Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today's Special -- Jennifer Estep

We're pleased to have one of our frequent guest authors, Jennifer Estep dishing with us today. Jennifer writes the popular and addictive urban fantasy Elemental Assassin series---one of my favorites. *g* She is now writing a new series---a young adult urban fantasy series, the Mythos Academy. The first book, Touch of Frost was released July 26th. Check out my review here.
Please welcome Jennifer back to The Romance Dish!

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to thank Gannon and the rest of the folks at The Romance Dish for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, everyone!

So today, Gannon asked me to talk a little bit about some of the books that I loved when I was younger since I just released my first young adult book. Touch of Frost, the first book in my Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series, came out on July 26, so this is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

One of my favorite memories is going to the library every Saturday with my mom to pick out books to read for the week. I read a ton of books when I was a kid, but I had my favorites, the ones that I checked out time and time again. Here are some of the books and series that I read over and over:

-Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume: I always enjoyed reading this book about two friends who struggle to stay friends but eventually find their way back to each other, despite everything that’s going on in their lives.

-The Baby-sitters Club books: I can’t even tell you how many times I read and reread these books when I was younger. I always enjoyed hanging out with Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey, and reading about all the ups and downs that the girls had.

-The Encyclopedia Brown series: I loved these books with their quirky, clever logic puzzles and mysteries. Try as I might, I could never figure out the answer before Encyclopedia did.

-The Nancy Drew books: I read tons of Nancy Drew books when I was younger, everything from the old classics to the more modern, updated versions. I always enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery in these books too, although I never guessed who the bad guy was before Nancy did.

-The Sweet Valley High series: Oh, Elizabeth and Jessica. I spent many hours reading about you and your friends at Sweet Valley High, and I always thought it would be fun to go to your school. I’ve also got the new SVH book in my TBR pile to read.

-The Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary: I enjoyed these books about smart, sassy Ramona and all the adventures that she had.

-Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien: I loved this book about a group of clever rats who band together to help a mouse and her family.

-Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls: This is a touching, heartwarming, and ultimately bittersweet story about a boy and the love that he has for his two dogs. The ending makes me cry every single time – even now.

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite childhood reads? What are some of your favorite YA books today?

**Jennifer is giving away a copy of Touch of Frost to one lucky commenter. U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Jennifer Estep is a USA Today bestselling author who writes 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 available now as a 99-cent download. Kiss of Frost, the second book, will hit shelves on Nov. 29.

Jennifer also writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin code named 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. Congratulations on your new release, Jennifer. I haven't had a chance to read your work yet, but I know I can rely on The Romance Dish to introduce me to a new voice. Yours sounds like one I would like!

  2. Hi, Jennifer! It's great having you with us again today.

    I'm heading down the mountain this morning, so I'll pop back in to chat more later today.

  3. Flora, I think you'd enjoy any and all of Jennifer's books. She's a fantastic author!

  4. Good morning, Ladies! You asked what books I liked as a child and the answer has to be Nancy Drew! I would check out a bagful of them from our library, climb up in the tree in the front yard and read all day. I also found a lot of biographies about famous people suited just for young adults that I "ate up." While YA fiction is great, I wish that more non-fiction like biographies was available as well which would introduce more YAs to history. As for today, I continue to enjoy many genres of YA books.
    Connie Fischer

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  6. Congrats on your new release Jennifer. And we seem to have the same taste in books, lol.

    Big fan of Ramona and The Babysitters Club too. :)

    I loved the Encyclopodia Brown books as a kid too, and could never figure it out. The frustrating thing to me is the solution is always in one throw away sentence and you totally miss it if you aren't paying attention.

    I remember devouring my first Nancy Drew book in 4th grade and never looked back. It was great going on adventures and solving mysteries together. But has anyone ever really thought through the logic of an 18 year old who can fly off around the world at a moment's notice, and only SHE seems able to crack an international smuggling ring when experienced police and law enforcement can't? lol.

    I was a huge Sweet Valley High fan too. But am I the only one who, looking back, takes issue with the cover art? I mean come, on, with the hair, clothes and makeup, they looked thirty not 16! lol.

    As for classics, loved loved Anne of Green Gables and Little Women (though I maintain Laurie should have ended up with Jo, not Amy!)

  7. Fsbuchler -- Thanks! I appreciate that. Hope you get a chance to check out the book.

    Gannon -- Thanks! It's great being here. I appreciate you guys having me on the blog again. And thanks for the nice words about my books. I appreciate them. ;-)

    Connie -- I loved Nancy Drew too. It's funny that you mention those YA biographies. I read a lot of those when I was younger too.

    Lisa -- We do have the same tastes in books. LOL. I agree about Nancy, but I think that's part of what made the books seem so fun and glamorous -- that Nancy got to do all of these cool things.

  8. I loved Ramona the Pest! I remember when the teacher read it to us I felt like "hey! she really gets it, kinder sux!" At the time I felt like nobody understood how hard kinder was except Ramona LOL.
    My favorite children's book though was Perez y Martina by Pura Belpre. It's in spanish but my dad would translate it as he read it. Some of my current YA reads are:
    of course The Hunger Games and Twilight series, but also the series of Vampire Academy, Wicked Lovely, Delirium, Forest of Hands and Teeth, and Ashfall by Mike Mullin which hasn't released yet but I was lucky enough to get an arc from our library conference:)

  9. Bella -- I can't tell you how many times I read the Ramona books. I also really liked the Ralph the Mouse books by Cleary too.

  10. I loved Gone Away Lake (I forget the author)and the Nancy Drew books. I just read Kelley Armstrong's YA series The Summoning, The Awakening and The Reckoning and really enjoyed it. (I like her adult series too.)

  11. Anne -- The YA series by Armstrong looks interesting. I've seen a lot of folks talking about it online.

  12. Jennifer, I loved your superhero books, and the YA series sounds fabulous!

    I also was a big fan of Nancy Drew and Ramona Quimby. Our son enjoyed Ramona's adventures when he was little.

    There're a lot of exciting developments in YA these days. I've enjoyed Tricia Mills's Heartbreak River, Inara Scott's Delcroix Academy: The Candidates, Jana Oliver's The Demon Trapper's Daughter, and the Keelie Heartwood series from Gillian Summers. I haven't read Hunger Games yet, but it's on my list. My son is an extra in the film, so he did read it and enjoyed it a lot.

  13. Connie, I think I read all of the Nancy Drew books when I was younger. I wish I still had them. :-)

  14. Little Women (though I maintain Laurie should have ended up with Jo, not Amy!

    Right there with you, Lisa!

  15. I loved Ramona the Pest! I remember when the teacher read it to us I felt like "hey! she really gets it, kinder sux!" At the time I felt like nobody understood how hard kinder was except Ramona

    Bella, I think that's one of the great things about reading some books when we're growing up---characters we can completely relate to.

  16. Jennifer, the Ralph the Mouse books were great, weren't they?!

  17. Anne, I've heard so many good things about Kelley Armstrong's YA series.

  18. I haven't read Hunger Games yet, but it's on my list. My son is an extra in the film, so he did read it and enjoyed it a lot.

    So cool, Nancy!!! My daughter completely devoured the series and she's dying for me to read it. It's definitely on my list.

  19. Jennifer, I'm loving every review and each is making me even more antsy to read Touch Of Frost. Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. I read the Nancy Drew books, but my favorites were Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books, L. M. Montgomery's Anne books, and Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. I also loved Madeleine L'Engle's O'Keefe's, Austins, and the Time Quintet, although I was well past her YA target by the time I read the later books in those series. The last YA book I read was Jessica Day George's Princess of Glass, which the 12-yera-old grand insisted I would love. I did.

  21. Nancy -- Thanks! Glad you liked the Bigtime books, and I hope you enjoy TOUCH OF FROST too. That's really cool about your son being an extra in the movie.

    Gannon -- Oh, yeah. I loved the Ralph the Mouse books.

    Shannon -- Thanks! Hope you get a chance to check out the book.

    Janga -- Oh, I forgot about the Laura Ingalls Wilder books! I read and reread those books too. Princess of Glass sounds like a cool book. I may have to check that one out.

  22. Can't wait to read Touch of Frost!

    Some of my favorite childhood reads were: all of R.L. Stine's books (Fear Street series and Goosebumps series), The Babysitters Club, Charlotte's Web.

    Some YA books I enjoy: The Hunger Games series, Harry Potter series, Vampire Academy series


  23. Jennifer, welcome back to The Romance Dish.

    You brought a huge smile to my face with the mention of SWEET VALLEY HIGH books. See, in school I was never much of a reader. But when the family would travel back to Indiana (we lived in Florida) and visit with aunts and uncles, I always stayed with my cousin who had a large supply of SVH books and let me read to my heart's content. Ahhh, such sweet memories ;-)

  24. Hey, Jennifer! Welcome back to the Dish. Congrats on your newest release!

    For me, it's Nancy Drew all the way. As a pre-teen and teen, I just loved how independent Nancy was. I have a bunch of the old books just waiting for my daughter to read them, too! :)

  25. Amy -- Thanks! Hope you enjoy the book. And I also loved the Baby-sitters Club too. I read those books so many times.

    Buffie -- Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post. Did you know that they released a new SVH book this year? It looks at everyone 10 years after high school. I'm getting it for my TBR pile.

    Andrea -- Thanks! I appreciate that. I keep meaning to get some of the old classic versions and reread them. I think it would be interesting to see how they hold up.

  26. Shannon, I hope you love Jennifer's books as much as I do.

  27. Janga, I have fond memories of spending many an hour lost in The Little House books. :-)

  28. Amy, Charlotte's Web is another book that makes me cry.

    Hooray for Harry Potter---love, love that series!

  29. Buffie, I never read SVH, but I had a few friends that absolutely loved them!

  30. Andrea, how wonderful that you have your Nancy Drew books for Abby to read some day. I wish I still had mine.

  31. When I was little, I devoured the Magic Treehouse books. I used to be so happy that I had finished a book in a day. Now I look back and I'm like, "It was that tiny? No wonder I finished in a day."

  32. Thanks again, Jennifer, for spending the day with us. :-)

  33. Jennifer,
    My childhood reading was a bit further back than yours. I the Nancy Drew books were the only ones you listed that were written when I was a child and teen. I read every one of those "classic" books. My aunt had the complete collection and was happy to share them with me. When I finished those, I read The Hardy Boys series. I would check the library shelves and read any other mystery/adventure books available.

    I would spend every Saturday at the library reading mostly science, archeology, and history books. I don't remember ever checking books out to read at home prior to 7th grade when we moved. At our new school, I took advantage of the school library and always had something checked out. The main books I remember discovering in high school were Mary O'Hara's trilogy: MY FRIEND FLICKA, THUNDERHEAD, AND GREEN GRASS OF WYOMING. They were the first really mature books I read.

    Most of the really good books for children and teens were written after I was past the age to read them. I discovered them in college in my Children's Lit course. I kept up with what was coming out as a volunteer in the libraries of my children's schools. Most enjoyable was working as a children's librarian for 8 years until last year. So much really great books have come available during that time. I read as much as I could to keep up with what was available. I read so many, I really can't think of a favorite at the moment.

    Good luck with this series. I have been looking at the Elemental Assassin books. The are on my TBR list. Must get to them soon.

  34. Congrats on your release!

    The last YA book that I really liked (even though it was a post-apocalyptic dystopian read) was Ann Aguirre's "Enclave". After reading "The Dead-Tossed Waves", "Tender Morsels", and "Split" (not a post-apocalyptic book but had spousal and child abuse), I started reading more romances so I was pleasantly surprised that I liked "Enclave" that much.

    Scott Westerfeld also has some good books out: the Uglies series, the Leviathan series (steampunk!), and my fave "Peeps" which mentioned human parasites.

  35. Gannon and Amy -- Charlotte's Web is another good book, and it makes me cry too. And thanks for having me on the blog again today. It was fun, and I appreciate it! ;-)

    Urgirlconnie -- I never read any of those.

    Librarypat -- I always had something checked out from my local library too. I used to go to the library every Saturday with my mom when I was a kid. And thanks! Hope you enjoy the Elemental Assassin books.

    Sheree -- Thanks! I appreciate that. I keep meaning to try Westerfeld's books. I've heard a lot of good things about his work.

  36. Gannon: I got a number of Nancy Drew books when I was a child. I gave them to my granddaughter years ago and I think someone has them stored somewhere. I sure do hope so because, as I'm 65 now, those books are old classics. It's amazing to see what they sell for on Ebay. You never know what books will be valuable one day so I hope that the "paper" books never go away! Nothing better than actually holding a book, admiring the cover, smelling the paper and turning the pages. I do have a Kindle which is convenient, but nothing beats the "real thing."
    Connie Fischer

  37. Connie -- I'm with you. I hope paper books are always around too.

  38. I loved the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine when I was a YA. Now I like the Hunger Games series, the Evernight series, Twilight series, Harry Potter, and the Dark Elite series.
    I can't wait to add Touch of Frost to the list :)