Review: Dream On-M. Kircher

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Book Title: Dream On

Author Pen Name: M. Kircher

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance

Age Group: Young Adult

Publish Date: April 22, 2014

Cover by Amanda L. Matthews, Am Design Studios

Publisher: Astraea Press

Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Smashwords | Kobo

cooltext1544204149 copyLove is dangerous for Emily, even in her dreams.

Seventeen-year-old dreamwalker, Em, might have to choose—leave her mother forever in the dreamworld or save the life of hot, rebel Gabe.

Emily Dal Monte and her mother, Lily, are special. They’re humans with a glitch in their genetic code that allows them to explore the fantastic, and often terrifying, world of their dreams for as long as they choose to remain asleep. But when Em’s father is killed in a tragic accident and her distraught mother loses herself more and more in the dreams of her crumbling mind, Em is forced to support the two of them the only way she knows how, by writing down her mother’s amazing dreams and selling them as books. Enter Gabriel Sobel, the handsome punk newcomer at Em’s high school who realizes Em is the daughter of his favorite, reclusive author. Gabe can’t figure out why Em keeps brushing him off and makes it his mission to find out what’s really going at the Dal Monte household. He stumbles upon their shocking family secret just as Lily takes a turn for the worse. It’s up to Em, Gabe, and one very nosy book editor to hop from one extraordinary dream to the next to find Lily and convince her to wake up before she loses her mind…and before Em loses her first chance at love.

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4/5 Stars

Dream On invites you into a surrealist dreamscape, exploring the deepest facets of the human psyche through the fascinating stories crafted in dreams. Each dream is like a different world, unique, vibrant, and full of psychedelic imagery and twisted nightmares that bring darkest fears to life. At its heart, Dream On is about a mother-daughter relationship that is falling apart at the seams and the lengths we will go to for love. 

PROS:

  • Dream On is a love story tha transcends reality and gains beautiful life in dreams. What is so compelling about this story is that it’s an unconventional love story and is a multifaceted one at that. There are many forms of love within the story, love between a mother and daughter, love between a husband and wife, and the budding romance between two teenagers.
  • Dream On is a whirlwind journey into the purest form of imagination, where mystery, fantasy, and fear collide, and where fairy tales truly exist. Emily, Gabe, and Evan embark on a rescue mission of epic proportions, navigating through the unpredictable and dangerous confines of dreams. The dreams are colorful, inventive, and fantastical presenting a gripping beauty that speaks of whimsy and magic. Even the most intoxicating visions are shadowed by a sense of urgent desperation and disquieting uncertainty. There’s little to no control and time is very limited, increasing the anxiety and thrill of their quest. 
  • There is an element of fear that’s haunting and targeted. The hellish landscapes of some of the dreams tackle phobias and force the characters to face their fears and their demons, growing stronger and more confident as characters. The bloody, disturbing sections are chilling, nightmares are brought to life and add a twisted and sinister vibe to the plot. The idea of being trapped, of dying within a dream is particularly scary.
  • Gabe is an odd character. He’s pushy, honest, and far too inquisitive for his own good. His presence is loud, he firmly inserts himself into Emily’s life and will not back down. His confidence and fascination with story and Emily’s power is kind of adorable. 
  • Gabe and Emily’s interactions are laced with sarcasm and underlying tension. They tease and taunt each other, Gabe is highly amused with Emily is angered by his audacity. They’re both sort of odd, anti-social and independent protagonists that butt heads but complete each other.
  • Emily’s story is fused with resentment and pain. Her loss is twofold, not only did she lose her father physically but lost her mother mentally. She had to make huge sacrifices, shying away from friends to keep her secret, always protecting her mother and never really having a childhood. Emily is crazy strong, she’s focused and determined to succeed and get through life caring for her mother. Because Emily is so steady and solid, when she breaks down it’s emotionally cutting. Her relationship with her mother is so contaminated by the lifestyle she was forced into and how much she’s had to give up but her love for her mother is fierce and worth risking her life for. 

CONS:

  • Lily is an iffy character. She’s so consumed by her grief that she’s willing to sacrifice her relationship with her daughter and her life as she knows it to live in a fantasy realm where her dead husband is alive in her mind. Lily is blinded, completely and utterly driven by the need to be in the dream world. She ignores everything else, she won’t hear reason, and even when Emily is pouring her heart out, confessing the hurt and betrayal she feels by her mother’s abandonment, she zones out, uncaring and oblivious. Because the story is through Emily’s eyes, her pain is so achingly real and raw that Lily’s actions are infuriating, thoughtless, and make you hate her a little. At the same time, Lily is almost child-like in her grief. She’s fragile and broken, her heart’s shattered and she doesn’t know how to cope or move on with her life because her love was so passionate. It’s heartbreaking. The love she felt was so woven into who she was as a person that when it was lost, she started to unravel mentally and emotionally. Lily inspires compassion and envy simultaneously. That kind of love is part of the soul and without it, you can hardly blame her for being unable to function. But this does not make her neglect anywhere near okay.
  • The insertion of the lit agent/editor as a threat and major character felt a bit random. The scenes at the school were also kind of unnecessary, especially the role of the popular, snobby girl. It felt a little like filler.

 

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Tiny shafts of sunlight stream down from the treetops above us, forming small rings that illuminate the red pine-covered ground below. It’s weird how quiet it is here. There are none of the sounds you’d normally associate with a forest, like the scurrying tread of small animals or the soft breeze rustling through the trees. Everything is completely still.

I rest my forehead against the warm bark of the tree and try to calm my racing thoughts. How do I get us out of this mess? Mom and Evan aren’t here with Gabe and me. At least, as far as I can tell, they aren’t here, and we don’t have any time to find them. Evan and Gabe need to wake up now, or they could die. It’s so simple, yet so complicated. Do I save Gabe’s life? Or do I continue to risk killing him and try to save everyone? If I pull Gabe out, I could risk losing both Mom and Evan inside this dream. I have no idea if Mom’s recognition of me was a moment’s clarity, or something more lasting. I might never be able to locate her and Evan again.

A sob rises in my throat. I can’t help it. I’m so tired and overwhelmed, and we’re all so deeply in trouble. Despite my best efforts, the sob escapes, and then I can’t seem to stop another one from bursting out of my mouth. And then another one. Huge, wrenching cries tear through me, and I double over, my face in my hands, as the tears stream through my fingertips.

It’s all just too much.

I hear Gabe come to stand beside me, and before I can protest, he draws me back into his arms. I can’t seem to stop crying. I’m so embarrassed, but I just can’t stop.

His rough fingers catch the bottom of my chin, and slowly he tilts my face up toward his, so we’re gazing into each other’s eyes. My breath hitches, and it’s not just from all the crying.

“I’m sorry, Em,” Gabe whispers, his soft words loud in the silence surrounding us. “But there’s no one I’d rather be with right now than you.”

Guest Post # 3: 5 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer 

  1. Be ready to learn – Every writer wants a long and successful career, and one of the key components to longevity is the ability to take in constructive criticism. Don’t hold your work too dearly; figure out ways to improve it and try out different techniques in order to grow your talent. Listen to your beta readers when they give you feedback. Listen to those readers who post reviews, both good and bad—sometimes bad reviews can teach you the most!
  2. Treat people with respect – When receiving any kind of feedback or dealing with other writers and readers, make sure you treat them with kindness and respect. You might be bristling from a nasty comment, but nothing is classier than a proper, “Thank you so much for your opinion. I really value your input.” Readers and bloggers really care about their fiction and it behooves you as a writer to listen to them with grace and aplomb.
  3. Always read the guidelines– I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit the “submit” button and then realized I formatted a query exactly how an agent or publisher requested not to! So now I’m a complete fiend about reading submission guidelines thoroughly. It just makes sense to follow an agent’s rules when asking them to read your work.
  4. Meet your deadlines – If a blogger asks you for your press kit by Friday at noon, make sure it’s in their Inbox by Friday at noon. This is so simple, but I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten simply because I turn my work in on time.
  5. Marketing is the other part of the writing gig – Whether you sign with a huge publishing house, an indie, or you decide to self-publish, consider marketing something you must address every work day. Keep up on your social media accounts, continue making new review requests for at least a year after your book is released, try purchasing ads through different sites, and listing your book in as many places as you can.

Guest Post # 6: Five Words to describe Dream On

  1. FantasticalEm and her mother Lily are dreamwalkers, people with a glitch in their DNA who have the power to control their dreams and stay asleep for as long as they desire. Em, Lily, Gabe, and Evan (the main characters in the story) spend a good deal of their time hopping from one fantastical dream to the next. They explore worlds that are completely white, with ghost-filled castles and curious owls, desert marketplaces run by monsters, rooms that explode into swarms of bees, deep caves made entirely of diamonds and abandoned tunnels with giant snakes. Some of the dreams are fantasies and some are nightmares…now all they have to do is figure a way out!
  1. FragileTo the rest of the world, Emily Dal Monte appears to be a strong teenage girl. After all, she’s had to take care of herself and half-insane mother since she was twelve years old. It isn’t until Gabe comes into Em’s life, and discovers that she’s a dreamwalker, that Em begins to realize how hurt and angry she really is. Gabe helps Em to let her guard down and begin to repair her relationship with her even more fragile mother, Lily. But will Lily find the strength to put herself back together and save them all?
  1. Passion Em and Gabe start out having a tempestuous relationship. He invades her privacy and learns her closely guarded secret and she can’t stand how arrogant he is—and how much his good looks make her go all fluttery inside. But as a serious of dangerous events unfold; Em and Gabe discover a fiery love that only death has the power to quench.
  1. TerrorA nightmare is something most of us of try to forget, but for Em, nightmares are a way of life. Sure, she can control how long she stays in the dreamworld, but she must first complete whatever dream she’s in so that she can leave. So if Em falls asleep and finds herself face-to-face with her dead father and a mother who’s trying to drown her, she must suffer through every terrifying second until it’s time to wake up.
  1. VibrantThe dreamworld enhances a person’s senses. Food tastes richer, smells are more intoxicating, colors are so bright that they sometimes hurt your eyes. Dreams can be so sharply beautiful you almost want to stay in them forever, but what if their vibrancy made you forget about your life out in the real world?

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M. KIRCHER graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts from Gordon College. She devours YA, science fiction, fantasy, and romance on a regular basis and is immensely happy to pour her time and energy into creating stories for other people to enjoy. Bob Ross and J.R.R. Tolkien tie for her two favorite people of all time.

M. Kircher lives in Connecticut with her husband, energetic son, and new baby girl.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Profile | Wattpad

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