*First Line Friday 11/8/19* Blood Heir- Amélie Wen Zhao

42359583This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder. 

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

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“The prison bore a sharp resemblance to the dungeons of Anastacya’s childhood: dark, wet, and made of unyielding stone that leaked grime and misery.”

Pre-Order Gifts:

Pre-order Blood Heir by November 26th and receive these amazing items.

Email your proof of purchase and address to preorderbloodheir@gmail.com

ALL preorders will receive: –

*”Choose to be Brave” sticker

*Illustrated BLOOD HEIR bookmark with glossed lettering

*Signed & personalized bookplate with a Book Secret written on the back

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*ARC Review* Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

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Title: Gravemaidens

Author: Kelly Coon

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Page Count: 416 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

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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

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

When I first picked up Gravemaidens, I was beyond excited to start a book with a fierce main character and an intricate plot. Unfortunately, this book didn’t live up to my expectations; the book offered enthralling world building and a complex and distinctive plot, but unmemorable characters.

Kammani knows being a Sacred Maiden is a curse and a death wish. She knows it means dying in this world to become a queen in the next, and to her that’s terrifying. She doesn’t see it as an honor like everyone else. And when Nanaea, her sister, is picked as one of the three Sacred Maidens, Kammani can feel her entire world crashing around her. Her sister, who is beyond overjoyed, doesn’t quite understand why Kammani sees it as just death. And Kammani doesn’t understand why Nanaea would want to die. So Kammani does everything she possibly can to save the Alu’s ruler from dying and save her sister from the Boatman.

I really did like Kammani as the main character; she’s easy to understand and easy to relate to; no one wants to see a family member die, especially their younger sister. Kammani was a strong and brave character who knew she was getting herself into trouble but did it anyway, in hopes of saving her sister. She didn’t have much time to be a child, so her childhood was spent with her growing up and making sure her family survived. And even with saying all that, I didn’t find much character growth with Kammani, which is why her story line isn’t so memorable to me. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an interesting character, I just didn’t feel that connection I look for with the main character.

I would have liked to see more characterization of Dagan, the main love interest. He’s already madly in love with Kammani and basically throughout the first half of the book, he spends his time trying to win her over. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, considering he wants to marry her. But Kammani isn’t ready to get married (which is completely fine), but she doesn’t seem to fully tell Dagan her reasonings, at least not yet. I did think, however, that Dagan improved as a character about half-way through the book. I liked his relationship with Kammani and I thought there was definitely something there, I just wish there was more development with their relationship and maybe there will be in the sequel.

In all honesty, what really put this book on my radar was the story line of the Sacred Maidens and the Boatman. It’s unique and intriguing. I was a little disappointed that there was not much on the Boatman in the book, but I understand why, since he comes to collect the souls of those that are dead. Either way, I thought it was a great idea. As Nanaea is a Sacred Maiden, the reader gets to see what really goes on behind the scenes with being a Sacred Maiden and why it is so important to their kingdom and their tradition to have these girls join the ruler in the afterlife. It’s an interesting concept, one that I enjoyed reading about.

Even though I was not loving all the characters, I was obsessed with the world building and the writing. Coon describes a harsh world but in beautiful and rich prose, and it’s downright captivating. The descriptions captured my attention and created an intricate picture of each scene in my head. Coon did an amazing job describing the hardships, the violence, and the good and bad within this world. The world itself is just as enchanting as the cover of this book (which is gorgeous!). If anything, the world was by far my favorite part of this book, and also the Sacred Maidens concept.

But overall, Gravemaidens is a beautiful tale, with a unique plot and harsh yet captivating world. Even thought I was not a big fan of this book, I do still plan to read the sequel, as I liked the ending and I’m curious as to how everything is going to wrap up.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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*Review* The Vine Witch- Luanne G. Smith

43236277A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

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My Review:

“You’ll burn in Hell for this. The witch scoffed. What makes you think I haven’t already?”

The Vine Witch is a spellbinding must-read for the Halloween season. It combines a lot of things I love. It has Witches, Wine, Murder, and a little bit of love to throw you off and I really enjoyed it.

Elena was cursed after she turned down a proposal. The joining of two people is supposed to be the highlight of a persons life but she didn’t feel that way. After turning it down, Elena is cursed for seven years. That is until she breaks it and returns to the only place she knows, Château Renard.

She’s excited to get back to the vineyard, help everything grow and to see her family again. But things have changed. It was sold to John-Paul Martel who doesn’t believe in superstitions. She talks him into letting her stay and she must perform her witchery when he’s not around.

The fields are glowing with a hex that Elena tries to rid of. But there’s something down deeper that Elena can’t let go of. She wants revenge. Revenge on the person who stole seven years of her life. As she tries to break apart the hex, she won’t rest until this person/s are brought to justice.

The Vine Witch was a great story. I was so enraptured by this story that I didn’t want to put it down. I really dislike it when life gets in the way of a good book.

This was a really fun story with amazing and strong characters. It was great to see different witches throughout and to read what all they could do.

This is great for people who love a great mystery with witches, wine, and a good romance.

This debut was fantastic and I can’t wait to read more by her.

*Saturday Spotlight* A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

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Title: A River of Royal Blood

Author: Amanda Joy

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Page Count: 368 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown.

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

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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

Amanda Joy

Hi! I’m a writer and bookstagrammer. I currently live in Chicago with my dog Luna.

I grew up in a family of readers. My Dad first gifted me a set of the Chronicles of Narnia and sparked my unending love of fantasy and children’s literature. Years later, my older brother gave me the Wheel of Time series, which went on to inspire me to create my own worlds. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a writer and spent most of high school staying up all night reading and writing. I studied English and Psychology at the University of Missouri, and went on to earn my MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. While at the New School, I began writing about a Princess who felt out of place in her family and was quite literally under siege in her home. That became my first novel, A River of Royal Blood.

You can find me touring the city’s coffeeshops, taking pictures of my ever expanding library, and trekking around Chicago with my dog. Follow my instagram and twitter @amandajoywrites.

(Bio provided from author’s website and Photo provided from Goodreads)

*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

Fireborne

Title: Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1)

Author: Rosaria Munda

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: October 15th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dragons

Synopsis:

Seraphina meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

iTunes | Kobo | Google Books 

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Author Information

Rosaria

Rosaria grew up in rural North Carolina, where she climbed trees, read Harry Potter fanfiction, and taught herself Latin. She studied political theory at Princeton and lives in Chicago with her husband and cat.

For book recs and updates, follow her on instagram: @rosariamunda

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram 

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Tour Schedule

Check out the other amazing bloggers on the Fireborne blog tour!

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My Review

“And as she turned, it was revealed by her tread that she was fireborne.”

Y’all, this book has everything; Fireborne is a fierce and masterful debut that is sure to spark fire everywhere. There’s dragons, political intrigue, slow-burn romance (like real slow burn, the kind that makes you want to pull your hair out, but in a good way), outstanding character development, hidden identities, and so much more. Fireborne is honestly one of the best books I have read this year (and probably one of the best debuts), and is easily one of my top favorites of 2019.

Annie and Lee were such relatable and strong protagonists. Fireborne bounces between their point of views, which is one of the reasons I loved this story so much. I felt that their combined point of views really developed the story nicely, and that without both of their perspectives, it would feel like something is missing. Both characters were flawed yet delicate, and I really enjoyed seeing that in multiple ways in each character.

“I felt how those words tasted, yes sir, to a dragonlord’s son, sour and familiar, like old milk turned. And I realized that if I don’t like how those words taste, it’s up to me to do something about it. I’m done thinking from my knees. It’s time to think from my feet.”

Annie is an orphan who watched her family burn at the hands of a dragonlord. She’s one of the candidates who has a shot at making Firstrider, a position she could only dream of having. But in order to become Firstrider, she will have to fight against her best friend (and love), Lee. Overall, I thought Annie was a well-developed character. Her past horrors and present life mingle together nicely, and the readers gets a great idea of who she is as a person and a dragon rider.

“It is difficult, knowing that your choices are ones whose consequences others suffer.”

And then there’s Lee. Lee became an orphan after his family was slaughtered before his eyes. But he’s determined to prove that he can be just as great as his family, if not better. He can taste Firstrider on the tip of his tongue, a hope he has always wanted to come true, but he doesn’t want it at the cost of losing Annie. And what happens when someone from his past shockingly waltzes into his life? How do you balance a past that’s completely distant from your future? Lee learns all this the hard way, and that’s truly what builds his character. It was great to see him grow from his past mistakes and fight for a future he wants.

Bring what fury you have and I will answer it with ours.

The world building is absolutely phenomenal. The dragons are a fantastical aspect and the world is built around them, which I thoroughly enjoyed; the dragons are not there just to amuse the readers, but they fit so well into the world that it’s hard to imagine this story without them. There’s so many intricate parts that make this world function and Munda describes them all beautifully. Her writing is flawless and emotional and poetic; as the reader, I could sense the hurt and despair many civilians went through at the hands of the dragonlords and their dragons.

I cannot recommend Fireborne enough. This epic fantasy debut blew me away and set the record high for books to follow. If you love dragons and an intense, yet magnetic romance with hardships and mistakes and past trauma, then definitely read Fireborne. And read it soon, as I have a feeling you will thank yourself for reading this book earlier than later! 🙂

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Giveaway

Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda (US/CAN Only)

Starts: 9th October 2019

Ends: 9th October 2019

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

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*Saturday Spotlight* Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

Fireborne

Title: Fireborne

Author: Rosaria Munda

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Page Count: 448 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dragons

Summary:

Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.

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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

Rosaria

Rosaria grew up in rural North Carolina, where she climbed trees, read Harry Potter fanfiction, and taught herself Latin. She studied political theory at Princeton and lives in Chicago with her husband and cat.

For book recs and updates, follow her on instagram: @rosariamunda

(Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*Saturday Spotlight* Tarnished Are The Stars by Rosiee Thor

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Title: Tarnished Are the Stars

Author: Rosiee Thor

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Page Count: 384 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT

Summary:

The Lunar Chronicles meets Rook in this queer #OwnVoices science-fantasy novel, perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer and Sharon Cameron.

A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher’s chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog — donning the moniker Technician — to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner’s tyrannical laws.

Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner’s son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father’s respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father’s elusive affection is worth chasing at all.

Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner’s secrets at any cost — even if it means betraying her own heart.

When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic — before the Commissioner ends them first.

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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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Preorder Giveaway

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

Everyone who preorders Tarnished Are the Stars will receive the following:

  • TATS Bookmark (US Only)
  • One full set of double-sided printed character cards (US Only)
  • High-res digital character cards (US and International)
  • Deleted scene (US and International)

This preorder giveaway is open until October 15, 2019.

Does this preorder giveaway accept library requests? Yes!

Is this preorder international: Yes!

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 About the Author

Rosiee Thor

Rosiee Thor began her career as a storyteller by demanding that her mother listen as Rosiee told bedtime stories instead of the other way around. She lives in Oregon with a dog, two cats, and four complete sets of Harry Potter, which she loves so much, she once moved her mattress into the closet and slept there until she came out as queer. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)