Ashen Blog Tour - Book Spotlight

This spring when I was terribly sick from pregnancy, I had one bright spot. A bright spot I couldn't even share with anyone! For those of you who know me well, you know I hate waiting to share good news or good books. So I'm super excited to be able to share with you about Ashen, the upcoming release from fantasy author H. L. Burke.

I've been following H. L. Burke for a long time, and when she asked for some extra eyes on her Cinderella retelling, Ashen, I was immediately interested. Vaguely Icelandic setting, steampunk and fantasy elements, plus fairy tale I love? Sign me up! 

And this story definitely didn't disappoint. Here's the official blurb:

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

Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Trust me, it is! I can't wait to read it again. The characters are absolutely wonderful. Practical Lizbete, kind-hearted Brynar, and impish Elin along with other great, minor characters steal your heart and whisk you into their world. The setting is vaguely Icelandic with some fantasy and steampunk twists. It's easy to start to believe it's a real place as the descriptions are so vivid. Then there's the retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales. This is honestly the most unique take on the Cinderella story I've ever read, and I've read a lot of Cinderella retellings. While there are many of the familiar elements of the story (a girl who sleeps near the fireplace, a grand ball, and of course a happy ending), there are also a lot of twists to the familiar story including more adventure, more danger, and an epic climax that had me glued to my seat. 

Ashen releases on Sept. 22. If unique fairy tales with adventure, heart, and a healthy dose of snark sound like your type of read, grab this great book!

More 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.  

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