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Retro Review: Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Posted March 7, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 13 Comments

Retro Review: Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsReviewer: Holly
Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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A Desperate Young Mother
Rachel Stone's bad luck has taken a turn for the worse. With an empty wallet, a car's that's spilling smoke, and a five-year-old son to support, she's come home to a town that hates her. But this determined young widow with a scandalous past has learned how to be a fighter. And she'll do anything to keep her child safe—even take on. . .
A man With No Heart
Gabe Bonner wants to be left alone, especially by the beautiful outcast who's invaded his property. She has a ton of attitude, a talent for trouble, and a child who brings back bad memories. Yet Rachel's feisty spirit might just be heaven-sent to save a tough, stubborn man.
Dare To Dream
Welcome to Salvation, North Carolina—where a man who's forgotten what tenderness means meets a woman with nothing to lose. here two endearing lovers will set off on a funny, touching journey of the heart. . .to a place where dreams just might come true.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on October 8, 2009.

I meant to have this written as part of our Susan Elizabeth Phillips Author Spotlight last month, but I didn’t get around to writing it. Dream a Little Dream is one of my favorite SEP novels. It’s hands down my favorite of the Chicago Stars/Bonner Brothers series.

Gabe Bonner lost his wife and son in a tragic car accident and for the past two years he’s been in a state of deep mourning. He’s been coasting through life, numb and emotionless, waiting for the day when it all will end. But Rachel Stone changes all that the day she shows up at his drive-in; dirty, hungry and desperate to save herself and her son Edward. He should be repulsed by her, but he isn’t. He’s drawn to her in a way he hates. She cracks the icy ball that’s surrounding his heart.

Rachel Stone has returned to the last place on Earth she ever wanted to see again, Salvation, North Carolina. 5 years ago she and her husband G. Dwayne Snopes were the hope and pride of Salvation, a televangelist couple to rival even the most sincere and promising of them. But all that ended the night G. Dwayne disappeared with the life savings of the people of Salvation, bringing shame and scandal to the once prosperous town. Now she’s back, determined to find the stash Dwayne left behind, desperate to save the future of her much beloved son.

At times this novel is hard to read, especially in the beginning when Rachel and Gabe meet. They’re both desperate and broken, though for different reasons and with different ways of dealing with their pain. One of the most emotional things I’ve ever read is when Rachel begs Gabe for a job. The first few chapters of this book are hard to get through, but they showcase perfectly just how far both characters have fallen.

Eventually Rachel and Gabe form a tight bond, though both are reluctant to acknowledge it. The town shuns Rachel, and her house and car are vandalized. Gabe takes on the role of protector, though even he can’t understand why. Despite their change in feelings for one another, they both know they have no future together. Especially since Gabe can’t stand Edward, Rachel’s son.

I loved the strength Rachel showed. It wasn’t easy for her to continue on each day, especially in the beginning, but she did what needed to be done. I would have to say she’s probably one of my favorite SEP heroines. She’s practical and tough, with a smart mouth and a strong will to survive. What’s not to love?

My heart ached for Gabe. I wanted to wrap him in cotton and protect him from the world. I loved that Rachel was the only one who saw him for what he was, and was willing to push him in the direction he needed to go.

Even though this is a darker novel, there are moments of unexpected tenderness and humor. I loved that even though the town hated Rachel, none of them took it out on her son. Everyone, from the townsfolk to the Bonner brothers, was kind to Edward. Well, except for Gabe.

The secondary romance between Ethan Bonner and Kristy Brown, his church secretary, was sweet. It provided relief from the darker tone of the rest of the novel.

Dream a Little Dream is heartwrenching and emotionally compelling. I couldn’t put it down, even when I could barely see the pages through my tears.

5 out of 5


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Upcoming Events: September, 2010

Posted August 31, 2010 by Holly in Giveaways, News | 8 Comments

This summer was a crazy one for us. Between kids, work and family obligations, we were run ragged. I never thought I’d be so happy to see school start back up again. Even though summer is over and school is back in session, we’re still running around like crazy. September looks to be just as busy as July and August.

We have a lot of big things planned this month for the site, too. We have a whole slew of guest authors lined up.

 9/2 Lila Munro
9/14 Erin McCarthy
9/16 Jennifer Estep
9/20 BethAnn Beuhler
9/29 Meet Me in Manhattan blog tour
9/30 Ava Bleu

We’re also planning another huge back-to-school giveaway. Starting tomorrow we’ll be giving away at least a book a day, with the possibility of up to 10 a day. We have some amazing swag to giveaway, too.

And now, we need your help. We took a hiatus from the Author Spotlight, but we’re ready to start it up again. Only, we have no idea who to spotlight. So we’re asking you! What author do you think we should spotlight in October?

Start throwing out some suggestions and we’ll make a list, then put up a poll with the most popular suggestions for everyone to vote on. Don’t forget to check out the authors (and publisher!) we’ve already spotlighted.

Be sure to come back tomorrow to check out the first in our massive giveaway and then on Thursday to visit with Lila Munro.

*image credit University of Toronto

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Author Spotlight Continues with…Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Posted March 4, 2010 by Rowena in Features | 0 Comments

So Holly, Casee and I have decided to keep the author spotlight rolling through the month of March with Sherrilyn Kenyon.

There was just too much goodness from SK to cover in just a short month so we’re extending the author spotlight goodness with more reviews and discussions and last hero standing fun another month.

We’re going to extend the Last Hero Standing challenge to an entire month of voting since we’re finally down to 2 heroes.

We’re getting really into our rereads with her books as Sherrilyn Kenyon and her books as Kinley MacGregor so we needed more time in which to discuss the world that is Sherrilyn Kenyon so I hope you guys come with us as we venture into her world for a little while longer.

Stay tuned for more author spotlight goodness…

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Oh SEP, Why??

Posted January 1, 2010 by Holly in Discussions | 12 Comments

You may or may not remember, but back in September when we did the Susan Elizabeth Phillips Author Spotlight we talked about who might be the heroine for Ted’s book. If you remember, Ted was introduced as a sniffling kid in Fancy Pants. SEP hinted for years that she’d one day write his book and she announced earlier this year that she was in fact writing it. At the time she said she wasn’t sure who his heroine would be, Lucy Jorik from First Lady, or Meg Koranda who was first introduced in Glitter Baby and later had a role in What I Did For Love.

In September we discussed it and we all agreed Lucy is the woman we want Ted with. We even posted a poll about it and most of you agreed. I can’t remember the exact number of votes, but Lucy was in the lead but quite a lot when the poll ended.

So it’s with a sad heart that I bring you today’s news: Meg will be Ted’s heroine.

The first chapter of their book was in the paperback version of What I Did For Love and after quite a bit of discussion on her message board, SEP came forward and confirmed the speculation that it will be Meg:

IT’S MEG!!!!! That will become blindingly clear in the next chapter. The key is what has happened to Lucy.(All the clues are in the first chapter.) Mat and Nealy never made her feel as though she had to live up to being adopted by them, but Lucy feels it, something that only gets magnified with Nealy in the White House. The only way Lucy can repay them for everything they’ve done for her is to be as perfect as she can possibly be. And part of that is marrying the perfect man. Except, as Meg sees right away, Ted has become one more person Lucy feels as though she needs to live up to. Our darling Lucy has been slowly losing touch with the wild child she was at fourteen, and marrying Ted is NOT going to bring that wildness, that absolute bravery back to her. They’re so POLITE to each other. As for Ted… OMG! That’s all I’m saying about him for now…except that Lucy and Ted were a terrible match from the very beginning. It’s why I could never write their book. I love them both too much to have them “settle” for each other.

While I appreciate that she’s the author and can do what she wants, I can’t help but feel betrayed somewhat. For almost a decade I’ve been thinking Lucy and Ted would be a couple..and now they’re not. I didn’t care for Meg at all in WIDFL – poor spoiled little rich girl is mad b/c mommy and daddy are famous – and I have no desire to read about her as a heroine.

But that’s just me.

What do you think? Are you as disappointed as I am, or do you think Meg is the better choice?

Thanks to Diana for the link

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