Review+ Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway: Kyland (Sign of Love) by Mia Sheridan - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review+ Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway: Kyland (Sign of Love) by Mia Sheridan

My Thoughts

A beautiful, powerful story of hope and love.



Dirt poor. Hillbilly. Backwoods hick. Mountain folk.

Tenleigh Falyn struggles each day to survive in a small, poverty-stricken, coal mining town where she lives with her sister and mentally ill mother. Her dream of winning the college scholarship given to one student by the local coal company and escaping the harshness of her life, keeps her going.

Kyland Barrett lives in the hills, too, and has worked tirelessly—through near starvation, through deep loneliness, against all odds—to win the Tyton Coal Scholarship and leave the town that is full of so much pain.

They’re both determined not to form any attachments, but one moment changes everything. What happens when only one person gets to win? When only one person gets to leave? And what happens to the one left behind?

Kyland is a story of desperation and hope, loss and sacrifice, pain and forgiveness, but ultimately, a story of deep and unending love.


Kyland kept staring at me, finally nodding slightly. “Yeah,” he said simply. I stared back at him, my eyes darting down to his lips and suddenly, something ignited in the air—something unseen, but real all the same. I felt it and I knew Kyland felt it, too, by the way he startled very slightly. He adjusted himself where he sat. I felt my cheeks flush and was surprised at how hard it was to breathe properly. There was something intense and almost pained in Kyland’s expression. He moved just a little bit closer and up close like this I could see a light sprinkling of freckles on his nose, under his tan—as if his childhood sat just beneath his skin. And the outer rim of his gray eyes was a soft blue, like sunny days were just off in the distance.


“Tenleigh.” He leaned toward me, his breath just a whisper away, his voice strained. I breathed in his scent, a thrill racing down my spine. He smelled like a mixture of clean, pine-scented mountain air and something that must just be him—something that whispered to me in an intimate, secret way. Something I didn’t need to analyze to understand. My eyelashes fluttered. I glanced down at his lips again. God, his lips were nice. And they looked so soft. Would they be soft on mine? My heart beat wildly in my chest as I waited for him to kiss me. He moved a centimeter closer and I held my breath.

“You been kissed before, Tenleigh?” he rasped as his hand went to the side of my head, his fingers weaving into my hair.

“No,” I whispered, my body swaying toward him. No, but I wanted to be. Oh God, I wanted to be. I felt practically drunk with expectation. Would he touch me while he kissed me? Would his hands move over my body, under my clothes? A jolt of electricity raced up my thighs and ended between my legs.

I liked him so much. He was a boy who was sweet, but would take charge. My blood was buzzing, racing through my veins.

His eyes gazed into mine for several frozen seconds until he squeezed his eyes shut and pulled away from me. I let out a huge breath as I tipped toward him and caught myself, pulling back suddenly, too.

Kyland stood up and spun away from me, breathing hard. “You shouldn’t give your first kiss to me.”

What the . . .?

I blinked, feeling stunned, almost as if he’d just slapped my face. Humiliation engulfed me. I made a chuffing sound in the back of my throat and wrapped my arms around myself.

He narrowed his eyes at me. “Why haven’t you ever kissed anyone?”

I shrugged, feeling hot, my skin prickly. I lifted my chin. “Never found anyone I wanted to kiss before,” I said, going for nonchalance. But in actuality, it was pretty true.

“And you want to kiss me?”

I snorted.

Conceited asshole.

So not only was Kyland not going to kiss me—he was going to make me feel embarrassed and inexperienced? This was the exact reason I had sworn off men. “Not anymore.” I stood up, grabbing my grocery bags and moving past him. But I was caught up short when he grabbed my hand and tugged. I whirled back around. “Let go of me,” I hissed. “You’re right. I don’t want to kiss you. I’m going to go away to college, and I’m going to let a real man kiss me, not some stupid hillbilly who thinks his lips are God’s gift to Kentucky girls.”

Kyland let go of my hand, looking truly insulted. “That’s not what I think.”

I made a sound of disgust and kept walking. I felt flushed all over and I was shaking, trying in vain to dismiss my deep sense of hurt and disappointment. “Well good, you shouldn’t. You don’t have anything every other man doesn’t have, too, Kyland Barrett,” I called, and raced back toward the road and fast-walked all the way home. I had no idea if Kyland followed me or not and I told myself I didn’t care.

My Review

“… the promise of love is about the strongest pull there is.”

I fell in love with Mia Sheridan entirely too late. I didn’t realize her stories would get to me the way hers uniquely have. Didn’t realize her writing and storytelling would evoke such deeply felt emotions. So now, she’s an auto-buy author, part of a short list of people I trust to consistently deliver something special. After reading, no—devouring—Kyland, I can confirm that it’s as beautiful a novel as I hoped it would be. Kyland is a story of love and resilience, hope amidst hopelessness, determination and sacrifice. I love that Mia tackles a meaningful topic in each of her stories, whether it be the tough reality of the foster care system, having a disability, or finding courage in the face of religious zealotry. This time, Mia explores living in poverty, under brutal conditions, being among those who are hungry and hopeless, yet finding the spirit and resolve to drive for something better… something more. It’s about two people who hoped to be judged for something beyond their living conditions, who found each other during a time where love was a liability given the cost of their freedom. Kyland and Tenleigh’s story was a pure, beautiful thing… it symbolized promise and hope.

“The hope that life won’t always hurt so badly. The belief that I’ll get out of here someday—that I won’t be cold or hungry forever. It keeps me going. It’s my fire. It helps me do the things I need to do to survive, and it helps me hate myself less for doing them.”

Kyland Barrett and Tenleigh Falyn grew up knowing the unrelenting pang of hunger, living in a poverty-striken, coal-mining town in the hills of the Appalachia. Both had been dealt a hand that was difficult for any child, teenager, to survive, but somehow they both looked forward, hoping they could graduate high school with a scholarship that would be their ticket to freedom.

Kyland was handsome, brooding. He exuded a confident arrogance and charm that made him popular with the girls. But no one really knew him. They had known his story, what had happened with his father and brother, but not much more. Kyland was looking to be rid of the confines of his god-forsaken town. His focus was on that scholarship that would enable him to leave it all behind, and that focus was sharp. Nothing, no one could tether him to a place he despised. Even a girl who lived down the street who had caught his eye with her spirit and tenacity.

“I’d be leaving soon and I’d never look back, not at beautiful, green-eyed Tenleigh Falyn or anyone else.”

Tenleigh Falyn didn’t know what it was like to be cared for. Her and her sister Marlo only knew how to care for another. How to sacrifice all the pennies they earned to help their mother be well and stay well. Tenleigh, like so many others, walked miles to school, in shoes whose soles were riddled with holes, whose backpack was held together by a safety pin. She needed the scholarship to make something of herself, to make a difference.

Kyland and Tenleigh fall for each other despite trying not to. Kyland didn’t need to care for anyone he was going to leave and Tenleigh didn’t need her crush to turn into a love that would break her when they split ways. But in the face of destitution, their hearts filled with an unexpected love that would change everything.

“When it came to you, I noticed everything. I fell alway in love with you before we ever spoke a word.”

Their story takes a turn in a way that was gut wrenching. Hopes were dashed. Futures changed. Hearts were broken. I won’t even hint at what happens, but we experience the lengths that someone will go to for someone they love, while seeing what perseverance will yield when your heart is in the right place. I loved how this story affected me, loved the message it delivered. Once again, Mia Sheridan imparts a story that is both beautiful and unforgettable. This is a must-read!

“… that’s what loving someone is. Willing to do anything for them, willing to make any sacrifice, suffer so they don’t have to. I loved you then, and I still love you now.”


Reading Order and Links

 Each book can be read as a standalone, with the exception of Leo/Leo’s Chance and Becoming Calder/Finding Eden, which should be read together as duos.

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  1. Carol W. said:

    Sounds like a great read! Added KYLAND to goodreads – Thank you!


  2. Gerri Lauzon said:

    Want to read Kyland! Following on Goodreads. Thanks 😀


  3. Jessica Z. said:

    Love Mia’s work! She is among my top go to authors for reading!


  4. Cristal Hummingbird said:

    I can’t wait to read this! Once I get a break in my required reading, I’m so on this!


  5. formerteach said:

    I loved Kyland and Tenleigh. Mia continues to choose great characters unlike others out there.


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