Book Review

ARC Book Review: Lakesedge (World at Lake’s Edge #1) by Lyndall Clipstone

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Gothic Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Lyndall Clipstone
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

WELL, THE COVER IS GORGEOUS.

And that little fact drew me in before I was let down by a meh story.

Much potential wasted. That summary gave me all the good vibes of a great gothic fantasy duology intro. I was ready for it. And this was not it.

There is magic in this world, but absolutely no explanation or rundown of what that system is about. I don’t know why certain people got magic and why others don’t. No idea what the limitations are or why it works the way that it does. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Along those same lines are the complete lack of world-building. I got the Gothic vibes and that was it. It all practically took place at one location and that’s all I’ve got. I’m so confused still as to where I was supposed to be that entire time.

Our dear main character wanted me to give up this book at 25%. She was that girl you’re waiting to see die in a horror movie because they run straight to danger rather than taking one moment to logically think. This did get better in the second half.

The story also did improve in the second half. Unfortunately since I was already over it by then because of the weak start I didn’t feel emotionally attached to anything happening. The romance was kind of sweet? It burned pretty well, the spice felt forced, and I’m in mixed thoughts about it all. I’m realizing I’m confused about Lord Under’s place in all of this too. Am I supposed to like him? Is he a morally gray character that has more to him? Remains to be seen.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Gothic Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to one brief open door scene
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: self-harm, loss of loved ones, drowning, poison, magical attacks, creature attacks
Book Review

Book Review: Temple of Sand (The Gods of Men #2) by Barbara Kloss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: NA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 523 pages
Author: Barbara Kloss
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sable has been exposed for who she is: Imari, the illegitimate daughter of Istraa’s king, and a Liagé—someone born with forbidden Shah power. After ten years of hiding and surviving in the bitter cold Wilds, she is finally returning home.

But it’s not the homecoming Imari envisioned. After all, her father proclaimed her dead ten years ago, and with an anonymous Liagé leader operating in Istraa’s shadows, attacking villages and burning down temples, her father fears the people will blame Imari.

It could mean his throne, and her life.

Worse yet, the night Imari played her flute in Skyhold’s court, something unlocked inside of her, and now her power will not quiet. Neither will the growing fury she feels on behalf of Istraa’s Sol Velorian labor— people who share her blood.

As that fury becomes too loud to ignore, Imari chooses to use her position to liberate the Sol Velor. But can she free them without angering enemies hungry for the power she wields—a power that could rip the Five Provinces apart?

INTO THIS.

Oh how I’m loving all of these Kindle Unlimited finds. This is another great fantasy (with a large romance plot) series that I am without a doubt enjoying.

I love the way that religion was used in this story. The details were woven into the characters lives and it played a large part in decisions and actions. Combining the religious aspects with music was another great style choice. It was enchanting reading the way the musical tones were being conveyed. I like to think music can be soothing to us all (whatever genre/style we prefer!) and thought this was a great addition to the overall plot and story.

Ohhh how I wish Jeric and Imari found each other again sooner! I hate waiting until half the book is over for my love interests to be back on the same page. Once together, sparks started flying all over again. I LOVE these two. They have banter, and beautifully touching sentiments. Some heated moments (with a little steam) and I want them to end up together. Better get my happy ending in the next book!!

This story is very interesting and the plot feels like it’s always thickening. The villains are flat-out vile and appreciatively not one-dimensional. Temple of Sand combines dark aspects with hope and light to achieve a gorgeous book. I can’t wait to read the next one and definitely think you should take a chance on this!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: heated make-outs; one mild open door scene
  • Violence: gory/bloody; murder, demon possession, physical, creature attacks, magical attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, hints at past sexual assault

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Book Review

Book Review: The Triumphant (The Valiant #3) by Lesley Livingston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Historical fiction
Length: 416 pages
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 12th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The final book in the Valiant series takes Fallon and her warrior sisters on an epic journey from the corrupt Roman Republic to the wonder of the ancient world: Alexandria, Egypt.

“You are from a world, Fallon, that values honor over everything else. Rome is not that world.”

In the wake of their victorious fight to win back the Ludus Achillea, Fallon and her gladiatrix sisters have become the toast of the Republic. Only for Fallon, glory turns to ashes when she learns that Cai has been stripped of his Decurion rank and declared infamia, cast down to serve as one of Caesar’s gladiators. All because he chose his love for her over the life of his treacherous father during the ludus uprising.

But treachery in Rome runs far deeper than Fallon ever suspected. While she is fighting for Cai’s freedom, the unthinkable happens and the Republic begins to tear itself apart at the seams. In the chaos that follows, the Achillea gladiatrices lose any protection they might have had once and for all. They’re not the only ones.

When Fallon discovers that Cleopatra is in grave danger, she and her sister Sorcha rally their war band in an attempt to spirit the Queen of Aegypt out of Rome, embarking on a remarkable journey that will take them to Alexandria—the wonder of the ancient world—and beyond. Far beyond. Along the way, Fallon will have to decide where her heart truly lies, as well as what—and who—she is willing to sacrifice to get there. 

SOLID SERIES ENDER.

I’m on a quest to work through some of the series I’ve started (and want to continue). This is one of them! A fantastic audio read too if you’re interested in that.

I thought things wrapped up really nicely. I wasn’t sure how the everything was going to go down. And for Fallon, Cai and the rest of their group I thought things went as best as they could. There clearly needed to be an end up and with the addition of historical figures and scenes, there was.

There was sooooo much happening here. Action to the brim with gladiator matches, escaping on chariots and dodging weapons. There’s rebellion and a whole new adventure. Not to mention, this romance is STELLAR. A couple who fights together. Not only to BE together but to SURVIVE together. Oh y’all. I love Cai and he has me absolutely smitten. What a cinnamon roll.

The last scenes kind of wrapped up quickly? I thought it was wild to add in another whole battle segment, but I guess it did give closure to a few villain character lines that needed snuffed out so Fallon and Cai could have some actual peace. It was engrossing and I’m so happy that I read this series through. I feel like it’s a bit of a hidden gem and definitely one to pick up!!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Historical Fiction
  • Language: none to very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: intense violence with many depictions of blood & gore, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: Everblaze (Keeper of the Lost Cities #3) by Shannon Messenger

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: MG Fantasy
Length: 624 pages
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sophie uncovers shocking secrets—and faces treacherous new enemies—in this electrifying third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Sophie Foster is ready to fight back.

Her talents are getting stronger, and with the elusive Black Swan group ignoring her calls for help, she’s determined to find her kidnappers—before they come after her again.

But a daring mistake leaves her world teetering on the edge of war, and causes many to fear that she has finally gone too far. And the deeper Sophie searches, the farther the conspiracy stretches, proving that her most dangerous enemy might be closer than she realizes.

In this nail-biting third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must fight the flames of rebellion, before they destroy everyone and everything she loves.

FAVORITE [YET].

I know long series may take a book or two before I really feel invested and this is where I’ve hit that point for Keeper of the Lost Cities.

Sophie may be the main character but I am obsessed with Keefe. I love him and he is the perfect addition to this series. But wow did he really go through some tough things in this book. Now I just want to hug him. I like that not only do I get Sophie’s story, I get to see deeper into the other characters as well.

This was a much more action packed and heart breaking book. Yet, with the air of being a middle grade read, it didn’t seem as heavy as other fantasies. I really appreciate this distinction because sometimes I just want something on the lighter side and middle grade books tend to provide that for me.

I can’t wait to see where things go next and love how everything is unfolding. I always feel like enough information has been released that I’m satisfied with the book. Yet, enough is held back that I want more and have grabby hands trying to order the next one ASAP. If you’re curious about this series, I definitely say give it a chance. I’m glad my friends convinced me to read it!

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle grade fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: people falling from cliffs, physical, fire, murder, magical

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