Getting Closer to Cy of Lydia Kang's CONTROL

As you can see from my review, I found so much to love about Control. One of the reasons it's so enjoyable is the character of Cy. Let's take a closer look at what makes him so fascinating via excerpts from the novel.

First impression

At first, all I see is tattoos. The tallest person, a guy, leans against a big dining table in the center of a sparsely furnished room. He’s dressed in ash-colored clothes and is blanketed with ink. Black swirls, bodies in motion, scythes and hellfire twist together on his arms, neck, and half his face. A black ring hangs on his lower lip, while his ears are pierced with chunky black bars. Under a headful of closely cut, brownish-black hair, his eyes stare at me coldly.
Not exactly the warmest reception, but you can already tell that this guy has a story. And that it's going to be worth it to stick around and find out what it is.

Hint of attraction?

“Here, take it.” He hands his shirt back to me, which is now damp from his sweat and smeared with chalk. He’s making a clear effort to keep his eyes away from my body, as if he actually wants to see me in my underwear, but is being polite.
Up to this point, Cy has been nothing but rude to Zelia. Might he be warming to her? I think so!

Protective mode activated!

Cy opens my door and I shimmy closer to Wilbert. There’s no avoiding Cy now. His lean body squishes up against mine, leg to leg, hip to hip. In fact, there’s no room for our arms side by side, so I hunch forward to clasp my hands together. 
Cy never goes outside, but he joins the gang on a night out at a club to keep Zelia safe. And Zelia might or might not experience something thrilling together (I'll let you discover it for yourself).

 Looks good in the morning

Cy walks in as I say this, rumpled and gorgeous in what must be his pajamas. A loose white T-shirt hangs off his angled shoulders and a pair of drawstring pants barely hang on to his hips. Yesterday’s tattoo mask is completely gone and his skin is uninked as yet. His face looks softer, kinder.
 Need I say more?

Okay, so maybe the quotes I chose make me sound a bit shallow, but I swear there's more to Cy than surly hotness. He is smart, loyal, and has some deep dark secrets to discover during the course of the narrative.


What I Love about CONTROL by Lydia Kang!

Yesterday CONTROL by Lydia Kang came out and today I want to tell you why you should buy it. But first the beautiful cover: 

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

What I love about Control:      
  • the Technology : Lydia has filled the world of CONTROL with all kind of cool gadgets that give it flavor and make it all the more believable. There are magpods (which people use as cars but which are mostly driven by an autopilot.), scent downloads (like music downloads, only that you can choose a scent for a month), holos (which are ear studs used for communication as well as for information) and many more 
  • The science: Lydia explains the science behind everything, so that it makes sense and is believable. You can tell that she knows what she’s talking about. The main character Zelia is interested in science and the experiments she’s doing are explained well enough that even someone who doesn’t know anything about genetics understands what’s going on. So if you like your sci-fi with science that makes sense, then this one is for you.
  •         Cy.  He's covered in tattoos when we first meet him, but they change on a daily basis. Later we find out the meaning behind this. I think her and Zelia are really cute together!
  •             Zelia and her sister Dylia. I love their relationship. I love that Zelia is determined to save her sister no matter what’s thrown at her. And even when she meets an interesting boy (Cy), she doesn’t suddenly forget her main goal: to get her sister back.

The CONTROL Book Trailer Reveal!

Hi guys! I'm so excited to share the book trailer for CONTROL with you. The lovely Phoebe North created it and I'm beyond happy with how it turned out!


Here it is!

(Click below for YouTube link)

Making the trailer was a little freaky at first. I'm used to working on manuscripts, no video! Trying to get the feel of the book in the short amount of time wasn't easy. Phoebe read an ARC so she could really immerse herself in the world. Then we bounced the script back and forth and listened to oh-so-many music samples. She did a lot of experimenting with different backgrounds and fonts. The whole process was eye-opening for me and so much fun.

Hope you enjoyed it! I can't believe that CONTROL is going to be out in the world in only ten days! Wow. Now THAT is truly freaky.

Pre-order on Amazon / IndieBound / Books A Million

Art Inspiration, Book Exhalation

Have you ever read (or written) a scene inspired by art? Maybe it was a photograph. Maybe it was the lyrics to a song.  

When I was writing the club scenes in CONTROL with the Alucinari Rooms (psychedelic single-sensory hallucinogen cloud rooms), I started Googling images to help me see what I was imagining. That is how I found Thomas Jackson's photography. I couldn't stop staring at this series! Those clouds seemed like living things. With those images in my head, the scenes almost wrote themselves.

Isn't that gorgeous?

This is from his Nebulae series. Soon, I found his Emergent Behavior series:

Those are LIGHT STICKS, yo.
I haven't written a book or scene to go with the Emergent Behavior series, but doesn't it make you wonder what kind of book it would inspire? I'd read it!

It's funny how "inspiration" is the same word that means "to breathe air." It's life. It's transforming something outside of yourself into something new, and not just carbon dioxide. 

Okay, okay. My new-age/granola break is over! I guess what I'm saying is this: if you're ever in a writing rut, go to a concert. Or a museum. Or an art show. Sometimes you need a little inspiration. And who knows what your mind will exhale from the process!

(Photographs reproduced with permission by the artist. 
Please check out Thomas Jackson's beautiful work on his website!)

Interview with the authors of THESE BROKEN STARS

I'm so excited to have you meet Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman via this interview today. It's rare when authors collaborate on a YA book, but these two do it from across the universe (yes, League joke). I think you'll find their process as fascinating as I do. - Lissa

         Meagan Spooner                                                                                           Amie Kaufman

Whose idea was it to write as a team and who came up with the idea?

We'd been writing together, a series of collaborative story-telling games, for years before it ever occurred to us to write a novel together. The idea for THESE BROKEN STARS came when we were ready to start one such new game, and Amie wanted to make the setting a shipwreck, and Meg wanted to make the setting space. We came up with the idea of a shipwreck in space and intended to write a bunch of little vignettes to entertain each other, all about the little groups of survivors. But we got completely carried away by the very first such group we made: Lilac and Tarver. We never got to writing any other survivors, and ended up playing with the characters for over a year before we started to wonder if maybe other people might have fun reading about them too.

What is your writing process together?

We often play out conversations and events together via instant messenger long before we start drafting the book, just to make sure the characters are well-established, and we have a vague idea of the events to come. Once we feel we've got a good handle on our characters, we then alternate writing chapters; Amie writes the boys, and Meg writes the girls. In revision, however, all bets are off, and we both rewrite stuff from each other's chapters. There are actually significant chunks of THESE BROKEN STARS where we honestly can't remember who wrote what.

Is it faster or slower writing as a team?

It's usually faster to write together, because we can literally work around the clock--due to the time zone difference, Amie's going to sleep in Australia around the time Meg's waking up in America. We usually do a little hand-off, recapping what we did and where we're up to, and then the other one takes over. That said, it's much slower to revise as a team. With revision we're much more careful to discuss everything, and make sure we're not making unwanted changes. That requires us to find more time to be online at the same time, and a LOT more working around the time difference, so it often requires more time than it would if there was only one person making decisions.

Any advice to writers considering writing as teams?

Communicate! The number one thing we see that tears collaborations apart is a lack of communication ahead of time. You have to make sure your goals are the same (do you want to get published? are you just writing for fun?). You have to make sure your expectations are out in the open (how fast do you expect your partner to work? how much of the book does each person write?). You have to make sure you agree on where the story is going--and if you don't agree, you have to know exactly how to work out that dispute. We've known each other for so long that we already had that communication in place, but it can be frustrating to work with someone whose expectations don't match your own.

Anything else you'd like to tell the League readers?

Thanks so much for reading, guys! If you want to know more about THESE BROKEN STARS, we put up all our news, along with contests and sneak peeks of upcoming projects, on our newsletter. You can sign up for that here. You can also find Amie and Meg on Twitter at @amiekaufman and @meaganspooner. And finally, if you've got questions, we're both on Tumblr: + Isn't social media awesome? Authors and readers, a click away from each other.


The Top Ten Reasons to Rush Out and Buy THESE BROKEN STARS Today!

It's no secret that I freaking love THESE BROKEN STARS by the brilliant Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I still remember the first time I read it. There's a certain point, about three-quarters of the way into the book, where I just could not put it down. That is so rare for me, but such a wonderful experience when it happens.

So, today, I'm going to tell you...

The top ten reasons why you should grab your own copy of THESE BROKEN STARS!

10. There's a spaceship. This is key for two reasons: first, this is spaceship sci fi, one of my favorite genres. But second, this ship. Guys. This ship. The book starts off like Titanic of the stars--it's an opulent epic ship with all the luxe and beauty of Titanic.

9. Also, it crashes. This isn't really a spoiler--I mean, it's in the GoodReads description--but take a moment to consider this epic. Remember how in the movie Titanic, the ship crashed and suddenly who cares if Rose is being painted like a French girl because DUDE. THE SHIP CRASHED. NOW IMAGINE THAT HAPPENING IN SPACE.

8. It's the best of both worlds. I love me some perspective in a novel, and this novel has it in spades. You have a Titanic-esque world of riches, then you have a Lost-esque world of survival in a strange place. The planet the survivors of the crash land on is the complete opposite of the ship, and it's fascinating to see how the different characters deal with the switch.

7. Also, it's creepy. If the thing you loved about LOST was the mystery and the strange and holy-shit-there's-a-polar-bear-chasing-us, then you'll love the planet Tarver and Lilac end up on. Not that there's polar bears. There's not polar bears. Look, forget the polar bears. Just know that the planet is weird and creepy and tries to kill them a lot and it's epic.

6. No, I mean really creepy. I won't spoil the novel. But. Look, everyone has secrets. Even planets.

5. Lilac is no wilting violet. Bwahaha, I've been saving that pun forever. But it's true! Our heroine, Lilac, may be from a world of riches and may be wearing a gorgeous dress for much of the novel (perfect for a space ship! not so much for a planet...)--but she's not a cliche. She's got a brain in her head, she's got courage, and she uses both throughout the book.

4. Tarver is a perfect match for Lilac. Pet peeve time: I hate when, in a book, only one half of a couple is smart/strong/brave/whatever. This isn't true in THESE BROKEN STARS. Tarver is just as smart and brave as Lilac--it's just that they're smart and brave in different ways from each other, making them the perfect match.

3. Did I mention the sass? Because they have it. And it's is awesome.

2. And the chemistry? Because it sizzles on the page. These two people made me want to smoosh the pages of the book together and pretend that was them kissing.

And finally, the number one reason you should read THESE BROKEN STARS IS...

1. It's the best of both worlds, round two. Science fiction is sometimes either philosophical or entertaining. You get a deep societal commentary, or a fun romp through space. But the very best sci fi does both. It makes you think, but it also fills you with joy and excitement. That's what THESE BROKEN STARS IS.

THESE BROKEN STARS comes out TODAY! You can grab a signed copy from Malaprops, or from your favorite bookstore. If you want to see me play with the dress that was on the cover of the book (yes, the ACTUAL DRESS), click here.

Launching THESE BROKEN STARS by Leaguers Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman!

Okay, so it's that time again: Launch Time!

THESE BROKEN STARS by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman releases in the US tomorrow, December 10. You MUST pre-order this book right now, because you're going to LOVE IT.

I happened to get an early copy of the book on NetGalley. I started reading it at the gym (because that's where I get in all my reading time), but it became very apparent very soon that I was going to need to carve out some additional reading time. Because 45 minutes on the treadmill 3 times a week wasn't going to cut it for this book.

So I stayed up late reading. And went to work bleary-eyed, and then stayed up late again. Then I may or may not have sent this email to Meg and Amie: "I just finished THESE BROKEN STARS and I think it's my favorite book I've read this year! It is SO FANTASTIC!! You did such a great job, and I can't wait until it's released into the wild!

Just wanted you to know. :)"

And I think that's still true, even though I've read a few more books now. It really IS a fantastic book, and my favorite read of 2013.

Let's learn more about it, in case you haven't heard of it.

Isn't this a beautiful cover?
About THESE BROKEN STARS: 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.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other's arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder-would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won't be the same people who landed on it.

I found Lilac and Tarver to be well-developed and fully imagined characters. Lilac especially intrigued me. She's a rich girl, hardly having to do anything but look pretty. But she has a past, and in the book, she finds her spine. It is an amazing journey to watch her go through some of the things that happen on the planet.

Tarver is equally likeable, with an equally interesting past. Since he's military, he takes the lead on the planet, but my favorite scene is when Lilac has to take care of him. It shows them both in a new light, and I really loved their relationship.

But lest you think the whole book is simply a romance, let me assure you that it's not. There were several twists and turns in the book that kept me up late (two nights in a row!) frantically trying to guess what was going to happen next. I NEEDED to know.

I had to find out what those lights were (no spoilers!). And what was with that canteen. And why all the trees were different here. There's an element of the supernatural at play, and I love that sort of genre mashing: science fiction with paranormal with romance. Sign me up!

I hope you'll get THESE BROKEN STARS this week. Heck, tomorrow--on release day! Here's where you can get it:

You can join Amie and Meg's newsletter, and find out way more about THESE BROKEN STARS here. You can also see their launch day festivities here.

Congrats Meg and Amie!

Year-End Giveaway Celebration!

Well, we've done it again! Finished another successful year here at the League. We're so glad you've all come along with us for the ride.

We still have two more amazing books to launch (THESE BROKEN STARS, December 10, and CONTROL, December 26), but we're launching our annual year-end giveaway today!

There will be four winners, each getting one of the most awesome prize packages available. We are also launching our new Tumblr in conjunction with this giveaway, so be sure to follow us over there to earn 10 entries!

Here are the prize packages!

Audio Book Package #1
Altered by Genn Albin
The Forgetting Curve and The Meme Plague by Angie Smibert

Audio Book Package #2
Starters by Lissa Price
Impostor by Susanne Winnacker
Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Book Package #1
Signed copy of NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis + swag
PHOENIX by Elizabeth Richards + bookmarks
CONTROL by Lydia Kang + bookmarks
signed copy of FAIR COIN by E.C. Myers + bookmarks
signed copy of THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner + bookmarks

Book Package #2
signed copy of STARTERS by Lissa Price + swag
signed paperback of THE MEMORY OF AFTER by Lenore Appelhans + swag
Landry Park swag, including necklace
signed paperback of POSSESSION by Elana Johnson + swag
a signed copy of SHADES OF EARTH by Beth Revis

And here's the Rafflecopter to sign up! We look forward to a great year in 2014, and we hope you'll be there with us!

a Rafflecopter giveaway