Dreams of Her Own by Rebecca Hefflin

Dreams of Her Own by Rebecca HefflinDreams of Her Own by Rebecca Hefflin

Series: #3 Dreams Come True
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Small Publisher on January 27, 2016
Pages: 238
Format: eARC
Buy: Amazon
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Talk about an opposites attract!  Painfully socially awkward, but cultured woman and bad boy work with his hands man have nothing in common, right?  You might be surprised.  I enjoyed this simple, but heartwarming story of two people caged by their own issues, but seeing beyond the surface to something special in each other.  If only they can pluck up the courage to beat their own pasts.

This is book three in the Dreams Come True series.  It can work easily as a standalone as its ties are fairly loose to the first two stories.  Recurring characters are present, but the plot is all new for this one.

The story begins with mousy, timid, awkward, and lonely Millie Stephens getting snatched out of the past of a speeding car by a handsome stranger.  This causes her to re-evaluate her life.  What life?  She has no life.  It is painful to admit that for years her sole focus has been to blend, to hide, to be unnoticed, and she is so successful at it that now her world is her work and her tiny apartment.

But Millie wants to change things.  So she draws up one of her familiar lists.  This is a list of dreams in one column and life activities in another: have sex, get drunk, be happy, fall in love- scratch that, be content, fall into like.  Best she can hope for, right?  She doesn’t miss the way Darcy’s contractor and the guy who rescued her thinks she’s a weird and odd when he comes to the house to put in a nursery and update the upstairs bathroom for an expectant Darcy.

Millie isn’t far off at first.  Ian Brand does think author Darcy’s assistant is mentally or physically challenged as she goes silent and gap-mouthed and tripping all over herself around him.  He has saved her life each time he encounters her.  But then he is amused when the brown mousy woman shows she has a brilliant mind after she realizes that he appreciates classical music and books on philosophy.  He knows what she thought seeing him looking rough and doing manual labor work.  He formed a few early and erroneous impressions of his own.

However, as the two start to spend time together and get past the awkwardness, they see much to appreciate.  Millie blooms under Ian’s praise and Ian has wistful thoughts what it would be like to be in a relationship.  But Ian has a big opportunity for his historical restoration business in England and he knows that if Millie knew his secret, she wouldn’t want him.  And Millie is certain that while Ian enjoys being with her, he would never want anything permanent with a loser like her.

While the story is pretty straight forward with its Ugly Duckling type romance tale, the author builds in meaningful extras like Ian’s attachment to terminally ill Ruby, his hard past, Millie’s careless parents and her own painful past, the group of friends who want to help the pair, and the engaging NYC setting.  It’s gently paced and eventually builds up from awkward meet-up to spicy passion and the inevitable conflict.  The conflict is no shocker and the reader sees it coming, but it fit the circumstances and allowed the denouement to have a satisfying feel.

I liked how the author wrote Millie’s character.  She truly is painfully awkward and not in a cute geeky way.  But she is also kind and brilliant.  She spouts random facts and it can get messy when she decides to check things off her list.  She has these inexplicable things happen that always seem to happen around Ian that are embarrassing for her, but sorta funny for the reader.

But yeah, this poor gal was one well disguised swan.  I liked that Ian saw her as beautiful and likeable before she had her final makeover.  He truly fell for the woman under the dowdy and sometimes prickly outward appearance.

And that leads to Ian.  He grew up rough, but because of one special lady taking an interest in an abused, punk kid from a poor family, he had a chance.  And he does well with that chance by working hard and being the son that a childless couple never had and he works to make them proud even if one is gone and the other, Ruby, is dying.  Ian has dyslexia, but hides it.  He is ashamed and thinks if people knew they would think he was dumb just like his cruel step-dad, the kids, and his teachers.  This is why he keeps Millie at a distance.  He thinks he doesn’t deserve her.  Well they both have that going on which is essentially what causes the conflict in the romance.

In summary, this is a light, heartwarming and sometimes humorous contemporary romance that I think most will find appealing.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #164 CR
Blogger Shame #17
Bad Boys #23

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • This one sounds really sweet. And I love that he fell for her before her makeover. I’ve read several books where the hero only confesses after the heroine’s makeover and it makes me question the romance. Adding it to my tbr list!

    • Yes, that is exactly what struck me, too. Loved seeing him interested before she came out of her shell. I enjoyed the first book. I need to go back and get book two. I think I liked this one better than book one. Hope you like it, Angela.

  • Dreams of Her Own sounds like my kind of story, Sophia Rose! I love it when characters are a bit awkward, it certainly make them seem very realistic to me – and I love it when they think they couldn’t possible be any good for the other because of reasons… that really aren’t reasons at all, but rather excuses to guard their hearts 🙂 Definitely adding this to my TBR 🙂

    • Yes, that is what this one was like, Lexxie! Hope you get the chance. 🙂

  • This is SO that type of book that I could see myself getting lost in! Like with some coffee, or some muffins or something, it would be the perfect book just have a good time with! I love the sound of the socially awkward girl and the bad boy (although a bit cliche) BUT I LURVE it! I SHIP IT!<3

    • Yes, it does seem to be a sort of thing in romance for a pairing, but it is fun. 🙂

      Oh yes, some caffeine and sweet would be a great idea to go with the story. You’re such a temptress to make me think that. 😉

  • not a fan of the cover but I like the story premise 😉

    • Yes, the story drew me in. I actually never saw the cover until I got the links for Amazon and GoodReads. It is a little like the characters and story, but I pictured him much rougher and her much primmer.

      • from your review, I can picture exactly what you just said…lols.

        • Ha, yes. They really were clearly opposites and clear in my mind.

  • Ugly duckling romances are good. My favorite is the “swan” parts, they always give me the feels.

    • Yes, watching her open up and get confident was one of the best parts.

  • Debbie Haupt

    OOH love the review and Yesssss to the bad boy and socially awkward girl!!

    • Ha, yes! To the opposites!

      Thanks, Debbie!

  • I really like the sound of this one. I need to put it on my wish list! Great review Sophia:)

    • It was a lovely palette cleanser between the rougher drama. I enjoyed the sweeter, lighter feel that wasn’t fluff.

  • oh wow….what a book!!! This definitely sounds like a well balanced story.

    • It really was. There were lighter moments, heartwarming, tender, hot, and deep ones. I enjoyed all the elements together.

  • Hmm weird cover

    • Ha, ha! I thought it was cute. The bridge and motorcycle make sense once you read it. The couple are a tad tame compared to the couple in the story, I’ll grant you. 🙂

    • Shari Delighted Read

      Covers are subjective and sometimes there aren’t budgets to make the best cover. I prefer to be more constructive in my comments on them than just saying they look bad, are weird or whatever. Yes, the cover doesn’t do it for me, but I don’t pick books on covers alone.

  • Interesting cover with how it’s spliced through the half. I kinda like it, with how it seems to show two different parts of their life, although the split is a bit abrupt.
    And it sounds like the book was a good one. I can enjoy a good opposites attract book. It’s great to see how two very different people can have something in common and how they can fall in love together. And I like the sound of Millie her character, those awkward scenes can be fun for the reader if less fun for the characters. These two sounds like they make for a great couple. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one and it worked well as a standalone.

    • Yes, this is the second cover we posted this week like that with the split image (and both have a city background coincidentally). It must be a template of some kind or a new trend in cover art. 🙂

      I like opposites attract especially when one or both are awkward, but this is the first I’ve read in a while where its a true awkwardness. I was pained and embarrassed for her as she tried so hard and it ended up being a blunder. He was confused at first, but then he actually liked her the way she was and thought she was cute.

  • I love the combination of heartwarming and humor..yep I would enjoy this!

    • Oh, there was so much of them both. It was a nice easy read between the more dramatic ones.