Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

ARC Review: With Every Heartbeat by Melody Grace

By 11:19 AM , , , , ,

With Every Heartbeat (Cities of Love #1)
    by: Melody Grace

Publication Date: Nov. 8, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC received from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 260 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Rome. The city of young lovers, old secrets, and intoxicating new desire… 

I thought I knew what I wanted in life. I thought my destiny was set. Then I met him, and everything changed.

Raphael is bold, passionate, and seductive. He sees something in me I never dreamed possible, and now he's determined to show me a world beyond rules -- a dance without limits. I want to trust him, but I'm scared. Because I know once I fall, there'll be no going back.

An innocent dancer. A mysterious stranger. As Annalise is drawn deeper into the romantic delights of Rome, she'll question everything she believed about her future. But with opening night looming, can she find the strength to risk it all? And will she be forced to choose between her one true love, ballet, and the new passion in her heart?
Melody Grace has done it again! With Every Heartbeat is a great start to a new, captivatingly, sexy series that I cannot wait to read more of! I am a huge fan of her Beachwood Bay series and while I do love Beachwood Bay, it was fun seeing this book set overseas amidst the gorgeous, historical Rome! I admit, I'm biased because Rome was my absolute favorite city of those that I visited while I was in Italy. (I actually teared up when I walked into the Colosseum.) Rome is such a vibrant city full of history and magic just like Grace depicted. I remember going down to a little district myself to a bar where people milled about the piazza, having a great time. I didn't see any dancing that I remember though... ;) Speaking of dancing... whew! Center Stage is one of my favorite movies and I've always been fascinated by dance. Ballet is so intriguing to me because I know it's not something I could ever do. The amount of work they put in, hours they spend rehearsing, and how diligent they are about watching what they eat, etc is mind-blowing to me. This story touches on all of that and really shows you how, even though the main character loves dancing, sometimes life will throw you a curve ball and force you to reexamine what it is you really want out of life.
I really enjoyed Annalise's character. Her entire life has been centered around dance and while she loves it, she definitely feels the pressure that comes with it. Her mother used to be a prima ballerina and she really places high expectations on her daughter. She won't settle for her daughter being a part of the ballet corps, but expects her to obtain solos and larger roles. Her mother sends her to Rome in hopes that she will make her mark while the top dancers remain in NYC. Here, Annalise's dreams of dancing are challenged and she must confront what she really wants in life.
Meeting Raphael was certainly NOT part of the Rome plan. Yet, Annalise finds herself captivated by the gorgeous Italian dancer.
"The breath is sucked from my lungs, and I feel a thrill ripple through me, a sensation I've never known before: anticipation, as if I know something important is about to happen. Something life-changing.
And then he starts to dance."
Annalise sees the passion and sensuality in his dancing, but most of all she sees how free it is. Ballet is so structured and full of discipline. The way he moves with such fluidity and grace is what draws her in and she can't help but feel the blooming desire within as she watches him. After an almost unfortunate incident brings them together, he invites her to a party the next night. She knows the Company has strict rules about curfew and she can't afford to make any mistakes that might deny her a solo or worse get kicked out. Yet, for the first time in her life, Annalise wants to take that leap into the unknown. She desperately wants to see him again and as crazy as she knows it is, she's finally doing something reckless and passionate for once in her life.
I really enjoyed Raphael's character. He was sweet, passionate, and truly cared for Annalise and her career. He enjoys dancing in his troupe, but wants to dance professionally. He understands Annalise's passion and drive for dance and believes in her. He ignites a fire in her that she's never known before and while dance is everything, she discovers what she's been missing out on for all these years.
"I don't understand it, how I could have gone my whole life without feeling even a hint of this desire. Now it threatens to consume me. The scent of him, his deep musky smell; the taut curve of his bicep, wrapped tight around me; the feel of his breath, light against my cheek. Every sense is awake, every part of my body is calling out for him, but I'm helpless, too scared to move from his embrace, too shy to reach up and bring his lips to mine. I can only wait, my heart pounding, until at last, Raphael strokes his hand across my shoulder and lifts my face to his."
I really enjoyed Karla and Rosalie's characters in the novel too. Karla is a fellow dancer and Rosalie is an assistant to Mademoiselle (one of the Company's strict instructors). Rosalie was probably my favorite of the two- she is treated pretty badly, yet she loves being able to travel and so she will endure some of the other dancers' taunts and being forced to do Mme's bidding so she can continue to do so. I am really looking forward to her story next! We will find her in Paris! I thought Karla was ok, but I did find her to be a bit duplicitous. One minute she'd encourage Annalise's relationship with Raphael, but then she would become angry at her for sneaking out because she was putting her and Rosalie in jeopardy. I do understand her concerns, as she believed Annalise was sacrificing her hard-earned career for a guy. I don't think she had any idea that her encouraging Annalise to pursue this guy would turn into what it did.
I did not care for Raphael's dance partner, Francesca. She was rude, smug, and believed she had some claim to Raphael. However, she is Raphael's best friend's little sister, so it was difficult for him to ignore her completely, especially since he works at their family's restaurant. Annalise's mom is also another character who I did not care for. She was only concerned about her daughter's career as a ballerina- she did not care that her daughter might want more from life. The fact that she would cut her daughter off if she did not do what she wanted her to do was just an example of how vile and self-centered this woman was.
With Every Heartbeat is a story about passion and discovering that life is unpredictable and messy, but sometimes the uncertainty of the ride is what makes life worth living.

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  1. Awesome review girl! So glad you enjoyed this book as much as I did. I loved the setting too. Rome is such an amazing city! Despite my unfortunate experiences in cross cultural romance, I loved this one and Raphael and Annalise are so great together. I truly loved the ending of this book. I can't wait for Rosalie's story in Paris!

    1. Thanks Chelsea! I'm also excited for the next book! I'm not a big Paris fan, but that's okay. I'll still enjoy it I'm sure!

  2. This looks so good! Rome is one of my favorite settings too. Thanks for the great review.

    1. Thanks Andrea! I love all things Italy, but I'm definitely biased. LOL.


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