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The Monsters We Defy  By  cover art

The Monsters We Defy

By: Leslye Penelope
Narrated by: Shayna Small
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Publisher's Summary

A woman able to communicate with spirits must assemble a ragtag crew to pull off a daring heist to save her community in this timely and dazzling historical fantasy that weaves together African American folk magic, history, and romance.

Washington D. C., 1925

Clara Johnson talks to spirits, a gift that saved her during her darkest moments in a Washington D. C. jail. Now a curse that’s left her indebted to the cunning spirit world. So, when the Empress, the powerful spirit who holds her debt, offers her an opportunity to gain her freedom, a desperate Clara seizes the chance. The task: steal a magical ring from the wealthiest woman in the District.

Clara can’t pull off this daring heist alone. She’ll need help from an unlikely team, from a jazz musician capable of hypnotizing with a melody to an aging vaudeville actor who can change his face, to pull off the impossible. But as they encounter increasingly difficult obstacles, a dangerous spirit interferes at every turn. Conflict in the spirit world is leaking into the human one and along D.C’.s legendary Black Broadway, a mystery unfolds—one that not only has repercussions for Clara but all of the city’s residents.

©2022 Leslye Penelope (P)2022 Redhook

Critic Reviews

"Leslye Penelope has created a rich and immersive world, set in an enchanting 1920s Washington DC full of jazz musicians, elite Black social organizations, fairy balls, bootleggers, lady gangster bosses, and mesmerizing magic! It's a story that weaves together threads of real history with bits of the utterly fantastic. The Monsters We Defy will keep you turning the pages and wanting more!”—P. Djèli Clark, author of A Master of Djinn

"A gritty heroine and crew that commune with trickster spirits. A heist that pits them against a powerful member of the city's elite. In The Monsters We Defy, Leslie Penelope blends magic, mystery, and mayhem in this deliciously complex historical fantasy."—Veronica Henry, author of Bacchanal

"Masterfully crafted, with gorgeous prose, colourful characters, and a compelling plot. This smart and entertaining, magical heist novel hits all the right notes and leaves the reader wanting more."—T. L. Huchu, author of The Library of the Dead

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Loved it.

The combination of Washington DC History, the riveting story and dynamic characters held me from beginning to end.

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Gripping and Well-drawn

I live in the DC area and I was delighted to read the author’s portrayal of the city’s black community in the 1920s. It was very detailed and lively. It brought the historical information that I was familiar with to life and mixed it with fantasy in a satisfying way that reminded me a little of Neverwhere. The story is intriguing and the main character is an interesting woman I enjoyed spending time with. I’m probably going to buy some print copies as gifts for family members who don’t enjoy audiobooks. The narrator is excellent, she has a lovely speaking voice and differentiated the characters well. I’m going to look for my books featuring this performer.

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Excellent performance of a great story!

Curses, entities, Jazz Age Washington DC, brushes with historical figures, a heist that relies on special gifts, jewelry, AND a romance? This book had everything great and was so much fun. The reader knocks it out of the park, keeping this large cast of characters all distinct and well performed.

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Loved Everything!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The storyline was engaging. The use of well-known African American names weaved into the story was fascinating. And the narrator did a fabulous job.

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Amazing!

I have been looking for a book like this and it was definitely worth the read! The writing and the performance was superb! I look forward to this becoming a series.

Job well done!

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Black Book Tok sent me

Per the recommendation of Black Book Tok creators, I have truly enjoyed myself. The performance by Shayna Small and the gripping story by Penelope blended to make an edge of your seat, just one more chapter, story! Will definitely be on the look out for anything by Penelope and any other books Small narrates!

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Quite an Enjoyable read

I really enjoyed this book. The voice actor is exception; and really does diversify her sound and intonation so that each distinct characters comes to life

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An Invigorating and Insightful listen

This is a truly new and unique heist novel that gradually builds to an epic showdown. Leslie Penelope amazingly weaved the characters an story seamlessly into a fictionalized Black Washington DC during the 1920s filled with nuggets of history, only enriching the book. And the narrator truly embodied the characters, creating an overall great listen.

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Loved this book!

This is one of my favorite books recently. I loved the characters, the magic, the storytelling, and the writing! And to top it off, the narrator Shayna Small brought the characters to life in such an engaging way. I enjoyed it so much that I’m a little bummed I finished it…

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1920 Spooky Vibes

The Monsters We Defy | Lesley Penelope

Favorite Quote: “Are You Pursuing Happiness?”

Do I Recommend This Book: Yes

What I Enjoyed About It:
The Narrator
The Storyline and Writing Style
Israel 🤎
The Ghosts, Greys and the supernatural vibes
Clara’s hardheaded nature
Zelda 🥰🥰
The Ragtag team they pulled together to solve the mystery
Mama Octavia bringing back memories of my grandma 🖤
I loved Uncle Nazareth’s growth
The Spiritual Aspects included
Chapter Titles 🥹
The Characters Aristotle portrayed
The Ending & Epilogue 🤎
The feeling of Closure

Thank You @netgalley and @leslye for the Eracs in exhange for my review 📚

#POCReviewer #BIPOC #Netgalley #EArc #Kindle #Books #FallVibes #POCAuthor #Whisperer #1920 #Albino #BeYourself #TheGreys #Spirits #enigmas #Thecall #MamaOctavia #Whoyouare #Happiness #Cursebreaker #JesseLee #Happyendings #Closure #Gayin1920 #Dresses #Nerves #Findingyourself #After #TrueStory #Police #Neverstopfighting #BLM