for her age. This is probably why I can overlook the age in this book. The story seemed very relevant to me. I just really didn’t like these characters. In hindsight, it’s clear there are issues going on with Adrianna and her family life too. Being a gymnast is all she’s got and lacking parental love hurts. You should definitely read it and see what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts. ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. starjustin

    I definitely agree with what you said about the blurb. It makes it sound like its totally the coaches choice, without influence from Adrianna, to enter the relationship. I just don’t get it how this type of story can end up being 600 pages. I guess I would have to read the book to understand. But this one is not my genre and I think I’ll skip it.
    Great review Jen! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh and it’s not him first at all. There is a lot going on with her training and the other teammates in the story. Plus he has a girlfriend. There’s a lot going on. Even so, I’m not sure how it’s that long either, but it is. Thanks for your thoughts. ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, and because he was a jerk a lot of the time, I just couldn’t get into it. Parenting is hard, but these parents are flat out absent and just busy with their lives. The only good thing is that because they’re rich, Adrianna doesn’t have to want for much material wise.

      Thanks, Yesha. ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. See, the thing that is different about crime fiction (or the violent sf that I’ll dip into) is that most people, even in the story, acknowledge that murder is wrong (crime fiction) or that their actions aren’t normal and right (violent sf), this though, it sounds like it is pushing under-age sex as a good and right thing.

    But once you let one perversion through the door, you can’t dis-allow any others. And it is happening in real life…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, when I first wrote my review I was referencing Stephen King, but then took it out because it isn’t right to make comparisons I suppose. I had some of his horror books in mind. Authors write about a lot of different things. Jodi Picoult wrote one once about a priest who molested a young boy and it’s a little graphic. Others I’ve read have serial killing and rape. I guess my point is that I don’t think authors are always condoning the behaviors because they include them in their story. With this book, it’s another ballgame I guess because the book is categorized as erotic romance and this takes up much of the book. She did include the underage sex laws for Florida in at least three conversations in the book.

      You make a really good point as usual. I’m certainly not for it, especially when there isn’t even a relationship here, but other people seem to have no problem with it. Yes, this is happening in real life and the story is relevant. When I was in high school (over 20 years ago 😂) there were girls who were having sex with at least two of our teachers. Everyone knew about it and nothing was done.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, King and his IT and the scene with the kids was beyond the pale. I tend to block that out of my mind when thinking about IT, as I enjoyed the rest of the book a lot. But when I do remember, I have no problems with me no longer reading him.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Before I commented, I read all the others. I am not going to repeat what everyone else said, but will share my salient points.
    1. The blurb is very deceiving and if I had bought this book based on what the blurb says, not knowing what they left out, I would have been very upset.
    2. If it is your genre (erotica) then you may enjoy this one, but the age difference may upset some people.
    3. I am glad that they mention that the relationship is breaking the law, several times. You are right, we read about murder, rape, assault, drunk driving etc. and they are all against the law as well.

    Great review Jenn. You shared your thoughts well and explained what you personally liked and disliked. That is all a reviewer can do. Interesting that this book has been removed from Amazon. Hmmmmmm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carla. I appreciate your thoughts on it. The big issue too is that people don’t think it qualifies as a romance. I believe that’s why it was taken down from Amazon, but I’m not sure. Not sure if it will be back up or not. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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