The cover of Song of Blood and Stone

Song of Blood and Stone

Title: Song of Blood and Stone

Author: L. Penelope

Published: St. Martin’s Press, 2018

Song of Blood and Stone

Song of Blood and Stone takes place in the world of Elsira, which is a land of Silents; people, who cannot use the magic that is Song. Those who can are called Singers.

In Elsira lives Jasminda, a child of a Silent and a Singer, who bears the Song within her and the skin of a Singer on her outside. Because of this, she mostly keeps to herself, since people are afraid of her and her Song.
Jasminda has lost her parents and her brothers and lives alone in the family cabin on a small patch of land outside the nearest town, and now she stands to lose this too.
One day a group of soldiers and the injured spy they have captured find their way to her cabin, and she is forced to let them in. Jasminda slowly forms a bond with the injured captive named Jack and when they manage to escape the soldiers, it is the beginning of a long journey for both of them. Jasminda is racing time in order to keep her land and her last connection to her family, while Jack is on a mission to save their country.

My thoughts

I cannot find the words to describe what a wonderful experience it was to read this fantasy! I was completely taken aback by the marvellous story, magical universe and compelling characters that this story holds.
The story is told through a third person narrator, but still juggling multiple point of views (POV’s), which I love. The main character Jasminda is so likeable and relatable and she has quickly climbed the ladder of my most liked characters.

I think L. Penelope has managed to write a story that will both take you away, but can also make you think about your own world and life. This is one of the strongest and most important possibilities of any fantasy ever, I believe.
I know we all love different things, and I am really afraid of overselling this, since I think it is important to go into a new book with less than high expectations, since your expectations can kill the reading experience. However, I sincerely recommend you read this, if you love a good fantasy novel!

Sneak Peek

I have been allowed to show you an excerpt from the book Song of Blood and Stone and I am so happy and so excited for this! You can find this excerpt by clicking on the title below this section and it will lead you straight to it! The excerpt is chapter two in which we meet a wounded soldier and a good samaritan. I sincerely hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I did! And if you wish to read the rest of the book, I can assure you that you don’t have to wait for long: It will be on sale on Tuesday May 1st 2018 right where you normally buy your books and can already be preordered many places.

Song of Blood & Stone excerpt

Find the excerpt through this link.

L. Penelope

The authoer L Penelope sitting and looking at the camera

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

Song of Blood and Stone is out on May 1st.

A young woman (me) reading a book in the forest

Desert Skies, Rebel Souls

I have had the fantastic opportunity of interviewing M.P. Tonnesen, author of “The Cosmopolitan Islander”, in connection with the publication of her newest novel: “Desert Skies, Rebel Souls”. You can read her answers below, and at the end of this post I’ve put a short review of the book and a few links to buy it in case you feel inspired to do so. Enjoy 🙂

M.P. Tonnesen

The author M. P. Tonnesen

M.P. Tonnesen is a writer and businesswoman living on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. She was born in Denmark, but grew up in a multicultural family and has lived in Brussels, the Middle East, and London before moving to the island with her family in 2011.

She authors contemporary and women’s fiction with an adventurous twist. Her books are inspired by her experiences working, living and travelling around the world.

She enjoys reading and telling good stories, travelling and eating dark chocolate. She also dabbles in yoga, pilates and juggling two kids.

Interview

Tell us something about yourself, that not many people know about you.
I love stripes! On bedlinen, cushions, tea towels, table cloths – and mainly my clothes. I must have a gazillion Breton striped tops and dresses! I think (read: wish!) I was Coco Chanel in my previous life – or a sailor 😉 They just make me happy, calm and comfortable.

When was your first book published and how was the process of getting it published?
My debut novel, “The Cosmopolitan Islander”, was published in November 2015. I self-published via Amazon’s company CreateSpace. One of the things holding me back from starting to write years ago was the worry of not being accepted by a publisher and the struggle to get past the piles of other manuscripts and rejection letters, through that tiny keyhole to become a published author. Luckily, things have changed so much in the industry over the last 10 years with the advent of the e-book making publishing much more accessible. This does not mean self-publishing is the easy route. It was definitely a steep learning curve! There are lots of new challenges and potential pitfalls every day. I like having control of the process, but it also means a lot of work for a one-woman-army. Plus, self-publishing is not the gold rush it initially was. There are so many self-published books out there now of varying quality, it can be very difficult to stand out from the crowd. Self-publishing is a tough, but fun challenge.

When did you first know, that you wanted to be an author?
Words and playing with them have always been a great interest of mine. I learned to read and write at the age of four and I haven’t stopped since. I am a linguist at heart, grew up in a bilingual family, and speak four languages. I have written for many years, but it was primarily non-fiction; academic papers and corporate communication. Some years ago I had a career break during which I reflected on what to do with my life and what would bring me happiness – a lot like Chloe, the protagonist in my debut novel. I did not have the courage or financial stability back then to take that first step which I was finally able to do years later – starting with a few scribbles in a notebook and a writing course at London School of Journalism which whet my appetite further. When we moved to the island it opened the door for me to the opportunity of being more serious about my writing. I was lucky to become a writer here for Gallery and Agenda Magazines, alongside working on my novels and running my consulting business.

What inspires you to write?
Writing is like dreaming in a waking state. You tap into those deeper layers of your imagination and emotions to create a world. My whole cast of characters and their stories are inspired by lots of different people and events – real as well as fictional. TV series, films, current and historical events, friends, family, random strangers in the street, park, restaurant or when travelling – they have all inspired me and triggered different scenes and feelings I could channel into my novels. I was shamelessly hooked on the series Scandal when I started writing Desert Skies, Rebel Souls which is where I got Olivia’s name from 😉 I’m also a big Outlander fan and was keen to emulate the amazing chemistry between Claire and Jamie. I hope I’ve managed to channel even just half of their passion into my characters!

What’s the best advice you can give aspiring writers?
I believe most people have a story in them, but few get the chance to express it. It takes time and dedication – and a bit of wordsmithing skills. But go for it! Nothing ventured, nothing gained is my motto. Persistence is the key throughout – from actually completing a piece of writing to getting it out there to potential readers. Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, authors are expected to promote themselves and their books today. The key thing to remember is: Sell one book at a time. When I was knocking on the doors of bookshops, a supportive soul at Daunt Books in London told me: It’s a marathon – not a sprint. I have found that a really helpful mantra.

What can we expect from your new book?
Desert Skies, Rebel Souls is a unique coming-of-age story of self-discovery and rebellion. It is set in the Middle East and follows the journey of a young woman, Olivia, from Denmark to a region rich in history, culture, conflict and passion. A whirlwind romance with a local kibbutznik, Chaim, takes a dramatic turn, leaving her caught between countries, belonging nowhere, and with the love of her life in danger far away. She explores magnificent historical sights and cultural experiences, encounters the dangers of travelling unaccompanied in a male-dominated society, as well as questions the concepts of hatred, fate, war and peace. It is a bittersweet love story set under the desert sky, against the backdrop of music and key events of the nineties – to be enjoyed by adventurous globetrotters and readers longing to escape. “Desert Skies, Rebel Souls” will be released on 10/11/17, and is available for order now from my website mptonnesen.com I hope you will enjoy it!

What is your favourite book?
One of the few books to which I keep returning is The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes. I really enjoy his musings around time, being and novels, as well as his style and language which are very succinct and even melancholic. I look forward to watching the movie version starring Jim Broadbent!

What are you currently reading?
Swing Time by Zadie Smith. I had the great pleasure of meeting her in Denmark this summer at Louisiana Literature Festival. She not only signed her own book, but also my debut novel! It was a surreal, but magical fangirl moment.

What is your favourite reading snack or accessory?
My own mix of organic almonds and raisins – and dark chocolate, of course!

If anything was possible, what could then be a perfect day for you? What would you do, where would you go?
I would lounge in the sun on an exotic island, reading books, eating delicious food and just looking at the mesmerising endless shades of blue as I listen to the calming sounds of the sea.

Now, tell us a six-word story 🙂
She wrote “Goodbye” with his blood.

Desert Skies, Rebel Souls

My thoughts

The front cover of Desert Skies, Rebel Souls

“Desert Skies, Rebel Souls” is a beautiful travel story about rebelling against the expectations of others, about love and clash of cultures. We follow the main character Olivia, a Danish girl, on her travel to Israel. She is fighting to find her own way through life instead of following the norms and expectations of her family. In Israel she connects with a young man, who becomes a very important part of Olivia’s discovery and her road to self-reliance.

The descriptions of the places that the main character Olivia visits are written so well and so beautifully that I felt an urge to go see them for myself when reading about them. Yet I can relate to the insecurities that follow young women travelling on their own and do not miss that part of travelling.

Like in The Cosmopolitan Islander, M.P. Tonnesen manages to write a believable main character, whom I both like and dislike; which is a strength I really appreciate. It gives a depth to the characters and makes them seem more real to me. I love when characters are flawed and I love a good story about personal development.

If you enjoy a good love story, reading about travels and to get the sweet feeling of wanderlust from a book, I can recommend you read “Desert Skies, Rebel Souls”. It will take you places if only you let it. The book is an easy-read that wants to make sure the story is told just right, in order to give the reader a great reading experience.

OKay, so how do you get your hands on it?

“Desert Skies, Rebel Souls” is released today and is thus available for purchase right now! You can find the kindle edition right here, but it is also available for other e-book channels. As mentioned in her interview it is also possible to order a physical copy from her website, but this can also be done from your preferred Amazonsite.

Blog tour

Remember to swing by TripFiction and Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews today for more thoughts on “Desert Skies, Rebel Souls” and have a look at the this blog tour schedule to see who to visit next:

A list of the blogs that participate in this blog tour along with the dates each blog participates

Thanks

On a final note I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the author for letting me interview her and for sharing herself with me and you guys. I want to thank her for sending me an ARC of the book and I am grateful that she was interested in hearing my thoughts on her book baby “Desert Skies, Rebel Souls”.
I sincerely appreciate working with her on this blog tour and wish her all the best!