Friday, October 11, 2013

REVIEW - DANCE FOR ME (Fenbrook Academy #1) by Helena Newbury:

Title: Dance For Me
Series: Fenbrook Academy
Series Placement: #1
Author: Helena Newbury
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Published by: Foster & Black NA
Format: Ebook and Paperback

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Copy Provided by Author

Book Blurb:
Natasha is one of the most promising ballet dancers at the prestigious Fenbrook Academy of Performing Arts and she’s just landed a life-changing audition. But no one knows the guilt she carries...or the damage it makes her inflict on herself when she’s alone.

Darrell is a multi-millionaire designer at 25. But past traumas have pushed him into isolation and the intense pressure of his work has brought him to the edge of burnout. Seeking inspiration, he sees Natasha dance and hires her as his muse.

As she dances for him, the two become entwined in a passionate but troubled relationship. He starts to see the pain inside her and helps her gradually lower her defenses...but Darrell has demons of his own. Can two broken people save each other? Or will the darkness they’re hiding consume them both?

Reviewers Note: Dance For Me is book one in the Fenbrook Academy series and is a New Adult Contemporary Romance written by Helena Newbury. I received this eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review through Read Between The Line.

3 Dancing Stars!
Touching and Inspirational. A Great Afternoon Read!

The Review:

Dance For Me was a wonderful little story of about 190 pages and though it had some minor problems, it was well worth the time to read and I’m definitely looking forward to more works by this author.

It all started with an interruption, a sizzling look and one sentence.

”.. Dance for me.”

Natasha is looking for a way to pay the rent. Darrell is looking for inspiration. Together, they might just find salvation.

Natasha is a twenty-one year old student at Fenbrook Academy, studying to become a dancer. She’s focused, driven and tortured. She’s running from a past that is constantly catching up to her and she uses the distraction of dancing, biking and cutting to escape the pain. Being orphaned at fifteen, she strives to maintain a steady life, slipping into the void when things become unbearable.

Though I thought Natasha was a bit too fragile, I liked her plight. She was drowning in guilt and her circumstances were heartbreaking. The way she pushed herself, the way she laser focused on something other than her memories or healing her pain, was touching. I do think she was in tears a bit too much and I would have liked to have seen more of her strength by the end of the book, but she was easy to relate to and I liked her personality.

Darrell Carner is a twenty-five year old weapons maker. He’s living off vengeance, having dropped out of MIT soon after his parents were killed in a car bomb, leaving him with horrific memories and a scarred body. His solution is not to his intellect to make the world a better, safer place, but to create weapons, missiles specifically, that will ensure that people like the ones who murdered his parents, are taken out before they can orphan other kids like him.

When he gets stumped on an equation for his missile, he goes seeking inspiration. And he finds it in the sleek, free flowing forms of dancing. But when he sees Natasha dance, its not only inspiration he’s seeking anymore, but also a lifeline he never knew he needed.

I liked Darrell’s character. He was what I like to call a buff nerd. He’s intelligent, savvy and a self made man. He’s a built, sexy alpha male who knew what he wanted and goes after it. But there is also reservations because he’s damaged and he knows it. He never cared before that his intelligence was used to kill. In fact, it helped him get through the anguish and pain. But Natasha changes everything for him and he can’t fathom using her to help carry out his vengeance.

When Natasha and Darrell come together, its a sweet story or redemption and forgiveness. They work well together because they both know loss and pain. But they keep secrets from one another and the miscommunication causes serious complications between them.

This story also had some very unique and interesting side characters and they did a great job alleviating the intensity of some of the scenes. I would have loved to have seen more of Neil and Clarissa and their bedroom shenanigans!

The Trouble Is...
I always try to give two sides of the coin in my reviews, both the good and the bad. In this case, the bad isn’t so much bad as it is a let down. This story had ALL the markings of a fantastically angsty story that would rip your heart out and leave you a sobbing mess. But the emotional aspects fell a little short for me. I loved the characters and I loved their horrific pasts and all the torment their guilt and grief were causing in their lives but with the well of emotional angst to pull from, there was something missing that just left me wanting.

Also the “I love you’s” came together way too quickly for my tastes. I'm all about the slow build, the hot moments and the emotional wreckage feelings can leave you with but saying “I love you” before the end of their first official date was a bit too quick for me.

Lastly, the ending felt a bit rushed. We get this awesome showdown and everything is moving right along and then... its over. There wasn’t even an epilogue to conclude how things ended with the last scene and though I applaud the author for the last scenes and how well they played out, I felt there needed to be a definitive conclusion on how this couple fared after the adrenaline wore off.

The Wrap Up:
This book was a great afternoon read and I loved the characters and the story. I wish there had been more substance because there was so much potential for something more meaningful, but I'm satisfied with the read and ready to see what else is in store for the students at Fenbrook Academy. On to book two!

Buy the Book!

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