A Free Dreamer Review: The Witchin’ Canoe by Mel Bossa

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Though his mother named him after a priest, there’s nothing saintly about McGauran O’Dowd. He needs to escape the slums before he’s forced into marrying his friend’s sister and revealing the sin he’s managed to hide so far.

When McGauran gets hired as a logger by ruthless business man Gédéon Latendresse, people warn him –the Latendresse family is cursed. Twenty years ago, Gédéon rode the witchin’ canoe from the camps to the city to stop his brother’s wedding. But that night, Gédéon broke one of the Chasse Galerie rules, and now the Devil’s come for his due.

And that due, McGauran soon finds out, is Gédéon’s sheltered young nephew Honoré, the most enchanting man McGauran’s ever met. The lover he’s been praying for.

Cursed, Honoré is slipping into madness and threatened to be interned. When the winter comes, McGauran is stuck at the shanties, helpless to save Honoré from his tragic fate. He’ll do anything to save the man he loves, even bargain with the Devil himself.

The Witchin’ Canoe is a very unusual setting and definitely nothing like any other book I’ve read before.

First of all, I have no idea how historically accurate this book is. I literally know nothing about Canada during this period in history. But it all seemed realistic, for what that’s worth.

This book is about two very different people falling in love with each other. There’s Honoré, he’s rich, but lonely and possibly cursed or mentally ill or maybe he just doesn’t fit society’s expectations. He’s an intriguing young man and I liked him from the very start. Then there’s McGauran, who lives in the slums in desperate poverty. He’s lonely too, even though he has friends and a woman he’s expected to marry soon. He was also extremely likable. There are many minor characters showing up throughout the book, but no matter how short or unimportant their appearance, they all got a unique personality with actual depth. Not all of them were likable, but that made the cast all the more interesting.

The poverty surrounding Mac was extremely well described. I could literally taste Mac’s desperation to somehow change his depressing surroundings. But with a sickly mother and no education to speak of, that’s not exactly easy.

Likewise, the house Honoré lives in was easy to imagine. It was all very mysterious and also a little bit creepy at times. Just enough to give you a little thrill.

The whole story had a gothic, mysterious feel to it that was very addicting and made it very hard to put down the book.

There were only two things that bothered me. First, there’s the romance part of the story. While the relationship itself takes a while to develop, it’s essentially love at first sight for both of them. They barely even talk to each other during their first meeting and still they’re in love. There’s a huge societal gulf between these two and they seemingly had no trouble whatsoever to cross that, which seemed a bit idealistic to me. Then there was Mac’s mother. She can’t support herself and yet Mac plans to run off to the wild all on his own, seemingly without a care what that would mean for his mother. He’s such a responsible young man otherwise, so it just felt very much out of character for him.

“The Witchin’ Canoe” is very high quality fiction, with a subtle creepiness. Some very mysterious things are going on here and it’s sometimes hard to tell reality from imagination. I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to more fascinating books by this author.

The cover has all the important elements of the story and yet it still doesn’t quite do it justice. It just doesn’t look mysterious enough to me.

Sales  Links:  JMS Books LLC  | Amazon

Book details:

ebook
Published January 5th 2019 by JMS Books
ISBN 139781634867894
Edition Language English

 

A Free Dreamer Review: Love Blooms by Stephanie Hoyt

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Nico Hamurişi is the one and only son of Santa Claus. All his life, Nico has known he’s expected to fall in love and find lifelong commitment by the Christmas of his thirtieth year—like every other heir before him. But knowing and accepting are vastly different things, and as the final countdown begins, Nico has yet to embrace his fate. His once great enthusiasm for eventually becoming Santa has been dimmed by uncertainty over how the Santa Line will be affected when he marries a man.

With only a year left, will Nico have time to find love and commitment all while learning how magic will transform the family line to accommodate who he is and who he loves?

As much as I tend to avoid holiday stories on principle, I actually read two of them this year. “Love Blooms” sounded like an interesting take on the Santa Claus myth, so I decided to give it a try. And I’m glad I did because I actually quite liked it.

After reading the blurb, I was a bit worried there might be Mpreg in this story, a trope I really can’t stand. But I’m glad to say that none of the boys got pregnant. I won’t reveal how the “provide an heir” problem is solved, but magic does indeed find a way.

As I’d hoped, the take on the Santa Claus myth proved to be quite interesting. Being Austrian, I didn’t grow up with Santa Claus, so there were no childhood memories to be spoiled for me. I liked how Santa Claus wasn’t this immortal being that didn’t age, but rather a title to be passed from father to son. I also liked how every human being had a bit of magic in them, Nico just has a different kind of magic from others. Outside of the Santa line there isn’t a whole lot of world-building going on, but it was enough.

Nico made for an easily likable character. It wasn’t hard to relate to his conflict and understand the pressure he faces. When the love finally did bloom, it was beautiful to watch it unfold. It was quite cute and fluffy, but still on a tolerable for me.

I did have a few minor niggles. Nico’s story gets a lot of on page time and I understand that his story is probably more interesting than that of his love interest, but a bit more about the other guy would have been nice anyway. Especially the reveal of his magic was very anticlimactic. And I think the story of how he decided to spend the rest of his life with the future Santa Claus would have been an interesting one to read as well.

All in all, “Love Blooms” is one of the better holiday stories out there. Yes, it’s cute and fluffy, but not extremely so. There’s real, believable conflict and struggle and an interesting take on the Santa Claus myth. I think this makes a great holiday read that lets you relax and sink into a happy place, without being over the top. I was pleasantly surprised.

The cover by Natasha Snow is really pretty. It just looks so magical and just really fits the story.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 225 pages

Published December 10th 2018 by NineStar Press

A Free Dreamer Review: SYN Consulting (Dragon War Chronicles #1) by A.G. Carothers

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Continue to hide or help save the very kin she’s hidden from?

Welcome to SYN Consulting, the top business strategy consulting firm in Europe, home to a motley crew whose leader has a life changing secret. CEO, Danica Lestrange, is the first female dragon born in the last 800 years. Hidden from the rest of her kin and raised in the human world, she built a life that she would defend until her death.

A devious plan is unearthed while working on a new business deal that could plunge the dragons into another war with the humans. The humans may have forgotten the last dragon-human war, but the dragons have not. Will the war reveal this hidden world to the humans, or will the clans come together to defeat their enemies and maintain their anonymity?

Danica must gather her allies and help the very dragons she’s hidden from her whole life. She can only hope that she’ll be strong enough to protect her chosen family.

This is the first book in a new series about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there’s also love, and love is blind. Love doesn’t care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual content between consenting adults. The sexual scenes are MM, MF, and MMF. There are romantic relationships depicted that are MM. There is also a high level of explicit language, snark, kink, and possibly bad puns and fart jokes.

First of all, I can’t believe “SYN Consulting” ended where and how it did. That’s one hell of a mean cliffhanger!! If that’s something you don’t like, you might want to wait for part 2 of the series, which is supposed to come out in November.

Now, the relationships in this book are seriously complicated and everybody seems to be involved with everybody on some level. So I’ll just limit myself to the sex scenes we get in this book. For the first half or so, there are lots and lots of explicit MF sex scenes, mostly told from Danica’s POV. Then we get one explicit MFM and one explicit MM scene, although it’s implied that this happens all the time.

It’s been many years since I read explicit MF sex scenes and I don’t remember them being this hot. Seriously, there’s a lot of sex in this book and it’s all always hot to read. It does give it a bit of a porny feel, especially for the first half.

The world of “SYN Consulting” is fascinating. This isn’t exactly the first dragon-shifter book I’ve come across, but it is the first one to make the dragons aliens and not supernatural creatures. I thought that was a really interesting idea, even if the dragons have lived on earth for many millennia. The world building was surprisingly well done, considering the plentiful sex in the first half. There’s some intriguing groundwork that will hopefully be expanded in future books.

I often have issues with female protagonists, especially if they’re romantically involved with men. But I really liked Danica. She’s damn bad-ass. Kudos for giving her her own Ducati. I like a girl who rides her own bike! She’s strong and independent, but also snarky and quite funny. And very intelligent. Oh, and she has awesome, meaningful tattoos! A strong female lead in the truest sense of the word.

The guys in the book were great too. The second half felt a little cluttered with the many POVs we get, though. I sometimes had trouble keeping Matt and Xander apart.

Long story short, “SYN Consulting” is a great Science Fantasy book, set in the near future. It felt longer than it’s 260 pages, but in a good way. I really can’t wait for the next part after that cliffhanger. A little less porn and a little more plot in the first half would have been nice, though.

The cover is gorgeous. Those eyes are mesmerizing!

Sales Links:

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2xXrAoK

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2IoModj

AMAZON CA: https://amzn.to/2DN97l0

 

Book details: Kindle Edition, First Edition, 260 pages

Published August 17th 2018 by A.G. Carothers

A Free Dreamer Review: Dark (Expedition 63 #2) by T.A. Creech

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

As the stranded inhabitants of the Space Station mark the opening of their second year since the world ended, Saito Naotatsu is determined to shake off some part of the grief infecting their temporary home. Maybe find a little happiness, too, with his best friend and communications specialist, Turlach Quinn.

The situation explodes when Turlach finds his attraction to Saito confusing and relentless. At every turn, it seems Saito is there to break his control. With the Station falling apart around their ears and the crew breathing down his neck, Turlach finally has enough.

Problems keep piling up. The crew is weary and waiting. Earth is a dark shadow of what it once was. Will they ever get home? Is there even anything left to go home to?

While “Dark” features a different couple than “Dusk”, I do believe you need to read part one before you can fully understand part two.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue the series after “Dusk”, which was just an okay read overall, but when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t resist. And it paid off. “Dark” was definitely better than “Dusk”.

Part of it was probably because Turlach and Saito are just getting together and we get to experience the whole falling-in-love thing. Usually, I enjoy established couples, but in this case, I think the new couple had a better dynamic than the established one. The connection I missed in part one was much more present in this sequel.

We also see a bit more of how life on the station works from day to day. Once again, not a whole lot actually happens action-wise. But we do get more details of how the crew stays alive, which was mostly skipped over in part one.

But once again, the book is just too short to fully live up to its potential. The setting is really unique  and not one I’ve come across before. It’s a shame the story doesn’t get more room to truly unfold. There was also a bit of gay for you and drama because of lack of communication, which are two tropes I don’t particularly care for.

If you liked book one, you should read part two as well. While there’s still room for more, I definitely liked “Dark” more than “Dusk”. And now I really want to find out how this all ends.

The cover looks good but doesn’t really fit the story imo. The person looks like an alien, when there are none in the story. Once again, it would’ve looked better with just the space station.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC  |  Amazon

Book details: ebook,110 pages

Published May 19th 2018 by JMS Books

A Free Dreamer Review: Barricade by Lindsey Black

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Barricade is all that separates the Northern Russian Empire from what remains of the world’s plague-decimated population. Snaking 8921 kilometres across Eurasia, the Barricade is crafted from the New World’s nanotechnologies. Breathing, thinking, constantly regenerating, it sustains those charged with defending its districts from those desperate to find refuge in the north.

Atop the battlements of District 666, Sasha Stepanova and his team ruthlessly suppress heavy insurgencies, but at a cost. With the loss of one of his men, Sasha feels isolated and adrift. The bitter snows are a harbinger of winter’s early arrival and the town on his southern perimeter is swelling with foreboding shadows.

Transferred from a black operations testing facility, Jett Ioane is not the replacement Sasha is expecting. He’s short, sheltered and untested in battle—a poor replacement for the friend Sasha has lost. But Sasha finds him impossibly alluring. A lifetime of alienation and scrutiny has hardened Jett to the friendship and camaraderie necessary for survival. Struggling to find his feet while Sasha sweeps them out from under him, Jett hesitates to entrust the team with his truth.

Will Jett’s secrets be the key to their salvation, or annihilation?

It’s no big secret that I love Science Fiction and Post Apocalyptic books. But I usually also avoid books that are set somewhere really cold. However, the blurb for “Barricade” just sounded too good to ignore. And I’m glad I decided to read this unusual book.

I’ve read countless books that are set in a post apocalyptic world and almost all of them are set in the United States or whatever’s left of them. It seems you need to live in North America to have any chance at surviving the apocalypse. So “Barricade” was a very interesting change of the usual setting. This time, the Russians are the survivors. They built this ginarmous wall, called the Barricade, to keep out all those people who suffer from the plague. I really enjoyed the setting, even though it’s not what I usually prefer.  I could easily imagine the cold and wet and general nastiness of it. It was very well written and diverse, even though we don’t see much of the world other than the Barricade.

I really liked both Sasha and Jett. I liked their relationship and how they behaved around each other. Every character has their own, distinctive voice, even the minor characters. I loved the whole team of District 666 and their interactions. It was also really interesting to see how each tower’s team worked and how different they all were, even though they all lived basically the same life.

The romance and non-romance parts of the plot very well balanced. The love story worked really well with the rest of the plot.

There were quite a few surprises and unexpected plot twists that made it nearly impossible for me to put the book down. I finished it within a couple of days. I would’ve finished it in a single sitting, if not for work interfering. It was all so fascinating and addicting and I really loved the whole story.

As much as I enjoyed the story itself, I was really annoyed with the editing. There were so many spelling mistakes and it was really distracting. I absolutely hate sloppy editing and there just is no excuse for it. If an author expects me to pay money for their book, then I expect them to the very best to make it perfect. I can forgive the occasional typo, but I have a very low tolerance for bad spelling. The author kept switching between “Sasha” and “Sacha”. Spelling your protagonist’s name wrong is a huge no go and it made me really mad. If not for the sloppy editing, I would’ve happily given this book 4.5 stars. But this really took away from my reading experience.

The ending was a bit sudden and kind of left me with the hope for a sequel.

If you’re into post-apocalyptic stories with some romance to spice things up, I think you will enjoy this book. As long as you don’t let yourself get distracted by the sloppy editing.

Cover art by Natasha Snow: The cover looks a little bit generic. I don’t think it really fits the story. The naked guy makes you expect a way steamier story, with a lot less plot. It just doesn’t do this book justice.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book details: ebook, 342 pages

Published December 28th 2017 by Netherwood Press

A Free Dreamer Review: Covet by Yolande Kleinn

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Jack Mason—graphic designer and unrepentant player—has never been interested in monogamy. He certainly isn’t looking for romance when he meets Professor Colin Sloan.

Newly single and not looking for anything serious, Colin is intrigued by Jack’s offer of a physical affair with no strings attached. Becoming friends wasn’t part of the plan, but as accidents go, this one’s pretty great.

Peter Mason is Jack’s identical twin. In a long-term relationship himself, Peter tells no one that he’s falling for his brother’s newest favorite, even as the secret creates tension with his girlfriend.

When Peter’s relationship falls apart, he seduces Colin, fully expecting Jack to forgive his transgression. But Jack is keeping secrets too—he hasn’t told even Colin that he’s fallen in love. Suddenly the twins are feuding, and Colin is caught in the middle, blindsided by the revelation that he doesn’t want to choose between them.

Now all three must find a way to share, or they’ll tear each other apart.

I love menage stories but I guess I misinterpreted the plot. I totally didn’t realize there would be (sorta) twincest in this. Which, in hindsight, is glaringly obvious from the blurb. Guess I was too greedy… Because while I don’t mind incest with brothers (one older and one younger), twincest makes me feel very conflicted. My dad is an identical twin and thinking of him and my uncle is so wrong when reading a hot sex scene. But it’s not the author’s fault that I can’t read, so I’m not going to let my personal dislike influence my rating.

First things first: the sex scenes were hot. Absolutely scorching hot, especially whenever Peter was involved. And there was a lot of sex in this book.

There was no real twincest, Peter and Jack just shared Colin. They had sex with him but not with each other. This is the first menage where it’s one guy having two boyfriends. That was an interesting change from the usual way these stories go.

As hot as the sex was, there might have been a bit too much of it. The plot was a little shallow overall and had a few too many cliches (like the feisty female friend who meddles with her best friend’s love life). While we got a long build-up of attraction from Peter’s side, Colin’s attraction to him seemed a bit sudden.

I liked that there was a HFN ending. It fit the book perfectly and felt realistic.

Overall, “Covet” is a hot, fun read. Definitely worth a read, even though I’m not really fond of twincest.

The cover by L.C. Chase is totally hot, just like the book.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 268 pages
Published September 18th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496279
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Moro’s Price by M Crane Hana

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Crown Prince, techno-geek, and secret sadomasochist Valier has lusted for years after the gorgeous gladiator called “The Diamond.” Meeting the escaped slave on a rooftop, Valier discovers Moro Dalgleish wants suicide before his former masters can reclaim him.

Infected with a deadly symbiont, Valier proposes empty sex to satisfy his urges and grant Moro’s release from a horrible life. Neither man plans for Moro to survive, or how the morning after will shake three empires to their foundations.

Okay, first of all you should be aware that this story is full of triggers. There’s lots of violence, rape, brainwashing, torture and suicidal thoughts, amongst others. If you’re easily triggered, stay away from this book. It’s incredibly dark.

Now, I have a thing for slave stories and it’s no big secret I love SciFi. “Moro’s Price” was an excellent combination of both. The world Moro and Val live in is very dark and complex. I liked the world the author created, even though it could have used a bit more worldbuilding. A hastily thrown together glossary at the end is NOT enough. The author does mention that there are more books set in this universe, which apparently have more world building. If I can ever find those books, I’m definitely interested.

I immediately found myself rooting for Moro. He’s suffered through incredible things and still there’s a strength in him. He’s not completely broken. Sometimes, his recovery around Val seemed a bit too fast and also a bit inconsistent, though. But I guess that’s kind of to be expected. His new situation isn’t exactly easy.

Val is a bit obnoxious at times. He’s cocky and arrogant, which has a lot to do with his royal heritage. But most of the time he just made for an interesting contrast to Moro.

The sex scenes were hot. Val is a sadist at heart, though he doesn’t live it out too much with Moro. Both Val and Moro have a strong bond to Cama, the goddess of Val’s people. It’s a bit like there are two minds living inside Val. There’s one sex scene between Moro and Cama, but it’s not overly explicit. The sex scenes between Val and Moro and the scenes of Moro being raped are much more explicit.

Aside from the slightly lacking worldbuilding, which left me a bit confused at times, the SciFi plot was intriguing. There’s lots of potential and I seriously hope there’ll be a second book in this series.

Honestly, if you like dark SciFi slave stories, then you should definitely give this a try. Just don’t expect a light, easy read!

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow does an excellent job with the cover and subject matter.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 26th 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947139299

A Free Dreamer Recent Release Review: The Android and the Thief by Wendy Rathbone

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Will love set them free—or seal their fate?
In the sixty-seventh century, Trev, a master thief and computer hacker, and Khim, a vat-grown human android, reluctantly share a cell in a floating space prison called Steering Star. Trev is there as part of an arrangement that might finally free him from his father’s control. Khim, formerly a combat android, snaps when he is sold into the pleasure trade and murders one of the men who sexually assaults him. At first they are at odds, but despite secrets and their dark pasts, they form a pact—first to survive the prison, and then to escape it.
But independence remains elusive, and falling in love comes with its own challenges. Trev’s father, Dante, a powerful underworld figure with sweeping influence throughout the galaxy, maintains control over their lives that seems stronger than any prison security system, and he seeks to keep them apart. Trev and Khim must plan another, more complex escape, and this time make sure they are well beyond the law as well as Dante’s reach.
 I really quite enjoyed “The Android and the Thief”.
The setting was interesting. It’s the 27th century and we have our normal, average humans, just how we do now. And then we have the so-called “Androids”, who are humans as well, without any robot-parts or anything of the like. They aren’t average or normal, though. They’re vat-grown, born as adults, designed in a laboratory to serve in certain professions. They aren’t seen as humans and are essentially slaves with no rights. Khim is a soldier, has been a soldier since the day he was born. But then he’s permanently injured in battle and ends up being sold into the pleasure trade. That’s when rather graphic violent rape happens, so beware. Khim wasn’t designed to endure this kind of use. He snaps and kills one of the rapists, which lands him in prison.
Trev is the son of a powerful crime boss. He’s a professional thief with an obsession for “real-books”. Wanting to escape his father’s clutches, he strikes a deal, which lands him in prison. In the same cell as Khim. Who is, unbeknownst to Trev, the property of his father.
Both MCs had an interesting story to tell. Trev is very acrobatic and easy to like. Khim is very much the victim of circumstances and I really felt for him. Reading about how the two of them are forced to get along, for better or worse, was fascinating. Khim is understandably hesitant to trust or even like Trev.
The prison was an intriguing place. The place was very well described and it was easy to imagine what life there was like for Khim and Trev. It was my favourite part of the book.
And then they escape. And the love story really starts going. Somewhere around that point the book lost my interest. The romance was hard to relate to for me. I just didn’t feel the chemistry between the two. The sex scenes felt a little awkward at times and didn’t really do much for me.
There is one quote that will forever remain with me. Khim and Trev are kissing passionately. “Taste of salt. Fire. Extreme pizza.” I have absolutely no idea where that pizza came from. It still makes me laugh. I’m fairly sure there was no mention of pizza in the whole book, before or after that scene. And who doesn’t think of pizza when locked in a passionate kiss?
I really didn’t like the epilogue and the whole ending seemed a little too easy for me. There was a fairly easy solution to every problem. I still don’t think it’s very realistic.
“The Android and the Thief” was mostly entertaining. The romance part didn’t really work for me, though. I think I would honestly have preferred things to remain platonic between our two MCs.
If you have a thing for slightly cheesy romance, aren’t triggered by the violent rape and like an interesting space-setting, then go for it.
Cover art by Anne Cain is gorgeous.
Sales Links

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Book details:
ebook, 294 pages
Published April 3rd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: We Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

a-free-dreamer-release-day-review-we-met-in-dreams-by-rowan-mcallisterIn Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.

A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.

This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.

Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.

I’m usually not big on historical romance novels, but the blurb was sufficiently unusual and slightly creepy to make me curious. I definitely didn’t regret my choice.

First of all, you have to suspend your disbelief for this story. Fox breaks into Arthur’s house, late one foggy winter night. When Arthur catches him, Fox doesn’t knock him out or harm Arthur in any other way. Instead, he stays for a chat.

Once I got past that slightly strange beginning, I started getting caught up in the story. There are so many unanswered questions and so many secrets lurking here. Is Arthur truly hallucinating? Are the apparitions real ghosts? Or is his kindly uncle plotting against him and there’s a much more mundane reason behind those creepy noises Arthur hears every night? There’s an answer to all those questions in the end, rest assured.

The setting was subtly creepy. Not outright horror-story-like, but just enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end every now and then. I like this kind of subtly creepiness and the author did a brilliant job creating an eerie atmosphere.

While the author managed to convey the creepiness of the setting extremely well, it lacked a “British” feel all over. I think it might have been better if she’d chosen to set this in the USA instead of London. Part of it is probably due to the fact that most of the story takes place in Arthur’s rooms and we hardly ever see the outside world. But when I first read “color” instead of “colour”, I found it really jarring and kept looking for the American spelling. I know it’s pronounced the same, but if a story is set in London and has English MCs, then I expect the British spelling. It should only be a minor niggle, but it started to quite bother me after a while.

The MCs were nice. A little too nice, really. I don’t see why Fox would return to the seemingly insane Arthur and risk a prison sentence in doing so. And Arthur was a little too concerned with everybody else’s well-being.

After all the suspense throughout the entire book, the ending was a little anti-climactic. The revelation felt a little mundane, to be honest.

Long story short, “We Met in Dreams” was good. It might not have been brilliant but overall, I quite enjoyed it.  If you like ghost stories and the subtle creepiness they bring, then you’ll like this book.

The cover by Anna Silkorska is perfect for this story. I love the haunted manor.

Sales Links

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Book details:

ebook, 268 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332966 (ISBN13: 9781635332964)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Dinner at Jack’s by Rick R. Reed

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

dinner-at-jacks-by-rick-r-reedPersonal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, returns to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother, Maisie, in that same small town, angry at and frightened of the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past?

Slowly the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love.

But will Jack’s demons allow it? Jack’s history harbors secrets that could just as easily rip them apart as bring them together.

This is a story full of hurt and lots and lots of comfort. It deals with PTSD after a violent attack, though the attack isn’t described explicitly.

At first, I couldn’t stand Jack. He was a mean, horrid person most of the time. Even knowing he suffered from a mental illness, I couldn’t make myself like him. But soon enough, he got his own chapter from his POV and I started understanding him better. The two POVs are essential to me. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did, had there been only Beau’s POV.

My favourite character in the whole story was Beau’s cute little pug, Ruth. She was absolutely adorable. I loved her to bits. The way Beau leads whole conversations with her made me like him instantly. I loved that she was the boss and very much the “alpha”. Beau totally failed to be the leader of the pack that every dog owner should be, leading to some hilarious scenes with her. And I can totally relate to the feeling of “she’s so ugly, you just have to love her”. That’s the feeling I always had with my cat.

Quite a few of Beau’s chapters start with a recipe. I skipped most of those, tbh, since I’m a very lazy and unwilling cook. It’s still a unique feature I haven’t come across before. Food plays a very important role throughout the whole book.

I think the PTSD was mostly described realistically. Jack doesn’t just instantly get better thanks to lots of loving. Everybody keeps insisting that he really, really should get help from a professional, but Jack doesn’t want to.

The one thing that really bothered me was the whole set up. It’s all one huge coincidence. Not only have Beau and Jack met years ago, they also happen to be from the same small town, Maisi just so happens to go looking for a personal chef on Craigslist and Beau just so happens to actually read and, despite his better judgement, also accept the job. It was just too much to feel realistic.

Still, I enjoyed “Dinner at Jack’s”. It’s not as sugary-sweet as I’d feared. There are a lot of dark elements and the mental illness is taken seriously. But the best part was still Ruth.

Cover: The cover by Reese Dante shows Jack and Beau embracing in the snow and gnocchi at the bottom. It fits the story really well.

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Book details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: October 3rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634776712 (ISBN13: 9781634776714)
Edition LanguageEnglish