Toward a Secret Sky – Heather Maclean (Review)

Title: Toward a Secret Sky
Author: Heather Maclean
Publisher: Blink, 2017 (April 4)
Genre: YA Fantasy

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

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

My Review:

Sorry I have been so quiet lately. If you are active on Twitter, then you will have seen that I was in a car accident and the car was a total loss. Mainly bc of the airbags, bc when airbags deploy, they are like $3,000 to repair. Add that up when the car is a 2003 and you’ve got yourself a lost cause.

I’m ok. Just a little banged up. It was my mom’s car, which made it so much worse. Dog jumped out in front of me and to avoid it, I hit a pole. (My insurance company advised me to kill the animal next time because then it’s covered under “comprehensive,” so I guess they don’t want the dogs out there to live! πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚)

Anyway, now I’m back and I’m here to review for you one of the prettiest books I’ve seen…and that’s saying a lot! 

I mean, the cover is stunning. The Rose emblem against the sunset? It makes me want to weep, it’s so beautiful! Have you heard of this one? Did you miss it? Heather is a local author, I found out later, but when I saw it on Netgalley I wished for it, and my wish was fulfilled! Then Heather sent me my own physical copy with some cool book-related swag! 

Anyway, let’s get down to the book…I’ve missed writing reviews! (I’m reading a lot of Netgalley books to catch up so you’ll see some spring titles mixed in with newer ones in the coming months πŸ˜‰).

We meet 17 year old Maren after she’s lost her mom, the one constant in her life. Though her mom travels and is busy at work all the time, she always tries to make special time for Maren. But now that Maren’s mom is gone, she is shipped off to Scotland to live with her dad’s parents, or her paternal grandparents. Growing up, she’s never met them: her mother told her that they didn’t like the fact that their son married her. 

Now Maren is the new girl at a Scottish school, and the only thing left of her mother’s possessions is a strange Rose necklace hidden in a wooden box. As Maren tries to make friends and fit in, she runs into a girl who has the same necklace: both girls are orphans and both have parents who were killed…but the girl seems to know more about Maren’s mom than Maren herself. 

Maybe Maren’s mom wasn’t really a systems analyst. Maybe she was part of an international organization. 

And maybe that international organization worked with a more paranormal clientele. 

One thing she uncovers? The cute guy hunting in the Scottish wood is not human. And since Maren can’t mind her own business, he’s become her personal bodyguard. Though I guess there could be worse things than being protected by a sexy angel while demons come after you…right? 

As Maren learns more, she uncovers a war that’s been going on for ages…Angels and Demons, and her parents right in the middle of it. And she has information that is very important – important enough to put her right in the crosshairs. 

As Maren and her guardian angel Gavin try to get the info to the right people, Maren realizes she’s doing the one thing she really isn’t suooosed to do during the craziness around her….

She’s falling in love…with an angel. 

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes and no. It’s a cute and relatable book, and it’s definitely appealing for the YA audience: romance, intrigue, and clean enough to keep any concerns at bay. There are some interesting cultural facts about Scotland that are educational, and the culture clash would be a nice feature for the classroom. Also, currently it’s a standalone, so there’s no cliffhanger to make it confusing. 

However, there really isn’t anything to anchor it into curriculum material. It might be a good book to include in your classroom library (I already have it there), but I couldn’t see a unit built around it. It’s possible, but it would be quite hard. I would leave this one more for recreational reading, but I would definitely point the students in the direction of this book: I would recommend it to all my high school readers who love contemporary with a dose of fantasy, and vice versa.

For classroom use, I give it β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†: you theoretically could use it, but I wouldn’t and there are easier and better choices. Leave this one to outside and recreational reading. 

Age Range

I’m starting to get annoyed at how many books are left off the Lexile website. Luckily, because this book is so clean, it’s easy to recommend for readers 13 and up. I wouldn’t recommend too young because of a particular scene where Maren is almost taken advantage of, but it’s also not explicit and just simply warns about the dangers of parties. I can comfortably suggest 13 and up, and the book isn’t complicated so even a reluctant reader should enjoy it. 

End Result:

I wanted to read this and it didn’t disappoint! I do wish there were more paranormal instances in Toward a Secret Sky, because I really loved the angel and demon dynamics. I wanted more of that. I feel the correct categorization of this book would be paranormal and not fantasy, as the majority of the book is our contemporary setting – there just happens to be Angels and Demons. I’m a bigger fan of heavier fantasy. However, I still liked Heather’s book, and would love to get more from a sequel. 

As it stands, it appears to be a standalone, but Heather alluded that there might be more for Maren. I certainly hope so. It felt a little quick…though that could have been me tearing through the pages as well. 

I would recommend this more for a fan of lighter fantasy than, say, epic fantasy. Definitely a good paranormal romance. If you like your love forbidden, this is the book for you! (I’m such a Romeo and Juliet fan it’s sick…but I’d totally rewrite it to where Juliet wakes up and says, “Psyche!” amd they run away together. Anyone want to do that for me?)

I give Toward a Secret Sky three and a half stars, but that’s not the world we live in, and only whole stars reign supreme. So I have to round it to β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†. 

So that means…

Now, I happen to have an extra copy of this book…I found one at my bookstore (an ARC) and was thinking, if you guys were interested, in setting up a Rafflecopter giveaway for it…but only if you guys would be interested? 

Tell me in the comments and if you would like to read this, in my next review I’ll put up the giveaway for this book! If not, I can always do it on Twitter. So please tell me if this sounds like a book for you! 

This is what I received from Heather…would you like a copy, too?

I’ll leave you with pictures of my car after the accident…have a great weekend, my bloggerinos! 

Drive safe: DO NOT HIT POLES!!

54 thoughts on “Toward a Secret Sky – Heather Maclean (Review)

  1. I’m glad the angels are on your side and I’m glad you’re okay. Its a beautiful cover, Heather the author is so generous. I’m not a big fan of fantasy but I like your review for the book and it didn’t bore me. Please stay safe, your bloggerinos love you a lot

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! One of the sweetest comments I’ve ever received!! Yes, the angels were on my side. Thank goodness.
      I’m glad you are one of my bloggerinos!! I love meeting new book buddies. 😘❀️❀️❀️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was scary! Airbags are the worst too. They hurt more than the accident itself.
      I feel really bad bc it wasn’t my car: I wish it had been. But I’m glad I’m ok and I’m glad my mom isn’t going to kill me…for now…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Yes, I think the book is just so pretty and I love the bookmarks she sent me. She also sent me tea which I don’t drink, so I was thinking of including that in a giveaway with the book.
      I’m so glad I’m ok: just sore. Made me behind on everything too. Playing catch up now! πŸ™„πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How fun! You should totally include the tea in your giveaway! Loads of readers love tea! Including me. πŸ™‚ It’s crazy how much a car accident just wrecks your body. You’ll get caught up. Don’t even worry. All that matters is that you’re okay.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! It was a scary situation and I have had so much support. My dad laughed and said the pole must have jumped out and hit me…all I know is that if I had been more awake, maybe I would have just ran over the dog, but I’m kinda glad I didn’t at the same time bc I would have been devastated. It’s a neighbor’s dog that runs amok and the police knew exactly what dog was the culprit. I don’t want to hurt any animal. 😭

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my word, you were in a car accident? How horrible… and yes, it is a universal thing to rather hit the animal (unless it’s a moose or something) to stay safe yourself but I think it’s just an automatic reflex to try and save the live being in front of your vehicle anyway!
    Glad you’re not hurt worse, though! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! I would have prob done the same thing if it had been a deer though most people hit them.
      With my luck I would be responsible for killing Bambi’s mom!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Thanks for the concern. Now to get my mom a new car bc once the airbags go off, the car is totaled if it’s not brand new – it was still nice but too old to put money into, according to the insurance company. However, if I had hit the dog, I would have been covered! How wrong is that?!? πŸ€”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I’m glad you picked it up! I would love to see what you think of it!! I think it’s pretty enough just to have on a shelf of beautiful books!! 😍😍😍
      I hate that I was in an accident – been accident free for years now! What’s weird is that most people, after an accident, are hesitant to drive afterward. I never have had that problem…I think my brain blocks out the fear!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your accident! Your car looks like a wreck! I’m glad you’re feeling better now. I’ve heard of this book but I’m not sure that I would totally love it. I’m glad you read it and enjoyed it. I might give it a shot someday! Nice review! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yeah, it’s more of a light fantasy and I’m a bigger fan of heavier fantasy myself.
      I hate that it’s wrecked bc it’s normally a beautiful car. I wish it had been my car and not my mom’s bc she still was making payments. I also wish the airbags hadn’t gone off bc then it prob could have been fixed. Oh well.
      C’iest La Vie! (Is that how you spell it? πŸ˜‚)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooo I really liked this book! Great review!
    And I’m so relieved to hear that you are okay! I’m so sorry about the car and stuff though, that really sucks (but to be honest I’m kind of glad you chose to avoid the dog).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I am too. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise!
      I’m definitely going to do a giveaway then bc it’s not everyday I have an opportunity to share a beautiful book from a Michigan author! And I’m glad you liked it too!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh god Stephanie I’m so sorry to hear about your accident. I’m glad everyone is all right, and I would have done the same, swerved to avoid a dog even if the insurance company advised differently. πŸ™‚
    Great review for this book, I feel like I saw a lot about Towards a Secret Sky around the time it was released but nothing really since then. It sounds like an interesting read though so I’m glad you enjoyed it. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s almost like the book disappeared and no one has heard of it.
      Thank you so much – I know you care and it means so much to me. I wish you were closer and we could just hang out and I could complain to you! πŸ˜‚
      You’re one of my best virtual friends! Don’t ever go anywhere! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well hopefully your review will get it a little more notice again. πŸ™‚
        That’s all right, and yeah it would be great if I could live closer to my blogger friends. Until then at least we can chat thought WordPress. Don’t worry, I’m definitely not going anywhere! πŸ˜€ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review! This sounds like such a cool book – I’d never heard of it before, but I’m really curious now. I’ll have to hunt a copy down at some point.

    Sorry to hear about the car, but glad that you’re alright! While I’m not surprised that they told you to hit the animal next time, that’s rather sad 😦 Mean insurance people!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The insurance people ARE mean!
      I’m def thinking of doing a giveaway for my extra copy…I think this book got pushed under the radar with all the Spring releases. I would love to spread the word about it again: what better way to do that than a giveaway?? I think I’ll set that up now that I’ve heard enough people express interest in reading it! Yay!
      (Now remember if an animal jumps out in front of you, you better hit it or the insurance company will yell at you. 😝 to them!)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shannon! It’s a nice one for sure.
      I wish they hadn’t totaled the car: I think that airbags are overpriced and shouldn’t make the car worthless. Now it’s going to an auction where someone will get a good deal (if they know how to work on cars) bc the body and interior are perfect. And yes – thanks, State Farm! Not going to drive around killing animals anytime soon! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


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