29 May 2014

Book Tour (Review): Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Authors: Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Pub. Date: Feb. 18, 2014
Acquired: From author/publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
Find "Branded": Amazon | B&N | iBooks

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

~My Review~
I've think I've always taken our legal system for granted. The whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing is actually pretty important. What would life be without it? What would happen if any Tom, Dick, or Harry could just accuse someone of something and instead of a fair trial, the accused were sent to prison? Not just any prison, but one so horrible that people went there to die? And be robbed of their dignity.

Well, lucky for us, I don't think that will ever happen.

But, if you want a peak at what that life would be like, Ms. Ketner and Ms. Kalicicki have done a splendid job of illustrating that world with "Branded".

From page one, we are thrust into the desperation and horror of Lexi Hamilton's life. It's one rabbit hole after another into the pits of hell...Or, as it's referred to here, the Hole. With its bleak mise en scène and horrific dwellers that all seem to want to do nothing but drag Lexi down, the Hole is immediately recognized as a antagonist all on its own.

Slowly I started to feel hope as Lexi was able to trust and open up to a select few individuals. Which is the true purpose of a good dystopian. To give the reader hope. Hope that whatever pits the hero may find themself in, it can only get better. And for our fragile and kind Lexi, this seems to be the case.

I connected with Lexi right away. It wasn't difficult to put myself in her shoes or to understand why she may be feeling what she's feeling or acting the way she's acting. And it wasn't hard for me to trust and like the same people she did, either. It's always a wonderful story that can drag me in wholeheartedly.

I won't lie. There were some tear-jerker moments. Some suspenseful moments and some swoon-worthy moments. Each and every one was essential to the story. It was such a great read and I had a very hard time putting it down.

Whether it's this series or another I am absolutely thrilled to read anything these two ladies dish out!

~My Rating~


I turn on the faucet for a long while only to discover ice-cold water rushing out. The water never warms and I begin to understand. The Commander thinks he can wash away my soul by freezing me to death. He thinks he can destroy me by stripping away my possessions. But he can’t and I won’t let him take my memories, my ambition, and my pride.
He thinks I’m so easily broken.
The Commander doesn’t know anything about me, what I grew up with, what I endured—the father I lost, the mother I hate, the brother who walked out of my life, and the stepfather I was forced to accept. He thinks since I was rich, making me poor will cause me to give up. What he doesn’t understand is that, after my father passed away, I grew up behind walls of hatred. I had nothing, but had everything at the same time. I owned expensive clothes, enjoyed good schooling, and lived in a nice home. But my body was just a shell protecting an empty, desperate heart. My life was a colorful façade.
I had so much time to sit and think. I spent the majority of my life between four walls. I was abandoned, neglected, starved, betrayed, and abused. I’ve already been treated like the scum of the earth, so the Hole is nothing new. He wants to erase every sign of my existence on this earth, but I won’t let that happen. He can strip me naked, but he’ll never reach my soul.
It’s personal, completely personal.

~About the Authors~

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

28 May 2014

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Traveler by Melissa Delport

The Traveler
Author: Melissa Delport
Find "The Traveler": Amazon

Seven years ago, Rachel gave her heart to a dark, intense stranger, who left her broken and alone.

Every day since then Rachel has thought about Dex, her memories refusing to be silenced.

Now, Dex is back, but this time he is not alone. He has brought a formidable army – their sole purpose to conquer. Fate will bring Rachel and Dex back together, but on opposing sides of a war that threatens to obliterate her world.

Pitted against the power of the elements, Rachel and her friends must survive tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes and fire, all the while being hunted by a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to pillage her planet.

Fleeing for her life amidst the chaos of a raging, burning city, Rachel realizes man’s only chance of survival lies in the hands of the very person who betrayed her all those years ago.

Earth is destined to fall, but Rachel is determined to save mankind, no matter the sacrifice.


The Humvee in front of us slams on brakes but not fast enough, and the monstrous military vehicle slides over the edge of the newly formed cliff just ahead, plummeting to the ground some three hundred feet below. Dex’s foot is already flat on the brake pedal and we screech to a stop almost as if in slow motion, inch by precious inch. Just as I think we’re actually going to make it, the front right tire goes over the edge beneath me and the Toyota careens violently forward.
We are suspended, hanging precariously over the abyss and I barely dare to breathe. I can hear the shouts of Tom’s team behind us but my gaze is fixed on the black-clad woman standing on the opposite edge of the ravine. Her hair is long and blonde like mine, but her eyes are glowing emerald. She raises her hand, but before even the slightest tremor emanates around her, Dex roars, in a voice I have never heard, “Dallan!” His voice rings with authority and menace, and that one single word stops the woman in her tracks. Her eyes fix on Dex through the windscreen, widening in shock and fear. She hesitates, taking a step forward toward the abyss and then she gives a small shake of her head, as though clearing her thoughts. In the space it takes for me to blink, she is gone.
“Rachel,” Dex murmurs, closing his eyes, “don’t even breathe.” I focus only on his face as he opens his eyes again and the familiar glow is back. Ignoring the ominous creaks as the Toyota slowly sways on the spot, I brace one hand on the dashboard and one on my seat, trying to make myself as weightless as possible.
The earth below us starts to tremble and slowly, infinitely slowly, the Toyota starts to rise, as if the ground below is repairing itself. The tendons in Dex’s arms are bulging and he looks as though he is in physical pain. I barely register this when the car lurches forward again and Dex opens his eyes, panting. He stares at me, a bewildered expression on his face.
“Get to the back, get out,” he orders, casting a glance over his shoulder at where the others are huddled around the trunk. They seem too nervous to touch the car for fear of unbalancing it.
“Are you all okay?” I hear Tom’s voice and I nod before shouting back.
“We’re okay.”
“We’re going to try and put weight on the back end,” he continues, “try and weight it down so that...”
“No!” Dex yells a warning, “it’s too risky! Rachel’s coming out, just be ready to grab her!”
“I’m not leaving without you,” I whisper urgently, but he just smiles trying to placate me.
“Yes, you are. Now move.”
I breathe in deeply through my nose and exhale through my mouth, and then I nod quickly, removing my right hand from the dash and placing it behind the headrest of Dex’s seat. Slowly, I ease my reluctant body up and out of my chair toward the space between the seats, but I haven’t gotten far when the car emits a loud creak and pitches forward. I fall heavily back into my seat and the impact seems to be too much for the infinitely delicate stability of the Toyota. With a spine-chilling grating sound, the nose of the car tips even further forward and we start to slowly slide forward.
“No!” Dex grabs the steering-wheel, his eyes gleaming, and, as he lets out a bellow of pain and effort, our forward momentum stops. I watch in horror as his muscles strain and a sheen of sweat breaks out across his forehead. His face is contorted in agony and intense concentration, as inch by inch, the car rights itself. I can hear the earth beneath us shifting and sliding, as if building blocks are being slotted into place to support the sedan. I give tiny shrieks of terror at every small bump and tilt but I cannot take my eyes off Dex. The strain of using his power is taking its toll and his arms are shaking with exertion, his face deathly pale. Eventually, I feel the Toyota roll backward, onto firm ground, and I almost pass out in relief. My door is hauled open and gentle hands pull me from the car. I meet Tom’s wide hazel eyes and then I am out in the open, sucking in huge gasps of fresh air. They are pulling Dex out too and I start to totter around the car on shaky legs to thank him and check if he is okay. Before I can reach him a loud boom reverberates in my ears and a burst of red blossoms near his right shoulder, the blood slowly spreading across his white T-shirt.
Through his pallor, I see the bewildered expression cross his face and I launch myself at him just as he slumps to his knees. Shielding him with my own body I turn ferociously on Tom, who still has his gun pointed at Dex. Without a thought to the consequences I reach behind Dex and pull Dennis’s gun from the waistband of his jeans, swinging it in an arc and aiming it right at Tom’s weather-beaten face.

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~About the Author~

Wife, mother of 3, businesswoman by day and author by night, Melissa Delport is the author of The Legacy Series and Rainfall. She graduated from the University of South Africa with a Bachelors Degree in English in 2000. She currently lives with her husband and three children in Hillcrest, South Africa.

Her first novel, The Legacy, published in 2013, is the first in The Legacy Series trilogy, and is followed by the sequel The Legion. The final book, The Legend is due out in 2014. She has also written an independent novel entitled Rainfall, a psychological romance, and a science-fiction, action-adventure called The Traveler.

An avid reader herself, Melissa finally decided to stop “watching from the sidelines” and to do what is her passion.

“I was driving home from work when inspiration struck, and a storyline started unravelling in my head. For a few days, it was all I could think about and eventually I realised that the only way to get it out of my head, was to put it all down on paper. I started writing, and that was that.”