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BOOK REVIEW: This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerThis Shattered World (Starbound #2)
by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

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.

Review:

“What do you know of souls and hearts and how they break here? You don’t know me at all.”

“Oh, Jubilee.”
My resolve shatters, and my hand slides toward hers. She doesn’t pull away, but she doesn’t look up either, watching my fingers curling through hers.
“Hearts and souls and how they break? That’s all Avon teaches anyone.”

Man I am just so happy that I decided to re-read this series. I forgot how much I truly loved it and that’s saying something considering the fact that I first read it quite a while ago and have grown as a reader a lot since then. Going into this in the back of my mind I was thinking that this was my favorite book of the series. While I’m not sure if I in fact liked it more than book one, I think that overall the story line is a lot more solid and intense than book one. Even the romance develops a bit more realistically (though let’s be honest, I’m usually not a judger of insta-love….usually).

“I’m not special,” I snap. “I’m no more important than anyone else.”
“You’re the most important thing in this universe. You; this vessel; the people of this planet; lovers, warriors, artists, leaders, dreams more numerous than stars. Each mind unique, each thought created for an instant and then broken apart to form new ones. You don’t understand the unbearable beauty of being you.”

While this is a continuation of another planet that has been affected by the Whispers, it’s more of a story about the people of Avon and the soldiers that occupy it and their power struggles. It’s about peace-keeper Finn, who is part of the local group of people and the brother of the women who tried starting a huge rebellion, failed, and was executed for it and Jubilee, or Captain Lee Chase who is obviously part of the military force occupying Avon. The two meet when Finn captures Jubilee, hoping to find information on this mysterious base he finds deep in the swamp. He ends up eventually letting her go and the two wind up forming a tentative relationship for the sole sake of finding out what in the hell is going on with the slowed terraforming and this mysterious “fury” that used to only affect soldiers but spreads to more people.

This book is just so much…more (?) than the first book. Finding out about the struggles of the local people versus the soldiers and hurting for them. Talk of change, of rebellion, of just spending every day trying to survive. It’s pretty heavy honestly. There is one scene involving death that just fucking ripped my heart out and stomped all over it. I forgot how intense this book was at times, honestly but that’s what made it so good. I loved reading about Finn’s love for his people and how all he wanted was peace and to find out why his planet wasn’t doing better. I loved reading about Jubilee’s strict moral code and how she eventually had to change what she thought because she realized she didn’t have the whole picture and that sometimes you need to break the rules in order to help people and actually do the *right* thing.

Their relationship, too, was just so good. Watching it develop was so satisfying in the end and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it at all. Overall, like I said, I am so happy to have re-read this. It’s of the good ones.

ALSO, SIDE NOTE, the audio of this is AMAZINGGGGGG. Between every chapters is a few pages of what we find out later to be Jubilee’s dreams that are being “stolen” from her. They are read buy this guy who does this soft, voice that honestly creeped me out while you can hear people whispering in the background. Like holy shit. So eerie and so amazing. HIGHLY recommend.

He can’t take his eyes off the stars, but I can’t take mine off his face.

BOOK REVIEW: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerThese Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

It’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.

How do you live again, knowing what waits for you in the end?

After I finished Aurora Rising I knew that I wasn’t yet ready to venture out of the world of sci-fi. With the loss that I was feeling though, I just wanted something familiar, something that I knew I had liked before. My mind immediately went to this series (which is partially even wrote by Kaufman). This is my third time reading this book and I have to say that I liked it just as much as the other two times. I think overall I’d rate it a 4.5. It’s not a book that blew my mind but you know what? I’ve realized that you can give a book a high rating just for the sole fact that you really, really enjoyed it. It doesn’t have to be life changing but if it means something to you, makes you happy, and is memorable in any way, rate it five stars if you’d like.

That’s what this book is to me. It’s a story about Lilac and Tarver. The daughter of the richest man in the universe and a cynical war hero. The two meet on the Icarus, the spaceship which then gets sucked out of hyperspace and ends up crash landing on a strangely deserted planet. They were lucky enough to make it to an escape pod and Lilac was able to use the knowledge she’d learned from an old friend to hotwire their pod off the ship. Out of 50,000, the two are the only survivors.

The book basically just features them getting from their downed pod, to the wreckage of the Icarus, and then on from there. It’s a journey book and I know that’s just not everyone’s cup of tea. For some reason though, I just really liked it. I liked reading about them trying to survive. I liked them observing this planet that was weirdly terraformed and not familiar. And most of all I loved their hate-to-love relationship. Actually, if I remember correctly, the relationships and the characters were the defining part of what I loved about this entire series. Some of the plot lines become kind of weak later on but the characters never failed me.

Even though it initially seems like Lilac could have the potential to be a spoiled brat, she’s the complete opposite. She never whines or complains to Tarver when he’s trying to get them from point A to point B, even when she got huge blisters on her feet and was completely worn out from not having any kind of stamina for a journey like that. ESPECIALLY after falling out of the sky and realizing you are probably the only one that survived. And Tarver. Of course I loved Tarver. Tarver is the kind of guy character that will always be my type. (similar to Gale, Chaol, Garret, Cassian, etc.) Soldier, hard ass, but also has that gooey caramel center that you didn’t expect at first, lol. I enjoyed watching their relationship bloom and EVEN THOUGH I would have been really sad for Tarver’s family if he had never come back, is it weird of me to think it would have been a really interesting read to see how they flourished if they would have just stayed on that planet and made a life for themselves (kind of like in the movie Passengers)??!?!? 

Also, can I just say that the Whispers kind of creep me the F out? I know they meant no harm in this book but the whole thought of Lilac starting to hear voices and them creating those specific ~things~ was just…something else. I started to listen to This Shattered World on audio late last week and OMG. The narrator who does the scenes between chapters that are set in Jubilee’s past and brought up by the Whispers is so eerie to listen to. It’s quite frankly amazing. I’ve only just gotten into audiobooks and am finding out they can make a book 10x better because of those extra things. 

Overall this is a series that I will always love and will come back to from time to time to read again! If you’re looking for a kind of lighter (POSSIBLY AT TIMES CHEESY BUT WHO CARES) sci-fi series that is strong in the character/relationship department, I’d give this a try!

For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it’s gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away.


Until all that’s left is us

BOOK REVIEW: Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: Sherwood by Meagan SpoonerSherwood by Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: Amazon
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When news comes that he's fallen in battle at the King's side in the Holy Land, Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on. Betrothed to Robin, she was free to be herself, to flout the stifling rules of traditional society and share an equal voice with her beloved when it came to caring for the people of her land.

Now Marian is alone, with no voice of her own. The people of Locksley, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, are doomed to live in poverty or else face death by hanging. The dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sherriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley, and Marian’s fiancé. Society demands that she accept her fate, and watch helplessly as her people starve.

When Marian dons Robin's green cloak, and takes up his sword and bow, she never intended that anyone should mistake her for Robin, returned from the Holy Land as a vigilante. She never intended that the masked, cloaked figure she created should stand as a beacon of hope and justice to peasant and noble alike. She never intended to become a legend.

But all of Nottingham is crying out for a savior. So Marian must choose to make her own fate and become her own hero...

Robin Hood.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for my ARC. Sherwood will be released on March 19, 2019.

I am the Lady Marian. I am a free woman and I am loved by Robin of Locksley. I don’t shatter for someone like Guy of Gisborne.

Sherwood was another very good book from Meagan Spooner. I previously enjoyed Hunted, Spooner’s take on “Beauty and the Beast.” This time it is the legend of Robin Hood, with Marian stepping up to take Robin of Locksley’s place after he is killed in battle.

Marian is an excellent main character. She takes her grief and sorrow over losing Robin and channels it into doing good for the people of Sherwood. Along the way, a fantastic cast of side characters help her steal from the rich to help the poor. She is strong and unwavering in her belief in right and wrong, yet is not immune from pain and sadness for those she cares for. She constantly goes out of her way to spare anyone unnecessary and pain and even when it is necessary, she feels guilty for what she has done. Marian is not morally grey–she does what she believes is right and doesn’t second guess herself.

Madness, then, she thought with a grin. And then, missing the feel of wool on her fingertips, she thought, Robin would have loved it.

We are introduced to Robin with a series of flashbacks and his voice in her heard. I loved Robin’s character. He is funny and sweet and charming. View Spoiler » Robin’s voice is constantly in Marian’s head, guiding her through her foray into becoming Robin Hood.

Robin’s voice in her thoughts was gentle. Will you take away their hope because you have none?

As I mentioned before, I thought the side characters of Alan, Will, John and Elana were all quite likeable and well-written. And in usual Meagan Spooner fashion, it was written quite beautifully and the world building was excellent.

You must be wondering, if all of this is good, why only 4 stars, Cassie? Well, unfortunately for me, I didn’t love the romance angle of this. Spoilers hidden for those who haven’t read/don’t want to know:

View Spoiler »

Overall, this was another wonderful book by Spooner. I really enjoyed it and if you were a fan of Hunted or the Scarlet series, you will likely enjoy this as well. I’m sure there will be plenty of people who disagree with me regarding the romance, but I’m ok with that. I’m looking forward to whatever Spooner writes next.

BOOK REVIEW: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: Hunted by Meagan SpoonerHunted by Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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?

Guys I’m so sad. I didn’t love it. Don’t get me wrong, I totally see why others did, and I’m in the minority for this one.

I’m not going to type a summary on this one because well, it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Some parts were close to the original, and other parts deviated quite a bit. In my opinion, it was the wrong parts. Here’s the thing… I’m super biased. I grew up with Beauty and the Beast and I just hold it in such a high regard so it’s hard for me to love retellings unless they are as emotionally connected as the first.

The story starts off SOOOO slow. It’s literally everyone doing normal actions for a good chunk of it. One thing I did love right off the bat was Beauty’s connection to her family. She adores her father and sisters and there is such mutual love and acceptance. 

However, very little happens as the story progresses. If I’m remembering correctly, the B&tB storyline doesn’t even start until like 30-35%? But okay, I’m fine with slower start if they are imperative for character development, but eek it was boring.

Anyway, once the main storyline did start, I just… didn’t feel it. I felt like there was no chemistry between Beauty and the Beast. It supposedly took place over months and there was hardly any conversations or interaction between them. I guess I just wanted more? However, I DID love the scene where she sneaks into his room to try and kill him. So there’s that. It did finally make me feel something for the beast. But really… that was it. 

Whatever, I could have held out and still been quite happy with the book just based on the pretty writing and the folklore aspects if the end had followed through. But whaaat? What even happened? Okay so Beauty went back to her family and literally stayed there for months while she knew she needed to save the beast. But she’s all like “Oh hey I’ll leave tomorrow it’s fine.” That literally happened about 10 times and next thing you know, it’s months later. Please. Are you serious right now. And then the actual end where she goes to find the Beast… what even happened? I don’t even know. BUT the one thing I did love was how the story with her sisters wrapped up. So there’s that.

Soooo all in all I was pretty disappointed, but there were some good points that I kinda brushed over. Like I said, the writing was lovely, the forest description was really cool, and the folklore aspect was what had me in such high hopes for the ending. Also, the whole captor vs captive thing can be so tricky to navigate but the author handled it really well – I saw no sketchy issues there.

Anyway, all in all, it wasn’t really for me, but don’t let this deter you. Try it out for yourself! 

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