Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guest Author – Jennifer Estep

I’m always excited to welcome today’s guest,Jennifer Estep whose  Elemental Assassins series is one of my favourite urban fantasy reads.  Today Jennifer is here to launch the debut book in her new YA Mythos Academy urban fantasy series – Touch of Frost.

Jennifer is kindly offering a giveaway of a copy of Touch of Frost to one lucky winner from US/Canada. Just leave a comment responding to Jennifer’s question in her post and complete the giveaway entry form below.

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .


Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to thank Doug for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, Doug!

My name is Jennifer Estep, and I write the Mythos Acad­emy young adult urban fantasy series for Kens­ing­ton. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psy­chom­e­try, or the abil­ity to know an object’s his­tory just by touch­ing it. After a seri­ous freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Acad­emy, a school for the descen­dants of ancient war­riors like Spar­tans, Valkyries, Ama­zons, and more.

Touch of Frost, the first book, came out on July 26. First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, is also available now. Kiss of Frost, the second book in the series, will hit shelves on Nov. 29.

Since I’ve just published a young adult (YA) book, I thought I would talk about some of the things that I think are cool about the YA genre. Here goes:

All the great books out there: Some of my favorite reads in recent years have been YA books, including new books that I’ve discovered like Beastly by Alex Flinn, along with old favorites like Beauty by Robin McKinley. There are so many terrific books that have come out in the past few years that it’s just a great time to be a fan of the genre – or to go back and discover some books that maybe you overlooked when they first came out.

All the buzz: It seems like YA is the one genre that everyone gets excited about reading these days, from teens to parents to adults. There always seems to be some new book that everyone is buzzing about that I need to add to my TBR pile, and I love all the interest in the various titles. I think it’s great whenever folks are interested in reading a book, whether it’s YA or in some other genre.

The interesting covers: I’m a sucker for a cool book cover, and I think YA books have some of the most gorgeous and most eye-catching covers around. Every time I go to the bookstore, I always end up browsing through the YA section just so I can look at all the interesting covers. I really like the covers for Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series; White Cat by Holly Black; and Heist Society by Ally Carter, among many others.


The action: I like books with a lot of pulse-pounding action, so YA is right up my alley. It doesn’t get much more action-packed than books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

37595179The strong heroines: I love reading about strong heroines, and the YA genre has plenty of them, including everyone from teen thief Katarina Bishop in the Heist Society series by Ally Carter to a princess who can kill with her bare hands like Katsa in Graceling by Kristin Cashore. You girls (and so many others in the YA genre) just rock.

The variety: Whether you like epic fantasy or mysteries or something else, you’re bound to find some YA books that appeal to you. The variety is one of the things that I love most about the genre. No matter what kind of book I’m in the mood for, I know that I can find a YA title that will take me away to another world. I consider it time well spent.

Jennifer’s Question
What about you guys? What do you like about the YA genre? What are some of your favorite YA books right now?

Jennifer Estep is a USA Today bestselling author who also writes the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assas­sin code­named the Spi­der who can con­trol the ele­ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing peo­ple and right­ing wrongs, Gin runs a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Pork Pit in the fic­tional South­ern metrop­o­lis of Ash­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vam­pires, and ele­men­tals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, and Tan­gled Threads. Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released on Sept. 27. Visit for free short stories, excerpts, and more.


  1. I like that YA books seem to stick more to the main story ARC. Some of the one's I've read lately and enjoyed have been Forever and The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters.

    sgiden at

  2. When I was younger - teenagerish, there wasn't as much paranormal fiction as there is now - expecially in YA books. I would have loved the variety we have now, back then. That's what I'm happy about, writers that don't write "down" to YA audiences.

  3. Sandy -- I've been meaning to try Maggie Stiefvater's books.

    Mardel -- The variety is one of the things that I love about the YA genre too.

  4. I like the love triangles in the YA books. Adult books tend to have the happily ever after all set for one couple, but there usually aren't many love triangles. Some of the YA books I like are:

    L.J. Smith's Night World and Secret Circle series

    Matched by Ally Condie

    Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz

  5. Amy -- I'm curious to see the Secret Circle TV show that's coming on the CW this fall. The previews look interesting.

  6. I'm new to the YA genre. Why? Because I guess I thought that I wouldn't be able to relate since I'm pretty far removed from that age group. Silly me. I recently read The Girl In the Steel Corset by Kady Cross and absolutely fell in love. Loved the steampunk elements and felt that the author dd a beautiful job of creating characters that a reader can invest in despite any age differences.

    If you don't mind me asking, Why do you think that YA covers are so eye catching? I've noticed the lovely covers as well and can't help but wonder what makes them so different. Is the process different? Are they designed by only the coolest, most trendy designers? Is the entire genre blessed by the awesome cover fairy?

  7. I read YA because they usually have a great story line. I sometimes get tired of ParaRomance because I feel like the story gets lost in the sex. With YA you dont have that problem. I love Kim Harrisons YA Madison series

  8. Anna -- I'm not sure why the YA covers are so cool. I don't know if the process in designing a YA cover is different than for an adult book. I think it might have something to do with all the variety in the YA genre and the fact that the books are so imaginative, but that's just my theory.

    Alicia -- I haven't tried Harrison's YA series yet, but I like her Hollows books.

  9. I like how the release dates tend to be closer together for YA series. While your Gin Blanco novels are getting released fairly close together most adult novels seem to take at least a year (and I found out today it will be another year and a half before the next Kate Daniels book by Ilona Andrews).

    I just finished Kelley Armstrong's new trilogy which I liked better than some of her latest Otherworld books.

    While some YA books can have foul language and sex (especially talk of), in general they tend to be cleaner than the average adult novel. Not that I'm a puritan, I read ADULT novels and really hard core thrillers/PI novels, but I just need a break sometimes.

  10. I love I will be checking out Jennifer's new series. Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. Anne -- I like it when series books are released close together too. There is some language, violence, and talk of sex in the Mythos Academy series, but the series is much lighter than my Elemental Assassin adult series. Like you said, sometimes it's nice to read something a little lighter on those things, and it's also a nice change of pace for me as a writer.

    Rain Maiden -- Cool. Glad you are enjoying the Gin books, and I hope you like TOUCH OF FROST as well.

  12. I don't actually read that much YA unless the heroine is a strong character. I don't have much patience for teenagers who do nothing but obsess over whether or not their boyfriend loves them enough. Most recently, my favorites are Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series (so inventive), and anything by Simone Elkeles. Im looking forward to A Touch of Frost because Gwen sounds like a very strong character.
    Jen at delux dot com

  13. My favourite YA books are things like The Hunger Games and Kristin Cashore's Graceling. I love that they're just as complex and detailed as adult novels, minus some of the sexy stuff.

    Also, I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Estep's books. So excited for Touch of Frost! :)

  14. (Doug: I entered the form as "jenn".) Sorry for any confusion.

  15. Jen -- Thanks! Hope you enjoy TOUCH OF FROST. And I agree about the Iron Fey series. I've only read the first book (need to catch up on the others), but I thought it had some really interesting world building, especially when it came to the Iron Fey.

    Ireadgood -- Thanks! Glad you are enjoying my books, and I hope you like TOUCH OF FROST as well. And I agree. The complexity is one of the things I love about YA too.

  16. I'm really looking forward to the sequal to The Demon Trapper's Daughter, The Soul thief. Also Wolfsbane is rockin' my socks off.

  17. I think the YA books that really lasted with me were LJ Smith's Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle...I read and reread them around 15 years ago when they first came out. Then I gave up YA books for awhile until I got sucked into Harry Potter, Twilight, Eragon and more currently City of Bones, and some Vlad Tod.

    All the recent covers I've seen are stunning, but I think what resonates with me now reading YA is the emotion. YA emotion seems sharper, edgier and more poignant. Everything is new and tinged with chaos...not tempered with age and wisdom. I still love my adult reads, but I like to mix it up.

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  18. It is very good article ..


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