Cold Days

Note from Lea Wait:  This blog was originally published on Maine Crime Writers five years ago, but given this winter’s temperatures (and my writing schedule) I thought it was time to repeat it.)

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know I live on the coast of Maine. You may not know I live in a house built in 1774. It has 6 fireplaces, which were the only heat sources in the house (other than one space heater) until my parents had a furnace installed in 1974. Classically for New England, what was the dooryard faces south, to get as much warmth as possible, and the fewest windows are on the north side.

Snow, in front of the ell

Today only two of those fireplace flues can be used — one is lined and connected to the furnace, and one is for the wood stove my husband has in his studio. We can’t afford to bring the others “up to code” so they’d be safe to use today. Maybe someday.

In the meantime the furnace and woodstove do fine, even considering that temperatures here have been in the single digits (and below) off and on for the past couple of weeks. It’s a little early this season for temperatures to be that low, and they often make me think of the people who lived in this house in the past, and how cold they must have been in winters like this one.

No global warming broke bitter temperatures. The wide river across the street from our home, on which occasionally there are ice floes today, then froze solid. Snow fell more often, and lasted longer. Occupants of this house were lucky: it had glass windows — luxury items in 1774. To protect the rooms from winds off the river, all most folks could do was close their shutters. But then they’d also close off the light.

This house was not (and still is not) insulated. In the fall, home owners piled evergreen branches filled in with hay around their houses to catch the snow and act as a  layer of insulation around the walls.

Wells, which were outside until the 1830s or so, often froze, or at least the top few feet did. Snow was melted for water.

Clothes, that at least in the early years were made from wool spun and woven at home or linen

View of house

imported from Europe, were limited, so in winter people wore almost all they had, and then wrapped blankets (also woven at home or on a neighbor’s loom) around themselves if they were sitting or lying down. They slept several people to a bed for warmth.

About 1840 ships’ captain Enoch Chase bought this house. He was a widower with 8 children. He married again, a young woman named Sarah, who gave birth to 6 children. At one time, according to the local census, 19 people lived in this house, including 2 young women and one man who “helped out.” The house has 5 bedrooms, and, of course, had no indoor bathrooms in the mid-nineteenth century, although it did boast an “indoor” privy in a corner of the barn, which is attached to the house by a series of small rooms (for cooking, butchering, making butter, perhaps weaving) to the main house.

Looking out a living room window

On cold days, as I walk through these rooms, which I now share only with my husband, I think of Enoch and Sarah and their children. I wonder who slept where, and which room was set aside for spinning and weaving. And which daughter (I’m sure there was at least one) scorched her skirt by standing too close to one of the fire

I think of Sarah, giving birth in this house. And of her (and Enoch and several of their children) dying here. I wonder what they thought of the Civil War. None of their sons enlisted, but most were at sea then, on clipper ships in the Pacific. One died there.


Kitchen Fireplace

I write historical novels for children, and Sarah’s grandmother, who lived in this house in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, is in one of my books (Sally Clough, in Stopping to Home,) and one of Sarah’s uncles (Rev. Jonathan Adams) is in my Wintering Well.

I didn’t know any of them, but their footsteps are still here, and I remember them.

And on days like this, when the temperature is near zero, I wonder. How did they stay warm? And often I turn my thermostat down a degree or two. We keep it at sixty during the day.

Sarah and Enoch would have laughed at our being such wimps.

But I suspect they would have envied us.

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Weekend Update: January 20-21, 2018

Next week at Maine Crime Writers, there will be a posts by Lea Wait (Monday), Jen Blood (Tuesday) , Barb Ross (Wednesday), Susan Vaughan (Thursday), and Kate Flora (Friday).

In the news department, here’s what’s happening with some of us who blog regularly at Maine Crime Writers:



An invitation to readers of this blog: Do you have news relating to Maine, Crime, or Writing? We’d love to hear from you. Just comment below to share.

And a reminder: If your library, school, or organization is looking for a speaker, we are often available to talk about the writing process, research, where we get our ideas, and other mysteries of the business. Contact Kate Flora

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Vaughn Hardacker here: In January of every year I make a resolution that this year I’m going to keep a Journal–Riiight. I do okay for a week or two, but then wonder why I journal mundane stuff (my life is full of mundane stuff). For example, no one cares that I bought gasoline for my truck today–in fact, other than the financial impact, I don’t care. Still I try.

I recently read a blog on keeping a journal written by a freelance writer. The blog stated that this writer actually keeps five (5), that’s right, five journals they are:

  • A Primary Bullet Journal: Basically this is your brain committed to paper. In it you record (1) your thoughts, (2) your-to-do-lists, (3) your ideas, (4) your notes, and (6) your creativity.
  • A Blog-only Journal: this is a journal specifically related to blogging (the Primary Journal is a fun one, this one allows you to: (1) Map out monthly editorial calendars for each blog. (2) keep a one-page post tracker for an at-a-glance view of overall monthly blogging, (3) Map out blog business plans and development plans, (4) manage blog to-do lists.
  • A Standard Journal: This is one in which you record daily activities, both writing and non-writing related to include: (1) How you feel on any given day, (2) News, (3) politics, (4) Relationships. This is your place to say whatever you want or need to get out of your system.
  • A Dream Journal: This one is kept on your nightstand to allow you to record that great idea that came to you in a dream. You know that one that you recall as being great–only you can’t remember what it was.
  • Sketch Journal: Here’s where you can express your self in more creative ways

The last two are more about retention of dreams and daydreams, however the first three are important. They afford you a way of planning your activities and are relevant to writing and blogging.

This year I’ve made a concerted effort to do a Primary Bullet Journal and a Blog-only journal. One of my writing habits is that once I complete a project I’m tabula rasa (which is defined as: the mind in its hypothetical primary blank or empty state before receiving outside impressions ). Once I come up with a plot idea I can hammer away with a goal of 1,000 words per day. My greatest fear about this is that I may get so busy journaling that I won’t have time to write (I know that would be the case if I tried to keep five of them). In my next post, I’ll update everyone on how I’m doing.

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Challenging Narrative Structure: Who’s Telling Your Story


In my experience, the hardest part about writing a novel is figuring out who is going to tell your story and what point of view will be used. Because I write stand alone novels, I have the freedom to change my narrative structures with each succeeding book. Depending on the type of novel you’re writing, POV becomes crucial to meet your plot’s obligation.


I like first person because it allows me to create a character with a unique voice. Everything in the novel is seen through the lens of this first person character. Using this technique, I can make my character as bold and opinionated as possible, and my readers will know that they’ll be going on a wild ride through this character’s eyes. It’s fun because it gets readers inside the character’s head like a doppelgänger. The reader is presented with the same roadblocks and obstacles as the character, forcing them to decide if they’ll make the same decisions as the character. The only bad thing about this structure is that the reader is exposed to only one POV. A good writer, however, knows how to use dialogue to make the satellite characters come alive.

The use of the second person POV is rarely used. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerny was probably the most recent successful novel using this structure. You are literally the character. An example of this would be, “You walk into the bar and see the dame. She’s more beautiful than you ever expected. You pull up next to her and tell her she’s beautiful. She replies by slapping you in the face.” Writing in this style is not recommended for most writers for a variety of reasons. First off, it’s somewhat limiting, although like anything else, I’m wagering that a clever author might reinvent this POV. The biggest reason not to write this way is because most readers, agents, and editors hate it. But if you think you’re game, I say go for it. I’m always looking to read books with fresh narrative takes.

Okay, the classic model is third person POV. Today, most agents and editors want close person POV. That means you’re telling the story from the character’s viewpoint. This way a writer can tell a story from the minds of a few different character’s’ perspectives. This is the standard model for most novels these days. Back in the day, ominiscient third person POV was a popular technique, but it has since fallen out of favor. Basically, the author is telling the story from a distance, as if he or she is all knowing. I find this type of storytelling too intrusive and less emotional.

But here’s where things get tricky—and fun! Two of my favorite books use a first person POV and then have the narrator segue into the 3rd person POV of the character’s they are observing. The first book is & Sons by David Gilbert and the other is London Fields by the brilliantly talented Martin Amis. This technique is very difficult, as the POV transitions can be confusing if not done properly. But it allows the 1st person POV to utilize a unique voice while at the same time using 3rd person to allow the reader to experience many different unique perspectives.

Many authors use multiple 1st person POV. This is an effective technique because it allows strong voices to coincide with multiple viewpoints. However, this technique is tricky. If not done properly, it can make the novel seem jarring, schizophrenic, and too confusing. Done well, it’s fantastic fun and very riveting. In my upcoming novel, The Neighbor, I used the two alternating first person perspectives of husband and wife, similar to the best selling novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Then there’s using the conventional third person POV interspersed with 1st person POV, like I’m doing in the current novel I’m working on. It can be an effective tool when you want that 1st person voice to interrupt the narrative with commentary designed to jar the reader out the narrative trance. I found using this structure to be daring and a lot of fun, especially since my 1st person interrupter is such an evil witch.

One of my favorite books this year was reading Marie Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette, which is coming out as a movie this spring. Semple brilliantly uses emails, personal messages, letters, and social media to tell a hilarious and riveting story of a brilliant but reclusive architect who’s gone missing. I could not put this book down and was amazed at how this author could weave together such an amazing tale using a unique and creative approach to narrative,

I absolutely loved You by Caroline Kepnes. Her literate but sociopathic antihero serial killer uses the term ‘you’ in a highly unconventional way. Reading the novel, it’s almost as if Joe, the 1st person narrator, is speaking directly to the woman of his dreams. It’s creepy, addictive, and doesn’t end well for You. But you’ll find yourself laughing at Joe’s perspective, and at the same feel horrified at yourself for laughing at such evil. The good news: You is set to become a Lifetime drama this spring.

Of course everyone will be drawn to the structures they are used to reading and enjoying. If I’ve missed any other techniques, please let me know. Some readers are plenty happy with the traditional approaches and traditional mystery set ups. If you’re an adventurist reader like I am, take a chance on some of these clever writers who see fit to challenge the status quo. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised


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Sometimes it’s just bett-ah to stay away from Maine accents. Ayuh.

I saw an article recently in the Bangor Daily News catching people up on what movies are being made out of Stephen King books.

As much as I’m a huge fan, every time I think of Stephen King-book-based movies, I cringe. All I can think of is decades of tortured attempts to do a Maine accent.

Make a citizen’s arrest! Tom Bosley, as Amos Tupper on “Murder, She Wrote,” GUILTY! of bad “Maine” accent.

It doesn’t end with those – they’re just the most public. It’s also “Murder She Wrote.” Angela Lansbury just spoke her usual lovely way, but Tom Bosley, as Amos Tupper, well, if the Peppridge Farm guy and, I don’t know, someone with a really bad Maine accent, had a baby, it would sound like him. Once it grew up.

“Empire Falls”: Shot in Maine, check! Paul Newman, check! Ed Harris, check! Bad Maine accents, MAKE IT STOP!

Richard Russo is one of my favorite writers. But when I tried to rewatch “Empire Falls” recently to enjoy the Waterville and Skowhegan locales, ugh. I like Ed Harris. I love Paul Newman, who’s enjoyable even when crusty and bearded. But I couldn’t watch. I had to make it stop. I think I got through about 20 minutes. Could not take the bad attempts at Maine accents. (No great loss, it’s not even close to being my favorite Russo book).

I could go on and on. If you’re a Mainer (no, folks from away, we rarely, and I never, call ourselves Maine-iacs) you probably have your favorite most hated attempt at Maine accents on the big or little screen.

When I first auditioned narrators for the audio versions of my books, I made it clear I didn’t want the person to do much Maine accenting, even though my books take place in Franklin county. I think the way I worded it was that I wanted the person to sound like “a trusted friend telling a story,” or something like that.

It’s not that I didn’t trust a narrator to do a decent accent. Okay, that may have been part of it, since I’m hard pressed to hear one by a non-Mainer that sounds genuine. There’s a lot more to it than dropping the Rs. But it had more to do with a bunch of other things.

When I listen to an audio book, I know it’s not a play. I don’t expect the dialogue to sound like lines being read, I expect the narrator to be telling me a story. Reading me a book. If I wanted it to be a play, I would have written a play.

So, when a review of an audio version of one of my books said that my awesome narrator, Trudi Knoedler should “brush up on her Maine accent,” I take the blame. Though I don’t feel there’s really any reason to blame anyone. I told her explicitly not to do Maine accents. I don’t write the characters speaking dialect – a huge distraction for readers – and I feel accents when listening to a book are equally distracting.

The documentary “Knee Deep.” Real Maine, accents and all.

That said, before I knew about that (unjustified) criticism, I’d already determined to send Trudi a DVD of the wonderful documentary “Knee Deep,” by Michael Chandler and Sheila Canavan. The documentary, like my Bernie O’Dea mystery series, takes place in Franklin County. It’s a real slice of Maine (while the narrator says at the beginning it’s a Maine even most in the state don’t know, I strenuously beg to differ). I wanted her to hear bonafide western Maine accents (not to be confused with Downeast accents), just so she can get a little flavor into the third book. The fire chief, a minor character in the first book, Cold Hard News, and who didn’t appear in the second, No News is Bad News, plays a significant part in the third, Bad News Travels Fast. He grew up on a Farmington-area dairy farm, just like the main character in “Knee Deep.” (If you’re interested in watching it, by the way, it’s hard to find unless buy it from the website, Or you can just borrow my copy. Or Trudi’s, if you live in California).

That’s not to say I’ve changed my mind on the Maine accents at all. But one thing I never considered until Trudi started narrating my books is that professional narrators try to give each voice a “voice.” Gee, just like authors do! Trudi is a master at it, but I don’t do her any favors with my Dickensian bent toward having a lot of characters (yes, I know, I’ll say it for you, it’s the only thing Charles Dickens and I have in common).

The documentary is a tool, because someone in California is going to be hard-pressed to find a bonafide western Maine accent. Anywhere.

Does that mean I’m giving in on the accents? No, it doesn’t. I still want to the books to sound like a trusted friend is telling a story. But if I can help another artist do her job better, then I’m going to do it.

Now if we could just get the world to pronounce Bangor correctly…


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The Pleasures and Perils of Sustaining a Long(ish)-Running Series

Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, author of the recently published X Marks the Scot, number eleven in the Liss MacCrimmon series. The first Liss MacCrimmon mystery, Kilt Dead, came out in August 2007. Once a series has been around for over ten years, and is still being published (my current contract covers #12 and #13), it can probably be considered long-running, but only if you don’t compare it to, say, J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series, which numbers forty-six to date and has more in the pipeline. Still, considering the number of mystery series that never get past the first two or three books, Liss’s adventures aren’t doing too badly.

And that, gentle readers, brings me to the topic of this blog. Having books in a series published at regular intervals by a traditional, advance-and-royalty-paying publisher is what passes for job security in the writing biz. I am extremely lucky (and grateful) to be in that situation. Along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two, observations I thought I’d share here at Maine Crime Writers.


With the second Liss MacCrimmon mystery, Scone Cold Dead, I confirmed something I’d begun to suspect when I was writing my previous long-running series, the historical Face Down Mysteries. That series, featuring sixteenth-century herbalist Susanna Appleton, consists of ten novels and a collection of short stories and then some of those characters reappeared in my three-book spin-off series, the Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries. In each series, and in my Diana Spaulding 1888 Quartet, which was intended to be a limited series of four books, book two was a real challenge to whip into shape.

I have a feeling the second book in any series almost always is. Writers usually have to put a great deal of time and effort into writing the first one, and into pitching the series idea to agents and publishers. I’m talking years here, unless Lady Luck puts in a fortuitous appearance. Then lightning strikes, a multi-book contract is signed, and suddenly there’s a deadline to “do the same thing again, only different.” You’d think that would be easy. It isn’t. The time limit alone works against creativity, and this time around the writer isn’t just sitting alone in the proverbial attic (or coffee house). There’s input from an editor, and possibly from an agent. And if the first book is already out, there are readers offering their opinions about things like the protagonist’s likeability. Both well-intentioned feedback and negative reviews can be hard to handle. Both can produce feelings of insecurity and self-doubt, and make the writer second-guess every decision about plot or character development.

Writing the third book in a series is definitely easier. Not easy, you understand, but much less of a slog.

With book four in the Liss MacCrimmon series, The Corpse Wore Tartan, I ran into a different of problem. Even though I’d made character sheets, and maps of my fictional town of Moosetookalook, Maine, and had floor plans of Liss’s house, Dan’s house, and the hotel where many scenes take place, I’d neglected to make note of some of the details I’d put in books one through three. I had to go back and reread my own books to remember what I’d already set up . . . because readers who discover a series new to them tend to read straight through the books that are available. Believe me when I say that no contradiction goes unnoticed! I’m better at keeping track these days, but there are still things I should write down and don’t. Finding them again later is a royal pain.

A chronology is a good idea too. I have one for Liss’s world that includes birth dates for all the continuing characters, when they graduated from high school and college, how long they held certain jobs in the past, and when they first appeared in Moosetookalook, among other details in their lives. It’s surprising how often knowing how old a character is in relation to the other characters turns out to be significant.

I’ve learned the hard way, too, that I need to keep the calendar in mind when I write each new book. I never say what year it is, but I know, and I use a calendar for that year to make sure I keep the days straight. Holidays can really mess things up. What if you need to check public records and the town office is closed? And you can’t really ignore the big ones like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the 4th of July. Then, too, if I’m writing about Maine in the winter, I’d better know the times of sunrise and sunset for my location.

Of course some of these observations apply to writing any book, not necessarily one in a long-running series. One situation, however, usually takes awhile to surface. For me, it was at book ten, Kilt at the Highland Games. Here’s a sad truth: after you’ve written a bunch of books about the same characters in the same setting, you start to worry about running out of fresh ideas. I was afraid of repeating myself. The “same only different” isn’t the same as the “same-old same-old.” I started Liss’s tenth adventure with a fire in downtown Moosetookalook. The devil on my shoulder was urging me to burn down the whole damn town. Fortunately, I didn’t listen, but I did give serious consideration to ending the series at book ten.

With that thought in mind, I spent considerable time working on a proposal for a new series, one with a sleuth closer to my own age. I wrote it in first person instead of the third person point of view I used for the Liss MacCrimmon books. I set it not in Maine, but in a fictional village in rural New York state a lot like the one I grew up in. By the time it was far enough along for my agent to pitch to the editor I’d been working with at Kensington, I’d had a real break from Liss and her friends, and when that editor indicated that he was interested in the new series but would also like to see more Liss MacCrimmons, I realized (with some surprise) that I actually had a fresh idea for a new one, an idea that eventually turned into X Marks the Scot.

My biggest piece of advice for any writer who fears a long-running series may be running out of steam is really pretty simple. Take a break. Write something different. Let your subconscious worry about breathing new life into the characters and events in book eleven, or twelve, or even forty-seven.

Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of more than fifty-five traditionally published books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries and the “Deadly Edits” series (Crime & Punctuation—2018) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” mysteries and is set in Elizabethan England. Her most recent collection of short stories is Different Times, Different Crimes. Her websites are and and she maintains a website about women who lived in England between 1485 and 1603 at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women.


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Strange Days (Doors Optional)

John Clark starting 2018 with a look at four recently published young adult titles. I’ll venture to say that YA authors are pushing the envelope further than most other genres…So far and so fast that Nancy Drew would probably need a week on the psych ward if she picked up almost anything good these days. That’s not a bad thing. Having such a vast array of good reading at my fingertips sure helps when the snowplow weasels in Hartland seem determined to fill in our driveway right after we’ve cleared it, sometimes three times in the same day.


Everless, a first book by Sara Holland. Harper Teen, 2018 ISBN: 9780062653659. Jules Ember is a survivor in a fantasy world where the haves live long, thanks to an alchemical discovery ages ago. Blood, drawn from people and mixed with iron, can transfer time from one person to another. The village where she and her sickly father live is mostly peopled by the poor who are obligated to pay for food and lodging with their time-blood. When the weather is decent, Jules can hunt for enough so they get by, but it’s now winter and they’re two months behind on payments. Desperate to save her father, she signs on to be a servant at Everless, the estate where she and her father lived when she was a small child. Roan, younger son of the family is marrying the queen’s adopted daughter and boys and girls can earn a year’s worth of time blood coins in a month if selected to work during the festivities.

Her father forbids her to go, but her desperation to keep him alive is stronger. After getting selected and joining the cadre, Jules begins to realize that not everything is as she remembered before she and her dad were banished. Flashbacks, a gradual series of discoveries, her realization that Roan’s older brother Liam isn’t the evil person she remembers, coupled with an earth shattering discovery related to a book from her childhood and legends surrounding an alchemist and sorcerer whose feuding supposedly altered their world ages ago, make this a total page turner. It ends in a satisfying way, with a strong hint at a sequel. It there is one, I will order it the moment I can.

what girls

Next is What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold, Carolrhoda Lab. 2017 ISBN: 9781512410242. First off, this author isn’t afraid to take fiction to risky places. Burning, published in 2013, is one of those books that gets stuck in your head and stays there for a long time. As for this one, the first sentence on the flyleaf says it all. “This is NOT a story of sugar and spice and everything nice.” Instead, it’s a story about a girl whose mother told her while they were folding laundry, that there was no such thing as unconditional love. Nina Faye was fourteen when that conversation took place and it rumbles about in her head throughout this story.

Told in alternating moments past and present, it’s Nina’s journey to figure out whether what Mom said was true. Her breakup with her boyfriend with whom she was willing to do pretty much anything sexual (although her inability to have an orgasm while they were intimate seemed to play a role in their breakup), is followed by her discovery that she’s pregnant. How she deals with that decision and the accompanying emotional consequences are pretty strong emotionally. There’s also her volunteering at an animal shelter where dogs and cats who overstay are euthanized. Her reason for getting placed there also factors into her emotional baggage, as does her growing awareness of just how empty her parents’ marriage has become. Think of it as an X-rated literary version of Ladybird. Not for the sexually squeamish, but a darn fine read.

inevitable victorian

That Inevitable Victorian Thing is by E.K. Johnston, Dutton, 2017. ISBN: 9781101994979. She’s written several others and my favorite is Exit, Pursued By A Bear. Her latest is quite imaginative, taking place in an alt-history. In it, the British Empire still reigns supreme, the United States is in complete disarray, akin to what the South was like following the Civil War, and young ladies all look forward to their coming out parties. Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess. She’s also Black and Chinese, thanks to an emphasis on genetic matching to encourage healthy offspring. Her godfather, the Archbishop of Canterbury, (the Church of England has done some serious mellowing in this story and is the kind of organization where Father Guido Sarducci would feel right at home.) oversees a worldwide computer network where young people get a complete genetic profile that includes DNA and suggested matching profiles from all over the world as a chip that downloads on their computer.

Victoria has been given one summer of freedom before she must get serious about her responsibilities. She travels to Toronto where a month long series of coming out parties are happening. She’s staying with Elizabeth, outgoing daughter of her father’s friend. While there, she meets Helena, daughter of a world famous geneticist. Helena is less wealthy and much quieter, hoping to get her long time best friend August to ask her to marry him. However, the best laid plans often go awry. Disturbing news about her genetic codes forces Helena to rethink everything, her growing friendship with Victoria-Margaret, coupled with August’s shame, when his father discovers how he’s dealt with a threat to their shipping empire, bonds the three of them together in a surprising way that allows each to have at least part of the life they so badly want. Unique and a very interesting read.


The fourth book, Unearthed is by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (The YA equivalent of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs) Disney-Hyperion (January 9, 2018) ISBN: 9781484758052. Like their Starbound Trilogy, this is a finely crafted blend of science fiction, mystery and romance. It opens on an alien world where a vanished race sent Earth a cryptic message. The first humans to land were so eager to explore the biggest temple, most were destroyed on live feed video when they triggered a trap. Jules Addison and Mia Radcliffe couldn’t be more different, but the two teens share a desperate need to get past the puzzle traps left by the aliens. It’s a true page turner that ends with a huge WHAT!?!

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