Tag Archives: Strange Angels

Jealousy: A Strange Angels Novel – Lili St Crow
Book Reviews
August 14, 2010 posted by Nikki

Jealousy: A Strange Angels Novel – Lili St Crow

The Real World is  frightening place.

Just ask sixteen-year-old orphan, Dru Anderson, a tough girl who has taken on her fair share of bad guys. She’s armed, dangerous, and not going down without a fight. So it’s going to take her a while to figure out who she can trust…

Dru and Graves finally made it to the Schola Prima – the djampir training facility she was originally supposed to head to when Christophe rescued her from the evil clutches of his dad. Now their finally here, Dru should be able to relax and let her guard down a little, right?


Although she’s obviously supposed to feel safe in an environment like this, Dru knows better. Someone is trying to have her killed, and until she figures out exactly who that is, she’s not trusting anyone.

Except Graves, of course. She trusts him with her life. Apart from her deceased family, she’s never trusted anyone so much, ever.

And Christophe. Even though she’s not so sure she should, Dru trusts him too. But she doesn’t tell this to Graves, who thinks there’s more than meets the eye to Christophe. Or maybe its just that he’s jealous of the hold that Christophe seems to have over Dru. So when Dru decides to be plain and clear about her feelings for Graves, she’s more than a little confused when he pushes her away.

He liked her, right? What was he waiting for?

And so starts the frustrating game that is Dru and Graves. He says its not the right time, that she’s got too much going on, and maybe he’s right. But that doesn’t make it any easier, lessen the sting of rejection she’s trying so hard not to feel.

Dru find opposition from Anna – the other svetocha living at the Scholar Prima – and things take a turn for the worse.

Then, almost as if it were right on cue, the vampire attack happens. They’re after Dru – that much is obvious – but they’re not discriminating who they take down in the process. Dru and her friends become injured, and Graves … well, he’s nowhere to be found.

Suddenly, the game changes, and all Dru cares about, all she can think about, is finding where he is.

Is he still alive? God, she certainly hopes so.

Readers are treated to a different side of Dru in Jealousy. Her strong, fierce exterior is shelved for a while as she tries to negotiate her feelings for Graves, and the mess that has become her life. She doubts herself, misses her family desperately, and searches for a little comfort in a cold, hard world that affords her none. She’s still that kick-ass heroine we’ve all come to know and love, but this time, her human, sixteen-year-old adolescnet side just shines a little brighter than it did in the last two books.

Jealousy is an outstanding addition to the Strange Angels series. Dru’s world is one I love to get lost in, time and time again.

Publication: July 2010 (available now)

Pages: 316

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: He was full of surprises, my Goth Boy.

January 2, 2010 posted by Nikki

Betrayals Giveaway Winners

And the lucky winners are:




Congratulations guys! There should be an email on its way to you right now requesting your postal details. Stay tuned for more awesome giveaways coming your way soon.

Guest Review by Lili St Crow
Guest Reviews
December 29, 2009 posted by Nikki

Guest Review by Lili St Crow

In case you’ve forgotten, we’ve been featuring Lili St Crow’s Betrayals as our Book of the Month in December. To close off the promo, Lili sat down and penned a review of Sarah Dessen’s Dreamland for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

The first Sarah Dessen book I ever read was Dreamland, and it is to Dessen I owe my reintroduction to the young adult genre. When I was of the age to be marketed to as a “young adult”, I found most of the offerings insipid to say the least, and downright patronizing at worst. I’m glad to say that the genre seems to have undergone something of a revolution in the last five to seven years, and Dessen holds a special place in my heart as the person who introduced me to a new breed of YA books.

Dreamland is about Caitlin O’Koren, a younger sister whose older sister Cass leaves home without a word on Caitlin’s birthday. The reason for her sister’s flight is beautifully shown but never spelled out: their mother’s almost frantic insistence on living her life through one of her children. Both O’Koren parents are flawed but not overly so, doing the best they can.

Caitlin, after living her entire life in Cass’s shadow, suddenly finds herself the focus of her mother’s ambitions. She’s now a stand-in instead of a postscript, and when she meets the appropriately dangerous-seeming Rogerson Briscoe, she makes the first of many abortive attempts at freedom. Unfortunately, Rogerson is a problem in and of himself. He has serious anger-management issues, a bad home life, and is exactly the wrong boyfriend for a vulnerable, uncertain girl.

Unfortunately, many real-life stories start out this way and end tragically.

When I was young enough to be a target audience for YA, the subject of teen dating violence—like so many other subjects—was taboo. I think what grabbed my attention most in Dreamland was Dessen’s unflinching but gentle look at the realities of such a situation. Rogerson is not a villain, he’s a messed-up kid. Caitlin is spoiled, yes, but she’s also loyal to her friends and trying to shoulder her family’s burden as well as she can. Caitlin’s mother is so devastated by her older daughter’s disappearance that her younger daughter becomes a figurehead to her, and Mr. O’Koren is uncomfortable with anything even relating to “girl talk” and prefers concrete action over emotional messes. All these things conspire to make an abyss Caitlin falls into, one she can’t extract herself from without help. She’s not completely a victim, and Rogerson is not completely evil.

I remember finishing Dreamland for the first time and feeling as if Dessen had reached into some of my most secret memories. The shame Caitlin feels, her need to “protect” Rogerson and cover things up, the pressure of her family’s loss, all these things felt familiar. It felt like someone was speaking the truth, and I do not remember the young adult books of my young adulthood ever giving me that frisson. Instead, I graduated early to the “adult” section of the library and didn’t look back—until Dessen.
Dreamland is not perfect. For one thing, the pacing is uneven and Caitlin’s therapy is not given nearly enough room. For another, all Dessen’s heroines start out (even if they haven’t always been) as upper-middle-class. Money is rarely an issue for the kids in her books, and it seems a shame that a writer of Dessen’s talents hasn’t explored that angle. Rogerson Biscoe screams “trouble” so loud, and Caitlin is such a sleepwalker, that occasionally the adult me wanted to shake both of them—as well as Caitlin’s mother. Still, the very strength of my emotional response tells me that these are well-crafted characters. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t have fallen so hard into the world of the book, nor would I reread it with my heart in my mouth each time.

I’ve read most, if not all, of Dessen’s other young adult books, and been entertained each time. Dreamland, however, remains something special. Every time I read it, it’s like the author—and Caitlin herself—are speaking directly to me. Which is a feeling to treasure, whether one is seventeen or seventy. Dessen opened up the new world of the young adult genre for me, and I’m glad to note that books for younger readers are not the clichéd swill that was the only thing on offer when I was significantly younger than I am now. Each time I see a new Dessen book, I feel a thrill and reach for my bank card.

And that, as a reader, is the highest compliment I can give.

Author Interview: Lili St Crow
Author Interviews
December 10, 2009 posted by Nikki

Author Interview: Lili St Crow

As you all know, Lili St Crow’s Betrayals (the second book in her Strange Angels series) is our Book of the Month for December. We’re stoked to have Lili with us this month, and after reading this interview, we think you’ll be pretty stoked too. We want to thank her for taking the time to respond to our questions with such honesty and detail. You rock our socks off Lili! Grab a cuppa and sit back and enjoy!

Strange Angels is your first venture into young adult story telling. Was it a conscious decision to write a story for teens, or did the narrative just take that shape?

I actually never thought I would write YA. It never seemed to be an option because of the subject matter and darkness of my usual work. I was quite surprised when I was contacted about my willingness to write in the YA field, it just never occurred to me as something feasible.

I think the YA genre has grown tremendously in the last five to ten years. When I was in that age group, I don’t think certain issues of violence or sexuality would get through the gates, so to speak. There’s been a certain loosening of attitudes and an admission that teenagers do say bad words and they do have hormones, they face dangerous situations and they make choices. I skipped a great deal of YA when I was that age because it just didn’t speak to me—I started reading “adult” books because none of the YAs addressed issues I felt were relevant to my problems. I think teens today have a much greater choice in the genre.

For you, what was the biggest challenge about writing a story for teens as opposed to adults?

Well, they’re not that different. The baseline promise a writer makes is to tell the truth. This makes no difference whether your audience is 14, 40, or 70. Once you have that commitment, you can tackle questions of appropriateness in your own way.

I was very concerned that there would be tension between my editor and me when it came to certain things—rough language, violence, sex. Once I had That Talk with my editor, I was much more sanguine. Before I ever signed the contract I spoke with my editor about my concerns and it was just all out there on the table: I was not going to sugarcoat anything or BS any of my readers, no matter their age. My editor agreed completely and is very supportive.

It seems, at the moment, that in paranormal YA lit, the big thing that draws readers in (especially girls) is the presence of an impossible love triangle. Why did you decide on a love triangle, rather than a single love interest for Dru?

It was just the shape the story took. There are triangles of one sort or another in a lot of my adult work as well.

A lot of paranormal YA—and, let’s face it, a lot of adult fiction—tends to have this narrative that the dangerous, flashy, obsessive partner is desirable and something girls should aim and sigh for. I like to contrast that with the partner who isn’t obsessive or as dangerous. I think a lot of our cultural narratives about romantic love glorify behaviour that would get a restraining order out here in the real world, and contrasting that with a more realistic portrayal of what a healthy relationship looks like is very valuable.

But then again, there are huge conversations going on in our society about gender roles and relationship roles, and the triangles are a good way to explore a lot of those knotty problems. Plus there’s the fantasy factor—in real life, sometimes behaviour a fiction character engages in would be creepy. But the reader has control over how far they enter into the fantasy, and it’s empowering to have that complete control.

I have to ask, are you Team Graves or Team Christophe?

Personally, I’m very Team Graves. He’s not perfect, but his affection and attention are very much preferable to Christophe’s. I mean, Christophe is very old. He remembers certain parts of World War I, for crying out loud. It’s disturbing that he had this relationship with Dru’s mother and is now acting interested in Dru. It’s always faintly skeezy that we have these immortal beings in love with teenagers in our fiction. Part of this goes back to that cultural narrative, and the fantasy.

On the other hand, Christophe is an interesting character because djamphir don’t mature in certain ways. They’re stuck in teenage bodies and dealing with a world that treats them like children nowadays. So it’s not as skeezy as it could be, and Christophe’s growth as a character brings some of these issues into focus.

Artistically and as a writer, I don’t know where Dru is going to “end up”. Why does it have to be a choice between Graves and Christophe? Maybe she will decide to take some time off and figure out what she wants without a boy in the picture. I find it interesting that this isn’t even seen as an option when this sort of thing is discussed.

Do you have the whole Strange Angels series planned out, or are you creating as you write?
I have the big things, the broad strokes, very firmly in my head. But part of creating a work of art is making choices in the moment that might take it in a different direction. It’s a balance, a fine line to be walked between one’s idea of where the story should go and where the story wants to go. Just like life, I guess.

If Dru could click her heels and have three magic wishes, what would she ask for?

I think she would ask for those people she loves to be back with her and whole. She’s had a lot of loss. Dru is an orphan, and that’s a heavy burden to bear. Through most of the series she’s searching for someone to help her, and missing very much the love and stability that her father and grandmother provided, even if both of them were extraordinarily non-traditional.

What about if you could have three magic wishes, what would you ask for?

It’s probably a marker of my age that I don’t know. I think I’d have tremendous difficulty deciding, because any wish I made would have consequences I couldn’t even guess at. I’m not sure I would take advantage of that. I’m profoundly wary of such questions.

Do you have any particular writing habits?

Other than doing it every day, rain or shine? Not really. I’ve trained myself to write no matter what, so my habit just takes the form of doing it every day. Making the commitment to get it done, no matter how or what or why.

When you ventured into the world of YA, why did you chose to write under Lili St Crow rather than Lilith?

That was a decision taken in conjunction with the publisher, to make it very clear that I was writing in a different genre with different expectations.

Can you tell us anything about the next Strange Angels novel?

I’m working on Book 4 right now, and Book 3, Jealousy, isn’t out yet. So I’m kind of torn—which one should I talk about? I suppose it would be fairest if I spoke about Jealousy. The title kind of speaks for itself.

I’ve always seen jealousy as one of the biggest and most insidious problems in high school. There’s this complete lack of proportion and this social pressure, and popularity or even just plain fitting in and finding a peer group is often played as a zero-sum game: the more for you means the less for me. I don’t think our current system does a good job at teaching kids compromise and cooperation as an non-zero-sum game. So when people hit the adult world, there’s this all or nothing habit of interacting with people that’s very hard to break. Some people never grow out of it.

But you wanted to know about the book, right? Well, this is the book where Dru finds out more about how her mother died and who was truly responsible. The traitor to the Order is unmasked, and there is a price to be paid for Dru’s acts of kindness. Dru also learns a great deal more about what it means to be a part of the Real World, the world of all these things that go bump in the night.

Are you working on anything non-Strange Angels related at the moment that you’d like to share with us?

I’m actually incredibly busy right now, with a ton of short stories for anthologies in process and the next Jill Kismet novel (one of my adult series) pretty much wrapped up and sent to the editor to begin the revisions process. I like being busy.

Thanks so much for having me here!

December 3, 2009 posted by Nikki

Betrayals Giveaway

Our Book of the Month for December here at yaReads is the second novel in Lili St Crow’s Strange Angels series, Betrayals.

As part of our Betrayals promo, thanks to Penguin Books Australia we’ve got three copies of the novel to give away to our lucky readers.

All you have to do is leave your name below and let us know whether you’re Team Graves or Team Christophe. If you’re nuetral, say so too!

Competition closes on the last day of December!

December Book of the Month
Site Updates
November 30, 2009 posted by Nikki

December Book of the Month

For the month of December, we’ll be featuring Lili St Crow’s second novel in her Strange Angels series, Betrayals.

Keep your eyes peeled for:

– Our review of Betrayals

– An interview with Lili

– An awesome giveaway

– A guest review by Lili herself.

Have you read it? We’d love to hear from you … are you Team Graves, or Team Christophe?

November 25, 2009 posted by Nikki

Betrayals Makes NY Times Bestseller List

The second novel in Lili St Crow’s Strange Angels series, Betrayals, is set to debut on the New York Times Children’s Paperback Bestseller List at number five on December 6, 2009.

Congratulations to Lili! Betrayals is a truly compelling read, and we’re happy to announce that we’re featuring it as our Book of the Month for December!