Timey-wimey, Robin Hood, & All the Feels (Defying Shadows Review)

My review is below, but first I just wanted to mention something!

Defying Shadows HAS BEEN NOMINATED for the August edition of a thing called Clash of the Titles, which YOU can help with by popping over HERE to vote (through August 31) on one of four featured books — which one sounds most interesting to you.

So shoo! Go vote!! 😀 Hurry! Time’s a-wasting!

(Get it…? Time…? Ahem.)

Then come back here and read this review because you don’t want to miss out on hearing all about a timey-wimey Robin Hood-ish adventure, right? 😉

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My Review

defyingshadowsDefying Shadows

(book #3 in the Rising Shadows Trilogy)

by Ashley Townsend

Age range: YA

Genre: Christian / Romance / Time Travel / Historical Fiction / Contemporary

Bonus: Retelling / Robin Hood

5starrating

“I laughed, I cried . . . it moved me, Bob.”*

*(Sorry to go all VeggieTales on you but the quote seemed appropriate. Ahem.)

THIS BOOK, PEOPLE. This review is going to be one of the hardest ones I’ve ever written, because almost all of my favorite things about it are in major spoiler territory… But part of the fun is going on this plot-twisty journey of discovery yourself when you read the book, so I’ll try to keep my review spoiler-free! 🙂

The third book in the Rising Shadows trilogy by Ashley Townsend, Defying Shadows, finally wraps up the adventures of Sarah and her friends in Serimone—and what a wrap-up! *flailing*

This book had EVERYTHING. List, because lists are grand:

  • time travel and everything timey-wimey involved with that
  • historical fiction of a medieval variety
  • contemporary parts
  • sweet adorable romance
  • threads of Christian faith
  • a retelling-of-sorts involving Robin Hood (!!!)
  • mystery and intrigue
  • all sorts of different character arcs
  • PLOT TWISTS AND REVEALS GALORE
  • swashbuckling action
  • heartfelt parts
  • humor/banter/character relationships that are so fun to read
  • even a dash of nautical adventure!

It just has EVERYTHING, I tell you.

(I also feel like this series would make a stunningly gorgeous awesome movie or TV show. XD Somebody get on that.)

I loved the time-travel stuff—it was BRILLIANT and made me happy. 🙂 Just… everything time related was so cool. In the first two, it’s basically a “portal” method to get Sarah into Serimone, and doesn’t do much beyond that, which was fine. BUT IN THIS ONE IT WAS SO INVOLVED. So much timey-wimey going on. And I loved that. 😀

There were so many revelations and plot twists, which I so enjoyed! I guessed a few of them, but if anything that made me love it even MORE, simply because I was so excited to see them unfold the way I wanted them to. 😀 It blew my mind SO. MANY. TIMES. and made me so excited and I just loooooved that.

The romance element was so sweet. Really enjoyed it! It wasn’t the main focus of the plot, so there was a lot of other stuff going on, but it weaved in really well. Will and Sarah are ADORBZ and PERFECT together and I don’t know if I ever shipped anyone so hard. XD …Okay, I was really shipping a certain other spoilery side-couple there too. 😉 SO MUCH SPOILERS BUT SO WONDERFUL. ❤

And the retelling/Robin Hood stuff!!! It made me so happy and it was so unique and awesome, loose but still noticeable, and I just… ksldkjfalsdkjf I CANNOT BE COHERENT UPON THIS SUBJECT. I will try though. 😉 Okay, so I ADORED how the retelling stuff came out in this book. Between that and the characters and the time stuff, those three totally made Defying Shadows AMAZING for me!!! ❤ *hugs book* It was completely brilliant how the Robin Hood things were slipped in, kind of subtly sometimes, recognizable in their way and yet with such NEW twists. AWK IT WAS AMAZING. *flailing around* It’s killing me not to expound upon the subject because I loved SO many particular aspects of it, but I don’t want to give anything away. Needless to say, it’s AWESOME and everyone must read it just for the Robin Hood ish elements. Because Robin Hood things are awesome and that is all that needs to be said upon the subject. *nods* (BUT TWISTS THOUGH.)

Defying Shadows was definitely a feelsy book—the emotions run deep, y’all! It made me laugh and smile and get excited and get angry (in a good way) and feel torn and left me teary-eyed a couple times, which isn’t all that common for this here reader… It made my feels a bit of a mess (who am I kidding—a LARGE MESS AWK) and I normally get annoyed at books for doing that but this one was just right and I didn’t actually mind. ^_^ (For those who don’t know me: this is a MAJOR deal. Props to the author for pulling it off.)

I enjoyed the first two books (Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows), but this one I really LOVED. I was daunted by its size, but while I was reading it, it didn’t seem long at all—it was just the right size and needed that length because of ALL the things that happen. I would also say the writing is AMAZING in this book. It’s improved a lot since the first two. (They were by no means bad! But with this one, the writing has grown by leaps and bounds!) It’s exciting to watch an author grow from book to book, and I’d say Ashley Townsend has definitely come into her own. This book was so well written. Huge thumbs-up on all of that!

Do I have any complaints? Honestly, hardly any. I had a couple minor nitpicks along the way about characters doing things where I was like “WHYYYY, GUYS??” or coming to odd-seeming conclusions, but otherwise the book held together and was amazing on the whole. 🙂 I am very much on the fence with mixed feelings over the epilogue, though… There’s a part of me that likes it because it was a brilliant epilogue, but there’s another part which would have rather had it end on the simply INCREDIBLE high note of the actual ending of the final chapter! ❤ The epilogue was bittersweet (to me at least) which is not my sort of cup of tea? But I’m probably weird and most people will probably love it, so. 😛

Okay, character time. 😉 I loved being back with these characters in Serimone—it was like coming home. ❤

  • Will is of course AWESOME and my favoritest of all. <333 His story-arc was the best. I so enjoyed reading about him in this book! I think he came really far and he’s just… I HAVEN’T WORDS. He’s just such a great guy, heroic and a little dark/sad sometimes, but still learning things, and he’ll do anything for those he loves, and just… WILL. Will Will Will. That is all. ❤
  • Sarah really grew on me in this one! She actually kind of annoyed me at times in the first two? But this time I liked her! I actually felt a lot of the things she was feeling, which is different for me. XD She’s a good heroine. *thumbs up*
  • Damien is… ACK MY FEELS FOR DAMIEN. In Chasing Shadows, he was funny and charming and all, but I spent so much time while I was reading that one, worrying that Sarah would fall for him instead of Will, so that Damien was very much the unwanted-corner-of-the-love-triangle/villain, for me. I didn’t totally dislike him, because his charm DID get to me and sometimes I felt bad for him, but I didn’t see what Sarah saw in him, because Will was so much more awesome. 😉 But in Defying Shadows, Damien had a lot of focus and character stuff involved, AND THE AUTHOR MADE ME LOVE HIM TOO. I’m super impressed. I went from hating this guy to feeling bad for him to really liking him, and his whole plot in this story just… salskdjldkj. I have many feelings that I can’t sort out. I will say nothing more because oh-so-many-spoilers, but wow. (And the yew tree! UGH MY FEELS. D:) But his story-arc was really well done and I liked how it fit in with the rest of the story, and I’m okay. Really. (FEELS THOUGH.)
  • And then there’s a character whose very NAME is a spoiler, so she shall remain nameless, but her story-arc was AMAZING and I loved it to pieces, which really surprised me. O_O This coming from a character I loathed for awhile but came to really like and just… I’m speechless. The talent from this author just blows me away. Not to mention how many times my mind was blown about revelations concerning this character. Speaking of mind-blowing…
  • Robert and Richard were both awesome, and my favorites. (I keep saying that, I know. WELL THEY’RE ALL MY FAVORITES.) I absolutely LOVED their roles in the story!! *bouncing up and down* You will have to read it, but suffice it to say they are awesome and the best and that is all. 😀
  • And Karen! She’s great. And I LOVED her friendship with Sarah, not to mention Karen and Seth together—just so much yes. Also Will’s friendship with Seth and Robert and Richard—I loved seeing those relationships! So much awesome bonding in this book. ^_^
  • We got new characters too, like Merek, who was cool. He’s one of those instantly  likeable characters, and all wise and everything too. He wasn’t in it for very long but I really liked him. He made me think of a Friar Tuck type character. 😀
  • Obviously I abhor the villains who shall also remain nameless and are all horrible which means they’re doing their job. XD They were just UGH. Really nefarious and well-written.

And just… SO MUCH STUFF GOING ON. I’m so amazed at how many character plot threads managed to fit in this story! So many characters had so much going on and it managed to weave together and just wow. Call me impressed.

ANYWAY. This review has gone on quite long enough (though I didn’t even flail and squeal over all the spoilery parts I loved! AWK! <3) so I shall wrap up now. In my defense, the book is long, so there’s a lot to talk about. 😉

Overall, Defying Shadows is an extremely enjoyable time-travel Christian YA romance with a dash of Robin Hood retelling, marvelous writing, lovable characters with deep story-arcs, many feels, and… overall just a lot of fun. It did a splendid job of tying up the threads of the whole series and just… it made me really happy. ^_^

I highly recommend trying Defying Shadows out! (Though you might want to read the first two books, Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows, first so that you understand things… But hold out till the end, because Defying Shadows is the absolute BEST! ❤ )

Disclaimer and thanks: I was a beta-reader for this book before its publication, so I received a free copy of it for that, and the opinions in this review are entirely my own. Many thanks to the author, the lovely Ashley Townsend, for the chance to go on this journey through Serimone with Will and Sarah and the gang! I had a blast and I think a part of my heart will remain with them. ^_^

About the Book

defyingshadows

One choice can define your future.

At first, Sarah’s return to twelfth century Serimone is as wonderful as she could have hoped—reconnecting with Will and celebrating the union of her two friends—but things quickly fall to pieces when she uncovers something that could unsettle the new regime. Before she can share this information, Sarah is forcibly whisked away by the one man she thought she’d never see again: Damien Lisandro, the friend who betrayed her and the traitor who was supposed to spend his life behind bars. Even more unsettling is the revelation that the mystery they had solved is far from over as a dead man comes back to life with the intent of corrupting the future.

In Will’s desperate attempts to find Sarah, he uncovers the mystery that she left behind, putting into question the kingdom’s past and the motives of its current king. But the madman whose mission it is to change history will stop at nothing until he succeeds, and a team of ragtag time travelers are the only ones left who can stop him.

As this exciting chapter of her life nears its end, Sarah must finally choose between Serimone and her world–between the easy choice and the right one.

Defying Shadows released July, 2016.

Find it online:

Amazon | Goodreads


Check out the first two books in the series & my reviews for them:

Rising Shadows (#1)

risingshadowscovernew

My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

Chasing Shadows (#2)

chasingshadows

My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

About Ashley Townsend

ashleytownsendAshley is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and she hopes that others will join in her fantastical escapades! She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the beach, and San Diego, CA. She hopes that God will use her wild imagination and love of storytelling to further entertain and encourage readers in their walk with God.  She currently lives in Southern California with her parents and three sisters.

Follow her quirkiness at Ashley-Townsend.com.

So, what think ye, readers? Robin Hood + Time Travel = pretty awesome, huh? 😀 Do you enjoy retellings, and what’s the best time travel book you’ve read?

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Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Books!

HI EVERYONE. NANO IS OVER AND I SURVIVED. More on that in a later post but right now BOOKS!

See, I know I just posted yesterday already. And I know I’ve been posting constantly for absolutely no reason except that I accidentally became one of “those” people who blogs all the time because apparently I’m addicted?

But ANYWAY that is neither here nor there and the point is that I’ve decided to hop on the Top Ten Tuesdays (by The Broke and the Bookish) bandwagon this week, because BOOKS and LISTS and because this week’s prompt was too good to pass up.

And mostly because NaNo is over so I can think about books and reading again AND I’M JUST SO EXCITED AAAHH LET ME FLAIL AND HUG ALL OF THE BOOKS!

I’ve never done Top Ten Tuesday before but I’ve wanted to ever since I learned about it. IT LOOKS FUN. This week’s prompt is Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels We’re Looking Forward To.

I’m not doing debuts, just books I’m excited about, and I’m doing 12 because that’s how many I know about coming out next year that I want to read, and I’m very much a rebel at this moment… But hey, a couple extra is cool, right?

Heeeere are the 2016-releases lovelies I’m looking forward to, roughly in order of publication date . . .

Yorien’s Hand – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt (January 11, 2016)

Ever since reading Five Enchanted Roses, I’ve wanted more by this author, and I have an ARC for this one and there are dragons and am so excited to read it LET ME FLAIL.


The Goblin’s Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice – Andrew S. Chilton (January 19, 2016)

I don’t even know why I want to read this but I saw a review and it sounds fun and I don’t even know but basically sign me up. Plus, that title? Total win.

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A Spy’s Devotion – Melanie Dickerson (February 9, 2016)

I. Am. So. Stupendously. Excited. About. This. Book. AD;LFKHALFKHSKDFH MY JOY AND INCOHERENCY KNOWS NO BOUNDS! Basically, it’s Melanie Dickerson, who I always enjoy reading. And it’s a regency romance, which I can enjoy occasionally–I may not be the biggest fan, but I do enjoy a Jane Austen here or a Georgette Heyer there… BUT GET THIS, IT’S AN ADVENTURESOME REGENCY WITH SPIES AND PLOTS AND THINGS AND BASICALLY I’M INSANELY EXCITED AND NEEEEED IT! ❤ Ahem. I . . . am kind of looking forward to this one if you can’t tell . . . I also hear rumors of a cover coming soon and can’t wait. 😀

Fridays with the Wizards – Jessica Day George (February 11, 2016)

I know, I haven’t even read the first few in this series, but my sources say they are good so I want to, and look at that cover — doesn’t it look fuuun?? GRIFFINS YAY.

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Defying Shadows – Ashley Townsend (early 2016)

It’s the sequel to Chasing Shadows which I reviewed, and I may have mentioned this one before but the release date got pushed back and anyway I’M SO EXCITED BECAUSE SEQUEL AND WILL.

Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton (March 8, 2016)

No idea. Totally blame Cait for this one. She mentioned it in her Top Ten Thirty-Four post today and it looked yummy because epic fantasy+Persian+gunpowder=yes please.

The Story of Kullervo – J. R. R. Tolkien (April 5, 2016)

Um. They’re always “finding” old previous-version writings of Tolkien’s and by now it feels slightly odd BUT HEY WHO CARES IT’S BY MY FAVORITE AUTHOR SIGN ME UP. It’s supposed to be some earlier version of the story of Túrin, and also will have some of Tolkien’s notes on The Kalevala so that sounds interesting…

King’s Folly – Jill Williamson (April 2016)

Because Jill Williamson is writing fantasy again which makes me enormously pleased, plus the Blood of Kings Trilogy was stupendous and a prequel series sounds cool. (And it will give me a marvelous excuse to reread aaall the Achan books! Yay!)


The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson (May 17, 2016)

Sequel to The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, I’m gargantuanly excited about this one BECAUSE IT’S THE MARGRAVE’S STORY AND HE WAS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER IN THE FIRST ONE AND HE GETS A STORY NOW AND ALSDJFLDKJ I CAN’T WAIT!!

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Untitled (Stolen Crowns, #1) – Jessica Day George (2016)

I should probably actually read some more books by this author before I get excited about any more of them buuuut this one sounds yummy because it’s about fairytale princesses who are grown up and living their Happily-Ever-Afters disappearing, so their kids have to save them, so BASICALLY YES.

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The Bone Queen – Alison Croggon (2016)

This one is sliiightly cheating again, as it’s a prequel to the Books of Pellinor series which has four books of which I’ve only read the first (so far), but this is a prequel about Cadvan WHO IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS OF EVER AND THIS IS A WHOLE BOOK ABOUT HIM?? So I obviously have to be insanely excited about this. Yes.

Five Magic Spindles (Summer 2016)

Which we don’t even know who the stories will be by or what they will be about (except, in some vague sense, Sleeping Beauty…) but it’s clear that I’m dying to read this already despite all of that. Go figure.

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There’s my list! 🙂

What books are you excited about coming out next year? Any of these? Are any new to you?

Also I will be back again as soon as my brain becomes less scattered, with tales of my (possibly) most insane NaNo yet and all of that good stuff.

HAPPY DECEMBER! *frolics happily in the snow on my blog because that’s probably the only snow I’ll see this winter*

Ishness of a September Variety {2015}

It’s time for another foray into Ishness…

ChasingShadowsCoverBut first! A note…

Ashley Townsend is having an awesome giveaway running from this Sunday (Oct 4) to the 16th, to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Chasing Shadows having been released. So make sure to stop by her blog for the details! It’s going to be epic, there’s signed books and giftcards, and you’re not going want to miss it! #TeamHood, everyone! 🙂

And another note…

I was interviewed by Abi Pearson on her blog!

Go check it out, do! 🙂

ishness

I sort of blinked and then September was over. It was basically a whirlwind of me being busy and somehow not getting the things done I wanted to but still doing lots of stuff.

Highlights of the Month

Library Book Sale. I went to a library sale, where I got a stack of books and old videos. (Now I must just find more time…)

BookHome

My room will eventually look like this.

Vacationing. I was gone on vacation for a few days — road trips and English Country Dancing and kayaking, huzzah! (I’d never kayaked before. I found out that it’s tremendous fun.)

My first interviews! I was interviewed by Jenelle Schmidt on her website, as I mentioned way back when it happened, and also yesterday by Abi Pearson on her blog, as I said above. So exciting! I’d never been interviewed, and then it happens twice in one month. 🙂

I had my 2 year blogoversary!

That was exciting. I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for two years! Last month I also hit 10,000 hits, 2,000 comments (techinically half of the comments are probably me replying, since I always do that… But still. 😉 ), and over 220 followers. Thanks so much, everyone!! Readers and commenters are the absolute BEST thing about blogging! You make it worth it and are all awesome and make me happy. ❤

2 Years of Blogging! Happy Day!

Writing

August was a big writerly month for me… September, not so much. Life was so busy and hectic that I couldn’t really focus on writing much. Plus, I’d finished Darkling Reflections and hit a roadblock on The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2). So I wasn’t really working directly on anything…

…And then I randomly started writing The Rose and the Raven.

R&R

What happens . . .

. . . when both the princess and the prince who’s supposed to kiss her . . .

. . . fall asleep . . .

. . . half way across the country from each other?

I may have mentioned it a few times, but basically it’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and I haven’t decided yet if it might be a candidate for entering the Rooglewood Press contest or not. That would depend on a.) if I finish it, b.) if it’s short enough, c.) if I like it enough, and d.) if I actually have time to finish writing it before the deadline… which, considering the madness that is NaNo prep and NaNo, I actually rather doubt. Regardless, it’s an idea I’ve had for quite some time (parts of it… Other parts “clicked” a couple months ago) that I’ve really been wanting to write.

I’m going back and forth between being in love with it and thinking it’s stupid/loathing it with the loathing of a hundred seasons.

Sigh.

#Writerproblems

Anyways, I’m hoping it will be a novella and I wrote 3500 words of it in September and will be continuing if I can untangle myself from the writer’s block I seem to have run into at a million miles an hour (i.e., I’m kind of stuck).

But it has a number of twists that I’m very excited about, including the fact that the curse is kind of skewed differently than the fairy who cast it planned, and the thing in question to be pricked on is not actually a spindle. It also involves a prince and princess being adorable as they grow up together and (hopefully) fall in love (I wouldn’t know; I haven’t gotten that far…); forbidden love; a fairy and her evil twin; and lots and lots of outlawed roses.

Anyway, despite typical writer problems of loathing and writer’s block, I’m “enjoying” setting foot tentatively in The Rose and the Raven and getting to know Prince Derrick and Princess Brie (a.k.a. Brier-Rose, which is awkward considering roses were banned soon after she was born. So now she’s just Princess Brier, or Brie to her friends) and the fairy Ev (who some may remember from my Blogoversary post…).

I’ve also thrown myself into planning for NaNo. Not REAL NaNo planning, like actual plotting for the story I’m actally going to write (only a little of that so far). No. Nothing so extreme. That’s what October’s for, right? …Right? But rather pre-NaNo-prep prep, like schedules and to-do lists and lots and lots of scheming regarding my NaNo region involving what I plan to do as an ML (NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison).

nanostuff

(A glimpse at prepping for my ML life. Look at all that NaNo stuff! I didn’t even plan that picture, I was just doing stuff with all the NaNo things, and suddenly realized it was all spread out for a perfect photo opportunity. Ta-da!)

Read

I was mostly too busy to read… Insanity, right?

I did finish The Scarlet Pimpernel and really enjoyed it! Plus, the Scarlet Pimpernel himself was AWESOME, naturally, and not in this book enough. Fortunately, I hear there are sequels. *schemes to read several of the sequels because some are free on gutenberg.org and some are also at my library so mwahaha*

And because I was starving for books and hadn’t read in a few weeks, I randomly up and read a Diana Wynne Jones books I had around and (miraculously) hadn’t read yet — Power of Three. I LOVED IT SO MUCH OH MY GOODNESS. ❤ The twist. The characters. The world. The epicness. The humor (of course). Classic Diana Wynne Jones. It was stupendous!

Sept2015Books

And that’s it. Yup. I read 2 books this last month. That’s a new low for me this year. *dies a little inside because neeeeeeed booooooks*

Oh, and it doesn’t count as a “book” exactly, more of an essay, but I also just last night finished a delightful little book (can one call it a pamphlet if it’s an ebook…?) of 60-ish pages from 1908 called “How to Live on 24 Hours a Day” by Arnold Bennett. I heard about it I believe from some random NaNo pep-talk or news email or something… Chris Baty or some person with a high position at NaNo randomly mentioned it (wish I could remember where!) and linked to it being free on kindle or gutenberg.org, so I randomly downloaded it at the time and promptly didn’t read it for a year or so. I finally did. And I found to be fascinating, hilarious, well-written, with some good tips, and basically awesome. No, I don’t in fact know how to live on 24 hours a day now, but still, it has great ides and I’ll hopefully put some of it to use eventually. Regardless, it’s a splendid read (and short!) and I’m just amazed how brilliant and articulate and funny people from back then were — think the authors of Holmes and Bertie Wooster and Around the World in 80 Days. I’ve rarely if ever read non-fiction that was as hilarious but also useful as this little pamphlet. Lots of fun and also enlightening! I kept reading bits of it aloud for the wit and wisdom. 😀 (Find it on Goodreads too.)

I’m not doing a Nightstand Books/Upcoming Reads for this month, because while I do have a few ebooks I hope to read before NaNo, and a stack of other books that I would love to read the first chance I get, I really don’t know how much I’ll get to this month. For the record, I AM starving to read some books, so I hope I’ll get to do some of that this month. Because BOOOOKS. There’s at least one that I’m VERRRY much looking forward to reading, and you should see a review for it later this month if I can get through it on time… I can’t wait!

Watched

Well, since I wasn’t reading much, I had to get my story fix from somewhere. So I’ve been watching films and shows a little more than I usually do. Normally I’m not a big watcher, not because I’m against watching things or anything, I just normally have more books to read than things to see and I’d normally rather spend my time reading; but these happened this month:

moviesSept2015

  • Yes, I finally saw Mulan and The Lion King. I know, I know, everyone’s shocked I hadn’t before… They were fairly adorbz.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel from the ’30s was fun to see, just to see the story on screen (but honestly it got rid of most of the tension, and all of the ingenious stuff the Scarlet Pimpernel himself did at the end).
  • I’ll be honest: I only watched Little Women because of Christian Bale. I didn’t remember the story much except to know that I dislike it. *more heart attacks from the audience* Yeah, sorry; it seems it’s my fate in life to shock my blog readers beyond repair. (But the whole story is depressing; and you-know-who died which was NOT okay; and Laurie married the wrong girl. Just sayin’. I guess Jo maybe started the whole “just friends” thing… *cough*)
  • I’m also re-watching the Hunger Games movies before the new one (one down; one and a half to go…).
  • And re-watching some Sherlock. Because Sherlock.

Kanan

One of the best things I’ve seen this year is Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1). Asdflksjdflkjdf. It is just SO much fun!!! *flails around* I’m not the most enormous Star Wars fan in the world — I enjoy it a lot but I’m not obsessed. And I never really liked the Clone Wars animated show, what little I’ve seen of it. But the Rebels show, set about fifteen years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (and so a few years before Episode IV: A New Hope), is hilarious and fun and I just love the characters, especially Ezra (the hero) and Kanan. They are quite simply AWESOME. Just sayin’. And the rest are super cool and fun too Seriously, I’ve rarely come across such a wonderful dynamic crew of characters — I just love them all and their hilarious interactions. So much awesome and fun!!! It may be a little simple to some, but I just ENJOY it. Lots. Sometimes you just want to laugh, you know? It’s just so awesome. I can’t flail enough. ^_^ ❤

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Ezra Bridger

And of course, I saw Beyond the Mask again, now that it’s on DVD! Love that movie!! ❤ Also one of the best things I’ve seen this year. SO. GOOD.

beyondthemaskDVDshelf

(I know, the camera flash masked his face even better than his mask does. Of course I did it on purpose…)

(This is also a good excuse to go: LOOK AT THE BEAUTIFUL BOOKS I NEED TO READ. Ahem.)

October Plans?

October is going to be insane for me. I have lots of catching up to do, lots of NaNo prep that must be done, a whole NaNo novel to plan, several writing events and things I need to go to, a lot of planning still to be done relating to my position as a NaNo ML, and I wouldn’t say no to finishing my Sleeping Beauty novella if I possibly could. Not to mention the daily insanity of every-day life.

I have a massive, exhaustive, comprehensive to-do list that is currently running at 5 pages, of stuff I would like to get done before November 1st brings with it the storm that is NaNoWriMo. …Yeah, probably not happening. *cough cough*

Oh, and I have some upcoming bookish posts and writerly posts (NaNo prep, huzzah!) so watch for that!

So. That’s my September. How was yours? Do you have October plans?

Fall 2015 Books

Today is the first day of Autumn! Yayness! Can you feel it in the air? Maybe? Almost? …Ahem. Autumn just kind of excites me because it’s not going to be as HOT and it feels adventurous and it smells nice and feels nice and of course NaNo will be soon and… you get the picture. I LIKE AUTUMN. There.

Also, yesterday (Sept. 22) was Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday. Couldn’t let that go un-noted… HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUYS. (Yes, I always celebrate the Long Expected Party, even if it’s just by thinking about it.)

I’ve heard it called Hobbit Day… and yesterday for it, Rebekah @ Wordsmithing and Worldbuilding posted possibly my favorite Middle-earth-ish post ever.

Everyone, go read it.

Fans of Tolkien and Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth: read the post because you will understand and it will ring true (no pun intended).

Non-fans: read the post because it will show you why you should become a fan and read the books.

I just love that post a lot and it reminded me again of all the reasons why The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book and Tolkien my favorite author, and… it made my soul happy. ^_^ ❤

***

And now, with a new season, once again, it’s time for some book anticipation…

*drumroll*

Here is a list of books coming out this Autumn that look interesting to me!

poisonedcurecover

The Poisoned CureDeborah Dunlevy

September 8, 2015

Okay, so this one is technically already out, and before Autumn officially hits. But still! I’m so very very excited about this! I need to get my hands on it. NEED. The first book in the series, The Book of Sight, was one of those random free Kindle downloads I did a lot of when I first got my Kindle app. Except that this one I actually read it. And loved it so much that I actually bought the second and third book. (Bought. This is the person who doesn’t buy books very often, especially not e-books.) And I actually read them. And I’ve been waiting on the edge of my seat for the fourth to release — and I hear there’s going to be a fifth, which makes me all kinds of excited!

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

September 29, 2015

I know nothing about this except it’s apparently set in the same world as Shadow and Bone which I know nothing about except that it’s quite popular and several people I know seem to love it so I want to perhaps try it… But Six of Crows is on my wishlist because it sounds like an awesome fantasy heisty book. What is not to like? No idea if it’s cool or not but it certainly sounds cool…

THE SUNKEN REALM KINDLE COVER SEPT 2015

The Sunken Realm – Serena Chase

September 30, 2015

Ever since I finished reading The Seahorse Legacy, I’ve basically been dying to read the conclusion. So… yes. Though I do hear that The Seahorse Legacy was kind of redone, so I must read that again as well! Bwahaha. ALL OF THE EPIC PIRATENESS. And and aaaaand… CAZIEN. ‘Nuff said. ❤

A Thousand Nights – E. K. Johnson

October 6, 2015

In this case, I’m entirely guilty of cover-love. I totally am only interested in it because of its gorgeous cover. Well, that and I think it’s a retelling of Arabian Nights which just sounds awesome because retellings! I have no idea if it will be any good or not though.

The Golden BraidMelanie Dickerson

November 17, 2015

Another medieval fairytale retelling of Hagenheim from Melanie Dickerson! I’ve loved previous installments in the series, and I keep hearing there are secrets and surprises in store for this one… Plus, THAT COVER. ❤ Needless to say, I’m very excited! Also, Rapunzel. It will be interesting to see how it’s retold in this tale!


Defying ShadowsAshley Townsend

November 2015

This is the sequel to Chasing Shadows, which I reviewed. I’m curious what will happen next with the romance and timey-wimey stuff and Robin-Hood hints and that ending of Chasing Shadows… Yes. Very curious… (Also scared of how it will turn out. But still curious. XD)


So there you are! What I’m looking forward to. I probably won’t manage to get hold of them all, but y’know me and my lists. 😉 It’s still fun, right?

Are you excited about any of these? (Aren’t they pretty covers?? #shallowbookworm)

Any you hadn’t heard of before?

And what are you excited for coming out this Fall? 🙂

ALSO IT’S FALL, GUYS. FAAAAAAAAALL! ❤ *throws leaves spontaneously*

Chasing Shadows

ChasingShadowsCoverChasing Shadows

by Ashley Townsend

4 stars

Young Adult (older teens) / Romance / Medieval / Time Travel / Christian

I received a complimentary PDF of this book from the author in return for my honest review. (Thank you!) I wasn’t required to be positive, and these opinions are entirely my own.


CHASING SHADOWS kept me guessing, there were lots of surprises, and it was overall a good and exciting adventure/romance! It was kind of too long for me, but that’s just my personal preference. I felt a bit like the first half dragged somewhat, with the plot seeming to get lost behind a lot of emotions and the love triangle, and a lot of stuff seemed to sort of come out of nowhere. But the final third picked up considerably and turned awesome and very exciting and I absolutely loved it!

I loved the romance — it was great and went back and forth between being breathtakingly sweet, to me wanting to bang the heads of both parties against the nearest hard thing and go “seriously guys, don’t be idiots!” But that of course is half the fun of romance tales — we like a little exasperating on the side with our heart-sighing romance. 😉 (I personally didn’t like the love triangle part of it though — nothing against this book in particular, I’m just not a big fan of love triangles in general. But I know many people would enjoy it so that’s fine and it was fairly well done.)

I had a hard time connecting with Sarah, the main character, since most of the time she drove me batty by being stupid. But I think that’s likely just me, and I have a feeling most readers would like her better. And I still wanted her to win, of course! She did grow on me, eventually.

Can we just take a moment to talk about Will now? Will was awesome and fabulous and I loved him a ton and he is one of my favorite characters now. He’s basically a big broken strong huggable bundle of epic, the perfect mix of a dark-guy and a hero and an all-around great guy who is just awesome and can be really sweet at times too, though you wouldn’t know it with his shell. His struggles and confused moments only made him more endearing. His caring and bravery and amazingness… just yes. He’s a mean shot with a bow, too. 😉 Will is basically the main reason I really liked this book. It’s well worth reading just for him!

The Spaniard was brilliantly done and I won’t give anything away but it was fascinating how he was written. I have very complicated thoughts/emotions about the whole thing that I’m still working on sorting out.

The other characters were all very well drawn and realistic-feeling, from Edith to Karen and the Professor and the Joneses (yay, Seth!) to characters like Robert. Particularly Robert. Yes. That is all I will say. (Also Richard. I really liked Richard! Even though he was sort of random. I somehow thought he’d be more important and now I really want to read more about him! I’m weird like that. 😛 )

The medieval setting was really neat. It was that sort of “gritty”, “realistic” sort of medieval that is more realistic than my taste would prefer, but I most people seem to like their medieval settings to be that way, so… *shrug* The whole book felt very REAL though. In fact, at times, it felt so real that it felt a bit more like real life than like a novel — like this was really happening to the main character. Very real emotions and problems and little day-to-day details instead of everything being streamlined and so dramatic and novel-like, if you know what I mean. Which was very different, somehow, and made me think about it, so even if I wasn’t used to that sort of feeling, it was actually kind of cool.

The level of detail was awesome! I loved how detailed everything was. I could see and feel everything and felt perfectly immersed. I loved the lovely settings, like the castle with its ornate feeling at times, and the cold but beautiful snowy forest… just yes! I loved being immersed, and it was amazing to feel so much a part of the world. I definitely felt like I was there.

It had its moments of fun and hilarity and I found myself laughing aloud a few times, and quoting some particularly wonderful lines that were funny, brilliant, or well-written. Points for that!

I wish the slight hints of Robin Hood stuff had been more explored (maybe more is in Book 1 and 3? I can hope! 🙂 ) but most of what there was, was cool! Even small hints are a lot of fun!

A few other little thoughts:

  • I really disliked the whole Jade plot though. I can’t really say much about it because of spoilers but… just no.
  • I definitely feel like this is for older readers, higher teens and up maybe, just for some general content.
  • There were occasional touches of Christianity, for those wondering if it was there.
  • I haven’t read much time travel, but this one was fairly neat! Interesting to read, anyway.

This is a sequel, and I haven’t read the first book (RISING SHADOWS) yet, so maybe some things are more explained in that. Mostly though there were enough hints about the events of the first that I didn’t feel lost, so you don’t have to read it in order to “get” this one. I’m certainly now curious about it though and want to read the prequel — and the third one (DEFYING SHADOWS, when it comes out — which I see rumors of coming this November?) to find out what happens! But at the same time, though I do want more, CHASING SHADOWS still wrapped up fairly well. It left me feeling happy at the end.

Overall: It wasn’t a five-star favorite for me, but it earned its four stars and I absolutely loved the last third of the book! Mostly, the problems I had with it were my personal preference, and I feel like many others would enjoy it more.

If you like time-travel, awesome characters, medieval tales, realistic-feeling settings with a bit of grittiness, a love triangle and sweet romance, with a touch of Robin Hood and intrigue and adventure in castle rooms and snowy forests . . . then this is the book for you.

Back Cover Copy

From Goodreads:

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 balls and explore the secret depths of the castle, they discover that the conspiracy runs deeper than they ever imagined. And when a counterfeit Shadow claims the life of someone close to her after a personal threat from Cadius himself, Sarah discovers that the price of questioning the new regime is a life.

Guilt-ridden and alone, she discovers comfort in her newfound friendship with Damien, a charming Spaniard who joins Sarah in her personal crusade for justice. But as she draws closer to his dark past and to the faceless killer in their midst, she realizes that the severed threads of time and the mystery surrounding Serimone Castle are unraveling rapidly, weaving new tapestries of devastation.

In this thrilling and deceptive sequel to “Rising Shadows,” Sarah is forced into harm’s way countless times as she races to solve the puzzle before it is too late and Serimone becomes nothing more than a faded memory of the past . . . And before Sarah becomes a permanent fixture in history.

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About the Author

Ashley Townsend is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and she hopes that others will join in her fantastical escapades! She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the beach, and San Diego, CA. She also has an unexplainable aversion to clowns and describes outlines as a “proverbial noose.” Her first book “Rising Shadows” is available on ebook formats, and the follow-up novel “Chasing Shadows” is available for purchase on ebook and paperback via Ink Smith Publishing.

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