Monday, November 16, 2015

Whispers of Shadow & Flame by L. Penelope

Earthsinger Chronicles, Book 2

L Penelope ... How I love thee. See? I'm a writer too. Lol. On to business. YASSSSSSSSSSS!

I must say first that this book, book 2, is running parallel to book 1.

Book 2 is the story of the Shadowfox and the Poison Flame. The Shadowfox is an uber powerful Earthsinger that the True Father wants so he can drain him of his Song. The Poison Flame works for the True Father because she has a very interesting Song of her own. The Poison Flame is a Nethersinger. Where Earthsong is for healing and life and all that goodness, Nethersong is death in your face. The Cantor, a 'Singer' (I use that term loosely for her, you will find out why), works under the True Father and the Poison Flame (aka Kyara) is the Cantor's hitwoman.

Now ... As far as the story goes, a Caldera needs to be found so that the Mantle can come down and the True Father can wreak some havoc. This is going to be difficult to explain so I wont. It's best you read both books yourself. You don't NEED to read book 1 but it's highly recommended because of the way this book references the goings-on from book 1 since everything is happening at the same time. I think later. I'll go back and read both books back to back so I can truly get a better understanding.

Anyway, along with this war thats being waged, there is a side story dealing with Kyara and Darvyn. They basically ... Fall in love. It's pretty conventional, but at the same time, somebody has to forsake their task in life to deal with the other. That's where the true test (in my opinion) comes in and something we'll get to deal with (I hope) in book 3. Also, Shadow Fox and the Keepers are still trying to smuggle children to safety so they don't have to be given over to the True Father.

There are so many tiny intricacies that make a world of difference and lots of things I didn't mention. Those things are best left for you to interpret WHEN you read it. Cause you better be reading it. I'm excited about this series. I loved book 1, I love book 2. Thank you L Penelope for sending this over. Can't wait for book 3!

4 Stars
AA everywhere

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Promo: Whispers of Shadow & Flame by L. Penelope

Whispers of Shadow & Flame (Earthsinger Chronicles #2)
by L. Penelope
Genre: Fantasy Romance, Dieselpunk
Age Range: Adult

Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the notorious rebel called the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity.
Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away.
As forbidden desire ignites their hearts, Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies—all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, the cost of
their love might just be too high.

About the Author

Leslye Penelope believes love is magic and likes her romance with a healthy dose of imagination. She’s been writing since she could hold a pen and is the author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance with multicultural characters.
At one time or another she’s been a filmmaker, tape dubber, tech support specialist, model, poll worker, professor, and DJ. She has a quote from The Matrix tattooed on her arm and sometimes dreams in HTML. After living on both coasts, she settled in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.
Sign up for new release information and monthly giveaways on her website:


Visual Inspiration & Worldbuilding

Last Christmas my family decided to escape the frigid east coast weather and spend the holiday in Palm Springs, CA. I’d never been there before, but once I arrived I realized that this place where the was desert surrounded by mountains was exactly how I’d envisioned one of the countries in my fantasy world: I had arrived in Lagrimar.

The mountains are a huge part of the worldbuilding in the Earthsinger Chronicles series. The country of Lagrimar is completely surrounded, cut off from the rest of the world by this natural barrier as well as a magical one. Driving down the highway through the Palm Desert with the imposing peaks towering over me was deeply inspiring and helped me sink into the world I was creating.

But it’s not always possible to travel to the exact place your story is set. Some of the other locations were shaped and polished by virtue of me stumbling across images accidentally. Like this one of Horseshoe Bend, AZ, which becomes Serpent’s Gorge in the book.

And this article about toxic lakes and the petrified animals in them haunted me until it found its way into the novel.

The sights, sounds and smells of reality all go into making a fantasy world work. Once a location is real to me and I can live inside it in my head, then I know it’s ready to put to the page.



“I-I’m sure we can come to some kind of understanding.”
The man before Kyara scrambled backward, slamming his back against the wall. The scent of his fear was rancid, filling the interior of the dwelling. The stench overpowered the smell of fresh vegetables roasting in the clay oven. His whimpers drowned out the murmurings of the infant in a basket near the fire. A woman cowered next to the baby. Kyara judged the distance and determined that the mother and child were far enough away to remain safe but only if she stood very close to her target. Close enough to feel his sour breath on her skin.
Her stomach clenched at the thought, but she forced herself forward, erasing the few paces between them. Now the odor emanating from the man was mixed with piss. The dark stain spreading across the front of his trousers was proof enough that the fellow knew who she was and why she was here.
“W-we can negotiate. I’m sure there must be something you want.” Beads of sweat punctured his forehead, and the thick vein at his neck jumped with his rapid pulse.
Kyara’s warped Song prowled inside her, impatient. It wanted to launch itself into the maelstrom of source energy, to ride the brutal currents of the force like a kite in a violent wind. She shuddered and reined in her Song. Instead of giving in to the despised urge, she opened her mind’s eye. The world fell away, leaving only a field of black. She spread her senses and focused on this village, this home, this room. Moving arcs of white light burst across her vision, like the undulating waves of brightness produced by a fire dancer swinging a torch.
This was Nethersong.
As Ydaris had explained to her many years ago, while Earthsong was the energy of life, Nethersong was death energy. And Kyara’s broken Song had never been able to connect with anything else. She could not heal. She could not grow crops from seeds with a single intention or feel the pulse of life moving in the plants and animals around her.
She was cursed. She had killed her mother at birth, and this was her punishment.
The light of the man before her pulsed brightly. His death energy was a cyclone spinning out of control. Judging by the strength of Nethersong within him, he had not been kind to his body—a feat much easier when you were on the True Father’s payroll and could afford an abundance of rich food and drink. If the immortal king were a patient man, Kyara wouldn’t be needed at all. This pay-roller only had a few months to live as it was.
In the corner of the room, the wife’s light was dimmer. She was younger and healthier than her husband. The infant’s light was so weak it barely registered. Just a dull glow indicated the faintest traces of Nethersong. Kyara nearly smiled. Children had so much life, so much strength. She wished she could always see an endless field of dark in her inner vision.
She shuttered her extra sight, bringing the man’s face back into focus. “I am not here to negotiate with you.” Her voice was no louder than a whisper.
His eyes widened. He spread his arms out on both sides of him, attempting to press himself into the wall. Kyara didn’t move from her position a hairbreadth away. She didn’t need to touch him, but he didn’t know that.
“Whatever His Majesty believes I’ve stolen, I will return, threefold. I am but a simple man. A husband and father.” He waved a pudgy hand at the woman in the corner. “I give tribute for all I collect, I pay on time and—” His pleas became a drone in her ears, mingling with those of a hundred other men who had begged for their lives over the years. Other men in other homes like this, the ramshackle dwelling a palace in comparison to the others in the village. Thick rugs covered the dirt floor, and real glass hung in the windows. The enticing aroma of okra and butter tickled her nose. Some unidentifiable spice hung in the air, as well. Fresh vegetables, seasonings, real butter—these luxuries were virtually unknown to most people in the Midcountry.
Though her mouth watered, she never ate the food of the dead.


Book 1, Song of Blood & Stone, is currently on sale for .99cents until Nov. 5. Big thanks to the author for sending me all the info and the book. I'm currently reading book 2 and it will not disappoint. If you haven't read book 1, please get to it!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Banshee's Honor by Shaylynn Rose

Tales of Y'Myran, Book 1

I haven't had the opportunity to do much actual reading. I've been into audiobooks because that serves my purpose better. And when I did have time for actual reading, I ran into so many duds that I'd gotten discouraged. Then this happened.

Banshee's Honor is about Azhani, the dishonored Warleader of a kingdom that's turned its back on her. She comes upon a Stardancer. Stardances are kind of like magic healers. Azhani helps this Stardancer, Kyrian, and Kyrian saves Azhani's broken leg. This sparks a beautiful friendship that we actually get to watch blossom. Kyrian, however, has her reservations about Azhani, as does everyone. She'd been disgraced beyond mention at the tongue of the new king, Arris, who wanted Azhani dead or married to him.

Now that Azhani's leg is healed, she spent her time in her cottage with Kyrian, trying to decide what to do. We will also meet Padreg. He is the king of a barbarian land, who comes to visit Arris and falls in love with a woman that Arris wants to bed. Needless to say, all hell breaks loose.

Thankfully, Padreg and his lady, Elisira, know Azhani and know, based on her character, that she didn't commit the crimes mentioned. And like clockwork, they all meet up and start to layout a plan to deal with horrid creatures killing people (Rimmerbeasts), and figure a plan to get Azhani to queen Lyseera, the sister of the woman Azhani was said to have killed.

Every character in the book is well written. I love them all. Even Arris, the piece of shizz. This is a lesbian fantasy novel and one of the best novels I've read all year. The world is painted vividly and the despair and loss Azhani feels is incredible palpable. She's a wonderful lead character, I can't wait to continue this adventure with her.

The only gripe I have is that things could get slow when everyone was sitting around bantering. However, it should be in the book. It sets the tone and you get to see how much the characters change in regards to how they see eachother.

So well written, I can't wait for book 2. I'm going to start stalking Shaylynn Rose.

4 Stars
IR: Azhani (pictured on the cover)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Hidden Legacy, Book 1

Coming off of a Kate Daniels high, I wasn't quite sure how much I would enjoy another series of hers. I'm like that with Faith Hunter as well. I'm so engrossed in the one character that I don't think the author can write anyone else I'd enjoy. Ilona Andrews has opened my eyes and I will now be reading everything she's written, along with everything else Faith Hunter has written. Anyway ...

This is a new series. Book 1 came out in 2014 but book 2 is not yet out. It has apparently been delayed.

First, some background on this series. In the 1800s, someone created a serum that would give people magical powers. Centuries later, people with powers have begun marrying and having children with other people who have powers in order to elevate their social status. If things go well, you will end up giving birth to a Prime. Primes are exactly what you think. They are the elite of the elite when it comes to using their specific magics.

Now ... We meet Nevada Baylor. She's a PI with very little magic. She's a human lie detector (but can later do more than she was ever aware of). So she's basically in the right line of work. Anyway, her investigative firm is owned by a large company owned by a Prime. This Prime tasks her with bringing in another Prime. So how in the world can a woman with very little magic bring in a Prime Pyrokenetic? Mad Rogan, that's how. Mad Rogan, you will find out, ends up being the kind of Prime you run from when you see him, which is exactly what Nevada did. He's a celebrity in Houston (not for a good reason, after all, they call him 'Mad' Rogan), and a Prime Telekenetic. To make a long story short, he ends up helping Nevada bring down Pierce, but not before realizing he has a thing for her, and she continues to turn him down.

The romance that develops is quick and steamy. There's never anything vulgar about Ilona Andrews' style of writing. As a matter of fact, in the Kate Daniel series, out of the 6 I've read (or heard), I only remember 1 sex scene. The rest alluded to sex or they woke up naked and feeling awesome. Anyway, the action in this is fun. I just felt such a rush when I was listening to the audio version of this book. When Mad Rogan was tearing buildings apart, I could see it happening. It was just beautiful.

I'm in love. I hope the delay isn't too much longer. In the meantime, I need to get to book 7 of the Kate Daniels series and wait patiently for more from this new favorite author of mine.

I can't rate this one as high as I have other works by Ilona Andrews, simply because I'm more of a FIGHT FIGHT KILL kind of girl and that's definitely not Nevada Baylor. Still, I really like the character, Mad Rogan, and Nevada's family a lot.

4 Stars
Random diversity throughout

There are a lot of visual on the Ilona Andrews website. I love when authors have visuals.

Kate Daniels Series

So I got hooked up with my local library and found that they had the Kate Daniels audio books 1-6. I burned through them and am now completely in love with Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels series.

I won't completely review it since I burned through all of them, and plus this isn't a new series. Many people have suggested this series to me for years but I never got around to it until recently.

I am SO in love.

This series, much like Jane Yellowrock, is incredibly diverse. It's set in future Atlanta where magic and technology battle for dominance and you have to work with what you got when you got it. Everyone is amazing, Kate is a boss. Curran is yummmmmmmmmmm. I tend to really love Dolittle, Derrick, Escanio, Dali, and Jim. I'd probably have dirty dreams bout Jim. You get attached to Kate very quickly.

See, I went out of order when listening. I started at book 6, then went to book 4, then to book 2 and went forward. It was awkward and didn't care. It was all amazing.

Anyway, if you haven't given this series a shot, please please please do it. No, the two leads are not minorities but nearly everyone else is. The series is so worth it. Please please please!

I will most likely properly start reviewing when her new one is released. Maybe it's out. I think I'll wait for audiobook, lol. I kinda like Renee Raudman's voice.

5 Stars (all books)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The First: Evo Uprising by Kipjo Ewers

The First, Book 2

Book 2 begins years after the end of book 1. The blast that Sophia warded off has turned into something much much more. Now, a crop of 'superheroes' and 'villains' have sprang up all over the world. The Evo Uprising. The United States needs heroes so they decided to recruit. Unfortunately only 4 made the cut. 3 really, the other was in by default.

In short, I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the fights of epic proportion, especially the end. It was grand and huge the way a superhero/villain fight should be.

I am begging the author to get an editor. Book 2 even had  a name spelled wrong in it. A name. I was so annoyed by the errors that I nearly forgot what was going on at the time.

Anyway, the book is good. Sophia is wonderful, Kimberly is wonderful, even Abe turns into a real person by the end of it all. The monologues are horrifically long. Especially those by 'Peace.' Book 3 is most likely in the works because there is a big one left at the end for us to sink our teeth into. I'll definitely continue the series, but please ... Get an editor.

3 Stars

Monday, August 31, 2015

The First by Kipjo Ewers

I have seen this book, and book 2, all over the place. I was thrilled that Netgalley offered it up and even more thrilled that I was approved.

This should be a movie. Honestly. If you've been as tired as I have of all these super hero movies with maybe that 1 token minority, this would set your mind and spirit at ease.

Sophia Dennison was executed for killing her husband. Except ... The execution didn't take. Then ... She was shot to death while she tried to get out of the prison. That didn't take either. She took several bullets to the head and absolutely everywhere and nothing stopped her. Well it stopped her, but not for long.

Now that she's free, after being killed, she decides to find out what happened. She was executed for killing her husband. But she will learn that she didn't kill her husband, a secret government organization did. So not only do they want to shut her up, they want to find out about her new found powers. After all, they did it to her, not realizing what would happen.

That's the book, in a nutshell. But the amazingness you experience while reading, can't be explained.

First let me say that their are so many grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors that my head spun. It made me wonder if the author learned English as a second language and didn't have an editor that spoke English as a first language. Some phrases were repeated, almost verbatim and, at times, it was unclear who was speaking.

The battle scenes were on an epic scale. They were exactly what you would want to see out of a big budget superhero/comic movie. Skyscraper destruction, missles, robocops (in my head the suites the bad guys wore looked like that to me), people being punched through walls, secret government facilities with cool gadgets. I mean ... the nerddom here is INFINITE. It was exciting and fun and you're going to wish to see this 6 foot tall, dark skinned, dreadlocked, glowing-eyed beauty on the big screen.

4.5 Stars (only because an editor wasn't used)
IR everywhere. Incredibly diverse.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Redzone by William C Dietz

Book 2, The Mutant Files

In book 2, Cassandra Lee has to go into the Redzone. Why? We'll get to that in a second.

The Bonebreaker is still on the loose and has his sights set on Detective Lee. Where as in the first book, he overlooked her, sighting that God didn't want him to kill her yet. Now, with book 2, there is a Bonebreaker impostor. The real Bonebreaker becomes so upset by this impostor that he works WITH Detective Lee in order to have him caught. But this is only after he's mentally incapacitated her for a short time.

So much happens in this book that my mind is scattered.


Outside of catching the impostor Bonebreaker, Detective Lee gets a letter from a woman, her mother, who lives in the Redzone. After Lee has been mentally cleared, she sets off to go see this woman despite whatever dangers may befall her. When she does get to see her mother, she finds out the real reason for wanting her to come; to smuggle her half-brother out of the Redzone so he can live a normal life. Apparently her mother had a son with a mutant.


Remember the problem I had in book one where Cassandra had sex with Ras Omo, even though he was a mutant, but she couldn't breathe the same air as him? Weird. Anyway ...

Her mother had a son with her mutant husband but the boy, I think his name was James, is not a carrier of B Nosilla. He's a mutant but basically can't pass it on. He doesn't even have a disfigurement. Although, you find out later that he can see in the dark.

That's neither here nor there.

Inside that whole Heevy (the man Lee's mom married) family is a bunch of mess. James, the brother, is sleeping with one of his fathers wives. Some people die, then Cassandra and James make a run for it. Why? Because even though her mom was a heartless b*tch, Cassandra still would keep her word and help James get out of the Redzone.

SPOILER ALERT (highlight to read spoiler): The brother dies when daddy Heevy sends people to kill him for sleeping with his wife. But hey, at least Cassandra tried.

I like that there was no love lost there. I was a little tickled.

And by the end of it, someone is following her out of the Redzone and shooting rockets into her apartment. SWEET!


Now that you know what's going on, it's time for me to tell you how I really feel.

This series is all guns blazing and action movie fun and violence. Cassandra Lee is exactly the big budget action star you want to see on screen. If this were a movie, I'd definitely go see it. Not to mention, I haven't run across any more series' with a WOC leading this type. Cassandra is exactly the badass cop that any man is. But she's boring as hell.

Just like with the first book, Cassandra's personality is lacking everything. I don't understand how she ends up dating a man in this book when there's no lead-in, no romance, just conversation that seems overly friendly. And then how did they get around to having sex? Getting comfortable in his apartment? There's nothing else in this book that supports this happening. They basically seem like friends and maybe Lee has a little crush on him, but that's all.

Another problem I had with the book, and the series I'm sure, is that you can tell a man is writing it. Those little emotional connections that women have, even if they think they don't have them, Cassandra doesn't have. She's basically a nice man in a woman's body.

There was only a mention of Deputy Ras Omo but he doesn't make an appearance.

Overall, Lee needs a personality overhaul immediately. She's boring as shit unless she's actively working, meaning shooting someone. That's when she shines. It all goes down hill when she opens her mouth.

Will I keep reading the series? No. Will I support it? Absolutely. A WOC lead cop series is needed. Im sure someone will like Lee. I just can't, not matter how hard I try.


Can we just talk about how flawless the covers are for a second? Below is the cover for book 3, Graveyard. Just delicious.

3 Stars
IR: Lee (AA) Kane (W)