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Balance: A Forbidden Gymnastics Romance

Off Balance, Book 1
Narrated by: Sarah Puckett
Length: 17 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2018 Lucia Franco (P)2019 Lucia Franco

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So hot! So well written! So worth a credit!

I never listen to a book I've read. In my head the characters are already formed. It's hard to compete with your own imagination. I'm not big on repetition either. However I made an exception for this one because I really love this series. This is by far the best age gap romance I've ever read and now listened to. If I'm being honest it's one of the top ten books I've read in awhile. I never even liked age gap until a friend reccomended this series. I read both books without stopping, I was hooked. Then I was crushed when I found out it was incomplete and I couldn't binge the whole series. How quickly a friend turns to an enemy (just kidding, mostly). Seriously people don't recommend an incomplete series without a heads up. I will say this is one of those series that is so good you stalk the Author, join the FB group, and read every update given. Lucia Franco has many dedicated fans because she is really good at what she does. This series has people talking about it long after they've read it. You'd think she peddles drugs rather than books the way people jones for just a little more on her FB group. I'm one of those addicts/readers. Kova and Rea's story is so compelling you just want to make it last and finish it all at the same time. I was crestfallen when I saw the narration was done by a female. Let me be frank, it's not easy for a narrator to pull off a convincing opposite sex voice. I desperately wanted to hear Kova's Russian accent done by a deep manly voice. So when I saw it wasn't a duet I was prepared to be disappointed but Sarah Puckett did Kova justice. She is the next best thing to his voice in my head. Please be advised this book is hot and worth a credit!!!
🎧audio obsession 🎧

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A sinfully seductive read!

A coach...
And his gymnast...
Embark on a passionate, seductive and sinful ride of their life...

Such a seductive, utterly sinful and heated read! So much hotness. So much forbiddenness. So much fighting against the attraction. So much sexiness. So much pushing and pulling. So much denying and fighting.

Holy hot damn! This book! A totally hot read - more like an explosive read that keeps you hooked from the beginning right to the end!

Full of lust, forbiddenness, attraction, heat, sports, sinfulness, sweat, blood and tears.

Perfect for readers of forbidden romances/sport novels.

The narrator was absolutely stunning and perfect!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The definition of want and hate

I must comment this was the longest audiobook I've ever listned too, narrator portrayed the characters superbly not missing a beat when a strong Russian accent had to be expressed.

Our Hero had me suffering of whiplash as our heroine metions she herself experiences in his decisions. It was written in such a detailedly matter that at some scenes her inner monologue and through expression of gymnastics stole from the angst these forbidden lovers suffered. and yet I could not stop listening needing to know if he would be redeemable or would I be cheering for the other possible love interest, while it isn't a love triangle I hope there will be one on the next installment.

this is an age gap, student / coach book, if this taboo isn't for you then please find a diffent audio.

Audiobook Obssesions 🎧

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Your next book hangover

This book really makes you run the emotional gambit. You’ll feel ambition, trepidation, desire, satisfaction, alienation, betrayal and seething anger.

Sarah Puckett is next level talented. She seamlessly transitions from teenage girl to Russian man and effortlessly brings both to life.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series because this ending is going to leave me completely adrift for a while.

I would recommend this for fans of age gap taboo and sports romance

🎧AudiobookObsession🎧

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Really Taboo!!

So I really truly have mixed emotions about this book. I loved it, I hated it, and I loved it again. When you hear that it is taboo, IT IS TABOO! There were some really hot moments in this book, and others that may make you want to throw your device. The writing was superb, as well as the narration being amazing. I am moving right on to the next book. #audiobookobsession

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Get ready to swoon!!!!

I have been wanting this series to come to audio ever since I because an audio addict and when I found out my all time favorite narrator was bringing it to life, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!!! This story is everything you could ever want in a taboo story. I felt love, rage, pain, and betrayal with every minute of this book. I cannot wait for the rest of the series to come out on audio!!!

Sarah Puckett.... there are no words to describe how amazing she did with this audio! If I didnt know it was only her narrating this book, I would have praised the male narrator on his Russian accent. Instead, I will praise Sarah on the absolutely amazing male voice and the equally amazing accent!

🎧AudiobookObsession🎧

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Can't Wait for Book Two

This series is a definitely love to hate situation. The story is amazing and well written but the characters themselves are not always the most lovable or even likeable. It was awesome to vacillate between who I thought was the most likable character, sympathetic character and hated character throughout the book and right up to the end. The surprising thing is that (at least for me) it was constantly changing.

Ms. Franco does an excellent job creating a story that pulls you in and wraps you up and just happens to have a taboo relationship and steamy scenes. The character development is great with both the primary characters and the secondary characters. There is a main story line outside of the taboo relationship including antagonists and conflict. This story is so well written that you could remove the taboo part and create a PG version that would be just as addicting, though not as steamy.

As for the narration, Ms. Puckett was amazing! Her accent for the Russian coach is awesome and the inflections for the character feelings are spot on! I hope she finishes the series and I can’t wait to listen to anything else she’s read. I certainly have a book hangover after this one.

I was provided with a free copy of this audio book for my honest review. The views expressed here are entirely my own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Beth
  • Oregon
  • 06-05-19

Sarah Puckett Nails It!

The Off Balance series is one of my favorite series and I was so excited to finally get to listen to Balance. I was worried that I wasn’t going to like the audio version simply because Kova has that strong Russian accent and I could already hear him in my head. But let me tell you - Sarah nailed Kova’s voice and accent and made me fall in love with this book all over again.

Lucia Franco is the queen of forbidden and this is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, so it’s important to remember that this is a work of pure fiction. The age-gap is significant, the sexy times are fire, and the angst is out of this world. But this book will suck in the from the very first page. You aren’t just reading about these characters, Lucia makes you feel as if you are there. I can smell the chalk in the air, I can feel Ria’s frustration and infatuation. I want to kill Kova throughout most of this book, but that’s part of the appeal.

If you haven’t read the Off Balance series, start here with the audio. If you have already read the books, listen to the audio anyway. It’s worth the time, and it brings a new perspective- at least for me - to the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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So many emotions!

I went into this knowing it was a taboo listen--take that seriously--I was pretty uncomfortable with some of it but it just pulled me in from the beginning. I really enjoyed the overall story, even though the characters had me wanting to tear my hair out more than once. Because this is part one of a series, it's hard to find the redemption of the characters that normally happens in a stand-alone, so my feelings of anger pretty much went all the way to the end of the book. I didn't get that happy fulfilled feeling that happens at the end of good book where everything is resolved. But here's the thing-- I could not stop listening! I didn't want to put it down and I think that's the mark of a great story. When you have such strong, not-good feelings about a character and still have to know what happens next, the author has done their job. And I feel that Lucia Franco did that and did it well. I'm very much looking forward to the next book because I have to know how this plays out.

Sarah Puckett absolutely brought this story to life! I loved her narration and can't name a thing I would change.

Reviewed for 🎧 Audiobook Obsession 🎧

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Speechless... I don't know what to say!

I just finished listening to it, and UGH!!! I'm so frustrated, I have no idea what to feel , what the heck?, my emotions are everywhere right now. Kova f*ckn Kova,  damn him, he's so...  I don't know how to say it, how dare he, how could he? I want to kick him in the b*lls and yell at him, because it's just not fair. And Adriana... seriously girl, really , I don't know whom to be the most mad at.

Ok, now that I rant, I have to say that the book was really great.Honestly I was a little bit scared when I saw the length of the book was 17 hours, I thought I was going to get enough of it by the half or before, but boy was I wrong. Honestly I didn't feel it was that long, I never got bored or tired, I just kept listening and listening without noticing the time. But the last 20 minutes of it OMG, I had to pause it for the first time because my anxiety had reach its peek and I needed a minute just to calm down. 

All the gymnastics scenes were really good, I got frustrated at times when Adriana couldn't do something right, or flinch when she fell, I could literally feel her pain and frustration. Listenig to it I wanted to stand up and start working out, lol. The chemestry between Adriana and Kova is everything, so explosive, I don't know how they could keep a straight face at the gym considering all they have done.  And the s*x,  holly hotness, it was mind blowing, so deliciously good, so so wrong, but oh so good.

Finally, Sarah Pukett, WOW just WOWWW she nailed the narrattion of this book, so fantastic.  Her voice as Kova, with that Russian accent you just forget it was a single narrattion by how awesome she was. O swear she just gets better every time. I love how she can make you feel all the emotions the characters have, and her inflections and paced are perfect. This audiobook was so much more because of her.

🎧 AUDIOBOOK OBSESSION 🎧

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • shedevilreads
  • 06-13-19

OMG I loved this Forbidden/Taboo Romance

Balance by Lucia Franco is a Forbidden Gymnastics Romance that I listened to on audio narrated by Sarah Puckett. This is the first book in the Off Balance Series and I cannot wait to get my hands on book two Execution.
All I can say is OMG this was amazing! If you enjoy Taboo/Forbidden Romances this is the book for you. I also really enjoyed the length of the book because Lucia did not skimp on the Gymnastics portion of the story. She did an amazing job with her writing and made the story very realistic.

This is the first book of Lucia’s that I have read and it definitely will not be my last!

I absolutely love Sarah and she did not leave me disappointed in her narration on this project. She does an amazing job with different voices for each character. I love her voice it just gets you hooked on the story.

#AudiobookObessionReviwer #AudioBookObsession

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Shy G.
  • 06-16-19

My Thoughts on Balance

Balance is a forbidden/taboo romance by new to me author Lucia Franco. She had a very solid, easy to follow writing style. Even with the technical sports terms, it wasn't too much to make it overwhelming. I just wished things could have moved along a bit faster. I started to feel like a bit too much focus was given to certain details and it would take me out of the moment. However the story does have an amazing narrator. I loved Sarah Puckett yet again because she really knows how to show emotion and tell the story instead of just read it. The age gap was a little too wide for my enjoyment though. I need both characters to be 18 or older for me to really be comfortable. I would however give this author another shot with different type of story cause I did see potential in her writing.
🎧AudiobookObsession

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Willow Star Serenity
  • 06-16-19

Great Story

Adrianna is desperate to find a better gym to practice for gymnastics. Gymnastics is her one dream and she wants to advance. She doesn’t feel like she can advance in the gym she is in currently. Her father uses his connection with a renowned former Olympic gymnast to get her in his very prestigious gym. While training there, she winds up having to do intense extra training and a spark forms between her and Coach Kova. I’m torn. I loved the story. I really did. But I wasn’t very comfortable with the romance between the coach and Adrianna. I don’t want to say too much into it to give it away too much. It just didn’t make me comfortable. I’ll leave it at that. I will say that it gave me a Vampire Academy feel. It was like Dimitri and Rose, but the age gap was wider. Maybe that’s why I was so uncomfortable. All in all, the story itself was great. I would have loved to see more into the training. It felt like that was in the background except for when she just wasn’t doing well. The character development was good. I can’t say that I connected with any of the characters, though. I didn’t like Coach Kova right off the bat. Not because of his attitude. My gut just told me there was something sinister about him. I wasn’t wrong. There were quite a few characters I wish had a more prominent role in the story. They kind of faded into the background. They should have been highlighted more. As I listened to this in audio, I only feel it fair I give my thoughts on the narrator. I hope I won’t be too biased. Sarah Puckett is one of my favorite narrators of all times. I adore her. She did a fantastic job in this one as she’s done all of the other audiobooks I’ve heard. It was a mix of her and the actual story (not the romance) that kept me reading. If it was just the romance, I’d of put this book down. Overall, this was a great story. I can’t give it a five-star rating, but I can’t give it a one-star either. I will say that if you’re uneasy about major age gaps, I would shy away from this book. Buti f you’re okay with it, go for it. I love how open and honest they were about the hardships of being a gymnast. The realistic view of what girls put themselves through to be the best gymnast they can be. I do recommend this book.

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  • bluepits73
  • 06-16-19

A Work Of Art!

The author does an amazing job of drawing us in slowly and easing us into this taboo story. This story takes us on an emotional roller coaster ride as we watch the connection between Kova and Adrianna grow to disastrous proportions while simultaneously being so hot you cant stop listening. The author makes their connection feel so real and is also heartbreaking at times. Then towards the end of this book the pace of the story is edgy and suspenseful and the author goes and leaves us on one of the most massive cliffhangers ever. You can bet I'll be listening to the next book because I'm fully invested in this incredibly well written masterpiece that has totally blown my mind. First real 'taboo' romance I've listened to and it just became one of my favorite tropes because of this author.

Then, we have the amazingly talented Sarah Puckett as the narrator and it just mades this book experience so much more incredible. Her narration pulled me in even more and had me listening nonstop all the way through. That Russian accent she used for Kova made him seem even more captivating and was just absolutely perfect. Beautiful performance paired with this masterpiece, makes this a fantastic work of art.

I received a review copy at my request and have voluntarily left this unbiased review.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • tenisha
  • 06-16-19

Just No

Adriana an aspiring gymnast goes to be coached by Kova. He is aggressive and rude, hot and cold and grown. This taboo romance has no chemistry and seems just wrong. The narrator was the best part of this story.
🎧 Audiobook Obsession

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K. Ramjohn
  • 06-13-19

OMG.... a raw, bold, taboo story

Balance by Lucia France is a raw, bold, forbidden, taboo story that will definitely evoke a range of emotions from you. I'm not sure about my feeling towards this story. I loved the sports aspect of the story. We learned alot about gymnastics in this book and that's not something I've ever read about in a romance novel. I loved the intensity of the story, the chemistry between Kova and Adriana was explosive, and the steamy scenes were mind-blowing.
While I love forbidden romances, my biggest issue was the fact that she was 15 and therefore underage. However I could not stop listening, as the story was so well-crafted and the characters well-developed, you felt every bit of their connection from their passionate encounters to their fiery arguments.

The audible version was narrated by Sarah Puckett who did an incredible job with this narration. She was easily able to portray a 15 year old girl and then in the next breath a 32 year old Russian coach. Her accent for Kova was amazing and her timing and delivery was exceptional. She certainly brought this story to life.
Balance was the definition of Taboo and this cliff hanger ending will leave you wanting more. I would highly recommend this book if you are a lover of Forbidden romances.
#AudiobookObsessionReviewer

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • blue_river @AudiobookObsession
  • 06-12-19

Balance

This story is definitely Forbidden and Taboo but so realistic that you know it could really happen like this is reality. I enjoyed this book and the climax at the end leaves you begging for more.
Narration was absolutely phenomenal!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Clare Keating
  • 06-09-19

Taboo forbidden romances

🎧 Audiobook Obsession Reviewer

This was a great story of forbidden love between an older man and a teenage girl. Apart from all the hot loving this book had a great story of Adrianna wanting to fulfill her ambition of becoming an Olympic gymnast so when her father asks his friend to become her coach and she moves away at the tender age of 15 she puts her heart and sole into practice. but her feelings towards her older coach Kova start she is unsure how to deal with all the feelings. Kova was a hard character he was so angry and hard on Adrianna pushing her to pain I found it sad when she describes her pain and her feelings this book is so good at describing all her feelings and it made me wince a few times.

Sarah Puckett did such a great job I love how she gives every character a different voice I think she is one of the best at this. I love her acting the story you can feel the emotion she is so good.

I can't wait for the next 2 books to come to audio.x.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JuttaS
  • 06-09-19

Love the narration, love the detail of the story

I think I may have to listen to this again just to hear Sarah Puckett's male Russian accent! She does such a good job with this book, I love the way she narrates.

It has taken me a while to write this review as I have had such mixed feelings since finishing listening to this book. Most of what I want to say is spoilery and I don't do spoilers....all my feelings are based around Kova and how he behaves...and that's about all I can say on it. Apart from where it finished, arghhhh don't let it finish there!!! Overall I really enjoyed the story, some of what happens to Ari makes me cross my legs in sympathy with the pain she endures for the love of her sport. If you don't like gymnastics don't listen, it's very very heavy on the details. Personally I really loved this book and am eagerly awaiting the next...

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  • Ginger
  • 06-07-19

Reviewed for Audiobook Obsession

This was an amazing story of the struggle of sixteen year old girl trying to achieve her dream in the very competitive world of gymnastics. Her stamina, resilience and bravery alone make this a wonderful story. Although there are some taboo, forbidden aspects, beware if these are triggers.
Sarah Puckett did an excellent job telling this story and I might add she did a fabulous job with a Russian accent.
This story has a cliffhanger and I will be on pins and needles waiting for the next release.