Cover Image: The Sea Within

The Sea Within

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this one. The story and world building were really interesting and the romance was well done. A great sci-fi romance read.
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3.5* – It’s 2089 and the world is on its last legs. Besides humans, not much life is left, and what is left is not exactly enjoyable. Eliza ‘Elle’ Graham is a paleobotanist looking for a cure in the planet’s past. Jackson Drake’s wife died trying to save others, and the last thing Jackson wants is to fall for another woman willing to sacrifice herself to save the world. So when Jackson’s new mission is to take Elle back to primeval Earth to retrieve, she vows to keep things professional.

Missouri Vaun has a way of setting the scene in a couple of sentences that I’m in awe of. In just a few words, she conveys the way the air smells, what the atmosphere feels like, the sounds, the colours… Vaun is a very visual writer, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since she’s also a comic book artist.

While Vaun obviously did her research into what lives and dies in the oceans, climate change, etc., she manages to give just the right amount of nerdy details without info-dumping and slowing the narrative down. This book is fast-paced and action-packed and would make a really good movie. Another thing I enjoyed a lot was the plot twists. You think you know where the author is taking you and bam! the story takes another turn.

The romance, however, didn’t work as well for me, despite good chemistry between the Jackson and Elle. While I quite liked the characters, I have to admit they are a bit flat and the romance is too fast. I’m more than okay with instalust (especially since the first time Elle and Jackson meet is at a sex club) and I get that near-death experiences can bring people closer faster but I still need a deeper connection before love gets officially involved. There’s also a bad guys plot which feels somewhat cliché, but it also makes sense at the same time.

The Sea Within is a quick and entertaining read that tackles very real problems. If you like butch/femme romances, time travel or cli-fi, you’ll find them all here.

ARC provided to Les Rêveur for an honest review.
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Interesting premise which links in nicely with the current urgency when it comes to climate change. I liked the believable scientific background on the phytoplankton and the time travel possibility added an extra feature to get this story rolling. This book is set in the future and has certain characteristics that pushes it in the direction of a sci fi novel, but I am hesitant to put it completely into that category. I think sci fi readers would be disappointed since most of the focus is on the romance and the sci fi stuff is merely background.

As for the romance; Jackson and Elle are quite nice together but it didn't pull me in, the emotions didn't grab me and I honestly can't really tell you why. The connection just wasn't there and even though it was not badly written at all, this was just a story to be read without being invested in the characters. So, nice enough, but not great.

***An ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. ***
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This story is not far from reality where humanity has continued to ignore the warnings and evidence of how we are destroying the planet and the consequences of it where the disappearance of the seas brings the extinction of everything.
That is a lesbian fiction plot where the solution or cure is found in the past and the descriptions of the future and past are excellent and make one feel as if they are there with the characters to see, feel, smell, touch everything what Ellen and Jackson do.
Missouri Vaun did his research that's obvious, I really liked it and I recommend it.
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So this is a really unique story line and if you like sci-fi you will love this one! As sci-fi is not my first choice in genre I maybe didn't love this one but I really liked and enjoyed it! It was very well written als always with this authors and I'm grateful that I had the chance to read it even if it is kind of terrifying that this could really be the not so far future...
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The story has wonderful message. In one word, take care of your environment.
The idea of not being able to breathe clean air, or see birds or any other living animals is horrific. I actually liked the way characters met and how their relationship progressed. The issues and drama they went through and the wonderful ending. Even though sci-fi is not my forte, this one was really good!
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This book highlights, what I believe to be, Missouri Vaun's best skill: world building. The world she immerses readers into is one of a kind and vivid to imagine.

That said, I think this book suffered from a slow build in the first half to an action packed second half. Additionally, I felt rather ambivalent to the main characters and thought their relationship was rushed.

My rating on this book is purely for the world building aspect, because the rest of it was really just so-so in my opinion. I cannot say this will be one I revisit, but I am glad I didn't give up on it either.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books in exchange for this review.
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I really enjoyed this book.  Loved the characters and the writing.  The storyline kept the pages turning and before I realized it, it was over.  As much as I would like to think this kind of idea is further into our future, I fear to think it's closer than we realize.  If you are looking for an action filled romance done well, I recommend.
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This book is science fiction and is set in the near future.  I enjoy reading sci-fi books when the plot is basically believable, and The Sea Within is plausible.

The two main characters are a paleobotanist named Dr. Elle Graham and Captain Jackson Drake.  The world is facing major climate problems resulting in the possible demise of Earth.  Scientists are attempting to find a solution to eradicate the climate crises and once again make our planet livable.  Through the use of a time machine, Elle and Jackson hope to achieve this goal.

Ms. Vaun did a great job of character development and all of the personalities are credible.  Jackson’s character is a little tiresome for my taste.  She lost her wife many years ago and the emotional roller coaster caused me whiplash.  The plot started out a little slow, and I had read three chapters before getting interested in the book.  After that, the pace of the plot started to move quickly.  

Readers who love science fiction will really enjoy this book.  For those non-science fiction lovers, give this book a try and you will like it, too.  I recommend The Sea Within and rate it with 4 out of 5 stars.     

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Intense at times, but well written. Not much more to ask from climate fiction.
Both characters are complex, and a good fit for their mission. I really liked Elle, who is a science nerd with endless curiosity, witty, and compassionate. The relationship was okay but nothing special. I felt like we didn't get to see as much emotion as their happy ending should have warranted, the focus was more on physical chemistry. I also didn't think the sex scene at the beginning contributed anything to the plot, when Jackson is clearly not up for romance until much, much later.
The pacing was okay later on, plenty of action, but I found that it took a while for the story to kick off. The mission doesn't start until the 50% mark, and a lot of the explanation in the first half was redundant. It felt like the author was trying to spell out the problem in all caps, just in case nobody understood the first or second times it came up.
(spoiler) The ending was great, still following the action-packed pace from before. I like how things looked like they were winding down, and then they weren't. I was frustrated by a plot hole that stayed at the forefront of my mind: why didn't they collect a larger sample? Jackson and Elle clearly hadn't left the past by the time they were swapping out the sample containers and water tanks, since they later went out collecting bullet casings. It would have taken time, but still would be worth it to refill the sample containers. There was no harm in it, as long as they still went ahead with Jackson's plan. Giving Liam legitimate samples would have given them some time to work out the bigger players involved, and might have saved Elle a couple of near-death experiences.
Overall, an enjoyable read. The science sounded accurate, but I haven't studied biology or environmental science. Four stars.
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Set in the not to distant future when the environment has been ruined by rich men looking to profit from nation's and people's desperation. Science has found a way to return to the past in order to get what is needed to repopulate the eco system. This book focuses on the oceans (the earth's lungs) and the scientist Elle who knows what is needed to reseed them. She has already met the mission commander Jackson, in a sex club which are preferred to online dating; thus the scene is set for a fast paced thriller. Its reassuring to know that in the future lesbians will be having sex and saving the planet.

With thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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.            Conflict was much more about love than hate. In the moment of reckoning, you harnessed everything you ever loved, everything you ever cared about—those were the things that propelled you forward, those were the things you fought for. Not the entire world, just one little part of it.

This was a pretty fun, action-packed romance! I think it did a mostly good job of balancing the science fiction and the romance. I was really interested in the premise, since it's so deeply rooted in reality. The situation that's laid out in the plot here (rising seas, polluted air, wise-spread disease, millions displaced or dead, the world on a timer) is depressingly easy to imagine. I think the author did a great job of painting that picture (almost too good; I honestly got a little freaked out sometimes). And I really like how the time travel aspect was handled, and all the scientific bits. I don't know if the science was sound, but it all seemed really really well-researched, and most importantly, easy to parse for a layperson who just wanted some action, time-travel, and a sweet butch/femme romance.

I really liked our main characters! They were kinda archetypal: the tough butch soldier and the nerdy but gorgeous scientist, but I do like those character tropes, so this was easy for me to enjoy. They each got a bit of development, though not as much as I'd have liked. Jackson was a little too cocky for me at first, but I grew to like her more when she allowed herself to be a little more vulnerable with Elle. The romance was sweet, and had some really great moments, but unfortunately a lot of the time I was left wanting more. Mild spoiler: I really don't think they needed to say 'I love you's. Not only did it seem really premature, it wasn't believable to me, and I think ending on a hope for the future, with the knowledge that these two people are compatible, and they can and WILL fall in love in the future, would have been more appropriate and effective. 

I liked Vaun's writing style for the most part. Again, I think she did a good job of creating a story and plot was that realistic and well-researched, but not so detailed that it weighed everything else down. There were some great action scenes, and some lovely tender scenes. I feel like, however, almost all of the chapters ended either abruptly or unnaturally, which isn't a big deal, just slightly jarring. I really disliked the POV-switching; it's my least favourite thing in writing, it takes me out of a story so so much. I hate situations where, for example, character A wonders what B thinks about something, and then we immediately switch to B's perspective and we're told what B thinks. It removes any suspense there might have been, and just undermines the writing. This, and a couple other little things, prevented me from enjoying the writing wholeheartedly.

Still, this was a great science-fiction/action romp with a couple of twists that I definitely recommend. My first read from Vaun; it won't be my last! 3.5 stars.
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Entertaining and suspenseful story set about 100 years in the future as Earth looms near its climate doomsday. There’s quite a bit of science and technology in our future with an in-depth study on our planet’s demise, which honestly is quite depressing given our own at present issues with a climate-denying President. The story manages to balance itself between saving the planet and their burgeoning love interest coupled with some suspense and danger for our couple. All in all, a science-lover’s delightful read where the good girls win the day and save the planet.
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I saw the cover of this book on Twitter and I thought it was amazing. When I read the blurb I wasn't too convinced about this book, only after reading reviews from some trusted reviewers I decided to pick it up. I am happy I did!

In the future earth is dying, humans have truly taken all the life from the planet. Elle is a paleobotanist and she has found a possible cure for the dying seas. The only problem is the plankton has been extinct for a hundred thousand years. When Elle goes to a club she meets Jackson, she is intrigued by her but when Jackson flees because of her emotions Elle is left puzzled. After a couple of days, they see each other again and one thing leads to another. They know next to nothing about one another so they are both surprised when the morning after their encounter they are in the same high stakes meeting at the Space Force. Together, with a team, they travel back in time to retrieve the plankton. When things go sideways on their mission they have to rely on each other to make it back and complete their mission.

As mentioned I was hesitant to pick up this book, I enjoy reading dystopian novels, most of the time I end up reading a YA novel to have my dystopian fix so this was a welcome change. I was thinking it would be more of a sci-fi book and that is something I don't like. It isn't, I've seen people call in it cli-fi and I like it, it fits. The science is a tad bit hard to follow for me, but it adds to the charm of the book. The book is much more about the dystopian future than it is about romance, I didn't mind at all. I am really happy I picked this one up. I enjoyed it and the action and tension in this book just add something you don't usually see in wlw books.
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I'm a big fan of Missouri Vaun's writing, so reading this was easy... Except for the disturbing look at what the human race has done to the environment with such brash lack of concern. This novel is the perfect clarion call for us to wake up and pay attention to the effect we're having on our world. Really, we aren't that far away from the Earth Missouri Vaun paints for us.

It's obvious the author put a great deal of research into her work, she explains the grim future so clearly that I could very nearly smell the choking air at the beginning of the book. What a horrifying way to live - needing breathers to go anywhere, dead water, extinct birds and the list of environmental dead goes on. It didn't take much for me to get caught up in the quest for a cure for the planet.

I desperately wanted Elle and Jackson to succeed, I could feel the ache of their rattled bones, I cringed, ducked and cried with them. Ms. Vaun wields her skill so deftly that I was certain I could reach out and touch the giant trees, or lose a hand to the ancient wildlife. These women may "live" in the near-future, but our hopes for a better world ride with them. They could have been any one of us...with kick-ass military training or a genius I.Q.

If you enjoy reading eco-fiction, and lesbian fiction that will reach out and grab you, and DEMAND you keep reading until the last page is turned...this is the book for you.
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“The green coin bounced light from the dance floor strobe as if sending her a signal. But what? Agree or abort? Stop or go? Her hand rested near the coin as she considered flipping it to red.”

The main characters were introduced in a club where the confident and swoon worthy Jackson captured the reader’s attention with her unabashed pursuit of Elle. When their paths crossed again in a professional setting, everything that they knew changed. 

The book is set in the dystopian future, where humanity’s existence hang by a thread due to a dying world bankrupted of its resources. In an attempt to travel back in time to source for resources, Captain Jackson, a mission commander for space travel was assigned to guide paleobotanist Dr Elle and her team with their expedition. 

Jackson, who has managed to stay detached since losing her wife has to face her biggest fear, history repeating itself. Readers can expect a quick paced and suspenseful story where the romance element was not dwarfed by the back story. The connection between the pair was so explicitly written it was tangible, sexy and you can practically feel love oozing from their interactions. 

I just reviewed The Sea Within by Missouri Vaun. #NetGalley
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This is an amazing book. The Sea Within by Missouri Vaun is an exciting dystopian adventure and romance that will have you reading on the edge of your seat. 

The story is set close to a hundred years in the future where mankind has continued to ignore the warnings and the evidence of how we are destroying this planet, and now the extinction event is in sight. The oceans are dying, and as the oceans go, so will the rest of the planet including humans. Ms. Vaun gives us a more realistic version of these events than some other novels in this genre. She shows how humans turn a blind eye as plants and animals disappear, weather becomes more erratic, fires and floods become everyday events, and the air becomes dangerous to breathe. Sound familiar? 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people just adjust to what is happening around them. They continue to work and live through all the upheaval. There are some, however, who are trying to find a way to stop the inevitable catastrophe, including Dr. Elle Graham and Captain Jackson Drake. Together with a small crew, they plan to travel back in time to an era before modern man to hopefully find a cure for the dying ocean. Unfortunately, not everyone wants them to be successful.

Ms. Vaun has created a vivid and exciting book filled with adventure, love, and danger. Her descriptions of both time periods are excellent, and makes the reader feel as though they are right there with the characters; seeing, feeling, smelling and touching everything that Elle and Jackson do. I’ve said before that Ms. Vaun is astounding at using descriptions in her novels, and this book just adds more evidence to that statement. She has obviously done her homework on what our future may hold if we don’t change our ways, and that gives this book a frightening undertone. What she writes about the environment in this novel could very well happen if we don’t change our ways.
This is a gripping speculative fiction adventure story with a beautiful romance woven into the tale. I loved the whole book and recommend it to everyone.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.

Rainbow Reflections:
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This was a really interesting book. Obviously, I understood the premise of the book but the twist on the trip and the ending were suprising. I've not read much from this author but that's definitely going to change! Jackson sounds like a yummy dish and I loved Elle's intelligence. I'm almost hoping there's a sequel to see if it all worked. I recommend this book. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Really entertaining dystopian future, time travel novel. Set in the late 2000s after disease and environmental catastrophe threaten daily life for all living beings. 

When Jackson and Ellie meet in a hook-up bar, they never expect to see each other again. Soon the two are part of the same scientific team - Jackson, a pilot, and Ellie, a scientist - traveling back thousands of years to attain the missing ecological link to keep the Earth alive. But things are not as they seem and schemes may soon leave them both in mortal danger.

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
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In the near future, earth's temperature has risen to a tipping point, and the earth is on the brink of collapse. Jackson is a Captain with the Space Force and she is charged with protecting paleobotanist Elle when they go back in time in order to find a way of saving the sea and consequently the earth. The two women bond over their mission and their simmering attraction towards each other. Their connection may be their only chance to save each other not only physically, but emotionally as well.

This was a really unique and interesting idea - these books apocalyptic books are my favourite kind by Missouri Vaun - I need a steady diet of these books. The romance happens very fast, but I guess when you are time travelling, fast or slow is all relative anyways right? To me the romance was more of a bonus in this story - adding some sweet and steamy moments in all the turmoil to give the character and the reader a reminder of how good life is in the middle of everything that is going on. The action and the saving the world was exciting and interesting and also very terrifying reminder of where the world is heading. The descriptions were so vivid - I really felt like we were in the not so distant future and then in the beautiful pure world of the past. It all felt so real that the stark contrast between the two time periods was very powerful. I couldn't recommend this book more and I look forward to reading more like these books in the future. 

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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