A CONSTELLATION OF ROSES 🖤 REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

This book cover has all the vibes—and the inside is beautiful too. 

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour.

Check out fan art and a sneak peak of the first chapter! And, of course, don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post! ★

A Constellation of Roses
by Miranda Asebedo

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

SYNOPSIS

book coverEver since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.

With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots.

TRIGGER WARNINGS

  • adultery
  • abuse
  • suicide
  • depression

FAVORITE QUOTES

🖤 “Fortune telling isn’t a science. It’s an art. And sometimes art is messy.”

🖤 “Scars tell a story, even when we don’t want them to.”

🖤 “All I know is that it’s the good memories that cut the deepest, because those are the ones where you remember what you’ve lost.”

🖤 “I’ve been invisible for months at a time while I was drifting, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let someone make me feel that way on purpose.”

🖤 “I tug out the fountain pen from my pocket. On top of the first scar a few inches from the crook of my elbow, I draw a blooming rose, its petals black-tipped with ink. And then another, and another, until my arm is covered, and instead of a constellation of scars, I have a constellation of roses.”

🖤Yes, I have gotten what I always wanted. My deepest secrets. Not a perfect family, after all. But a constellation of women, connected by pie and fortunes and roses. And love.”

FAN ART

Photo Credit elvishness

FIRST CHAPTER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorMiranda Asebedo was born and raised in rural Kansas with a love of fast cars, open skies, and books. She carried that love of books to college, where she got her B.A. and M.A. in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing and Literature. A Seaton Fellowship recipient, her short fiction has appeared in Kansas Voices, Touchstone, and Midway Journal. 

Miranda still lives on the prairie today with her husband, two kids, and two majestic bulldogs named Princess Jellybean and Captain Jack Wobbles. If Miranda’s not writing or reading, she’s most likely convinced everyone to load up in the family muscle car and hit the road.

Check out Miranda on her website or over on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository Barnes & Noble Kobo | iBooks | Google Books

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a copy of A Constellation of Roses!

  • International
  • End Date: November 19, 2019

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

Beyond the Black Door 🖤 Review + Giveaway

This. book. OMG. 

🖤 has a demi-biromantic asexual main character

🖤 has trans and gay rep

🖤 is a dark fantasy

🖤 has a villain romance

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post! ✨

Beyond the Black Door
by A.M. Strickland

SYNOPSIS

book coverKamai 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…

A dark delight, gorgeously written and as twisty and enigmatic as a labyrinth at twilight. I wanted to stay lost in its pages forever, wandering ever deeper into the maze of Strickland’s beguiling, intricately imagined world.”

—Margaret Rogerson, New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens

Favorite Quotes

🖤 “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.”

🖤 “You’re mine. I embraced you before your mother did. My lips touched your brow before hers. I protected you from the world first.”

🖤 “Books were doors I was allowed to open with the flick of a wrist…unlike the black door.”

🖤 “I simply adore the delicate was you put things. How you cover the truth with softness to make it less sharp. Rose blossoms over thorns.”

Excerpt

I was five the first time I asked my mother about the black door. The moment seared itself into my memory.

We were walking together through her soul, my hand in hers, the deep blue tiles of the place that was both hers and her as cool as water beneath my silk-slippered feet.

We’d done this for as long as I could remember, exploring her soul while our bodies slumbered, our spirits free to traverse the sleeping realm to which souls belonged. My mother would explain how people such as us—soulwalkers—could wander souls by night, and she would describe the gods. And yet she never mentioned the black door I always found in her soul.

On this particular night, I finally gathered my courage and stopped in the wide hallway, pointing. “Mama, what is that door?”

In my mother’s soul, the sandstone halls were rosy, lit as if a fireplace burned merrily next to every stretch of wall. There was no fire; it was my mother’s warmth, her light. The walls were pale and smooth, perforated with airy latticework that revealed the glow of rooms beyond, as if there were nothing to hide here, while the long hallways with deep azure tiles beckoned like fingers, hinting at wonders just out of sight.

But the black door was closed tight. Its sleek black surface parted the creamy sandstone of the wall like a slick dark stone in bright water, the sinuous lines of its frame meeting in a point at the apex. It gleamed like midnight fire. Despite seeming to draw in the light around it, it lured me like a candle’s flame.

By then I’d learned that fire would burn me … but only through touching it several times already. I’d never touched the black door, and I wanted to.

This dark, tantalizing danger didn’t seem to belong in my mother’s bright, inviting soul. My mother, her eyes narrowing, stared at the door for a moment, her jaw clenched, a look on her beautiful face like I’d never seen. There was resolve, anger, and yes, fear. I’d never before seen my mother afraid.

Turning away, she knelt before me, took both my hands, and said very seriously, “Kamai, you can never open that door. It’s best if you just forget about it.”

“But, Mama, you said I could go anywhere in your sleep house.”

A smile tugged at her mouth. “My soul house, not my ‘sleep house.’ It’s about time you started using the proper name: nehym.” The word actually meant “soul house” in the old tongue. “And that door isn’t a part of my nehym. It belongs to somewhere else. You must understand how these things work, Kamai, because someday you’ll be able to walk anyone’s soul at your whim and find what you will inside. But you must never”—she leaned closer, holding my eyes with the liquid brown of her gaze—“open that door.”

Trepidation overrode my curiosity. “Is it hiding something bad?”

She leaned forward to brush her lips over my forehead—lips, I would one day learn, that were the envy of both men and women. Marin Nuala’s lips, I’d later hear someone say, could unlock anyone’s. “Something very bad. Something evil. You won’t be safe from what’s behind it. It wants the door to open.”

I was both intrigued and disturbed that the evil thing behind the black door could want, that it had desires … and that it was lurking in my mother’s nehym. “What is it?”

She stared at me for a long moment. “I pray you’ll never know.” She stood and strolled the hall, away from the black door. Even here, where only I could see her, she dressed like a queen, her pale skin accented by a silk blue gown that swirled about her hips as she walked, her belt of fine gold links glimmering in the warm light. “Now, come, tell me what else I’ve taught you this evening. If you repeat it true, I’ll give you a surprise.”

I couldn’t keep the excitement from my voice. “Will it be my own sleep hou—nehym?” I could learn quickly, when I had an incentive.

My mother glanced down, rare sadness in her gaze. “You don’t have one, my dearest.”

My feet ground to a halt. Everyone’s soul was a house. It could be as dark, primitive, and dank as a cave, or as vast, ornate, and mazelike as a palace. My mother’s nehym was as warm and welcoming as a sprawling country villa, but with so many halls and wings and doors, no walls in the waking world could have contained it. To not have my own made me want to cry until I got one.

“Do I not have a soul?” I asked.

“Of course you do, sweetness,” she said, swiping away my brimming tears with her thumbs. “It’s only that sometimes these things are hidden from us, kept secret, even from within.” She placed two warm fingertips over my heart. “You don’t have a nehym because your soul is so deeply asleep that no one can find it. No one can walk your halls and discover your secrets that way.”

Something flickered across her face, like a shadow, and I knew she wasn’t telling me the entire truth. Even then I had a decent sense of such things.

“It is good that it stays hidden,” she added, smoothing down my hair, a tousled mirror of her own cascade of dark curls. “For it stays safe.”

“Like from the evil creature behind the black door?”

She drew in a breath. “You’re safe from it. But I don’t want you to speak of the door or what’s behind it anymore.”

“Did you open the door?” I asked, glancing over my shoulder. “Is that why it’s here?”

She shook her head. “No, my darling. It’s here because you are. It follows you, because it knows that only you can open the door. But that’s why I’m safe too, because I know you won’t. Now, tell me what else you’ve learned this evening. No more talk of the other thing. Who can walk the halls of souls and discover the sleeper’s deepest secrets?”

“People like you. And me,” I added, with some satisfaction. “And priests and priestesses. But we’re different from them, because we’re soulwalkers.” That was what my mother called us. At five years old, I didn’t understand everything by far, but I at least knew for sure we weren’t priestesses, since I found going to temples dreadfully dull, and this wasn’t dull. And besides, everyone knew that priests and priestesses could explore souls. No one knew we could.

“And what is a soulwalker, when we’re asleep like we are now?”

“A spirit.” Which was a layman’s term for our cerebral, conscious aspect—just like the soul was our subconscious, but I didn’t yet know any of those words.

“And who can know what we do?”

“No one,” I said quickly.

“Not even Hallan and Razim, remember?”

I nodded with proper solemnity. Hallan and Razim were the closest thing I had to family after my mother, close to a stepfather and stepbrother, though not quite. It had been difficult not to brag about my secret soulwalking ability to Razim, older than me by a couple of years, but I’d managed.

And now it seemed like there was a new rule that was just as serious, if not more so, than never betraying the secret of our soulwalking:

Never open the black door.

I didn’t press her about it, because I wanted to believe it was as simple as that: I wouldn’t open the door, and my mother and I would be safe. And maybe, if I learned enough about soulwalking, practiced hard enough, not only would I make my mother proud, but someday I would find my own soul.

“Now tell me the gods’ story,” my mother said.

I drew myself up as tall as possible. “In the very beginning of time, there was a husband and a wife, and they were surrounded by darkness.”

The Darkness,” my mother corrected.

“That’s what I meant. Darkness kept following them, trying to swallow them, so they always had to move. But one day, they were going to have a baby, so they stopped running. They fought the Darkness back to make a home for the baby, and then circled her every night after she was born to keep the Darkness away. They’re our sun and moon, and their daughter is the earth.”

It was a highly distilled version of the gods’ history, but it was easy enough to remember. Simple stories for a simple age, and yet it was a story we all on some level believed. It comforted me to think of bright parents hovering over a sleeping girl’s bed, keeping her safe from danger.

Despite that, I was already drawn to dark mysteries. And my question about the door had only left me with the burn of unassuaged curiosity. Later, I couldn’t even recall what my mother’s promised surprise had been, but I could remember the way my eyes drifted back, seeking one last glimpse of the black door.

* * *

I was nine when I first touched the door.

Razim drove me to do it. A guest was staying at our villa—well, my “stepfather’s” villa, where my mother and I lived with him and Razim. My mother and Hallan weren’t actually married, though they pretended they were, presiding together over Hallan’s home of pale tile floors, arching doorways, mosaic-patterned ceilings, and fountained courtyards, buried in the coastal forest near the capital. It was a mask, my mother said, for who they really were, what they really did. But what it masked, I didn’t yet know.

Early that evening, after our parents had gone upstairs with the guest, Razim and I stayed downstairs under the watchful eye of our tutor. A nighttime breeze wafted the sheer white curtains in front of the open shutters, letting in the coolness and the scent of flowers growing outside the windows. I was practicing my letters, but Razim was only pretending to read a book, actually practicing a look of haughty adult boredom, the very picture of a young lordling in his new silk shirt embroidered in shades of deep red like his father often wore. When our tutor left the study to relieve himself, Razim’s boredom vanished, revealing the boy of eleven. He grinned at me, white teeth and bronze cheeks glowing in the candlelight, and whispered, “I know what our parents are doing up there.”

My mother had told me only that she and Hallan secreted themselves away with their guests for business.

“I do too,” I said, glancing down at my paper and betraying the lie.

Razim smirked. “What are they doing, then?”

Work,” I said.

“I know exactly how they work,” Razim said slyly. “My father told me.”

I knew my mother would often walk in the souls of various guests, but I was never to tell Hallan and Razim, just as I was never, ever supposed to mention the black door. Not that I had much to tell about the latter. Whatever secrets my mother whispered about soulwalking, about the cities and people of Eopia, about the gods and half-forgotten myths, she wouldn’t tell me anything more about it. As if it didn’t tug at my attention whenever I soulwalked with her—and only her so far, never alone—despite my trying to ignore it. It was like a secret I had to keep even from myself.

But now Razim knew something else about the nature of their work.

“How, then?” I asked.

He leaned over the polished inlay of the wooden table, his black hair glinting, and whispered, “They have sex. I’ll bet you don’t know what that is.”

“I do too,” I said, even though I didn’t exactly. My mother had explained the basics, and that I wasn’t to do any of it until I was older. Which was fine by me, because it sounded like a supremely awkward thing I never wanted to do. I’d had no clue that was what she was doing upstairs with the guests.

“What is it, then?” Razim pressed.

I looked down, feeling suddenly uncomfortable. “You get naked, and you, you know, do it. Down there.”

Razim seemed disappointed that I knew even that much, and he leaned back. “Yeah, well, they do it with all sorts of people. My father has even done it with the queen consort.” I gave him a skeptical look. We didn’t have a queen like we had a king, because the official queen, at least in absentia, was Ranta, the earth goddess, daughter of Tain and Heshara, the sun god and moon goddess. Just as Tain was the guardian of spirits and all things cerebral, as fiery and exacting as the sun, and Heshara was guardian of souls and the sleeping realm, as cool and mysterious as the changing, shadowy faces of the moon, Ranta was the beautiful guardian of physical bodies, and thus had married the first king of the land both to better protect the earth and to gain further protection herself from the encroachment of Darkness. No one had ever seen Ranta, of course, not even her husband, but every time a new king rose to power and took the sacred oath to the earth goddess, people swore they could feel her blessing settle over them like a warm blanket.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorAdriAnne 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).

Check out AdriAnne on her website or over on GoodreadsTwitterFacebook, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble Kobo | Google Books

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a signed hardcover copy of Beyond the Black Door!

  • US only
  • End Date: November 6, 2019

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

Crier’s War 🖤 Review + Giveaway

I’m leveling up with two book reviews in one day. 🖤 

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post! ✨

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

SYNOPSIS

book coverAfter the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.

Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.

Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

REVIEW

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Okay, one of my favorite tropes is (slow burn) enemies to lovers, and let me tell you: this book delivered. Plus, these enemies to lovers are queer, I love my lesbian and bi rep, and the book is own voices. 🖤🖤🖤

Please, please read this book. If not for anything else, read it for the romance. 

Favorite Quotes

🖤 “You couldn’t depend on much in this world, but you could depend on this: love brought nothing but death.”

🖤 “It was never really a choice, was it? Wanting her. Killing her.”

🖤”Were there certain words or ideas that made Ayla’s frown smooth out, that made her eyes brighten? Crier wanted to study her like a map. Draw an easy path between all the specific yet scattered points of her.”

🖤“A thought came to her: a story of its own, one that only just began writing itself in her mind: a story of two women, one human, one Made.”

🖤 “If longing is madness then none of us are sane.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AUTHOR Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her writing partner and their tiny, ill-behaved dog. She tends to write stories about hard-won love and young people toppling the monarchy/patriarchy/whatever-archy. On a related note, she’s queer. On a less related note, she has strong feelings about hushpuppies and loves a good jambalaya. Crier’s War is her first novel. 

Check out Nina on her website or over on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

The Vine Witch 🖤 Review + Giveaway

Witches and wine make for a good time. 🖤 

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post! ✨

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Publisher: 47North
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis

BOOK COVERA young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As you all may know, my favorite animal is frogs, so I knew I would enjoy this book when it opened from the viewpoint of a toad. Wine is also my drink of choice, and I consider myself to be a baby witch. 

Basically, I’m sure Luanne wrote this book for me. 

The character development and romance are the only aspects of this book keeping it from being 5 stars. But I definitely recommend it. 🖤

Favorite Quotes

🖤 “What the eye couldn’t see, the imagination filled in. We put names to the unexplained. Cast it as something to either fear or worship. And yet just because a thing can’t be seen doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”

🖤 “She gave the wine a swirl, and Jean-Paul knew if there was ever magic in the world it was in that glass of perfectly blended seven-year-old pinot noir.”

🖤 “The art of poison might run in your blood, but never doubt you were meant to be a vine witch.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AUTHORLuanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in the series, The Glamourist. She’s lucky enough to live in Colorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, a glass of wine at the end of the day, and finding the magic in everyday life.

Check out Luanne on her website or over on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryGoogle Books

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Vine Witch!

  • End Date: October 15, 2019
  • US only

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

Cursed 🖤 Review + Giveaway

Another retelling. My heart is content. 🖤 

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour!

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post! ✨

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy

SYNOPSIS

39678996._SY475_The Lady of the Lake is the true hero in this cinematic twist on the tale of King Arthur created by Thomas Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller (300, Batman: The Dark Night Returns, Sin City). Featuring 8 full color and 30 black-and-white pieces of original artwork by Frank Miller. 

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

tom-wheeler-101162144Thomas Wheeler sold his first screenplay at age twenty-two to Twentieth Century Fox. He has continued to work on major Hollywood features for the last several years. Wheeler lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Christina, and his son, Luca. The Arcanum is his first novel.

frank-miller-101162161Frank Miller is an award-winning comic book writer, novelist, inker, screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for DaredevilThe Dark Knight ReturnsSin City, and 300, among others.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | iBooks | IndieBound

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a hardcover copy of Cursed!

  • End Date: October 9, 2019

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

Shadow Frost 🖤 Review + Giveaway

I can never say no to a retelling. 🖤 

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour!

You won’t want to miss the giveaway and preorder campaign at the end of this post! ✨

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

SYNOPSIS

Cover Image Shadow FrostIN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes. 
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm. 
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned. 

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it. 

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. 

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.

REVIEW

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. 

Then again, I have a soft spot for retellings and books involving princesses—especially badass princesses—magic, romance, a touch of mystery, queer characters, demons, and friendship. Now that I’m thinking about it, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. 

I should only be surprised that Coco Ma wrote this book when she was just 15 years old. What have I been doing with my life?

Anyway, this book was a 5 star read for me because, no spoilers, I enjoyed the slow but steady character and plot development. There were a few “plot twists” that I saw coming a mile away, but it didn’t matter. I loved them all the same. 🖤🖤🖤

BookTube Mentions

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorCoco Ma is a Canadian-Chinese author and pianist. She wrote her first novel, Shadow Frost, at the age of 15. Since she began playing the piano at the age of five and a half, she has also performed on some of the world’s greatest concert stages and graduated with a pre-college diploma in piano performance from The Juilliard School in New York City. Currently, she studies at Yale University. When she isn’t practicing piano, writing, or studying, you might find her bingeing Netflix or eating cake. Lots of cake.

Check out Coco Ma on her website or over on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win a hardcover copy of Shadow Frost, a signed bookplate, bookmark, and button!

  • End Date: October 15, 2019

PREORDER CAMPAIGN

Preorder Shadow Frost to receive a signed bookplate, bookmark, button, and tote bag if you’re one of the first 150 people to preorder!

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!

A Treason of Thorns 🖤 Review + Giveaway

I could not put down A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth. I read this young adult fantasy in 2 days.

I didn’t know I needed a story about magical houses set in England. 🖤 

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour!

A Treason of Thorns by
Laura E. Weymouth

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

SYNOPSIS

book coverViolet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.

Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.

When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.

Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.

REVIEW

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I recently read Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, and after reading A Treason of Throns, I can now confirm that I have a reading soft spot for inanimate objects turned magical.

The sentient, magical Burleigh House in this book remained at the heart of the story—it drove the plot, it influenced our protagonist’s Vi actions, and it painted the atmosphere. Vi, her childhood friend and love interest Wyn, and the House are the main characters in this book. I never thought I would read a book where a house is a main character, but my gosh, I’m so glad I did.

There is one, and only one, reason why this book was not a 5 star read for me: the not-so-believable, lacking romance. I wanted to believe that Vi and Wyn had a romantic connection. It made sense. But it didn’t translate onto the page. I almost wish their relationship would have remained platonic because then this book would have been perfect.

All in all, though, I highly recommend this book, as it delivered in so many other ways. Especially if you’re not picky about romance. And especially if you love the concept of a magical house. 🖤

FAVORITE QUOTES

🖤 “I need to know that no matter what I’ve lost, I’ve lost it for the greater good.”

🖤 “In the labyrinth of my own mind, I count fears instead of stars.”

🖤 “…folk recognize a devil in fine clothes when they see one.”

🖤 “The world is full of men who want things, and never question their right to go after them.” Esperanza’s eyes spark, and she leans forward in her chair. “Why should we feel any less worthy than they do, so long as what we want does no harm?”

🖤 “Don’t be ridiculous, we belong to ourselves.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AUTHORLaura Weymouth is a Canadian living in exile in America, and the sixth consecutive generation of her family to immigrate from one country to another. Born and raised in the Niagara region of Ontario, she now lives at the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, an old soul of a dog, and an indeterminate number of chickens. She is represented by the inimitable Lauren Spieller of TriadaUS.

Check out Laura on her website or over on GoodreadsTwitterPinterest, Facebook, and Instagram!

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway to win signed copies of Laura E. Weymouth’s books, The Light Between Worlds and A Treason of Thorns!

  • End Date: September 24, 2019
  • US only

BOOK TOUR

Check out the rest of the stops along this blog tour!