Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Dreamers’ Destiny
AUTHOR: Tempeste O’Riley
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 13, 2016
Liam Grady is the owner of the Feathered Quill, a quirky little bookstore in Asheville, and—though he doesn’t realize it yet—a dream walker. His last relationship failed almost a year ago, and he’s not had the interest or nerve to pursue anyone he’s met since.
Cameron Danu is a tattoo artist from rural Georgia. Cameron is left without a job after his boss, Jose, is forced to close the shop after a heart attack. When Cameron learns Jose has set up an interview for him at a small tattoo parlor in Asheville, he hopes for a fresh start in a new town.
Fate brings Cameron and Liam together, and they realize they’ve met before—in their dreams. A chance encounter and a winged tattoo might lead them to their destiny—if fear doesn’t turn their dreams into a nightmare.
For 15 years Liam and Cam have been dreaming about each other. Countless nights they have shared together, in each other’s arms and in each other’s bodies. Yet each morning when they awake they are alone again. Both men are sure that the dreams are simply that, dreams…until they see each other across the packed floor of a club and everything they knew is thrown into chaos. Despite having been with each other for years in dreams, reality is a much harder hurdle to tackle. Not only is the idea of Dream Walking a new concept for both of them, but the every day minutia of life means they are having to learn each other all over again. This time for real, and hopefully for keeps.
So…the cover to this book is awesome. It is the reason I asked to review this book. The blurb ain’t half bad either. Magic, long-time lovers who have never actually met, tattoos a-plenty; it sounds like a recipe for one great book. Unfortunately somewhere along the line someone dropped about a cup of salt into the mix, and while the outside is all nice and shiny, the inside leaves a lot to be desired.
Look, I really wanted to like this book. And that first scene…man that was freaking hot. I am not usually one who likes to jump into the sex right off the bat, but that first scene was great. I was all set to have a story filled with wonderful chemistry and not a little bit of magic. But when the first scene was done and the story progressed, the chemistry faded away to nearly nothing. They still had sex, and they still had magic, but there was no life to any of it. The dialogue between the two characters was overly saccharine at times, and the pet names only served to irritate me since I couldn’t really feel any of the chemistry between them that had them so madly in love with each other that they were moving in together (and getting married!!) within a matter of weeks. They had been having those dreams for 15 years so it shouldn’t seem all that sudden, but by their own admission they had been doing little more than fucking in those dreams. Their relationship seemed to have so little basis outside the bedroom that I just couldn’t buy this rush to the alter at all.
For a book based on the idea that magic is real, this story felt extremely unmagical. Which was really odd. Like Liam is walking in other people’s dreams…I should not be feeling that the calm acceptance of magic by everyone (even those outside the sphere of the coven) was ludicrous. If the magic is real, it should feel real. Not like everyone needs to be having weekly appointments with a licensed therapist.
And that ‘attack’ that was supposed to lead to the climax of the story came out of fucking nowhere. Which is a big no-no for me. Add to it that the bad guy had no real page time–or any connection to the main story–and I was left totally confused as to why it was even in the story to begin with. It felt incredibly shoe-horned into the plot.
However my biggest issue was with Liam and his aunt. That relationship was extremely unhealthy bordering on creepy. Not only does his aunt basically treat him like a child unable to run his own life or business, but the way she seemed to objectify gay relationships bordered on a fetish that was damn creepy when you think that a lot of it was aimed at her nephew. The whole fag-hag (god I fucking hate that name) persona is tired and cliche to begin with, but I never once understood why she was involved in his life that that extent. If there was some kind of reason for it, maybe it would have not bothered me so much, but it just seemed like she enjoyed hanging around her gay nephew so she could leer at him and make suggestive jokes. Creepy.
This book didn’t work for me on several levels. The most glaring being that it never seemed to want to put in the effort to sale any of what it was offering up. It was overly descriptive about things that had no real importance, but then skipped over things that absolutely needed to be seen. It rushed the plot, had scattered and nonsensical characterizations, and veered a bit too close to offensive with its remarks on what were “women’s things” (those silly little creatures!). By the end of the book I was buying none of it, and more than wanting to return for a refund if at all possible.