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Ashes and Blood by Katie Zaber is a Binge-Worthy Festival pick #fantasy #bingeread #giveaway

Title: Ashes and Blood

Author: Katie Zaber

Genre: Fantasy

Book Blurb:

You can travel the same path countless times, but it can sometimes lead to another universe.

A mystical tree captures the attention of Megan & her friends, morphing the environment & transferring them to an exotic planet. Saved from deadly beasts by hunters, Megan finds herself stuck in a rural town still maimed by the plague. A chance encounter with a familiar face gives Megan & her friends some security during their adjustment to this new world. While settling into promising lives, they are attacked & stalked by planet Dalya’s humanoid inhabitants, who focus solely on Megan.

One dark night, after a magical attack, the Fae King’s knight is sent to fetch Megan for a reason she can’t possibly guess. When she wakes up a prisoner, she learns that there is much more to this strange place, & it is oddly more like home than she ever would have expected.

The more Megan learns, the more she realizes that finding a way home is insignificant compared to everything at stake.


It gives me chills to stand in front of the forest that morphed in front of my very eyes. I’m hesitant to walk through the tree line and down the path. The last time I walked down a path for leisure was a week ago. We had planned a picnic. Something simple, always easy to organize and do. It wasn’t hard planning our walk to Brynjar’s cabin today. What could go wrong?

I try hard not to think of all the possible outcomes—from returning to Earth to traveling to a completely new world.

Sarah and Dana were able to walk by without stopping to take notice or reflect. Ciara paused for a moment and then smiled gleefully, saying she had a good feeling.

I don’t. I feel dizzy, angry, and like I need to vomit. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to go into the woods that changed my life, I don’t want to meet Brynjar, and I don’t want to go back where it all started.

I don’t.

Dana turns around and shrugs, jogging to the spot where my feet have rooted themselves.

“Come on. We are all together. If it happens again, we’ll go together,” Dana says, grabbing my hand to pull me along.

All I can do is nod.

My mind keeps playing tricks on me. Every few steps, I catch glimpses of oaks and pines, the kind I would find in Pennsylvania, only to turn my head and see more jade bark. No brown bark with branches holding tiny green needles, no soft brown oak trees with big green leaves changing color for the fall.

Kevin points to a symbol carved into a tree. It’s about the size of my fist and almost looks like the Olympic symbol with five rings intertwined, but in a circular shape. “If you ever get lost trying to find Brynjar’s cabin, just stay on the path and follow these markers. It should take an hour from here.”

On our way, Kevin fills us in about Brynjar, the man he says has been a father to him since he arrived. Brynjar fought in the last Fae war, returned to Capo, and never married. From what the cousins have said, he was always a loner. He wanted seclusion after the war and never spoke why. In general, from what they have described, the man doesn’t speak too much and has little to no personality.

Out of nowhere, Kevin announces we are on the property. It takes a moment to tell someone even lives in the vicinity. Brynjar built his cabin out of a single huge jade tree. It blends seamlessly into the forest, perfectly camouflaged. Nestled into an alcove, the cabin backs against a steep incline. Two windows and a door mark the cabin as a livable place; without them, I’d think it was a huge old tree covered in spiderwebs. The garden and well are the only other signs someone lives in the area.

“Brynjar! I’ve come with supplies and some friends and family I want you to meet!” Kevin yells.

He doesn’t respond, at least not politely. A string of what I can only assume is cursing comes from inside the cabin, along with grunts and bangs.

Kevin shrugs. “He’s probably just waking up, though he normally doesn’t sleep in this late. He sounds grouchy today.”

With my hands on my hips, I ask, “How can you tell?”

“Wait!” Brynjar shouts through a window.

Five minutes later, he opens the door, letting us inside his cramped cabin. The inside has rustic charm. The carved jade wood walls and furniture add simple beauty to the cabin. A rocking chair, table, and bench are on the right, a bed is to the left. The back wall has a small wooden shelf with a pot and pan, a couple plates and bowls, and various eating utensils. Beside the shelf is a small fireplace. Flowers and various herbs hang from the rafters, drying. Tiny purple flowers that remind me of miniature lilacs hang over the table, and dangling above the makeshift kitchen are different plants that remind me of basil, rosemary, and thyme.

I slide onto a bench first. Dana, Ciara, and Sarah follow, squeezing in, causing my right leg and Sarah’s left to hang off the side. The cousins find a space by each windowsill on either side of the door. Kevin stands behind us girls while Brynjar plops down on an old creaky rocking chair across the table from us. The whole time, Brynjar grumbles under his breath about too many people, not enough coffee, doing his utmost best to make us all feel unwelcome.

Finally, with his pipe in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, Brynjar sits back on his creaky chair and eyes our group—but mostly me.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?

I’ve binged read John Conroe’s Demon Accord series at least four times. He might have over twenty books. I don’t know if it’s just his writing style or the way he captures the character’s voice, but once I start reading, I can’t put it down.

What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?

Ashes and Blood takes you out of this world, and into the magical world of Dalya. A world where nothing is how it appears. People who appear to be your enemies might be your saviors. Everyone has a hidden past. A hidden agenda. The only thing everyone has in common is the will to survive and the need to go home.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

Open internationally.

Runs August 1 – 31, 2023.

Drawing will be held on September 1, 2023.

Author Biography:

Katie Zaber, author of the series Dalya and DNA, is a fantasy author whose imagination knows no bounds. As a child, her parents read stories about Atlantis and other fictional places that she dreamed of exploring, fueling her love of history, adventure, and fantasy. She loves to spend what little free time she has winemaking, baking, and reading. When she has a full day to herself, you can find her at the beach or at a winery. Her favorite meals are the ones her boyfriend cooks, and she loves spending quiet nights at home with him, binge watching new fantasy shows or play video games.

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Newsletter and FREE ebook of Ashes and Blood -


Unknown member
Aug 28, 2023

My favorite novel is Infected by Scott Sigler. This is Michael


Aug 06, 2023

My fave binge worthy author right now is Drethi Anis.


Katie Z
Katie Z
Aug 03, 2023

Thank you for having me :)


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Aug 03, 2023

Thank you, Katie, for sharing your book in our Binge-Worthy Book Festival!

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