Lenni Reviews: "The Black God's Drums" by P. Djèlí Clark

*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.

Lenni Reviews: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

In this book, we meet the intelligent and strong-willed Lucy Pickett and the brooding, enigmatic Lord Blackwell. As this story is set within the classic framework of Beauty and the Beast, our two main characters fulfill their intended roles. Where the creativity lies in this book is the steampunk and fantasy elements Allen has woven into the narrative; introducing classic steampunk tropes as goggles and airships as well as werewolves and vampires. 

Lucy and Blackwell meet because Lucy's cousin has fallen ill and Lucy refuses to leave her side until she discovers the truth. As she is a researcher and familiar with plant-based remedies, Lucy stays with her cousin at Blackwell's manor. Meanwhile, Lord Blackwell is hiding a secret from the world and someone is  attempting to blackmail him; and rumors surrounding the mysterious deaths of his wife and sister put him in a dangerous position. As the mystery unfolds, the pair predictably fall in love, but as predictable as it is - this is a romance novel, after all - Lucy is an interesting character to read about and Lord Blackwell's reasons for being curt and brash are grounded in reality. He's not angsty for angst's sake and his transformation from 'beast' into a man Lucy can love is believable. 

The steampunk and fantasy elements are a good portion of the story, so while the elements of a historical romance are there if you're not into the paranormal or steampunk, those parts of the story may put you off. They do fit seamlessly into the world building and make a generic romance that much more exciting. Of course, it really helps that none of the women are simpering debutantes and the men aren't empty, emo sacks of angst in frock coats. They are all well rounded with solid motivations despite the fantastical setting. If you like your romances sweet, non-smutty, and with some interesting tech, Allen's book is a treat! Alas, you shall have to wait until August 2nd, 2016 to get your little hands on it.

Lenni Reviews: The Deepest Poison by Beth Cato

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The Deepest Poison is a short story and introduction to the novel Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato (which I have reviewed here). Since I've already reviewed the novel, this review will focus on the shorter story.

This story covers some history of Miss Percival; Miss Leander's mentor. Percival recognized and nurtured Leander's healing abilities and this story showcases them while in the field stationed at a camp called Cantonment Five as they try to puzzle out the mystery of why wounded soldiers thought to recover were dying. It was nice to see some back story as reasoning behind Percival's actions in the Clockwork Crown. It is written in the same style as the novel but much more succinct and inside Percival's head and it was cool to see the healers in action. 

If you liked the first novel, Deepest Poison has a sample of Clockwork Crown to whet your appetite for the full novel. At $0.99 on Amazon, it's a worthwhile bit of steampunk fun.

Lenni Reviews: The Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato

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In this steampunk adventure, Octavia Leander and Alonzo Garrett are fleeing a recent assassination attempt and a quest to solve the mystery behind Octavia's every growing healing powers. Hoping to find answers at the Lady's Tree - the source of a healer's power - the two must travel through lands where many are hunting them and brave a coming war as the Tree is a power in a hostile land called the Waste, whose inhabitants are fighting to retain independence from the Empire.

Confused? I was, as well. Clockwork Crown is the second in the Clockwork Dagger Novels series. Although this novel can reasonably stand on it's own, there are many moments where the emotional impact of events would be deeper felt if I had read the first book (The Clockwork Dagger). This is not to say Clockwork Crown is not enjoyable. Octavia is a strong, relatable character who is a joy to read about and her friend and compatriot, Alonzo isn't just a tagalong. He is a heroic and capable partner you want to root for.

The physical steampunk and fantasy elements are well told and fit excellently in the world Cato has created. The technology and magic jostle in the same world with precision. You do get the sense, again, that the majority of the world-building took place in the first book but the pacing of the novel and the nearly non-stop action don't give you much time to get lost. Giant airships, and gremlins, AND magic? Sign me up for another heaping helping of this guilty pleasure please! This book will be released on June 9th, 2015 and I am already primed for more of this world - despite the book having a satisfying ending. I hope Cato decides to create more with this series.

SteamPunk Lolita Ultimate Looks #1

Below is an outline of the basic anatomy of any Lolita outfit. I'll be sure to repost it for the coming looks. However, I would encourage you to be sure to check out Lolita Fashion, for a more detailed explanation of its parts.

Now!!!!! Shopping. For Look #1 I've visited Fan Plus Friend and Clockwork Couture. I have found that most relate a steampunk look to muted colors, like brown and orange. But as the rules state in last week's post, it has NO color. So why not a cutesy bright Steampunk Lolita?!

SteamPunk dress by manufactured by Fan Plus Friend

Since the dress isn't very printed and overly exaggerated with details, as some Lolita outfits would be, I think some prints and straps would be what makes the dress sing. It also comes with a hairpiece, but I've decided that you should have options. And if you're feeling extra cutesy, why not make them both work together, right. ;-D

If you'd like to see the actual product, feel free to click on any of the pics to take you there.

Tomorrow, Steampunk Lolita Look #2 

until then!
~je t'adore! <3 IKB  

Gone SteamPunk Shopping ... Join Me?!

And a VERY Happy Sunday!!! 
Let's get busy ... At the moment, I'm still shopping, but I have a more intimate surprise for later days (Monday! @ 1pm) 

Since I can't physically put together my steampunk Lolita look (I'm broke y'all! LOL)  I've decided to take the anatomy of a Lolita outfit and piece together two ultimate looks that I would lust for on any given Sunday. I'll be visiting Fan Plus Friend, Clockwork Couture, Wicked Clothes, and Shrine Store

Be sure to check them out ... maybe make your own steampunk Lolita look and we can share!
So! Monday, 1PM ... Ultimate looks ... BE THERE!

Until then 
~je t'adore!
<3 IKB

Steam Punk ... Rules of Engagement

So! There's good news and then there's bad news. I'd ask which you'd like to know first, but the good news that I am getting some good tips on dressing Steampunk and marrying it with Lolita. However ... it's gonne be EXPENSIVE! I'm not too sure kiddies that I'll be able to pull off looks the way I would like. But future cosplay at San Diego Comic Con may be a great place for some outfit critiques.

For now, I'll take this time to give you a head's up about Steampunk and we can set a hot date and try it ... togther?

Fortunately for us, I've found some rules to live by and some other gems to be shared in the near future.

{Rule One: Steampunk fashion is a real-world reproduction of the clothing that is or could be found in steampunk literature. It's that simple.

Rule Two: When in doubt, dress Victorian and then add. The Victorians were the first people to fully capitalize upon steam technology in a way that affected everyday life, so it is no surprise that most steampunk writing either takes place in the Victorian world or is strongly inspired by it. If you're afraid that your outfit is "too Victorian" you're probably doing it right.

Rule Three: Steampunk fashion is about creating an outfit that delights the senses, entertains the wearer, and engages the viewer. Never feel obliged to take away from the style or appeal of an outfit simply because you fear it will be "not steampunk enough." Do not be misled, coerced, or second-guessed into including a collection of "steampunk status symbols" (goggles are the most infamous, though we do love them) if they do not fit with the outfit, or with the vision you are attempting to produce.
Rule Four: There is no "steampunk color." Some people have claimed that steampunk is only brown, or only black, or only white, or only light, or only dark. They are wrong. Virtually any color can be steampunk (though perhaps one might balk at neon). If you like to wear black, there is a steampunk justification; if you like to wear brown, there is a steampunk justification; if you like to wear bright colors, there is a steampunk justification. Remember, steampunk is set in a world of comparatively advanced technology, so it is perfectly reasonable to have vibrant colors and complicated machine-made patterns.

Rule Five: You are allowed to like other genres. If you like a style of fashion that does not fit into steampunk (Enlightenment era, Pulp Adventure, Mod 60s, Medieval, etc.) be proud of it. Do not feel compelled to try and wedge it under the steampunk caption. These are all genres that people have worked very hard to create, expand, and explore; so we rather owe it to them to respect the diversity and uniqueness of their differences. You are all diverse and well-rounded people with differing interests. Let that be a source of pride.

Rule Six: Have fun and be yourself. That's what this is about. Don't feel compelled to conform with everyone else. Don't feel shy about posting just because you don't want to dress like the other people who you've seen post. And don't post with the question "do you guys think this is steampunk enough?" Post with the statement "I feel that this is steampunk, and here is why I think so." At worst, someone will disagree and then the two of you can discuss your conflicting views, get to know each other, and come to an understanding; or, you can simply feel free to ignore them, and you have every right to do so if you don't feel like arguing over a simple difference of opinion.}

Don't worry! There'll be more to come for next week as we wrap up! PROMISE ^.^

until then ...
~je t'adore!

Steampunk + Lolita = Heaven?

Happy SUNDAY!!!!!!

So, it's no secret that I am thoroughly obsessed with Lolita fashion. It's been a little over a year and being bored is no where in sight. Consequently, last night I was watching Firefly and started paying attention to the fashion. In allllll the times I've loved to curl up to this series, I've never once taken notice to that fashion. Of course, the setting allows for something very Steampunk

To make a long story short, it's my latest sub-obesession in fashion. I promise, it could not have come at a better time. I've been looking through my closet and while I love the Lolita pieces I have acquired ... it is definitely time for more. And now that I am comfortable in some of my latest fashion skin, I feel like its time for some more "grown-up" fanciness.

Since Steampunk fashion is a happy marriage of goth meets victorian ... we'll pair it with Lolita & blast off into fashion heaven! Here are a few of my inspirations and next week I'll share some of what's in my closet that can be all Steampunk dressed up.

Let's have some fun shall we!
~je t'adore