Book Spotlight: Ashen by H.L. Burke

Today I’ve got a closer look at a brand new book by H.L. Burke: Ashen. It’s a Cinderella retelling with a unique perspective that I’m excited to share with you!

Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.

When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake.
Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?

A rugged YA Cinderella retelling set in a fantasy world with light steampunk elements.


You can get your own here:

Amazon Nook Signed Paperback

About H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic. Her obsessions include dragons and tales about inner beauty and character overcoming extreme circumstances. Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.  

Connect with her here:

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New Fantasy Book Releases for September 2020

Welcome to my new blog series featuring brand new fantasy releases! Each month I’ll be doing a roundup of select fantasy books of all sub-genres that are published that month. Love checking out new books? Keep reading to see what’s new, in order of release date.

This month we’ve got a variety of sub-genres: fairytale retellings, urban fantasy, royal fantasy, young adult, contemporary, and fae. Content ratings are given by the author.


Realms of Fae and Shadow (Anthology)

Release date: September 15, 2020
Sub-genre: Fae
Content rating: PG-13

Enchanted forests.
Deadly bargains.
Welcome to the magic of Faerie.

Realms of Fae and Shadow is a breathtaking fantasy anthology featuring eight exclusive tales. Discover magic, romance, and betrayal as you lose yourself in the faerie world…

Can a human girl rescue a cursed fae prince before she’s shackled to a dull mortal life?

When the heir to the Unseelie Court is confronted with an unsettling fate, does he embrace the dark magic of the crown or turn his back on duty forever?

A fae princess is set to inherit a kingdom… only to discover devastating secrets lurking beneath the legacy of her throne.

Experience these stories (and more!) unfold as you journey through a portal to Faerie where danger meets beauty and the darkest shadows face the light.

If you love brooding royals, glittering courts, and fierce heroines, then you’ll adore this dazzling selection.

REALMS OF FAE AND SHADOW is a limited edition collection featuring stories by:
Stacey Trombley
Kay L Moody
Clarissa Gosling
Tessonja Odette
Joanna Reeder, USA Today Bestselling Author
Alison Ingleby, USA Today Bestselling Author
Valia Lind, USA Today Bestselling Author
Hanna Sandvig


A Wild Conversion
(More in Heaven and Earth)
by Katherine Gilbert

Release date: September 15, 2020
Sub-genre: Time Travel

In a town where magic rules, how do you keep it from destroying everything precious?

Salem, Massachusetts is more famous for its hysteria than its magic, but on the other side of the bespelled barrier, witches do exist, an entire community where those with the most magic wield the most power.

Emma Goodwinter has lived there all her life but has always questioned the way things are. Now a young witch of 50 on the brink of converting into her full sorcerer’s powers, she has no idea that those questions will be turned into outright rebellion, all brought on by the arrival of an unscheduled steam train.

Physician Dr. Frederick Everly is used to his mundane life in 19th-century Boston, but when the train he is in derails and he must confront evil magic to save an infant’s life, he’s suddenly thrown into a confounding world almost a century and a half away from where he started.

Drawn to this unwilling time traveler from the start, Emma quickly realizes that Frederick, too, is becoming a sorcerer. But his is a wild conversion, entirely untrained–the type which legends say can only lead to madness or death.

Quickly discovering themselves in a life-and-death struggle with Frederick’s all-too-magical, and far too malevolent, family, Emma and Frederick must help him survive his conversion and find a way to fight the conspirators, all while facing terrifying new truths about Emma’s past. But how will two unconverted sorcerers stop a conspiracy which began before their births and has already infected the lives of four different generations?


Essentia
(The Pearl Wielder Trilogy Book 2)
by Hannah Reed

Release date: September 16, 2020
Sub-genre: Young-Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Content rating: G

Mer. Magic. Adventure.

After escaping from Rushton, April is ready to fight for peace.

However, in the wake of the tragic death of Queen Freya, the Royal Family is tearing at the seams. The Queen’s secrets threaten to unravel the family when they need to come together to stop the impending war.

Legged terror attacks plague the ocean and in retaliation Kayla plans to weaponise April. To keep the mer’s hope for peace alive, April flees.

Following her pearl visions, time is running out for Princess April Meridia to unravel the pearl secrets and gain control over her powers so she can stop the impending war between the mer and the legged.

With new secrets, new characters and new problems this epic page-turning sequel will not disappoint.


The Dead Daughter
(The Cursed Kingdom Book 2)
by Aimee Shaye

Release date: September 19, 2020
Sub-genre: Royal Fantasy
Content rating: PG

She was born an ill-fated princess. She was destined to be a savior.

Princess Kumud Maudlin of Treoles is a rescued prisoner of her own castle after twenty-three years of seclusion. Now that she has a second chance of life, thanks to her rescuer–and sister-Queen Aymeri, she must learn to speak with her words and control the wayward magick inside of her.

Meanwhile, the evil Empress Dimia is advancing toward Treoles with a vengeance for the magick guarded by Kumud’s sentinel sister, and ruler of Treoles.

Will Princess Kumud control her magick and help Treoles retaliate or will Treoles fall before it even stands a chance?


Brand of Magic
(Redferne Witches Book 1)
by KM Jackways

Release date: September 21, 2020
Sub-genre: Urban Fantasy
Content rating: PG-13

An empath witch should be able to keep everyone happy, right?

Hazel has put magic and men out of her mind. A break-up meant her own thoughts were bad enough, without sensing everyone else’s emotions too. The ghost in the attic and her sarcastic dog familiar would be way too much to explain to any partner.

Instead, Hazel put all her energy into her job promoting the city she loves – Dunedin, New Zealand. And she is pretty good at it, too. When her neighbour, Joel, needs her expertise to save his woodworking business and stop the sale of his family land, she can’t resist getting involved. But the more time they spend together, the more stubbornly locked away his thoughts are.

Then her powerful aunt is attacked, and Hazel has to find a way to get through to her and discover who or what is behind it. It seems as if her psychic powers are the key to everything.

Can she bear to let magic – and love – back in?

A contemporary witchy fiction story – with a dash of romance!


Vampires and Werewolves
(GRIMM Academy Book 2)
by R.L. Medina

Release date: September 21, 2020
Sub-genre: Urban Fantasy
Content rating: PG-13

A promise made in blood cannot be undone….

Those are the words that have royally effed up my entire life. The promise my mother made to the coven before she died and the one the witches are hell bent on me fulfilling. They think they own me.

Nobody, I repeat, NOBODY owns me.

Not the GRIMMS who want me to be their obedient little soldier. If they knew who I really was, I’d be next on their hunting list.

Certainly not the coven who has some crazy agenda to use me as a pawn against the GRIMMS. They already have the shifters on their side, and now vampires. These witches want a war. Supernaturals against humans, you know, the usual story.

I don’t want any part of it. I just want my freedom.

To get it, I’ll have to make a deal with the werewolf mafia so they can help me locate the only thing more powerful than both the witches and the GRIMMS—a wizard. When their help leads to a vampire attack, a dead witch, and a dead end, Javi and my friends (including the infuriatingly hot and cold Grayson) swoop in to save the day.

But can I risk their lives to save my own? When they find out my real identity, will they still be on my side?

I’ve already lost my parents, I can’t lose them too.

Vampires and Werewolves is the second book in an upper YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal academy series set in the Inner World universe filled with snark (sometimes swearing), lots of supernatural beings, and a low steam romance.


The Hunter and the Mage
(The Raven and the Dove Book 2)
by Kaitlyn Davis

Release date: September 21, 2020
Sub-genre: YA Fantasy
Content rating: PG-13

Return to the world of The Raven and the Dove, where winged people rule the skies, a lost kingdom lives at sea, and two star-crossed lovers hold the fate of each in their palms. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A mage written in prophecy…

When Lyana wakes in the Sea of Mist, adventure is the first thing on her mind. But between her unruly new magic and an unyielding young king, the world below comes with more responsibility than she ever dreamed. An entire civilization exists within the fog, and its survival depends entirely on her. 

A hunter forged in blood…

Adrift at sea on a ship full of strangers, Rafe fights to cope with his new reality. He’ll do anything to return to the sky and the people he left behind. When a surprising offer comes his way, he instantly accepts, sparing no time to consider the consequences. 

Loyalties are tested and an ancient war begins anew…

With rebellion in her heart, Cassi defies her king and befriends the prince she’s been ordered to kill. Oblivious to the threat, Xander welcomes her into his inner circle, determined to rescue his mate. As one works to help and the other to hinder, an ancient enemy stirs, forcing Cassi to choose between trusting the man who broke her heart and turning her back on everything she’s ever known. 


Ashen
by H.L. Burke

Release date: September 22, 2020
Sub-genre: Fairytale Retelling
Content rating: PG

Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.

When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake.
Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?

A rugged YA Cinderella retelling set in a fantasy world with light steampunk elements.


Met By Midnight
by Janeen Ippolito

Release date: September 22, 2020
Sub-genre: Fairytale Retelling
Content rating: PG

An outcast prince. A captive healer. A single night that changes their destinies.

She lives a nightmare.

As a Mender, Renna is held captive to an endless cycle of receiving and recovering from the physical ailments of others—a cycle that led her mother to an early grave. When her father becomes deathly ill, Renna is desperate to save her only remaining family. Even if it means allying with criminals and taking an illegal mission into the royal palace on the night of their greatest ball.

He’s haunted by dreams.

Unable to be Mended, Prince Jaric’s existence is a curse to his family’s façade of health and security. Marrying him off at the ball and sending him to a distant dukedom is the royal solution—but Jaric has his own plans. For years he’s dreamed of a young woman, a strong-hearted Mender he would give everything for. When she arrives the night of his betrothal, he’s determined to discover her true identity.

Met by midnight, their fates are entwined.

While escape seems the only answer, powerful forces conspire to keep Renna and Jaric within their cages. Forces that undermine the foundations of the kingdom itself—and threaten any hope of a future together.

This YA romance features Cinderella in an original fantasy world with a dystopian twist.


Guardian Prince
(Ceryn Roh Saga Book 2)
by Lauricia Matuska

Release date: September 24, 2020
Sub-genre: Epic Fantasy
Content rating: PG
-13

Sabine Rhyonselle, once a healer in the Human village of Khapor, is running for her life. Aided by a fey race she’s been conditioned to hate, Sabine has escaped the Ruddan who enslaved her. Sabine must overcome a history of animosity and lies in order to save Humanity from extinction. Now half a world away, she joins the Aethel Prince Aodhan and his companions to find the one thing that can secure Humanity’s freedom: the godson Fyrleoht. Can she get to it before the Ruddan do?


Ashes on the Earth
(Stones of Fire Book 1)
by Sarah Ashwood

Release date: September 25, 2020
Sub-genre: Urban Fantasy
Content rating: PG
-13

Shapeshifters exist. Monsters are real. And no good deed goes unpunished.

Nursing student Ellie St. James didn’t mean to get involved in a war between rival gangs of shifters, but saving the life of a local mob boss’s child has dragged her into one. When Ellie’s life is threatened because of her involvement, she’s forced to go on the run, protected by Carter Ballis, head of security for the mobster’s family, and a lethal shifter himself.

Blood, fire, and warfare weren’t part of Ellie’s plans, but even if she survives, her life will never be the same. The world is more than she knew, and she’s seen too much. People capable of morphing into deadly creatures from legends and folklore around the globe are coming for her.

The cost of staying alive means trusting Carter to defend her, and he’s every bit as frightening as the creatures that want her dead…


Fall of Night
(Genesis Crystal Saga Book 2)
by Tyffany Hackett and Becky Moynihan

Release date: September 29, 2020
Sub-genre: Urban Fantasy
Content rating: PG
-13*

She’s falling apart. He’ll do anything to put her together again. 

After a brutal shifter attack, Nathra City’s Fae are driven underground, forced to become fugitives. To save them, Reagan, Tarik, and their rebellion friends embark on a mission to the Fae realm. But finding allies might be harder than they thought.

While Reagan continues to struggle with guilt and nightmares from the attack, Tarik must set aside vengeance to keep everyone alive. 

None of them are equipped to face the unknown challenges on this perilous journey. And the more they fight to stay together, the more fate seems determined to tear them apart.

Fall of Night is book two in the Genesis Crystal Saga, a New Adult Urban Fantasy Adventure Romance, perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Sarah J. Maas. *17+ recommendation

Have you read any of these yet, or plan to?

Are you an author with an October release? Click here to apply to be listed in the October post.

Book & Tea Review: The Cruel Prince and Dragonfruit Dream

Today I’m reviewing another book and tea pairing!

📚The book: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
🍵The tea: Dragon Fruit Dream by Adagio Teas

📚
The Cruel Prince is an exceptional story that draws you in just like getting tricked into a bargain to go into the land of Faerie! I could not put it down, and I have really been meaning to get the rest of the series.

I hadn’t read anything by Holly Black since reading Tithe as a teenager. I remember it being one of my favorite books.

I was fortunate enough to meet Ms. Black at a convention in February (one of the last public things I’ve gotten to go to! So glad I went) at Boskone in Boston.



The characters of The Cruel Prince are complex and I really enjoy that a lot of them are morally grey. The fae characters are very grey, and though they can be dark sometimes, I think it’s “realistic”, as realistic as writing fae can be.

I can’t wait to read the next one and see where all the scheming goes!

It pairs nicely with Dragonfruit Dream tea, an intoxicating fruit herbal tea from Adagio Teas.

I picked it because it has these cute little apple pieces which reminded me of the sweet fruit of the realm of faerie. It makes a great iced tea, and I used my Teavana Teamaker to steep it in.

The Alchemyst’s Mirror Cover Reveal

Steampunk. Alchemy. Secret Societies. Tea.

Petra and Maisie Everturn just want to run their family’s tea shop, but when their explorer brother Jiordan goes missing while looking for an alchemycal artifact, none of them are safe.

Now only 2 months away, I’m excited to share the gorgeous cover for The Alchemyst’s Mirror!

What do you think? <3

Meadowcity Audiobook

The reviews have begun to come in for the Meadowcity audiobook, and I wanted to share a sample of the audio with you!

But first I want to share my new favorite review. I am so glad this listener (it’s funny not to say reader…) enjoyed the execution of my feminist theme, and the title of the review is just the best!

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid YA fantasy without most of the annoying tropes of the genre
I liked this book a lot! The narrator’s voice is really nice, I could have drifted off to sleep to it if the story weren’t so engaging. The characters were compelling and believable, and there’s a strong feminist angle without it smacking you over the head. I’m a sucker for a capable female protagonist, and Sylvia fully delivers on that. And thank GOD for no silly love triangle getting in the way. I’m excited to find the next book in the series and see what happens next with the fifth city and its leader – the payoff to finding it, after having been built up so long, is probably the best sequence in the whole book. Definitely would recommend to any young person who likes fantasy.

Thanks for checking it out!

Keep an eye out for The Fifth City audiobook, book 2 in the Arcera Trilogy, which will be dropping later this summer.

Kirkland Green Tea & Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Today I decided to expand my Instagram books & tea feature to my blog!

🍵 The tea: green tea sachets (from Costco!)
📚 The book: Wicked by Gregory Maguire

It’s far too hot for hot tea. These green tea sachets are pretty much the only “teabag” tea I willingly drink. They’re sold by Costco, but the tea itself is actually from Ito En, a Japanese beverage company that specializes in tea, and produces some excellent green tea.

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you can get cans of green tea (hot, right out of the vending machine), and they’re from Ito En. So it’s a nice throwback to our trips there.

The tea sachets can be brewed either hot or cold. For hot, I steep for under a minute. (Steeping long is how you get bitter tea!) For cold, you can just put a tea sachet in some cold water. I brewed mine for about half an hour to get this nice green hue. Cold water won’t make your tea bitter. Then throw some ice cubes in, and you’re good!

I don’t generally sweeten green tea. It’s such a mild flavor to begin with, I feel like any sweetener would overpower it. But you could always throw in just a smidge of your favorite sweetener–I like stevia the best.

I thought it would pair nicely with one of my All Time Favorite Books: WICKED.

I remember writing a book report on this book in high school, I’ve loved it that long. Getting inside Elphaba’s head and exploring Oz though a whole new lens was fascinating. In fact, I think it’s about time for a re-read of this particular book. Though I have to say, I didn’t quite enjoy the rest of the books in the Wicked Times Series, but I did read them to find out what happened.

Wicked the book is very different from the musical. I’ll admit I’ve never seen it, but I did go to college for theatre, and so have listened to the soundtrack once or twice. The book is dark. It has some very dark themes and adult situations that might be inappropriate for younger readers, so be warned. It’s not all defying gravity.

But the political, social and human elements fascinated me even as a highschooler. And the most fascinating aspect: How did the witch become wicked?

So in honor of miss green herself, let’s sip a glass of some green tea and think wicked thoughts.
😉🍵

The Storm King First Chapter Sneak Peak

There’s only one week left until release, so I wanted to share a little teaser from book 2 in the Realm of Camellia series! Read on for the first chapter, and get the rest on June 9th.

Preorder on Amazon

The Storm King cover reveal

Can you believe June is almost here?!

I don’t know about you, but time is moving differently nowadays, and it’s hard to keep track anymore. But nevertheless, THE STORM KING will be released on June 9th, and today I’m sharing the cover with you!

It’s also now available to preorder for Amazon Kindle: Preorder here.

Huge thanks to everyone at Deranged Doctor Design for this stunning cover! I can’t decide if I like it more than The Starless Girl, but it’s close.

Stay tuned for more updates and excerpts from The Storm King!

Coming May 1st~ Reformed Blog Tour by H.L. Burke

The new book from one of my favorite indie authors, H.L. Burke, is a departure from her usual fantasy and steampunk genres, but promises to be just as awesome. The first in a superhero series, Reformed is coming out May 1st, and is currently available for preorder for only 99 cents!

And check out that cool cover art!

Once a villain, always a villain?

Optimistic and idealistic superhero Prism is determined to redeem her father’s legacy by rebooting his super villain rehabilitation program. To do so, she sets her sights on Fade, the relapsed super villain who was the reason the government canceled the original program in the first place. However, when she petitions for Fade to be released into her custody, she finds out things might not be as simple as she thought.

Convicted of an unforgivable crime, Fade received a choice: surrender to trial and possible execution or endure a memory erasure so he could start fresh. Now with no recollection of his time before incarceration, Fade doubts he has the ability to be anything but the villain the public believe him to be.

A series of attacks by a mysterious power-swapping villain points back to Fade’s past and the crime that cost him his freedom and memory. With her father’s legacy and her own reputation on the line, even Prism has to wonder: can a villain truly be reformed?

About H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled “The Dragon and the Scholar,” the Award Winning (2016 Realm Award for Young Adult Fiction) Nyssa Glass Steampunk series, and MG/Fantasy “Cora and the Nurse Dragon,” among others .

Sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.hlburkeauthor.com

Preorder Reformed here

Follow H.L. Burke on:

Twitter * Instagram * Facebook * Website

Arcera Trilogy Boxset & New Covers

As if I didn’t have enough going on this year (Writer’s Notebook publishing March 31, The Storm King in June), I decided to revisit the world of my Arcera novels and give them some fresh new covers. Meadowcity was first published in .

I’m also bundling all 3 books into an ebook boxset, which is now available for only 99c for a limited time.

For the first time, all three novels in the Arcera Trilogy are together in one eBook bundle. Whether for readers who are experiencing Sylvia’s adventures for the first time, or for fans who want to explore the Four Cities of Arcera again, this bundle collects the entire trilogy in one value-priced set. Now with fantastic new cover art, this set includes:

Meadowcity
The Fifth City
A Rift Between Cities

And here’s the other 3 gorgeous new covers: