*ARC Review* In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund

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Title: In the Hall with the Knife

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Page Count: 304 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Summary:

A murderer could be around every corner in this thrilling YA trilogy based on the board game CLUE! 

When a storm strikes at Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students—including Beth “Peacock” Picach, Orchid McKee, Vaughn Green, Sam “Mustard” Maestor, Finn Plum, and Scarlet Mistry—are left stranded on campus with their headmaster. Hours later, his body is found in the conservatory and it’s very clear his death was no accident. With this group of students who are all hiding something, nothing is as it seems, and everyone has a motive for murder. Fans of the CLUE board game and cult classic film will delight in Diana Peterfreund’s modern reimagining of the brand, its characters, and the dark, magnificent old mansion with secrets hidden within its walls.

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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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My Review

In the Hall with the Knife is a Clue mystery fans will love filled with thrilling dialogue and intrigue. This first book is loaded with Easter eggs from the original movie and game and multiple mysteries outside of a murder. This book is not just about solving a murder: it’s also about determining who everyone can trust when everyone has something to hide.

I thought Peterfreund did a great job staying true to the movie and boardgame while also adding her own personal twists to the story. You get the original characters but here’s a twist: they’re teenagers at an elite boarding school who have to solve a murder with no real murder solving skills. But that easily proves difficult when all of them start to suspect one another. Orchid has a potentially deadly past she’s trying to keep buried. Peacock has a secret that could ruin her life and career. Vaughn is living a double life – and no one suspects that he is. Mustard just transferred to this boarding school with a reason he’s not quite ready to reveal. Plum is the golden boy, but being the golden boy comes at a cost. And Scarlet will do anything to succeed at this school – even go to drastic means to come out on top. And then someone turns up dead – someone that each of them has a motive for murdering. But the question is – who really murdered someone?

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One of my favorite aspects about this book is how Peterfreund revealed something about each character in each of their chapters. Each chapter is a different perspective, and every time something is revealed about that specific character. Some of the secrets I guessed but some I did not see coming. But I thought it was brilliant to reveal a secret in each chapter (and not all of them were outright revealed, some you had to read between the lines or put two and two together). It’s like tiny puzzle pieces fitting together over the length of this novel to create an almost complete puzzle. And with how the story ends, I’m suspecting even more character secrets will be revealed in the next book.

There are multiple point of views, as each of the main Clue characters has a voice, but I thought the chapters and voices really flowed well together. Though there isn’t quite a ton of romance, this first book sets the stage for potential romances between some characters in the next two books (and I’m rooting for two in particular!). It was great to see the characters start to rely on one another and trust their instincts and also develop some key life skills that they wouldn’t be able to learn in a classroom.

Overall, I thought this was a great book perfect for mystery genre fans and teens that are looking for a way to experience a classic board game in a new way. The killer was slightly easy to guess, but I still thought this was a fun and thrilling mystery read and I cannot wait to read the sequel. In the Hall with the Knife comes out next Tuesday, but you can preorder this fun book now!

My rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars

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*Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway* The Good Luck Girls- Charlotte Nicole Davis

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*Click on the image above to find out more about this tour!!*

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SYNOPSIS

The Good Luck GirlsWestworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.

Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.

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Praise for THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

“Don’t underestimate the girls in the Arkettan welcome houses because you might just lose your life. Davis’ The Good Luck Girls is a dust-filled, bloody fairytale set in a menacing world haunted with the reminder―the price of freedom is high, but it’s worth fighting for at all costs. Rise up, teen readers!” ―Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles

“This dystopian debut is deeply connected to today’s social issues, and readers will feel that impact.” ―Booklist  

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My Review:

“I’m damned if I’ll accept that wickedness is what it takes to survive this life.”

There have been quite a few books released recently that have that Thelma and Louise feel to it. This one was described as that with a mix of Westworld (?) and The Handmaid’s Tale. So I knew that it was going to be enjoyable. What I wasn’t expecting was to be blown away. This book blew my freaking mind and I loved it.

The Good Luck Girls have quite the reputation of starting trouble and not following orders. At young ages, girls are sold to Welcome Houses, so their families could pay off debts owed and live a more comfortable life. Welcome Houses are brothels for men that are traveling through and need a little companionship.

These girls clean and prepare things for the day, until they turn sixteen. Then they are expected to do whatever these Brags (client) say. The happier the Brag, the better your life will be at the Welcome House.

It’s Clementines birthday and this will be her first night working as a Good Luck Girl. Her first Brag is a well-known man and she’s terrified. Things get a little out of hand and she begs him to stop. With him not listening, she grabs the first thing she can get her hands on and hits him a few times until he releases her. But what she soon finds out is that she accidentally killed him. Not knowing what to do, she finds her sister, Aster and they come up with a plan.

Instead of doing the right thing and telling someone, they decide to run. Runaway to a place where all this can be left in the past. Some other girls who are close to Clem and Aster want to escape too. Now it’s five girls on the journey of a lifetime to escape their horrible lives.

But nothing in life is ever that easy and they are on the run. Hiding in dark and creepy places and running into a lot of trouble along the way. They soon find out that they are wanted and the only way to absolve their woes is to see the Lady Ghost. The stories say that she will help them evade the bounty on their heads and save them from punishment.

Is that tale too good to be true? Or will they make it to the light at the end of the tunnel?

This book hooked me just from the synopsis. I wish that I didn’t work all the time because I would have finished this in one day. It was that damn good. This fantasy western will make you look at that genre in a new light and will change your mind for the better.

The Good Luck Girls was one hell of a debut and I need book two instantly. This was a beautiful start to a fantastic series and this author will only grow more amazing as time goes on. This book was powerful and you’ll find yourself addicted to their story. You should add this to your tbr. Yes, it will get you out of your comfort zone but it’ll be totally worth it.

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Giveaway:

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
 

–  5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS by Charlotte Nicole Davis.

ENDS: OCTOBER 21, 2019
Click on the image below to enter. Good Luck!!!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 

Charlotte Nicole Davis

Charlotte Nicole Davis is the author of The Good Luck Girls, a young adult fantasy novel releasing in Fall 2019 with Tor Teen. A graduate of The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Charlotte loves comic book movies and books with maps in the front. She currently lives in Brooklyn with a cat with a crooked tail.
PHOTO CONTENT FROM BRETT PRUITT

WEBSITE: https://www.charlottenicoledavis.com/

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Thank you, Jean @ JeanBookNerd, Tor Teen, and Charlotte Nicole Davis for allowing us to be apart of this amazing tour. For more information about this tour and upcoming tours, click the button below.
Happy Reading!!

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Tour Schedule:

WEEK ONE
SEPTEMBER 30th MONDAY JeanBookNerd SPOTLIGHT
OCTOBER 1st TUESDAY Twirling Book Princess EXCERPT
OCTOBER 2nd WEDNESDAY A Court of Coffee and Books REVIEW
OCTOBER 2nd WEDNESDAY Kait Plus Books EXCERPT
OCTOBER 3rd THURSDAY Bibliobibuli YA INTERVIEW
OCTOBER 4th FRIDAY Novel Lives REVIEW
OCTOBER 4th FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
WEEK TWO
OCTOBER 7th MONDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW
OCTOBER 8th TUESDAY Lisa Loves Literature REVIEW
OCTOBER 8th TUESDAY Pages Below the Vaulted Sky REVIEW
OCTOBER 9th WEDNESDAY Casia’s Corner REVIEW
OCTOBER 10th THURSDAY Lauren’s Bookshelf REVIEW
OCTOBER 10th THURSDAY Starlight Reads REVIEW
OCTOBER 11th FRIDAY Nay’s Pink Bookshelf REVIEW

Hello Girls- Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry

36596442. sy475 Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

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My Review:

“I don’t know you or your business, honey, but I can tell you this- you two are the Lamborghini if problems.”

Thelma and Louise is a movie that everyone should see at least once. I’ve seen it a while back but I remember the gist of it. This is a modern version of that movie with a riot of problems and a deep friendship that no one can come between.

Winona and Lucille became fast friends years ago. They spotted each other overthinking turning their families into the police but they found serenity in each other. When one is in need, they meet to de-stress and have a little fun.

Winona Olsen seems to have the picture-perfect life from the outside. Her dad is a celebrity meteorologist, he’s a star Dad, putting his daughter on a pedestal after her Mom overdosed, and they have more money than they know what to do with. But on the inside, Winona fears her Father. He places locks on the cabinets and refrigerator, hides her car keys, and punishes her in the worst ways imaginable whenever she breaks a tiny little rule. The only thing she knows for sure is that she needs out.

Lucille Pryce hasn’t been lucky in the family department. She and her Mom work daily to pay all the bills while her Brother stays at home and deals. Her life is suffocating but her only savior is Winona.

Winona has believed that her mother died when she was young but she finds something to make her believe otherwise. She makes a plan with Lucille that will get them away from their horrible lives earlier and way before they graduate High School.

Lucille and Winona come up with a plan to go find Winona’s Mom in Las Vegas. They steal a car and hit the open road. With a lot of lawbreaking, swindling people, and evading a drug dealer and a hot-tempered Dad, they will stop at nothing to find this woman.

This book was a wild ride. From the opening line, you knew that this was going to be something to talk about. There were so much heartbreak and anguish but these two found something in each other to hold each other up. Lucille and Winona were two characters that I want to be best friends with. They were supportive, sassy, and their hi-jinx were outrageous. Where’s the sign-up for this best friends club?

Hello Girls was a riot of a time. This was an amazing book with lots of girl power moments. Who knew that flawed characters could be so perfect!

*Blog Tour + Giveaway* The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

StormTitle: The Storm Crow(The Storm Crow #1)

Author: Kalyn Josephson

Publisher: SourcebooksFire

Release Date: July 9th 2019

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK DEPOSITORY  |  KOBO |

GOOGLE BOOKS

 

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Author Information

KalynKalyn Josephson is a Technical Writer in Silicon Valley, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. She grew up in San Luis Obispo, CA, but now lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an even tinier owl). When not writing YA Fantasy, she loves baking, reading, playing sports, and watching too many movies.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

“People would notice; they’d recognize the armor. But I wanted them to. I wanted them to know that the legacy they’d tried to stamp out still smoldered in the ashes.”

The Storm Crow is one of those books I couldn’t put down. Thia’s battle with her emotions and her enemies is powerful and captivating. The action in this novel is beautifully written and full of fantastical elements. I became so engrossed in the world and characters that there were times I forgot I was in the real world and not in Thia’s world.

The elemental crows were unique and fascinating and added a mystical touch to the story. Rhodaire’s crows are essential to their life and without them, the people have to learn how to perform simple tasks, such as growing crops. Life changes drastically for the people, and not just because the crows were lost; loved ones were lost, too, in the battle. To Thia, everything seems hopeless. All she sees is darkness and no light at the end; she doesn’t see how she can move on.

One aspect of The Storm Crow I highly enjoyed seeing was how depression was openly discussed. Thia realizes early on that the destruction of her world as she knew it threw her into a deep and potentially dark depression. Throughout the story, Thia’s depression helps shape her character and starts to give her the strength she needs to overcome the past and save her kingdom and people. Thia’s depression battles are detailed to where the reader could feel and/or see Thia openly struggling. Her depression felt real and raw. She becomes a master in hiding her depression behind a fake smile, but those closest to her can see the past is eating her alive. I haven’t read many YA fantasy books that openly mention/discuss depression, so I was surprised that this became a key point in The Storm Crow. There’s so many readers that battle depression, and I know to some it’s important to see depression depicted, especially in fantasy. How Josephson address depression in her book really lays it out for the world to see and for everyone to understand that depression is not something you can easily shake off. Her depiction of depression was, overall, one of the main reasons I loved The Storm Crow.

“I might be queen, but you were meant to be so much more. Crow or no crow, one way or another, you will fly. You were always meant to rule the sky.”

Thia is a strong and emotional person. She knows she has to go to Illucia, the kingdom that attacked hers, to try to bring peace and save her people. Thia, at first, believes everything is lost; the fight she once had in her is gone, left behind in the rubble of the battle. But that all changes when Thia finds an unhatched storm crow egg. To Thia, this changes everything. Thia has a newfound hope to fight for her kingdom and people, all from within the palace walls of her enemy. But there’s just one slight problem: Thia doesn’t know how to hatch a crow egg. Nevertheless, Thia refuses to give up hope; she refuses to give up.

The secondary characters in The Storm Crow were also what made this book a 5 star review for me. Her best friend and bodyguard, Kiva, share not just a best friend bond, but a sisterly bond. They’re relationship reminded me of my relationship with my best friend, and I love seeing those types of friendships depicted in fantasy stories. Kiva helps Thia battle her depression while staying in enemy territory. They’re not just best friends; they’re a team and both will do whatever it takes to see Queen Razel burn for her wrongdoings. Then there’s Caylus. Caylus is a soft yet incredibly smart and reliable friend to Thia; she trusts him so much that she relies on him to help her solve the hatching behind a crow egg.

And, of course, there’s Prince Ericen. At first, he’s a terrible, cold-heartless person; he’s basically everything that makes a villain. But he slowly starts to show Thia a side he’s never shown anyone, not even his mother, the ruthless Queen Razel. Ericen wants to build a trusting relationship with Thia but Thia doesn’t quite know how that’s possible when he’s the son of the woman that killed her mother. He’s a well described character with an interesting backstory.

“It was only you. Because I, like everyone, knew what you were.

A delinquent?

A storm. A tempest of lightning and thunder with the kind of heart found only in legends.”

Josephson’s writing is captivating and compelling. She weaves words together to bring a magical and powerful story to light. Her description of the kingdoms and the characters is wonderfully well-written and very descriptive. Josephson also knows how to depict feelings and relationships really well. There was phenomenal character growth with Thia and her companions; Thia really starts to come into her own and grow as a person and fighter.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Storm Crow. Josephson creates a world the reader can easily get lost in. If you enjoy an adventurous fantasy novel with lovable animals and relationships, then I definitely recommend reading The Storm Crow!

My overall review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out the other amazing bloggers on The Storm Crow tour!

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Giveaway

Prize: Win a finished hard copy of THE STORM CROW by Kalyn Josephson (INT) or a signed finished copy of THE CROW STORM by Kalyn Josephson (US Only)

** International as long as bookdepository ships to the country

Starts: July 9th 2019

Ends: July 23rd 2019

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

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*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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*ARC Review* Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf_CSTitle: Bloodleaf

Author: Crystal Smith

Release Date: March 12th, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Page Count: 384 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Perfect for fans of RED QUEEN and UPROOTED, Crystal Smith’s debut novel, BLOODLEAF, is an imaginative retelling of the Grimm Fairy tale “The Goose Girl” that takes a ghostly mystery and sets it inside an epic fantasy world.

Aurelia is the first princess born to the Renalten crown in two hundred years, destined to fulfill a treaty by journeying to marry Valentin, the prince of Achelva – Renalt’s greatest enemy. Rumors of an unwell, cruel prince abound, and the only thing that eclipses Aurelia’s apprehension of her impending marriage is her fear of those who’d kill her to prevent it.

When an assassination attempt forces Aurelia to use forbidden magic to save a stranger, she is driven from Renalt by the witch-hunting Tribunal and a mob out for blood. But before she can claim asylum in the court of her betrothed, her travel party turns on her, forcing her to trade places with her treacherous lady-in-waiting, Lisette.

Now penniless in Achleva and bereft of her identity, Aurelia must decide if she wants to surrender to her new life or fight for her old one, all while navigating the complicated ties binding her to the enigmatic prince, the unquiet ghost of an ancient queen, and a poisonous plant called bloodleaf.

Aurelia is a pawn in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war— and if she can’t extricate herself from it before Lisette marries Valentin in her stead, she may face losses far more devastating than her crown.

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Preorder Links

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |   Indie Bound

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My Review

Thank you to the author for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read a ton of Young Adult fantasy. More than 90% of the books I own/read are in the fantasy genre. Which comes to mean that I see a lot of the same elements over and over again in fantasy books. It’s not a bad thing, not at all, but it’s also refreshing when I read a fantasy book with unique elements. Bloodleaf is one of those books. Bloodleaf has many unique fantasy elements that I absolutely loved.

This dark and luscious tale will have you hooked from the first page. Smith’s writing blew me away. It was breathtakingly beautiful and nevertheless bewitching. I was captivated by the words that flew off the pages and made the world feel so real.The world Smith has built is phenomenal and deadly and all the while enchanting. It’s a fantasy world I could easily picture myself living in. The world is illustrated in such beautiful prose. And just to be clear, this isn’t a fantasy world where happy endings come naturally. It’s a dark world filled with daunting dangers and betrayal. But the way Smith describes the world is what makes me love it so much; the descriptions are not too much or too little and they make it feel like the world is alive, which is always a plus for me in fantasy novels.

What I also loved about Bloodleaf was the magic system. The magic system in Bloodleaf is incredible. To enter the second kingdom, Renalt, you must have a stamped invitation with the king’s blood to enter, or else you risk the possibility of death. This experience that Aurelia has to go through is so well-captured that I felt like I was right there seeing her cross into the kingdom. Actually, that’s what it was like for the whole book. The story, the characters, the hardships, all felt real and that is something I look for in books. I want the worlds to feel real to me and this world and the characters did not disappoint.

Princess Aurelia is a wonderfully flawed, yet strong character. She doesn’t want to do the blood magic oath, where her and three people she loves bound themselves to her with blood, where in order for Aurelia to die, her three protectors will have to die first. She would rather die than risk the lives of those she loves. But then the blood oath is completed and Aurelia goes on a daunting journey, using the name of one of her maids, to escape the Tribunal after she uses her forbidden magic to save someone. She fights for her old life, for her destiny, and for her kingdom. She learns so much throughout her journey, and I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her in the second book.

And then there is Zan. Zan is a character I was easily swooning over. He’s intriguing yet mysterious and though he hides many secrets from Aurelia, he becomes someone she can’t live without. He’s charming even when he’s trying not to be. He overall fights for a good cause and wants to see the world change. And he sees Aurelia as being that person, with her magic and her will to change the outcome of her life.

Overall, Bloodleaf has easily become one of my all-time favorite fantasy novels. I loved the world, the character development (even the sad moments), and the uniqueness Smith brings to the fantasy genre. I’m one of the readers that is patiently (well, really, impatiently) waiting for the second book. If you are looking for a fantasy read that is gripping and intriguing with multiple fantasy elements, then Bloodleaf is a great book to read!

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*Arc Review* Wicked Saints- Emily A. Duncan

36118682A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..

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My Review:

“We’re all monsters. Some of us just hide it better than others.”

I know better than to believe the hype of a book. But I fell too hard because of the gorgeous cover. I need to stop falling for that sneaky trick.

Not very memorable but the cover is beautiful 🤷‍♀️

The story just wasn’t interesting to me and started off slower than I like. By the time it started to pick up, I already lost interest. In my defense, I already read 360 pages before I skimmed the rest.

What I was expecting was lots of blood, gore, and evilness dripping from each and every page but I got none of that. Nothing stood out from all the talking. I needed more action and less talking. And I thought the lead female was going to be this badass female kicking lots of ass and taking names but she was just a back thought to a yawn producing romance. *Sigh!* I think my eyes hurt from all that eye-rolling.

It hurts me to state all of this because this was one of my most highly anticipated books of this year. It will now become one of the most disliked of the year.

I guess we will always have that cover…..

stacy