Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blog Tour: Once Upon A Darkness by Aria Kane {Review + Giveaway + Guest Post}

Welcome to our stop on the Once Upon A Darkness blog tour! Below you will find Hootie's review of the book, a special Zombie Apocalypse guest post by the author and a big GIVEAWAY! Thanks for stopping by our blog today!

Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Age Group: Mature Young Adult/New Adult
Publication Date: June 17th 2013
Format: PDF provided by author for review

Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were abandoned to a zombie horde when they were five years old. Intended to be a sacrifice by their zealot parents, they were instead rescued by The Company. Raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies, they now provide safe passage through danger zones, one contract at a time. Clint's only skill is war, but he's weary of killing other men. When his contract with the Marines runs out, he takes a job on Gretchen's team, hoping that the search-and-rescue life will suit him better. On Clint's second day, their four-man team is attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison full of frightened civilians. The only way in or out is by helicopter and, here, their enemies are human. One by one, the captives are culled from the holding area. Rumors say the facility director uses the prisoners as experimental subjects for the testing of a zombie cure. When Hank is taken, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.

My Take:
My closest friends know I am a complete sucker for almost all things zombie. From the cheesy 80's Night of The Living Dead, to the Resident Evil movies and more recently my extremely overboard love of The Walking Dead. They all lead me to accept this book for review. Despite the fact that this was a Supernatural/Paranormal Fantasy it didn't feel like it while reading it.

The story opens up in the middle of the Louisiana swamp with Gretchen and her brother Hank along with with their "Brother" Erik searching for a group of scientists that have gone missing. These three work for a sort of rogue, ex military-esque man named Sebastian who trains fighters in the war against the zombie infected. The scientists they are looking for went missing after searching the swamp for a cure. They end up finding one of the the men who found what he was looking for but didn't make it out of the swamp alive and upon returning to base with their findings, Gretchen comes face to face with a hot new recruit named Clint. In the most dire of days at the end of the world's survival Gretchen tries to fight her attraction to this sexy ex Marine but while on their next mission to deliver the deceased scientists findings they are captured and brought to a holding facility that turns out the be a collection of humans used for experimenting in a cure for the virus.

This is where the story gets juicy and reminds me of the Resident Evil movies I love so much! Behind this holding facility is a complete psycho woman named Morgana who is hell bent on using human test subjects to prove she can find a cure. Sort of like the Umbrella corporation! Everybody is shoved together in this roofless concrete bunker with only the bare essentials to keep them alive. My thing is, why the hell do you leave healthy humans inside a giant cubicle exposed to the elements if you want them healthy? That just proves how insane this bitch is though! Every week she arrives by helicopter to remove a handful of humans to take back to her lab. Gretchen and her team try to figure a way out day by day and it's not until her brother Hank is captured and taken that her chance comes.

Gretchen's character was everything I love in a female lead. She was tough but vulnerable, strong yet soft and even though she tried to remain distant from Clint she was still human enough to crave his warmth. She was entirely fierce in her determination to never let anyone be left behind after her parents left her and her brother Hank to fend for themselves when they were five. You could totally relate to her survival instinct as she fought her way out of every situation that tried to overcome her. I loved that this kick ass, intensely fierce female lead had a softer side to her though. I enjoyed watching her slowly come to grips with her attraction to Clint especially since she had never experienced anything like it before. I think the author did a fantastic job of balancing her tough side with her vulnerable side and her conflicting emotions were spot on being that she is a human female dealing with new feelings.

Clint was A-MAZING! Absolutely wonderful! I loved everything about him from his determination to help Gretchen despite her off putting demeanor at times to his protective instinct to put her safety above his own. Being an ex Marine, Clint knows how to handle a weapon and was chosen to join their group as extra man power. It was fun to watch him impress everyone especially Gretchen. The chemistry between these two was undeniable even in the midst of a Fubar situation where the last thing you should be thinking about is sexual attraction. That's another thing the author did very well in this story. Even though these two characters are in total survival mode they still acknowledged their strong attraction to one another even if the circumstances weren't conducive to a budding relationship. Clint was very understanding and seeing him not give up on her when she tried to push him away really dealt a TKO to my damn sentimental heart! If this shit ever happens in reality I definitely want a Clint by my side helping me kick Zombie ass!

The supporting cast of characters in this book turned out to be a much needed asset to the story. With Erik and Hank both taken away from the facility Gretchen finds help in Nadia, the bunker's doctor who is tired of being used to abuse humans in the quest for a cure. She ends up recruiting several other people to help them escape and try to take down Morgana. Gretchen's group faces some unexpected surprises within the bunker that answers some very important questions for her and her brother. I really enjoyed this book and the modern day Hansel and Gretel twist was pretty damn cool too. It was a short read being a novella and the only thing I wished for was MORE STORY! Even though the book wrapped up with a decent ending I could absolutely continue reading more if the author chooses to make this a series WHICH I really hope she does! (PLEASE, OH PLEASE!) I don't feel like I got enough of the main characters and I can totally see something about Hank or Erik the two brothers in the story. If you love Zombies like me and enjoy quick reads with lots of edge of your seat action and some nice romantic moments then Once Upon A Darkness should go to the top of your TBR list!

She was tall, with long legs bared by khaki shorts. A tiny white tank top stretched over a black sports bra that definitely earned its keep. Lean muscle stretched along the full length of her arms, torso, and legs. Strapped to her legs and waist were weapon holsters of all varieties that - in his mind, at least - only made her sexier. "What are you, Zombie Slayer Barbie?" Clint knew the words were a mistake before they left his lips. PDF Page 12

His forehead pressed against hers and his eyes held her captive. "Gretchen," Clint said, his voice full of the same luscious agony Gretchen felt building inside of her. "I'm going to kiss you." PDF Page 24

her. For whatever reason, Gretchen, the one woman who really didn't need his protection, had resurrected all kinds of protective instincts he thought the Marines had beat out of him. PDF Page 33

She writhed beneath him. He pulled back to watch her face as he plucked one taut nipple between his finger and his thumb. She gasped and her eyes fell shut. Her hips pressed upward until her warmth pressed deliciously against his hardness. He kissed her then, on the mouth, hungrily, pouring everything he felt for her into the kiss. Her hands clutched his back, pulling him closer, trying to close the nonexistent space between them. Only their clothes separated her body from his. PDF Page 49

{Follow the tour}

Guest Post:

What You Can Do Now to Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse
By: Aria Kane

Thanks so much for having me at Globug & Hootie today! Since Once Upon a Darkness takes place after the zombie apocalypse – and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about that type of event – I thought I’d share my tips on what you can do now to get ready for the zombie apocalypse.

1) Run

Zombieland wasn’t kidding about the number one rule of the zombie apocalypse: cardio. But do some strength and agility training while you’re at it, too. Because once you’ve outrun the zombies, you’re probably going to have to climb a tree or wall to entirely escape them.

In case the zombie apocalypse doesn’t actually happen: you’re still going to be awesome.

2) Learn how to make stuff

Your house is going to be overrun with zombies, as is every Walmart and everything else that has usable stuff, so you’re going to have to improvise. My sister knows how to make all sorts of stuff from a palm tree – from bowls to soap. But she’s on my team so you’re going to have to make your own stuff.

Taking a basic mechanic class or two can’t hurt either. So you can make a homemade jetski like these enterprising Thai people.

In case the zombie apocalypse doesn’t actually happen: you’d rock at all those “survival” reality shows.

3) Make friends with the crazies.

Don’t build your own bunker, because that’s a lot of work. But buddy up to those who build concrete-sealed houses and stockpile ammunition and MREs. BONUS: They’re also probably going to be pretty good shots with a gun.

In case the zombie apocalypse doesn’t actually happen: They also tend to throw the best parties.

Aria Kane is giving away a Kobo/Android tablet with a red leather case and three ebooks. Enter using the rafflecopter below!

About The Author:
Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. She lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he's a chihuahua. You can learn more about her at



  1. Thanks so much for having me today and for the great review! <3

  2. Is this the book that had you flipping out the other day? It sounds pretty great. Terrific review!

  3. Thanks for this giveaway! I love hearing about new books :)


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