I love the way that Christine writes on her Musings of An Elf blog; it’s so beautiful and heartfelt, and seeing how similarly impassioned we both get over good books was the reason why I asked her to review the Rising Shadows Trilogy, and I’m so glad I did. Christine loves the series! *happy dance* It warms an author’s heart to know that others connect with these characters as they do. I couldn’t be more pleased with her review of Chasing Shadows, so be sure to check it out and share around with your other book-loving/blogger friends. And don’t forget to follow Christine’s blog to keep an eye out for something about beta reading the final book in the series. . . Just sayin’! ^_^
All posts tagged Review
A Cold Legacy ReviewPublished April 27, 2015 by Ashley Townsend
***** FIVE STARS FOR A COLD LEGACY!!!
A few words to describe this story: poignant, maddening, beautiful, heartbreaking, marvelous, gripping, haunting, heartwarming, and just plain old fashioned AWESOME.
I finished the final installment in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy a little while ago and am just now getting my review together, but believe me, my excitement and heartbreak over this book are still perfectly fresh.
For starters, this series is amazing! If you look through my Goodreads reviews, The Madman’s Daughter and Her Dark Curiosity all get extremely high marks. Shepherd’s stories and characters are incredibly inventive, fascinating, and delightfully twisted—and by that I mean complex, although there certainly are some moments where Juliet and a few of the other characters appear a little warped. However, Shepherd draws in a highly redeeming factor in the story, which was just beautifully done, I might add. Now I realize that life before this story was meaningless and that it woke me from book-slumber. *snoring* “Oh, look, a new book!”
The story begins exactly where Curiosity left off, with Juliet, Montgomery, Lucy, and Edward—I love you!—escaping from the repercussions of events that occurred in the previous book that you’ll just have to discover for yourself (insert evil cackle and lightning strike). Though this story is a slower, unfolding ride, the author has an amazing knack for packing each sentence with meaning and making your hair stand on-end as you read over haunting images; it’s a bit like an old-fashioned suspense novel in the sense that readers are constantly wondering what lurks around the corner as they flip madly to the next page. I love how Shepherd worked legends and other classic monster characters into her series: the first book revolves around the history of Dr. Moreau, Jack the Ripper was the center of Her Dark Curiosity, and the monster in Frankenstein (one of my favorite darker stories in classic literature) is what this installment revolves around. And these elements could not have been handled by a better author!
Now, for my actual reactions while reading A Cold Legacy, though I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible:
When it arrived in the mail on a delightfully dreary day, all beautiful and smelling of fresh ink—a book druggie’s greatest weakness—I was ready to bunker down and enjoy myself.
Basically right out of the gate, I got so excited that Edward was going to come out of his monster-induced coma and be just awesome and endearing and wonderful and heartbreaking once again…. But, no, the Monster is still trying to take control of his body, so he basically spends half the story in chains. My baby!
And then there’s the matter of Hensley, the creepy, emotional child who basically lives in the walls of the manor, carrying secrets and squeezing his pet rats to death. Like, frequently, because he has super human strength and terrifies the entire staff. Nothing unusual about that.
Oh! Also, one of my favorite “SURPRISE!” moments was when one of the island dwellers–you heard correctly, from book ONE–makes an appearance in this story. Waaaaa???
That moment when we discover that Edward is awake, he’s fine! We’re all going to be okay. And then…
We find out that the Beast has taken over Edward’s body completely and that they’re going to have to kill him to finish the Monster off for good this time. “Just give me a blanky and chocolate and leave me alone!”
I won’t say how, but (chuckles nervously) sweet, adorable little Hensley has a big part in helping to terminate the Beast (a.k.a.: Edward is dead, too). Thanks a lot, idiot! You ruined everything!
And then I remember that this is a book about regeneration, like in Frankenstein, and that they CAN BRING HIM BACK!!!
But then we discover that stupid Lucy has been trying to mimic Frankestein’s science, though she is completely unqualified and stupid and annoying and crazy. . . Did I mention stupid?
Sorry, but I was particularly annoyed by her. I was also a little disappointed in Juliet that she would once again attempt to be like her father and create life herself, but I felt that I really understood her more; she was saving a friend this time, and loved seeing her actually struggle, because it made her more relatable. Plus, with Lucy (blegh) practically forcing her to do the operation so that the dumb-dumb doesn’t botch the procedure and ruin Edward’s body, Juliet basically had to do it. So throw the bloody switch!
So (spoiler! but you should have expected it, given the Frankenstein theme) Edward comes back to life, albeit a little changed yet completely devoid of the Monster. Yippee! But he totally broke my heart in the way that he didn’t wish to come back as a different kind of monster. And selfish Lucy’s just like:
But just before all this happens, something wonderful occurs between Juliet and Montgomery, your next stable, incredibly level-headed and amazing fictional heartthrob who’s like Tarzan and lived on an island with Dr. Moreau for many years. After going between Edward and Montgomery for what seems like ages, Juliet FINALLY commits.
Yeah, it’s that good.
Anyway, the gang this whole time was being tracked down by Lucy’s father, who is after Juliet’s knowledge of regeneration and wants them all dead. And, of course, Lucy does the absolute dumbest thing imaginable. So stupid, in fact, that I need several gifs to express my annoyance with her.
So, anyway, Lucy does the-thing-that-shall-not-be-named (for spoiler’s sake), and gets the gang into a serious heap of trouble. It’s a really awesome, intense stand-off/fight club where the circus troupe they befriend and the manor staff team-up against Lucy’s father and his cronies.
During this rather fantastic scuffle, someone sacrifices themselves to save one of my favorite characters, but I was so ready for someone to actually die, and I also didn’t care much for the character at this point, so I was basically like, “Pass the popcorn!”
So the story comes to a close, and I’m getting my heartbroken tears ready–you know, the ones I shed at the end of Book I and also the middle/end of Book II–when one of my favorite heart-wrenching characters decides to walk away from it all. And then Shepherd hits you while you’re down and gives Juliet the most beautiful discovery where she realizes that she has a choice in who she becomes and that she doesn’t have to follow in her demented father’s footsteps, something she’s feared since the beginning.
*sniffs* Yes, this book is definitely worth the read. Shepherd is an incredibly vivid, emotional, and just all around hauntingly poetic writer. If you enjoy suspenseful, beautifully crafted literature that contains elements of classic gothic stories (Jane Eyre, etc.), then this book is definitely for you. But you CANNOT read these out of order; go and get yourself the previous two books. You won’t be sorry!
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.
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!
Between the Pages: Meet Will TaylorPublished October 17, 2014 by Ashley Townsend
Meet your next book crush (and my forever fictional crush), Will Taylor from “Chasing Shadows.”
Will, so nice of you to—Oh, you can remove the blindfold now.
Yanks it off his head. “Where in blazes are we? And why did you cover my eyes?”
In my basement, and there are some things that would be … difficult to explain if you saw them, like my car and microwave. Now, we know that you’re 22, have super-human good looks–born with them!—and have a passion for saving people, but tell us a little something about yourself that we don’t already know.
*sighs* Will, honey, focus. You’re adorable when you’re being protective, but you’re fine, she’s fine, we’re all fine. I just need a few minutes of your time, and then I can return you to where you came from after we conclude our interview. Speaking of which, what do you like best about living in twelfth century Serimone?
Shifts uncomfortably. “Pardon?”
Too tough? Okay, then, what’s your favorite color?
“Green, I suppose.”
What is a fond childhood memory you’d like to share?
“Following my father through the castle and exploring the secret passages deep below. Every day was like an adventure, and my knowledge of every inch of Serimone Castle has helped in certain other ‘endeavors.’”
Like sneaking in to find evidence against the king’s assassin. Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. . . . Good Lord, you’re dreamy. Okay, stay focused, be professional.
“… Did I awake in a mental infirmary?”
What? *giggles nervously* No. Of course not! Anywho, moving on. Do you have any favorite hideouts?
“There is an enormous birch tree on the property near my cabin. I am very fond of watching the sunrise from there. Especially when the company is very fair.”
That’s a secretive smile. Care to share with the rest of us?
“Forgive me, but no. That memory is very close to my heart.”
You are just as private as Sarah. . . Ah, I get it now. Well, then if you could have any superpower, what would it be?
“To travel back in time.”
… Uh-huh, How interesting, and no hesitation. *clears throat* What would you see or change if you could?
“I would go to the past and stop my parents from being murdered.” Sighs. “Though Sarah would tell me that I can’t change the past, but should make the most of my present.”
I’m sure your parents would be proud of you. You took over your father’s blacksmith business, right? Do you want to do that permanently, or do you have other interests?
“Um, no, I do not wish to be a blacksmith forever. And I do have other hobbies…”
You mean being the Shadow, Serimone’s vigilante?
“How did you—“
Long story. Plus, I’m also a huge fan of yours—you know, running around the forest in a cloak and fighting for justice with a bow is pretty awesome—so I’ve been keeping tabs on you.
“Thank you? I took on the persona of the Shadow so I could seek out my parents’ murderer, and then I continued on with my pursuit for justice when I realized that I could truly help people.” Mouth tips. “And I kept on with it to a help a certain young lady stop an assassination.”
That reminds me, do you think you’ll ever be able to prove that Cadius killed his brother, the king?
“The two of us are doing everything we can to bring him to justice, so I suppose we’ll see someday.”
Speaking of Sarah, do you have long-term aspirations for your relationship?
Smiles very slowly. “My goals involve forever.”
*heart melts* I’m trying really hard to not ship you guys right now.
“Ship? I’m sorry…?”
Oh, it’s not like an actual ship-ship. It’s when you root for a fictional couple and combine their names. Like you and Sarah could be … Swill? Willah? Umm, Maylor?
“You do realize that sounds horrible.”
Yes, I’ll definitely think up something else, but you get the idea for now. I just have to be careful that I don’t get more attached than I am if I have to kill one of you off.
Eyes widen. “Kill one of—Hey, let’s not be hasty.”
Well, that’s all we have time for today. Thanks, Will, for traveling all this way. If you’ll just put this blindfold back on, we can get you back to where you belong. A little quicker now, if you don’t mind.
“And what do you mean fictional?”
… Houston, we have a problem.
This Week’s SchedulePublished October 14, 2014 by Ashley Townsend
The next 7 days are going to be an awesome immersion into the world of books and authoring. My schedule this week is actually pretty exciting and eventful, so don’t forget to put all these awesome shenanigans down on your calendars and leave clever little Post-It reminders everywhere, because there’s a lot to keep track of. And I hope you’ll all want to join me for each of these super cool extravaganzas! All of the links and the info to participate in these events are at the bottom of the page. Don’t forget to share these events and dates with anyone who loves book-y goodness as much as me!
October 15th-21st (Wednesday-the following Tuesday)
Double Decker Books Blog Tour with “Chasing Shadows”
Okay, so tomorrow we kick off the Chasing Shadows Blog Tour at Double Decker Books. I. Am. Excited! Although I’ve participated in blog hops and tours before, I’ve never been the featured author being HOSTED on someone else’s blog. *giddy dance of pure joy* Here’s how it works: Tomorrow, Wednesday the 15th, “Chasing Shadows” and my interview will be up on one of my favorite blogs of all time, Double Decker Books. The tour kicks off from there, and I’ll be hopping around a few other blogs during the book’s gallivanting escapades. DDB will tell you where to go from there, and so on. So be sure to follow their blog and the book as it travels Around the Web in 6 Days! ^_~
October 18th 1-3pm west coast time (Saturday)
Chasing Shadows Twitter Release Party
And THEN we have the “Chasing Shadows” Twitter Release Party going down this Saturday. Please join us for fun, discussions about “Chasing Shadows,” and my sure to be hilariously awkward Q&A time with DDB. Just follow and tag @TownsendTales and @Doubled_Books during the Twitter Release Party if you want to ask me your own questions. They can be serious, quirky, ridiculous, hilarious, about writing, life as a person with multiple voices in their head, my fascination with time travel, riddles, etc., and also my obsession with the word etcetera.
October 19th at 2pm (Sunday)
2014 Gold Rush YA Author Event at Barnes&Noble
There’s also an event I will be attending that I am super jazzed about. Barnes&Noble is hosting Livia Blackburne, Bethany Crandell, Stephanie Diaz, Maria Andreu and Tracy Holczer this Sunday for giveaways, fun stuff, and interviews with the authors themselves. I won’t be one of the authors speaking at this meet-and-greet, but I’m excited to just be a part of it! If you’re going to be in San Diego this weekend and decide to drop by, I’ll be the curly-haired blond with the pocket watch and starry-eyed gaze.
Barnes and Noble on 5500 Grossmont Ctr Dr Suite 331 La Mesa, CA 91942
So, there it is. Quite the week, isn’t it? I hope that you’ll be able to join us for everything, and don’t forget to keep checking back here for my Serimone update of the week, Between the Pages. Hint: This week might have to do with a certain gorgeous, enigmatic, endearing blacksmith from “Chasing Shadows.” Which means you WANT to be here this Friday. Trust me on this one.
Follow and tag @TownsendTales and @Doubled_Books when you throw your questions at me during the Chasing Shadows Twitter Release Party on Saturday. You can also use #ChasingShadowsBook when tweeting.
Visit Double Decker Books tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15th, for the premiere of the blog tour!
You can also become more than just a passive reader and participate in the tour by following the link below to host me or other authors on your own blog.
The 2014 Gold Rush at Barnes&Noble Sunday, October 19th, 2pm, with author Livia Blackburne. And me! 🙂
Buy the paperback or ebook!
Add, rate, and review “Chasing Shadows” on Goodreads
And if you’re interested in having me or “Chasing Shadows” on your blog, however popular, or just have a general question for me, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love sharing my story, personal and otherwise! ^_^