Book Information supplied by Team Nerd
Title: Revival (The Variant Series, #1)
Author: Jena Leigh
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BLURB supplied by Team Nerd
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
Where to Stalk Jena!
SNEAK PEEK EXCERPT
Declan O’Connell had been reduced to babysitting.
This was so humiliating. He was going to have to have a talk with Grayson when he got home. Surely his punishment for last month’s misunderstanding should be nearing an end.
It wasn’t his fault they needed a new roof in the atrium. That had been entirely Nathaniel’s doing. Declan had merely supplied a little motivation. It was the Golden Boy that did the glass breaking.
So how was it that the Golden Boy kept picking up all the choice jobs, while Declan was stuck trailing around after high schoolers?
He leaned heavily against the brick wall of the alley and watched as his target disappeared into a restaurant across the street, only to reappear a few moments later on the wraparound patio, trailing after a hostess. They settled in at a table overlooking the water.
At least with this vantage point he wouldn’t have to follow them into the restaurant.
She’d spotted him twice already. Not that he was particularly trying to hide from her at this point. It made things easier when the target didn’t know he was there, sure, but there wasn’t any hard and fast rule about it.
Declan had been shadowing the pair for nearly an hour before he’d realized that something was off.
Usually, his job involved protecting innocent humans from the monsters that walked amongst them unnoticed. From the things that went bump in the night. Things a whole lot like him, just without the charm … or a functioning moral compass.
Judging from the haze of static electricity that followed the girl around like a rain cloud, however, there was something very different about this mark.
Playing a hunch, he’d broken his cover and followed the two girls into a clothing shop. Ten minutes later the store’s registers were toast and his suspicions had been confirmed.
He wondered if the girl knew what she was.
Better yet, he wondered if Grayson had known when he’d given Declan the assignment and just hadn’t said anything.
“I want you to keep an eye on the girl, Declan.”
“No other specifics?”
“Just keep her away from bookstores, if you can.”
Thanks, Grayson. That helps.
Apparently whoever said, “no harm ever came from reading a book” hadn’t met this girl.
Grayson’s orders were usually pretty detailed. The fact that these weren’t could mean a couple of things. Either Grayson didn’t know the specifics of the danger the girl was facing, or he did, but for whatever reason, he felt Declan didn’t need to know.
It was the second possibility that worried him.
He didn’t think that Grayson would ever intentionally send him out on an assignment at a disadvantage, but if Grayson felt like he couldn’t trust Declan with the details, then Declan wanted to know why.
The cell phone tucked in his jacket pocket began to vibrate. He fished it out and checked the screen.
The caller ID read “GRAYSON.”
Declan narrowed his eyes at the shuddering phone. Weird. Grayson never called anyone while they were in the field. He knew better.
Returning his gaze to the restaurant patio, Declan answered the call. “Miss me already?”
“I want an update on the girl.”
Declan considered telling him what he’d learned about her, and then thought the better of it. That could wait. “She’s spending the day shopping with a friend.”
“Clothes shopping. No bookstores in sight. Not so far, anyway.”
“You going to tell me why this girl is so special you’re calling me for updates? My next check-in’s not for another two hours.”
“Just do your job, Declan. Keep her safe.”
The line went dead.
If Declan had been suspicious before, now he was outright convinced that something was up.
What was so important about this girl?
I have two obsessions in my life: the written word and music. When I'm writing, I have music playing in the background almost constantly. Putting on a pair of headphones and cuing up a character-specific playlist always helps draw me into the world of my novel and capture the emotions of a particular scene.
While I was writing Revival I played dozens of different songs on repeat, searching for inspiration. Here are just a few of the tunes I listened to during those long nights spent hunting for words!
1. Florence + the Machine — Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)
At the beginning of the novel, Alexandra Parker is a sweet—if somewhat quiet—high school junior that is more than happy to let others take center stage while she observes life safely from the sidelines. That all changes when she discovers who she is and what she's capable of. With the help of her new friends—Declan, in particular—Alex discovers that she's not as weak as she once assumed... And that when it comes to protecting the people she cares about, she's stronger than she ever would have imagined.
This is a gift, it comes with a price
Who is the lamb and who is the knife
Midas is king and he holds me so tight
And turns me to gold in the sunlight
I look around, but I can't find you (raise it up)
If only I could see your face (raise it up)
Instead of rushing towards the skyline (raise it up)
I wish that I could just be brave
I must become a lion hearted girl
Ready for a fight
Before I make the final sacrifice
2. Burn Halo — Threw it All Away
Recently, I was asked what I thought Declan's theme song might be. At the time, I picked "I Stand Alone" by Theophilus London, but the more I thought about my choice, the more it bugged me.
Don't get me wrong, it's a great song—and the vibe is perfect for Declan. But another song that might have worked a little better would have been Burn Halo’s "Threw it All Away.”
It's one of those brooding rock ballads filled with wailing guitars and angst-ridden lyrics. And while Declan has taken to using sarcasm and humor as a shield to keep others from getting too close, on the inside he's struggling with a sea of anger, regret, and pain that he can't quite let go of. When Alex shows up on the scene, old emotions he'd worked hard to bury are brought back to the surface. And as Alex starts to slip past his carefully crafted defenses, Declan finds himself falling for her in spite of himself.
Come close and you'll see every little imperfection
Because my scars still bear a shame that I can't hide
Come close and you'll see I'm headed in the wrong direction
Always getting lost but I'm not hard to find
What if heaven could hear me screaming?
What if heaven could hear me now?
Lord knows I've tried to change
But keep falling everyday
(I keep falling)
I was taking every chance
I was living too fast
I was throwing it all away
…And I threw it all away
Come close and you'll see it was never my intention
But I know that I have wronged so many rights
Come close and you'll see that I fight to seek redemption
All the wounds will heal but I know it will take time
I know heaven can hear me screaming
I know heaven can hear me now
3. Snow Patrol — In the End
There's one other character deserving of a song in this list, and that's Nathaniel. In the novel, it's obvious that Nathaniel is keeping a large number of secrets from the others—secrets that involve his memories of Alex and a past he doesn't want her to know about. More about Nathaniel and Alex's history is brought to light in book two of The Variant Series, but their past proved crucial to the way I wrote Nathaniel's character in Revival. Keeping that in mind, this Snow Patrol song is perfect for Nate!
It's the price I guess
For the lies I've told
That the truth it no longer thrills me
In the end, In the end
There's nothing more to life than love is there?
In the end, In the end
It's time for us to lose our weary minds
Will you dance with me
Like we used to dance
And remember how to move together
You are the torch
And it all makes sense
I've waited here for you forever
I've waited here for you forever
4. Snow Patrol — The Lightning Strike (What If This Storm Ends?)
And since you stuck with me this long, here's the song that I'm currently listening to (on repeat) while I write book three in the Variant series! It offers up some clues about the ending of Resistance, the second book in the series, but that's all the spoilers you'll be getting from me for now…
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*ONE winner will receive a SIGNED hardcopy of REVIVAL and RESISTANCE (Be aware you will have to wait for the second book until it is published in FEB)**
**FIVE winners will be chosen to win e-copies of REVIVAL and RESISTANCE (Be aware you will have to wait for the second book until it is published in FEB)**
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Jeanz Book Read N Review: If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
Jena Leigh: Oh! Good question. I would have to say Kenzie, because out of all of the characters in the Variant series, her caffeine-addled quirkiness comes the closest to matching my own personality. If we’re talking superpowers, though, I’d steal Declan’s in a heartbeat. An ability to teleport anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye? Yes, please!
Jeanz Book Read N Review: Do you decide character traits (i.e. shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Jena Leigh: Character traits are usually decided as I write. I very rarely have an entire character in mind when I sit down at the keyboard. I usually start with a few random traits—a name here, a face there, a quirk or two to distinguish them, an important bit of backstory that forever changed their life or altered their personality—and then the personalities of my characters become clearer to me as I make it further into the story.
Jeanz Book Read N Review: Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Jena Leigh: Always, although I never actually intended for it to be my profession. That was just a happy accident (and by that, I really mean the happiest accident ever). My love of books sent me into publishing, at first. But when fate took a hand and left me too sick to continue working in-house with my company, I switched to working from home and eventually made the decision to self-publish Revival. Sometimes those detours the Universe sends you down turn out to be for the best, after all. If I hadn’t gotten sick, I never would have realized my dream of becoming a published author!
Jeanz Book Read N Review: How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Jena Leigh: When the muse is willing and I have the time to dedicate to writing it, I can finish a book in a few months. With Resistance, the second book in the Variant series, the book itself took over a year to complete. My muse held the right words for the novel’s first half hostage for nearly six months running. Definitely a record. Here’s hoping book three will give me less trouble!
Jeanz Book Read N Review: Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Jena Leigh: Resistance was the most difficult, without a doubt. Writing that book was quite possibly the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done. I was so, so happy to finally finish that first draft! Now, it’s scheduled for release on February 11th and I could not be more excited to get it out into the world. Next up, completing the first draft of book three!
Jeanz Book Read N Review: What is your favorite book and why? Have you read it more than once?
Jena Leigh: The Ghost in the Bell Tower (Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #4) by Francine Pascal. Was it the best book I’ve ever read? Not even close. But I read that book so many times as a kid that now, any time I think of my childhood, I always picture a warm afternoon spent laying in the fluffy white hammock on our family’s back porch, with the same blue, paperback novel clutched tightly in my hands. I read it so many times, in fact, that eventually the binding cried uncle and the cover completely fell off. I really couldn’t get enough.
Jeanz Book Read N Review: Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
Jena Leigh: I was always reading as a kid—especially as a teenager. I loved the sense of escape I found in the written word. As a teen, I also wrote quite a lot of fan-fiction and, eventually, that evolved into writing original stories of my own. Haven’t stopped writing since!
Jeanz Book N Review: What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
Jena Leigh: I have two real loves in my life: music and the written word. Now that writing’s become my day job, in order to unwind I usually listen to music. Seeing live bands is always a fun thing to do, and I love taking road trips—combine the two and you have a recipe for my perfect vacation!
Jeanz Book N Review: If you could invite three favorite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Jena Leigh: Neil Gaiman, Jenny Lawson, and John Green. Now that is a dinner table I’d give my eyeteeth to sit at. I wouldn’t even have to participate in the conversation. If I could just listen to the three of them have a discussion about… well, anything, really… I would be in heaven.
Jeanz Book N Review: What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Jena Leigh: Write constantly and read everything you can get your hands on. It seems like such an obvious piece of advice, but it’s quite possibly the most important things you can do to improve your writing.