#aww2018 Book review: “False Awakening” by Cassandra Page

Title: False Awakening
Author: Cassandra Page
Genre: urban fantasy
Dates read: 26/12/17 – 04/01/18
Rating: ★★★

Review:

I reviewed the prequel to this book almost exactly two years ago. I think this book suffered a little from me not remembering all the details of the previous book; however, the dreamscapes of Cassandra Page’s Oneiroi world do make for enjoyable reading.

Dream-therapist Melaina thought that her problems with nightmare spirits and dream blights was over with, but  that’s not the case. Other people around her are still being possessed, the Morpheus himself wants an audience with her, and her cousin has gone msising. All three things seem to be connected, but can Melaina save those she loves?

The dream sequences are definitely what I enjoyed best about this book. Page expands on the world-building she did in the first book, bringing in new Oneiroi characters, setting up more of their laws and customs. Once again the scenes where Melaina fights off the blights in other people’s dreams were also well done. There was a lot of action, and the rules of the magic system were well maintained.

The characters are well-written and I particularly like the contrast between Melaina and her wealthy relatives. I have to admit, though, that with the exception of the climax, I never really felt myself invested in the characters and what was going to happen to them.

also have to admit that I will always simultaneously love reading books set in my adopted city of Canberra and also find it a bit weird recognising all the locations. This is obviously not a criticism of the author; just an observation!


This review is part of my 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#WWW Wednesday – January 10, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I’m still getting back into the swing of things for the new year, so I’ve been a bit slow at reading. I finished reading False Awakening by Cassandra Page.  I enjoyed it but I think it suffered a bit because it had been so long since I had read the first book, so I had trouble remembering some of the details it referred to. My review will be up on Friday all being well.

I have posted three reviews since my last WWW post. Click the titles to read them:

Warcross by Marie Lu (YA sci-fi)
Vicious by V. E. Schwab (sci-fi)
Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian (YA contemporary)

What are you currently reading?

I am reading an ARC – Everless by Sara Holland. I’m really enjoying this! It’s a bit different to the usual YA fantasies that are coming out at the moment (though it does admittedly fall into some typical tropes). I love the idea of time as currency.

I have also just started The Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin. Catherine Hamlin is an incredible woman who has done so much for women in Ethiopia. I knew a bit about her but I’m interested to learn more about her in her own words.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think it needs to be Your One and Only by Adrianne Finlay, a YA sci-fi. I’ve had this ARC for a while now and it publishes in early February, so I want to make sure my review is up in time.

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – December 27, 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

I totally thought I posted last week, then I found last week’s post sitting in my drafts a few days later, which explained why no one had interacted with it. So there is the last two weeks of my reading.

What have you recently finished reading?

I accidentally powered through my Christmas books and forgot to save them for reading over Christmas! I finished both What Happens at Christmas by Evonne Wareham and Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber and I enjoyed them both quite a lot.  My reviews are here and here respectively.

Warcross by Marie Lu was next. This was fun, though it did feel a bit like a series opener. I predicted one of the twists but not the other one, and even though I called it, it didn’t actually affect my enjoyment. I’ll definitely continue with the series as it comes out.

After that, I read Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian. This was a great YA contemporary about two teens dealing with mental illness and helping each other through it. The ending was maybe not the greatest, but it was really good mental health representation (along with supportive parents and a healthy attitude towards medication, amongst other things).

On audio, I finished Vicious by V. E. Schwab. I honestly have no idea how I felt about it. I mean, it was kind of an addictive read but I didn’t agree with anything the characters did so I was constantly cranky at them… the thirteen-year-old showed more sense than any of the adults…

My reviews of The End by Lemony Snicket and Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy also went up since my last post. Click the titles to read them.

What are you currently reading?

I just started False Awakening by Cassandra Page. This is the sequel to  Lucid Dreaming which I read last year. I have only read the first chapter at the time of writing this, but I do enjoy Cassandra Page’s writing style, so I think I will enjoy it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not sure yet. I have a couple of ARCs that release fairly early in the new year so I should probably get onto  those. Not sure what I’m  in the mood for at the moment, though.

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily

Cover Reveal: False Awakening by Cassandra Page #aww2017

Hey everyone! It’s been a bit of a while since I last did a cover reveal! I read Lucid Dreaming by Cassandra Page about twelve months or so ago (review here) so I was excited to read that there’s a follow-up due out in August this year, and I’m also pleased to be taking part in the cover reveal today! Read on to find out more.

False Awakening
Cassandra Page
(Lucid Dreaming #2)
Publication date: August 2017
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Melaina, half-human dream therapist, just wants her life to return to normal. Yes, her Oneiroi father is in prison and, yes, the place she worked burned down, but she has a cute boyfriend and a new house. She beat the bad guy. She’s earned a break. Right?

Unfortunately for Melaina, people are still getting possessed by nightmare spirits; the police are investigating her past; and the bad guy’s brother, the Morpheus himself, is coming to town to demand answers. When a deranged ex-nurse checks himself out of hospital on the same day her cousin runs away from home, Melaina is dragged into a fight not just for her life but for her soul.

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Sequel to:

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Author Bio:

Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres — although urban fantasy is her favourite. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

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Book Review: Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page #aww2016

Title: Isla’s Inheritance
Author: Cassandra Page
Genre: YA/Urban fantasy
Date Read: 21/07/2016 – 22/07/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

This is the second book I’ve read by local author Cassandra Page, and I have to admit, I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to reading books set in Canberra (even if I do love recognising the locations).

At a seance on Halloween, Isla receives a strange message from a ouija board regarding her long-dead mother: “SHE IS NOT DEAD”. Soon after, she starts having strange dreams and develops a strange aversion to her father’s iron statues. Could her mother still be alive? And is she even human?

This book hosts a great cast of characters, from Isla and her dad, to the extended family who Isla lives with when she’s attending school (her father lives on a farm some distance away). There’s also Dominic, her new boyfriend, and Jack, a friend/mentor character who helps Isla come to terms with her newly-discovered identity.

The romance between Isla and Dominic happened quite quickly, but I did appreciate the fact that there was no typical mooning over the crush, like there is in so much YA. There is a bit of a Dominic/Isla/Jack love triangle in upcoming books. I’d like to hope the story doesn’t go down that route, but both some things that characters said and did are giving me that distinct impression.

The book is very easy to read, though it was one of those books were I flew through it, only to realise that not a whole lot had happened. The stakes never feel especially high, but having said, it moves along at a good pace and as you can see from the dates above, I finished it in under 24 hours. Judging by the ending, which was a little bit abrupt, the second book probably has more going on, and this one was really doing the setting up.

Overall, I can’t really say that I feel compelled to continue with the series, but I didn’t feel like I was wasting my time reading thsi one.


(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016. Click here for more information).

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 27 July, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

ashalawolfcoverStill going with the audio of Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly. It’s going on a bit, but I’m kind of at that “Well, I’ve committed now” point.

In print, I have started The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina. This is one of my Indigneous Australian author reads for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. I only started it today, but I like it so far and I’m hoping it might be the book that ends my long slew of 3-star reads and gets a four or a five.

  • What have you recently finished reading?

islasinheritanceAs expected, I finished Wonder Women by Sam Maggs, and my review went up on Monday. I do want to go back through it and note down some of the books written by the featured women and bios written about them, because I would love to find out more.

I then proceeded to finish Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page very quickly (less than 24 hours). It was enjoyable enough, but I didn’t feel compelled to continue the series.

melodybittersweetgirlsghostbustingagencycoerAfter that, I finished off Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French, which I saw on someone else’s WWW posts in the last couple of weeks. It was cute, though I did not like the love interests at all, which did put a damper on the “romantic comedy” aspect. I did really like the mystery, though.

Last night, I read the preview excerpt of Vicarious by Paula Stokes, which is available on NetGalley in the lead-up to the release next month. If I had actually read the listing properly and realised it was a preview, I probably wouldn’t have requested it, but it was interesting.

I also posted my review of Blood of My Blood, the third in the Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga, on Friday.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I also Am I Black Enough For You? by Anita Heiss out from the library for the AWW Challenge, so it may well be next. I also have a few books of my own that I’m going to try to read soon.

wednesdaybannerAnd now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one.

In this scene, Frederick has just told Grace that he shouldn’t teach her any magic, and should instead tell her to go back to her room and never think about it ever again. Seven sentences for the seventh month.

Grace looked at him with a wry expression. “You think you can just tell someone to forget about this sort of thing?”

“No,” he replied. “I know you can’t. No one can. That’s what makes it so powerful. The second you get a taste for it, it has a hold over you.”

Frederick does have his reasons for showing Grace the magic in the first place. I’m not saying they’re good reasons (in fact, they’re pretty weak), but they are reasons nonetheless.

This week I’ve been writing from Frederick’s POV, and that’s been interesting. He’s very private but I’ve managed to needle out a lot of his past, which has been good. I also had an epiphany the other day (after writing the first 16k, of course!) that the whole thing would work a lot better if Grace were the governess to Frederick’s children, rather than a maid in his household. So I’ll have to a whole lot of revision there, but that’s okay.

That’s it from me, as I have a few things I need to get done tonight. I also need to consume the rest of this delicious lemon meringue pie sitting next to me. See you on your blogs!

~ Emily

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 13 July, 2016

Hey guys. Just letting you know that except in a couple of cases, due to blogging technology being against me, I am having trouble commenting on posts on non-Wordpress blogs. I am not ignoring you, I just can’t get them to post! 😦

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

wonderwomencoverI am back to reading Wonder Women by Sam Maggs. I’m still really appreciating learning about all these awesome women who history has forgotten, but I am still a little irked by the Tumblr-esque writing style. It’s fine if I’m on Tumblr, but I’m trying to read a book. I should finish this over the next few days and hopefully have a review up on Monday.

Also just started the audio book of Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly. Early days yet, and while there are a couple of things already irking me about the writing style, I think they might stop once the story really gets going, so I’m continuing for now.

  • What have you recently finished reading?

Nothing,  unfortunately, apart from DNFing The Secret River by Kate Grenville. I was disappointed because I loved her other book, The Lieutenant, but this one was just so dull!

I did, however, post reviews both for All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga. Click the links to read them.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

islasinheritanceI’ve decided to start trying to whittle away at the unread stuff on my Kindle, and I plan to start with Isla’s Inheritance, the first in a series by local author Cassandra Page. My aim is to try to get through one or two Kindle books a month, along with everything else. I’m also trying to nut out how to approach my reading challenges in the second half of the year, so I have a few other things on my immediate radar for that.
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And now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one. I’m still sharing from my July Camp NaNo project. The night before, Frederick Merrow had been showing Grace some of his magic, which led to Grace being awake all night thinking about it, and being unfit for work the next morning. Seven paragraphs for the seventh month.

“It’s Frederick,” the voice outside replied, startling Grace into leaping out of bed. “I heard you were unwell. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Grace opened the door. She must have still looked exhausted because he took a step back to take her all in and then said, “I hope I am not to blame for your current state.”

“I couldn’t sleep last night,” she said. “I kept thinking about everything you showed me. So I suppose it is your fault in a way.”

Frederick barked out a laugh.

“Sir, surely you shouldn’t be down here.”

Frederick shrugged. “Why ever not? This is my house, isn’t it? I can go where I please.”

“Yes, but… going to the bedroom of one of your female servants. What would people think?”

That’s it from me, see you on your blogs!

~ Emily

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Book Review: Lucid Dreaming by Cassandra Page #aww2016

Title: Lucid Dreaming
Author: Cassandra Page
Genre: Urban fantasy
Date Read: 06/01/2016 – 07/01/2016
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

luciddreamingcover(Thanks to Cassandra Page and Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).

So, I have to get a confession out of the way first. Even though I knew that Cassandra Page lives in Canberra like I do, for some reason, I was totally taken by surprise over the fact that this book is also set here. Every time I recognised a location, I kind of stopped and squeed a bit. I’m sure people who live in New York or London are totally used to this, but no one ever sets books in Canberra, so that added a whole extra level of fun.

Lucid Dreaming centres on Melaina, a half-Oneiroi, or dream spirit, who works as a “dream therapist” to pay the bills. But when she treats a client whose dreams are inhabited by a nightmare creature, it draws the attention of the creatures’ master, who isn’t happy. When investigating leads to near-death experiences and her friends and family being in danger, the chase is on for Melaina to figure out what exactly is going on before her own, and others’, nightmares come to get them.

I really enjoyed reading an urban fantasy with supernatural creatures we don’t often see. As well as the Oneiroi (we meet a couple of full-blooded ones throughout the course of the book), we also experience their opposite, the Mara, and some other nightmare creatures.

I really appreciated the characters in the book, too. I’m all for a feisty character with snappy dialogue, but sometimes it wears a bit thin when every single event or comment from someone is responded to with a witty retort. The dialogue in Lucid Dreaming flows well and strikes a good balance in this regard. Dialogue also serves as a world-building device and as such it never got too info-dumpy.

There is an explicit sex scene about three quarters of the way through, which isn’t really my cup of tea. I think that’s the only thing for which some readers might require a heads-up. Apart from that, I recommend this as an entertaining, original piece of urban fantasy.

(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016. Click here for more information).