Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dead Dreams by Emma Right Review

Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams–of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.

Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young contemporary adult psychological thriller and mystery.

This story is about 18 year old Brie O’Mara. She is trying to find her place in the world. Her dream is to go to New York and become an actress. In order to assert her independence and try to make her dreams come true, she moves into her own apartment and works 2 jobs. Her mother is the usual type of mother hen, always worrying and fussing over her.

To help with the rent, she takes on a roommate, Sarah McIntyre. She’s comes from money and pays Brie upfront. However, she is full of secrets and apparently her brother and uncle are out to get her because of her money and upcoming inheritance.

Brie is very naïve. I understand that she wants to be independent, but I think she takes it too far. When the plot thickens, she not only goes against her morals, but also her gut feelings. To an 18 year Old’s eyes, I suppose her mother is over bearing and nosy. However, to me, she is not. She is just a mother who worries for her child that has just moved out. I would think that if she were so unbearable, she would be constantly coming over unannounced and always calling. However, this just isn’t the case. There are a few phone calls, and except her bringing Brie food once, I just didn’t see it.

Sarah concocts a plan to get her out of her brother and uncle’s radar, but she is going to need Brie’s help. She knows just how to play Brie and all the right buttons to push. This is where all of Brie’s common sense seems to go out the window. There are so many red flags that she just chooses to ignore. I was frustrated with her so many times. With all that Brie has going for her, I’m a bit confused as to why she would go along with this plan. Money it seems can get to the best of us, as it did to Brie.

As the plot thickens, the author definitely keeps us on our toes. There are several revelations in this story, and I found myself quickly reading the pages so I could find out what happens. However, there is a shocking event at the end, which I totally didn’t see coming. We have to read book 2 in order to find out what happens, and I will definitely be picking it up!

Having deceased parents at such a young age could have explained Sarahʼs odd behavior. I sat up straight, and the hair at the back of my neck prickled, without my knowing exactly why. Iʼm sorry. I felt the blood draining from my face. Perhaps it was the thought of losing     oneʼs parents that shocked me.
“Oh, donʼt be, she said, almost flippantly. Theyʼve been dead awhile. They had me in their forties, and Dad died of cancer. Lung cancer. Too much smoking. Ironic, isnʼt it? Mom just wilted after that and followed suit six months back.
She didnʼt seem in the least bit affected. So, who is it youʼre running from? I just donʼt want my brother to know where I live.
I could already see the problems that could arise. My mom would, at this point, have waved a red flag and shouted, “There, Brie. Bad brother. Bad blood. Do you want to be dragged into this? Who knows what crimes the brother might have been involved in?”
Of course, Mom would have been right, but I am my own person and I would like to think I could make sound decisions. Besides, something about Sarah intrigued me. It wasnʼt just her transparency with me, or her globs of money, although I could see how itʼd be fun to hang out with someone with her bounty and who didnʼt seem caught up.
“So whatʼs with your brother? Heʼs jealous of your inheritance? And what about troublesome cousins?
“Not inheritance.” She rolled her eyes as if Iʼd made a ridiculous mistake and had said two plus two was five. Trust fund. The inheritance kicks in only when I turn twenty-one, which is in a few weeks, and I keep a clean recordno arrests, no misdemeanors.
“Todd, my brother, receives his own funds. Same deal as me. Grandpa was fair that way. Anyway, my dad was Grandpa Lukeʼs only child from his first marriage. Both Todd and I get the inheritance from my dadʼs estate at the same time, after my twenty-first birthday. Provided...”
She looked at me quizzically, almost sizing me up.
I found myself gripping the edge of the coffee table and leaned forward. “Provided?”
“Like I said, provided we never get into trouble or make a nuisance of ourselves with the law. Grandpa was particular that way. He saw too many rich kids become a pain to society. So, my brother and I must show a clean slate. Prove weʼre worthy of the inheritance.
“I see.” I didnʼt, really. Who did she have to prove this to? How many others had rejected Sarahʼs apartment-sharing application based on her secrecy conditions and far-from- common background? But still, she had the dough and I was desperate to seal the deal, especially since two others whoʼd inquired about the apartment had sounded high, speaking with a melodic tone indicative of their happy state, and a third had never called back even after profusely promising to. I couldnʼt afford a flaky roommate.
Running to my parents to bail me out each time a housemate wriggled out of a deal wasnʼt an option and I didnʼt make enough to bear the rent alone. Just as long as Sarah paid her share, and didnʼt try to murder me in my sleep, that was all I expected out of this arrangement.
“What happens to the inheritance if one of you goofs up and breaks the law?” I asked.
“The one left standing will gain the otherʼs share. And, I can tell you, the sum would make Captain Cook rouse from his grave. She made a spooky gesture with her arms, as if she were a ghost.
“And youʼre staying away from your brother, because...?
She drained the last of the cocoa and smacked her lips. “Because Toddʼs waiting for me to slip up. Did I also mention that if one of us perishes, the other gains the inheritance, too?
“I wouldʼve recalled that detail. And what an incentive to do away with the other.
“So?” Her brown eyes widened, and she jerked her chin at me. “Am I acceptable? You wonʼt be sorry. You can keep the deposit now.
At this point, I should have asked why I made the cut. Sarah could surely rent a place five times the size of this dump. Okay, the place wasnʼt a dump, and the apartment was in a safe neighborhood in the woodsy town of Atherton, mostly mansions with large parcels in the most affluent part of the San Francisco Bay Area. Like most cities in the Northern California suburbs, Atherton deemed it good manners to apportion a corner of its ritzy acreage to middle-income dwellers—or as in my case, subterranean-income-level dwellers.
My parents had insisted on a respectable neighborhood if their darling daughter had to succumb to apartment living. When the Sky Atherton Apartments came on the market, theyʼd insisted I apply. Never mind it was about a thousand dollars more than my budget allowed. But, I was on an agenda to prove something to myself, and to them, and I didnʼt have a choice.
I studied Sarah as she raised her eyebrows. Maybe I was trying to find excuses to take her on. She looked sober. She had money. She seemed like a clean-cut, girl- next-door type, and except for her relations who she shouldnʼt be blamed for, I couldnʼt see a reason to refuse.
So, Sarah moved into that nine-hundred-square- foot, third-story apartment that very afternoon. She didnʼt bring much furniture, just an antique-white twin bed with matching bedside table and dresser. She also had two hefty Louis Vuitton suitcases and two cartons, one measuring about four-by-four feet and another that was humongous and could have easily hidden a small elephant, especially the way it weighed. She refused my offers to help move it and struggled as she heaved and pushed it into her bedroom.
“Why not hire some professionals for this?” I asked as I got up to lend her a hand. Whatʼs the point of having gobs of money? It was a good thing I had on my usual yoga pantsI vacillated between them and skinny jeans. Sarah, on the other hand, tottered on five-inch heels and wiggled in a super-tight miniskirt.
She shook her head as if Iʼd proposed something preposterous. How had she even gotten it into her Jaguar, or gotten it from there and onto the dolly Iʼd borrowed from Mrs. Mott, my then-next door neighbor?
“The Jagʼs backseat folds down, she explained when I asked, as if this were common knowledge. “Mine is a special order. Besides, have you ever been in one?”
I got the message.
Her other three pieces of furniture arrived late in the evening via a white-glove delivery service. She gave each delivery man a hundred-dollar bill each, gratuity, sheʼd said. I should have insisted on helping with removing the cardboard cartons and gotten a tip, too.
Later, I heard Sarah through her closed door, heaving and puffing over something in her room. I walked to it, and placed my ear by the door jamb, and wondered what secret she kept in that heavy carton.
Mother called that night to find out who Iʼd settled on for a new roommate. I never mentioned Iʼd only had one viable candidate, and I didnʼt specify details, either— just that Iʼd found someone not on drugs. Nor on pot. Mother was specific about using the word pot, just in case some junkie, or worse, Libertarian, didnʼt consider pot a type of drug.
“How can you decide so quickly to take her in?” Mother seemed disturbed and spoke with a shrill voice, as was her practice when she felt thus. “Did you even run a credit check?”
I gave her a brief history of the McIntyre fortune, and that pacified her for the moment.
The next few days, Mother called again and again, asking to meet Sarah, but Sarah kept making excuses. Once, she claimed she was late for a show, a matinee to a ballet in the city. Then, another day, she insisted the brakes on her brand-new, forest-green Jaguar XK coupe, no less, needed servicing. She even, by way of excuse, said her dry cleaning was messed up.
“But, canʼt you even have coffee with her, once? I asked Sarah one rare evening when I didnʼt have work and we were watching an oldie movie and crunching on a microwaveable popcorn—the kind theyʼd recently confirmed could be carcinogenic.
With her mouth full she just waved at me as though I were a mosquito and pointed to the TV: her signal to shut up and watch the screen.
As the days passed, my ears should have perked up at the warning signs, the excuses that bordered on lies, but still, I could see why someone would be wary about meeting her roommateʼs parents, especially if the parents were anything like mine and had their noses in places even a dog wouldnʼt think of sniffing. I would have run away from them, given the chance.
Besides, I was juggling two jobs: a receptionist at Stay Fit in the wee hours of the morning, and a Starbucks barista in the afternoon. Thus my mind wasnʼt always sharp, even with all the free caffeine. I never suspected Sarah wanted to avoid meeting my parents, my friends, co-workers, or, for that matter, Mrs. Mott, the only neighbor I was on talking terms with, for a reason.
“Mrs. Mott could really do with some help,” I said, one afternoon, while balancing a half-dozen cardboard cartons and heading toward the little old ladyʼs apartment next door. She seemed frail and had her doctor with her.
“Iʼm busy, Sarah said, applying a deep copper hue to her French-tipped toenails.
“Itʼs too bad you wonʼt meet her. She used to be a concert pianist in her younger days. Sheʼs a neat lady.
“I have a doctorʼs appointment, she said without looking up. Are you sick?
“Just routine stuff. Maybe I can meet her another day.
I stared at Sarah. “Sheʼs moving to a senior home. She had a heart attack yesterday. There wonʼt be another day. And I stalked out the door.

Emma Right is a happy wife and Christian homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.

Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.

Visit Emma Right at her home site and blog for tips and ideas about books, homeschooling, bible devotions, and author helps of various sorts: www.emmaright.com and follow her on facebook emma.right.author and “like” her fan page at http://www.facebook.com/keeperofreign

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