Author Guest Post
My Figure Skating Addiction
Many people ask me how I became such a big fan of figure skating. There aren’t any ice rinks near my city, and I’ve only stepped on the ice once in my life! I grew up watching every skating event on TV, but it wasn’t until I attended my first competition that my fandom turned into an addiction.
My addiction started innocently enough. A friend from college, who is also a die-hard fan of the sport, happened to be in Cleveland during the 2000 U.S. National Championships, and she called me from Gund Arena, so excited about everything she saw. She said we absolutely had to go to Boston for the 2001 Championships. I'd always loved watching Nationals on TV, but I was thinking, who really goes to those events?
My friend brought me the ticket order form, and before I knew it, we'd plunked down a few hundred dollars for All-Event tickets. I flew into snow-covered Boston in January 2001 and had no idea what I was getting into, how many different places I'd travel to during the next eleven years for competitions.
The first thing that jumped out at me in Boston was how the skaters I'd watched for years on TV were now walking all around me at the hotel and sitting next to me on the bus to the arena. I was completely star struck! I didn't know where to look first.
The next thing that blew me away was how bright and sparkly the costumes were in person. Remember, this was before HDTV became popular. When the first group of skaters came out on the ice, I felt like I was in that scene in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy steps out of the black and white wrecked house and into colorful Munchkin Land. I couldn't believe how every sequin glinted under the bright lights of the Fleet Center.
Watching the competition live as opposed to at home, I could really feel the emotion of the skaters, and the energy of the crowd heightened the excitement even more. I enjoyed seeing skaters that never made the TV broadcast, especially the young up-and-comers. But the highlight was seeing my favorite skater of all-time, Michelle Kwan, compete. She owned the building. Nothing could compare to the frenzy she created when she stepped on the ice. Watching her skate was such a privilege.
After I returned home and told my sister all about my experience, I didn't have to do much convincing to get her on board for 2002 Nationals in Los Angeles. And from there, I couldn't stop – 2003 Dallas, 2004 Atlanta, 2005 Portland, the list goes on. Twelve straight Nationals and tickets purchased for 2013 in Omaha. Along the way, I also added in Skate America as an annual trip and threw in Worlds '09 and the 2010 Olympics (which was a dream come true!).
Attending skating events has allowed me to visit cities I never would've visited, and I've met some amazing skaters, skater families, and fans over the years. Being at competitions is so inspiring – it’s not only made me a bigger fan but it’s also given me lots of story ideas. So, I think my addiction is a healthy one! Do you have any healthy addictions?
About The Author
When not working or writing, she is an avid follower of the sport of figure skating, travelling to competitions around the country. Those experiences allow her to see another side of the sport and serve as an inspiration for her writing. Jennifer is blessed with a wonderful family and many friends who have encouraged her to pursue her dream of being a published author.
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Life on the Edge Book Trailer
Publisher: Astraea Press
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Format: Paperback - 435 pages / Kindle - 472 KB / Nook - 414 KB
Genre: YA / New Adult / Contemporary Romance
BUY THE BOOK: Life on the Edge
BARNES & NOBLE
ASTRAEA PRESS - PUBLISHER
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review, and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Reading Addiction Blog Tours.
Nineteen-year-old Emily is new to pairs skating, but she and her partner Chris have a big dream–to be the first American team to win Olympic gold. Their young coach Sergei, who left Russia after a mysterious end to his skating career, believes they can break through and make history.
Emily and Chris are on track to be top contenders at the 2002 Winter Games. But when forbidden feelings spark between Emily and Sergei, broken trust and an unexpected enemy threaten to derail Emily's dreams of gold.
My Book Review:
Emily Butler is a nineteen year old figure skater with a dream to make it to the Olympics. Once a singles skater, she has made the transition into pairs skating. She and partner Chris Grayden dream of competing at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and winning the Olympic gold medal. With their young Russian coach Sergei, a former junior world champion who left Russia after his career ended suddenly and mysteriously, they have a good chance of going all the way to achieving their dream.
The story opens in the summer of 2000, leading into the competitive season a year prior to the Olympics. Emily and Chris are practicing for the preliminary competitions leading up to the Olympics. In order for them to attain their Olympic dreams, Emily must not only master technique but conquer her performance anxiety. With the encouragement and support of both Chris and Sergei, Emily is able to control her anxiety and they start to win medals. But along the way the skater-coach relationship between Emily and Sergei grows into a friendship when they co-coach a younger pairs skating couple, that soon blossoms into a forbidden relationship. As a matter of ethics, coaches and skaters are discouraged from dating each other, and Emily and Sergei struggle to find a balance between skating and love, while not losing out on their Olympic dreams. As their love story starts to unfold, new obstacles cross their path and others take notice of their relationship, which threatens to end it all for them.
Life on the Edge is so much more than a romance story, it is an in depth look into the life of an Olympic contender: the dedication to practicing her craft; the unrelenting pressures and expectations from coaches, partners, family and friends; the loyalty of her fans; and ultimately the pursuit to follow her Olympic gold dream.
In her debut novel, author Jennifer Comeaux weaves a riveting tale told in the first person narrative through the eyes of Emily Butler. The story is full of drama, romance, and intense competition, that captivates the reader and transports them into the world of competitive figure skating. I have been a fan of figure skating since I was a child, and in Life on the Edge, the author does not disappoint me. Her research and intimate knowledge of figure skating is phenomenal, while her love for the sport is undeniable. She brings the world of figure skating alive for her readers, and makes it easy for them to follow along, and even feel like they are alongside Emily as she is living out her skating dreams.
I love a good love story, and a forbidden love story is even better! The character's are realistic and complex people who have flaws and strengths that balances them. Emily and Sergei's love story takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride, their chemistry is so palpable, it simply captivates your interest. You can't help but cheer for Emily as she fights her feelings while doubting Sergei's feelings for her, their struggles keep you turning the pages. Emily is a strong girl who struggles with her performance anxiety, while Chris is easy going, and his laid back nature helps to keep Emily calm and centered. The secondary cast of characters are realistic and engaging, they also play an integral part in the storyline.
Life on the Edge is an engaging story that has a mixture of romance, drama and intensity that easily draws the reader into the storyline. The author does a wonderful job of transporting the reader into the world of figure skating. You can feel the intensity every time Chris and Emily steps out onto the ice together for each performance. I was able to easily visualize their performance, feeling the pressure and cheers from the crowd as they performed their program. I literally found myself holding my breath as they completed each element. This reminded me of my favorite skating movie, The Cutting Edge, I could easily see this story becoming a made for TV movie on Lifetime.
Life on the Edge is a wonderful story of love and following one's dream. It is a story that will easily draw you into the daily lives of competitive skaters, while providing the added bonus of a palpable forbidden romance between a coach and skater.
Life on the Edge is the first book in a series. The sequel, Edge of the Past, will be released in late November. The sequel will continue Emily and Sergei's story, but this time the reader will discover Sergei's mysterious past!
RATING: 5 STARS *****