Cover Image: Dreamland

Dreamland

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. I was drawn into the story right away, and like every Nicholas Sparks book I've read so far, I didn't want to put it down until I finished the story. 
The characters were relatable, the storyline was believable, and the way Sparks wrote this story flowed so well that I finished it way quicker than I expected. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own*
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We don’t know about you, but we grew up reading Nicholas Sparks novels and were so excited to read his newest, #Dreamland. This book follows a farmer with a dream, Colby, as he takes his first “work vacation” in years to play music at a local, live-music bar in Florida. When Colby meets Morgan there’s absolutely a spark, but we were intrigued to find out what that spark meant. In the second perspective we follow Beverly, a mother who’s escaping a dangerous home to keep her young son safe. We felt giddy, anxious, proud and everything in between with this novel. And we can absolutely assure you that once you start, you’ll want to know how it ends. This book is officially out TODAY and we highly encourage you to grab a copy and transport to Dreamland. 

WHAT WE LOVED
+ a lil bit of romance
+ current trends / pop culture references 
+ a story we needed to know the end to

READ IF YOU ENJOYED
+ Safe Haven
+ The Last Song
+ The Vow

Thanks to Random House Publishing for providing this ARC in exchange for our honest review.
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It has certainly been awhile since I have read a Nicholas Sparks book. I always love the sweet quality in his books. The storyline with Colby and Morgan was the easygoing and innocent love story you expect from Sparks. While I enjoyed their story I wanted Morgan to be a little more engaged in the blossoming relationship sooner than she was. Then the detail in the Beverly storyline was hard to stick with especially her day-to-day activity. I found myself looking ahead to see how much longer until the storyline would switch again. 

Of course it all made sense in the end but
for me the book was much too slow. I wanted to rate this book higher since I am a long-ago Nicholas Sparks fan but three stars was the best I could do.

Thankyou to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Random House for the ARC.
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Nicholas Sparks has consistently amazed me with his novels. I have them all. Hope to meet him one day. 

This novel explores the love between two people, Colby and Morgan and their love of music. They come from different backgrounds. Colby once expired to have a musical career but has realized that would not come easily and he overseas his family farm while playing at a bar in St. Pete’s Beach. 

Morgan comes from Chicago where her parents are doctors and graduated college with a music degree. She wants to make it in Nashville. They met and sparks fly instantly. Their love of music and song writing brings them together on so many levels. 

Another story line involves Beverly, a mother who leaves an abusive husband. She wants to hide out in a small town. All three of the main characters are tied together. Can dreams come true? Does their past come back to haunt them? 
Thank you NetGalley, Random House and Nicholas Sparks for this amazing ARC. Out Sept 20th 2022.
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What creative storytelling!!!  As this book began it was a mystery to me how these two story lines would connect but I was impressed when they finally did!!  I loved this story, I loved Colby's character and thought this story was perfectly woven with a good plot, characters and swoon!!!  Morgan was so sweet and much more mature than her age.  Beverly's POV broke my heart and yet I was cheering for her at the end.  Great read and a very satisfying ending.
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Once again Nicholas Sparks comes through. I absolutely loved this book and I would encourage others to pick it up too.
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Nicholas Sparks is a master at characterization and this book has great examples in Colby, Morgan and Beverly. I really think it would have made 2 good books instead of one. The combined stories left me with questions about the individuals. I enjoyed the book as I always enjoy anything by Nicholas Sparks but it left me with questions and a desire to know more.
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Another amazing Nicholas Sparks novel. This book shows the two POV of characters Beverly and Colby. I love how their stories are told separately and then shown how they are connected. I wasn’t expecting the twist. Such a great book from such a great author! I read this so quickly because Nicholas Sparks has a way of captivating you in his writing which makes it so hard to put this book down when you start.
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Another winning story from Nicholas Sparks.
Another stay up late and not getting anything else done 
because I MUST FINISH THIS book!
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I suggest going into this one blind and prepare yourself.  This is the second book I've read from the author and I just enjoyed it like the first one I read.  I don't think you can ever go wrong with this author so just take your time and enjoy.  Thanks to the publisher and NetGally for the opportunity to read this book and provide my unbiased opinion.
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Who doesn't love a good Nicholas Spark book? Dreamland, has been on my radar since the day Nicholas Sparks announced he was writing it. If you have ever read a Nicholas Sparks book then you know his books DO in fact have a lot of suspense packed in and Dreamland does not differ. This book is beautifully written and emotional, you'll be crying, laughing and more...the love story will shatter your heart. The MCs are well-developed and relatable. Such a fantastic read

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group & NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this digital ARC
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I have been a Nicholas sparks fan for as long as I can remember. This was unlike anything he’s ever written in the sense that there are two separate stories that don’t intersect until almost the end. I felt that the two stories took away from the book as a whole because I was anxiously waiting for them to connect. This book didn’t have the emotional draw that sparks usually does but there is a twist that proves why Sparks is a phenomenal writer. Overall I highly recommend
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I am a fan of Nicholas Sparks that read him for years, then burnt out and stopped.  I have only recently begun to occasionally pick up books he has published that I have not yet read.  Dreamland was only my second Nicholas Sparks book I have read in the past 10 years.  I struggled to decide what to rate it between 3 and 4 stars.  Ultimately, I decided on 4 stars because my burn-out with Sparks all those years ago had to do with how all his books were tragic in some major way so I got tired of reading the same story with just different details over and over.  Dreamland was a similar story to how Sparks always writes, but less hopeless than others.

I am not sure how believable Colby and Maggie's love story was, but I liked both characters pretty well.  They both seemed emotionally mature even if their love story felt really fast for such characters.  Beverley's story was so different from Colby and Maggie's and I spent a lot of the book trying to figure out how the two plotlines were related.  When that was revealed, I thought it was a good enough transition and opened up a topic that readers might want to discuss around the topics that were part of Beverley's storyline.

All in all, though there were some ways the author described Maggie over and over that annoyed me, I liked the book and think its enough of a departure from his old stuff to win some new fans, while close enough to his traditional writing style that he won't lose any old fans from it.
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Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks is another hit from this fantastic author!  Three people who seem to have nothing in common are connected in so many ways. Colby is taking his first vacation after 7 years. Morgan just graduated college and is having one more adventure before starting her career. Beverly is running from an abusive husband with her kid in tow. It's romance, mystery, and even some thriller thrown in. Could we have another movie on our hands?!?
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Two separate stories in this mesmerizing book kept me anxiously anticipating how they would come together. First, Colby is farmer and musical performer from North Carolina. At St. Pete Beach in Florida, he meets Morgan, a musician with aspirations of a musical career in Nashville, Tennessee. Secondly, Beverly escapes with her young son from an abusive husband, looking for a new and safe beginning in a small town. When the alternating parts of the book merge, the stunning events are heart pounding and moving. 

I love the musical connections of Colby and Morgan, through song-writing and singing. With different backgrounds, their relationship was poignant as they navigated where their next steps would take them in career, personal life, and family. Beverly's struggles to overcome her memories and past took her to places I did not expect. Sparks' writing, as always, brings his readers to soaring peaks of emotional responses in this dramatic and breathtaking novel. 

Thank you to Net Galley and Random House Publishing Group-Random House, Random House
 for the advance reader's copy and opportunity to provide my unbiased review.
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Thank you Random Publishing House & NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for this fair and honest review.

I have NEVER been more disappointed in a Nicholas Sparks novel than I am with this one.  So, if you're a fan or you loved the book or you want to give it a try... I would stop reading my review right here. I cant DNF books because ultimately I've had a few that will redeem themselves in the last 50 pages, but this one didn't. It was just painful. I think it was more painful for me because I really loved his last novel The Wish. 

The love story between Colby and Morgan was just BAD. I truly really liked Colby in the first chapter or so and that was about it. Farm boy meets TikTok famous brat. They instantly fall in love in 2 days. Nope. My BIGGEST problem with this book (and there were a few) was that it felt like Nicholas Sparks was trying WAY to hard to 'keep up with the times'. I need him to stick to old school men writing a girl 365 letters. This was just not it. AT ALL. I am actually upset to have to write this. 

FINAL THOUGHTS: I hope Nicholas Sparks' next novel goes back to OG Nicholas Sparks. I called the 'twist' ending about 50 pages before it happened and that was the ONLY reason I kept going. The Beverly POV chapters were the only redeeming part of this story. And then we should just classify it as a mystery/thriller. Leave it at that. Don't get this book if you're expecting anything close to his old work.
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🌾🤍Dreamland🤍🌾

✍️: Nicholas Sparks
🗓: 9/20/22
✨:⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

✨my thoughts✨
It has been YEARS since I’ve read a Nicholas Sparks book, so I was excited to pick up this new one! This book is told in 2 stories, one is a classic: boy meets girl, on a beach, they are musical, they fall in love hard and fast and unrealistically, this is what we read Nicholas sparks for, right? The other story was very different, we follow a woman with her young son on the run from her abusive husband. The stories were SO disconnected it was a little difficult for me, it wasn’t alternating chapters with the stories, it was just 5 or 6 large alternating sections so both stories felt really disjointed. The way the stories collided at the end was predictable in some ways and unpredictable in others but ultimately I felt like the ending contradicted itself and I didn’t love it… However, it was a super quick and easy read and I was invested as I read it!

Thank you @netgalley and @randomhouse for this eARC!

Do you read many Nicholas Sparks books? Do you have a favorite? The Last Song truly destroyed me so I’d probably say that one was my favorite!
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Media review:
Dreams are made of this, and if they don't come true, that's OK, too — Nicholas Sparks talks about his newest love story, 'Dreamland'

By Tom Mayer
tmayer@cullmantimes.com


The title of Nicholas Sparks’ newest book is a place many readers will put off visiting — at least for a night — as they spend the wee hours finishing the story in a single sitting.
That’s because “Dreamland” (Random House), the author’s 23rd published novel, is unlike any he has written before.

There’s an implicit contract between readers and writers — readers buy and recommend the book while authors promise to take and guide them through the story — and never has that been more tested in a Nicholas Sparks’ novel. Presented in compelling and dueling stories that don’t intersect for much of the book, the promise that the stories will converge into an ending that only Sparks could conjure is a matter of trust — and a few welcomed, sleepless hours. But the rewards are here, and from this singular work it’s clear that the author of such popular novels as “The Notebook” (1996), “Dear John” (2006) and “The Wish” (2021) continues to hone his craft.

The first love story in “Dreamland” is vintage Sparks. Star-crossed lovers Colby Mills and Morgan Lee find romance at a seaside Florida resort. Colby, a North Carolina farmer with song writer aspirations, and Morgan, the daughter of a prominent Chicago family and recent college graduate on her way to a singing career in Nashville, discover that responsibilities and obligations often come at crossroads with dreams and desires.

The second tale, told through altering chapters, is that story’s alter ego. Young mother Beverly is on the run with her 6-year-old son, fleeing an abusive husband whose career and resources reach deep into the Department of Homeland Security. With virtually no resources of her own, Beverly descends into poverty and despair as she struggles to make a safe, new life for Tommie and herself.

Such dichotomies spur many questions, and I was anxious to speak with Sparks about the divergent stories in his book. The author was gracious enough to take a few telephone questions in late August from his North Carolina home. The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.


Tom Mayer: Nicholas, “Dreamland” is a different kind of novel and unlike any you’ve written before. I estimate that we can talk about 80 percent of it, but the last 20 percent we’ll have to tap dance around to avoid any spoilers.

Nicholas Sparks: I would agree.

TM: Which brings us to the love story, or really, the two love stories, of the novel. What was your thinking behind crafting such an intricate work?

NS: In the first part of the story, I wanted to write a novel that kind of explored the symmetry between music and love. That was something that I did on a very light level in “The Last Song” (2009), but I wanted to explore that concept on a deeper level.

So, that idea kind of set the stage for the young love story in the novel. and then, even as I conceived that that might be interesting and present a lot of technical challenges — i.e., how does one make music seem alive in a book? — I suspected that that needed something more, something on a deeper level. and so, I chose to explore the concept of family, loyalty, responsibility and obligation in a way that might surprise the reader while simultaneously giving further insight to the characters. And, the overriding message of the story, that sometimes our dreams don’t come true. And, sometimes that that’s for the better.

TM: Ah, a bittersweet love story. Nicholas, why use music — arguably a difficult medium to capture in print — to explore that symmetry within a novel?

NS: Well, certainly music has had a profound impact across culture and generations, and music has this wonderful capacity to move someone emotionally in the moment. and it also has this extraordinary ability to arouse feelings of nostalgia and trigger memory. In many ways, the profound loves of our lives operate in exactly the same way.

I hadn’t read novels, or seen films, that really explored that symmetry, so I thought I would make an attempt to undertake that because it might affect readers in a new way that my novels have not in the past.

TM: Something that’s not exactly new to a Nicholas Sparks’ love story is the strength of your female characters. In “Dreamland” you bring this to deeper places. We’ve got the aunt who not only takes in and raises two young children after a family tragedy, but who also takes over a commercial farm after her husband has a heart attack. Then there is Morgan, who is striking out on her own for Nashville after college, and Paige, who is a brilliant and successful artist, and both of them contending with their own personal and professional struggles.

In some parts of the novel, you go further than that, tweaking the traditional male-female roles in ways that are very empowering and positive for both Colby and Morgan. Not an easy tightrope for an author to traverse. Would you speak about that?

NS: I’ve always been of the belief that in more ways than not, men or women are the same underneath. When a woman feels anger, it’s roughly the same as when a man feels anger. When a man feels love, it’s roughly the same way a woman feels love, emotionally.

Men and women are more similar than different, and how we express those emotions can sometimes be different, but the feeling is the same. I’ve had the good fortune to work with many women in my life, from my agents, to my editors, to my assistant, to my social media managers, to my publicist, to, you know, so, so many women; and in our conversations that might reach personal levels, it’s always been extraordinary to me that women struggle with achieving the same balance in life as I do.

Because in life people are pulled between their relationships and their children, and their family, perhaps parents or siblings, and their friends. and meanwhile, they also have to work — and then have to have time for themselves and, oh yeah, what about our spiritual component or what about our emotional component or our mental components? It is the nature of life, too, for people to always want a little bit more, which makes that balance so hard to attain.

So, when I craft both male and female characters, I try to keep those thoughts in mind. You know, for instance, in this novel, Morgan is very clear on what she wants to do. And, lots of young people are very clear what they want to do when they first start out in life. Yet, it’s the nature of life for curve balls to arrive. Right? As it did with Colby. and Colby is a few years older — not much older, four years older — and yet, he had dreams, too. and life intervenes. As I said early on in the interview, one of the underlying messages — and it even goes to the title of the novel — is that sometimes dreams don’t work out in exactly the way we thought they would. and that’s OK, as long as we have meaningful relationships in our lives that abound with love.

TM: Staying on that theme of the dichotomy of responsibility versus dreams, Colby, as a farmer, is literally and figuratively grounded, where Morgan, with less of the experiences Colby has had to deal with, sees life as more of a carefree adventure. But both of them learn from each other, in different ways, and they both gain and grow in maturity — would you agree?

NS: I would agree. When people meet another person that they admire, for whatever reason, they take a little bit of a lesson with them on their next step down the road in life.

One might meet someone who’s very well read in science, and they’ve found this person impressed them and they said, you know, maybe I should read some books on science. But it can be anything. One of the characteristics of the relationship between Colby and Morgan is that they both seem to be learning from each other, and then saying, wow, I wish I could be a little bit more like that person — in some ways, not in every way, but in some ways — because I admire so much about that person.

That speaks to a very universal experience in life. I certainly know that in my life I’ve been influenced by so many wonderful mentors in so many different ways. I’ve carried their lessons with me throughout my life, and in some ways have tried to take steps to emulate many of those lessons to my own life, or incorporate those lessons into my own life.

TM: One of the lessons that we’re all learning to incorporate into our lives is how to navigate social media. You address this in this novel. On one hand, it’s vital to any success Morgan might ever have with a career in Nashville, but she also expresses the harm it can do to young girls, among other things. Would you talk about that, please?

NS: Morgan’s view of social media is that it is both a very essential tool for the dreams that she has, and as a tool that in some cases has negative connotations or can potentially do harm.

That is something I think about when it comes to my children, who grew up in the onslaught of the social media age, and I think we can really trace that back to the iPhone, whenever that came out in 2009 or 2010. It’s certainly made the ability to take photos on the spot and post them immediately, or make videos on the spot.

Then, of course, the companies came that took advantage of those new technological advancements in various ways. There’s been a lot written about how it hasn’t always worked out exactly the way that the originators once intended.

I know I’m not speaking clearly, so perhaps it’s best to give a good example. Early on, and this is from what I’ve seen in various documentaries, or what I’ve read, you establish a “like” button and you say, won’t it be nice for people, who are their friends, to show that they like that photo. and yes, that’s a wonderful, wonderful attribute. It feels as though the people that you care about connect with you. But that has morphed into, for some people in some ways, to, what if I don’t get enough likes? What does that say about me as a human being?

It’s important always to explore a topic like that with honesty, and certainly I do that with social media. At the same time, I’m aware of the potential negative effects of social media. My posts and my response to people’s perceptions of those posts are, let’s say, grounded in the fact that one must not read too much into such things — but that’s a very difficult lesson for young people to learn, or for people who are getting started on social media.

For me, perhaps, it’s a little bit easier now because I’ve been reviewed by book critics and readers ever since I’ve been writing. and there are people who post nice things, most of the people, but there are some who post some things that I think might be best classified as unfair. I realized early on that the ones that were unfair bothered me a bit, so my response was to not read any of them. and I think it’s been good for my self-health in the long run.

TM: Without going into any spoilers, the health and strength of family and friends, and especially in cases of severe illnesses, have always been a foundation of your stories. In “Dreamland,” having that one person who cares is literally the difference between life and death. As a society, are we doing enough to stress the role of the caretaker? That one person who cares?

NS: Oh, boy, that is a broad topic. I would hope that it’s more like, that those who are close to a caretaker realize that this person may need support at times — and for them to offer such support, as opposed to something on a societal level.

For instance, if you’re an overworked mother and you need someone to watch your kids so you can work a late shift … reading an article about how overworked mothers can be, even if it’s written sympathetically, isn’t going to help her. What might really help her is for a neighbor to say, I’ll be happy to watch your children while you go to work. It should occur on a smaller level of those who believe that at times the caretaker needs care as well — and what can I do?

TM: To not ruin the story for anyone — caretaker, friend or otherwise — who hasn’t read the ending, let’s move a little bit beyond the novel. Nicholas, your book tour is going to take you across the nation, including places such as Charlotte and Nashville. We’ve talked many times about the experience of your book tours for readers — and anyone who wonders about that can certainly visit your website, Instagram or other social media. But, I’m wondering, what’s the book tour experience like for you?

NS: Oh, Tom, I’ve been very blessed throughout my history of touring. I meet such wonderful people, so many of whom share such kind words about my novels. and there are moments when I hear such moving stories, perhaps about how a novel reflected something challenging that they’ve gone through in their own life. I’m always struck by the bravery of such people to share such stories with me. and to be frank, I find such people very inspiring. I’ve long since passed the point where touring is necessary for my career, but I’ve found over time that I feel spiritually strengthened by meeting those who have been moved by my work in the past. And, all I can think is, what an extraordinary gift they’re giving me.

TM: Again, without any spoilers, do you feel this novel, in particular, is going to inspire and move people in ways, maybe, that your works haven’t in the past?

NS: Since we’ve been speaking (during interviews) for 12 years now, you probably understand that I don’t write a novel with any societal change as my goal. I try to write universal stories that move people, and I have little doubt that “Dreamland” will very much move many, many thousands of readers who share similar experiences because, so often, such people feel alone. and they believe that other people don’t understand. and in many ways, they’re right.

Sometimes, and not with everything, there are moments when one has to experience something to really understand it. and I think some of the themes that are explored in “Dreamland” will resonate with certain people on a very deep level.

TM: Beyond your books and tours, your movies also resonate with many people. As always, I’d like to ask you about what’s coming up. I understand “The Return” (2020) is in development; is that correct?

NS: Yes, we have the screenplay done for “The Return,” and we’re in the process of electing a director at the present time. So, you know, with any good fortune, hopefully that will start filming within the next few months, perhaps early next year.

And we’re beginning to lay the groundwork for the first novel that Universal will adapt into film, and my belief is that it might be “The Wish,” and so I think we’re in the process of beginning to find the appropriate screenwriter and director in the hopes that they’ll work together in crafting the story. So, with any good luck, you know, I’m hopeful that I’ll have some films here coming up in the next couple of years. and then of course, I think “Dreamland” is up right after “The Wish,” so we’ll see what happens.

TM: and as always, Nicholas, I’ll finish up by asking you what you’re working on next — and my bet is that it’s going to be a book set in North Carolina with a love story.

NS: You took my line.

It is a love story, and you know, it will be set in North Carolina, at least in some way. And, I will say that it will be unlike anything I’ve done before. and entirely different than “Dreamland” or “The Wish” or “The Return” or “The Notebook” (1996) or “A Walk to Remember” (1999).

My hope is that people will be surprised and enthralled by the story. and above all, what I hope to do is to write a story that not only moves a reader in the present, but one that surprises them, and one that lingers in the memory long after the final pages turned. Those are very challenging things to do.

I’m hopeful that the novel I’m working on, and “Dreamland” and my other novels, reach that standard that I set for myself. In my mind they do. But of course, in the end, it’s always up to the readers.
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I have always loved the stories Nicholas Sparks has written. Dreamland is destined to be one of his best. It is a beautiful story, written and told beautifully as Nicholas Sparks does. I think this will be one of 2022 best books. Thank you to Net Galley Nicholas Sparks, and the publishers for allowing me to read this Advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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⭐⭐⭐/5

• emotional romance with a hit of mystery
• alternating POV
• insta-love 👎🙄

Another bestselling author, another meh from me? Similar to TJR's latest, this one just didn't do it for me. Great writing and I enjoyed Beverly's POV the best... I really felt her anxiety and fear. In the other POV, the relationship escalated way too quickly with the feels and just made me cringe honestly. When everything came together in the end, I was kind of like... "okay" 🤷‍♀️

🗣️ Thank you to @netgalley and @randomhouse for the opportunity to read and review this book via gifted eARC! All opinions are honest and my own.
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