Next up, I’ve got a review for you on the tour for What Dreams We Had by Phill Featherstone……

about the book

Title: What Dreams We Had
Author: Phill Featherstone
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Estimated page count: 372
Formats available: Paperback and eBook.  Available on Kindle Unlimited
Publisher: Opitus Books (19 May 2021)
Tour organised by: Love Books Tours

Five young people are in the dead period between finishing their exams and getting the results that will determine what they do next. It’s a time of anxiety but also a time of hope. And it’s the end of an era because whatever happens they will go separate ways. Meanwhile, there is a long summer vacation to fill.

Out of the blue, they receive an astonishing invitation. Four of them are in a band and a wealthy celebrity wants them to play at an event to be held at his home in Tuscany. All their expenses will be paid and they will live in a luxury villa. It sounds too good to be true, and it is.

They go to Italy, but when they reach the villa they find it’s empty. The location is remote, and with no transport, no internet connection and no mobile signal they are cut off from the world. A succession of mysterious events begins which forces them to review who they are and to rethink what’s important to them. It’s not until the final chapters that we discover the real reason why they’ve been brought to the villa and exactly what the experience will mean for them.

Purchase links: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

my thoughts

It’s the end of exams and Alex, DJ, Joey, Elena and Mia are looking forward to what’s coming.  But before they move on with their lives, 4 of them are asked to perform in their band at the end of school awards.  And to top it all off, one of the local celebs will be there.  All goes well and at the end of the event, Alex is approached by the local celebrities agent and asked to perform at his wedding! They’re over the moon by this offer and a chance of an all expenses paid trip to Italy!

But when they arrive, the buzz they expect from an imminent wedding is non-existent.  They’re in a luxurious, yet extremely remote villa with no access to the outside world; their only encounter is with the deaf lady that is sent to cook for them.  All seems well but when no-one appears, strange things start happening and then one by one the group start having strange nightmares they start to question why they’re really here.  As they learn about themselves and each other, will they find out the reason for their trip? And will they ever get home?

If I’m honest I feel a bit 50/50 about this.  There were some things that kept me reading and others that I struggled with.  Firstly, the characters.  Out of the five teenagers, I only found a couple of them to be remotely likeable – Mia and Joey are both ok, quiet but a bit more likeable.  Alex was horrid, and I found DJ and Elena slightly annoying.  The fact that they wind each other up so much isn’t great when they’re meant to be good friends!  I’m not sure why any of them were friends with Alex in the first place!

The mystery was the bit that kept me reading.  I wanted to know why the group were having strange nightmares and what was going on behind the scenes.  I was surprised by the ending but sadly it didn’t blow me away as I would have liked.  I felt like the story took a long time to get going.  We do learn about the characters, but there’s a lot of information about music and sport.  I know that they’re in a band, but I felt there was a little too much detail.  I would imagine anyone in a band, or crazy about music may enjoy it, although it wasn’t for me.

The atmosphere the author creates is fantastic.  The forest near the village is creepy and you definitely wouldn’t find me going in! The things that Joey finds made my skin crawl and had creepy horror movie vibes, which was fab.

As I say, parts I enjoyed – particularly the mystery and the creepy atmosphere, but I did feel there was a bit too much unnecessary detail for me, and the characters weren’t particularly likeable.  However, there will be lots of people out there who will enjoy this so definitely make your own minds up!

about the author

Phill lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK. He came to writing late, after a career in education and educational publishing. His first novel was Paradise Girl (2017). It’s the first book in the REBOOT trilogy and is the story of a teenage girl, Keryl Shaw, who finds herself alone when a deadly virus wipes out her family and friends. It was followed by Aftershocks (2018), recounting the adventures of Kerryl’s twin brother as he journeys to investigate and understand the pandemic. The finale of the series is Jericho Rose (2020). The pandemic is over and it’s time to rebuild, but some see the chaos as an opportunity to pursue their own selfish aims. Phill’s fourth novel, The God Jar (2020), is a time-shift tale of a mysterious object and its strange powers. What Dreams We Had (2021) is his fifth novel.

Phill’s writing has received a number of awards. Paradise Girl, Aftershocks and The God Jar have Chill With a Book awards. Paradise Girl and The God Jar are Wishing Shelf finalists. Paradise Girl and Aftershocks have received Indie BRAG Medallions. Jericho Rose is a Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon Winner.

When he’s not reading or writing Phill likes walking, going to the theatre and concerts, travel, and visiting museums and galleries. He enjoys music and plays the tenor saxophone.

follow the tour

Thanks to Kelly for inviting me on to the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book.  All views and opinions are my own.

Still more to come!

Chelle x

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