*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani

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Title: Seven Deadly Shadows

Authors: Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: January 28th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis:

Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Apple Books | Book Depository

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Author Information

Author - Courtney

A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels for young people. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award and hailed as a “standout in the genre” by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novel, PITCH DARK (Spring 2017), is a genre-blending science fiction/horror novel in the vein of Ridley Scott’s 1979 film ALIEN.

Courtney holds a B.A. in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by the talented John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five pound cat with a giant personality.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Author - Valynne

Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities. Currently, she is a full-time writer. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children’s literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013, a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection, and Best Fiction Book in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Award for 2015. She lives in Salt Lake City.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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My Review

I am a girl surrounded by monsters and ghosts from an ancient world.”

I really enjoyed the Japanese folklore and how the authors used that history and mythology to create a truly compelling story. I could see how much research went into this book and that honestly made my heart soar because there’s times where I had to do some research on books that depict mythology. But I didn’t have to do that with Seven Deadly Shadows. The authors really went all out with this book and I loved that.

With that being said, the mythology in this book is exceptional. Each page, each character, is steeped in Japanese mythology. I learned so much about Japanese folklore and culture from this story – I was unfamiliar with just how many demons and death gods are in this mythology, but not anymore. These co-authors truly created a story with an immersive world and enthralling characters.

“‘I’m not ashamed of who I am….Not anymore.'”

Kira is an exceptional character. She’s wonderfully flawed and strong and brave. Her character development throughout the story is phenomenal; her growth isn’t all at once but over the course of this entire story. Kira is also deeply devoted to her family, which is why it’s so devastating when her family shrine is attacked. She will do anything for her family and anything to protect them, which is why she teams up with Shiro to help right the wrongs of this ancient world.

I liked Shiro as a character; he’s fun and brings a certain light to this dark tale. I did feel the romance was a tad bit too fast, but nonetheless, I thought both characters worked well together and added to the overall plot. Actually, all of the secondary characters made the story interesting and definitely helped with Kira’s character development. Each character played a role and it was done beautifully.

“I suppose even death looks beautiful, sometimes. But its beauty is a lie.”

The atmosphere of this book was amazing. There was never a point where the story and world felt too dark. But I did enjoy how, as the reader, I could feel when a demon was about to greet Kira and her friends. I liked how the authors added a slight darkness to those scenes. The overall writing of this story is beautiful. I couldn’t tell the difference between which author wrote what scene, and that is honestly brilliant. I love not knowing the authors’ writing styles (though I do try to figure them out), so Seven Deadly Shadows became an even more fun book to me.

If you’re a huge anime fan, then I think you will definitely enjoy this book. I haven’t watched anime in years (I need to fix that, for sure, after reading this book), but reading Seven Deadly Shadows reminded me of why I loved watching anime and reading manga. This book provided me with teen memories I haven’t reminisced about in years, and I loved that added touch because it made the story more personal to me.

“He disappears into the shadows, leaving me to wonder what a death god might fear.”

All in all, Seven Deadly Shadows was a fun read filled to the brim with Japanese mythology and demons. If these two authors decide to write another book together, you best believe I will be buying it the day the book comes out.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers on this book tour!

Seven Deadly Shadows

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Giveaway

Grand Prize PictureGrand Prize: Win a signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, a signed copy of Courtney Alameda’s SHUTTER, and a signed copy of Valynne Maetani’s INK AND ASHES; anime portraits of Kira and Shiro; a stuffed fox omamori charm from the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Japan; an origami fox hand-folded by Valynne Maetani; a yokai mini sticker sheet; and an assortment of Japanese Kit Kats (not pictured) [INT]

Second Prize: Win (1) of (2) A signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS with anime portraits of Kira and Shiro (INT)

OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

Starts: 28th January 2020

Ends: 11th February 2020

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

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*First Line Friday 12/20/19* Set Fire to the Gods- Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons

41954467. sy475 Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.

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“Sweat dripped into Madoc’s eyes, soaking the frayed neck of his grime-streaked tunic and burning an open wound on his jaw.”

Harry Potter Christmas Book Tag

The Holidays are right around the corner and I can’t wait to have a few days off from work to relax and get some much-needed reading done.

How are you spending your holidays?

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We were tagged by the amazing Chelsie over at My Reading Escape to join in on the book tag fun. Thanks for including us 🙂

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It’s your first Christmas at Hogwarts. What’s one book you’ve asked for this year?

I’ve asked for a few books that have been on my TBR for a while but the main one I really want and hope to receive is Normal People by Sally Rooney. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about her books and I want to start with this one.

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You spot Hagrid hauling the Christmas tree through the grounds. What is the longest (or heaviest!) book you own?

I get asked this question a lot and we joke around at work about which books we would use as weapons if the occasion arose (yeah, we are kind of morbid). I always go for Stephen King. IT is over a thousand pages long and so worth the damage it does to your hands after holding it while reading.

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It’s time for the famous Great Hall feast. What’s one book you can’t read without snacks?

I usually don’t like to have food/snacks around books because of crumbs or stickiness. But sometimes I make an exception for a cute contemporary book. It puts you in the right mindset for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with a decent cookie or two.

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Well done, you’ve brewed your first Polyjuice potion. What’s one book you’d change the cover of?

Yes, I know that they changed the cover for this one but it still drives me crazy that they first decided to go with that cover. It made me feel as if they were trying to sabotage her.

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You receive a brand new Firebolt for Christmas. What’s one book you read super quickly?

Anything by V(E)ictoria Schwab is a super quick read for me. Her books draw you in and you sit and read her entire book in one sitting.

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You join Harry for his first proper Christmas. What’s one book you’d love to receive this year?

I know that I’m so late to the party with this book but I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now and I need to own it for my book collection.

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You get hit by one of Fred and George’s flying snowballs. What’s a book you wanted to throw across the room?

I wanted to throw this book across the room because it was one of my highly anticipated reads but it was just awful.

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You’ve just visited Hogsmeade for the first time. What’s one popular book you haven’t read yet?

I own this book but just haven’t read it yet.

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Congratulations, you’ve been invited to the Yule Ball. What book about Christmas do you love?

This book is just the cutest and puts me in a better mood.

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You find Ron’s deluminator. What’s one book that’s helped you through some dark times?

This is not your typical pick me up book but it took my mind off of things that were going on around me.

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We Tag:

ABellaFairyTale

ABronxLatinaReads

 

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen

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Title: Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance

Author: Jennieke Cohen

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: December 3rd 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Fiction

Synopsis:

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen in this witty, winking historical romance with a dash of mystery!

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

iTunes | Kobo| Google Books

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Author Information

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Jennieke Cohen (JEN-ih-kah CO-en) is used to people mispronouncing her name and tries to spare her fictional characters the same problem. Jennieke writes historical fiction for young adults inspired by real people and events because life is often stranger than fiction. She studied English history at Cambridge University and has a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. Jennieke loves exploring new locales but always returns home to Northern California where the summers are hot, the winters are mild, and life is casual.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Blog | Pinterest | Instagram

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Tour Schedule

Check out the other amazing bloggers on this blog tour!

TOUR BANNER

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Book Review

When it comes to historical romance books, Jane Austen is one of my go-to authors. Pride & Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books, so when I heard of Dangerous Alliance and that it’s filled with Jane Austen references, I knew I had to read this book. And this story did not disappoint.

Dangerous Alliance is filled with beautiful prose, witty banter, and charming characters. There were scenes where I was laughing and scenes where I was gasping, not expecting certain things to happen. The characters, especially the male love interests, were delightful and made Vicky’s interactions entertaining and enjoyable.

Even though, at heart, this story is a romance story, I loved the dash of mystery. Mix mystery into a romance story, and you have a captivating storyline with irresistible characters. And that’s exactly what you get here. Dangerous Alliance kept me on the edge of my seat; I was so curious as to what would happen next that I didn’t want to put this book down. I loved the characters and Vicky and the setting is beyond gorgeous – the historical beauty is captivating, and I loved every second of this book.

“Your pride is one thing, Victoria, but when you give it more weight than your health, you do yourself no favors.”

Victoria is a fun and engaging main character who gets herself into quite the predicament. How exactly do you handle multiple men vying for your hand in marriage? And also try to solve a mystery that could potentially put her and her family in harm’s way? It’s not easy for Vicky, that’s for sure, but watching her navigate the world of society’s season was fun and humorous at times. Her reliability on Jane Austen’s words is a delight to read; it’s the right mixture of Jane Austen’s work with Cohen’s story. Vicky is also strong and fiercely independent, which I absolutely loved; she does not want to settle down and lose her freedom, but to save her family, she’ll do anything.

“Of the countless embarrassing moments in all her seventeen years, this one secured the prize for most ghastly.”

Cohen’s writing was spectacular; I mainly loved the witty banter between the characters and Vicky’s interactions with those inside and outside of books. Cohen brings this historical romance book to life. There’s just enough romance and mystery to keep the readers on their toes, which made this book even more enjoyable. Overall, this book was a wonderful read and perfect for fans of Jane Austen!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Giveaway

Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of DANGEROUS ALLIANCE by Jennieke Cohen (US Only)
Starts: 27th November 2019

Ends: 11th December 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* Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

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Title: Crown of Coral and Pearl

Author: Mara Rutherford

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Release Date: August 27, 2019

Page Count: 432 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

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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

Mara

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world, from Russia to Peru, along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband and two sons. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London and would rather study the folklore of her next post than the language (which she has found is a lot more fun but not nearly as useful). She is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor. Her debut YA fantasy, CORAL AND PEARL, will release from Harlequin Teen in Fall 2019. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

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Title: The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow #1)

Author: Margaret Owens

Publisher: Henry Holt

Release Date: July 30th 2019

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

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  |  KOBO |

GOOGLE BOOKS  |  iTUNES

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Author Information

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.)

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

“Fie remembered the first time she’d held Phoenix fire. She hadn’t wanted to burn the world down; she’d wanted the world to know she could.”

The Merciful Crow is one of those YA dark fantasy books that you will remember. This book brings the fantasy genre to new heights, with incredible world building and memorable characters and with a romance that sparks right off the page. The Merciful Crow is easily one of my top reads of 2019.

Fie is part of the lowest caste in her world, known as Crow. She is a Crow-witch in training, someone with the ability to use magic of the other castes from their teeth. This world is built on a caste system, with each caste level named after a type of bird. The teeth from each caste give Fie the ability to use different types of magic. The higher caste levels have a birthright (which Crow does not) and everyone treats the Crows as if they’re not humans and don’t deserve to breathe the same air as them. The whole caste system was intriguing and it was sad, yet eye-opening, to see how Crows are treated.

Fie is thrown together with a prince and his attractive Hawk bodyguard when her father can no longer oversee the Oath sworn with the Phoenix prince. Now on the run from Vultures and others wanting to kill them, Fie must safely guide the prince to his allies. And on this journey, she starts to figure out exactly who she wants to be and what it means to be a Crow Chief and to follow your destiny.

“Look after your own. Crows had one rule. And she had to be a Crow Chief.”

Fie is an overall relatable character. One of the best things about The Merciful Crow is how Fie is captured between the words of the story. She’s just like anyone else in the world: she has wants that she can’t put before her own family because they don’t necessarily do anything for the needs of her crew. She’s also fiercely loyal to her family. My favorite thing about Fie, though, was her boldness. She easily speaks her mind and, though she is quite stubborn, her boldness creates a fun experience for the reader.

And then there’s the secondary characters, who Margaret Owen brings to life through the pages and gives all the characters the scenes they need for the readers to understand just who each character is and what their need in the story is. And that romance…WOAH. Margaret Owen sure knows how to write a blossoming romance. It was passionate and slow-burning and everything I look for in a romance. It’s honestly one of the best romances I’ve read in a while.

“I can do something better with my life than die.”

Margaret Owen is a talented storyteller who easily weaves together beautiful descriptive scenes and wholly original characters. The writing is different and unique from most YA fantasy books I’ve read, but I loved that. The writing has its own voice and, dang, is that voice captivating. I could not put this book down and when I had to, I could not get the story out of my head. And I’m not fully prepared to wait for the sequel because July 2020 is far away and my heart needs the sequel now.

The Merciful Crow captured my attention from the first line and refused to let go. It’s honestly difficult to put my love for this book into words because I don’t quite know the right words to say to do this book justice. The Merciful Crow was just so unique and fantastical and an overall mesmerizing story. It’s complex and engrossing and a fast-paced read. I will forever recommend this book.

If you’re looking for a dark and enthralling fantasy with captivating characters and solid writing and world building, then I highly recommend The Merciful Crow.

My overall review: 5 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out the other amazing bloggers on The Merciful Crow tour!tour banner (7)

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Giveaway

Prize: Win a final copy of The Merciful Crow + a book-themed make-up bag (US/CAN Only)

Starts: July 30th 2019

Ends: August 13th 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* 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)