Cover Image: Dreaming of Water

Dreaming of Water

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Member Reviews

Astrid's family life is a mess. She's recently divorced, her ex and her best friend are an item and she can't get over the death of her younger sister that happened years ago and that tore her family apart. When she gets a call from her aunt about some letters and a key she's intrigued, when the call goes dead she's frightened. So she heads 'home' to figure out what her aunt was saying only to find her aunt unconscious on the floor. With her aunt in a coma it's up to Astrid to find the letters to see if she can solve the mystery of her sister's drowning.

I really enjoyed this well thought out and well crafted mystery. The characters were engaging and the story flowed nicely. I liked that I couldn't figure it out completely and was surprised by the 'who and why' but it made perfect sense once it was revealed.

Thank you to the author, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for granting me an e-ARC for me to read, review and enjoy.

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This is an easy to read in a day thriller with the main character, Astrid, going back to a place she hasn’t been in 17 years after receiving a call from her aunt.

Astrid’s aunt hints to Astrid that she may have information about exactly what caused Astrid’s younger sister, Nina, to drown in a neighbor’s reflecting pool, 17 years ago.

When Astrid gets to her Aunt’s she finds her aunt unconscious, which leaves Astrid with even more questions to both the old death and what happened to her aunt.

We get a nice mystery with this one that reveals itself over the course of the read.

The fact that Astrid is a forensic document examiner may be my favorite part of this book. Especially since letters from a typewriter are the pivotal clue to the death.

Finally, there is family drama along with the mystery which adds an extra element to the read.

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Astrid always said she would never return to Heron Bay after her little sister, Nina, drowned but she can't stay away after her Aunt Maude pleads for her to come. Once she returns and finds her Aunt unconscious, she discovers that Nina's death may not have been an accident after all and Maude might have known just a little too much about what happened. Now, back where it all started, she needs to find out what happened all those years ago.

A.J. Banner's books are always a must read for me because they're all well written, quick to read and entertaining. This one did not disappoint.

Thank you Net Galley for the e-ARC!

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𝘐𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘶𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦!

Family drama, lots of secrets, small town setting and lots of suspenseful moment. This fast-paced mystery captivated me completely, I read it in one sitting, it was impossible to put down.

Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours for this tour invite.

𝗗𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝗪𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿 by A. J. Banner releases October 10, 2023.

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DREAMING OF WATER is the latest thriller from one of my favorite authors, A. J. Banner. I have thoroughly enjoyed her previous novels and this one is my new favorite. Astrid Johansen has vowed never to return to the quiet coastal town of Heron Bay, Washington, where her little sister, Nina, drowned in a reflecting pool on a neighbor’s property. Astrid was supposed to be watching Nina while her parents were at a party. The trauma and guilt of that event have shaped Astrid’s entire life. Seventeen years later, Astrid’s Aunt Maude begs her to return to Heron Bay. Maude has found a hidden letter that supposedly changes everything they believe about the tragic drowning. Reluctantly, Astrid returns only to find Maude unconscious in her home, the apparent victim of a brutal attack. Could the contents of the letter have put Maude at risk? With Maude in a coma, Astrid must search for answers on her own. But as she delves deeper into the past, long-buried secrets, lies and betrayals are revealed. The story is fast-paced and full of twists and turns I didn’t see coming. The atmospheric setting only added to the mystery and drama. I loved the nod to manual typewriters and Astrid’s profession as a forensic document examiner. I was engrossed in this book from beginning to end and I highly recommend it. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read and review an early copy.

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Dreaming of Water by A.J. Banner is an intriguing story that will keep you up way past your bedtime. This is a well written suspense thriller that checks all the boxes. Ms. Banner takes you on a roller coaster ride of mysterious twist and turns. This is a highly emotional and complicated story filled with tragedy, secrets, lies, infidelity, grief and betrayal. The characters are well developed, some you will like and some you won’t. It is fast paced and the pages will turn quickly to find out what happens next. Ms. Banner pulls you into the story with her excellent writings and descriptions that will make you feel like you are part of the story. I have read other books by this talented author but this is my favorite!!! Kudos A.J. Banner, this is one to be read by all!!!

Thank you NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and A.J. Banner for another captivating book to read and review. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
#netgalley #lakeunionpublishing. #ajbanner
#dreamingofwater. #arc

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Well written, well thought out with a solid mystery.

Astrid Johansen is recently divorced, and her ex-husband and her former best friend are now together. While struggling with this, she receives an urgent phone call from her Aunt Maude asking her to come back to Heron Bay, Washington, a place she hoped never to return to. When she was a teenager, her sister died tragically, and Astrid has also felt guilty.

When she arrives at her aunt Maude's home, she finds her aunt on the floor, the victim of an attack. While her aunt remains hospitalized, Maude finds alarming news about her sister's death.

This was an enjoyable read full of secrets, family secrets, drama, and betrayal. This book had a nice amount of suspense and tension. Like Astrid, I wanted to know why anyone would want to harm Maude. I enjoyed the mystery about why Maude called Astrid to come home, and I enjoyed the insight Astrid gained into her own past actions. I appreciated her growth.

This was a well written, solid mystery that delivered. It was not my favorite book by the author but was still enjoyable and proved to be a fast read.

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For seventeen years Astrid Johansen has been unsure of what happened the night her little sister drowned. She never knew if it was an accident or if there was someone who captured Nina's attention and lead her to her watery death. Astrid is fresh from a divorce. Her ex is now in a relationship with her best friend. She is filled with emotion and is raw to the touch. Her Aunt Maude calls her back to Heron Bay, Washington. Telling her she has found something that may help clear up the mystery of that night. When Astrid walks into the house, the sounds, the smells, and the joy all come rushing back. Followed by the crushing despair that takes her breath away if she is not careful. She has always blamed herself; she was supposed to be watching Nina that night. Nina tended to wander...

From the first page I was enthralled and riveted by this story. The smells of the sea, the trails leading through the forest by the ocean, the mansion just up the hill, and the deep family secrets that have been hidden for years. Astrid truly does not know who her mother or father were right before or after Nina's death. The letters her aunt found add more questions that need to be answered desperately. The characters are phenomenally written and will stick with you. The number of suspects that keep growing, and the shocking ending that floored me. Thank you to A.J. Banner and Amazon Publishing for my gifted copy of this fantastic read.

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The premise of this book looked brilliant, but unfortunately, for me, it didn’t deliver.

There was a huge lack of character development and aside from waiting for Aunt Maude to wake up and for Astrid to get together with the Sheriff, there was very little plot.

The pace was slow and I kept thinking it would pick up and there would be some twists, but they sadly didn’t materialise.

2 ⭐️ Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest review.

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Fast, Twisty Read With Plenty O' Drama. Once again Banner delivers on managing to pack quite a tale into a relatively short (260 ish page) package. Here, her personal passion for old typewriters (shared by Tom Hanks, fwiw) shines through, and she manages to essentially wrap an entire story around this anachronistic device that yes, was still being used by some as recently as 2004, when the "before" period of this book was set. Was it the dominant form of communication then? No. But remember: the smart phone was still 2-3 years away, as dated by Apple's introduction of the iPhone in 2007. So it wasn't as though communication had been completely revolutionized yet at that point either. The twists here come at a rather frenetic pace once they start, and the tension is particularly well paced, starting out rather slow as we first enter the world, before ramping up slowly and consistently before getting to a few peaks and troughs leading into the climax. Overall yet another excellent work by Banner, and I for one truly hope she continues to keep writing, as her particular style not being around anymore would be quite a loss for the literary world. Very much recommended.

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After reading this book I have decided that I will read anything AJ Banner writes. This is the second novel I’ve read by her and I read it in one day because I just could not put it down. The mystery behind Nina’s death just drew me straight into the story and I admired Astrid’s determination to find out what happened to her sister. This book was just so good.

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It's been seventeen years since Astrid returned to her Aunt Maude's home in Heron Bay. She left after her little sister Nina drowned in a reflecting pool near Maude's house. But when Maude calls Astrid, saying she's found some mysterious letters relating to Nina's death, Astrid comes back. She finds Maude unconscious and her house a mess.

Of course, as with all thrillers, a woman returning to her past will now start meddling and trying to solve a crime for which she is unqualified to figure out. I will give Astrid a little bit of credit in that she's a forensic document examiner, so she's at least somewhat competent in that area. Also, luckily for us readers, Banner takes this trope and weaves a great story with it.

Told from present day Astrid's point of view once she arrives in Heron Bay, along with memories of Astrid past, DREAMING is fast-paced and suspenseful. Astrid is haunted by Nina's death and blames herself, as she was babysitting Nina that fateful night when she wandered away. She sees the letters as a chance to figured out what really happened. But they cloud her perception of what truly went on and cause her to get pulled in to Heron Bay's small town cast of characters, including someone who wants Astrid to leave town immediately. Banner does a great job of mixing up Astrid's thoughts and casting suspicion on everyone--the rich family who owned the pool where Nina drowned, including their son; Maude's young caretaker; a local policeman; a diver with a checkered past; even Nina's own parents. Each page keeps you guessing.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this atmospheric, tense thriller.

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This book was very well written and the characters were well developed. I loved the story and mystery of this book. Although I wouldn’t consider this a thriller it did have several twists. All in all I would definitely recommend.

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I know when I picked up one of the authors books I’m getting an engrossing and fast paced read that I can finish in just a few sittings and this one delivered on the expectation. As much as the pacing was swift I would say this was more of a quieter style mystery with lots of long buried family secrets and drama that entertained. Tragedy fractured Astrid’s family with the death of sister and things splintered as a result. I love when an old case comes back to life and the merging of what really happened the night Nina died and present circumstances was interesting and surprising. The author always manages to trick me in the most subtle way and she did it again here, definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a quick and satisfying read.

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Dreaming of Water by A.J. Banner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

#FirstLine I held her under water/

"DREAMING OF WATER" by AJ Banner is an absolute gem. This gripping novel weaves an enthralling tale of mystery and suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The author's masterful storytelling and vivid descriptions immerse you into the hauntingly atmospheric setting, making it hard to put the book down. The characters are well-developed, and their complexities add depth to the story. AJ Banner's ability to create a sense of intrigue and uncertainty makes every page a delightful journey through the unknown. If you're a fan of psychological thrillers with a touch of the enigmatic, "DREAMING OF WATER" is a must-read. Highly recommended!

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I loved this story! I was hooked from the first page. Very suspenseful at times. Highly highly recommend

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Lots of family secrets and lies. Astrid has always blamed herself for the drowning death of her little sister Nina. And so did her parents- and they more or less abandoned her to cope with the tragedy on her own. Now, years later, her aunt Maude has reached out with new information, except by the time Astrid gets there, Maude is unable to communicate. And then weird things begin to happen,. This is pretty trope-y in the set up but Banner has added interesting elements to keep you reading. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. Good storytelling,

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Another good suspense/mystery from A.J. Banner. This book's storyline is well thought out and told in a way that keeps the reader engaged until the ending. Enough surprises to keep this reader happy!

Through no fault of the author's, the plot of someone returning to a town that they'd left behind years ago with no intention of ever returning to straighten out a family mess or mystery has been a common thread in too many of the books I've been asked to read and review this year. When the market is flooded with similarly themed books, it makes it quite difficult for any of the authors to rise above the tide with a truly memorable book.

I've always enjoyed A.J. Banner's books and I will continue to look for her new offerings. This could have earned a higher rating had I read it at a different time.

My thanks to Lake Union Publishing for permitting me to read a DRC of the novel via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own and are freely given. Publication is set for 10/10/23.

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Dreaming of Water by A.J. Banner is an incredible suspenseful thriller.
I have to say, I am a huge fan of this author having enjoyed many of her books.

After Nightfall and The Poison Garden are two of my all time favorite books, so suffice it to say I was thrilled for a new release.

This book did not disappoint at all.

The location is in Heron Bay, Washington.

The characters are well written, complex, flawed and well fleshed out.

The main character, Astrid always told herself she wouldn't go back to Heron Bay, the site of the tragic death of her little sister in a pool many years Ago.

There is a unique element to this book which I find to be brilliant. That is the typewriter, which to me is a character of its own. You have to read this book to understand that.

This is such a suspenseful story with great twists where I questioned what was going to happen next.

In true A.J. Banner fashion, the characters have secrets that are slowly revealed in perfect pacing.

Highly recommend this book!

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Thank you A.J. Banner, NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me a copy of this novel. Dreaming of Water by A.J. Banner is the story of Astrid, who's little sister drowned in an accident while under her care when she was 14 years old. Astrid's Aunt Maude summons her back to the home she lives in where the drowning happened telling her she needs her help. When Astrid arrives she finds her aunt injured and unable to communicate. Did someone hurt her aunt or was it an accident?
I always enjoy Banner's novels, this one was a bit slow moving for me, but the mystery surrounding little Nina's death and all of the things that occurred since then keep this domestic thriller moving forward. I like how Banner incorporated her love of typewriters in to this novel and that was a integral part of the story.

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