Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TeamNerd Presents: Revival Blog Tour: Sneak Peek + Top Ten Favorite YA Books by Jena Leigh

Revival (Variant Series, #1)

Author: Jena Leigh

Check out on Goodreads!

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Synopsis: Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.

If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.

After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.

Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.


After everything that had just happened, Alex couldn’t believe her ears, at first, when Connor had told her that it was their relationship he was hoping to discuss.

But that was Connor, for you.

She sighed. He wasn’t all bad. He was just a little self-centered at times. That didn’t mean he didn’t care.

Alex had said as much to Cassie the day before. Her friend had only sighed and said, “I swear, Alex, if you tried hard enough, you could find the bright side of a black hole. Just promise me you won’t spend so much time looking for the good in people that you ignore all the bad, okay? I’m sick of watching people walk all over you. And that little toad has done nothing but take advantage of your kindness since the first day you met.”

Only… Alex was finding it difficult to take Cassie’s advice this time.

Every lick of common sense she possessed was telling her to send Connor packing, but her heart was having none of it.

She was torn. And it was written all over her face.

Which was probably why Connor had cornered her after she’d finished her slice of pizza, once again eager to discuss where they stood.

She couldn’t figure out how to answer him.

Instead, she’d snagged the only coat hanging on the coatrack—Declan’s—and jumped… all the way to the patio. Let Connor think she was in Bora Bora somewhere. Just so long as she didn’t have to look into those big brown eyes again tonight.

Just so long as she didn’t have to be strong enough to say “no” for a little while longer.

She climbed up to sit on the railing. “Never did get that tour.”

“First thing in the morning,” Nathaniel smiled. “I promise.”

Something in the pocket of her borrowed jacket began to vibrate. Alex reached inside and pulled out Declan’s cell phone.

“It’s ringing,” she said.

Nate took the phone from her, checked the caller ID, and answered it.

“Monty,” he said. “It’s Nate.”

Monty’s Brooklyn accent reached her loud and clear through the stillness of the night.

“Hey, kid,” he sounded angry. “You know I don’t mind flying the old girl back solo, but the next time you decide to have Declan pick up Grayson, you’ve got to give me a heads up.

“I’ve been waiting on the tarmac for almost an hour.”

“Woah, Monty,” Nate pushed away from the railing and offered Alex a hand. She took it and hopped down. “What are you talking about?”

Still holding her hand, Nate led Alex around the left side of the house. They came to a stop at the end of the flagstone path and Nate fixed his attention on one of the darkened upstairs windows. If Alex had to guess, it was probably one of the two in Declan’s bedroom.

“This afternoon Grayson called and told me to prep the jet and we’d leave for New York at ten,” he said. “Then he never showed. I just figured you’d come and got him.”

The window they’d been looking at shuddered open. It took Alex a second to realize that Nate had been the one to raise it and not Declan.

“Yo, Decks!” Nate shouted.

“Ack!” Alex could hear Monty grumbling on the other end of the line. “Christ, kid, cover the mouthpiece when you do that. My hearing’s bad enough as it is.”

Nate pulled the phone away from his ear. “Decks!” he shouted again.

“What is it?” asked Alex. Nate seemed to have forgotten that he was still holding her hand.

“Something’s wrong,” he replied, and then shouted again. “Dammit, Declan, get your ass out of bed!”

A light flicked on and Declan stumbled into view through the open window. He looked to be only half awake and was missing his shirt.

Alex, on the other hand, was not missing that shirt in the slightest.

What?” Declan snapped. His voice held that same low, rumbling quality that it had carried that morning. He squinted down at them, first zeroing in on their joined hands, and then on Alex. “Hey. Is that my jacket?”

“Did you pick up Grayson?” Nate asked before Alex could attempt an answer.

“What?” he asked. “No. Why?”

“Monty, when did you last hear from Grayson?” Nate asked into the phone.

“Around four,” he said. “I’ve been trying his cell since he didn’t show at ten. Tried his hotel, too. They said he checked out a couple hours ago. If he ain’t at the cabin, where’d he go? ”

“I don’t know,” said Nate. “Listen, stay in DC another night, just in case.”

“Alright, kid,” he said.

“And Monty?”

“Yeah, kid?”

“Call me if you hear anything.”

“Sure thing.”

Nate ended the call.

“What’s going on?” asked Declan.

“Put a shirt on and round up the others,” said Nate. “We’re going to DC.”

Top Ten Favorite YA Books

Each of the books and series mentioned on this list hold a special place in my heart. Many of these novels earned a spot because of the emotional attachment I still have to their stories. Each title conjures up a slew of happy memories of days and nights spent curled up in a chair while I lost myself completely in another world. I love them all!

10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – This was the first book I can remember reading that really sparked my love for science fiction and fantasy—a love that is still going strong today! 

9. The Diviners by Libba Bray – One of my more recent favorites, The Diviners was an absolutely fantastic story! I’ve never really been a fan of novels set in the roaring twenties (thanks to some unpleasant Gatsby-related experiences in high school) and so, at first, I was hesitant to pick this one up. By the end of the novel, Libba Bray turned me into a believer! I adore the picture she painted of 1920’s New York and am very much looking forward to reading her next book in the series!

8. Ninth Key by Meg Cabot – Meg Cabot’s Mediator series will forever be one of my favorites! The first book in the series, Ninth Key introduced me to the ghost-filled world of Susannah Simon, and to a ghostly hunk by the name of Jesse de Silva. Suze’s sass and Jesse’s smolder had me falling in love from the very first page. From that story on, I was hooked!

7. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – Another first book in a series I grew to love. Riordan’s world of demigods and monsters was filled with action and characters I couldn’t get enough of. Just like with Harry Potter, I enjoyed watching Percy and the gang grow up, story by story. The Lightning Thief was definitely one of my favorite books in the series.

6. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi – I remember reading this book over and over and over again as a kid—and I also seem to remember crying like a baby each time. This tale of a young girl’s adventure on the high seas captured my imagination and inspired me to write some of my very first stories.

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – I’m listing the first book in Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy, but to be honest, I loved all three! Tessa’s world was one I really enjoyed losing myself in. And while I loved Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, I absolutely adored the Infernal Devices.

4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Gaiman’s novel about young Nobody Owens, the boy raised in a graveyard, was a delight to read. I’ve always loved Neil Gaiman’s novels and so when I learned he’d be releasing another young adult novel back in 2008, I was over the moon. I was even happier to read it and discover that he’d written such a wonderful story. When I reached the last page, I longed for more—always a sure sign of an amazing read!

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I read this book at a time in my life where I was spending more time in the hospital than out of it. Odds are, I would have declared the book a masterpiece no matter when I read it, but being as sick as I was… Well, it really hit close to home. For that reason, The Fault in Our Stars will probably always be my favorite John Green book. 

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling  - If I had room, I would place all of Rowling’s Harry Potter novels on this list. Harry’s world is one that I still love to get lost in, be it through reading the books themselves, watching the movies, or visiting the theme park! 

1. The Ghost in the Bell Tower by Francine Pascal – I must have read this book a dozen times as a kid in elementary school. Just seeing the cover takes me back to a muggy Florida afternoon, curled up in our big white hammock as I grip a familiar, tattered blue book, that I’ve just checked out from the library for the millionth time. When I think back to some of my earliest reading memories, I’m usually in that hammock, holding that book.


Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Jena Leigh spent ten years in the mountains of North Carolina before returning home to the lightning capital of North America. A shameless geek, she loves bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, writing cracktastic e-mails to friends and taking shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts. She has a degree in English from Appalachian State University. REVIVAL is her first novel.

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