Tag Archives: Teen Series

Author Interview with Jennifer Rush
Author Interviews
January 12, 2013 posted by Nikki

Author Interview with Jennifer Rush

Back in June, I picked up a copy of Debut Author Jennifer Rush’s novel, ALTERED, while I was at Book Expo America. Without knowing anything about the book or Jennifer herself, I began reading. I wasn’t too far into the story when I realized with absolutely excitement that I’d discovered the next big thing. Our five star review of ALTERED appeared on the blog in July, and Jennifer’s giveaway of an Advanced Reading Copy of the book which appeared in the same month absolutely exploded.

Jennifer is our featured Author for our Book of the Month for January, and we’re stoked to have her here.


Altered is your debut novel. Before you were officially a writer, what was your day job?

This answer is going to be dreadfully boring. I was a bank teller for a little over four years at a local community bank. It was a good job to have for the area I live in and my co-workers were AWESOME. But counting other people’s money? No thanks!

Altered is a very well thought out and detailed plot. What were you doing when you thought it up?

I get this question a lot and I wish I had a good answer for it. I honestly don’t remember writing much of the first half of Altered. It came out of nowhere, and consumed me for several weeks. I think it perhaps came from an old idea I’d had, where a girl found a vampire locked in a high-tech cell in her basement, and later found out he was part of a government experiment. We all know how flooded the vampire market is, so I have to wonder if I filed that idea in the back of my mind and it some how morphed into Altered later on.

What I do know is that, in its earliest draft, Altered was a story about a boy and a girl who loved each other so much, they’d do anything for each other. A lot of the twisted plot elements came in later drafts!

How long did it take you to write Altered?

Six or seven weeks.

Do you have any quirks or habits to help you through the writing process?

I need a clean space to write. I like my desk to be free of clutter, though anyone who’s seen my office walls would beg to differ. 😀 I like lots of pictures and things and inspirational quotes on the walls that surround me, but my desk must be clean. I generally like something yummy to drink while working too!

Sam is Anna’s love interest and he also takes on the role of the group’s leader. Does this mean he’s your favorite of the boys? (If not, who is)

This is a hard question! I love all the boys, but I DO have a favorite. I love Sam. I ADORE SAM. But he’s not my top pick. Nick is. I generally go for the bad boys in YA fiction, and Nick fits that description well. But he has such a complicated, messy past, and I loved exploring how that made him today. Even with his memories wiped, he’s still messed up. It’s interesting to me how much of who we are, will always be a part of us, no matter what happens.

Sometimes, writers say their characters just write themselves. If you could change one thing that Sam did in Altered, what would it be and why?

Ummm…take his shirt off more? Kidding! Kidding! Sort of.

I don’t want to spoil too much for those who haven’t read, but there is a pivotal scene between Sam and Anna where her heart breaks at something he says to her. So I wish he would have asked for her help. For those who have read, I think you’ll know what I mean by that. Then again, if he HAD asked for her help, Altered would be a much different story.

If you could date any of the four boys, which would it be, and why?

Oh Lord, another hard one! Let’s see…I think Nick would be fun, and intense. But it would also be messy. And there would probably be a lot of crying involved. Now, if we’re talking true, forever love, someone I’d want to marry, it’d be Trev. He’s loyal, he’s thoughtful, and caring, and he reads people really well. That’s the kind of husband I’d want (actually, it’s the kind of husband I DO have, though he’s not always thoughtful when it comes to sharing the TV remote, or giving me the last fudgecicle).

I noticed on your blog you seem to be ‘casting’ your characters. It looks like you chose Henry Cavill as Sam (and I concur!). Who could you see playing Anna?

I’ve had a terrible time finding someone who represents Anna well. I think Brittany Robertson looks like Anna sometimes, depending on how her hair and make-up is done. But even then, she’s not a perfect match. I picture Anna a bit softer in the face, and a tiny bit taller. Also Brittany is maybe a tad bit skinnier than Anna.

How did you choose your character’s names?

Baby name websites! There wasn’t much rhyme or reason to what I picked, though once I found the names, I knew they fit.

 Your blog professes your love of pens. What other quirky obsessions do you have?

I love houseplants. I have such good luck with leafy, regular houseplants, but succulents, which are supposed to be the easiest to care for? I kill them. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I’m also a sucker for any other kind of office supply. Sticky notes. Folders. Paperclips.

What’s your fave book? (If you have one …)

Oh yes, I have many. I’ll name my top three. I fell in love with Vivian Vande Velde’s Companions of the Night as a teenager, and though I rarely re-read books, I try to re-read that one every couple of years. I also love, love, love Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever. Talk about an amazingly genuine, super hot love interest. If you haven’t read it, you should! And lastly, Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. Amazing detail and world building. A fantastic cast of characters. And one dark, sexy love interest (or maybe villain? you have to read to find out!).

As a new writer, what advice would you give to people out there that are trying to catch a break?

It will feel like you’ll never break into the market. Like you’ll never sign with an agent. Or you’ll never get a book deal. I was in that same position in 2009, early 2010. I have been there, and let me tell you that it WILL happen if you keep trying. Don’t give up. Don’t write something just because you think it will sell. Write what keeps you up at night. Write what makes you daydream at your desk, when you should be doing day job things like answering phones and filing papers. Write what feels like your own private love affair. That’s the book that will get you an agent, or a book deal. Just like in real life, if you find yourself wondering if you’ve found your soul mate, you probably haven’t. You won’t need to wonder once you’ve found him or her, you’ll know it when you feel it.


Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves by James Matlack Raney
Book of the Month
September 4, 2012 posted by Nikki

Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves by James Matlack Raney

Young Jim Morgan loves everything about his life: ignoring his old tutor’s lessons, flaunting his new clothes, terrorizing his servants, and perfecting the fine art of snobbery. But the night his father returns from a mysterious sea voyage with the secret to a vast pirate treasure, Jim’s world is thrown upside down. Now Jim must escape the clutches of his father’s wicked enemies, decipher the magic of a gypsy witch, hide from a shadowy pirate and his talking raven, and outwit the King of Thieves and his army of pickpockets. If he is to survive, Jim must learn to trust new allies and discover the power and magic of true friendship. And through it all he may, just possibly, uncover a hero hidden within him, and live an adventure beyond his wildest dreams…

James Morgan is one of those privileged kids. He comes from one of the most prestigious families in all of England, has servants to boss around, and he can even read. This fact alone is a pretty exceptional thing and is definitely a sign of his social status. Raised mostly by his Aunt, James is nothing short of a spoiled little brat. But when his father returns from years away, chaos follows his arrival home. In mere moments, Jim’s life is thrown into darkness as people he thought he could trust deceive him and place his life in danger. Before he even has time to comprehend what happened, James finds himself on the run.

Taking the only thing that remains of his father – a box a gypsy put a spell on and now James can’t open – he heads to London where he crosses some very interesting characters indeed.

Enter The King of Thieves. He’s conniving and manipulative, but he’s charismatic enough to have won the trust of London’s finest street urchins and pickpockets. You see, the King of Thieves is looking for something very special indeed, and he’s using the homeless kids of London to find it for him. James, being James, finds himself in a bit of a pickle and The King ends up claiming his father’s box.

Meet the Ratt Brothers and lovely little Lacey. In accordance with The King’s wishes, this little clan of pickpockets agrees to take Jim into their group and show him the ropes. Nothing short of hilarity ensues. Jim is clumsy, naïve, and his innocence radiates off of every page as readers watch him attempt to settle into a life on the streets. Lucky for him, the Ratt Brothers are pros, and they’ve got his back at every turn.

The Ratt’s and Lacey vow they’ll help Jim get his box back, and as the group start their mission to retrieve what’s rightfully his, Jim and his new friends find themselves in one dangerous situation after the next. How on earth are they going to get Jim’s box back and stay out of trouble at the same time? Friendship, that’s how.

Can Jim and his new friends outsmart the King of Thieves and get his box back? You’ll have to pick up the book to find out.

This is one of those outstanding adventure stories that has a little something for everyone. Action? Check. Drama? Check. Humor? Double check. But most importantly, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves is full of great characters. Jim himself starts out as a petulant little snob, but as readers watch life bite him in the butt, it’s hard not to fall in love with him. Perhaps my favorite of all the characters, though, is the Ratt Brothers – all three of them. They’re a constant source of entertainment throughout the story, but what I loved the most about them was their optimistic and positive outlook on life. They’ve been dealt some pretty difficult cards, yet they’re able to tackle each day with vigor and purpose. I’d be proud to call them my friends.

Beautifully written and perfectly paced, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves is a must read for everyone who loves to step into world colored with a little magic and a lot of adventure. Bring on book two.

Two big thumbs up.


Pages: 296

Publisher: self published

Publication date: October, 2012

Rating:: ★★★★★

Teaser Quote: “Red?” the lunk holding Lacey said, his eyes as big as two moons on his face. “Is that bird talking to us?”




Halo – Alexandra Adornetto
Book Reviews
January 8, 2011 posted by Nikki

Halo – Alexandra Adornetto

Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces.

Is love a great enough power against evil?

When Beth arrives on Earth, she’s got just one thing on her mind – the mission. It’s her first time on Earth, and her first assignment as an angel. She wants to impress. As she gets used to her earthly body and the things that come along with being human, such as the need to eat, sleep, use the restroom etc… Beth realizes she actually quite enjoys human life. Apart from having to keep her wings folded up inside her clothing, being human has many perks.

Then she starts attending classes at the local high school and life takes an unexpected turn. She meets Xavier – the guy everyone wants, but no one can have. After Xavier’s girlfriend died in a house fire a couple of years ago, he’s pretty much kept to himself. He doesn’t date anymore, and although he still participates in school life, he’s pretty much detached himself from social circles.

Until now.

Something about Beth catches Xavier’s attention and he’s drawn to her immediately. Fortunately for him, Beth is also taken with the boy and finds herself experiencing all these weird emotions and attachments that Angels just don’t feel. Before she even understands what’s happening, Beth has completely fallen in love with Xavier and can’t stay away from him – a big no no as far as the Angels are concerned.

Will Beth’s new human feelings for Xavier stand in the way of her mission? Now that she has Xavier, does the mission even matter anymore? Does anything even matter anymore?

Alexandra Adornetto was only fourteen when she published her first noel in Australia, and now at eighteen, Halo is her American debut. Her writing style is phenomenal, especially for someone so young. Her knowledge of the world shines through her writing and her prose is an absolute pleasure to read.

Although it’s not completely riveting, Adornetto has worked out the intricacies of her plot well. Unfortunately, her characters fall a little short. Although I liked both Xavier and Beth, their connection and their romance seemed a little flat. I didn’t feel their passion or their desire like I’d hoped to and they didn’t step off of the page like strong characters should. Having said that, I’m supremely interested to see how her writing develops so I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the series. I suspect we will be seeing outstanding things from this author in the years to come.

Publication date: 2010

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (US)

Pages: 484

Challenge: n/a

Rating:: ★★★½☆

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.

Harlequin Teen Giveaway: Greek – Double Date
July 8, 2010 posted by Nikki

Harlequin Teen Giveaway: Greek – Double Date


GREEK: Double Date features an all-new storyline that goes beyond the primetime soap with the same characters fans have grown to love.
·         Since its network debut in July 2007, Greek has reached nearly 24 million total viewers.

·         GREEK: Double Date is a quick, captivating beach read for teens of all ages and fans of the show. ABC Family currently draws a highly literate teen audience with approximately 82% reading books, other than for school purposes, as a leisure activity.

·         Greek is ABC Family’s longest-running original series currently on the air and has consistently been a Top 5 hit with teens in its basic cable time period. Check your local listings as Greek will be returning soon for its fourth season!

·         Get an inside look at the social minefield that is the Greek system at one fictional Midwestern college, Cyprus-Rhodes University.

·         Three more Greek books are set to release in August 2010, November 2010 and February 2011.


Two dates – same night!

Major oops. When Casey Cartwright’s brother begs her to be nerdy Dale Kettlewell’s date to the sure-to-be-boring Honors Engineering Awards, Casey says yes. Even though Dale is totally not her type… and might have a crush on her. Ugh. But it’s a nice thing to do, and Casey’s always been the “nice” girl.

But now, that night conflicts with the biggest event of the semester, the All-Greek formal. Casey already has a date lined up: hot transfer student Rob Howell. He’s her plan to get over her sexy-slacker ex, Cappie. And even nice girls get to be bad sometimes, right?

What to do? With a little help from BFF Ashleigh, unwanted advice from frenemy Rebecca Logan and even a push from Cappie, what Casey does may surprise even herself.

yaReads is offering our readers ONE copy of this exciting new teen series from Harlequin Teen.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Simply fill out the form below with your name, email, and mailing address.  We randomly draw the winners using random.org.
  • Giveaway is open only to U.S. and Canadian residents.
  • Ends on July 31, 2010.