by Helena Newbury Series: Fenbrook Academy #2 Published by Foster & Black New Adult
on September 21, 2013 Genres: Contemporary
, New Adult
, Romance Pages:
ARC Source: Blog Tour Goodreads
Everyone expects her to succeed...
Karen plays the cello like an angel, and it’s the only thing that makes her truly feel alive. But her father’s dream—for her to join a prestigious orchestra—leaves no time in her life for anything but music...not even love. Trapped on her path, she doesn’t know how to rebel.
Everyone expects him to fail...
Connor plays rock guitar like the devil himself, and his ability has got him all the way from a dead-end life in Belfast to a scholarship at Fenbrook Academy. But beneath his arrogance and charm, he doesn’t believe he has what it takes. He’s spent his time in New York drinking and partying, and the only future he sees is a return to Ireland as soon as he flunks out.
But what no one expects...
When Karen’s duet partner is injured, the bad boy guitarist and the shy, sheltered cellist are forced to team up. Neither likes the idea, but what begins as anger and distrust slowly spirals into love...and lust. If they can face up to their feelings, they might just have a chance together. If Connor will allow Karen to stop his fall, maybe he can show her a life she never thought possible...
Today on the blog tour for IN HARMONY by Helena Newbury, I have a review, an excerpt I picked, and a tour-wide giveaway. The tour is hosted by Itching For Books, and you can visit all the stops here.
IN HARMONY, the second book in the Fenbrook Academy series, is one hot and steamy romp through the last months of Karen and Connor’s senior year at the performing arts school. Both are in desperate straits for different reasons, and in fear of not graduating unless they learn to work together.
Right off, let me assure you that you don’t need to have read the first book of the series, DANCE FOR ME, before IN HARMONY. The books are loosely connected, following the same group of friends and focusing on a different couple in each one. I wasn’t lost or confused at all.
Karen, the narrator of IN HARMONY, is a bit of a mouse at first. She’s meek, quiet, and focused on her dream of playing cello with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Since age six, that’s all she’s wanted to do, and every day of her life since then has been spent trying to achieve that goal. Her father, a famous concert pianist, has also helped her, although maybe a little too much. Without any real life experience at 21 — because all of her time has been spent practicing — Karen can’t remember if her dream is really hers, or just something she’s doing because it’s expected of her.
Connor, the bad boy playboy of Fenbrook, is so opposite of Karen in every way. He never shows up for class, never practices, and it’s rumored he’ll be kicked out before graduation. Karen’s not a fan of Connor the way every other girl is — she wants someone safe and responsible. There’s no way Connor would ever make that list, considering he has a different girl on the go every night, starts drinking at 4pm, and oh yeah, he’s a sexy Irishman, and he knows it.
Here’s the list of what Karen’s looking for in a boyfriend: “If I was going to date, they’d need to be reliable, and serious, and…safe. Why did my list of requirements for a guy sound like a Volvo commercial? (Chapter 2)”
So when fate throws Karen and Connor together, she panics. Composing and playing a duet with Connor is the only way she’ll graduate Fenbrook. Literally the only way, because she’s failed every oral presentation in her college career. Karen’s a great performer, but she has a crippling fear of public speaking, or speaking to more than one or two people.
I don’t think there’s a dull moment throughout IN HARMONY. When I saw the length of the book (36 chapters, estimated 401 pages), I admit, I thought it would be too long. But then I started reading, and flew through the book in a matter of hours. IN HARMONY is the story of Karen and Connor’s relationship, full of character growth and steamy, steamy scenes. IN HARMONY‘s an adult book, for sure. The music piece the two work on is the story of their relationship too, and I swore I could hear it while reading. I thought the author did a good job in tying in the musical aspect, and showing how it was a big part of both of the characters’ lives.
There were a couple of times I wanted to hit Karen and/or Connor over the head, usually when they were acting silly or keeping quiet when they shouldn’t have. They both had a lot of growth, and my favorite part was probably near the end, where Karen learned to be angry. It was great to see her stand up for herself and for her friends. Instead of spending too much time in her head, she went out and did things, tackling problem after problem. Connor also grew up, and though I didn’t totally see why he would confide in Karen, it was good that he did, because she cracked his shell as much as he cracked hers.
I have to mention Karen’s friends. Natasha, Clarissa, and Jasmine were just as nicely developed as Karen and Connor. Sometimes I don’t like when a book veers off from the main story and dives into minor plots, but here I didn’t mind at all. I liked them all, and I was concerned about every girl’s problems. I hope Clarissa and Jasmine get their own books, because I’d like to see more of them. Lastly, it was nice to see the girls were relatively open with one another about their sex lives (if not their personal lives).
Sometimes I find New Adult books have a bit too much sex, and that was almost the case with IN HARMONY. I lost track of the times Karen and Connor got it on, and skimmed a few times, but then, it was good to see Karen become confident and open about sex.
If you’re a fan of New Adult, I’d definitely recommend IN HARMONY. I know I’ll be watching to see what else Helena Newbury puts out.
In the shower, I turned the temperature up to almost scalding and the force up to the “Massage” setting, hoping that it would help unkink my back. I did that a lot, after a hard day playing. I liked to imagine it was a big, blond guy with huge biceps massaging me. In my mind, his name was Sven and we sat in his cabin in Sweden looking out at the pine trees while he worked oil into my back.
It occurred to me that was a lot of detail to get from a shower setting. Maybe I did need a boyfriend.
Connor swam up into my mind and I yelped in shock, turning and catching the spray right in my face. When I’d stopped spluttering and the jet was safely hammering away at my stomach, I carefully allowed myself to go back to the thought.
What was he doing in my brain? I wasn’t interested in Connor — in fact, he was the exact opposite of everything I was interested in. If I was going to date, they’d need to be reliable, and serious, and…safe.
Why did my list of requirements for a guy sound like a Volvo commercial?
–Chapter 2, IN HARMONY
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*giveaway is tour-wide
About the author:
Helena Newbury is a New Adult Romance author with a love of bakingly hot summer days, strawberry gelato, good coffee and interesting people. Unlike the characters in her books, Helena cannot dance, act or play anything (though she is substantially more flexible since she started writing Dance For Me and tried doing dancer’s stretches, so she’s hoping that something will rub off on her from each book).
Helena writes in a very noisy, very busy coffee shop which means she sometimes end up mainlining caffeine to keep her seat. You’ll know when this happens because she’ll still be on Twitter that night at 4am.
She loves meeting and talking with other authors, traveling to new places and discovering new books.
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