Guest Post & Giveaway: Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

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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

Guest Post: On Writing Strong Female Characters and Other Musings by Jennifer Siddoway

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As Rory Gilmore once said, “I live in two worlds, one is a world of books.” I have never felt more connected to a character than in that moment, because I too, have lived a hundred different lives through the beautifully crafted pages of a novel. An author’s ability to paint a world with words is something that amazes me to this day, and will continue to do so for years to come.

I never thought that I would become an author, not even in my wildest dreams. Sometimes it still feels like I’m an imposter who has infiltrated this community and has not yet been discovered for the fraud she is. Yet, here I am about to release book two in the Earthwalker Trillogy and it finally feels like I’m treading water.

The heroine in this series, Wynn Hendricks, is a headstrong, fiery redhead who desperately wants to finish high school when a Demon Lord shows up in her bedroom and declares her soul his property. To regain her freedom, she must conquer the seven deadly sins. In doing so, she finds herself caught between the realms of Heaven, Hell, and Earth, with the angel Caleb as her only ally.

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I’m a big fan of strong female characters, and in Wynn’s story I really wanted to show her rising above this terrible situation and coming out on top. She doesn’t need a knight in shining armor to protect her, but would rather have someone love and support her while she rescues herself. Her journey covers a three-book arc that I’m hoping will show growth and depth of character over time. Each of the Demon Lords are unique and come at her in different ways, which I found fascinating to write about. I didn’t want the straightforward, hand over fist, showdown that you’d expect. They’re clever and come at her sideways, hoping that Wynn will become overconfident or make some fatal mistake. One of the things I like about them is that they do not make idle threats. Aidan and the other Demon Lords follow through on what they promise and that is terrifying, especially when they don’t play by the rules – nothing is off the table.

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After tragedy strikes the Hendricks family, Wynn leaves for college, hoping the Demon Lords follow her. She is reunited with Caleb after his fall from grace. Now, they no longer have to hide their feelings for one another. Together, they prepare for Wynn’s three remaining trials and encounter another demon who has infiltrated the Mortal Realm. Charlene is strong and beautiful, with complete control of her demonic powers – everything Wynn hopes to achieve one day.

The Demon Lords aren’t holding back, but they’re not the only ones who are conspiring against her. Maya is on the warpath and blames Wynn for Caleb’s decision to leave. Wynn learns that to defeat Aidan once and for all will come at a terrible price, taking her away from the ones she loves most.

With the help of some unlikely allies, can Wynn defeat the Demon Lords and finally make Aidan pay?

ExcerptHis lips broke from mine and left a trail of kisses down my neck, sending a jolt of hot confusion coursing through my body. Electric tingles ran up and down along my spine in a delicious need to hold him and have his body pressed against me. I tilted my head to give him better access and let out an involuntary sigh. “Caleb …” l breathed out dreamily.

“I love you.”

He cradled my face in his hands and pulled away briefly so that he could whisper, “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to hear you say that.”

I breathed out a ragged laugh before kissing him again and losing myself completely in his touch. My body ignited beneath his hands and I all I could think about was this magnificent creature had pledged himself to me. His lips were on me once again, and I wrapped myself around him like a snake in another one of his passionate kisses. A moment later, I felt myself being lifted off the ground as he carried me back into the apartment.

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authorJennifer SiddowayWebsite/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter

Jennifer is an author from Tallahassee, Florida who writes paranormal romance and fantasy novels for young adults. She is a member of both Gulf Coast Authors and the Florida Writers Association.

After receiving a degree in theatre and working as a scenic artist for twelve years, she changed careers to do what she really loves—writing. Jennifer believes that part of her job as an artist and story teller is to create a narrative that explores a fresh perspective and leaves the audience thinking.

Even as a child, she has always been intrigued by Grimm’s Fairy Tales and particularly enjoys a twist on an established plot. When she’s not busy writing or burying her nose in a book, Jennifer enjoys doing medieval reenactment with her husband and two children.

 

 

Release Day Blitz: The Queen by C.J. Abedi

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In the stunning conclusion to the Fae trilogy, Caroline and Devilyn fight to preserve their love despite dark forces threatening to tear them apart.

“An epic end to a phenomenal series.” —Margaret Stohl, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures

As Caroline struggles to accept her rightful place as Queen of the Light Fae, her relationship with Devilyn, son of the Dark King, seems not only doomed, but dangerous. They know their connection is undeniable, but for others, their love is an insidious threat.


Trapped in a plot concocted by the Dark King Alderon and his evil associate, Puck, Caroline must search her history and develop her own powers in order to survive. And as Devilyn’s father appeals to the Dark inside his son, Caroline fears Devilyn will succumb to those Dark instincts before they can defeat Alderon.


Weaving together narratives from Caroline and Devilyn’s pasts as well as their present, The Queen finishes the fight between Light and Dark. Will Caroline and Devilyn’s love outlast the war? And will Caroline live to rule as the Queen of the Light?

 Other Books in this Series

In this YA bestseller, optioned for film by Ridley Scott, the battle between Light and Dark is about to begin.
Caroline Ellis’ sixteenth birthday sets into motion a series of events that have been fated for centuries. A descendant of Virginia Dare, the first child born in the lost colony of Roanoke, and unaware of her birthright as the heir to the throne of the Light Fae, it isn’t until Caroline begins a tumultuous relationship with Devilyn Reilly that the truth of her heritage is revealed.
 
Devilyn is the only Fae who is both of the Light and of the Dark, and struggles to maintain that precarious balance to avoid succumbing to the power of the Dark within him. He is the only one who can save Caroline from those who would destroy her and destroy all hope for unity among the Fae. He promises Caroline that he will protect her at all costs, even when it means protecting her from himself. Told from the alternating perspectives of Caroline and Devilyn, FAE draws on mysteries, myths and legends to create a world, and a romance, dangerously poised between Light and Dark.

BOOK TWO 

author

Colet Abedi has been an entertainment industry executive for over ten years. In addition to working on many television programs for NBC, ABC, FOX, and most cable networks, she is best known for her work as head writer for the telenovela serials American Heiress and Fashion House, the latter of which starred Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild, on the FOX-owned MyNetworkTV. Abedi currently has a series in television syndication, Unsealed: Alien Files and has completed Five Souls, her first feature film. She is also the author of romance novel, MAD LOVE. Colet is a native of California, graduated with a B.A. in English literature from the University of California at Irvine, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three dogs. 

Jasmine Abedi is an entertainment attorney, and has worked with entertainment powerhouses such as Fox, NBCUniversal, ABC, MTV and E! for the past 14 years. She has also worn many different hats in the entertainment industry, with Executive Producer credits for the television programs Posh Tots and the pilots Club Bounce (TruTV), Divas (VH-1), and Life With The Clarks (CMT). In addition to writing, she has also partnered with a law school friend to create the natural cosmetic company Generation Klean, Inc. Their products can be found online at www.generationklean.com and at major retailers (Whole Foods, Fred Segal etc.) nationwide.

 Magical reading, 
Jordan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release Day Blitz: Crash by Sloane Murphy

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Release Date: November 23rd, 2016

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Addie 

In that once moment everything changed. Everything I thought I knew shattered with just a few words.

Who knew the truth could be so devastating. 

I need to decide which side to take. But can I even trust myself?

Xander 

She’s gone, but I’ll scorch the earth to find her if that’s what it takes. 

I‘ll call upon friend and foe for the battle that is to come. The fires of hell couldn’t keep me from her and whoever thinks they can take what is mine, is going to regret it for all time.

One thing is for sure. The Crash could ruin us all.

Excerpt

“Where are we?” I ask, looking around at the beauty surrounding me. I don’t know that I’ve been anywhere so calming, so serene. I look out over the view in front of me. When we broke through the trees I was met with grass mixed with rocks and a small pool, fed by a waterfall.

“Xander, this place is beautiful!” I say twirling around before running and jumping into his arms, peppering his face with small, chaste kisses. He twirls me in circles before lowering me back to the ground, then gathering my face in his hands and kissing me. Different this time, deeper, firm but still gentle.

“It is nothing compared to you, but I thought you might like it. I came across it while I was out on my last scout. I saw it and thought of you.” He says, resting his forehead on mine. His lips are so close they tease me, just out of reach, and each moment I crave them more. The butterflies in my stomach take flight and I close my eyes to hide the emotion I know he’ll see there.

“Don’t hide from me Addie. You never have to hide, not from me.” He says gripping my chin. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than in this moment. “You make me feel again, its been a long time since I could say that. Even if no-one else knows, I always want you to know that I love you. I will love you until my lungs give out. Until there is nothing more than dust on this earth, and long after that still. I will never love again like I love you.”

authorBy day, Sloane Murphy works full time as an account manager and by night writes escapism in the form of Paranormal Romance, all while looking after her fur baby & Mr M. She was born and raised in England along with 2 sisters, 2 brothers and a plethora of cousins, and comes from a REALLY big family!

Sloane is currently working on the Immortal Chronicle series, alongside some other Top Secret projects too. She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

Goodreads/Website/Facebook

EBOOK

Amazon/AmazonUK

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Six hundred years after The Outbreak, the human population stand side by side with the Fae & the Vampyrs to stop the Demon King from starting a second Dark War. 

Seventeen year old Adelaide Tate is in her last year of the Academy, with her eyes set on becoming part of the Red Guard. 

Who cares that no female has ever joined? 

When a dark force develops an unhealthy liking for her, Adelaide needs to fight for her life and figure out what makes her so different from the others. 

Betrayal. Fear. Anger. 

She must overcome it all in order to turn her world the right way around again. 

Adelaide has one choice. Accept the help offered to her by Xander Bane, or face the Demon Hoard alone. 

One thing is for sure. The descent will be bloody.

Fantastic reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: Fates Entwined by Jules Barnard

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They can never be together. The notion is laughable. Humans are inferior, a scourge on the Fae and on the magic passed down to them by angels millennia ago. And if Keen finds himself drawn to the tiny human female,
he keeps it to himself. He won’t add to the half-breed problem that threatens his people’s existence.
 
Reese can’t stand Keen. He criticizes her clothing, won’t answer a straight question, and is too handsome for her peace of mind.
 
Her entire life, people have pegged Reese for a shallow, ditzy blond. She won’t accept the stereotype from the large, arrogant Fae too. But after Keen saves her life, she begins to question what truly lies beneath his stoic demeanor.
 
Forced together, Keen and Reese fight to survive among enemies, and Keen makes choices Reese couldn’t have predicted. She glimpses a side of him that is protective and dangerously seductive.
 
But Keen refuses to acknowledge their connection.
 
Until he’s faced with the decision to betray his people, or lose Reese forever.
 
*This mature YA series is intended for readers 17 years and older.
 
**Each Halven Rising novel features a different couple and may be read as a standalone, but an overreaching story arc connects the series, so it’s fun to read them in order.**
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review

3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review

+++This is listed as Mature YA, but I would definitely put it in the New Adult range. Explict scenes.

Reese is hardcore. She’s confident, bold, a fighter, and not afraid to speak her mind. She challenges and gives back and much as she gets. She’ll never let anyone force her to do something she doesn’t want to. Her bravery is intense. She is clever and happy with herself despite her past hurts. Reese has sass for days. Her dialogue is funny, emotionally charged, and she’s a master at those fighting words. 

Keen is set in his ways. He has biased views of Halven and solid ideas about a woman’s place, but Reese throws him off-center. From the minute he meets her, she changes his world and he opens his eyes past his prejudice. Keen is sexy, flirty, and completely commanding. He brings the heat and together with Reese, it’s explosive.

The love hate is strong. No matter how hard they try to deny themselves, the stronger the attraction grows. They nag and badger each other. They say horrible things. They fight, sometimes physically, but the chemistry is insane. Their romance is a battle they’re happy to lose. 

I would have liked stronger back story for both of the main characters. Keen’s story is particularly intriguing, sad, and super dark and yet, it’s pretty much glossed over. The politics of Halven and each of the kingdoms would have been better defined had Keen’s relationship been more clear. The drama between kingdoms, their unique features, the kind of fae who reside in each realm, all of that was tucked into the story offhand and barely elaborated on. A little more world building would have added to the severity of each threat and explained the animosity between groups. 

The pacing was staggered. After the initial adrenaline rush and uncertainty of the first scene, it takes a while for things to develop. The time Reese spends training and whatnot goes by so slow, despite the budding chemistry between her and Keen.

Other Books in the Series

 author
RITA-nominated author Jules Barnard began her publishing career in 2014 with Deep Blue, the first book in the contemporary Blue Series, hitting bestseller lists on Amazon, iBooks, and All Romance. In 2015, she launched Fates Divided, the first of a romantic fantasy series Library Journal calls “…an exciting new fantasy adventure.” Whether she’s writing about beautiful Lake Tahoe or a Fae world embedded in a college campus, Jules spins suspenseful stories filled with realistic characters who have heart and humor.

When Jules isn’t in her sweatpants writing and rewarding herself with chocolate, she spends her time with her husband and two children in their small hometown on the California coast. She credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.
 
Fantastic reading, 
Jordan
 
 
 
 
 

 

ARC Review: Spindle by Shonna Slayton

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In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger.

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness—and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.

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review

3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Entangled and NetGalley

Briar is determined, nostalgic, and responsible. She adores her siblings and will do everything and make insane sacrifices just to keep them close. Briar is so unlike the original sleeping beauty; she’s a fighter and constantly on the lookout to improve her situation. She cares so deeply-she’s a heroine anyone can get behind. 

Henry Prince. He’s attentive, thoughtful, playful, and always a joy. Every time he came around the world was a better, brighter place, not only for Briar, but for the reader. BUT there’s nowhere near enough of him. His family history is a shocking and pleasant surprise. THAT story needed a more prominent place in the overall narrative, but it gets a quick summary that does not do it justice. 

Romance is an afterthought and it works well. Briar spends quite a bit of time mulling over a guy that’s all wrong for her and misses what’s right in front of her face. It may drive you crazy that she’s so blind, but it’s believable and sweet how oblivious she is. 

There’s a lot going on in this story. So much, that it gets a bit lost. Between the fairy tale elements and woman’s suffrage, the focus is skewed and it becomes less like fantasy, more historical. At the same time, there’s not enough in either arena to make a connection with the secondary characters. There are fleeting moments that give you some insight into their personality but then it flips to something new. 

The pacing was moderate to slow for the most part and then super slow. It takes forever to pick up from that introductory fairy tale feel. The Sleeping Beauty retelling kind of lurks in the background. Towards the end, the fairy tale magic explodes off the pages and sucks you right in. It’s dark, it’s twisted, and the toxic power of the spindle is unexpected. I wish these elements would have picked up sooner. 

Overall, Spindle is an enjoyable read that will keep you guessing and hoping for that happily ever after. 

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

Charming reading, 

Jordan

New Cover Reveal & Contest: A Raven’s Touch by Linda Bloodworth

A Raven's Touch by Linda BloodworthGet It Here!

The cover was created by Amanda Walker. Feel free to ask her questions about her pre-made covers. Linda says she is fantastic to work with, honest, and super friendly. She also offers PA services, so do check her out.

synBullied through high school, seventeen-year-old Justice St. Michaels is grateful for the help of her best friend Moira O’Fhey. Together they’re just managing to scrape through the nightmare they call high school. Between Justice’s bizarre body changes and being involved in explosive school fights, things are going from bad to worse. Darien Raventhorn arrives on the scene only to add fuel to an already burning question—has Justice been living a lie her whole life? Thrust into an unwanted revenge mission Justice must avenge a family death, embrace her birthright, and slay a demon before all Hell breaks loose.

authorLinda Bloodworth loves chips, like really, ketchup to be exact. Ketchup chips are only found in Canada. Lucky for Linda she lives in Toronto with her husband and three fur babies. In between writing, debating for hours about the Oxford comma, and the misunderstood semi colon, Linda enjoys camping and getting away from the city on day trips.

Here’s the only picture that Linda will allow:
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CONTEST TIME!! – THIS IS A 2 PART CONTEST

HOW TO ENTER: 
1. Post a screen shot of your confirmation order for A Raven’s Touch in the comment section on Linda’s BLOG: https://lindabloodworth.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/cover-reveal-a-ravens-touch-linda-bloodworth-contest
It doesn’t matter when you’ve purchased the book now or before.

2. Subscribe to her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bLecmr. PLEASE MAKE SURE SHE CAN IDENTIFY YOU. Your screen shot + sign up name should be the same. You MUST approve the subscription email you receive.

PRIZE:
A $3 Amazon Gift Card!

TIMING:
Linda will randomly pick the winner Oct. 23 @ 10 AM ET.

Thank you so much everyone! Linda can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Please leave a review on Amazon or any other retailer. Your review is INCREDIBLY important and helps Linda out as an author. Let the contest begin!

Magical reading, 

Jordan