Thursday, May 7, 2015

Book Tour... Quinn Loftis' Dream of Me

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Dream of Me (Dream Maker #1)
Release Date: 02/28/15
319 pages

“In the evening… [he] blows softly upon their necks, till their heads begin to droop. […] Under each arm he carries an umbrella; one of them, with pictures on the inside, he spreads over the good children, and then they dream the most beautiful stories the whole night.” ~ Hans Christian Anderson

Since the dawn of time, Brudair, otherwise known as the Sandman to the world, has faithfully lived out his purpose, faithfully performed his duties. He has never questioned his lot among the immortals, until now, until her. Sarah Serenity Tillman, a consummate beauty both inside and out, is a high school senior five months from her graduation. She has great plans, dreams of leaving the small town of her childhood behind her forever. But destiny has other plans, and it’s the Sandman’s job to make sure those plans are fulfilled.

The tall muscular Sandman, known as Dair to his friends, dressed in black, wrapped in shadows, is more than a myth. And he has a job to do. His very existence makes him a creature of the night, because dreams, (yes the legends got that part right), were indeed his specialty. But his purpose was more than just weaving dreams for sleeping children. No, his dreams were made to influence, made to ensure that certain special individuals, those individuals who would change the course of history, actually accepted their chosen destiny.

Little does Serenity know that she is Dair’s next assignment. And the dream that he weaves for her, if she follows its influence, will change the course of, not only her life, but possibly the whole of history as well. But she isn’t the only one being influenced. The beauty inside of her was weighing on the Sandman, lighting up the darkness that was his constant companion. Her light was warmth, it was life, and he didn’t understand how he had survived the previous millennia without it.

The Sandman was indeed greater than anything humans had ever imagined, and his purpose was vital to the course of history. So what happens when the weaver of dreams gets so distracted by a mere human that he ignores his own duties in the immortal realm? How can an immortal who was never meant to have a mate, join a young woman in her destiny without irrevocably changing the lives of millions and potentially altering history in a way the Creator never intended?

“Dream of me, Princess,” Dair whispered into her ear.
“Then weave me a dream, Sandman,” she said softly. “And we can dream together.”
As her eyes grew heavy, she heard Dair’s voice telling her to sleep, to open her mind to him and let him in. I’m all yours, she thought as sleep finally claimed her.

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Serenity knew she was asleep, even as she was blinking her eyes open. She looked around
her and, once again, she found herself sitting in the waiting room of her family doctor. There
were a few other adults sitting in the room, and on the far side of the room, a young girl of about
seven or eight years of age was standing, staring at the large aquarium that took up most of the
wall. She had smooth, ebony skin and her hair was pulled back in a tight braid that hung down
her back in a shiny rope. Serenity had the distinct impression that she needed to talk to the girl,
but just like the other times in the dream, she resisted. Something about the child felt ominous,
and Serenity didn’t want to know what it was. All of a sudden the heads of everyone in the room
snapped up and looked straight at her. She turned to her right to see that even Darla was staring
at her. The only one not looking at her was the little girl.
“You must stay,” they all said in unison. Serenity was sure that at any moment the music
from Psycho would begin playing over the loud speaker instead of the local Christian radio
station that the office usually piped in. “Your place is here. You are needed. The future depends
on the path you will choose.”
“Oh, for goodness sakes, are you trying to scare her half to death?” To Serenity’s surprise,
the girl was the one who had spoken. She had turned around and was looking up at the ceiling as
if it would speak back. “For someone who has been doing this for as long as you have, you’d
think you could be a little less creepy.”
“Who are you talking to?” Serenity asked.
The girl's head lowered and kind hazel eyes met her own. She smiled at her and Serenity
found herself smiling back.
“The Sandman, of course,” the girl told her matter-of-fact like. She walked over to the seat
on her left and sat down with her legs dangling freely in the air. “I’m Emma,” the girl said as she
held out her hand to Serenity.
Serenity took the offered hand and shook it, noting how much smaller it was than hers.
“Nice to meet you, Emma; I’m Serenity.”
“You don’t have to do what they say―what he,” she motioned up to the ceiling, “is trying to
influence you to do.”
“You mean the Sandman?” Serenity asked. Her interest had been peaked the moment Emma
had mentioned the mythical character, and she wondered if the need to know if he was real made
her just a bit loony.
Emma nodded. “Who do you think brings the dreams?

**Emmy’s Review**

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First, thanks to YA Bound Book Tours, who granted me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Second, the cover is beautiful.  Props to the designer of the cover.

***small spoiler alert***

Third, Metallica’s Enter Sandman was the first song that popped in my head when I read the summary.  If by some random chance of fate you have never heard this song: bless you, you poor underprivileged person.  Get thee to YouTube at once.  Go forth and Metallica forevermore. (I’m with Emmy that was the first thing that popped into my head as well, so here ya go, [] watch and listen. Its a good song. ~ Barb)

Sarah Serenity Tillman is 18, and dreams of leaving the tiny town of Yellville, Arkansas.  She plans to shake the dust of Yellville off of her feet as soon as she flips her graduation tassel and gets her diploma in her hand.  Her parents died when she was young, and she was raised by her Aunt Darla and Uncle Wayne from the time she was 9.  She works part time at the veterinary clinic, and volunteers vast amounts of her time to just about every organization and program she comes in contact with.  She does an awful lot for other people.  At one point she mentions that her volunteering feels like penance over her parent’s death.  Why?  I’d love to know where she gets this from.  She has no interest in boys, due to the fact that she plans to leave town asap, and only has one close friend, who graduated several years before her.  She’s good.  She’s selfless, she’s kind hearted and doesn’t seem to have a mean bone in her body.   But the one thing that she wants more than anything is about to change:  She’s about to have an encounter with the Sandman.

Brudair, known as Dair, is the Sandman.  He’s a created being, like the angels.  He has, he thinks, one purpose and one purpose alone: to weave the dreams of people who will change history; to attempt to influence them onto the path that the Creator has designed for them.  But, the catch is people have free will, and are under no obligation to follow the suggestion he lays out for them.  In all of the time that Dair has been around, he has never felt a connection or attraction for any of his “assignments”, until Sarah.  When he is drawn to her, he is confused by these emotions, because it’s all new for him.  He’s lived for countless ages, and seen civilizations rise and fall, even had a hand in making history, but has never, for lack of a better phrase, known the love of a woman.  When he falls for Sarah, it’s fast and hard and irretractable.  For the first time in his very very long life, he has found a soul that speaks to him. Can the Sandman dream of a love of his own?  I love Dair’s backstory, can you tell?

Dair is not always privy to why he has the messages that he has for the people that he comes in contact with.  All he knows about Sarah when he first sees her is that he has to convince her not to leave town upon her graduation.  When we join the story, he has already been “assigned” to her for a little while, and his attraction to her is fully realized on his end.  Sarah, on the other hand, has no clue of his existence, and wonders just what is up with the funky dreams she has been having lately.  All of her dreams seem to be trying to tell her to change her plans, so she does some research on dream meanings. This action kicks the story into gear, because shortly after this Dair fashions her a dream where she meets a little girl named Emma who tells her the whole thing - that Dair is the legendary Sandman, that he only comes to important - history changing - people.  But, the little girl tells her, she has a choice, she doesn’t have to do what he tells her.  Sarah wakes up from the dream and spends the whole next day telling herself that what she dreamed wasn’t real.  When her history teacher gives a lesson on the history and origins of the Sandman mythos the next day, Sarah cannot brush it off as coincidence any longer.  That afternoon she goes home and writes down everything she knows about Dair.  She drifts off, and dreams she is in a dark room where she speaks to him, and asks him why he hasn’t moved on if he’s shown her the dream that he needed to.  She is surprised at his answer:   “I am here because I want you”.

He explains his situation and feelings to her, and tells her that although he really shouldn’t, he wants her for his own.  He doesn’t let her see him, and she asks for a week’s time to think about all he’s told her. It’s pretty obvious that she is entranced with him, just by his words and the hypnotic sound of his voice.  He understands her request and prepares to focus on some other assignments for the week they are to be apart.  She explains the whole crazy thing to her bff Glory, who I love, she’s hilarious.  Glory believes her, and gives her good advice.

Just a quick side note here: I don’t know if I’m the only person to do this, but I generally get a picture in my head of how the main characters look in a book that I’m reading as I read.  When Sarah was explaining to Glory how hypnotic and smooth Dair’s voice was, a Pearl Jam song came on my radio.  So thanks to Pandora, Dair will forever and always look like Eddie Vedder to me.  Now, Eddie doesn’t look much like Dair is described in the book, but it was too late - the image was locked for me.  Dair is close to the archangel Raphael, and he has a major role in this book as well.  You would think that I would have immediately pictured an angel, right?  Nope, I got Raphael the Ninja Turtle.  So for the remainder of this book (in my head) Eddie Vedder was interacting with a Ninja Turtle.  I told Barb if there was pizza at any point in this book that I would lose it entirely.  Just thought ya’ll would like that little insight into my twisted brain.  I promise I was not under the influence of any mind altering drugs while reading this novel. (*Laughs hard* No she was sober while reading but come on, that is a funny picture in your head. (If you know either Eddie or the Ninja Turtles, the old ones not the new weird ones. It made the book come to light in a new way. Go from Metallica to Eddie to MY favorite Ninja Turtle.. it was an epic ride. Love how people’s brains give us all different things to go on, though Em and I are usually on the same wave length. Scary as that is. lol ~Barb)

Raphael has warned Dair that their kind wasn’t meant to have mates, and to watch himself.  Dair comes back with another fact - angels weren’t meant to have mates, but he is a being apart, not an angel, not a human.  Raphael warns him that the Creator (this book has very Christian overtones, just saying, not criticizing) will probably send others if he lingers over Sarah.  Dair goes on to some other assignments over the week .  One of them is Emma, the little girl who he linked into Sarah’s dream earlier.  Her parents have died, and she is being taken to her aunt who lives in Yellville.  The aunt is very different than her mom, and she never knew her mom had a sister before.  It looks like life is about to get very hard for Emma, but it’s clear that her life and Sarah’s will be intertwining very soon.    

At the end of the week Dair returns to Sarah, who tells him she wants to continue to learn about him, spend time with him.  So they are dating, and things sometimes gets steamy, but we always get yanked back.  It’s a YA, remember?  **cries**

Now for the rest of the story:  Emma’s situation is desperate, and although she is a very special little girl, there are some situations that a child should never be forced into.  Thanks to Dair and Raphael, Sarah and Emma make contact.  Sarah and her family take Emma as their own, watching out for her as much as possible.  Eventually the Creator reveals to Dair why Sarah and Emma had to meet, and the reason is tragic.  Crushed beyond all hope, Dair desperately seeks to save both the woman he loves and the child he has befriended from the fate that destiny has in store for them.

Be warned: there is a cliffhanger in this book.  It is not a claws in the cliff type, but there is more going on at the end of this book than there are straight answers.  This is the first book of a series, but as of this point in time I have no information on when the next book will be coming out.

Ok, remember the part where I said this was an HONEST review?  Well, here’s some honesty for you.  If you are a Christian, and you want to know if this book is appropriate for your pre-teen to teenage child, I would have to say yes.  You aren’t going to find anything in this book that your kid hasn’t already seen on today’s television.  The values espoused in this book will be mostly in line with what you want taught.  That being said: I’ve got a few issues.  I can see the author having some major backlash over a conversation that Dair and Sarah have over gender roles.  I told myself to keep in mind that Dair has been around since the dawn of time, his views are going to be a bit old school.  I really don’t think the author is trying to tell us that women are only meant to stay barefoot and pregnant, but I can see how that particular conversation could trip a lot of people’s triggers, and not in a good way.

Now, this will tell you probably more than I wanted anybody to know about me, but here it is anyway:
I can’t.  I just can’t, man.  Dair’s potential is wasted on this story.  He’s a sexy character, given how he talks and how strong his emotions are (especially when he’s wearing Eddie Vedder’s face in my head, lol) but it’s just so…..clean that it squeaks. (And yes, we know YA is supposed to be chill and not like other things that us crazy gals read.. but still.. ~Barb)

He’s a creature that has never experienced any kind of sexual attraction at all.  It’s said over and over again that these emotions are new for him.  Yet he has control, where he should have none at all.  Ok, here’s an example.  There’s one point where they are making out - the steam is very nice, she was on the right track - and he thinks that one of Sarah’s reactions was a “red flag” for him to back off, or he would be wanting to “put his hands in places only her husband should touch her”  **raises my eyebrow**  you expect me to believe that, man? Really? Aeons old immortal being, with his first ever (non alluded to in any way) boner for a woman backs himself off why?  Because it’s the “right thing to do”?  At one point the chick gives him a hickey - he should not have been letting her walk away from that.  No way.  Nah, I don’t buy it.  And her, Sarah Serenity herself?  This girl is just too perfect.  She’s selfless to a fault, and I almost can’t believe that she’s supposed to be an actual human.  She’s too good.  Any girl in a physical relationship for the first time would not be thinking about stopping either.  I see what the author was trying to do here, and to the target audience it would probably ring right on, but to me, not so much.  That’s not going to stop me from reading the next installment though, because Emma’s story has got me intrigued.  

So, all in all its a good read, one parents can happily say yes, you can read this. Take it from two 30 somethings, its good and the next installment can’t get here fast enough. And I am sorry but Eddie and the Ninja Turtle will still be in our heads forever and a day ‘cause that mess is just funny. And we have mad love for things that are crazy funn. (hand hearts) ~Barb

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More about the Author:
Quinn is an award winning author who lives in beautiful Western Arkansas with her husband, two son (and one on the way!), Nora the Doberman, and Phoebe the Cat (who thinks she is a ninja in disguise). She is the author of twelve novels, including the USA Today bestseller, Fate and Fury.  Quinn is beyond thankful that she has been blessed to be able to write full time and hopes the readers know how much all of their support means to her. Some of her hobbies include reading, exercising, crochet, and spending time with family and friends. She gives all credit of her success to God because he gave her the creative spirit and vivid imagination it takes to write.

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