Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, November 13, 2017

a mix of heart, humour and hair-raising action - Out of the Shadows (Shadowlands #1) by Ashlee Nicole Bye

"This book was fantastic and promises to be a brilliant series. It is a delightful read full of page-turning action and intriguing characters with a hefty dose of humour. A feisty heroine, hot guys, demons, reapers...Out of the Shadows has it all!" - Cheryl, Goodreads reviewer


From the streets of Melbourne to the bowels of Westminster, the delicate balance between life and death that is so painstakingly maintained by the reapers of The Order of Dark and Light is being tested by the return of an ancient threat. Tensions are rising within the hidden world of The Shadowlands and if this threat is not contained war will be inevitable. And the destruction of the human world is bound to follow in its wake.

Amidst this tension, eighteen year-old Sachi Manning is struggling to cope with the grief and guilt that has plagued her ever since her best friend was murdered six months earlier—that is, until she spots him seemingly alive and well and being held at scythe point by a hooded figure who looks more like a GQ model than the Grim Reaper.

Sachi shouldn’t be able to see through the glamours that shield Shadowlanders from the human world, so the reaper in question wants some answers. And so begins the craziest couple of weeks of Sachi’s life as she is drawn into a world of mysteries, magic, monsters, and mayhem, encountering dragons, faeries, soul-sucking demons, not-so-grim reapers, and even the Horseman of Death.

With a mix of heart, humour and hair-raising action, Out of the Shadows is the adventure of an afterlifetime, perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Paula Weston.

Praise for Out of the Shadows

"...it's flawlessly written. Ashlee Nicole Bye really knows how to write a story. She has her own voice, the kind that pulls you in and really makes the world come to life." - Bibliophile Rambling

"...new authors can either be a smack bang hit or disappointing miss- Ashlee Nicole Bye is definitely a big old hit! Being her first novel, her writing is beyond amazing and I cannot wait to see what else she comes up with! The pacing flows, the writing is descriptive but not overly so, the world is unique and the characters are amazing." - Bookishfix

"I loved Out of the Shadows. Sachi's world is amazingly complex, full of supernatural creatures, competing factions and a complicated process for managing what happens to souls when they die." - Cassandra Page, author of Isla's Inheritance

"...the entire concept of this sic-fi/fantasy world is on point. The description and the writing style make for an enjoyable, hard to put down read. I can't wait to see just what is in store for these characters." - Jennifer Leigh, author of Incognito

"How come no one knows about this book? It would be a best-seller if they did!" - Malissa, Goodreads reviewer

"One successful debut for Ashlee Nicole Bye! Truly succeeded in captivating me into the Shadowlands world. I loved this book and the characters even more." - Viridiana, Goodreads reviewer


As best as Sachi could tell, The Order of Dark and Light was some sort of death worship cult. According to the Archivo, the members of the ‘Order’ called themselves ‘reapers’ and served some kind of death deity they called ‘Lord Mortem’. Apparently, this Lord Mortem was the Horseman of Death, who’d played an integral role in some sort of battle ages and ages ago. In reward for his services in the battle, Lord Mortem was given dominion over all death, under the guidance of the angel Azrael. Now his reapers carried out his work by guiding souls to the ‘next life’, protecting the world from ‘Infernal creatures’, and ‘manipulating lifelines’, whatever the hell that meant.

             Jeez, brainwashed much? How did people get involved in this sort of thing? And what the hell did they want with her?

             Was she supposed to be some sort of virgin sacrifice? If so, they were going to be sorely disappointed, because that ship had sailed over a year ago thanks to Jeremy Kyne, a beach bonfire, and a box of wine…so romantic.

             Sachi was thumbing the width of the book, trying to calculate how many hours she’d need to spend in the library to get through the whole thing, when Florence and the Machine started blaring from the direction of her bag. Casting a sheepish look around at the other occupants of the reading room, many of whom were throwing her dark looks, Sachi retrieved her phone and answered the call. She picked up her bag and, leaving the heavy tome on the desk, made her way out of the library.

             ‘Hello?’ she whispered as she wound through the rows of workstations and out the reading room door.
             ‘Sach?’ Olivia said loudly. ‘Where are you, why are you whispering?’
             ‘I’m at the State Library.’ Her voice had returned to normal now that she was back in the gallery.
             ‘The State—? What are you doing in a library?’
             ‘Hey, I read,’ Sachi said defensively.
             ‘Ah, yeah I don’t think they have a manga collection in the State Library of Victoria.’
             ‘They have a pretty cool art collection though.’

             ‘Ohh.’ And it was as though everything was now right with the world knowing there was a rational reason for Sachi to be in a library. Part of Sachi felt like she should be insulted, but why bother? Olivia was right—she didn’t have any interest in any other reading material but graphic novels and she didn’t see a problem with that. ‘Yeah, I guess that gallery is pretty cool—oh, hey, you’re in the city! Yay!’

             Sachi laughed quietly. ‘Yeah well, it’s broad daylight, what’s the worst that could happen, right?’

             Her question was answered the moment she exited the library. There, standing right by the giant chessboard, were Julian and Moss.

             People in general paid them little heed, though Sachi noticed a few female library-goers casting the pair appreciative glances. Julian in particular looked…second-glance worthy. He had clearly worked out that grey was his best colour and had on slate grey chinos paired with a dove grey vest and tie. Over that he wore a coal black woolen overcoat that Sachi was pretty sure he was wearing just because he could, not because the weather actually warranted rugging up. Moss had on grey tac pants, a navy zip up hoodie and a white t-shirt that read Call me, maybe? And underneath it was printed a mobile phone number. Sachi raised her brows, wondering if it was a legit number. Both boys were wearing black combat boots, which Julian was somehow pulling off despite his other finery.

             ‘Sachi?’ Olivia said through the phone. ‘You still there?’

             ‘Liv, I gotta go, but can you do me a favour and stay close to your phone?’
             ‘Uh, yeah, sure babe. See ya!’

             Sachi put her phone away and hesitantly made her way over to Julian and Moss. ‘Look,’ she said, still a reasonable distance away, ‘I don’t know what you want with me, but I’m not interested in joining your cult, okay?’ The boys exchanged a confused look. ‘And if your intention was to use me as some sort of virgin sacrifice, well you can forget it. The boat’s long gone on that one!’

             Moss made a choking sound that turned into a sputtering cough.
             Julian’s eyebrows shot up, his mouth quirked in a half-grin. ‘Well, that’s certainly an interesting tidbit, but nevertheless, irrelevant.’

             Sachi folded her arms across her chest and fixed them with a cold glare.
             ‘We’re not part of a cult,’ Moss said, finally recovered from his coughing fit, ‘and we don’t sacrifice virgins.’

             ‘Often,’ Julian added, eyes glittering with levity.
             Sachi scowled. ‘I saw your tattoos, I read the book, I know all about this Order of Dark and Light thingy—so what is it then? You drink blood out of people’s skulls?’
             ‘Dan Brown has a lot to answer for,’ Moss said on a sigh. ‘No, babe, we’re not a secret society, or a cult. We’re the real deal.’

             ‘What are you talking about?’

             Julian folded his arms. ‘Look around you.’ He nodded at her surroundings.
             Sachi swiveled her head around. The library, the lawn, the people, Swanston Street—everything—was gone; replaced by swirling blackness. ‘Wh-what’s going on?’ She unfolded her arms, taking a trembling step backwards.

             ‘Will you let us explain?’
             ‘Wh-where am I?’ She spun around, eyes darting about in a wild panic.
             ‘Still at the library.’

             The shadows receded slightly and Sachi caught a glimpse of the pillared façade of the State Library.

             ‘What is this? What are you doing?’
             ‘Making sure we can’t be heard,’ Julian said. ‘We’re already breaking the law by talking to you.’

             ‘So leave me alone!’
             ‘I’m afraid that’s not an option.’ His grey gaze bored into hers, holding her in place. ‘You see, Sachi, you are supposed to be dead.’

About the author:
Ashlee Nicole Bye is the author of the SHADOWLANDS series, the first book of which--OUT OF THE SHADOWS--was published in April 2017.

She was born and raised in the always amazing city of Melbourne, Australia. She's a total history geek, a book nerd (of course!), loves watching sport, and is just a little but obsessed with anything fantasy and science fiction related.

She's a doting auntie to three awesome little guys and the mum of a crazy fur baby, a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy named Sadie. She's also vision impaired and writes all her stories with the help of Apple's awesome zoom commands and super-sized fonts.

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Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

CindyWindy2003 said...

Sounds like a very intense exciting book. I love the elements of darkness and fantasy in here. would love to check out!

Dan Denman said...

I like the book cover. This sounds like a fun adventure with characters that I will like.

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