*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)

*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)