Monday, October 14, 2013

ARC Review + Author Interview + Casting Call + Giveaway: Connectivity by Aven Ellis

Author: Aven Ellis
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: October 16, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: ARC from Author

Overachiever Mary-Kate Grant (who is indeed named after an Olsen Twin) has followed every rule to the letter to pursue her dream of working in TV programming. Ripping a page from the “hard work pays off” playbook, she takes an assistant level job at a Chicago sports network to break into the industry.
MK has no time or desire for a relationship right now—she is totally focused on her career and being independent, unlike the other women in her family.

But MK’s plans are run through the shredder when she finds herself working for William Cumberland, a British media mogul who made his fortune with Connectivity, a social media site. William blows into Chicago just like the winds off Lake Michigan and purchases the group of networks MK works for—and makes her his personal assistant in the process.

Suddenly MK finds her career plans in jeopardy. William makes her question everything she has ever thought and has the uncanny ability to see right through her. And for the first time in her life, MK finds herself not only questioning what she wants for her career but for her personal life as well…


I have the immense pleasure of chatting with Aven via email and twitter and she is quite possibly one of the funniest people I have met. Between her exceptional personality and the synopsis for Connectivity, I had no doubt I would enjoy this book. I love a good forbidden romance and there isn’t much more forbidden than a boss and his employee, except maybe a teacher and his student.

Poor MK, she is such a klutz but it was hilarious. She has high career ambitions and she wants so desperately to impress her new boss, William. Instead she continuously embarrasses herself and I was an anxious mess with each interaction because I knew something humiliating and awkward was going to happen. However, I noticed that the awkwardness is mostly when she's nervous with William. As she grows closer to him, the awkwardness turns into incredible chemistry. I absolutely loved MK. Despite her gracelessness when it comes to William, she is brilliant, ambitious and not afraid to speak her mind, even to the all powerful William Cumberland. 

William is powerful, career oriented and a bit aloof. He is not looking for a woman or a relationship. Instead, he’s looking to conquer the business world and he is all about building his empire. However, he meets MK and she opens something up inside of him that he didn’t know existed. He finds himself wanting to know this woman and spend time with her more than anything. She really gets him and she doesn’t see some rich media mogul. She just sees William, the man and that is what attracts him to her.

I thoroughly enjoyed the build up of MK and William’s relationship and I loved watching their verbal banter back and forth turn into a much deeper attraction. I worried at first that MK was getting in too deep with William and that she was developing feelings that he may not share. However, William proved himself to me and he made it very clear that he truly cared about her and wanted her to be a part of his life. As they got to know each other and spent more time together, the sexual tension definitely grew between them. I liked that they didn’t just jump right into bed together, but waited until they were both really sure of their feelings. MK knew that William could obliterate her and she knew that sex with him would be so much more than just that and she had to protect her heart. Even though William wanted to keep their relationship a secret at first, it was obvious he only did it to protect MK since he was her boss. He didn’t want people to gossip about her or question the moves she made in her career. He was nothing but supportive and he did everything he could to help her move forward because he genuinely believed in her talent and brilliance.

Despite the beautiful relationship they built, it wouldn’t be a good contemporary romance without a little drama would it? MK definitely has an impulsive side and she tends to fly off the handle before really thinking things through. My heart broke a little when she doubted William and everything blew up in her face. I wanted to shake her and tell her to calm down and be reasonable. She definitely was a act now, think later kind of woman. On the flip side, I felt like William was a little too business minded when it came to the relationship and even though she flew off the handle, I was disappointed in him for not chasing after her. Of course, MK came to her senses and realized her mistake a little too late. I loved that she held onto hope and poured her heart out in the hopes that she still had a chance to make things right. I was really proud of William for swallowing his pride, realizing his true feelings for MK and finally expressing them to her. I adored the epilogue of this book and it is perhaps one of my favorites. I actually teared up a little because it was so beautiful.

Overall, I really enjoyed Connectivity. It was well written and the plot was sweet and romantic. It was a down and out, true romance. I loved that there were no deep dark secrets or tragic pasts. It was just about 2 people who thought they knew what they wanted out of life until they met each other and everything changed. They both realized they could still live their dreams and ambitions but there is always room in there for love.

~IPOD Picks~
“Ashes & Wine” by A Fine Frenzy
“Everything Has Changed” by Taylor Swift
“Never Stop” by Safety Suit

Author Interview: Aven Ellis

First, tell me a little bit about yourself. What inspires you to write?
I write because it brings me joy. It is fun to imagine new people and places and bring them to life. I love writing about falling in love, I love writing about young women finding their way forward in life--with a healthy mix of humor thrown in.

Where did the idea and inspiration for Connectivity come from?
I had an idea for a story about a young woman trying to find her way in her career in the back of my head. Then one night I was watching Sherlock on PBS and saw Benedict Cumberbatch and his AMAZING wavy hair. BOOM! William was born within minutes. I knew I had to write a British hero with gorgeous wavy hair. He came together quickly in my head, and then Mary-Kate (MK.) So really, Connectivity all started from a British actor’s hair. J

Who was your favorite character to write? Why?
MK. She was strong and intelligent, but when it came to love, vulnerable. Throw in her being a complete klutz and I got to do everything writing-wise. William was more of a challenge to write because I had to convey things with not being able to give you his inner thoughts. So I had to write him were you could understand him through his tone, his physical actions,  and by what MK saw in his eyes and facial expressions. 

If you could pick one song to be the theme song for Connectivity, what would it be?
What? Pick ONE? Oh come on now, that’s impossible! I create Spotify playlists for each book! But if you are forcing me to pick one, I’d say “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake. J

I know writers always have a million things in the works. Do you have any other projects that you’re really excited about?
I have two releases scheduled for next year: Waiting For Prince Harry (comedic contemporary romance) and my first New Adult comedic romance, Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista. I am writing the companion book to the NA story now, called Surviving The Rachel, because the heroine ends up with the infamous “Rachel” haircut from Friends. The haircut would be good if it were 1994, but since it is not, it is just another thing for the heroine to work though on a list of crappy life situations she seems to be running across. ;-)

Now for a little “get to know you” fun!
Coffee or Tea?  Coffee!
Favorite book? My Life In Paris by Julia Child
Sweet or Sour? Sweet-I can live off Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter.
Favorite hobby outside of reading and writing? Cooking. I love looking at recipes and pinning them on Pinterest. I also am obsessed with the Food Network.
Top 5 places you’d like to travel- 1. London 2. Dublin 3. Paris 4. Rome 5. Normandy
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving because it is about FOOD. (See a pattern here?) J
Favorite movie? Anything with Henry Cavill or Benedict Cumberbatch. Is that an acceptable answer? ;-)
Favorite Fictional Character? Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic series.
If you were on a deserted island and could have only one possession, what would it be?  Easy. Sunscreen. My skin is the color of copy paper and burns in a millisecond...

Aven’s Casting Call--Connectivity
When I was asked to provide cover art suggestions for Connectivity, I immediately knew I wanted a silhouette for William and MK. That is because I didn’t want to impose images of William and MK on the readers--I wanted them to read the story and picture them as they wished.
Since I allowed the readers to play their own casting agents, I have received tweets and emails telling me who readers have seen as William and MK. And believe me, we have enough input for a virtual casting call so let’s all stop down RIGHT NOW and have one, yes? Okay, cool, let’s rock on then with the casting of William!

William Cumberland: 32, British, tall, dark wavy hair, good cheekbones, on the thin side (at first), sophisticated, badass mogul, intelligent.
With that in our heads, let’s run through the candidates for William Cumberland, shall we?

1      Henry Cavill.  He’s what I call the more muscular William style package. Delicious.

   David Gandy. Doesn’t he look like a badass mogul here? Very Williamesque look...

  Benedict Cumberbatch-Ah, the hair. Which isn’t wavy here but he does look like a dashing    business man. *Swoon*

 Robert Pattinson. This was the wild card of the casting process. I don’t see it, but several  people did.

Discuss. WHO IS WILLIAM CUMBERLAND? I would love to see your thoughts on this one!

Great casting choices Aven! After reading Connectivity, I am going to have to go with Henry Cavill on this one. He totally screams William to me and I can picture him as the British media mogul we are swooning over. What about y'all? Who do you see playing William? 

Now, let’s cast MK!
MK (Mary-Kate) Grant.  Needed: a mid-twenties actress with flame red hair, ivory skin, and petite figure. Must be able to bring fire to the role. She’s quick, intelligent, not afraid to speak her mind, passionate and protective of things she William. (Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwh.)

Zena Grey. If we used brown contacts and put a headband on her, she would be an excellent MK! 

  Deborah Ann Woll.  I think she is a perfect MK, don’t you?

  Emma Stone. She would have the fire needed for MK.

 Rose Leslie. Hair and coloring are perfection.

So here are the candidates for MK. Who do you see in the role? And who would you pair for the ideal William & MK couple?

Really great choices for Mk, Aven! I have to say, I would definitely cast Deborah Ann Woll for Mk. I can totally see her in the role and I picture her best with Henry Cavill as William. What do you guys think? Who's your ideal MK?

What do I think? Hmmm. I don’t think I’m gonna tell. The casting is up to you. J


About Aven Ellis
Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency. 

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night. Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published next year.

Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

*An eARC was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and unbiased.*

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  1. Love it! This book is ... GAH! I am so excited for you Aven! XOXOXOXOXO

  2. Thanks for hosting such an awesome giveaway! Loved the author interview & great review by the way. Also those iPod picks were on point! ;)

    Andy @ Owl Always Be Reading

  3. Great review hon! I really liked this one too! I loved how real MK was. It she was easy to like and connect to :) And yes, Aven is hilarious and SO sweet!

    As for your casting... I don't really picture any of the guys as William. But of those 4 mentioned-Henry Cavill...MK--Rose Leslie.Hands down.

  4. Thanks darling! MK was totally real and I really felt like Aven brought her own personality out in MK. I actually think Matt Bomer would be a perfect William but maybe that's just because I could stare at him all day :-)

  5. LOL, Yeah, Cavill is pretty buff. I would actually like to see Matt Bomer as William. I'd love to hear him do a British accent. I'm super excited to read more from her too.

  6. Thank you! Aven is an amazing lady so I loved interviewing her. I'm so glad you like the IPOD picks. I really try to picture specific scenes when I pick songs to make sure they match.

  7. I skipped over your review- for now. :D Aven sent me this too, and I'm hoping to squeeze it in this week! I love the casting choices though! I love Henry Cavill! :D

  8. Ooo I adore all your choices! I think Henry or David would be fab as William! Those smouldering glances...sorry lost my train of thought! Zena grey or Rose Leslie are perfect MK's for me! This was such a lovely book! I adored it!

  9. LOL, I can't focus thinking about Henry Cavill either. I adored this book too. Really loved MK and William and the epilogue really got me.


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