Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Is Listening to Audiobooks reading?

Hello, book loving friends! I haven't been active on my blog a ton this month due to a reading challenge I've been doing, but I'm here to give you another round of Tuesday Talks! You can find out more about the group and the creators Janie and Janelle by visiting the goodreads group here. Come discuss fun bookish things with us!

Does Listening to Audiobooks Count as Reading?
Personally I'm not much of an audiobook person. I definitely think it counts as reading, it's just a different form. I can't take that much auditory stimulus (seriously, I can read for hours from a book but listening for more than maybe one or two kills my head). 

One of the beautiful things about audiobooks is that you can listen and get the fun and intellectual stimulus you're seeking from a book while you're driving or running or any number of other activities. Driving tends to be the only time that I listen to audio and even then only rarely. I can definitely see the perks and I know people who listen to dozens of audiobooks while traveling, so I think that it's great we have that option. 

I know some people may not consider listening to a book reading, but to me it's the same thing. We might get different things from reading ourselves and having the story read to us, but overall the experience is the same. We listen because we love the stories, the writing, the beauty of the written word. And when a book is brilliant in audio form that pretty much means it's just brilliant. 

What are your thoughts, do you think listening to an audiobook is reading? Do you listen to audiobooks? What format do you prefer for your books? Let's discuss this in the comments!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday Talks | How Do You Choose Your Books?

Tuesday Talks is a weekly discussion hosted through the goodreads group you can find here. We discuss bookish topics each week, so you should join in the fun.

How Do You Choose Your Next Read?
For me, choosing what book to read next is just a random occurrence. Occasionally I have a set list for a certain month or something, but usually I just go from book to book. Over the past few months, since starting to review books for authors, my reading has been on a random track.

I don't like to completely structure my reading list, because I tend to get burned out when I have a list of books that I tell myself I have to read. Instead I just randomly choose a book. Sometimes this is based off the unread books I have on my shelf, a suggestion from a friend, something I randomly pick up at the library, a book randomly selected from my to-read shelf on goodreads, or a book I pick up to review for someone. I find that selecting books this way gives me more enjoyment in my reading time. 

Sometimes I do have a set book that I plan to read in a given month. This usually happens when I'm doing readalongs or something. Otherwise, I pick up the book that I feel the most like reading. This is occasionally based on the length of the book or the genre as well. If I feel like I need a break from a certain genre or that a certain book will take more dedication than I can devote at the time, then I will pick up something else, even if I really want to read the book.

So my basic answer to this weeks discussion topic is that I choose at random. I just grab a book that looks interesting and go with it. Usually this works really well for me. 

What about you? How do you decide what book to read next? Let me know in the comments below!


Into the Deep End~Leesa Freeman | Review

Title: Into the Deep End
Author: Leesa Freeman
Genre: Contemporary/Romance/Inspirational
Publication: March 2015
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a free ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Luke used to have a future. He was going to swim in the Olympics and graduate college along with his twin sister Bethany.
Adriana used to have dreams. She was going to marry Rob, Luke's best friend, and build a life with him. 
But life had other plans for this pair. After surviving an accident that took the lives of both Bethany and Rob, Luke and Adriana are barely surviving. Now Luke is confined to a wheelchair and Adriana is afraid to live. 
After being forced into working at a summer camp for children with special needs, Luke and Adriana start to heal and open up to the possibility of a new future. 

"I knew without a shadow of a doubt that all it would take to fall was a whisper, a featherlight touch, a breath, and I'd shatter in her hands."
This novel is full of emotional highs and lows, love, heartache, the deep chasms created by profound loss. It has all of this and more. The novel is told in first person from Luke's perspective, picking up months after the accident that put him in a wheelchair. We get to see him struggle with himself, trying to embrace the life that he can't change. 

I have always had an extreme fear of breaking my back, or having some other form of spinal injury, so reading about Luke's injury was intense for me. Maybe if I didn't have that fear I wouldn't have appreciated this portion so much, but when he talked about his injury I felt his pain. I felt like I was there, feeling what he felt. It would definitely be a challenge to have to face all of the tasks you once did with ease, now knowing if you would ever be able to do them again. 

Luke was a great main character. His struggles were so true to life and charged with intense emotion. Freeman did a wonderful job showing his pain over the loss of his sister and best friend. His memories of Bethany were some of the most powerful things in the novel for me. I felt like she was just as much a character as any of the living characters, and I really appreciated that. Sometimes I feel like these characters are glossed over in novels, and we don't really get to see how they shaped the other characters, but here it was great to see just how important Bethany had been in Luke's life. 

The relationship between Luke and Adriana was beautiful and sad as well. Obviously there was some form of survivors guilt after the accident and again we actually get to experience some of that guilt and pain along with them. It really was beautiful. 

The rest of the characters were great too. I really enjoyed Gina. She was so full of life and wanted to push everyone to be the best they could be. It was great. Uncle Wally and the rest of the people at the ranch were great during their appearances as well. And Will was a great friend to Luke and Adriana. Luke and Adriana's families were also a great addition to the story. You got to experience some of the pain of the accident from several different perspectives.

Overall it was a really nice, emotion infused novel. There is some strong language at times and a few sexual scenes, but none particularly graphic. If you enjoy contemporary novels, you are likely to enjoy this. Be prepared for an emotionally charged read infused with life lessons about learning to face your fears and continuing to live even through heartbreak. 

You can order the book on Amazon(US link) here: Into the Deep End 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Should Authors Provide Books For Reviewers?

Tuesday Talks is a weekly discussion group where we discuss bookish topics. You can find the goodreads group here if you would like to participate or find out who else is doing Tuesday Talks!

Should Authors Provide Their Book For Review?
Since having my blog and booktube for the past six months or so, I've been given many free copies of novels in exchange for review. I love helping authors by reviewing their novels and they are seeking the feedback. Personally I think giving free copies (whether physical or eBook) is a good policy for authors who are just starting out. Of course they want to sell their books, but they also need to develop a group of readers so that someone will want to buy their books. 

Being an aspiring author, I plan to seek beta readers and reviewers who will read in exchange for a copy of my book. One day I would like to be able to sell more copies than I'm giving away, obviously, but as an author it's important to develop a reputation with your target audience. And what better way to develop that relationship than to offer up your book, free, to bloggers and other reviewers? I think that's the best advertisement you can get. 

This obviously also depends on how the novel is published as well. A self published author may be able to give out eBook copies, but not physical. An author with a publisher likely has to go through that publisher to offer their books. Or the publishers determine how many copies and how they will be given away. So it all depends on the means of publication and what can be afforded by the author/publisher. 

With all that said, I don't think it's wrong to seek reviews where the book must be purchased. I do believe that the author will get more support by offering free copies. I'm an avid reader, but I can't afford to buy every book I'm interested in. I'm more likely to buy books by authors that I already know and like. So giving me a free copy to review helps me determine if you go on my list of authors to buy. I've read several novels that I've gotten for free from authors and then gone and bought the sequel because I liked the first one so much. 

So I think a lot of it has to do with expense and marketing. If you are in a position to offer copies (physical or ebook) then I think it's definitely a great way to get your book read and out there in the public eye. If not, it may just take you longer to get your work noticed. Then again, it may not. It's just something the author has to determine and see where they want to go with it. As a blogger/booktuber, I love receiving free copies and helping spread the word about lesser known writers that I come to appreciate. So I think it's a great thing, but not the only way. 

I hope this post made sense! I'm feeling a little all over the place at the moment. So share your thoughts in the comments. What do you think about authors giving out free copies of their novels in exchange for reviews? Should they? Should the not? Does it matter to you? Let me know down below!  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Avant Nation~C D Verhoff | Review

Title: Avant Nation
Author: C D Verhoff
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publication: March 2015
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Clara Spinner lives in a society where everything has already been predetermined for her. Raised to adolescence in an artificial womb, Clara then begins her life with her family. Clara is a Compassionate. Her genetic code allows her to stay awake for hours and to care deeply. This makes her a perfect candidate for the medical field.

But Clara doesn't see things quite the same way as those around her. She forces herself to accept the society she's always been devoted to, only to have one of the closest people to her ripped away. Then she begins to question once more. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she is sent to the front lines of the war that is being waged with the remainder of people that was once the United States. 

This novel started off rather slowly for me. The concept was very intriguing and I was very excited to read it. I was expecting it to be a bit faster paced, but still found the introduction to the society very interesting. The different groups of people and labeling some as "defective" gave me a Divergent feel, but the stories were quite different. 

About the halfway point the novel picked up and jumped from one exciting event to another. It was hard for me to put the novel down at this point. I read the last half in almost one sitting. Clara is thrown into a war that she's only ever viewed as an outsider. Now she's the center of a mission to extract memories from an important target using equipment only she a few others can operate. But her brain and heart are at war. After losing her sister, one of the people closest to her, she's afraid to open up to anyone else. She's also worried about destroying someone with the memory machine. Because that's the only way to extract the memories they need: to wipe out the person's brain function. 

The story is told in first person from Clara's point of view and she was an easy protagonist to get along with. Unlike many leading characters in dystopias, I didn't feel she was extremely overdone. She was insecure in some ways, she challenged the society to which she had always been devoted, she struggled to reconcile her feelings with what she believed. She was overall a nice character to spend time with. 

Clara's sister is tagged as defective and dragged away to The Spotted Elephant Colony, a place that no one is even sure exists. Clara is desperate to get her back, but doesn't know how to find her. And no one she finds can help her. Her only chance is to get involved with the military and try to get a close enough connection to the top to find out where her sister was taken. I liked the relationship between Clara and her sister. 

There was a slight touch of romance to this story, but it wasn't overdone. I really liked the love interest Hawk. He was an interesting character. There were a few scenes that I thought he got a bit over the top in, but I still really enjoyed him. I loved the fact that they both had their own struggles with the society as well as the things the other did. It wasn't a simple love, but it was cute. 

I'm guessing that this is just the first in a series. The ending leaves us with a definite cliffhanger. I'm definitely looking forward to finding out what happens with Clara and Hawk in any follow up stories. And what they find out about their society and the society of the Luddites (the other nation). And if they find out what exactly happens to those labeled defective. 

Overall this was a fun read. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopias. It has some of the regular elements with a few new tweaks of its own. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Stonekeeper~Kazu Kibuishi | Review

Title: The Stonkeeper (Amulet #1)
Author: Kazu Kibuishi
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Length: 192 Pages
Publication: January 2008
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

After the death of her father, Emily moves with her mother and younger brother Navin to an old family home. But everything is not as it seems. Emily finds an amulet and soon must rely on the power it lends her to save her mother from a demon in another world.

This was the first graphic novel that I've ever read (I think) and I thought it was excellent. I do think the beginning could use some tweaking. I just feel it was somewhat too sudden. The accident, being thrown two years into the future, it could have been a bit slower and given us time to connect with Emily rather than forcing us to connect based on her circumstances. 

Once you get into the story it's loads of fun. The world that Emily and her family venture into is fascinating and I loved the illustrations. I'm not sure that graphic novels are completely my thing, but I do appreciate the fact that people can write and illustrate them. It was beautiful. I often paused just to stare at a certain page I found intriguing. 

The story itself reads like a nice middle grades fantasy story. The amulet lends powers to Emily and she has to choose whether to keep it and wield its powers or turn away from the path she's on. The relationship between Emily and Navin was really nice too. They argued like real siblings, but still loved each other. I really appreciate when sibling relationships are given a realistic touch. 

I'm really excited to get into the rest of this series. This one leaves us with an interesting cliff hanger and I'm interested to see where the next one leads. I also can't wait to explore more of this world with its robots and bunnies and powerful amulets. It's really fun and really quick. I highly recommend it if you're looking for a fun graphic novel to try out them out. This is definitely a good one.

Tuesday Talks | Guilty When You DNF?

Tuesday Talks is a weekly discussion hosted by Janie and Janelle. We discuss bookish topics and have lots of fun doing it! You can check out the goodreads group and join us all here.

DNF-Do You Feel Guilty?
DNF stands for Did Not Finish, if you were wondering. And to be honest, there are so many books that I DNF and I rarely feel guilty. If I'm not enjoying it then I don't want to spend my time reading the book. Reading is something I do for fun, not because I have to. There are usually two reasons that I don't finish a book.
  1. I start reading and just don't like the book. This has happened so many times in the past year that I'm not sure I can keep count. Ok, maybe that's not entirely true. I could go back and figure out what they all are, but why? This happened with several that I've heard great things about. I don't feel guilty afterward, I just wonder what others see that I don't.
  2. The other main reason is more so that I'm just not in the mood for that type of book at that moment. It doesn't mean that I won't eventually pick the book up, I just am not right then. Sometimes this happens if I try to read too many books of the same genre back to back. I get burned out and just need a break. I might come back to these in the future. It just depends on how I feel.
I don't think you should ever feel bad about not finishing a book. Forcing yourself to read something you're not enjoying will do nothing for you. There is no way to read every book that I'm interested in during my lifetime. I simply will not live long enough to do so. New books come out every day and I want to read so many of them. Instead of spending my time reading novels that I don't enjoy, I move onto one that I do.

The only time I might feel marginally guilty over not finishing a book is if I've received it for review and then couldn't finish it. This is something I need to change in my review policy. I generally don't review novels, or at least rate them, if I have not finished the entire thing. Some authors want you to, others don't. So I just have to figure out my own way of doing things. I want to help authors, give them my opinion, but if I get into their novels and don't enjoy them then it's not going to help either one of us for me to continue reading it.

So the short answer is no. I don't feel guilty about not finishing books. And I don't necessarily turn people away from those books that I can't finish. If I think someone else would like it then I will still tell them about it. I'll just tell them I couldn't get into it.

What do you think about not finishing books? Do you force yourself through? Do you feel guilty when you don't finish one? Tell me in the comments what you think!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cover Reveal~Excerpt~GIVEAWAY From The Ashes by Shelby K Morrison

Today's post is an exciting one, dear readers! I've teamed up with the lovely and talented Shelby K Morrison to promote her new YA fantasy novel From The Ashes. You can find out more about Shelby K Morrison on her website here and see some of the inspirations behind her novels on her pinterest board here.

Today we get to see the cover (for the first time!), read an excerpt (trust me, it's a good one), and enter a giveaway to win one of FIVE eBook copies of the novel! So read on, friends. This might just be the beginning of the next big thing.  You don't want to miss it. The novel will be released on May 3rd

The Cover
So what do you think? Beautiful, right? I'm a sucker for pathways through trees and this one looks deliciously creepy. Gorgeous art work. Let's discuss what we think of the cover in the comments below! Do you love it as much as I do? Are you intrigued by that glowing necklace? Tell me all your thoughts! 

The Excerpt

Before we get into the actual excerpt, here's the synopsis as listed on goodreads. You can click here to go to the goodreads page (adding the book will get you points in the giveaway). So here goes!

For eighteen years Aia Wynnald has lived a lie. Raised as a highborn in the Kingdom of Tharien, she’s filled her days with tutors and archery lessons. But simmering beneath her polite surface is a dangerous gift, one which she must keep a secret. Aia is a Bender. And in Tharien, Benders are feared and hunted.

When her unruly power breaks free with dire repercussions, Aia’s lifelong goal of independence shatters. As she scrambles to piece her life back together while evading capture, she disturbs a vengeful force intent on destroying the kingdom.

Now, with the help of an unlikely ally, Aia will decide the fate of Tharien. To rescue those she cares about will require accepting what she is. But can she risk becoming the monster she’s dreaded to save the very citizens baying for her blood?

And for the excerpt-here are the first TWO chapters of the novel! If this doesn't get you interested, I don't know what will.

Aia’s heart slammed against her ribs, her chest heaving. She sprinted down the narrow cobblestone streets, tugging at her silk dress when it tangled with her legs.
She replayed the final five minutes of her former life. The log hitting Damon. The blood. His smile. What had she done? She'd ruined everything.
The evening air nipped at her cheeks, and the coins her mother had slipped into her coin purse clinked loudly in the still city. The blood-red sunset dared her to continue. Shouting echoed in the distance. Someone had alerted the Breakers. They’d come for her. They’d be merciless.
She took the stone steps two at a time, her dress nearly tripping her again. Her steps pattered in the silence as she crossed the bridge connecting the base of Mt. Shadow to the rest of the kingdom. Farther and farther her legs carried her—from her home, the Church, the palace. But it didn’t matter how far she ran. They’d pursue her.
She threw a glance over her shoulder. The palace built into the mountain loomed above her, just as menacing, despite the distance. She couldn’t outrun it. Couldn’t outrun them.
The end of the bridge signaled her entry into Midtown, even worse than Hightown for someone evading capture. Houses towered over her, and dozens of windows like little black eyes dotted the sides. She pressed on.
She had to get off the street, away from the city. But where to run? Where would they not search for her?
The Ashen Wood. No one went into the Ashen Wood.
Her wretched dress bunched between her legs and she stumbled to the cobblestones. After a hasty peek at the road behind her, she scrambled to her feet and continued.
Hooves hammered against the cobblestones in the distance. They were coming. She dashed between houses like an alley cat, the Red Plains at the edge of the city in sight. Almost there. 
She increased her speed, thrashing through the thick weeds, despising her dress and its clinging folds. The endless field stretched before her, but she didn’t let up. She yearned for her beloved longbow and the security it offered. But she'd had no time to grab it before her parents shoved her from her home.
On and on she ran, her legs jelly. The stars had emerged in the indigo ceiling by the time she reached the edge of the legendary forest.
She struggled to slow her breathing, swallowing with difficulty, as she peered between flaky, ash-covered trees, searching for a path, a place to conceal herself. It was hopeless. She could only see a few trees in. She looked over her shoulder at the city. Her home. Her life of security. Candles appeared in windows, lit one by one, and the orange glow of torch-bearing Breakers illuminated the sides of buildings. Word was spreading. 
Hands shaking, heart thumping, she took a step into the forest. As if an invisible wall closed behind her, the outside world disappeared. No crickets singing. No city noises and shouts of pursuit. No whispering wind. Nothing but the forest.
Her lifelong secret had been revealed. Maia Wynnald was a Bender.

 Cole Balain sat crammed among his peers on a skinny wooden bench. Sweat trickled down his neck while the Church filled with more observers.
Alabaster stone sculptures marked each corner of the vast hall, harmonizing with the white stone walls. A vaulted, ribbed ceiling stretched deceitfully into the heavens, stained-glass windows spanning both sides. In the daylight, colors spilled through to offer undeserved comfort to people who thronged with bright faces to enjoy watching the will of Mighty be carried out.
Cole alone was sick about it. Sick in body. Sick to his soul.
But tonight the bloated room glowed with a different, misplaced comfort. One central flame illuminated the otherwise dim hall. A massive porcelain crucible held stark white, crackling flames, which stretched higher and burned brighter than normal fire. A fire that had one purpose. To Cleanse a Bender.
In front of the flames stood the woman he’d handed over not an hour ago; her hands bound behind her. She was trembling, and tears streamed down her pink cheeks. Her tattered brown dress indicated her rank as lowborn, and she was perhaps in her thirtieth year. Cole had witnessed it all dozens of times, and his stomach churned the same way every time.
Two Purifiers, a couple, clad in their sanctimonious ivory robes, stood before the woman. The man had the Book of Salvation in his open hands. He’d finished reading the famous passage, granting her soul safe transition to heaven. It was supposedly an honorable duty, passed down through family lines. But they weren’t the only ones responsible. This Bender would die because of him.
An adult Bender. Rare. She offered a glimmer of hope for their kind. It meant she'd managed to survive, have a life, possibly children. Benders were still far from extinct. Finding an adult meant more were out there. Most families turned their children in for Cleansing at the first sign of the gift, following the law. A few hid them. Then some managed to reach adulthood without being discovered. This poor soul had remained hidden, hadn’t hurt anyone, had blended in with her neighbors.
But when a suspicious neighbor jealous of another woman’s apple pie recipe claims she knows a Bender, the Breakers must investigate. As they did for every absurd reason. Still, no test existed to identify a Bender. Actual Bending or running from Breakers typically sealed their fate, and this woman had run. Cole had no choice but to pursue. She hadn’t struggled, hadn’t pleaded for her life or tried to Bend her way to freedom. She’d accepted her fate.
Cole hunched over his linked fingers, elbows resting on his knees, his gaze burning into the woman’s, refusing to permit himself to look away. He forced himself to observe every moment of the consequences of his actions.
She didn’t need to die. She could have chosen a Draining, which would have relieved her of her gift but also would have left her a fraction of who she had been. He wasn’t sure which was more horrifying to watch.
 Beside the oversized basin of fire towered a wooden contraption of pulleys and rope. Surely there were easier ways to go about this, without the use of such ridiculous gear. But, like the white walls and tall ceilings, it was more symbolic than actually useful. This was a show for the Church, a grand performance, and every prop enhanced the theatrics.
The Bender finished repeating the scripture through trembling lips. The male Purifier secured a strip of fabric across her eyes, which made the victim whimper more, the sound shredding Cole’s insides. How kind of them to blindfold her before they tortured her. Who was the blindfold for? The Bender, to prevent her from seeing the fire and panicking? Or the audience and the Purifiers, so they might sleep soundly that night, having avoided seeing the woman’s terrified eyes?
The Church expected Benders to choose what they deemed the reprieve of Cleansing. To relieve them of their burden. In the ten years he’d been a Breaker, only twice had a Bender been eager to be Cleansed. Despicable. Yet he understood their choice since the alternative was living a life of anxiety.
The torment of sitting through this ritual never eased. Not that there were many since the war two thousand years ago. Benders had to be out there somewhere, more than the few they’d captured. The Emperor prided himself on hounding them to extinction, as each Emperor before him had, but it wasn’t possible. It wasn’t a trait that could be weeded out, and even the people knew that. Still, the deep-seated fear plaguing the kingdom had roots so deep daily accusations flew like pigeons. The terrified expressions of every Bender he'd watched die would haunt him forever.
He massaged the crystals in the pouch on his hip. Their rough, uneven shapes and edges had been made smooth over time from his constant rubbing to calm himself. He blinked, the fire stinging his steadfast eyes.
Something kicked the back of his bench. Lenz smirked his approval through his sandy beard; his blond, dingy hair hung in his malicious eyes and down his neck, curling behind his ears. Not everyone felt the same about the proceedings as Cole did. 
What a glorious capture, Lieutenant.” Quinn, sitting beside Lenz, offered his usual artificial smile, his shaved head giving him the appearance of a plucked chicken. A brawny, angry plucked chicken.
Cole offered a simple nod and turned back to face the consequences of his actions. Yes, good job. Another one he couldn’t save. Their praise jabbed him like insults.
The contraption’s mechanisms moved, the cogs turned, the pulleys squeaked. It lifted the woman up and over the bowl of ghastly flames. Its squeaking echoed in the hollow cathedral as it lowered the woman into the fire. Her screams echoed around the gargantuan room.
Cries of fear, not pain,” the male Purifier bellowed. “Children, don’t look away.”
Parents encouraged their children to watch, and some children wiggled eagerly in their seats.
The flames licked at her peasant dress. Her screams turned back into whimpers and sobs, confirming the Purifier’s explanation. Her pleas filled Cole's ears, blocking out any other sounds as if he were underwater.
Cole continued to rub the stones, his eyes never leaving the woman, despite his profound desire to escape her anguish. This stood as his penance. His heart sank as the blindfold slipped down the woman’s face. Her eyes darted about in terror, desperation. She stared into the flames lapping at her feet. The fire accepted her, its fingers pulling her inside as the contraption lowered her to be fully consumed.
The Kaz fire transformed from traditional flames to smoke-like tendrils, churning around her like a snake, her terrified face becoming obscured by a white veil until it enveloped her in the cyclone.
Cole broke his stare briefly to observe his peers. Some leaned forward in their seats, eager to witness the evil leach out of her. Others sat back with pursed lips; satisfied. A couple of new recruits appeared to be struggling between enthusiasm and nausea. He turned his focus again to the terror before him, rolling the two stones in his pouch.
A whistling sound reverberated through the obnoxious room while the smoke thrust into her nostrils and mouth until it disappeared. Gasps echoed from first-time audience members. The smoke remained inside the woman until her eyes rolled back and her head dropped and hung limp. A sigh-like whisper swept the room. The once-white smoke oozed black as coal from her lips, nose, and ears. It flowed and bubbled out of her, evaporating before it hit the floor. It was over.
Another soul has been Cleansed and accepted by our glorious Mighty.” The female Purifier wiped a tear and hugged her spouse.
A few people cheered. Cole clenched his rocks, digging them into his palms to suppress the urge to turn around and deck Lenz, who whooped and hollered while encouraging a few newbies to do the same. Quinn would always remain silent but with a contented smile. Cole wasn’t sure which annoyed him more.
He remained seated while the torches along the walls were re-lit. They restored the usual orange glow but didn’t eliminate any of the horror embedded in the walls, columns, and vaulted ceilings from years of publicly-celebrated torment. Just as abhorrent.
The audience stood, making their way from the Church and back home or back to whatever duties had been set aside. Breakers wearing the same black leather tunics and gold belt Cole wore headed for the palace and the Breakers’ Corridors.
Cole made his way from the pews, the clenching of his gut refusing to let up. Commander Endrin stopped him with a hand on his shoulder, as he did after every Cleansing or Draining.
Another quick apprehension, Cole.” His golden mustache hid his mouth, but his warm eyes revealed pride. “Your kingdom thanks you.”
Cole offered a brisk nod to his hulking superior and continued toward the door while the Emperor approached the commander. Emperor Stephan, King of Tharien and Emperor of Dyel. As feared as he was respected. At times, Cole couldn’t be sure who ran Dyel, the Church or the Emperor. Before Cole was too far away to hear, the Emperor’s words reached him.
Let it circulate that this woman was poisoning food on open carts.”
A fire spread through Cole’s veins, and he tightened his grip on his stones. This was nothing new. If a Bender hadn’t caused a stir themselves, Emperor Stephan was sure to order it done. The Emperor could always be counted on to assure tax monies continued to pour into his coffers, whatever it took.
Yes, sir.” Commander Endrin bowed.
And see to it a few citizens become ill. I can’t have anyone doubting. Those vile Symps are everywhere, intent on my undoing.”
Yes, sir.”
Cole once again headed for the exit, eager to escape this temple of death. Before he’d slipped through the doors, a young man, around his fifteenth year, burst through.
Bender!” The highborn boy panted and caught his breath. “There’s a Bender loose, and she’s attacked someone!”
Cole felt gutted. Another one had been identified. So soon. Would she be worth saving?

What an excerpt right? I, for one, am super excited to dive right into this story! Check back for my review! Let me know what you think of this excerpt in the comments! It definitely got off to an exciting start. 
So what happens next? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a free copy! 

The Giveaway

There are a few rules before we get into the giveaway.
The eBook is going to be available internationally, so as long as you can download it you can win it.
You must be 18+ or have parental consent to enter. No addresses will have to be exchanged, but you will have to be contacted to claim your prize. 
Winners will be contacted at the end of the giveaway and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. 
Good luck!   

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