{Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY} In Harmony by Helena Newbury

Title: In Harmony
Series: Fenbrook Academy #2
Author: Helena Newbury
Published: September 21st 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: eARC provided by author for honest review
Rating: 3.5/5

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...

The story:
Karen, the serious & studious cello musician is so close to making her (and her father's) dreams come true as she nears graduation from The Fenbrook Academy. She has worked her whole life, pushed by her overbearing father, for the opportunity to perform in front of scouts for the NY Philharmonics Orchestra. But after her duet partner is injured her chances aren't good, with the only option being to perform with notorias bad boy and soon to be drop out Connor.

Their friendship starts out rocky, with neither one relating to the other - either musically or personally. But as they spend more time practising together they start to understand each other better and so their romance begins.

I felt sometimes that the sexual side of things was a little forced. Not so much the actual love scenes, but there are a lot of discussions between Karen and her friends about their sex lives that just felt a little unnatural. I think there purpose was to add to the sexual tension, but if anything it actually diminished it a bit. Sometimes less is more, and rather than being told about their sexcapades, it would have been more natural to just see the characters in their romantic situations.

The characters:
Karen is a sweet and extremely sheltered character. Her whole life has been pre-chosen for her by her father, and she makes few decisions for herself. For much of the story, she's quite helpless and is constantly being rescued by Connor - whether it be from tripping over, spiders, the recital or overly groppey men that she seems to attract. It wasn't until late into the book that she makes a stand, and starts to take charge of her own life. It was such a relief to see her finally make this huge step.

Connor isn't as simple as a 'bad boy'. Yes he skips class and acts like he doesn't care that he won't graduate, but he has his reasons, and once his secret comes out, it was much easier to understand his attitude.

The romance:
The romance between Karen & Connor worked well in the 'opposites attract' kind of way. They are both very different, but they compliment each other so well and that is reflected in the musical aspect of the story. Just like their two very different instruments, they must work hard to to make it work, but they find similarities and embrace their differences.

The Writing:
I felt the musical parts of the story were really well written. To have music come to life just from the writing is not an easy thing to do but I think Newbury was very successful in achieving this. I felt like I was right there listening to the must and feel the energy they created during the final performance.

Overall this was a fun and sexy story. The musical element to story gave it a real difference and made the story more engaging. All this is a standalone I would recommend reading Dance With Me first, as it does setup a lot of the secondary characters.

Sexuality: medium-strong / strong sexual dialogue, sexual assault & sex scenes
Violence: mild-medium / fist fights
Language: medium / some f words 
Drugs & alcohol: medium / main character get drunk


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