*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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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Beyond the Black Door by A. M. Strickland

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Title: Beyond the Black Door

Author: A.M. Strickland

Publisher: Imprint

Release Date: October 29th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Synopsis:

Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom…

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Kobo | Google Books 

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Author Information

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AdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, her pugs, and her piles and piles of books. She loves traveling, dancing, vests, tattoos, and every shade of teal in existence, but especially the darker ones. She is the coauthor of SHADOW RUN and SHADOW CALL (Delacorte/Penguin Random House) and author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR (Imprint/Macmillan).

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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Tour Schedule

Check out the other amazing bloggers on this blog tour!

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My Review

“Some secrets weren’t meant to be discovered. Some doors not meant to be opened. I’d already made that mistake once, and I shouldn’t be tempted to do it again.”

Beyond the Black Door was one of the books where the cover captured my attention before I read the summary. And then I read the summary and just knew I had to read this book. The cover and summary perfectly capture the mystery, the intrigue, and the subtle hints of a beautiful romance.

The inside of this book is just as lush and beautiful as the cover. Beyond the Black Door has an atmosphere that’s captivating yet peppered with darkness and mystery, and that’s what truly drove this story home for me. The concept behind Soulwalking and the black door is unique and sure to enchant any and all readers.

“If I’d found something resembling a monster behind one door, I had yet to find anything more than a rose behind the other.”

I will be honest – I was more hooked on the atmosphere and the world than I was the characters. Don’t get me wrong, the characters are well developed and diverse and driven, but I just didn’t feel that connection I’m always looking for in books. I did enjoy Kamai as the main character: she’s curious and that curiosity is what sends her on her dark and mysterious journey, and it’s how she discovers herself and who she wants to be as a person. She was definitely one of my favorite characters in this book. And I absolutely loved the representation in this book!

The world building and setting is absolutely breathtaking. I could not get enough of this world and Kamai’s Soulwalker ability. This book is a breath of fresh air and offers its readers a beautifully imaginative world. And yes, it does have a wonderfully seductive mystery that I absolutely loved. What I also really liked about this book is how the main focus is not romance, but instead a mystery that is needing to be solved. I love romances, but I love fantasy books that can easily interwove a romance without it overtaking the plot.

Overall, Beyond the Black Door is a lush yet dark and atmospheric read that fantasy readers are sure to enjoy.

My overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Pre-Order Campaign

Pre-Order Beyond the Black Door by release day and receive the following:

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Click here to view the details.

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Giveaway

Prize: Win a copy of BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR by A.M. Strickland (US/CAN Only)

Stars: 23rd October 2019

Ends: 6th November 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* Songs From the Deep by Kelly Powell

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Title: Songs From the Deep

Author: Kelly Powell

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Page Count: 320 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Summary:

A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.

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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

Kelly Powell

Kelly Powell writes fantasy for young adults and currently lives in Ontario, Canada. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and book & media studies from the University of Toronto.

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

*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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*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)