S. Usher Evans
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
Lauren Dailey is in break-up hell.
Stuck between moving on and letting go, she puts on a brave face while crying herself to sleep at night. But when a mysterious voice promises escape from her sadness, she is suddenly transported to a new world. And in this place, the slightest touch pulls her out of her tortured emotions into the mind of another - an empath.
The villagers - sweet Aerona and her mischievous twins, wise Siors, and hunky Cefin - welcome her and the blessings her empath powers bring. But this world is not without its dangers. The Anghenfil, a fire-breathing monster, has haunted the village for decades, and has a taste for empaths. And that mysterious voice promising escape from sadness? It's sounding more like a whisper tinged with smoke and embers.
Can Lauren keep the monsters in the mountain and in her head at bay? Or will she succumb to the darkness like the empath before her...
A Pint of Ice Cream for your Soul (No Spoilers)
I love this book, and I love this character. Let’s just start there. I could say the book is a triumph (which it is), or that it’s a tour de force (which is just French for triumph), but that wouldn’t mean anything personal to YOU, the next potential reader, so in honor of our heroine, Lauren Dailey, let’s just be real and cut to the chase: this book is a pint of ice cream for your soul.
If you’re looking for a new character to be the very best friend you never had, to help you forget about your own life for a few magical hours and then inspire you to get up and move forward, because if she can do it, you can do it, this is the one.
I fell in love with the main character from the moment I met her, I empathized with her problems (you see what I did there?), and she never let me down. Not once. Not even when she probably thought she was letting me down. (You’ll get it once you get to know her.)
And here’s the best part: she’s real.
Lauren Dailey is not your typical fantasy character. She’s complicated. She’s struggling, and she’s frustrated that she’s struggling, and sometimes she even hates herself for it, and yet she always does her best to keep pushing through anyway, even when it involves a fire-breathing dragon. You have to love that about her.
There is a solid romantic sub-plot, which has its requisite steamy moments but that in the end (trust me, no spoilers) made me want to cheer in a way that very few romantic sub-plots ever have. In many ways, it’s a book about what love really is, rather than what it pretends to be, which had me laughing more than once and left me feeling far more fulfilled than the alternative.
I celebrate this character at forty-something in a way that says I wish I had had her around during my twenties or thirties to smack me over the head. Where most fantasy books leave you sorry to come back to reality, this one leaves you—well, yes, ok, sorry it’s over, certainly, but somehow more ready to handle whatever reality is yours to come back to, nonetheless.
And really, what more could you ask for from a fantasy novel than that?