Books · Reviews

Valentine’s Day Review – For Darkness Shows the Stars (Spoiler-Free)

Hello my precious muffins πŸ™‚ I hope you’re doing great and enjoying everything February has to offer.Β 

So here’s another swoony (kind of, maybe, who knows) story for all the romantic people out there 😊 (Or if you just like cupcakes and chocolate – you know, that works too!)

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For Darkness Shows the Stars

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Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion comes a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

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I read this book in a single day. Well, 95% of it anyway. And let me tell you, I don’t usually do that to books. So I knew I had something special here.

But first things first. I never read Persuasion by Jane Austen (booo), I only watched the movie (boooo) and pretty much forgot all about it (triple booo). I’m not sorry, though, and the reason why is because I’ve heard fans of the book didn’t quite care for this adaptation. I’m not sure whether my ignorance for the original material influenced my enjoyment or not; all I know is that I adored this book.

I had no idea how a sci-fi adaptation of a classic would fare but honestly, it pretty much blew my mind. I’m not going to lie: the beginning is immensely confusing and I was a bit lost seeing all this weird terminology going around. I didn’t know where the story was taking place, either, which was a bit overwhelming. But after I got past that and things were explained properly, it was all good.

Now, I’m a big fan of angsty romances, where there’s some sort of miscommunication going on and/or a big obstacle keeping two characters from getting together. This book had both so I was a very happy reader. Actually, scratch that. I was destroyed. But in a good way! In my notes, one can find some variation of “ARGHHH MY HEART” about fourteen times so if that doesn’t show you how damaged this story made me, I don’t know what will.

However, don’t fool yourself into thinking this is a straight up romance. It actually had very little romance, which shocked and delighted me in equal amounts. I mean, the reason I chose this book for a Valentine’s read was, well, because I thought it was going to be all about the lurve. But it wasn’t. Most of the story actually revolved around a much bigger picture. (Cue in the angelic choir, please).

The amount of foreshadowing in this was amazing. I had no idea where the author was going to take the plot but after each piece was revealed, I could clearly see how it fit in with the rest of the puzzle. Like magic.Β Peterfreund managed to put together such a mysterious yet fascinating world I could not stop marveling at it. I expected it to be a simple love story and then it took me completely by surprise by just how complex and intricate it was.

There were all these characters whose lives were mixed in with the protagonist’s, and every single one of them mattered. There were so many interesting backstories and subplots going on, I had no time to breathe. Sudden revelations were thrown left and right and I was basically left to fend for myself. What is going on??? I screamed internally. And then wept sorrowfully and laughed with absolute joy at the same time.

I loved every single one of these characters and how they were all so maddening brilliant and frustrating and sweet and cruel and awful and adorable… There were all these nuances to them. All these conflicting notions that played a part in their fates. It was painful. I was a simple bystander and they were all doomed and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Elliot was a strong heroine in a very unconventional way. She felt she had a duty and did everything in her power to fulfill that duty. But she knew her limitations and was smart enough to choose her battles. She wasn’t mindlessly brave. She was capable, but she wasn’t all powerful. She wasn’t beautiful and she didn’t strive to be. She knew exactly who she was and was at peace with it. She was, very simply put, human. I identified so much with her rational personality, it was scary. Her dilemma was valid and gave a very solid motive as to why she did what she did (and consequentially, why there was a story to be told). Not like most books these days where the conflict is just too weak to really sustain itself.

I also liked the love interest, even if he was a bit too aggravating at times. I wanted to slap him and tell him to knock it off! Repeatedly. But this side of him was also believable and made for a very genuine character. He was also very cute. Ahem.Β 

Now here’s the thing. I’m a fan of slow burn romances. And boy, was this one slow. As in, I went through the entire book expecting that moment to materialize and then… Well, I don’t know when exactly but at some point the tension rubber-band just snapped. My blood pressure suddenly went back to normal. And when it got to the end, even though it made my heart start racing again, it just didn’t give me the satisfaction I had hoped for.

Not to say I wasn’t satisfied. I was. But I wasn’t as much as I could have been. Instead, I was happy. I was genuinely happy. Still, there was something missing. I needed passion, intensity, just – more. I wanted to feel everything falling apart inside my ribcage. And realizing there’s no actual sequel to this where I could finally get all those feels… Just tears at my soul.

For that reason only:

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Thank you so much for reading and until next time!

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Hope you guys enjoyed this review! Have you read For Darkness Shows the Stars? What about Persuasion? Anything by Jane Austen? Let me know in the comments below! q^β€Ώ^ q

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68 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Review – For Darkness Shows the Stars (Spoiler-Free)

  1. Great review for this book Sophie, and I’m really glad you enjoyed it as well! πŸ˜€ I think one of my friends read this a while ago and wasn’t a massive fan so I never bothered adding it to my to-read list, but after reading your review I may have to change my mind about that.
    I haven’t read Jane Austen’s Persuasion, or even seen the movie so you’re a step ahead of me there. I will say I’m not a fan of angst-y romances where there are miscommunication keeping the characters apart (mostly because it makes me want to scream at my book ‘will you just talk to each other!’) but the fact that you’ve said the romance wasn’t a major focus in this one kind of makes me think I won’t mind it as much. πŸ™‚
    Again great review, you’ve definitely convinced me to check this one out someday! πŸ˜€ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Beth! ❀️
      Oh that’s a shame… I think it’s a really incredible book but of course not everyone will have the same opinion.
      Hmm then I’m not sure you’ll enjoy this one πŸ˜‚ It really is full of angst and miscommunication for days! Oh believe me, I did want to scream at the book and I did more than once hahaha But what came after filled me with so much joy I completely forgot about the earlier heartbreaking/frustration (wow, this sounds like a really bad toxic relationship right here πŸ˜‚)
      If you can overlook all of that and just enjoy the rest of the story, then you’ll be fine. Because yeah, there isn’t too big a focus on romance but it does come up on occasion and it does play a big part in the characters’ decision. It’s just so lovely, though, I can’t even explain it 😭 I’m not sure whether it’ll annoy you too much but give the first few chapters a go. If you like them, then you’ll probably like the rest of the book πŸ™‚
      Thank you again! 😊❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right! πŸ˜€
        Yeah that’s the thing, we all have our own opinions on books. Kind of nice to have that variety at the same time though.
        Well there have been books with angst and miscommunication I’ve enjoyed (well, one that comes to mind) but yeah for the most part if I want to scream at the characters it normally just annoys me too much. I mean, I’ll definitely keep this book in mind, maybe knowing going into it that there will be some miscommunication will help me deal with it without wanting to scream at my Kindle when it does make an appearance. πŸ˜€
        That’s all right! πŸ™‚ ❀

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        1. Yes, absolutely!
          Well then maybe that’ll be the case with this one (fingers crossed!) and I’d be really happy if that were true 😊
          Yeah sometimes it does get too annoying to be enjoyable anymore but if it helps, it didn’t feel like that in here. The author managed to make the characters’ personalities play in a way that makes sense for them to have that miscommunication between them. As long as it’s believable and not just a cheap ploy, I can take it πŸ˜‰
          I hope you enjoy it when you get to it! ❀️

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and either way if I do pick this one up I’ll be sure to let you know as well Sophie. πŸ™‚ It sounds like it was written in a way that won’t bug me, so I’m hopeful it won’t and I’ll enjoy the story.
            Thanks! πŸ™‚ ❀

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  2. Ooh, I’m really interested in this novel! I’ve been recommended by one of my author friends (Erin Beaty) to read Persuasion, and I love novels that incorporate intricate foreshadowing. I love those moments when you go “Ohhh, how did I not notice that?” Great review! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you should totally check it out then! Erin has awesome taste πŸ˜›
      Yeah, me too! I need my authors to be clever and surprise me in some way, otherwise it’ll just be a nice read that I will easily forget about.
      Thank you so much, Kester ❀️ Enjoy the book!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this and thought a lot of the same things. I also haven’t read Persuasion but it is one of my favorite movies. Although it wasn’t very much the same, I did like the sci-fi element a lot!I also felt that this Elliot captured the Anne Elliot of the movie. She was persuaded against her love but she did feel like she had a duty to her family to select someone that was going to bring money. Great review Sophie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah it’s nice to hear we were on the same page!
      I’m afraid I wasn’t particularly taken by the movie, which I rewatched after reading this one. So I’ll try the book next πŸ™‚ But I’m glad it’s your fave!
      Me too, it was such a nice twist πŸ˜„ I felt like this Elliot was a lot fiercer, if that makes sense. One of the things I disliked about the movie was how passive she usually was, which is of course realistic and portrays a kind hearted/lives for others sort of character. I preferred this Elliot because it felt like, despite everything, she had control of her life and was able to put her foot down whenever necessary.
      Thank you so much, Leah ❀️❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I do love a angsty romance when its well written!! So glad you enjoyed it. I need a solid focus on the romance, but I do love the dynamics of this one. And yay for a jane austen retelling, those are so fun to read!!

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    1. This one was! Trust me, even if it felt like there wasn’t a lot of romance, it did play a major role in the story and served as the catalyst for everything else. The fact that it wasn’t “in your face” all the time made me crave for it like crazy! And just as I thought things would finally settle, nope! Not yet πŸ˜‚
      So if you enjoy that kind of romance, I’d say this is definitely for you πŸ˜‰
      I don’t think I’ve read any other than this one unfortunately… Do you have any recs?

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  5. My Jane Austen professor recommended this book to me and your review made me even more excited to read it! I’m a huge fan of adaptations (particularly Austen adaptations) so this should be right up my alley πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool! I’ve seen it quite under the radar so I’m glad it has caught the attention of formal teaching professionals πŸ˜„ And thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it ❀️
      I’m a huge fan of adaptations myself and thought this one was brilliant, despite not having actually read the book.
      Would you mind sharing some of your favorites? I’d love to try more but I don’t really know where to begin with Austen… πŸ˜…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely! Most of them are pride and prejudice because that’s my favorite…
        – heartstone by Elle Katharine white (p&p retelling with dragons!)
        – eligible by Curtis sittenfeld (p&p modern retelling)
        – pride and prejudice and zombies (totally ridiculous and totally fun)
        – austenland by Shannon Hale (not technically a retelling but it’s about a woman obsessed with Austen)
        – death comes to pemberley (I haven’t read this yet but I watched the BBC series, which was great)
        These are just the books… There are so many more amazing adaptations out there beyond these πŸ˜€

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        1. Ah thank you!! These sound amazing πŸ˜„
          I did know about P&P and Zombies, of course, but was unsure about it. I’m glad it’s worth the hype!
          I’ve watched Austenland, the movie, once and thought it was pretty cute. I had no idea there was a book, though.
          I most definitely will give these a try sometime! Thank you for suggesting them to me ❀️❀️

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  6. Oh my goodness I need this book in my life!!!! I LOVE slow burn romance, hence why I love everything Cassie Clare writes…plus the ANGST. I also love when it isn’t centered on romance, I prefer it to be a little thing on the side that you get little bites of. This is a BRILLIANT review, I am going to be keeping an eye out for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You do!!! You have no idea how good it is, it TEARS at your heart and doesn’t give you time to nurse it back to health…
      I wasn’t aware Clare was a queen of angsty/slowburn romances? WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL THIS TIME?? 😦 This needs to be fixed ASAP.
      Yes, that is the way to go! I also love when the author makes me crave for it so much it physically hurts hahaha
      Thank you SO MUCH, Steph ❀️❀️ Your comment made my day! And I hope you enjoy it, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your review was great, the book sounds very good, but that cover? I like that cover for sure! I don’t normally go for covers with people on them, but this one is a big exception!
    I wonder how I’d feel about the book. I haven’t read Persuasion either, but I have seen the movie. I didn’t care for it too much. There are other Austen film adaptations I absolutely love, so it wasn’t just that I don’t like Jane Austen. But, ah well. Maybe this one would be a big hit with me, too? If I ever see this edition anywhere, I think I might just pick it up for the cover art, and then end up reading it as well. πŸ™‚

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    1. Same here! It was just so beautiful it caught my eye instantly ❀️ Unfortunately, there seems to have been some controversy surrounding it as some people felt it was whitewashing (the author later made a statement on her website about it and things seemed to have been cleared up in the meantime). Nevertheless, I find it gorgeous!
      Same here… After I rewatched it, I didn’t really see the appeal and thought this book was much better. Shocking, I know!
      Yeah, if that’s the case then it’s not Austen’s fault hahaha
      I hope you enjoy it! I feel it’s such a lovely read and very well written. There are so many angles from which one can look at it, it’s brilliant. And of course, that cover 😍

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah that’s great! Yeah, gardening is one of the many activities one can engage in and listen to audiobooks at the same time, no problem. I usually do that with house chores as they require very little focus. I can get through a full 3h read without even noticing, which is amazing.
          Good luck with the weeding!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Raven! Is it? Aaahh that’s awesome, I’m glad we share the same opinion πŸ˜„
      I haven’t read either of the original books but I do love retellings or at least, stories loosely inspired by them. Slowburn romances are the best ❀️
      Do you have any recs I could borrow?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The tension rubber band snapping is the perfect analogy for when the will they/won’t they goes on for too long. At a certain point your brain just can’t take any more, I think. It’s a hard balance to strike! That said, if it’s based on Persuasion I can kind of see why it would be that way – Austen’s version is much the same. Though Anne’s reasons for ditching the guy in the first place weren’t that great. It was all very 19th century of her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! And it’s a bit of a shame when authors miss their perfect moment and instead allow too much time to pass, rendering the whole thing quite anticlimactic.
      Yeah I realised as much after rewatching the movie the other day… She was too meek of a character for me to enjoy… Elliot is much fiercer and made me want to high five her a lot hahaha Anne sort of paled in comparison and, again, because Elliot’s reasons were consistent, it made for a much more credibly “impossible” love story, which in turn fueled the angst factor 😊 Something this girl could appreciate it immensely!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t read this one yet, but it has been on my TBR for quite a while! I have also never read Persuasion and had no idea this book was a twist on that tale! Lovely review, Sophie! You truly made this book sound captivating and oh-so intriguing! I do love myself a good slow burn, especially if it damages the heart like you said! I’m really excited for this one, hopefully I can pick it up soon! l

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh you have to, Rendz!! If you love slowburn romances and an intricate story with a sci-fi setting, then this one is for you ❀️
      My heart was damaged beyond repair after this one, for sure! I wanted to cry for these little cuties 😭
      I think it’s best if you go in with no knowledge of Persuasion. Fans of of the original weren’t so keen on this, and non-fans seemed to love it a lot. So maybe give it a try only after reading this one πŸ˜‰
      Thank you so much ❀️❀️❀️ And I hope you enjoy it! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  10. GAH SOPHIE THIS REVIEW! I actually have this book from my library to read as one of my backlist books, I have started it yet, but what incentive! Full of subplots and a slow burn romance (I love the really slow burn, lol) and all manner of conflict plus characters that make sense… and are cute! LOVE IT! I hope I love the book too… I don’t mind if it isn’t like the classic… I actually think that would be fun, to guess where the changes are. YAY, IM SO PUMPED TO READ THIS NOW! β™₯️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Dani! πŸ’•πŸ’• Hahaha oh you need to start reading NOW, like right now. Seriously, it’s amazing and I need someone to fangirl with πŸ˜‚ (you’re free to come throw tomatoes at me later if you don’t end up adoring this!)
      If you love the really slow burn, oh you’ll love this one. It is SLOW πŸ˜‚
      Keep that in mind because I don’t think it’s anything much like the classic, except for maybe the romance element. It’s a very loose adaptation.
      GO FORTH AND READ IT MY CHILD! Go go go!! ❀️❀️❀️

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  11. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, even without having read Persuasion! I love angsty romances too (that’s why I love the original) and it’s so cool that it was such an emotional read (cos the original is too- sorry I keep comparing it!!) Shame it ended up dropping some of the tension just at the end, but it still sounds like a great romance. Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it was a really gripping read and I loved everything about it, basically. I think not having read Persuasion helped hahaha
      I do think both stories have their merits but personally I might have been able to relate with this one better. It has the “modern” twist while still keeping the core of the original material. Plus, the romance is kind of in the background and allowed for a lot of craving on my part.
      Ah yeah, the tension build up was a bit anticlimactic at the end but it was still enjoyable and one I would read again πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much! Do you plan to read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts as someone who’s read Persuasion too 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Another awesome review! I might have wanted to read this one if it had more romance, because I’m not much of a sci-fi fan. Sounds interesting that it was inspired by Persuasion, which I haven’t read either. YIKES!

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    1. Thank you, Denise! 😊❀️
      It does have enough romance, it just isn’t completely focused on it. I would say the sci-fi element is not very prominent either. It feels like a period storyline for the most part, but with a few futuristic elements here and there.
      I would say give it a chance! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great review, Sophie. I’m not a romance reader – honestly, I can’t handle “angsty romances, where there’s some sort of miscommunication.” But you almost convinced me! Almost! I like Jane Austen and sci-fi, so it was tempting. I’m glad you enjoyed the read.

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    1. Thank you, Diana! Hahaha yeah, they’re not for everyone but they’re my personal guilty pleasure 😊
      Well I tried πŸ˜› And it’s definitely an interesting mix, one I’ll look out for in the future. Maybe I’ll find something that’ll suit you then πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m so glad you could really enjoy and love reading this romance book! I have read Persuasion but I actually don’t remember very much of it. Although I think it is okay it was quite a forgettable read? However, I don’t mind loose retellings or adaptions. I’m not sure what I’ll think of this. I think I would be able to get through the confusing beginning no problem because I have a lot of patience when I start a book. But I’m not a huge fan of miscommunication? Unless there is a very good reason for it. Which has me wondering when it comes to this book. But I like the sci-fi genre and it sounds like the characters really grew on you and you emotionally connected! Which has me interested πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Olivia! Hmm I think it was justifiable because of their age and the fact that they were still a bit immature? And there was pride involved as well. It was really nice to see them progress and grow as people throughout the story, and their misencounters only made everything more satisfying in the end (even if it wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped).
      So yeah, I highly recommend it all the same πŸ™‚ The plot is really clever and the character dynamics are interesting. If you enjoy sci-fi then you will most likey enjoy this. It was a very interesting blend of genres because it reads as a period drama almost but has the futuristic elements.
      I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh what an incredible review, Sophie – you certainly made me want to add this book to my TBR right now! I am not too much of a fan of angsty romance, but well… it depends on how it’s done and, the fact that this book doesn’t entirely focus on it all kind of makes me want to pick it up even more? If that makes any sense? πŸ˜›
    Thank you so much for sharing this! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks so much, Marie! ❀️ I think you would definitely like it as the romance is quite subtle and not overwhelming at all. The story itself and other character dynamics were so interesting, they pretty much made the book 😊
      Hahaha I get what you mean complete! And I can only hope you do enjoy it if you decide to try it. Thank you for reading! ❀️❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I have this book on my wishlist since forever, but I am really happy that you enjoyed it, because I added it just for the cover… it’s amazing and I am shallow this way πŸ˜‰ But now that I read your review I may have some more reasons to read it, beyond the amazing cover! πŸ™‚

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  17. I actually haven’t read Persuasion yet. I’ve read Austin – P&P, S&S, and Northanger Abbey. But never Persuasion. Now I’m interested in this because I do love JA, soooo much. I didn’t know about this book and a scifi adaptation of a JA classic makes me swoon already.

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  18. Sounds like an absolutely wonderful slow-burn romance, Sophie. I haven’t read or seen Persuasion, sooooo we can get BOOO’ed together for that. πŸ˜› Can’t say I’ll see myself reading this anytime soon, but I did love reading your thoughts on it and how it made you feel. How these characters seemed so real and didn’t do things that made you question their thoughts and behaviours was quite reassuring too. Great review, Sophie! πŸ˜€

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    1. It was! Hahaha and yay, I don’t feel too awful now πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Yeah I don’t know if this would be your type of read at all… Probably not! But I’m so happy to hear you still enjoyed the review 😊 That’s really nice of you!
      Thank you so much, Lashaan! πŸ˜€β€οΈ

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Great review! I’ve actually had ‘Across a Star-Swept Sea’ by Peterfreund on my to-read list for ages (I can’t even remember what prompted me to add it anymore), and I only just realised from seeing your review that it’s not the first book in the series but the sequel to this book!! So thank you for alerting me to this fact… maybe I need to start with this one instead? Not sure how connected the two are…

    I’m also super surprised that you say this is not romance heavy – like you I presumed this series was 100% romance. That said, I don’t mind light-on-the-romance books if they have other interesting things going on, which from what you said it sounds like this one does, so I’m okay with that πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you so much, Nicola! Hahaha well that happens πŸ˜›
      I actually don’t think they are connected, it’s more of a spin off with different protagonists but the same world. Which I was really upset about because I wanted more of these characters!!
      Regardless, I really liked Peterfreund’s writing and will want to read this sequel of hers. In fact, I’ll want to read more of her books in general. You can say she really made an impression!
      I think you can definitely read one without reading the other, but it might be helpful to follow the order just because of how the world is introduced. It’ll make more sense that way. And because the story was so amazing and not that heavy on romance, I would say it’s the perfect one for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah okay well that makes sense if the order doesn’t matter so much, maybe that was why I added the 2nd book without realising it… but after your positive review of this one I think I will start with this first one anyway and then continue with Star-Swept Sea later if I feel like more. Even if it is not the same characters it is nice to be introduced to the world in the right order πŸ™‚ I’ll be curious to hear what you think of the sequel too once you get to it!

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        1. Yes, you definitely should do that if you’re so inclined! I’m sure you won’t regret it πŸ™‚ And I’ll look forward to your thoughts on it!
          I’ll be sure to post a review of the second book once I’m done 😊 Hopefully by that time you’re already done with the first!

          Liked by 1 person

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