Monday, June 23, 2014

Series Spotlight & Giveaway for the Dreams & Reality Series by Hadena James

Welcome to my spotlight for the Dreams and Reality Series by Hadena James.  While there are 4 books in the series so far, today’s post will focus on Mercurial Dreams (Book 3) and Explosive Dreams (Book 4). To see my reviews for Tortured Dreams (Book 1) and Elysium Dreams (Book 2), please check here and here.  

Mercurial Dreams
By Hadena James
Dreams and Reality, Book 3

Publisher: Hadena James
Release Date: November 4, 2013
Genre: Crime/Dark Thriller
Length: 380 Pages
ISBN:  978-1492910763

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

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About the book: 

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Tracking Unit are being sent to the hottest place in North America to investigate mummified remains that were found in Death Valley. When Xavier Reece uncovers elemental mercury in the heart of one of the mummies, they discover there is more than Mother Nature at work.

The victims have matching injuries, but only one of the bodies reveals the liquid metal, raising questions about how many killers are using the valley as a dumping ground. The team will have to use extraordinary means to connect all the victims to a single killer. However, with most of the victims unidentifiable due to the condition of the remains, their usual procedures of investigation are impossible.

With 32 bodies already found, how high will the body count rise before Aislinn Cain and the SCTU can capture this killer?

Mercurial Dreams, the third book in the Dreams and Reality series by Hadena James, begins shortly after the events in Elysium Dreams, the previous book, ends.  Filled with well-established characters, Ms. James takes us further into the personality quirks of heroine Aislinn Cain and really introduces us to best friend-ally/foe Malachi Blake, an interesting character on his own.  While you might be able to read this installment on its own, I don’t really recommend it as you will miss all of the character building which has taken place in the previous two installments.

Home on some “down” time, partly due to a lack of cases and partly because they needed a break, Aislinn “Ace” Cain is cranky due to feeling “jipped” over the last couple of serial killer cases which were solved before she and her team could get there to solve them.  She's also angry because her air conditioner has been broken for almost a week and it’s freezing cold in her house.  She's waiting on it to be "repaired".  Playing video games and watching BBC movies on television is keeping her busy until the SCT (Serial Crimes Tracking Unit) gets a call and head off to Death Valley.  Heat, thirty-two dead bodies, and the lights and people of Las Vegas have no idea what’s headed their way.

Once again Ms. James drew me into Aislinn’s world and kept me turning the pages to the end.  Already having established Aislinn, Lukas McMichael and Gabriel Reece, Ms. James further develops Gabriel Hendricks, Aislinn’s boss and the team’s leader.  She also re-introduces Malachi Blake, who is both friend/ally and occasionally competition to Ace.  We also get a little more insight to Michael, the fourth member of the SCT unit, and the least known character in the book. 

Ms. James does a good job developing Gabriel’s character, I already liked him from the glimpses we have seen in the previous books and this installment made me like him even more.  While he’s Aislinn’s boss, he’s also her “friend”, he sees her value as both a person and as an employee.  His backstory; particularly why he was selected to head the team, is quite interesting and the verbal back and forth between him and Ace is lots of fun.  Ms. James also does a good job developing Malachi Blake, and I have to admit that even though I know he’s a psychopath, I found him dark, handsome and seductively dangerous.

While the mystery of how the thirty-two bodies got into Death Valley, and who killed them is present throughout the entire story, there are no real clues and Aislinn and her team are somewhat stumped.  No need to fret though because as usual Aislinn is a danger magnet and there is more than plenty of action and crime for them to solve in a city like Las Vegas.  Plus there's the fact she's intrigued by the possibility of discovering a case of "The Plague" because after all "Plague Happens".  

Will Aislinn and her team discover one, two or three serial killers before they get to go back home?  Will Aislinn and her team manage to conduct an investigation without someone being injured? You’ll have to read Mercurial Dreams to find out.  I loved it and can’t wait to read Explosive Dreams, the next installment in this series. 

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Crowns and A Recommended Read

Explosive Dreams
by Hadena James
Dreams & Reality Series, Book 4

Publisher:  Hadena James
Release Date: May 5, 2014
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Length: 384 Pages
ISBN:  978-1-49920-466-7

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Buy Links:  Amazon  | B&N  | Kobo  | Smashwords

About the book:

Bright midways, rides with loud music and flashing lights, barkers trying to get people to spend money on rigged games; the normal sounds of county fairs everywhere until an explosion rips through the tinny music of the carnival rides. Now the screams are not squeals of delight but the terrified shrieks of the dying.

The danger is no longer imaginary, something to shrug off when the ride is over. A killer is studying each fair, looking for that special ride that will rain down the most horror. The bombs he sets brings complete destruction. They leave a dirty field covered in broken bodies and crumpled machinery.

The Serial Crimes Tracking Unit has their hands full searching for his next target and sifting through bodies. Aislinn Cain is having trouble getting into the mindset of the bomber. Her failure to relate makes the body count climb. Then the unimaginable, a member of the SCTU gets cut down. How far will Aislinn go to get justice for her fallen friend and catch the killer?

The fourth book in the Dreams and Reality series, Explosive Dreams by Hadena James may be the best book in this series so far (although they have all been excellent, I have to admit that I’ve read this book 5 times since I received a copy).  While continuing to develop the SCT Unit and solve cases, Ms. James reminds us about the central focus of the series; Aislinn Cain, an a-typical sociopath struggling with her issues of humanity while capturing serial killers and trying to get closer to her family.  Bringing the action much closer to home, this installment takes place in the Mid-West where Ms. James turns a popular summer escape into a serial killer’s dream.

It’s not every day that a woman receives a gift from a secret admirer, but once again Aislinn “Ace” Cain, personal magnet of the criminally insane, has attracted a new “fan”. A fan who sends gifts that have to be quarantined.  As if dealing with that, and the fall out of receiving a present full of “The Plague” isn't enough, Ace and her team find themselves saddled with a case which places them all in danger and leaves Ace questioning if she has what it takes to get the job done.

As Ms. James continues to develop the relationships among the members of the SCT Unit, it becomes pretty evident that this installment in her series will be different.  While the dialogue is still snappy and Ace continues to be quirky, sarcastic and loveable in her own way, things are shaping up to be a little bit darker.  The team is somewhat out of their element and being forced to work with the FBI in a more open manner while dealing with a bomber who doesn’t really fit the “serial killer” mold Ace has become used to.

Ace and the team are also being forced to take more “down” time between cases, and Ace’s family has decided to make themselves at home when she’s there.  This is something new for Ace to deal with as previously she was away at school or working and she rarely saw her family.  In a way this tests Ace’s “humanity” or lack thereof, and makes her question her place in society even more. 

Once again bringing Malachi Blake into the story, Ms. James gives us a view of the special, strange and potentially dangerous relationship existing between these two characters.  It also makes me wonder if they’ll find themselves enemies at some point in the future.  A showdown that I have no doubt Ace would win, though the mental and emotional cost would be tremendously high.

Will Ace and her team be able to solve who’s destroying everyone’s summer? Will the loss her team suffers spell the end of the SCT Unit or will they be able to recover? You’ll have to read Explosive Dreams to find out.   I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in the series, Plagued Dreams, where it looks like Ace will finally get to check out “The Plague” up close and personal.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns and a Recommended Read

FTC Disclosure;  I received a complimentary copy of both books from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. 


  1. Aislinn is a great character! I really enjoyed the first two books - so glad to know there is a third!

    1. And fourth! With the fifth slated to come out in August...