Saturday, 24 February 2018

Like a Dream

Like a Dream

by Shina James

1 out of 5

A shocking event leaves fifteen year old Amelia Waters devastated, especially when she’s forced to stay with her mysterious aunt Leona and two cousins. They completely dominate her life and force her to move away from her home in Stillwater, Oklahoma to Columbia, MO. The moment she reluctantly settles into a toxic reality, she becomes bombarded with nightmares about the past that reveal something she could have never prepared for.
With her back against the wall and no way out, Amelia begins to struggle with the will to live, until Aaron—a mesmerizing boy from her dream, becomes a reality. Every nerve in her body gravitates to him as they both fall deeply in love.
But slowly Amelia begins to realize that nothing was ever a coincidence, and there is something far greater and dangerous in store for her.

After her father is almost killed, and he mother has fled, accused of attempted murder, Amelia has to survive in the care of the real villain, her aunt Leona.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a DNF for me, which I hate doing when I've been gifted the book, but I just didn't get on with the story. I got about half-way.

The main thing that put me off, was the author's style of writing. It felt awkward, and stilted, and often contained a blend of present and past tense narration.
To be fair, I thought the flashbacks were written much more smoothly.

I think I was expecting something with more of a paranormal vibe, as Amelia is supposed to connect with this mystery boy through dreams. There's no mention of attempted murder in the synopsis, and it caught me off guard as the opening chapter.

So, it opens with quite a bang (literally), but my main reaction several times throughout the opening chapter (and beyond) was "really?".
So Amelia, our initial narrator, establishes that her parents are deeply in love and never had any problems. Cue father, storming in drunk, accusing his wife of cheating (because his sister, who is known for being a psycho-control-freak told him so). His answer is to grab the gun he's probably never used, and to go shoot his wife's "lover". Arguing ensues, and in a scuffle, he ends up getting shot once.
(BTW, I found it really weird that in the chapters that Amelia is our narrator, she refers to her parents by their actual names, but calls them mum & dad out loud. The parents are narrators in later chapters, and I would consider them main characters, but for crying out loud - when it is from Amelia's perspective, call them Mum & Dad.)
Aunt Psycho storms in, picks up the discarded gun and tries to shoot Amelia's mum, but her dad takes the bullet for her.
Cue police. Pyscho bats her eyelashes at them, and despite Amelia saying clearly that she was a witness, and Psycho was the shooter, the police immediately brush it aside and put her in the care of auntie dearest. Seriously? What about her grandparents? What about social services? What about kicking off and refusing to go with the woman that tried to kill your mum, and put your dad in critical care?

Anyway, once you're past this, Amelia's mum is on the run, and whilst traveling, she has a flashback of how she met the dad.
As I said before, this made for easier reading, the quality of the writing improved.
Unfortunately, I didn't like our main characters. They both came across as spoiled, blinkered and naive. I know they've met the love of their life, but both of them have worked so hard to get where they are, persuading their parents that they deserve further education/the freedom to work in another city. Surely that is worth something to them?
Nope. They skive their respective responsibilities, and are shocked when they are expelled/fired. Really?


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