Book Reviews: First of Her Kind and Death's Dream Kingdom


For February, I’d like to showcase two uber talented indie authors that are on my authors to watch list. Because I expect more and more great things from both of them!

K.L. Schwengel crafts a beautiful page-turner with her debut novel, A First of Her Kind.

As the title states Ciara is different than other girls. She has earth magic and something called the wilding inside her. Two very different forms of magic in one teenage girl.

And she dislikes the Goddess, which is pretty unique among practitioners of earth magic. Normally they are devoted to the Goddess.

The author immediately immerses you in her characters and her story world. She gives the reader exactly what they need to understand what is happening and keeps the story moving. After reading the first chapter, I knew I was going to enjoy this book!

The pacing is great. Ms. Schwengel knows how to build anticipation and keep you reading until the early morning hours.

Bolin is a complicated hero with a fascinating background that is carefully revealed throughout the story. I found myself looking forward to bedtime so I could get back to Bolin and Ciara.

The author does an excellent job explaining the feel of the magic and I was absolutely immersed in her world.

The torture scenes were vivid and really well executed.

The details about the horses were realistic and added a nice touch the story.

The author excels at walking the tight rope of series writing–tying the story together and answering all the questions of the main plot arc while still leaving lots of room for the next book.

I can’t wait for the next book in her Darkness and Light series!



In Death’s Dream Kingdom, Jessica Penot tugs at the fabric of reality. She turns everything you think you know on its head, weaving a vivid world with seraphims, gods, demons, hollow men and Death himself.

Her writing style reminds me of Neil Gaiman–sparse and powerful. An understated elegance and profoundness.

Cera and Arawyn are a love story I can sink my soul into. Torn apart by their very nature but always finding each other across the lifetimes.

I loved how the author interspersed parts of T.S. Eliot’s poems at the beginning of each chapter. Such a unique touch and brilliantly done!

The setting for the tree of life and the plain of stars was beyond beautiful. I could picture each place in my mind as if I had been there to visit. The richness of detail to the middle and lower kingdoms was perfect. I could see each step of the journey but I was never bogged down in description.

I loved all the ritual and mythology. I cannot imagine how much research Ms. Penot did behind the scenes to make everything so accessible to the reader.

Ms. Penot is a gifted and talented writer. Definitely someone I will continue reading and be expecting greater and greater things from!

This is a very deep and symbolic book–perfect for a book club discussion.

When I reached the end, I felt absolutely satiated but hoping for more–exactly what a great book should do!


I finished two other fantastic reads in February and reviewed them on Goodreads and Amazon and B&N:

Lyndee Walker’s Agatha nominated Front Page Fatality deserves every accolade.

Stacey Jay’s Juliet Immortal was a truly beautiful tale of love.


One last thing–this week is August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest! I’m participating in the classic version that kicks off with a big blog hop on Thursday.

But today is the kick off of the racier Girl Boner version.

I’m planning to check out posts across both versions.

There will be giveaways too so hop along to them!

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27 Responses to Book Reviews: First of Her Kind and Death's Dream Kingdom

  1. kathils says:

    Thanks for the great review! That’s how I like to start my week. 🙂

  2. Love starting my Monday morning out with some good book reviews.

    • These are two awesome indies Gwen. I met Jessica at a writing conference back in 2009 and got a glimpse of the first pages of her book then. I knew it was amazing–I’m so thrilled to see my gut instinct was 100% right. 🙂 K.L. is a blog buddy and I couldn’t be prouder of her for what she did with her debut novel!

  3. I love when writers sprinkle bits of poetry or quotes at the start of a chapter. Great reviews, Kourtney!

  4. TBM says:

    Thanks for the introduction to these writers. they sound fab!

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Great reviews! Kudos to you for finding time to keep reading. I work it into my lunch hour every day so I’m sure to at least get some done. But I still don’t get to read as many books as I’d like to. 🙁

    • Thanks. I carve out 30-45 minutes before bed every night. Some days it’s closer to 15 minutes. But I remind myself reading makes me a better writer. I feel the same way. 3-4 books a month seems like so few when you think of all the ones published in a month! Sigh.

  6. Sheila says:

    I love magic and will have to check these out – thank you! It’s always fun to find more great books to read.

  7. Arlene says:

    These sound great! Now I have to decide which one to read first and where to put them on my To Read list. I’m constantly moving my order around based on reviews and these were great reviews! I’m excited to read them both. Thanks Kourtney!

    • Really enjoyed both of them Arlene! LOL. Sorry to add to your TBR pile, but I had to share these awesome novels. Me too—I also shift the order based on what I’m writing. If it’s YA, I’m reading YA. If it’s adult, I’m back to adult. 😉 So glad you enjoyed them!

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    I really enjoyed First of Her Kind, too. Really great writing and story in a debut novel. 🙂 I’ve got some amazingly talented blog buddies!

    • K.L. rocked her debut novel! I’m just sorry it took me so long to read it. The launch year was crazy. I’m just now getting everything under control again. 🙂 And I’m making reading a priority. Right up there with exercising. I feel the same way–my blog buddies blow me away with their talent. 🙂

  9. You have touched upon my favourite subject matter… Fantasy and Mystical.. Love your reviews… Thank you for sharing them with us.. Have a fantastic week xxx Sue

    • Sue, both authors build amazing storyworlds. Jessica’s draws so much on myth, it was rich and beautiful and took me back to when I was in school learning all these cool things. 🙂 Hope you have a great week!


  10. diannegray says:

    These look wonderful, Kourtney – thanks for introducing them to me. I must carve out some time to get reading 😉

  11. 4amWriter says:

    I am reading First of Her Kind as we speak! I have to read it alongside a couple of other books, so it’s taking me longer than I would like. I totally agree with you that from the get-go Kathi draws the reader into the characters and her story world. She’s an excellent writer. Great review, Kourtney!

  12. Aquileana says:

    Hi Kourt.

    Such a thoughtful review. The book seems captivating. Thanks for sharing.

    Another point here:

    I have nominated you for the Bouquet of Award (six awards ) please check it out at the end of this post (Just scroll it down )

    Hugs Aquileana 😉

  13. Pingback: EMERGENCE by K.L. Schwengel – Cover Reveal | Y.A. Scribbles and Scoops

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