What Dreams May Come
Paranormal Romance, Romance

Review: What Dreams May Come by Beth Honeycutt

What Dreams May Come
Image from Beth Honeycutt; used by permission

Title: What Dreams May Come (In Dreams #1)

Author: Beth M. Honeycutt

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Reality is overrated. Or so Ellie Cross has always believed.

Ellie is ordinary and invisible – the kind of girl who would loan her lunch money to anyone, but not the kind of girl to get noticed. Well, except by her nagging mom and the class bully. But Ellie has someone she can turn to whenever she has a problem. Though some might call him an imaginary friend, since they’ve never actually met outside of dreams.

And, sure, Ellie knows it’s kinda weird to have a friend no one else can see. But since he isn’t real, she can tell Gabe anything without ever worrying that he’ll ditch her for someone cooler or blab her secrets. And so what if she happens to have an itsy-bitsy crush on her reality-challenged friend? Who’s it hurting, really?

But things are about to get complicated, because there’s a new guy in school. A guy with hauntingly familiar eyes. A guy who knows things about Ellie that he shouldn’t have any way of knowing…

If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, you know I am really not into paranormal romance. So what convinced me to pick this up? Pretty much the first line of that description. Because honestly, half the time I think reality’s overrated. I’d rather read a book.

I liked Ellie. She’s one of those shy sweet girls who’s awesome once you get to know her, but it takes a little effort to get to know her. And I can totally relate to her liking something better than reality – dreams for Ellie, fiction for me, but it’s the same principle.

The only thing that bothered me about her was her lack of spine. I get it that not everybody is like me. But I’m the kind of person where if somebody called me fat, I’d say something like “It’s called curvy, and I’m rocking it!” So Ellie’s ignore-them-and-try-not-to-cry strategy annoyed me. But I’m positive there are plenty of bullied girls out there who can totally relate to her.

Gabe was almost too perfect. He was sweet and strong, amazingly caring, attentive, and a great listener. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him and really wish I can find a guy like him. He just seemed almost too good to be true.

I tried about five different ways to condense things happening in this book to one sentence, but they all make it sound boring. The story is Ellie trying to figure out if new-kid Gabriel is the same person as dream-kid Gabe. But there’s so much more than that. It’s a mixture of her desire for love and her struggle to realize she’s actually worth loving.

I went through a lot of the shyness and self-image issues Ellie went through when I was in junior high. Reading it now, I enjoyed it because I remembered the struggles. If I’d read this in junior high, it would have blown me away.

And bonus: the romance is extremely sweet and completely clean.

What Dreams May Come is actually first in a series, but I think the ending was actually a pretty solid wrap-up. It’s one of those books where if you’re looking for a stand-alone, this one will work, but if you desperately want more of these characters, there’s more on the way. I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series, but I certainly don’t regret this read.

I received a free review copy of What Dreams May Come from the author. Her generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.

The In Dreams series

  1. What Dreams May Come
  2. Where Nightmares Walk

Report Card

For more on my grading system, please see my About page.

WHAT DREAMS MAY COME scored a 4.0 (A)

Did Not Finish, Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

Review: Blaze by Laurie Crompton

Blaze book cover
Image from Laurie Boyle Crompton

Title: Blaze, or Love in the Time of Supervillains

Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton

Genre: Romance

Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines. All she wants is for Mark the Soccer Stud to notice her. Not as Josh’s weird sister who drives a turd-brown minivan. And not as that nerdy girl who draws comics. What she gets is her very own arch-nemesis. Mark may have humiliated Blaze supervillian-style, but what he doesn’t know is geek girls always get revenge.

I seem to be reading a lot of what-possessed-me-to-pick-this-up books lately. I’m pretty sure I picked this one up on originality alone. A romance gone bad, the hurt girl gets revenge, and comic books? Sounds pretty good.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even finish it.

Blaze was okay. Her moral standards were a little lax, which was my biggest problem with her. Other than that, though, she was responsible and kinda lonely and generally a good character.

Besides being incredibly handsome, Mark (Blaze’s love interest) was a mystery – and not in a good way. He felt very underdeveloped. And besides the fact that he was handsome, I don’t know why Blaze liked him so much (of course, that could have been the only reason).

What really made me put the book down was the plot. The back cover promised me a romance gone wrong and revenge. By the 100-page mark, Blaze and Mark had kissed for the first time. The romance part was just starting, and honestly, I was bored. The first 100 pages was Blaze pining after Mark, and that frustrated me. If it took 100 pages for the plot on the back cover to start, there was no way I’d suffer through this to get to the revenge.

I’m honestly not sure how much of this was me and how much was the book. I’m not a huge romance fan, which might have had something to do with it. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it more than me. But I am not a fan.

Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

Waiting for Mr. Right

Waiting for Mr. Right book cover
Image from Project Inspired

Title: Waiting for Mr. Right (Mr. Right #1)

Author: Lisa Raftery and Barbara Precourt

Genre: Romance

Julia Duncan arrives at Tyler University with hopes of a good education, but more importantly, meeting that special someone. She imagines a handsome prince who will sweep her off her feet as they ride into the sunset and live happily ever after. Eventually, Julia finds a boyfriend who seems to be Mr. Right. But time reveals he is just the opposite, and her romantic dream quickly becomes a terrifying nightmare. What started as a little lie grows to the point of crisis, and every moment moves her further and further from the life she so desperately desires. Will Julia survive her first year of college?

Quick note: I’m classifying this book as YA because even though it could be classified as New Adult, I think the message is most relevant to YA readers.

I am usually not into romance books at all. But my mother bought the whole Mr. Right series for me (because she felt sorry for the woman selling them, I think). And she figured if I didn’t like them, I could donate them to our church library and get reimbursed.

In the beginning, I wasn’t too thrilled with the writing. Dense blocks of text and minimalistic dialogue. But I told myself I’d tough it out 100 pages, and I even ended up finishing it.

Julia seemed to be the stereotypical sheltered Christian girl wanting to find out what she missed in college. And while I can understand it, I guess, I felt she was a little immature. Most of the things she did I could have told her was a bad idea. (Of course, my sister accuses me of being a forty-year-old in a sixteen-year-old body, so the immaturity thing could be just me.)

Jay wasn’t so much bad as he was misguided. He was definitely the wrong guy for Julia. But he wanted so bad to be the right one. He’s one of those characters where I wanted the main character to get away from him, but at the same time, I wanted things to work out for him, too (but with a different girl).

I feel like I should mention more characters, but even though Julia had a lot of casual acquaintances and people she hung out with, she wasn’t really close enough to anyone to warrant a mention.

The plot seemed to be one bad decision of Julia’s after another. Sometimes, I got annoyed and felt like yelling, “That’s so obviously a bad idea!” but most of the time, I was just curious to see how she would mess up next. I think she made almost every mistake out there for college-age kids – and the ones she didn’t make, her dorm-mates did.

I could tell the authors of Waiting for Mr. Right weren’t professionals – better than amateurs, sure, but not pro. Besides the minimal dialogue and a whole lot of telling instead of showing, it got a little preachy at the end. I’ll admit it – I glossed over most of the last chapter.

When I finished Waiting for Mr. Right, my first impression was that it wasn’t a great book. It was okay, but not great. But later, I realized I was still thinking about it. I can’t explain exactly why, but this is the kind of book that sticks in your head and makes you remember it fondly.

Waiting for Mr. Right had its flaws, sure. But strangely enough, it became one of those stories I think about even after I’ve turned the last page. And while its dating-related message doesn’t apply to me right now, I can see how this would be good for girls at different stages of life than me. I just might read the second book, Meeting Mr. Right, if for nothing else than I want to see if it sticks in my head like this one did.

Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

Between the Lines

Between the Lines book cover
Image from thebookgirlreviews. blogspot.com

Title:  Between the Lines

Author:  Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Genre:  Romance

If anyone knew how many times Delilah McPhee had read and reread the kids’ fairy tale she found in the library, she’d be sent to social Siberia forever.  But to Delilah, the story is more than just words on a page.  Sure, there’s the traditional handsome (okay, hot) prince, beautiful princess, evil villain, and fire-breathing dragon, but it feels like there’s something deeper going on.  And there is – as Delilah discovers when an illustration of Prince Oliver starts to talk to her.  A certain Reader has caught the prince’s eye – but he’s trapped in a book.  How will it ever work?

I am kicking myself for making this a workout book.  There’s a finite number of books that will stay open on the elliptical machine, and this was one of them.  So I only got to read a couple chapters every day.

I did not appreciate that.  Because once I got into the book, I didn’t want to stop reading.

Delilah was a whole lot like me – or at least me if my dad left and I went to public school.  Quiet, not super popular, kind of geeky, obsessed with books.  She had one of those quiet personalities that, while not remarkable, was definitely relatable (at least for me).  And I can totally sympathize with falling in love with a fictional character.

Oliver was exactly what you’d expect a fairy tale prince to be – handsome, courteous, sweet, caring, selfless….  In fact, there’s a very good chance that he could be accused of being perfect.  Even when he made mistakes, he did it perfectly.  But somehow, when I was reading through the book, I didn’t mind.

Normally, I’d mention a few of the more minor characters, but there really weren’t any that played a big enough part to be mentioned.  Delilah spent most of her time alone, and Oliver was rarely with the same character twice.

Normally, I don’t go for the romance-oriented plots.  And while the main plot of this book is to get Oliver out of the fairy tale, the romance between Oliver and Delilah is both the motivation for the main plot and an only slightly-less-main plot.  I enjoyed this book purely because I’ve fallen in love with fictional characters before, and I’ve wished they could come out of the book.

This was an enjoyable, light-hearted book with a very fairy-tale feel.  It made me nostalgic for the fairy tales I loved as a kid, and it made me wish something like what happened to Delilah would happen to me.

I read somewhere that Samantha Van Leer was Jodi Picoult’s daughter, but I automatically assumed that Samantha was an adult.  But then I looked at the author bios in the back of the book, and discovered that Samantha is only a high school junior.  Even if she co-wrote it with her bestselling-author mother, I still think it’s awesome that a teenager co-wrote this book.