Lenni Reviews: “The Black God’s Drums” by P. Djèlí Clark

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review

Living with a goddess inside her, Creeper happens upon some valuable information about a scientist and his powerful but dangerous invention. A streetwise kid like her decides to sell this information to become a crewmember for Captain Ann-Marie of the “Midnight Robber.” But the weapon in question could kill thousands and reignite the Civil War.

Other than the casual use of racial epithets typical of the South around the time of the Civil War, this was a cool take on a steampunk-like world set in an alternate universe. It’s a shame it’s just a novella but enough entertainment is packed into its short length, great characters, and fun action. Not enough books are written about the African Orishas and this is a highly creative and enjoyable take on that mythos. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Watersnakes” by Tony Sandoval

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is suggested for mature readers

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

While Mila is out playing, she meets a strange but beautiful girl named Agnes who believes ghosts live in her teeth. As they spend more time together, Mila realizes Agnes is far from a normal girl as otherworldly forces spill into Mila’s life.

This is what I was expecting from Likely Stories; a trippy, thrilling, scary, bloody, fantastic fantasy story that’s beautiful to look at. The art takes some getting used to but if you can appreciate the likes of Roman Dirge or Dave McKean, this will be a treat to read through. If you like dark fantasy where fairy tale nightmares bleed into real life, this is a cool book to read and I’d like to see more from this creator. 4.7 out of 5.

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Cover Reveal! An upcoming series.

You could have learned this earlier over on my Patreon! (shameless plug ends here)

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I am working on a new series that I plan to release in episodes (then in collections when there’s enough of them) that’s a dark fantasy series. And above is the new cover! I don’t want to say much about it since I want the three fans I have to be surprised but it will be about dead people.

Because I’m sure you can’t guess that from the title.

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Lenni Reviews: “The 53rd Card: A Dark Tale about Finding Light” by Virginia Weiss

 

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Emma Addison, a timid agoraphobic, accidentally summons the Devil, awakening powers in her she never knew she had.

This is an odd book. With such a simple, straightforward premise, you would think the plot would move in a certain direction but nope. The story meanders all over the place. Emma loses her boyfriend, her job, gets magic powers, loses, them, meets new people, the Devil pops in from time to time, and all the while I’m wondering; “Where is this going?” I compare the feeling of reading this book as a walk in a beautiful forest on a trail you have no map of but everything is lovely to look at. The writing is good, Emma is a bit of a saint but I enjoyed following her on her journey; even if it did lack focus. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Drakon Book I: The Sieve” by C.A. Caskabel

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Da-Ren appears on the doorstep of Castel Monastery demanding the monks redeem the lives of his wife and daughter. Despite being a barbarian, a pagan, and infidel in their eyes, the monks let him on the island where they are tasked with transcribing the warrior’s story.

This book is the story of Da-Ren’s first trials of training in a gauntlet his tribe calls The Sieve; a series of grueling life or death tests that had me legit wondering if this tribe just runs out of kids at some point. But my stupid jokes aside, this is the type of dark fantasy that’s depressing but written in such a visceral and lyrical manner that it’s almost hypnotic. It’s written in the style of most sweeping epics, so it’s not dumbed down or flinch from the gore. You can’t help but get invested in Da-Ren and his world and though the book only covers the first part of his training and you know more is to home, the cliffhanger doesn’t feel jarring enough to not seek out the next installment; which I will definitely be doing. If you like dark fantasy, this is a fantastic installment.A welcome 4.7 out of 5.

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Found in the mailbox: “American Gods”

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So, I come home the other day and have a random box. Not that I would ever turn down a free book (as the full Kindle, full Nook, AND pile of books by my bed) but being a good fangirl of Neil Gaiman, I have read this book already. It’s obvious I got this as promotional material for the upcoming American Gods TV show.

I am contemplating a book vs movie set of posts for this since I have already read the book and the show is forthcoming. Of course, every one will be doing that but, I think it would be fun!

Because, I am obviously lacking things to read…

Personally, I am SUPER psyched for this show. I am wondering how gory or violent or sexual it will be (check out my post on that for further thoughts) since it was awesome to watch Stardust and Coraline with my kid. But if it is, I have no problem watching it alone. It appears pretty epic so I say bring it on!

Lenni Reviews: “Deadlight Jack” by Mark Onspaugh

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Jimmy Kalmaku and George Watters may seem like any other old retirees, but they are both supernatural heroes who saved the world. When George’s grandson vanishes while on vacation in the Louisiana bayou, both men must use their abilities to the utmost in order to defeat the terrifying Deadlight Jack.

This book is like Murder She Wrote or Columbo except with demons and old men using magic. George and Jimmy’s rapport is a pleasure to read. You can tell they’re old friends and are just the best. About 10% George says the line: “The only pickups I’m gonna be making are of pretty girls who like jazz and want to go dancing with the area’s black Astaire.”

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“Too cute!!”

I found myself chuckling and smiling whenever they talked. I did find it amusing how people kept mistaking them for a gay couple (especially considering how much gay smut romance I read…) and that joke is thankfully not overused. It would have been really easy to use that gag to DEATH but Onspaugh kept it at the level such things should be in real life; not that big a deal.

Deadlight Jack is legitimately horrifying; so when the actual plot gets going it’s tense and exciting. The humor is still there but you feel that impending danger. The ending may have been a little deus ex machina but you’re having so much fun, it’s acceptable. I can tell so much love was put in this book. This is George and Jimmy’s second adventure (I plan to read the first just for fun) and the epilogue makes noise about a possible third. I sure hope that’s true because I am totally on board. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Deadbringer” by E. M. Markoff

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*This review has been cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Kira Vidal is a Deadbringer, possessing the ability to summon souls and raise the dead. Likely the last of his kind, this fifteen year old boy hides his abilities while living with his uncle. In order to live in peace, he has to keep out of reach of the Ascendancy and their elite soldiers called the Sanctifiers; who are charged with the mission of killing all Deadbringers. When a stranger shows up at their door asking for help, Kira’s secret is exposed and he must protect his uncle while learning the truth behind his powers.

The world-building done in this novel is accomplished by dumping you in and wishing you luck yet at the same time it’s immersive enough for you to get lost in it. There are a lot of interesting and distinct characters and while some may fall into typical fantasy tropes (like the mysterious counsel of evil hidden in shadow, climactic battle at a wall with ground troops, horned people, etc…), they all managed to get into my head clearly so I stayed interested throughout the entire book. At times the conversations lagged or got bogged down in WAY more complicated words than necessary; the narrative meandered off on occasion but once the story centered on Kira and his journey, this novel shined. Even with the cliffhanger ending (Arrgh! Where’s the next one!!!), I ended this book feeling like I had a good time. As a fan of dark fantasy, I give this story a 3.5 out of 5.

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