This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound #2)

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“This Shattered World” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

5 out of 5 stars.

 Captain Jubilee Chase is a legend among the soldiers stationed on Avon. She’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s the only soldier on Avon who seems to be unaffected by the Fury. The mysterious illness called the Fury can make an angel commit murder, and so the soldiers on Avon are watched carefully and if they show any signs of being under its influence, they are reassigned to another planet before they can do anything terrible. Being a captain on Avon with soldiers succumbing to the Fury every day means that Jubilee has to keep her ears and eyes out for anything out of the ordinary.  So when a charming cadet with an ill-fitting uniform comes into a bar, Jubilee reads all the signs. Something’s not quite right with him, and Jubilee Chase couldn’t be more right. Only minutes after the cadet enters the bar, Jubilee becomes his prisoner.

Flynn Cormac is different from his fellow rebels. He’d rather talk and try to resolve a problem peaceably than pick up a gun, and he’s driven by duty to the Fianna rather than blind rage. All Flynn really wants is for Avon to become a real home for the Fianna and the other residents of the planet, and for it to become a place where all kinds of life can grow and flourish, same as the other terraformed planets. But now that his home is so close to being found by the soldiers stationed on Avon, he has to figure out a way to save everyone who has put their trust in him, and to do that he needs information. Jubilee wasn’t the target, but she of all the captains would know something about the large military base that  materialized out of thin-air.

More is going on in Avon than meets the eye, and the longer Jubilee and Flynn are together, the more secrets they uncover, secrets that were meant to stay buried. Can they, a soldier and a rebel, work together to uncover the truth behind Avon’s deadly environment, or will they both end up buried alongside their planet’s secrets?

This book was SO different from “These Broken Stars.” In the first book, I got to experience a sweeping and elegant love story on a planet that was mysterious, yet eerily beautiful. Tarver and Lilac were the only two living souls on that planet and the story was driven by just them, which created a small world that I wanted to live in forever. “This Shattered World,” however, took place on a planet that was shrouded in clouds and there was murky water almost everywhere; the whole planet was practically a bog. Another thing that made this book distinct from the first one was that Flynn and Jubilee were not the only people on the planet, so the focus and tone of this book was very different from “These Broken Stars.” The feeling of “This Shattered World” was gritty, rough, and almost oppressive whereas the first book had a couple of “spooky” moments and the rest of it was more intriguing instead of being heavy. The best way to describe the differences between these two books is that they belong to the same galaxy, but they are on opposite sides of the universe. Both are amazingly complex books that Amie and Meagan wrote, but they are also unique.

The more I think about this book, the more I like it. “This Shattered World” is the plot-builder of this trilogy, and it’s all about exploring and understanding what’s wrong in the “Starbound” world with a little romance sprinkled in here and there.

i love that

It did not fall prey to the Second Book Syndrome because nothing in this book was just filler to distract you until the final book comes out; everything in this book was meant to create a more vivid and fleshed-out world. “This Shattered World” helped to explain the odd happenings on certain planets in the “Starbound” universe, and it also elaborated on Lilac’s and Tarver’s story. It was full-bodied and interesting, and the longer I read, the more I grew to love this story and the characters in it. Speaking of which…

It took me some time to warm up to Jubilee Chase. She was a bit more extreme and intense, so it took me a while to get used to her and understand the details of her past. Once I got to know her, though, I started to really like her character. She was strong and brave, but not completely and unrealistically fearless. I thought that her restraint in her jobs and the responsibility she felt towards her soldiers and the people of Avon was so admirable, and I also really liked how she evolved as a character without becoming unrecognizable. By the end of “This Shattered World,” I felt like I had made a new friend in Jubilee Chase!

Another thing that I admire Amie and Meagan for was the way they wrote Jubilee during some of the more romantic scenes in this book. You could feel the sizzle and tension between her and Flynn, but Jubilee was smart and realized that as much as she wanted to give into the moment, that neither she nor Flynn had the time. They were fighting a war and that was their priority. I hate it when authors write a world that is crumbling beneath their hero’s and heroine’s feet, yet they find time to “cuddle” and “canoodle.” Personally I’d say, “Ain’t nobody got no time for that,” and attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse! Thank you, Amie and Meagan, for writing a beautiful, realistic romance between two characters that just made me happy with how wonderful it was!

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Flynn Cormac was also a very complex character, and I really admire Amie and Meagan writing him the way they did. Flynn’s a rebel, but not in the traditional sense. When I hear the world rebel, I think of people being violent and cruel to innocent bystanders as well as the guilty; people get caught in the crossfire, and a lot of leaders (rebels or not) look at those people as necessary casualties. What I really liked about Flynn was that he cared deeply for the innocents on both sides, and he wanted desperately to stop them from being hurt. During the book, Flynn never let that piece of who he was die, even if it would have been easier, and that was extremely noble. He was a brave, charming, and smart hero that I really enjoyed and grew to love by the end of “This Shattered World.”

Again, I so admire Amie and Meagan for writing such vivid and rich scenes between characters; those short snippets, and brief moments where different characters interact all add up to create real people. I felt like Flynn and Jubilee were real people by the end of “This Shattered World” and that I knew them really well, and after I finished the book I felt a little lonesome because it seemed like two of my friends went away. P.S. The scenes between Flynn and Jubilee were SO good. They were beautiful and they made me like Flynn and Jubilee all the more!

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Beware that the last hundred pages of “This Shattered World” will have you on the edge of your seat, and some crazy crap happens!

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Overall, this was SUCH a beautiful second book, and I think that I liked it just tiny bit more than “These Broken Stars” based on the fact that the world Amie and Meagan built in this book was so rich and complex, and also because of how they decided to end it. “This Shattered World” had a “heavier” feeling to it than the first book, but what I loved was how Amie and Meagan tempered those darker tones by lacing this book with really hopeful notes that sung out loud and clear. I thought that it was a beautiful and compelling touch which added so much depth to this book! I am looking forward to what these two mad-genus authors have in store for my beloved characters in the third and final book of the “Starbound” trilogy.

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Merry Christmas and Clear Skies, everyone!

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Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! This is my favorite holiday and I am just so grateful for my family of relatives and friends! I hope today is filled with love and blessings for you all!

 

P.S. I’m going to be doing a lot of reading and cooking thanks to my lovely family members!

 

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These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound #1)

these broken stars by amie kaufman and meagan spooner

“These Broken Stars” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

4 out of 5 stars.

The Icarus is said to be indestructible, infallible. Until it isn’t anymore. When the Icarus is suddenly pulled out of hyperspace and ripped apart, Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen are thrown together in a free-falling escape pod. When it crash-lands on an unfamiliar planet, it seems that they are the sole survivors of the Icarus.

After snubbing Tarver back on the ship only a day before its forced descent, Lilac is smart enough to know that she and the soldier are not on good terms. She may know the mechanical workings of their pod ship, but she’s no wilderness survivor and Tarver is her only hope of reaching the Icarus’ crash-site alive. Whether either of them likes it or not, the only way to survive this mysterious planet is by working together.

The closer they get to the Icarus, the more eerie their new home becomes. Strange animals that shouldn’t exist on a terraformed planet are stalking them in the bushes, and there seems to be no human life for them to find. Lilac and Tarver can’t comprehend how the government could have gotten so far in the terraform process without introducing humans into the ecosystem, or at least a few towers to monitor the planet. Are they just too far away from civilization to find it, or is there something far more sinister lurking just beneath the surface? Can Tarver and Lilac work together and stay alive long enough to be found, or are they to be abandoned and forgotten just like this planet seems to be?

“These Broken Stars” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner was a great book! I had read it once before when it came out last December, but I didn’t like it that much the first time around; I cannot put my finger on it, but I just didn’t connect with the story or characters at that time. I had admired the writing even then despite not liking it all that much, because, well, Amie and Meagan are fantastic writers and I can appreciate that. A year passed and I had seen that The Midnight Garden was doing a blog tour for the second “Starbound” book, so I went on each day to check out the happenings. The more people posted about “This Shattered World,” the more I wanted to go back and reread “These Broken Stars,” and I am super happy that I did. I don’t know whether it was my state of mind, or that my tastes in books has changed a bit since last year, but I loved “These Broken Stars” the second time around.

I think that the best word to describe “These Broken Stars” is sweeping. It is elegant, complex, and yet really simple, and I so admire Amie and Meagan for their writing skills. There are so many minute details in this story that slowly add up to create the stunning world that Lilac and Tarver live in, and it makes for a really enjoyable and interactive reading experience. I also loved the fact that even though Amie and Meagan took so much time to make this world so lush and interesting, I never felt like the development of it all was ever tedious. These two wonderful authors found the magical balance of keeping their readers engaged without ever comprising important details that make a great book.

Another thing that I loved about reading “These Broken Stars” again was watching and reading the interviews of Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, and understanding all of the subtly hints that help merge this book with “This Shattered World.” One of those things was Jubilee Chase (the heroine of the second book) being mention somewhere in the first book by Tarver. I started to read it a day after Amie had done that interview with Little Book Owl, and so while reading I found that part and I was like,

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That discovery made me admire Amie and Meagan all the more because they seem to really have this trilogy mapped out quite well. Okay, now on to the characters!

Lilac LaRoux was a fairly complex character. She’s the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, she is calculated, and knows how to put people in their place. She appears cold and indifferent to those around her, but she had more of a story to tell once the Icarus crashed on a seemingly uninhabited planet. At first, I was not the hugest fan of Lilac. Yes, I did admire her mechanical still-set that saved her and Tarver (kudos to Amie and Meagan!), but she acted quite cold and rude towards Tarver on the Icarus and continued to do so even after the crash. Understandable considering the things a reader discovers in the first few chapters of this book about her father; you don’t know exactly what happened to make her a harsher person, but you can glean enough to form an opinion. I could understand a bit of where she was coming from, but I wasn’t yet a fan of her’s.

The more she began to recount from her point of view, though, the more I grew to care for her as a character. Some crazy stuff happened that she had to deal  with and it began to make her a stronger person, which made me root for her all the more. She had to endure a lot during “These Broken Stars” and I really liked the direction that Amie and Meagan took when writing her. I also thought that these two authors did  a good job of creating a mature and intelligent relationship between Tarver and Lilac; they saved each other repeatedly, which I liked. It wasn’t just Lilac being a damsel, and it wasn’t about making the girl a macho female who refused everyone who offered her a hand. Tarver and Lilac trusted and relied on each other and they worked together, and I thought that was an interesting and refreshing spin on a survival story. In the end, I liked Lilac a lot and I am looking forward to seeing her do a cameo of sorts in “This Shattered World.”

Tarver Merendsen was a really good male lead. He was interesting and well-developed from the start of “These Broken Stars,” and I liked that throughout the book you got glimpses of his family and back story. I also really liked how Amie and Meagan chose to tie Avon and his career as a soldier so closely together. Now that I’ve read this book twice and I know the premise of “This Shattered World,” I could imagine Avon before the second book even came out, and it really got me excited to uncover the secrets of the restless planet.

There are so many little things that add up to make a great leading character, so I honestly don’t know exactly what it was that made me like Tarver so much. He was smart, interesting, and he had a good heart and you could tell that he loved his family and would do anything just to make it home to them. It made me really want to know what he was like before he enlisted. I also thought that towards the end it was interesting the choice Amie and Meagan made to write something so shocking for a YA novel. All I can say is that extraterrestrial beings and danger were involved, and I was kinda like,

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until the book ended. I am very curious as to what these two wonderful authors have up their sleeves for “This Shattered World.”

Overall, a really good book and I am very happy that I gave it a second try.

Elf on the Shelf

Ashley Townsend

Yes, Elf on the Shelf is a toy designed for children, but let’s be honest–adults spend way more time with this magical doll than the kids they’re setting it up for, and I also think they get a strange kick out of arranging it in hilariously ridiculous poses and situations. Actually, I don’t think, I know, because Elizabeth, Katie, and I went to town setting up random scenarios for our Lady Elf on the Shelf.

If you’re unfamiliar with Elf on the Shelf, first of all, please call 911 to get yourself out from under that rock you’ve been hiding beneath. But if you really don’t know, it’s a supposedly magical red doll that comes with a book that parents are supposed to read to their kids that talks about how the elf comes alive at night. And then parents will spend hours hiding the creature in random places and setting…

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Ashley Townsend Interview: Part 2

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Download Ashley Townsend’s books for free at: http://doubledeckerbooks.blogspot.com/p/available-to.html. Here are the summaries for both of her books! Now that we have met Ashley Townsend, she wanted you all to meet her main characters, and check out the link under each of their pictures so you can read their own interviews!

 

Will TaylorWill Taylor:

http://ashley-townsend.com/chasing-shadows/between-the-pages/meet-sarah-matthews/

Sarah Matthews

Sarah Matthews:

http://ashley-townsend.com/chasing-shadows/between-the-pages/between-the-pages-meet-sarah-matthews/

Damien Lisandro 3

Damien Lisandro:

http://ashley-townsend.com/chasing-shadows/between-the-pages/meet-damien-lisandro/

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Karen Ashmore:

http://ashley-townsend.com/chasing-shadows/between-the-pages/meet-karen-ashmore/

Check out these links to watch the trailers for “Rising Shadows”  and “Chasing Shadows.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVlhMaHDbUA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWT2Slp5hwI

Ashley Townsend Interview: Part 1

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Today’s post is very special to me because I am writing my first author interview. I joined the Double Decker Books blog tour for Ashley Townsend, and here we are! Alright, here is Ashley’s interview with Double Decker Books!

Q: What are the major themes of your work?

A: I crafted the entire series around the fact that forgiveness is never too far from reach and also the idea that everything we do is a choice—that we aren’t victims of fate or circumstance, but that we can choose to turn our lives around. This comes up more than anything in “Chasing Shadows,” and nearly every character at some point references how they “don’t have a choice” in life, while their circumstances say otherwise.

Q: What’s your inspiration or who is?

A: Pretty much anything can spark my interest and inspire me to write—a particular song lyric, wondering how I can describe the waves lapping on the shore, films. I also do a lot of people watching (I sometimes come off like a perv, but it isn’t like that!), and they are definitely interesting, in a good and a bad way. History is also really inspiring to me, and I love thinking up ways to drive life into a period of history or a public figure to get people interested.

Q: If you could meet one character from your book who would it be and why?

A: ……. ^____^ Okay, my first instinct is Will Taylor (your next medieval, blacksmith book boyfriend), and I’m still sticking with that. But I would also love to meet Sarah; she sort of has a way of quietly sneaking her way into your heart and becoming your best friend. I love her for her fears, strengths, her wacky sense of humor, and the fact that she is one of the most realistic characters I have ever written or read about. I feel like I could learn so much from her over a cup of coffee … perhaps in another century.

Q: What inspired you to write your first book?

A: I wrote the “bones” of it when I was 14, and it was the first totally creative assignment we were allowed to work on in my writing class. It was just a cute story to start out, and then I was watching BBC’s Robin Hood with Jonas Armstrong (full disclosure: I’ve been a Robin Hood nut since I was four and love that show with an undying passion). I was playing around with the story at the same time I was watching the show and just went, “Wow. I want to do something like that.” It just sort of evolved on its own from there.

Q: What are your current projects?

A: Love this question! ^_~ Well, I have about 13 projects that I have half-plotted and want to write all at once—if I had twelve arms, that would be super helpful—but what I’m really dedicating myself to right now is Book III in the Rising Shadows Trilogy to wrap it up, and I’m planning on finishing up a fairytale series next that sort of Pirates of the Caribbean meets Neverland. There’s also a dystopian novel I have in the works. It’s about the perfect soldiers who are like robots, supposedly created in petri dishes, but the female doctor training them realizes that they’re humans being sacrificed in one man’s pursuit to take over what’s left of East America.

 

Q: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

A: I should never cram in a half hour of writing before work. -_- Yeah, I’ve learned that I don’t stop once I get started. I have also found that I really need to set aside writing time, because I’ll either spend three days straight writing and not sleeping, or I take a week or two off completely because I don’t have a full day to dedicate to a story. So I’ve found clever ways to keep my mind in writing mode, even when I’m not typing away, like using plotting notecards, or mentally going over scenes to make sure that they connect.

 

Q: Do you have any strange writing habits?

A: I have to be wearing my penguin socks or my frog slippers, have a coffee nearby, and no distractions, other than random trailer music or my particular writing playlist on a loop to inspire me. I listened to “All or Nothing” by Brand X Music 26 times in a row (I counted) while I wrote this one scene because it totally set the mood for me.

 

Q: If you didn’t write books, what would you do for a living?

A: Probably teach or own a bakery, which I still plan to do! I always wanted to teach creative writing as a kid, because I have a passion for the English language and love encouraging kids in their writing, and I have a baking fetish that will never fade. I also really want to become an acquisitions editor for either Harper Collins or Balzer & Bray. Then I’d get to read great stories for a living!

 

Q: What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

A.   I love every aspect of writing and will never tire of it, but I do get frustrated with myself when I can’t articulate a thought properly. It’s torture to have something in your head that seems awesome and then just sounds horrible on paper.

Q: What is one of your favorite parts in your newest book?

A: NOOOOOOO! Ugh, such an evil question. Now I have to go by genre *sighs*

Well, for romance, when something tragic happens to Sarah, she comes to _____ (I can’t spoil it for you!) and is a total wreck. But he’s so tender and it’s so painfully obvious to the reader that he’s in love with her. I just can’t get over how vulnerable the moment is between them. Soooo beauuuutiful! Basically I’m a fan of whenever vulnerability comes into play.

Action would definitely have to be when Sarah and Will witness a body burning in the forest and have to flee the guilty party. It’s a very intense, fast-paced scene, and then Sarah slips through an icy lake, and Will has to fish her cold body out. It was so much fun to write, I can’t even begin to tell you.

Also, I love any scene with Damien Lisandro, the handsome Spanish lord staying at Serimone Castle with Sarah. *sighs* Where to begin. He is so charming and secretly wounded and dashing and amusing and such a good friend to Sarah. Try not to fall too hard, ladies.

Ashley and Double Decker Books also sent out a playlist for Ashley’s book, “Chasing Shadows!”

CHAPTER 1:

Avicii — Wake Me Up

CHAPTER 2:

Jason Reeves — The End

CHAPTER 3:

Schuyler Fisk — Waking Life

CHAPTER 4:

Ben Howard — The Fear

CHAPTER 5:

Nico and Vinz — Am I Wrong

CHAPTER 6:

The Script — The End Where I Begin

CHAPTER 7:

Switchfoot — Slipping Away

Penny and Sparrow — Brothers

CHAPTER 8:

Josh Rosenthal — No More Lies

CHAPTER 9:

The Workday Release — A Starlit Sky

CHAPTER 10:

YPPAH — Never Mess with Sunday

CHAPTER 11:

Levi Robin — Breathe Easy

CHAPTER 12:

Bastille — Bad Blood

CHAPTER 13:

Jason Walker — Down

Keith Urban — Stupid Boy

CHAPTER 14:

Hunter Hayes — You Think You Know Somebody

CHAPTER 15:

Need to Breathe — Won’t Turn Back

CHAPTER 16:

Danny Elfman — Oz, the Great and Powerful

CHAPTER 17:

Brand X Music — Sorcerer’s Secret

CHAPTER 18:

Hurts — Unspoken

CHAPTER 19:

Kacey Musgraves — Back on the Map

CHAPTER 20:

Lady Antebellum — Learning to Fly (cover)

CHAPTER 21:

Augustana — Borrowed Time

CHAPTER 22:

The Weepies — Can’t Go Back Now

One Republic — Feel Again

CHAPTER 23:

Hunter Hayes — All You Ever

CHAPTER 24:

The Civil Wars — Dust to Dust

CHAPTER 25:

Two Steps from Hell — Resistance is Fatal

CHAPTER 26:

X Ambassadors — Unsteady

CHAPTER 27:

Mads Langer — Fact-Fiction

Jan Kaczmarek — Finding Neverland

CHAPTER 28:

Gabrielle Aplin — Start of Time

CHAPTER 29:

Jimmy Eat World — Hear You Me

Florence and the Machine — Heavy in Your Arms

CHAPTER 30:

Sea Fournier — Goodbye

In the Nursery — Kryptka

CHAPTER 31:

Switchfoot — When the World Caves In

CHAPTER 32:

Parachute — Hurricane

CHAPTER 33:

Brand X Music — Curious Developments

CHAPTER 34:

Greg Laswell — Comes and Goes (in Waves)

CHAPTER 35:

Ray LaMontagne —Be Here Now

CHAPTER 36:

Ed Sheeran — Give Me Love

Abel Korzeniowski — First Kiss

CHAPTER 37:

Christina Perri — A Thousand Years

CHAPTER 38:

Bastille — The Draw

CHAPTER 39:

Two Steps from Hell — Black Blade

CHAPTER 40:

One Republic — Burning Bridges

CHAPTER 41:

Tom Petty — Square One

CHAPTER 42:

Avicii — Heart Upon My Sleeve

CHAPTER 43:

Husky – History’s Door

CHAPTER 44:

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — Cat and Mouse

CHAPTER 45:

Adele — Skyfall

Sons of Sylvia — John Wayne

CHAPTER 46:

Brand X Music — All or Nothing

CHAPTER 47:

 Blackmill — Journey’s End

CHAPTER 48:

Kodaline — All I Want

CHAPTER 49:

Of Monsters and Men — Silhouettes

CHAPTER 50:

Lord Huron — Ends of the Earth

EPILOGUE:

Radical Face — Welcome Home

 

 This is an author interview with multiple parts, so check out all the tags with “Ashley Townsend Interview” as the title!