Love is a circus
“Every day,” he says lowly, “I hold a person’s life in my hands. The circus is based one-hundred percent off trust. I give it all to someone, and they give it all to me.”
The best aerial technique won’t land 21-year-old Thora James her dream role in Amour—a sexy new acrobatic show on the Vegas strip. Thora knows she’s out of her element the second she meets Amour’s leading performer. Confident, charming and devilishly captivating, 26-year-old Nikolai Kotova lives up to his nickname as the “God of Russia.”
When Thora unknowingly walks into the crosshairs of Nikolai’s after-show, her audition process begins way too soon. Unprofessional. That’s what Nik calls their “non-existent” relationship. It’s not like Thora can avoid him. For one, they may be partners in the future–acrobatic partners, that is. But getting closer to Nik means diving deeper into sin city and into his dizzying world.
Thora wants to perform with him, but when someone like Nikolai attracts the spotlight wherever he goes—Thora fears that she’s destined to be just background to his spellbinding show.
This sexy and exhilarating New Adult Romance can best be described as Cirque du Soleil meets the steamy, athletic romance of Center Stage.
*standalone & no love triangles—recommended for readers 18+ for mature content*
Where do we even begin? We love the Ritchie sisters and we had no doubt we’d love their first standalone, and that’s exactly what happened!
Amour Amour is entirely told from Thora’s pov. And Thora’s voice is adorable! She’s a girl who risked everything, her family, her friends, her scholarship, a future that was well defined, to follow her dreams. That’s what this book is mainly about, following dreams; it doesn’t matter if it seems impossible, if no one believes you can make it but you, you have to try, or you’ll spend your whole life wondering that famous what if… and that just sucks. Like Thora says, she’s her own cheerleader, and that’s how it should be for everyone.
I’m going for it. Every part of my body says to jump and fly, no matter how hard voices like Shay and my parents try to ground me. I understand their realism, but I don’t want to look back and regret not taking the plunge.
This is Thora James, funny, stubborn, she believes in herself, she believes she can get into the circus, even though she knows she’s not the best at what she does. But that doesn’t matter, she believes her passion, her love, her dedication, will be rewarded. We just love her, with her RBF and all.
You can do this, Thora James. My pep talks are the most cliché in the history of pep talks, but it always works well enough. I am my biggest cheerleader. Always have been. Probably always will be.
Now add to the picture the God of Russia, Nikolai Kotova, he’s part of Amour; the show Thora is auditiong for. It’s a show that explains all kinds of love; if you’re wondering which kind of love Nik represents, well… obviously passion!
First impression: he’s tall. And very masculine. With needle-sharp focus, he inspects his surroundings. Us. The audience. My heart thumps as his gaze drifts closer. Why? I swallow hard, and I realize it’s his daggered, concentrated expression. It’s his muscular, I-catch-women-for-a-living body. And his powerful stance, exuding confidence like he’s in charge, even if he’s aloone. Even if he’s in the circle. The center of a show. All eyes on him.
Most of the time, that’s how Nik is described; as someone who gets everyone’s attention. As soon as he’s performing, it’s impossible to take your eyes off of him. He was born in the circus, and when he had to decide whether to leave with his older brothers and live his life, or stay in Vegas to take care of his younger siblings, that’s what he does.
He’s made me appreciate myself more, love myself more, and as a result, I’ve come to see him as more than just a great athlete, a charismatic performer.
Nikolai Kotova is the sum of his brothers and sister. And more.
He is selfless, loyal, dedicated and wholly determined—the most responsible twenty-six-year-old, the most mature man. He is power and strength. But most importantly, he is love. And family.
Nikolai is very honest, he never sugarcoats things. And at first he might seem impossible, but getting to know him, unveiling the mystery one layer at the time, you can see how caring and sweet he his. He puts everyone else’s happiness before his own. That’s probably why he decide to help Thora and train her.
“I admire your courage. I know what you’ve given up to be here. I know the kind of artist it takes to land a role. I know that you won’t receive one on your own. And I imagine you, myshka, two years from now, working at Phantom with the same aspirations, the same dreams, in the same place where you are now. It’s wasted courage. And wasted love. You shouldn’t have to waste those things.”
And overwhelmed. When someone reaches out and gives you a hand—for no other reason than to see your success—it’s powerful. And rare.
He wipes beneath my eye with his thumb. “I’d rather feed your hunger than watch you starve.”
Nik has a no relationships policy for Thora and himself, so we’re faced with a bit of angst at the beginning of the book; but don’t fear my friend, this is K&B Ritchie we’re talking about, they’ll feed our hunger (see what I did there? lame I know). There are so many swoon worthy moment in this books we seriously lost count.
He gauges my reaction. “Breathe, myshka.” “I am,” I whispers. Am I? He kisses me, and he forces oxygen into my lungs, one of the most intimate moments of my life. Right now.
Unfortunatly it’s not all unicorns and rainbows, I cried a lot, there are some problems going on. Thora and Nikolai’s future (Thoralai, that’s my shipname for them, I don’t know if there’s an official one) is uncertain, they don’t know where they’ll be, and they made a pact to never put love before the circus.
“Don’t love me more than your dreams, myshka.”
I’m still sobbing about that *wipes tear away* And can we just appreciate the fact he calls her myshka? It is so adorable, you just have to smile and squeal every time you read it. Oh, wondering what it means? Read the book and you’ll find out *winks*
Manuela, our precious photoshop wizard, made a gorgeous edit…
Don’t mind us, we’re all sobbing right now.
Anyway, it’s also very adorable, that Thora and Nikolai have a rather noticeable height difference; Thora is really scared about some technicalities if they were to be together (I laughed a lot about this I’m sorry)…
“We’re not going to fit together.”
“We are,” he says lowly. “In all ways.”
I, Amy, relate to Thora on that level since I’m the same height as her. I relate to her on a lot of things, she has definitely made my list of favorite female characters.
When Thora worries about fitting together, other characters are worried about this, like John Ruiz *heart-eyes*, my baby John…
“How do you two even work?” His face is still in that grimace. “Are you always on top?”
John is Camila Ruiz’ cousin, she’s Thora’s roommate at first. He’s always scowling, angered with the world, he’s not friends with anyone… at least that’s what he says. Truth be told, he’s a great friend, he truly cares about all the people around him… especially someone, who I ship him with so much, but I don’t want to ruin the surpirse to you. Also, he reminds us a little of Ryke Meadows. A little bit.
“She’s not my type! While her ambitions are slightly endearing, they’re mostly delusional! But that’s not even the problem.” I did catch that compliment in there. I mean, this could be worse. Right?
“What’s the problem?” Nikolai asks, opening the floodgates.
“She has a vagina!” The music switched songs right when he screamed that. It came out so much louder than it should have.
Then we have the whole Kotova family. Oh my God, there are so many Kotovas we thought we were going to explode from happiness!
There is a lot of testosterone in this room, and they’re all eyeing me like I’m a new species. “I… don’t speak Russian.” I put it out there, just like that.
So, we meet Timo, Luka and Katya, the younger siblings Nikolai is taking care of. There’s so much to say about them, they’re all so unique and go through an amazing development, but I really want you to find out by yourself. But let me just say that Timo has stolen my heart and ended up on my list (guess who said this, Amy and her lists) of favorite sidekick characters. Krista and Becca, maybe a sequel from Timo’s pov? Or Katya’s? Both are fine! Or Luka, I want one from Luka’s pov tpo *Alex nods excitedly.*
“Katya is sweet and friendly. Luka is generous and kind. And Timo is… captivating, more full of life than anyone I’ve ever met.”
I, Paula, don’t know why none of the girls are talking about the biggest otp of this book, no, not Thoralai (although they are otp too) but TIMO AND JOHN, I read the book later than my girls because I was too busy and from the first moment Timo sits down in front of John I just knew I ship them and I needed them to be together.
Even when it feels like your ambition is impossible to achive, even when everything is against you, don’t give up, keep dreaming; you never know what the future holds. That’s what Thora’s adventure taught us. Also, we think what we see of Thora from her thoughts, how that reality that sometimes trying your hardest you don’t achieve anything but then someone does nothing and gets what you have been working for so hard, it’s very real and relatable.
People search a lifetime to find one soul-bearing desire, and now I’m going to have to find two. Because I’m not good enough at the first. It’s devastating. I’m clawing at something that doesn’t want me. And to say goodbye is like severing a part of me that I can’t easily replace. I’m lost.
There’s a couple we love a lot… they’refrom the Addicted series, that has a cameo in this book! Plus there are some references to Princess of Philly (the reality show of Kiss the Sky), and it was a lot to take, we’re emotionally unstable. And when you thought it couldn’t get any better.. they drink Fizzle. So done with this world.
Hope you pick up Amour Amour, and enjoy it as much as we did!
We’re definitely looking forward to more of these ladies’ books (*squeals* Fuel the Fire and Long Way Down are up next!)
Let us know your thoughts on Amour Amour, spread the love and be happy, okay?