Cover Image: Dreaming of Water

Dreaming of Water

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Member Reviews

Happy Tuesday Y'all!!

I am bright eyed and bushy tailed after spending a long weekend at the beach. Now, don't get me wrong, I would much rather still be on the beach instead of behind a computer screen but someone has to pay the bills!

It was supposed to be a pretty icky weather weekend here in New Jersey but we lucked out with some 80 degree weather and sunkissed skin! That's a win in my book!

What better book to choose to pack with me than a book titled "Dreaming of Water"

Holy Mother of Moses! What the heck did I just read?

A.J. Banner is a force to be reckoned with and nailed it with her SIXTH publication. If you haven't read Banner before, you are in for a treat. There is not one book of hers that you will not love. The Poison Garden, happens to be one of my favorites of all time.

In Dreaming of Water, there is no shortage of secrets and family drama. I was completely engrossed within chapter one. I sped through this book without even so much as a bathroom break. The plot was incredible, the characters, lovable and multi-dimensional. The twist? Oh Boy! It's a doozie!!!

Before I squeal and ruin the surprise, check out this teaser.

Synopsis :

Astrid Johansen swore she would never return to Heron Bay, Washington. In that idyllic coastal town, her little sister, Nina, drowned in a reflecting pool under Astrid’s watch seventeen years ago. Though guilt has kept her away, Astrid can’t ignore her aunt Maude’s urgent plea to come back. Maude claims to have found a letter that will change everything about the past.

When Astrid arrives in Heron Bay, she finds Maude unconscious, perhaps the victim of an attack. As Maude lingers in a coma, Astrid uncovers alarming evidence that Nina’s drowning that tragic night was no accident. But in a town rife with secrets, and in a family still fractured by grief, who knows the truth?

Astrid’s investigation leads her down a trail of dark memories, lies, and betrayals that will shatter her perception of everyone she thought she knew—even herself.

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When Astrid was 14 years old, she lost her baby sister, Nina, in a drowning incident. At the same time, she lost her mother to depression and her father left the family. So, for the first time in 17 years, returning to the place of her trauma, Heron Bay, was difficult for her. Her beloved Aunt Maude asked her to return because she had found some letters that shed new light on Nina’s death.

When Astrid arrived to her Aunt’s home, she found her unconscious on the floor. With Aunt Maude in the hospital, and in a coma, Astrid was on her own to discover what these letters actually meant, but first she had to find them.

There were many twists and turns that made it difficult to turn away from this book. You’ll need to be a great armchair detective to solve this one. I give this 4 stars and am grateful to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the advanced copy.

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A.J Banner has kept me enthralled on airplanes and on holidays. I loved the The Twilight Wife and After Nightfall. This one, however, did not quite hold my attention like her previous novels. That being said she an author that I won't hesitate to pick up and try again with another book. A huge thank you to Netgalley and to Lake Union Publishing for this ARC.

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This enthralling mystery, set so clearly in the Pacific Northwest that the forests, oceans, and fauna become characters themselves, kept me up past my bedtime several nights in a row. Astrid, our protagonist, returns to her aunt's home near where Astrid found her little sister drown seventeen years ago. Astrid finds herself digging into the past to discover secrets and lies which cover up a larger story hidden for nearly two decades. A riveting mystery not to miss.

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Another amazing book by A.J. Banner! Dreaming of Water keeps you guessing until the very end. Even when you think you have it figured out, you’re in for a curve ball. This book is intriguing and entertaining until the end. The author keeps you in constant suspense while you follow Astrid through a journey of tragedy but also healing. If you are looking for your next great read don’t miss out on this one!

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I read a lot of great reviews for this book and the premise sounded really interesting, but unfortunately it fell short for me. The character development was lacking, and I didn’t find myself invested in what happened to any of them. I kept hoping it would get better, but it was very slow and didn’t really seem to pick up much. Most of the book was spent waiting for Astrid’s Aunt Maude to wake up from a coma. I’ve really enjoyed AJ Banner’s past work and unfortunately was disappointed in this one.

Thank you to NetGalley, AJ Banner, and the publisher for a copy of Dreaming of Water in exchange for an honest review.

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DREAMING OF WATER was another amazing book by A.J. Banner. I've been reading her books for many years, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. What I loved most about this book was getting to know Astrid. She had a very special relationship with her Aunt. Nina, Astrid's sister, unfortunately died some years ago. When Astrid discovers an old letter leading to clues about Nina's death, I was in full detective mode. I thoroughly enjoy books like this one, stories that make you think and work to solve the mystery. Astrid was not about to give up until she got answers and when she found her answers, I was quite surprised by the outcome. If you love a good mystery, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of DREAMING OF WATER. You can easily read this in a day's time, it is a hard one to put down.

Many thanks to A. J. Banner, Lake Union Publishing, and Netgalley for my ARC.

This review will be shared on my Instagram (@coffee.break.book.reviews) closer to publication date.

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Great cover and a mysterious novel to read. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. I liked this book and felt that the pace was perfect for the mystery. The description of the setting was on point. Four stars!

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A.J. Banner is one of my favorite authors. Dreaming of Water was full of suspense and mystery. Astrid goes back in her memories to find the answers to family secrets. This book will keep you guessing until the end. I loved reading this story and trying to solve the mystery.
I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Little Nina drowns in a reflection pool.
Years later big sister Astrid still deals with grief and uncertainty. She needs closure and for this she needs answers. She needs to know what happened that night, while there was a party going on at the main house with many guests in attendance.
Dreaming of Water is a fast paced psychological thriller with many twists. Set in attractive surroundings, filled with indepth characters. An intriguing read.

Thank you Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC.

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I have read previous books by this author and this one ranks right up at 5 stars . I am an avid fan of her books. This one did not disappoint. The story kept me riveted and I could hardly put it down all day until I finished it this evening. Thank you to A J Banner, her publisher and Net Galley for the letting me read this book ahead of publishing date.

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Secrets, betrayals, and guilt play out in this story of family torn apart by tragic events. The suspense will keep you reading while trying to figure out the twists, and the descriptive writing will transport you to the town. I also enjoyed learning a little about typewriters and handwriting analysis.

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Years ago, a little girl drowns on the neighbor's property in Washington state.. Following the tragedy, the parents and sister of the little girl are pulled apart never to return to the area. Years later, the sister returns to take care of her aunt who has fallen .Before the fall, her aunt had left her a message about some lost letters that would shed light on what really happened that fateful day. A nail biter that I couldn't put down. I really enjoyed this book and plan to read others by this author.

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Seventeen years ago, the coastal town of Heron Bay, Washington, was wrecked by tragedy. While her parents and others in the community indulged in one of the season's many parties, young Nina Johansen vanished and drowned--in a reflecting pool at the edge of the property.

Nearly two decades later, Astrid has yet to fill the void left by her younger sister's mysterious death. When an unexpected and cryptic call from her Aunt Maude summons her back to Heron Bay after all this time, it becomes clear to Astrid that the truth of that night seventeen years ago refuses to stay buried.

And the secrets of Nina's death are closer than she realizes.

"Dreaming of Water" is an absolutely gorgeously-written story of mystery, loss, and suspense. Similar to "In Another Light," Banner's writing is descriptive, transportive, and maintains an impressive veil of intrigue over the entire story without sacrificing pacing or plot details. To reveal too many more details would be to spoil the bewitching story that this is, but "Dreaming of Water" is a generational mystery sure to thrill readers of all kinds.

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Astrid receives a call from her Aunt Maude who's begging her to come to visit - she's found an important letter that she can't tell her about over the phone. Astrid's stayed away from Heron Bay for years because the memories are too painful. That's where her little sister, Nina, drowned at the age of three. But the intrigue of the letter is too great for Astrid to ignore, and she does miss her Aunt, so she decides to make the trip.

Unfortunately, she arrives to find Maude unconscious and seriously injured at her home. Now Astrid is seriously worried about what Maude uncovered and who else might know about the letter. She doesn't believe for one minute that her Aunt accidentally fell. And if someone would attack a vulnerable older widow, they surely would do harm to Astrid, as well. But she has no choice except to investigate on her own - Maude is in a coma and might not wake up. The more Astrid uncovers about the past, the more she worries that she's in danger and she can't trust anyone. How far will someone go to ensure that the past stays buried?

The idea of a mysterious letter hooked me right away, as did Astrid's career as a forensic document examiner. A little convenient when it comes to the letter, as is Maude's coma. The one person who can answer all her questions is unable to communicate. Well, at least it's not amnesia. And it was never explained how Astrid trained to do her job - did she go to college or just take some classes? She was reputable enough that she testified in court, yet somehow worked only when and as needed and could fully support herself.

Some of the characters are quite unlikeable - I really wanted Astrid to tell her mother, Rose, where she could shove it but that sadly didn't happen. Her terrible parenting led to Astrid's lifelong burden of guilt, yet apparently, no one cared about that because Rose was just so beautiful. Seriously, only a slight exaggeration.

The other thing that kept bothering me was that the story takes place in 2023 and the 'past' was only 2004 yet family members in the story not only wrote letters to each other when they were away, but they did so on typewriters. Typewriters! They didn't just pick up their cell phone and call them? Poor cell service doesn't account for jumping back in time to typewriting correspondence, they still had landlines and could easily call people who were away. Why not just set the story a few decades earlier when that would have made sense? So if you can get past that, it's an enjoyable book, and the secrets exposed are satisfyingly scandalous. It was all just a bit too anachronistic for me, though.

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I am a huge fan of A.J. Banner, so I was so excited to see a new book coming out! The plot sounded really interesting, so I had very high expectations for Dreaming of Water. As anticipated, all expectations were not just met, they were very much exceeded.

One of my favorite things about A.J. Banner's books are her vivid descriptions. I'm typically not one of those people that reads and can generate a picture of what is going on in my head. However, with Banner's books, not only can see what is happening, I can feel wind that is blowing through the trees, smell the sea breeze, and hear the footsteps of people shuffling through the forest.

The characters in Dreaming of Water are also very well written. I really enjoyed Astrid's character. Her chosen profession was very interesting to read about, even though that wasn't really a plot point in the book. Conor was great as well, as were the side characters. While there were definitely "bad guys," they were more the type that I felt sympathy for, as opposed to truly evil characters.

This story has a lot of different mysteries to solve, and plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing (at least it did me!) It kept me entertained, and I found myself staying up much too late to keep reading. If you like well written mysteries with suspense and a hint of romance, definitely give this a try!

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I enjoyed Dreaming of Water very much. As usual with A. J. Banner books it was a short read. All of her books are excellent!

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It’s a gripping mystery suspense and It is unputdownable. Read if you like tangled family mystery Abby secrets.

Astrid got tangled in a guilt trip and that unfortunate incident left its mark on her. In this tangled family mystery, truth is twisted and unpredictable. It’s not what it seems to be. It’s not transparent as water. And Astrid is trying to find out the clues leading to that unfortunate incident. Perhaps it has torn her father’s and mother relationship too. Heron Bay, Seattle house is harbouring a secret and something only Aunt Maude knows. Will Astrid be able to find the missing pieces and solve the mystery of her sister’s death? Will she be able to bring herself out of guilt trip? Will she move on? The intricate mystery kept me at edge. I love the twist at the end. The ending was unpredictable.

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I found Dreaming of Water by A.J. Banner to be a fascinating story. I loved the information about handwriting analysis so very interesting. I enjoy learning new things when I read without feeling like I'm being lectured and the way this part of the story was handled was perfect. Now I'd actually like to learn more about the subject!

The character development was done very well, as was the beautiful descriptions of the area of Heron Bay. I could very easily imagine the eeriness of the stone garden and the reflecting pool, well as how odd the whole Michaels family was...

A.J. Banner did a fantastic job with building the world of Heron Bay, the characters ~ both likeable and unlikeable, and the whole story. I was not able to figure out what had ultimately happened to Nina, although I did suspect several characters, thanks for the wonderful red herrings planted carefully by this talented author.

I've read every book by Ms. Banner and think this is not only her strongest, best work, but one that would make a good TV show or movie. It's the type of story you'd see on Dateline or 20/20.

If you like psychological fiction and a solid mystery, Dreaming of Water is definitely calling you name, saying you need me. Do yourself a favor and dive right into Dreaming of Water.

thanks to the author, publisher, and Netgalley, for an ARC at my request. All thoughts are my own, as always.

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A heart-breaking story about the loss of a sister and the search for the truth of her death. This was a really quick read with a unique character, she's a handwriting analyst which is really interesting and really detailed descriptions. I loved how many twists were involved and so many more secrets being revealed than you expect although this is only short it's so worth a read as it takes you on a journey.

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