Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker

For Seconds to Lose
by K.A. Tucker
Read: November 12 - 13, 2013
November 4, 2013 by Atria Books
Source: Kindle purchase
Category: Contemporary, Romance, Issues, 

New Adult crossover (I say it's more Adult)
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths book 3
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

When a gorgeous young dancer walks through his door, a strip club owner must decide whether to follow his rules or his heart in the third novel by the author of One Tiny Lie and Ten Tiny Breaths.

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control…and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that. 

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can't get distracted by romance.

Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.

They say the third time is the charm, and that certainly is the case for K.A. Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths series. While I enjoyed Ten Tiny Breaths, I thought it followed the standard New Adult Trauma Victim Plot pretty closely, and One Tiny Lie was mostly about Livie learning to party like a college girl. It also had that pesky cheating triangle (Take that with a grain of salt, as many people didn't see that book as negatively as I did). Four Seconds to Lose is book three in the companion series, and the story follows club owner Cain and his new hire Charlie. For me, it is by far the best of the three.

Four Seconds to Lose is much more mature and serious than Kacey and Livie's books, and it felt like the story crossed the line into being an "Adult Contemporary" as opposed to a "New Adult". Even though Charlie is the same age as Livie, she and Cain are dealing with much bigger issues than themselves, and the story is less focused on self discovery. And, as much as people love him, I think the absence of wacky Dr. Strayner, made this book better. He started to become too much of a powerful fix all character, and his unconventional methods never sat well with me. 

I was already intrigued by Cain after glimpsing him in the previous two novels, and boy did I fall hard for him in this book. But it didn't take me long to sympathize with Charlie as well. It's interesting because she is keeping some big secrets from him throughout most of the story, and that frustrated me at times. However, she was deep in a dangerous situation that had no good out, and I could understand her fear over it. I also liked how the romance was paced. Although Cain and Charlie are instantly attracted to each other, it takes time for anything to happen between them. All that building tension was pretty delicious.

When I read the description of this book, I was a little worried. Cain owns a strip club through which he tries to help women escape the sex business. WHAT? In Cain's mind, a strip club attracts women who are already using their bodies to make money, and he uses that avenue to help the women who work with him. He keeps his business clean, legal and drug free, and works hard to encourage the girls to get out of the industry and away from bad relationships by encouraging therapy and education. Cain has a very strict policy of no relationships with his staff, which he's been able to keep easily, until Charlie shows up at his door. Despite all of his explanations, Cain's reasoning for running a strip club still sounded pretty flimsy to me. Before I started this book, I was convinced that I'd never buy his excuses. But the thing is, I did, especially because Cain also struggles with these same questions, and wonders if he's actually helping or enabling these women. It is clear that owning the club is wearing on him. I was really surprised that despite somewhat flawed logic, I bought his perspective, and could see good in what he was doing. 

Four Seconds To Lose can be read as a standalone, but I did appreciate having a background on Cain from reading Kacey's story in Ten Tiny Breaths. The time frame for the plot of One Tiny Lie overlaps with this one and is not relevant to this story. Despite my hesitation about the previous books, this series has continued to hold my interest, and I finally truly get what everyone's talking about with these books. I can't wait for the next installment, Five Ways to Fall, which is about Ben (though it is starting to bother me that Four Seconds to Lose is book three and Five Ways to Fall is book four. We need to add another before them for them to add up correctly!). 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low/none. Third in companion series. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (spoiler free)

Into the Still Blue
by Veronica Rossi
Read: September 26 - 27, 2013
Published: January 28th 2014 by HarperCollins **UPCOMING**
Source: Edelweiss - THANK YOU HARPER!
Category: Sci-fi, fantasy, YA
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

NOTE: I made every effort to make this review SPOILER FREE for the series, though I'd recommend skipping the summary to the right of the book cover if you are new to this trilogy. Find my review of book two, Through The Ever Night, HERE

Official summary: The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi's "masterpiece" Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestselling Through the Ever Night (

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

After reading Under the Never Sky and its brilliant follow up Through The Ever Night, I have grown so attached to Aria, Perry and Roar and their entire world that by the time I reached Into the Still Blue, I've completely lost the ability to think critically about their story. I've fallen in love with them and consider them to be friends, so honestly, how can I judge anything about them or their journeys  Thus, I'm struggling to know exactly what to tell you about this book, because it seems like a disservice to them to start talking about things like plotting and pacing (not that I really do that anyway). I mean, Perry and Roar are real, right? 

What I do want to tell you, is that if you enjoyed the first two books in this series, you're going to love Into the Still Blue as well. I've been wary of series conclusions lately, but this is not one that you should fear. Not only are our favorite characters back, but we also get answers to lingering questions.

This series features one of my favorite love stories. More than tender moments or hot kisses (although those are present and quite nice), we have seen a connection build and deepen between Perry and Aria over the course of the series. Their relationship has been tested, but their respect for each other and bond has grown steadily stronger without adding unnecessary drama or angst. Their relationship has made them each more confident as leaders and able to make tough choices, which they do to abundance in this story. Even when Perry and Aria are not together - or when they're disagreeing - they manage to remain in sync in a way that many couples can't manage on their best days. 

In addition to romance, Rossi excels at creating one-on-one relationship bonds between many characters. The friendships between Perry & Roar and Aria & Roar are the most notable in this series, and both get some great page time in this story. But there are several others that stand out to me in this installment. Some that cropped up unexpectedly, some I was excited to see deepen and at least one broke my heart. I want to tell you about all of them, but most are spoilers. However, this has become one of my favorite aspects of this series and Into the Still Blue specifically. 

The end of Perry, Aria and Roar's journey is not easy. This book nearly broke me in several places. Rossi does not hold back on what she puts these characters through, especially through the middle part of this book. There were several points where I was biting my nails and genuinely worried about whether key players would make it. Nothing is certain, lives are at stake, and an entire community of people is in danger of extinction unless they can make it to the Still Blue. 

Some parts of this book were big and dramatic, some events seemed quieter than I thought they would, but I think that's what life is like for real, and I like this book more, because of that. Into the Still Blue, goes out on a quiet note, and though selfishly I wanted more and more, I closed this book with a satisfied smile. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Series conclusion

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ruby Red Trilogy GIVEAWAY

I'm a huge fan of Kerstin Gier's time travel based Ruby Red trilogy. Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green are quick reads with action that takes place in both the past and present and include gorgeous costumes, crazy hairstyles, ghosts, swords, secrets, romance, pop culture and lots of intrigue.

If you've read the series, do you remember how the lion plays a role? 

In case you have no idea what this series is about

Series set-up (spoiler free)
Gwendolyn Shepherd is just a normal teenage girl who goes to school in London and likes celebrities and movies more than historical facts or schoolwork. Gwen is thankful that it is her cousin Charlotte (and not herself) who carries the family's time travel gene, and has to spend time learning to dance, fence, walk and talk so that she'll be able to blend into various time periods. Except, Gwen is the one who actually starts time traveling. All of a sudden everyone realizes they've made a huge mistake, and Gwen is thrust into a world and a secret time travel society that she knows nothing about.

You can win all three books!

Macmillan has very generously given me all three books in this series to give away, and I can't wait for one of you to read and love them as much as I have. Plus these books read very well back to back. You won't be able to put them down!

Giveaway is for US residents only (Sorry, International readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
See my policies HERE

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart
by Richelle Mead
Read: November 15 - 20, 2013
Published: November 19, 2013 by Razorbill
Source: Hardcover Purchase
Category: Urban Fantasy, YA, Vampires
Series: Bloodlines 4 (After 7 Vampire Academy books)
Find: Goodreads | Amazon 

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.


I tend to think of my fictional characters as real people. Although I've always liked Adrian,  I thought he was too much of a mess in the Vampire Academy series, and never right for Rose. When I started Bloodlines, I wasn't sure about him and Sydney either, and I also thought he needed to work on himself before he could seriously date anyone. Although Sydney has been the narrator of the first three books in this series, and much of the character development has focused on her overcoming her prejudices and personal issues, Adrian has been growing too. In The Fiery Heart, Adrian is finally the focus of the story. Part of this was done by adding his voice to Sydney's narration, which worked very well. I highlighted so many passages, because of the hilarious things that Adrian said and thought.
To describe Sydney's reaction to my initial declaration of love as "not going well" was a kindness. "But look at me now, lounging in the lap of love."
What I love about Adrian is his ability to utter the most over the top endearments about Sydney, in the most casual manner and never ever sound cheesy. He calls her the light of his life and his soul mate among other statements, and I ate up every second of it. What I really appreciated about this book was the chance to see Adrian in the spotlight, facing some of his own personal demons and fears, especially his feelings of inadequacy as compared to Sydney - and really everyone - as well as his spirit induced fluctuations in mood. Even though Adrian is a vampire in a fantasy book, his struggles are surprisingly relatable, as are Sydney's, and I've appreciated that about this series. 

I don't know how Richelle Mead keeps all of the different plot elements for her six part series straight in her head. I think I might need to create a Sydney-esque chart to help me remember. Lots of things are always happening at once and The Fiery Heart is no exception. In book four we reexamine some earlier asked questions about why the Strigoi rejected Sydney's blood, why Strigoi who have turned back to their former Moroi or Dhampir selves can never be turned again, as well as more talk about tattoos and magic.  
"Do you have…" Zoe glanced at me questioningly. "What was it, A Midsummer Night's Dream?" 
"Of course," said Clarence. "A great piece on love. 
"I scoffed. "I don't know about that. It's more a series of zany hijinks set against a magical backdrop."  
"Didn't you say we were practically living it?" Zoe asked. 
"Love, in my experience," began Clarence, "generally is a series of zany hijinks."
All of Sydney's pretend cousins and siblings are of course present in this book, including her real sister Zoe. Zoe grated on my nerves throughout this entire story. I did not buy any of Sydney's attempts at sisterly empathy. Even when Sydney was prejudice against vampires, she wasn't so grasping. I know Zoe plays an important role in this installment, but I just wanted her gone. Jill, Eddie, Angeline, Neil - the new guardian - and Trey are still involved in their own personal relationship dramas. But thankfully, Sydney had to do less bailing others out in this book, as the story was mostly focused on her and Adrian. 

In The Fiery Heart, all my hopes and fears for this series are realized. As Bloodlines is the same number of books as the Vampire Academy series, I've found myself doing a lot of anticipating plot details based on what we found in VA. This is probably not a good idea, and Mead has definitely surprised me. In The Fiery Heart she is far more generosity about certain things than I'd ever hoped she would be.  We enjoy a lot of Sydrian time, which left me swooning and fanning myself. But we also endure a pretty significant cliffy. One that I've been expecting to come for a few books now. Of course, Mead didn't disappoint me on that front. However, after four books of growth from Adrian and Sydney, I'm kind of excited to see them step it up in the last two installments. 

Love Triangle Factor: NONE
Cliffhanger Scale: HIGH. Book 5 is called Silver Shadows and it releases July 29, 2014. The cover is definitely moodier than some of the predecessors. Take that what you will. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Erased by Jennifer Rush

by Jennifer Rush
Read: September 4-5, 2013
Published: January 7, 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Net Galley - Thank you, Little, Brown!
Category: Action (Jason Bourne like), Sci-fi, YA
Series: Altered #2
Locate: Goodreads | Amazon 

NOTE: Erased is the second book in a series. This review may contain mild spoilers for the first book. Find my review of Altered, HERE

Official Summary: They thought they had escaped. They were wrong.

After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she's learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam's rules: Don't draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.
Then a figure from Anna's childhood reappears. Is it a Branch setup, or could it be the reunion Anna has hoped for? Uncertain of where her loyalties lie, Anna must fight to learn the truth -- before she is betrayed again. Ultimately, the answers hinge on one question: What was the real reason her memories were erased?
Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling sequel to Altered in a novel packed with mysteries, lies, and surprises that are sure to keep readers guessing until the last page is turned. (From Goodreads)


Erased kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the book. For that this story is a big win. This series continues to be fast paced and fun, while maintaining its kick butt cinematic feel. Jennifer Rush is not afraid to push her characters into situations where they have to make very quick and difficult decisions. We saw some of that in Altered, and even more in Erased. When this book starts, Anna, Sam, Cas and Nick are on the run from The Branch and that means always being alert to their surroundings. I love all the details of the life of these characters while they're on the run. Traveling in pairs, never taking the same route, staying anoymous, monitoring their surroundings at all times. I could literally feel the constant state of suspended tension they were in. And then all of a sudden something happens and BOOM the story takes off at a rapid pace and is at full throttle for the rest of the story. 

Erased, like Altered is focused more on action than character development. Although the action is pretty addicting, I wish that had been a little more balanced out with a focus on how Anna, Sam, Nick and Cas dealing with everything they've faced. On top of being constantly on alert and on the run these four still dealing with large blanks about their past. The dynamic of their missing pasts, coupled with everything they've faced is very intriguing, and though I enjoyed this book, I think it could have been stronger if both were explored in depth. Especially considering some of the intense situations that they are forced to navigate in Erased

In this book we do get several pieces from Anna's past that shake things up for her, and through that we get a better sense of her character. Of course all of this information also added to the drama of the story. The prediction I made at the end of Altered about what would happen in this book was exactly right. But things didn't play out exactly as I expected them to occur, which was a very pleasant surprise. 

Besides Anna, the character we saw the most growth from in Erased, is Nick. We discovered a few secrets from his past as well, and I loved finding out more about him and how he fit into the group dynamic. Though he's also integral to this plot, I really wish that we'd gotten more depth to Sam. He's so guarded and closed off all the time, that it was so hard to feel emotionally attached to him. Anna actually has a conversation with someone in Erased about how guarded Sam is, and I'm thinking his personality is not going to change at this point.

My major trouble with Erased had to do with my frustration with Anna. She was a step behind me in figuring out several important details, and she made some seriously idiotic decisions because of it. One in particular just seemed way out of character for her. It was such a bad decision that was cringing and yelling NO! It also seriously affected how I saw her after. However, she also never gave up fighting for those she loved, and because of that, redeems herself pretty well. 

I believe Erased concludes Anna's narration and the third book will be a companion focusing on Nick. This makes me very happy. I'm excited to find out more about him, especially in light of what we discover in this story. Maybe we'll also get books focusing on Cas and Trev.

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low

About the cover: As silly as the half naked boy cover may have been, this one just makes it looks like he's being purposefully blurred out. I actually prefer the original with the vertical writing. Either that or they need new models wearing shirts. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

World After by Susan Ee

World After
by Susan Ee
Read: October 9 - 11, 2013
November 19, 2013 by Skyscape **UPCOMING**
Source: Starry-Eyed Jen - THANK YOU!
Category: Angels, Post-apocalyptic, YA
Series: Penryn & The End of Days 2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

NOTE: World After is the very much anticipated sequel to Angelfall. My review may contain some spoilers for the first book. If you've yet to read it, what are you waiting for? 

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose? (From Goodreads)
And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth...Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails with stingers, like scorpions. 
Revelations 3: 7 - 10a

1) World After begins when Angelfall ends. The exact moment. It is the world after the angel invasion (see how that title works). The Resistance has just attacked the Aerie, Penryn is completely paralyzed but the scorpion attack and Raffe is wearing bat wings and desperate to get his feathers back. 

2) Penryn is my hero. She is no-nonsense, low on drama, calculating and completely bad ass. But she also has insecurities about her sister, feels overwhelmed by the responsibility placed on her and gets a little giddy when thinking about Raffe. I love how real she is in this book. 

3) Raffe and Penryn together are magic. The two of them have a chemistry that lights this book on fire. Although there are tremendous obstacles in the way of any sort of future for them, and I'm not at all certain that there will be one, what I love is the growing emotional and trust bond between them. Watching them fight together is something to behold, but they also have some great moments of banter, humor and camaraderie. Unfortunately, there's a large part of this book when these two are not together. Fortunately, we still get to see Raffe in some pretty unique ways. And when he shows up, the sparks fly. 

4) We get answers. World After gives us a lot of answers about events/details that happened in Angelfall. Why Raffe acted certain ways. Why the apocalypse was so deadly in such a short time. What are these scorpion creatures and where do they come from? We are also starting to get some answers and motives from the angels. Why they've come to earth and how they were able to accomplish their mission as swiftly as they did. Even though Raffe is gone for much of the book - and the story is in Penryn's perspective - we also get more insight into what he's doing and also his past through a pretty interesting method. I could much better understand the push and pull within him, especially his hesitation and the true danger of pursuing anything with Penryn.

5) This book ups both the horror and the human moments. World After is a lot bloodier than its predecessor. This one moves more firmly into the horror category. It gets even scarier when the scorpions return and Penryn begins to realize what exactly the angels are planning, especially the way the book of Revelation and the Day of Judgement are being used. This book also has several very cinematic and epic battle scenes. The masquerade party and ocean fight were my favorites. But Ee masterfully balances those with smaller personal moments, like when Penryn and someone else camp in a beach house. You will never look at a jar of peanut butter the same way after this book. The simplest actions can be heavy with tension. 

6) Paige is no longer the same wheelchair bound girl that Penryn remembers. She's been cut and stitched into a truly frightening appearance, and doesn't seem to be able to eat regular food. In some ways Paige is still Penryn's little sister, but she's also lost her innocence in a violent way, and is a visual look at the horrors of the utter lack of humanity that some of these angels and demons possess and how little they value humans. Paige plays a much larger role in World After and there are several important revelations about her that direct the plot. I thought her part of the story was going to go one way, and then it shifted and really surprised me at the end. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Paige is a key to this series.  

7) Characters. This series has a small but core group of characters that Ee is slowly fleshing out in this story. In addition to Penryn, Raffe and Paige, we get more of Paige's mom who is off her meds and continuing to cause problems for Penryn. But though Penryn comes to terms with the fact that her mother is not well, Penryn begins to see her as helpful in her own way. We also see Penryn befriend and interact with more people outside of her family, and through that we watch her discover both the beauty and the ugliness of humanity. 

8) A broader perspective. While Penryn was almost solely focused on saving her family in Angelfall, in World After she gains a broader perspective and realizes something must be done to save all of mankind. She also begins to understand the responsibility she has undertaken to play a role in that. But Penryn doesn't just interact with humans, she sees many familiar angel and demon faces again. Even the 'bad guys' that have nefarious plans, came across as more real and I could much better understand their desires and motives. It added layers of complexity to the plot. 

9) Not perfect. As much as I enjoyed this series follow up, I felt like there were a few obvious plot details in this book - like the note that Penryn writes for the boat captain. When she was writing the note I thought it was a strange move, but later I realized why it worked in the plot. Although I enjoyed traveling through more of California, many of the scenes and themes echo those from Angelfall (i.e Penryn goes to another party at an Angel aerie etc.). I also wanted a little more Raffe, though that's more of a desire than a criticism. Thankfully, Ee made his scenes count. 

10) I can't wait for more. It seemed like the plot was only just beginning, when the story was ending. Despite it's page numbers in the 300s, World After was a quick read and I was aching for more. I can't wait to find out how Ee solves this huge angel predicament. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low-Medium. Revelations at the end, but the story stops at a place that doesn't cause unnecessary anxiety. 

Anybody know whether this is going to be a trilogy or more? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

These Broken Stars Blog Tour + Giveaway
Interview with authors Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars blog tour is hosted by The Midnight Garden 
(Make sure you go and check out TMG's gorgeous new blog design.)

Scroll down, or find my review of These Broken Stars, HERE

From the moment I saw the magnetic cover for These Broken Stars, I was determined to get my hands on a copy. Then I started holding my breath that it would be as good as all those glowing rumors being spread about it. 

Thankfully, it IS. 

Now I'm excited and incredibly honored to be able to interview the authors of this spectacular co-authoring debut, Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner.

And don't miss the very bottom of this post for a GIVEAWAY.

Welcome to Love is not a triangle, Amie and Meg!

Lauren: I’m fascinated by the concept that two authors living in different continents can combine their own ideas and writing styles into one book and make it coherent. You two succeeded with exclamation points!! I’d love for you to talk about how you achieved this feat. At your book signing at BEA you mentioned to me that one of you wrote Tarver’s voice and the other Lilac’s. I’m guessing having a character to focus on was helpful. But did you outline your story together ahead of time, or just pass chapters back and forth? What was easier and harder about co-authoring?

Amie and Meg: Thank you so much! We generally have a good idea about where we’re headed, but we definitely discover some of the story along the way. Amie takes primary responsibility for Tarver and Meg takes primary responsibility for Lilac, but by the time we’re done editing, we’ve both had our sticky fingers all over every chapter, and we genuinely don’t remember who wrote what! We pass the manuscript back and forth as we write, leaving comments and working on new chapters. As for what’s easy and hard—we think it’s ALL wonderful, and we love writing together! Our favorite part is probably that, being in different time zones, we each wake up to find a new chapter added to the book while we slept!

Lauren: I love hearing how much you enjoy writing together. Your mind meld has paid off spectacularly and seamlessly! Also, I'd like to take primary responsibility for Tarver too ;). 

Above you mention that you (mostly) plan your story ahead of time. In These Broken Stars you make some bold choices in what your characters face. I had several near heart attacks while reading. Do you purposefully try to be shocking when you write or did the story just happen that way? Have you ever had a plot idea and thought, “that is too much,” or “no way will that work!” 

As a caveat to that, do you think the genre of science fiction puts any restrictions on what you can imagine? Or, are you pretty much always thinking the sky’s the limit – or in this case, the galaxies?

Amie and Meg: Near heart attacks? Sorry! (Not sorry.) We were sort of aiming for that. We never aim to shock just for shock-value. That’s cheap, and if the reader isn’t truly emotionally engaged then it’s an easy thrill that fades out fast. We aim to pull the reader’s heart and mind into the story, so the twists and turns have a real impact. We love it when people tell us they couldn’t put These Broken Stars down!

Have we ever had an idea we thought was too much, or too far? Well, we discard plenty because they don’t serve the book, but we’ve never pulled back from something because we felt it went too far. We trust our readers.

We feel science fiction opens up endless possibilities, and the ideas are boundless. Sky’s definitely the limit! And maybe not even that, when you’ve got a spaceship….

Lauren: I'd say you 100% succeeded in that emotional connection. 

Let's talk a little about these characters. Lilac and Tarver are thrown together rather unexpectedly and immediately forced to rely on each other for survival. What’s one good quality that Tarver brings out of Lilac, and vice versa?

Amie and Meg: Oooh, good question! Lilac’s life before These Broken Stars might have been cushy, but it certainly wasn’t easy, and she’s been forced to put up walls to protect herself. Over the course of the story, Tarver definitely contributes to those coming down. As for what Lilac teaches Tarver, well—lots and lots of things, but one key lesson is definitely that assuming things about somebody because of their class in society is most unwise.

Lauren: Oh I love those two so much, especially that they come from such different backgrounds. Is there anything in These Broken Stars that you added because it came out of your research and you thought it was too interesting not to include? Conversely, is there anything you found when researching that you were unable to add, but wish it had fit into the story?

Amie and Meg: We learned SO much fun stuff researching this book. We read about physics, space travel, terraforming, dead bodies and checked out quite a few survivalist websites. We’re probably on a lot of watchlists. Even when a fact is cool, though, it has to earn its way in-it can only go in if it serves the story, not just because it tickled us! There are some awesome things we learned that we couldn’t quite fit in… but you might just spot them in books two and three, so we won’t give them away yet!

Lauren: All the research you did made the story feel very authentic. Maybe I'll ask that question again in the future then! 

I'm definitely looking forward to the next two books in the companion series. After finishing These Broken Stars, another blogger friend and I spent a while trying to figure out if we could guess the identity of the new MCs. Are you able to tell us anything at all about where we’re traveling next? Or how closely related the companions will be? i.e. will we get to see beloved/hated characters again?

Amie and Meg: Oooh, we love that you were trying to work out who comes next! Our next book is set on one of the newly settled planets, where a rebellion is in full swing. You’ll meet one of the soldiers and one of the rebels, who are forced to work together to uncover something that threatens both sides of the war. It miiiiight just be that you’ll see a few familiar faces passing through the story as well, and in fact there’s a tiny hint about one of the main characters in These Broken Stars!

Lauren: Now I need to re-read and try to figure out who is this character of which you speak.

This blog is called “Love is Not a Triangle," and I tend to talk about the subject of love triangles fairly frequently. I even rate them in my reviews. (If you’re wondering, These Broken Stars has a Love Triangle Factor rating of NONE). I also like to ask visiting authors their opinions on them. So love triangles: like them or loathe them? I won’t hold it against you if you say ‘like’.

Amie and Meg: We definitely have a rating of NONE. That’s what happens with a body count this high! We are neither for nor against love triangles—it depends on whether they’re well executed, necessary and work with the story.

Lauren: That's a fair answer. Also, yes, hard to have competition when you're stuck on an uninhabited planet with only one other person. 

I have three quick and very random questions to wrap our interview:

1) If you had to describe These Broken Stars using only color(s), what would it be? 

Aime and Meg: We have been informed that Lilac’s dress is the Pantone Color of 2013, so apparently our book is super fashionable. (We are not.) We’d probably say… midnight blue (the sky), silver (the stars) and green (the plains they cross).

Lauren: Wow. I had no idea there was a Pantone Color of the year. Clearly, I'm not that fashionable either. But I do love that green, and the combination of the colors you mentioned above. 

2) If Lilac and Tarver were shape-shifters, what animal forms would they take?

Amie and Meg: Tarver would be a wolf—handsome and super practical. Lilac would be a robin—a flash of color, and a lot hardier than you’d expect!

Lauren: I love those answers! But good thing they aren't shape shifters, because I'm not sure a wolf and a robin would coexist so well. 

3) Okay, one last question that's definitely relevant to this story: would you rather a) Eat nothing but protein bars for the rest of your life? or b) Wear the same outfit for the rest of your life?

Amie and Meg: Definitely same clothes. We’re writers, so we’re in our PJ pants half the time anyway. We might not even notice! Lilac and Tarver tell us in no uncertain terms how bad protein bars taste (they get stuck eating military rations), so we’d rather avoid that. We could never give up chocolate!

My husband and I play "would you rather" a lot, and I had a very difficult time answering this question. I think I might rather each protein bars than have to wear the same clothes forever. But giving up chocolate. Hmm. I'm not sure that's possible! Thankfully, that is not a choice I've been forced to make so far.  

Thank you so much for talking with me today!

Thank you so much for having us!


A little more about Amie and Meg

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are longtime friends and sometime flatmates who have traveled the world (but not yet the galaxy), covering every continent between them. They are sure outer space is only a matter of time. Meagan, who is also the author of the Skylark trilogy, currently lives in Asheville, NC, while Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia. Although they currently live apart, they are united by their love of space opera, road trips, and second breakfasts.

Visit the These Broken Stars website for the latest news on the series and follow the authors on Twitter at@AmieKaufman and @MeaganSpooner. You may also sign up for their newsletter as well! These Broken Stars will be available in North America on December 10, 2013.


Follow the full blog tour:

Monday, 11/11            The Midnight Garden
World-Building for the Future 

Tuesday, 11/12            Love is Not a Triangle
Author Interview

Wednesday, 11/13     The Perpetual Page-Turner
Using Technology to Write with a Partner

Thursday, 11/14           Good Books and Good Wine
Audiobook Sample + Narrator Interview

Friday, 11/15                The Starry-Eyed Revue
Character Interview with Tarver    

Monday, 11/18             Cuddlebuggery 
Author Interview       

Tuesday, 11/19            Books With Bite     
Amie & Meg's Favorite Things   

Wednesday, 11/20       Xpresso Reads
Establishing Characters with Role-Playing    

Thursday, 11/21           Great Imaginations
Co-Authoring Books    

Friday, 11/22                Nawanda Files  
Lilac's Gorgeous Dress: A Look at These Broken Stars' Cover Art  


Enter to win one of 5 shiny finished hardcovers or a Grand Prize of an autographed/annotated These Broken Stars galley, along with a limited edition necklace + TBS swag! 

Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and up, or 13 and up with parental permission. See entry form for complete details. 

Thank you Disney - Hyperion and authors for this generous giveaway!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...