Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blog Tour, Guest Post and Book Review: Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

Title: Mortality
Author: Kellie Sheridan
Series: Book One in the Hitchhiker Strain Series
Published: March 19, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian

Book Description:

After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death. 

Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore. 

Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.

About the Author:
I have been in love with stories in all of their forms for as long as I can remember. Admittedly, sometimes that means falling into places like Stars Hollow and Sunnydale, but books have always been my true love. In early 2011 I began writing a book blog in order to share my favorite reads with book lovers. From there, the bookish community encouraged me to stop sitting on my own stories and share them instead. Since then I’ve been madly devouring everything I can about digital publishing.

For the past two years I have been mainly obsessed with young adult books, but my favorite stories still come from the adult fantasy genre. As far as I’m concerned, Briggs, Bishop, Vincent and Vaughn are all must reads.

I spent part of my twenties living in Galway, Ireland and swooning after various lilting accents but am now back home in Ontario, Canada. My family includes two Glen of Imaal Terriers and a Green Cheek Conure.

Guest Post:

Music & Mortality

Many authors are blessed with ability to write while listening to music. They let lyrics and melodies take them away to the worlds they’ve created, or use songs to help set the emotional tone of a scene—Unfortunately, I am not one of them. As soon as I open up iTunes, I find myself dancing around the basement or belting out the lyrics to various Disney songs, neither of which is helpful to the writing process. But that doesn’t mean music didn’t have its place in crafting my first novel.

I will readily admit that I am not someone who can easily fall into the writing mindset. At least not yet. Sometimes I need that extra push to remind me what it is I’m currently working towards with my characters, and why I love my stories so much. Music is great for that. Occasionally I will switch up my ‘dancing around the basement’ music from songs I’m not willing to admit to loving to my playlist for a specific manuscript. By having it on in the background BEFORE I’m ready to write (usually while I’m puttering around trying to do anything but sit my butt down on my chair), I start to make a mental shift back into the world I’m creating which can go a long way towards making sure I get the tone of the story right, right from the first page of that day.

Alternately, music can be great for when I need to wind down rather for than for when I’m trying to gear up. I do most of my ‘ideaing’ when I’m already in bed. The right music in the background can help my mind wander in a more creative direction. When left to my own devices I’m likely to be thinking about what I should have for lunch the next day, where all my socks have disappeared to, or how to get my dog to move over so that I can actually use my own pillow.

With Mortality specifically, I used both options to get me from concept to completion. I spent a lot of time staring up at my ceiling, listening to my ‘Savannah Soundtrack’ or my ‘Zombie Jam’ playlists while I tried to work through various plot issues. But where I think all of these playlists will really come in handy is when I’m ready to jump back in to the zombie-apocalypse and need to recapture the voice I used after taking a few deters to very different stories in between books one and two.

Here is a quick list of songs that I used to get me in the right frame of mind while writing Mortality. 
Sincerely, Jane by Janelle Monae 
Chasing Rubies by Hudson Taylor 
Girls by Santigold 
Ghosts That We Knew by Mumford & Sons 
All My Days by Alexi Murdoch

My Thoughts and Review:
I don't read very many books about zombies, I just don't. For whatever reason they usually don't appeal to me (with few exceptions of course) but this one drew me in. I admit, the cover whore in me came out and I had to pick it up after seeing it. So I guess all in all, the cover did its job well. It caught my interest and drew me in. 

Thankfully this was more than just a pretty cover. 

I really loved how this was broken down, we didn't just get Savannah's story but also a girl named Zarah.

 Both are alive during the first outbreak but both are in different parts of the country and both have very different circumstances they are dealing with and living in by the time the second outbreak hits. It was nice to get the different points of view of what was going on in the country at the time and it helped break up all the info about the virus, the vaccine and the consequent second outbreak of zombies. I never felt like I was getting information overload by only one person telling the story at once. Instead the author told the history of the outbreak and where the world currently stood slowly over the course of both girl's tale. It was a smart move and helped ease me into the story. I never had any unanswered questions or left feeling confused about what was going on.

Although I liked both girls, I really liked Savannah. She was strong and impulsive but determined to do what needed to be done to survive. She didn't play the damsel in distress, not that Zarah did but for whatever reason I just connected better with Savvy.

There are also two boys (of course!) in each POV, well more than one really in Savannah's but for the most part we get Cole and Liam in their tale along with a few others along the way. Again both boys were pretty great and very different from one another although both are working towards the same goal, to help save those they love and to help end the virus and find a cure. 

I have to say, even though this story involves zombies, I could picture it happening. Truly, while reading this there were points in the story where my stomach dropped and I kept thinking about how awful it would be to wake up one morning and having your whole world changed like theirs did. How plausible it would be for an experiment to have gone wrong and the whole world to suffer for it. 

How Zarah and Savannah's two world collide was brilliant and so well done. I am looking forward to reading the next book. 

I give this one 4 Stars!


  1. I don't read too many books on zombies either, but will occasionally pick one up. The cover to this one is kind of creepy good. I am so glad you enjoyed it. I will have to keep it in mind for the future. Great review.

  2. I am not the type of person that can write while listening to music either. I only write reviews, but I need silence to do it, otherwise my mind wanders and I start typing the lyrics and things just go downhill quickly. I can definitely see using music to get into the right mindset to write a particular scene though:)

  3. Thanks Ellen!

    And Jenny, I am the same way. I need silence to write my reviews but when it comes to reading all hell could be breaking loose and I am oblivious! LOL!

  4. I absolutely LOVE zombie stories, and I'm so thrilled to hear that this one felt realistic to you, and that you loved the characters. I'll definitely have to check this one out!

    Love the guest post too. I can only write to unobtrusive music, or else the lyrics interfere with my focus. It makes sense to use songs to get into the right frame of mind to write. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Yay! I hope you like this one Lauren!

  6. Brilliant guest post! I love music - not a day goes by where I don't listen to something - though I have no idea if I could write a book while listening to a soundtrack. I definitely find music inspirational, though I have a feeling silence will suit me better. I do occasionally listen to music when reviewing books though. And I'm glad you liked this one overall! I haven't come across it before but I'm definitely curious now. Fab review! :)

  7. I've worked with Kellie before, and she's pretty great! I'm not big on zombie books but I think this is one I'll have to give a try.
    And I can't write while listening to music, but music helps put me in certain moods if I listen to it before I write. Great guest post and review!

  8. Isn't she great Candace? Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Whaaaat? This sounds like a book that needs my attention. Right up my alley, Ali. ;D

  10. Believe it or not I thought of you while reading this one Christy!

  11. I actually like zombies, thought I never read a book about them. It would have to be done the right way I guess and I just never really crossed paths with many I found interested in. This book keeps popping up everywhere, so I guess I'll follow to see how it goes.

  12. I am not a huge zombie fan either but this one is really good and not like your normal zombie book. I hope you try it Lily!

  13. Haha, I can easily picture ALL the zombie stories happening, especially Feed. I think about it all the time.
    And I'd probably like Savannah better too, I'm all about girls who take care of themselves.