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In thousands of years of my astral travels, I’d never needed a companion. But he found a way to ingrain himself in my every brain cell, my every goosebump, my every trembling breath… His darkness is the answer to my light. Orobella is a cosmic wanderer, living borrowed lives in borrowed bodies. Her mission on planet Instaar is the same as always—collecting Crystals of E In thousands of years of my astral travels, I’d never needed a companion. But he found a way to ingrain himself in my every brain cell, my every goosebump, my every trembling breath… His darkness is the answer to my light. Orobella is a cosmic wanderer, living borrowed lives in borrowed bodies. Her mission on planet Instaar is the same as always—collecting Crystals of Emotions while having as much fun as her new physical form allows, no strings attached. But once she meets the hypnotically mysterious Sambor, both her body and soul yearn for more. She makes him an offer he can't refuse. In the world where creatures of death and darkness drive men mad, emotional detachment has been Sambor's greatest life achievement. As the future leader of the Lasota tribe and a spiritual tattoo artist, he can't afford the luxury of mental weakness. Yet his meticulously constructed equilibrium is shaken up when an alluring nymph promises to save his baby sister, in exchange for a sacred Lasota tattoo. He can't say no. Even if that means his demons will get the best of him. Steeped in mysticism, elemental magic, and sensual vibrations, this romantic fantasy is more than a love story. It’s a journey through a soul. SERIES: Shadowlight, #1 GENRE: Fantasy Romance/Metaphysical Fantasy AGE CATEGORY: Adult CONTENT WARNING: This book contains graphic violence, sexual situations, physical abuse, and adult language. WHAT READERS ARE SAYING "Beautiful characters, fascinating imagery, and a distinctive voice made reading this a breeze and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next for this series.” —Natalie, Book Blogger at The Biblioholic "This book was very magical, romantic, action-packed, and emotional at times. Also I definitely didn't expect the heat level of the intimate scenes to be this steamy, so that was a very pleasant surprise.” —Betül, Book Blogger at Silence is Read "These characters take you on a journey that will make you laugh, scream and love. And you won’t soon forget them.” —Lee Jacquot, Romance Author "This is not a typical fantasy romance. No, this is a powerful adventure that will captivate you just as fiercely as Sambor captivates Oro.” —Rowena Portch, Award-winning Author of Spirian Saga


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In thousands of years of my astral travels, I’d never needed a companion. But he found a way to ingrain himself in my every brain cell, my every goosebump, my every trembling breath… His darkness is the answer to my light. Orobella is a cosmic wanderer, living borrowed lives in borrowed bodies. Her mission on planet Instaar is the same as always—collecting Crystals of E In thousands of years of my astral travels, I’d never needed a companion. But he found a way to ingrain himself in my every brain cell, my every goosebump, my every trembling breath… His darkness is the answer to my light. Orobella is a cosmic wanderer, living borrowed lives in borrowed bodies. Her mission on planet Instaar is the same as always—collecting Crystals of Emotions while having as much fun as her new physical form allows, no strings attached. But once she meets the hypnotically mysterious Sambor, both her body and soul yearn for more. She makes him an offer he can't refuse. In the world where creatures of death and darkness drive men mad, emotional detachment has been Sambor's greatest life achievement. As the future leader of the Lasota tribe and a spiritual tattoo artist, he can't afford the luxury of mental weakness. Yet his meticulously constructed equilibrium is shaken up when an alluring nymph promises to save his baby sister, in exchange for a sacred Lasota tattoo. He can't say no. Even if that means his demons will get the best of him. Steeped in mysticism, elemental magic, and sensual vibrations, this romantic fantasy is more than a love story. It’s a journey through a soul. SERIES: Shadowlight, #1 GENRE: Fantasy Romance/Metaphysical Fantasy AGE CATEGORY: Adult CONTENT WARNING: This book contains graphic violence, sexual situations, physical abuse, and adult language. WHAT READERS ARE SAYING "Beautiful characters, fascinating imagery, and a distinctive voice made reading this a breeze and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next for this series.” —Natalie, Book Blogger at The Biblioholic "This book was very magical, romantic, action-packed, and emotional at times. Also I definitely didn't expect the heat level of the intimate scenes to be this steamy, so that was a very pleasant surprise.” —Betül, Book Blogger at Silence is Read "These characters take you on a journey that will make you laugh, scream and love. And you won’t soon forget them.” —Lee Jacquot, Romance Author "This is not a typical fantasy romance. No, this is a powerful adventure that will captivate you just as fiercely as Sambor captivates Oro.” —Rowena Portch, Award-winning Author of Spirian Saga

30 review for Incandescence

  1. 4 out of 5

    Betül

    **ARC provided in exchange for an honest review** I have to be honest and say that I hesitated before deciding to read this book. I am a very picky reader and mostly tend to stick to authors whose books I have enjoyed before. But every now and then I feel adventurous and read a book by a new author. Incandescence is one of these books that I decided to try and ended up enjoying a lot. This book was very original and it honestly exceeded my expectations. I don't read that many Fantasy Romance nove **ARC provided in exchange for an honest review** I have to be honest and say that I hesitated before deciding to read this book. I am a very picky reader and mostly tend to stick to authors whose books I have enjoyed before. But every now and then I feel adventurous and read a book by a new author. Incandescence is one of these books that I decided to try and ended up enjoying a lot. This book was very original and it honestly exceeded my expectations. I don't read that many Fantasy Romance novels, even though it is one of my favorite subgenres. When I started this book I didn't know what to expect and which direction the author was going which is the magic in these type of books. I was hooked to the story from the start and enjoyed being introduced to the world the author had created. Orobella is a cosmic wanderer, living borrowed lives in borrowed bodies. She was very care-free and open-minded. I had to get used to her at the beginning, but the more I got the know her the more I liked her. The hero Sambor is a broody warrior who was very serious. On paper Oro and Sambor wouldn't make a lot of sense, but in practice they were perfect together. This book was very magical, romantic, action-packed, and emotional at times. Also I definitely didn't expect the heat level of the intimate scenes to be this steamy, so that was a very pleasant surprise. I also didn't expect the story to take a dark turn, which I liked as well. It was unpredictable, which I always appreciate in the books I read. I love it when authors go a different direction than the one I expected. I felt a strong connection to the characters and look forward to getting to know all the tribes better in the upcoming books. The side characters were amazing as well, and I especially loved Sambor's little sister, and Oro's lizard guide Smoku. The writing style was great and I didn't have a problem following the story. The pacing was good, and there was no dull moment in this book. A lot is going on but the story didn't feel packed or rushed. Incandescence was a great introduction to the Shadowlight series, and I can't wait to see what the author will come up next for the upcoming books in the series.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Hendry

    Thanks BookSirens for providing me with an e-Arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. Orobella is a being who wanders the galaxy wearing the form of other beings. She is on a mission to collect Emotion Crystals and spread joy. In every world Orobella has visited in the past, she has concentrated on collecting crystals and going back home. This time, her intention is the same, that is until she meets Sambor. The dark and mysterious tattoo artist seems to be the only one who is immune to Thanks BookSirens for providing me with an e-Arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. Orobella is a being who wanders the galaxy wearing the form of other beings. She is on a mission to collect Emotion Crystals and spread joy. In every world Orobella has visited in the past, she has concentrated on collecting crystals and going back home. This time, her intention is the same, that is until she meets Sambor. The dark and mysterious tattoo artist seems to be the only one who is immune to Orobella's charms. In exchange for a Lasota tattoo, Orobella agrees to help Sambor's baby sister to prepare for a ceremony which will decide the rest of her life. Despite his best efforts Sambor is drawn to Orobella and finds his resolve slipping. The longer Orobella stays in this body the more attached she begins to become to this life. Will she complete her mission and go home? Or will this body's past come back to haunt her? What I liked about this book This story is so imaginative. The author has not just created one world, but a whole universe. The main story takes place in a world which is similar to earth, but with magic. However, Orobella tells stories of the worlds she has visited in the past and some of them sound magical. The emotional aspect of the narrative is really well written. I was emotionally invested in Orobella's relationship with Sambor and his sister, Child. My heart strings were tugged several times. The writing is easy to follow and has a good flow. Child and Smoku were my favourite characters. Child is adorable and Smoku brings the comic relief. What I didn't like Some of the word choice during the more intimate scenes made me cringe. Incandescence is the first book in the Shadowlight series. I think that you would enjoy this book if you are a fan of Fantasy/Sci-fi romance. This book had me captivated from the beginning and I am excited to see where the series goes from here. 4 stars ✮✮✮✮ Find this review and others on my blog

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natalie ✩★ The Biblioholic ★✩

    Whenever I try a new-to-me author, I attempt to go in without any expectations. Do I want to be impressed? Most assuredly. But I also want the experience to be free and for my enjoyment to grow from nothing. So did Incandescence deliver? Absolutely! Orobella was a cosmic entity whose only purpose was to visit different planets to exchange crystals while inhabiting an inhabitant. These gems lived in one's soul and while her main gift was JOY, she was able to exchange with many beings for a taste o Whenever I try a new-to-me author, I attempt to go in without any expectations. Do I want to be impressed? Most assuredly. But I also want the experience to be free and for my enjoyment to grow from nothing. So did Incandescence deliver? Absolutely! Orobella was a cosmic entity whose only purpose was to visit different planets to exchange crystals while inhabiting an inhabitant. These gems lived in one's soul and while her main gift was JOY, she was able to exchange with many beings for a taste of what they had to offer, such as passion or honor. While she has come across many people, none fascinated her more than the leader of the Lasota tribe, Sambor. He was handsome, strong and fierce, a brooding hero that neither Oro nor I could resist. Their story was at once frivolous and mature, heartwrenching and heartwarming. I was wooed by their differences, their push and pull, their inevitable courtship, and their special relationship. Reading Incandescence was such a joy! 🌙 steeped in mysticism and wonder, I was awed and inspired by every depicted scene, conversation and event. 🌙 sultry, sexy and passionate, this story was rich in sensual vibrations (not all of which were sexual). 🌙 lively, vibrant and lush, Instarii inspired a tale that gave way to unique experiences, true and loyal friendships, and a strong foundation between its protagonists. 🌙 beautiful characters, fascinating imagery, and a distinctive voice made reading this a breeze and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next for this series. For this review and more:

  4. 4 out of 5

    ✩ Yaz ✩

    3.5 - ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 "So we rode under the pleasing midday sun and fantasized about food—me, the green seductress on the mission to collect crystals and moon berries alike; an invisible gecko with ancient wisdom and odd eating habits; and a coachman, who surely regretted at that point that he'd come first in the run" Incandescence transports us into a unique fantastical setting following a cosmic being named Orobella. Her kind are known as the Crystellians, they are fleeting cosmic souls that thrive in s 3.5 - ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 "So we rode under the pleasing midday sun and fantasized about food—me, the green seductress on the mission to collect crystals and moon berries alike; an invisible gecko with ancient wisdom and odd eating habits; and a coachman, who surely regretted at that point that he'd come first in the run" Incandescence transports us into a unique fantastical setting following a cosmic being named Orobella. Her kind are known as the Crystellians, they are fleeting cosmic souls that thrive in solitude, their task is to collect emotion crystals across the universe by inhabiting temporary forms/bodies and once their task is completed they blend back into the universe. Orobella's new mission at a planet called Instaar introduced her to a world of mysticism and darkness. Oro's new form is of a female described to have an emerald green skin, wisps of short red hair, and a sweet melodic voice. She is accompanied by a guide named Smoku, a talking gecko who is described to be a real smooth talker. Sambro is a fierce warrior and a spiritual tattooist considered the future leader of the Lasota tribe. Despite being shrouded in fogs of mystery, Oro finds him intriguing and the sparks fly from their very first encounter. However, Oro cannot be tethered to this world for she must collect 33 crystals and fade back into the universe on Summer Solstice. Sambro eventually finds himself tied to an agreement between him and Oro each with their own conditions: Oro gets sacred Lasota tattoo and in return she will take care of his baby sister Child and teach her how to sing. The world-building was truly exhilarating, it was very unique. Despite the mention of Astral trips and planets, in no way this is a sci-fi book. Leman creates an original fantastical setting and enriches it with a fascinating lore. The writing had a steady flow and it was descriptive. Being that this is Leman's debut fantasy romance book, I was impressed with her quality of writing. The fact that I dove into Incandescence without a clue about what's in store for me is what made me feel genuinely surprised while exploring the world of Incandescence. For all of the above, I think I would've rated the book a 4-star or even higher however I have to point out a few issues I've faced while reading this book. For the first half of the book, I felt overwhelmed and maybe it's because everything was new and unique to me and I truly liked that but I could not absorb it quickly and that caused a temporary rift between me and the story overall. Oro was a bundle of happiness while Sambro was a broody and dark love interest "he reminds me a little of Khal Drogo" and that is one of my favorite dynamics. My issue here is that I really did not form much of a connection with the characters and I could not pin-point to why? Is it their characterization because I did like them but I wasn't invested in them or is it that I could not keep up with their progress. There were times when I felt they're a little melodramatic. But still, they had some sweet moments that made my heart flutter. The pacing I found to be a little unstable, again I don't know if it is the fact that I was still absorbing everything being so overwhelmed or it's the lack of connection. To conclude, Incandescence is unique and promising debut of the Shadowlight series and it's the perfect read for those that are craving a fantasy romance in a totally unique setting. Please note that there are trigger warnings for this book and it's an adult book not suitable for younger readers. Thank you to the author for providing me with a free e-copy in exchange for a review

  5. 4 out of 5

    becky ☾

    Just damn amazing. RTC --------- Let's just say I didn't hesitate to read this when I first got it on my kindle. Even though I'm a fast reader, I read this book in about a day and just... wow. I seriously fell in love with the characters and the setting of the sci-fi/fantasy world the author has picked out. The places and the character names are all unique and quite unheard of. But this book had it's own taste and was original. I was hooked in the moment when I was introduced into the world the aut Just damn amazing. RTC --------- Let's just say I didn't hesitate to read this when I first got it on my kindle. Even though I'm a fast reader, I read this book in about a day and just... wow. I seriously fell in love with the characters and the setting of the sci-fi/fantasy world the author has picked out. The places and the character names are all unique and quite unheard of. But this book had it's own taste and was original. I was hooked in the moment when I was introduced into the world the author created. I wasn't really sure which genre she was more going for in the setting of the world: fantasy or sci-fi? I guess it was kind of squished together but somehow, that made it more interesting to read. But I would definitely say that the characters she describes are more into the category 'sci-fi'. They are no faeries or goblins, more like green-skinned creatures with different types of species. Sambor, the great dark hero was quite an addictive character to start with. He's quite serious when he's doing his job, but I always knew he had a sweet side... And Orobella, a wanderer who borrows past (dead) bodies and quite carefree in her life. She filled with so much JOY crystals that I sometimes wonder if she has any worries! Incandescence was filled with so much fantasy, romance, sci-fi and some dark surprises throughout the book and it was a unpredictable of where the book was going to end in but that made me want to find out more 😄 The writing style of the book and the whole setting was pleasant and I had no problem wondering what was going on. Overall, this book was a fun read and I just can't wait for the next book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leah Lopez

    WOW, this book is HOOOT! It starts innocently but soon we get pushed into the whirlpool of magic, lust, and goddamn angst. Uff, I’m still flushed! Orobella, a sexy water nymph aka Rusalka aka Crystellian comes to planet Instaar to seduce hotties and swap her metaphysical crystals for theirs. Upon meeting the beefcake of a warlord aka Sambor, who also happens to be a spiritual tattoo artist, she promises to teach his baby sis how to sing. All she wants in exchange is one of his sexy tattoos that t WOW, this book is HOOOT! It starts innocently but soon we get pushed into the whirlpool of magic, lust, and goddamn angst. Uff, I’m still flushed! Orobella, a sexy water nymph aka Rusalka aka Crystellian comes to planet Instaar to seduce hotties and swap her metaphysical crystals for theirs. Upon meeting the beefcake of a warlord aka Sambor, who also happens to be a spiritual tattoo artist, she promises to teach his baby sis how to sing. All she wants in exchange is one of his sexy tattoos that turn into spirit animals, activated by rage or lust. Sambor, your typical brooding warrior, wants nothing to do with the seductive pixie but he has no choice. His sister will be excluded from their tribe if she doesn’t demonstrate a talent at the upcoming Naming Ceremony. So he reluctantly agrees to the deal and here starts our endless rollercoaster of push-and-pull, naked tattoo sessions, snark ripostes, jealous outbursts, and growing attraction on both sides. I don’t remember when the last time a book gave me so many emotions at once. It was sexy, cute, dark, action-packed, dreamy, and weird (in a good way). I loved that Orobella wasn’t one of those self-insert bland protagonists with no personality. She was sassy, free-spirited and unapologetically self-confident. I didn’t agree with all the things she said, some of her views were a bit too much for me, but it was nice to have a heroine who was neither a helpless maiden nor a cold assassin. Orobella was a badass in her own feminine way. As for my boy Sambor, he just might be my new book boyfriend despite certain… companions of his. I’ve seen a fair share of wounded, emotionally unavailable alpha males in romance so I didn’t expect anything new here but Sambor surprised me several times. Maybe I have a thing for obsessive, overprotective jerks with a heart of gold. Or maybe the fact I imagined him as Michael B. Jordan helped. The world-building was unusual, apparently inspired by Slavic, Amazonian and Afro-Brazilian cultures. At times, I wasn’t sure how to pronounce the names of places and people but it was kinda refreshing. If I ever have a daughter, I’m calling her Slava. And if I ever have a lizard, I’m calling it Smoku, my third favorite character in the book. If you’re looking for an entertaining read with a hot love story in an unusual magical world, Incandescence might be exactly what you’re looking for.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Courtney

    I would like to thank the author for providing me an arc copy of this book to review. The full review will be coming to my blog shortly. This will be a joint review with another member of the blog and will be released closer to the release date. Here is a short brief review : What I liked about this book : This book had a very detailed science fiction fantasy world - you could tell the author thought through every aspect when building her world. I liked the idea of Orobella going into a body of so I would like to thank the author for providing me an arc copy of this book to review. The full review will be coming to my blog shortly. This will be a joint review with another member of the blog and will be released closer to the release date. Here is a short brief review : What I liked about this book : This book had a very detailed science fiction fantasy world - you could tell the author thought through every aspect when building her world. I liked the idea of Orobella going into a body of someone from that planet and learning to use it to her advantage Her travel companion - its a cute animal that makes me feel like we are reading a bit of a disney story- because everybody needs a cute animal companion Orobella and Sambor’s relationship is sweet and a nice slow burn romance Magic system and how the crystals works - this is a nice mixture of science fiction and fantasy together The story has a nice flow to it, I liked the chapters from different characters perspectives What I would have liked to see more off : Some chapters were a bit repetitive, in particular from the beginning. It sometimes felt the pacing was a bit too slow for me. Overall I liked this book. It was an interesting sci-fi fantasy adventure with some refreshing new concepts. Stay tuned for the blog review! UPDATE 05/11/2020 - full review now available on blog see link https://www.globalbibliophiles.com/po...

  8. 4 out of 5

    BookitoCat

    Elena Leman is a brilliant writer. From the first sentence she took me in her world and i couldn't get out. This book is the perfect book for getting out from a reading slump (well at least it did the work for me). It's full of action and romance, but not with the generic light way. It's different and i loooove this. Also it's set in space... IN SPACE. We love some space stories. The thing that kept me reading is that the author didn't hold back and wrote it as it is without beautifying or glori Elena Leman is a brilliant writer. From the first sentence she took me in her world and i couldn't get out. This book is the perfect book for getting out from a reading slump (well at least it did the work for me). It's full of action and romance, but not with the generic light way. It's different and i loooove this. Also it's set in space... IN SPACE. We love some space stories. The thing that kept me reading is that the author didn't hold back and wrote it as it is without beautifying or glorifying situations. All in all it's a beautiful book and i highly recommend it. Review in my blog soon....

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    If you really like fantasy books then you will definitely like this one. Although fantasy books are not really my thing I will say that I found this book really interesting. Ora is a Crystellian she was considered a 33 and her job was to collect 33 crystals and then move on to her next life. Ora is full of joy and happiness as her soul purpose to collect the crystals and spread joy. Sambor is a Lasto warrior who is an artist but also the future Hetman of his tribe. He seems to be anger at the worl If you really like fantasy books then you will definitely like this one. Although fantasy books are not really my thing I will say that I found this book really interesting. Ora is a Crystellian she was considered a 33 and her job was to collect 33 crystals and then move on to her next life. Ora is full of joy and happiness as her soul purpose to collect the crystals and spread joy. Sambor is a Lasto warrior who is an artist but also the future Hetman of his tribe. He seems to be anger at the world all the time but there are reason behind that anger. He also this very protect and caring person even though he does not see this himself. He loves his Child and would do anything for her. When Ora and Sambor finally speak to each other they don't exactly get along but there are reasons behind that as well. (I know you really want to know but you really need to read the book to find out.) They make a deal Ora will stay with Sambor as he does her tattoo and she will teach Child how to sing. Along the way Ora and Sambor seem to find themselves wanting each other more but what are the consequences for the both of them if they do? Ora cannot stay forever and Sambor needs someone to love forever. This was an interesting book there is a a lot of character to this book. I really did enjoy this book. I did receive this book free for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elisa Panjang

    Wow, what a great read! I love this short story. The world in this book is so unique. I recommend this book to paranormal and fantasy romance lovers. I was given a free ebook by the author and was asked to give an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lee Jacquot

    So where to even begin?! I am a lover of all things magical, sexy, and romantic and this novel hit all the marks!! Following Orobella from the beginning I knew I liked her. Strong, sensual, and sexy ass hell? I’m hooked. Pair her with the grumpy ass Sambor who is complicated in so many ways, and watch the angst and tension explode! Incandescence is a world that the author builds beautiful and is very easy to visualize. There are so many things intertwined in this story, and takes so many turns, So where to even begin?! I am a lover of all things magical, sexy, and romantic and this novel hit all the marks!! Following Orobella from the beginning I knew I liked her. Strong, sensual, and sexy ass hell? I’m hooked. Pair her with the grumpy ass Sambor who is complicated in so many ways, and watch the angst and tension explode! Incandescence is a world that the author builds beautiful and is very easy to visualize. There are so many things intertwined in this story, and takes so many turns, I couldn’t put it down! Not to mention the steam is off the charts and so beautifully written. These characters take you on a journey that will make you laugh, scream and love. And you won’t soon forget them. I literally cannot wait to see what this author has next!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angela Kalnins

    Incandescence: Shadowlight Book 1 By Elena Leman WOW! I am so impressed! This was a wonderful story! Elena Leman has created an imaginative, inspiring, and incredible world for visitors, like me and you, to visit and enjoy to the fullest. Instaar is NOT Earth. And yet … Instaar, like Earth, is divided into different “tribes”. The Lasota, the Mazuuria, the Baykush and Dargiin, along with the Chocklin and Rusalka make up only some of the many different types of people living on Instaar. Some are warri Incandescence: Shadowlight Book 1 By Elena Leman WOW! I am so impressed! This was a wonderful story! Elena Leman has created an imaginative, inspiring, and incredible world for visitors, like me and you, to visit and enjoy to the fullest. Instaar is NOT Earth. And yet … Instaar, like Earth, is divided into different “tribes”. The Lasota, the Mazuuria, the Baykush and Dargiin, along with the Chocklin and Rusalka make up only some of the many different types of people living on Instaar. Some are warriors, some are pirates, some are traders … some, are green. Some of them live in treehouses, hunt with spears, and cook over fires. Some live on boats. Some are more comfortable in the forest. Some of them have living tattoos, magic, and secret talents. They worship strange gods and enjoy strange rituals and festivals. It's a new and amazing world and imaginative and FABULOUS new people author Elena Leman has created. Here's the best part for me: I have to say that I imagined them all to be a little primitive—compared to the real-world Earth inhabitants--and yet these varied and interesting people wear tank tops and yoga pants, use Earth Colloquialisms and vernacular and seem more like us than not. Believe it or not, I felt very much “at home” while visiting this incredible new world. Our heroine, Orobella, is not from Instaar. Instead, she is a space and time traveler, a Crystellian Collector. She travels from planet to planet, galaxy to galaxy, from time to time to “collect” Emotion Crystals for her home planet. Each planet she visits provides her with a form, a body recently vacated by its owner. In other words, a DEAD body. She uses this vehicle to collect her predetermined number of crystals. Once she’s attained her goals, she moves on to new experiences and new forms. However, on Instaar, she runs into a roadblock. His name is Sambor, a Lasota. The next leader to his people. He is gruff and sarcastic and slightly rude. He has the weight of his world on his shoulders along with a toddler little sister and a huge amount of guilt and shame. Together, they learn to enjoy the world of which they are a part and each other. In their way are a lot of traditions and cultural differences, misunderstandings, and of course, bad guys. Will they get past it all? It is an absolute pleasure to find out. This is truly an entertaining and fun story. I LOVE Orobella, her spiritual guide Smoku, Sambor, and all the other characters. Each was truly drawn to the fullest potential with a skilled and artful brush. The character development was amazing to watch. Extremely impressed with Miss Leman’s talent. I did have two small issues with which I struggled—and both may have been a “me” issue. Maybe I missed something. In the beginnings of the book, let’s say the first fifteen chapters, Sambor and others seemed to change Orobella’s name on a pretty regular basis which I found distracting. Sambor called her by at least four different names and the other characters followed suit. I was never 100% certain to whom he was talking in the beginning. He finally settled on one nickname about halfway through and it was a relief. My only other complaint (if you want to call it that) is that I was never really clear on the WHY of the crystal collection. Orobella was supposed to collect 33 positive crystals (joy, love, happiness, etc.,) and send them “home”. But I was never sure as to the how or why of the process. Again, I may have just missed it. Otherwise, this was a delightful story, and I enjoyed every moment of it and am desperately hoping for a sequel. I give this book a solid 5 stars!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Claire Cronin

    This was a new author for me, I wasn't too sure if this story was going to be right for me or not, I like dark / PNR type reads as a rule, but the blurb was very intriguing and won me over! It did take a little bit of time for me to get into the story, as it's quite a different and unique type of a story, but once I was in I was hooked! The story line is imaginative, the characters and the world building was done extremely well and I became invested in story and couldn't wait to see how it would This was a new author for me, I wasn't too sure if this story was going to be right for me or not, I like dark / PNR type reads as a rule, but the blurb was very intriguing and won me over! It did take a little bit of time for me to get into the story, as it's quite a different and unique type of a story, but once I was in I was hooked! The story line is imaginative, the characters and the world building was done extremely well and I became invested in story and couldn't wait to see how it would play out. Orobella is a being of light, having lived for thousands of years and travelled all over the Universe, her mission being to collect crystals of emotions from other beings. In this reincarnation she inhabits the body of a green skinned woman and has a guide called Smoku who takes the form of a gecko, who offers her advice on the land she has arrived and acts as her companion, but only Orobella can see and hear him. This is quite a spiritual land revolving around the four elements and various Gods to whom they worship. Orobella's aim is to get her crystals in exchange for Joy before leaving for home. That is until she meets Sambor, who is a tribe leader and spiritual tattooist. She is drawn to him and his own brand of darkness, his grumpy ways, but also his caring for his people and family. Sambor's little sister, Child, must prove herself worthy of a place in their society by being useful in some way. Orobella agrees to help Child by teaching her to sing in preparation for her Naming celebration, which will decide the fate of the rest of her life. But Orobella insists on Sambor giving her a tattoo in return. The more time they spend together the deeper the connection between them grows. Orobella is used to being alone and enjoying it any way she can, but in this land they believe in soul mates and love and attachments. The longer she spends in this body the more connected she feels to Sambor and the life here, with memories from the body's past coming into play, will Orobella complete her mission and leave, or find herself becoming too attached to Sambor and stay?? Great world building, very imaginative writing which not only encompasses this current world but also other lives that Orobella has lived. I loved the fantasy, mysticism and spiritual aspects of the story, it was very care free and open relationship wise, wild and sensuous, yet as one with nature and the elements. The story line was unpredictable, so you never knew which way the author was going to go with the plot, which I liked. There are also some very hot and steamy scenes in here, where the authors uses some liberal wordings, which I liked and fitted in with the open nature of the story line. Later on in the book the plot becomes quite dark which I didn't expect but it fitted into the plot really well. I loved getting to know the different people of this land and their differences. Sambor's family and friends were also very good, each very different in their characters. But Child and Smoku stole the show for me after Orobella and Sambor! It was well paced and easy to follow, with plenty of action to keep you entertained. It was also quite emotional at times in a variety of ways. I really enjoyed this and found it hard to put down, different to my usual reads but so very worth the read!! I can't wait to read more from this series and highly recommend you give this a go.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer G

    Orobella is a collector, travelling the universe, living in borrowed bodies. She has newly arrived as a water nymph on planet Instaar where she will collect Crystals of Emotions and enjoy her time in this life. However, this time is different. Once she meets Sambor, she wants more. She makes him an offer he can't refuse. As the future leader of the Lasota tribe and a spiritual tattoo artist, he needs to do whatever he can to help his little sister, even if it means giving one of his sacred tatto Orobella is a collector, travelling the universe, living in borrowed bodies. She has newly arrived as a water nymph on planet Instaar where she will collect Crystals of Emotions and enjoy her time in this life. However, this time is different. Once she meets Sambor, she wants more. She makes him an offer he can't refuse. As the future leader of the Lasota tribe and a spiritual tattoo artist, he needs to do whatever he can to help his little sister, even if it means giving one of his sacred tattoos. Even if it means descending into madness. This story is so creative. It's a fantasy/sci-fi romance like no other I have come across. The world-building is extraordinary. As is Oro's backstory. She hasn't lived just one life during her lifetime but countless lives. The detailing is exceptional. I was fascinated by her character. So free and unapologetic. But honestly, I liked her best when some of her body's past resurfaced giving her depth. Sambor is an enigma. He tries so hard to be detached, unemotional. He is almost the opposite to carefree, fun-loving Oro. Yet, he wasn't able to keep his emotions completely under control. His love for his little sister and the lengths he was willing to to go to protect her exposed his true self. His handsome, broody exterior only made him more desirable. The push-pull relationship between Oro and Sambor built the tension between them leading to the inevitable. It was an enjoyable journey. Child and Smoku are characters worth special mention. Smoku was good for a laugh when the tension needed lightening. The little invisible lizard reminded me of a Disney sidekick. Child was simply precious. Her innocence and openness made her my absolute favorite. This author was new to me and I am happy to have found her. The writing style flows nicely and is as easy to follow as it is entertaining. Having worked with different cultures, I was really drawn into the 'naming' storyline. The importance or lack thereof of a name is endlessly interesting to me. There were surprises along the way as the book took directions I never saw coming. I can't say how much I appreciate when a story formula is not followed. The story's resolution was a bit rushed in the end and ignored the unresolved issue she had with why she had to leave but overall, I was pleased. It was a magical, mystical, original read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    MiraJane

    This was one of those cases where I really wanted to like the book, but no matter how much I wanted to I just couldn’t. I didn’t hate it, nor did I dislike it. I just didn’t love it. I am all for originality and this story practically glowed with it through every page (pun not intended). I actually had a hard time placing its genre, if its sci-fi or fantasy, or maybe both. Point is that it had such an unique and complex world, plot and writing that its unseen of. I at least have not seen anything This was one of those cases where I really wanted to like the book, but no matter how much I wanted to I just couldn’t. I didn’t hate it, nor did I dislike it. I just didn’t love it. I am all for originality and this story practically glowed with it through every page (pun not intended). I actually had a hard time placing its genre, if its sci-fi or fantasy, or maybe both. Point is that it had such an unique and complex world, plot and writing that its unseen of. I at least have not seen anything similar in any book before, which is a big props for Incandescence and the author. What an imagination and passion the author must have to manage to write something so out of this world and yet so deep and relatable. This is why I really wished I had fallen in love with the story, because I could really see all the work and passion put into it. On to why I didn’t love it though. As much of the depth and complexity the story had I couldn’t see it in the main characters. There were characters that I liked, Child and Smoku (not a fan of his name though, but that is neither here nor there) to name a few. The main characters and many others however, they were ... I don’t know, not generic per say, but I found no grounds to connect with them. The reason why Child and Smoku worked were because of differencing mannerisms that made them stand out and likable. When it came to the main protagonist, Orobella, however, I couldn’t seem to connect with her. Sure, she was quirky and adventurous so you can’t really call her boring or generic, but she didn’t seem real in the way of relatability and flaws. It was always a bit over the top with her always jolly moods and even her physical appearance (adjectives for big butt and boobs were too often thrown in to describe her). Sambor, the love interest, was a bit better in terms of depth and flaws, having more of hardships with his “darker side”. Him paired up with Orobella though, as much as I love romance, it was a bit of a letdown since the issue I had with her made the relationship also lack that connection. Don’t get me wrong, the romance had its sweet moments but it was too often defined by their sexual attraction to each other than anything deeper. Until the kidnapping that is. Because of my issue with the characterization I had a harder time getting into the story, but the whole Sosenka drama and what transpired after that did pull me in. Not only because Orobella got more of an emotional complexity than just her happy go self, but also because it felt like something was happening in the story compared to before. Not that the story ever really stood still, but before that we mostly followed a daily ordinary life with Sambor and Orobella. Now there was conflict, drama, betrayal and a glimpse of her body’s tragic past. It also built up to a very wholesome and beautiful ending. Although, I feel that the resolution to the story was a bit hasty in the end and ignored the unresolved struggle she had with why she had to leave (never dealt with the issue that 22 and 33 weren’t compatible). All in all, it did conclude the romance in a satisfying way and, while I had other issues like somewhat too vulgar language and writing in some moments, they were minor. I am happy enough with the book to give it three stars. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marion

    INCADESCENCE Elena Leman This book was provided to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review. When I got the e-mail from the book’s author, saying that she’d have the feeling that I could enjoy her book I was kind of dubious about it. Could someone really know my taste in books just because of reading through my reviews? Yes, obviously she could. This book totally hit me. Although I had some difficulties at the beginning finding into the story. The main problem was that I somehow INCADESCENCE Elena Leman This book was provided to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review. When I got the e-mail from the book’s author, saying that she’d have the feeling that I could enjoy her book I was kind of dubious about it. Could someone really know my taste in books just because of reading through my reviews? Yes, obviously she could. This book totally hit me. Although I had some difficulties at the beginning finding into the story. The main problem was that I somehow couldn’t imagine the surroundings and the looks of the characters, but after the third chapter the story totally had me and I could see everything right in front of me. Sweet little Orobella is a crystal collector aka Crystellian, who travels from planet to planet to collect different crystals. Crystals are collected through sharing with another being – of course the opponent doesn’t know about the crystal sharing since he or she doesn’t see them. But he or she feels the joy of sharing. Since this is Orobella’s main gift, she gets what the other has to offer – mostly good feelings like hope or passion. One important thing for Orobella is to never change crystals more than once with a person and to never get attached to anyone since her time on each planet is limited. Arriving at a new planet is like being born. She never knows what or whose body she is into – the only thing that counts is that the body was free and available. This time Orobella arrives on the planet Instaar in the body of Ruskala – a water nymph. She starts her journey with her given companion Smoku – a lizard only she can see. Soon she crosses path with Sambor, the leader of the Lasota tribe and a spiritual tattoo artist, whose tattoos turn into spiritual animals once he has finished his work on someone’s body. Somehow Orobella feels drawn to Sambor and asks him for a tattoo which he eventually agrees to. In exchange she promises teaching his babysitter how to sing and so the love story begins. Two beings that are used to going through life on their own – one of them because of the species she is, the other because things he had experienced through life had made him like that – meet each other and have to admit their feelings. Orobella is full of joy and goes through life light-hearted, has her own point of view, cares about others, wants ‘people’ (beings) to be happy and seems to be fearless. But so far bonding with someone or having a partner for life has been unimaginable for her due to her way of life to exchange as many crystals as possible and therefore changing locations and acquaintances a lot. Sambor is a worrier and the leader of the Laosta tribe. He was born into a society that believes in the one and only sole mate for everyone. Sambor saw his father going crazy after his mother had left him. Therefore he promised himself to stay on his own. Can two beings with such stories really find their way together? I really loved the book and how Orobella and Sambor started to feel for each other – although Orobella tried to deny it for a long time – Maybe because she didn’t have any experience with the feeling ‘love’ before. I also loved the side characters – especially Smoku, Orobella’s companion, and Sambor’s little sister ‘Child’ aka ‘Damdamin’. reviewed by kuschelbooks.com

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zero

    Fantasy? Check. Romance with steamy scenes? Check. Characters that grow with the story and also grow on you? Check. Orobella is a cosmic/magical being that arrives to Instaar as a collector. Her only duty is collect these Emotion Crystals that are not always easy to identify and find. As she goes with her mission she will learn more about the natives, her customs, the way they talk and behave and even the roles they have been "destined" to have. It's here where she meets Sambor, a strong and good l Fantasy? Check. Romance with steamy scenes? Check. Characters that grow with the story and also grow on you? Check. Orobella is a cosmic/magical being that arrives to Instaar as a collector. Her only duty is collect these Emotion Crystals that are not always easy to identify and find. As she goes with her mission she will learn more about the natives, her customs, the way they talk and behave and even the roles they have been "destined" to have. It's here where she meets Sambor, a strong and good looking warrior that seems to also be captivated by Oro. They don't however think alike and there will be a crash of emotions and mentalities between them as the story evolves. Can they really be a good match? The author does a great job presenting this new world to you and all those who dwell in it. The plot divides between Orobella trying to collect the crystals but also as a path of self-discover of sensations, memories and emotions. Both main characters Orobella and Sambor grow with the story and quickly feel three dimensional and real, the surrounding characters also make sure the pacing of the story doesn't stall and the touch of fantasy and mythology here and there, also adds to the flavor and fun. I'm excited about these series and I'll be waiting patiently for the next book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Read All About It

    Orobella is a cosmetic wanderer traveling to collect emotions. When they dance, the sky dances too. When they sing, the wind sings with them. And when they make love… Stars explode.” Sambor is a brooding alpha tattoo artist. “If I have a heart?” He snorted. “I do but it’s as black as Koliada Night. You’d better watch out.” I don’t usually read a lot of Fantasy it’s just not my thing. I am glad I tried this book . I have to say this author has a very vivid imagination. Very well written and I didn’t Orobella is a cosmetic wanderer traveling to collect emotions. When they dance, the sky dances too. When they sing, the wind sings with them. And when they make love… Stars explode.” Sambor is a brooding alpha tattoo artist. “If I have a heart?” He snorted. “I do but it’s as black as Koliada Night. You’d better watch out.” I don’t usually read a lot of Fantasy it’s just not my thing. I am glad I tried this book . I have to say this author has a very vivid imagination. Very well written and I didn’t get lost which is the case a lot with this type of story. Smoku is so cool. “I am Smoku, your guide.” I had many guides before-Yet never had I had one that looked like a baby lizard. If this is any indication I’ve found a great new author.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This was an alluring story taking place on a distant Earth-like planet. The beings are human-ish and most are likable. Orobella is extremely happy and is Crystallian alien to this alien world of Instaari. Her mission is to collect and exchange her crystals all over the universe but she is really enjoying her borrowed form unlike any she has borrowed before. Instaari has many nations that were a delight to visit. An incredibly original, well written, and visual story. My only complaint would be t This was an alluring story taking place on a distant Earth-like planet. The beings are human-ish and most are likable. Orobella is extremely happy and is Crystallian alien to this alien world of Instaari. Her mission is to collect and exchange her crystals all over the universe but she is really enjoying her borrowed form unlike any she has borrowed before. Instaari has many nations that were a delight to visit. An incredibly original, well written, and visual story. My only complaint would be the descriptors used to describe her appearance.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Lunder

    This is a new to me author who contacted me and asked me if I would like to try out this book! I was a little hesitant as I usually only read shifter romances when it comes to fantasy. But I was pretty surprised in this book. Some of it was a little hard to follow but for the most part it was a really good book! There is lots of action, a little bit of laughter, a whole lot of love and some crazy adventures along with some betrayal. I was pretty hooked after I got it all figured out. I look forw This is a new to me author who contacted me and asked me if I would like to try out this book! I was a little hesitant as I usually only read shifter romances when it comes to fantasy. But I was pretty surprised in this book. Some of it was a little hard to follow but for the most part it was a really good book! There is lots of action, a little bit of laughter, a whole lot of love and some crazy adventures along with some betrayal. I was pretty hooked after I got it all figured out. I look forward to reading more from Elena Leman!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bev

    Wow. What an imagination this author has. I have never read one of her books before but this sure won't be the last one. Orobella is a traveller from one planet to another. She is a Collector of different emotions which are in the form of crystals, and exchanges these with others of a certain kind where crystals go into the other body. She has lived for hundreds and hundreds of years. Once she has completed her task of 33 crystals, she leaves the body she has possessed (because they are dead) an Wow. What an imagination this author has. I have never read one of her books before but this sure won't be the last one. Orobella is a traveller from one planet to another. She is a Collector of different emotions which are in the form of crystals, and exchanges these with others of a certain kind where crystals go into the other body. She has lived for hundreds and hundreds of years. Once she has completed her task of 33 crystals, she leaves the body she has possessed (because they are dead) and returns home. Then she is reborn again into another body. This time she meets Sambor, a gorgeous specimen of a man. He has a little sister called Child. Absolutely fascinating book. Loved it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rowena Portch

    Appealed to my Druid nature — 5 Stars! Elena must be kindred to the spirit of Earth. The wisdom and raw truth that this story reveals was not only refreshing, it kept me connected to the joy, simplicity, and energizing forces of Air, Fire, Earth, and Water. The main character, Orobella, and her delightful sidekick Smoku, lead us through a journey of souls, where love, acceptance, battle, and aggression mingle in a symphony of adventure and discovery. Orobella shares much of herself, giving her em Appealed to my Druid nature — 5 Stars! Elena must be kindred to the spirit of Earth. The wisdom and raw truth that this story reveals was not only refreshing, it kept me connected to the joy, simplicity, and energizing forces of Air, Fire, Earth, and Water. The main character, Orobella, and her delightful sidekick Smoku, lead us through a journey of souls, where love, acceptance, battle, and aggression mingle in a symphony of adventure and discovery. Orobella shares much of herself, giving her emotional crystals freely—except for one. Love is something she cannot share. To her, love is irrelevant; temporary, and pointless. Then, she meets Sambor: fierce warrior and gifted tattooist; an unobtainable victory she simply cannot ignore. This man captivates her, shuns her, and offers a challenge no man has offered before. This is not a typical fantasy romance. No, this is a powerful adventure that will captivate you just as fiercely as Sambor captivates Oro. Incandescence is a powerful story that will keep you turning the pages and craving for more.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jane Blanchard

    Incandescence by Elena Leman, the first book in the Shadowlight book series, is a fantastic read. The world-building, character development, and steamy sex scenes make this a cannot-put-down book. Orabella is a Crystellian, a cosmic wanderer in search of Crystals of Emotions which she exchanges for JOY. Upon arriving on Instaar, she assumes the body of a green water creature and befriends Smoku, her guide. As she goes about exchanging her crystals, she meets Sambor, the future leader of the Lasota Incandescence by Elena Leman, the first book in the Shadowlight book series, is a fantastic read. The world-building, character development, and steamy sex scenes make this a cannot-put-down book. Orabella is a Crystellian, a cosmic wanderer in search of Crystals of Emotions which she exchanges for JOY. Upon arriving on Instaar, she assumes the body of a green water creature and befriends Smoku, her guide. As she goes about exchanging her crystals, she meets Sambor, the future leader of the Lasota tribe and a tattooist. Even though Smoku reminds Orabella not to stay too long on this planet and not to exchange crystals too many times with the same person, Orabella does just that—and mishaps happen. If you like romantic fantasy, grab Incandescence. It is sure to please

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    This book was such a lovely surprise! I got an ARC from the author after reading her travel memoir and I can't believe how different and similar at the same time those two books are. This time, a bubbly free-spirited female protagonist isn't exploring new countries but new planets! Orobella is a sexy alien on the mission to collect Emotions wherever she goes. But when she meets the mysterious Sambor, her mission is jeopardized by her unexpected desire to stay and fight for that man's heart. The This book was such a lovely surprise! I got an ARC from the author after reading her travel memoir and I can't believe how different and similar at the same time those two books are. This time, a bubbly free-spirited female protagonist isn't exploring new countries but new planets! Orobella is a sexy alien on the mission to collect Emotions wherever she goes. But when she meets the mysterious Sambor, her mission is jeopardized by her unexpected desire to stay and fight for that man's heart. The book starts slowly, more like a literary read the author got me used to, not a typical action-packed genre novel. But a few chapters into the book, the romance becomes hot and steamy, the banter - hilarious, and the sword fights - dripping with blood. I'm not a fan of gory reads but there was just enough violence in Incandescence to turn it exciting, without making me squeamish. Now, the chemistry between Orobella and Sambor is what made this book a five-star read for me. I loved it, loved it, loved it! Jesus, where do I find a man like that? Need to book myself a ticket to Lasota Island as soon as the pandemic is over. :D

  25. 4 out of 5

    Judi Easley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Incandescence Shadowlight Book 1 Elena Leman Kindle, 377 pages Release date Nov 9, 2020 Fantasy ARC Provided by Author ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars What a surprise! This fantasy was such a delight! The plotline was light and dark, with nice twists. The characters were so interesting and very individualistic. Our heroine, Orobella, is an interplanetary collector of good emotions. She drops in on a planet and borrows an unused (dead) body until her mission is done. She has a guide, this time it was Smoku, a magical geck Incandescence Shadowlight Book 1 Elena Leman Kindle, 377 pages Release date Nov 9, 2020 Fantasy ARC Provided by Author ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars What a surprise! This fantasy was such a delight! The plotline was light and dark, with nice twists. The characters were so interesting and very individualistic. Our heroine, Orobella, is an interplanetary collector of good emotions. She drops in on a planet and borrows an unused (dead) body until her mission is done. She has a guide, this time it was Smoku, a magical gecko. Our hero, Sambor, is always scowling and stern. He's a magical tattoo artist. The gods direct him in his art as he tattoos people’s spirit animals on them. You don’t know your spirit animal until it’s finished and the spirit rises from the tattoo. His spirit animal is a giant spider. He's single, handsome, and greatly desired by the women of the area. And he has a very long braid down his back. Orobella is fascinated by Sambor and the longer she’s around him, the more she likes him. She likes having fun with him. But she’s convinced she can leave at any time. Orobella and Sambor have much to accomplish before the solstice, which is the end of her time, the deadline for her collection of a full load of emotions and crystals. They also have many obstacles to overcome. All this makes for a fantastically amazing story set in a totally unique world. The pacing is brisk for the most part. The plot is very interesting. The characters well done. I highly recommend this first book and am very much looking forward to book two in this series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shaika Subah Shreya

    Incandescence was very different read for me. I haven't tried this subgenre before or anything similar along the line. This was why I wanted to try it out because the blurb sounded intriguing to me. I had no problem getting immersed into the mysticism and the romance. That said a lot about @authorelenaleman 's writing style and her passion for writing in general. However, I am not a big fan of fantasy genre even though two of my most favorite series are preciously of this genre. After re-reading Incandescence was very different read for me. I haven't tried this subgenre before or anything similar along the line. This was why I wanted to try it out because the blurb sounded intriguing to me. I had no problem getting immersed into the mysticism and the romance. That said a lot about @authorelenaleman 's writing style and her passion for writing in general. However, I am not a big fan of fantasy genre even though two of my most favorite series are preciously of this genre. After re-reading them a lot of times, I realized that I expect a great deal of details when it comes to fantasy genre. The story was imaginative but I had hard time convincing myself if this fictional universe did really exist. It lacked a great deal for me with the world-building. I couldn't imagine the surroundings or the characters. I couldn't connect to the characters for this very reason. I really wished that I could fall in love with this book given the interesting and imaginative writing approach but it fell short for me. However, I'm sure this book would appeal to you if you are a fan of Fantasy/Sci-fi romance genre. **I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jasmin

    I received a free copy of Incandescence in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Okay, first of all, I need to talk about Incandescence‘s front cover. How gorgeous is it?! I may be biased because purple is my favourite colour, but when I saw it for the first time, it took my breath away, something which I don’t think a front cover has ever done. I’ll be honest, I don’t read much fantasy, but when Elena approached me asking if I’d be interested in reviewing her upcoming novel, the I received a free copy of Incandescence in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Okay, first of all, I need to talk about Incandescence‘s front cover. How gorgeous is it?! I may be biased because purple is my favourite colour, but when I saw it for the first time, it took my breath away, something which I don’t think a front cover has ever done. I’ll be honest, I don’t read much fantasy, but when Elena approached me asking if I’d be interested in reviewing her upcoming novel, the blurb made it impossible to turn down. The idea of being a cosmic wanderer, of travelling to different worlds and experiencing different lives, is alluring. The life of a cosmic wanderer is a far cry from the lives of most readers. As George R. R. Martin said, though, "a reader lives a thousand lives" and through Elena’s evocative writing, I was able to experience life as a cosmic wanderer vicariously. Elena’s world-building is second to none. Incandescence, which is the first novel in her Shadowlight series, is set in a vibrant world that is steeped in history and lore, thereby making it a world in which readers can find themselves completely and utterly immersed in. A book that makes its readers forget their surroundings, forget any stresses and problems in their real life, is a good book in my opinion. Not only is Incandescence a good book, though, it’s also a book that has several important messages at its core, one of them being that it’s okay if you don’t yet know what it is that you want to do or what your purpose in life is. Upon her arrival on Instaar, Orobella is horrified to learn that a child’s purpose in life is decided at a painfully young age and if no purpose is found at that age, they’re sent to live in a city inhabited by those without purpose and, consequently, without name. When pondering this custom, Orobella observes, “Developing creatures all over the Universe pressured their members into finding their path prematurely. Everyone had to have a role and then they had to be the best at their job, not for their own growth but to feed the illusion of prestige and success.” There’s just something about these two sentences that’s so applicable to real life. I like that Orobella, in her all millennia of travelling, has come to the conclusion that it’s okay to not know what your purpose is straightaway. I wish a cosmic wanderer would come to Earth and impart their wisdom on us humans! In conclusion to this part of my review, I like books that are not only entertaining to read, but are thought-provoking, as well. My only real quibbles with Incandescence were Sambor (on occasion) and some of the terminology used in the more intimate scenes. I didn’t like the way in which Sambor spoke and thought about women sometimes, but characters, like real people, are supposed to evoke a reaction in readers, be that reaction positive or negative. His character was interesting and had lots of depth, but I sometimes felt he focused on women’s physical characteristics a little too much. Regarding the terminology in the intimate scenes, I felt the slang terms used for certain things were unnecessary, but this is just a personal preference as a reader. Overall, I enjoyed Incandescence and I’m interested to see where the series goes!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angelica Haney

    This book swept me off my feet and took me on quite the captivating and magical adventure. I was completely enraptured with this story and loved escaping into this new world for a little while! I’m very excited to see where the author takes us as she continues to develop this world, it’s magic systems, and the characters within it. I just need to throw out there that this book definitely leans more towards the SciFi realm of Fantasy so just keep that in mind when going into this novel. Orobella This book swept me off my feet and took me on quite the captivating and magical adventure. I was completely enraptured with this story and loved escaping into this new world for a little while! I’m very excited to see where the author takes us as she continues to develop this world, it’s magic systems, and the characters within it. I just need to throw out there that this book definitely leans more towards the SciFi realm of Fantasy so just keep that in mind when going into this novel. Orobella is a cosmic wanderer that temporarily inhabits bodies on different planets after their souls have left them to fulfill her purpose as a collector. Her current mission is to trade and collect new Crystals of emotions with the people of the planet Instaar. It’s here that she starts to question her purpose for the first time in her thousands of years of astral travels and it’s all because of Sambor. Sambor’s greatest achievement is his emotional detachment which makes him quite the puzzle and ultimate prize for Orobella. What she doesn’t anticipate is for her very soul to grow attached and start to yearn for Sambor and the others that she meets while living and experiencing life on this planet. While this story is obviously about Orobella (Oro) and Sambor and their relationship. It’s also very much about Child and her journey within this world. Chile is Sambor’s younger sister whom he has been raising since their parents died. She’s an outcast in their tribe only tolerated because she is Sambor’s sister. She looks different from them, acts oddly, and is unable to speak or communicate beyond facial expressions and simple gestures. But under the joyous guidance and affection of Oro we get to watch Child bloom. She becomes more confident in who she is and learns to communicate through singing. Oro’s affectionate guidance of Child is what starts to crack open parts of Sambor’s heart that he’s previously kept hidden. It’s through Oro’s genuine and joyful interactions with the people Sambor cares most about that we witness Oro break down Sambor defenses and solidify her place not only in his heart but in his life. I truly adored the magic systems within this world and I very excited for their continued development. There is two different systems one that Orobella and her people exist within and on that the people of Instaar exist within. - Orobella and the Crystellians are made up of and gain power from crystals (emotions). Each Cystellian has a core crystal or emotion and to gain power and more enlightenment they trade for other emotions. Orobella’s core crystal the very essence of her soul is Joy and we witness her trade for new emotions such as vulnerability, loyalty, contentment, dreaminess, tenderness, etc. As she collects these new emotions she always leaves behind her core emotion joy with the person. - The People of Instaar have many different gods that they worship. One such god is Akasha. Instaar has Akasha tattoo artists whom the spirit of Akasha inhabitants for the duration of the tattoo and guides the artists hands. The gods declare who is worthy of receiving such a tattoo, it’s almost always warriors since the tattoo is like a spirit animal that becomes a physical extension of the person. Throughout the book we see different warriors use their spirit/ tattoo animals to help them fight in battles. Some of the spirit animals we see are whale, snake, butterfly, spider, hawk, etc. Sambor just so happens to be the Akasha tattoo artists for his people. I found myself fascinate by both of these truly unique systems. We really only dip our toes into these two magic systems which means there’s a vast amount of room from growth. This novel is a very solid 4 star read! There were a few things throughout the book that I felt could have been developed better and a few choices the author made that were questionable to me personally. My main issue was with the reveal of Orobella. The big reveal of what Orobella is fell a little flat for me, only because there were no consequences to the reveal so why was the information even kept a secret? Sambor just takes the info in and is all “cool that explains somethings” with a shrug and that’s it. Like what?! So I’m kinda hoping there will be some conflict with this later on as more people learn about her. There was also some lexicon choices that had me scratching my head. There were moments where certain words and phrases were used that just didn’t fit the overall vibe of the world so their use pulled me out of the story for a moment. Thank you so much to Author Elena Leman for sending me a copy of this book to read and review! Above is my honest opinion!

  29. 5 out of 5

    ReadingInPyjamas

    New to me author Elena Leman has captivated my attention with this vibrant story that perfectly combines folklore, magic, curses and self-discovery. Incandescence is a fascinating fusion between metaphysical fantasy, sci-fi and romance. I have read nothing like this before, and it was quite delightful. The storyline is imaginative and the world-building is great, with vivid descriptions of landscapes that create an idyllic atmosphere. The setting is fascinating, and the gradual revelation of othe New to me author Elena Leman has captivated my attention with this vibrant story that perfectly combines folklore, magic, curses and self-discovery. Incandescence is a fascinating fusion between metaphysical fantasy, sci-fi and romance. I have read nothing like this before, and it was quite delightful. The storyline is imaginative and the world-building is great, with vivid descriptions of landscapes that create an idyllic atmosphere. The setting is fascinating, and the gradual revelation of other details, such as certain histories, is staged at the right time so it doesn't become overwhelming. Orobella and Sambor as a couple worked really well. Her light complements his darkness, and the moment they get together they're souls (crystals) ignite. As a cosmic wanderer and superior being, Orobella can't stay on one planet too long, the moment she accomplishes her mission she must abandon her host and return to the Cosmos, but here is something about Sambor that makes her want to stay, a yearning to connect with him on a deeper level and that only complicates things. And Sambor, as much as he tries to find excuses to stay away from Orobella, he can't seem to let go of the need to protect and love her. She helps him battle his demons and brings out the good in him. The story is told in dual POV, which I always enjoy, and the action is fairly paced, leaving room for character development. The protagonists were amazing, their growth throughout the book was beautifully presented, and the romantic aspect of their relationship melted my heart. There were one or two moments that were predictable and I would have liked more insight into Orobella's mission, but overall there was enough mystery and intrigue to keep me engaged. It's fair to say I enjoyed this book a lot, it was a splendid start for the series. *ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alexa Ashryver

    ARC Provided in exchange for an honest review. 4 JOYful Stars!! Incandescence: Shadowlight starts off with an interesting premise- we see the world not from the eyes of a native, but a traveller, as clueless as the reader about the new world they’re going to dive headfirst in. It’s very exciting as Orobella, our Traveller tries to navigate the world of Instaar, wholly different from our world and yet quite like it in terms of character qualities and flaws. Smoku, our chameleon guide reminds me a l ARC Provided in exchange for an honest review. 4 JOYful Stars!! Incandescence: Shadowlight starts off with an interesting premise- we see the world not from the eyes of a native, but a traveller, as clueless as the reader about the new world they’re going to dive headfirst in. It’s very exciting as Orobella, our Traveller tries to navigate the world of Instaar, wholly different from our world and yet quite like it in terms of character qualities and flaws. Smoku, our chameleon guide reminds me a lot of Rapunzel’s chameleon in Tangled, except he can speak and boy, he can be quite sassy at times. Orobella, on the other hand is like a happiness package, sweet and bubbly and yet pretty badass. Enter Sambhor, or as I call him, Mr. Hot and Grouchy, who’s a lot like Mr. Darcy except he’s not exactly a gentleman throughout the book, if you know what I mean. He’s a tribal tattoo artist, and reluctant foster father to his little sister Child. Why she’s called Child is something you’ll learn through the book, but I like how Elena Leman wrote their relationship as well as that with Lashka, who lives with them. There are a lot of characters in the book, and sometimes it gets a bit confusing but I think the author did of fleshing out the side characters. The plot is pretty straightforward and the writing is decent and keeps you hooked most if the times. The book is quite jovial, almost unnaturally so sometimes but it’s an enjoyable read, especially if you’re done with dystopias and stories that just make you feel hopeless. So I hope you give this book a chance, and share in this bubble of happiness Elena Leman has created.

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