What would you do if you could see other people's dreams? If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets without them ever knowing?
Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who's got a crush on her.
But when she starts seeing dreams that aren't hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates…and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.
Dream Student is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams Series.
©2013 James DiBenedetto (P)2013 James DiBenedetto
I remember being at university and how I always afterwards wondered how on tv can people get a degree and play the entire time?
It drove me nuts. In this books the students actually does put in the time and I loved that.
Our main protagonist is a pre-med student with a problem. She keeps having nightmares. Not any old dreams, tragic murder scenes play off infront of her night after night.
While balancing study, friends, a social life and a brand new boyfriend she needs to figure out why she is dreaming of a serial killer and if she can do something about her dreams....especially once she knows that her dreams are reflections of what happens in the real waking world.
A fun read!
The narrator did a pretty good job in making the characters come to life, each with a unique voice all their own!
This is an account I have with my husband. Some reviews are his some are mine.
This is a good novel and I will be getting book two.
She's a great reader, she handles the different characters fine, no problem keeping up with the storyline.
I could have done with out the cursing.
The dream student series is about Sara, a young college student whose dreams reveal prediction of accidents that really happen. One of her dreams is about Brian, who eventually becomes her boyfriend.
I loved the moments when Sara solves the dream of the teen that is murdered.
I thought Ms Hogan was spot on in voicing the characters. She made Sara sweet and vulnerable and Brian masculine yet endearing.
Romance, Paranormal. YA.
I received this audio book in exchange for an unbiased review via Audible.
Dream Student by J. J. DiBenedetto is an entertaining paranormal suspense novel set in 1989. The story centers around Sara who is a pre-med student in her junior year of college. A few weeks before 1st semester finals, Sara starts to see into the dreams of a serial killer. Most of the book is focused on finding the identity of the killer, and then finding out where the killer is keeping his next victim.
I really enjoyed the overall plot and after I got into the rhythm of the story, just had to finish it. What I didn't understand is why Sara and her college friends never went to the police? I understand why they didn't after the first murder, but after the second murder and after they find out a few facts about the killer, they should have tried to talk with the detective investigating the murders - even if they feared no one would believe them.
This story is narrated by Heather Jane Hogan, who did an admirable job. There is definitely a problem with the speed of the recording; it's as if someone purposefully slowed it down to stretch out the length of it. I started off listening to the book at 2x speed, but later sped it up to 3x. Once the recording is sped up, you can differentiate voices and discern different tones and tempo in Ms. Hogan's performance, which was very good. I received a copy of this audio in exchange for an unbiased review.
Reading/Listening is FUNdamental!
Oh most definitely I would listen to this book again and although I received the audiobook free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review I am dying to read the next books in the Dream Series. I thought it was excellent.
Sara was my favorite character. I was able to identify with her on multiple levels and her personality was spot on with the setting. It was good from beginning to end.
This is the first performance I've listened to by Heather Jane Hogan and she was perfect. She has a very nice, easy, flow. She was flawless.
My favorite part of the book was when Sara first realized she was seeing other people's dreams. I really like how the story progressed into a good thriller.
Yes. I look forward to listening to the rest of the series. I loved everything about it. Great job!
I would recommend this to friends who share my fascination with dreams!
Without giving away spoilers, I will say that it's memorable when Sara goes lucid in her dreams to help discover key evidence.
I would have preferred a somewhat faster pace. 1.5 seemed just about right for me.
The next dream you have might not be your own!
It's the fall semester, 1989, and Sara Barnes is a junior enrolled in her university's pre-med program. One night she has someone else's dream, one that demonstrates its dreamer, a freshman named Brian, is clearly very attracted to her. Soon they meet and discover that their connection goes beyond dream-sharing. But this turns out to be just the beginning. At first, Sara having other people's dreams is merely a case of having way too much information about classmates' subconcious minds. But before too long, she is witnessing more sinister dreams, from the mind of someone who is killing young women. How can she figure out who he is and find a way to stop him?
The idea of having other people's dreams is one that has fascinated me for a long time. One April a couple of years ago, I even wrote a "Script Frenzy" script for a graphic novel, where a group of characters realize they are having one another's dreams. In my story, their dream swaps could be traced back to a study they all participated in, where they were unknowingly implanted with chips that caused their dreams to transmit to one another. And the whole thing kind of devolved into a hot mess involving reality, and I never returned to the script. BUT. I still find the dream-transmission idea fascinating. J. J. DiBenedetto does a much better job with it than I did in my sad little attempt!
One thing that was kind of fun for me is that Sara is just a year younger than I am, though she is two years behind where I was in undergrad. She does have an October birthday, so I guess her parents would have had a choice to let her be one of the oldest or one of the youngest students, and they must have gone with older. The book is mostly told in first-person present tense, and I felt that Sara had a likeable narrative voice. Her dreams are narrated in third person.
I listened to the audiobook version of this novel, and I found the narrator's deliver a little bit slow and almost sleepy, as if she were just waking up from one of Sara's dreams. What I did was adjust the reading speed to 1.5X, and once I did that, I thought the narrating sounded fine.
[I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, in exchange for an honest review.]
This was one of the worst reading/listening experiences I have ever had. J. J. DiBenedetto has a very interesting idea but a difficult way of putting it on paper. There were some moments I felt like I was back in college with all of the descriptions of cafeteria food, dorm life and worry over studying for finals. There were times when I felt like I was trapped in a young adult novel when Brian is telling Sara that she is so beautiful within the first few minutes of talking to her. I skipped ahead a lot because there were times I couldn't bear how slow the story was going. However, I forced myself to continue the story because I kept waiting for it to get better. That didn't happen until the the few chapters when they finally put everything together and tried to do something about the dreams. Also, I have no idea why the narrator set her book in the late 80s. There is no mention of any major pop culture references so the story could have happened at anytime. The narrator reads very slow and enunciates each word very carefully. All of the characters have the same voice and sometimes you can't tell if she is reading her part as narrator or if she was reading for one of the characters. I seriously doubt that I will read any more books in this series. Although, I have to admit that I really like the premise of the series. I only hope that the writing style improves. I will read the reviews very carefully before I give DiBenedetto a chance again.
So, I Read This Book Today . . .
My review of Dream Student by J.J. Dibenedetto was published in Audiobook Monthly Magazine!! How Cool Is That? And here is my review of Dream Student:
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. – Edgar Allan Poe
Sometimes I find it harder than at others to begin a book review. Normally, when I am done with a book I can hardly wait to sit down and begin writing. The words are already there in my head, waiting to spill out upon the page. Dream Student was different for some reason. Oh, I don’t mean that in a bad way. Far from it. To tell you the truth, given the capability, I would have this book placed into the hands of every high school girl out there, just to show them what they can achieve with their lives, should they merely try. Ludicrous, I suppose, but I would give a lot to have had Sara as an example growing up. And maybe that is why I had more difficulty starting this review. Is that longing I feel, or sadness at my own limited belief in myself at her age? Sara feels so very real . . .
Sara is a premed student, studying hard and spending time with her roommate Beth. Life is going good – her parents are awesome, though far away, her friends are all working hard right alongside her, and all is well as she begins studying for her MCATs. Only, things are beginning to go wrong.
For Sara is dreaming.
Sara rarely remembers her dreams. She has no idea that she’s had more or less the same dream two or three nights a week since the beginning of the semester.
Sara’s is a dreamscape, at first, of wandering the dreams of others. We all know those dreams – the ones where you show up for class in your underwear, or you dream of the cute guy in your biology class who doesn’t know you exist. And it is in her dreams where she first meets Brian, a student she doesn’t even know – but who is dreaming of her. At first, she doesn’t believe that what is happening could possibly be real. Until, that is, she actually meets Brian, a very real Brian who lives in the dorm next door. Meeting Brian is a wonderful thing. But as for the other dreams, well, Is there a word for dreams that are worse than nightmares?
But how can Sara believe her dreams are real? Why would she? She is a medical student after all, a logical, realistic woman with logical, realistic beliefs that leave no room for the “woo-woo” stuff. But then, as her dreams are brought to brutal reality, she knows that things are very much as they appear – dreams of horror, dreams of pain. And Sara, Brian and Beth are the only ones who can stop what is happening. But how?
Dream Student, pulled me in, kept my attention and didn’t let go. A blend of the logical and the absurd, the frightening and the hopeful, it kept me listening well into the night. I have to laugh, as I spent one evening, though a raging lightning storm, breathless as I followed Sara and her friends through terror. What better atmosphere?
I received Dream Student from the publisher in audio format, and while I would normally be thrilled to receive it in this manner, I do have to admit that I was quite disappointed with the audio quality. The narrator is Heather Jane Hogan, who has at least twenty different audio performances for Audible.com to her record. I can’t say that she is my favorite narrator, but she isn’t my least favorite by any means. This is simply a matter of taste. Her reading style is a bit childlike in style, but she is not a poor narrator. However, I was appalled by the substandard quality of the sound recording. Within the first few sentences I pulled up the other books in the series from the Audible site and listened to the clips. In my admittedly extensive experience with audiobooks, they are just as poorly recorded as this. The only way I could listen to the book was to ramp up the playback to 2x speed, otherwise the recording sounded like Ms. Hogan was either purposely recorded at quarter speed, or she was reading a lullaby to a fractious infant. Frustratingly, since I can’t speed up my tiny Sansa player, this tied me to my Nook for the nearly twelve hours of the recording. So, no gardening, sewing, or anything else while I was listening, as I couldn’t carry my Nook around strapped to my arm as I can with my Sansa. To say this was disappointing is somewhat of an understatement. The ability to listen to books while doing other things is the whole point of my obsession with Audio books – of which I have over two hundred.
While the recording quality is poor, I do highly recommend Dream Student, and I am looking forward to reading the others in the series. Sara is the girl I wish I could have been back when I was in college. She is strong, capable, loving and very much a role model for young women. The story is rather unusual in the writing style, dreamlike while remaining frank and honest – unusual but appealing. If it weren’t for the poor recording quality I would not hesitate to give it five out of five stars. As it is, if you don’t have an audio book reader which allows you to speed up the recording to at least 1.5, I would recommend that you indulge yourself with the e-book edition. Whichever format you choose, it is a book that is well worth spending your valuable reading time enjoying.
This book was provided to me by Audiobook Monthly Magazine. All thoughts and statements are my own.
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
A good paranormal murder mystery/romance that opens in 1989 and involves a college student who dreams the dreams and thoughts of those she is in nearby contact with, including a serial murderer. Narrator Heather Jane Hogan has a very pleasant, easygoing voice and sets a nice, even pace; readers will know when they are in a dream scene because of her slowed, floating delivery for which she is very consistent. Her range of voices is very limited in fact, almost non-existent, but she does a good job at discerning characters. I’m sure the author was trying have us “live” as if we were Sara, the protagonist, but especially later on in the story, the dream scenes are much too long and repeated over and over. That said, Dream Student: Dreams, Book 1 is well worth the listen.
There’s lots of details, a little crazy college stuff and mild sex scenes that were more like those old black/white movies that I love to watch, where you actually must use your imagination instead of having pornographic sex shoved in your face, or ears in this case. The story is also believable; true, we see and hear all kinds of fantastical stuff and there’s probably an old movie out there that is has a similar storyline but Dream Student didn’t get too far-fetched from reality. The wildest of imaginings are often believed by the easily influenced, but this story is a bit more down to earth and about dreams…something everyone has, even if we don’t always remember them.
Sara is an unwilling participant in the dreams of others so within a short time she learns to help those she can in their daily college crises, and with best friend, Beth, and boyfriend, Brian, by her side, Sara comes face-to-face with terrifying events in order to solve the murders taking place near the college. She must keep dreaming the horror to find the killer before more lives are lost….
The cover of this 11 hours 33 min audiobook is beautiful though like everything else in life these days has a sexual undertone. Fortunately as I mentioned above that content is very mild.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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