Reviews

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It Pays to Goodreads…

Published January 7, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

A couple weeks ago, I was perusing Goodreads and found several bloggers whom I totally adored and thought might be interested in reviewing Chasing ShadowsSo I hiked up my big-girl pants and sent out messages to a few of them in hopes of gaining some more feedback for the series. This was right before I went on my AMAZING vacation to Denver/Colorado Springs/Breckenridge to visit some besties of 20-odd years. To sum up my trip in a few words: best friends, spectacular, sleigh ride, mountain men, falling snow, Christmas lights, firelight, singing in the car, and Papa Murphey’s in pajamas. Yeah, it was the best! 

Anyway, so on my trip, it just made me so happy to discover new reviews waiting in my inbox for both Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows, and also a hilariously gushy letter from Cassie herself. Much to my shock and joy–especially since I was kind of jumping out on a ledge throwing the stories at these random girls–Cassie loved them! I was so happy these books found their way into the right hands, and needless to say, she’s definitely joining my team of Shadows to pre-read Defying Shadows. 😉 Please take the time to read her reviews and follow Cassie and her friend at the links below. 

And, as always, Happy Reading!

http://novelsandnecklaces.blogspot.com/2016/01/book-review-rising-shadows-rising.html#.Vo7fhFLlwfA

http://novelsandnecklaces.blogspot.com/2016/01/book-review-chasing-shadows-rising.html#.Vo7fCFLlwfA

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Spotlight Saturday with RHL!

Published September 5, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Romantic Historical Reviews is one of my favorite historical book review sites, and so I was preeeeeety excited to be featured on today’s Saturday Spotlight. (Two seconds for fangirl shrieking, aaaaand I’m back)

Follow the link below to check out the spotlight on Chasing Shadows, read an excerpt from one of my FAVORITE scenes I’ve ever written–and probably will ever write–and enter the giveaway for a free copy of Chasing Shadows. And, as always, be sure to share the links and don’t deprive your book loving friends of free books. Nobody likes a cookie/book monster who doesn’t share!

http://www.romantichistoricalreviews.com/saturday-spotlight-chasing-shadows-by-ashley-townsend/

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.

That same year, Lily and Robin get Marshall and Barney to the best level of drunkenness ever reached. | The 53 Most Pivotal Moments From All Of "How I Met Your Mother" In Chronological Order

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”

 

Interview with Dystopian Author Nadine Brandes

Published October 26, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Just answer as many as you find applicable, or feel you want to answer
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself that we won’t find in your bio?

exploreHm..well, I’m an adventurer determined to experience as many sides of life as possible. Some odd facts about myself are: I was once a professional drummer, I’ve scuba dived in a sunken ship, and I tried to make it to the Olympics by snowboard racing. The Olympic thing was a dream much bigger than I understood when I started. In the process, I learned I’m not a competitive person. I was actually relieved when the journey ended at Nationals. 

I live in Idaho, my heart is in Missouri, but hubby and I hope to move to Russia someday. How’s that for “a little bit” about myself? [grin]

What inspired you to become an author?

Birth, really. I was born needing to write, needing to process via words. I turned everything into a story – both verbally and on paper. I created comic books as soon as I could draw with “paper pals” I’d sketch and send on adventures through little time machines.

It wasn’t until I was seventeen that I realized I wanted to do it for life and pursue writing as a career.

How did you come up with the idea for “A Time to Die”?

It came upon me, really. Quite forcefully. I was in the middle of grad school and an acquaintance of mine passed away. He was my age and it got me thinking about how short life could be. I wondered if I’d live differently if I knew I had a year left. That’s when the idea of A Time to Die hit me – what if a culture existed where everyone knew the day they would die? Would we live differently?

Tell us about your main characters. Do you have a favorite?

Parvin is my main character and easily my favorite. She asks a lot of questions I once asked in my lifetime so her journey feels very close to home. I like trying to delve into a teenager’s mind without supporting the common stereotypes we hold regarding teenages — angsty, irrational, selfish, etc. Just because that’s common with some teenagers doesn’t mean that’s how they all are. I wanted to capture the inner struggle. In doing so, I grew to love Parvin even more.

parvin

Reid is Parvin’s twin brother. He’s a traveler in love with adventures and always looking out for his family. Then there’s Jude – the mysterious inventor. He was a challenge to write. I went from not liking it at all to liking him too much (which made certain story elements harder.) Eventually I found a balance.

As for the other characters? I’ll just have to let you meet them on your own! 😉

What was your favorite scene(s) to write and why?

Strangely, the sad or intense scenes were the most fun to write. I thrive off of writing emotions, that’s when I’m at my best, I think. So whenever there needed to be a tragedy or a hard character decision, that’s when I got glued to my computer.

What do you do in your spare time when you aren’t writing?

readin 1Spare time? What’s that? [wink] Actually, I’m a freelance editor and all my spare time goes to editing. If I have true spare time – where I don’t have to edit or write – I’ll either read or spend time with family. Or do something artsy. 

If you could live inside the pages of any book (or series), what would it be and why?

My gut instinct is Harry Potter because that series inspired me and impacted my life in very positive ways. Not to mention that, I’m so nerdy about the whole series, I’d do quite well in a wand battle. But I’d have to be able to bring my hubby with me. 😀

You’re trapped on a desert island and can only save one book—using the rest for firewood (I just gagged at the thought)—to read until you’re saved months later, what would it be? Your answer must be a title other than the Bible—that’s a given.

Cruel! You are so cruel! Well, providing that I had food and provisions to keep me alive (without needing a survival book), I’d probably pick the dictionary…or a giant book of Systematic Theology. Or a huge encyclopedia.

I know, that is so boring. A million fiction books ran through my mind, but I can’t in good conscience devote several months to only entertainment. Must. Expand. Vocabulary!

(Side note: After I read Nadine’s response–bahahahahaha! And this is why I love this author, people! She’s got her priorities straight)

imaginationWhere do you get your ideas? Is anything in your book based on your own experiences, or is it purely from your imagination?

Mostly from imagination, dreams, or Scripture. A lot of times, my stories draw from a “what if” question. “What if” everyone knew the day they’d die? “What if” every wish came true? “What if”…

 Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Nope. There are scenes that are harder to write than others, but I rarely go into a story without knowing where it’s supposed to go. I don’t have time for writer’s block. 😉 In this, I count myself very lucky because I know a lot of writers who struggle with it.

Can you tell us about your challenges (if any) in getting your first book published?

Frankly, I had my “publishing story” handed to me on a silver platter. The only rejection letter I received came the same day I received the offer of a contract from my top publisher.

The hardest challenge was continuing to write and better my craft, really. It’s crucial that we apply what we learn as we receive edits or read craft books. Writing is hard! But worth it. [grin]

What stories are you currently working on?

I’m writing book two in the Out of Time Series and the first rough draft is done! After this series, I have some pretty cool ideas (I think.) A portal fantasy, another dystopian, an apocalyptic-type of idea. I need to learn to write faster.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Go to a writer’s conference! This is the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone who wants to grow in his or her writing craft. I know a lot of writers are introverts and that writing conferences can seem expensive or intimidating, but it’s the next step. Take it. Be brave!

How can we discover more about your book?

Read it! Oh, I mean, you can find read about it on my website or Amazon. Most of my updates go through Facebook and my newsletter. I’m also on Goodreads for all you Goodreads fans out there.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for reading. I hope that, instead of escapism, my books inspire you to live more fully. Remember, life demands pursuit, and God’s given us the perfect amount of time with which to catch it.

Thanks, Nadine, for sharing your amazing journey with us and for giving the literary world such a gem as “A Time to Die.” And if Nadine were still here, I imagine she’d give a resounding “Welks!” ^_^ You’ll understand when you read the book. 

Catch up with Nadine and buy “A Time to Die” in paperback and ebook today. You will NOT be sorry!

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Die-Out-Book/dp/1621840298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414010106&sr=8-1&keywords=a+time+to+die+nadine 

 

New Interviews Just Released

Published October 21, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

A couple new interviews have just been released, one with Double Decker Books and the other with Ink Spell Reviews. I loved answering the My Top 10 Fiction Crushes questions from Ink Spell. I’m a fangirl, so that’s one of the most complicated questions to answer, but I love a challenge! Check them out, like, and share around.

Also, my Between the Pages post will still be up Friday this week, but I’ll be on vacation all of next week and so I won’t have a regular post on Halloween night, the 31st. Because, you know, I’ll be on a vacation. I’m very happy about this fact. ^_^ 

SPEAKING of which. For those of you with an Instagram, or if you don’t have an account and have fingers for searching and scrolling, be sure to follow my sister’s Instagram before this weekend. We’ll be turning it into a promotional page for “Chasing Shadows.” My copies of the book are coming today! Gah! Suffering from excruciating joy!

Anyway, I’m taking a couple copies along with me on vacation for all sorts of nonsense. He might (yes, my books are male, like my future fiction husband Will Taylor from “Chasing Shadows”!) go hipster and sip local coffee in a cafe with a pipe and typewriter, use bathroom stalls for making cupcakes, take selfies with tourists, fly off into the sunset,etc. You never know what can happen in the fiction world! So, like I said, follow d_jeans86 on Instagram, and keep an eye out this weekend and all next week for the wacky wonders that we’ll be posting on there. 

Last order(s) of business. 

The 2014 Gold Rush author event at Barnes and Noble with Livia Blackburne, Stephanie Diaz, Bethany Crandell, Tracy Holczer, and Maria Andreu was, in a word: THE-MOST-SPECTACULAR-EVENT-IN-THE-HISTORY-OF-READING-AND-WRITING. Yes, just one word. There was a great turnout, and the authors were hilarious and amazing and took so much time to answer our questions (I asked several-haha). Afterwards, I picked up a copy of Stephanie’s book “Extraction” to have her sign it, and I’m super excited about it. It was also really exciting when Bethany Crandell, a San Diego local, recognized my name, and then the entire group of FIVE successful authors started asking me questions about “Chasing Shadows” and talking about how cool it sounded, and Bethany even wants to get together to discuss the book. *gasp* 80 Uh, okay? Um, YES! Liz, Katie, and I were all in heaven the entire time, and it was so cool for all of us to chat with ladies in the business. That will go down as a highlight of 2014.  

Oh! And for you San Diego natives, you might be seeing “Chasing Shadows” at your local library very soon. That’s right. I’m working right now (today, actually) on getting it into circulation. EEEE! I’d love all your prayers and support for this to work out, because it would be amazing to have it available to the general public and kids who can’t afford to purchase their own copies. Been there, and the library saved my life from becoming book-less. ^_^

Follow DeAnna on Instagram for hilarity and to see what all “Chasing Shadows” is up to:

http://instagram.com/d_jeans86

http://inkspellreviews.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/chasing-shadows-townsendtales-blog-tour/

http://doubledeckerbooks.blogspot.com/2014/10/hot-coco-interview-with-author-ashley.html?spref=tw

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Shadows-Ashley-Townsend-ebook/dp/B00O6VCZVQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1413922294

“Chasing Shadows” Has A Cousin!

Published August 27, 2014 by Ashley Townsend
Or maybe it’s sister/brother (I haven’t decided a gender for Book III yet).

Brace youselves

After having the Shadow Trilogy rattling around in my brain for nearly a decade, I set out this past weekend to tie up loose ends. That’s right, guys: Book III is officially underway! Most of you know how I like to make a big deal out of everything and turn it into a memorable event, so I just sat there for a full five minutes, watching that little line blink on and off on the clean slate that was the brand new Word doc. And I just let it sink in that the next word I wrote would be the last first word I would ever write in this series.

The beginning of the end.

Okay, okay, it sounds super dramatic that way, but it’s the truth. While I have a caravan full of other stories plotted out and half-written, and also random ideas that I want to bring to life, it’s still hard to accept that after this series, I’ll never really get to hang out with these characters again.

Start writing

For an author, starting the final installment in a trilogy is like having your kid graduate from high school—they haven’t gone off to college yet, but it’s only a matter of time—or setting your feet on the moon for the first time. OR like tasting your one and only first bite of Talenti ice cream. You’ll never be able to go back and experience the tantalizing flavors of Mediterranean Mint, Sea Salt Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, or Cappuccino (trust me, you’re missing out). Unless, of course, I’m successful in creating a time machine and can travel back simply for the purpose of eating and experiencing history. You’re welcome for that. 😉

So going back to what I was actually talking about before (writing, remember?). It’s either extremely exciting or totally terrifying to begin a new story, but for me it’s always a little bit of both. I’m not sure if it’s fear that I won’t be able to do the story justice, but all I know is that it feels a little like going on a first date, or so I’ve heard (all the single ladies, woot-woot!): Is the opener/introduction good enough to keep them interested? Haha. I know, I’m full of weird analogies today, but they’re all totally appropriate.

I did it anyway, though. I typed those first two lines, and then another four . . . then a page, and by the time I was done—and only because I had to go to work and get real pants on—I had the entire prologue finished, another scene typed up, and several chapters plotted out. EEE! I can’t tell you how good it felt to once again have new ideas pouring from my fingertips, my mind working faster than they could type. I don’t think I’ve ever had totally new and unexpected ideas and scenes come to me so quickly. In that hour before work, I explained Cadius’ motives for—well, I guess you’ll find that out in “Chasing Shadows” ;-P—why Ridlan, the surrounding province, will play such a significant part in the series, how time travel is really going to mess things up, why the professor was betrayed, and also how Karen’s parents were murdered. It was like an onslaught of awesome!

Soon, I’ll be releasing quotes/excerpts from “Chasing Shadows,” doing a final, final cover reveal once it’s sized, and also releasing the official map of Serimone, thanks to the amazing Roan Carter, who illustrated the cover. But you guys are just as important to the success of this series as my writing is, even more so because you guys help to get the word out about “Chasing Shadows.” I have some signing events, activities, meet and greets, and the like over the next few months, and I would love for you all to help spread the word when I post event info. You can Tweet, Pin, like/share on Facebook, follow, become a fan on Goodreads via the link on the sidebar, blog, or use word of mouth to share anything pertaining to the series. Or if you have any creative ideas for promotions that I can add to my bag of tricks, let me know!

I have a few ideas for a title that I have up my sleeve, but I can’t reveal them quite yet. If you’re interested in contributing your input, though, please send me an email with possible titles (containing the word “Shadows”) for the final installment in the Shadow Trilogy. And I’m still accepting review and interview submissions. If you want to host me on your blog and review “Chasing Shadows,” or if you’re an author who would like for me to interview them, let me know at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com

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