by Kristen Ashley
This is the second book in the Colorado Mountain series.
Lauren Grahame needs a whole new life. A simpler life. After leaving her cheating husband, she moves to Carnal, Colorado, takes a job as a waitress, and realizes she might have finally found the hometown she'd been searching for. Except things are about to get a lot more complicated . . .
Lauren's fresh start does not include her growing feelings for her boss, Tate Jackson. She'll take the new friends, the new job, not to mention the incredible banana bread from the local coffee shop, but love is not on the agenda.
However, the people of Carnal know chemistry when they see it, and they're not about to let Tate and Lauren miss their chance.
Lori (that’s what Tate and her friends call her) is and always has been a good girl. She’s always done what she was supposed to, and that’s why her family was so worried when she packed up her car to roam the country after her divorce. After months of living out of her car she finds Carnal, Colorado and she decides to stay a while. It’s when she starts to settle into a routine of everyday life she slowly starts to find herself.
Tatum Jackson is hot. He’s also a huge jerk. And, as luck would have it, he is part owner of the bar where Lori works. That means, Tate is now Lori’s boss. How do you handle the alpha male jerk of a boss? You avoid him. It works mostly...until it won’t.
My Two Cents:
Sweet Dreams is the perfect cross-section of genres to hit my sweet spot. It’s a little sweet. It’s a little funny. It's a little sexy. It’s a little dark. At times, it’s even a little unexpected.
I love characters. When I talk about books they people usually ask me what makes a good book. That’s characters I can connect with emotionally. I need to fall in love with the protagonist. I need to hate the antagonist. I need to laugh at the supporting characters. Kristen Ashley is a master at creating interesting and perfectly flawed characters to connect with.
Lori is what “every woman” that has ever been cheated on wants to be. She loved openly and fully, and when she was hurt and let down she unapologetically took the time to let herself heal. Once the ties were cut she sold everything that she owned and left town. Slowly shaking off the self-doubt accompanied by a cheating lover.
It’s always refreshing for me, a thirty-something myself, to encounter stories outside of the young adult or new adult category. Don’t get me wrong I adore a good coming of age tale. After reaching the age of adulthood there is a point in a woman’s life when she comes into her own. She accepts herself for who she is and starts to learn how to love herself and be content in her own skin. I think this happens at different ages in everyone’s life. For me, and most of the women I know, this didn’t happen until years into adulthood.
Since Lori and Tate are older they both have baggage and that’s ok. As an older character it is inevitable that Lori and Tate bring to the story their past. All the drama and ups and downs of lifetime lived follow them into their current situation, it’s part of who they are, it’s part of what makes them interesting characters.
The secondary characters of this story are amazing! The town of Carnal is a character in its own right. I think I’m going to add it to my bucket list of places to visit. I’d stay at Carnal Hotel, have coffee at LaLa Land coffee shop, and spend my nights hanging around at Bubba’s.
I love that Ms. Ashley doesn’t shy away from controversial and unpopular topics. She also treats them with the care and respect they required. Unfortunately bad things happen in real life. Fiction gives us an opportunity to work through real life scenarios at a distance, providing perspective and encouraging introspection. Not only does Ms. Ashley tackle rough topics she does so in a way that will take you through an entire spectrum of human emotion and come out smiling on the other end.
One warning...Ms. Ashley sure loves her food. One thing you might want to keep in mind if you’re reading this while you’re on a diet with her decadent dinners, cookies, cakes, and lemony goodness. I am totally going to try Moist Factor 500.
Natasha Tomic from Natasha is a Book Junkie.
Natasha is a Book Junkie has been one of my favorite blogs for a very long time. So I was super excited when I got to meet Natasha at the 2017 RT Booklovers Convention. I knew that she was a big fan of Kristen Ashley’s from the blog. She mentioned Sweet Dreams in particular several times. One of my favorites is Kristen Ashley’s Unfinished Hero Series, so it seemed liked a great fit. And...I can totally see why it’s one of Natasha’s favorite re-reads. I’ve already read it three times. Sweet Dreams is such a robust story that you need to read it more than once just to appreciate it all.
About the Author:
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn't taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen's Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she's blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.