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Thursday, December 19, 2013

ARC Review: Only In Dreams by Wendy Owens

Only In Dreams by Wendy Owens is the second book in her Stubborn Love series. I haven't read the first book Stubborn Love, but these book can be read as standalones and feature linked characters. I didn't really know what to expect from this story as it is the first book I have read by Wendy Owens, but I am really glad that I took a chance on this one. This book was heartbreaking and beautiful and was a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. This one definitely had me pulling out the tissues at times, but I also found myself smiling and feeling hopeful as well.

Paige Parker is a former model that is trying to make the switch to clothing designer. Her first collection is in the works and she is struggling to get it finished while planning a wedding to her fiance Henry. Henry decides that Paige should leave NYC for a few weeks and go to stay with her best friend Emmie in Texas. That way Emmie can help with the wedding planning and hopefully the girl time will help to relieve some of Paige's stress. Paige agrees and heads to Texas, but right after arriving she runs into the one person she never expected to see again, her first love Christian. Christian was not only Paige's first love, but he is also Emmie's Husband Colin's brother. Paige had always thought that Christian and her would be together forever, but when Christian was having trouble coping with a drinking problem, she knew that she couldn't continue trying to help him if he wouldn't accept it. But when they see each other four years later and Christian has turned his life around, Paige begins to realize that she might not be completely over the feelings she once had for him. Christian is determined to win Paige back, but Paige loves Henry and is committed to marrying him. But Paige also realizes that she loves Christian and wants a future with him. Soon Paige has to decide how you make a choice when you love two people, and what happens when things you never expected suddenly come up?

I really liked Christian and Henry. I thought that they were both really great for Paige in different ways, and they were both really great guys. Christian had broken Paige's heart, but he had never done it intentionally and he had never stopped caring about her. It was clear that he was torn up about everything that had happened, and I love how determined he was when it came to her. I really admired that he was able to turn his life around and better himself. He knew that Paige would never give him a chance unless he became the man she had fallen in love with again. I loved that he shared a history with Paige and that they had known each other since they were young. They had an easy connection and their relationship felt very natural. They also had a ton of sexual tension and chemistry between them. I also really liked Henry though. He was sweet and thoughtful and always putting Paige first. He was so supportive of her and went out of his way to take care of her. He would always find a way to make sure that she got whatever she needed and I loved that he really seemed like a genuinely nice guy. I could tell that he was hiding something from Paige for most of the book, and even though I had an idea of what it was, it was still heartbreaking to find out for sure. I wish that he would have been honest with Paige from the start about what was going on. Even though I understand that he was scared and trying to process it himself, I felt like he should have been able to share that with Paige since they were getting married to each other. I also felt like he was purposely trying to push her away at times but then would try to pull her back in. At times I felt like Paige and Henry had great chemistry with each other, but I feel like their connection was not as intense or as strong as the connection that she had with Christian. Henry felt sort of like the nice stable guy that you settle down with because he is safe. Even though I liked him, I just felt like she was destined to be with Christian. I really liked Paige though. I thought that she was a very easy heroine to root for. She was genuine and nice, and I loved that she was down to earth despite being a model. I felt like she really thought that her feelings for Christian were gone and that she was really taken aback when she realized that she still loved him. It was hard for her to come to terms with loving both men at the same time, and I thought that even though there were a few times that things happened with Christian, that she was always trying to keep things between them platonic out of respect for Henry despite what she felt.

Overall, I really liked this book. I read this book without putting it down for long, because I absolutely had to know what would happen. I will admit that although I liked Henry, I was team Christian from the start. I had guessed some of what was revealed in this book, but then there were other things that happened that really shocked me. I understand the choices that Paige made and I believe that they were very true to her character. I didn't always agree with the choices that she made, but I did get why she did. For me, the ending of this book was good and I was happy with the epilogue. I will say that I wish that things had happened a bit differently leading up to that though. I won't spoil the story, but I wish that her decision had been one that she actually made. I feel like the events that happened sort of forced her hand, and they really took away from the choices that she had been making. That was the reason this book wasn't a complete home run for me. I know the situation she was in was a very difficult one, and I admire the choice that she made despite knowing what it would cost her. But I still felt like ultimately she really didn't have a choice. This book was absolutely heartbreaking at times, and then there were other times that it was full of hope and really showed that no matter what happens we can survive it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of emotional romance stories. There wasn't a lot of sex or steam in this book, but I didn't miss it at all. I really felt that this story was all about connections and love and the choices that we not only make but are made for us. This story shows that even though we can experience heartbreak and pain, that there is always room to grow and heal and even someday love again.

**ARC provided by Mark My Words Book Publicity**

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