Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review of Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley

OK. Let me tell you a story....

Once upon a time, I was flying across the country, from Boston to California. I had 10 hours to kill. I downloaded a sample of Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley on my Kindle because someone told me the hero has a beard. I started reading the sample.

It was bad.

There were typos, the writing was horrible. I was just about to DNF it and move on to the next book, but....

.....something stopped me. It had some itty bitty, teensy weensy, wee little, minuscule bit of something that made me say.... more chapter. Because there was some tiny spark in there....the premise made me want to go just a bit further.

Well, I kept reading. And reading. And pretty soon I realized that not only was the writing fine, but the typos were pretty much gone. And the storytelling in this book was like crack on fire. I was addicted.

And then....and then.....

My sample ran out.

Fudge-sicle! I forgot I was reading a sample. And then I tried to download the rest of the book, but I couldn't get Internet connection.


(Story is not over yet).

And then, when I got to Chicago, my Kindle connection worked and I was able to download the whole book. Eureka! So, for 5 hours I read that damned book and I was amazed.

(That when I got to California, I still wasn't finished! This book is like 10 million pages long.)

Anyway, here's the deal with this book. I loved it in spite of itself. It most definitely has a split personality. I think half of this book was actually written by a teenage girl.....piss-poor writing in the first chapter, pages and pages of descriptions of hair, make-up and jewelry details that made me laugh out loud with the absurdity of it (on the plane, no less), everyone is cussing like a sailor (by the end of the book the hero is saying stuff like "Well, shit, that is the shittiest shit I ever shittin' heard"), and the book is like the never-ending story. First part: Cinderella make-over. Second part: Becoming a mom/family girl. Third part: Dealing with weenie ex-hubby and deranged ex-wife. Forth part: Eluding sick bastard serial killer. I got the feeling that Kristen Ashley wanted to make sure she didn't miss any single theme that could possibly be included in this book. So, she included them all.

Also, one of my pet peeves is over-use of the term "baby" in romance novels. In this book, the hero calls the heroine "baby." The heroine calls the hero "baby." The heroine calls her step-son "baby." The brother-in-law calls the heroine "baby." There were more babies than at a neonatal ward.

But the other part of the personality is what interests me. Because, in spite of itself, this book is like crack. Ashley is a truly gifted story-teller. Her writing has that spark, that something special, that sucks you into the book and doesn't let you go. Her story takes you on a crazy, wacky journey, and I loved every second of it. I fell in love with her characters. Even the ones bordering on cliché. This author has a very unique voice. This book is one-of-a-kind. And in this world of formulaic romance, I found this a breath of fresh air (with a pink, ruffled collar and jade beaded necklace).

Also, the hero has a beard. A sexy beard. Which the heroine loves. And gets pissed off when he shaves it. At the end of the book, he is growing back his beard, just for her.

Now, that's true love, baby. Baby. Baby. Baby.

This is the weirdest, craziest, wackiest, beardiest, babiest book I have ever read. And for some damned reason, I loved it.

Go figure.

And that's the end of my story. And it's still not even close to as long as Sweet Dreams.

Grade: A



Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Seriously, Kristen Ashley, if you're reading this - Penny could not stop talking about your book!

Penny Watson said...

Oh, poor Julia! You were probably thinking "Oh dear God, make her stop!" hee hee This book was a strange mix of heaven and hell. :^)

KT Grant said...

If the typos are out of control and the writing is meh, why so good?

And why so many good reviews?

Penny Watson said...

KT...The biggest problem w/ typos and bad writing is in the first chapter. I really think KA needs to take the whole first chapter, rip it out and fix it. The rest of the book was fine. But unfortunately, people make a decision about whether or not to read a book based on the first chapter. If I hadn't been stuck on a plane, I wouldn't have continued. That's the truth.

As to the good reviews....the story is like crack. I'm not kidding. I couldn't put it down. Even with all the wacky stuff, it was totally addictive. The hero is a tattooed bad boy biker/cop who is ridiculously alpha. He is a guilty pleasure like no other! There is also an extremely satisfying happy ending--thank God, bec. this book is veryyyyyyyyyyy long, and has a lot of angst. But the HEA is superb.

It's crack. :^)

Steph from said...

I call it the many-editor-no-pre-press-read-through phenomenon.

Penny Watson said...

Or....the no-editor, self-pubbed phenomenon. :^)

Heidenkind said...

Baby, baaaby, baaaby, ooooooh!

Fifty Shades of Grey has made me way too gun-shy to buy books like this. And who leaves typos in their first chapter? Makes no sense.

Penny Watson said...

I have no interest in reading 50 Shades....And you are totally right. The first chapter is the most important one in terms of hooking a reader. It's bizarre.