Livin' the Dream
by Michael J. Bruijn
Xlibris AU

"How the web was woven is of no consequence, but the gold is still there today."

High school sweethearts Jack and Lil are on a quest to find gold treasures hidden away for centuries in a church in Austria. Tipped off in a dream that is eerily similar to a dream that Lil has, Jack visits Gypsy Lou who explains the dream to him and sends him on his quest. Once the adventure is set in motion with Lil, Jack is given a mysterious clue from his grandmother when she dies suddenly. A European adventure ensues as the romantic pair seek a hidden vault and enough money to change their lives.

This lighthearted treasure hunting adventure story is also infused with song titles that help tell the story through character development and lots of dialogue. Song titles are scattered through conversations, and each chapter contains song titles from one particular artist. For example, in the Nirvana chapter, a character is throwing a party and says to an invited guest, “Come as you are.” In another scene, Lil pulls a “heart-shaped box” from her backpack. These two lines reference two songs by Nirvana. Each chapter and scene is packed with song titles from artists across multiple eras and genres including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, U2, the Rolling Stones, and The Yardbirds plus many more. This unique approach to storytelling can be a bit distracting when the task of reading is replaced by a scavenger hunt for song titles and when the hunt for treasure is consumed by a musical quest to spot the song title buried in the chapter with no identifying script. However, the author does provide a helpful cheat sheet at the end of the song titles used in each chapter. Bruijn effectively captures the fun of Jack and Lil’s escapades as a teenage couple traveling abroad alone and experiencing the world.

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