Saturday, February 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Review: Enslavement (One Bright Future #1) **GIVEAWAY**

Blog Tour: Enslavement (One Bright Future #1) by Melinda Friesen **GIVEAWAY**

Unbelievably surreal! Worth every second spent reading this gem!

“One world. One currency. One bright future.”

That’s the promise made by OneEarth Bank after a global economic collapse–but only for those who accept the insertion of a commerce chip.

When Rielle’s parents refuse to comply, government officials tear her family apart. As punishment for her parent’s crimes, Rielle is forced into a Community Service Contract–a legalized form of slavery–and sold a wealthy, abusive banker.

The Banker’s secrets hold the key to Rielle’s freedom, but will she risk prison or even death to escape and search for her family?

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is so crazy to see how close in reality we are to the book's reality. The words I absorbed instantaneously, thus automatically allowing me to project the story in my mind, leaving me to make out everything with just enough detail and depth and come up with something worldly and extremely out there. I felt the apprehension, the anxiety, the fear, the anger, the courage, the bravery, the hope, the despair come off the pages in tons. It gave off the the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend and keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-closer vibe like nothing. No nonsense around here folks! The catch phrase that utterly describes this book succinctly is: One World. One Currency. One Bright Future. Its sounds like one of those prophecies where it could either be good or bad even though things look bad at first, who is to say that things will or will not get better? The 'bright future' meaning they will be going out with a bang or literally a positive, bright future? A bit ominous if you ask me.

The world is using one currency and now have micro chips inserted into their bodies, and is basically being run my the banks; bankers. The book starts off with teenager Rielle James being torn away from her already falling apart family. If it isn't obvious, the bank is definitely behind this. She becomes a Contract. A slave. A possession. Replaceable. Oh hell no.
The story follows her life as a Contract and the people she encounters throughout. There will be lies, hatred, affairs, rendezvous, jealousy and a bunch of other good stuff that you'll have to read to find out.

Rielle's persona was so imperfectly perfect. She had the hatred boiling in her, along with the hope of things going back to normal. She felt hopeless, and yet she kept her silence as a way of showing she still had her own will. Something that was still hers and only hers. She had her wise moments, but most of the time she was naive. She had to grow up fast, and on the other hand only allowed so very few moments to let the little girl in her peak out or the young lady that she is just to kiss a boy.

The writing was very, very well written; no typos or grammatical errors whatsoever. Brownie points are definitely in order. I was gobsmacked when San Antonio was mentioned. I was already groaning when Texas was mentioned. Who knew it would be the city I live in to be the place Contracts get picked up and dropped off. Like UPS or something.
The ending did not end how I expected it to, but not complaining. It fits. I just thought with all the information being dished out, that some questions would get answered, but nope. More questions is what I got, especially with Rielle's indecisiveness.

Overall, I completely enjoyed this book, and I cannot wait for the second book to come out. Okay, I just want the whole series to come out so I can read it already. Please and thanks. I had so much fun having pity parties along with Rielle, but I think I'm ready for some kick-ass parties now. I totally recommend this.

Two (2) winners will received a signed copy of Enslavement by Melinda Friesen (US/Canada)

 Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Enslavement by Melinda Friesen (INT)

Winner will be drawn February 27, 2015

About the Author:

Displaying 2x3ED1751MelindaFriesenAuthor-27.jpgMelinda Friesen writes novels for teens and short stories. Her contest winning short stories have appeared in various periodical and an anthology. Enslavement, book one in the One Bright Future series, is her first novel.

Connect with Melinda

Buy Links

Displaying Chapter-by-Chapter-blog-tour-button.png

Check out more Blog Tours!.

Valentine's Day with J.L. Berg **GIVEAWAY**

Celebrate Valentine's Day with J.L. Berg

Today is Valentine's Day, a day celebrating romance
and flowers and chocolates.

And J.L. Berg, a lover of all three, wants to celebrate with everyone!

There's a books-and-chocolate giveaway below!

Displaying WTW-cover.jpg
Within these walls, he became my solace, my sanctuary and my strength.
I am not strong.  I am just a survivor of circumstance.
Isn’t that what we all do?  Survive?
Each of us has our own set of circumstances to muddle through.  Mine are just
Born with a severe heart defect, I’ve seen the inside of a hospital room more than
my own bedroom. 
I was drowning, a prisoner to the illness that owned me, until he appeared.  He
thinks he’s blocked out the world with his tattoos and hard exterior, but I see the
real Jude, the one he so desperately wants to forget. 
But is he the answer to my prayers or will he break my already damaged heart
My name is Lailah Buchanan, and this is our story of hope, redemption and
sacrificing it all for the one you love.



With one pudding cup snug in my pocket, I was the epitome of stealth.
I slipped through the door quietly, ignoring the fact that I looked like a creepy 
stalker, and I stepped into the darkened room like I had a purpose. 
I did work here, so there could be a dozen reasons for me entering a patient’s room. 
Delivering a fudge snack pack was probably not one of them. 
Like the many times before, I tried not to linger as I entered the room, but with each 
passing visit, it became more and more difficult. 
The first night I’d decided to do this, I’d quickly done this drop-and-dash routine. I 
had gone in and out without a second glance. 
But then, I’d met her. I’d come to her room and found myself face-to-face with the 
girl behind my late-night pudding runs. She was shy and timid, her gestures clumsy 
and unpracticed. She was so different from the polished and sophisticated girls I’d 
grown up with. Even her name was awkward. It sounded like the classic Eric 
Clapton song “Layla,” but hers was spelled all wrong. 
She had made me curious. I’d suddenly wanted to know what else in this world 
would make her smile.

This giveaway is open internationally!

There's five prize packs, two e-books forinternational winners and three print copy/Compartes chocolate prize packs for US/CA winners!

The winners will have their choice of books from J.L. Berg!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

J.L. Berg
J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. 

When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal 
of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

Connect with J.L. Berg

Buy Links

Friday, February 6, 2015

Q&A: Author, Lisa A. Kramer

Q&A: Author of P.O.W.ER, Lisa A. Kramer

Displaying Boji Headshot.jpgLisa A. Kramer has spent her life learning, creating, and exploring the world through theatre, writing, traveling and collaborating as an educator. She has lived in nine states and two countries (including Japan). She holds a PhD in Theatre for Youth, an MFA in Theatre Directing, and a BA in English Language & Literature and Theatre. She has published non-fiction articles in journals specializing on Theatre for Young Audiences, as well articles aimed at young people for Listen Magazine.

In addition to young adult novels, she has ventured into the world of short stories, and has stories for adults in several of the Theme-Thology series published by and available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

When not writing, Lisa shares her love of the arts and the power of story as co-founder of heArtful Theatre Company and as adjunct faculty at various colleges and universities. She also spends time enjoying New England with her husband, daughter, and two dogs from her home base in central Massachusetts.

Her latest book is the YA speculative feminist fiction, P.O.W.ER.


Displaying P.O.W.ER 2.jpgQ: From her close relationship with her father to her friendship with Brian and strong dislike with the society, what made you give Andra that type of persona in P.O.W.ER?

A: My daughter would tell you that Andra is a lot like me, and I guess in some ways she is. She definitely looks like me (short with wild, curly, reddish brown hair). I also was pretty clueless when it came to relationships with guys at her age. I wouldn’t know if someone had feelings for me even if he put a sign in my face.  I also value spending time alone, reading, and being my own person, all things I am trying to teach my daughter. So, I guess in a way Andra came about because I wanted to create a character that represents the type of woman I want my daughter to become. Often in YA literature, it seems, romantic relationships take priority over everything else. While that certainly is an important part of growing up, should it be the main focus? I learned that I wouldn’t find that perfect someone until I was happy with myself, and so I wanted Andra to be about something other than romance. At the same time, Andra became the person she is as I wrote her. I did not dictate her doubts and fears, so much as discover them. I did not create the relationships between her, her father, and Brian, but watched as they grew. The dislike of specific aspects of society was crucial, however, because she needed to have a reason to fight that went beyond selfishness. She needed to believe that she could make the world a better place.

Q: What gave you the idea to use such a setting in your book? Did it take long to come up with New North? Was there something else you had in mind to use for the story to take place?

AI debated with myself whether or not to make New North identifiable. I could have used very specific details to hint at the “real” location, but I decided against it. I wanted it to seem like this could be any place at any time—not a specific location in the United States. Realistically, perhaps, I should have placed it in the south or the Midwest, because that is where more of the restrictive laws against women’s rights seem to be cropping up. However, I am a New England girl at heart, so in my mind this was somewhere in New England. By adding the somewhat fantasy element (of the increased mind powers) it enabled me to not worry about whether or not this was a real place, even though I do make references to some real world things such as the Great Wall of China.

QWhat made you add the 'writing reality' power along with the main character and not a side character?

AThe idea that someone could write anything into reality seemed like a truly spectacular power. Think about it, write a sentence and the world changes. That is not a power to put in the hands of someone you don’t know very well. Many of my side characters are not as fleshed out, so could I trust them with that power? What if the power fell into the hands of someone like Emily or Alice? I know, I make it sound like these characters are real, but I believe that as a writer you want to create characters that could be real. Some people you trust, some you don’t. Writing reality had to go to a person I trusted.

QWhat did you have to have when writing/typing? In general as a writer?

A: In general I don’t have specific things I have to do as a writer, other than sit down and do it.  There are days when I prefer to be in a quiet room with the door closed and nothing but me and my computer screen. There are other days when I need to move to a coffee shop, so I feel like I am not alone. Sometimes I need music, sometimes it is a distraction. I usually need either a warm cup of tea by my side, or ice cold water. I usually work on the computer, but sometimes when I am struggling I go to pen and paper and just let my mind flow.

QWhat did you do if/when you had writer's block? Was it difficult to write about Brian's father's situation?

AAs I mentioned, sometimes when I struggle I switch from computer to pen and ink. There is something about holding a pen that will help me break through. I also take breaks and go for walks, or work on some other project. Luckily I have a very busy creative life, so when I am stuck on one thing I can always work on something else. I find that sometimes you just have to put something aside and let things sit for a while, trying not to think too much about it, because answers come in surprising ways.

There were definitely certain parts of the book that were more difficult to write about than others. Lauren’s experiences in the Women’s Training Center was one of the most challenging scenes for me. Any of the moments with violence were difficult, including the cruelty against Brian’s father. When working on those things, I tend to write in short stints and then walk away for a bit. The deep emotional scenes can be draining.

QHow did the cover of P.O.W.ER come about?

AI love the cover. I was privileged to work with a talented artist friend of mine, Jacqueline Haltom, to create what I consider a piece of art. We have worked together before, on various projects, and I trust her ideas and vision completely. All along I thought I wanted something that could be one of the messages drawn in the secret women’s language, and when Jackie read a draft she agreed. She suggested the kind of pen and ink style, and then we bounced around ideas. We decided we should have a couple of very specific images, including the golden eye. Originally we hoped to have some interior art as well, but time constraints got in the way. It was a truly lovely collaboration, however, and I look forward to working with her again.

QWas there anything mentioned in the book you've experienced before, or wish to? If you could have any type of power, what would it be?

A: I would love the power to write things into reality, or perhaps telekinesis. I don’t know if I would want to read minds, but I feel like I am extremely empathetic and half the time know what people are thinking anyway. I haven’t experienced any special abilities, if that is your question, but I do believe some of them can exist. I don’t think anyone truly knows the limits of the powers of the mind.

Q:Was there anyone or anything that inspired you to write?

AMy inspiration to write comes from many sources. The inspiration for this story, though, comes from a disturbing trend around the world to undervalue over half the population (the female half). There are so many examples around the world of governments and religions trying to restrict women’s abilities to learn or make choices that affect their own lives. I cannot remain silent in the face of that injustice, but I wanted to explore a creative way of looking at the issue.

QWhat got you to write a story in this particular genre? Would you consider any other genre?

AI hate the word genre. Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, but I struggle with it. What genre is my book really? Is it fantasy or magical realism? Is it young adult or feminist? Is it adventure or a coming-of-age story? Some of the greatest books in history were great because they weren’t pigeon-holed into one specific genre—they defined genre. I’m not saying P.O.W.ER is their equal, but I really struggle with where this belongs on the book store shelf. I think there is appeal for many different types of readers in this story. So, when I write I can’t really think in terms of genre. Rather, I think in terms of story. I write the story that needs to be told in the way it wants to be told—whether or not it fits the “rules” of a specific genre.

QWould you say that writing a book is basically knowing how to make decisions?

A: I would say that writing a book is knowing that there a many possibilities, and then exploring those possibilities until you find the one that works, so in that sense it is about making decisions. But it is also about being flexible enough to change when you discover something isn’t working.

QWhat gave you the idea to include both male and female antagonists in this story?

AOne thing that I often run into in this world is women who are so concerned with holding onto their own power and position that they will do anything to do it, even if it means hurting other women. I believe that women should help each other, because that is the only way we will ever succeed in the face of oppression. I also did not want this to be a book where all the men were bad, and all the women were good. People are complex characters and their motives are never fully understood.  I tried to create characters who have both negative and positives possibilities, and struggle with their own choices.

QWould you consider a spin-off or perhaps a companion novel?

ANever say never. As of right now, I don’t have specific plans, but I could possibly explore the stories of some of the other women. Some readers want to know if Andra will ever get together with Brian. Some people have asked about a prequel, but I don’t have any interest in that. Jackie and I are talking about possibly creating a book that is told through the secret women’s language (she would create pictures and I would create messages). Only time will tell. At the moment I am working on two completely different novels.

QIf you had the chance to write P.O.W.ER over again, would there be anything you'd like to add, change, or take out?

AI don’t know if I can answer this question. I am very proud of the book as it is. Of course, when I look it over, I sometimes find things that I would tweak, or things that make me say “I really wrote that?” But there is a point where you have to say you are done, otherwise a book will never come to print. The only change I would make at this point would be too add some interior art which would include some of Andra’s drawings and the messages she created.