Book Blast & Giveaway: Flawed-J.L. Spelbring

In a world where Hitler won the The War, and perfection is constantly sought, Ellyssa has broken free from her austere life and has found another meaning for her existence.

Family, friendship, and love.

But her happiness is short lived. Ellyssa finds herself on the run, again. Her father’s work didn’t die with him, but lives on in her siblings, Aalexis and Xaver, and they are determined to complete his unfinished dream.

FLAWED BY J.L. Spelbring
Book Two in the PERFECTION series.
Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: August 12th 2014 by Spencer Hill Press
Pre-order FLAWED TODAY
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CHECK OUT BOOK ONE IN THE SERIES
Praise for PERFECTION…
“This book is seriously so unique and amazing it’s mind-blowing!” ~ Lauran Hammond
“Wow! That was my initial reaction after finishing Perfection. This is without a doubt one of the most well thought out, cleverly-written and unique books I have ever read.” ~ K-Books
“4 stars – Chilling and provocative, these characters will get to you.” ~ Stuck In Books
The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa’s spent her whole life under her creator’s strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.
Only Ellyssa isn’t perfect.
Ellyssa feels emotions–a fact she’s spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.
But he does.
His unspoken words and visions of a place she’s never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection
Available on
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You can request an ARC copy of FLAWED
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J.L. Spelbring – lives in Texas, where she wanders out in the middle of the night to look at the big and bright stars. Besides knocking imaginary bad guys in the head with a keyboard, she enjoys being swept away between the pages of a book, running amuck inside in her own head, pretending she is into running, and hanging out with her kids, who are way too cool for her.

Did you see the synopsis? I haven’t been so excited about a book in a while. The premise is amazing. I’m definitely adding this to my TBR. Historians have speculated, students have wondered at the possibilities and her is a version of that answer. Absolutely astounding concept. As a scholar, maybe historian one day in Russian, this really piques my interest and I can’t wait to start reading.
Happy reading all,
-BB
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Book Blitz, Author Interview & Giveaway: Of Sea and Stone-Kate Avery Ellison

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OfSeaandStone
Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
Publication date: February 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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All her life, clever Aemi has been a slave in the Village of the Rocks, a place where the sea and sky meet. She’s heard the stories about the fabled People of the Sea, a people who possess unimaginable technology who live below the waves in the dark, secret places of the ocean. But she never dreamed those stories were true.

When a ship emerges from the ocean and men burn her village, Aemi is captured, and enslaved below the waves in Itlantis, a world filled with ancient cities of glass and metal, floating gardens, and wondrous devices that seem to work magic. To make matters worse, her village nemesis, the stuck-up mayor’s son Nol, was captured with her, and they are made servants in the same household beneath the sea.

Desperate to be free, Aemi plots her escape, even going so far as to work with Nol. But the sea holds more secrets than she realizes, and escape might not be as simple as leaving…

Add Of Sea and Stone to Goodreads

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The broad stone ground of the Training Rock was warm and smooth beneath my bare feet. A salt-scented wind teased the tendrils of hair escaping from beneath my hood. I straightened my spine and lifted my chin as if I belonged as I approached the group of boys and young men, who stood in a haphazard line before the target of wood.

I took my place at the end of the line.

The smell of salt filled the air. Gulls screamed overhead as the first boy drew back his arm and threw his spear. It glanced off the target and clattered on the rock. His face creased with disgust, and he turned away. The second boy threw, and the tip of his spear embedded itself in the corner of the target.

I was better at throwing than any of these boys. I’d always been good at it, better than anyone else my age when I was small enough to swim in the shallows with the free children and sleep in my mother’s arms at night. My mother had beamed with pride to see me throw, and so I continued to hone my skill even after she was gone. Sometimes I went out to the edge of the rocks that formed a ring around the sea like a circle of stone arms, and I caught fish to put on the fire so Nealla and I could eat more than the meager food we were provided for our meals. I was better than all of them, but being a girl banned me from participating in the competition.

At the front of the line stood Nol, the oldest in the competition and the favorite of the crowd. He cast a glance my way, but didn’t look long. I exhaled as he turned his head away.

One by one, the boys threw their spears. They were still learning, and few were good yet. The aim of a fisherman was impeccable, once he’d mastered the art, but these were just boys.

I swallowed as the boy beside me took his turn, and then it was mine. I stepped forward and hefted my spear. The weight was familiar in my hand. I inhaled, squinted at the target, and threw.

The spear buried itself at the edge of the middle circle. A few of the boys cried out in appreciation. Sweat broke out across my back.

I hadn’t meant to throw quite so well.

Nol turned his head again to look at me. He wasn’t stupid, even if he was infuriating. He’d seen Kit throw before.

I held my breath, and he looked away.

Those who had struck the target gathered their spears and tried again. There were only a few of us, and the number rapidly dwindled. I threw poorly, but my spear seemed to swerve to meet the target against my will, and the rest of the boys threw with the skill of drunken monkeys. Finally, only Nol and I were left.

My heart drummed in my chest. I didn’t dare look at Nol or the crowd.

“You’ve improved, Kit,” Nol said as he passed me to retrieve his spear.

It was clear by the way he strode toward the target that he thought victory was assured for him. He barely spared me a glance as he drew back his arm to throw.

The crowd waited, breathless.

Nol threw first. His spear struck the inner circle of the target, and he straightened, pleased. I could tell by his posture that he thought he’d won. The necklace of shell he always wore tinkled faintly as he turned to me. He yanked off his mask, and his expression was triumphant.

“Your turn.”

I drew my arm back and took aim. I heard the rush of the sea behind me, the cry of gulls above me, and the hiss of my breath over my teeth as I threw. Sea and gulls and breath combined to make music. I shut my eyes and threw.

My spear hit the mark and quivered.

It had struck closer to the center.

The boys roared in approval and swarmed around me. Nol’s jaw tightened, and he shot a glance toward the crowd. I saw his father, the mayor, frowning.

I stepped forward to receive my prize. As I passed Nol, suspicion crossed his face. He snatched off my mask, dislodging my hood in the process.

My long hair tumbled down around my shoulders. Wind fanned my face.

I was exposed.

The crowd gasped. Nol let go of me as if he’d been burned.

“It’s Tagatha’s thrall!” someone shouted.

“You deceptive little brat,” the spear master snarled. “Where’s Kitran?”

I ran.

The spear master grabbed for me. His fingers slipped through my hair, giving one painful tug, then the strands ripped from my scalp and I ran faster. I reached the edge of the cliff, dropped Kit’s spear, and jumped.

The rock was hard beneath my feet as I leaped, and then salty air rushed around me, the gulls’ screams filled my ears, and I was falling, falling, falling through air and wind and sunlight. I brought my arms forward right before I entered the water in a perfect dive.

Bubbles exploded across my vision as I hit the water. Blue closed around me, cold and shocking, shutting out the shouts above. My chest skimmed the sandy bottom of the lagoon. Fish shot away, and seaweed snagged my ankles. The rocks of the bay were dark against the orange light of the dying sun.

I swam a ways from the cliff, holding my breath, kicking my legs to propel myself forward.

When my head broke the surface, I heard the spear master shouting after me. I swam away, my arms making sure, even strokes as his threats echoed across the water after me. I had no fear that he would jump in after me. I was one of the strongest swimmers in the village. He couldn’t catch me, and he wouldn’t try.

But I couldn’t swim forever.

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Describe Of Sea and Stone in six words.

Atlantis, steampunk, sunlight, seawater, secrets, romance.

What books have you read and loved lately?

I am almost finished with Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, and it’s an absolute delight. Witty, immersive, and utterly compelling fantasy that reminds me very much of my beloved Megan Whalen Turner books.

Ice cream or cake?

Ice cream cake, of course! It’s the best of both worlds.

What authors have influenced your writing style the most?

I grew up on a pretty steady diet of mystery, actually, so I feel like classic mystery authors like Agatha Christie had a strong influence on me. When I was a teenager, I started reading fantasy by authors like Robin McKinley, Gail Carson Levine, and Sherwood Smith. The Blue Sword, Ella Enchanted, Crown Duel…I loved those books. I also had a huge love of historical fiction, so Ann Rinaldi, Elizabeth George Speare, and Eloise Jarvis McGraw influenced me a lot as well. As far as more recently-written books that I didn’t grow up reading, I continue to be an awe of fantasy authors Megan Whalen Turner (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, etc.) and Melina Marchetta (Finnikin of the Rock), dystopian author Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), and contemporary young adult authors Lucy Christopher (Stolen) and John Green (A Fault in Our Stars).

If you had to pick a shoe that represented your writing style, what would it be?

Have you seen those canvas shoes where an artist has drawn original artwork on the front and sides and is selling them online? I think my books are like that—in some ways they feel familiar, but they have their own surprises and twists that make them unique.

Who has been the most supportive person in your writing career?

My husband. About two years into trying to get published, I was ready to give up on my stories and get a job doing something tremendously ill-suited for me, like being a secretary (I am a very bad secretary. Very disorganized). He convinced me to give it more time, and he is probably the sole reason I am published today. He is my first reader, my strongest encourager, and my most reliable critic.

Are you working on anything else currently?

Yes! I’m currently hard at work on the second book in the Secrets of Itlantis series, and I’m also working on a few secret projects on the side—one is a more traditional fantasy, another is a post-apocalyptic novel. I hope to have more details about them for my readers very soon.

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Kate

I live in Georgia with my wonderful husband and two spoiled cats. When I’m not writing, I’m usually catching up on my extensive Netflix queue, reading a book, giggling at something funny online, or trying to convince my husband to give me just ONE bite of whatever he’s eating.

Learn more about my writing and books at my blog (http://thesouthernscrawl.blogspot.com/), find teasers for upcoming works on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kateaveryellison), and subscribe to my new releases newsletter to be notified of new novels as soon as they hit stores (https://tinyletter.com/kateaveryellison)!

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Blitz-wide giveaway
-$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

http://www.amazon.com/Of-Sea-Stone-Secrets-Itlantis-ebook/dp/B00I7LZV12/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392928501&sr=8-1&keywords=Of+Sea+and+Stone+by+Kate+Avery+Ellison

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I’m so excited to read this book. I love steampunk and underwater steampunk is exactly something new and exciting that I’ve been craving. I hope you are intrigued too!

Happy reading everyone,

-BB

Review: Mila 2.0-Debra Driza

3/5 Stars

Mila 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1)-Debra Driza

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I sprawled on my bed in a spent heap, realizing the tale I’d manufactured earlier was probably delusional. Somehow I’d come up with the notion that Hunter could set me free. Like some twisted version of Sleeping Beauty. But instead of saving me from an evil spell, his kiss would save me from the iPod. 

I’d convinced myself, in that tiny space of time, that Hunter’s kiss would make me human. 

Plot: You never realize how important your humanity is until someone tries to take it away…even if you’re not quite human. After the traumatizing death of her father, Mila is broken, sad, and flooded with memories that leave her distant, and removed from the trivial high school world. Mila feels like her mother doesn’t love her anymore and is consumed by guilt over her father’s death because she has no memory of the event, even though she was there. Mila and her mother move to a small town and they both get a chance to start over. Mila is exotic because she came from a big city and immediately captures the interest of the most popular girls in school. When flashes of her memories start to come back, Mila doesn’t know if they’re nightmares or reality. Meanwhile at school, a new guy moves to town from California. Mila is drawn to Hunter, to his manga obsession and beat up skate shoes, but her best friend Kaylee has already called dibs. When Hunter shows interest in Mila her so-called friends turn on her and Mila doesn’t understand. Desperate to gain back some semblance of normalcy, Mila apologizes and tries to explain. Things are just starting to turn around when Kaylee and Mila spot Hunter walking home from school. Mila is shut down with a snarky, rude comment from Kaylee and forced to get in the back cab of the pickup truck while Hunter gets cozy in the front seat. On the way to Dairy Queen, Kaylee enthusiastically suggests a drag race, no doubt to impress Hunter, and takes off down the road, completely disregarding Mila’s safety. Mila is thrown from the back of the cab on to a heap of metal. Mila is terrified that she has a spinal injury because she can’t feel any pain. When Hunter and Kaylee arrive, they’re horrified by the gash in her arm and that’s when Mila first notices that her arm is not bleeding, nor is their any blood beneath the skin only a milky white liquid and a glimpse of metal where bone should be. More confused than ever, Mila confronts her mother and is given an iPod, that holds all the answers to her questions.

Mila learns that she is not a shy, sixteen year old girl but a government military defense initiative in android technology. Mila has never been human or born and all of her suffering and memories of loss were implanted. She’s never been older than 16 and she never will be. Mila is an android and wanted by the U.S. government. As the secrets come out, Mila learns that her mother is a scientist, one of the ones that created her and rescued her from a secret facility, she shut off all of Mila’s android technology and made her forget so that she could have a normal life. Betrayed, sickened, and scared Mila doesn’t know who she can trust or if she can even trust her own emotions, because, after all, they’re simulated. After the drag race accident Mila is alienated by her friends and wants nothing more than to flee town and pick up the pieces of her life when the government comes knocking and Mila and her mother are forced on the run for their lives.

PROS: 

  • Hunter and Lucas are by far the most interesting, compassionate, developed characters in the story. They both have depth, intelligence, and quirky, caring personalities that help Mila grow. Hunter is gorgeous, different, and someone who Mila feels like she can trust with her secrets. Lucas is a genius, that nerdy-cute guy that draws you in with his awkward attempts at humor..er…conversation, and keeps you on your toes. Both are pleasant components and give the story a potential love triangle without unrealistic love at first sight. It’s real, it’s complex, and definitely refreshing.
  • Mila’s internal battles to embrace her dual natures, that of her android body and her human emotions, is both heart-breaking and incredibly moving. Her hurt is genuine, how is she supposed to know if any of her feelings are authentic or just some cleverly written technology?
  • The technology itself is fascinating and extremely detailed. The test procedures for the androids, the underground anarchist groups that threaten the government, the risky, heartless goals of the military are all compelling and somehow very believable.

CONS:

  • All of the female characters are stereotypical, and their faults are emphasized to the point of disbelief. Kaylee is the epitome of a bitchy, self-absorbed, vapid mean girl who drops her friends whenever she feels slightly threatened or doesn’t get her way. The other members of her posse are just as bad, if not worse, and some sections of their dialogue are so obnoxiously evil that it’s infuriating and you’ll desperately yearn for Mila to grow a backbone.
  • There’s little development between characters in the first half of the book, Mila’s trauma over her father’s death is crippling and forces her to stick with the “friends” she’s got but how she deals with the abuse is detrimental to her character development. Mila seems weak, and while it’s understandable that she’s recovering from her loss and eager to fit in, the fact that she allows her friends to treat her so poorly diminishes her character. This changes as the book progresses and Mila gains some confidence and learns that the only way to feel strong is to embrace her humanity and android technology.
  • The first half of the book is a little slow and while not hard to get into, a bit tedious because of the sheer fury generated by most of the smaller characters.

If you like any of the following you will enjoy this:

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Happy reading,

-BB