Review of Hunted by Meagan Spooner

huntedcoverHunted
By: Meagan Spooner
Release Date: March 14th 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: E-ARC
Source: Edelweiss

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

My Thoughts:
Beauty and the Beast has always been  my favorite fairy tale so I’m excited each time I see a retelling being published. Meagan Spooner is such a talented writer I couldn’t wait to see what she’d do with this classic. I wasn’t disappointed at all! It was fast paced, original and yet really pulled in the feeling of the original story.

This go around our Beauty was an accomplished hunter as well as being very good in the woods. Yeva (her nickname was Beauty) had two older sisters that she was very close to (not like the original tale where the sisters are cruel to her) and she was the closest to their widowed merchant father. As you read it all feels so familiar and comforting but the little differences are enough to keep the story unique and interesting. I had a vague knowledge of where the story would go but Spooner added in so many aspects that were original to this story it kept me completely captivated.

Yeva’s world had a very original magical element. As we read on more and more of the magic becomes clearer and Beauty’s role as well. This was the type of story that had layers to it- we have our direct storyline but also a smaller, internal story about the Beast that was revealed as well as the larger story arc. I really loved this element.

The Beast in this book was easy to like and he even had little chapters from his point of view. They were very short but I liked seeing a little bit of what was going on inside his mind. He was a complex character and I loved the chemistry he had with Beauty. I loved his dual nature and there were times I actually didn’t know how he’d react which upped the tension considerably.

I have to say my favorite character though was Doe Eyes- Beauty’s dog. I absolutely adored this pup and she brought so much charm to the story. I loved the bond she had to Beauty. I recently got my own dog so I was especially able to relate to the emotional connection these two had.

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Final Thoughts:
Hunted was exactly the type of retelling I’ve been wanting! It had the original tale’s vibe, and most of al,l great characters that had real chemistry.

Blog Tour- Their Fractured Light Review + Giveaway

I have been a long time fan of this series of companion novels from the moment I read an advanced copy of These Broken Stars. I was blown away with the skill Amie and Meagan had in creating compelling, complex characters and how well they worked together. When I had the chance to be part of the tour for Their Fractured Light I jumped on it. I’m honored to again be highlighting these books and really suggest you read them if you’ve not already!

ABOUT THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT:

theirfracturedlightA year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Available NOW from Disney Hyperion

LINKS: IndieBound . B&N . BAM . Amazon . iBooks

My Review

I really loved the first two books in this series of companion novels so my expectations for this final installment were very high. I hoped it would tie in the characters from the prior two books as well as wrap things up in the world especially concerning LaRoux Industries. I was incredibly impressed with how this was accomplished and felt that Their Fractured Light was a wonderful addition and conclusion.

In Their Fractured Light the story focused on Gideon and Sofia, two characters with many secrets to hide and regrets/guilt to wrestle with. As with all of these books Amie and Meagan created characters that were incredibly realistic and had amazing chemistry together. Gideon was a really believable hacker (you know you read those books and you just don’t buy the person is what they are supposed to be? Not so in this book!) Not only was Gideon a complex character but his dialog was so witty and clever. I adored his snark and I couldn’t help but crush on him throughout the book.

Sofia was an incredible foil for Gideon’s character- she handled stress and life in general with a serious attitude. She was one scrappy character that was hard not to admire for her tenacious spirit. As you can imagine these two mixed up together was a lot of fun to read and I loved how these two characters had so many secrets and mysteries surrounding their pasts.

Another thing I really loved about this book was how well the authors tied in the new character’s story lines to the past characters. Little hints were given all through the first books about these two so if you were to go back and reread I’m sure you’d notice their presence or at least mentions of them.

Fans of the characters from the prior two books will be enthused to learn that they all make an appearance in Their Fractured Light. And, it’s not a small part they play either! They have an active role in the story line which I thought was a nice touch. I will admit that I was really excited to see these familiar characters I did have a bit of a disconnect with them. I felt closer to Sofia and Gideon’s story but only because it has been far too long since I read the first two books. I think this time caused me to lose some of the momentum between the characters. This also resulted in the pacing slowing down a bit for me once all the characters joined the fray. The slower pace didn’t last too long though and things got tense again and I genuinely worried for the character’s welfare.

Final thoughts:

Once again I’m incredibly impressed with the scope of story and the complexity of the characters these authors have created. I’m so sad to see this world and characters come to a close. But, this book left me completely satisfied with the outcome so now I’ll sit back and look forward to what both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have in the works- and I can hope they’ll team up again.

ABOUT AMIE KAUFMAN:

Amie-Headshot-199x300Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, and Their Fractured Light (with Meagan Spooner.) She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

About Meagan Spooner:

MeaganMeagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there.In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Extras

Giveaway

3 Starbound Prizepacks (including the books & posters)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

 
Week 2:

Be sure to check out the tour Amie and Meagan will be on!

Blog Tour-This Shattered World Quote Stop

TSW tour banner final

I am thrilled to be part of The Midnight Gardens Blog Tour (be sure to visit their kickoff post and the other stops) for This Shattered World. Last year they released These Broken Stars which was an easy favorite for me. I was eager to read this companion novel and get to know more characters and more about the world they’ve created. I was incredibly impressed with this installment (my review) and can’t wait for the release so everyone can read it (and I can get my hands on a shiny hardcover).

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Artwork created by the talented Tiffany Fay.

13138734About the book:
The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee 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. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable 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 in a bloody and unrelentingly war, 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 the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

Visit the These Broken Stars website for the latest news on the series and follow the authors on Twitter at @AmieKaufman and @MeaganSpooner. This Shattered World is available for pre-order (with fun swag!) and will be released in North America on December 23, 2014.

Giveaway:
5 hardback copies of THIS SHATTERED WORLD
or a Grand Prize consisting of
— autographed copies of the first two books
— Starbound swag
— a secret letter from Tarver to Lilac, which may be kept private by the recipient, or shared publicly on a blog, etc.
— coffee with the authors at one of their upcoming US tour stops in January, OR a Skype chat!

Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t miss the special pre-order offer! I’m most excited about the signed copy from both authors

TSWpreorder

TMG blog tours

Review of This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)This Shattered World
By: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Release Date: December 23rd 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Print ARC
Source: Gift from Jon (Bookish Antics) and won a copy from The Midnight Garden

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Jubilee 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. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable 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 in a bloody and unrelentingly war, 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 the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

My Thoughts:
I thought I’d read the first chapter to get a feel for the book and ended up not stopping until I was 3/4ths done with the book. I was completely mesmerized with the story and loved that it seamlessly tied into These Broken Stars. It was incredible to see Tarver and Lilac again (even for such a short amount of time). I loved how this world/galaxy feels so fleshed out and I can’t wait to see where they go from here. This story feels that it could continue into more than just one more book (fingers crossed).

The characters are all well developed and motivated by many factors. I loved that no one was perfect and each character struggled with their own internal battles. I felt that the relationships were well done though I never got as invested in Lee and Flynn as I was with Tarver and Lilac. I can’t pin-point exactly why I didn’t connect as deep but it could be their personalities. It wasn’t due to a lack of character development though.

Both the main characters were beautifully fleshed out and unique in their attributes. I loved the growth each character experienced especially Lee’s. She started the story closed off and motivated almost entirely by her duty. It was intriguing to watch her wrestle with her feelings especially for Flynn.

Spooner and Kaufman know how to create a male lead. Like Tarver, Flynn was incredibly likeable and easy to root for throughout the entire story. Though the two lead’s relationship was present it didn’t feel as dominant as in the first book. There were so many large issues on the planet to resolve the story had a broader approach and looked into the bigger picture of political and business corruption.

Action scenes were vivid and easy to imagine as well as the atmosphere of the planet. I  loved how creepy and realistic the descriptions were and how I could completely imagine a young planet being like that. The settler’s plight was understandable as well as their anger when the terraforming plans were not at the level promised. I can’t help but always imagine Doctor Who when I read about a planet being terraformed so many of my personal images are from the series.

Final Thoughts:
Kaufman and Spooner are experts at crafting beautiful characters and a world that seems incredibly fleshed out and real. I can’t wait to read more from them and though I liked This Shattered World just the tiniest bit less than These Broken Stars it has still become a favorite.

Interview with Meagan Spooner & Amie Kaufman + Giveaway

Today I am honored to have Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner on My Friends Are Fiction. If you follow me on Twitter or this blog you know that I absolutely adored their book, These Broken Stars. This is a must read for anyone that enjoys great characters, a sweeping story with a good helping of science fiction thrown in.

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Thank you both so much for being here and answering my questions.

I read that you two have been writing together for years for fun but just recently have delved into doing it professionally. How does the publishing experience differ between doing it with a partner versus alone?

Co-authoring is a tremendous amount of fun when you find the right partner. One of the best parts is that you’re never alone; if you get stuck or you’re not sure something’s working, you have someone right there beside you who’s as intimately familiar and invested with the story as you are. It’s one thing to ask a critique partner for advice when you’re writing solo, but there’s absolutely nothing like having someone literally inside the story with you. And we’re so closely-linked that we’ll often get the same exact idea for a plot solution at the same time. We have dozens of time-stamped emails and IM chats where we’ve proposed the same twists and revisions to each other at the same time.

As I read These Broken Stars I felt that the entire book flowed beautifully and couldn’t help but wonder how you two co-write. Does each of you take on a character or work on the entire novel in tandem? Could you tell us a bit about the process?

We each take one of the two main characters as our own. In THESE BROKEN STARS, Amie wrote Tarver and Meg wrote Lilac—along with any of the characters associated with them. For example, Amie was in charge of Tarver’s brother, Alec, while Meg was in charge of Anna, Lilac’s cousin, and of course, Lilac’s father. We will play with these characters and act out the dialogue with each other via instant messenger, and get a feel for the development of the relationships, and then we alternate chapters based on POV. That said… once we hit revisions, we both rewrite and revise each other’s chapters heavily. So by the time the book is done, there are whole sections of it where we actually literally don’t know who wrote what. By the end, it’s a true melding of both our styles.

I felt that you were able to transmit such an amazing atmosphere throughout These Broken Stars, on the ship and once they had crash landed. Was there a certain setting that you found more inspirational?

We’re both big fans of survival adventure stories. Shipwreck stories are endlessly fascinating, but the best ones are always the ones where there’s some mystery about the place the heroes are stranded. So we knew straight away that we wanted the planet Lilac and Tarver crash on to be almost its own character in the story, a third character with even more mystery and back story than our main characters. Our decision as we wrote and planned the book was that no idea was too out there to propose, so this world took place with strange beasts and plants and a moon that didn’t make sense and voices and apparitions and general insanity. The planet itself was a big inspiration to us, in that way. We loved tying it all together and finally revealing what had happened to make it what it was.

I have heard that there will not be a direct follow-up but a companion novel; could you tell us anything about it?

THIS SHATTERED WORLD is, indeed, a companion novel. It’s set in the same universe, about six months after the events of THESE BROKEN STARS. It follows a rebel named Flynn Cormac, who’s fighting for the rights of the colonists on the newly-terraformed Avon, and a military captain named Jubilee Chase, who’s obsessed with ending the rebellion and protecting her people. Where THESE BROKEN STARS is a survival story, THIS SHATTERED WORLD is much more a war story, a rebellion story. It’s all about whether you’ve chosen the right side, and what you really want to fight for.  And, because we could never resist, it’s very possible you might see a couple of familiar faces on Avon, as events transpire…

What did each of you want your readers to take away from their experience reading These Broken Stars?

As authors, we’re both all about what you can make your reader feel. We wanted a story that would take readers on a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs and twists, because that’s the kind of story we both love to read. A fast-paced plot or mystery is all well and good, but to us, if you don’t deeply care for the characters involved, it doesn’t grab you quite as much. So we wanted people to come away feeling like they actually knew Lilac and Tarver, and to carry them around in their hearts like old friends.

About the Authors:
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are the authors of These Broken Stars, a young adult science fiction novel forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion. They’re 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.

More about These Broken Stars:
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 is now available at your local bookstore, or online at your favorite retailer.

Extras:
My review of These Broken Stars
Click here to see Lego recreation of the cover and fun tidbit about how Tarver got his name
Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway