Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dream Kisses by Verna Clay
Narrated by Wendy Rich Stetson

Publisher & Release Date: M.O.I. Publishing, January 17, 2012

Time and setting: Present Day, Colorado

Genre: Contemporary Western Romance

Length: 148 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

Romance on the Ranch Series: Dream Kisses; Honey Kisses; Baby Kisses; Candy Kisses; Christmas Kisses; Rock Star Kisses; Forever Kisses

Mims Murphy a.k.a Sarah Carter, meets Sage Tanner at Imaginings Publishing while he's posing for the cover of her soon-to-be-released romance novel. After being bulldozed into a coffee break with him by her publisher, Sissy Johansen, an embarrassing incident makes Sarah furious and she walks out. Of course, fate has a wonderful way of intervening in matters of the heart. After deciding her book needs a dose of reality, she signs up for "dude" lessons at Lazy M Dude Ranch. Imagine her chagrin when she discovers the owner of the ranch is none other than Mr. Tanner himself!

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Vikki’s Musings

I listened to the audio version of Dream Kisses. I have listened to Wendy Rich Stetson’s fantastic narration of The Cypress Corners series by JoMarie DeGioia, so when I found out she had narrated this story I quickly agreed to review the recording and book. As always, Wendy Rich Stetson brings life to the characters, especially the cowhands on The Lazy M Dude Ranch!

Sarah Carter writes under the pen name Mims Murphy. When she meets the cover model for her next book, a cowboy western romance, to say they get off on the wrong foot is saying it mildly. When Sarah decides she needs to spend six weeks on a dude ranch for research, the last person she expects to meet again is Sage Tanner, the cover model for her upcoming book.

When Sage Tanner discovers Mims hobbling her way to his ranch, he figures out she must be Sarah Carter, the woman who has come to his property for six weeks. After he gets the injured Sarah to his house and settled on his couch, he calls the doctor so he can take a look at her ankle. Not quite sure how he offended Sarah on their first meeting, Sage is determined to make up for his mistake. He is wildly attracted to Sarah’s curvy little figure and her fiery temper, even when it is directed at him.   

Will Sage burrow his way under Sarah’s skin, or will she ignore the attraction between them and play it safe, missing out on what could be a match made in heaven?

Dream Kisses is a fast-paced romantic tale with a hero that is first off gorgeous, second a truly nice guy and third a cowboy. How could you keep from falling in love with him? Sage is a fantastic character, and I liked him right away. He’s basically an uncomplicated guy raising his fourteen year old daughter on his own, while running a cattle/dude ranch and modeling on the side.

Sarah Carter on the other hand is hard to like. To put it mildly, she is totally insecure and comes across bitchy much of the time. Her only redeeming characteristic is her kindness toward Sage’s daughter. I have to question why Sage would fall in love with her to begin with. Her character blows everything way out of portion from the beginning and is constantly second-guessing herself. She doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body. I found it hard to believe such a cynical woman could be a romance author.

On the flip-side, there is chemistry between the pair and by the end of the book, I was rooting for him to win the girl, mainly because he wanted her so badly. I did quite enjoy the secondary characters as well and fell in love with his sweet, fun-loving daughter, Julie. 

Ms. Stetson gives a stellar performance, managing all the various characters, giving each one a distinct voice. I particularly loved Newt, one of the ranch hands. I imagine Wendy had a blast working on them. She reads with so much passion, she even had me forgetting at times that I really didn’t like Sarah at all. I highly recommend listening to Ms. Stetson’s narrative. I am sure you will enjoy her style as much as I do. She definitely earns five Gold Crowns easily.

Overall, this is an entertaining read, and I do plan to read the other books in the series. Ms. Clay has an easy to read writing style and her pacing is excellent. Other than the heroine, I liked all the other characters and look forward to visiting with them in the next books in the series. She also does a great job on fade to black love scenes while still keeping the sexual tension building, and I loved the ending. A great finish can cover a multitude of sins. Happy reading!

Narrator Bio: 

A professional actress and narrator with twenty years of experience on and off-broadway, in regional theater, and on film & television.

Wendy Rich Stetson is known for For Love of the Game (1999), Liv (2015) and Cold Souls (2009).

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