Cover Image: A Dream to Die For

A Dream to Die For

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Member Reviews

This was an exciting thriller! I just recently had a vivid dream about another book I'm reading, and I kind of wonder if listening to this was part of why the dream was so crazy! This book has me rethinking dreams! The cult aspect was really interesting, and the dreams gave it a magical feel. I think this was an original story, and I really enjoyed it!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Thank you netgalley and Orange Sky Audio for giving me an advanced review copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

We follow Celeste as she is thrust into the role of suspect after she finds the dead body of Larry, her therapist and cult leader. Larry led a group of "dreamers", his followers that did everything he dictated. Larry believes in combining dreams with technology, creating what he calls the "dreamscape", where Dreamers can share each others dreams. Celeste gets drawn deeper into the cult, as she as forced to choose between her fiance and Larry. And everyone, including the rest of the Dreamers, thinks Celeste is guilty of murder. 

I really never felt connected to this story. It would fade into the background for me, never really capturing my attention. In addition, the narration was not my favorite. I am not a fan of narrators trying to mimic characters voices and accents as this narrator did. It definitely took me out of the story.

Overall, a solid 3 star story.
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A cult leader therapist and some bizarre dream interpretations, mixed with some mystery… Initially I was intrigued by the storyline. Let’s go! I find dreams absolutely fascinating, the tend to never remember many of my own at all which is fairly infuriating. But this book felt unrealistic and just kind of strange at points, I think if you’re more interested in sci-fi this may appeal more? I think the whole time I kept trying to make sense of what was happening which was then taking away from the story. 

The therapist to me seems completely unrealistic, and I just wanted to punch him in the face and was a palled at his behavior. And I struggled seeing that any one person would really go along with such treatment. 

Overall this one was a miss for me, but I appreciate NetGalley offering me the ability to listen in exchange for my honest review.
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This was one of the worst books I've ever read. I even wanted to dnf it, but I was a lot of reviews claiming that it was interesting, so I stuck with it. I kept waiting and waiting, but it NEVER got better. What a waste of time!

It was more of a dream cult exploration than a murder mystery. The characters are all complete idiots. There is an idea that they should all dream forward, dream the same dream, or dream someone else's dream. That they should date a person just because they "saw" it in a dream and so on. There are holograms? Dreams coming to life? Lighthouses that show the unconscious??? 

I don't know, this was a mess, and I hated every second of it!
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Audio:  I enjoyed the writing and the narration of this book very much.  I think the plot was a little out there and not in a way that makes you want to believe it and know more.  More like the way that you're like "oh puleeze" and that takes you out of the story a bit and hard to care about the characters. That may not make sense, but if you read it, hopefully you'll understand.  Not bad by any means, but not great either.
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I did a LOT of eye rolling and head shaking while listening to this book. Not at all a believable story for me the characters had no substance and the narration was definitely lacking. I can honestly say if I had been reading the book there would have been no way I would have finished it.
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A Dream To Die For
Susan Z. Ritz
The setting for this tale is a cold November morning in Riverton Falls, a small town in New England. The main character is Celeste Fortune, a bartender and member of Dreamland a cult. Celeste’s boyfriend has given her an ultimatum its either him or the cult but it can’t be both. Celeste ponders her latest dream, a female at a window, the scent of lilacs blowing in the breeze, and hands tight around her neck. Celeste believes the dream could belong to one of the other cult members. Perhaps she has finally broken through to the combined dreams of Dreamland sect. She heads to her therapist/cult leader to discuss the dream hoping he can interpret it for her. She intends this to be her final appointment with him. She discovers her therapist/ cult-leader lying in a pool of blood; his head has been bludgeoned with a healing crystal. His computer is missing; it contained the private dreams and confidences of most of the town. Celeste is considered the main suspect; she was known to be a defiant part of his sect. Gloria, attempts to help her friend. What they discover puts them both in danger. 
The Dreamland cult evaluates, documents and records members dreams. Celeste has dreams she doesn’t understand, and she believes her dreams actually belongs to someone else. The concept of dreaming someone else’s dreams is interesting. Celeste’s friend Gloria is a lawyer and not connected to the cult in any manner. Gloria is an interesting character. Celeste wasn’t as likeable; she appears to be naïve and some of the decisions she makes are ridiculous. I wasn’t quite comfortable with the ending of this tale; I am not into the new-age beliefs. 
This is author Susan Z. Ritz’s first book. The concept behind this book is interesting and yet it didn’t quite work for me. Parts of the plot were weird and yet enjoyable. This book falls under the genre of fantasy and suspense more than thriller.
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First, I definitely enjoyed the audio of this story.  It was a mystery for sure and though I don't know if new-age cozy mystery is a thing, that might best describe it.  

Celest Fortune is in a New England community almost completely sucked in by the leader of a cult who claims to bring enlightenment through the analyzing of dreams.  Unfortunately, Celest finds this leader dead just after she has a really vivid dream that disturbs this leader enough that he throws her out of the cult.  She enlists the help of an old friend who happens to be a lawyer and not under the spell to get her out of this horrifying predicament as most see her as the obvious killer.  Secrets are unearthed and danger grows as the truth, and new allies, emerge.

There were a lot of far-fetched aspects of this story for me.  The name of the protagonist was the first.  I struggled a bit with the level of naivete of Celeste and of her ridiculous decisions.  Then I remembered this was a fiction with some far-fetched concepts (seeing past/future through dreams, etc.), and I let the reality aspect go.  This helped me enjoy the story much more!  I engaged with the murder mystery and the cultish suspenseful atmosphere.  The who-done-it was well played and I didn't know who it was until I was meant to.  Not a super twisty thriller, but a solid mystery for sure.  

I never did quite like Celeste.  I loved her friend, Gloria and the other strong female characters in the story.  I just couldn't quite sympathize with Celeste.  The ending was a bit lofty for me as well.  I'm not into new-age crystals and future-telling, so that aspect didn't connect with me at all.  This does not, however mean I didn't enjoy the mystery.  I find it good to stretch myself and read things that I don't always connect to, and usually come away with some new insight.  I do think I should develop more grace for those who, in a vulnerable state, have been taken advantage of and exploited instead of loftily looking down on them from my high perch.  If that is my takeaway, bravo, Susan Ritz!  An enjoyable rebuke for sure!

Thank you, NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to this ALC in exchange for my honest opinion.  This book is now available, and I recommend it for mystery fans!
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I thought this was an interesting concept of a dream cult. But unfortunately the execution did not work for me. I got to 60% but had no interest in continuing. 

Celeste was frustrating to read from. She is determined to leave Dreamland but, everything she encounters makes her waver constantly questioning herself. Even though her best friend and ex-fiance who both had left the cult years before they are not honest with her what secrets they know that pushed them to leave until now. Or are they?

There was a mystery going on with people starting to die. As I did not care about any of the characters I did not feel invested to learn what was going on. 

Thank you to NetGalley  and OrangeSky Audio  for an advanced audionbook for review.
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If you're interested in more of a fantasy suspense book this might be for you! I was expecting a bit more of a standard thriller/suspense novel, but this book is anything but standard. 

Personally not my favourite genre. My rating might have been higher if the suspense aspect had been a little bit more thrilling. The mystery really isn't all that mysterious and the tech/dream aspect just didn't work for me. 

However, this would likely be a 3.5-4 star read when marketed to the right audience. 

The audiobook was well done and easy going listening. 

Thank you to netGalley & She Writes press for a free audio copy in exchange for a fair review
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Bit of a strange story. I enjoyed the psychological aspects of the characters and was intrigued to find out what was going to happen next. The cult-ish elements didn’t really grab me so overall I found this audiobook to just be average.
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**please note due to low rating I will not be leaving a public review for this book as I have not paid for it.**

Narrator 2 stars
This narrator has a beautiful life but I absolutely hated listen to her. It felt like she was over acting and the way she did some 
characters was absolutely cringe worthy. 

Story 2 stars
Interesting premise but the story just never grabbed me. (but this could have been due to the narrator)
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This is a weird and creepy read.  Not surprising as cults are weird and creepy.  Celeste has fallen under the spell of Larry, a truly twisted man who has become a cult leader and therapist.  When he is found murdered, his followers go a little wonky and Celeste is threatened by them as well as police who are part of the cult.  The divide between the members and non members grows as do the threats. It is only through the help of an old friend does Celeste see the potential of light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s an interesting dark who done it with a lot of twists and turns along the way.
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Honestly I have never read something like this. So many genres mixed into one story!

If you have you ever woke from a dream wondering what it was all about? Finding this out is the business of the Dreamland cult: analyzing and and recording its members dreams.

Meet Celeste who is a cult member. She has a dream she believes belongs to somebody else and reports this to Larry, the cult leader. Only problem short after this Larry is found dead and Celeste is the last person to have seen him alive, which makes her the the prime suspect.
Of course Celeste is determined to prove her innocence!

The audio version of this book was a pleasure so

thanks a lot #Netgalley #OrangeSky Audio for this advanced audio-copy
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A Dream To Die For by Susan Z. Ritz
is a unique psychological thriller with a bizarre premise. Celeste keeps having dreams she feels belong to someone else. She believes she has reached a stage that will allow her to join her therapist's cult...uh, I mean group, famously known as Dreamland. Only one problem. She finds him dead in his office and herself the prime suspect.

With an authentic performance of fear and confusion, narrator Rachel Perry Bregman
brings Celeste to life. I enjoyed the mysterious tone throughout the story. The twisty reveal was a bit confusing for me but that could be a generational thing. A Dream To Die For will keep you awake.

I received free copy of this audiobook from the publisher OrangeSky Audio via #Netgalley for fair and honest reviews. All opinions are my own.
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By Susan Z Ritz

The small town is rocked by the 1st murder in many years. The death of the well known and rumored dream therapist Larry. Thought to be a crime of passion. The power of Dreams and technology mix together into a new world of images that would change everyone's world. The history of the gifts left by previous dreamers can bring peace to a young girl who only looked for her place.
The audible reader has an enchanting voice bringing the emotion of the characters to her performance.
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Thank you OrangeSky Audio, NetGalley and Author for this advance ebook copy in return for an honest review!

A Dream to Die For was such a great audio read! I started this book yesterday and finished it in one sitting! 
An engaging page-turner with well developed characters, this unpredictable story is very well crafted and suspenseful!
The characters are complex and wonderful. The whole atmosphere of the book was great!
For this to be Ritz's first novel she did an outstanding job!
The narrator also did an outstanding job reading this story!. Very much enjoyable. 

Thanks again NetGalley, Publisher and Author for the chance to read and review this amazing book!
I'll post to my Social media platforms closer to pub date!
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𝘜𝘯𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘦, 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘥!

Buckle up and prepare for a really wild ride.
Crazy, weird, twisty and surprising. I’m still trying to order my thoughts with this one. 
It’s fast-paced, riveting and will keep you at the edge of your seat questioning what’s real. It was nuts.

Thank you BookSparks, NetGalley, OrangeSky Audio by Findaway and Susan Z. Ritz for this gifted copy.

𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦: 𝘔𝘺𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘗𝘴𝘺𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘞𝘪𝘭𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘛𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴.
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I found it hard to engage with the audiobook. Maybe I would’ve liked the paper or hardback version better. The narrator’s voice made the book sound like a textbook was being read to me.
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EXCERPT: Larry talked right over her. 'I'm serious here, Cel. If ya wanna keep working with me, then ya gotta keep up. How many times do I gotta say it? You go right back to the same old defensive patterns. Look at how you're sitting, all locked up around yourself, keeping that heart all suited up for battle, but afraid to make a move. Am I right?'

Celeste shook her head, staring down. She watched as a fat tear from each eye fell into her lap, and then she hugged herself tighter. How could he still have this much power over her? Do it, goddamn it, she yelled inside her head. Tell him!

'I'm not -'

'Feel the pain,' Pete squawked, drowning out her whispered words.

Larry wasn't listening to her, anyway. 'Like how you still got that ring on.'

Celeste protectively covered the engagement ring with her right hand. Jake had designed it for her before he'd even asked her to marry him - a sapphire, her birthstone, a sky blue Ceylon surrounded by diamond chips in an antique white gold setting - the most beautiful thing she'd ever owned, better than anything she'd ever imagined - though engagement rings had never been something she'd thought much about.

'Jesus, Cel, when are you ever going to let go and move on in your life? Don't you know it's over with Jake? We've gone around and around on this. Your dreams are crystal clear, even if you refuse to believe them. Jake's no good for you; he's holding you back, keeping you from surrendering to the Dreamscape, to Dreamland. Let go of him. The choice is clear. You can't keep living this double life.' Larry shook his head, puckering his lips as if he wanted to spit. 'Jeez, just make your mind up once and for all.'

Celeste felt her face flush red. 'Jake's none of your business, Larry. In fact, I'm . . . this is . . .' She drew in her breath, trying to summon her earlier resolve, but just as she was about to get the practiced words out, Larry exploded from his chair, arms outstretched, hands waving like signals in the air. He suddenly looked like a furious dwarf out of some Grimm's fairytale, bellowing and snorting at her as he shot out from behind his desk on his stumpy little legs.

'No, I'm just your therapist! Are you fucking kidding me? Everything's my business! When are you going to finally get that?'

ABOUT 'A DREAM TO DIE FOR': In Riverton Falls, a small New England town, globe-trotting bartender Celeste Fortune stands in her kitchen puzzling over last night’s frightening dream—a woman at a window, lilacs blowing in the breeze, someone’s hands tight around her neck. Celeste is sure the dream belongs to someone else. Perhaps she has finally broken through to the collective dreams of Dreamland cult. Hoping her therapist and cult leader will help her untangle it, she heads off into the cold November morning to her final appointment with him—or so she hopes. Her estranged fiancé has delivered an ultimatum: Leave the cult of Dreamers, or end their relationship for good.

Instead of help, however, Celeste discovers her therapist dying in a pool of blood, skull stove in by his own healing crystal. His computer, containing the intimate dreams and secrets of half the town, is gone. Suspicion immediately falls on Celeste, known to be a rebellious member of his cult. To clear her name, Celeste enlists the help of her old friend, Gloria. But when the two women discover the power of the stolen dreams, they unwittingly become the killer’s next target.

MY THOUGHTS: A Dream to Die For is much more a story about the 'Dreamers' cult, than it is a murder mystery, which is one of the reasons I didn't like this. I felt very much like tossing this in at the ten percent mark, but figured that it must get better. And it did, briefly. But just before the fifty percent point, I could stand it no longer, and pushed the delete option.

Where do I start explaining why I didn't like this? The characters? They were all weird. Now I don't mind a bit of weird. I find weird quite entertaining. But not here. Celeste had no backbone. Why would a person who is probably on minimum wage and living off her tips pay $150 an hour to talk to this therapist, Larry, simply because 'everyone in town goes to him'? Especially when her friend Gloria, the reason she moved to Riverton Falls, has already warned her against him, as has her fiance Jake. Celeste is the sort of person who would consult her therapist, or a tarot card reader, before she blew her nose, or changed her underwear.

Larry, the therapist, is a totally unbelievable twit. The only thing about him that astounds me is how he lived so long. I don't know why someone didn't murder him earlier.

Jake, the fiance, has been married before to the woman who is Larry's right hand woman in the cult. I completely understand why he broke up with Celeste. But he does behave very strangely . . .

Gloria, Celeste's estranged friend, is an environmental lawyer, but is the only person she can think to call when she is taken into custody at the murder scene.

The supporting cast is made up of 'Adam', the tarot card reader in the park, and the 'Dreamers', Celeste's so called friends who turn on her when they believe she murdered Larry.

And if you're wondering who the Pete in the extract is, he's a parrot.

How can anyone believe that if they are able to dream each other's dreams, or all dream the same dream, it is going to elevate them to a higher plane of being? Puhlease!

I started listening with interest, which rapidly faded, peaked with Larry's murder, then plummeted again. This read is seriously Weird.

And the murder mystery isn't even much of a mystery. It's pretty obvious from very early on who killed Larry, but I did check with someone else who read and enjoyed A Dream to Die For, after I had abandoned it, just to make sure.

I would like to point out that the narrator, Rachel Perry, was excellent, and certainly had nothing to do with my abandoning this book.

I am well aware that I am very much on my own with my feelings on A Dream to Die For, and that it may well be a book that you enjoy, so please check out a selection of the many positive reviews.


#ADreamtoDieFor #NetGalley

I: @susanzritz @ orangeskyaudio

T: #SusanZRitz #OrangeSkyAudio

#audiobook #crime #cultfiction #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Susan Ritz grew up in Minnesota, but she left home to become a wandering scholar; she lived, studied, and worked as a social worker in Kenya, Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia in the 1970s. She worked as a human rights lobbyist in Washington, DC, during the Carter Administration before moving to Dachau, Germany, the setting for her memoir in progress, On the Edge of Dachau. For the past thirty years she has lived with her husband and three children in Montpelier, Vermont, where she has worked as a fund raiser, events coordinator, and philanthropic advisor for a wide range of nonprofit organizations, especially those promoting economic equality for women. Writing, however, has always been her passion, and after receiving an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, she began writing for local publications, teaching creative writing to adults and high school students, and writing her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Orange Sky Audio via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of A Dream to Die For, written by Susan Z. Ritz and narrated by Rachel Perry, for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage
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