Sweet Dreams 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.
This review contributed by 125 Pages. Laura is an addict. She reads 5-8 books a week. In addition to writing her own book reviews, she frequents other book review and blogger sites for just that little bit more.