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5 Stars

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I originally rated this book 4.5, but then I was thinking about exactly what it was that deducted half a star and I honestly couldn’t come up with a single thing I didn’t like about it. It was even better than the first one, I just loved it!

So our friends have just finished with the Ice Court and have been betrayed. Inej has been taken, and they need to get her back. So begins an exciting tale of mystery, intrigue, romance, laughter and the classic twists and turns that have made this series so entertaining and unique.

So sad that this is the last one, and it is EXTREMELY RARE for me to say that about a series because I much prefer stand alone books usually! However, two is a very readable number, and I highly suggest you check this series out!

Again I listened to the audio version, and this time it got straight into it. I didn’t need to be introduced to the characters one by one like the first book, and it was WHAM BAM! The audio version was great, yet again. But this time it didn’t feel slow at all. The story was already set up, the characters already known and loved. So it was just my job to sit back and enjoy the ride.

It had more action, more intrigue, more betrayal, and more excitement than the first one. I actually couldn’t stop listening to this book. Ended up stayed up extremely late for a few nights even though I had things on in the morning! I was UPSET THAT AN 18HOUR AUDIOBOOK ENDED!!! UNHEARD OF!

Although I did pretend the characters were older like I did in the first book. It just made it much more enjoyable to me than imaging a bunch of 15 and 16 year olds doing all of that. Seriously!

Anyway, absolutely one of the best reads of the year!

Would I recommend Crooked Kingdom?

YES YES YES YES!!! If you enjoy fantasy and don’t mind YA (or can just be like me and pretend its not YA because it DOESN’T WORK) then you will LOVE this series. Its so unique, has a surprising depth to it and I will be absolutely checking out her other work set in this universe!

I purchased the audio version of Crooked Kingdom on audible.com at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AUDIBLE | Kindle US | Kindle AU


If you enjoy Crooked Kingdom, you may enjoy:

Six of Crows

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Daintree – Annie Seaton

Daintree – Annie Seaton (The Porter Sisters #2)

Daintree

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 Another quality rural romance by Australian author Annie Seaton! Around this time last year the first of the Porter sisters novels was released “Kakadu Sunset” and I fell in love with the writing, the romance, and the setting. It wasn’t until after my review was up, and I had a chat with the author that I discovered she actually lived in the same town as me when I was growing up, and actually taught at my high school! Small world!

In this instalment, Emma Porter is living up in the Daintree rain forest. She is an emergency doctor who is happily living her life working and taking care of the community, when new doctor Jeremy enters the scene. He is an old flame and their relationship had ended abruptly and confusingly. As well as the old romance, Emma is trying to deal with some strange events that are occurring in the rain forest, ones which have put her life in danger.

Firstly, can we just take a moment to appreciate the cover of this book. Absolutely beautiful! Great choice! I think it was a perfect cover for the atmosphere of this book. The setting was fabulous! I thought Emma was a great character and I really enjoyed the mystery and adventure. And of course, the romance was lovely.

There are not may negatives! The only things were I felt that a few things in Daintree were a tiny bit rushed, and I was a bit disappointed about the way it went with Jeremy’s family. It felt a bit unresolved to me. I also figured out the final twist and the identity of the bad guys very early on, but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the thoroughly wonderful story! So much more positive than negative! I thought it was just wonderful!

Would I recommend Daintree?

Absolutely! For any romance fan, and who doesn’t love an Aussie rural romance to get away from life for a few hours! I can’t wait to read the next one!

Many thanks to author Annie Seaton and Pan Macmillan Australia for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

REVIEW of Kakadu Sunset | Q&A with Author

PURCHASE:

PAN MACMILLAN AUS | KINDLE US | KINDLE AU


If you enjoy Daintree, you may enjoy:

Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton   The Peppercorn Project

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Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Dark Matter

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Well, this one is a MAJOR contender for my favourite book of the year! This book was right up my alley, I love nerdy science stuff, and the concept of this book really appealed to me. I was trying not to expect too much as it is very hyped. But in the end, I was totally swept away by this fabulous sci-fi adventure.

Think Schrodinger’s cat as a novel if you can… Jason Dessen is a brilliant scientist, leading a very happy, yet average life as a science professor, wondering what would have happened if his life led him on a different path. He is abducted by a masked man at gunpoint, drugged, and awakens in a world that is not his own. His house isn’t his own, his wife isn’t married to him, and his son doesn’t exist. What the hell is going on?

This is all the plot I am going to give you. It gets strange, then weird, then weirdER, then FREAKING CRAZY!

I listened to the audio version of dark matter and i LOVED IT! Jon Lindstrom was the absolute PERFECT narrator for this book, he made every minute of listening to it extremely enjoyable.

This book made me think, it made me laugh, it made me go WHOA!!!!! Absolutely bloody brilliant!

Its not often i’m finished talking about a book in only 200 words, but I’m done. I don’t want to ruin anything else for you, read it or listen to it. ASAP! Its absolutely fantastic!

Would I recommend Dark Matter?

YES! Even my friends who HATE sci-fi absolutely LOVE this book, and that’s saying something! Highly recommend the audio version, but I am sure it would be just as good with words!

 I listened to Dark Matter through audible.com, at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | AUDIBLE | AUDIBLE AUPanMacmillan AU


If you enjoy Dark Matter, you may enjoy:

The Fold   14   Ready Player One

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Orphan X – Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X – Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Oh this book was a lot of fun! I listened to the audio version of this as I was unable to read actual words due to debilitating morning sickness, and the narrator was absolutely fantastic!

Evan Smoak is the Nowhere Man. Brought up as a child in the “Orphan Program”, Evan has some killer James Bond/Jason Bourne skills. Since the orphan program was disbanded, he uses these skills to help people in need. People in extremely desperate situations. Unfortunately someone is tracking him… Someone as dangerous as he is.

Well, this one certainly sucked me in. Perhaps it was the fact I was so sick and needed another world to escape to, but it was exactly what I needed to listen to at the time. I was completely hooked. I loved the story, I loved the narrator, the romance, the action, the violence… Loved it all.

But… The reason I give this 4.5 and not a full perfect score, is the predictability aspect. Of course I’m fairly sure that 99.9 % of people figured out who the boss was, and at least 50% could also guess the big twist right at the end. There was only one or two people it could have POSSIBLY been right!? It was so extremely predictable I was BEGGING for there to be some other spin or twist which would make it less obvious, but alas – I was disappointed. For me to deduct only 0.5 Stars however is saying something, because I usually deduct a lot more for something as major as that. But I just liked it so darn much, so it didn’t really take much away from the story for me. There were also a few minor twists that also held me.

The narrator Scott Brick was a FANTASTIC choice. And there is a sequel coming out! I may have to listen to the audio of that one too and hope that Scott is doing the sequel!

Would I recommend Orphan X?

YES YES YES Lots of fun! I can easily see it being made into some sort of blockbuster action flick which I would happily pay to see at the movies. Thoroughly enjoyed!

I listened to the audio version of Orphan X on audible.com, purchased at my own expense. Well worth the credit!

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | AUDIBLE |


If you enjoy Orphan X, you may also enjoy:

Yeagers Law  The Comfort of Black - Carter Wilson   Zero World

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The Summer That Melted Everything – Tiffany McDaniel

The Summer that Melted Everything – Tiffany McDaniel

The Summer that Melted Everything

5 Stars (5 / 5)

This was a GREAT read! It totally caught me off guard how absolutely unique and fabulous this book was.

In the summer of 1984, Fielding’s father Autopsy Bliss wrote an invitation to the devil in the newspaper. And the devil accepted. Or did he? A young boy called Sal arrives claiming he is the devil. At first the townspeople think its a joke, that he is a runaway. But as Sal begins to get involved with some of the people from the small town, strange things begin to happen and darkness seems to follow Sal wherever he goes.

I was just so taken aback by the complexity and brilliance of this novel. It is told from Fielding’s point of view in large flashbacks and flash forwards to the the future, when Fielding is a old man. And this back and forward alternating perspective really worked. You get glimpses of what he is like in the future, and slowly start to understand why he is the way he is, and what exactly happened that summer.

It wasn’t so much the story that captivated me (although it was in itself, captivating), it was the writing. The powerful atmosphere and the emotional, resonating quotes and dialogues throughout the book were hauntingly beautiful and incredibly moving. There were numerous occasions where I had to stop reading and sit in wonder at what I just read. At times it was utterly depressing, but not in a bad way!

The characters are all so deep and powerful. They all have their own unique stories and a darkness about them. Fielding was probably the most innocent and naive of the lot. His brother, mother and father were fascinating

Would I recommend The Summer that Melted Everything?

Absolutely! I am surprised that more people don’t know about this novel and I have a feeling that its going to be huge! And I can’t believe that this is a debut!! I can’t wait to see what else the author has up her sleeve for the future!

Many thanks to author Tiffany McDaniel and the publisher for an advanced copy of The Summer that Melted Everything to read and review.

ADD TO GOODREADS


If you enjoy The Summer that Melted Everything, you may enjoy:

The Muse

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Nexus – Ramez Naam

Nexus (Nexus #1) – Ramez Naam

Nexus

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I listened to the audio version of Nexus and let me tell you, it was 13 hours of nerdy-fun-brilliance!!!

It has an intricate plot, basically it is set in the not too distant future. Technology has surpassed what we could have ever imagined. The new nano drug Nexus works by linking minds together, it is also extremely feared and illegal. Young budding scientist Cade is caught improving it, and is made to work for the government as a spy, to bring down others who would use and distribute this technology. But not is all what it seems. Are the government the good guys? How can linking human beings together be a bad thing?

What a ride! It was exciting, thrilling, action packed and so darn interesting! The technology in this book is WOW, however still not incredibly far fetched. There is so much action in this book! It doesn’t really let up! The way that the characters all communicate in their heads and use their brains as an internet of sorts, allows the plot to develop in really unique ways. It was SO MUCH FUN!

The characters are all fantastically written! They have depth and all have other special qualities, whether it be physical upgrades, or if they have surpassed human intelligence all together. I thought Cade was a great character, however I felt he didn’t have quite the depth as some of the other characters. Sam was my favourite character, and we find out a lot about her and where she came from, and why she is the way she is. I enjoyed the way the story was written, with extracts, interviews and articles in between chapters to set the scene of the technologically advanced world and the challenges that it has encountered.

I thought the audio version narrated by Luke Daniels was FANTASTIC!! I loved the way he portrayed all the characters and at times it really felt like I was watching an action movie in my head because of his talented and gripping narration. If you are looking for a good audio book I would highly recommend you try this one!

Would I recommend Nexus?

YES! If you like sci-fi I am almost certain that you will enjoy this book! Loads of fun and there are two more! YAY!

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If you enjoy Nexus, you may enjoy:

Zero World   The Darwin Elevator   14

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Out of the Ice – Ann Turner

Out of the Ice – Ann Turner

Out of the Ice

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

What a great read! I saw this at Big W the other day in the top 10 section and it reminded me that I had it on my kindle ready to go! I have been so swamped with books to review lately, and this was one of the ones I was most looking forward to reading, but with other deadlines and tours I haven’t had a chance to read it before now. Good things come to those who wait!

Laura is an environmental scientist. She is sent to an old whaling station on a remote island in Antarctica to study the wildlife in the area, and decide if the station should be made open for tourists. When she arrives at the base she is treated extremely strangely by the staff, and then some odd and eerie things begin to happen. What is going on at the old whaling station? Who is trespassing and trying to scare her? And who can she trust?

This was an absolutely gripping, atmospheric piece of writing by Ann Turner. She has captured the isolation of the ice and the horror of the old whaling station perfectly.

Laura is an excellent character. I love how she was damaged but had a great inner strength and passion for the animals at the whaling station. I loved how at times you didn’t know if what she was experiencing was real or not.

I must admit I was unprepared for where this book ended up! I wasn’t expecting it and it was almost an abrupt change from where I assumed it was going. This wasn’t a bad thing at all, it was just surprising! The ending was good, and there were plenty of twists and turns.

I just LOVED the downright creepiness that dominated a lot of the book! I thought it was fantastic!

Would I recommend Out of the Ice?

Yes! Anyone who likes a little suspense, intrigue and ice will enjoy this one!

Many thanks to Simon and Schauster and author Ann Turner via NetGalley for a copy of Out of the Ice in exchange for my honest review.

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PURCHASE:

AMAZON AU | AMAZON | Booktopia


If you enjoy Out of the Ice, you may enjoy:

Little Black Lies

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The Peppercorn Project – Nicki Edwards – BLOG TOUR

The Peppercorn Project – Nicki Edwards

 

SUMMARY:

One heartbroken woman. One bitter cop. One community to save them.

After the tragic death of her husband, single mum Isabelle Cassidy is bereft and broke. When she hears about The Peppercorn Project – a scheme that offers affordable rent in the tiny but vibrant town of Stony Creek – Issie sees it as her family’s best chance at a fresh start.

Newly singleThe Peppercorn Project police officer Matt Robertson moved to Stony Creek to lick his wounds after a bitter divorce. Wanting only peace and quiet, Matt is against the Project, seeing it as a threat to the peace he’s found in the country town – until he meets Issie. Despite himself, Matt is drawn to the widow and feels inexplicably protective of her fragile family.

Just when Issie begins to imagine a future with Matt, an accident proves how far she has to go before she can move beyond her grief. But the citizens of Stony Creek won’t rest until they see these two broken souls find a new beginning, together.

Can Issie move beyond the pain of her past and entrust Matt with her family, and her heart?

A gorgeous rural romance for fans of Fiona McArthur, Rachael Johns and Fiona McCallum.

 

MY REVIEW OF THE PEPPERCORN PROJECT

This book was JUST WHAT I NEEDED today! I had a few child-free hours to kill (an extremely rare occurrence), so I curled up on the couch with a blanket and The Peppercorn Project and I DEVOURED it in one sitting! It left me in a fabulous mood!

Isabelle and her two kids travel to Stony Creek in an attempt to win one of four houses in the peppercorn project, an initiative to offer struggling families cheap rent for a year in an effort to bring some new people to the town. Following a rocky start, Isabelle and her children begin to settle into life in Stony Creek, albeit with some teething problems. But grief is a difficult process, and when she starts to develop feelings for the local police officer Matt, it brings some difficult things to the surface.

I just thought this book was fabulous. I love a good romance, and this one hit the spot for me. It was written extremely well and had enough drama and enough going on to keep it interesting throughout. It didn’t slow down.

Sure, it was a little corny in parts, but I haven’t read a romance that isn’t! It’s the point! I loved the characters and the people in Stony Creek. The premise was great and it actually had me shedding a few tears at times.

Author Nicki Edwards is a critical care nurse like myself so I can’t believe I haven’t read any of her books before this one! It helped me connect with the main character, and was able to avoid my number one pet peeve – Medical inaccuracies! Woohoo! I must read her other books, especially in the “escape to the country” series.

Would I recommend The Peppercorn Project?

Absolutely! For any Aussie rural romance/drama fan. It was a fabulous read!

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for a copy of The Peppercorn Project in exchange for my honest review, and for having me on this blog tour!

5 Stars (5 / 5)

The Peppercorn Project is published by Pan Macmillan Australia and is available HERE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicki Edwards is a city girl with a country heart. Growing up on a small family acreage on the outskirts of Geelong, she spent her formative years riding horses and pretending the neighbour’s farm was her own.
Nicki Edwards
After spending three years in a regional city in New South Wales, her love of small country towns was further developed. One day she plans to escape to the country with her husband Tim and live on land, surrounded by horses, dogs, cows and sheep. Until then she lives vicariously through the lives of the characters in the rural romance novels she loves to read.

In 2006, when Nicki’s youngest child started school, she returned to university, juggling full time study, part time work and raising four small children, to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. Always a voracious reader, Nicki’s other dream was to be an author.
Nicki writes medical rural romances, and when she isn’t reading, writing or dreaming about rural life and medical emergencies, she can be found working as a Critical Care Nurse in a busy Intensive Care Unit, where many of her stories and characters are imagined.

Nicki and Tim reside in Geelong, Victoria with their four teenage/young adult children. Life is busy, fun and at times exhausting, but Nicki wouldn’t change it for anything.

Her debut novel, “Intensive Care” was released in January 2015 with Momentum, the digital imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Her second novel, “Emergency Response” came out in October 2015. The third and fourth books in the ‘Escape to the Country’ series, “Life Support” and “Critical Condition” are available now.

Authors Website   Authors Twitter   Authors Goodreads   Authors Facebook


If you enjoyed The Peppercorn Project, you may enjoy:

Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton    image   The Secret Years    the saddler boys

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Zero World – Jason M. Hough

Zero World – Jason M. Hough

Zero World

5 Stars (5 / 5)

WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!!!! Oh what fun!!!!! This book is the reason I love Sci-Fi! I can’t believe it is not more popular! It was AMAZEBALLS! I only found out about Zero World through GoodReads Sci-Fi recommendations, and I am so glad I bought it! I listened to the audio version on Audible and it was FABULOUS! – One of the best I have ever listened to!

Peter Caswell is a secret agent. A super-spy! He is altered and advanced so that he can do a lot of cool stuff thanks to an implant in his brain. However this implant also activates after a set time, to wipe the memory of his mission. So when he is sent to find a scientist who escaped a space ship after killing the rest of the crew, he only has a short time before his brain is wiped and he forgets doing it. However the scientist seems to have disappeared through a wormhole near the sun, and once Caswell is on the other side, he soon learns that everything is not what it seems.

Oh man this book was an awesome ride!! Full of action, adventure and mystery! The audio version with Gideon Emery was FANTASTIC! I LOVED his voice and his portrayal of all the characters! They all had a different distinctive voice and man, I could listen to that voice all day long! I am going to find other audio books he has done!

The characters were FABULOUS! I loved Caswell and the premise of him not being able to remember his previous missions. And with a HUGE twist at the end I had NO IDEA was coming! Loved it! And Melnie, with her spiky hair and purple eyes!

I loved the twists and turns through the book, the thing I love about Sci-Fi is that it can be as unimaginable and unrealistic as the author wants because anything is possible! Without giving too much away, it was a great story, had loads of science elements and was SO IMAGINATIVE! Hough created an awesome universe and I really hope that he does more with the premise and this isn’t just a one off! I WANT MORE!

My ONLY criticism is that there wasn’t enough romance! There was SUCH opportunity for a bit more romance, and that would have made it even better for me, cause I love that crap!

Would I recommend Zero World?

ABSOLUTELY! For any Sci-Fi fan, or any Sci-Fi novice who wants a great place to start! Thoroughly enjoyed it! One of the best books I have read (or listened to) this year!

*I purchased Zero World myself on Audible.com

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PURCHASE

Zero World does not appear to be available on Audible AU! Bummer! But check out the kindle version.

AUDIBLE US | AMAZON | AMAZON AU | PAPER


If you enjoy Zero World, you may enjoy:

14    Fortune's Pawn

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Vanquished – S.E. Green

Vanquished – S.E. Green

VanquishedTourBanner-1

I don’t do many blog tours, but when I saw the cover of this one I had to check it out. It has an amazing rating on goodreads and the synopsis grabbed me, so I decided to go for it. SO GLAD I DID!!!

 

Vanquished

Goodreads Summary

Where society’s elite go to explore their darkest desires. And where promises of freedom are just manipulative lies.

For a price, the world’s most powerful people can have their darkest desires. On a private island hidden in the ocean, they may hunt humans for game, attend gladiator-style fights, participate in elaborate orgies, and freely indulge in all the deadly sins within the cosplay of ancient times.

Abducted from their life in Miami, Valoria and her younger sister wake up in this secret society, wherein Valoria is condemned to the fights and her sister is taken away to become a sex slave.

Now “property” of a sadistic tyrant, Valoria joins other men and women captives who are forced to fight and maim for others’ enjoyment, to run in their hunts, and participate in deviant fantasies. And she’s under the cold, watchful eye of Alexior, a hired trainer with his own agenda for being involved in the twisted decadence.

After surviving several near-death ordeals, a defiant Valoria focuses on her training and against all odds soon becomes a favorite. But she fights for one thing and one thing only—to be reunited with her sister and to be freed.

But promises of freedom are sometimes just manipulative lies . . .

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My Review of Vanquished

Well, that totally took me for surprise in a fabulous way! I absolutely LOVED this book! WOW!

Think Hunger Games meets Sparticus! Valoria wakes up in a strange place and is auctioned off to the highest bidder. There she must become a warrior, and fight for her freedom and the freedom of her sister, who has been sent off to be a sex slave. Valoria must meet multiple foes and fight to the death. She must also figure out a way to escape this horrible place with her sister.

I don’t want to give too much away, but AWESOME!!! Note though, this is NOT YOUNG ADULT! Don’t go letting your 14 year old read this! There are explicit raunchy scenes and a HUGE amount of gruesome violence! Also, if you are sensitive to the topics of violence, slavery and other atrocities, you may want to think twice about this book. However I actually think the author did a really good job writing those horrible scenes quite tactfully.

I want to mention that I was REALLY glad this book was not the first of a series. I was expecting it to continue on and end in a cliff-hanger like most of these types of books do, so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that it ENDED. Sure, there is always the possibility of a sequel, but it had an extremely satisfying ending! And the fact it was a stand alone was so great! Sometimes you just want the story to end, you don’t want it dragging on for 3 books and 4 movies!

The characters were awesome! I really got engrossed in the relationships that Veloria had. I absolutely LOVED the romance! GOOSEBUMPS!!! I think the author pulled it off really well! There is something about forbidden/hopeless love… And the twist near the end? Genius! Didn’t see that one coming!

There were a few good themes in there that were explored too, slavery, ownership, the class system, violence as entertainment, humanity etc etc.

Would I recommend Vanquished?

Yes! For any fans of adventure/violence/thriller/gory novels that keep you up ALL night to finish them in one sitting! Loved it!

Many thanks to author S.E. Green via XPRESSO blog tours for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | Barnes and Noble |

Click below to enter to win an E-Copy of Vanquished, or an AMAZON gift card!

GIVEAWAY

Click below to see the Vanquished blog tour schedule, thanks to XPRESSO tours!

XpressoBannerTours

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SE

S. E. Green (aka Shannon Greenland) is the award winning author of several novels including the teen thriller, KILLER INSTINCT, and the spy series, THE SPECIALISTS. She lives off the coast of Florida with her very grouchy dog.

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If you enjoy Vanquished, you may enjoy:

Kraken Rising

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