Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Undead: Playing for Keeps by Elsie Elmore

Released on September 3rd, 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press, The Undead: Playing for Keeps by Elsie Elmore is Young Adult paranormal romance through and through. With zombies, a Reaper and a girl who seems to draw them all to her, The Undead should appeal to anyone who likes their horror with a side of flirtation!

Swing by Curiosity Quills' Blog to check out the other tour stops, and enter their sweepstakes for a copy of the book

The Book

When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Especially once Lyla’s new talent of resurrecting the dead draws the attention of Eric, a Grim Reaper with a guitar and a chip on his shoulder.

While Lyla navigates the gossip-ridden halls, Eric works to gain her trust and discover why Death’s clients aren’t staying down. If she passes on her gift, his death-messenger destiny might be altered. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are way easier to deal with than the living.

Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all..

The Undead: Playing for Keeps is available now:

My thoughts:

Straight up, this book was much darker than I expected. I thought it would be, maybe, a little corny and comedic with the reference to Grimm and Reapers and Lyla accidentally resurrecting the dead. I was really off-base.  

The format made me think of all the New Adult books that I've been reading lately, with the back and forth between Lyla's and Eric's perspectives by chapter. However, Eric's treatment of Lyla was really not conducive to a typical romance. This made the whole thing refreshingly different, if slightly uncomfortable.

What resonated the most for me was how isolated Lyla was, and what Eric did to ensure that she stayed that way (forcing her to turn to him). Certainly, the setup here was that of a very abusive relationship, and I was on pins and needles to see how the book was resolve that with the obvious underlying desire to create a romantic connection. I don't know if I could fully forgive Eric's behaviour, but I definitely enjoyed reading through to the conclusion!

I loved Lyla's friend Cassie as the bad-ass protector. Every teenager should have one of these friends, hopefully as a best friend. The only other character who gets much face time is Lyla's brother, and I was more on the fence about him. I am, however, intrigued by Lyla's dad. I feel like there's more going on there than we got to find out about in this book....

I want to know more about this world. The Reaper(s) intrigue me, as does Death, and I want to know more about the rules that govern them. Eric's efforts to hide the details from Lyla left the reader a little in the dark on these fronts, and I hope that book two (I won't spoil you by sharing my suspicions about the premise of it!) will give us more information on this front.

I do hope that Lylya and Eric's story extends into the next book in the series as it was a bit o a rush to wrap up all the pieces towards the end. They had to travel a very long way and I want a more extended resolution.

Bottom line:

The Undead: Playing for Keeps is an unconventional YA romance with some great zombie flair. I want to know what happens next which is, to me, the sign of an entertaining book. Check it out!

4 stars
For fans of YA, zombies, paranormal romance

The Author

Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids. With a science education degree from NCSU, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round. Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW. 

The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel. Find her on the web: on twitter at @ElsieWriter, her blog, or on Facebook.

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