Series: Bird of Stone #1
Published by Createspace Independent Pub on 8/14/13
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Source: The Author
My content rating: Mature YA (One sex scene that is described, but isn't terribly explicit; also other sexual references and some off-color jokes)
My name is Alex Mills and I have a superpower.
Don't be jealous, it sucks. I can't control it. My mind is a mutinous SOB that takes over when I go to sleep. I'm just a girl trying to get some shut eye while it decides to throw a rager that can land me just about anywhere in the world.
The base of the Eiffel Tower.
The shore on the coast of Ireland.
The third baseline at Wrigley Field.
Sounds exciting and fun right? Wrong. My not so superpower is unpredictable, uncontrollable and annoying as hell.
It's also how I met Nick.
Every cloud has a silver lining. Nick is mine.
Nick is extraordinary as well. He can't feel fear. Never has, never will. It's worked out for him enlisting in the military, but where it's not helpful is with his social skills. Nick is cold, distant and apathetic.
He's also my hero. And if he's to be believed, I'm his.
I first met him when he died and that wasn't even the weirdest moment of our relationship. Neither is this moment here and now, trapped together in an island prison on the Behring Sea. It's a long, strange story between his death and this prison. One full of sheep, docks, Jabberwocks and a very special stone. I could tell it to you if you'd like to hear it. I've got time...
Sleepless was such an incredibly enjoyable book! I was completely swept away by the romance between Alex and Nick and I thought that the concept for the story was really fresh and unique!
The story follows 20-year-old Alex. Alex has a problem. She “Slips” in her sleep. She often falls asleep, safe in her bed, and wakes up somewhere else – it could be anywhere. While she’s learned coping mechanisms, Slipping is far from convenient. Alex is waiting for the day that she’ll Slip somewhere truly dangerous and she won’t make it home. Or that something will happen to her while in a non-Slipping dream and she’ll simply disappear forever. (Her recurring dream about a Jabberwocky doesn’t help to ease that fear).
But one day something different happens; a dying man appears to Alex – in real life, outside of her dreams. She wills him to breathe – and then he disappears. Until she finds him again in his dreams.
- Genre shifting. My only complaint about this book is that the first 75% felt very much like a paranormal romance and then the story suddenly took a quick left turn into sci-fi territory. I was LOVING the paranormal romance side to the story and I was honestly a bit worried when I started to lose a little bit of interest during the last 25% of the book when the story changed over to a more sci-fi feel – partially because the book had felt very unique up to that point and then I was worried we were moving into a storyline that I’ve read a million times before. Luckily, I am very happy to say that Ward almost completely made up for this jaunt into so-so sci-fi land in the last 10% of the book when things got VERY interesting and unique again!
- The Concept. I really thought that Alex’s Slipping was such a compelling and unique idea, especially when it was combined with her recurring dream of the Jabberwocky and with her shared dreams with Nick. I haven’t read anything like this book before – it was a distinct and refreshing read!
- The characters. I connected almost instantly with Alex and really felt for her as she dealt with her Slipping and especially struggled with how it made her so dependent on her older sister Cara (and how it made her sister worry about her constantly). Speaking of Cara, I loved her too! In fact, all of the secondary characters in this book were just as well fleshed out and interesting as Alex and Nick. I especially loved Nick’s military buddies, Campbell and Walters. Nick was reserved and a bit unemotional at first, but as his character developed, he grew on me, just as he grew on Alex. By the time Alex was in love with him, I was too!
- The romance. I LOVED the romance in this book! I especially loved that it was very slow to develop, but that you weren’t left wishing they would get on with it already! (Okay, there were moments where you wished that, but in a good way). This was not insta-love – instead it was the story of two people who were thrown together in a way that they couldn’t control. Two people who, at first, sometimes liked each other and sometimes irritated each other. It wasn’t until they truly knew each other well and felt completely comfortable together that their feelings turned toward love. The funny thing is that Nick didn’t even believe that Alex was real for most of the book – he assumed that she was a figment of his imagination, part of his subconscious being brought to life in his dreams. Yet, he still started to have real feelings for her (okay, that part was almost weird sometimes, but somehow Ward made it believable and got you to buy into it!). I loved the dream scenes between Nick and Alex and couldn’t get enough of them!!
- Military background. The military scenes in this book were really well-written and not at all boring (I know that sounds like an odd thing to say, but I’m not usually a big fan of military themes to the books I read – I sometimes find military scenes boring!). I loved the camaraderie between Nick, Walters and Campbell and I thought that the special ops training that Nick went through was really intriguing. At the end of the book, Ward mentions that the realistic military scenes come from the fact that her husband serves in the military (and it sounds like Nick is at least somewhat based on him!), and I think that connection showed.
- The ending. As I mentioned before (up in my negatives section), the book really ended on a high note for me. Just when I started worrying that the book was going to suddenly turn formulaic, Ward threw some major twists into the story that I did not see coming and ended the book with a truly explosive final scene. She set us up so perfectly for the next book – I absolutely cannot wait to find out what will happen next!
- Laugh out loud banter. Yep, I often found myself laughing out loud while reading this book. My kids kept asking me, “What’s so funny?” Most of the time, it wasn’t really appropriate for me to tell them what it was that I was laughing at, so I just had to settle for, “Um, just my book,” while trying to hold in my giggles. There is some dialogue between the military guys that were just hilarious and Alex’s dialogue and thoughts are often hysterical too. Seriously. Here – I had to put in one little teaser scene that totally made me laugh.
Alex has just been caught on a military base that she Slipped to and is trying to give an explanation as to why she’s there. After her first explanation isn’t really believed, she awkwardly moves on to plan B. Here it is:
“You caught me. You’re right. I’m not enlisted. An Airmen got me on base and we… did stuff?
Now I’m asking statements. This is a topsy turvy day.
“You did stuff?”
“Uh huh. Yep.”
“Consensual stuff? Please at least tell me it was sober and consensual. And if it wasn’t, you can tell me that too.”
He sounds worried but earnest. I look at his rank on his shoulder to find he’s an officer. He’s probably in charge of new, young fools all the time and non-consensual drunken “stuff” is probably his worst nightmare.
“No.” I assure him firmly. “I… wanted it. A lot.”
I have derailed.
If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, then Sleepless is definitely for you! Highly recommended!! 4.5/5 stars.