Look to the Stars – Catherine Wilson (Review)

Title: Look to the Stars 
Author: Catherine Wilson
Publisher: Catherine Wilson, 2016 (March 29)
Genre: YA Fantasy

**I received a copy of this book free from Ebooksforreview and the author in exchange for an honest review**

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

First of all, I was of course IN LOVE with this cover:


So pretty. So so pretty.

And the book was intense, and it was long…

And it was TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Ok, ok…before I go off about this book and its sequel that I must read right away, let me tell you a little story about this book:

Penelope Brave, or Brave as she is known to the people of Ashen, has lived a relatively quiet life as a princess. Within the high borders of her home, she has her papa, Emory, who cares for her deeply, and is always making sure she stays safe within the walls. She’s been raised believing that if she looks to the stars, she will see her deceased mother in the heavens, looking down on her.

But when her papa goes missing, Brave feels lost. She leaves the safety of the walls to find out who has taken him…she suspects The Lost, people who live in the woods and call her the “Cursed one.” She decides to set a meeting with a member and find out where her papa is…but what she doesn’t expect is a handsome stranger that seems to know all about her. His appearance when she’s in a dangerous spot doesn’t just pique her interest: it infuriates her. 

When two guards from Orien (one being the same boy from the dangerous night) come to take Brave to their city, Brave finds out all she has known about her life is a lie. 

Her mother is alive. Her father (her real one) is a tyrant looking for his long-lost daughter. And her papa? No one knows where he is.

As Brave prepares to make the trek to Orien in hopes of finding answers, the mysterious Aras seems to know the answers to questions she never thought to ask…

Like why was she in Ashen to begin with? Who is the man she’s been calling papa all these years?

And does she really have magic in her blood??


Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes, but it’s long. At 351 pages, and a sequel, it would be a long unit. However, it’s a saga that rivals one of my own favorites, The Kiss of Deception series. So though it would be too long to use in the classroom, it would be perfect for readers outside the classroom. I can find this to be of major interest to high school and advanced middle school readers. (I say advanced because the story is long, and there is a lot of information as the plot is heavy). I would love to read the next book and see how this series continues, but for right now I would say it would be a good recommended read for fantasy loving students or students who love princesses and magic.

Age Range 

So you know by now that Lexile doesn’t evaluate independent books, so I try my best. I would say that the age would depend on the level of the reader: there are no inappropriate scenes or swearing, no brutal or violent imagery to worry about. This book is definitely something appropriate for 12 and up, but I would steer clear of handing this to a reluctant reader because its plot-heavy. I would encourage this for advanced younger readers or readers 15 and up so the story can be followed in all its glory.

End Result:

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Loved it. 

Yes, it was long, but I kept reaching for it after I put it down. I’m dying to read thr next book, The Darkest Night, so I can know what happens next. The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger per se, but it does end on an interesting note that begs to be continued. If I didn’t have so many in the pipeline to read, I’d be nabbing the next one up right away. 

So I give Look to the Stars ★★★★★. Just like Heir of Illaria, this one blew me away. The writing is practically prose. It does take awhile to get used to the descriptive writing, so I’ll warn you now. That’s one of the reasons I suggest a seasoned reader. But the prose IS beautiful:

“Get on with it, Darcy. If you’re afraid that your very words will break me, then rest assured, for I am nothing but a collection of disheveled pieces, glued back and held together with only the little string of hope that I keep for my papa’s return. So if you’re looking to shield my feelings, looking to spare my heart, don’t bother. You see, you can’t hurt me, because I already am.”

“Your mother told us both right before she left. Do you remember what she said?” 

“Yes.” I sigh, content to never move from this spot and watch the sky for signs of my mother until dawn. “She said, ‘Look to the stars, for you’ll find me there.’”

I give Look to the Stars…

So you gonna read it now? Because I really think you should!

***On a personal note, I have been packing and getting ready for a move to Florida. Not something I want or planned. My mother used to work from home as a remote employee, but the remote positions are being phased out, and in order to keep her job, she is forced to move where the home office is in Palm Bay. I live with her so I’m going with her from my home in Michigan. This has put me very behind on my reading as I am packing and it’s very rushed. This is why I’ve been absent from blog-hopping and why it took me so long to read this. I hope you’ll bear with me as I make this transition and remember that this is where I want to be, here with my fellow bloggerinos. Please be patient with me and I will come back with some giveaways to reward my loyal peeps! We will get through this!***

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65 thoughts on “Look to the Stars – Catherine Wilson (Review)

    1. A Cameron Diaz vibe? I kinda like that…like in The Mask or Something About Mary? 🤔
      Yes, this one and Heir of Illaria have both surprised me! Where are the big pubs for these wonderful titles?? I wish more people could read these amazing books! I hopefully can spread the word as best as I can! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, love! It’s hard but I’m trying to see the bright side!
      Thank you for reading: a lot of these independent titles are really good: this one I think would be really popular if buzz got out…I can’t wait for the sequel! But I’m reading The Shadow Queen so I have to wait, lol!

      Like

    1. It should be, though honestly I like the cold. I’m from AZ and I always swore I wold never return there or move to Florida (which is just like AZ but with more humidity and bugs). But I gotta go where I can live: I can’t stay here bc there’s nowhere for me to go!
      At least there’s book events and some blog/Twitter friends down there that want to hang out…and there is ALWAYS Disneyworld, lol!

      Like

      1. Oh, well, I guess I didn’t consider the bugs. Maybe you can start your own podcast of surviving the terrible bug-ridden climate while reading. I’m sure it will be wildly popular in less buggy locales, where the people will find your bug-filled escapades amusing.

        But, if all else fails, yes Disneyworld!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. 😂😂😂
      I love it!! You’ve inspired me! It will be like an apocalyptic radio show: “Stephanie survives the bugacolypse!!”
      You made me laugh so hard…and when all else fails, yay Disney!!
      😂😂🤣😂😂

      Like

  1. Christy Luis

    Packing up is a big job! Don’t worry, we understand 😉 At least you found another 5 star indie- you really have had a lot of luck with those lately! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. You’re right, that cover rocks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It IS a big job!! I’m exhausted every day! But I’m glad my current reads are so good!
      I’m so picky with my indie reads lol! I’ve had back luck too…I tend to stop reading those and not even consider reviewing them: it hasn’t happened in awhile and that’s good. I hate having to skip reviewing someone’s book.
      I feel super bad bc a friend that’s local had her release party yesterday and I couldn’t even go! I hadn’t read her book and a lot of my promised reads have been pushed off. I try to stick by my promises and I don’t want to turn into a bad reviewer/blogger; it’s hard though when my mom doesn’t really consider reading and blogging to be as important as packing and moving, lol! 😂😫😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy Luis

        Aww, that’s so hard because I know you’re a good friend and want to keep all your commitments! I guess we can’t read everything, but you sure do try 🤓 Don’t worry, life gets busy sometimes, but things will slow down again!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh stop you! ::blushes::
      You just made my week!
      I just do want to hang out bc I know we would have so much fun! I’m sorry I haven’t stopped by your blog but I’ve saved every email of your posts so I can visit when all this craziness is over. I miss my easy blogging days. And to top it all off?
      Florida may not even happen.
      I know, right??
      I’ll keep you updated as I know more. For now, reading The Shadow Queen and I’m supposed to post some poetry bc I promised Drew and Gretchen I would! 🙄😳

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy Luis

        Whaa, FL may not happen? Oh my, keep me updated my friend! And don’t worry, my blog will still be there whenever you have time to catch up! The Shadow Queen, hm, sound like fantasy amirte?? 😀 I hope you’re enjoying it! And poetry, wow!! Definitely looking forward to that 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review for this book Stephanie, your review and the fact that you rated it so highly as well have convinced me to add it to my to-read list. I plan on starting The Kiss of Deception series this month so if I enjoy that then I know I’ll enjoy this one as well! 🙂
    It sounds amazing, and the cover is beyond gorgeous as well.
    Also I hope your move goes well. Take you time packing and getting settled, your blog and all of us will still be here when you return! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you will and that makes me feel so much better! I miss going on your posts and seeing what you’ve been up to. I appreciate that you always take time to read and comment on my posts.
      Thank you for always being positive!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooooooh, you’re super right! This sounds AMAZING! Although I kept thinking about Merida literally every time I saw the word, Brave. 😄 That cover drew me in as well, and your review totally got me hooked. I’mma definitely have to check it out. Fantastic thought and good luck with the move. D:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I’m nervous but trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
      I KNEW you would like it! I hope you read it! (It’s only $2.99 on Amazon and I plan on getting the sequel!) If you do, I want to know what you think! As always! 😊😘

      Like

  4. It’s always great to see such a passion-filled review from you Teach! 🙂 I hope the next in the series will deliver for you as well! 🙂

    You’re moving to Flo? How awesome… it’ll be all chilled out and nice weather and.. I don’t know.. I know sweet FA about America 😀 hahaha… but Florida sounds nice and I wish you and your mum good luck with the move! Keep us posted! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will keep you posted! You get the juicy deets bc you’re my FB friend. So far it’s the 20th that training starts. But she seems to be reluctant about moving and I don’t blame her: we have nothing there in case of emergency. So we are torn…but right now it’s looking 90% going and 10% staying. And 0.001% winning the lottery and not having to worry about this mess! (Sorry I had to add that 😂)

      Like

    1. It worked! It really did!
      I’m trying to stay upbeat bc my bday is Wed so I’m going to only think of the positives of FL. Disney and HP are definite pluses.
      I just can’t wait: we are almost done making the house look acceptable and the majorly personal important stuff is packed (phase one complete lol) so I’ll have a break here and I’ll be able to bloghop again! I miss it so much.
      Thanks for reading and I just finished The Shadow Queen so that will be up tomorrow! 😘😘😘

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for always coming and reading even though I’m so behind on blogging! When this is all over, I’m running a giveaway, and my frequent commenters will def get some extra entries! I love that you are so supportive!!
      I love this cover. I’m such a coverslut! 😂
      I’ll be back and commenting on your reviews in no time! Packing is almost complete and it’s such a relief (well, first phase and we are promised a break now that the house is “show ready”).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! I always love your reviews and blog post and chatting with you in the comments. 😁
        I’m the same way. More so with covers for contemporaries for some reason. 😂
        Take your time! I know how crazy busy things can get when moving because we used to move so much. I hope everything goes smoothly. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey, some contemporary books have gorgeous covers! I loved the cover for Holding Up The Universe! That and the description drew me to it!
      Thanks for always being so understanding. It’s slowing a little bit so I’ve been able to read at least! Whew!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel like I will love this book too! It has everything I usually look for: family ties, handsome strangers/enemies, mystery surrounding the main character’s own life and their path towards discovering themselves. Perfect!
    Great review, Stephanie! ❤ And good luck with your moving! Packing is always such a pain and I end up losing about 30% of my belongings along the way LOL I hope that doesn't happen to you, though (or at least, that none of those 30% are books!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my books are my life and I would be devastated! My most important ones are in my bookshelf and will be packed only when I leave. The others are in boxes and are marked.
      Thank you for reading. I think many people will love this one. Different pace than Heir of Illaria but very well-written and amazing characters. I seriously promise a fun ride once you get into it!
      Let me know if you read it! 😉😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha you seem to have it all taken care of! Go you! 😁
        I honestly think I will, I just don’t know when I’ll read it! I have so many more books I need to get to first… 😥 I’ll definitely let you know my thoughts, though! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I know the too many books feeling! I am under a big pile! I just add it to the TBR or the Amazon WL and then I know I won’t forget it. I do want to go through the older books bc my tastes have changed dramatically! 🤔😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, some of mine are SO DIFFERENT than what I’m into now! Like 2009 I was reading Asian historical fiction only! All adult. It was Hunger Games that turned me onto YA. (And Twilight tbh)

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      2. Asian historical fiction is incredibly specific hahaha I don’t think I’ve actually read any of it… But I’d love to!
        I liked THG but felt the next two books weren’t as great. I never actually read Twilight but, hey, it turned some people into readers so I’m not complaining 😉
        I read a lot of chick lit in my younger days… It was a lot of fun though! I only got into YA a couple years ago too. But I guess I’ll read mostly anything.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Oh it was super specific! Lisa See and Amy Tan and Ha Jin. I also liked Salem witch historical fiction. I read everything in that vein too. Then it was VC Andrews until I got sick of it.
      😂🤣

      Like

  6. Good luck with your moving, Steph!
    I hope you will only find happiness in Florida, along with sunshine!
    And I hope you’re mom will love it too.
    I know you said you are not too happy about it, but who knows, maybe moving away is actually the best thing that will lead you to other, better things and better life.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Steph. Tbh, I was just lazy to write anything. I guess I needed a break.
        I was active on GR though.
        And one more good thing is I finally started working on my novel, which will probably be shitty, but I’m looking at it as practive novel. 😉
        And yes, fingers crossed that everything will work out good for you and your mom! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Brave grows up and all she ever known was a lie… almost sounds like Princess of Tyrone.. hehe.. Glad you enjoyed it though.. Great review Stephanie! I have had good luck with moving. Each place I go to is better than the last. I hope it will be good for you too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have rarely moved in my life so it’s very new to me. I went from AZ to here, but I grew up in the same house for years!
      I don’t know if it’s as good as Princess of Tyrone. But it is definitely one of the best indies I have read…it almost surpasses Heir of Illaria! Almost!

      Liked by 1 person

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