Join the Chasing Shadows Blog Tour

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I am super EXCITED!

Originally posted on Ashley Townsend:

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Double Decker Books is hosting me on their blog October 15th-21st, where we’ll kickoff the blog tour for “Chasing Shadows.” That means that you stop by http://doubledeckerbooks.blogspot.com/ the first day of the tour (the 15th), and then follow the links to find out who else is hosting “Chasing Shadows” on their websites. I’ve hosted authors on my own blog, but I’ve never been FEATURED in a tour! *squeal of excitement that shatters glass* 

… Oops.

You can also join the tour and other book tours by going to their website and signing up to host other authors on your own blog. Feel free to join the bloggers-author community! It’s full of a lot of eccentrics and is very, very entertaining. 

Also, put it on your calendars that we’re having a Twitter Release Party for “Chasing Shadows” on this Saturday, October 18th, 1-3pm west coast time (San Diego, CA). Double Decker Books…

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Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

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“Wish You Were Italian” by Kristin Rae

3 out of 5 stars.

Pippa has always wanted to travel to Italia and experience the culture and explore the sights, but when her parents decide to send her ship her off to an art school for the summer, Italy doesn’t sound quite so appealing. Who wants to spend their entire summer vacation in Italy stuck in a stuffy classroom learning about art instead of seeing and experiencing it for real? Pippa’s outlook on her summer is gloomy at best until she comes up with a plan.

Pippa decides that life is too short to waste in a classroom when she could be out and about, exploring one of the most beautiful countries (in her opinion) on earth. On her adventurous, albeit rebellious, journey, Pippa meets many different characters along the way, some of whom befriend her. From historic Rome to beautiful Cinque Terre, “Wish You Were Italian” takes a reader on this teenage girl’s whirlwind journey of self discovery where unexpected friendships and romance await her.

I’m sad to say that I greatly disliked the main female character, Pippa, in this book and I thought that she was really foolish. One of the reasons why I was not a fan was how she handled different situations she was put in or got herself into. Yes, I’m sorry, Pippa, that you’re stuck in Italy and have to learn about art; it is your parents’ passion and not your own, so I get that. I also get that you want to exploring everything around you instead of being closed up in a classroom. But did you really need to ditch school, run off without telling your parents, and start hanging out with complete strangers in a foreign country? Oh, and Pippa also traveled from Rome up the cost to Cinque Terre with a girl, Chiara, who she had just met. Did I mention that she did so without the slightest hesitation? Have you ever heard of human-trafficing or serial killers, Pippa? I know those are dark thoughts, but honestly, you are a girl ALL ALONE in a foreign country, and you decide to tag along with a person you’ve know for about twenty-four hours?  I find that to be a bit stupid, but whatever. I know that at some point in most of our lives we dream about doing something adventurous, but that did not seem like a safe or smart thing to do. Granted, this is a fictional book, but still… Okay, now that I’ve stated the reasons why I found Pippa annoying, let’s talk about the things I that I did like about “Wish You Were Italian.”

Kristin Rae has a gift for descriptions. Her writing painted such beautiful and clear descriptions of Italy that I felt like I was there. Sometimes when I read a book and I don’t like the main character, I can’t enjoy the descriptions of the world or setting. But with “Wish You Were Italian,” the descriptions of Italy completely overshadowed the fact that I wasn’t a fan of Pippa. It was gorgeous, stunning, and lifelike the way Kristin wrote about the country, and I loved every moment of this Italian setting.

Another aspect of “Wish You Were Italian” that made up for the more than lacking Pippa, was the side characters. Chiara was cool in an intense Italian kind of way, and I did like how Kristin Rae dispersed a little of the Italian language in this book. I felt like I could hear their accents, and it really made me want to learn the language. I also thought that the American boy that Pippa met was sweet.

Overall, “Wish You Were Italian” was a cute, light summer read that was surprisingly enjoyable. If you want to take a trip to Italy for a small fee of $9.99, this is the book to buy!

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

There are mild spoilers on relationship dynamics in this review.

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“The Kiss of Deception” by Mary E. Pearson

Quality of writing: 3-3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

How much I liked it: 2 3/4-3 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Summary:

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

I really wanted to like “The Kiss of Deception” because of how well people reviewed it; reviewers were making it sound like it was a mixture of “The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski and “Throne of Glass” by Sara J. Maas. I LOVE/LOVED those two books, so I thought this one would turn out to be a really good read. robbie kay 1

Sadly, it did not turn out to be all that great a read for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a well written book, but it just didn’t reach me emotionally; I was reading it fairly fast, but it was more because of the addicting writing style rather than a love for the characters and the world. I never grew to care for the heroine–there was no particular thing about her that made me like or dislike her–and I also never felt enchanted or “wowed” by the world Mary E. Pearson built. In “The Winner’s Curse,” Marie Rutkoski created such a vivid and interesting world that mixed the Roman-Greco period perfectly with high fantasy. It was elegant and intriguing, and even when the characters weren’t doing all that much, the world kept me interested in the book, and then the characters captured my heart and I just couldn’t get enough of it. Sara J. Maas’ “Throne of Glass” did that for me as well, plus Dorian was AWESOME. What made me sad about this book was that it had really good potential for emotional depth and a dynamic story, but I never got a chance to get attached to any one character despite the near five hundred pages I read. You already know that I wasn’t a fan of Lia, so let’s talk about Kaden and Rafe.

The character that I liked the most was Kaden. He was an interesting character, but sadly, he didn’t get much book time. He and Lia only had a few encounters that didn’t last for more than a page or two, and that made it hard to get to know him. The book does switch from Lia’s perspective once and a while so you can see from Kaden’s and Rafe’s point of views. These chapters, however, only last for three to four pages, which again, did not help me to get to know either guy all that well. Then something happened to Kaden, and I was kinda like,

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and ended up being quite irritated at the author who wrote that happenstance. I knew it was coming (I had accidentally skipped ahead and read that part) and I was super frustrated with how it was done in “The Kiss of Deception.” The event that occurred made sense, but it also contradicted a couple of things in the storyline. I know the author purposely wrote it in that manner to “shock” her readers, but the way it was done actually compromised something in this book. This unnecessary compromise could have been easily altered by the editor or author, yet it wasn’t, and that’s what bothered me. I know what I just said was SUPER vague and probably confusing, but I am trying keep as many spoilers out of this review as possible while still stating my issues with the book. Kaden was a fun-ish character, but that plot trap/sinkhole and the fact that he wasn’t in this book all that much, stopped me from liking “The Kiss of Deception”; there wasn’t anything that completely drew me into the story.

The last main character in this book was Rafe. He was, of course, the mysterious dark stranger that the heroine fell for; Lia felt drawn to him…Hmm, sounds familiar, right? I think what really got me, though, was that Lia and Rafe really liked each other, but I was never given enough of them getting to know one another to be endeared to the relationship. I could look past the epitome of practically every teen reader’s dream-boat if I could have gotten to know Rafe better. It takes almost a hundred pages for him and Lia to meet, another fifty to seventy-five pages until they have a “moment,” and another fifty pages go by before you actually start to see them liking one another. By page three hundred, though, something happens and they discover that they are in love.

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I know that some time had gone by since they first met, but it didn’t feel like enough time had passed for them to confess their feelings. At that point in the book I was bored because nothing interesting had happened, and Mary’s addictive style of writing had begun to feel a lot less addictive.

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These things bummbed me out because I spent a fair amount of money to buy this book, and I had high hopes for it. Overall, “The Kiss of Deception” was a well written book, but it just wasn’t for me.

October and November

Hello! I’ve got some updates on the reviews that I’m going to be releasing during the months of October and November. Here are a few lists of what I am currently reading and reviewing, and what I hope to complete in the next couple of weeks.

What I’ve read:

1. “Alice in Zombieland” by Gena Showalter

2. “Through the Zombie Glass” by Gena Showalter

3. “Destined for Doon” by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

4. “The Princess Spy” by Melanie Dickerson

5. “The Kiss of Deception” by Mary E. Pearson

 

What I’ve Reviewed:

1. “Deliverance” by C.J. Redwine

2. “The Kiss of Deception” by Mary E. Pearson.

3.  “Wish You Were Italian” by Kristin Rae.

What I’m reading:

1. “Maid of Deception” by Jennifer McGowan

 

What I’m going to read:

1. “Chasing Shadows” by Ashley Townsend

2. “The Madman’s Daughter” by Megan Shepherd

3. “The Queen of Zombie Hearts” by Gena Showalter

4. “Trust Me, I’m Lying” by Mary Elizabeth Summer

5. “A Time to Die” by Nadine Brandes

6. “Miles from Nowhere” by Amy Clipston

What I’m Going to Review:

1. “Chasing Shadows” by Ashley Townsend. This is my sister’s second book, and I am super excited to read it in paperback! If you are at all interested in time-travel, fantasy, romance, the medieval period, the legend of Robin Hood, or just young adult literature, this is a great book to read!

2. “A Time to Die” by Nadine Brandes. I was very fortunate to be a beta reader for this book. It was crazy good, and I am excited to see another friend’s work published.

3. “The Princess Spy” by Melanie Dickerson. This was an ARC copy sent to me by Zondervan, and I am looking forward to reviewing it.

4. “Miles from Nowhere” by Amy Clipston. This book was a surprise ARC copy; I didn’t even know that it was being sent, and it just showed up at my door. It sounds like a good story, and I am looking forward to reviewing it.

5. “The Madman’s Daughter” by Megan Shepherd. I’ve read this book before, but I have not reviewed it yet. It is an amazing story and I look forward to reading it again!

6. “Alice in Zombieland,”Through the Zombie Glass,” and “The Queen of Zombie Hearts” by Gena Showalter. I am going to do a collective review of the first two books in the “White Rabbit Chronicles,” and then a separate one for the third and final book.

I feel like I am promising reviews to you that I may not be able to give, but let’s give it a shot anyway!

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Deliverance by C.J. Redwine: Part 2 The Actual Review Part

There are mild spoilers in this review for “Defiance” and “Deception,” so proceed with caution.

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“Deliverance” by C.J. Redwine

5 out of 5 stars.

Logan is locked in a Lankenshire jail cell with Rowansmark soldiers biding their time until they can clear the chess board. He and his friends have fought for their lives before with great odds against them, but somehow this time is different from the others, and there is the likely chance that no one will make it out of Lankenshire alive. Odds have never frightened Logan, but the stakes are now higher than ever before and he is struggling to come up with a good enough plan to get himself out of the dungeon. He hasn’t given up, though, and he is  determined to protect his friends, his family, from the evils that are the Commander and Rowansmark. Sacrifices must be made to save those he loves, and working with Commander Jason Chase is one of them. Logan has promises to keep and if Baalboden’s ex-leader is the only way to stay alive, so be it; he will swallow his pride and make this plan, his only plan, work to save those who are counting on him. He promised Rachel he would always find her, and that is not a promise Logan is willing to break.

Rachel has endured the unspeakable. Her whole family is gone, killed by the Commander, and her dearest friend was murdered by a maniac. Darkness surrounds her, but Rachel knows that she is not alone. Quinn has been following her since she was taken from Lankenshire, having been kidnapped by her friend’s murderer, and Rachel also knows in her heart that Logan is trying his hardest to find a way to save her. But before then, she must learn to save herself. Rachel is fighting a physical and psychological battle against good and evil, light and dark, hope and anger. The time has come for Rachel to finally chooses which of these forces she will embrace, who she will become, and to discover if that choice will destroy or heal her once and for all.

C.J. Redwine is a goddess divine author. I love her as a writer and a person, and I cannot believe that one of my most loved series has come to a close. I am both happy and sad. Sad because I had to say goodbye to these characters who I loved, but also happy because I got to see their stories come together to create one epic book. It has taken me nearly two months to fully absorb everything that happened in “Deliverance” because SO much was good, yet so many things went wrong for these characters. I mean circumstances, not the characters themselves, mind you. I do have to say, though, that there were a few things that I was kind of sad over because of how they changed the dynamic of this story; I am not the hugest fan of change. Despite these changes, I still really liked “Deliverance.”

Logan, my love, was still a great character. He remained fierce and faithful, but I felt like I had a little hole in my heart because he and Rachel were apart for 90% of “Deliverance.” I missed the Logan and Rachel from “Defiance” who worked together, communicated well, and fought to protect one another; I also missed the sweet, quiet moments between them that were beautiful and rare. I had a hard time getting used to the two of them not being with each other because it changed the dynamic of the book, and it felt different from “Defiance,” which was/is dear to my heart. I know people change over time, but it was still hard to accept. Despite this, Logan remained a great character and he did a lot of sacrificial things that made him an amazing leader. Right from the beginning of “Deliverance” he and Willow are fighting for their lives and I was so stressed out that I would practically zoom over the pages to make sure people were still alive.

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I’m gonna be honest, a LOT of people die in this book, and I was wondering how that was even possible since there were only a couple of characters who had survived the first and second books! Oy, C.J., you don’t mind sacrificing characters, even main ones! Another character that I really liked in “Deliverance” was Quinn.

Good golly! I LOVED Quinn in this book!!! I think he turned out to be my favorite character in “Deliverance”; I love Logan dearly, but Quinn was a pleasant surprise of a character. Quinn wasn’t in this book that much, but somehow he was there the whole time. Every chapter that involved Rachel, I was trying to find out where Quinn was and if he would show up. Most of the time he didn’t, but it was like he was still present in “Deliverance” even when he wasn’t in a scene. Oh, how I wish C.J. had given him more time in this book because I honestly could not get enough of this character. Quinn was such a clever, strong, and good guy that I wonder why C.J. did not have more of him in this book. I am extremely grateful for Quinn’s novella, “Outcast,” because it gave me more time to get to know him and helped me to come to love his character all the more. I miss you, Quinn.

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The character I want to discuss in depth is Rachel.

I was worried about Rachel by the end of “Deception” because of how emotionally tortured she was. I cannot blame the girl, but it made me sad for her, angry at the character(s) who caused her that kind of pain, and also quite worried with where C.J. was taking her as a character. A lot of authors in the past couple of years have tried to write “strong” female leads in their books. Everybody is up in arms over the whole feminism movement, and YA lit is a part of that in some ways. I’m a girl and I absolutely hate inequality between men and women and racism that is still occurring in this country as well as in others. It is not fair and it is not okay. My problem sometimes with the movement within the Young Adult Literature world is that a “strong” female equals a *bleepy* one (my mother reads these posts and she doesn’t like language, so I’ll be using *bleep* as my swear word. Bear with me here); I don’t believe that strength and female rights have anything with being a *bleep* or having a domineering, obstinate personality. Women who truly move the world and who are admired by men and women alike are kind, gracious, intelligent, believe in their own worth, do not objectify themselves to get attention, and stand up for what they believe in without wavering. They also don’t shove their opinions down another persons throat or rip the opposite sex down with their words. I really like Emma Watson’s #HeForShe feminist opinion because it is about both men and women coming together to back one another up. Wow, I just realized how off subject that was.

The point I am trying to get at with all the explaining is that C.J. did a good job of helping Rachel heal and become a truly strong female. Rachel eventually figures out that hatred and her desire for revenge will not ever satisfy her; there is a deeper root to her pain than that. Hatred and revenge were the two things that were keeping her emotional wounds open, and the only way to truly heal was to give up those dark desires and to choose to do what is right. In the end she made the right choice and I was happy that C.J. took her from being a girl with revenge that darkened her outlook on life, to one who wanted to choose to live and see the hope that still existed in her world. She chose hope instead of anger, and because of that she began to heal. Rachel still had a lot of inner healing to do, and she was not perfect, but I was happy to see that she was headed in a good direction. It was nice to see a strong female in the YA lit world who did not end up being a *bleepy* banana (i.e. Katniss Everdeen, Tris Prior, Lena Haloway-Tiddle, etc.). Sorry about that novel, but I hope you get my point with all that explaining. Okay, let move on to other subjects.

One of the things that I really love about C.J. Redwine is that she creates back characters who feel just as real and important as the main ones. You care and root for them even though they don’t get as much book time, and it also makes it really hard to let them go when she kills them off! You are sometimes cruel, C.J., but I love you anyway. Conner from Lankenshire was one of those characters for me. He wasn’t necessarily vital to the plot, but I really liked him and I loved the scenes where he was present. I felt like he added a good dynamic and an extra layer to “Deliverance.” Another reason why I liked Connor was that he reminded me a little bit of how Logan was early on in “Defiance.” He was super smart and the some of the other people harassed him for it, but I was rooting for him the whole time to, well, not die. Darn you C.J., one can never tell when a character is expendable. This author’s unpredictability caused me a lot of worry and stress while reading “Deliverance.” Every fight scene I was like,

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don’t DIE!!!!!!! Some characters died, some survived in “Deliverance,” but it was hard to tell who was going to make it until the epilogue. Oops! Did I say that there was an epilogue? I pulled a Burton Guster after I finished that last little bit of this glorious book.

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I think the worst part was when I walked away from the book and sat myself down to go over everything that had happened. It was then that I finally realized this beautiful series was over. Please, please, don’t be over…

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 “Deliverance” was beautiful and well done, but my only thing is that it didn’t quite hit me in the heart like “Defiance” did after I had read it. “Deliverance” was still a gorgeous book and a good end to a fantastic trilogy. Bravo, C.J. Redwine!

P.S. I am looking forward to her new series that is supposed to come out *cringes* in 2016. The title for the first book in the series is “The Shadow Queen,” and it sounds AMAZING. I am feeling joy at its existence, but also sadness because it is such a LONG ways away.

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CHASING SHADOWS IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!!!

Originally posted on Ashley Townsend:

You heard it here first: “Chasing Shadows” EXISTS! That’s right, my second novel in the Rising Shadows Trilogy is now available for purchase. I got on Amazon today, and it had just popped up. My exact reaction:

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Can I just say that getting this out 2 days after my 23rd birthday is pretty much the best gift in the history of the universe? Yippee!

This is my most favorite story I’ve ever written, and I cannot even express how overjoyed, excited, and elated I am to be able to FINALLY share it with you all. Well, perhaps it can be expressed in minion gifs, but then again, what can’t? The ebook just became available today at 

Be sure to share the links to the ebook and paperback on whatever social media you like or in person. Just use #ChasingShadowsBook when tweeting! The paperback will be out for sale…

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