Review: Dance for Me (Fenbrook Academy #1) – Helena Newbury

Posted 9 December, 2013 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review: Dance for Me (Fenbrook Academy #1) – Helena NewburyDance for Me Series: Fenbrook Academy #1
on 25 June 2013
Pages: 259
Format: eBook
3 Stars

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?

I picked up Dance for Me as soon as I finished my ARC copy of In Harmony, because I loved In Harmony so much I just couldn’t wait to learn more about those who were side characters there. In Dance for me, I got to know Natasha a lot better, as well as the other dancers from Fenbrook Academy. I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed with Dance for Me, though. I didn’t get swept off my feet the same way, and I didn’t feel as close to Natasha as I did to Karen.

The writing is very good in Dance for Me, and the story flows across the pages without any hitches, but I wasn’t really that invested in Natasha, which surprised me, because I love dance just as much as I love music. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was that made me feel a little more indifferent to her than to Karen. I think that Natasha and Darrell never really got to know each other, they both jumped off the deep end of the pool, without really being sure if they knew how to swim. And then they tried to make do with what they had.

As they are from two very different worlds, it was hard for me to see what the two main characters could really have in common, and I think that the large difference in finances participated in those differences. It felt strange to me that Darrell was so willing to pay to see Natasha dance at first. And I still can’t understand how her dancing could help him make better designs. Also, he seemed so hell-bent on bettering said design that it was not very plausible what he did to it in the end.

The story is written in dual point of view, some chapters in Natasha’s head and others in Darrel’s. The readers really get to know both of them intimately, what makes them tick, and what scares them. They both carry some pretty heavy baggage, and I think they just might be able to save each other from the demons of their pasts. There might be some triggers in there as well, as Natasha has a very specific way of dealing with her problems by harming herself. And this part was extremely well done, I could finally understand the reason why some people behave in ways that is destructive only to themselves.

I did enjoy getting to know all the characters a little better though, and it actually also made me appreciate In Harmony even more! I might have actually enjoyed Dance for Me more if I had read that before I read In Harmony, too, because I think my expectations were truly sky-high when I sat down with Dance for Me. If you are looking for a hot New Adult contemporary romance with a complicated storyline and complex characters, you might very well enjoy Dance for Me. And then, you should run and pick up the next book in the series as well.

I knew I’d get a ticket, but the thought barely registered, the cost negligible next to the money the missile would bring in.

And if he really had wanted me to dance for him one-on-one – well, that sounded creepy, right?

That, I told myself, was the only reason why I dreamed of Darrell. I didn’t normally remember my dreams, and when I did, they were some abstract crap about flying – never about sex.

Like before, it felt like we weren’t in control. It felt like this was just happening and all we could do was watch.

Since I’d met Natasha, the purity of it, the certainty that I was doing the right thing, seemed a hell of a lot less clear cut.

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Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

10 responses to “Review: Dance for Me (Fenbrook Academy #1) – Helena Newbury

    • You’re right, Stormi, there are broken characters in almost all of the NA romances I have read. But when they are well done, and the characters grow, I totally love that kind of contemporary novel.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Have a great week yourself.

    • I actually read the second book first, Pamela, I might have enjoyed this first book more if I read that first, I don’t know, but In Harmony was awesome 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by.

  1. Ahh, you beat me to this one. Are we surprised?!? Nope. 😉 I’m really curious about how I’ll feel about it now. You know how much I loved In Harmony and I have Dance for Me waiting patiently on my kindle. I’m sorry it didn’t WOW you like In Harmony did but I’m glad you enjoyed it nonetheless.

    I’m glad you made it home safely. I KNOW you had a wonderful time. 🙂 I finished Fearsome yesterday as well. I liked the story a lot overall but there were a few things that bugged me. I do think it was well written though. So do you want to do a ‘duel’ review or just chat about it? I’m interested to know if we took issue with the same things…

    I hope you had a lovely Monday, Lexxie. *hugs*

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: **Review ~ Foreplay ~ Sophie Jordan**
  2. Heh, you beat me with other books, though, Brandee. It’s so great that we’re reading the same books so often, I love seeing your take on the books I enjoy 🙂

    I would love to do a ‘duel’ review – the one you did with Traci was made of awesome! I’m interested to see if we took issue with the same things, too. I totally loved all the hotness, though *grins*

    Thanks for stopping by, my friend. *hugs*

  3. First of all, congrats to your new avatar, Lexxie. 😀 It’s so cute and it looks like you.

    It’s always a bummer if you don’t get to connect with the main character. And plot holes could be a real pain but I’m happy that you still get to enjoy this one despite the flaws. And I get you about going into books with so much expectation then find out that the book didn’t deliver. Sometimes, I teach myself to dive into books with little to no expectations at all because once I am disappointed with things, my reading experience is already ruined.

    Have a great week, Lexxie. 😀

    Charlotte recently posted: Book Review: Scarlet
    • Thank you Charlotte 🙂 Actually, I put my old avatar back on here, I prefer that to my pic – also, my oldest daughter told me my pic looked weird 🙁

      Yeah, I agree, it’s difficult sometimes having expectations about books before starting to read. It’s almost impossible to live up to the expectations, you know? I try my best to not have them, but sometimes, I just can’t help myself.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Nice review. Well thought out and paced. I always feel like a lot of times when I read New Adult, it seems like one character or both characters are damaged in some way. Yet when it’s well done, it’s really good. I will probably pass on this one.


    Grace Fonseca recently posted: Win A $25 Amazon Gift Card
    • I read the second book in this series first, Grace, and I loved it so much!

      I agree, though, in a lot of NA, there is at least one broken or damaged character – if that continues, I might not continue to read as much NA as I have up until now.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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