• CK Sorens

Book Review: On These Black Sands

This Friday the 13th, I have a very lucky find for you!

Snark is the name of the game from Vanessa Rasanen and her cast of characters in On These Black Sands. This first book of the Aisling sea series brings a rich fantasy world of intrigue and hints at magic. I read this book in two days flat, and it only took so long because I had some parenting to fit in there somewhere. ;)


About the Book


In one month, Aoife Cascade will turn twenty and take her seat on the Council of Cregah, an honor she’s been preparing for her whole life. But when she lets a secret slip to her mother with devastating consequences, all her plans for the future crumble. Believing her people to be better off without her, she flees Cregah, stowing away aboard a pirate ship bound for dangerous waters.


Captain Declan McCallagh is young compared to the pirate lords, but after twelve years on the grueling sea, he has earned a well-respected ship and the attention of the lords, who’d like nothing better than to see his ruin. All he wants is to leave the Aisling Sea—and his past—behind him. But when his sister demands he find the enchanted dagger her rebel faction needs to overthrow the ruling Council, he’ll have to decide whether to cast off all family ties or take the perilous voyage to waters guarded by sirens, only passable with the help of the last remaining fae, currently imprisoned by the Council.

With murder and betrayal at every turn, can Aoife and Declan learn to rely on one another? Or will the secrets they carry destroy their people—and each other?


My Review

I did not want this book to end, the characters were so wonderful. I am desperately waiting for book two.

Aoife is destined for a life of leisure. When she finds out her upbringing has been a lie meant to trap her into a future she didn't understand and doesn't want, she decides to run away.

Declan is a pirate, chased from the very island Aoife is mean to rule, forced back only to find some of the answers he's looking for, and an unexpected guest on his ship as Aoife needs to get away.

The bond between these two as it builds is beautiful and makes the ending all the more poignant, guaranteed to leave you a book hangover. I'm so excited to read more in this series and highly recommend On These Black Sands.


About the Author

Vanessa Rasanen is an Army wife and a mother of four. She lives on very little sleep and loads of coffee.

Her debut novel, Soldier On, launched in October 2018. She has temporarily shelved the sequels to this series to shift focus to her NA pirate fantasy series.

She will eventually come back to Charlie, Meg, and Piper... but not yet.

When she isn't writing, she's working at her day job as a data analyst or running her side business designing snarky bookish merch at Crab Apple Books & More.

You can catch her being most active over on Instagram @vanessarasanenauthor.

Favorite authors include Sarah J Maas, Danielle Jensen, Ronie Kendig, Natalie Walters, and Tosca Lee.

(Info from GoodReads)

Find Vanessa at:






Vanessa is currently working on book two and is sharing unedited snippets on her social media, so be sure to track her down for more high seas adventures on the Aisling Sea.

To keep up to date about my books in the Trimarked series, be sure to sign up for my newsletter where I'll be announcing a contest of my own, soon! You can also find me on Instagram or Facebook. To buy Trimarked, check out this page on my website for a short list of retailers or ask for it to be ordered at your favorite bookstore.

*Note, all links to Amazon are affiliate. Thank you for your support!

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