Early this year I was in a Facebook group and was introduced to the books by L.J. Evans. I read My Life as a Country Album and was hooked! Today is the release day for her newest book, Guarded Dreams. Believe me when I say you need this book!! Thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC to read and review. Today I am sharing my review, a little excerpt and there’s a giveaway. So let’s take a look!
“Sometimes, reality is better than a dream.”
Once upon a summer, a boy unexpectedly meets a girl at the beach. Their bodies and souls know what their brains do not. They are meant to be one. But…
??? dreams about being a US Coast Guard.
??? dreams about being a country music star.
Those dreams send them careening in different directions, and their summer love story is left as a wish that never came true.
Four years later, Eli’s Coast Guard career is threatened, and Ava’s dreams are shadowed by her past, just as fate brings them together once more in New York City.
As their lives start to crumble, they find the possibility of a second chance in each other. If they’ll only listen to what their souls are whispering and realize that, sometimes, the best dream to come true is simply to have loved.
Inspired by Luke Bryan’s “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” comes a novel from award-winning author, LJ Evans, about all the ways dreams can be chased, lost, and remade, and how love and friendship can guide you through.
After reading previous books by L.J., I knew I was in for a treat. When she was teasing us with the playlist for this book, I knew it was going to be something amazing. I have to start off by saying the way she mixes music with her stories is so beautiful! The songs fit their chapters so well and it doesn’t even seem on purpose.
Ava and Eli are characters you come to care for very quickly! Ava seems like a quirky one in the beginning, but as we learn about her story, it’s clear she hasn’t had it easy. Her father is anything but the loving father every child deserves. The way this author wrote her character made your heart break for Ava. On the other side of this I loved how open she was with her dream and nothing was going to stop her. In many ways she was also a free spirit finding a way to let our all her creativity and love.
Eli is definitely on top of the book boyfriend list at the moment. He meets all the requirements: kind, a hard worker, dedicated, passionate, loving, romantic and in his own ways a family man. Losing his father made him want his dream even more. His friends there have become his family. Even though he knows what he wants, he’s also very realistic. He’ll fight until he can’t fight anymore, but he knows sometimes matters won’t change.
Eli and Ava were a couple you wanted to live happily ever after from the start. It was wonderful that Guarded Dreams had a different pace though. They didn’t meet and live happily ever after, but lost each other for awhile and maybe fate had a play in it, but they ended up finding their way back to each other. Their journey of finding the other again and falling in love is one I will remember for a very long time. The special moments they had together had me sitting with a major grin on my face while reading. I could just feel how special they were.
On top of that amazing romance, the other characters she included in this book were amazing. So many times I was also laughing out loud when these characters were together. Mac Truck and Brady were definitely my favorites and I need more of them! Also Jersey at the bookstore, a shy girl becoming fanatic about something she loves makes me love a story even more. Then there’s Eli’s mother who is a book and cat lady and I hope I can be as amazing as she is when I get older!
Guarded Dreams is an amazing journey and an emotional roller coaster ride! I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end either. L.J. Evans really outdid herself with this book and I can’t wait to see what she does next. I know this one will be a favorite of 2019 for sure!
♬ ＥＸＣＥＲＰＴ ♬
We heard the music before we even hit the top of the stairs. Loud. Country music. It was blaring out the open windows, letting the air conditioning cool the humidity instead of the other way around.
The guys and I exchanged a curious look.
I opened the door in time to see a blur of dark hair and tan skin jump off the coffee table, guitar in hand, strumming and screaming along to the lyrics.
Except it wasn’t really screaming. It was the huskiest, sexiest female voice I’d ever heard. Her hair was a tumble of dark curls and waves that flung out about her as she continued to move, swaying with the guitar and the lyrics. Her frame was all lean muscle with small curves in all the right places.
Her shorts barely covered those curves on her rear end, and a striped shirt was tied so that it bared her midriff, showing off more bronzed skin and muscles.
She was dancer and singer and girl all rolled into one. She hit me to my core and wouldn’t let me move. The guys were equally stunned, standing behind me, watching her perform for an audience she hadn’t even registered was there yet.
When she finally turned, mid-strum and mid-word, I was hit once more. This time by the intensity of her eyes that stared at me beneath dark lashes. One eye was as blue-green as a Caribbean island bay, while the other was almost muddy green like a Louisiana swamp. They didn’t match. And yet, they fit her perfectly.
The joy that radiated across her face from her performance slid off, just as her hand slid off her guitar at the sight of us.
“What the hell?” Her husky voice, full of surprise, washed over me in a wave that told of unsteady seas. Of beauty and desire and storms. And I knew I was in trouble.
♬ ＧＵＡＲＤＥＤ ＤＲＥＡＭＳ ＧＩＶＥＡＷＡＹ ♬
Enter for a chance to win:
(1) Grand Prize: Signed paperback of Guarded Dreams + a $50 Amazon Gift Card
(3) Runner Up Prizes: eBook of Guarded Dreams + $10 Amazon Gift Card
See giveaway link for all the giveaway rules including Int’l alternative prizes.
The giveaway runs through May 4th!
Enter Now: http://bit.ly/GDGiveawayLJE
About the Author:
Award winning author, LJ Evans, lives in the California Central Valley with her husband, daughter, and the three terrors called cats. She’s been writing, almost as a compulsion, since she was a little girl and will often pull the car over to write when a song lyric strikes her. While she currently spends her days teaching 1st grade in a local public school, she spends her free time reading and writing, as well as binge watching original shows like The Crown, Victoria, and Stranger Things.
If you ask her the one thing she won’t do, it’s pretty much anything that involves dirt—sports, gardening, or otherwise. But she loves to write about all of those things, and her first published heroine was pretty much involved with dirt on a daily basis. Which is exactly what LJ loves about fiction novels—the characters can be everything you’re not and still make their way into your heart.
Find out more about LJ and her books at www.ljevansbooks.com
Connect with LJ Evans
Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/LJsMusicandStories/
As you can tell from my review, I loved this book!! It’s so fun that she brings music into her story the way she does. Do you like it when authors include playlists to their stories?