This is my first tour for TeamNerd Reviews, and I'm so excited! The two lovely ladies running the service are absolutely incredible, and they're best friends, which makes it even better!
And this book! It's so good! You guys really need to check it out! Unfortunately due to circumstances out of my own control (and yes, these are the same circumstances as earlier this week), I'm not able to have the review up quite yet, but I promise that I will soon! You guys really don't want to miss this one!
Revival by Jena Leigh
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.
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.
Alex tried not to groan in frustration.
What was the point of all this? When were they going to get around to the actual training?
Alex wondered what her aunt would think about Declan teaching her to jump, and then dismissed the thought entirely. Aunt Cil had given up any right she had to complain the minute she decided to keep the truth from her.
If training meant that she would eventually be able to control her gift—control her effect on electronics—then train was exactly what Alex planned to do.
Declan reappeared in front of her, this time with a bundle of branches in his arms. He made for the circle again and dropped the twigs in a pile beside it.
He started toward her. “Jacket, socks, and shoes. Off.”
“Take them off.”
Suddenly wary, Alex complied. The temperature was dropping quickly in the half-light of the setting sun. Shivering, she tossed the jacket Kenzie had loaned her over the base of the fallen tree.
“Why? Is it more difficult to teleport with clothes on?” A sudden fear gripped her. “Wait. I’m not going to reappear naked, am I?”
Declan laughed. “Well, it would certainly make my job more interesting,” he said. She felt her cheeks grow warm. “Don’t worry about it. You’ll take whatever’s touching you along with you when you go. Clothes, some of the air around you… Even other people, if they’re touching you when you jump.”
“Alright. Good to know.” She tugged at the hem of her borrowed black camisole, feeling self-conscious. “So then why am I standing here barefoot and jacket-less in fifty degree weather?”
There was that grin again.
“Your eyes. Close them.”
“Yes, master.” She’d been trying for sarcasm, but the unexpected sensation of warm hands on her bare shoulders caused her voice to catch. His touch held that same electric charge she’d felt when she’d taken his hand in the bookstore. Alex peeked one eye open. “What are you doing?”
His expression was serious again. “Eyes closed.”
She curled her toes into the sand and tried to breathe normally. The heat radiating from Declan’s hands and the faint scent of his cologne were making it difficult to concentrate.
“I want you to think back to when we teleported here from the bookstore.” Declan guided her along the shore as he spoke. From the direction they were moving and the changing texture of the ground beneath her feet, she thought they were headed toward the water. Alex struggled to keep from stumbling in the loose sand. “Think about how it felt. Replay the motion of it over and over in your head.”
He brought her to a stop at the waters edge. Alex could feel damp sand beneath her feet and the frigid waters of the lake lapping at the back of her heels.
“Okay,” she said. “Insane pressure, tingly feeling, falling through the air…”
She let out a cry of surprise as Declan pushed her backwards. The shove was gentle, but with her eyes closed tight and the wet ground giving way beneath her feet, she’d lost any chance she had of maintaining her balance.
As Alex began to fall she found herself clinging to the memory from earlier. If she could just teleport herself away from the water, she could fall in the sand.
Acting on instinct, Alex braced herself. At first nothing happened.
And then time shuddered to a stop.
The world around her had come to a standstill. She was no longer falling, but the feeling of weightlessness remained.
Tendrils of violet electricity arced through the air and coiled themselves around her. Before she could react, a blinding flash of light engulfed her and the ensuing change in pressure forced her eyes closed. As the pressure peaked and then abated, a tingling sensation surged through her, every muscle struck useless by the same prickling numbness she was accustomed to feeling when her foot went to sleep.
And then it was over.
Her eyes sprung open. She was falling, but not into the sand like she’d planned.
One second… two seconds… three…
Alex let out a curse as she sliced through the still waters of the lake.
She was going to kill Declan.
Jena's Dream Cast
Not long after I started writing Revival, I began dreaming up the perfect cast for the book. Even back then, I found myself selecting actors and actresses who were already too old to play the parts. (It was often because I’d watched them in a years-old movie or TV show and thought to myself, “They’d make for a perfect ___!”… And then the mental image of the character stuck.)
So as you read through my dream casting for the book, keep an open mind and use a bit of imagination where necessary—and then dream up your own perfect cast for the Variant Series and post your suggestions in the comments! I’d love to know how readers imagine the characters to look!
ALL IMAGES BELONG TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS AND ARE NOT PROPERTY OF MARKED BY BOOKS.
Alex is the only character in the novel I don’t have an actress in mind for! I describe her appearance at different points in the series, of course, but I’d rather leave her potential casting up to the reader. She looks different to everyone, and I’d like to leave her without a fixed image. This way, Alex will always be whoever you’d like her to be!
Just like Garrett Hedlund will always play the role of the Declan in my mind, Steven Strait will always be the face of Nathaniel. He was one of the few characters whose appearance I knew by heart before I even knew anything about the character’s personality.
When I first saw Allison playing the role of Claudia on the Syfy show Warehouse 13, I had one of those surreal oh-my-god-she’s-real moments and spent half of the episode just staring at her in awe. With that short red bob and her ample supply of sarcasm, watching Allison play Claudia was a bit like watching Kenzie come to life, right there on my TV.
An early forties Liam Neeson will always be my ideal image of the Grayson patriarch. A little gruff, but always intelligent and calculating, Neeson could portray the commanding presence of John Grayson perfectly.
One of the more recent dream castings I’ve made! For ages, I struggled to come up with an actress who could successfully capture Cassie’s look, while also exuding the epic levels of sass required to play the role. Dakota’s definitely high up on that list of potentials!
Ah, Taylor Kitsch during his Friday Night Lights days. The image of him in a beat-up truck was what inspired me to include Norma Jean in the story. After that, Aiden was always Taylor, to me.
Or, more specifically, Robert Carlyle’s character Nicholas Rush on the Syfy show Stargate Universe. Not sure what it is about the Syfy channel, but it seems to be an excellent place to watch my characters magically come to life on the screen. The character of Rush matches Brandt in physical appearance (right down to his style of dress), and possesses the same bad attitude and dubious moral code. In my mind, Robert would be able to play the role perfectly. There are plenty of other characters in the Variant series still to be added to this dream cast, but I’ll leave the rest up to the readers! Who would you like to see play these characters on the big screen one day?
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