*Arc Review* Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things- Jacqueline Firkins

43261131In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First, there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend, and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy, and all-around player. He’s totally off-limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

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My Review:

“Either Henry had hugged a tree recently or Lucifer endorsed cologne after all.”

Everyone who knows me knows that there is one thing that will make me dislike a book and that’s for the author to make it seem like cheating is okay. This book made me think that and I almost gave up reading this book a few times but I powered through. That was such a bad idea and a waste of my time. Cheating should not be glorified!!

Edie, the female protagonist made out with her best friend’s boyfriend, knowing that it was wrong. She also expected her friend to forgive her instantly. This same girl thought it was okay to pine after a guy that she grew up with knowing that he was in a very serious relationship. While using a guy (who she hates) that was into her to make this other jealous, she still used him to get this taken guy. It was pathetic and disgusting.

Throughout this book, there was cheating, mentions of cheating, and jealousy cheating. I couldn’t handle all of that. Plus it made me feel that if you have money and do these sorts of things, that it makes it okay. This is definitely not okay in my opinion.

This book was definitely not for me. I shouldn’t have wasted my time but I was hoping that Edie would finally get what she deserved. The only reason why I gave this two stars was because the characters within were obsessed with books/reading. How can you say no to that? But that’s the only thing I enjoyed.

Yes, we’ve all made mistakes but it was pretty repetitive here. There are a lot more amazing contemporaries out in the world, so don’t bother with this one.

 

*Book Review* Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

Blood Heir

Title: Blood Heir

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: November 19, 2019

Page Count: 464 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings

Summary:

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

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Purchase Links

AMAZON  |  BARNES & NOBLE

INDIE BOUND

Please note: A Court of Coffee and Books receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above. All commission earned goes toward supporting and maintaining this blog.

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My Review

“This isn’t one of the fairy-tale stories you read in your childhood, where the hero always wins in the end. You’ll have many battles to fight, and you won’t win them all. And at the end of every single day, you’ll always face the same choice: keep fighting, or give up.”

Blood Heir is easily one of my favorite reads of 2019, and possibly a favorite of all-time. With exquisite writing, unforgettable characters, and extraordinary world building, Blood Heir captured my attention from the moment I started reading and left me breathless for me.

The world building is absolutely phenomenal and breathtaking. There’s nothing quite like this world Zhao has created and its achingly beautiful. She describes the world in vivid colors and elegant prose. Her writing is spectacular and she captures the world and characters so well. Zhao’s storytelling blew me away, and I’m so thankful she decided to publish her book this year. She knows how to write a captivating YA fantasy story.

“Your affinity does not define you. What defines you is how you choose to wield it.”

Ana is such a strong and well-depicted character. She’s fearful of her gift – the ability to control blood – and she has every right to be. Unable to control her power, she rarely uses it, so she doesn’t accidentally kill someone (this fear manifested due to a darkly past experience). But, throughout her journey, she starts to realize that her affinity is not something she should fear, but something she should harness. And seeing that growth and understanding was what made Ana a relatable character – she had something to fear but she started to learn how to overcome that fear and fight for her future.

“Show them what you are, my little monster.”

Ramson, I have to say, was such a fun character. He mainly just looks out for himself but he grows throughout this book and starts to feel attached to Ana. And I enjoyed watching him try to piece together her past and her identity. His personality is so much fun. He’s sarcastic and funny and knows he’s good-looking. He’s basically Flynn Rider from Tangled but in an awesome YA fantasy book. I’m very excited to see where his character development goes in the second book.

“‘The Deities have long sent me a message through their silence….It is not their duty to grant us goodness in the world, Kolst Pryntsessa. No, Little Tigress – it is up to us to fight our battles.'”

If you’re looking for romance, there’s not quite much in Blood Heir. Don’t get me wrong, there is romance (in the form of a snarky and dashingly handsome thief), but it’s very much in the background. I’ll set it straight for you: it’s a very slow burn romance, and it captivated my attention the whole book. The slow burn builds from the first page to the last sentence, and I have this wonderful (hopefully right) feeling that the romance is going to really blossom in book two. I was rooting for Ana and her potential love interest the whole time; they both compliment each other and their constant witty banter gave me all the feels.

“Perhaps all monsters were heroes in their own eyes.”

I’m beyond excited (and very impatient, might I add) for book two. The ending to Blood Heir is honestly how I was hoping it would end: with a cliff-hanger but one that didn’t strike a knife straight through my heart. It does have a small cliff-hanger, but mainly in the sense of the agonizing wait for book two. But overall, Blood Heir is a dashingly exquisite debut novel that I will continue to recommend to my friends and bookworms.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 12/2/19

It’s December already! Where has this year gone?

This week I’m going to read two arcs that my friends picked me up at ALA, and a book that was donated to me from a library patron.

What are you reading?

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A Heart So Fierce and Broken- Brigid Kemmerer

42952728In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

Find the heir, win the crown. 
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom. 
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

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Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things- Jacqueline Firkins

43261131In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First, there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend, and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy, and all-around player. He’s totally off-limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

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The Saturday Night Ghost Club- Craig Davidson

42378784A short, irresistible, and bittersweet coming-of-age story in the vein of “Stranger Things” and “Stand by Me” about a group of misfit kids who spend an unforgettable summer investigating local ghost stories and urban legends.

Growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls–a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place–Jake Baker spends most of his time with his uncle Calvin, a kind but eccentric enthusiast of occult artifacts and conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turns twelve, he befriends a pair of siblings new to town, and so Calvin decides to initiate them all into the “Saturday Night Ghost Club.” But as the summer goes on, what begins as a seemingly lighthearted project may ultimately uncover more than any of its members had imagined. With the alternating warmth and sadness of the best coming-of-age stories, The Saturday Night Ghost Club examines the haunting mutability of memory and storytelling, as well as the experiences that form the people we become.

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*Blog Tour + Giveaway* Coral by Sara Ella

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Title: Coral

Author: Sara Ella

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: November 12th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Mermaids, Fairy Tales

Synopsis:

Multiple award-winning young adult author Sara Ella reimagines The Little Mermaid in a powerful and unexpected way.

Sixteen-year-old mermaid Coral has always been different, standing out from her stoic sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease. Said to be carried by humans, the Disease imposes emotions on its victims, causing them to commit unspeakable acts. The growing illness inside her, while terrifying, fascinates her very core. Where others see danger, Coral sees life. Could it be the colorless merfolk who are truly ill?

Above the sea, seventeen-year-old Brooke Jordan has nothing left to give. A homeless girl abandoned and forgotten, the only thing Brooke can rely on is the ocean. Her aching feet find refuge within the cool and comforting waves, while her broken heart grows harder with each passing day. When Brooke’s and Coral’s worlds collide, everything alters in an instant. From learning to stand alone, to discovering the strength it takes to rely on another, the girls find that living requires taking that first painful breath. Each must make sacrifices, and when it comes to finding true love? Let’s just say the boys in their lives must learn to swim if they’re ever going to survive the storms.

Battling the odds against them, the girls will do whatever it takes to survive. But what must end for love and life to finally begin?

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale, this modern-day story explores mental health from several perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

iTunes | Kobo

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Author Information

AUTHOR (10)

Once upon a time, Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a Disney castle. Today, she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses, raising her little prince to be a king, and conquering realms of her own imaginings. Oh, and her husband is definitely more swoon-worthy than any Prince Charming.

Sara’s UNBLEMISHED trilogy has received high praise and multiple awards, but none as rewarding as the love and support she receives from her readers every day. Her new story CORAL, a reimagining of THE LITTLE MERMAID, releases in the fall of 2019.

When she’s not on deadline, Sara Ella can most often be found fangirling on Twitter, Instagram, or her YouTube channel. She may or may not be obsessed with #Bookstagram, and she has a serious condition known as “Coffee Snob-itis.” She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.”

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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Tour Schedule

Check out all the amazing bloggers on this blog tour!

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My Review

Please note: Coral includes some potential triggers, click here to see Sara’s note on trigger warnings. 

“Time was a ribbon. She could fold it and tie it, bend it, lose it. Cut it. But if she cut it, she could never piece it back together the way it was before. She could never get it back. All she had left was after. And after was never the same.”

The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite stories (the original and Disney version), so of course I jumped up for joy when I saw that Coral was The Little Mermaid retelling with a contemporary/fantasy twist. This book had a ton of elements I love (retellings and anything to do with fantasy), and to me, this story did not disappoint.

One thing I loved about Coral is how the characters’ stories wrapped with one another with such ease. The way Sara Ella writes their stories with mesmerizing prose is captivating and it truly brings the story together. The characters are so well developed and genuine that it will be easy for any reader to find a connection with one of the characters. I enjoyed the inclusion of mental health and how Sara Ella made the characters feel so human and real; each character, especially Brooke, has something that makes them utterly human; with these characters, I felt like I wasn’t alone, like these characters were my longtime friends.

“True love makes life, even a broken one, worth fighting for.”

I will admit it did take me awhile to get into the story and that’s only because I’m not a big fan of contemporary books, and Coral does present some contemporary elements, but other than that, I became enthralled with the world and the main characters. Sara Ella weaves together a beautiful and heart wrenching story about love and sacrifice and finding yourself. Coral is a stunningly raw story with vulnerable characters that experience the trauma and love of life. However, I did get a tad bit confused toward the end of the book, with how the story got to its ending. But other than that, I loved this story and how much light it shines on mental health.

“It might be impossible to change the past. But who said starting over had anything to do with going back?”

Coral is a beautifully intricate story filled with life and love and hard decisions. Fans of The Little Mermaid would love this story, along with readers who enjoy retellings. Sara Ella addresses the things that make us human in her book and how she depicts everything is what made me love this book. Coral is out on bookshelves now, so grab your copy today!

My rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars

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Giveaway

Prize: Win (1) of (5) finished copies of CORAL by Sara Ella (US Only) 

Starts: 15th November 2019

Ends: 28th November 2019 

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*Mini Review* A Curse So Dark and Lonely- Brigid Kemmerer

43204703. sy475 Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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My 100 words or less review:

 

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

This is the best and most unique Beauty and the Beast retelling that I have ever read. Wow!

Nothing about this was ordinary. It was one of those books that held me with every page and I couldn’t stop reading. It was an instant love from the first sentence and now I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book.

Don’t hesitate picking up this book like I did. You won’t be lead astray.

 

*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)

*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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