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Turning It On (Red Hot Russians) by [Harmon, Elizabeth]
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Product Description

Product Description

Book editor Hannah Levinson couldn't be happier. This "Nice Jewish Girl" is ready to marry the man she's longed after for half her life. When her fiancé suggests they audition for Last Fling, a steamy new reality show for engaged couples, she lets herself be swayed. Maybe she'll learn a thing or two.

Vlad Shustov's fall from a once-bright career as a competitive figure skater was swift. Now trapped by a shameful past and an uncertain future, "Vlad the Bad" strips for cash. Joining the cast of Last Fling could earn him a fortune—or at least enough to finally leave stripping. But to win the show's prize, he must seduce an engaged woman, something he can't even bear the thought of.

Hannah's not like any woman Vlad's met before. Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and relegated to the ugly-duckling role she'd worked so hard to shed, can she trust there's more to Vlad than meets the eye? With sleazy TV tactics shattering the last shreds of the contestants' confidence, they'll have to believe true happiness is not only possible...it may be looking right at them.

For more Red Hot Russians, don't miss Pairing Off—available now!

97,760 words


Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 822 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Carina Press (June 29 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00WNVCZE8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #323,300 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0a4566c) out of 5 stars 16 reviews
HASH(0x9e62a630) out of 5 stars HLB Reviews Turning It On July 14 2015
By Home. Love. Books. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
So my guilty pleasure the past few weeks (well not really guilty because I talk about it all the time and I am totally obsessed) is the new show UnReal, a really dark look at dating reality shows. Anyway, when I saw the premise of this book, I knew I was in. I mean I don’t actually watch reality dating shows, but I figured this would be kind of like an insiders look, so I was immediately interested.

So the book starts off and you are introduced to Hannah, Jack, and Vlad. In some regards, I feel bad for Hannah, and in others I just don’t like her. I mean I really wanted to. She has everything going for her to make me like her, she’s not perfect, she’s a book editor, she is well spoken and educated, and in general is an all around nice person. But I don’t like her. She’s had a crush on this guy for like her whole life, and when Jack asked her out, and they end up getting engaged, she ends up giving up a lot for him. She can’t talk about her successes because it makes him feel bad, she doesn’t have her friends anymore because he doesn’t like them, and well she ends up going on a reality show that is probably going to cost her her job and her relationship because poor Jack wants to be in the limelight. And when she gets to the island for the show, she was like every sad cliche you could think of, pigging out on BBQ chicken, never shaving her legs, falling, getting hit in the face with a volleyball. It was just sad. As the book goes on I really feel for the girl, and I want her to be happy, I just didn’t connect to her.

Vlad wasn’t so bad. He’s clearly a smart guy, who has been through some hard life experiences and is now working as a stripper in Miami. He’s an all around good guy. He likes making people feel good about themselves, and he is sweet to Hannah from day one. And honestly given how bad I felt for her in this situation, she needed someone to be nice to her. I wish I had more to say about Vlad, but I don’t really, the Hannah/Vlad relationship was one of those really slow burns, given that she came to the show engaged.

I was so frustrated through most of this book. I mean I just can’t imagine being in Hannah’s shoes and continuing to allow things to keep going to way they were. And Jack I mean serious, Jack, was the worst. He is just a pig who wants everything to be about him, and honestly I have known guys like him, and thankfully I figured out by age 16 those are the guys to avoid and never let near you. It was hard to read sometimes because he’s just such a jerk to Hannah. There are a lot of side characters and other plot lines going on which sometimes made it difficult to keep up with. But I was happy with the ending, and I was glad I stuck it out to get it, made dealing with Jack for so long worth it.
HASH(0x9e62a60c) out of 5 stars Hot Russian + Nasty Reality Show = A Fabulous Read July 12 2015
By Windy City Dweller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you occasionally indulge in a guilty pleasure like a reality show – which usually has little to do with reality! – you’ll love this sparkling contemporary romance by Elizabeth Harmon. It’s almost as though the author pulled back the curtain to a reality show and let us peer inside.

Now imagine a good person, someone who’s insecure like most of us, plunked down into the middle of such a reality show cauldron. Her name is Hannah. She’s not comfortable being center-stage, she wants to help others thrive. She’s a book editor and passionate about her work. Hannah’s issue is that she’s elevated her boyfriend, Jack, above her own needs – like a lot of us women can do, unless we’re uber-confident and never make a mistake. Jack’s the center of her world and she’ll do anything to preserve the illusion of their relationship.

Eventually, though, that illusion becomes a sand castle swept away at shore. The reality show launches, Hannah meets handsome “Vlad the Bad,” a man who became a stripper because it was lucrative. But Vlad’s heart isn’t in the bumps and grinds. Stripping represents income, so he can follow his true dream, to write novels.

She’s an editor, he’s a writer – you know they’re fated – but malicious forces work against them, one being big bucks, and the other being blind ambition. Hannah and Vlad are surrounded by phonies who would throw their grandmother under the bus to get ahead. Ratings drive everything, and the producers edit footage to spike the drama. The meanest people look angelic, while the decent ones are “Franken-edited” to appear demonic or oafish. The show forces a cloying twosome and loves a huffy snit. But real intimacy is what happens between Hannah and Vlad, which has the potential to derail the show.

The cast of nasties around Hannah and Vlad feels legitimate, and that’s what makes the book so juicy. We all know people like this: the self-centered ones who cut in line or cut us off in traffic, or the imperious ones who play dirty politics at the workplace. They don’t care who they hurt.

Hannah starts out as agreeable and doubting herself, and clings to her illusion of Jack. The reality show nasties force Hannah to look at herself. After Vlad treats her with respect and encourages her, she realizes how much she’s sacrificed herself and her dignity and confronts Jack in an exhilarating way: “Don’t you dare lecture me, Jack Gordon. Not when you’ve spent the past nine weeks flaunting another woman in my face! A woman who acts like a paragon of virtue, but is as vicious and underhanded as they come.”

Hurray, Hannah!

Vlad is quite the heartthrob, the atypical romance hero, sensitive, sensual and dimensional. The chemistry between he and Hannah is palpable, and so is the emotion.

The secondary characters brought out my inner Ninja. I’d gladly send Lorena Bobbitt after that slimy producer Cody deWylde. The other producer, Eric, redeems himself before he’s completely sucked into the black hole of self-centeredness. At one point, Eric says: “Unfortunately, if I want to be successful, I can’t have any friends.”

Some of the novel’s themes revolve around illusion – how we can create our own illusions idealizing people – and being true to who we really are, following our hearts, not money. Ultimately, we have to live with our own consciences.

The writing is smart, sophisticated and vibrant. Harmon masterfully spins words and they trickle like a waterfall – you’ll want to keep turning the pages to see what happens, plot-wise. Harmon’s also done her research on how reality shows are staged – it’s utterly credible, and the Puerto Rico setting is lush and gorgeous. It’s like you’re right there, ocean side, sipping on a mojito at the Smiling Shark, the cozy bar Hanna and Vlad frequent.

This story captivated me from beginning to end, and I devoured it in one day. My only nitpick about the book, is that the ending felt a little rushed, and loose ends were tied together a little too neatly. Maybe that’s because I didn’t want the story to end.

Harmon has exceptional talent as a storyteller and is definitely going places.
HASH(0xa04fe674) out of 5 stars Hot Russian alert. July 10 2015
By BooksCoffeeAndPassion - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Turning It On is the second book in the Red Hot Russians series but it can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but the blurb seemed original and the idea of reading a book set in a reality show world got me curious.The fact that I like hot, broody Russian male characters was just a plus.

Hannah is a book editor and she’s going to marry the man she’s wanted all her life. Jack, her fiancé, works as a lawyer but he always wanted to work as an actor so he convinces Hannah to join a reality show, called Last Fling, after they were invited to it by Eric, a common friend and now screenwriter. Hannah doesn’t really see the point in it but Jack is successful in convincing her that she would be making one of his dreams come true.

Vlad is a male stripper that wants to be a writer and gets invited to the show to be a fling, he hesitates, worried about what kind of man he would have to become to perform the task required, but eventually agrees to do it for the money he can make by participating.

I hated Jack from the very beginning, actually, I can share that I hated pretty much all the characters apart from Vlad and Alison. Even Hannah got on my nerves until she started to have a connection with Vlad, then I slowly warmed up to her.

When I started reading the book, I literally could’t put it down, it was obvious that Jack manipulated Hannah in every aspect and she let him get away with it, always afraid that he would dump her. I felt like I was watching a train wreck and I couldn’t stop looking at it! That’s when I realized that Elizabeth got me totally hooked in the story. I really don’t want to spoil much, but I can say that I loved Hannah and Vlad’s dialogues and Vlad was definitely my favorite character in the book. There were moments when I really didn’t want to know what Jack was doing, or Eric by the way, and just wanted more and more of Vlad!

The reality show guidelines and mind games felt very realistic, the way Vlad helps Hannah to get her self esteem up is sweet and their moments together, even though it’s a slow build relationship, are really good and Vlad’s respect for Hannah is perfect for the all situation. I just wished we got more of Hannah and Vlad’s story and less details on other secondary characters.

If you like reading books about hot Russians and set in a reality show world, you have to read this book.
HASH(0x9ece35b8) out of 5 stars Not As Satisfying As the Previous Installment, But Still Has an AMAZING & Delectable Hero! July 8 2015
By J. Faltys - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
After reading Ms. Harmon's engaging Pairing Off I knew I'd found a series, and author, to keep an eye on. While this book doesn't reach the heights of that release it still presents readers with a delicious hero that I'm still dreaming of. With its intriguing premise and diverse cast of characters the stage is set for a rocky road to HEA for a woman who thinks her life is perfect and the handsome Russian stripper who longs for more out of life. When a scandalous reality show brings them in close contact though neither will ever be the same.

Hannah's the good girl who's always faded into the background. For years she harbored a crush on the too-perfect Jack and is surprisingly now engaged to him with a career she loves and is good at. When an old friend asks the couple to be on his new reality show her feelings are put to the test as Jack's subtle signs of unhappiness become more blatant. While I admired Hannah's talent and drive, it's her personal life and low self-esteem that frustrated me. Before she and Jack went on the TV show it was clear he was unhappy and unsupportive yet Hannah continually made excuses for his bad behavior. She allowed herself to be walked on time and again before finally listening to her own heart and mind.

Jack and Eric were both smarmy men and repeatedly made Hannah their door mat through lies and manipulations. They projected their faults on her and used the resulting guilt to get what they wanted. Jack never truly deserved Hannah's loyalty and his infantile behavior was annoying and spoke volumes as to his character. There was some attempt to redeem Eric through his experiencing love but I never bought into it as his manipulations forever tarnished him in my eyes.

Whereas the other characters left me cold, Vlad the Bad definitely made me hot! He was a stripper with a kind heart and mind that most people never bothered discovering as they focused on his looks. Their combined love of books had him making a connection with Hannah as his sweet and sexy side showed her what she'd really been missing when it comes to relationships. Vlad had a very difficult past full of darkness and shame that he never let corrupt him and it showed a strength of character to rise above what befell him and was yet another reason why I adored him.

Ms. Harmon gave fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes machinations of reality TV and how un-real it all really is. She inhabited this world with an intriguing and colorful cast of characters who unfortunately got lost in the shuffle in a storyline that went on a bit too long. This left the sweet and sensual relationship between Hannah and Vlad hanging until almost the end of the story to reach a satisfying conclusion. As they were a delightful match I wish more time had been spent letting them get to know one another, and interact with each other. On a whole, while the premise was intriguing, some of the characters left me disappointed with what could've been. What kept me reading until the end though is her delightful hero. Vlad is drool-worthy inside and out. He's strong-willed yet sensitive and supportive and is every girl's dream and it's for Vlad entirely that I recommend this book!

3.75 STARS!
By Paige - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
3 "New Beginnings" Stars

Turning It On is the second book in the Red Hot Russians series but can be read as a standalone. This is my first book by the author and I was completely capable of reading this storyline just as it is without having read the first book in the series.

The cover really pulled me in and the blurb hooked me. Hannah is engaged to long time family friend and crush, Jack. They've been together for two years and are planning their wedding when school friend now Hollywood directer and screenwriter, Eric, asks them to be a part of his new reality series Last Fling. Jack has always wanted to be in show business but instead is an entertainment lawyer so he talks Hannah into joining. She, for very good reason, doesn't want to do this at all but in the end does so that Jack can do something he's always dreamed about doing.

Vlad has been in the States for five years and is currently a male stripper who would rather be a writer. When asked to do the show as one of the flings, he's hesitant until they show him how much money he could make doing the 10 week reality show. He decides to do it but on more than one occasion regrets it.

Vlad and Hannah have a connection that is slow building. Hannah isn't sure she can trust him since he is one of the hired flings trying to break up a couple but it becomes obvious that he is the only one on the island that is there for her. Her fiancé brought a fling from their regular life and all but drops Hannah the second they get to the island. Hannah though is determined to make it out with her fiancé unscathed but that is proving impossible.

I was very frustrated throughout most of this book. The premise was good even if I can't believe anyone in a real life relationship would go on a show called Last Fling. It was obvious from the start that Jack was a huge douche. Even before they left New York, it was clear he walked all over Hannah and she just let him. It became even worse when they got to the island. I honestly couldn't believe that Hannah was still hoping to "win" Jack back after this was all over. Why in the world she was so determined to stay with Jack was beyond me. It thoroughly irritated me that all the way until the very end of the show, she was going back to that moron. It was only because she caught him once again in a compromising position that she kicked him to the curb.

I wanted more of Vlad. Of course he was there during the show but from the blurb it seemed like there would be more romance between Vlad and Hannah than there actually was. All the way until Hannah finally got rid of Jack after the show, this was only a 2 star read for me. When they went back to their real lives and Hannah finally picked up her dignity again did we get much of a romance between Vlad and Hannah. But the little we did get at the end was worth a whole star for me. Vlad was so incredibly good and sweet. He had a painful past that was kind of glossed over but he was dedicated to Hannah and I loved him for it.

The other factor that made the majority of the book hard for me was the multiple storylines. Not only did we have the Hannah/Jack/Vlad debacle but we had the other contestants on the show plus the side story with Alison and Eric. For a while it was hard for me to keep up and remember who was who and I still don't quiet understand why we had so much of Eric and Alison. In the end I loved the Vlad and Hannah parts; I just wished there were more of them and that this story was more focused on just them instead of everyone else in the show.

Arc provided by publisher via Netgalley for honest review.