June 11, 2015

Book Review: A Jar of Dreams by Clarissa Cartharn

A Jar of Dreams
My rating: 3.6 of 5 stars

*I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Get a copy here!

‘He was the assassin running for his life and she was the blind refuge who gave him reason to stop and fight for theirs’

Lie to me and say you’re not intrigued by the line above to read this book.
(me: I was seriously hooked like a kid to a fluffy dog the moment I read it)
Now tell me the first thing comes to your mind about this book by reading that very line.
(me: Romance. Umm… romance, a bit action maybe for the assassin part, drama and tears for the effect, but basically sweet sweet romance with a happy ending right?)
Let me get it straight. This book is indeed such a hooker but sorry dude, you’ll definitely get your heart ripped out and tossed out to a waste basket nearby in the end you won’t even say a word about that…
I’m not trying to scare anyone here but it’s actually what I really feel once I finished this book. I’m not saying I regret reading this book because seriously I do love every sweet scene between the main characters here but I just feel like I’ve been deceived somehow in the end. It’s like when you buy a pack of very tasty cookie with low-fat sticker on the front package. You enjoy the chocolate chip so much all sweet and heavenly that you basically consume the entire package on your own only to find a note in the bottom of the pack saying the low-fat sticker is an April’s Fool joke and the cookie is actually a really high fat kind. You still feel the sweet taste of the cookie in your tongue but you feel like crying imagining all the fat happily flowing inside your body. Real bittersweet.

Eric Tanner was 18 years when he first met Anne Mullen. She stood by the side of the street facing the court where he and his friends played basketball. Maybe it was the way she looked so beautiful with the wind played with her hair. Maybe it was the way she seemed so out of place with the plain surrounding as her background. But the moment he laid his eyes on her, Eric felt something nudged inside him. He knew he was being silly because he got a sudden urge to protect the stranger girl. When he saved her from a bunch of boys trying to make fun of her, only then he realized Anne was a blind girl. But she was a beautiful blind girl with deep green eyes that makes him want to jump into the depth and never coming back. When Anne ‘saw’ him in her own way by feeling the curves of his face with her soft fingers, that’s when Eric finally realized he was already drowned so deep. 

15 years had passed but never once Eric forgot the way Anne mesmerized him that one afternoon. He felt so much regret creeping up his sleeves remembering how he used to walk her from her tutor’s building every day for months but never once tried to strike a conversation with her. He just simply followed her down the path in silence until one day Anne stopped coming, leaving him with a real silence in that empty road. 
Fate worked in a mysterious way in everyone’s life. It brought Eric to a dark path where he now worked as an assassin. It brought Anne to a nice path where she finally got to lead her own life independently. But it’s funny how fate also even made two very different paths come across each other at one point. When Eric finally met Anne again, the old feeling locked inside his heart bloomed all over again. He was so desperate to be able to get close to her again. But life was different now and it surely wasn’t as simple as it was years ago. Anne finally got everything she wanted and him coming to her life would be a real nuisance and even danger for her. He didn’t want it for her but he sure as hell wanted her. His feeling would cost the safety of hers and even him. Now, there was nothing left except for him to protect her with all his might even though it might mean sacrificing his life.

A Jar of Dreams was told from third person point of view. It started with a scene of first encounter between Anne and Eric. Anne was a blind girl while Eric was a parentless boy. Both of them wanted to be less dependent on people around them. Their first meeting was so innocent yet memorable. And when they meet again years later, their encounter was still the same innocent way and slowly but steadily their relationship shifted into a deep chemistry. Anne had no idea that Eric was the same person who had saved her 15 years ago near the basketball court. Yet her feeling grew for Eric the same way it did for the savior boy she met at 18. I’m such a sucker for second-chance romance. And this book gave me exactly that. I loved how the romance built up between Anne and Eric. There were a lot of sweet moments between them that makes me can’t stop smiling.
I liked Eric’s character. He might have been spending a lot of years of his life as a sinner, but his feeling for Anne remained innocent. Even though he was kind of sneaky at first but he knew his limit and respected Anne in his own way. As for Anne, she was a cheerful, independent, yet vulnerable person. I felt like at some points, she acted much younger than her age such as when she was around Eric. But somehow I understood because Anne almost had no experience with men before. When they were together, they really made a sweet and touching couple.
Meanwhile, there was something that bothered me about the plot. As book told in third person point of view, I understand that this book might contain a lot of different scenes from several sets. But what I don’t understand was this book included a lot of scenes about the villain that I personally think were not quite necessary to be put into the story. There were several scenes showing the villain did some filthy thing that I sure as hell don’t want to know. If it’s for character development, surely there was another way to put it into. Personally, I thought that that kind of scenes flawed the poignant story of the main characters.
And something about the ending…
I swear it felt like I dropped my jaw to the deepest part of the ocean when I read that page somewhere near the ending. I admit that I always have a big craving for HEA in every book that I read but I’m not opposed to sad ending. I read a lot of books that ended in tragic way and somehow I accepted that. But this one, though, this one was out of nowhere. I actually kind of understood why the author opted for that kind of ending, I understood her wanting to go realistic, and even though Ms. Cartharn made a quite touching epilogue, but still, I felt kind of hollow once I finished the book.
I wanted so much to love this book as a whole but because of some parts, I couldn’t. Romance that involved disabled person always be my favorite, moreover if paired with someone with ‘imperfect’ life, it would definitely melt my heart. But the important thing though, I loved it more if it really became the main focus on the book and not flawed by some unimportant scenes within.

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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