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
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.
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.
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!
Perry Martin is an American Audio Book Reviewer. I listen to 3-4 books a week as a long haul truck driver. I review so you don't have to.
This is the first book in Dream Series. I call it a Guilty Pleasure that could easily be a weekly tv program on the CW.
Dream Student by J.J. DiBenedetto and Narrated by Heather Jane Hogan.
First some honesty. I review all types of books, this one I was reviewing for the Author and for something outside my normal pleasure listen. So my expectations were low. I was wrong, extremely wrong.
This book is incredible. The idea of seeing another persons dreams. The good you can use it for or the evil that can haunt you. This is movie worthy or at least a series on The CW. A Guilty Pleasure all the way.
Also Heather Jane Hogan, is a diamond from any angle. I loved her narration. If I needed a narrator she would be high on my list.
Sara Barnes is in college studying pre- med. Finals are coming up and she starts having nightmares of a young woman being assaulted and then murdered and her body dumped.
For nights Sara had similar dreams with the same characters. She thinks it's anxiety somehow associated with finales until she sees the women's picture in the paper. The women was found dumped dead as in Sara's dream.
As Sara tries to understand what is happening she has mixed dreams some pleasant, some funny, some terrifying. As Sara begins to see more and more dreams of those around her, her safety and sanity are challenged. A intriguing and shocking ride to the very end.
This first book in the Dream series is a must listen to in audiobook format.
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!
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.]
I set the audiobook aside once, the second time I did listen to the end. The story itself was good. I liked the characters and the plot, but the narrator sounded bored making the book hard to stick with.
I dont think so.
I received this book for free in exchange for a honest review.
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
I was approached by this author on the release of the first two books in the Dreams series to audiobook. The premise holds with a pre-med student who suddenly realizes that she is tapping into the dreams of many others: including dreams that are violent and disturbing. While much of the dream sharing just gives Sara insight into her fellow students, some more unwelcome than others, she does need to find a way to both stop the dreams and keep herself and others safe.
Characters were fairly well developed, Sara as the protagonist does manage to explain some of her reasoning, as much of the story is in a stream of consciousness flow, it does devolve into tangents that are unrelated at best and distracting at worst. There are also several other characters introduced without any sort of development, they are serving as placeholders and never actually contribute to the story as it evolved. Ben, Sara’s love interest is a halfway likable character, although there is also a limited development of him beyond Sara’s perspective, and that makes their connection feel far more tenuous than I would have hoped.
Far from being suspenseful for me, I found the lack of focus and a clearer delineation between dream and reality sequences were unnecessarily muddy and didn’t serve the promise of the premise. There is a decided lack of focus to an endpoint, the stream of consciousness writing style seemed to take over the planning and plotting of the story and make the last half decidedly unsatisfactory with a climax that was less bang and more fizzle. Descriptions were often overwrought and overly wordy, repetitive words and thoughts became the norm, and this all contributed to a lack of necessary tension on the way to the resolution.
A highlight is the narration provided by Heather Jane Hogan, her voice fits a 20-something university student and the inflections are perfectly suited to the character she is narrating, although I would have appreciated some additional change in pitch and tone to signify some emotional impact, sarcasm, questioning, etc. I can see the difficulties in balancing the story telling with imparting emotional intention to the words, as they do have several adjectives describing the emotion that the character is feeling without actually using words that would drive that emotional point home.
Most notably, this is a story that is workable, with a concept that is unusual and only needs some tightening of the style, the focus and the intent. Show not tell, and mentioning and introducing characters that are important and ignoring the rest would have made this story work better for me. Those who are not averse to a more rambling pathway to a conclusion will find this an interesting read, if not gripping.
I received an AudioBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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