When I was asked to read all 5 books in a series, what did you think I said? Well I love to read, so of course I said yes! But then the panic set in. What if I didn't like the first one? I promised I'd read them so would I dread reading all 5? When would I find time to read all 5? Well thankfully, JJ DiBenedetto told me to take my time and read them at my leisure and then review them. As I read each one, I did review them on Goodreads and Amazon, but I decided the my blog post was about all 5.
So was reading this series torture? Far from it!
The series starts with Dream Student and introduces us to Sara Barnes, a pre-med student who begins to have some very strange dreams. It doesn't take long for Sara to realize that these aren't her dreams, they are other people's dreams and she is witnessing them. One of the first dreams she finds herself in is that of Brian Alderson. She's not sure who he is, but he's dreaming about Sara. She isn't quite sure what to think. But when she sees Brian in person for the first time, she feels an instant connection. And I guess you could say that the rest is history!
But not all of Sara's dreams are so happy. She finds herself inside the dreams of a killer! But how does she stop him? She can't exactly go to the police and tell them about her dreams. They'll have her locked up in the looney bin! Sara tells her roommate Beth and Brian about these dreams and together, they know that they must find a way to stop the killer...as soon as they figure out who he is.
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Next, Dream Doctor, takes along as Sara goes through med school. But wait, what about her and Brian? Are they still together? Well, it's not easy being a newlywed and going through med school, but neither is catching a killer. Sara had hoped that her crazy dreams were a thing of the past, but she can't get off that easily. And once again, the dreams start. Is someone trying to kill her least favorite professor? And if so, who and why? Looks like Sara and Brian are going for another crazy ride through someone else's dreams.
And I literally laughed out loud at one point:
And if she so much as a puts a hand on him, I'll cut her heart out. I know how to do it, too. I've been reading ahead - the instructions are right there in Grant's Dissector. Page 75
So yes, while this series is a paranormal work of fiction involving murder and intrigue, there are some parts that will just make you laugh. And some that will make you cry. It is so well written that you'll will enjoy a wide range of emotions.
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Medical School is over and now it's time for Sara to start her residency and from the name of book 3, Dream Child, you can probably figure out that her and Brian have started a family. And once again, Sara is having the dreams, but there is a twist! She's not the only one in the family who can witness someone else's dreams. And this time, those dreams get Sara and Brian tied up in politics and the mob. Because apparently being a doctor and a rocket scientist just aren't exciting enough.
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Book 4, Dream Family, was heartbreaking for me. With everything that Sara and Brian and even Lizzy had been through, this was the toughest one for me to handle. I felt as though Sara's entire life was being torn apart. Remember how I mentioned earlier that there would be things that would make you cry? Yep, this one most certainly did that. But please, do not let that stop you from reading. My husband read the books along with me and for a while, he was ahead of me. He said that I wasn't going to like book 4, but despite all the tears and the heartache, I think I probably liked it the best because it really made me feel even more than the others did.
Of course, Sara still has the dreams, but she's also living a nightmare.
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And finally, we have Waking Dream. Brian has a very important presentation coming up and Sara finds herself inside her husband's dream. But this time she's not alone. And it's not someone from her family who has joined her in this dream. It's a Lady in Red who appears to have the same ability of visiting other people's dreams. What is she doing in Brian's dream? And why does she keep running away as soon as she spots Sara? Who is the Lady in Red, what is she hiding and how does it impact Sara's family?
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Now you've probably noticed that my summaries of each book got smaller and smaller as I worked through the series. That's because, I don't want to give too much away. I've seen several reviews that said you could read each book as a standalone, but I really don't think you want to do that. You really want to read the entire series.
This series is so very well written. The characters are beautifully developed - every single one of them. There are no throwaway characters. Every single one is an integral part of the story. Sara and Brian's parents, their kids, their siblings, Beth, all her classmates and teachers and coworkers. Even all the "bad guys".
I have so enjoyed following Sara and Brian's story, because while it is mainly her story, she wouldn't be who she is without him by her side. And I'm pretty sure she'd agree with me on that one! But we're not done with the Alderson family yet. James "JJ" DiBenedetto surprised me at the end of Waking Dream when he commented that Book 6 will be out sometime in 2014! That's right...Sara is still dreaming and we get to keep following along.
I'm giving this entire series 4+ stars. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes paranormal, suspense, intrigue and the supernatural. Oh who am I kidding? I recommend it for anyone!
To learn more about James "JJ" DiBenedetto, check out his page on Amazon.com
I shared the Kindle links within the reviews for each book. And I'm happy to say that they are available for Nook!
Also, they are available on Smashwords or in Paperback!