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Monday, July 24, 2017

Blog Tour: VENTURESS by Betsy Cornwell An Interview & Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for VENTURESS by Betsy Cornwell! I freaking love this series! 

I have an interview with Betsy to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of VENTURESS? Check it out!

Author: Betsy Cornwell
Pub. Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Young 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.

Now on to the interview!

Hey Betsy!! First I want to say welcome back to Two Chicks on Books I’m glad you could stop by for a chat! VENTURESS was freaking AWESOME and I can’t wait for everyone to read it!

For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about the events leading up to VENTURESS and the characters?

Okay first of all, thank you so much! It’s always a huge relief to hear that someone enjoyed your new book. Since VENTURESS is a standalone novel - meaning that you don’t have to read MECHANICA first to understand what’s happening - I wanted to put a little bit of space in between the first book in the series and this one.

VENTURESS kicks off a year after the end of MECHANICA, on the eve of the annual ball and scientific exposition. The heroine, Nick, is a successful inventor living happily with her clockwork horse and other steampunk animal companions in the heart of the royal city. Her best friends/family unit, Caro and Fin, are both wrapped up in their own challenges: a new romance for Caro, and all sorts of political trouble for Fin. There’s a war between their country and Faerie, and at the ball Nick receives a secret message begging for help with the resistance.

So is this the end for Nicolette and the crew? And if it is what are you working on now?

VENTURESS is the last book with these main characters, but I’m not quite done with the world of Esting and Faerie: you might see Nick and her friends popping up in the background of future books. I’ve just wrapped up revisions on a girl-Robin-Hood retelling called THE FOREST QUEEN that’s set in Esting 200 years before Nick was born. (You might notice little references to the Forest Queen’s story in both MECHANICA and VENTURESS.)

Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

I think there are little pieces of many people from my life in all of my characters, but I don’t tend to base them directly on just one person. I certainly met plenty of strong and smart young women inventors at Smith, where I went to college: it was the first college in the country to offer an all-women’s engineering program. I definitely think Nick would fit right in with that group of Smithies.

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

I always love writing Jules, Nick’s mechanical horse. It was probably even more fun to write about him in VENTURESS than it was in MECHANICA, because he spends all his time actual-horse-sized instead of tiny and therefore can be more involved in all the action. I don’t think I had a least favorite character to write - if I start to hate writing someone, I take that as a sign that they shouldn’t be in the book at all.

What is your favorite passage/scene in VENTURESS?

I have two! One is their underwater adventure in the bathysphere pods, which you can actually preview on HMH Teen right now (link: 

The other is a spoiler, sorry! I cried when I wrote it, so it might be masochistic to 
say it’s one of my favorites, but I’m proud of it.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

One of the things that’s never sat easy with me about the steampunk genre is how pro-colonial it can be. I wanted Esting to be a darker vision of Victorian-era imperial England. Faerie is at least partly inspired by my adopted home country of Ireland, which was of course one of England’s colonies. I read about the colonial history of Ireland, as well as America and India, as I was getting ready to write both MECHANICA and VENTURESS.

I do a lot of research into folklore and fairy tales in my work as the story editor at PARABOLA, a magazine that examines religious and spiritual traditions from around the world. As I was finishing VENTURESS, I came across a popular Korean fairy tale called “The Blind Man’s Daughter,” and I was startled by how perfectly it fit in with the themes I was exploring in my book. I have one of my characters tell a Faerie interpretation of that story in VENTURESS.

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

There are so many! Springing to mind right now is Char from ELLA ENCHANTED - Gail Carson Levine really knows how to write swoony MG/YA heroes.

What inspired you to write YA?

In college, I spent a semester interning at Teen Ink Magazine, and I was blown away by the quality of writing we received (Teen Ink is one of the biggest publishers of literary writing by teenagers). I kept thinking about all the beautiful, inventive, and lyrical fairy tale retellings I’d loved to read when I was younger. I realized that my wish to write literary fiction and my love for fairy tales and YA didn’t have to be mutually exclusive! I drafted my first novel, TIDES, during that semester.

Lightening Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

The Invention of Angela Carter, a biography of my favorite writer.

What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?

OK, I have to give a slightly extended answer for this one. When I was eleven/actual first year age: Ravenclaw, all the way. But adult me would beg to be a Hufflepuff.

Twitter or Facebook?


Favorite Superhero?

Gertrude Yorkes from Runaways.

Favorite TV show?

Buffy, always and forever.

Sweet or Salty?


Any Phobias?

Spiders, unfortunately. At least there are no deadly ones in Ireland.

Song you can’t get enough of right now?

“The Maid Freed From The Gallows” sung by Tia Blake, which I listened to incessantly over the last few months while I was working on THE FOREST QUEEN.

2017 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

Probably the Kingsman sequel - the first one was so fun.

Thanks so much Betsy for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read VENTURESS!

Thank you so much for having me!

About Betsy:
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.

Giveaway Details:

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
7/24/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
7/25/2017- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
7/26/2017- BookHounds YAGuest Post
7/27/2017- The Book Nut- Interview
7/28/2017- jrsbookreviewsReview

Week Two:
7/31/2017- Nicole's Novel Reads- Review
8/1/2017- Novel NoviceGuest Post
8/3/2017- YA Book MadnessInterview
8/4/2017- Sarcasm & LemonsReview

Grab the first book in the series!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

VIAL THINGS By Leah Cliffird New Cover Reveal!

VIAL THINGS (Resurrectionist #1) by Leah Clifford has a new cover! Check it out!
You can grab a copy for $2.99 on Kindle, or if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, it’s FREE!

Just want to try it? Read the first chapter HERE


When the resurrectionists of Fissure's Whipp begin disappearing, eighteen-year-old Allie knows someone is after their bloodor, more accurately, the genetic mutation that allows their blood to heal wounds, save lives and even bring back the recently deceased.

Raised by her aunt after her parents' deaths, Allie knows staying vigilant means staying alive. She's trained her whole life to protect herself by any means necessary, from self defense classes to extensive weapons training in knives. Now, she’s gone so far as to befriend a homeless boy named Ploy who unknowingly trades a few nights a week on her couch in exchange for being a human tripwire to those hunting her.

But as Allie and Ploy's feelings for each other grow, Allie realizes this time, she'll need more than fighting skills and a sharp blade to beat a villain literally out for blood.

Protecting a girl he shouldn’t love, from a threat he understands too well, Ploy must face his past to save his future in Allie’s world
a world where bringing back the dead can cost you your life.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blog Tour: BURIED HEART by Kate Elliott An Interview & Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for BURIED HEART by Kate Elliott! I freaking love this series! And this ending was beautifully written and so bittersweet but I loved it!

I have an interview with Kate to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of BURIED HEART? Check it out!

Title: BURIED HEART (Court of Fives #3)
Author: Kate Elliott
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Pages: 448
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TBD
The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult series

In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy! 

Now on to the interview!

Kate Elliott Interview Two Chicks Interview 7/21/2017

Hi Kate! First I want to say welcome back to Two Chicks on Books! I love your COURT OF FIVES series and can’t wait to read BURIED HEART!
I am so happy that you could stop by for a visit!

Thank you for having me! I’m excited to be back--I’ve now done a blog tour post for you for each of the three novels of the trilogy! I really appreciate your support.

For the readers: can you give us a little recap about the series so far and the characters? And what we can expect in BURIED HEART?

From Kirkus Reviews, for Court of Fives: “After the death of the highly placed aristocrat whose patronage ensured their safety, Jessamy’s mixed-race family [Patron father, Commoner mother, and four sisters] is targeted by political enemies; spared thanks to her skill at the game of Fives, she must find a way to save them.”

Beyond this paragraph lie spoilers, so read on at your own risk:

Jes has to make a difficult choice at the end of Court of Fives that involves the young man (and adversary) she cares for, Prince Kalliarkos.

In Poisoned Blade, Jes is running for the Fives stable owned by Kalliarko’s scheming uncle, Gargaron. She has to keep winning in order to save her family from discovery. Events propel her and her younger sister Amaya into a cross country journey in the retinue of Lord Gargaron; the two girls are searching for their missing sister Bettany, but when they find her things don’t go as planned. Meanwhile, after generations of oppression, the conquered people of Efea are threatening to rise up, and Jes’s parents Esladas and Kiya (whom she both loves) are already on opposite sides.
In Buried Heart, foreign invaders threaten an already unstable political situation in Efea. Jes will be caught between both of her heritages--Patron and Commoner--while her greatest enemy, Gargaron, will stop at nothing to defeat her.

So now that the series is over what are you working on now?

Later this year I have a novelette set in the Spiritwalker universe (Cold Magic) coming out in THE BOOK OF SWORDS, edited by Gardner Dozois. It’s called “I Am a Handsome Man,” Said Apollo Crow.  It will be published this October 2017, and I should note that the anthology includes an original Game of Thrones short story by George R. R. Martin as well as stories by fourteen other wonderful writers like Ken Liu, Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, and many more.

I am also working on the second volume of the Black Wolves trilogy, an epic fantasy. I’m about a third done with that at the moment. In addition I’ve been developing a new project on the space opera sub genre that I’m quite excited about: fast paced, operatic, and bold.

Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

No. I don’t normally base characters on real people. But I do use characteristics of people I know when I’m trying to make characters in my stories behave more realistically and dramatically.

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

Jes has been my favorite character to write. I have loved writing about a girl who is competitive and confident, and yet who is also flawed and makes mistakes because she thinks she knows more than she does and because she is determined to win.

I don’t really have a character who was my least favorite to write. The characters I would like least in real life -- the villains -- are in a weird way pretty enjoyable to write because I can go no holds barred with them.

What is your favorite passage/scene in BURIED HEART?

I honestly have a number of scenes in Buried Heart that I really like. Because it’s the third book in the trilogy it means that many large and small plot threads got to be exploded and/or fulfilled in this volume. Some of them were painful to write and others were really really satisfying to write. There is a passage that surprised me most because it wasn’t planned in advance -- in other words, the idea for it popped into my head as I was writing a scene and needed a certain . . . something to make the scene more gripping and awful. It’s a scene with a barrel. You’ll know it when you get there. (Jaime OMG I know the scene! I killed me)

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

Mr Darcy from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. His emotional journey is appealing and also feels real: His essential nature doesn’t change as much as he learns some humility and endeavors to understand himself better in order to be worthy of Elizabeth. He also does good deeds without asking for credit. And of course, he owns a beautiful house.

What inspired you to write YA?

Wanting to place a girl front and center in an epic fantasy tale of action, adventure, revolution, and family drama. I’ve written girls and women as main characters in adult sff too, but YA as a genre is so enthusiastic toward heroines and I wanted to write a story where the MC’s centrality in the story would never be questioned or seen as odd.

Lightning Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland (April 2018).  Post Civil War zombies. A fantastic cover. I’m really enjoying this novel (and I don’t like zombies!), and I hope you read it when it comes out.

2017 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

Thor: Ragnarok. I’m not sure how good it’s going to be, but Cate Blanchett looks so great in the trailer. For 2018, Black Panther.

What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?


Twitter or Facebook?


Favorite Superhero?


Favorite TV show?

Classic: Firefly
Current: Harlots

Sweet or Salty?


Any Phobias?

giant centipedes

Song you can’t get enough of right now?

This Is What You Came For (Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna).

I think of this as Jes’s theme song for BURIED HEART.


Thanks so much Kate for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read BURIED HEART!

About Kate:
Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old, which has led her to believe that writing, like breathing, keeps her alive. As a child in rural Oregon, she made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and YA, including recent works Black Wolves, Court of Fives, and Cold Magic.

It should come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight. When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures amid dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling. With the three children out of the house, they now spoil the schnauzer.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of BURIED HEART, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
7/17/2017- YA Books Central- Interview
7/18/2017- The Eater of Books!Review
7/19/2017- Novel NoviceGuest Post
7/20/2017- Just CommonlyReview
7/21/2017- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:
7/24/2017- My Thoughts LiterallyReview
7/25/2017- Sarcasm & LemonsReview
7/26/2017- Stephanie PlotkinReview
7/27/2017- PaperTrailYAExcerpt
7/28/2017- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview

Grab the first two books in the series and the novellas!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blog Tour: THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell A Deleted Scene & A Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell! I freaking love this book!!!

I have a deleted scene to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Haven't heard of THE LAST MAGICIAN? Check it out!

Author: Lisa Maxwell
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Pages: 512
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover & eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks
Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she's been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta's training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

Now on to the deleted scene!

Note to the reader: I wrote this scene in an early draft and it was one of the darlings I had to kill. Still, I love it, and I love just how badass Esta is here, and in the rest of the book.

The ginger-haired Mooch gave a sharp nod of his chin, directing Esta to follow him toward the back of the saloon, where a dark, scarred wooden door led up a narrow flight of steps. “Ladies first,” he said with a bow that felt to Esta more like a taunt than actual courtesy.
Esta narrowed her eyes at the boy, but without a reason to refuse, she started to mount the narrow steps. They were poorly made, with their risers all slightly different sizes and the treads made from warped or knotted wood. She hadn’t even reached the first landing when she felt the boy close behind her. Too close. But she ignored it, continuing on as though she hadn’t noticed anything inappropriate in the way his hand brushed against the edges of her skirts.
When they made it to the landing, a narrow strip of stairway that turned sharply to climb higher into the building, he made his move, and Esta found herself pinned face-first to the corner, the boy’s stale breath hot against her neck. His body pressed into her back.
“You’re a pretty one, ain’t you?” he said, his breath smelling of ale and onions as he laughed at her. “Fine clothes like yours don’t usually show up at Dolph’s door. Not unless they’ve done something to deserve it,” he said, his mouth close to her neck.
She stayed still, calm. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said, not letting her voice waver.
“Of course you don’t.”” He leaned into her again. “They never do. You’re a good girl, ain’t you? You wouldn’t never do nothin’ wrong would you? But you had to do something. Good girls don’t end up begging Dolph Saunders to keep them.”
“I didn’t beg.”
“I s’pose you’re right,” he said, mock surprise lighting his voice. “But we can change that easy enough.” He pressed himself into her.
She didn’t move her head even an inch back. She’d bite the nose off his face before she gave him the satisfaction of knowing he’d affected her. “Please, Mooch she started to say.
“Please, is it?” he leaned more of his weight against her, his leg pressing between hers so he could get even closer. “I like the sound of that, I do. Say it again, proper like: Please, Morris he taunted her, his breath heavy with too much ale and the sickly-sweet scent of teeth on the verge of rot. Thats my name, you know. Only my friends call me Mooch. You want to be my friend, beautiful?”
Esta cursed inwardly as she felt his hand pulling her back into his chest, climbing higher up her torso, like he was trying to find something beneath her corset worth groping.
She really shouldn’t she was so close. It would be idiotic to sacrifice the progress she’d made with Dolph Sunders for some stupid boy who thought anything in a skirt was his for the taking. But then his hand closed over her breast, and she reacted the way she’d been trained to. She grabbed him by the wrist, and before he could even laugh again at her attempt to stop him, she pulled his forearm down and back, twisting it around, leveraging his own weight against him, until she had him turned, pinned against the wall. His face contorted in pain as she pressed his arm into an unnatural angle.
“Let’s be clear, Mooch,” she said, bringing her face close to his cheek. She was about his height, and he wasn’t as broad as some of the other boys had been. It was easy enough to use her size to keep him in place once she had him at a disadvantage. “I’m not an easy mark. I’m not here for you to look at or touch or even think about.” She twisted his wrist harder, felt the bones beneath her grip grind and start to pop as he whimpered and cursed her. “I’ll forgive your lack of manners this once, since you don’t seem smart enough to know any better. I won’t break your wrist. This time. But if you so much as look sideways at me again, I can’t promise I’ll be so nice.”
She let him go, and he turned viciouslyrubbing at his sore wrist. “You bloody bitch,” he snarled, cornering her again. “You think you can get away with putting your claws on me?”
“I think I just did,” she said calmly.
His face hadn’t quite regained its color, despite his rage. She wasn’t worried, though. His hand wouldn’t be good for much until the blood started flowing in it again. But Esta understood Mooch and his like. If she didn’t draw a line in the sand now, under her own terms, he’d keep wasting her time. 
As though to prove she was right about him, Mooch started to take a step toward her. Before he could, Esta slipped through time, around and behind him. She tapped him on the shoulder, and when he turned, his eyes wide with confusion and fury, she smiled sweetly. Then she grabbed him between the legs, twisted and pulled, hard. Just like Dakari had taught her.
It worked like a charm. Mooch’s breath seemed to stop in his lungs as he made a surprised, incoherent gurgling sound and then dropped to his knees on the floor. He writhed there for a moment, moaning incoherently as he tried to breathe through the pain of her attack. Esta watched for a second, not at all impressed at how easy he’d been. Then stepped closer to him and crouched down to give a couple of sharp slaps on the cheek.

When he opened his eyes to glare at her, she made her voice as pleasant as her smile. “I trust we understand each other now. Tell your friends, would you?” She gave him a less-than-friendly pat on the cheek.

About Lisa:
Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep, Unhooked, & The Last Magician (Simon Pulse, Spring 2017). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy THE LAST MAGICIAN & swag, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
7/10/2017- YA and WineInterview
7/11/2017- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
7/12/2017- Novel NoviceGuest Post
7/13/2017- What the Cat ReadReview
7/14/2017- Stories & SweetiesExcerpt

Week Two:
7/17/2017- NovelKnightReview
7/18/2017- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
7/19/2017- Forever 17 BooksReview
7/20/2017- Wishful EndingsInterview
7/21/2017- Ohana ReadsReview
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