Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today, I'm fangirling all over Altered (Altered #1) , the fantastic YA debut by the equally fantastic author, Jennifer Rush!

 *hands you a cupcake*

 *and extra napkins*

 *for the drool*

Altered (Altered, #1)
Publication: January 2, 2013
By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.


My Thoughts
I am not ashamed to admit I have spent more than a few hours minutes staring at this cover and I think the tree is my favorite part. Maybe. *winks*

Thank you to the awesome Jenn Rush for loaning me a copy of her fantastic debut!  Altered is a book that has been on my radar for a few months and I'm sooo excited to have been able to read an ARC of it!  The original cover is what piqued my curiosity - hot guy, interesting synopsis but like the boys themselves, it too has been altered and now looks even cooler with the tree which is a vital part of the story. (pun completely intended)

Altered is a well written story that can be enjoyed by a variety of readers. 4.5 Stars!  Action, suspense, romantical tension and plot twists keep you engaged and on edge.  The Sci-Fi elements are entertaining and not the least bit overwhelming.  As a non-Sciency person, a book that makes me think too hard or causes my brain to hurt is one I will zone out of in about five minutes. (Oh.Em.Gee! I just realized...I'm like a female Cas. -_-) 

These characters are interesting and I found Anna, the MC, to be a good mix of innocence and strength. We get watch her go from a naive girl who has no clue of what's really happening with the boys to a bad-ars young woman who faces challenges head on and stops at nothing to protect the ones she cares about. *fist bumps her*  All four of the guys, yes, four, are physically appealing (code for "hot"), but also posses qualities that make them unique and completely "crushworthy".    

Sam is tall, dark and broodish, managing to hide both his secrets and his pain pretty well.  He's the one Anna feels most connected too and is convinced she's in love with. Their relationship is complicated from the start and thankfully doesn't fall into the, "Instantaneous love affair at the first chance of freedom." trap.  Even though they spent almost every day together for years, and there's a definite attraction, the issues that arise while they're hiding from The Branch will leave Anna wondering if Sam is the "Sam" she thinks she knows (and loves) at all.

The other guys, Trev and Nick are a yummilicious blend of brains, brawn and bravado but my favorite is Cas. *sighs* (Btw, I totally call dibs on him. For my "friend".)  He's full of snark and fun and his obsession with food resembles a hilarious misguided love affair.  He's hardly ever still and seems a bit scatter-brained but when he's needed, he's all focus and brute force. Unless, he's hungry. Then you're on your own. JK! (I wonder if Jenn would let me borrow Cas too? You know, as long as I promise to return him without any jelly doughnut stains.)

This really was a fun read (even if my heart ached for these characters at times) and it ended in a way that was satisfying but also left me eager for the next book!  I'm a visual person and being able to "see" the story's setting and/or characters through the author's eyes takes the reading experience to a whole new level. Jenn has an Altered pinterest page where she's pinned lots of Altered inspired pictures. If you want to check it out (and trust me, you do) click here.

Say Hellew to the Altered boys
(*photos courtesy of Jenn's Pinterest) 
Try not to drool all over your screen, I hear it's not good for it. ;) 


                               Mine -->


About Jenn
Photo courtesy of author's website

Jennifer Rush lives in a little town on the shoreline of Lake Michigan with her husband and two children. She grew up wanting to be an Egyptologist, but realized she hated the desert and declared herself a writer instead. She won her first writing award in the fourth grade (a Mickey Mouse pencil was the prize) and has been crafting stories ever since. In her free time, she likes to read, Photoshop, and consume large amounts of caffeine.

Her debut YA, ALTERED, will release January 2, 2013 from Little, Brown.

Her debut middle-grade, BOT WARS, will release March 21, 2013 from Dial Books for Young Readers. It's written under the pen name J. V. Kade and can be found HERE.

Click the links to find out more about Jenn Rush 

Author Interview
You probably get this question a lot but, what inspired you to write Altered and how many books are planned in the series? 
I do get this question a lot and my answer is always boring, because I honestly don’t know where the idea came from. I was supposed to be taking a break from writing while I let my latest project sit before diving into revisions. I do remember digging through old files looking for something to play around with, but from there, things get a bit hazy. Before I knew it, I had three-quarters of Altered finished. It was one of those projects that came out of nowhere and absolutely consumed me.
As for the series plan, there will be one more book set in the Altered world, told from Anna’s point-of-view. 

There are four guys in your book with four very different personalities.  Do they ever "talk" over one another when you're writing them?
Yes, definitely yes. Cas is the talker. He’s opinionated, but in a light-hearted way, and he just wants everyone to get along. Because of that, he tends to butt in where he’s not needed. :D I like to think he’s entertaining though! <-- Love

I enjoyed all of the Altered guys but Cas was my favorite!  He hasn't gotten out much in the past few years but if he could, what would a date with Cas look like? (I'm asking for a "friend" of course.)
Well your “friend” ;) could expect an unconventional date. Cas would not take a girl out to dinner, or for a long walk on the beach. Cas would probably take a girl to a paintball course, or a ski lodge (he was an almost pro-boarder in his life before the Branch). Or he might grab some really good food from a hole-in-the-wall diner and take a girl somewhere amazing, somewhere no one else would ever find because they wouldn’t ever bother looking.  I spoke to my "friend" and she said, "Best.date.ever!"

What song best describes Anna?
Oh gosh, this is a hard one. Probably “Breath of Life” by Florence + The Machine. 

Now a couple of "Get to know Jenn better" questions...
What book are you dying to read?
EASY QUESTION. Siege and Storm by the fabulous Leigh Bardugo (#TeamDarklingFOREVER) <-- YES.THIS!

Favorite color?
If we’re talking clothes, black. Anything else, turquoise or mustard yellow.

Least favorite food, EVER?
Sauerkraut. Or spaghetti-Os. Both make me want to vom.

What singer/band would you kill to see live?
Florence + The Machine!

If you could spend one day as either your favorite literary character or Superhero, who would you choose and why?
Hmmmm…I used to love how badass Anita Blake (the vampire hunter) was earlier in the series before things got…weird. I also wanted to be Kerry in Vivian Vande Velde’s Companions of the Night if only because I was desperately in love with Ethan!

 In case you needed one more peek at Cas....
Charlie Hunnam
Photo courtesy of author's pinterest

1 pre-order of Altered by Jennifer Rush
  (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country.)

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  1. Altered is one book that I am extremely excited for, guess it's a good thing it's coming out 2nd January making a great start for 2013! Yay.

    So it's no surprise that the review and then the interview made me want to read Altered all the more. It feels great to know that Jenn was consumed by writing Altered and a story came out of nowhere. Feels fitting for the book somehow.

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

  2. I'm soooo excited about this book!! And that cover is *wiggle eyebrows* Oh, yes!! ha ha After reading your thoughts on it, I am glad that it seems like it'll be amazing (sound like it will) especially with all those boys!! Yes, I've been staring at those pictures ;)
    Also, loved the author interview! She sounds amazing!! Also loved the question about the date :)

    Cannot wait to read this one!!

    Magen Corrie
    ~Corrie the Book Crazed Girl