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The Arkwell Academy #1

The Nightmare Affair

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Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

367 pages, Hardcover

First published March 5, 2013

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About the author

Mindee Arnett

13 books1,413 followers
YA Author of Onyx Ivory, Avalon, and the Arkwell Academy series. Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 913 reviews
319 reviews1,884 followers
February 26, 2013
For a book that initially sounded so original, I hate to say that I found The Nightmare Affair to be helplessly average. Enjoyable? Yes--hence my three star rating. I did have fun reading The Nightmare Affair, and, overall, I did enjoy it, but as a whole I found it to be an ultimately familiar read.

The paranormal lore aspect to The Nightmare Affair is for the most part fresh, bringing new and fun ideas to the table, and the world-building is somewhat thorough and interesting, albeit not entirely original. Similarly to most readers, the thing that stood out most about The Nightmare Affair for me was the concept of Nightmares as a paranormal creature, and I'm glad to say that, with that concept, Mindee Arnett has created a fun and fantastical boarding school and murder mystery story.

However, the resemblance of The Nightmare Affair to other popular young adult reads is practically glaring--most notably its resemblance to Harry Potter. Let me just point out that I'm not that type of reader who brings every book with a magical boarding school right back to Harry Potter, and I might have been picking at straws concerning similarities between the two in The Nightmare Affair, but some things were far to similar for me to pass up.

Similarities to other popular works aside, The Nightmare Affair is lacking in quite a few aspects--most considerably the murder mystery and the characterization, or lack thereof. Upon finishing The Nightmare Affair, I'm left with an unfortunately vague sense as to what the characters were like, as we're not given much development and characterization in the novel. The main character, Dusty, was overall likable and witty, but by the end of the novel I just don't feel like I truly knew anything about her other than the basics, which were told to us. As well as that, the murder mystery in The Nightmare Affair is almost painfully predictable, and even though I had a fun time going through the murder mystery even knowing the outcome, a less glaringly obvious outcome would have been beneficent to my enjoyment in the story.

However, despite those above qualms, I'd recommend The Nightmare Affair to anyone looking for a quick and fun paranormal romance and mystery with refreshing new lore and witty dialogue and characters. Though I do fully acknowledge its faults, I had an incredibly fun time reading The Nightmare Affair, but in the end it lacked the amount of depth necessary for it to be a memorable read.
August 12, 2016

I'm so happy to have read this book after the glut of horrible, unoriginal YA paranormal I've been encountering lately. I love the concept, premise, and execution. The characters are well-balanced and believable, the mystery is well thought out, and even if it's not terribly difficult to figure out whodunnit, this is one of the far better YA books I've read in awhile.

The summary: Dusty (Destiny) is a Nightmare, one of the only ones left in the world, attending Arkwell school. She's rather infamous there, thanks to her mom's terrible bad-girl reputation from her time at this school, and so Dusty's had kind of a rough go of it since she came into her powers around a year ago. As a Nightmare, she gets her powers from people's dreams, so she sits on their chest and goes into their dreams to absorb them, and on this night, she finds herself on top of her old crush, Eli. Embarrassing, no? Eli somehow awakens, counteracts her spell, and it turns out that Eli and Dusty are a magical team, and he, too, gets sent to Arkwell. Someone has been killing the people at the school, and Dusty is determined to get to the bottom of the case.

She and Eli gets off to a rough start, and to top it off, her mother sneaks back into the school. More mysterious things happen, people get hurt, and Dusty finds out more about herself and her kind's nature.

I love the mystery and the way romance and friendship is treated. The relationship between Eli and Dusty is a complicated one, they're both involved in other relationships and both of them have reasons to resent the other, but they work it out despite their complex relationship. Eli first comes off as a jackass, but he's all too human (no pun intended) and the way he comes around for Dusty is believable and sweet. Dusty is a great character, a believable teenager, and smart-assed, but never TSTL. She does get herself into some stupid situations while trying her hand at investigating, but she never does anything that makes me want to facepalm. Excellent book, and while this isn't meant to be a series afaik, I would not mind reading the next book if one will be written.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,366 followers
February 21, 2013
Nightmares! We all know what they are, we've all gotten them, but for Dusty, this is a little more literal than you would think. She IS a Nightmare, meaning she "feeds" by hopping into people's dreams. However she soon learns that that's not all there is to it--especially in her case.

For the lore and originality, this book gets all its points. I enjoyed learning about all the different paranormal beings in this book. While some are not what you would consider original--werewolves and faeries are hardly unheard of these days, Mindee brings us a slew of different beings that walk the grounds of this school and somehow, she manages to give them all a little flair of eccentricity to make them different, also menacing, while still touching base with the classics of their genres. I thought this was much more interesting than them being romanticized like we've become used to. As for the plot they envelop, it, too, brings out some good old classic lores involving well known paranormal beings from our childhood story books--with dark twists of course!

Sick of being forced to walk in her mother's rebel shadow, Dusty is trying to find her own identity in this school full of magical beings. Being a half-breed, she's been plagued with the notion that she's a lesser being, having to deal with snide remarks and snickers since she started to attend Arkwell Academy. I liked that she's a character who doesn't take things too seriously or melodramatically, there is no angst with this one, she's down to earth and puts her trust into the friends she does have, who I have to say are quite loyal. With that said the main characters--Dusty and her immediate surrounding--are likeable, and the romance included between some of them is kept light, but sweet. There is also a good number of adult characters included in the plot, some filling substantial roles, others nothing more than another name on a page. With this large a number of characters, though, it makes it difficult to develop a very deep connection with any of them, and for a mystery this often makes the big reveal emotionless--which was unfortunately the case for this novel.

Interesting is what I would call the end reveal. After hunting down a killer for a while, it's always interesting to find out what exactly has been happening, why, and who is behind it. It's difficult to point out the exact place where this one in particular lost its flair for me, but by the time we do find out all of the answers, I was indifferent about it all. This could be due to two things: I did figure out a large part of the mystery early on, some of it I personally found obvious enough to make me annoyed that the characters weren't seeing it. Or--and I'm going to explain this the best I can without spoilers so bear with me--it could also be due to the way the twists were presented in the end: One twist is introduced, only to be turned around a minute later with another twist taking its place, annulling the first. This was done several times until finally reaching the "real" twist, which wasn't much of a shocker for me, sadly.

Fun and refreshing with its creepy take on well known paranormal beings, The Nightmare Affair is an entertaining read that, even though it didn't enrapture me as much as I was hoping, proved to be a fun read nonetheless.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,037 followers
January 15, 2013
This review is also available over at my blog.


This was a very fun read!

Obviously what first lured me into wanting to read this book was the Nightmare concept, which I thought was very interesting, and I'm always intrigued when an author creates their own species of paranormal creatures. Nightmares feed on dreams, and the stuff that dreams are made of, called fictus. But Dusty isn't just any Nightmare. She's also a dream-seer, which means she can see the future through dreams. Every dream-seer requires a partner, and in this case Dusty's partner is Eli, and his are the only dreams that can help Dusty in finding out more clues about the killer.

In the world of this book, paranormal creatures are called magickind, and they're divided into three classifications: naturekind (e.g. faeries, dryads, mermaids), witchkind (witches and wizards) and darkkind (e.g. vampires, demons and Nightmares). There is also a force in the book called The Will, and it prevents magickind from doing misbehavior, but later in the book you'll find that it's a lot more complex than that.

I loved the Hex Hall-esque nature of the book, in that it was mostly light-hearted and funny, yet there's also a dark undertone. The main character's humor was also reminiscent of Hex Hall. Starting the book, I did have my doubts, though, because besides the Nightmare concept, I didn't see much originality at first. The book even started in a cliche way: with a dead girl. These days that's always how a YA book's plot starts, with a girl getting murdered. But as I read on the author did manage to make this book decently original, and I give kudos to her for that.

Now let's talk characters. Dusty was pretty likable and funny, and I liked her relationship with her mom, which I really want to see more of in the sequel. Dusty has a roommate and best friend, Selene, who I also really liked. She's a siren and a tomboyish feminist. She's protesting against the objectification and sexualization of sirens, and I thought that was pretty original of the author to do that.

Now the love interests. Yes, plural, there are two. Also, slight spoilery ahead. Eli Booker is, I guess the main love interest. But really, he and Dusty stayed friends for most of the book, because the two were actually both dating other people. Immediately when Eli arrives at Arkwell he becomes one of the popular crowd despite him being the only human, and he ends up dating Katarina, who is (surprise surprise) the bitchy, popular and gorgeous siren. Eli was a jerk at first, and I thought I would hate him, but I eventually softened up to him because he did become a really nice guy.

Around the second half of the book, Dusty meets Paul, a cute and sweet guy that asks her out. Now I knew what was going to happen. Spoiler alert to you guys, but to me, honestly, it was way too predictable to be considered a spoiler. See, what authors usually do during badboy-goodboy love triangles is, make the bad boy be interested in another girl, and then swoops in the cute and saintly boy to the heroine's rescue. But then . . . bad boy starts being suspicious of nice guy, somehow having a "bad feeling" about him, and . . . well, I think you know what happens next. I knew that Paul was somehow involved in the mystery, and not in a good way, and I was right. Sorry if you guys read this and thought it was a spoiler, but for me it was too obvious, and it was kinda the reason why I can't give this book five stars, because I've seen this same exact thing happen in YA books maaaany times, and it didn't help in the originality department.

The ending was pretty intense. Those last few chapters were very gripping, and the big reveal of who the killer was was pretty satisfying because it wasn't someone in my list of suspects. The aftermath made me relieved because it was a clear confirmation that there's going to be a sequel. There were many many things that were left unresolved, and I would be really pissed if this turned out to be a standalone.

Overall, this book was fun! It had the potential of being unoriginal with the whole magical boarding school and love triangle and all that, but the author managed to sprinkle quite a decent amount of originality into it. And plus the characters were very likable. I'm excited to see what happens next in the story.

Many thank you's to NetGalley and Tor for sending me this galley!
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,577 reviews33.9k followers
January 30, 2013
3.5 stars Dusty is a girl who is literally a nightmare. Reading the synopsis about this girl who feeds off bad dreams (based on mythical mares in folklore), I didn't expect to find that this story would have a more lighthearted tone. The overall feel of the book is pretty humorous and the story is fast-paced, and both the writing style and the set-up of a school for magical creatures reminded me quite a bit of Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall series.

I have to admit that while I enjoyed the story while I read it, weeks after finishing it, I don't recall many specifics about what happened, and the overall feel is humorous without really being that clever or laugh-out-loud funny. But I thought this was pretty cute overall, and the second half of the story made up for the more unevenly paced first half. Recommended if you like your paranormal books on the fluffier side.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Monika.
29 reviews
August 28, 2016
EDIT 30/07/2012:
"He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing."

No way!!!


This one sounds like an amazing mystery and the main character, Dusty is a nightmare, so cool!
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,164 followers
March 24, 2013
Rating: 2 Stars/DNF

From first glance, Arnett's debut seems to have a lot going for it. An eye-catching cover? Check. Gorgeous title fonts and imagery? Check. A fascinating new idea? Check. Unfortunately, however, The Nightmare Affair is - no pun intended - a nightmare to read. While it starts off promising enough with a unique premises, it soon deteriorates into nothing more than a stereotypical paranormal mystery, riddled with a Hogwarts-eque boarding school and topped off with silly, unrealistic dialogue and characterization.

The Nightmare Affair starts out well enough, grabbing the reader in from the first chapter itself as we are introduced to our protagonist, Dusty, and her nighttime duty of gracing humans with nightmares. On this particular night, she happens to be in the home of Eli, an extremely good-looking guy from her former high school. Usually, kneeling over a hot, shirtless guy while he sleeps to give him a nightmare wouldn't be a problem, but tonight, everything goes wrong. For one, Eli's nightmare takes place on the grounds of Dusty's current school, a place for those with paranormal powers - such as werewolves, faeries, and nightmares - to hone their powers and, also, a place that Eli should know nothing about. Yet, to make matters worse, when Eli wakes up, Dusty's magic refuses to work on him and the girl they've both seen dead in his nightmare is found to be murdered just hours later.

Needless to say, with such an engrossing beginning, I had high hopes for this one. Yet, to my immense disappointment, Chapter 1 is as good as it gets. Dusty is whisked away, back to her boarding school and from there, everything just gets worse. One of my biggest issues with this debut is the dialogue. It is obvious that Mindee Arnett doesn't really know - or understand - teenagers. Not only are the conversations in this story riddled with cliches, but the interactions with adults seemed too stereotypical and unreal to truly seem plausible. Dusty's mother, Moira, is cast in an utterly ridiculous light, failing to provide a foundation for a strong mother-daughter bond and Dusty's rivals in her school are just as predictable as your run-of-the-mill blonde cheerleader, from their expressions to the next words that come out of their mouth.

If all this wasn't bad enough, the romance set-up between Eli and Dusty is obvious - and far too boring - from the very beginning. As characters, Eli and Dusty bring nothing new to what we've already seen done time-and-time again and as a reader who went into this book looking for originality, I came across only the same old bland story lines, characters, and settings. From what I've heard from my trusted friends, it turns out that Arnett's debut has a love triangle to top this all off, one that seems wholly unnecessary since even I can already tell you who Dusty will chose, despite not having met the second guy yet.

Honestly, this book is just too simplistic, poorly executed, and unoriginal to be worth my time. I gave it nearly a hundred pages before giving up and simply have to arrive at the conclusion that it is not for me. I know plenty of readers who have found to be a fun and enjoyable piece, but I am unfortunately not one of them. If you don't mind a rather typical, but entertaining, paranormal mystery, The Nightmare Affair will most likely be your cup of tea, but if, like me, you were drawn to this novel because of its potential uniqueness in an overdone genre, look elsewhere.

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews908 followers
October 17, 2016
This was a pretty great read! I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed it because I haven't heard much about it. I remember being drawn to the cover because I liked it so much. I had no idea it was going to be a paranormal mystery set in a boarding school. Knowing my love for boarding school reads, I think I would have read this sooner. Sad that I had the e-ARC and only read it just now. So glad I bought a finished copy because I enjoyed it immensely.

Dusty is one hilariously witty main character. Of course she's the stereo-typical redhead with the fiery passion and wit to match, but she's obviously imperfect. Especially when she deals with her bully. I felt sorry for Katarina, even if she bullied Dusty. Because Dusty would bully her right back and I think fighting fire with fire is a no-no. But other than there was so much more to her and her story. A big chunk of Dusty's thoughts are centered around Eli and I didn't mind it one bit. There was true dislike at first. I love that it started off like that. Romances always work best when they're enemies first. Selene is a great best friend as well. I love that there were all sorts of paranormal creatures all under one school. Nightmares, hell hounds, fairies, witches and werewolves.

I found the Dream-seer part to be a bit intimate. It made me laugh whenever Dusty had to crawl on top. Talk about awkward! The first scene just cemented in my love for the characters. Not only are the characters great, but there's also a fast moving plot with definite hints through out the book. Great pacing and overall it's a great book to read as a stand-a-lone. No cliffhangers here waiting for the next one!



My mouth just works independent of my brain sometimes. (30)

A lot of us—sirens, that is—are insecure. It's kind of our Achilles' heel. (172)

We can't help being attractive, but it's not really is but our magic. You know? Makes it hard to be certain that the people around us like us for who we are and not because of what we look like or how we make them feel. (172)

Just because someone has the power to do something doesn't mean they will. Sometimes people choose to be good even when they don't have to. (303)

Funny how having friends beside you could do that. With friends, you could survive just about anything. (367)
Profile Image for Josh Hyung (조슈아).
114 reviews1,287 followers
November 23, 2016
In my honest opinion, this underrated book is the love child of Harry Potter and Nancy Drew (or even Sherlock Holmes). Filled with the delights of magic, mystery, adventure and friendship, The Nightmare Affair has integrated the best of both worlds.

However, I will not be hasty and categorize it as fan fiction, for it has shown originality in its own special way. Otherwise, I bet our beloved Marissa Meyer wouldn't have blurbed it. I dare you to contradict me, or her for that matter. Hahaha. For me, the most unique feature of this novel was its magic system, which was highly "parasitic" in nature. Furthermore, this might sound strange, but the political side of me was pleasantly surprised by the book's subtle delineation of Republican and Democratic ideologies. After all, this is NOT supposed to be a dystopian story. #Overthinking

Sadly, it did take me more than a month to finish it, but this only happened because I had the nerve to read eight books alternately. Please trust me when I say that this book has blown my mind. Readers will surely have a brain workout trying to pinpoint the elusive killer. I had quite a number of suspects in mind, so I had a blast judging the diverse cast of characters. When I come to think of it, the only problem I encountered was the insta-love trope, but in the end, it actually turned out to be "justified." (wink, wink)

In conclusion, if you decide to pick up this book, I salute you. I hope you would enjoy it as much as I did. I would love to be a student at Arkwell Academy!
Profile Image for Victoria Scott.
Author 57 books2,906 followers
October 22, 2012
THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR is a fast-paced paranormal mystery with flesh and blood characters and intrigue galore. Arnett has a fresh, witty voice that keeps you turning pages with lightening speed.

Eli was my favorite character (and not just because he's smoking hot), and every time he and Dusty shared a dream I couldn't help holding my breath. What I really loved about this book is the way it wrapped up so neatly, but left you wanting MORE. There's definitely enough world-building to have multiple books, but this baby includes a knock-out ending that left me feeling wholly satisfied--a very hard balance to master--and Arnett does it with ease!

Mindee Arnett hits a grand slam with her debut, and I can't wait to get my hands on her next story!
Profile Image for Christina (Ensconced in Lit).
984 reviews288 followers
February 22, 2013
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've seen the Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett around and the premise was enticing enough for me to pick it up. Dusty is a Nightmare in the most literal sense, and she has to feed on dreams of people for energy/magic/fictus. She feeds one night on a hot guy from her old school, Eli, but he notices her in the dream and forcefully wakes them up. Turns out they are a Dream-Seer duo, and now both attend a magical school. From there, things get dangerous with a murderer on the lose, and they need to use their newfound powers to figure out the mystery.

If I had to describe this book, I would say it's a cross between Veronica Mars and Harry Potter. I thoroughly enjoyed myself from page one when I met the fiesty protagonist, Dusty, and the very intense and sexy, Eli. Mix in some magic and a school setting with some mystery, and you have my Achilles heel. I actually tried to be good and read a book that I promised an author to read, but that didn't happen because I couldn't put this one down. The pacing is excellent, and the world building while not entirely unfamiliar, is sound and fascinating with its own unique twists.

I had only one slight complaint-- there is a plot twist that I felt was very deus ex machina, which I'm not a huge fan of. But it wasn't the only twist, and it was the only one I felt that way about.

Overall, a highly entertaining first book, and I really do hope we see more of Dusty and her friends.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,372 reviews920 followers
November 15, 2015
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
A copy of The Nightmare Affair was provided to me by Tor Teen/Netgalley for review purposes.

Mare or Nightmare
1. an evil spirit or goblin in Germanic folklore which rides on people's chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or "nightmares").

Dusty is a relatively normal 16 year-old girl, except for that whole "my mother is a Nightmare". In the most literal sense. Literal meaning she's a mythical creature that feeds on what dreams are made of. One night while Dusty is doing just that, she finds herself in a dream depicting a murder of one of her classmates that is vivid enough to leave her shaken. She returns to her school that night only to find out that that was no ordinary dream, she had just witnessed a real murder.

Nightmares aren't the only mythical creature in this vibrant and imaginative world Mindee has created. Dusty attends Arkwell Academy along with other magical beings such as warlocks, witches, vampires, sirens, mermaids, demons, and of course, nightmares. The purpose of the Academy is to teach all magical creatures how to function and live in this world undetected. Considering there was so much to this world, there was a lot of information to be explained in detail for the reader and it was a bit of an information overload in the beginning. There was one particular aspect of this world regarding what was called 'The Will' which was a powerful magic that essentially acted as a 'Big Brother' and kept individuals from using their magic to harm. It played a huge part of the story as a whole but wasn't explained as easily as it could have been and I was left with unanswered questions regarding its functionality.

I dislike comparing books with out another because there is so little these days that is truly original. Some facet of every story has more than likely already been done time and time again, the part that becomes most important is how that author takes that used idea and molds and transforms it into something uniquely theirs. I could go on and on about how much the setting reminded me of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins with its supernatural school with various different magical beings. How the main character who is quirky and funny yet ultimately an outcast. How her enemies are the beautiful popular girls and even the parental setup is similar with her mother being estranged and her father being non-magical (just the other way around in HH). I could even go so far as to compare the seriousness and intensity of the mystery to a Dan Brown novel and the magical battles and ending worthy of a Harry Potter book. I could likely do this form of comparison with all my book reviews.

The point in all this, despite these comparisons that danced through my head while reading, is I loved those bits that were truly unique and given the authors special touch. Using a 'Nightmare' as a supernatural being was genius and I loved it. I also loved how she took a supernatural story and added a medieval twist (two things that I would normally never put together in my head) and really made it work for me. I'd like to see some stronger character development in future installments and please, please, make that completely unnecessary love triangle go away. This book is one Nightmare you mind experiencing. Recommended for supernatural mystery fans looking for a bit of a twist.

Profile Image for Maryam Dinzly.
666 reviews48 followers
December 16, 2015
I got this book at a book sale for a very very cheap price and I am SO glad that I bought it because this is one of those books that you guys have to read. It's totally underrated, but come on, I'm telling you to pick up this book so you'd better do so. NOW.

Her name is Dusty Everheart and she breaks into people's houses in the middle of the night because she is a Nightmare. Literally. She needs to feed on people's dreams and give them nightmares. I personally think that this is VERY VERY cool and so, I have made an effort to change my job to NIGHTMARE. HEHEHE. But anyway, sitting on a person's chest/lap, or rather straddling them, is awkward enough, but when Dusty realizes that she had to do that for Eli, the HOTTEST guy in her previous human school, well, it'll totally be embarrassing if anyone knows.

What's even worse was that Eli was dreaming about a very specific murder, which happened at Arkwell Academy. Arkwell Academy is Dusty's current school and it's a school full of magic beings like herself. It became more horrible when the murder occurs after she saw it. Soon, Dusty has to find the killer fast, before he murders another person. Or before he realizes that Dusty knows.

I was practically half-spazzing while I was reading this book, because Dusty is one of the coolest, smartmouth-ed girl I have ever met. She literally speaks without thinking but she has the coolest comebacks EVER. My new role model HA. The only drawback about this book (which will not affect the ratings) is that magical beings are banned from SUGAR. SIGH. HAHA. The story line is really really smooth. There weren't any awkward transition between each scenes. I could also feel the emotions of each characters coming to live and such thing in a book is REALLY rare. I especially loved every scenes between Dusty and her mom, because those parts are always so vulnerable for Dusty and it's quite unique to see her not hide behind her tough-act attitude. I could honestly go on and on about the MC because really I LOVE HER. And I am so happy that this book is a series ;)
Profile Image for Lindsay Cummings.
Author 16 books5,125 followers
October 30, 2012
awesome book! such a FRESH concept!! Love the main character, love the writing style...totally enjoyed it! fun read for sure, and thanks to the author for letting me read it early!!!
Profile Image for Sierra the Nerdgirl.
498 reviews30 followers
June 23, 2016
3.5 Stars. I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes a book doesn't need to be award worthy to be entertaining and good.

So this isn't going to be a very in-depth or thought out review because it's not the type of book that needs one, if that makes sense. Starting off the book, I had a really hard time getting into it, and I think that had more to do with my mood and the stress of my summer program than the actual book itself. But once I had time and I actually really started it, I was sucked in. At first the really simple nature of the writing didn't attract me, but I learned to like it. Sometimes a book doesn't need to be stellar writing quality to still be entertaining and good. The ease of reading sucked me in and I really appreciated that. It also helped that I quite enjoyed the main character, Dusty. She has a real snarkiness to her that I liked and she wasn't perfect and knew it, something I can relate to.

When it comes to the plot, it was pretty damn predictable. Like I predicted the bad guys really early on, but I think that's just me being an awesome judge of character more than the book. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the plot, the magic, and the world-building, but it grew on me. I love urban/paranormal fantasy, and that's what I got. I'm still a little iffy on that whole Merlin/Legend of Arthur shit, but maybe I'll learn to deal with it. Overall, it was exactly the kind of book I needed to read this month: light, quick, and with a sarcastic main character. I wasn't planning on continuing the series, but I think I will now just because I want more books like this in my summer reading.
Profile Image for equilibri.
17 reviews11 followers
October 31, 2020
The main heroine here had some good moments, but mostly it was your typical paranormal YA drivel, complete with a predictable plot, insecure but oh-so-special MC (her powers are super-special), silly adults, drooling-at-first-sight and standard flat characters. There was a lot of pointing out how 'hot' the male lead was, and - drumroll - the evil bitchy popular girl. Every school just HAS to have one of those, right?
Profile Image for I Eat Words.
174 reviews167 followers
September 7, 2012
AH. This was So. Good. Magic, romance, mystery, suspense--I was on my toes the whole time! This is definitely one to pick up if you liked Hex Hall, Paranormalcy, or Harry Potter. :)
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews153 followers
February 28, 2013
Three and a half stars: A fun introduction to a magical series featuring a unique protagonist!

Dusty sneaks through the window, anxious to get her dream feeding over so she can return to her dorm. She tries to ignore the boy's sexy, half naked body as she straddles his chest and prepares to walk into his dreams. You see, Dusty is not exactly an ordinary girl, she recently came into her magical abilities and learned that she was a Nightmare. As a Nightmare, she feeds off others' dreams. As Dusty enters Eli's head, she realizes something is different this time. She witnesses a murder of a classmate at her school, and then to her horror, Eli can see her in the dream. He awakens and shoves her off his chest. When Dusty attempts to do the forgetting spell, it backfires so she makes a beeline for the window and escapes. Her troubles are far from over as she learns that what she saw in Eli's dream is reality. It gets even more complicated when Dusty discovers that she and Eli have a special connection. They are dream seers. Eli, a non-magical, is brought to her school, and Dusty is supposed to walk his dreams three times a week. Can the unlikely pair learn to work together and catch a killer?
What I Liked:
*I have said this countless times, but it bears repeating, I am a huge fan of all things paranormal, and it isn't often that I have the pleasure of encountering something that is new and different, but I had that experience with The Nightmare Affair. This book features a protagonist who is a Nightmare: a magical entity who feeds off dreams. Dusty during her feedings enters and walks through other people's dreams. It was fun to watch her uncover her powers and learn to change the dreamworld. I especially enjoyed the ideas of how the imagination and fictus work and all the parts that pertained the dreamworld, they were exciting and fascinating! If you are a big paranormal junkie, and you want something unique definitely give this book a read.
*I really enjoyed Dusty's character. She is an unlikely heroine as she is a bit of an outcast amongst her peers. She is unsure of her abilities and uncomfortable with her identity. As the book progresses, Dusty begins to unlock her powers and take charge. She is brave and refuses to back down as she tries to solve the murder, even it that means being a bit daring and reckless. She certainly has gumption. By the end, she has grown and become a bit more comfortable with her identity and powers.
*I liked the romance in this one, surprisingly. It is a bit of a love square as Dusty and Eli enter into relationships with other people, but you just get the feeling that they are destined to be together as corny as that sounds. Dusty and Eli have a complicated and antagonistic relationship. They are drawn together through unique circumstances, but they aren't exactly friends, but there are those looks here and hints of a brewing attraction, that they don't want to admit. Needless to say, this is a slow burner and it is fun to see how it all plays out. The love triangle or square, doesn't really become an issue because it is rather obvious from the get go how the romance will really turn out.
*I enjoyed the murder mystery in this one. Dusty and Eli attempt to unravel the clues and catch a killer before it is too late. Of course, there are plenty of leads and lots of suspects, including Dusty's own mother. The finale reveal was thrilling and action packed, even if there was a bit of predictability.
*I liked the difficult relationship between Dusty and her mother, Moira. The pair have never gotten along or seen eye to eye as Moira abandoned Dusty as a baby. Dusty doesn't trust her own mother and there is lots of tension between them throughout. I was happy to see movement by the end toward a better relationship in the future, even though, I suspect it will still have its moments.
*Selene, Dusty's best friend, who was a siren was a fascinating character. You would think as a siren she would be sexy and shallow, but surprisingly she is level headed, intuitive, and very adamant about sirens being seen as more than empty headed, sex symbols. She is an admirable best friend and very supportive of Dusty, definitely someone you would want to have your back.
*This book features a magical boarding school, which I found to be fun, even though not exactly original. There were plenty of paranormal entities from fairies, witches, werewolves, sirens, demons and more. One of the more interesting characters was an old hag who worked as a janitor. She was creepy and all kinds of interesting. I really wanted to know what was the deal with all the chocolate?
*I especially appreciated that one of the characters, who Dusty was extremely suspicious of as he did engage in a bit of elicit activity, while not exactly the most likeable guy, and in fact he and Dusty had a few tangles, ended up coming through at the end. This was an unexpected surprise and it is always nice to see a character who you thought was evil redeem himself. I hope to see more of this character in the next book as well as his trusty dog.
*Finally, I was thrilled to find that this book wrapped everything up and concluded nicely. It is so refreshing to enter into a new series and reach a satisfying ending! No dramatic cliffhanger in this one, but there are threads laid out for future story lines.
And The Not So Much:
*While I was completely enthralled with the whole Nightmare concept, I can't say that I felt like I got the whole picture. I wanted to know what happens if Dusty doesn't feed regularly? Does she lose her magic or something worse? How are the victims chosen? Does the nightmare feed off only bad nightmares? This was such a fascinating idea and I can't wait to see how it unfolds in future books.
*One aspect that I didn't like was the quick way that Eli was forced to give up his life and go to the magic school. I was expecting more on this angle, he is just dropped into the school and there is really not much discussion on how he feels about it all as he struggles to adapt. I really wanted Eli and Dusty to have a heart to heart about the whole situation, granted they have a brief chat, but I was hoping for a lot more depth. I really wanted to know what made Eli tick. I am also curious on the whole seer thing, and I am wondering if Eli will develop some magical abilities over time. It is hard for me to believe that he is a dream seer and that he will always be ordinary.
*My only other complaint is that this book with its unique heroine falls into a bit of an unoriginal story line as it follows a young girl who just recently came into her magical powers, and then is taken from her regular life and enrolled into a magical school, only to find that there is a killer out there and it is up to her to help stop it....does this sound a bit familiar? Though, it isn't exactly original it was still a fun read. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself drawing comparisons to other books you have read that have similar plots.
*I must admit, even though the ending was dramatic and thrilling with several surprises, I was a bit annoyed when Dusty distracts the killer before he deals her the death blow with the trite but wait....tell me how you did it first, and then the villain gives his crazed revelation speech. I was also confused about how the villain awakened, did someone do it, or did he rise on his own.

The Nightmare Affair, all in all, was a quick and pleasant read. This is a book that features a unique protagonist: a Nightmare. It has a magical boarding school, a murder mystery and a bit of romance. I enjoyed the magical world and the many different paranormal entities I encountered. If you are a fan of books set in a magical school with a protagonist growing and coming into their powers you should like this book.

Favorite Quotations:
"Looks shouldn't matter when it comes to judging a person."
"But I found out later that you couldn't pretend something didn't exist when it was staring you in the face."
"Magickind started rumors about themselves in the ordinary world all the time, the latest example being the ordinary pop culture obsession with vampires as misunderstood victims who'd rather kiss a human than kill one. So not true."
"Imagination cannot be controlled or predicted by a spell. It is one of the few powers in the world that is truly wild."
"Power has to be kept in check. You've got to have rules and guidelines for things to work proper. Otherwise people get hurt that don't need to."
"With friends, you could survive just about anything."

I received a copy of this book as part of the tour in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Posted@ Rainy Day Ramblings.
Profile Image for Lili.
454 reviews50 followers
February 21, 2013
This book is truly an adorable gem. If you're look for a paranormal private investigators type book for a young adult audience, this would be your pick in a heartbeat. Keep in mind it is not for little kids because there are some sexual innuendos. I mean, Dusty has to kneel on a guys chest to feed of of his dreams! Even she refers to the positioning as awkwardly kinky!

I don't know about you guys, but I love magical schools. The Arkwell Academy is ranked up there with Hex Hall if you ask me, though neither can compare to the illustrious Hogwarts. Magical schools create this competition among creatures that's fascinating. A good prank war like what goes on between Dusty and Lance is awesome reading material and horrible charms being thrown about in the hallways of a school housing classes that give you tests by making you float apples into trash cans is pretty awesome. I mean, anyone who denies that is just crazy pant. Arkwell Academy delivers on all fronts with the addition of some never before seen magickind concepts and an awesome mystery.

Arnett's debut paints a vivid world for magickind whose kids attend Arkwell Academy to keep them separate from the ordinaries. Under the rule of the Magi Senate, all of magickind are controlled by The Will. This is an invisible magical force that propels teens to do things that are necessary to their survival, but also stops them from maiming one another using magic spells. So, while The Will forces Dusty to feed off of Eli's dreams on a night that will forever change their lives, it only stops her from using magic every now and then. Nightmares tend to find ways around The Will because their power comes from dreaming and imagination. While all the faeries, demons, werewolves, hags, wizards, sirens, and everyone else suffer from The Will's control, Dusty slowly learns that she can get around it. Nightmares are rare nowadays and the book only speaks of three in existence. Dusty and her mother--who is known for bending the rules--and Bethany who can only be compared to a gorilla that has a human shape. They must go into people's dreams at night and observe alongside them to gain energy. While there is no shortage of paranormal creatures in this one, I thought that the creation of the Nightmare creature was totally awesome.

However, it gets even better. When Dusty witnesses a murder while inside Eli's dream that comes true mere hours later, they realize that they are a dream-seer pair. While Eli dreams, Dusty sees them and analyzes them. Eli the ordinary who is obsessed with private investigating because his Dad is the head of the police force is the shipped off to Arkwell Academy to work with Dusty to uncover the murderer before it's too late. Initially resistive, they eventually become friends and with the help of Paul, Dusty's crush, and Selene, her siren best friend that is so totally against a siren's beauty making them a sex object, they take us on a journey of a life time.

I really enjoyed Selene and Dusty's relationship, just as much as I enjoyed Eli and Dusty's relationship. Selene is almost like a siren feminist which I found to be incredibly entertaining. As roommates they immediately hit it off despite the rest of Arkwell hating on Dusty because her species is so rare, feared, and misunderstood. Selene is always there for her, never batting an eye. Through Selene, we get to see the true realities of high school. There's always that one friend that is going to be there for you no matter what while the evil popular crowd tries to take you down. All of the intricate relationships, both good and bad, formed among peers and faculties and high schools were somehow exemplified in this book. It was a refreshing touch to read a book that somewhat understood the reality of teenagers these days.

But I did have on problem with this book, and that would be the big reveal. I don't really know how to describe it. As determined early on in the story, there are several people involved in this murder spree. The person involved that shocked Dusty the most was very obvious to me from about half way through the book. It's one of those cases that involved said individual always being at the scene of the crime when there was no reason and you can't help but go, "yeah, that's not right." But the other half of the real completely blew me away because it was so unexpected. While I guessed one person in the scheme of things and than could infer some things once others were revealed during the final showdown, the drive behind such decisions and desires were not foreshadowed at all, and that is something that slightly made up for the anti-climactic reveal of the first betrayal.

All in all, this was a great debut. A quick, humorous read good for young adults that like paranormal mysteries, I recommend this to nearly everyone. Arnett is an upcoming force to be reckoned with on the young adult paranormal mystery front.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
September 20, 2014
3.5 stars

It's hard being 16 years old, but it's even harder when you just came into your powers and start to crave the 'fictus' that is needed to replenish magic. So, that's why we begin this story with Destiny (Dusty) Everhart breaking into a house ready to sit on her subjects chest and enter his dreams. See, she's a Nightmare. Literally, and needs to dream-feed to live. Only she wasn't thrilled with the idea when she learned that the subject is no other then Elijah Booker, the really cute popular guy at her old high school. But 'The Will' has an elastic pull and Dusty has no choice but to do what she came for. When she enters Eli's dream, it's much more alive then most of the other ones, in fact she recognizes where she is, which is impossible since Eli is just an Ordinary.
Not only is Eli dreaming of a murder, but that murder comes true and it's at Arkwell Academy.
Dusty's school, the school for all magical-kind.

The Nightmare Affair is one of those really cool books that has my name written all over it. It has all the fun and wonderful things I like in my books. Academy setting, magical and paranormal beings, witty well developed characters, a whodunit mystery and a light bubbling romance.

I had a lot of fun with this one. Mindee Arnett manages to spin something completely new and refreshing in a genre where I thought I'd read everything. A Nightmare as a paranormal being? That is such a wicked concept and very well delivered as we learn what it entails. I also loved that this is also a whodunit mystery story. I guessed one of the culprits but the other half surprised me. I also thought it was all kinds of awesome that the legend of Arthur/Merlin and Excalibur was mixed into this. You wouldn't no it, but I'm a big mid-evil fan and thought that particular twist was very well placed and made it even more fascinating.

There are a lot of wonderful sassy characters that made this book really standout.
Dusty has always had to live with the knowledge that her mother isn't a person that is well liked within the magical community and being a Nightmare doesn't exactly give you cool points, but through it all, Dusty raises her head high and tries not to let it get her down.
Eli wasn't a character I liked right away. He was very cold, distant and bitter in the beginning, but I guess I would be to if I didn't understand what was happening and thrown into world that wasn't technically suppose to exist. As the story moves on I started to like Eli a lot more. The dream-seeing connection between him and Dusty was pretty cool stuff to see and I found myself re-reading each one to see if I can catch any clues.
Selene is one of those really awesome best friends. She's tomboyish despite her Siren beauty, she supportive and funny and stands up for Dusty like a true friend would. She also has a spunky personality that I found contagious. She's one of the few good people in a magical school filled with misfits, mean girls and bullies.

Now, while I enjoyed a lot of what this book had to offer, my only issue was the flow of the story. The writing is well done and the pacing was fine, but the flow of information we got felt overloaded. There are so many different thing happening, it felt like we were learning it all in one breath. This world is very original with lots of wonders to learn about, but it felt overwhelming at times making it hard to just sink into the story.

With that said, I still had a lot of fun with this book. It tuned out to be quite the entertaining experience. It's fun and creative and filled with colorful imagination. I'm not sure if this is a standalone but I could see all the possibilities for more, which I think would be great. I'd love to see what happens with Dusty and Eli and their Dream-seer abilities next!

A fun read!

This review and more can be seen at WinterHaven Books;

winter haven books
Profile Image for Juliette.
158 reviews38 followers
March 25, 2013
Qualche volta abbiamo semplicemente bisogno di una lettura leggera e divertente che ci faccia staccare un pò dalla realtà e passare un paio d'ore tranquille e piacevoli. The Nightmare Affair, iniziato subito dopo lo straziante sequel di Schegge di Me, è proprio una di queste letture, esattamente ciò di cui avevo bisogno in quel momento.

Per certi versi questo libro mi ha ricordato molto Hex Hall di Rachel Hawkins. Quando leggevo nelle recensioni il paragone alla serie della Hawkins, ero un pochino scettica al riguardo, considerando che Hex Hall è davvero ineguagliabile, ma una volta finito The Nightmare Affair mi sono ricreduta. Questo primo volume della Arkwell Academy Series possiede infatti tutte le potenzialità per diventare una delle mie saghe preferite, alla pari di Hex Hall.

The Nightmare Affair racchiude tutto ciò che voglio trovare in un YA/Fantasy: Ambientazione gotica/dark, mitologia originale e interessante, protagonista ironica e sarcastica e personaggi di cui non puoi fare a meno di innamorarti mescolati ad una buona dose di azione e mistero.
E' impossibile non esserne catturati e non lasciarsi trascinare nello strano mondo di Dusty e dei suoi amici.

Da quando ha scoperto di essere un Nightmare, un Incubo, la vita di Dusty è cambiata radicalmente.
E' stata costretta a trasferirsi alla Arkwell Academy, una sorta di scuola/collegio dove sono riuniti tutti i ragazzi appartenenti a categorie paranormali.
Dusty è l'unica Nightmare della scuola, e la sua specie è una delle più oscure e pericolose, inoltre è l'ultima arrivata alla Arkwell, e per questo viene continuamente presa in giro dagli altri studenti.
Come se questo non fosse già abbastanza, Dusty, essendo un Nightmare (e che quindi si nutre dei sogni degli umani per sopravvivere), deve introdursi nelle case altrui ogni 10/15 giorni e ad entrare nelle menti di sconosciuti. La cosa diviene ancora più imbarazzante quando a Dusty viene assegnato come "vittima" Eli Booker, uno dei ragazzi più popolari del liceo che la ragazza frequentava prima di scoprire la sua vera natura, e lei è costretta a sedersi sul suo petto per entrare nel suo sogno.
Ma Dusty di certo non si aspettava di trovarsi davanti un omicidio, un omicidio di una studentessa della Arkwell, che poi scopre esser accaduto anche nella realtà.

Una volta tornata alla Arkwell a Dusty viene rivelato che è una dream seer, ovvero un Nightmare che, insieme ad un umano, riesce a vedere il futuro. Ciò vuol dire che lei e Eli sono uniti da un legame indissolubile, e che sono anche gli unici a poter trovare l'assassino, che intanto continua ad uccidere.

Ho apprezzato molto la mitologia presentata dalla Arnett, molto diversa da ciò che mi aspettavo.
E' vero, sono presenti anche le solite creature come i lupi o le fate, ma ci sono tantissimi elementi originali come i Nightmares, le sirene (che al contrario di ciò che pensiamo comunemente, non sono creature d'acqua), la leggenda di Merlino e di Excalibur.

Ma oltre alla mitologia penso che la protagonista abbia dato al libro quel qualcosa in più che una solita eroina sciatta e noiosa non avrebbe potuto sicuramente dare. Dusty è divertente, non si prende mai sul serio e anche nella situazione più tragica si lascia scappare un commentino sarcastico. In più quando qualcosa le va male non si rintana semplicemente in un angolino a piangere e a commiserarsi, al contrario affronta i problemi a testa alta e con coraggio, senza mai perdersi d'animo.

Il lato mistery della storia è stato sviluppato molto molto bene, sinceramente mi ero fatta un'idea completamente diversa dell'assassino e alla fine si è rivelata la persona che sospettavo di meno!
Anche il finale mi è piaciuto molto, non c'è nessun cliffhanger e lascia al lettore la scelta di continuare o meno la serie senza nessun obbligo!

Voto, 4 stelline!The Nightmare Affair è una lettura divertente ed emozionante, con tutte le premesse per diventare una serie meravigliosa!
Profile Image for Michelle.
113 reviews
May 19, 2016
I received this book as an ARC. I was so excited to get it. I have been counting down the days until its release. I am sure if time and family would have allowed, I would have read it all in a day or 2 at the most. It was such a fun read. I loved the murder/mystery aspect of the story. It wasn't at all what I was expecting. I liked the different take on Magickind. I loved that the author focused on magic characters that are usually in the background. She brought secondary magickind creatures to the forground and put the witches, vampires and werewolves more in the background. I found it refreshing. I really liked the main character Dusty. She wasn't your typical angst-ridden teenager and that was refreshing also. This book was a nice change of pace from the more recent young-adult fantasy books. One of my favorite things about this book was how CLEAN it was. No foul language, no sex, no drinking or drug use. I would actually be able to let me young teen/pre-teen be able to read this book. I would definately recommend this book to anyone.
Profile Image for Adira.
431 reviews242 followers
August 20, 2019
This book was absolutely amazzzzzzzzing!

Go to my blog ...On The Shelf to read my full review.

With this book, I didn't feel as if the author was reaching or even using recycled cliches to tell the story. Arnett's characters felt fresh. The story line drives you to keep reading even when you think you know who the killer maybe. Dusty's character is also relatable in the fact that, even though readers may not have magical powers, they may have experienced feeling like an outsider before, a feeling that Dusty often feels. I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who loves a good "who done it?" series or who just loves fantasy fiction.
155 reviews260 followers
September 30, 2018
I had no idea why this was in my to-read list, but it was, and honestly, from the blurb, it did sound orignal. But I was wary of it because most of the early 2010's ya novels are total shit, but I wanted to try this, bexause idea of nightmares as humans sounds really interesting, but unfortunately, this turned out to be very fucking boring. Here are few of the things which made this book a total shit:

● Lazy writing. The writing was extremely mediocre and childish. It was so fucking emotionless. Even the ending, which could've been great, was destroyed by the writing. It seemed the author wrote this book in two days, because she wanted to give it to publisher as quickly as possible.

● The characters were sumb. Their dialoges were dumb. Their actions were dumb. Dusty was such an embarrasement to read about. She never made smart move. She judged every other girl except her best friend. She fell in love way too easily. She did everything she was not supposed to do and then disn't take responsibility for it.

● The dreadful, the stupid, the fucking love triangle. Seriously, this love triangle was so fhcking pointless. Everything could've worked out without it easily. There was no chemistry, no tension, no emotional attachement between any of these characters.

● Theworld building was so incomplete. The writer tried so hard to make this world as interesring as Hogwarts but she failed MISERABLY. There were mentions of few magickind creatures but none of them played an important role. There was a Hogwarts like school but it was so boring. There was something called Senate which controlled the Will which is in the school but nobody questions that something so important and powerful like The Will is in a fucking school.

I cannot think of any other fault, because it was so forgetfull. I'm in long lonnnggg slump since April. It seems that almost nothing can fix my slump. And this book had further dwindled my will to read. This was very stupid. If you come across this book, then please don't read this.
Profile Image for Sharon Mariampillai.
2,014 reviews86 followers
March 23, 2019
Thank you Sharon J for recommending this series to me. This was an incredible read. The story was a fast-paced paranormal mystery. The world was intriguing and different. The dreams were really creatively done and beautifully written. I thought that the characters were fantastic. Dusty is 16-year-old, who breaks into houses at night, and is a dream-seer aka a Nightmare. She attends Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for the magickind, and is the only Nightmare in the school. Eli is another favourite character. I really loved his personality and I really love how he interacts with Dusty. I think they have chemistry. Eli is hot, and I want more of him. I hope we can learn more about him as the series progresses. I loved the plot as a whole, and I cannot wait to see where Book 2 will take us. I am really excited to see what happens to Dusty and Eli's character. Overall, an amazing read.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews712 followers
February 15, 2013
I spend my Valentines with The Nightmare Affair, get it? (It's lame I know.. just go along with me :P)

This review is also posted on my blog

“Imagination is magic.”

This was such a fun read!!!

Like most people, what intrigued me about this book was the nightmare concept. There aren’t a lot of books written about actual nightmares or anything close to that for that matter. I always love it when I discover a whole new type of paranormal species or a whole new idea of paranormal. Basically Nightmares sit on you and eat the stuff your dreams are made up off, namely fictus. Dusty just came into power a few months ago and had her world turn upside down, she had to join the Arkwell Academy, leaving behind her old school and friends. But Dusty isn’t just any Nightmare she is also a Dream seer, her other half being Eli Booker, a guy from her old school. Talk about awkward.

I think one of the things I really liked about this book was her reaction when she was told she may be a potential dream seer. She freaked out, not because she wanted to be normal-she couldn’t be that anyway, but because she didn’t want the attention. She doesn’t want to be special, she already gets more than her fair share of attention from being her mother’s daughter, who is and was a rule breaking person. People criticize her for the deeds her mother did and take their dislike of her mother out on her. Besides that, the small amount of magic she does have is hard enough to handle, add the extras she will get from the increased feeding. She is messed up.

“That’s half the problem. I have a hard enough time handling what I do have. Anything more and I’ll probably blow myself up.”

Her narration is also one of the main reasons this book is so awesome, you could write a book like this with a heavy, serious tone, but if I were to read this book with that kind of tone, I probably wouldn’t like it. But this isn’t the case. She is a really funny person. Always saying the funniest things despite the seriousness of what’s going on. No she isn’t exactly what I would call impulsive but her mouth… yeah, in her words;

“I know. I don’t mean to. My mouth just works independent of my brain sometimes”

She also has what one would call “mommy issues” but she doesn’t let them own her. She is her own person. Although, she does judge her mom a bit too quickly. I actually liked the relationship between the two, her mother is hilarious. She tries to kidnap her own daughter!!! She only has one friend, yes the social outcast cliché but seriously it hardly seems like a cliché. I liked her best friend. She is a siren rebelling against the sexual objectification of sirens. How cool is that? My only regret is that we don’t get to see her father. I really wished we would, he seems like the kind of parent I’d like, the kind you don’t usually find in YAs. From what Dusty says occasionally, I can see the relationship between the two would account for a good child-parent relationship that is hard to find in YA.

Okay so there are two guys, but I don’t see this as a love triangle for those who are worried about the presence of one. She doesn’t really go back and forth between the guys. But the point is this book isn’t really about her love life, it’s about what’s going on. So it’s all good. Eli and Paul happen to be the two guys. I like both their characters, but they do have a flat like feeling to them, so I am not sure how to describe them. Although I did judge Eli too quickly, I thought he would be a jerk, and Dusty a girl who is attracted to jerks. Thank god this isn’t the case.

This mystery aspect of this book is rather predictable but not in the outright obvious way, more in the “I have a feeling……” way. Nothing is obvious from the beginning; I started making predictions more than 2/3rds into the book. I had a lot of things to base my predictions on by then.

The ending though. My god. The last 3/4ths was intense. I was frozen, I couldn’t do anything but read but I WAS SO HAPPY for that twist of sorts. I wish I could say it but that would mean spoiling it. This is not fair!

Overall the book was amazing, one of my favorite reads. Plus it gets awesome points for including the existence of unicorns, of course there weren’t any unicorns in the book but they exist in this world Mindee has created so yeah.

Thank you NetGalley and Tor for sending me this galley!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,252 followers
February 25, 2013
INT Giveaway on the blog! http://somelikeitparanormall.blogspot...

Dusty is a nightmare that feeds on dreams. The Will is the power that controls the paranormals and sets her feeding schedule for every other week. While out on a feed run she realizes she will have to feed on one of her old classmates, Eli. Straddling him, she enters his dreams where she sees the death of one of her new classmates. Eli notices her, touches her and she is lifted from the dream. Her magic bounces off him and she takes off running. There is something different about her powers with Eli which is confirmed when the dream becomes a reality.

Once Dusty came into her powers she had to leave her old school behind to attend Arkwell Academy. Now that Eli is able to help Dusty see the future in his dreams, he has to give up his normal life, to also attend Arkwell Academy with a bunch of kids who can do magic except him. This causes some bitterness from Eli and things with Dusty do not start off well. It also made it difficult to like Eli at first even though I could understand his feelings. He wants to avoid Dusty and her freaky powers but The Will commands that Dusty now visit his dreams three times a week. Dusty has an attraction to Eli but believes he hates her. They do begin to build a friendship that I think will make a romance in the sequel really great. I enjoyed their scenes and how they worked to become a team.

The mystery is the heavy focus of the book. I loved Dusty and Eli working as detectives and Dusty even makes a reference to Veronica Mars. I did find part of the mystery to be a bit predictable and cliche but the other half did surprise me. Dusty looked into teachers and other students at the Academy. The Academy itself was fun and reminded me a bit of Hogwarts. There were magic classes and unique teachers. All different types of paranormal creatures attend the school so there was a variety of interesting characters.

Dusty's mom, and nightmares in general, are known for disobedience so she doesn't have a lot of friends besides her siren roommate Selene. I often find the best friend characters in books to be flat and pointless but I found Selene very likable. She is a siren and known for beauty but she really wants to be seen as more. She is very supportive of Dusty. Selene, Dusty, and Eli often have little Scooby Doo like meetings to help track down the killer. They were a hilarious group at times and kept me turning the pages. The conclusion wrapped up the mystery well without any hanging questions. I look forward to seeing what Dusty and Eli solve next as they grew into a strong pair.

"A fully charged Nightmare can do whatever they want inside a dream. Here, we're like gods."
A chill went through me at her words. It all sounded a bit too much like A Nightmare on Elm Street for my tastes.

"That was quite a show," Lance said. "Do you straddle all your victims even after they're awake, or is it something you reserve for Eli?"

"Hurry up and go to sleep already," I said. "I wanna get this freak show on the road."

*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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420 reviews6 followers
March 2, 2013

I would be cheating myself and this book if I didn't say that I enjoyed this book.

I actually quite liked the whole concept of this book. For me, it was something I hadn't about or read before. So it was really refreshing. It was fast-paced and didn't have a single dull moment. I flew through the entire book and it was really fun.

The pretty cover and the synopsis of the book had attracted me to it almost instantly as soon as I saw it. Hello, we have a nightmare in the house? How much more incentive do you need? Plus, other than the fact that our protagonist is a nightmare , we also have this murder mystery put in front of us which also adds to the whole excitement!

The story is pretty simple. Dusty is a nightmare. The concept of being a nightmare is very artfully explained in the book but let's just continue. Anyhow, Nightmares feed by extracting dream sequences. And Dusty being a nightmare needs to do just that. Things go awry when she finds herself in Eli Booker's room. Her work: Extract dream i.e to feed herself. Problem: Eli is a complete Hawteee.( Perks of her job: Straddling him. Which she obviously doesn't feel comfortable with..*coughs*) Anywaaaay,like I said things just get worse. Why? Because Eli is dreaming a murder and when the murder actually takes place.. things just get messier and messier. Now it's upto Dusty and Co. to find the murderer and stop the inevitable doom of mankind and magickind. Dun-Dun-Dun!

The characters and it's fast-paced nature kept is what made the book what it is now. As I mentioned earlier, there was never a dull moment. The tone of the book was really light and fun to read about and I like how the characters have been portrayed. I love it when the author successfully creates characters- Both evil and good, who you can't help but like. Each character in their own way were fairly entertaining and it made the whole book work. Our leading protagonist, Dusty was a treat to read about. She was sarcastic and her issues made sense. And..she did not annoy me. So that's something. Her bestfriend Selene's character and Eli were another set of characters that made their way into my heart kingdom. Especially Selene. I just love fiesty and righteous bestfriends. And there was this feminist thing about her that I couldn't help but vouch for. :D

What I also liked about the book was the amount of romance it had in it. I'm happy that the book wasn't all about how much the protagonists loved each other but about the crux of it. Which was the murder mystery.

And this is where things fell down.

The murder mystery was so predictable. I can't even. I would've liked more action and more of that surprise element. But alas, it failed to deliver in that part.

This book definitely holds lot potential and for a debut, I feel Mindi Arnett has done something spectacular here. Will I recommend you to read it?
Definitely. :)
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