Book Interviews, Books, podcast

Podcast Episode 19: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner on their new Sci-fi duology!

In episode 19 I interview bestselling authors Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner on their new sci-fi duology, UNEARTHED and UNDYING! Think Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, as teens, in space. They’re delightful, don’t miss this awesome interview!

Listen to the podcast on iTunes (click the owl below!), or if you don’t have iTunes, I’ve also posted a link to SoundCloud at the top!

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, facebook, and twitter.

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Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Lytherus book club: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, part 2

Lytherus book club header March

Hi all! We’re playing catch-up on this book review. The authors are under deadline, so we postponed the interview with them, but it’s still on the docket, so feel free to submit any questions you might have!

In case you want to catch up, I’ve already covered Part 1 and part 2 of THESE BROKEN STARS, and Part 1 of THIS SHATTERED WORLD. I am excited to wrap these books up in this post. And let me say again, as a gal who isn’t as big a fan of scifi as I am of fantasy, I absolutely adored these books. I thought they were well-written, had great pacing, were creative, and had some great romances in them. I highly recommend them, especially to people who might be like me, not as much into this genre.

Okay! So, Before we jump into the second half of this book, here’s the summary:

downloadJubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. His sister died in the original uprising against the powerful corporate conglomerate that rules Avon with an iron fist. These corporations make their fortune by terraforming uninhabitable planets across the universe and recruiting colonists to make the planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.Desperate for any advantage against the military occupying his home, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape base together, caught between two sides in a senseless war.The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.

We left off with the main characters in serious trouble. And things really go crazy in the second half. Here are the main points I think are important from the second half of the book:

  • Flinn hides out with an old friend, the daughter of the man who blew up the barracks. She swears he would never do that.
  • He sends Sofia out with a note for Lee.
  • Flynn sneaks onto the base to talk to Lee in disguise.
  • Lee is asked to escort someone around, and it’s her old captain, there to help her, under the ruse of inspection.
  • They run into Flynn, and the three of them discuss what’s happening. Lee reveals all to Tarver.
  • They call in Lilac to do a little digging around to figure things out. She and Tarver conclude there are whispers involved, based on what Lee said. They’re what’s causing the Fury. They need to find proof, find the lab.
  • Tarver looks at Lee’s gun and proves it wasn’t fired recently, so she couldn’t have killed the rebels.
  • Lee and Flynn make out, hard-core. They basically share they they have feelings for each other, but at what cost? At the end, who will Flynn choose, her, or his people?
  • Lee talks to her commander, who she knows knows something. The commander confirms that it was a LaRoux facility out there, not a military one. And she’s freaked about the whispers, though she doesn’t know what they are. As she tells Lee more, something warps her mind and makes her forget the conversation.
  • Molly’s is burned to the ground. Molly is killed, shot before the fire started.
  • After questioning one of the rebels, all three of them come to the conclusion that McBride shot Molly, and shot the other rebels in the cave.
  • Merendson is forced to leave on the last shuttle, since the enemy is now blowing ships up. Lee pilots since she’s his security, and Flynn comes along.They make it off the planet.
  • The plane is searched, and Flynn hides, but is discovered. They fight, and knock out guards, which makes Lee a traitor.
  • They read Lilac’s note, and it says that there were shipments 10 years prior to three places, one of which is Avon, one of which is Lee’s home planet.
  • They head back to find the hidden lab. They’re almost shot down but they make it.
  • In the swamp at night they encounter lights called the wisps. It leads them to the island, and they realize that the lab has been hidden from sight all this time.
  • They sneak in to find incriminating evidence against LaRoux industries. But in the process the whispers take over and invade Flynn, talking to Lee through him. They needed them because all the employees have had their brains tampered with and aren’t susceptible to the whispering.
  • They say that they’re working independent of LaRoux, and that they need Lee. They also tell her that they’re one entity and that LaRoux separated them, which is agony. He’s basically been torturing the whispers.And now they’re over it and basically want to destroy all humans.They force Lee to release them or they’ll kill Flynn. She agrees.
  • At the last minute Flynn is taken over by a different whisper, a nice one who is fighting the others. It tells them they destroyed Flynn’s mind. It also tells them that they interacted when Lee was young, that it’s the ghost Lee thought she had as an imaginary child. This interaction has made her stronger and able to withstand them in her mind.
  • The whisper also confesses that it has stolen Lee’s dreams all these years, to selfishly experience what it’s like to be a human.
  • The whisper asks Lee to kill them, not release them. That will really set them free, and also might free Flynn’s mind without damage. This will also free up the communications tower so they can broadcast a message out to the universe about this place.
  • Flynn sends it. Everyone stops. He calls out McCormac, who loses it. Lee shoots him. And then everyone agrees to a tenuous cease-fire to talk about what’s happened here.
  • At the end LaRoux comes and offers basically a bribe in the disguise of charity, denying the truth. But Lee realizes that this planet is the tip of the iceberg with what he’s most likely planning.

The first half of this book was a slow burn. Lots of world building, character introductions, all that. It didn’t move as fast as the first book, but since that book basically started with a crash landing to an alien planet, the stakes were higher then. But once things really get going in THIS SHATTERED WORLD, they really don’t stop all the way to the end. It’s one thing after another, building up until the truth is revealed.

I also love how in this book, like the last, there’s something between all the chapters. For most of the book I had no idea what they were, though I had an inkling, but once the whispers die and Lee’s dreams come flooding back to her I know for sure that is what we’ve been experiencing: her stolen dreams.

One of my favorite things with series like this is when characters you love from previous books show up in the current one. And not just in passing, but they are present and help with the immediate problem. It’s wonderful visiting with those old friends again, and I really do think it adds some wonderful complexity to the story- and ties the books together nicely.

This series isn’t done yet. Man oh man, I cannot wait to see what the authors are planning. Because I have a feeling that we have yet to see the worst of what LaRoux has done. I cannot wait to see this villain fall.

Did you enjoy these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them. What did you love? Did they feel scifi-enough to you? What did you think about the characters coming back together from the first book and joining those in the second? I’d love to know! I’m also taking questions for the authors for their upcoming interview, so please send them our way!

We’ll be catching up with April’s books, SERAPHINA and SHADOW SCALE by Rachel Hartman, this week, so stay tuned for that!

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Lytherus Book Club: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, part 1

Lytherus book club header March

We’re a bit behind on this post, as it’s the end of March, but no worries, because the author interview has been pushed too, so there’s still time to get in your questions!

This Shattered World had a lot to live up to, because I loved the first book, These Broken Stars, so much. When I read the blurb that it was a completely different set of characters, my heart sunk a bit, because I wanted to stay in the bubble that book 1 created. But if anything I liked this book more! Before we dig into the meat just a reminder: REMEMBER, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS in my review, as I’m assuming you’ve read this along with us.

Here’s the official summary of book 2:

downloadJubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. His sister died in the original uprising against the powerful corporate conglomerate that rules Avon with an iron fist. These corporations make their fortune by terraforming uninhabitable planets across the universe and recruiting colonists to make the planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage against the military occupying his home, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape base together, caught between two sides in a senseless war.

The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.
We’re reading up through chapter nineteen in this part.
First off, the format is the same as the first book, with chapters alternating between the male and female leads, with a little “thing” in between. I’m not quite sure what those are in this book, they seem like memories or dreams, but they don’t quite make sense, so I’m still waiting to figure that out. But we’re getting a glimpse into parts of Jubilee’s past, from what I can gather.
So, From the start of this book I knew it would connect to the first one in some way, because the story takes place on Avon. We learn in book 1 that the whisper experiments take place there as well as where Tarver and Lilac were. There’s also mention of ghost lights in the darkness of Avon’s swamps, etc. So right away I knew something big and bad was happening, though it had a different feel from the first book.
The two main characters are Jubilee Chase (or Lee, for short), a captain in the military stationed on Avon, and Flynn Cormac, a local rebel and younger brother to their deceased leader. From the start things get creepy. Flynn kidnaps Lee to get information about a facility he encountered, one that seemed mysterious. But when he takes her there, it’s gone. So figuring this out, where it is, what it is, etc., is one of the main plot points of the first half of the book. Lee finds a identification chip on the ground where the facility, and it’s marked with LaRoux Industries logo … even though he has no obvious involvement on Avon. *Cue evil music.*
We also learn about something called the Fury, something that takes over the visitors to the planet, where they get weird dreams, and their eyes go black, and they basically seem to not be themselves for periods of time. Clearly this has something to do with the whispers, but it feels different, more malevolent than the whispers were with Tarver and Lilac, so I’m not quite sure how it ties in yet. But needless to say, something not natural is happening to these people.
Beyond this, the story to this point revolves around these two learning to trust each other, and to see that they’re essentially fighting for the same side. Flynn helps her escape, even after he’s kidnapped her. Lee doesn’t reveal the truth of what Flynn wanted to her superiors, other than that she was taken, because she starts to see that he’s not the enemy. Flynn wants to know why Avon’s environmental development has been so slow, so Lee starts to look into it a bit for him. And both of them don’t want the current cease-fire between her people and the rebels to end. So it’s back and forth for both of them. There’s a baddie in the rebels, McBride, who wants to get things going again and is trying to get everyone rowled up. He also steals all their locked up weapons to arm people against the soldiers. Flynn generally keeps them calm, but when things start happening out of his control (mainly the fury taking over soldiers and them killing locals for no reason), it fuels their rage. They set off a bomb, killing lots of soldiers. Flynn gets injured as well and escapes from the hospital but not before Lee reveals the LaRoux chip she found.
Here’s where things really start getting intense. Flynn makes it back to the hideout, only to find Lee there, with a gun, covered in blood, and around a half-dozen rebels killed, including a child. She has no recollection of it though, and they realize the Fury has finally gotten to her. Flynn believes her, and in front of his friends (and McBride) saves her life and helps her escape. But now he’s a traitor.
This half of the book ends with Flynn heading off into the swamp, heading towards someone he thinks might listen to him (who?), and with Lee contacting the only person she can think of to help her: her old captain … Tarver Marendson. He says he’s coming to Avon to help, after she mentions LaRoux and that she’s still on Avon. He says he read something and discovered something, and he can’t tell her over the com, but he’s coming.
 I was hoping this book would bring back the old characters, and it seems like they’re coming to help. They are both in a pretty big pickle right now, and how they get out of it–and how everything connects back to the whispers and LaRoux–is going to be awesome to read.
I’ll post the second half soon! Don’t forget to get us your questions for the authors! You can comment here, post them on facebook or twitter, or email them to me at lauren.zurchin@lytherus.com. Until then, happy reading!
Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Lytherus Book Club: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Part 2

Lytherus book club header March

It’s time to tackle the second part of These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner for the March edition of the Lytherus book club. This book has become one of the best scifi YA books I’ve ever encountered. I adored it, every bit of it, and I highly recommend it. Before I dig into the latter half of the story, let me remind you that THERE WILL BE SPOILERS in my review, as I’m assuming you’ve read this along with us.

So, we left off with Tarver and Lilac traversing the alien countryside towards the downed ship Icarus, hoping to encounter rescue teams. Tarver thinks Lilac is losing it, because she’s seeing things and hearing things, and at the end of the first part Tarver also gets a vision, one of his family’s house, and he now thinks he’s losing it too.

From this point to the end the book becomes bonkers, in the best way possible. Things keep piling up, one after the other, and I was definitely caught off guard by some of them.

Here are the main plot points for the second half of the book:

  • Lilac addresses the visions and theorizes that they are from some sort of life form on the planet. She names them the whispers.
  • On the journey to the ship Tarver comes across a canteen, his canteen (complete with his initials), in perfect condition. He’d lost it in the cave-in. They both are thinking that the whispers did it.
  • When they get to the ship they pry open a wall to get in to look for supplies. Tarver slices his hand badly, but downplays it.
  • It gets infected, he gets sick and hallucinates, and Lilac goes in alone to find medical supplies alone. Encounters lots of dead bodies in the ship (ugh), but forces past them because at this point Tarver is dying. She finds supplies and saves his life.
  • They climb to the top of the ship to scout the land, and the whispers reveal a trail of flowers that lead them to a small house in the distance. They decide to trust them and head that way.
  • They finally kiss, but Tarver keeps her at arm’s length, worried about his heart once they’re rescued and separated back into their different worlds.
  • After they get to the building and can’t get in, they take a break and Lilac tells Tarver how she knows so much about tech. She tells him about her teen love Simon, who taught her all she knows, and who was sent away by her father to the front line and killed when their love was revealed. This breaks down their barriers and they end up giving into the feelings they both have been hiding and spend the night (and future days) together.
  • Lilac suggests they blow up the door to break into the building. Lilac lights the fuse but it burns quicker than expected, and she takes shrapnel in the abdomen and dies in Tarver’s arms.
  • He buries her, and a few days later the whispers bring her back (!!). She digs up her body though, so they’re not sure what exactly she is.
  • Now in the shelter, they “talk” with the whispers (lights flick on and off for yes and no), who reveal that they mean no harm, they’ve been leading Lilac and Tarver to this place, and that they are the ones who brought Lilac back.
  • Lilac digs for a flower she pressed in Tarver’s book. It was one he’d given her that she’d lost, and it reappeared to her, like his canteen did to him. But when they look, it’s turned to dust. They both realize that this might be Lilac’s future, and that she’s most likely on borrowed time.
  • They dig through half-burned records and manage to piece together that a dimensional rift was discovered here. That’s what pulled the Icarus out of hyperspace. And that if it collapses huge amounts of energy will be released which are potentially fatal. There is also mention of the extraction of test subjects from another dimension, which they conclude are the whispers.
  • Lilac gets them into a secret part of the building, into a room that hides the dimensional rift. She figures out that the whispers are the power source for the building, and are what are keeping the gate open. They are trapped and are dying. She’s pulled power from them to send a distress signal, and it’s weakening all of them, including her.
  • Tarver grabs Lilac and jumps into the rift to set them free and hopefully save her in the process. It works. The energy surge brings her back, and the gate is broken, the whispers freed.
  • After they’re rescued they make a pact on what to say. She pretends to be tramatized, and he doesn’t reveal any of the weird things that happened during his interrogation (that’s what’s interspersed between the chapters). But when her father comes to get her, she reveals what she knows and that he was involved. She threatens him, says that if anything happens to Tarver she’ll reveal the truth to the world, and she’ll also be out of his life forever.
  • As their ship pulls away they look down and see the planet burning with fire. So now there’s no proof of their story, other than what they know.

Whew! This book, it was a roller-coaster! I devoured it, couldn’t stop reading. I loved all the twists, and there was so much I didn’t see coming. I didn’t see her dying (though once she did it made sense for her to come back). I loved finding out about the whispers. But one of my favorite parts was watching Lilac stand up to her father. She grew so much over the course of the book, coming into her own as her real self, not the fake person she’s pretended to be for so long.

At the end of the day this was a quest story. Stranded travelers need to traverse an alien land to get to a fallen ship in hopes of rescue. The journey itself was rather simplistic. But that allowed the authors to bombard us with tons of information, adding so much depth to the plot.

I will highly recommend this book to people. I can’t believe I waited this long to read it, actually. It defintely lived up to the hype, and I’m digging right into the second book, This Fallen World. Hold tight, the review will be coming soon.

But I want to hear from you! What did you love about this book? What was your favorite part? Let’s gush some love in the comments. And don’t forget to submit your questions, I’ll be interviewing the authors at the end of the month, so be sure to mention anything you want to know!

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Lytherus Book Club: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Part 1

Lytherus book club header March

We’re well into March, so it’s time to dig into the first part of our first book for the month, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner! I am love love LOVING this book, and I am excited to jump into the review and my thoughts.REMEMBER, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS in my review, as I’m assuming you’ve read this along with us.

But first, here’s the official blurb of the book:

THESE-BROKEN-STARS-amie-kaufman-meagan-spoonerIt’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Today we’re going through the first 21 chapters, which actually ended up being a perfect stopping point.

First off, this book is scifi. That’s something I don’t read as often as fantasy-based books, but I had heard such amazing things about this series that I wanted to see what it was about. I’m really glad I did, because this book is blowing my mind.

From the start I was drawn in. The book is told between the points of view of the two main characters, Lilac, the teen girl who is heir to the largest company in the universe, and whose father pretty much rules it all, and Tarver, who is a war hero at only 18, from a working-class family (his dad is a teacher- yikes!). These two run in circles about as opposite as it can get, but at the start of the book they have a little meet-cute that shows the natural attraction between them. The first few chapters are focused on this, him reflecting on her and asking her out (he doesn’t know who she is, which is a rarity), and her liking him but needing to discourage him, because her father wouldn’t approve. So that’s where they are when all hell breaks loose.

The ship they’re flying on, the Icarus–built by Lilac’s father and the crown jewel in his space fleet–is pulled out of hyperspace. The best way to summarize this part of the book is it feels like the crash of Titanic, but in space. It was tense, captivating, nerve-wracking, and well-written. Of course, Lilac and Tarver end up on the same rescue pod, and thanks to Lilac’s surprising knowledge about the pod they are launched from the dying ship.

They crash-land on a nearby planet, which is where the majority of the book takes place. From this point to where we’re stopping for now, the main plot is them journeying from their pod to the crash site of the ship, which is quite a walk away. Lots of arguments, lots of discussion. And lots of sexual tension. It’s pretty great. They are so perfect for each other, but they both need to get over themselves to see it, and it’s fab watching them get there. They both slowly learn to be with each other, and the trust is hard-erned. I can’t wait to see what happens in the second half, but I’m guessing the inevitable hook-up is coming (this is not a complaint!).

There are some weird things happening that we need to make note of:

  • The plant life reveals that this planet was chosen to become a colony and the process of making it livable was begun, but for some reason it was interrupted.
  • There are some crazy, non- creatures that neither of them know about (mainly a giant scary cat-thing that almost eats Lilac).
  • The chapters are interspersed by snippits of an interrigation of Tarver of what happened. He down-plays a lot of what actually happens, like her visions, his feelings, etc.
  • Lilac starts seeing visions. Strange things really are happening to her. She’s visited by the ghosts of people who died in a crashed pod they come across. She hears voices. She’s woken from a dead sleep with the knowledge that they needed to leave the cave they were sleeping in or they’d die (they barely make it out before a cave-in). Of course Tarver is seriously worried about her, thinks she’s hit her head or is losing her mind or PTSD or something.

The end of chapter 21 has Tarver seeing a vision of his childhood home, a vision that Lilac sees too. He’s experiencing something like her, and now he’ll finally believe her (I hope!)

Stay tuned for the next post where we dig into the second part of These Broken Stars. I’ll post the summary in a few days. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the first half of the book. What was your favorite part? Do you have any questions for the authors? Post them below in the comments and I’ll be sure to bring them up in the interview!

 

 

Book Events, Book Interviews, Book Reviews, Books, Events, Interviews, Reviews

Lytherus Book Club: March- The Starbound Series by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Lytherus book club header March

 

The March selection for the Lytherus book club are the Starbound books (These Broken Stars This Shattered World) by authors Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. We’re so excited to feature these lovely YA scifi books, and their authors, this month!

We want you to read along with us! Here’s the break-down of the books:

March 8th: First 1/2 of These Broken Stars

March 15th: Second 1/2 of These Broken Stars

March 22nd: First 1/2 of This Shattered World

March 29th: Second 1/2 of This Shattered World.

 

I am doing audiobooks for these, so I’m not quite sure where the middle of each book is, but once I get a hard copy to check I’ll update. But we’ll basically be splitting the books in half. 🙂

We will be reading along with you, and in each post will be a summary of what’s been read, theories, ideas, and general things we enjoyed. This is your chance to share those thoughts also: we want to hear what you have to say. Remember, the best questions will be presented to the authors in our exclusive one-on-one interview at the end of the month! There also may be some goodies to give away, so don’t forget to stay tuned!

What’s the series about? Here’s the blurb for the first book:

THESE-BROKEN-STARS-amie-kaufman-meagan-spoonerIt’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.