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Sleepless by Cyn Balog


by Cyn Balog

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I have been wanting to read this book since it came out. Possibly even before it came out. I am so happy that I finally have.

When I first started reading it, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I stuck with it and I ended up enjoying it.

I didn’t dislike the characters, but I didn’t love them either. I didn’t really care at all about any of them. Well, Eron was okay. I think that’s why I didn’t love this book.

Overall, it was good. I liked it and I want to keep reading more by this author.

Note: This is an older review. So I don’t feel like I can get more into what I liked and disliked about it. Maybe someday I will re-read Sleepless and do another review. Better reviews (hopefully) in the future. ( )
  TheBookHoarder | Mar 30, 2015 |
I devoured this one. It is such a neat concept, and I was drawn into Julia's life. I could relate with her on some levels, and enjoyed the banter between her and Griffin. The writing is good, and it kept a good pace and my attention.
I did feel like Julia changed herself when she met Griffin but I don't know how much of that was self preservation against the spotlight because of what happened when she was younger (I was also curious about this because it doesn't tell much, just that she has scars). But I feel like she got tougher and more able to handle things because of him, so I don't mark that down. I don't like how she is with Bret, and was so glad when that plot thread was settled.
Eron is awesome. I loved that he kept his mannerisms and morals and how he watches out for Julia and even more so when he finds himself in her life in ways he never really imagined.
The ending felt rushed to me though, and I was a little confused as to what exactly happened.

Bottom Line: Great premise, well executed with compelling characters.
  brandileigh2003 | Jun 24, 2013 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This was a cute love story that was pretty predictable, but it was a fun, fast read.

Opening Sentence: Griffin Colburn knew something was wrong the moment he slid into the driver’s seat.

The Review:

Julia’s boyfriend Griffin was just in a horrible car accident where he passed away. She should be really sad right; well Griffin wouldn’t want that so she tries to go on with her life like normal. Unfortunately, everyone is treating her like they did when she was a kid. She had a very traumatic experience when she was 7 years old and everyone pretty much walked on eggshells around her because of it, until Griffin came along. He treated her like a normal human being and finally so did everyone else. Now that he is gone everyone is back to walking on eggshells and Julia doesn’t know what to do about it. She soon meets the mysterious Eron who seems to know way to much about her. He seems so familiar, but the way he acts and dresses is like he is from another time. She really misses Griffin, but she needs to move on with her life.

Eron is a Sandman. Sandmen are in charge of putting you to sleep. They have a few select people that they are assigned to put to sleep every night. Eron has been serving as a sandman for close to 100 years and when his time is up he will be able to become human once again and finish his unfinished business. One of his charges is Julia. He has always had a special spot for her in his heart. Her boyfriend Griffin is supposed to be Eron’s replacement, but he doesn’t seem to fit the mold of being a Sandman very well. Griffin is worried about Julia and keeps breaking the rules of the Sandmen. If Griffin doesn’t shape up and fast, Eron will be stuck as a Sandman for another 100 years. Eron tries to do all that he can to help Griffin and along the way he starts to develop feelings for Julia.

The book is told from both Julia and Eron’s point of view. Julia is a sweet girl that has tried to cover up her past with sarcasm. She hasn’t really talked about what happened to her as a child with anyone — even Griffin. When she started dating Griffin he made her forget, but they never really talked about anything serious even though they dated for a year. When she meets Eron she feels an instant connection and finds that she is more open with him than she has been with anyone. I liked her character, she was cute and fun to get to know.

Eron has been a Sandman for 100 years. He has been watching his charges for that whole time so he knows a few things about the modern day but he is very limited. When he starts to become human again he has a lot to learn before he can fit into the world again. He is totally an old fashioned gentleman and I thought it was sweet. He really cares about Julia. In his first lifetime he was always to afraid to try anything and he is determined to change that with his second chance. I thought that he was a great character.

This was a really fast read for me. It is only 200 pages so I flew through it pretty fast and I enjoyed it. There wasn’t a whole lot that happened, but it was still a fun read. It was a clean, sweet romance. I enjoyed Balog’s writing and I would like to read more of her books in the future. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes YA contemporaries or just want a fun and fast read.

Notable Scene:

She’s wearing a long flowered skirt; it’s delicate and suits her. “Yeah?” she asks in a brusque voice that does not.

“Hello. My name is Eron DeMarchelle,” I say softly, bowing my head in respect.

Behind her, one of the girls shouts in a brash tone better suited toward a bartender, “Take it off, baby!”

Julia turns to them for barely a second and then to me, blushing charmingly. “How do you know my name?”

I could tell her much more about herself, probably more than even she knows, but that is not my purpose. I smile. “You do not know me, but-“

Smack. Something, or someone, hits me on the back of the head. I recoil, wincing, and look around, rubbing the soreness in the back of my head. Nothing there. But I know better.

I clear my throat. “What I wanted to say was-“

I stop midsentence. I feel a twinge and look down at my hands. I can see the fence and blades of grass on the ground through them, just barely. It’s not quite noticeable yet, but I know what is coming. I must flee before I disappear in front of her.

FTC Advisory: Delacorte Press/Random House provided me with a copy of Sleepless. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Mar 20, 2013 |
A twist on the idea of a Sandman... several love interests... a bit stalkerish... overall... I'm neutral in my opinions. ( )
  JRlibrary | Dec 11, 2012 |
Balog, C. (2010). Sleepless. New York: Delacorte Press.

215 pages.

Appetizer: Julia doesn't dream very often. Still, the sandman assigned to her, Eron DeMarchelle, a seventeen-year-old who died almost a century ago, must "seduce" her to allow her to fall asleep each night. He has been a sleep bringer for almost a century. And now he has a chance at becoming human again.

But first Eron has to train his replacement, Griffin, Julia's prankster boyfriend who died unexpectedly. As Julia struggles to move on with her life, still sensing that Griffin is somehow near, she must face unwanted advances from Brett, Griffin's best friend. While Julia doesn't sense any danger from her only remaining friend, both Eron and Griffin do and they must find a way to work together to protect Julia, or battle one another for her heart, without risking their own futures.

To share the story, the chapters switch back and forth between Eron and Julia's perspectives. I was impressed by how distinct their voices were, how well written the book was and how well-planned the plotting was. So much of the book deals with the quiet tensions and desires that drive the characters slowly toward conflict.

Also, the initial scene really drew me in. Julia wakes to a phone call from a journalist asking for an obituary quote about Griffin. Julia assumes this is one of Griffin's many pranks, so her comments are far from complimentary. It's only after a second journalist calls that Julia suspects this isn't a joke. It was hard to stop reading, even though it was well after midnight.

There were a lot of great details throughout the book. Since Julia is about to turn sixteen, she has to practice driving with her mom, who "

This reminded me a lot of my own driving practice. My dad would stomp his foot whenever he thought I should use the break. My mom, in a tragedy of opposites, would sit in the back seat reading, pretending I was her chauffeur. Whenever I tried to rouse her from her book with a question like "Mommy! Help what do I do? I'm so scared I'm going to kill us both right now?!" she'd grudgingly look up and say, "I don't know," or "Can you stop at the Starbucks so I can get a toffee nut latte?"

No, I would not stop at Starbucks for a toffee nut latte.

If I have to drive, she have to suffer through being caffeine-deprived.

And now I wonder why I still occasionally get feelings of anxiety about driving.


And back to our regularly scheduled book review....

I can see why this book is getting positive reviews all around the blog-town. But as I continued to read, the narration started to raise a lot of red flags that it was sending unhealthy messages.

For example:

"I swallow, trying to remember if I ever told him where I work. No, I'm pretty sure I didn't. There are four hundred stores in this mall, and yet he manages to get a job at my place of employment? This is all too creepy. But my heart begins to flutter. Those dark eyes. That stubble-dotted movie-star jawline...This guy could be a serial killer, yet my ticker is still screaming, "Bring it on!" (pp. 133-134).

Tell me, Few But Dear Readers, how do you feel about that little excerpt?

Ever since the Twilight series became popular, it seems that having a stalker has been the cool thing to do in paranormal YA romances. This makes me more than a little uncomfortable since, some of the time, the stalker is the good romantic lead. Icky. Now, I can understand the appeal of a romantic character who wants nothing more than to protect and save the girl. I can also understand the metaphor of how taking a chance and loving someone can feel like a great risk, like you're putting yourself in danger. And I know that most of these books are viewed to be fun escapes from reality for the readers. But I'm still more than a little worried about the messages stalker literature sends to the tweens who devour these books and then wonder where their Stalker-Edward is. Remember when I showed you this?

Fun times.

You'll notice that Sleepless is in the middle of the scale. That's right kids, this is a well-done and only "pretty creepy" approach to stalker-ism. Sure, Eron crouches outside Julia's window and watches her sleep, but when he does it, it's not because he's already obsessed with her, it's his job and he knows that it's wrong and he even feels a little bad about it.

...I can't believe I just typed that.

Griffin on the other hand, has a creep element. Somebody is a little too excited to get into the ladies' bedrooms without their knowledge.

Admittedly, the more I read of the book, the creepier all three potential love interests became. And Julia's reactions to them didn't help matters. Here's kind of the boiled down version of the way the guys perceived Julia and her reactions to them:

Eron: Julia, you are virtuous and fragile. I must protect you!
Julia: Eron, you are stalkery and strange. Kiss my hand again! *she randomly falls down and starts bleeding*

Griffin: Julia, you are mine! I must protect you!!!!!!!!
Julia: Griffin, you are dead. I am yours!

Brett: Julia, you are sexy! Hold still while I kiss you passionately!
Julia: Brett, you are scaring me. But you are Griffin's best friend and are pathetic. I will hold still while you rape-kiss me multiple times.


Few But Dear Readers, it's such a difficult decision! Which guy to choose?! And it only kinda-sorta sends tragically awful messages about female agency.


Dinner Conversation:

"Griffin Colburn knew something was wrong the moment he slid into the driver's seat.
It was a twinge. Nothing more. He shook his head, blinked. Pushed it off" (p. 1).

"You can ring my be-e-ell, ring my bell!"
My eyes flicker open. All I see is a pink satin pillow, which I've clamped over my face to block out the rest of the world. When I remove it, I recoil in the morning sunlight like the undead and crane my neck to check the clock at my bedside.
9:20 a.m. Oh, hell no" (p. 4).

"My first and only boyfriend is so dead" (p. 7).

"If Mama, God rest her soul, could see me now, crouching outside the window of a girl's house, in this tree, she would surely rise from her grave and swat the life clean out of me. And I agree with her; this is no place for a man. But that is one thing I am not.
At least not yet.
Watching the bedtime ritual of a woman from a clandestine post is perfectly acceptable behavior for us Sleepbringers, known as Sandmen to humans. In fact, I watch more than one woman every night. I'm sure Mama would get out the belt if she knew that. It's not proper human behavior, so it was a struggle even for me to grasp. After all, I still appear human, and one's human sensibilities are difficult simply to disregard. Even now I'm not entirely comfortable with stalking women in the dark, though I've been carrying out this seduction for nearly a hundred years. I'm about as used to it as I'll ever be" (p. 8). ( )
  SJKessel | Jun 16, 2012 |
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Griffin Colburn knew something was wrong the moment he slid into the driver's seat.
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Eron, a supernatural being known as a Sandman whose purpose is to seduce humans to sleep, falls in love with a sad teenaged girl who is mourning her boyfriend's death.

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