Lesbian FF&P -- Cole rescues Ava, a pilot from the Cloud City of Easton who crash-lands near her farm, setting in motion events that will alter the course of her life. It’s a hundred years after peak oil and the rich have risen above the Earth, inhabiting great Cloud Cities, while those left behind live a rural existence, off the grid. After suffering a vicious attack, Cole is transported to the Cloud City of Easton for emergency surgery. While recuperating and adrift in the unfamiliar social landscape of Easton, Cole begins a journey of discovery. When she meets Audrey, a beautiful doctor, the attraction they share is penetrating and possibly life altering. Explosions, staged by a ruthless underground movement, nearly bring Easton to the brink of collapse. The crisis that rocks the city forces Cole and Audrey to weigh what truly holds meaning and what each is willing to sacrifice for love.
Missouri Vaun is a two-time Golden Crown Literary Society award-winning lesbian romance writer published by Bold Strokes Books. SLOW BURN is Vaun’s latest novel. Can a healing wildfire fighter and a not-lucky-in-love artist find love despite their inner doubts?
Vaun spent a large part of her childhood in southern Mississippi, before attending high school in North Carolina and college in Tennessee. Strong connections to her roots in the rural South have been a grounding force throughout her life. Vaun spent twelve years finding her voice working as a journalist in places as disparate as Chicago, Atlanta and Jackson, Miss., all along filing away characters and their stories. Her novels are heartfelt, earthy; speak of loyalty and our responsibility to others.
After a misunderstanding with her best friend, Ava takes off from her cloud city in her cruiser to get some head space. While flying her cruiser loses power and she crash lands on earth. Cole sees the light coming from her ship and goes to investigate. Ava is not quite as please to see Cole as Cole would have deemed polite. Cole is 22-years-old now and helping Vivian and Ida run the farm.
This installment has a much stronger sense of science fiction than the prequel does. The cloud cities are smooth and shiny, in direct contrast to the rural, unmechanised, damaged earth. Like The Time Before Now, this story is more about the romance with a sci-fi backdrop than sci-fi with a romance. While there is a reasonable impression of how things have changed and how the cloud cities work, it still doesn't feel embedded in the story.
I enjoyed the romance and story around it even though it followed the same instant attraction theme as the prequel.
There’s something about the book description, not that I could point at what I mean, that always both drew me to the book and kept me from actually starting it. I did previously read the prequel to the series, though, a good long while ago. It’s more of a vague memory at this point, though.
So – as the book description notes, this book is a two person point of view book that involves something of a clash of cultures, cultures that haven’t really interacted with each other in about a hundred years. The culture of the sky cities and the culture of the ‘groundlings’ (when oil began to reach critical low levels, the rich 1% blinked, realized they needed to do something, created an alternate energy source, used it to float cities up in the sky and abandoned the ground to the 99% rest of humanity and cut off connections to those people; naturally, then, the two culture’s languages diverged to the point wherein . . . okay, no, both can understand the other without any problem what-so-ever beyond finding the other’s ‘accent’ and ‘way of talking’ to be . . . ‘cute’; oh and I lied about the two person point of view thing).
Ava, sky-person – citizen of Easton, is a pilot. After almost fucking her best friend, she flees as she always does to avoid conflict and possible conflict. She ‘needs some time to think’. She hadn’t intended that time to involve being on the ground – because earth bound people are scary and everything down there can and will kill her (at least that’s what she’s been told since birth)), but she also probably was not in the correct state of mind to be flying. Or trying to fly. The book starts with her crashing . . . gently into the earth. Near where the . . . another point of view character was fishing.
Cole . . . well, fishes. Works on a farm, does earth based stuff like that. While finishing up fishing she notices a red glow in the sky. That’s the sun setting, though the way things were worded, I expected it to turn out to be Ava’s ship, but whatever. Eventually she notices ‘lights’ nearby and investigates. Whereupon she finds a downed cruiser. And someone inside. Glancing briefly at the thing, she instantly knows how to open the hatch, and does so.
Ava, naturally, flies out of the hatch and pummels Cole’s nose to the point of blood flowing. Eventually Ava realizes that, despite what she was taught, Cole doesn’t actually wish to eat her or do evil to her. After wiping her nose, Cole invites Ava back to her place to spend the night, since its dark and stuff and they need the light to fix the ship.
Ava and Cole give flirty kind of looks to each other. Me being me, I didn’t actually read the full book description (or any, I mean, I had already read the prequel and had an idea what the book should be about) so I overlooked the part where the book description openly and bluntly notes that it isn’t a romance about Ava and Cole. Oops?
I knew ‘something’ was up when Ava rushes a dying Cole (there’s a lot of that kind of thing going on in this book; I mean one or another character in extreme danger; and/or dying) back to the sky-city and . . . . well, was it before there that the third point of view suddenly started? Crap, I think it was before there. I didn’t need to mention dying Cole. Ah, whatever.
So yes there are actually three points of views in this book. Groundling Cole, sky-city citizen and pilot Ava (and native of Easton), and medical doctor Audrey (and citizen, I think, of Easton, though she’s from the sky city of London).
Despite my rough shod review, the book was actually quite interesting. There was a weird mix of chemistry – not-chemistry going on though (I don’t mean between Audrey and Cole, I mean between everyone and everyone; it’s like every character’s chemistry level with each other character – at least in terms of the main characters needed to be mentioned – like how Jess is probably ‘okay’ but she hangs out with Margaret, who Cole finds creepy, though Margaret keeps throwing herself at Cole anyway (that’s part of the chemistry etc. As in, Jess and Cole have a certain amount of chemistry but . . . not the right kind? Margaret fancies Cole but Cole doesn’t; everyone assumes Audrey and Ava will eventually hook up but . . .etcetc)).
I lost track of what I was attempting to say. *glances at clock, sees ‘8:37 pm’, grunts at not being to blame time*
Book was interesting. There’s a lot of sex in it. Somewhat more in the thinking about it way, though plenty of the action kind as well.
This is more of a romance book set in a future science-fictiony world, than a science fiction book with a thin romance plot.
I just finished 'All Things Rise' and it is certainly one of the best love stories I have ever read. My heart is still pounding and my eyes are still tearing, but the love I feel is so thrillingly alive. By the way, this is a rather ingenious story from the future, too, with concepts and constructs that will have me pondering for many days to come. Most assuredly, this is one story that should definitely not be missed. Enthralling!
Cole, Ruth Coleman George, resides on the planet Earth. Interestingly, Cole's life and family bear no resemblance to the remaining bogeymen that supposedly roam and pillage the few enduring habitable places on the ground according to the folks populating the cloud cities. Additionally, Cole is truly a treasure of a woman. She seems to have no pretenses and is astoundingly open and forthright. Hardworking and accomplished in many of the skills apparently needed to run a farm, she lives with her two aunts. Curiously, Cole is the central character in both instances when cloud people end up on the ground and someone has gotten seriously injured. During both occurrences the outstanding love story I referenced earlier has opportunities to flourish. I really do love Cole. Joyous epitomization!
Audrey is a doctor doing primarily general practitioner work. What appears to happen is something akin to a magical connection when she first meets Cole. Add the intensity of how they respond to each other as they get more and more intimate, and almost everyone around them sense this couple is sublimely special. However, Audrey lives in a cloud city and Cole is totally melded to the places and people on the ground. There is no connection or interaction between these two locales. Given that reality, Audrey simply cannot comfortably visualize herself relocating. The implications are simply staggering. Yet Cole is everything she has ever dreamed of as a complete partner. What a profoundly disconcerting dilemma. Painful ultimate obfuscation!
There are fantastic interplays between various characters. Plus, life centered within the cloud cities and life on the ground has absolutely no communication, no interrelationship, and heaps of misinformation. That dynamic in and of itself is shocking, jaw-dropping, and stunningly not the main focus of the book but incredibly significant. So do enjoy the setting and the tension, but envelop yourself in the extraordinarily beautiful love story. Spectacularly delightful!
NOTE: This book was provided by Bold Strokes Books for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.
3 1/2 Stars. This is the first Vaun book I have read and I enjoyed it. It had a cool dystopian, futuristic type feel. The whole floating cities was a great idea. There is 3 main characters, so it throws a little bit of a wrench into the romance. All of the characters are tied together and you are not sure who is going to end up with whom. The pairing that does take off, I really liked. The connection was obvious as was the chemistry. They do fall in love pretty quickly, but it worked in this book. The sex scenes were pretty well written too, nice and steamy. The one main character, who was left alone, I did feel sorry for her. I'm hopeful she will have a chance at love, in a future story. I absolutely liked this enough to read the next few books in this series, and I'm looking forward to it.
This could have been a unique reading experience, but it ended up spending too much time on the romance and not enough time developing the dystopian setting that could have provided a lot more tension in the plot. Because of that imbalance, this ended up feeling like a typical romance in a different setting, but with no real reason for that setting to exist. That said, I liked Vaun’s writing, and given that this is a series, I’m hopeful the other books will utilize the setting more.
"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love."- Albert Einstein
Ruth Coleman George or Cole has lived all her life on the ground with her aunts Ida and Vivian. when a cruiser crashes near their farm, she meets and rescues Ava Wayne, a commercial pilot. while getting used to her new surroundings, Ava witnesses an attack on Cole. Ava takes her immediately to the Cloud City of Easton for emergency surgery where Cole later encounters Dr. Audrey Jameson. the meeting of these three women from two different worlds triggers a series of events that will change their lives forever...
the futuristic world that author Missouri Vaun has brought to life is as interesting as it is plausible. the sci-fi aspect, though, is not hard-core which makes for easy reading and understanding of the technology prevalent in the cloud cities. this element served as a backdrop only which was good because the focus was really on the dynamics of the characters especially Cole, Ava and Audrey - whether they were interacting on the ground or above the clouds.
from the first page to the last, the writing was just perfect. Cole's insights shine with intelligence no matter how simple her perspectives are. Ava and Audrey's ruminations speak to everyone who has ever fallen in love or is in the process of doing so. another thing i found interesting was the speech made by Meredith, an anarchist. it was brilliant, powerful and intense.
aside from the romantic angle, i also loved how the author explored themes of contrast throughout the book - natural versus synthetic, flight or fight, solitude or companionship, love or lust, instant gratification or long-time commitment, tradition versus progress, the masses versus the elite, etc . in light of this, even details - no matter how minor - like colors, lighting, clothing, food, beverages, transportation, textures, crowds and nature are highlighted and given significance.
All Things Rise was a surprise read for me. when i grabbed an advanced copy from NetGalley, i thought it was an mm sci-fi romance but it was exactly the opposite. it was about women loving other women.
this lesbian romance novel was a first for me. i never imagined i would enjoy and like it so much. it went beyond my expectations and i found it informative and enlightening as well.
sometimes mistakes can be good.
Disclosure of Material Connection: i received a copy for review. i did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was i obligated to write a positive one. all opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. this disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
This is a very simple love story, with no complications at all. I think the book summary is very misleading though. It makes the book sound like a huge futuristic adventure with hard choices and what have you, but it has none of it, lol.
What it has is a very straightforward love at first sight - country girl meets city girl in city, both fall in love almost immediately, city girl leaves country girl, city girl becomes miserable, city girl moves across the world (or in this case from the cloud city to the ground beneath) to be with country girl, and HEA ensues. :)
It's really a four star book for me, but it's simple and easy to read, and I like Audrey, so considering it's a debut book, bonus star to make it five. :)
Two different worlds meet each other. One coming from the floating city and the other from the ground. It was the simple life versus a manufactured life, real food vs. sterile food. There was an immediate attraction but the barrier was very high. It was all complicated but true love knows his ways. The author takes you right into the story. You didn't want to put it down. It was a fantastic read and I highly recommend this to all of you who loves romance, hot women, beautiful surroundings and a superb storyline. You won't be sorry for getting this book.
This is the fourth book I've read by Missouri Vaun and unfortunately, it was my least favorite so far. I love when Vaun pairs romance with historical fiction but when she enters the realm of fantasy or Scifi, I just don't think she does as good of a job.
Unlike in her historical fiction romances, where the background characters and setting feel rich and drawn out, the imaginary worlds she creates fall flat and empty, as do the supporting characters.
Of course, the focus is always the romance but in "All Things Rise," there's a huge catastrophic event that occurs and the aftermath is never explained, nor how one of the main characters handles drastically changing her life. I'm not buying the neat resolution because a lot of things were never explained nor resolved.
I'm giving three stars because I'm biased in Vaun's favor but I think this particular story is really closer to two stars...
Prior to writing this review, I discovered that Vaun and Paige Braddock (author of Jane's World) are the same person, which adds to my bias in favor of her. I will continue to read and expect more from her romance novels!
(Review given in exchange for pre-reading on Netgalley)
I loved the idea of this book- a divided world where people from both classes rescue each other and learn about each other's worlds. And the characters were pretty good, the romance was hot, and overall the worldbuilding was solid too. Although I think it might be something that would fit better in a movie or comic than a book, where the visual contrasts could be more striking. (I also wonder why the ground classes lost ALL technology, but then, that was necessary for the plot)
But the exposition got very awkward a lot of times, and the dialogue sometimes felt odd. Stilted, with too much explanation/exposition that didn't sound realistic. The political conversations in particular sounded like a generic outline of the sorts of rhetoric you'd hear from different types of people. There was a line that went something like: "You seem to want to 'help' me even though you won't take my opinion into account when it conflicts with yours." It's an explanation of a conversation rather than an actual conversation.
And suddenly abandoning the buildup of politics and class struggle in the middle for utopian farm life- what's that supposed to say? I like slice-of-life things a lot, but why set up so much conflict if it never comes to anything? Are conditions in both worlds going to change, or are they going to stay the same? Even if the anarchists/rebels were obviously wrong and violent (and I liked the twist on revolutionaries-are-always-right you typically get in dystopias), there are also obvious problems in both worlds. Ava's textbook classist views ("lower class people are where they are because they didn't work hard") didn't get challenged. And even if Cole admitted there were problems on the ground (like medical care and transportation), she never tried to help them.
I suppose the way Easton recovered from the terrorist attack without class changes is more realistic, but it didn't feel like a science fiction story's world.
I might be coming at this from the wrong angle, and I feel that things shouldn't be criticized on the basis of "I expected something different", but my personal opinion is that I wanted the girls to work together to improve their world and solve issues, and that opportunity was abandoned for farm life and (admittedly very nice) sex scenes. There's a lot of people who'd like the plot as it turned out more than I did.
And I don't think I agree with Audrey's need for "love at first sight." I would have loved to see two characters draw close over time, finding things in common and ways they work together and little things they love in each other. But again, that's a personal opinion.
On that note, I did like the creation of a dystopia-style world that wasn't quite as black-and-white as others. And so many ladies, and normalized queerness!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Another hit released from the Bold Strokes Books family! Described as sic-fi-lite by the author don't be fooled by the premise of a futuristic world with advanced technology. This story is all about connections, love, and human emotions in general. Well-written with characters that felt real enough to touch or call in the middle of the night, this was a lovely story about how two people can overcome huge obstacles, fears and adversity to make, what is in my opinion, one of the purest creations to ever come from the human race: the relationship. Definitely a novel that I recommend to anyone who loves lesbian fiction, I give it a raving five stars!
Giving it two stars instead of one because queer books should exist. I loved the idea of this one but I feel it was under-developed in a number of ways and ideological in a way that didn't work with the setting. I suspect the intent of the author was not consciously ideological but when you sanitise a huge gap between rich and poor and an environmental catastrophe that causes huge loss and even deaths of the poor and then have a technofetishistic future that requires no adjustments or learning from said catastrophe, use propaganda to demonise the people and lifestyles left behind and yet somehow the malcontents in this society are the bad guys?????? Don't get me wrong I agree that blowing shit up is wrong but the way this was constructed and portrayed was very problematic.
Then I also felt the world-building was sloppy. There were some interesting ideas around natural vs synthetic food but what was said in one chapter was contradicted in the next. Ava's culture shock was also undeveloped and sanitised, she was a bit surprised that's all but not overstimulated, terrified or found tastes and smells hard to get used to. Then there was an oddly conservative Christian thread which initially I liked but it fed into a romanticised ruralism (which ignored the stuff around Cole getting injured in the first place). I just felt like the ingredients were there for something way more nuanced and interesting and I wondered if a word-count or time constraint were to blame for the half-heartedness of some of that.
I also didn't really gel with the characters. Both Cole and Audrey are generally accepted by third parties (ie other characters) to be uncommonly "hot" and attractive. I personally don't like that but I tried to ignore it as I know a lot of people do. They fell hard for each other for no reason apart from hotness, a few times they admit that even though they have had sex and feel they belong together forever they have never had much conversation. To me this is problematic (and a wearying trope). I didn't dislike either of them too much apart from finding them a bit too glossy and unreal but I loathed Ava. She seems so selfish. I also felt the way Margaret was portrayed was slut-shaming and didn't add anything wholesome. Now if she and Ava had hit it off and either had a mutually satisfying one-night-stand or even had she followed Ava back to the clouds I would have found that cooler. You need conflict, but this wasn't....just nah.
I think speculative fiction is really hard to write so I have empathy for the author. I do still think we need more queer speculative and solarpunk books. There is worse stuff out there than this (cf divergent) so....I guess 2 stars. I mentioned divergent to show that my opinion does not always align with the majority so...
This wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be sadly. The first 60 pages felt all wrong for the central relationship of the story where it concentrated on Cole and Ava rather than Cole and Audrey (the actual pairing), which made the start feel like a plot device to simply get Cole into the cloud city. After developing the Cole and Ava plot line it's suddenly ripped apart by the insta-attraction between Cole and Audrey and the focus shifts. I felt like I was starting the book again.
I didn't really feel the division between the cloud cities and the ground either. They are supposed to be wildly different, separated by 100 years of advancement in the cloud cities for the rich while the poor live off the grid and are supposedly worse off. TPTB in the cloud cities use all sorts of propaganda to prevent people returning to the ground, it's contaminated, poisoned, full of bandits etc. But it didn't seem particularly difficult for Ava to come and go as she pleased in her little cruiser. No technology was tracking her, nothing prevented her communications, she was never punished for going to the ground (even though we know she was punished for just flying at low altitude previously), no scanners picked up any kind of 'contamination' on her cruiser or her when she returned to the cloud city. She also spent 2 days eating a vastly different diet (real as opposed to synthetic) on the ground and never even got a stomach ache. I just didn't buy it.
The writing was ok. I found a few typos and misused words, like wondered instead of wandered; there was some repetition that got on my nerves. I think I counted the word 'door' 8 times in 11 lines. There was also a lot of telling which made it hard to emotionally engage with the characters and made their interactions fall flat for me.
Overall, I found this a kind of bland read. It could have been so much better if the world building was a bit more believable and the characters better expressed.
3.5 Could have gone deeper into characters, and the two cultures. The romance was a bit to much of what my mother called "love before first sight". Glad to note this seems to be the first in a series, so maybe that deeper exploration will come in later books... Not sure I am going to be standing in line for the next volume, though.
This book was good but I think it could have been better. The main characters were doing it so much there was no actual character and relationship development. Like sure they find each other really hot, but the emotional part was lacking. I didn’t find it very convincing.
The story takes place in an post-dystopian future where the wealthy build floating cities. Now humanity is divided into those living on the ground and those living in Cloud Cities.
Cole, a girl living on the ground with her two aunts, finds the crash side of a pilot named Ava and offers her to stay at their house. The girl from the clouds and Cole are quick to develop a friendship. When Cole gets attacked by an insane woman Ava flies her to a hospital in the floating City where she can get the medical attention she desperately needs. Up in the clouds Cole meets Ava's friend Audrey, a doctor who sends off butterflies in her stomach. It doesn't take long for the sexual tension between the to be acted upon. Neither expected a bond to form so fast and dread the future where they either have to say goodbye to each other or one has to give up life as she knew it. Is the presence of the other worth an uncertain future?
The book was a very slow read for me and I had to drag myself back to it. Waiting for something to happen. It felt like a small and lazy wave liking at my feet but what I wanted was more than just the tiny, comfortable trickle. Alas, no wave sweeping me off my feet. The potential for it was there. The author fed me crumbs that left me hungry for more but didn't follow through with a full meal. The lies about the danger of the ground, the rebels...They intrigued me but oh well.
The blurb seems to promise action and plot twists. If you want either of that don't read the book. There isn't really any action or suspense, It's an easy read with no heavy emotions or deep plot. Maybe a good recovery story if you just got gutted by another book and can't handle anything demanding or heavy at the moment.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
100 years after the collapse of big oil and industry, humanity has fled the ground for the skies. Living in floating "cloud cities", they eat synthetic food, wear synthetic clothing, and live a peaceful life. Ava, a pilot, flees her city in an effort to clear her mind after a botched attempt at intimacy with a long time friend. She crashes into the ground, and meets Cole, a young woman who helps her aunts run a farm. Ava quickly learns that everything she has learned about the ground life is false. Upon being gravely injured, Cole is whisked away to the cloud city for medical attention. She meets Audrey, the friend and failed relationship of Ava. A strong connection binds them instantly.
So...what we have here is a " surprise, imagined love interest is not" followed by the "love at first sight" cliché followed by "gasp, the people different from me are still people?!" cliché followed by the "this is for your own good because you're obviously not smart enough to make decisions for yourself, you inferior being" cliché with bits of gratuitous sex in between.
Points off for massive overuse of "cloud city", " boyish and boyishly good - looking" as descriptives. Warnings for : descriptive sex [between women] and repetitive adjectives.
Great book!! It’s been a while since I read a story that was so engaging and heartfelt. All Things Rise impressed me with well-drawn characters, interesting visuals, and some of the best love scenes I’ve ever seen. As a straight male, I normally wouldn’t be seeking out this type of book, but as a sci-fi nerd, I really enjoyed it!
Vaun does a masterful job of developing her characters from the inside out. We feel what they feel, their conflicted natures, their fears, their quiet, unspoken truths. If you’re a reader that loves a little heartbreak mixed in with kick-ass adventure, than you really need this book! You will not be disappointed.
Man, what a fantastic debut novel! I'd been anxiously awaiting it's release and read it from start to finish that first night. There's nothing quite like a tender lesbian love story...except maybe one set in the distant future like All Things Rise. Missouri's voice is fresh and her story is engaging. Her characters are well-developed and lovable. This author may be the new kid on the block, but judging from this novel, she's the one to watch!
What a great story and romance. Amazing is the best description I have. All Things Rise is a story you will enjoy getting lost in. I'm excited to read more from this author. At first I thought it was sic-fi but it really isn't. If you like sci-fi, you'll still enjoy this read. I highly recommend it. Very well written and will keep you turning pages. The only disappointment I had was that it ended.
I really enjoyed the story, the characters were likable and the pace was steady. Like in many cultures today people tend to judge others before getting to know them or experiencing their lives. I was happy with the outcome for Cole and Audrey and hope to be reading Ava's story soon. Great work.