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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Where Dreams Begin by Phoebe Conn

Where Dreams Begin by Phoebe Conn
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (232 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Sunflower

She’s a dreamer. He’s a realist. Somewhere in the middle is love—and danger.

After her husband’s death, Catherine Brooks is ready to go back to work—almost. She volunteers at a shelter for homeless teens, Lost Angel, thinking it will ease her return to the classroom. There’s nothing easy about irascible shelter manager Luke Starns, though. His cool detachment rubs her the wrong way, especially when he warns her not to get too attached. Still, the soft heart she senses beneath his stern exterior keeps her coming back—and his face pervades her thoughts.

It’s not that Luke finds Catherine’s easy charm and free spirit unappealing—quite the opposite. Life on the streets is hard, and discipline is the only ladder that’ll get and keep these kids out of trouble. He knows what it’s like to care too much, only to have the rug yanked away. He tells himself he’s simply trying to save her the same heartache.

Yet Catherine has him rethinking his approach to life. Just as he lets his guard down, though, a murderer begins stalking the mean streets near the shelter, putting everything they care about at risk. Including their lives.

Where do dreams begin? Where do tragic losses and nightmares end? Both Catherine and Luke have dealt with their fair share of loss. Catherine needs to begin again, hence starting out at Lost Angels. And Luke's reception is anything but warm and kind.

Sometimes two people share a deep connection without even realizing it. It's surely not a connection that people want to have with someone else- it's the mutual understanding of losing a loved one. Starting over after that is never easy, either. Catherine is admirable and strong, and her journey to live again starts at Lost Angels. Her first few meetings with Luke don't go over well. Somehow, without knowing how, she's rubbed him the wrong way and has set him off. Catherine isn't a quitter, by any stretch, and to Luke's surprise, keeps showing up for her new job. I wasn't too sure about Luke at first, I didn't care for his attitude. When it's revealed that he has also been through a tough time, I understood.

Around the same time Catherine begins volunteering, the killings begin, and suddenly a place that is meant to be safe doesn't feel so much of that anymore.

In this emotionally gripping and gritty novel, Ms. Conn creates a tale that keeps the pages turning. The conflict is high and the suspense plays second to the romance between Catherine and Luke. The characters are memorable and distinct, and interesting to read about. This is a story about a second chance, starting over, and learning to let go of the past. As Luke spend more time with Catherine and has deeper feelings for her, the two still clash many times throughout the story, but they are always pulled back to each other. That does get a little tiresome, but it wasn't too over the top.

If you enjoy a contemporary suspense novel, then Where Dreams Begin is a book you should look into. It's emotional, thrilling, and has characters that the reader will enjoy.