*Saturday Spotlight* A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause

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Title: A Dress for the Wicked

Author: Autumn Krause

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Page Count: 400 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

Summary:

Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Shy in Avon-upon-Kynt. And for eighteen years, Emmaline Watkins has feared that her future held just that: nothing.

But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country opens her prestigious design competition to girls from outside the stylish capital city, Emmy’s dreams seem closer than they ever have before.

As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

INDIE BOUND

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above. All commission earned goes toward supporting and maintaining this blog.

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 About the Author

Autumn

Autumn Krause is a writer in Orange County, California, where she can most often be found wearing a black lace dress and boots. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*Saturday Spotlight* House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

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Title: House of Salt and Sorrows

Author: Erin A. Craig

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Page Count: 416 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings

Summary:

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK DEPOSITORY  |  INDIE BOUND

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above, except Book Depository. All commission earned goes toward supporting this blog.

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 About the Author

Erin

Erin A. Craig has always loved telling stories.

After getting her B.F.A. from the University of Michigan, in Theatre Design and Production, she stage managed tragic operas with hunchbacks, séances, and murderous clowns, then decided she wanted to write books that were just as spooky.

An avid reader, a decent quilter, rabid basketball fan, and collector of typewriters, Erin makes her home in Memphis, TN with her husband and daughter.

She is represented by Sarah Landis at Sterling Lord Literistic. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*Saturday Spotlight* The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

MercifulCrowTitle: The Merciful Crow

Author: Margaret Owen

Publisher: Henry Holt

Release Date: July 30, 2019

Page Count: 384 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

A future chieftain

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK DEPOSITORY  |  INDIE BOUND

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above, except Book Depository. All commission earned goes toward supporting this blog.

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Preorder Giveaway

Margaret has an amazing preorder giveaway going on, so check it out here!

All US preorders of The Merciful Crow will receive 3 beautiful character cards, 4 stickers, a signed bookplate, and a double-sided bookmark. The artwork is gorgeous! This preorder giveaway is open until July 1, 2019.

Does this preorder giveaway accept library requests? Yes! All library requests and international orders will receive digital swag: a lock screen for each of the character cards and an exclusive wallpaper!

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 About the Author

Margaret Owen

Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.

She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

SpintheDawnTitle: Spin the Dawn(The Blood of Stars #1)

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release Date: July 9th 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK DEPOSITORY  |  KOBO |

GOOGLE BOOKS  |  APPLE BOOKS

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Author Information

ElizabethElizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.

Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.

Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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My Review

“All legends have a spark of truth. Sometimes more than a spark.”

Spin the Dawn is one of those wonderfully crafted tales that weaves self-discovery, love, and adventure into a beautifully written story. I won’t lie, I had high expectations going into this book and let me tell you, Spin the Dawn exceeded all those expectations. Elizabeth Lim has created a spectacular tale rich with culture and magic and strength, and Spin the Dawn has become one of my top reads of 2019.

Spin the Dawn is not just a journey; it’s about falling in love, believing in yourself, and following your dreams. This book is filled with heart and courage and spirit; Elizabeth Lim poured her soul into this story and it’s a magnificent story. The characters are well-developed and the world-building is breathtaking and illustrious.

Maia was born with courage in her blood and magic in her soul. Her spirit and her courageous heart spill out through the words in Spin the Dawn. She defies the impossibilities that deem to hold her back; she, ultimately, proves those who wish to see her fail wrong. She proves to herself that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to.

Maia easily became a protagonist I loved. She’s true to herself and true to her word: she wants to win this competition without the help of her magical scissors and win solely based on her extraordinary skills. This doesn’t mean she never uses the scissors; on the contrary, they become very prominent further into the book; magic becomes prominent. And even better, Maia’s strength really takes charge in this story, especially when she must do the impossible. Her love for her family and her craft is what sets her apart from everyone else; she wants to prove to the world that a woman can be a tailor and just as talented as a man in the craft. Her spirit is really what made this story what it is: her will to fight and her unwavering belief in herself is what made me love this story so much. And, of course, Edan.

Edan is the emperor’s imperial enchanter, and quite a charmer, if I might add. His relationship with Maia is one of my favorites. Their feelings for each other don’t just grow overnight; it takes a whole journey but nonetheless, their beautiful love story blossoms into something magical. Edan is such a bashful love interest that I easily fell in love with his character. Elizabeth Lim brought us readers a beautiful relationship with chemistry and charm and because of how well-written this relationship is, I could not imagine Spin the Dawn being what it is without their love.

Elizabeth Lim crafts a story with beautiful prose, unending heart, and spectacular magic. Her writing brings to a life a story that will captivate the hearts of all readers. The Chinese culture mixed with shimmering magic and a blossoming romance truly make this story charming. Spin the Dawn is definitely a book I highly recommend and a beautiful fantasy you will not want to miss.

Overall rating: 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out all the amazing bloggers on the Spin the Dawn tour!

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Giveaway

PRIZE: 1 copy of SPIN THE DAWN per blog hosting the book for the tour (US ONLY)

Stars: July 7, 2019

Ends: July 16, 2019maxresdefault

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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*Saturday Spotlight* Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder.jpgTitle: Wilder Girls

Author: Rory Power

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: July 9, 2019

Page Count: 368 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, LGBT

Summary:

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

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Please see author’s website for trigger and content warnings.

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Preorder Links

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |  Indie Bound

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above, except Book Depository. All commission earned goes toward supporting this blog.

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 About the Author

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Rory Power grew up in New England, where she lives and works as a crime fiction editor and story consultant for TV adaptation. She received a Masters in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia, and thinks fondly of her time there, partially because she learned a lot but mostly because there were a ton of bunnies on campus.

She is represented by Daisy Parente at Lutyens & Rubinstein and Kim Witherspoon at InkWell Management. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*Blog Tour + Review* The Beholder by Anna Bright

the beholderTitle: The Beholder (The Beholder #1)

Author: Anna Bright

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 4th 2019

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

Synopsis:

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

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Purchase Links

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository |  Indie Bound  |  Kobo  |  Google Books

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About the Author

anna brightI believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.

When I’m not reading or writing on my couch, I’m dragging my husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.

Website  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  | Tumblr

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Book Excerpt

https://aerbook.com/books/The_Beholder-217912.html?social=1&retail=1&emailcap=0

AND

https://www.epicreads.com/blog/sneak-peek-the-beholder/

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My review

“‘No one knows how many years he has, Seneschal-elect. Life is short and death is certain….So every moment I am aboveground and not below it, I want to feel the difference. We’ll all be in our graves soon enough.'”

In all honesty, The Beholder was different from what I was expecting. I was expecting a tad bit more action, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of adventure this story contained and Selah’s characterization. As the reader, I was swept away to far off lands and beautiful worlds and intriguing characters. I joined Selah on her adventure and I watched as she made countless mistakes and made strong relationships with her crew.

I loved how the author brought in fictional and real worlds and mixed them together. My favorite world so far is definitely Asgard (I’m a sucker for that world due to my love of Thor). I loved how Selah knew the tales from each world and yet learned so much on her journey about the world and herself. This was a great tale of self discovery mixed with beautiful world building and a bit of romance.

“‘Not everyone is fast. Not everyone is clever. I could only stay one step ahead of my enemy before my reinforcements arrived. But if you’re one step ahead of them, they still haven’t caught you.'”

I’m so used to reading about a female protagonist that is strong and brave and sassy. So, it came as a refreshing surprise to find out that Selah isn’t really a fierce warrior, but a soft and trusting protagonist. She’s brave in her own way, but she trusts easily and doesn’t exactly see things starting to unravel until they finally do. I enjoyed watching her grow throughout the book and seeing her become less afraid of making mistakes. She has to venture out of her comfort zone and away from home. She’s meant to be the next ruler of her people, and she starts to learn what exactly that means on her journey.

Selah’s journey to find a suitor brings her into unique territory and company. She’s so far away from home and her family that she has to learn how to adjust in a world that is so unlike hers. But through these interactions, Selah finds herself and realizes that there may be something more going on behind the scenes than she anticipated.

“‘I mean you have the power to choose.'” Homer’s gray eyes drifted up to the heavens, over the stars hung brighter than jewels between gauzy clouds. ‘Set your course and trim your sails, Seneschal-elect. And whatever your heading, keep your eyes ahead'”

Anna Bright is a wonderful storyteller. I found the writing to be captivating and mesmerizing and it overall flowed nicely and kept a pretty even pace. I loved the history weaved into this tale and how she provided enough backstory to give the reader the perfect amount of information needed to understand the different places. Bright lays out this story to prepare for the sequel, which I hope is even more exciting and just as romantic (especially with my favorite suitor!).

All in all, I did enjoy The Beholder and it surprised me in ways I wasn’t anticipating. I am hoping for a tad bit more action in the sequel, but no matter what, I look forward to reading the next book! If you’re looking for a fantasy novel that has action and sword fighting and a strong female lead, this may not be the book for you. But don’t let that stop you from reading The Beholder! I recommend checking The Beholder out because I found it to be a refreshing read compared to all the fantasy books I’ve read recently (which all included a strong protagonist and a ton of action). The Beholder comes out June 4, 2019.

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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*ARC Review* Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark ShoresTitle: Dark Shores

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Page Count: 368 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure

Summary:

High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, the first novel in a new YA fantasy series.

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.

A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON

Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET

Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.

A DANGEROUS QUEST

When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

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An advanced e-copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wow! What a ride this book was! Dark Shores promises a high seas adventure and it definitely delivers. I love any book that has pirates and dangerous adventures, and this book does not disappoint. I started reading this book with not many high expectations, and Dark Shores proved me wrong; it proved to be a story worth reading and loving.

The idea behind this story is wonderfully unique. Members of the East cannot communicate with members of the West. But a politician wants that to change; he wants to conquer and destroy. And in doing so, he blackmails two unlikely people to find the secret way across the dark shores. The many twists and turns Dark Shores has will keep you entertained and wondering just what is in store for the characters on their journey.

Marcus is a skilled soldier who never anticipated being blackmailed into working for a dangerous politician. It goes against everything he has been taught. He also never thought he’d have to work with a pirate. Teriana comes from a fierce line of Maarin people, and like the people aboard her mother’s ship, she harbors a secret that protects the other half of the world from the cruel Celendor people. She never expected the secret to come out. But it does, and it has dire consequences for her and her shipmates. In order to save her shipmates, she will have to work with Marcus and others to bring the dangerous politician what he wants.

I really enjoyed Jensen’s world building of Dark Shores. There are so many moving parts, and she brings them all together nicely. The characters fit well with the world and develop as new pieces of the world are uncovered. The mythology aspect of this book is fascinating and fit so well with the world Jensen has created. Learning about the gods and the magic gave the book a lighter feel and provided a wonderful backstory for the world. What I also enjoyed reading about were the different cultures between the Maarin and Celendor people. Maarin people are diplomatic like the Celendor people, but they don’t deceive and kill to get what they want. It was nice to see two cultures depicted so differently.

All in all, Dark Shores provided a beautiful storyline with well-developed and well-liked characters. I’m always looking for books with those aspects (and any book that reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean) and outstanding world building, and Dark Shores delivers all of that. If you’re looking for a story with adventure, political intrigue, high seas, meddling gods, enemies to lover’s trope, and more, then Dark Shores is a book that is right up your alley.

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