Sunday, September 29, 2013

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

Some Quiet Place
by Kelsey Sutton
Read: September 23 - 25
Published: July 8th 2013 by Flux 
Source: Library
Category: PNR, Horror elements, YA
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.

Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?


Elizabeth Caldwell is a high school girl living on a farm with her family in the Midwest. But nothing is as simple as that. Elizabeth lives in a world where Emotions and Elements have literal personifications. Maybe it's our world too, because she is the only one who can actually see them. Although Elizabeth knows what Anger, Guilt and Courage look like, she can't feel any emotions. They don't affect her at all. In an effort to hide her emptiness, Elizabeth carefully fakes appropriate reactions around her family and at school. But they all know something is different about her anyway. Elizabeth doesn't have any idea why she is like this, but she thinks it has something to do with strange dreams she keeps having.  

Fear is fascinated by Elizabeth, and determined to get a reaction of her. So he visits, bringing illusions of terror that would have the strongest among us begging for mercy. But nothing works.  I really loved the imagery in this book, especially when Fear visits. We are able to experience Elizabeth's lack of emotions in a nearly tangible way. I could sense the absence through her. She faces truly horrifying situations in this book - some from her real life and some Fear's illusions - and instead of being scared or angry or sad, Elizabeth thinks clinically about what the most appropriate reaction should be in that moment and executes it accordingly. There's something eerie about the wrongness of how she responds, which sets a great tone for in the book. 

In Some Quiet Place, Elizabeth works to discover why she is the way she is. I think the author did a great job of slowly unraveling the mystery surrounding Elizabeth. Information comes out at a good pace and there are many pieces that surprised me along the way. This book is pretty scary in parts, and turns up the horror notch as well. But it also contains some raw and powerful emotions, which may be surprising since Elizabeth cannot feel.

Despite everything that I enjoyed about this book, I had issues with a few elements. The first is the presence of a love triangle. Although I understood it to a degree - with Elizabeth lacking emotions, it is hard to for her to figure out what she actually feels about others (or what she would feel if she possessed emotions). I didn't think it needed to go on so long, and I didn't fully buy the justification for it in the latter part of the book. However, I still didn't feel overly threatened by the triangle. Thankfully, it didn't quite make it to the "I love you, but I love him more," status that is the kiss of death for me. 

I also had a big problem with Elizabeth's school nemesis Sophie, aka "The Mean Girl." She was so over the top that her behavior irritated me more and more the further into the book I read. Even with her background, I couldn't believe her actions. 

Some Quiet Place has a strong beginning and possesses fantastic imagery all the way through, but it began to follow more of the standard Paranormal Romance plot elements as it progressed into the second half. This made the book less interesting in my opinion. I will admit that part of this transition for me has to do with the triangle. I also felt like some things got drawn out unnecessarily near the end. However, as a whole I enjoyed Some Quiet Place and I am interested in the sequel. 

Love Triangle Factor: Mild that felt medium at times
Cliffhanger Scale: Low. Part of a series, but book 2 may be a companion? 

Book 2 is called Where Silence Gathers and it will be published July 0f 2014. "Kelsey Sutton’s follow-up to SOME QUIET PLACE (Flux, July, 2013), set in the same world of personified emotions, in which a girl wanting revenge on the man responsible for the death of her family is influenced by both Forgiveness and Revenge and must ultimately choose which path to take."

Friday, September 27, 2013

On Banning Books


We're nearing the end of Banned Book Week. I know it's an event that happens every year, but I never remember when it falls. If I'm being honest, I usually let this week pass me by without thinking about it much. I know that sounds terrible, but I think it's because I've never felt like book banning has affected me personally. I've been thankful to live in towns with libraries that circulate what I want to read. 

I spent a lot of time at the library as a child, and my mom was always active in my reading life. It was right around my Boxcar Children reading phase, when she started inducing me also to read classics in my free time. That is to say, that I've always felt encouraged to read and explore the world of literature. My mom monitored what I read to a degree, although she wasn't unnecessarily strict about it. But I see a big difference in your parent thinking a book isn't age appropriate versus a book being unavailable because it has been banned by your town. 

You know the first time I even realized that people ban or even destroy books the don't like, was when I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I was obsessed with Harrison Ford as a child...but I digress. In the movie, Indy goes into Nazi infested Berlin and witnesses a book burning before getting his father's journal signed by Hitler. I remember asking my dad why on earth people would burn books? I was horrified! Although that is an extreme example, towns and cities in America and in other places in the world are still making executive decisions about what books should and shouldn't be on their shelves.

This year I took a look at ALA's list of the 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990 - 1999, because that's the time period when I truly began to read and love books. As I went through the list, I thought about what would have happened if my favorite childhood books had been banned in my community? 

Then I actually saw two of my favorite childhood books listed. To Kill A Mockingbird and A Wrinkle in Time don't have all that much in common, but they both captured my heart and imagination, and made a huge impact on my life as a reader.  In fact, To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite book. Ever. The idea that it might not have been part of my childhood is fairly horrifying. (Did you know that James and the Giant Peach, A Light in the Attic and Where's Waldo? are also on that list?)

I don't really have anything hugely profound to say about this topic, except that I hope you take a moment this week to do as the banner at the top says, and "celebrate the freedom to read," and be thankful for the books in your life. 

On an unrelated note, sorry I've been low on reviews this week. I've been reading but my review schedule got knocked out a bit. I'll be back again next week. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Roc Books

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine 
that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read.

This week I can't wait for: 
Roc Books
(Science Fiction/Fantasy imprint of Penguin)

I'm actually not all that familiar with this imprint. Roc is an adult division of Penguin and it appears to be a younger sister (or brother?) of Ace, which is a big Urban Fantasy publisher - Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris and Ilona Andrews all have books published through Ace. 


Honestly, I just picked Roc Books because I wanted to highlight this beauty. Murder of Crows is the sequel to Written in Red, which I read and loved this year. I am salivating for this book, but I'm also enjoying learning about new imprints. 

by Anne Bishop
Published March 4, 2014

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

What books are you waiting on this week? 

Are you waiting on anything specific from Roc?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

Sequel to Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi

2) Scarlet 
Sequel to Cinder
by Marissa Meyer

Sequel to Finnikin of the Rock
by Melina Marchetta

Sequel to The Thief and The Queen of Attolia
by Megan Whalen Turner

Sequel to Grave Mercy 
by R.L. LaFevers

6) Haze 
Sequel to Shadows 
by Paula Weston

Sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor

Sequel to Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo

9) Sequels by Gayle Forman

10) NO, I haven't read this yet:
by Tahereh Mafi

I'm hoping this sequel is the best thing I've ever read. 
But I'm also preparing tissues and a lighter just in case I'm wrong and Ignite Me becomes a literal statement. #TeamAdam

What are your favorite sequels?

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Holly Black
Read: August 31 - September 2, 2013
Published: September 3, 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Reader
Source: BEA
Category: Vampires, Horror, YA
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Official Summary: Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black. (From Goodreads)


When The Coldest Girl in Coldtown begins, Tana has just woken up from a night of partying with her friends. She apparently slept in a bathtub, although she doesn't remember how she got there. This is mildly alarming. However, when Tana discovers that nearly every other person in the house has been brutally murdered by vampires, she soon determines that where she slept off her hangover is the least concerning thing in her life. Narrowly escaping the massacre, Tana somehow ends up on a road trip with the two other "living" people left the house, her ex-boyfriend Aidan, who's been infected and is starting to crave blood, and somewhat inexplicably, a chained vampire named Gavriel. 

Whenever I read a vampire book and the undead are portrayed as a hidden race living on the fringe of society, I don't understand why these powerful creatures aren't out in the open trying to take over the world. Aren't they stronger and faster and more durable than any human? Thus, I'm always fascinated and a little giddy when a story puts vampires out in mainstream society. I was especially excited that Holly Black let her vampires loose in modern America. 

What would happen if vampires were unleashed in our celebrity and reality TV obsessed nation?  How quickly would we become desensitized to blood drinking, and murder if it was broadcast live over the airways, and becoming a vampire was seen as the ultimate death experience? I really liked the ways this book looked at our culture, and the fact that Black was not shy about the gory details. The more I read, the less I was freaked out by the blood flow, which I think is the point.

Tana lives in exactly this kind of world. However she's never gotten into the vampire hype until she is literally forced into it. She ends up on a surreal road trip with Aidan and Gavriel, heading to one of America's Coldtowns or walled cities for vampires, infected humans, and anyone else who wants to get in on the action. 

Tana drove me crazy at times. I didn't always agree with her choices. But I respect the fact that that she was always true to herself. She did what she thought was right without much if any waffling or questioning. Although I was sure I'd loathe ex-boyfriend Aidan when the book started, he really endeared himself to me throughout the course of the story. But the person who stole my heart was Gavriel. Of course he's a beautiful vampire and can be charming, but Holly Black doesn't romanticize him much beyond that. Gavriel is dangerous and also possibly insane. Tana knows she shouldn't trust Gavriel, but she's drawn to him, and goodness so are we. Gavriel's role in this story is my favorite. Beneath all that wildness is someone with whom Tana finds a connection, and their slowly building romance was truly wonderful. 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is primarily narrated by Tana in third person, but every other chapter is shorter and features background/side information. The alternate chapters recount Tana's history, or other information about characters or themes in the book. This story actually has a fairly large cast of colorful characters besides the three main road-trippers. While I think these sections were vital to the telling of the story, they did slow down the flow of the book for me at times. 

I read the entirety of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown with a vague sense that I was waiting for something to happen. Perhaps that's the nature of a book that features a road trip to a town where people are either dead or on their way there, living in a perpetual state of limbo before death claims them.  I know this is not really anything that I can quantify or explain, but I felt slightly unsettled while reading this book and not in a pleasant way. However, I do think there were two reasons for this feeling.

The first is that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is very much a bloody, atmospheric vampire tale where the setting is as important as the story. Holly Black is commenting on our culture and the role of vampires in it. It's not a book that works well if you're speeding through it to find out what happens next, although it did keep me turning pages until the end. As Steph pointed out in her review, I'd probably enjoy more on a second read. It's a book that has the potential to get richer with age and a closer look. 

Second, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is not about big revelations or getting from point a to point B although there are both in this book. But I think that's also the point. No matter what happens to Tana, what she does or what she becomes, she remains fundamentally the same person. I really like how this message played into the overall vampire themes. 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a beautifully written tale for anyone who still enjoys a good vampire book. It also features a really great ending. Although there is room for a sequel, I hope that Holly Black doesn't write one (she has said this is a standalone). Not because I wouldn't like more story, but because I think another book would water down its impact. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater
Read: July 8 - 10, 2013
Published: September 17, 2013 by Scholastic Press **UPCOMING**
Source: From publisher at BEA*
Category: YA, Fantasy
Series: The Raven Cycle 2

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after... (From Goodreads)

NOTE: The Dream Thieves is the second book in a series. See my review of book 1, The Raven Boys, HERE


I read The Dream Thieves back in July, but for some reason my brain is having a very difficult time distilling this story into an appropriate form for a review. It's not that I don't have any thing to say about it. In fact, The Dream Thieves has induced one of my longest and most extensive email book discussions, but because of that, and it's location in the middle of a four book series (or cycle), I am having trouble writing about it without wanting to just talk about everything that happens with exclamation points!!!

The Dream Thieves is book two in the Raven Cycle. While The Raven Boys began slowly and then halfway through the book - BAM - revelations came fast and furious as the pace increased, this one features a steadier balance of action and revelations that carries through the entire book. As the title and cover indicate, The Dream Thieves is very much Ronan's book. We delve deeply into Ronan's mind and family, and find out some truly delicious and heart breaking secrets. Like pretty much everyone else, I fell hard for Ronan in this book. 

Adam also gets a fair number of important moments in book two, which I'm very thankful for because after the end of book one, it was anyone's guess what role he'd play in the future. Sometimes I think it still is. However, in The Dream Thieves we're given a better picture of what the events near the end of The Raven Boys will mean for him in the future. Like Adam, I finished reading book two much more settled about his purpose in this group. Although, admittedly I am still a tad worried. I tend to think of Adam as the ticking time bomb of the operation  His direction seems stable for now, but you never know when he might go off and change the course of the series.  

For those of you who are as crazy as I am about Maggie Stiefvater's ability to build romantic tension between her characters - you know the kind that starts so subtly and is paced so carefully that you don't notice it until the characters are so crackling with tension, you think the book might catch on fire - we get some developments on that front as well. Stiefvater is a very clever in how she paces her romances, and The Dream Thieves includes some deliciously quiet scenes between our budding love interests. If you are fearful of a huge love triangle, Stiefvater is true to her word and I don't see that being an issue. That doesn't mean there won't be any romance induced drama, however. 

While The Dream Thieves may be weighted more towards Ronan revelations, I think what is most exciting about the book is that we are finding that these characters journey to discover Glendower isn't just Gansey's quest any more, although he is still at its heart. The same major players are all fully invested - Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Blue and Noah - and every one of them has something at stake. But even more than that, a connection to Cabeswater and the ley lines extends beyond those 5 to include both Blue's family and also Ronan's. Plus some truly fantastic new characters who are quickly becoming favorites. Be on the lookout for Kavinsky and Mr. Gray especially. I hope they surprise, delight and horrify you as much as they did me. Basically, Maggie Stiefvater is brilliant at adding layer upon layer of plot and characters to her story. 

In The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater has once again proven her ability to string together fantastically complicated plots and interconnect a cast of characters who at first appear to be completely unlinkable. We now have so many plot pieces and characters happening, that I can't wait to see how they'll be thrown together next. However, it is Stiefvater's small personal scenes that are her true superpower, transforming her stories into magical experiences with wonderful character depth. Two stand out to me in The Dream Thieves. The first is a beautiful and bittersweet scene that features smudgy Noah. The other is The Gansey Family's attempt to be helpful. One made me laugh, the other tear up. But they're two examples of why I love Maggie's writing so much, and why she'll forever be one of my favorite authors. 

Love Triangle Factor: Mild
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Disney - Hyperion

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine 
that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read.

This week I can't wait for: 

 I'm still trying to learn all the publisher and their imprints, something I was completely oblivious to before I was a blogger. To help me out with this process (and you too, if you're anything like me), I wanted to start using my WoW posts to highlight upcoming books from specific publishers that I'm excited about reading.


I love that when you get to the point where you're awaiting book 4 of a series that is actually really book 9 in an over all story world, everyone else anticipating the book is a fan and knows it's going to be awesome. But I also know it can be daunting if you haven't started the series yet. All I can say is that I love Percy Jackson and I can't wait to see what he does next.  

(The Heroes of Olympus #4)
by Rick Riordan
October 8, 2013

Description: At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.


I actually have this book in my possession, and keep telling myself "what are you waiting for?" But I want to LOVE it so much that I am fearful to start it.  

by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
December 10, 2013

Description: It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.


Jennifer Armentrout has been hit or miss for me recently. BUT this one definitely has me intrigued. I'm pretty interested in the amnesia plotline, even if it's been done before. Hope this one pays off!

Jennifer L. Armentrout
April 15, 2014

Description: Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash. 

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?


This one doesn't have a cover yet, but I'm completely salivating from the description. It seems Disney-Hyperion has been attracted to space travel recently.

RC Lewis

Princess Snow is missing.

Description: Her home planet, once known for lush landscapes, is now filled with violence, fear, and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. King Matthias will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a ship crash-lands near her home piloted by a mysterious young man named Dane, Essie agrees to help him repair his craft. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid.

In her enthralling debut, R. C. Lewis weaves the tale of a princess on the run from painful secrets—and a poisonous queen. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

What books are you waiting on this week? 

Are you waiting on anything specific from this publisher?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Across A Star-Swept Sea 
by Diana Peterfreund
Read: August 25 - 27, 2013
Published: October 15, 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Source: BEA - directly from the author. THANK YOU Harper Collins*
Category: Sci-fi, classic retelling, alternate future world, YA
Series: For Darkness Shows The Stars book 2
Find me: Goodreads | Amazon

Official Summary: Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine. (From Goodreads)


Persis Blake lives on the island of Albion, which very much resembles the natural beauty and climate of Hawaii. During the day, Persis is a frivolous and fashionable socialite, who has nothing more to do than gossip and host lavish parties. But at night, she is secretly the Wild Poppy, undertaking dangerous missions to free the oppressed people of the neighboring island of Galatea. If you know anything about the French Revolution, when the aristocrats were persecuted and murdered for their excesses, you have a good idea about what is happening on Galatea. Throw in a drug that is being used by the revolutionaries to damage - or Reduce - the aristocrat's brains, and the circumstances on Galatea have become even more dire. 

Persis Blake is so good at her facade that very few remember that she used to be the brightest in her class, which is exactly how she wants it. When a handsome Galatea medic, Justin Helo, seeks asylum on the island of Albion, Persis somehow gets roped into pretending that he's her new boyfriend. She's also determined to maintain her socialite cover with him, no matter how much she wants to show him how intelligent she is. Although Justen is upset with his country's revolution, he still has his own secrets and Persis isn't sure she trusts him, even if she may be falling for him. 

Why does being a kick butt heroine almost always come with a poor fashion sense? If you're smart and clever and good at taking people out, you can't like pretty dresses and want nice hair (although usually those girls mysteriously have great hair anyway)? I think that's why Persis Blake is such a brilliant heroine. It's clear that she really does enjoy dressing in fine things and is an excellent source for fashion advice. But she's also clever enough to realize that few people think it's possible to like clothes and also plan secret rescue missions at the same time. Not only that but Persis has no problem dressing like a man if the disguise calls for it, and she isn't afraid to her her hands dirty. 

Even Justen Helo, the brilliant revolutionary scientist that somehow to both of their bewilderments ends up having to pretend to be Persis' love interest, is almost constantly underestimating her. That's because he doesn't know about her secret life as the Wild Poppy, and only sees the shallow girl she pretends to be. The delicious thing about their romance is that it's very clear to everyone else how compatible they are. Against their better judgement and mutual dislike at times, Justen and Persis start to fall for each other too. I really like the way this romance is set up. Justen is attracted to socialite Persis, but he doesn't think he could ever be with someone as silly as her. But we all know that she's exactly the girl that he wants. Also, for all of you still bemoaning the fact that there wasn't an ounce of kissing in For Darkness Shows the Stars, I am thrilled to say that it factors into this story. 

Although Across a Star-Swept Sea is written in third person and follows several voices, it is primarily Persis' book, and I really felt for her throughout this entire story. Because her role as the Wild Poppy must remain hidden behind a careful facade, very few people are able to see the real her. She is also facing some sobering medical issues that are affecting her family, but she's not allowed to share them either. And though she is a girl who is independent, industrious and brighter than most, she lives in a society were women do not have many rights in society. Within this sun drenched island setting filled with beautiful dresses, futuristic technology, secret missions and political intrigue, is a relatable story about one girl who has shouldered a great deal of responsibility. 

Across a Star-Swept Sea is the second book in a companion series and I was surprised and delighted by how For Darkness Shows the Stars connected to the story. I really enjoyed the scientific and moral debates between both stories. Where the upper class in For Darkness Shows the Stars have shunned technology, they have embraced it in Across the Star-Swept Sea, both decisions have positives and consequences. This book also has a really fascinating political atmosphere. As a take off of The Scarlet Pimpernel, the revolution happening in Galatea resembles the French Revolution. But with the medical technology present, it is more complex and applicable to our lives in the 21st century. 

The biggest trouble I had in reading this book was orienting myself into the world. Learning all the names for the cool gadgets and how they operate was quite confusing at first. I actually think this book would have benefitted from both a map and a glossary. In fact, I looked for one numerous times just in case I missed it. (EDIT: Check HERE to see a map of the layout of Galatea and Albion. Also the prequel The First Star to Fall has a map AND a glossary. Make sure to read them first!) I also thought the momentum at the end of the story slowed down a bit when several characters has lengthy reflection scenes in the form of inner monologues. My favorite by far was Justen's. But I'm not sure they all needed to be so extensive. However, those are really minor set backs. This book is worth the trouble to engage in it, and I thought it was delightful overall.

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: It appears this may be the series conclusion, which is a huge bummer, because I think there's lots more story to tell!

*Received in exchange for an honest review. 

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