Sunday, April 8, 2012

"You've always been marked for change."

Marked by Jennifer Snyder (YA Paranormal Romance)

A mysterious stranger she can’t stay away from. A birthmark with a hidden meaning and one bite that changes seventeen-year-old Tessa Morganton’s destiny forever… 

Life for Tessa had been steady and calm—with the exception of her overly jealous boyfriend—until the moment Jace Fowler walked into her life. 

Jace—incredibly charming with boy band good looks—is someone whom Tessa can’t seem to stay away from… no matter how much she knows she should. 

After surviving a strange animal attack, Tessa learns just how mysterious and secretive Jace really is and that his secrets not only involve himself…but her as well, making Tessa question everything she’s ever believed regarding her life and those around her.

Jennifer Snyder writes Young Adult Edgy Contemporary novels as well as Young Adult Paranormal Romance novels.  She resides in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and two children.  Jennifer finds great joy in black notebooks.  Feel free to visit her blog at: Jennifer Snyders Blog

(READ MORE for Interview, Review, and Excerpt)

1. What did you mean to accomplish by writing Marked?
Creating an escape for the reader.  For me that's what reading has always been about.  So I hope this is what readers will feel when they sit down to read Marked, like they are able to become lost in the story and the world I've created to escape their own day to day life, even for just a little bit.

2. What 3 important things should readers know about Marked?
It took me three years before I finally felt like I got this duology right.  Teresa has a little bit of spunk.  And Jace has a super hot tattoo. ;)

3. Was there a particular event or idea that inspired Marked?
Most of the time I start out with a little clip, like a scene or bit of dialogue between two characters and this is what I start building a story with.  But with Marked, it was something different.  My daughter was born with a "strawberry markd" or "birthmark" on her lower thigh that is about the size of  dime.  It is not shaped like a paw pring, but it is a cute little oval shape.  We were outside having a picnic in the backyard and for whatever reason I glanced at her birthmark and Tessa's story about a birthmark with a hidden meaning started coming to me.

4. How did you know you wanted to write Marked?
Honestly, I don't know how I knew I wanted to write Marked... it just sort of happened.  I think that's how most great stories come to be, though.  The sort of overtake the authors' minds until we can eventually get it all out.

5. What's next for you?
Well, Changed (Marked Duology Book 2) will be coming out in May.  Hereafter (which goes with my already released novella Touch) will be coming out later this year.  And i have a secret project I'm not yet ready to talk about on the back burner, plus another YA Contemporary novel I've got some ideas jotted down for.

Sentences are short, concise, and to the point.  The plot isn't complicated but it's enough to make your heart flip-flop.  Language is delivered with ease and focuses more on content than on particulars of structure.  There is definitely a lyrical placement of words; I was tempted to speak them as I was reading because they would just roll right off.  The book also has good pace, it glides you through all the events and minutae to arrive at a complete picture, and then it takes the picture further through yet another cycle of important minutae. 

Oh, Jace.  This character is so well created it made ME crush on him a little. He's all kinds of perfect, and yet so imperfect. "There was jus something about him that I couldn't resist."  He was setting out to show her (Tessa) how she should be treated. He's even considerate to ask if she has any allergies to any of the ingredients he's using to cook for her.

I really love the maturity of this book. I was completely enthralled moment to moment.  It is definitely a page turner.  I especially love how Tessa describes her relationship to Sam as a bad habit, and how they're always the hardest to break.  This book really took me by surprise.  It more than exceeded my expectations.  It is really a worthy read.

OH all the 'lines' Jace throws at her (yes, we're back to Jace... it's like another Edward Cullen).  Smitten yet slightly feeling the cliche moment. "You look beautiful." "You could do better." "I'll show you how you should be treated." "Nothing compared to the alluring effect you have on me." He definitely had a sultry and hypnotic tone about him.  His boldness takes you by surprise and renders you speechless, it's what's mesmerizing about him.  Jace is definitely an arrogant character. But he is terribly romantic.  He kept leaving her these flowers on her windshield.

"Days passed without seeing Jace again, but every night I worked, I found another rose attached to my windshield.  On the nights I didn't work, I'd find one the next afternoon, once school had let out, beneath my windshield wiper blad.  None of them ever had a note besides the first, but I didn't need ont to know who'd left them."

Oh and then to top it off he comes by with two yellow roses, one for all the tears he had made her shed, and the other for asking for her forgiveness.

HA! I have to mention this tid-bit, because I know someone exactly like this. He doesn't have a cell-phone. That's cool! I love his reasoning for why he doesn't have one. "Because... once a person gets one, it's like it rules their whole life or something.  Think about it.  People feel naked if they leave the thing at home.  Oh, and the whole text messaging thing - very impersonal. Besides, if I want to talk to you I'll find you, because there's never a time when I just want to talk to you.  I want to see you, too.  I like seeing your expressions and gazing into your beautiful eyes. It's all more intimate." 

This is a great adventure, full of suspence and surprises, all the way to the end.  The ending is probably the best of it all.  "You've always been marked for change," is what Jace says to Tessa towards the end.  I think I froze a little when I read that.  But he is a little selfish, besides being arrogant and egotistical.  He says to her, "Have you ever felt so lost inside, like you don't know yourself and you're not sure if you ever will? That's how I felt every day... but that feeling went away the day I first saw you.  It was like something inside of me sparked to life and I knew if I were to ever let you go that little spark would die out again." Some how even though Tessa is the main character, Jace definitely took over the story for me.  I want to be smitten by him, but also hate him, and then be smitten by him again.  

Really, a very well written book. I'm glad I got the chance to read this book.  I've also posted an excerpt to give people an idea what they are in for with this book.  Check it out.


   I noticed him the first moment he stepped into the diner, along with every other female both young and old.  There was something about him that made it hard to look away.  Maybe it was the smooth confidence in his stride, or his boy band good looks.  Whatever the reason, I found it nearly impossible to not stare, even in the presence of my boyfriend. 
   His eyes shifted to mind and lingered long enough to make my heart flutter.  There was something in their glint that struck me as lonely, but it was overshadowed by something else swirling beneath the surface of the rich honey color, something intriguing I couldn't name.
   "Is it love at first sight, Tessa?  Because it sure looks like it to me and I'm not the only one noticing.  Same seems like he could crumble the table with his bare hands right now," Rachel said, refilling a sweet tea pitcher. 
    I glanced over my shoulder at Same.  Rachel was right; he didn't seem happy.  I'd better get a grip on myself or else we were bound to have another argument.
   "Hardly," I muttered, grabbing out a menu and tucking it under my arm before picking up Sam and Kyle's tray of food.
   "He is eye candy, though, don't deny it," she said with a shit-eating grin.
   I rolled my eyes.  "I'm not, but I'm not about to go there either."
   "Oh, I would."  She glanced over at Kyle.  "Well, maybe just a little, not full force or anything."
   "Yea, well not everyone can be as bold as you."
   "And what's that supposed to mean?" she demanded.
   "Nothing." I winked and headed toward Sam's table.

   During the length of space from behind the counter to Sam and Kyle's table, I allowed myself on glance in Mr. Dreamy's direction and that was all it took to make my heart start racing again.  Golden blond hair, tanned skin, a muscular build - he was the total package.
    I fumbled setting their tray of food down, nearly dumping crinkle-cut fries in Sam's lap.
   "What's up, Tessa, pretty boy over there got you all flustered?" Sam asked with a slight chuckle, but I could see the seriousness pooling in his baby-blue eyes.
   "Whatever." I grinned, attempting to seen nonchalant.  "You guys need anything else?"
   "Nah, we're good,"  Kyle answered, glancing between Sam and me nervously.
   "I need you to stop staring at Prince Charming over there," Sam muttered under his breath.
    I put a hand on my hip.  "Really, Sam?  Are  you seriously that jealous?"
    "Maybe," he said firmly.
    "It's part of my job to notice when people come in and where they sit," I snapped.  I'm gonna go hand him this menu;  don't have a heart attack."
    Maybe I was being slightly defensive, the guilty always are, but Sam's jealousy had been way out of control lately and for no good reason.  We'd had one conversation where I'd told him I didn't plan on staying in this tiny town after graduation and he'd been going bonkers since.  At this point, Same had become more like a bad habit I found hard to break than boyfriend.
   I slowed my pace and relaxed the muscles in my face, attempting to look friendlier before I reached Dream Guys' table. 
   "Hey.  I'm Tessa; I'll be your waitress tonight.  Can I get you something to drink?" I asked with a smile, sliding the laminated menu across the tabletop.
   His amber eyes met mine as he returned my smile with a pearly white one of his own.  "Hi, sure. I'll take a sweet tea, please,"  he answered, his voice sultry and hypnotic sounding.
   "Sweet tea," I repeated unnecessarily as I walked away. 

   What was wrong with me? I didn't normally act so stupefied and giddy because of a guy.
   "Seriously girl, you'd better watch that pep in your step from Mr. Cutie.  Sam's gonna start growling and go all territorial on your ass," Rachel insisted.
    I pursed my lips together while I poured a sweet tea.  "He's being a complete jerk tonight.  I could be smiling by eighty-year-old Mr. Garrett and he'd pick a fight with me about it."
   "Well, Kyle and I are still wanting to go camping with you guys tomorrow night, but if the two of you are going to be at each other's throats, then we'll take a rain check," she said.
    "Hello, it's your birthday! I'm not about to let mine and Sam's problems ruin our camping trip on your birthday!" I assured her.  
   "Good, because I'd hate to have to kick your ass."
   "Funny," I sarcastically said s I pushed past her.
   Sam caught my wrist as I walked past his table.  "Can you tone down your smile a bit; I can't stand seeing you flirting with someone in front of me."
   "Are you freaking serious?  It's called being polite.  Waitresses who want a tip generally are polite," I said, jerking my wrist free.
   What the hell was everyone's problem? It wasn't like I was drooling over the guy!
   "Here's your tea.  Are you read to order?" I asked without looking at him.  I didn't need anymore crap from anyone tonight.  
   "Yea, actually I am,' he started, but then paused.  "Look, i don't mean to speak out of place here but... is that guy bothering you?"
   I raised my eyes to his.  "What guy?"
   A crocked grin sprang on his face.  "The one who's looking over here like he's going to tear into me any minute."
  "I'm so sorry." I signed.  "That's actually my boyfriend and I'm not really sure what his deal is tonight."
   "Some guys don't know how to handle having a beautiful girlfriend." He smiled, his eyes never wavering from mine.
    Was he for real? Because I was far from beautiful compared to a lot of girls in this town.  I was flat-chested with the body of a twelve-year-old.  I had dirty-blond hair and mud-brown eyes. Seriously, beautiful didn't even come close to what I was; he should try average.
   Nonetheless, my cheeks blushed all school-girl like at his words.  I tore my eyes away from his and focused back on my pad and pen in hand.

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