ARC REVIEW: We Awaken – by Calista Lynne

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Title: We Awaken
Author: Calista Lynne
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publish Date: July 14th 2016 
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Finished reading: June 27th 2016
Pages: 180
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“You know your sexuality isn’t set in stone. There are more things than just gay or straight. ”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Harmony Ink Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I was immediately intrigued when I first saw the cover and read the blurb, so when I was able to get a review copy at Netgalley I decided to read We Awaken straight away. This novel by Calista Lynne has the promise of a realistic fiction story with a paranormal touch and main characters exploring their asexuality. Especially the last part caught my attention, since asexuality isn’t something that has been written about often in YA novels as far as I am aware. And I think this interesting topic is probably the strongest feature of We Awaken, because I found the other elements kind of lacking. The story had a fast pace, the prose was easy to read and I liked the descriptions of the dream world in the beginning. I also liked the general idea behind the plot, but I wish there would have been more focus on the after effects of the accident and the dream world itself and less on the romantic scenes. Because if I have to be honest, the romantic elements are what most bothered me about this story. First of all, the relationship between Victoria and Ashlinn felt too much like insta-love; their relationship evolved so quickly that it just wasn’t credible anymore, especially for a confused teenage girl who hasn’t had any previous experience with love. The romantic babbling between the two definitely made me enjoy this story a lot less, and the scenes mostly felt awkward, forced and unnatural. The exploration of asexuality is actually quite well done, but I felt it was kind of buried under the other romantic scenes/dialogues. I probably would have liked the story a lot better if there would have been a better balance between the actual plot and romance scenes, because both Victoria’s life and the idea of two ‘creatures’ creating dreams and nightmares sound truly intriguing.

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After her father died in a car accident last year and the same accident left her brother in a coma, Victoria Dinham feels like she doesn’t have much left to look forward to. The only thing that keeps her going is her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory… But then, just before the audition in New York, an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn visits Victoria in her dream with a message from her comatose brother, claiming the two are friends. Ashlinn has the task of creating pleasant dreams for humans, while her counterpart creates nightmares… And soon Victoria finds herself looking forward more and more to her dreams with Ashlinn. In Victoria’s mind the two are starting to become close, and she is finally able to understand herself and her sexuality better with the help of the asexual Ashlinn. And then, when Victoria needs Ashlinn’s help outside the realm of dreams, she suddenly appears in front of Victoria in human form… But aren’t dreams too good to supposed to last forever?

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There is no doubt that the general idea behind the plot of We Awaken is very interesting, and I really liked the fact that it incorporates a topic that you don’t come across often in YA fiction novels: asexuality. Like I said before, that is probably the strongest feature of We Awaken, because unfortunately the story itself didn’t live up to my expectations. There was so much focus on the romance scenes that the balance with the main plot was lost, and the romance itself felt mostly unnatural, not really credible and awkward. The pace is fast though and romance fans might still really enjoy this read.

WWW Wednesdays #97 – June 29th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have actually almost finished All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda already and will do so after finishing this post, but technically I’m still currently reading this… This book is without doubt one of the best mystery/thriller books I’ve read so far this year and a must-read for fans of the genre! I’m also in the middle of Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate, which I picked up on a whim and I’m enjoying so far despite a few flaws. I haven’t made much progress with Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain due to the Netgalley books, but I’m continuing it as soon as I finish the other two current reads! And I’ve decided to put all fantasy reads on hold until I’m in the mood for the genre again…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I already knew Hitman Anders And The Meaning Of It All probably wasn’t going to be as good as Jonas Jonasson‘s other book The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared, but that doesn’t take away the fact that I was REALLY disappointed by this read. It was boring, had flat characters, wasn’t funny, it took me ages to finish and I actually thought of DNFing it at one point. More details in the review that will be published later today.
* I also read We Awaken by Calista Lynne, which unfortunately turned out to be another disappointing read. I loved the cover, the blurb and the fact that it talks about asexuality, but the rest of the book just didn’t convince me. It was a fast read, but that didn’t make up for the flaws. More in my review…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as I finish my current reads, I will pick up my oldest ARC: Cascadia by H.W. “Buzz” Bernard. It promises to be an adrenaline-filled suspense story about the after effects of extreme natural events (in this case a massive earthquake and tsunami), so I’m definitely looking forward to it. I also still want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys… And the Netgalley ARC Last To Die by Arlene Hunt is also on my list. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz