Thursday, June 27, 2013

{BLOG TOUR} **REVIEW** A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer

On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia's mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren't as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That's their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather's survivalist compound in West Virginia. Using practical survival techniques, they make their way through a world of death and destruction until they encounter an injured dog; Zack, a street kid from Los Angeles; and other survivors who are seldom what they seem. Illness, infections, fatigue, and meager supplies have become a way of life. Still, it will be worth it once they arrive at the designated place on the map they have memorized. But what if no one is there to meet them?

Release Date:  June 11, 2013
Published By:  Delacorte Press
Review Copy:  ARC
*Provided by publisher for tour


  There is so much that I loved about this one.  Kizer has a wonderful writing style that has me hopelessly addicted!  There is no other way to describe this read than a wild adventurous ride.  How do you survive the virus that has wiped out 98% of the population?  The chapters done in days since Blue Star cleared the globe explain just how Nadia did just that.

  This was not a glorified apocalyptic novel but more of a stern reminder of what we could face someday.  Though you get a mix of details to start, it becomes clear fast enough just how sever the virus that took the world by surprise is.  Natalie and her little brother Rabbit have been left alone but with instructions from an Uncle on how to find safety.  Problem is it's across the country and the world is no longer safe.  During their journey you get a first hand glance at just how horrible things have become and the gory details of the dead that the virus left behind.  

  Natalie was a seriously admirable character.  Though she may not have been a kick ass type girl she knew how to survive.  There was a fierce fire that was in her heart and it kept alight for her brother.  Her focus on getting to safety and keeping her brother safe but there are many moments that I don't think she could have made it without Rabbit.  It didn't matter what the circumstance was she pushed on because when you are your only hope that is all there is to do.  This is not saying she didn't have the weak/human moments and who could blame her for having them.  This girl that had lost everything had times that she could see giving up and giving in, especially learning how some of the survivors were dealing with the new world.  Nadia was essentially a girl that would under any other circumstance been underwhelming but in her situation she was a star.

  Rabbit though young was a lot of help throughout the journey.  He had learned a lot of survival tips from their deceased military father and they constantly came in handy.  He could navigate a map (no GPS so this was awesome) and knew some basic survival tips.  He was still just a little boy on the inside though and therefore still had a little bit of innocence left in him.   Once again this was something wonderful Kizer did to create a realistic character.

  Something to appreciate is the romance or should I say lack of.  I kept on thinking that it was around the corner but it wasn't, well at least not one that took over the story.  Zach was a boy that Natalie and Rabbit happened to cross paths with and one of the best things that happened to them.  I was almost instantly drawn to him and was glad that he happened to show up.  He was the type of guy that you wouldn't have normally chatted with but you can't base people on their looks anymore, it's about what's on the inside.  Zach wears on Natalie and they may not form a physical relationship but they form something stronger and become able to trust each other.

  I will point out right now that this doesn't have your typical ending but Kizer's book was anything but typical.  The writing, the pacing and the world building were phenomenal and I can't stress that enough.  This was not a book filled with mutations, zombies or a government that has crumbled and been rebuilt in a communistic way, no it's about a much more realistic future where we have lost the war against a virus.  It is a chilling and terrifying reality that we could all face someday.  Pick this one up if you want something that is going to be an honest take on apocalyptic events and  that focuses on the survival instead of the romance.

I didn't spare my own room more than a glance as I slipped on my newest pair of sneakers.  I hadn't slept in here for days, weeks.  Homework was still piled on my desk, and there was a nasty mound of dirty clothes in the corner.  I wanted to lie down on my bed and never get back up.  Too tempting.

I glanced back at the Jeep and Rabbit motioned.  I knew he wanted me to open the door.  I swallowed, bent down, and found the key under the mat.  I said a quick prayer that zombies really didn't exist and turned the knob.

The weapon lay on the floor near his body.  None of the kids looked shot, just the adults.  And the dog.  Couldn't really blame them for choosing death over surviving if their kids all died.  If I didn't have Rab I wasn't sure I'd be making this trip.

"Does that scare you?" he asked, his eyes glued firmly on the book.  There was a time when, yes, I would have been scared out of my mind to sit this close to him.  "Not anymore.""But you wouldn't have talked to me before." Zack shrugged like he'd expected me to be that judgmental."Probably not.  But you wouldn't have talked to me either, either, would you?" I raised my eyebrows.

I felt the urgency drain out of my body like a receding tsunami.  All I wanted to do was close my eyes and sleep.  Fear of discovery and fear for the boys had me climbing back down to the sooner than I wanted.

Fun Fact About A Matter of Days

1) Amber always burns a special candle while writing—for DAYS it was Herbal Art’s “Dirt” flavor that smells just like warm earth. 

2) Amber also writes with a dedicated playlist for each book. On their trip from Seattle to West Virginia Nadia carries the MP3 player that belonged to their Dad. It’s busted and sandy from his deployment, but Zack is able to get it working. It’s filled with artists from the 80s and rock/pop anthems from the 70s-90s including songs from: Guns and Roses, Simple Minds, Cyndi Lauper, Phil Collins, Bryan Adams, Heart, Warren Zevon, Peter Gabriel and Bon Jovi. 

3) The parrot they meet likes to sing Madonna songs at inappropriate times. 

4) BluStar is one mutation away from the influenza that killed millions in the 1918 pandemic. The name BluStar comes from the telltale star-shaped blue bruises that cover victims’ bodies as the virus devours cells—the same bruises written about and photographed over the course of the 1918 pandemic.

5) If you look closely at the cover of A MATTER OF DAYS you can see the overlay of the 1918 influenza under a microscope. BluStar looks very similar. 

6) Amber loves books about viruses and survival—if you like A MATTER OF DAYS check out THE HOT ZONE (Preston), THE STAND (King), WHEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE (Lundin), THE SURVIVORS CLUB (Sherwood), THE PLAGUE (Camus), THE GREAT INFLUENZA (Barry), BLINDNESS (Saramago).

7) Amber used Google Earth to take the real time, mile-by-mile trip Nadia and Rabbit make from Seattle to West Virginia.

8) Like Rabbit if you need fresh water follow grain eating birds like finches and pigeons—when they are flying low and straight, they are heading toward water.

9) Yes, you can pee on wounds to disinfect them—it’s not the preferred method and there are risks so use as a last resort.

10) Yes, most food is good to eat long after the expiration date or sell by date—if the can bulges or smells bad—don’t eat it.   

11) Everybody can think about survival and needs to—what if there’s an earthquake or a storm and you get stuck at school?  Stick a couple extra water bottles and energy bars on the bottom of your locker and forget about them…best case you’ll never need them…worst case you’ll have supplies. Think ahead and live adaptable! 

12) Find Amber at, on FB, follow her @WriteAmberKizer and email her 
your thoughts

About the Author

  Amber Kizer is not one of those authors who wrote complete books at the age of three and always knew she wanted to be a writer. When she faced a rare chronic pain disorder her freshman year of college, she knew she was going to have to learn to live outside the box. After one writing workshop, she fell in love with telling stores and she’s still going strong. Her characters tend to be opinionated, outspoken, and stubborn—she has no idea where that comes from.

  A food lover, she plans trips around menus, wishes cookbooks were scratch and sniff, and loves to make complicated recipes—especially desserts. When she’s not reading from a huge stack, she’s coaxing rose bushes to bloom, watching delightful teen angst on television, or quilting with more joy than skill. She takes her tea black, her custard frozen, and her men witty. She lives in the Seattle area with a menagerie of animals that seems ever changing.

  An avid learner, she focused on the writing craft and her unpublished works won awards from PNWA, San Diego RWA, and the Saskatchewan Romance Writers. Her first young adult series sold at auction to Delacorte Press with ONE BUTT CHEEK AT A TIME premiering, in hardcover October 9, 2007. The paperback will be released December 9, 2008
  The star of Amber’s series Gert Garibaldi has been called “honest, brash, and outspoken” and her books take on traditionally taboo subjects.
  The second in the series FROM BUTT TO BOOTY will be out December 9, 2008. Amber currently has three other books under discussion and looks forward to seeing them on bookshelves in the coming years.
  Comfortable in the classroom, with kids or adults, she regularly teaches workshops to all levels of writers. Find her on the web at or, watch a movie-style book preview at or listen to an audio excerpt at

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