Thursday, August 20, 2015

FINDING CENTER Blog Tour Stop


Finding Center by Katherine Locke
New Adult, Contemporary Romance
District Ballet Company #2
Expected Publication: August 17th, 2015



Zed and ballet are my two greatest loves.

But a tragic accident ripped them from Aly's life six years ago and it took all her strength to get them back. She’s had a long road to recovery and has returned, dancing full-time for The District Ballet Company and carrying Zed’s child. But Aly is slipping. Each day becomes a fight to keep her career from crumbling under the weight of younger talent, the scrutiny of the public eye, and the limitations of her ever-changing body. A fight she fears she’s losing.

I’m scared Aly is broken to her core.

Zed recognizes signs, but he doesn’t know how to fix her. The accident left him with his own demons, and while he wants nothing more than to take care of Aly, it’s getting harder the further she spirals. When Aly’s life is threatened and Zed’s injuries prevent him from saving her, he’s never felt so useless, so afraid he is no longer capable of being the man Aly and their child needs.

With new life comes new hope. And with their fractured lives already hanging by a thread, Aly and Zed must discover if they have what it takes—both together and apart—to rebuild and carry on.


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Review

This book brings together too of my favorite things, ballet and love. I thoroughly enjoyed SECOND POSITION and was super excited to get more ballet and Aly and Zed. I love getting to see them already/still together and working on things. They aren't automatically happily ever after because they're both flawed, real people. The "after the fairytale" side of this book was a huge plus for me. Locke manages to give us excitement, emotional conflict, and a love story after the courting and initial falling in love we saw in SECOND POSITION. 
Aside from Aly and Zed's personal relationship, we saw a lot more ballet world drama in this book and I LOVED IT. As a dancer, choreographer, and teacher myself, I so deeply admire the research Locke has done to get ballet right, which she for the overwhelming most part does. I found myself nitpicking a few tiny details based on MY personal experiences with ballet, pointe shoes, and pregnant ballerinas but in that way we do anything that is so close to ourselves that it's hard to remember that it isn't actually ours. I don't say that as a criticism to Locke but as praise. Her depiction of ballet is incredibly accurate. Whether I use antibiotic cream on my blisters or prefer to drain and dry them is a personal preference that I argue over with my dance friends and I wanted to argue about it with Aly.  Also, Madison is PERFECT. I've known dancers like that, I've know theatre professionals like that. I've shared roles with people like that. The Madisons of the world are a strikingly accurate stock character.
I loved the story here and I really loved the storybook element SPOILERS

keep reading

that has very Center Stage-esque characteristics for me. By that I mean that the ending of Center Stage is fabulous and amazing and more than a little unrealistic. Performing in a Rubies at 17 weeks is hard for me to accept, objectively. As is Zed's return to dance with her on little more than a whim. And Jonathan being like the chillest human being, let alone director, on the planet. I know both are possible and both work in the context of the story but I think of my director and the pregnant ballerinas I've known and just how much they were showing at 17 weeks and how unlikely that would ever be. The pregnant ballerinas I know played parts like Bathilde in Giselle and Siegfried's mother in Swan Lake. They weren't dancing high caliber roles in the skimpy Rubies costume. My director was understanding but would never have let them put on a tutu in a lead role in that condition. Again, my experiences but also what I've observed since I started following professional dancers 15 years ago.  It's not impossible - they are plenty of class pictures of pregnant ballerinas readily available on the internet - and honestly it did not ruin the story for me AT ALL.;It was perfect within the context of the story just as Cooper's motorcycle and Jodi sticking to Jonathan and Juliette before telling Cooper he's sucky boyfriend material but still getting to be his principal is exactly the ending you need to that movie.  I also really loved Aly's last conversation with Madison. What happens to Madison on stage is super common for a young starlet and I loved Aly's reaction. I've been on both sides of that conversation and Locke got it soooo right. But willing suspension of disbelief and all that, Rubies and Aly's triumphant return to ballet - totally believable by the way -are exactly how this book should end and I'm excited to recommend it to all of you.

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About the Author


Katherine Locke lives and writes in a very small town outside of Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, time travel, and magic. When she’s not writing, she’s probably tweeting. She not-so-secretly believes most stories are fairy tales in disguise. She can be found online at katherinelockebooks.com and on Twitter: @bibliogato.

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