Let’s kick this off by marveling at this gorgeous cover…
About the book:
Invisible to the man she loves, Reeve Lennox fights to reclaim him from a dark world.
As her wedding day nears in Acarsaid, her betrothed Arden offers only his wayward soul and saucy tongue. At night she desperately tries to reach Bran, the young soldier of nightmarish Tenebris who holds her heart. However, her king insists that the realms of Tenebris and Acarsaid must remain separate, lest the evil wizard Rancore brutally conquer all.
But the dark magic of Tenebris defies mere distance. A war is coming, one only Reeve may be able to prevent, if she can reunite her family on opposing sides.
With two kingdoms at stake, Reeve must discover her strength and her family’s legacy before all is lost. Yet righting the wrongs of the past may require the sacrifice of her truest love.
How do I put into words just how much I loved this book (and the first book in the duology, All That We See Or Seem), without sounding like a complete dork? I have no idea. But I do know that I absolutely devoured this book, and I had no desire to ever leave the co-worlds of Acarsaid and Tenebris — giant, flesh-eating falcons notwithstanding.
I don’t know how she did it, but Kristina Mahr made me a fan from the first page. Maybe it was her lyrical prose which leant a beautiful rhythm to her words, or the deftly created co-worlds of Acarsaid and Tenebris, or the tension she packed on the pages. Or maybe, just maybe, it was because I wanted Reeve to have the best of both worlds — to have the quiet strength and deep love of Bran, as well as the sultry flattery and broken heart of Arden. Both sides of the love triangle brought out the best in Reeve’s character, and I found myself torn for her sake.
A Dream Within a Dream is a beautiful, fantastic read that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you want to get lost in a magical world, pick this one!
Keep reading for some Bonus Content (that’s right…bonus!):
First, a brief interview with author Kristina Mahr about her writing process and inspirations. Kristina devotes her days to numbers and her nights to words. She works full-time as an accountant in the suburbs of Chicago, where she lives with her two dogs and two cats, but her true passion is writing. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and waking up at the crack of dawn every weekend to watch the Premier League.
How did you come up with the idea for A Dream Within A Dream?
My sister had a dream way back in February 2014 about a girl who falls in love with a boy she meets in her dreams, which has always been the core of the Dreamworld Duology. The plot of A Dream Within a Dream specifically came about very naturally, building upon the conflicts and storylines that were set up in All That We See or Seem. I had spent the years since writing the first book pondering what might’ve happened next, so I had many ideas already in mind when I actually sat down to outline and write the sequel.
Which books or authors have influenced you the most?
Maggie Stiefvater and Tahereh Mafi have been my biggest influences in terms of writing. I love their lyrical prose, the way it’s almost poetry. I can flip to almost any page of their books and find a line that is drop-dead gorgeous.
What is your writing process like?
It took me a lot of trial and error to find a process that works for me, but I feel like I’ve got it down now! I like to plan for two-three evenings a week of writing, plus at least part of the weekend. When I sit down to write, I set a minimum word count goal, and then a stretch-goal. (I almost always end up going for the stretch-goal!) Then, I reread what I wrote in the prior writing session, tidy it up a bit, and get back into the story.
I have a beautiful loft upstairs with a desk and a comfy chair and a giant bookcase, but I almost always write while lounging on my couch with a cat wedged between me and my laptop.
What gave you the most difficulty when writing A Dream Within A Dream?
Keeping track of characters! I have so many secondary characters in this book, and I kept losing them as the plot heated up and storylines started colliding. I ended up having to write down where everyone was, even the people who weren’t in a given scene, just to make sure everyone was accounted for.
What is your favorite writing fuel?
I am an iced tea junkie, specifically Diet Raspberry Snapple and Peach Crystal Light.
What made you decide to create a love triangle?
You know, one of my favorite things about the love triangle trope is how it forces the main character to really do a deep-dive into herself, into what she wants/needs, who she truly is. One of the biggest tensions in the story is Reeve feeling as though she’s being torn in two, leading two lives, as she falls further and further into the nightmare world of Tenebris and gets to know its residents. So it made sense to me to have her heart feel torn in two, as well, especially as one of the things she wants most is to fall in love and be loved. Careful what you wish for, Reeve!
What’s your next project?
I am currently ankle-deep in drafting a contemporary young adult novel, which is my first foray away from fantasy! I’m really enjoying it so far, even though I’d never say never to returning to fantasy at some point.
Find out more about Kristina by visiting her on social media:
And now, if you have yet to read All That We See Or Seem, the first book in the Dreamworld Duology, trust me, you need to. Not only because they really should be read in the right order to help with understanding what’s going on, but also because IT IS AWESOME! So, here’s the cover and blurb to tempt you…
Every night, seventeen-year-old Reeve Lennox finds herself under a noose.
By day she is a lady of Acarsaid’s royal house, daydreaming of adventure and love. But every night in sleep she wanders through a nightmarish city, an invisible witness to the screeches of monsters and the screams of their victims. Her only consolation is Bran, a battle-torn young man with a selfless heart and eyes that reflect the stars.
Yet while Reeve falls deeper into her dreams, in truth she is engaged to Arden, a mercurial nobleman who has long been cured of his belief in love and breathes fire and flattery like other people breathe air.
Torn between two lives, Reeve struggles to remember what’s real. Until night a day collide, with a revelation that threatens all of Acarsaid.
Seriously, I want to read these books again and again, I so thoroughly enjoyed them. I’d so very highly recommend you grab them for yourself. You can purchase both books through Uncommon Universes Press (including autographed copies!!).
Many, many thanks to Uncommon Universes Press for allowing me to be part of this blog tour and for the copy of the book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂