Cora Reed, $3.99
Contemporary Romance, 2018
Josie Wheeler is at the crossroads of her life, and she’s eyeing the metaphorical route that will take her far, far away. You see, she’s about to turn thirty, and you know how sometimes people reaching a certain milestone in their lives can be. She realizes just how predictable her life has been so far, right down to how she can correctly guess her now ex-boyfriend’s foreplay method and even sexy time positions, and that realization terrifies her. She recently wanted to do something different, especially when it comes to sexy times, and that man balked, which was why he is now an ex-boyfriend.
Worse, that ex-boyfriend is going to be at the wedding of her best friend, and it’s going to be really awkward. Also, she, that friend, and another friend co-own a café – and the owner of the building wants to sell, making the women worry about the possibility of the new owner jacking up the rent. Like all businesses owned by women in romance novels, this one is still in the red, so oh my oh. Therefore, I don’t think we can blame Josie when she decides to give herself the best thirtieth birthday ever.
Our hero Calvin Monroe is also attending the wedding, although that’s only by the insistence of the groom. You see, he is the ex-husband of the groom’s sister, and the parents of the bridegroom are like, uh, awkward. He is on good terms with his ex, but he decides that he’s not ready to be in a steady relationship this soon, thus he’d been doing flings rather than relationships after his divorce. Still, he finds himself unable to get over how he feels this… something… with Josie. The trouble is, he’s decided never to date anyone in Magnolia Valley, and that includes Josie. And then he overhears Josie wanting lots of sex for her birthday…
No, don’t get your hopes up – this is not an erotic romance. In fact, there is a rather oddly exaggerated portrayal of sexuality here. For example, Calvin looks at how Josie decorated a room with vibrant colors and decides that, because he feels that a brightly colored design scheme is more suited to a “bordello”, Josie must be hiding some serious kinky side to her. I wonder what he will think if, say, she accidentally leaves a hat on the sofa or something. And how many bordellos has this guy been to, seriously, if he thinks like that?
Anyway, this is more of a small town romance full of sequel baits and characters that exist only to dispense advice and cheer the main characters on, and it’s a very predictable one. She wants to have good times, he agrees to supply them, they will never fall in love, oops, they do just that, oh my god, let’s all wring our hands because this is such a terrible tragedy. Still, the predictability is wrapped up in serviceable narrative, and no one is particularly annoying, so it’s a pleasant kind of comfort read…
That is, until the final drama. Not to get into spoilers, let me just say that the happy ending comes about only because various secondary characters browbeating the hero into doing the right thing. This doesn’t bode well for the longevity of the happy ending, considering how the hero’s reaction to the first major drama in the relationship is to engage in pity party because, yes, everything is about him. And considering that he’s a hot, fit, and well-off guy, I am hard pressed to feel much empathy for his hand-wringing. Maybe if he looks like a donkey’s rear end or has severe, incurable halitosis, but with him being what he is, he has no good excuse to act like life is always dropping bird poop on his head.
Dreaming of You is familiar small town fare. It won’t be rocking the boat anytime soon. Still, if you want to check this one out, expect to roll up your eyes now and then at how the main characters, especially the hero, can get so unnecessarily melodramatic about everything.