Featuring middle-grade fantasy City of Lights by Kelly Byrd
What happens when oh so ordinary Mary Jingo, follows her instincts (and her nose) and ends up in a magical land Far From Home?
In City of Lights, author Kelly Byrd introduces readers to Mary, who is one week away from finishing fifth grade. Mary’s mind is on starting middle school in the fall and finally getting her own phone. But then this ordinary girl notices glimmers of light and meets a strange little man who conjures the best smell she has ever smelled. Before she even stops to consider what she’s doing, she agrees to accompany the man to the land of LeeChee, where our Mary Jingo from the Shadowlands in seen as warrior and a great hope.
Now this very ordinary girl must find a way to help save LeeChee from Thrall and restore the Everything—a magical life- and joy-giving force that somehow connects Mary’s world to LeeChee. How can she face the Void, the foul-smelling Shoeboxians, or the evil Mellie? And how can she do all of the Far From Home?
“Will you carry her, WindRunner?” Van Clare asked the giant Thunderbird, stepping closer to him without any fear. It made Mary feel a little bit better. “She has never flown before.”
“Aye, I will carry the warrior,” WindRunner said, his black eye boring into Mary’s.
I’m not a warrior, Mary thought.
How do you know? You look like one to me. A voice that sounded just like WindRunner’s seemed to whisper in her ear. She shook her head once and looked up at the Thunderbird. She could have sworn that it winked.
Van Clare ran a hand through her blonde mohawk and her blue eyes darted to the strange bicycle next to the one that Bobble and Mikeala mounted and back to Mary Jingo standing next to her on the ground. The air around them was thick and brown, like it might swallow them all whole. Mary coughed and felt very sleepy.
“Mary, flying is not difficult, but you must trust WindRunner. We do not usually put a child on a Thunderbird without any training, but this is not a normal circumstance. Open your mind and for the love of the Everything—hold on!”
She then showed Mary small indentations in the armor above the Thunderbird’s wings where she could wedge her feet. Van Clare hastily strapped leather straps behind each of Mary’s ankles then showed her handholds just behind WindRunner’s head. She handed Mary a set of golden goggles and told her to put them on. Once Mary did, she said, “This is going to make you very sore at first. You are going to recognize muscles that you did not know you have. But hold on. As the bond deepens, WindRunner will give you his strength and you will find it easier and easier to fly.”
“What do you mean the bond?” Mary called to Van Clare’s back, as she ran through the now thick, brown air to the bicycle on the ground. Bobble and Mikeala and their tandem bicycle had disappeared. Mary could hardly see Van Clare, as she nodded in their direction and began to turn the peddles on her bicycle. Mary heard WindRunner’s voice inside of her head again.
Here we go, Mary Jingo!
And launched into the sky.
About Kelly Byrd
Kelly Byrd is a middle-grade author by choice, a writer by discipline, home-grown chef, and amateur gardener. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two cute-as-buttons rescue pups. The Far From Home series is about growing up, finding your voice, and rescuing the Everything.
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Kelly Byrd will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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