*Saturday Spotlight* Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Dove

Title: Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Page Count: 528 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

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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

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

Everyone who preorders Wicked Fox will receive 3 beautiful character cards in the mail from Kat. The artwork is gorgeous! This preorder giveaway is open until August 27, 2019. There will be one grand prize winner, who will win everything pictured below.

Does this preorder giveaway accept library requests? Yes! 

Is this preorder international: Yes!

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 About the Author

Shelby

Shelby Mahurin grew up on a small farm in rural Indiana, where sticks became wands and cows became dragons. Her rampant imagination didn’t fade with age, so she continues to play make-believe every day—with words now instead of cows. When not writing, Shelby watches the Office and obsesses over her Twitter feed. She still lives near that childhood farm with her very tall husband, semi-feral toddlers, two dogs, and one cat.

Shelby’s favorite books include A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and, of course, Harry Potter.

Her debut novel, SERPENT & DOVE, will release from Harper Teen in Fall 2019, with a sequel to come the following year. She is represented by Sarah Landis of Sterling Lord Literistic. (Bio and photo provided from Goodreads)

*Blog Tour + Playlist + Giveaway* Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell

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Title: Beasts of the Frozen Sun (Frozen Sun Saga #1)

Author: Jill Criswell

Publisher: Blackstone

Release Date: August 6th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.

Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.

When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.

As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK DEPOSITORY  |  KOBO |

GOOGLE BOOKS

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Author Information

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Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Official Playlist for BEASTS OF THE FROZEN SUN

For explanations of which songs go with which scenes in the book, please visit the “Extras” tab on my website, https://jillcriswell.com

Here’s a link to the playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2UPIDnqGOmKJ6eCz9LgMtU?si=e-SB000hTcCaLqyT9AvDDA

  1. Zola Jesus – “Vessel”
  2. Smashing Pumpkins – “Eye”
  3. A Perfect Circle – “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums”
  4. Delirium (featuring Sarah McLachlan) – “Silence”
  5. Agnes Obel – “Familiar”
  6. Fever Ray – “If I had a Heart”
  7. Eivør – “Surrender”
  8. Faun – “Lupercalia”
  9. Flogging Molly – “Devil’s Dance Floor”
  10. Godsmack – “Voodoo”
  11. Loreena McKennitt – “The Mystic’s Dream”
  12. Susanne Sundfør – “O Master”
  13. Puscifer – “Man Overboard”
  14. Wardruna – “Solringen”
  15. The Killers – “Goodnight, Travel Well”sword 1

Tour Schedule

Check out the other amazing bloggers on Beasts of the Frozen Sun tour!

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Giveaway

Prize: Win (1) of (3) BEASTS OF THE FROZEN SUN bundles: a signed copy of the book and some author swag (a bookmark, pendant, and magnet) [INT]

Start Date: August 14th, 2019

End Date: August 28th, 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* Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

KOS

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)

*ARC Review + Happy Book Birthday* Containment by Caryn Lix

42201355Title: Containment (Sanctuary #2)

Author: Caryn Lix

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Page Count: 496 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Summary:

They may have escaped Sanctuary, but Kenzie and her friends are far from safe.

Ex-Omnistellar prison guard Kenzie and her superpowered friends barely made it off Sanctuary alive. Now they’re stuck in a stolen alien ship with nowhere to go and no one to help them. Kenzie is desperate for a plan, but she doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Everyone has their own dark secrets: Omnistellar, her parents, even Cage. Worse still, she’s haunted by memories of the aliens who nearly tore her to shreds—and forced her to accidentally kill one of the Sanctuary prisoners, Matt.

When Kenzie intercepts a radio communication suggesting that more aliens are on their way, she knows there’s only one choice: They must turn themselves in to Omnistellar and destroy the ship before the aliens follow the signal straight to them. Because if the monstrous creatures who attacked Sanctuary reach Earth, then it’s game over for humanity.

What Kenzie doesn’t know is that the aliens aren’t the only ones on the hunt. Omnistellar has put a bounty on Kenzie’s head—and the question is whether the aliens or Omnistellar get to her 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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*Whoa there, watch out! Danger is afoot if you haven’t read the first book, Sanctuary, yet. You can check out my review of Sanctuary but be alert, aliens and secrets are bound to come out!*

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Potential trigger warnings: Drug use and death.

There’s been many books I’ve read where the sequel just isn’t as good as the first book. Containment is not one of those books. This sequel lives up to its predecessor and I actually think it’s even better. There’s so much character development and nonstop action that I was hooked from page one and I could not put this book down.

The story starts off with Kenzie and her friends (the prisoners from Sanctuary) stranded on an alien ship. But soon enough, Kenzie and Rune realize the ship isn’t as safe as they were hoping: it’s broadcasting to another potential alien ship. This leaves Kenzie with no choice: to destroy the ship they’re on, she makes a call to Omnistellar. But, as usual, not everything goes as planned and Kenzie and some of her friends are back on the run, on a foreign planet with the help of someone Kenzie isn’t ready to trust. And soon enough, it’s not just Omnistellar Kenzie is running from.

Kenzie continues to be a strong and relatable protagonist. The guilt she has from her mistake in the first book is powerful and there were times where I felt her guilt, her sorrows and anger for what happened. The reader watches her struggle with PTSD throughout the book, and I liked how real her feelings felt. She continually struggles to get a grip on her guilt and understand her feelings, but she soon realizes that not everything is as simple as she would like it to be, especially when she needs to focus on keeping her friends safe. And especially when all of their powers start to develop into something more.

What I also really enjoyed was how much more the reader learns about Kenzie’s friends, mainly Mia, Alexei, and Cage. All three have a dark and dangerous past and as the reader, I saw how each of their pasts shaped them to be the person they are in this book. It was nice to see Kenzie’s relationships with them continue to grow and become more trusting. They all rely on one another and work as a team and I thought that was a great addition to see.

On a side note, though, there’s not much alien action in this book; there’s still a good amount, but Containment has more of a focus on what’s happened after Sanctuary and how the crew can outrun Omnistellar and Legion bounty hunters. We do learn a bit more about the aliens, which is always cool to read about. But I liked how Containment focused more on the development of each character rather than their battle with the aliens. Granted, there was character development in Sanctuary, but the development in Containment is outstanding and just what was needed to make the sequel a huge hit in my mind.

Containment is an action-packed and thrilling ride. Every chapter consisted of this group of kids on the run from not just the aliens, but also Onmistellar. There was never a dull chapter, never a dull scene that wasn’t filled with character development, relationships, and/or action. Caryn Lix’s writing is stunning and captivating; she knows how to bring a story to life and how to keep the readers hooked. The characters she weaves and describes are beautiful and full of flaws, which helps make them feel human and not a weapon. I can see how much heart Lix put in this story and the characters and to me, that’s one of the qualities that makes a great book.

Containment blends science fiction with action and horror that truly leaps off the page and makes the reader feel as if they are there with Kenzie and the group; I felt like I was on the run with them and facing these nearly impossible obstacles. I absolutely cannot wait to read Salvation, the third and final book in Kenzie’s story. But in the meantime, if you haven’t picked up Sanctuary and are looking for a great science-fiction story, then I recommend checking out this series!

Containment by Caryn Lix is available today, so get your copy now!

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*Saturday Spotlight* Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

Coral

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

MercifulCrow

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)