City of Lights


City of Lights

(Book 1 in the Far from Home Series)

by Kelly Byrd

Middle Grade Fantasy

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?


Mary felt like she could breathe for the first time since she had gotten to this strange place. This was wrong. She knew from science class that there is less oxygen the higher something travels in the atmosphere. But this was a magical dream land where giant talking bird-dragons lived and tiny old People who could make gold sparks fly in the air, so maybe the rules didn’t apply.

Mary heard the rumbling sound of WindRunner’s laughter again in her head. She was nervous it might shake her brain loose.

It’s the Thrall, Mary Jingo. That’s why you felt as if you were not able to breathe. We are in the open air now. The Void cannot reach us here.

Suddenly something flashed and blurred on the edge of her vision. She looked over and saw Bobble and Mikeala, wearing the same golden goggles that she wore, and astride the tandem bicycle she had seen on the ground. It was flying. Ahead of them, she could see Van Clare, pedaling her feet steadily as she rode her own sleek, dark gray flying bicycle, golden goggles pressed onto her blue eyes. What kind of world was this, where bicycles fly?

They are called Flycycles or Flikes. Do not belittle them by thinking of them as regular bicycles, WindRunner said into her head.

WindRunner, why do you keep reading my thoughts?

You are speaking so loudly outside your mind. I am sure everyone in a seventeen-mile radius can hear them.

Don’t worry, Mary Jingo. We’ll teach you how to not be so loud, Mikeala’s voice said into her mind.

Everybody okay? Van Clare’s voice asked. Mary felt like she was in a group chat where everyone could talk instead of text. Mary Jingo, how do you feel?

I think I’m okay. Mary replied truthfully, although her legs were beginning to ache from holding their grip on WindRunner’s wide, armored back. His wings moved at a steady rhythm, like a drumbeat in a song. This is the strangest dream I’ve ever had.

Why does she keep saying that? Bobble asked and looked over at her, not taking his hands off the handlebars. She could just make out the merry look in his golden eyes behind his goggles. This isn’t a dream, Mary Jingo.

You are not dreaming, Mary Jingo of the Shadowlands, WindRunner said.

THEN WHY AM I HERE? Mary thought to herself.

A chorus of four voices responded all at once.

Oh my, Mary Jingo. That was loud.

About the Author

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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  1. Thank you so much for hosting! Does any one else feel excited about Mary flying for the first time?

  2. Thanks so much for sharing City of Lights! Fun fact: I started working on the book almost ten years ago. The earliest drafts of the book were much longer and for an older audience. As time went on, I was able to pare the book down and make it more digestible and easier to read. That original book is now a mid-grade trilogy. Book 2 in the Far From Home series will be released in 2022.

  3. I like the simplistic cover. This sounds like a great read for the middle grade audience

  4. This sounds like a cute story for young readers. I like the blurb. Very magical. Thanks for the chance.

  5. I can see my daughter enjoying this world. Sounds like fun.

  6. I am so excited to read this book. I love all I have read so far.

  7. The cover is so cool! It sets the tone for the book.


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