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.”

*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!

tour banner (5)

 

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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* 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)

*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!

tour banner (6)

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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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*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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