*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal

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Title: Ink in the Blood (Ink in The Blood #1)

Author: by Kim Smejkal

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 11th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Fantasy

Synopsis:

A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Apple Books | Book Depository | Kobo

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Author Information

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Kim Smejkal lives with her family on muse-satiating Vancouver Island, which means she’s often lost in the woods or wandering a beach. She writes dark fantasy for young adults and not-so-young adults, always with a touch of magic. Her debut novel, INK IN THE BLOOD, will release from HMH in early 2020, with a sequel to follow in 2021. She is represented by Daniel Lazar of Writers House.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

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My Review

“They’d play like Diavala and be tricksters all the way.”

Ink in the Blood is one of those stories that holds a powerful meaning and can easily maintain a reader’s attention. I was pleasantly amazed with how this story unfolded. I enjoyed the characters, the array of LGBT representation, but I overall enjoyed most the bond between two girls and their fight for their own destiny.

The writing is both lyrical and poetic. Honestly, the writing is what really drew me into the story (once I started to read, the beautiful cover initially captured my attention). The author has such lush writing that I could easily imagine the world and the characters. I was enamored with this story and the dark world building. Everything is so beautifully described and depicted.

“That time, his smile almost killed her.”

I really enjoyed the magic system in this story. Ink magic in the form of tattoos is unique and quite intriguing; it’s such a neat idea to think of ink in someone’s veins. But at the heart of this story lies a bigger, more meaningful type of magic: freedom. Celia and her best friend, Anya, want to escape the Profeta, which works out well for them when a traveling theater troupe comes through their town. But what Celia wasn’t expecting was to be followed by the Divine; and Celia has now given the Divine the perfect opportunity to spread her mendacious influence.

“Only the damned speak with devils.”

I won’t lie, I was a bit surprised in the direction this story went, in a good way. I wasn’t expecting the story to be so dark, but it fit so well with the plot and the characters. The concept behind the people wanting to create a world of fear is beautifully done and believable, and Smejkal did a wonderful job creating that overall dark vibe of the story. She easily depicts how difficult it is to create a future for yourself when the Divine wants your freedom and when people live in a world of constant fear.

“Sometimes what looks like betrayal is actually the biggest sacrifice.”

I have to say that my favorite part about this story was Celia’s and Anya’s relationship. Their friendship meant everything in this story; both girls were there for one another and fought for each other. That’s the type of bond I love to see in fantasy stories, and Kim Smejkal did a great job illustrating that bond. Both girls also want to change their fate; they each want to be able to pick their future instead of live in the one already dictated for them. I loved seeing how each girl overcame their struggles and fought for something they truly believed was possible. Their story provided hope and

Overall, I was impressed with this debut novel. The bond between Celia and Anya is phenomenal and really ties this story together. This is a wonderfully-done fantasy debut, and I can’t wait to see what happens next with the characters.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing book bloggers on this tour:

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Giveaway

Prize: Win (1) of (2) finished copies of INK IN THE BLOOD by Kim Smejkal and temporary tattoos (US Only)

Starts: 5th February 2020

Ends: 19th February 2020

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

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Stacy’s Favorite Books of 2019

It’s that time of year again where I give you my absolute favorite books of 2019. Hopefully, there are some new books on here that you’ll love just as much as I did.

What were your favorites of 2019?

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*Click on the book cover to read the synopsis on Goodreads*

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Books that almost made the list:

*The Fever King- Victoria Lee

*Enchant- Micalea Smeltzer

*Birthday- Meredith Russo

*Unpregnant- Jenni Hendriks

*The Chain- Adrian McKinty

 

 

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*First Line Friday 12/6/19* Reverie- Ryan La Sala

46299614Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

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“This is where it happened, this is where they found Kane’s body.”

*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)

*Saturday Spotlight* Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

ShattertheSkyTitle: Shatter the Sky

Author: Rebecca Kim Wells

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: July 30, 2019

Page Count: 304 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Summary:

Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold.

If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground…

With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?

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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

RebeccaWells

Rebecca Kim Wells is the author of Shatter the Sky, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in Summer 2019. When not writing, reading, or talking about writing or reading, she sells books at a fiercely independent bookstore in Massachusetts. She can also be found drinking tea, singing along to musicals, or playing soccer. (Usually not all at once.) If she were a hobbit, she would undoubtedly be a Took. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*ARC Review* You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

YAFPTitle: You Asked for Perfect

Author: Laura Silverman

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Page Count: 288 pages

Release Date: March 5, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

Summary: 

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.


My Review

Have you ever felt the need to be perfect in something? A sport? Your job? What about in school? Whether you’re in school now or not, was there ever a point where you needed a perfect grade, a perfect test score, a perfect something? Do you remember dealing with the constant stress and increased anxiety levels to live up to the standards that others, or even yourself, hold you up to?

I’m one of those people that answered yes to each of those questions. In school, I struggled to maintain good grades, a social life, my family life, and my extra-curricular activities. I struggled so much that I would constantly break down because of the stress and anxiety bearing down on my shoulders and my mind. It wasn’t healthy.

And this beautiful, emotionally relatable book, You Asked for Perfect, sums up exactly what it feels like to deal with those overbearing pressures. This book is what I wished for in high school and I am so glad (so unbelievably thankful) that I had the chance to read an early copy. If you’re in middle school, high school, college, or just feeling the pressure to be perfect at something, you need to read this book. You need this book in your life right now. Trust me. Stress and anxiety take such a toll on one’s body that you may not even notice it until you wind up getting sick or worse.

“The calculus test is Friday. If I fail, it will literally be impossible to get an A in the class. If I don’t get an A in the class, I won’t have a perfect record. If I don’t have a perfect record, I’ll be a less appealing applicant for Harvard. If I’m a less appealing applicant for Harvard, I won’t get in. If I don’t get in…”

You Asked for Perfect centers on senior Ariel Stone, who struggles with academic pressure. He feels he must maintain his perfect grades, his first spot for Valedictorian, his first chair violin spot, and somehow squeeze in time to have a social life. Like most kids in school, he works exceptionally hard to maintain his perfect status. So a failed Calculus quiz is not acceptable in his perfect world. The readers see first hand what its like to struggle with the idea of being perfect, and what one failed quiz can do to someone who never fails in the academic field. Ariel puts too much on his plate, and because of that, his health starts to deteriorate, without him even noticing. He starts to swap out hours of sleep for studying when his grades start to slip. And though he gets a tutor, he doesn’t want anyone to know, especially the girl he’s up against for Valedictorian. Ariel doesn’t want anyone to see him as weak, not even his family. So, he works to maintain his perfect image in school and with his family and best friend.

Besides the emotional rollercoaster this book gives its readers, I thought the development with Ariel’s family and close friends was well put together. His sister is similar to Ariel, in the sense that she has to be perfect and puts an exceptional amount of pressure on herself for such a young age. And the worst part? Not even their parents notice what their kids are going through. It’s the aspect of being blind when your eyes can fully see: you don’t see the signs that are right in front of you. And so many kids in today’s world struggle with this, which is why this book is so vastly important. Ariel’s parents are wonderful people in this book, they really are, but like most parents, they don’t see the problems unless their kids bring it up to them. Or in Ariel’s case, unless you get really good at hiding your struggles. And then there’s Ariel’s best friend, who he somehow finds time to help her with her band. Ariel doesn’t want to disappoint his best friend, so even though he is struggling, he helps her out and doesn’t let her in on the problems he is facing.

And, of course, there’s Ariel’s tutor, Amir, who is such a loving guy, but who also happens to put a spin on Ariel’s life. Ariel swore off relationships until after high school, but could Amir possibly change that? And even so, it’s just another pressure Ariel puts on his shoulders; so, his struggle is not just with school, but with everyone in his life.

But the one pressure that Ariel needs to fix is the pressure he puts on himself. That’s the worst pressure of all. He holds himself up to a standard because he doesn’t want to disappoint those around him. And he really wants to get into Harvard, so a failed Calculus quiz is not in the cards. But his pressures and the standard he holds himself up to are issues that so many kids deal with. And that’s one of the reasons why I stress how important this book is.

I could keep going on and on about this incredible book (I could probably create a whole presentation on it), but there’s only one thing I can say at this point: You Need This Book. Even if you’re not currently struggling with anything, get this book because there will come a time that you will need it and, trust me, you will be so thankful that you read You Asked for Perfect. Laura Silverman delivers a beautifully crafted book that you are not going to want to miss.

You Asked for Perfect comes out March 5, 2019.

All quotes are from the advanced readers copy and may not appear in the final novel.

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