Friday, December 3, 2021

Book Review: If Only In My Dreams by Carrie Aarons


'Tis the season to … be freshly divorced at twenty-six and moving back into your parents' house?

Because that’s my reality this Christmas. As if it isn’t bad enough that my entire hometown is buzzing with the news of my failed marriage, who is the first person I bump into at the grocery store? The guy who treated me like his personal booty call in high school just happens to be looking at spices while I’m trying to pick up cinnamon for my mother.

And get this; Porter Kelly, the broody, mysterious recluse who exposed his own secrets to the world by writing a book about his family years ago, is the one who acts like I wronged him. His rude remarks on aisle nine are the final straw as my exhausted unhappiness breaks, and I’m officially calling off the most wonderful time of the year.

Too bad it’s literally impossible for the woman whose parents own a railroad that specializes in Christmas train rides to ignore the holiday season. Because I’m back under their roof, it’s mandatory to work in the middle of the red and green merriment, Santa himself, and wait for it …

Porter serenading us with the greatest festive hits of all time. That’s right, apparently, my teenage heartthrob turned nemesis not only works for my parents but can strum a guitar like he’s trying to get every soccer mom on board pregnant. As we’re forced to spend more time together than ever, his past baggage and my marital rejection make their way to the surface, bonding us in ways neither of us knew possible.

I thought I was heartbroken about my ex-husband wanting to end our marriage, but that pain is nothing compared to what Porter could inflict. He seems like a changed man, one on the precipice of a new chapter, which is exactly where I find myself. Would it be crazy to think we could turn the page together?

Returning home was the only option I had. But as I come dangerously close to counting on the first man who broke my heart, I wonder if all of my future dreams are too good to be true


Carrie Aarons has outdone herself with her new book If Only In My Dreams. This book has everything I love, between two beautifully decorated covers ( I mean seriously that cover is everything ) It has my favorite trope enemies to lovers, second chance romance, a sexy musician, an idyllic small town, and of course Christmas.

Madison goes back to her mall hometown after the breakup of her marriage, a bit embarrassed by the fact that her perfect marriage was now in shambles. Finally getting out of the house to run to the grocery the first person she runs into is  Porter Kelly, the boy she gave her heart and more to in high school, only to be treated like a toy by him. If seeing him isn’t bad enough, she finds out he is working for her parents.

Aarons did a great job with the enemies to lover trope I love so much, though I had no doubt she would, as I have read a few of her books and she is good at it. The amount of dislike, frustration, and animosity she gives her characters and makes you feel is over the top.

The main characters were written realistically, with valid feelings, and I think we can all agree that Porter Kelly is a J. E. R. K. especially at the beginning of the book. But as the book moves on, you get a different perspective of him and he grows on you. Also, the book is written in dual POVs from both Madison and Porter, which I felt helped hash out the story a bit better. I love the banter between Madison and Porter, and their chemistry was undeniable, and once they realized their attraction..oh my the steam came on full force.

The enemies to lovers trope quickly moves into a second chance at love theme, and to me, that is when it began to feel like a Christmas romance even though it had been in the background from the beginning it never seemed so Christmasy.

If Only In My Dreams, which I thought was the perfect title for a story about people coming home for Christmas ( IYKYK ), is a great book, it is a quick read, the perfect book for the holidays without feeling so much like a Hallmark Christmas movie… it's a bit too spicy for that!  Def put it on your holiday reading list.


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