Rain Falling on Embers
Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Top Picks

the Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Silver Medal: Books for Teenagers

Black Chateaux’s The BookFest Award (FALL)
1st Place: Juvenile Fiction—Family
1st Place: Juvenile Fiction—Social Themes
2nd Place: Juvenile Fiction—Girls & Women

Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
Judges' Top Pick: Best Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction

☆ ☆ ☆ A BookTrib Lit Picks (First Chapters from the Hottest Books) Selection: Holiday/Winter 2023 ☆ ☆ ☆

IndieReader Approved (4.5/5)


A cleverly plotted novel with a strong, memorable protagonist. Highly recommended!

“This is a superb novel written by an author who knows how to keep things moving. She’s excellent at developing her protagonist from the smoking, drinking rebel in the first chapter to the very different girl in the last.

A fast-paced, slightly gritty novel with a strong, gutsy hero to root for—everything a reader would wish for. There’s revenge, family drama, and, in the last third of the story, a thrilling fight for survival.

Oddly, it wasn’t the exciting ending I enjoyed the most, it was the father’s funeral—the daughter’s love for him almost jumping off the page. Buy it now. You won’t regret it.”

~A Wishing Shelf Book Review (UK)—Click for full review

Rope fire spelling out RAIN
A woman with a burning umbrella in a dark forest

“Kids will find in Katie a rebellious spirit that masks an underlay of grief and growth, and will relish her ability to survive new circumstances and demands for different reactions to life.

As Rain Falling on Embers follows Katie's adaptation and spunky response to adversity, it proves a solid attraction not only for elementary-level libraries and readers seeking a blend of adventure and psychological insight, but for preteen book discussion circles, which will find much to actively debate from Katie's choices and experiences.”

~Midwest Book Review—Click for full review

“The author takes the time to fully develop the story and the characters’ feelings and personalities. Readers should be prepared to become immersed in Katie’s emotional turmoil and the mounting war with Denton. I recommend you give this poignant adventure a try.”

~YA and kids Books Central—Click for full review

“This captivating tale of human endurance is a wonderful read for both young and old.”


“[With] flawed, fascinating people young readers will relate to and care about, Gardner offers enticing reasons to follow on their paths in future series entries.”

~Booklife Review by Publishers Weekly, Editor’s Pick—Click for full review

“The strength of this story is in the emotional intensity and complexity of Katie’s painful journey of self-discovery. The author explores the turbulent teen years masterfully, examining numerous themes that will surely resonate with young readers, including bullying, dealing with grief and loss, first love, and finding one’s place in the world. Additionally, Gardner does a good job of capturing the personality of a 13-year-old, particularly through the deft use of first-person POV.”


“Gardner’s hero is more realistic than good, and readers will be drawn to the raw truth of her struggles. This account of family, grief, love, loss, identity, and community is sure to capture readers’ interest from the first page to the last—and beyond! Readers will be looking forward to learning more about this close-knit, good-hearted clan, their history, and the obstacles they face.”

~Children's Literature—Click for full review

“[Rain Falling on Embers] will keep kids reading and talking. It does an admirable job of balancing heavy topics with a dash of humor and a big dose of adventure.”

~IndieReader (4.5/5)—Click for full review

“A realistic, heartfelt, and serious drama the likes of which I’ve never seen in middle-grade fiction before.”

~K.C. Finn, USA Today Bestselling Author

female figure with a red umbrella showered with sparks

“This realistic, heartfelt drama is something many readers will relate to. Liana portrays Katie McCabe with authenticity and integrity. Recommended for readers 10+ as well as adults who enjoy nostalgic stories.”

~L.A. Splash Magazine—Click for full review

“What might seem like a typical troubled teen story turns into something unique and unexpected. Interesting and impactful, Rain Falling on Embers is a story of grief, new beginnings, and an affirmation that sometimes chaos, terrible as it is, is normal. The book has a great climax, and readers won’t see it coming.”

~Los Angeles Book Review

“Katie’s beautiful yet difficult personality is portrayed with authenticity and integrity. This powerful novel shows that a child can endure loneliness, change, and loss.”

~Emma's Insights

“A marvelous novel. The most important message the book conveys is that every kid deserves to be surrounded by the love and support of their family.”


“An intriguing start of a series about a young teen and her journey as she navigates personal loss, a new family, and even newer enemies.”

~Feathered Quill Book Review

“The story took several unpredictable turns that brought out Katie’s tenacity. Those who like defiant, strong female characters will enjoy watching Katie’s antics.”

~Readers' Favorite

“If you are looking for a gut-punching novel filled with as many triumphs as there are trials, then this book is definitely one you’ll want to pick up.”


dirt mountain road winding through trees