Conjure Lake Is out!
Conjure Lake is out and reviews are coming in.
Conjure Lake by Rebecca Henry
General Release Date: 16th August 2022
Word Count: 85,529 Book Length: SUPER NOVEL Pages: 300
CONTEMPORARY FANTASY PARANORMAL ROMANCE YOUNG ADULT
Book DescriptionWhen feelings are more than a warning, they become haunting. Eighteen-year-old Serena is attending university on the west coast when her life is flipped upside down. After the untimely death of her parents, Serena returns to New York City to care for her seven-year-old brother, Jack. As financial pressures mount, Serena makes the difficult decision to move them to their family’s heritage lake house in upstate New York. Jack hasn’t spoken to anyone but her since their parents’ death and Serena’s only focus is learning how to become a full-time mother to her little brother with the hope that she can save him from his sorrow. But when the siblings arrive in the tiny and isolated town of Corvin Grove, they realize their family’s name raises eyebrows from the townsfolk as the two settle into the abandoned lake home. It doesn’t take long for the siblings to discover that things inside the gothic house are not what they appear to be. An ancient witch has cursed Conjure Lake and if they stay in Korwin Cottage, they may never make it out alive. Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of horror, gore and child endangerment. There are references to past animal death. Publisher’s Note: This book is related to the Ambrosia Hill series.
Serena closed the suitcase on her bed, zipping up what was left of her life in New York City, and slipped the tote bag carrying her sketchpad over her shoulder. Little remained to be done—everything had already been sealed in brown boxes and moved to a cold storage unit on the edge of the city. A lifetime of memories of baby books, photo albums, old Christmas decorations, her father’s first guitar, her mother’s easel—all packed and sleeping in the dark. Just like her parents, who now lay in the ground, side by side for eternity. The little things that had once made their house a home were now buried in their own coffins, never to be resurrected and soon to be forgotten. After the funeral, Serena had vowed she’d never visit her parents’ graves. There was no point. Rose and Edward Bancroft were now just two names written in stone atop a lonely hill at the back of a cold and isolated graveyard. Like her parents, she didn’t believe in an afterlife. Neither her mom nor her dad had been religious—if anything, they were like scientists, putting faith in what science could prove. It seemed gruesome and unfair to leave their bodies rotting in the cold, hard ground. Serena never wanted to remember her parents as muted, decayed and sealed in a box six feet under the earth. Whatever made them human—whatever the soul was, if there ever was one—had departed the day they died. What was left in those graves was nothing but corpses. Rose and Edward Bancroft had been killed in a car accident during a rainy afternoon drive to the library to pick up her little brother, Jack. The police officer who worked the scene assured Serena that they likely never saw the semi-truck that had smashed into their car, killing them both instantly. No, for them it began and ended with a glimpse into each other’s eyes—a last look at this world in the face of their true love. But for Serena and Jack, it was an end and a beginning. The end of a life as a happy family, and the beginning of something else—an eternity as orphans. Suitcase in hand, Serena paused at the doorway, looking around her childhood bedroom for the last time. The walls echoed with memories, haunted by ghosts of sacred moments she’d never again share with her mother. Her first night home after the funeral had been unbearable. The absence of her parents had felt like a physical thing, a black void so large there was no room to breathe in their city apartment. It was as if their ghosts lingered in their belongings. Her father’s reading glasses still lay abandoned on the coffee table next to the weekly paper. Her mother’s apron hung forgotten by the oven. A car honked outside, startling Serena from her reverie. A quick glance out of the window told her the cab had arrived to deliver them to their new life. Serena sighed as she dragged her heavy suitcase to the ground and rolled it down the empty hallway for the last time. “The taxi is here, Jack!” she called out to her brother. “We’ve got to get going if we are going to catch our train.” He didn’t answer, not that she expected him to. Jack had always been quiet—more of an observer than a talker. Their dad had referred to him as “his little professor” because he always had his nose in a book. Most of his friends were the librarians who pulled aside books for him and brought him treats, usually delivered with a wink and a smile. Jack would glance up at them with a silent nod of appreciation, pressing all four of his fingers against the lenses of his glasses as he pushed them up his nose, leaving them eternally smudged with fingerprints. But after the accident Jack had stopped speaking completely. No one, not even his beloved wiener dog Tinker, could reach his island of grief. From that terrible day and every day since, Serena had done all she could for her little brother. At age seven, Jack was far too young to be alone, so Serena had left her life behind at the University of California to be with her brother back in New York so he could finish the school year. Those first days had been hard. The thought of getting out of bed and making breakfast before their walk to Jack’s school had seemed insurmountable, but they had managed. Now the school year was finally over and summer had come. Serena stood in the foyer, eyes closed as she imagined her parents’ laughter around the breakfast table, their kisses on their foreheads at bedtime. But nothing, certainly not wishes, could conjure them back.
I absolutely loved this read! The author did an incredible job of crafting a unique story that could be read all on its own without missing a beat, and yet fits into the mythos and world that the author crafted in the first book in the Ambrosia Hill series, Amethyst. The way the author was able to build upon the magical background and history of this small town from the first book and highlight the more haunted and chilling atmosphere that the first book hinted at was great to read. The book fits perfectly into the YA genre, as the younger protagonists allowed younger readers to get a sense of connection while also paying homage to the most ancient process of magic itself.
The character growth was truly the heart of this novel once more. The author's specialty in all of her works has to be creating beautiful characters that people will come to love, identify with, and feel for in their journey. The special bond between Serena and Jack was so relatable to me as an older brother. I loved the inclusion of LGBTQ storytelling and character development in this book, something the author touched upon in the first book. The connection the author made to characters from the first book and the way the town itself seemed to become its own character, as the hardships that befell the town for so long seemed to impact the townspeople themselves, very much reminding me of the townspeople in Stephen King’s It.
Haunting, captivating, and entertaining, author Rebecca Henry’s “Conjuring Lake” is a must-read YA LGBTQ Paranormal and Fantasy Romance novel of 2022! The amazing amount of depth and emotion that the author pours into the narrative and the care for which these characters develop and evolve in their own right, from Jack’s desire to gain knowledge to Serena’s journey to gather her own power and strength to face life’s challenges, really mad me care as a reader for this world the author has crafted and made it feel truly magical in nature.
This book was truly captivating. My interest was piqued from the start, and it did not disappoint me throughout the whole book. The characters were fantastic. I felt a strong connection with Serena's younger brother, Jack, because he reminded me of the big nerd I used to be. However, there were times when I felt some explanations dragged on a little too long. It happened only a few times, so it wasn't too bad. Overall, I would strongly recommend this book.
Rebecca Henry writes amazing characters and the suspense never stopped. I did feel like some parts were over-explained. Thoroughly enjoyed!
I received an ARC from Book Sirens and am leaving this review voluntarily.
Serena, 19, became her seven year old brother’s guardian when both parents died in a car accident. Serena left her university behind to care for her brother and relocated them from New York City for the isolated upstate Conger Lake house that was once her mother’s childhood home. After her parents death, Serena was looking for some semblance of tranquility and stability for herself and her brother. Instead she discovered family secrets and an evil presence that wanted her dead.
For the most part, I enjoyed the loving and supportive sibling relationship. However, sometimes it felt that the brother was mature beyond his years, especially when he was teasing and winking at his sister’s interest in their neighbor.
The secondary characters were a mix of good and evil. There were plenty of magic and spells cast by each group as they battled each other in tense action scenes.
There was a lot going on in this story. It was creatively written and I think its targeted audience, YA, or even younger might enjoy it.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Eighteen year old Serena leaves college to take care of her seven year old brother Jack after their parents parish in an accident. Due to fiscal challenges Serena moves Jack and herself from New York City to a small upper NY state town. With the passing of her mother Serena has now inherited her grandparents home on Conjure Lake. Things start off strange right from the start. The townspeople treat Serena with suspicion and their new home is uninviting and just plain spooky.
I never read horror novels but I am so glad I read this one. Although some of the horror scenes had me cringing and reading with one eye because I am such a horror wimp, I could not put this book down nor read it fast enough to find out what happens next. The story’s excitement level never dips below the ‘hang on tight, things are about to go wild’ level.
Rebecca Henry writes amazing YA characters who you are drawn to immediately. You find yourself caring about the main characters very early in the novel and this carries through until the end. Add this to a story that never gives you time to catch your breath and you will be thoroughly entertained.
I received an advanced review copy from BookSirens and I am leaving this review voluntarily.