Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles, #1) by L. Penelope

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ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

Song of Blood & Stone is the historical fantasy I’ve been looking for. This story is set in an alternate 1920 and has a really unexpected wild west feel to it, but I loved it. The romance was so good, the topics were so important, and the characters completely stole my heart. This book has a lot to love within its pages, and I completely recommend this story to you all.

“Most folks hate easy and love hard. Should be the other way around, I reckon.”

Jasminda is a girl torn between to worlds, while learning more and more every day the definition of loneliness. The book starts out with Jasminda’s grandfather trying to pay her off to erase her mother’s name. Her parents come from warring cultures; Jasminda’s mother was Elsiran, and her father was Lagamiri.

The Lagamiri people are dark skinned, worship a queen who has been asleep for a long while, and can wield magic by the way of song.
The Elsira people are light skinned, magicless, and ruled by a cruel and oppressive ruler who calls himself the True Father. They are magicless because the True Father steals magic from his people, taking more and more and more, but now he wants to pierce the veil and rule both.

These lands are separated by the Mantle, which is a magical border that can only be crossed by people who can Earthsing. And throughout the story, we learn more and more about the Queen Who Sleeps and the tyrant True Father. And it slowly unfolds the story of what happened and what events took place to create the world that Jasminda knows.

Jasminda is an outcast that doesn’t fit into either world after the death of her family members. She lives in Elsira, but because of her darker skin she is constantly reminded that she isn’t one of them, but she knows close to nothing about Lagamiri culture and customs. I loved the discussion of being an interracial woman in this book, and it is a theme that is highlighted throughout the entire book. She lives a life of isolation, feeling like an outcast, until she stumbles upon a wounded soldier who has been spying on the enemy. And Jasminda can’t resist using her Earth song to heal him.

This book switches points of view between Jasminda, and the rebel solider, Jack. And this healer and undercover solider start the most beautiful of friendships that eventually might lead to something more. *whispers slowly* The something more is so damn good. OTP status.

This book also really heavily mirrors the world we live in today with it’s handling of refugees. The parallels to 2018 and how we (Americans) treat refugees is unmissable, and it is something I wish more fantasy authors would incorporate within their writing. It’s powerful, it’s eye opening, and more people need to be aware of their internal prejudices. Also, this book shows how news reports can blatantly lie and make a population of people act off pure hatred.

And besides this starring a biracial protagonist, who is starting an interracial romance, this book also has a lesbian side character who warmed my heart. There are also discussions to be had about abuse, about cultural erasure, and systematic oppression. Again, this is such a powerful story.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was seeing Jack learn, understand, and use his privilege and power to do what is right. He always treats Jasminda with the respect she deserves but seeing him understand that all the Lagamiri people deserve the same respect was so important to me. And again, it shows what people in power, who truly want equal rights for all, can do if they truly want to. And Jack listening and learning because of Jasminda was perfection.

“Honor is doing the hard thing and letting history determine your legacy.”

And it was a treat to read about Jasminda. She is such a strong main protagonist, with so much agency. She is smart, empathetic, brave, and everything I look for in a character who will eventually steal my heart.

The writing in this is lyrical poetry. I love L. Penelope’s prose so very much. They continued to blow me away with each powerful sentence after powerful sentence. This book honestly has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve read in a long while.

I only truly have one complaint and that is a scene that happens very early in the book where it is implied that it is more evil or wrong for a man rape another man than it is to rape a woman. It’s only in one sentence, but it still felt really bad to read, and I really wish it wouldn’t have been included.

Trigger/Content Warnings: attempted rape, violence, death, and war themes. Also, I personally believe that this is a new adult novel, and there is sexual content within these pages.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The messages are powerful, the discussions are needed, the story is beautiful, and I want more. I loved the world, the magic system, and the characters so much. This was such an enthralling and atmospheric read, and it was a joy to read. I can’t wait to see what L. Penelope does next!

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with Julie at Pages and Pens & Jules at JA Ironside! ❤

April 2018 TBR

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you’re all having an amazing day, and I hope you know that each and every one of you is a blessing to me, that I’m so thankful for. I hope your day is filled with love, happiness, and good books! These are the eight things that I 100% plan to get to in April! What do you guys plan on reading this month? 💗

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian:
ARC – April 24th, 2018
I’m on the blog tour for this on the 13th! So, be on the lookout! This seems to be a dark story about a girl who had everything taken away from her, including her mother and her kingdom. Now, she lives with her oppressor, constantly being mistreated and mocked. She is only left alive to show the rest of the kingdom what will happen if they rebel.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë:
Buddy read with Dani & Alexis! ❤
I haven’t read this since high school, y’all! So, it has been a hot second, to say the least! But I’ve always wanted to reread so that the story would be fresh in my mind, so that I could eventually read Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye! Also, praise/bless Dani for getting me to read all the classics this year with her.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young:
ARC – April 24th, 2018 & buddy read with Jules at JA Ironside & Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤
This one has been getting pretty mixed reviews, but I’m still super excited to give it a try! And, like, give me all the strong warrior girls, please. But this is a brand new, debut, young adult fantasy, that stars a girl dealing with a betrayal from her brother who was presumed dead many years ago.

Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope:
ARC – May 1st, 2018 & buddy read with Julie at Pages and Pens! ❤
This is a fantasy romance that is loosely based off Romeo & Juliet, but with a diverse cast and set in a brand-new world! A few of my friends have told me the writing is beautifully lyrical, and you all know that’s my thing. Plus, I’m in such a romance mood right now! I can’t wait to pick this one up tomorrow!

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff:
ARC – May 29th, 2018 & buddy read with Chelsea at The Suspense is Thrilling Me! ❤
I’m also starting this one tomorrow! I’m sure you all have heard of this, but it is Jay Kristoff’s brand new young adult sci-fi series! This is going to be filled with robots and different cybernetics, and I’m so here for it. Out of all the books on this TBR, this is the one I’m most excited for!

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw:
Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens, Lilly at Lair of Books, & Jules at JA Ironside! If you guys want to join in, Julie is hosting this buddy read on Twitter, using the hashtag #brWickedDeep! ❤
Okay, I feel like this book just won’t stop calling to me. From the naked hardback, to this buddy read, to Netflix winning the bidding war to produce this visually, it’s calling me! Plus, Hocus Pocus vibes? I’m all for it!

Professed by Nicola Rendell:
This is the April pick for the Book Hangover Book Club that Julie & Chelsea host! And I’m buddy reading this with Lilly at Lair of Books! ❤
Next, on the “Melanie wants to read more romance books” list… haha! This is a new adult, contemporary, student teacher romance! And you can actually get this ebook for FREE on Amazon US!

The Thief (Black Dagger Brotherhood #16) by J.R. Ward:
Buddy read with Paloma! ❤
And last, but not least, wild horses couldn’t keep me away from the new JR Ward book. Even if the cover of this makes me want to die a little bit. Never will that ever be my Assail! But I’ve been waiting for his story for a long time, and I can’t wait to read this when it comes out on April 10th!

Okay, I think that’s everything! I hope to get to a lot more this month, especially since May is shaping up to be a hectic month for me! But these are the eight things that I completely plan on reading, and hopefully will love! I wish you guys the happiest of reading this April and always! And Happy Easter! 💗

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