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Guest blogger: Ashley from Townsend Tales with Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman

I am so so so so excited to have this wonderful person here with us! 

Our Guest Blogger this week is Ashley Townsend!

yup! That's just for you Ashley 💗

One day (feels like forever ago now) I received this random message on my Instagram of a writer asking me if I would like to read her book. I don't often accept e-books but it sounded good, so I made an exception and said yes.
A few days later the new bookish love of my life was dead 😭
I love Ashley. 
I hate Ashley.
Both those statements are accurate! 🤣
I am kidding... I obviously love her. But I shall remind her at every opportunity for the rest of our lives that she broke my heart 😄
The book in question on Goodreads: Defying Shadows

Her Favorite read in 2017 was Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman, and Ashley has kindly agreed to share her review of it here in Glimpses of my Books.
But before we get to her review, here is a little Q&A with her and the many ways in which you can go follow her after we are done!

Hi Ashley!
Tell us a little bit about you before we go into bookish questions… Where are you from? Have you always lived there? Provided you don’t think it is rude, how old are you? What are your hobbies besides reading? We will not ask for home address and phone number at this point! 😜

Hey, there! Thanks so much for having me, Anne! I was born in SoCal and moved back and forth between the coast and Colorado a lot when I was younger, though I’m happy to say I’ve been settled back in San Diego for a decade now. When I’m not reading, I’m writing my own science fiction novels and killing off fans’ favorite characters . . . sorry, Anne. You can also find me doing anything in the great outdoors, baking like a manic in the kitchen, crafting my own cosplay costumes, or listening to any music I can get my hands (and ears) on. Though a lady never reveals her age (*cough* 26 *cough cough*), I’m happy to provide you with my home address! Provided that you’re willing to bring books, drink coffee, and have a bake-athon with me. --Count me in!-- 

- When/What got you into reading?

Books called to me like the precious from a young age, ever since I discovered that they could transport me to places I’d never been to and that I was able to live a thousand different lives through them. They fascinated me and were my escape pretty much since age five, and I would read anything within reach, especially mysteries. Eventually I went through all the books at my local library and had to start expanding my shelves. When I went through a reading slump, that was when I turned to writing, and the Rising Shadows trilogy had its start!

- We know what your favorite read in 2017 was now, but what were your top 3 2017 book releases?

Oooooh. I just finished The Afterlife of Holly Chase in time for Christmas, and it was such a clever, entertaining, and moving retelling of A Christmas Carol. Also, I was in a major book-retelling mode this year (since I’m working on a twisted Tarzan novel right now!), and so I immediately went out and bought Hunted by Megan Spooner—Beauty and the Beast, magic, a beautiful story, and all. The. Feeeeels. Kasie West is my auto-buy author, meaning I will literally pre-order anything she writes without reading a thing about it, and her latest release, Lucky in Love, was adorably fabulous. She doesn’t let me down!

- Do you have a favorite genre?

Typically, I gravitate more toward sci-fi or fantasy, and also any type of classic literature/fairytale retelling (which is basically everything I write, too. Haha). I love exploring new worlds through the eyes of another writer and seeing how the environment affects the characters. And who doesn’t love a fresh take on classic stories?

- Is there a book you really did not enjoy reading this past year? Which one? Why?

Umm. A few. -_- But one that sticks out is Strange the Dreamer. I was so looking forward to this book because I adore Lani Taylor and just ended up being so bored and disappointed and confused by the world and plot. It took me forever to finish it, and I honestly tried so hard to like it, but this one just wasn’t for me. 
--It is always nice to know I am not alone! I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't see what all the fuss was about. I was bored for most of it--

- Do you have an all time favorite book or book series?

Oh, cruel question!!!!! *gathers books together to cover their ears* I have no favorite children, but if I had to choose series in different genres, it would probably be The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, and The Madman’s Daughter trilogy by Megan Shepherd. This last series actually had a hand in inspiring my current work in progress!
--YES!!! TID!!!--

- How about a favorite author?

Okay, this is a bit easier. Kasie West is my auto-buy author (I will blindly follow her anywhere) because she always serves up hilarious and sweet stories with heart. Nadine Brandes and Francine Rivers are also amazing and are writers I will be reading for the rest of my life.
--Confession time: I have only read one book by her and didn't love it. I didn't think it was terrible I just wasn't that excited about it. It was By Your Side.--

- The bookstagram world has exploded with bookish merch this past year, are you into any of it? If so, share us some of your favorite companies. --Our head blogger might hold it against you if you answer yes and forget the best bookish shop on etsy. Just saying 😜

Heck, yes, you’re one of my favorites (Etsy)!!!! Since just seeing your bookish letter for The Night Circus inspired me to buy the book . . . I think that speaks of your talent and my faith in you. ^_^ I also really love CreateExploreRead.  I’m a total sucker for bookmarks and nerd-merch.
-- Oh no... I hate that book! The Night Circus has a beautiful cover so I am always happy to paint for people but I will never understand why people like the actual book--

- Last but not least, where else in this big wide web world can we find you?
I’m all over Pinterest with my novel inspiration boards and word-nerdisms, but you can also find me at the links below. I always love connecting with the bookish community, so feel free to shoot me a message anytime!



The review:

I really enjoyed Blackhearts, but BLACKSOULS!!!!!! ^_^ The expansion of the world and addition of characters were so well done, and I teared up at the end when Teach lost some of his crew. This story was fun and exciting, and I loved the fact that the pirate adventure really began in this book. 



And Teach. *le sigh* I felt like this was really his story, and as much as I like Anne, I kept waiting until it turned to his perspective. He is such a fantastic character, fun and protective, engaging, fascinating, dynamic, and an amazing captain who cares for his crew and friends. There's also the addition of Captain Easton, who is a riot! He's basically this fabulously swaggering pirate who is the perfect Jack Sparrow addition of humor to this story. I just loved it!



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