Must Read Monday - A YA Pick and a Giveaway via Julie Cross

So today is the inaugural Must Read Monday post. Yay! And though I'll normally be doing these book recommendations myself, there will be times where I'll be inviting other authors to pick some of their recent favorite reads (not their own book). And today I'm having my friend, YA Author Julie Cross, do the honors. Julie reads a ton of books, and she's my go to girl for YA and New Adult recommendations because she's always a few steps ahead of me on what's hot in those genres and I always trust her taste. She hasn't let me down yet with her recs, so she's the perfect person to have by today.

PLUS, I'm giving away not just one but TWO of Julie's books. Catch up on her whole series by getting a copy of TEMPEST and an ARC of her upcoming release, VORTEX! Details at the bottom on how to enter. But now, over to Julie...

Must Read Monday with Julie Cross

It’s been a while since I’ve done a guest post here and I’m super excited to be a part of Must Read Monday! Especially because Roni and I have taken this publishing journey virtually (actually virtually) along side each other. We debuted in the same month in January 2012 and it’s so nice to have someone who shares my book taste that I can chat and rant with about my latest reads AND about all things publishing related. 

Today, I’m recommending a YA title that released on New Years Day and a book that I had the pleasure of reading early last April. I actually wrote an official blurb for this book and it’s on the back cover, which made me squeal a little when I got it in the mail yesterday upon returning from vacation. Here’s the blurb I wrote:

“Jennifer Rush's ALTERED  is a thrilling, fast paced and romantic story. I read it almost entirely in one sitting. The twists and turns this plot takes will shock even the most proficient readers. Government conspiracies, special abilities, family, friendship, and love all melt together so beautifully to create an amazing debut novel.”


They were made to forget. But they'll never forgive.

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, solemn and brooding; Cas, light-hearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who's stolen Anna's heart.

When the Branch decides it's time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape. Anna's father pushes her to go with them, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs.

On the run, with her father's warning in her head, Anna begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about herself. She 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.


I also wrote a little bit longer review for goodreads that will hopefully help you decide if this is your kind of book because that’s what it’s always about, finding the right read for you. 

“I loved this book from page one--the quirky premise in the opening....four mysterious boys in a basement with no one to talk to but a home-schooled girl, that alone is just freakin' awesome and totally my kinda story. And then four boys on the run with said home-schooled girl who turns out to be less damsel in distress with every page and more mystery and awesome.

The plot twists toward the end are just brilliant and completely unpredictable. I love the underlying debate of science vs human nature. Do the boys really care about Anna or is it just because they're programmed to listen to her. Where do those lines began and end? The whole concept and premise is so original and the book is fantastically written. I especially loved the way Anna doesn't explain much in the beginning. She's just going about her life and it took me a little bit to realize that the boys were behind a glass wall. I felt like Jennifer did such a great job of going so far into the head of the Main Character that she didn't bother with explaining things that are abnormal to the average person. Like having experimental, altered boys locked up in your basement. It's all Anna knows, why would she compare or explain her life? It makes something far-fetched seem almost realistic, like someone we know might have a whole Branch experiment in their basement and we just think they're the normal family down the street that likes to keep to themselves.

Even though this a sci-fi, it really stretches so much farther and could easily please a romance, or contemporary YA fan as well as a younger action loving reader. I also think both girls and boys would enjoy this book.”

I’m happy to answer questions and give more types of YA book suggestions if any of you are looking for more titles just ask away! Of course you can also read this book called Tempest, I heard the sequel comes out on January 15…

Thanks for having me, Roni and good luck to those of you who enter the giveaway!

--Julie Cross



Thanks, Julie! That sounds like an amazing book. : ) And speaking of amazing books, Julie has one of those coming out on the 15th--VORTEX, the second in her series. If you haven't read TEMPEST yet (YA time travel) you're missing out. Get to it! 


Julie Cross's Vortex is the thrilling second installment of the Tempest series, in which the world hangs in the balance as a lovelorn Jackson must choose who to save

Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, after an accidental run in with Holly—the girl he altered history to save—Jackson is once again reminded of what he's lost. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents not only find themselves under attack, but Jackson begins to discover that the world around him has changed and someone knows about his erased relationship with Holly, putting both their lives at risk all over again.


GIVEAWAY: I'm giving away both TEMPEST and VORTEX to one lucky commenter (U.S./Canada only) today. Both are paperback ARCs. To enter the contest, you need to give us your MUST READ of the week in the comments and leave your EMAIL ADDRESS.