Camp NaNoWriMo Complete!

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See, I knew it would be done in less than 50k words. I’m counting this as a win.

I completed this last night and I’ll start editing it today. In case this your first update on this project, it’s the sequel to a book I published ten years ago; “Gods in the Grey City.” And in some shameless self promotion, it’s on sale at Smashwords right now! You can check it out for free until July 21st to see if you’d be interested in the sequel when it’s complete.

When I have the manuscript more fleshed out and organized, I’ll post s a preview over on my Patreon for my patrons.

This was a wild ride but in the end, I had a good time. Not sure what I’ll work on after this but I’ll figure that out once this book is published.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ragna Crimson” Vol. 5, by Daiki Kobayashi

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As people flee the dragons, Starlia offers them shelter in her compound with the Argentum Corps, insisting Ragna and Crimson help her out. However the Mad Maestro Dragon and Explosive Dragon are gearing up for a full on massacre of any living thing in that base.

This volume sets up the battle and gets it started without much prelude. I like the dynamic between Starlia and Crimson while Ragna fumbles around because he just wants to kill dragons and not deal with all the plotting and planning around him. The new dragons introduced are a crazy threat. I can’t wait to see how this huge battle plays out! 4.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Bloodprint” by Ausma Zehanat Khan

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A dangerous extremist group called the Talisman, led by a cruel man named The One-eyed Preacher is sweeping across the land enslaving women and destroying manuscripts. In an attempt to oppose them Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia who are Companions of Hira, intercept their raids using their magic abilities they call the Claim. But individual raids are a drop in the bucket so Arian journeys to find an artifact called The Bloodprint; a Claim so powerful, it was hidden away. Going after The Bloodprint means heading into Talisman territory and they may die before they can try to save the world.

While the concept is interesting and main story is cool to read, there are so many parts where things just slowed to a crawl. The writing is beautiful, the world is alive and robust, it covers some important themes like women’s rights and how important knowledge is in the face of ignorance but sometimes this felt like it got bogged down into too many details. Worldbuilding is important but those parts were dry compared to everything around it. I was skimming those parts to get back to the main story; which ends on one of the most frustrating cliffhangers I’ve read in a LONG time. I managed to put my hands on the sequel right when I finished this book but I’d be pissed if I had to wait so long with that much of a drop. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mao” Vol 5, by Rumiko Takahashi

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

This volume dives into Mao’s past and the other people who trained with him to become exorcists, but after all these years, they should have been dead. We also get more information about Nanoka, who travels home with an unexpected and dangerous visitor.

This is a packed volume. So much happens and we get so much information but nothing feels rushed or crammed. Its perfectly paced to tell the story, move things forward, and still be exciting. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into too  much detail but I will say Byoki has some secrets and there’s something up with his connection to Mao. I can’t wait to see what happens next! 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Prey of Gods” by Nicky Drayden

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

Set in a futuristic South Africa where everyone has a personal robot and designer drugs are a frequent past time; we have a seemingly unconnected cast of characters slowly drawn into what could be a cataclysmic series of events.

I really can’t say too much more about the plot without spoiling the experience of how a young man named Muzi, his layabout friend, Elkin, a nail technician named Sydney, a superstar singer named Riya, a politician named Sydney, and a young girl named Nomvula are all connected to the end of the human race. You just need to read this. It’s ruthlessly creative, character-driven, thrilling, and almost perfect except for some aspects of the ending I didn’t like; which I won’t spoil. I loved it and highly recommend it if you’d like some futuristic sci-fi in a unique setting. 5 out of 5 and I hope there is more to come.

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Lenni Reviews: “How To Save The World” by Lexie Dunne

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

Gail Goodwin is known as ‘Hostage Girl’ due to her propensity for being captured. All she wants is a normal life with her boyfriend, her job, and to be done with superheroes and all the drama. But fate of course has other plans, she ends up with powers of her own and stumbles into a conspiracy to depower anyone with abilities with an invention by a scientist known to be dead.

While it got off to a slow start, it ramped up real quick! It was jarring but once the book got going, it was very entertaining. If you like different takes on superheroes that’s not as dark as something like “The Boys” it’s worth checking out! 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Grand Dark” by Richard Kadrey

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

Largo Moorden works as a bike courier and lives a life of sex, drugs, and indulgence with his actor girlfriend Remy. But when people start disappearing and there is talk of war, Largo finds himself mixed up in a strange and twisted conspiracy.

After I finished this book, I had to look at what other people were saying to see if my feelings that the slow-moving pace of this book is borderline unbearable. I did find many people simply gave up and I can see why. Things don’t really start ramping up in action until the 58% mark. Relevant details and world-building do happen but it’s peppered with Largo’s day to day life and his drug addiction, theatre friends, and job. It’s written well; you get the feeling of this decadent behavior in a city very segregated by wealth but it takes so long to get to the meat of the matter. If you’re willing to put in the work, the payoff is pretty good. If not, you’ll end up quitting. 2.9 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Defiant Revival” by L. Rockwood

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+.

Prince Michah is dead but the kingdom doesn’t know it. But Billiam, who has been in love with the prince for years, devises a plan to resurrect him and retake the kingdom from a power-mad despot.

Hooooo boy is this book filled with some exposition dumps! We get the tale from Leeke, a warrior who is somehow able to recount events she wasn’t there for in exacting detail. And as the narrative goes on we get so many characters and they tread the line between flawed and unlikable in a way that I don’t want to deal with them anymore and this book has the absolute gall to end on a cliffhanger! Even though this is a dark fantasy, one of my favorite genres, and the fight scenes are well written and interesting, it just was not enjoyable. It felt like work. And that stinks because the premise is amazing and when it’s on topic, the writing is good! 2.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Deep” by Rivers Solomon

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Yetu is the historian for her people, the wajinru. For this mermaid-like species, historian means she holds all the memories of her people right from the very first of them so the other’s don’t have to deal with the pain of the past. But the memories frequently overwhelm Yetu, leaving her sickly and tired so when the time comes to share the memories with her people in a grand ceremony, she takes the chance to flee so she can finally be alone in her own mind. But in the throws of their history, the wajinru create a terrible storm that threatens to destroy land and sea.

This is a great concept and it’s written beautifully. There is a lag in the middle where it just sort of meanders about until Yetu finally makes her decision but I like how the book turned out. It’s an interesting take on memory, history, and shared pain. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Queen of Zazzau” by J.S. Emuakpor

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended for mature readers.

Princess Amina is heir to the throne of Zazzau and desperate to prove her worthiness to be queen. But a prophecy concerning her and the God of War combined fierce enemies hounding her country thrust Amina into a whirlwind of intrigue in which the fiercely independent Amina grapples for control of her destiny.

Ok, so lemmie start off by saying this is a fictionalized tale of a real Amina of Zazzau and the writing is fucking amazing. The battle scenes are edge of your seat tense and graphic, and you really get a sense of the world these fantastically detailed characters live in. But the main character made me wanna facepalm so many freaking times. Some mild spoilers here but aside from being a diplomatic nightmare, she comes off as kind of a thoughtless brat too often for my taste. Sometimes she’s so impetuous and irresponsible, leading to people getting hurt, and it was hard to read. But then I put it in the context of Greek and Norse mythology; where your heroes are not perfect and can also be complete jerks while the tale is still epic, and I can accept Amina for what she is. But dear gods, she made me mad! 3.8 out of 5 for the fantastic writing and story but infuriating main character.

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