“The people in our lives that we love, if we’re worth anything, anything at all, we bust our asses to make it so they aren’t in a situation where they have to land on their feet ‘cause we made it so they’re always on solid ground.”
HOLY. FREAKING. SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!
This book was a non-stop thrill ride that kept me smiling from start to finish featuring a sexy romance with all the heart-warming feels, badass action-packed commando Alpha swoon, and that special epic feeling that comes with the best Kristen Ashley stories. This was pure vintage KA gold!
Evan “Evie” Gardiner has spent her whole life being the responsible one in her family, but enough is enough. It’s time to pursue her own dreams. Evie’s finally going to finish that engineering degree she’s been working toward. But first she needs to come up with the money to pay for tuition. Working as a dancer at Smithie’s club seems like the perfect solution to her problems . . . until her family lands in yet another scrape and comes to Evie for help. Only, this time, her family’s recklessness is risking more than her dreams-it’s endangering her life.
Daniel “Mag” Magnusson knows a thing or two about desperation and disappointment, but no one notices that his good looks and quick wit hide the painful memories that haunt him. When Evie’s family puts her in danger, Mag insists on offering Evie his protection. He has the skills to guard Evie’s life, but as they grow closer, Mag realizes he’ll need to come face-to-face with his demons to prove himself as the man who will protect her heart.
So to give you some context, this book is basically reads like the love child of the Dream Man and Rock Chick series in the absolute best way possible. While you technically can read this book alone (it’s the only book focused on this couple), I would personally recommend reading the DM + RC series first because every single one of those books is amazing, but also many side characters from this book are actually the main characters from those series so you will “get” a lot more out of this story if you’re familiar with everyone. Consider it like the difference between going to a party meeting a bunch of new but cool people VS going to a big reunion of pretty much all your old best friends.
I mean, KA has literally created characters so vivid and memorable that years and years after I read Dream Man (incidentally one of the first books I ever reviewed actually – details below) and Hawk was mentioned here and I just started smiling. These characters have such memorable magnetism that even the name brings back all the badass.
This guy was on a different level…
He wasn’t all man.
He wasn’t all commando.
He might be an avenging angel.
There were no words to describe precisely what he was.
But what he was, he was that 100 percent.
Now, I’ve said this about a million times before and it’s true every single time but Kristen Ashley just has this incredible gift with words. She conveys so much depth in her stories and her depictions of not just larger events, but even something as subtle as a glance between characters are done in a way I’ve honestly never seen done before. It’s completely unique to her, and it creates a genuine feeling of pure unfiltered spine-tingling heart-racing EPIC that is usually reserved for those moments in an action movie where they use slow-motion.
“I’d be a gentleman,” he muttered, watching her bite her lip.
Then he watched those lips whisper, “Danny.”
No one called him Danny but his mother, his sister and Mo’s sisters.
He’d been that in high school.
He’d earned the name Mag in the Marines.
Danny had died somewhere in between.
Ever time Evie said it, it felt like a resurrection.
Side note: I do not like bossy men – not even in book characters. But KA can write bossy Alpha men in a way that works so well because they are such genuinely good people if that makes sense. Like, there’s bossy in the sense of trying to assert dominance in a way that’s really just a front for insecurity, but her men are bossy in a way that comes from a place of respect, caring, love, and protectiveness. It’s just pure solid goodness to the bone.
“Now it’s clear we’ve thrown down for Evan,” [Hawk] went on. “Nightingale’s nosing around. Rush has got some of his Chaos boys doin’ rounds, asking a few questions. And none of that would be happening if Evan wasn’t part of the equation. That’s some firepower at her back that isn’t gonna be missed.”
What I love most about KA books, is that on top of the swoony, sexy, sweet, heart-melting romances that she always delivers, her stories are about so much more than that… they’re about all kinds of relationships – brotherhoods, sisterhoods, and family bonds that go so much deeper than blood or marriage.
I got closer to him and whispered, “I don’t know any of these people but Lottie. I can’t ask them to help.”
For a moment, as he held my gaze, he seemed to be pondering this.
And then he spoke.
“More advice, the Rock Chicks want to adopt you, as crazy as they are, let yourself be adopted.”
I know I’ve mentioned very little about this specific storyline and that’s because I don’t want to spoil anything but I’ll just very generally say that I really appreciated how Mag & Evie built up such a strong bond of trust between each other over the course of this book. I loved how when things got tough they leaned on each other. It was them against the world. Honestly, that’s the only kind of romance drama I love to read – where the couple becomes this single solid unit and they face everything together – backed up by their friends, family, and loved ones.
“She lands on her feet,” he muttered.
“You land on your goddamned feet!” he thundered, turned, and sidearm-threw the shot glass with such force, it embedded itself in the drywall…
He then pivoted back to her.
“It’s my job,” he thumped his chest… “to keep you on solid ground.”
Dream Maker is the first standalone in the Dream Team series (interconnected standalones) which is a spin-off of both the Dream Man series and Rock Chick series. There are tons of cameos, tons of interconnected characters, and lots of scenes that will have a lot deeper meaning if you have the context of the both series’ history. This book does a great job of setting up the next books in this series as well – I already can’t wait to read those couples’ stories and I definitely will be putting this book on my re-read list! Basically if you loved the DM + RC books, you’ll love this!
Dream Maker was a badass, epic romance filled with characters I fell in love with, action-packed adventure, and and a story that kept me smiling from beginning to end! It was pure vintage KA gold and most definitely this is a new top favorite recommendation!
Rating: 5 STARS!
Note: I’ve listed all the books in the Dream Team, Dream Man, and Rock Chick series below. I have reviews of all these books at this link (they’re all favorites), or you can click any cover below to be taken to that book.
*** THE DREAM TEAM SERIES ***
Series of interconnected standalones.
Spin-off of the Dream Man and Rock Chick series.
*** DREAM MAN SERIES ***
Badass commandos, bikers, cops, and agents finding love *swooooon*
Series of interconnected standalones — recommended to read in order.
This series technically comes after Rock Chick but I happened to read it first and loved that order so this is just how it feels most right to me to list them. But you can start with either this or the RC series.
*** ROCK CHICK SERIES ***
The badass Alphas of Nightingale Investigations finding love with their Rock Chicks… these stories are a wild, fun ride!! Series of interconnected standalones — recommended to read in order.
I’m busting I’m so exited KA is back in these worlds! I’ve read these two series so many times that they are old friends! And to go back into them, I’m just so excited and so happy that these are vintage KA! So glad you liked this book!
Woohooooo!! Me too – these are some of my favorite KA worlds 😀
Hello aestas!! I’m a old reader of your blog, I started in 2011 and very often I come here to take your recommendations! I loved so many of them!! Redmersky, Kristen Ashley, devney perry, Mia, Alice Clayton..
I honestly love the easy reads you know? Where everything is easy and not so dramatic and things just happens naturally that I feel light after reading you know? So I wanted to try the bronze horseman for a while now and I started it since you told it was the number one book for you. But I just CANT read it!!!! I’m on the 4th chapter and the triangle just makes me so freaking mad I just can’t believe that Alexander is such a douchebag!!!! How do you love that book so much?! AND is it really worth it?! Honestly I just want to skip to the good part bc I’m so mad at them. Please tell me what do you think and WHEN things will start to be good!
It’s hard in the beginning but I promise it’s worth it!!!!! I had the same reaction when I was first reading it and actually my very first “book friend” who I’m still friends with almost a decade later because of how she was right by my side while I read that series just encouraged me to keep going and I’m so glad I did so I’m passing on the encouragement. Just keep reading. It’s insanely epic. <3
Also WOW - 2011! I love that you've been following my blog for so long. Sending you a big virtual hug 😀