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Sunday, January 22, 2012

REVIEW: Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley (eBook)

Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2)
4 of Stars

Sweet Dreams didn’t just have “Moist Factor Five Hundred”, for me, it had the “Turn Around Factor”.

In fact, it even made me feel like I was doing the Twister!


Why do I say this? Weeelll…. I was initially quite drawn into this story DESPITE its editing issues.

Yes, this book has overly long/run-on sentences; under-use of commas and full stops; over-use of parentheses; and some non-linear time lines. If you are a reader who can’t get passed this, then this book is not for you.

Despite noticing all these issues, though, it really didn’t bother me because, as I said, I was drawn into the story. It’s been said before, but I concur: Kristen Ashley is a great storyteller and has great characterisations. Her characters seemed so real. In fact, that is really where my main issue arose (which I’ll explain more later).

The story is written in first person POV of Lauren Grahame, a newly divorced 42-year old woman from middle class suburbia in search of “Nowheresville”. Lauren used to believe in “something special” but her cheating husband changed all that. She no longer expected “special” and wanted to escape into a nothing place, never thinking that Carnal, Colorado, a small biker town, would ever be home or where she would indeed find “special”.

Lauren was an extremely likable and relatable character. She is sweet, caring, gets along with almost anyone, a hard worker, classy, but she's also insecure, and well, can be quite impulsive and reckless.

I want to say THANK YOU to all my Goodreads friends who first encouraged me to read it and also to “Hang in There” with this book! The story was well worth my time despite pushing some very personal buttons.


Now, on to the hard part… What were my personal buttons? Hmm…Well, it was Tate Jackson who pushed them. It is something that upsets me to talk/write/think about, but to fully explain my issue with Tate, I feel I need to share.

I wasn’t just annoyed with Tate. I was MAD at him. The introduction to Tate isn’t the best. Though, that wasn’t even my main issue.

Tate is bossy and controlling. Yes, he’s an alpha male, and maybe at a different point in my life I might have been less upset by this. Recent events, though, made me really angry seeing this behaviour in Tate. My dad has always been the “boss” of the family. But in the last few years he has developed a brain condition that is causing his motor abilities to degenerate, such that a man of only 65 can’t walk without the aid of a walker, and it will just get worse. What really breaks my heart, though, is what I would have formerly seen as just protective behaviour by my dad, has become over-possessive and controlling behaviour. This behaviour has always been there. It is just so much worse now. It is such that my mum can’t even speak to me on the phone without him needing to be present, because he is paranoid she is planning to run away with a young lover. This is not the case. My mum is faithful and does everything for him. He is constantly bossing her around and she isn’t even allowed to sleep with her back to him because then her “body language” is all wrong. I love both my mum and dad and it really breaks my heart. I feel all teary now just thinking about it.

Also, Lauren’s nickname for Tate was “Captain” and my dad was a ship’s captain and everyone calls him that, even mum when she’s talking about him to others.

Anyway, these feelings about my dad is something that’s very difficult for me to deal with, and seeing Tate’s controlling and bossy behaviour (as well as some annoying repetitions in text)…well…I needed to step away from this book, for a bit. I was almost considering "DNF"-ing it.

I decided to re-read an emotional favourite of mine, The Bronze Horseman, because I needed to hurt. I needed to cry, without necessarily thinking about my mum and dad.

After I released some of these emotions, I decided to go back and continue Sweet Dreams and I was completely sucked into the story. I can completely understand now how my GRs friends couldn’t put this one down.

Only several pages in from where I stepped away, I was met with this scene below. It made a big dent in melting my heart.
“And he cradled it, the cat’s lower body resting on his forearm, the cat’s tail gliding across his bicep, the cat’s front paws straddling Tate’s wrist and the cat’s head resting in Tate’s big hand.”
Tell me that an image something like this doesn’t melt your heart, too? Aawwwww..…

Although, Buster looks more like this:

I LOVED Buster! She was a real present character. Being owned by a cat, myself, her behaviours were just soooo adorably cat, to me. ^_^

Back to Tate...In the end, in spite of Tate still being such a jerk, at times – especially, when he’s pissed off or because he is just being his “bossy” self – I ended up loving him. Tate does some very thoughtful and sweet things, in his very Tate way. He doesn’t make my Top heroes list, but as my friend Jill said, he is an “unforgettable hero”.

I like how Lauren argues with him. She doesn’t take it lying down…well, sometimes she does, if you know what I mean . ^_~ *snickers*.

I know that Tate will still do things to frustrate and annoy me – we all have people like that in our lives, and yet we still love them – but he’s a good man and he and Lauren really do bring out the best in each other. I love how he spoiled her, how he made her see what “special” is, and taught her to see herself through his eyes –YOWZA! If only I’d had “treatment” like that for my anorexia and insomnia! *fans self* LOL

See, I’m writing about him like he’s REAL! Kudos to Ms Ashley on characterisation!

Also, there was an amazing and interesting cast of "secondary" characters! Loved Shambles and Sunny, Betty and Ned, Jim-Billy, Wendy, Krystal, Wood, and Laurie's family!

I was kept on the edge of my seat with the suspense elements.

I even enjoyed reading about what Lauren was wearing almost every day; but then again, I like clothes, as does, it seems, Ms Ashley, from what I read in the “About the Author” portion of the book

So, for the “Turn Around Factor”, I’m giving this one 4 Stars.

Tate…He can be such a jerk, but he has his oh-so-sweet moments, and, man, he’s gorgeous!
“He was tall, maybe taller than he seemed in the parking lot or maybe he just seemed bigger in the bar since his shoulders were so broad. But his hips were lean and his legs were long, his thighs obviously powerfully muscled and I could tell that through his jeans. His dark brown hair gleamed even in the dull light of the bar. It was thick and it was clear he washed it and let it fall where it lay for the part was natural and not straight, it was swept back but some fell around his temples and curled a bit around his ears and at the back of his neck. His eyes looked dark. I couldn’t tell the color but there were sun lines emanating from the sides that were attractive. His brow was heavy; his nose wasn’t perfect but it was straight with a slight bump at the top of the bridge that made it interesting; his cheekbones were cut and his jaw was strong. His skin was tanned in a way where I knew he didn’t get that color lounging by the pool and he was wearing faded jeans, black motorcycle boots and a heathered-gray-blue, long-sleeved, skintight, thermal Henley.

He was beautiful.”
Tate looks HOT in a Henley....
....And without one. ^_^
He's a badass biker and bounty hunter...

...And he's a yummy playmate in the pool

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