Blog Tour: Undying by Valerie Grosjean

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Good morning! Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Valerie Grosjean’s fabulous debut novel, Undying, the first in her exciting new series! Take a look!


18596439Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Zombies

Synopsis: This is a story of love . . . and zombies.

When eighteen-year-old college freshman Christian discovers his dormitory is crawling with the living dead, he knows he has a problem. But once he learns the whole country is overrun by the flesh-eating horde, he must race to protect what matters to him most.

Sixteen-year-old Iris, the girl he loves, is stranded eighty miles away, alone and completely unaware of the gruesome threat surrounding her.

Christian’s plan is to evade the zombies, drive the distance to rescue Iris, and get them both to his family farm—where there are guns, fuel, and everything else they’ll need to survive. His mission seems simple: Get the girl, get to the farm, and stay alive.

Things get complicated when Christian is forced to make an unthinkable choice between Iris and his family. Someone he loves must die, and he must decide.

Purchase Links

AmazonBarnes & Noble

My Thoughts

I must say, Undying didn’t really have a warm-up chapter. I was immediately sucked into the action from the very first page and before I could manage to tear my eyes from the screen, I was almost finished. The writing put me right there alongside the characters, dodging zombies and fighting to survive and make it home, and it felt really gritty and definitely kept me on my toes.

Christian really impressed me. If and when the zombie apocalypse come, I call dibs on him, because he’s really freakin’ handy in a zombie fight. He makes some incredibly difficult choices and faces impossible dilemmas about love and loyalty, and I really enjoyed reading about his struggle with the moral ambiguity of killing/being a zombie. And while I never quite bought Iris as a love interest, I liked Christian well enough to go with it.

Honestly, I’m not usually one for horror, and I definitely didn’t pick this one up after dark, but the author did an amazing job with the fear and thriller aspect of the novel. I was screaming in the first chapter and the vivid descriptions had me flailing all over the place and shouting “GO CHRISTIAN GO” at the top of my lungs. That ability to make me so quickly invested in Christian’s wellbeing and so completely engrossed in the story is what really won me over on this one. I’m looking forward to the sequel!

About the Author

Valerie Grosjean is the author of the young adult novel UNDYING. She grew up on a Nebraska farm. After college, she married and moved to Northern California, where she lives with her husband and their two young children. Her obsession with zombie movies inspired UNDYING, her first novel and the beginning of the Undying series.

Find Her:

Goodreads | Website

Giveaway

Prizes:

One signed paperback copy of Undying

A bookmark

Rafflecopter giveaway!!!


This promotional post was organized by Xpresso Book Tours.

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Review: These Broken Stars

These Broken StarsHow did I get it? Bought

Genre: YA, Romance, Science Fiction

Summary: It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

My Thoughts

To be perfectly honest I have read very little this month, and I’m not being modest. Other than reading for class, These Broken Stars is literally the only book I’ve finished thus far. And that’s mostly because it’s the only book I’ve tried out in the past few weeks that’s incredibly hard to put down.

I’ve heard so many fantastic things in the past few months about Lilac and Tarver’s story that despite my reservations about the whole space thing (which I’m not typically keen on) I bought it as soon as it was released. Because of all the praise and hype surrounding it, I tried to prepare myself to be at least a little let down, but for once that did not happen. This book was absolutely incredible in every way. Lilac and Tarver were everything I hoped for and more, and the imagery and writing were just stunning. I loved Lilac’s determination and her strength of will, and Tarver constantly made me smile. The world that I read about was incredibly well-developed, with layers upon layers of social and political issues lying just under the surface, and the setting drew me in completely.

These Broken Stars also dealt with some truly terrible things. Lilac’s confrontation with the realities of this planet, the horror of so many deaths, and her struggles with the harsh environment around her, were all really powerful moments that made me connect with her even more. Tarver’s determination to survive and go home really struck me, especially his motivation to get back to his parents.

Overall, I have no complaints with These Broken Stars. It was an amazing book that reminded me just how much a fantastic story can make you feel, and I cannot wait for the next book in the Starbound Trilogy.

Aside: Can I just say how awesome it was to read about a heroine who can kick ass at mechanics/engineering/science-y stuff? I loved that underneath this spoiled, rich-girl exterior, she’s completely BAMF and it’s wonderful.

 Rating:

Five Stars

Recommend it?

100%

Purchase Links

Barnes & NobleAmazonBook Depository

Author Spotlight: Julia Debski

Julia Debski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1996. Growing up, Julia and her family moved around a lot. They have lived in Poland, France, California, South Carolina, and finally Tennessee (though not in that order). She had a love of reading and stories from a very early age, which included reading till the early hours of the morning on a school night and playing make-believe with characters and complicated plots.
It wasn’t until the 8th grade that she found her passion for writing. It was thanks to a particularly inspiring English teacher and a story that needed to be told. So she began to write, and she never stopped.

This week, I had the opportunity to talk with this talented young author about her debut novel, The Hazel Tree, which she self-published a few short weeks ago. It is set in a world of werewolves and power struggles, a world in which the main character, Ivy, finds herself forced to make difficult choices that may prove deadly.

First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to have your first novel out in the world?

Unreal. I feel like I should still be going back and writing the next chapter or editing. On the other hand, I’m very happy it is published—I’ve been looking forward to starting my next project.

How did you come up with the idea for The Hazel Tree?

There was a revamp of fairy tales and that sort of thing recently, like Once Upon A Time, and on shows like Supernatural. It was a very appealing idea to retell a story that we had all grown up with, and retelling it with a supernatural twist to it, and making it darker and far more suspenseful. That is what the Hazel Tree was originally based on—Cinderella. The plot from it doesn’t play as big of a role in the story as it did in the first draft, but it is still pretty evident.

Where did your inspiration for your settings come from?

I have a soft spot for the Canadian and Northeastern United States landscape. I love the thick green forests and the mountains and the cold. The woods in North Carolina really stuck with me as well, which is why the Orarius packland is set in the Appalachian Mountains.

Which character do you feel is most like you?

Well my favorite character is Judice. Who doesn’t love a big, tall, redheaded woman who’s one of the best—if not the best—warriors in the world? If I was to write a sequel, she would be a big part of it.

What do you feel is the strongest aspect of your book, and why?

Personally I think that the characters are. The Hazel Tree has quite a cast and I think there’s someone every reader can relate to and come to love. I’m also very proud of the mythology and lore I incorporated into the story and the plot. Anyone who knows me knows I love mythology, folklore, and the supernatural, and that is why I tend to write fantasy. So I love the Celtic mythology entwined in the story.

What would you say was the hardest part of writing/publishing The Hazel Tree?

Everything. Nothing about writing a novel is easy—that’s why you have to love it and love what you are creating. The absolute hardest part was staying motivated. I worked on The Hazel Tree for nearly two years, from the moment I began plotting the idea to when I self-published it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I am awful at keeping deadlines, and several times I had to work on one chapter for over 12 hours just so I could stay even remotely on track. During the editing process, I was so fed up with the story I found it hard to care about doing a good job. Luckily I had my best friend and my mum to keep me going. It is always hardest to create a story if you don’t love it, so you have to find reasons to love it again.

What are you reading right now?

Stephen King’s On Writing and his novel Carrie, and Greg Wilkey’s Mortimer Drake series. They’re all brilliant.

What is one book that you are dying to read?

Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies. (And Wolf Hall—it’s part of a trilogy.)

Okay, just for funsies, give us a random fact about yourself.

And just for funsies, I’ll give you two: I lived in France for 3 years, and I have two dogs, Issi and Mika, and three cats, Walle, Wabu, and Wiki (short for Wikipedia), aaaand two horses, Sharlie and Casper.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on some short stories. I’m hoping to publish a collection of them sometime in the spring, and then begin working on my next novel. I have several ideas to choose from. Also, I hope to get The Hazel Tree published by a traditional publisher, but it isn’t a priority right now.

I wish you the best of luck! Thank you for talking with me, it’s been a pleasure!

Thank you for having me! It was lovely. Cheers!

The Hazel Tree is available on Nook and Kindle for $1.99, and you can also order a paperback copy for under $12. I must say, the paperback is lovely; it feels nice and solid in your hands.
You can find my official review of The Hazel Tree here, and if you’d like to get to know the author better, you can check out her blog, her website, her Twitter, her Goodreads, or her Facebook page!