Guest Post & Giveaway: Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

VENTURESS9780544319271_hresAmazon/Barnes&Noble/iBooks/TBD/Goodreads

synYoung inventor Nicolette Lampton is living her own fairy tale happy ending. She’s free of her horrible step-family, running a successful business, and is uninterested in marrying the handsome prince, Fin. Instead, she, Fin, and their friend Caro venture to the lush land of Faerie, where they seek to put an end to the bloody war their kingdom is waging. Mechanical armies and dark magic await them as they uncover devastating secrets about the past and fight for a real, lasting happily-ever-after for two troubled countries—and for themselves.

guestYABM: From the blurb, Venturess seems a little less steampunk and a lot more fantasy driven. What inspired you to first write this steampunk twist on the classic Cinderella fairytale?

BETSY: I suppose Venturess is technically gaslight fantasy because it includes magical elements, while pure steampunk is strictly science fiction. But this book actually includes more ‘typical’ steampunk elements than its prequel Mechanica did: there are airships, steampunk-style submarines, and automaton soldiers all over the place in Venturess.

As for inspiration, I learned about steampunk while I was studying fairy tales as an English major in college. I thought that Cinderella was a perfect example of how strict and machine-like the progression to a happy ending is in fairy tales: tortured young girl + dream + magic = marry the prince. I wanted to write a steampunk Cinderella who was an inventor, who could reach into her own story like the chassis of a car and pull it apart and reinvent her own kind of happy ending.

YABM: What is Nicolette’s biggest challenge in the story?

BETSY: Nicolette has achieved her dream of becoming a successful inventor, so one of the central challenges of Venturess is how she’s going to use her success, both personally and ethically. At the beginning of the book, she’s asked to use her position to help the Fey, who the people of her own country are oppressing. Once she’s actually in Faerie, she and her friends meet with several bigger challenges, but I’m afraid most of them are spoilers!

YABM: Mechanica had a strong focus on friendship and discovery, what themes are central in this sequel?

BETSY: Friends making a family together is even more central to Venturess: Nick, Fin, and Caro love each other and face the challenges of changing relationships and priorities together, and you’ll see them becoming even closer and more intimate with each other’s lives. Discovery comes into play again too, especially when they travel to Faerie, and I try to work with themes of colonialism and human rights to the best of my ability.

YABM: If Venturess were set in modern times, what music would Nicolette be listening to during her free time?

BETSY: Ooh, that’s a great question! I think she’d really like Ingrid Michaelson and The Decemberists.

YABM: Tell me about your writing process.

BETSY: I drafted my first novel in the high-output/low-expectations environment of National Novel Writing Month (a program that I recommend to anyone dreaming of writing or finishing their first book). I still use a lot of the skills I learned from NaNoWriMo: mostly to push any perfectionism aside as aggressively as possible in order to get that horrible first draft finished. I try to write at least 1,000 to 1,500 words per day when I’m drafting, and to work as early in the day as possible. I enjoy editing much more, so it’s really getting to that complete first draft that’s the biggest challenge.

authorWebsite|Twitter|Facebook|Goodreads|Tumblr

Hi! I’m Betsy Cornwell, an American writer and teacher living in a stove-heated cottage in west Ireland, together with my horse trainer spouse, a small herd of dairy goats, and an increasing number of other animals. I write fiction and nonfiction and blog about Irish folklore, travel, wild food, goats (of course!), homesteading, and growing up.

giveaway3 winners will receive a finished copy of VENTURESS. US Only.

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Happy reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Happily Ever After by Kelly Oram

Exactly two years ago, a little book titled Cinder & Ella made its way onto Amazon. And then it exploded, making it’s way to # 1 on Amazon in all of its categories and even hitting the top 20 on all of Amazon. (Way to go Cinder & Ella!)

And nearly every day of the two years since its release, author Kelly Oram has received requests for an epilogue or a short story or something–anything–that would give readers more of their beloved Brian (aka Cinder) & Ella.

It may have taken 2 years, but Kelly has finally decided to grant all of those requests, which means:

Cinder & Ella is getting a SEQUEL!!

That’s right people, there’s a whole second book coming! But that’s not all. Not only has the book been announced, it’s less than 5 months away, and today we’re revealing the cover and blurb!

Along with this cover reveal the first book, Cinder & Ella, is also getting a new look. They’ve redesigned the cover to match the sequel.

THIS:
CINDER_ELLA_cover_FINAL

IS NOW THIS:cinder_ella_reboot_coverAMAZON & KINDLE UNLIMITED

Written by the inestimable Kelly Oram, Cinder & Ella is a contemporary Cinderella re-telling set in present day Hollywood.

4.8 out of 5 stars with over 1,500 reviews on Amazon!

synWhat would you do if your anonymous Internet best friend turned out to be Hollywood’s hottest celebrity?

Cinder458: Your blogaversary is coming up, right?
EllaTheRealHero: Do all those Hollywood friends of yours know you use words like blogaversary?
Cinder458: Of course not. I need your address. Got you a blogaversary present.

Cinder got me a gift?
My heart flipped.
Not that I was in love with my Internet best friend or anything. That would be utterly ridiculous. The boy was cocky and stubborn and argued with everything I said just to be infuriating. He also had lots of money, dated models—which meant he had to be hot—and was a closet book nerd.
Funny, rich, hot, confident, book lover. Definitely not my type. Nope. Not at all.

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

***

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

With a heartwarming online celebrity romance reminiscent of Jennifer E. Smith’s This Is What Happy Looks Like, bestselling young adult author Kelly Oram has struck gold with her new adult contemporary retelling of the timeless fairytale classic Cinderella.

“A story that has it all: tears, laughs, sparks and a drop-dead swoonworthy hero. Give it a while and DreamWorks will pick up this story for a movie adaption, no doubt.” Anna Katmore, Author of Play With Me & Neverland

“Both funny and heart-wrenching, Cinder and Ella will give you all the feels. It’s the best twist on the Cinderella tale I have come across. I am not just a fan of Kelly Oram. I am an addict.” Cassie Mae, author of Switched & How To Hook A Bookworm

“Cinder & Ella is a beautiful modern-day fairytale with a great cast of characters that made me laugh and swoon. It had me staying up late at night to read just one more chapter, and at the end, I was left with a big grin on my face.” Cindi Madsen, USA Today Bestselling Author of Falling For Her Fiancé & Cinderella Screwed Me Over

If this hasn’t convinced you to check this book out, you can preview the prologue and first chapter by reading along with Kelly Oram.

hea_coverRelease Date: February 14, 2017
Buy Links: Signup to Kelly Oram’s NEWSLETTER to be notified upon release.

syn

The end of one story is often the beginning of another. Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver and his Cinderella princess Ellamara Rodriguez have finally found love outside the digital world. But leaving their anonymity behind creates a whole new set of obstacles for the nation’s new favorite sweethearts. With the stress of Brian’s fame and the pressures of a new relationship weighing down on them, the It Couple quickly begins to wonder if they can hold on to their newfound joy, or if maybe happily ever after is only a fairy tale.

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Enter this Rafflecopter to win a signed copy of Cinder & Ella WITH THE NEW COVER.

authorKELLY_pic_2_FULL_SIZEKelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen—a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

Don’t miss the latest news from Kelly Oram! Sign up for her newsletter to receive e-mail notifications for all of her new releases, events, sales, & giveaways. This is a monthly newsletter often with exclusive giveaways and freebies from some of her favorite authors.

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Romantic reading, 

Jordan

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Chasing Midnight-Courtney King Walker

Chasing Midnight by Courtney King WalkerChasing Midnight by Courtney King WalkerGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Chasing Midnight 
by Courtney King Walker
Publication Date: January 12, 2016

Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing

synWISH LIST

  1. The biggest, fanciest house on Sea View Drive.
  2. Nike Flyknits.
  3. A ski-jump nose.
  4. My own car. A new BMW.
  5. Be a total pro at the piano.
  6. James Odera to like me. Be James Odera’s girlfriend.
  7. Get Spencer’s lungs fixed.

Mackenzie Love dreams of being a “lucky one”—someone who has the perfect life. Someone who doesn’t have to worry about money, a sick brother, or her high school status. So when a mysterious visitor offers to make all her wishes come true, Mackenzie jumps at the chance. But the royal lifestyle may cost more than Mackenzie is willing to pay in this modern twist on the classic Cinderella story.

ExcerptSuddenly, my ears buzz and go blank, blocking the noise around me, almost like my head has been plunged underwater.

Cale looks at me sideways. I shake my head, trying to knock the silence free.

“Is this what you wish for?” a voice booms in my head deep and smoky, every syllable alive like the air has been awakened from a deep sleep.

I turn around, knowing that distinctive voice, that spicy aroma. “You,” I say, staring straight into eyes the color of midnight, feeling myself already simmering in the scent of roasted hazelnuts. Bird Lady. Her Mohawk hair is as majestic as before, maybe even more like a jay’s tuft now. With a long, black dress that bleeds into cobalt blue at her feet, she blends into the crowd like she’s always been part of it. My eyes go straight to her bare neck, where her dark skin glimmers gold under the strobe lights above.

Is she here to reclaim her lost charm?

Before I have a chance to confess the whereabouts of her necklace, however, the room freezes with everyone in it—everyone except for Bird Lady and me.

I scan left then right, wondering if we are the only two aware that the room has been placed on pause. Cale still holds his drink to his lips, a grin stuck on his face. Fritz is mid-action, in the middle of wiping off the counter, his fingers clamped around a cloth. The music has even stopped, along with the

hum of voices and the clanking of silver on china. I wait for an explanation, wait for the world to start up again . . . for music to ignite from the grand piano tucked into the corner beneath the winding staircase, or for the murmur of conversations to begin again.

But everything seems stuck.

The glass cone buzzes in my hands, the only thing here that seems real. My mind is blank; for some reason I can’t think of anything except the Bird Lady. I close my eyes, waiting for a cue . . . for something to click in my mind and tell me what to do next, other than remain here in a sea of paralyzed limbs.

When I open my eyes again, Bird Lady is still staring at me.

“What’s happening?” I ask her, my voice carrying across the room to the other side then bouncing off the wall and back at me.

“Look,” she says, pointing at the crowd. “You’ll see in a minute.”

I spin around and scan the faces, looking for something. She steps backward, as if giving me space. The glass cone slips from my hand and hits the counter as the piercing sound of glass bouncing off stone fills the room. I’m about to demand some kind of explanation, but my words die on my tongue the

instant I recognize, even from this distance, the profile of a girl standing in the center of the crowd, at the center of attention.

The girl . . . is me.

A prettier version of me, but still, me.

I rush past Bird Lady toward the crowd, but halt at the sound of her voice.

“Don’t get too close,” she warns. “It’s only a glimpse. She will vanish if you push it.”

“A glimpse . . . ,” I repeat, wondering how I am seeing what I’m seeing.

Seeing me.

Yet there I am—wedged in between James and Brecke, a pink bubbly in my hand and what looks like a laugh ready to burst from my mouth.

My nose is different—small and ski-jump perfect, my long, dark hair smoother and stick-straight, still resting slightly above my elbows like it is now. I’m wearing a black halter dress, the taffeta skirt reaching all the way to my toes, my shoulders bare. The whole group is there beside me and I am at the center, the look in my eyes one of belonging, of being adored.

Of being a lucky one.

“Is this what you want?” Bird Lady says again, her voice everywhere, somewhere in the air, floating around me.

My breath is gone, my body is immobile, but my mind still spins. “I don’t know,” I answer, acutely aware of the sour feeling still twisting my stomach after my encounter with James and the lucky ones.

“You have to know. Some time or other.” Bird Lady glides even closer to me until her cinnamon scent starts to burn my eyes. “What will you give?” she asks.

“What?” I ask, confused, tears from my burning eyes blurring my vision.

“Nothing is free, my dear. What’s your offer?”

“I . . . I don’t know,” I say, my mind stuck in this fog. My eyes losing focus. My gaze falling back on the other me—the girl in the middle of the crowd—the girl who has everything.

“It’s your choice. You have until midnight to start the clock.”

“What clock?” “The necklace. Make your offer and put the charm around your neck, child. When you awake, it will have begun.”

teaserChasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker

“Be careful what you wish for. . . . A modern Cinderella story that will charm its way into your heart and make you second-guess the grass you think is greener.”
— Jennifer Murgia, author of Forest of Whispers

On Sale!

Looking for a romantic read? Grab Courtney King Walker’s debut young adult novel, ON THE FRINGE, for just 0.99 cents! It’s a YA ghost story, where your first embrace could be your last…

On the Fringe by Courtney King Walker

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authCourtney King Walker

Courtney King Walker grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area building rocket ships and rafts out of cardboard, hoping to make it the moon or at least Niagara Falls. But a trip across the border to Tijuana was as exciting as it ever got, so she decided writing about adventure was the next best thing. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and four children, and still dreams of flying to the moon. She is the author of the young adult novel, ON THE FRINGE, and middle grade novel MOLLY PEPPER AND THE NIGHT TRAIN. Her next YA novel, CHASING MIDNIGHT, will be published January 12, 2016 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 giveawayWinner will receive a signed physical copy of CHASING MIDNIGHT and $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

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Keep reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: Mechanica-Betsy Cornwell

Mechanica-higher-qualityGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

cooltext1889161239 copyNicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Clarion Books

Mechanica is a magical and enchanting retelling of the classic Cinderella story. 

PROS:

  • From the first page, I was hooked. The steampunk twist on Cinderella coupled with fae magic and romance was an enthralling, whimsical mashup. You know that sweet, wonder that takes over when you experience something so dazzling and magical that you’re flooded with warmth and happiness? Mechanica did that for me. 
  • Jules, the steampunk bugs, the quirky engineering and mysterious darkness of the ashes added something really special to the story. The surprise and excitement, the wide-eyed curiosity at the spectacle that was Nick and her mother’s creations were beyond creative and reinforced the severed connection between mother and daughter. Each invention has a life of its own. The life brought to the cogs and levers made each new creation feel special and lovable. 
  • Nick (Mechanica) is a very modern woman. She thrives on engineering books and physics, she wants to make something of herself, open her own business, to create, and be a successful entrepreneur. Nick recognizes the dire, horrible reality of her situation and makes the best of it, she builds and rebuilds, she’s resilient and won’t let anyone beat her down. No matter the tragedy, Nick hold her head high and plans for a better future. Nick yearns for companionship and lost love. She puts her heart into her work and dismisses her sadness. Nick’s ultimate decision made me incredibly proud. You don’t expect it and yet, it fits, it’s perfect. 
  • Caro is irresistably charming and kind. She’s the sultry best friend any girl needs and the best companion for Nick. Their friendship is sweet and compassionate. 
  • Fin is an enigma that is almost broody at times and flirty others. He’s artistic and poised, kind. The brewing chemistry between Nick and Fin is slow, steady, and a little like love.

CONS:

  • Parts were predictable and took away from the surprise factor. 
  • The underlying prejudice and blossoming war with the fae was extremely important and fell into the background. The truth of the ashes was left unanswered. 
  • The weird sort of ménage romance was off-putting and bizarre. It kind of felt thrown in to round out the story. How Nick could be okay with that despite her obsession with the fae notion of family was hard to understand.
  • Typically, the step sisters and stepmother and terrible, ridiculously cruel people but there was barely enough interaction to truly despise them. The stepmother had a small role and while their destruction was devastating and huge, their general impression in the story was tiny.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Keep reading,

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