Guest Post and Giveaway Entry

Published March 19, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Hey all!

So if you stopped by here last night, you probably saw my heat-of-the-moment rant/lament/explanation of my passionate love of “The Winner’s Crime” by Marie Rutkoski. And you might be thinking that some of those gifs were overdone and that I couldn’t have possibly felt so many emotions over 350 pages…. -_- You would be wrong.

Anyway! I’m popping in to let you know that I was so distracted with finishing the book and processing everything that I forgot to mention that I had done a sort of inspirational guest post for Christian Bookshelf Reviews that went live yesterday. When you check it out, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to enter to win a paperback copy of “Chasing Shadows” and a $25 Amazon gift card from me! You don’t want to miss out on freebies, do you, silly goose? It ends on April 3, 2015, so get crackin’! And don’t forget to share it around with your friends and family that like free books and internet shopping. ;-) If you want to refer back to this link later, I’ll be sure to post it under the Giveaway section of the “Chasing Shadows” tab at the top of the page.

Have a great weekend, all!

http://christianbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/2015/03/guest-post-book-gift-card-giveaway.html

The Winner’s Crime

Published March 18, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

****(*) 4.5 stars for “The Winner’s Crime” by Marie Rutkoski

CAUTION! Potential spoilers ahead, though I will try to keep them to a minimum.

Ebullient, Joyous, Giddy, Eager, Tortured, Dissatisfied, Mad, Hopeful, Delusional, Confused, Apprehensive, Tormented, Raw, Panicked, Gutted.

All words to describe my Coat of Many Reactions while reading “The Winner’s Crime,” book 2 in The Winner’s trilogy. Overall, my emotions through this wild, gut-wrenching ride were pretty much desultory, which basically means that they were fitful and inconstant (can you tell what my dictionary word of the day is? *wink wink*). But the book evoked so many emotions, one right after the other, that I never had a moment to just bask in a single one. . . . Except for the fact that I am in serious need of chocolate at this very moment after finishing the book an hour ago.

A collection of GIFs that express a wide range of sadness to use as reaction GIFs.

Here is the basic breakdown of my mental breakdown:

Ebullient when the book arrived in the mail and I finally had two days to dedicate to reading it. Oh, the sweet ecstasy!

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Joyous as I began the first few chapters and was at last able to dive back into Kestrel and Arin’s incredible worlds, knowing that they would soon meet again.

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Giddy when Arin and Kestrel do, indeed, meet in such fabulous fashion as a secret rendezvous on a terrace during a ball. And Arin revealing all those emotions–can I get a “who-hah!”? At this point in the book, I’m thinking we’re off to a great start, because where zer iz romanz, zer iz blooming love! And getting interaction between the two as early as Chapter 8 is a good sign. I. Was. Soaring.

WOOO!!! - how-i-met-your-mother Photo

And while we’re on the subject, I would like to give a shout-out to Chapter 8. *slyly* You know why. It’s like Rutkoski has this gift for making you think you’ve eaten the entire ice cream cone as it melts into nothing in your hand. So tortuously awesome!

SEXY

Eager: Go on, go ahead. Just. KIIIIIISSSSSS!

Tortured when it becomes apparent they can’t be together, but they must—they simply must! So I waited expectantly, because these things always turn around. They will meet again.

eager

Dissatisfied when such moments end sans resolution and without a little something to keep me warm at night.

Objection your honour! - Brad - How I Met Your Mother (gif)

Mad at each instant that they were together, but either the emperor was watching, Arin was upset with Kestrel for not being honest, and Kestrel felt she couldn’t be honest with Arin because it would endanger his life because the emperor was watching. You’re ruining my ship!

How I Met Your Mother - "I hate you!" "Don't leave me!"     This followed with this: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mb70fvrfHx1rnvwt1.gif
But I don’t really, Arin, because I love you.

Hopeful in those brief moments where they were together and when I could see inside Arin’s head and realized that he is still completely in love with her, and I knew that Kestrel was doing all of this sneaking around because she loves him, too, and was only trying to protect him.

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Victory.
Delusional because I kept forgetting that this is only Book II and that she can’t resolve everything to my satisfaction so early in the trilogy.
Follow your dreams.
 Yeah, thanks for that little sloth. You totally led me astray!

Apprehensive when I discovered that plans were being made behind the scenes that I as a reader had yet to see unveiled. . . . This can’t be good, but I still believed it would all work out. . . . Why are you smiling at me, Rutkoski?

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Confused: Wait, what’s happening? Why is he going home? No, no, that’s not how it goes. GO BACK! (this was about 12:30am this morning)

How I Met Your Mother

Tormented when I realized Arin isn’t coming back because of the burning flame of anger and his own torment inside of him, raging like the flames that destroy the plains. But why does he have to go?

Me when people are just being stupid/dumb

Raw because Marie has a way of gutting you and making you like it.

Barney suicide How i met your mother

Panicked as I become aware of the fact that the page number is dwindling and resolution is nowhere to be found. If I read faster, I’m sure there will be a silver lining.

AHHH. (how i met your mother,barney stinson,himym,gif,tv show,neil patrick harris,scared,scream)

Eek! Go away, truth!

Gutted as the book ends and … and … Well, I can’t spoil that for you. But suffice it to say that Book III in this trilogy better come quick, because I need answers.

know

Numb? Maybe numb. I can’t tell. I can’t feeeeeeeeeel!

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Then again…

Ted's Most Over-the-Top Romantic Gestures on HIMYM

Overall, “The Winner’s Crime” is a fantastic sequel, and Rutkoski’s writing never once lagged or became less gorgeous and descriptive and fantastically amaze-balls than in “Curse.” I still had a few issues with it, but it was more personal preference, and even then these discrepancies didn’t bother me so much because they kind of knit the story together. Of course I loved Arin and his honesty, but I sometimes became frustrated when he wouldn’t acknowledge what was right in front of his face–that Kestrel was still in love with him–and just take her in his arms and steal her away. I was desperately waiting for a moment of peaceful resolution between them that never truly came, and although I’m sure this will come in the final installment, I really, reeeeally wanted it now. Each moment they were together was like holding your breath during a long pause while each character decided what to do, and then after five minutes of sucking on carbon dioxide, you exhale and realize that nothing happened. But the author makes you want it each page, and so you keep forging ahead to get it, and their dialogues are so intimate that sometimes you come away without realizing that you didn’t get very much. So well played, Rutskoski. Well, played.

This book is a lot of things, but most of all it is a well written, beautiful piece of imagery and intricate worlds fashioned from great imagination. Rutkoski constructed a fantastically complicated plot and cast of characters that will steal your heart and, if you’re like me, steal away two days spent intensely reading and then consume the rest of your life. True story. All in all, I highly recommend this series and beg you to enjoy every minute of Arin and Kestrel’s togetherness (Chapter 8) and all the beautiful words (Chapter 8) and each complication of the plot (Chapter 8) and, well, if you hadn’t already guessed, Chapter 8. But now that it’s over, I feel a little empty. . . .

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Oh, look, another book to distract me for the next year until the final installment is released. My hands have meaning again!

“Prove that you want him,” he said into her hair.

“I do,” she said, but her voice sounded like she was drowning.

His kiss was there, waiting near her lips. “Liar,” he breathed.

Robin: You’re sick.Barney: I’m not sick.Robin: You’re sick!Barney: You know what? I am sick - sick of you telling me I’m sick. What up How I Met Your Mother 2.11 - “How Lily Stole Christmas”

 

The Drought Has Ended!

Published March 15, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

I know it has been several months since I’ve written a genuinely fresh post on here, but I promise I’ll explain my absence soon. I’ve just been keeping afloat with with my evil child development class (there are no words) that ends this week–Yippee! So I’ll be back at the ol’ grind soon, folks! But in the meantime, I decided to write a review for a book I finished in December and absolutely adored, because I had to give my mind a little refresher before I start the sequel this week, since I’ll finally have time. If you’re interested in checking out similar reviews like this or just enjoy booky, fangirly goodness, be sure to check out my sister Katie’s blog “Books and Wonderful Things.” She recently did a cover reveal for “Winter” by Marissa Meyer, a book we have all been anticipating for over a year but that has been pushed back to a November release when it was supposed to come out last month. Oh, the torture! And I’m not even sure how I feel about the cover after the beauty that is “Cress.” Hmm. My opinion remains to be decided until November.
https://booksandwonderfulthings.wordpress.com/

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*************** A MILLION STARS!
Oh. My. Sweet. Goodness.
I go through phases where I’ll read through seven incredible books in a few short weeks and fall in love with reading all over again, like a rediscovery of my passion for words each time a new book is opened. And then the inevitable drought ensues, either brought about by several horribly disappointing books in a row (and I do not throw that label around lightly) or because there just have not been any new releases that I’m interested in. It’s like struggling through the sands of the desert and being unable to see water for miles and miles around. Just ugh. This depressing cycle of lacking reading material can be hard to break.… Unless, of course, a book comes along that blows me away and renews my fervor to read.
Well, I’m happy to say that “The Winner’s Curse” is such a book.
I couldn’t put it down! Rutkoski’s writing is beautiful and poetic, slightly reminiscent of Tahereh Mafi’s poetic monologues in her “Shatter Me” trilogy, but way, WAY better and less drawn out. Her style is so engaging and fluid, and the world development in this story is absolutely impressive and fantastic. Also, Rutkoski’s “resolution” to the problem in the story is gut-wrenching and wunderbar, because it completely sets up a fascinating situation and plot for the sequel, “The Winner’s Crime.” Bravo, author. Brav-o.
The characters are fantastic, and although Kestrel is a part of the group of haughty, wealthy elite in the novel, she has a truly kind heart and has enough facets to her that I feel every type of reader can find something to like about her. It was also wonderful to watch her grow and mature into a compassionate and understanding young woman in regards to Arin’s plight.
Oh, yes. Arin. *insert dreamy sigh* Yes, he vexed me and made me smile and caused me to laugh, and there also might have been a few tears shed for him at times (piano and cards and violin!). He just—I can’t—GAH! I love to read about the kinds of characters that act tough and strong-willed, and Arin is, but you know there is so much more to the story. But you’ll have to figure out exactly what that is for yourself (amazing plot twist!). Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have to go read “The Winner’s Crime,” because I have waited FAR too long for it. Arin, baby, here I come!

View all my reviews

 

Cover Reveal: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Published March 15, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Originally posted on booksandwonderful-things:

Okay, I know this is kind of sad, but I’m not all that interesting in “Winter” by Marissa Meyer. “The Lunar Chronicles” should have been finished this February, but instead us readers have to wait until November. Eight months are left until I can even get my hands on a copy, and that is very frustrating. *sigh* I find it sad that it got delayed, either by the author or publisher, that far out, and I am already losing interest in how Marissa will finish “The Lunar Chronicles.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED and still love “Cress,” but if a series takes too long to finish like this one, I begin to “grow” out of it. The book that won my heart still has it, but the new comers are harder for me to bond with. I also find it a bit vexing (yes, vexing) that it is supposedly going…

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Chasing Shadows by Ashley Townsend

Published January 19, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Ashley Townsend:

Yet another positive review for Chasing Shadows! This one made me seriously happy. ^_^ Krystal’s blog is adorable, so be sure to follow her and share her review of the book.

Originally posted on BooksAndBookmarks:

Title:

Chasing Shadows

Author:

Ashley Townsend

Published:

September 2014

Stand Alone/Series:

Rising Shadows #2

Pages:

400 pages

Format:

Paperback

Genre:

Fantasy/Historic Fiction/Time-Travel

Why I read it:

Ashley sent me the book for an honest review, and I’m glad she did.

Summary:

Would you choose to entwine your fate with a hero of the past, even if it meant altering the future?
The murder of an ancient king spurs Sarah Matthews to travel back in time, putting her life in jeopardy as she races against the clock to solve a thousand-year-old mystery and pick up the pieces of her star-crossed romance. Her return to Serimone reveals that the kingdom is in upheaval and that the elusive Cadius has sinister plans for the throne. Unable to right the empire alone, Sarah reunites with Will, the love she left behind and the man beneath the Shadow’s hood. As they work together amidst lavish…

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Elf on the Shelf

Published December 9, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Yes, Elf on the Shelf is a toy designed for children, but let’s be honest–adults spend way more time with this magical doll than the kids they’re setting it up for, and I also think they get a strange kick out of arranging it in hilariously ridiculous poses and situations. Actually, I don’t think, I know, because Elizabeth, Katie, and I went to town setting up random scenarios for our Lady Elf on the Shelf.

If you’re unfamiliar with Elf on the Shelf, first of all, please call 911 to get yourself out from under that rock you’ve been hiding beneath. But if you really don’t know, it’s a supposedly magical red doll that comes with a book that parents are supposed to read to their kids that talks about how the elf comes alive at night. And then parents will spend hours hiding the creature in random places and setting it up so that it looks as though it has a secret life at night. Kids get a kick out of it, and adults have a ton of fun staging it. You can educate yourself on the process by checking it out on Pinterest; there are some seriously creative pictures out there (and definitely some that are not kid-appropriate, but oh-so hilarious).

Liz got a Lady Elf for herself, and the three of us decided to go to town the other night setting Eleanor (that’s right, she has a name) up for her photo shoot. We had a ton of fun and plan to do 25 different shots for the month of December. Probably even more than that! Anyway, since we’re starting this later on in the month, we’re throwing a couple shots at you all together today. Hope you enjoy the adorableness that is Elf on the Shelf, and stay tuned all this month for more pics, Christmas recipes, and all sorts of shenanigans. 

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Elf on the Shelf watching “Elf.” Yes, she has a habit of only watching Christmas films Jan-Dec.

What else would a magical creature watch? These elves have to stick together!

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Hangin’ with the ladies and enjoying an elf-sized Christmas blend from Starbucks.

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She was so jazzed about her coffee that she started climbing on things, like inside the guitar…

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And inside my shoe. -_-

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Aaaaaaand up the tree. Her skirt caught on fire twice from the lights (she went up like a Roman candle). 

Needless to say, the fire department was not happy.

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Eleanor was so excited to be alive that she even came onto Flynn Rider…. Who was inside plastic.

And who is, consequently, not real. Don’t tell her, though. 

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But by the end of the night, she always returns to our favorite bookshelf,

with a bubble pipe and a snow globe to keep her company.  Hey, she is an Elf on the Shelf, after all. 

Ashley Townsend Interview: Part 1

Published December 2, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Originally posted on booksandwonderful-things:

RisingShadowsBlogTour(1)

Today’s post is very special to me because I am writing my first author interview. I joined the Double Decker Books blog tour for Ashley Townsend, and here we are! Alright, here is Ashley’s interview with Double Decker Books!

Q: What are the major themes of your work?

A: I crafted the entire series around the fact that forgiveness is never too far from reach and also the idea that everything we do is a choice—that we aren’t victims of fate or circumstance, but that we can choose to turn our lives around. This comes up more than anything in “Chasing Shadows,” and nearly every character at some point references how they “don’t have a choice” in life, while their circumstances say otherwise.

Q: What’s your inspiration or who is?

A: Pretty much anything can spark my interest and inspire me to write—a particular song lyric, wondering how I can…

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