Free Publicity Fridays

Sweet Dreams

A badass biker, a clueless but sweeter-than-sugar biker babe in training, a small town in Colorado, and a quest for special.

Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley is the story of a divorced woman, Lauren, committing herself to a nothing life in a nowhere town because she’s old enough and wise enough to know there’s nothing special out there for her. Then she meets a potty-mouth, bossy, badass biker named Tate who also happens to be a bounty hunter, and he proves her wrong. There is special out there for her. And there is special inside of her.

Lauren’s story, told mostly in first person, takes her on a journey of personal discovery and blue-collar romance that sometimes had me panting, sometimes cringing, always eager for more. Driving the plot as much as the romance between unlikely heroine Lauren and sometimes disturbing hero Tate is a murder mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat. I give the story of Sweet Dreams 5 stars and a standing O. This is one of the best stories I have read in a long time.

The writing was…meh. I give it two stars. Sometimes the writing was brilliant, but most of the time it tended toward heavy-handed description and easy editing fixes. For example, whispering is the most frequently used dialog tag, and it drove me nuts. That’s a Dialog 101 no-no. But the dialog itself was AMAZING. Tate uses the f word in almost everything he says, and his dialog is true to his badass biker self. Lauren’s dialog is true to who she is. The dialog drove the story and made it come alive for me. I just wish Kristen had taken a chainsaw to the tags.

The story is definitely worth the frustration of slogging through less than stellar writing. I hope you buy it. Here are a few lines from Sweet Dreams to wet your whistle:

I saw firstly that his ball cap had definitely seen better days and those days were about four hundred years ago. Secondly, I saw that he was staring at my breasts.–Kindle Locations 89-90

“You… you’ll… beat the shit out of him?”
“Say the word, babe.”
“Would… wouldn’t you get arrested for something like that?” I asked.
“Probably,” he answered.
“Then maybe you shouldn’t,” I decided.
“Your call,” he muttered and turned to the baggage claim–Kindle Locations 3546-3552

I’d waited for something special and convinced myself you were that. Then you proved you weren’t and taught me the valuable lesson that special isn’t out there. Special doesn’t exist. So the best you can do is find real. I found real, Brad, and I like it.”–Kindle Locations 3683-3685

“Two kinds of women get under your skin. The ones who do damage, they don’t feel good there but once you’re fuckin’ stupid enough to let them in you got no choice but to take the time it takes to work them out. Then there are the ones who don’t do damage, who feel good there, feed the muscle, the bone, the soul, not rip it or break it or burn it. The ones you don’t wanna work out.”–Kindle Locations 5269-5272

“We should finish talking,” I whispered.
“Fuckin’ you now, baby,” he whispered back–Kindle Locations 5301-5302

God, if he wasn’t so handsome, strong, sometimes sweet, didn’t have a Harley, that beard, a tendency to play with my hair, didn’t look so good in jeans and wasn’t so danged good in bed, he would seriously not be worth it.–Kindle Locations 5789-5790

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About Jessi Gage

Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she's sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). A career student (aka indecisive and inquisitive bookworm), Jessi brings her love of research to her worlds and characters. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good always trumps evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.
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8 Responses to Free Publicity Fridays

  1. pennywatson says:

    Great quotes! Love them! Baby!

  2. Jessi Gage says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Captain.

  3. So funny that it’s even possible to give a book 5 stars for the story and 2 stars for the writing. The age of self-publishing is a strange one, indeed.

    I don’t rate the plot as highly as you did, but I certainly fell for the characters. It was one of those strange reading experiences where I didn’t exactly identify with the heroine — and didn’t always even like her — but I really got invested in the development of her relationship.

    I don’t want a Tate of my own, but I’m glad she got hers.

    • Jessi Gage says:

      Yeah, it wasn’t a fast moving plot, but there was enough going on that with the emotional investment, I was completely hooked. You were right about the first 3 chapters (slow, overly descriptive). Once I hit chap 4 I was a gonner for Tate. I even have a soft spot for Wood. And Neeta. What a bee-ach! But I even felt for her by the end. The characters will stay with me for a long time, and that’s the best compliment I can give a book.

  4. Amy Raby says:

    Just bought this, so I will give it a try! It sounds like it’s worth reading for the story and the originality even if the writing isn’t quite up to par.

    • Jessi Gage says:

      I think you’ll enjoy it. Can’t wait to discuss at next Cupcake Crew!

      • Amy Raby says:

        A lot of romance novels I read go in one ear and out the other. But this one will stick with me! The writing is sometimes terrible and the pacing is uneven, and it’s too long, but the characters are so unforgettable, the dialogue is excellent, and the structure really works. Plus it’s so original. Publishers just don’t buy novels where the heroine is an over-40 waitress at a biker bar, so this felt really fresh to me.

  5. Jessi Gage says:

    I know, right! It’s one of those books that I almost want to sit down and edit myself just so I can read it again without all the annoying things. Wish Kristen was in our crit group! It would be fun to read her stuff and be able to suggest some easy things to help her grow as a writer.

    I don’t mean to suggest I’ve got my writerly act together–we all have our things we need to work on!

    Thanks for the comment, Amy!

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