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


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.


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

Review: Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #1) by Mary E. Pearson

Dance of Thieves_FINAL 9.18


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy romance, kiss scenes, violence, very little language
Length: 508 pages
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: August 7th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —


This was everything I’ve been wanting to read lately. A fantasy romance that kept me on my toes, made me laugh and flip out all at the same time.

It single-handedly had one of my favorite boy meets girl intros:

“…”Move along, boy,” I ordered. “This doesn’t concern you.”
  His eyes went from bloodshot to flaming. “Boy?” He stepped closer, and in one swift movement, I brought him to his knees and slammed him up against the apothecary wall, a knife to his throat.”

Copy of C.R. (1)

I mean, is that not great? Go Kazi. She was strong, capable and loyal to her kingdom. I think she and Jase could have both been more open with each other and there would have been less issues, but that’s neither here nor there because I still love this book.

The romance totally made me weak. Jase was an enjoyable male protagonist and love interest that so fiercely loves his family. This attribute rolled over into how he cared for Kazi and I was smitten. Their moments and interactions were everything, and watching them both find ways to help each other be at peace was tender.

I love that we got to stay in the same world and see some of the same characters!! The Remnant Chronicles is a fav of mine I highly suggest reading it before this if you don’t want anything spoiled.

The plot was thick with intrigue. Took awhile (while developing the romance and other connections) to swing back around to it. I couldn’t put the book down though because I could feel from the moment it started I was going to be torn apart before being put back together. There’s plenty of action and family just hanging out scenes that balance each other. I came to care for all of the characters based off of how they interacted with one another.

The evil in this book is hard to pin point. This guy is bad over here, this one os doing nefarious things over there. I think it will definitely be playing a part in the next book. There was a lot of story still there to work with. Overall, it was great to be mysteriously led to the ending…

WHICH WAS EVERYTHING. “swoons again*

Seriously. I needed the book to end this way. I got allllll I could ask for (because I’m a huge “happy ending” sap). Then you’re left on a huge cliff-hanger that had me immediately searching for the release date of book two.

Overall audience notes:
– YA fantasy romance
– very little language
– kiss scenes, mildly descriptive at most
– violence, torture, a bit bloody

Book Review

Review: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone


Rating: ☆☆☆.5
Audience: YA+, no language, a few kisses, a ‘love’ scene, some violence
Length: 525 pages
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads



I feel like some books benefit from starting off in a ‘high action’ way and continuing on that path before slowing down, and this is one of those cases. Children of Blood and Bone takes off from the first chapter and buckles you in for an adventure.

I loved having multiple POVs (though definitely want Tzain in there next time *cough cough*). It added to the story and helped straighten out thoughts and feelings of the embattled characters.

The ladies carry themselves and all the sword slashing and magic wielding kept me on my toes. I finished this much faster than I thought I was going too. All of the positive reviews didn’t lie!

And the ending. Whoa, I mean WHAT. I was torn in two, because my loves weren’t going along with what I wanted haha. This aside, because it created a lead into the second book that I know will be so so good.

Side note, I wanted to have a pet Lionaire like Nailah from the first page I met her. WHO DOESN’T WANT A LION WITH HORNS? The creativity in that alone had me gushing.

Truly a young adult book. No language, a few kisses. A scene that can be interpreted as a love scene (but is so vague that it’s still a clean book). A lot of violence and torture.