REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Dream Student: Dreams, Book 1
by J. J. DiBenedetto
Dream Student is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams series. Enter the Books Direct Christmas Giveaway for your chance to win an ebook copy. There are currently four more books available in the series: Dream Doctor, Dream Child, Dream Family, and Waking Dream.
A Box of Dreams, a box set of all five books plus a bonus story starring Sara's parents, has just been released. The sixth book in the series, Dream Reunion, will be released 16 December. Whilst this is a series for adults, it is suitable for ages 15+.
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.
I don’t have to tell Beth all that, so I skip ahead to the awful part: the man and the girl and the bedroom. I realize, as I’m telling her about it, it wasn’t separate dreams, it was the same dream. I was in one place, and then in the other, just like that. And it was the same feeling of being not in my own mind again, just like all the other times. I must have been on the street, at the accident scene, and then I was in the bedroom watching. There wasn’t any in-between at all.
By the time I get to the end, I can barely get the words out. I don’t want to see it, but it’s there, playing out over and over and over.
I don’t know how long I cry for this time, but Beth is a real trooper, she holds me until I finally recover a little. Not much, but enough to keep talking. “He killed her. I watched the whole thing, and I tried to help but I couldn’t move, and they didn’t hear me and there wasn’t anything I could do. She was - she was kicking and fighting but it didn’t do any good.”
Beth thinks about that. She’s staring hard at me, and I can tell exactly what’s going through her head. She’s wondering where the hell this came from. I don’t like horror movies; I hate even watching the news sometimes. And nothing’s ever happened in my life or to anyone I know like what I dreamed. Beth knows all that, and I can see from her expression that she’s nearly as freaked out as I am.
By Lynda Dickson
Sara Barnes is a 21-year-old med student who starts having strange dreams. But they're not only her dreams; she seems to be invading other people's dreams as well. It's all a bit weird, but not too bad, until Sara starts having the nightmare. The same one every night, until she's too scared to go to sleep. What do these dreams mean? And what will happen when reality and her dreams collide?
This book was a pleasure to read and flowed very well. The characters are all well-drawn and believable, as is the dialogue. The (male) author does a remarkable job of getting into the head of his female protagonist. Anyone who has ever been in love will relate. There is a lot of detail about college life and coping with the pressures of exams but, whilst not exactly necessary to the story, it provides a realistic view of the life of a college student. Also, being set in 1989-1990, we can reminisce about the days before the Internet, Facebook, mobile phones, digital photography, and laptops.
This is a very impressive debut by a new young talent. I look forward to reading the sequels, some of which are already available.
About the Author
J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve university where, as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.
He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he's not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.
The Dreams series is James' first published work.