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.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading, 

Jordan

Advertisements

Excerpt & Giveaway: The Quest to the Uncharted Lands by Jaleigh Johnson

THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDSThe Quest to the Unchartered LandsAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Goodreads

syn

From the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly comes another magical and thrilling story that takes readers on an exciting new adventure.

Stella Glass dreams of exploring worlds beyond her home of Solace, but when her famous parents are sent on a historic mission to the Uncharted Lands, it’s simply too dangerous for her to join them. By order of the king, she is left behind.

Missing out on the excitement is one thing, but Stella is devastated at the thought of her parents flying into the unknown. So she takes matters into her own hands. Instead of staying with family as planned, she steals away and–right before takeoff–sneaks aboard the airship.

But Stella isn’t the only stowaway. In the cargo bay is a boy who is also desperate to get to the Uncharted Lands. And someone else who’s determined to keep the ship from making it there at all. . . .

Excerpt

This was it. All her weeks of planning, lying awake at night for hours, worrying over the details she might have missed, wondering if, when the moment came, she would actually have the skill and courage to pull this off, or if she would be caught and forced to stay behind.

No, she wouldn’t let that happen. Her parents were setting off on a journey into unknown territory. She had to go with them.

Because how would she bear it if they never came back?

The matches shook in Stella’s hands. She closed her eyes and forced down the sudden panic that swept over her. It’s all right, she told herself. Pretend this is nothing more than an experiment in the lab. Follow the steps—one by one. Everything was in place. She just had to strike the match and begin.

Opening her eyes, Stella felt a veil of calm settle over her. She lifted her hands and struck the match, and with a crackle, a bright flame sprang to life in front of her eyes. Before she could change her mind, she touched it to the fuse.

A bead of orange engulfed the string and started to burn. Stella jumped to her feet, running to the next one, and the next. When all four fuses were lit and burning toward the smoke bombs, she stuffed the matches into her alchemy case and moved quickly out of the grove

and across the palace lawn, careful to hurry but not run.

In her head, she began to count. From the experiments she’d conducted, she judged that she had about forty seconds before the smoke grew thick enough to attract someone’s attention. Forty seconds   to weave through the crowd and get to the ship.

Now thirty. Twenty.

With ten seconds left in her count, a scream tore through the humid afternoon air.

“Fire! Someone, help! Fire!”

Stella sped up her pace. One by one, faces in the crowd began turning from the ship toward the grove. To keep up appearances, and because she wanted to see how visible the smoke screen was, Stella turned with them. A jolt of satisfaction went through her when she saw the thick gray clouds twisting toward the sky, obscuring the speared tips of the cypress trees.

More panicked shouts rang out, the crowd ahead of her thinning as people either ran toward the smoke or tried to back away to a safe distance. Palace guards shoved people aside as they ran toward the imaginary fire.

Stella turned back to the ship. The way was suddenly clear in front of her. The laborers who’d been loading cargo had gone to help put out the fire. There wasn’t a guard in sight to block her way or a chamelin watching from the sky. Her stomach pitched, but Stella forced her

feet to keep moving, counting her steps in her head.

One.

She reached the rope line barring everyone from the ship.

Two.

She ducked under, rising to her feet on the other side. Three.

The cargo bay of the ship loomed before her, dozens of crates still arranged in neat piles on the lawn. Casting one last furtive glance around her, Stella ran up the gangplank and into the dark belly of the ship.

The Iron Glory, flagship of the Dragonfly territories

and symbol of its fragile peace with the Merrow Kingdom, was going to be the first vessel in Solace history to make it across the Hiterian Mountains to the uncharted lands.

And Stella Glass wasn’t letting her parents go without her. She would be the first stowaway to see what was waiting on the other side of that range.

OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR 

The Mark of The DragonflyAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Audible/Goodreads

[STAR] “This magnetic middle-grade debut . . . [is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
[STAR] “Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum.”

Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
[STAR] “A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic. . . . Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot.”

School Library Journal, Starred
 
A complex and impeccably developed plot—there is plenty to recommend in this novel.”

The Bulletin
 
Appealing characters and lots of action make it a good choice for young adventure readers.”

Booklist 

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect–everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

SECRECTS OFAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Audible/Goodreads

An engaging world rich in detail, mayhem, and adventure…All aboard for fantasy lovers with a dual penchant for girl power and keeping up with the Indiana Joneses.”

Kirkus Reviews

From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.
   

Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.
   

Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.
   

And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.
   

Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.

Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever. 

authorJaleighWebsite | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

Jaleigh Johnson is a fantasy novelist living and writing in the wilds of the Midwest.  Her middle grade debut novel The Mark of the Dragonfly is a New York Times bestseller, was chosen for the ABA 2014 Spring Indie Next list, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 20 Children’s Books of 2014.  Her other books in the Solace series from Delacorte Press include The Secrets of Solace and The Quest to the Uncharted Lands.  She has also written several novels and short stories for the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fiction line published by Wizards of the Coast.  Johnson is an avid gamer and lifelong geek, and in her spare time she also enjoys traveling, reading, baking, and going to movies with her husband.  Visit her online at www.jaleighjohnson.com.  Photo credit: Mark Jones.

giveaway

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDS, US Only.

   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Week Two:

6/26/2017- YA Book Madness- Excerpt

6/27/2017- Book-Keeping- Review

6/28/2017- Bibliobakes- Review

Week Three:

7/3/2017- The Desert Bibliophile- Review

7/4/2017- Savings in Seconds- Review

7/5/2017- Jrsbookreviews- Review

7/6/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

7/7/2017- Seraphina Reads- Excerpt

 

Happy reading,

Jordan

iBooks Exclusive Release: Steamborn-Eric R. Asher

 syn
Jacob, a tinker’s apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.
 
A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob’s closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city’s elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

Exclusively at iBooks for a limited time for 99¢.

iBooks 

Releases to other platforms on December 1st, 2015
 
Steamforged (Book Two) 
Exclusive iBooks release date of January 19th, 2016.
Pre-order: iBooks
 
Steamsworn (Book Three) 
Exclusive iBooks release date of March 22nd, 2016.
Pre-order: iBooks
auth
Eric is a former bookseller, guitarist, and comic seller currently living in Saint Louis, Missouri. A lifelong enthusiast of books, music, toys, and games, he discovered a love for the written word after being dragged to the library by his parents at a young age. When he is not writing, you can usually find him reading, gaming, or buried beneath a small avalanche of Transformers.
Keep reading, 
Jordan

Cover Reveals: Steamborn Series- Eric R. Asher

Young Adult/Teen Steampunk
Cover Artist: Enggar Adirasa
 

Jacob, a tinker’s apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the massive city walls. The towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters rise higher into the peaks every year. More and more they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.

A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob’s closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city’s elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

Exclusive iBooks release date of November 19th and special 99¢ pre-order price: http://apple.co/1hQrAwi
 Pre-Order/Goodreads
synThere are old wounds in the forgotten places of the world, and some are soaked in blood.

Jacob and his allies flee into the Deadlands after the fall of Ancora. Charles, the enigmatic smith, hopes to find answers in the desert city of Bollwerk that could prevent a war.

Their enemies are many, and here Jacob will learn the cost of life in the Deadlands. 

Exclusive iBooks release date of January 19th, 2016.
 

synThe world dies in war only to be reborn. It is the way of things, and always will be.

Forged in the Deadlands crucible, and armed with the knowledge of their true enemy, Jacob, Alice, and their allies bring the fight back to Ancora. They’ll liberate their homeland, or die trying.

The wounds cut deep in their darkest hour, but in the end, vengeance will light their path. 

Exclusive iBooks release date of March 22nd, 2016.
Pre-order: http://apple.co/1NlSZSf    

Find more from Eric R. Asher…

 Meet Damian Valdis Vesik, necromancer, in the Vesik series. 
Begin the series FREE with Days Gone Bad. 
(Recommended for ages 17+)
auth  
Eric is a former bookseller, guitarist, and comic seller currently living in Saint Louis, Missouri. A lifelong enthusiast of books, music, toys, and games, he discovered a love for the written word after being dragged to the library by his parents at a young age. When he is not writing, you can usually find him reading, gaming, or buried beneath a small avalanche of Transformers.
 
 
 
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:

20958632160968241736813891sx8vyfALL

 

 

 

 

 

Keep reading,

cooltext1754437870 copy

Review: Magience-Cari Silver

Young brunette woman in a park portrait. IR-style colors.Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks/Kobo

cooltext1889161239 copyWhen an empire is at war, growing up means seeing more killing, more magic, and more undead, than a girl could ever wish for. Ellinca has better things to do with her life than fighting a war, but what if she could end the war…

In her search to find out who she is, Ellinca has to dodge soldiers as well as the villainous Hilas Frope, who wants to execute her ASAP. If only he was the end of her problems. The creatures following her may be worse, for among them is the undead.

The empire is falling apart, and every step seems to be taking her in an entirely wrong and incredibly unsafe direction.

cooltext1889172435 copyTeaser2[1]

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Magience is a sprawling epic full of magic and adventure. Coupling a little steam punk with rich fantasy, Magience is an enthralling journey that could easily become a new favorite. 

PROS:

  • The world is complex and intricate. Everything is broken into groups of power and features much like tribes. The civilized vs. the uncivilized. There’s a sort of witch hunt mentality that carries strong through the story. Though there’s tons of terminology, it’s so offhand and put together so well that it doesn’t feel overwhelming, it’s natural. 
  • Mixing metal with magic and set in a world that feels medieval, it was spell-binding, enchanting, rustic, the sheer level of plotting is astounding. I adored the meshing of these science fiction with fantasy, coupled with paranormal and cultural beliefs. 
  • The foreboding and fear is an adrenaline rush. From the first page it’s impossible to put the book down. Each new stage of adventure will leave you with your heart-pounding. Nothing is safe and threats come from all corners. 
  • Animals play a huge role in this story as protectors, companions, and battle buddies. They are kind and the underlying thread about the honesty of animals vs. the deceit of humans was thought-provoking. 
  • Ellinca is quick on her feet but not the fastest thinker. She speaks before she considers the angles and sometimes it makes her look a bit daft-really it shows her age. Ellinca is a compassionate, brave young woman, she has a gigantic heart and always wants to help those in need. Rash, and a bit reckless, Ellinca is constantly in trouble but her relationship with the creatures that love her is heartwarming. There’s something pure and courageous about her, she’s bigger than her small body.
  • Dost. All Dost wants is to live a life of hope and ideals despite his horrific fate. Dost is an inspiration. He lives a life or torment and grotesque reality and yet, he has acute determination and a hero mentality. Dost goes out of his way to watch out for Ellinca, to barter and compromise for a better future. How Ellinca doesn’t see this is beyond me.
  • Ghost weaponry and needles magic is wicked awesome.

CONS:

  • Relationships between characters were cut short and I felt a little let down. I would have liked to have seen more development especially with Ellinca and Pascolli. 
  • The ending felt like a summary. While there’s potential for a sequel, verdict after verdict landed on Ellinca’s head and it felt like an ax. explanations were brief and to the point, there was no argument, simple resignation. 

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

sf20130628-160859.jpg1042909220743003

Throne_of_Glass_UK20498423When Stars Die Cover20911450

cooltext1754437870 copy

Cover Reveal: The Rooftop Inventor by Nooce Miller

The Rooftop Inventor (The STEAMPUNK Adventures of Theodocia Hews – Book 1)
Release date: May 1, 2015
Genre: YA Steampunk Fantasy Romance 
 cooltext1889161239 copy
It’s 1879 and seventeen-year-old Theodocia Hews is out of control. Her inventor father Orin Hews tried to raise her to be a proper lady, but Theo says and does whatever she wants. Since girls aren’t supposed to be inventors, she’s secretly building her own airship up on the roof of their house. When her father is attacked and his valuable invention is stolen, she sets out in her untested airship to get her father’s contraption back. She’d better hurry. Her father’s contract with his buyer expires in three days and without it they’re ruined.
The airship lifts off but things get complicated when Theo finds an unintended passenger aboard. Henry Caracticus Thorne—the thief she’d spotted that morning making off with things in the market—is an altogether unsuitable companion. But he’s unlike anyone she’s ever met before, he’s willing to help, and he’s drop-dead gorgeous. As they soar through the sky in the close quarters of Theo’s airship, it’s not just the steam engine heating up.
Theo has a hunch who took her father’s invention. Will she manage to catch the culprit before it’s too late? What did that strange lightning storm do to Theo and Henry? And will Theo give in to her heart and act on her growing feelings for Henry?
The Adventures of Theodocia Hews is a humorous YA steampunk adventure/romance series set in 1879 Cincinnati in an alternate universe where the evil institution of slavery was abolished shortly after the United States was founded, the Civil War never happened, crazy inventions are commonplace, and steam power rules!

cooltext1889178114 copy
Nooce Miller writes fantasy, speculative fiction, and YA steampunk. Technical writer, lawyer, marketing communications editor, medical writer, she’s held a lot of jobs, but her current gig is the one she likes best—author. Her favorite music to write to is silence because the dialogue turns out better. She’s also fond of birdsong, thunder, and the sound of the wind in the trees. She sees herself as a visually creative person, though others might disagree once they’ve been exposed to the questionable quality of her drawings, paintings, and photography. She drinks a lot of hot Earl Grey tea, usually in the company of her dog Stinky—who never partakes.
She’s lived in six different states and one foreign country. Tiring of so much moving, she undertook to persuade her husband that they should settle down and enjoy the four glorious seasons of her beloved Midwest until their two sons were grown, and lo and behold, it worked.
Cover Reveal Hosted  and Organized by:

Pleasant reading,
cooltext1915142005 copy