Title: Dream Maker
Series: Dream Team #1
Author: Kristen Ashley
Format: Paperback/eBook, 497 pages
Publication: May 26th 2020 by Forever
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Evie is a bonafide nerd and a hyper-intelligent chick who has worked her whole life to get what she wants. Growing up, she had no support from her family and has only ever been able to rely on herself. So when Evie decides she wants to earn her engineering degree, she realizes she needs to take an alternative path to get there. She takes a job dancing at Smithie's club thinking this would be a quick side gig, where she can make the money she needs. But with her lack of dancing skills and an alpha bad boy who becomes overly protective, Evie realizes this might not be as easy as she thought.
Daniel "Mag" Magnusson knows a thing or two about pain, but the mask he wears is excellent. No one can tell that this good-looking, quick-witted, and roguish guy has deep-seated issues. Mag puts on a funny-guy routine so he can hide his broken heart and PTSD. But when Evie dances her way into Mag's life, he realizes that he needs to come face-to-face with the demons of his past if he wants a future with her.
Dream Maker is the start of a new series but characters from the author's previous series, Dream Man and Rock Chick (some Chaos) heavily feature in it. I've read books in Dream Man but none in Rock Chick, I was able to hang in there in regards to who was who and connections but barely. If you're completely new to Kristen Ashley, this probably isn't where you should start.
One could say I was correct in my concerns about Daniel Magnusson. I didn’t know if he was toxic. But he was a bossy damned alpha. And meddling.
If you're not new to Ashley, you'll recognize her writing style but with some tweaking. Danny speaks in full sentences but “Babe” and a controlling nature that make Ashley heroes a love them or hate them, was still evident in the character. Evie was the klutzy nerd that makes her adorable to the hero and because of how forced and jammed in it felt at times, she super duper cares about the environment (she drives a Prius and wears shoes from recycled bottles!) in what I think was probably added to make her seem more Millennial/Gen Z. Evie broaches pushing back at Danny's controlling nature, he's a “commando” so he wants to run the show in regards to protecting her, but Danny ends up pretty much doing what he wants. There's insta attraction between the two and I think all the “babes” and whispered talk was supposed to be the evidence for these deep feelings. I can't say these two left a lasting impression on me.
“Mac is no fool. This isn’t about you sorting my shit. It’s her setting me up to sort yours.”
Lottie, Evie's friend, set-up Danny with Evie and told Evie Danny was sleeping his way through Denver because he was having a hard time emotionally. However, Danny sees how crappy Evie's family treats her and then reads a text message that shows how much danger Evie is being put in because of her brother and he thinks Lottie put them together to help Evie. The plot involving Evie's brother, drugs, and danger was supposed to be the continuing thread throughout the book but it never gets filled out enough and gets ignored for the majority of the time in favor of Evie and Danny whispering at each other in short sentences that “Ooh that must have meant something, they really care about me!”. The suspense plot felt ignored, was slow, and never filled out to create any semblance to a plot.
“I’m a little scared, Danny,” I admitted.
“I am too,” he surprised me by saying. “But you’re worth the risk.”
The whole series gets laid out, Evie was set-up with Danny through Lottie and we learn that three other women that Evie works with at the strip club and she realizes are her friends, are lined up and paired off with Danny's friends and co-workers. There isn't any surprise or suspense in who the couples will be in the coming books. There was a couple that interested me but the utter lack of plot in this has me very tentative to try another in this series.
These people. These crazy, kindhearted people.
Evie felt like a fully formed character but Danny's background was absent and it left his character a bit vapid. Evie gets kidnapped twice and their first sex scene is after Danny was shot and was previously in a lot of pain. There's enough of Ashley's tried and true elements that previous readers could find enjoyment and enough tweaking that it could bring in new readers, for me, I really just needed more plot.