*Saturday Spotlight* Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

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Title: Kingdom of Souls

Author: Rena Barron

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Page Count: 432 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

THERE’S MAGIC IN HER BLOOD.

Explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend, where one girl must sacrifice her life, year by year, to gain the power necessary to fight the mother she has never been good enough for.

Perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas, Tomi Adeyemi and Black Panther

THERE’S MAGIC IN HER BLOOD.

Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse.

Shame and disappointment dog her.

When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. This borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal and a danger beyond what she could have imagined. Now Arrah must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to save herself and everything she holds dear.

An explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend with a twist you will never see coming.

Content Warning: The story includes blood magic, an intentional infliction of self-injury in a ritual, challenging familial relationships, death of a child, death in battle scenes, mention of animal sacrifice (not on page), animal possession, and mind manipulation.

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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

Rena

Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventure sparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, she graduated to writing short stories and novels by high school. Rena loves all things science fiction, ghosts, and superheroes. She’s a self-proclaimed space nerd. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French. Follow her at @renathedreamer and renabarron.com.

Rena prefers not to be tagged in reviews to save her sanity.

She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*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)

*Saturday Spotlight* The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

MercifulCrowTitle: The Merciful Crow

Author: Margaret Owen

Publisher: Henry Holt

Release Date: July 30, 2019

Page Count: 384 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

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  |  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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Preorder Giveaway

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

All US preorders of The Merciful Crow will receive 3 beautiful character cards, 4 stickers, a signed bookplate, and a double-sided bookmark. The artwork is gorgeous! This preorder giveaway is open until July 1, 2019.

Does this preorder giveaway accept library requests? Yes! All library requests and international orders will receive digital swag: a lock screen for each of the character cards and an exclusive wallpaper!

Merciful Crow The

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 About the Author

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.) (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*Blog Tour + Giveaway* The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

StormTitle: The Storm Crow(The Storm Crow #1)

Author: Kalyn Josephson

Publisher: SourcebooksFire

Release Date: July 9th 2019

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK DEPOSITORY  |  KOBO |

GOOGLE BOOKS

 

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Author Information

KalynKalyn Josephson is a Technical Writer in Silicon Valley, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. She grew up in San Luis Obispo, CA, but now lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an even tinier owl). When not writing YA Fantasy, she loves baking, reading, playing sports, and watching too many movies.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

“People would notice; they’d recognize the armor. But I wanted them to. I wanted them to know that the legacy they’d tried to stamp out still smoldered in the ashes.”

The Storm Crow is one of those books I couldn’t put down. Thia’s battle with her emotions and her enemies is powerful and captivating. The action in this novel is beautifully written and full of fantastical elements. I became so engrossed in the world and characters that there were times I forgot I was in the real world and not in Thia’s world.

The elemental crows were unique and fascinating and added a mystical touch to the story. Rhodaire’s crows are essential to their life and without them, the people have to learn how to perform simple tasks, such as growing crops. Life changes drastically for the people, and not just because the crows were lost; loved ones were lost, too, in the battle. To Thia, everything seems hopeless. All she sees is darkness and no light at the end; she doesn’t see how she can move on.

One aspect of The Storm Crow I highly enjoyed seeing was how depression was openly discussed. Thia realizes early on that the destruction of her world as she knew it threw her into a deep and potentially dark depression. Throughout the story, Thia’s depression helps shape her character and starts to give her the strength she needs to overcome the past and save her kingdom and people. Thia’s depression battles are detailed to where the reader could feel and/or see Thia openly struggling. Her depression felt real and raw. She becomes a master in hiding her depression behind a fake smile, but those closest to her can see the past is eating her alive. I haven’t read many YA fantasy books that openly mention/discuss depression, so I was surprised that this became a key point in The Storm Crow. There’s so many readers that battle depression, and I know to some it’s important to see depression depicted, especially in fantasy. How Josephson address depression in her book really lays it out for the world to see and for everyone to understand that depression is not something you can easily shake off. Her depiction of depression was, overall, one of the main reasons I loved The Storm Crow.

“I might be queen, but you were meant to be so much more. Crow or no crow, one way or another, you will fly. You were always meant to rule the sky.”

Thia is a strong and emotional person. She knows she has to go to Illucia, the kingdom that attacked hers, to try to bring peace and save her people. Thia, at first, believes everything is lost; the fight she once had in her is gone, left behind in the rubble of the battle. But that all changes when Thia finds an unhatched storm crow egg. To Thia, this changes everything. Thia has a newfound hope to fight for her kingdom and people, all from within the palace walls of her enemy. But there’s just one slight problem: Thia doesn’t know how to hatch a crow egg. Nevertheless, Thia refuses to give up hope; she refuses to give up.

The secondary characters in The Storm Crow were also what made this book a 5 star review for me. Her best friend and bodyguard, Kiva, share not just a best friend bond, but a sisterly bond. They’re relationship reminded me of my relationship with my best friend, and I love seeing those types of friendships depicted in fantasy stories. Kiva helps Thia battle her depression while staying in enemy territory. They’re not just best friends; they’re a team and both will do whatever it takes to see Queen Razel burn for her wrongdoings. Then there’s Caylus. Caylus is a soft yet incredibly smart and reliable friend to Thia; she trusts him so much that she relies on him to help her solve the hatching behind a crow egg.

And, of course, there’s Prince Ericen. At first, he’s a terrible, cold-heartless person; he’s basically everything that makes a villain. But he slowly starts to show Thia a side he’s never shown anyone, not even his mother, the ruthless Queen Razel. Ericen wants to build a trusting relationship with Thia but Thia doesn’t quite know how that’s possible when he’s the son of the woman that killed her mother. He’s a well described character with an interesting backstory.

“It was only you. Because I, like everyone, knew what you were.

A delinquent?

A storm. A tempest of lightning and thunder with the kind of heart found only in legends.”

Josephson’s writing is captivating and compelling. She weaves words together to bring a magical and powerful story to light. Her description of the kingdoms and the characters is wonderfully well-written and very descriptive. Josephson also knows how to depict feelings and relationships really well. There was phenomenal character growth with Thia and her companions; Thia really starts to come into her own and grow as a person and fighter.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Storm Crow. Josephson creates a world the reader can easily get lost in. If you enjoy an adventurous fantasy novel with lovable animals and relationships, then I definitely recommend reading The Storm Crow!

My overall review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out the other amazing bloggers on The Storm Crow tour!

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Giveaway

Prize: Win a finished hard copy of THE STORM CROW by Kalyn Josephson (INT) or a signed finished copy of THE CROW STORM by Kalyn Josephson (US Only)

** International as long as bookdepository ships to the country

Starts: July 9th 2019

Ends: July 23rd 2019

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

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

SpintheDawnTitle: Spin the Dawn(The Blood of Stars #1)

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release Date: July 9th 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK DEPOSITORY  |  KOBO |

GOOGLE BOOKS  |  APPLE BOOKS

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Author Information

ElizabethElizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.

Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.

Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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My Review

“All legends have a spark of truth. Sometimes more than a spark.”

Spin the Dawn is one of those wonderfully crafted tales that weaves self-discovery, love, and adventure into a beautifully written story. I won’t lie, I had high expectations going into this book and let me tell you, Spin the Dawn exceeded all those expectations. Elizabeth Lim has created a spectacular tale rich with culture and magic and strength, and Spin the Dawn has become one of my top reads of 2019.

Spin the Dawn is not just a journey; it’s about falling in love, believing in yourself, and following your dreams. This book is filled with heart and courage and spirit; Elizabeth Lim poured her soul into this story and it’s a magnificent story. The characters are well-developed and the world-building is breathtaking and illustrious.

Maia was born with courage in her blood and magic in her soul. Her spirit and her courageous heart spill out through the words in Spin the Dawn. She defies the impossibilities that deem to hold her back; she, ultimately, proves those who wish to see her fail wrong. She proves to herself that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to.

Maia easily became a protagonist I loved. She’s true to herself and true to her word: she wants to win this competition without the help of her magical scissors and win solely based on her extraordinary skills. This doesn’t mean she never uses the scissors; on the contrary, they become very prominent further into the book; magic becomes prominent. And even better, Maia’s strength really takes charge in this story, especially when she must do the impossible. Her love for her family and her craft is what sets her apart from everyone else; she wants to prove to the world that a woman can be a tailor and just as talented as a man in the craft. Her spirit is really what made this story what it is: her will to fight and her unwavering belief in herself is what made me love this story so much. And, of course, Edan.

Edan is the emperor’s imperial enchanter, and quite a charmer, if I might add. His relationship with Maia is one of my favorites. Their feelings for each other don’t just grow overnight; it takes a whole journey but nonetheless, their beautiful love story blossoms into something magical. Edan is such a bashful love interest that I easily fell in love with his character. Elizabeth Lim brought us readers a beautiful relationship with chemistry and charm and because of how well-written this relationship is, I could not imagine Spin the Dawn being what it is without their love.

Elizabeth Lim crafts a story with beautiful prose, unending heart, and spectacular magic. Her writing brings to a life a story that will captivate the hearts of all readers. The Chinese culture mixed with shimmering magic and a blossoming romance truly make this story charming. Spin the Dawn is definitely a book I highly recommend and a beautiful fantasy you will not want to miss.

Overall rating: 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out all the amazing bloggers on the Spin the Dawn tour!

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Giveaway

PRIZE: 1 copy of SPIN THE DAWN per blog hosting the book for the tour (US ONLY)

Stars: July 7, 2019

Ends: July 16, 2019maxresdefault

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

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*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)