I Really Love This Epic New Edition

(I originally read this book in the black and white first edition. You can find my review of it here.)

“Martin Millar is a second-string soldier with a thirst for adventure. Marco Millar is Martin’s brother, a stableboy who would rather stay at home. As the king’s guard launches the dragon crusade, Martin and Marco are drawn into an unexpected journey that lands them in the path of bandits, monsters, a cursed satchel and even a talking horse – not to mention dragons!

But in order to survive the road there and back again, Martin and Marco have an even bigger challenge to face: themselves.”
(Buy from The Rabbit Room)

Okay, guys, this new edition is GORGEOUS! I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful it was going to be. The coloring was awesome, and I found I could better understand some frames (particularly action) so that was an added bonus. 😉

AND the humor. I forgot how hilarious this was (I was giggling like a kid), and I’m pretty sure I spied some new references/jokes. 😉 (The copyright was fantastic. XD )

But this wasn’t just a quirky story with some great illustrations (or frames?), it also had a big heart. The family relationships really shone, especially the brotherhood between Martin and Marco. They have a properly complicated but cute dynamic. XD I’m looking forward to seeing if/when their adventures converge and experiencing the character arcs along the way. (And from now on, I’m referring to Marco as my Hobbit-baby because he looks like a mesh of Martin Freeman’s Bilbo and one of my nephews. XD)

My favorite parts were the “eleven years later” page (and the one before it, but spoilers, sweetie), any time Marco and his horse interacted, and details of the last page are so awesome and freaky…

Just a note, there are mentions of magical curses and a totem/talisman.

Altogether, this was such a fun, uplifting read! I can’t wait for the next. 😉

(Also, I shared this with my nephew who loves graphic novels, and he was just the cutest poring over it. <3)

He looked through it two or three times. 😀

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

Pictures of the interior of the novel used with permission. Please do not distribute.

Dust to Flame Cover Reveal!

I’ve fallen down on the job of keeping track of one of my favorite authors, apparently. When Hope Ann announced her upcoming book Dust to Flame, I was surprised and delighted. 😉

Today I get to share the (gorgeous) cover with y’all!

I’m really fan of the fonts. They look as if they’ve been intricately carved out. I also love the faded arches in the background, and I’m very curious about the title.

Okay, but I should probably just show it to you. XD

Here you go…

Synopsis:
When you defeat everything life hurls at you, it’s a perfectly legitimate move to rub your conquest in the faces of those who sneered at your suffering.

Rafe, a former street-lad who clawed his way to the glittering life of a story-actor, has been waiting. But from the moment he sprung from his carriage into the gritty dust of Cainth, life has not gone Rafe’s way.

Unexpectedly dragged into a web of greed, treachery, and stolen rift powers, Rafe intends to do what he has always done. Survive.

At least that was the plan before he accidentally protected a child.

Before he accidentally gained the powers of an immortal.

And before he caught himself accidentally slipping toward the deadliest mistake possible.

The mistake of letting one’s self care for another.

Welcome to the world of…

DUST TO FLAME

Add on Goodreads

Preorder on Amazon

*sighs happily* Another Hope Ann book is coming y’all! 😀

Book Review: In 27 Days

“Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him.

Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, she is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back twenty-seven days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Time ticks away as Hadley looks for ways to not only talk to Archer but to know him on a deeper level. But just as she and Archer connect, a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart. Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer alive.” (from Goodreads)

I saw this book at the library when it was first released, and it quite intrigued me. (Not to mention the cover is one of the most gorgeous ones I’ve ever seen. ❤ ❤ ) I looked at it a few times, but I always put it back because I wasn’t sure I was up for reading a book with suicide as the main topic.

Flashforward about a year later and my Goodreads feed blew up with friends leaving rave reviews of it. I got a few more details from them about the content (thank you for answering my detailed questions!) and finally decided it was time to give it a try. I couldn’t find a copy at my library, so I bought a used copy and I’m so glad I did.

This book is not what I was expecting. I have no idea what I was expecting, exactly, but this wasn’t it. This was so much more. More compelling. More emotionally tangible. More everything.

The opening chapter caught hold of my emotions so well. I felt every question, ounce of devastation, and shred of guilt Hadley did. The unexpected death of someone I didn’t really know has hit me twice now, so I related deeply. The suicide was never shown or explained even, but I didn’t feel that it need to be for me to see the devastating wrongness of it happening.

I really liked all the characters. Maybe liked isn’t the right word, since some of them were unsavory. They were well done, and I felt like I knew them by the end. Hadley was just really, really normal–not a Mary Sue or a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Even though she wasn’t the one who the deal was centered on, I loved how she had loneliness and worry for the future and some things she needed rescuing from just as much as Archer.

Archer. He was not a particularly likeable character, but I was rooting for his rescue every single page. He had so much to live for and yet so much trauma and unaddressed PTSD and guilt that threatened to suffocate him. Not to mention the social barriers he had built to protect himself. Every once in a while, I got a glimpse of the sweet man deep inside him, but I grew to love him in all his facets. Oh, and I very much loved his family. They were realistically loud and nosy and wonderful. XD

I guess Death is probably the third character of the main ones. He was as mysterious and unsettling as you would expect, but I liked the pretty strong hints that he’s definitely under God’s authority and possibly some type of angel. I wasn’t expecting that from a mainstream published book, so kudos.

And the crux of the story came directly from a Scripture. ❤

Friend, this book isn’t about a suicide or preventing a suicide or falling in love or rescuing and being rescued or the sanctity of life or learning to live even though it was about those things. No, the book was about answering the question, how far would you go to love someone? With nothing in return? Just because someone needs to love them. What are you willing to give up?

It was thoroughly amazing and challenging and tearjerking. ❤

I’m going to pass on the favor done to me by my lovely Goodreads friends and tell you a little bit about the content. This book was heavy on redacted language as well as a very obvious acronym for one word. I’ll be using some whiteout on my copy to make re-reads more to my preference. 😉 Also, the kissing in this was a little more descriptive than I prefer and happened in an undefined relationship.

Altogether, this was a truly impactful read. I’m so glad I took a chance on it. ❤

Book Review: Phantoms

Being captured by pirates wasn’t part of the plan. And they’ve never met pirates like these…

After his adventure with the mermaids, Emerson is happy to get back to normal life, and he is thrilled that his days often include visits from pretty Saria Beggley. Not all is right with the world, however. Pirates have begun terrorizing ships around the eastern islands in the chain; and ships, sailors, and even passengers are going missing every day.

Blown off course by a freak storm, Emerson and Saria are captured. They discover the pirates are not what they thought—even moreso the feared Pirate King responsible for it all. When a legendary phantom ship shows up in Cayan waters, the mysterious crew enlists Emerson’s help in stopping the ever-expanding menace of the pirates.

As Emerson’s feelings for Saria begin to blossom, he wants nothing more than to see her safely home to Chadwick. But the only way to safety for any of them is by thwarting the plans of the Pirate King.” (from Goodreads)

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

So, this book saved me from reading a horrible library book, and I’m forever grateful. 😛 Seriously though, I was on the verge of a reading slump when I realized I had an ARC of this lovely sequel, and I definitely was not disappointed. (I read it in one day, so…) 😀

Emerson was an amazing character as usual. I liked seeing his growth, but he was still the same lovable guy who got lost in his thoughts, had panic attacks, and fought for what’s right. I also really enjoyed seeing him and Saria together more in this one. The way they worked together, him inventing–her helping. All the cute moments and the word remarkable. That piece of ribbon. Sacrifice. Strengthening each other. I loved their friendship, and… I ship it. 😀

Speaking of ships–that ship on the cover??? Best. Thing. Ever. Like, so cool. No spoilers, though.

If the first book encouraged speaking out on behalf of the innocent, this one had a side theme of helping people with addictions overcome them and find freedom. Tomas was a really cool character in that regard. I admired how brave he was to go through the pain of remembering once he was free to spread that freedom to others.

There were actually several really cool side characters in this one. Governor Milus was wise, treated Emerson as an equal, and even had a little bit of a sense of humor. I’m a little tired of authorities in books being one dimensional or downright evil, so he was a breath of fresh air. 😉 (Governor Milus for President in 2020! XD)

I’m also a new fan of a certain blue-eyed, African American captain. ❤ I haven’t decided about the very “Han Solo-ish” Elton yet. I’ll give him book three to convince me if I like him or not. 😉

One more thing that really stood out to me and spoke straight to my heart was the idea of “quiet gifts”. All throughout the story, there were some pretty amazing things pulled off by some very gifted people. But small things like comforting people and always being there for them can be just as important.

Just a note, there was some sailor-ish fake swearing and one scene where Emerson was shirtless but it was for a good reason and not made awkward. 😉 One last thing that made this book a little darker than the first one was that SPOILER ALERT! there was mind control in this one. It was based on enchantment through seaweed again, and included being able to communicate mentally. END OF SPOILER! I found it a little creepy/dark, but I appreciated how it was always portrayed as evil and set in stark contrast to the special gifts (abilities) good characters had.

Best quote: To his surprise, a hand held it out to him, anticipating what he needed. A small hand. A delicate wrist. A russet-red sleeve. Saria.

Altogether, this was a really great follow-up to the first book (and the last line was perfect), and I can’t wait for book three. 😀

The Night Archers GIVEAWAY

Greetings from Lady Shelly Addison Middleton, a.k.a. me. I found this cool “author pseudonym generator meme”, and the name sounded rather royal and slightly medievalish, so yeah… 😉

Behold…

As the creative title of this post suggests, I have a giveaway for y’all!! 😀 In celebration of my new book The Night Archers, I’m giving away a signed paperback copy and a themed bracelet. *grins ginormously* There’s even a second prize too!

A failed test. Ruined crops. Night archers.

The war against the rebels rages, and Riverside’s famous cavalry is called to the King’s aid, leaving behind the women, children, and Gavynn.

Gavynn knows why he was the only man left behind. Every day in the town is a painful reminder. But storms, sickness, and sudden danger threaten his people, forcing him into an unexpected role.

Could his failure be a blessing in disguise?

ENTER HERE

(Also, if you haven’t read chapters one and two of The Night Archers, they are available for free here. Enjoy!)

Fine print, because why not: Cool slatted and fern backgrounds not included. Grand prize only ships to contiguous United States.

Book Review: The Beast of Talesend

Fairy tales aren’t real. Private detective Nick Beasley knows that. This is 1922 E.A. (Ever After), an age of big cities, automobiles, and airships. Nobody in the Afterlands believes in magic and monsters anymore. Especially not Nick, who’s made a name for himself in the city of Talesend by debunking fraudulent “magical” phenomena.

But when a misadventure with alleged enchantress Lady Cordelia Beaumont goes awry, leaving Nick with claws, a tail, and quite a lot of fur, he begins to rethink his stance on magic.

There’s only one way for Nick to regain his humanity. He and Cordelia will have to retrieve a powerful magical artifact from a ruthless crime lord—who happens to be Cordelia’s father. Otherwise, Nick won’t be the only monster roaming through Talesend.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a renegade enchantress and an extremely hairy detective. What could possibly go wrong?” (from Goodreads)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this book. The C.S. Lewis quote was definitely a good sign. Follow that up with a fantastic blend of Sherlock Holmes and fairytales, Doctor Who-esque rash decisions (that somehow half worked out), and downright perfect humor, and it was a winner. (Please don’t let me comparing it to many other things fool you–this book is really unlike anything else.)

I loved the setting, and Nick’s general outlook/personality. He and Crispin were hilarious, and I laughed aloud at their brotherly arguments. (Also, I pictured him as a monster to be a lot like Kitty from Monsters, Inc. I knew he was supposed to be scarier than that, but still…) Cordelia was delightfully unpredictable as well, and the three of them made for a delightful adventure. 

I didn’t prefer the scenes with the wraith or the techniques of the charmbloods, but I appreciated the portrayal of magical things being double-edged and dangerous. 

Just a note, there was one used of “blasted” and some descriptions of blood. 

Best quotes: I crossed my arms and gave him a disapproving look. “Remember the stern discussion you and I had yesterday?” He gave me a puzzled frown. “Which one? We have so many.” I pointed to his patent-leather shoes. “Feet. Desk. Off. Forever.”

“Thanks, but I’ve already been shot once today. It didn’t take.”

Altogether, I’d take another one of these in a heartbeat. So much fun. XD

Also, who else SCREAMED internally at the epilogue??

Convention Countdown (+Chapter Two)

Just for fun, here’s chapter two of The Night Archers. If you haven’t read chapter one yet, catch it here.

Chapter Two: Problems

Soft light filtered through the blankets that covered the sides of the dining table. Gavynn sat up, careful not to hit his head on the low ceiling of the blanket house and listened to the silence. The storm was over.

Rosie slept on one side of him, squeezing her doll under one arm, and Maire held tightly to his hand with her own chubby one. He smiled down at them and gently untangled himself from them. Standing up from under the table, he was struck by the contrast of the neighbor children sitting with their mother. They had fresh memories to spoil their dreams, and the thought filled him with a compassion that led him to prayer. 

They stirred from sleep when he unbarred the door and let in a rectangle of brilliant, afternoon light. His stepmother followed him to the door, holding the baby close in her arms, and let out a gasp when she saw the street before them.

Water ran across the cobblestones in streams, carrying mud and debris with it. Clusters of townsfolk surveyed the damage and spoke in hushed whispers. A thick smell of rain and mud filled the air, and Gavynn wondered what condition the rest of the town was in. He stepped out into the street and looked up at the thatched roof of their cottage.

Here and there, material had been torn away and would need to be repaired before the next storm. Their barn had completely escaped damage, and he breathed a prayer of thanks when he thought of the dwindling provisions stored there.

The door of the cottage closed with a thud, and Anwen came toward him with a rag and the last of yesterday’s water. “You’d best wash off that mud before neighbors look at you any more curiously.”

He took the items with a laugh and set to work scrubbing his hands obediently.

Anwen looked up at the thatch, then glanced up the street toward the ruined cottage. “We fared better than some.”

“Yes.”

“We can’t send them away.”

Gavynn looked over at her. “I’m glad you think so.”

“But we can’t keep them either.” A crease formed between her brows, and she sighed heavily. “As it is, we have barely enough for the five of us, and the rainy season seems to be coming early.”

Gavynn dried his face on his sleeve and nodded in agreement, but his eyes fell on the stained rag in his hands and he remembered the neighbor boy’s desperation. “We’ll help them as long as we can.”

Anwen nodded, and they both turned to look as the cottage door opened. Caelan stood in the doorway, his light hair still littered with wet thatch but face clean enough to show the sunburn splashed across his nose. He eyed them both with an expression Gavynn couldn’t quite read.

Gavynn gestured toward the open town gates. “I’m going to check the fields. You coming?”

Surprise flitted across the lanky boy’s face, and his shoulders relaxed. “All right. And thank you for taking us in last night, ma’am,” he spoke to Anwen as he fell into step with Gavynn.

She only smiled and entered the cottage.

A dreadful hush had fallen over the town, heavier than the clouds that were finally beginning to disperse. Even the lowest of tones seemed harsh and loud. Townsfolk passed in and out of the church to whisper prayers and speak with the priest. Gavynn could feel their eyes on him as he passed them. Even the troubles of the past few hours couldn’t keep their gazes from following his tall frame across the square to the open gates.

He hurried his steps, and Caelan did the same, turning to look back at the group and shake his head. One step outside the walls of the town and Gavynn could see at a glance that their rich crop was mostly nothing more than waterlogged straw. A few unbroken stalks of salvageable grain stood like lonely soldiers, but the rest was dark with water and trampled to the ground by the stampede of hail. 

Gavynn took a few steps forward and ran his fingers along a broken stalk. “We’ll have to let it dry out again before we can cut it and see what, if anything, can be used.”

Caelan nodded solemnly, then mumbled to himself. “And I’ll need to speak with Father Gregory about a place to stay.”

“My family and I aren’t sending yours away anytime soon,” Gavynn cut him off and looked the astonished boy full in the face. “We have space enough. Provide your own food, help where you’re needed, and we’ll try to make this work.” He offered his hand, and they shook on it.

They retraced their steps, and Gavynn looked again at the women and children working to put their town and their lives back together. A question filled his dark eyes. It was already too late to replant. How would there be enough food for everyone, especially when the soldiers returned home?

Each step turned into a thought and each thought into a prayer. Shame added itself to his burden as his mind slid into his secret wish to escape all the problems that plagued him.

They reached the cottage, and Caelan paused to look at the roofless cottage mere paces away. He looked over at Gavynn, then glanced away and pulled at his light hair. “I lost my head in there. When you came to pull me out. I’m sorry I called you a coward.”

Gavynn nodded. “It’s all right.” Then added to himself. “We all lose our heads sometimes.”

Copyright 2019 Kate Willis

Convention Countdown! (+A Free Chapter)

Guys, it’s only three(ish) days until the homeschool convention! Once again, this year I’ll be selling my books at our Generation Rising booth. There have been meetings, errand-runnings, and eagerly-waiting-for-book-stock-ings (I’m still waiting for some XD).

(There are some pictures on Generation Rising’s Instagram and Facebook pages, FYI…)

In honor of the convention coming up and my new bookbaby The Night Archers releasing last week, here’s the first chapter. Enjoy! 😀

Chapter One: Storming

Curls of wood fell away from his knife as a spoon took shape in his hands. It would be large enough to stir a pot of soup for the whole family and sturdy to last a few seasons to come. The young man smoothed away the loose sawdust, then bit his knife into the wood again. 

“Gavynn-Gavynn!” a sing-song voice called, and he looked up from his work.

He laughed at the little girl dancing in the line of children waiting at the well and raised a hand to wave. “I see you, Rosie.”
She grinned at him and turned away, light-colored braids seeming to skip with mirth and impatience. 

Gavynn shifted on the cottage doorstep and held his project up to the light. It was nearly perfect. Just a little more work, and it would be ready for sanding and oiling. 

A strong breeze tore across the square, whipping at the children’s clothes and ruffling their wheat-colored hair. Another gust followed on its heels and scattered his wood leavings out into the grass. 

He squinted up at the sky and quickly rose to his feet, sheathing his knife. “Rosie,” he beckoned to her but kept his eyes on the shadows that hung low brushing the top of the keep. “Rosie, come inside. There’s a storm almost ready to hit.”

She skipped over to him and slumped her shoulders, but he teased a grin out of her the next moment. “I’ll fill your bucket for you if you set up the blanket house with Maire.”

She shoved the bucket into his hands and entered the house, sing-songing for her sister. 

Gavynn left the shelter of the cottage doorway and joined the line of children. He pushed his limp, dark hair off his forehead, conscious of the curious looks directed his way. Smiling ruefully to himself, he met their gazes, grateful they at least didn’t ask any questions. 

The line inched forward as the neighbor girl, one of the blacksmith’s children, scrambled away from the well with her little brother at her heels. Gavynn stretched and looked over the heads, then caught a glimpse of someone he knew.

Farren. She was close in size to the children but nearer in age to him, and she drew her cloak tightly about herself, shuddering in the wind. 

A heavy raindrop splashed on his forehead, then another, and shrieks of surprise came from the line. A few children broke away toward their homes, but the majority huddled together, blinking and squealing at the rain that fell faster and harder with every second. 

Gavynn shook his head and pushed his way to the front of the line. Taking a bucket from the first child, he quickly filled it and sent him on his way, ready for the next one before anyone else knew what was happening. He hurried to fill as many as possible, but a flash of light and a rumble from the woods caused him to drop the bucket.

“Everyone home, now! This storm is more than just rain.”

The children scattered in every direction, and he watched them go through the downpour.

“Gavynn?” A slender hand clutched at his sleeve, and Farren stared up at him with wide, unseeing eyes.

“I’m here.” He covered her hand with his own. “Let’s get you inside.” He draped his soaking cloak across her shoulders and guided her, head down, up the emptied street.

Day had turned dark as dusk, and a coldness slipped into his bones. Here and there, a glow escaped the shutters of the houses, and he fixed his eyes on their guiding lights. They passed the keep and the empty stables, and Gavynn reminded himself not to look for what he knew wouldn’t be there. A gray horse, strong and alert; his horse, at least when he had trained with the cavalry. Thunder echoed off the stones beneath their feet, and he tightened his arm around Farren’s shoulders.

“Gavynn?” Her voice was little more than a whisper under the wind. “Are we almost there?”

Gavynn lifted his head into the rain and scanned the street. Just up ahead, a cottage door was wide open to the storm and a woman stood silhouetted in it.

His answer came in a gulping breath as he guided Farren forward. “We’re there.”

Farren’s mother let out a cry of relief and rushed out into the rain to take her daughter, gesturing for him to follow them into the house. Gavynn looked out into the black rain that rushed down the street in little rivers then again at the warm, inviting house. He shook his head. He was needed at home.

With a whispered prayer, he plunged into the storm, bending his body against the wind and hugging his arms against himself. Water rushed across the cobblestones, seeping into his boots and turning the ground into a slippery mess. He took one step, then another, then the next. Terror pushed at the edges of his memory. The darkness seemed to reach out, desiring to crush him in its grasp.

“It’s just a storm. Just rain, wind, and thunder. I’m far, far away from the sea.” He hugged his arms tightly around his body. “I’m safe. I just need to get home.”

The cottage was just down the street, past the smithy and the neighbor’s dwelling. A cry broke into his thoughts, and he lifted his head, eyes focusing on the little girl who stood in the open doorway of the nearest cottage.

The thatch roof had collapsed inward on one end and more threatened to fall with every second. He ran forward and guided her trembling body away from the cottage. Moments later, a woman burst from the house, carrying her young son in her arms and calling frantically. 

“Aelie?!”

“She’s here,” Gavynn answered. “Go. Up the street to my house. They’ll let you in.”

The woman drew Aelie to herself, but she glanced back toward the house, torn. “Caelan’s still in there.”

Gavynn nodded grimly. “I’ll get him.”

Rain poured in from the open roof of the cottage, and Gavynn peered through it into the dark recesses of the dwelling. “Caelan? Caelan, are you in here?”

“Back here!” A voice called.

“What are you doing?” Gavynn spluttered, venturing closer.

“Trying to stop it!” The tall boy pushed up on the sagging thatch with a board in an effort to support it.

A creaking noise rippled across the remaining timbers.

“It’s too late. Get out now. You’re mad!”

“And you’re a coward!”

Gavynn felt a familiar anger, but he reached out and jerked the boy away from his work just as a sagging beam fell. Caelan gasped and didn’t resist as Gavynn pulled him out the door and up the street to his own cottage. He pounded on the door, and it opened immediately.

“Gavynn!” His stepmother’s eyes went wide and she stepped aside to let them in. “Are you all right?”

“Yes, Anwen. I’m all right, I think.”

He barred the door against the storm.

Copyright 2019 Kate Willis

Cover Reveal! (Spoiler: It’s Gorgeous)

Earlier this year, I finally got to read a long anticipated dystopian story by a fellow indie author. I enjoyed it (read my review here) and immediately started looking forward to the sequel.

I thought it couldn’t get any cooler than the first book’s cover. Just look at it…

The gray and blue color scheme, the FONTS, the drop of water. ❤

And then the author asked for bloggers to help reveal the cover for book two.

And then she emailed it to us.

And my brain exploded.

Because LOOK AT THAT. It has so much going on, and I love the movement of the water. It also makes the first cover even more interesting. 😉

Here’s the synopsis…

Katherine Holliday has left behind her life in the Federation. She is ready to start a new one with Matthew and the Intolerants. But it isn’t long before the Underground leaders send her on a mission that takes her back to the Federation. Katherine finds herself in City 1, with the help of new and unexpected allies, in an attempt to locate information that could help the Underground escape the Council’s battle plan called Project Endgame.

But the Federation has changed and the Council is more desperate than ever. While back in the Federation, Katherine uncovers a tangled web of deception and manipulation. Haynes isn’t the only one with secrets, and the question of who to trust becomes harder to answer.

Underground releases August 24th, 2019 (Eeeeek!)

Ashley Bogner is a nerdy author who lives in Utah with her nerdy theologian husband who may possibly own more books than she does. She is a homeschool graduate who wrote her first “novel” when she was in fifth grade (which was really a thirty-page story about talking cats she is grateful no one will ever read). It’s a rare occasion when she isn’t writing—she works as a technical writer at her day job and writes novels in her spare time. 

In 2017, she published her debut novel, Reintegration, a dystopian novel for teens. The sequel, Underground, is scheduled for release later in 2019. Ashley writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels that explore themes of sacrifice, redemption, and hope. 

Ashley may or may not be the stereotypical author who loves fancy coffee drinks, chocolate, and lengthy chats about her favorite books. 

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Book Review: Healer’s Bane

“Kynet never planned to be at the forefront of the rebellion. That was her brother’s hobby: rallying the people. Plotting against the leaders. Running into dangers she’d have to negotiate him out of.

That was before the Poisoner tried to kill her.

Left with strange powers in the aftermath of his attack, Kynet is even more convinced the rebellion isn’t worth it. For every life her healing saves, ten more are wasted.

But her quest to stop the carnage before war breaks out will bring her face to face with the man who tried to murder her… and with her own helplessness against a grim reality she may not be able to change.” (from Goodreads)

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

Hello, my name is Kate, and I’m sometimes more empathetic than I know what to do with. Which is probably why this is now one of my favorite books.

Kynet was really relatable in her desire to help others no matter the cost to herself. The personal effects, both physical and emotional, on her when she healed were allegorically beautiful and so, so accurate. This tension and the themes winding throughout the book were so good and gave me a lot to think about. 😉 (Like, when you try to heal someone emotionally? Mind blown.)

I really enjoyed the fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian mash-up setting. The backdrop of a fledgling revolution made things especially interesting. (And had me worried for a certain Gavroche-like character.) Nayn (the hothead!) and Daven were interesting side characters. And Lael was as amazing and as eccentric as he should be. Don’t even get me started on what made him coolest, though. Spoilers, sweetie, but aaaaahhhh! Let’s just say, all the themes tied together–PERFECTLY.

Just a note, because the main character was a healer, there were descriptions of wounds and death as well as some traumatized memories. Also, one of the side effects of special abilities in this world is a voice in the bearer’s head called a “rift shadow”. I’m not sure what I think of this yet, so I’ll withhold comment until it’s explained further maybe in another book. 😉

Best quotes: “There’s got to be a way to pass on healing,” she choked. It wasn’t natural, any of it. And if one had been given something, surely they could give it to another. 

“Working on it.” He peered around a corner. “I have four and a half plans, depending on where we find him and how.”

Altogether, this just might be my new favorite book by this author. (Though Song of the Sword is still pretty high up there. 😉 ) Yes, I preordered it in paperback. No, I’m not impatient for it to come. *whistles innocently*