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Monday, July 11, 2016

Blog Tour & Review - Broken Dreams Series by Elodie Nowodazkij

Title: A Summer Like No Other
(Broken Dreams: Em & Nick #1)
Author: Elodie Nowodazkij
Publication Date: July 30th, 2015
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all.

They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.

Sixteen-year-old Emilia Moretti’s goal for the summer is simple: forget her brother’s best friend—Nick Grawsky—ever existed. It should be easy: He’s spending his summer in the Hamptons, adding girls in tiny bikinis to his list of broken hearts. Guarantee he won’t be telling them they’re like his little sisters. This summer, Emilia won’t stay awake at night thinking about him. She’ll need flawless ballet movements to have a shot at next year’s showcase, and she’s finally ready to search for her birth parents. But when Nick decides to stay in the city, Emilia’s resolve disappears in a pirouette. Maybe it’s the spin they needed to be together. As long as she doesn’t get stuck believing in happily ever after…

Nick is tired of pretending to be the happy, let’s-have-fun guy. His father wants him to change his career from professional dancer to…lawyer. He needs to put all of his focus on dancing to prove to Daddy Dearest he’s good enough to make it big. And he may have a case of the bluest balls in history courtesy of Emilia. She’s off-limits: The bro code with Roberto even forbids the dirty thoughts he has about her. Besides, he’s not boyfriend material. He only has time for flings, for girls who don’t expect much, for girls he doesn’t want to kiss goodnight. He knows he should resist her, but he’s not sure he wants to…

At least for this summer.

It’s going to be a summer like no other.

Buy Links: Amazon around the world B&N Kobo iTunes

Title: Always Second Best

(Broken Dreams: Em & Nick #2)
Author: Elodie Nowodazkij
Publication Date: October 10th, 2015
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Sometimes being first isn’t what you expected. 

Seventeen-year-old ballerina Emilia Moretti is tired of always being second best. And she’s going to prove the world she deserves to be first. In her upcoming School of the Performing Arts showcase. In the eyes of her birth parents. And in the heart of the guy she loves. She spends hours rehearsing, hours dreaming about becoming number one, hours imagining how her entire life is about to change. But when nothing goes the way she planned, she’ll need to realize what it really means to be first.

Eighteen-year-old Nick Grawski doesn’t want to follow Daddy Dearest’s rules any longer. He's going to prove he's meant to be a dancer—not a lawyer—and he is not going to stay away from Em just because his father demands it. He needs to show Em that—this time around—he’s there to stay and that he won’t break her heart again. Even when her world goes down to shit, even when he finds out his dad may have been trying to protect him all along, even if being there for one another is harder than falling in love.

ALWAYS SECOND BEST is a novel of hope and heartbreak and broken dreams. It’s a novel about falling in love and discovering that being first isn’t always what matters.

Buy Links: Amazon B&N iTunes Kobo

Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. Now she lives in Maryland with her husband, their dog and their cat. 
She's also a serial smiley user.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

3 “Best friend's sister romance” STARS

I’ve always been a fan of any variation of the “best friend to lovers” trope. In the Broken Dreams series there's a good combination of that because Emily is not only Nick’s best friend’s little sister, but Em is also one of the people he trusts the most. Em & Nick’s relationship is not only linked to Robert (Em’s brother), but they have history together. They’d been there for each other since they were kids and have shared a lot of good moments in the past.

When we meet Em and Nick in the first book they already have feelings for each other. Em has been in love with her brother’s BFF for what seems like a long time, and Nick has been thinking about her in not only friendly ways, if you know what I mean.

Stuck in the city for the summer, Em and Nick spend most of their time in the studio where they practice dancing and, without their friends or any distraction around, they focus their energy on each other. Of course that leads to them admiting to their feelings and moving to the next stage in their relationship. But neither of them is ready to commit to a serious relationship, so they agree to have a fling for the summer. Once it’s over, so is their relationship. You can see how this is so not going to work when the two people involved already have feelings for each other, right? Either way, they go for it.

The first book in the series is a novella that follows this summer agreement – and it seems like it wasn’t originally planned. From what I understand, the author started writing “Always Second Best” before she thought of writing “A Summer Like no Other”, but later on she saw the need to show the readers the events of the summer.

Honestly, I’m glad she did because reading ASB without ASLNO would’ve been too confusing. We needed to see Em and Nick choosing to take the next step in their relationship during the summer and seeing where it led in order to understand why they were feeling that way in the beginning of ASB.

ASLNO also helped clarify the situation involving Em and Nick’s family problems.

Nick spent all of the first book and most of the second book trying to establish some balance in his relationship with his father, a man who was willing to blackmail his own son (and practically act like his pimp) in exchange for business transactions.

Em had an even bigger plot. She’d been adopted, and although she had a family who loved her, she wanted to meet her birth parents. During her search, Em learned a lot of secrets about her biological mother, her adoptive father and even Nick’s father involvement in her adoption. Though we didn’t get a conclusion to that mystery in the end of the first book, I can’t see how it would’ve worked if the author hadn’t decided to write the novella.

The first book also helped show the relationship between Em and her grandmother, who was an important person in Em’s life and in the decisions she came to make later on.

So, overall, I believe writing ASLNO was the best decision the author made.

Moving on to the second book, ASB picked up from where ASLNO left off – a few months after the summer that ended with Nick & Em putting an end to their relationship even though both had fallen in love.

Unlike the first one that focused a lot more on the romance, ASB spent a lot of time on Nick and Em’s personal battles – mainly because the two of them were separated and trying to figure out their own lives.

Nick’s dad was still the same jerk who was so desperate to impose his lifestyle and understanding of what was the right path that he didn’t realize that he was making all the worse decisions and hurting his family. Nick’s mom wasn’t much better. In her defense, she evolved as a character, a human being and a parent throughout the second book, but it took her a while to get there. Meanwhile, Nick was thrown in the middle of this messy family, trying to find his voice and strength to finally stand up to himself. It was interesting to watch him go from the boy who was being blackmailed and pushed this and that way to the boy who finally told his father “no more!”.

On her side, Em was spending all her time with her grandmother in her restaurant or in the studio practicing. The school had a big event coming and she wanted to get the leading role. Since Em struggled to show emotion in her performances, she wanted to get her technique perfect. She was so focused on the dance that she even left the whole “hunting her birth mother” plan for a while.

The moments Em spent with her grandmother were always a great way to show her emotions and get a better understanding of her as a person. I really appreciated them and how they helped move the story forward. Those moments also turned out to be extremely important toward the end when Em chose to evaluate her passion for dancing and what she really wanted out of life.

Later on, Em restarted her search for her birth mother and that led to some surprising and some not so surprising, but still interesting developments. No spoilers!

Throughout all of this, Nick made sure Em understood he was there for her – and that was one of my favorite things about him. No matter what was going on in his personal life; no matter how distant Em acted; no matter how much he wanted to be more than friends, Nick never forgot to support and be there for Em. And there were more than a few times Em needed him. He was a really supportive person, and that’s always a good trait to have in a love interest.

Romance lovers should not worry because even if things didn’t end well in the first book for the couple, and it took them long enough to find their way back to each other in the second, Em and Nick finally admit to their feelings and decide to make it work.

So, even though I had a few problems with these books and some of the author's choices, overall this was a good series that focused not only on the romance but also on the character's personal battles.

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Nikolina said...

This book sounds like something I'd really enjoy reading, thank you for sharing!

U.S. - Brazil Book Review said...

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoy it if you decide to read it.