In Her Wildest Dreams

Kimberly Dean
2008, Paranormal Romance
Pocket, $14.00, 333 pages, Amazon ASIN 141655114X
Part of a series

Grade: D
Sensuality: Hot

Back in the 90s, I discovered paranormals. Psychics, time-travel, creepy things that go bump in the night...all of these held a certain allure for me in my reading. When this sub-genre started to become popular again, I looked forward to finding more stories to love. Sadly, In Her Wildest Dreams contains many of the most common flaws I find in today's paranormals. The plotting and world building are extremely thin and feel haphazard, making it difficult to get into the book. Though certainly a steamy story (which makes sense given Dean's experience as an erotic romance writer), the slapdash feeling of the writing takes away from whatever chemistry the leads manage to muster, making for a rather lackluster read experience.

Shea Caldwell rose from very humble beginnings to her current place as a talented scientist at the helm of a successful skincare company. However, her life has a troubled side. As a child, she had problems with sleepwalking and these episodes caused many problems for her; one of her worst memories involves her family's trailer burning down during one of her sleepwalking episodes.

Shea feels distracted and deeply troubled because the sleepwalking has started again. Even though she feels deeply attracted to Derek Oneiros, the man in charge of security for her company, she worries about the fallout if her sleepwalking becomes known. This turns out to be a miscalculation which ends up drawing out the conflict far longer than needed. As it turns out, Derek is a Dream Wreaker, one of the modern-day Oneiroi charged with bringing dreams to sleeping humans. Derek possesses the power to fight the cause of Shea's sleepwalking, if he only can find out about it.

Convinced that Shea is already in a relationship and therefore unavailable, Derek restricts himself to thinking about her. The two have all kinds of mental lust, but since neither seems gifted as a communicator, sorting out their mutual misconceptions takes time. The lack of an actual relationship between the main characters results in a frustrating romance in which the physical lust exists, but the chemistry feels neither deep nor real. This makes it hard for the reader to care about the characters, and it the story's other flaws appear more glaring as a result.

Speaking of other flaws, while parts of the book move more smoothly than others, the overall story feels thin and, if this weren't a review book, I would not have bothered finishing it. The foreshadowing is obvious, the secondary characters flat, and the overall plot seemed designed not to tell a story but merely to act as background for the main romance. When your main love/lust story focus isn't exactly all that and a bag of chips, it adds up to a fatal flaw.

In Her Wildest Dreams, a haphazard nightmare of a read, contains little to appeal to most readers. Though it had the occasional likable scene, much of the book felt substandard. It is obvious from the scenes involving Derek and his brothers that the author plans more books about the Oneiroi. One can only hope that their stories are constructed with more care than this one.

-- Lynn Spencer

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