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Friday, October 30, 2015

Review: Darkest Before Dawn by Maya Banks!

THE ALL-NEW KGI NOVEL from the “incredibly awesome" (Jaci Burton) #1 New York Times bestselling author of When Day Breaks.

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t...

The enigmatic Hancock has been both opponent and ally to the KGI teams for as long as they've known him. Always working a deep game, Hancock's true allegiance has never been apparent, but one thing is for certain—he never lets anything get in the way of duty.

But now, his absolute belief in the primacy of his ultimate goal is challenged by a captive he's been ordered to guard, no matter how much she suffers in her prison. She's the only woman who's ever managed to penetrate the rigid walls surrounding his icy heart, but will he allow his perplexing feelings for the beautiful victim to destroy a mission he's spent years working to complete or will he be forced to sacrifice her for “the greater good.

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This was an enjoyable read! Maya Banks is amazing at creating books filled with emotion. Her stories are deep and profound and Darkest Before Dawn was a great example of that. I found the plot to be really interesting and different than anything I had read before. I felt there were a lot of serious aspects covered in this book, mainly considering war and the horrors committed against innocent people. It was hard to read at times, but I feel it was handled well in the story.

Though this is the 10th book in this series, it is not necessary to have read any of the other books. This was the first book I have read in the KGI series, and while characters are present from other books, I was not confused at all. I am definitely intrigued by the other characters and really liked the character dynamics I saw from the Kelly group.

I loved that Honor was such a strong female character. I don't think I could have been even half as strong as she was. The fact that she was strong and smart enough to survive while being hunted by multiple people is admirable are are traits I like in characters. It would have been so easy for her to be self-pitying or to have made silly mistakes under all that pressure, but I'm glad that Banks made her the way she is.

I wasn't too sure about Hancock in the beginning. He’s got a dark heart, but just enough charm to keep you from hating him at the beginning of the story. Still, the fact that he was so determined to sacrifice an innocent woman- even for the greater good, as a little unsettling for a while. There is a lot of character development that happens, especially with Hancock.  His heart opens up by the end and I enjoyed watching the changes throughout the story.

I wish there had been a little bit more of Honor and Hancock together after everything they had been through, but I still enjoyed it and look forward to reading other stories by this author.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Fracture by Ryan Mark!

The Earth is starting to recover from the destruction left behind by the tremors and Terrafall. William's life is settling and he has finally found a place where he feels he belongs. With the opportunity to flourish, the Haven Development has been able to secure the future of its lands and people, bringing forth a period of peace and stability. 
Yet something sinister quakes beneath the surface, hiding in the shadows, unknown to William and the Haven Development. Not a tremor, but a new enemy who threatens to tear apart everything William and his friends have fought so hard to protect. The peace is about to fracture...

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Here is an exclusive interview with one of the story's protagonists, Althea! A big thank you to both Ryan and Althea for making this happen! :) 

Character Interview with Althea!

What do you remember about life before the tremors began?
I remember life with my family, happy times when things were easier. I remember my house, my room. It was blue, but I guess you wouldn’t think of me having a fluffy, pink room, right? Oh and I remember my mum’s cooking. She was a totally amazing cook by the way. Best spag bol ever… and in a way, remembering these things makes me sad, yeah I feel happy, as they’re happy memories, but it also makes me sad. I miss my parents, and it hurts, you know? I suppose you were expecting me to be a bit tougher than this… Well, I am tough, I have an emotional side is all, and I’m not afraid to show it.

How is life now that Terrafall has been defeated?
Oh my goodness… it’s so bloody much better! I mean, anything would’ve been better than living under them, well, aside from being ruled by bandits, but yeah, seriously, everything is so much better now. We have food too, lots more food. Even though we used to get a fair bit because we grew it for that evil company, it was never enough and I was starting to worry about Ori, like really worry. He was so skinny and I was literally watching him fade away, not nice, I can tell you. I suppose, the only thing I really miss is my crossbow, don’t really need it now. But at least we’re safe. At least I can breathe again.

Do you think Earth will ever fully recover or that life will go back to normal?
Nope, I never do. This is life now. This is how we live, and I’m sure we’ll get used to it… I’m sure.

What would you like to do with your life if things ever became normal- or as close to normal as possible?
I always loved gymnastics at school, could’ve gone pro my old coach said. But in the ideal world… I’d love to be able to write down and share my stories with people, share my adventures, of everything me, Ori and Will went through. Now that would be amazing! Wanting to be a writer in a world like this isn’t silly, is it? I’ll have to screw this up and put it in the bin if it is!

How has everything- the tremors, war, the corporations- changed you as a person?
Not to be clich├ęd, but it’s made me stronger. I’ve always protected those close to me and tried to keep them away from harm, and this has only made me want to do that more. I’ll do anything to keep my brother safe, and I guess, keep William safe too, even if it would end in me breaking every bone in my body, end in me losing my own life… These people make my life worth living, so I’d fight for them, no matter what.

How is your brother doing?
Ori is doing much better, thanks for asking! He’s actually put on a bit of weight too, and no longer looks like a skeleton, which is brilliant. When I’m with him, I try not to talk about what happened to us back in the monastery, especially since Erisia nearly, well, yeah, I guess you know…. He went through so much, and I’d rather he forgot about it and focused on being a kid. I won’t let anyone hurt him like that again. Ever.

What is your greatest fear?
To be alone.

If you could go back in time, before everything happened, what advice would you give yourself?

Never change. Always be Althea.... But maybe I'd tell myself to always pack more arrows, and more bow strings. And maybe get some thicker plated gloves, so the punches do more damage. That good?

Book One in The Tremor Cycle:

The life William knew has gone. His world has been left devastated by the Fossil War. All major governments have been wiped out and the land is now under the control of the company Terrafall. Although Terrafall's intentions seem honest, William wonders if the company will live up to its promises and stop the tremors, which have been plaguing the Earth since the end of the war. And can Terrafall really find out who is behind the recent wave of abductions?
When someone close to William disappears, he decides it's time to take matters into his own hands. But in a land that is on the verge of tearing itself apart, is it a life worth fighting for? If your world was falling apart, how far would you go to save it?

**Currently FREE on for a limited time!**

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Ryan Mark lives in the rural county of Cumbria, on the outskirts of the Lake District. He is the author of The Tremor Cycle, a Dystopian series that takes place in a world devastated by war. His published works to date include:Tremor (2014), and its sequel, Fracture (2015). Ryan has worked within the education sector for several years, with his most recent position being in a pre-school, caring for children before they take their first big leap into primary school.


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