Dream Student (Dreams #1)
by J.J. DiBenedetto
Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Heat Level: Sensual
Word Count: 94,000
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.
He’s not finished. “And the way you smile – it’s genuine, there’s something really there, and most people aren’t like that. But you are.”
“You keep saying I’m beautiful, but really that’s what you mean by it, what you said just now.” I feel a tingling down my spine as I say that. I think I’m right. It’s not my body, it’s not the dress I’m wearing tonight, it goes much deeper than that. I hope. I want more than I think I’ve ever wanted anything in my life to be right about this.
“Yes,” he says. He’s staring intently at me now, holding me in place with his eyes. I can’t move, and I don’t want to. “It’s your eyes, too. They’re so – so bright.” There’s something different in his voice now, the words are coming from somewhere deep inside, someplace that’s strong and sure and confident. It’s a place I think maybe he didn’t even know he had inside himself until this moment. “You know that saying, the eyes are the windows of the soul? Looking at you now, I know it’s true. And that’s why.”
“Why mine are so bright?” I can barely get the words out. Nobody’s ever looked at me the way he is now. Not in twenty-one years.
“Yes.” I don’t know how to respond; I suddenly feel warm and a little bit dizzy. I thought that the moment I first saw him was love at first sight, but I was wrong. That was nothing. It’s now, this moment. And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do…
Sara Barnes is a twenty-one year old medical student that finds herself inside the dreams of others. This can be a good thing; it brings her Brian. But, it can also be a really, really bad thing. She keeps seeing an atrocious act take place. She sees this act play out over several nights, and then one night she sees a body being dumped. After seeing the face of the victim on the news, she knows this is really happening. What is she supposed to do, and how is she supposed to balance these crazy dreams with school and her new boyfriend?
This isn’t one of those fast-paced, suck you right in books. DiBenedetto gives you a slow, but steady pace as he keeps feeding you enough tid-bits to keep you biting for more. Sara is your basic nerdy bookworm type. She’d rather have her nose in a book than go out for a night on the town. She doesn’t have a lot of personality, but it suits her character. Her best friend Beth has plenty of spunk for the both of them, though.
Not a whole lot of background is given as to who the characters are. I especially found myself wanting to know more about Brian. He’s a real quiet, shy guy. This put me off a little, because I tend to go more for the alpha males, but Brian does loosen up as the story progresses. Sara brings him out of his shell a lot. I liked that, but I didn’t think it fit her personality to be so bold with him.
In some places the dialogue seemed unnatural to me. I’m not sure if it was because of the dry personalities. There were places, though, where I was completely sucked in and emotionally involved. This happened more and more towards the end of the book. There were a few scenes that I never understood the point of. I’m not sure if these were used to keep you guessing or not, but I found them distracting. There were a lot of people mentioned that didn’t seem to fit into the plot at all, and I found myself getting confused sometimes with all the names. On the plus side, I never found a scene lacking in details. There was definitely a lot of suspense, and sometimes I found myself holding my breath. On this note, there’s violence that takes place, and it’s extreme. You aren’t given great details, but you still feel emotionally involved – so much so, that I felt like I was stuck in a horror flick. There’s some strong language used, but it’s rare.
Overall, while the book had its issues, I was still intrigued enough to keep reading. I really liked the overall plot, and I felt like the dialogue improved greatly as the story progressed. Brian and Sara’s relationship was really strong throughout the story, and I loved that it never wavered. This is so extremely rare in stories today. I found myself pulling for Brian to become the confident man I saw him growing to be. I’ll rate this book a solid 3 stars & I’ll definitely follow it up with the next in the series! Definitely not bad for an author’s first work!!
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.
Prize is 1 signed paperback copy of Dream Student (Dreams #1) from J.J. DiBenedetto. Contest is tour-wide and ends May 19. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Just click on the link to enter!!
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.*