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Rising Shadows

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Sarah Matthews is nearing the end of another eventless summer in the small town of Bethany, Oklahoma. Disheartened over the reality that yet another unexciting season is coming to an end, she wishes for an unforgettable adventure to break up the monotony of life. But when mysterious circumstances transport Sarah and her sister, Lilly, back in time, she gets more excitement than she bargained for.
The girls find themselves trapped in the twelfth century in a place shrouded with mystery and deception. Assassination plots, kidnappings, and tumultuous adventures force Sarah to rely on the Shadow, a masked hero who comes to her aid numerous times. In order to uncover a conspiracy and save those closest to her, Sarah requests help from the Shadow and also from Will, the handsome and intriguing blacksmith she befriends. Sarah is strangely drawn to the excitement that seems to follow the town hero and begins to look forward to their secret encounters. She also finds herself caught in a romance with Will, despite the fact that their equally fiery personalities have a tendency to clash. But Will’s past is filled with secrets and pain, and Sarah finds it difficult to break through the walls he has built around him. She knows that in order to make things right with the kingdom--and also with Will--she will need more time in the forgotten land. But when her life is put on the line, Sarah realizes that she will be permanently stranded in the past if she remains for too long, and she vows to find a way back home for her and Lilly . . . or die trying.

177 pages, ebook

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Ashley Townsend

3 books133 followers
Ashley is a young twenty-something author at Ink Smith Publishing and has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination could make a career. 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.” Check out the Rising Shadows trilogy everywhere books are sold: Rising Shadows, Chasing Shadows, & Defying Shadows. Become a fan on Goodreads and follow her quirkiness at ashley-townsend.com.
Twitter: @TownsendTales
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashleytownse...
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1JHIL9R

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for Sinead.
590 reviews80 followers
January 25, 2016
Less Reality More Books

*I was given this book in exchange for an honest review*

Time travel is one of the more interesting and varied forms of supernatural aspects in stories. So many movies, TV shows and games have tackled it; all with different degrees of success and different methods of how time travel works. This was my first time reading a YA novel based on time travel but it looked really interesting, and I mean, who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to the 12th century? I do love Downton Abbey, after all.

Our main character here is Sarah, an 18 year old girl on the verge of starting college but is dreaming of a grand adventure before she tackles this next stage of life. And Sarah’s wish comes true when she and her little sister Lilly gets swept up in a time machine (via a watch) and suddenly finds themselves in the 12th century.

Sarah gets caught up in a whirlwind of adventure as she meets many new faces from the past: Karen, the girl who brought Sarah to this time, a family whom she stays with, as well as a mysterious stranger known only as “The Shadow”. She helps Karen who is stuck in a time where the royalty are fighting for power and helps a rescue when someone Sarah cares about gets taken.

I loved Ashley’s take on time travel, and with so many sci-fi and dystopian novels set in the future, a book set in the past was a nice change of pace. There were dresses, horse and carriages, royal balls, with men working outside while women stayed inside the kitchen. Protecting one’s virtue was still considered important. In a world where technology is used so much in everyday life, the lack of this in this book was really nice.

If there was one part I felt quite uncomfortable with, it was the religious aspect. Now I completely respect the author’s beliefs. It’s just that I’m not entirely sure, personally, what, if any, beliefs I have. And there were times throughout this book that I felt the characters were preaching God, which I honestly didn’t enjoy. I have read other books where the main character believed in God, but didn’t preach or anything; it was just made to seem like it was something that was part of their life. I didn’t get that feeling in this book.

Besides that though, I quite enjoyed this. I loved the friendships Sarah made, and how she came to care for Will, a man that helps her on her quest. She knew this wasn’t her world, and yet she couldn’t help getting caught up in it. I can’t help wondering if, by the end of the series, will Sarah stay in the 12th century, or will she return to the time she was born in?
Profile Image for Carleigh.
56 reviews22 followers
December 20, 2015
Huge thanks to the amazing author, Ashley Townsend, for sending me a free copy of Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows, the first and second installments in her intriguing Defying Shadows trilogy!:)

I definitely picked up Rising Shadows at the right time! Recently I've been craving lots of high fantasy novels, but the majority of them just didn't stand out from the any other books in the young adult genre. Then, Ashley was kind enough to send me a copy of Rising Shadows, and after reading its fascinating synopsis, I decided to dive right into this compelling ebook. Out of all the books I've read this year or last, none of them had any time traveling elements, yet I feel this novel is an ideal place to start for people (including me) new to the enthralling time traveling category!
My favorite aspect of Rising Shadows is probably the fact that our female protagonist, Sarah, is a Christian. Being Christian myself, it's always wonderful to have a little more religion incorporated into our young adult books. Sarah's faith throughout this story plays a major role in important events taking place, and Ashley's simple yet enjoyable writing style handled the topic very well.
I also fangirled way too much over my newest otp, Sarah and Will! The supportive relationship and way they relied on each other constantly gave me so many fangirling, feels-inducing moments! The way I know I've read a great book is when I cannot stop thinking about the main characters, and my mind is still hung up on trying to mash together Sarah and Will's ship name. Seriously, this book is so underrated, but I have no idea why. This novel holds something for everyone, whether it be fantasy, fangirling, religion, or historical fiction.
Overall, I am without a doubt picking up the sequel, Chasing Shadows, very soon, and I cannot wait to delve into this remarkable world once again. Rising Shadows is perfect for anyone looking for something fresh, unique, and utterly captivating, so I recommend this to anyone and everyone! Hopefully, you'll have as great a time as I did reading Rising Shadows!!!:)
Profile Image for Shantelle.
Author 2 books357 followers
June 21, 2016
I'm pleased to say that I quite enjoyed Rising Shadows by Ashley Townsend! I'd been seeing Ashley's books around, and thought they looked interesting enough to add to my to-read list. Then I won a copy of Chasing Shadows (Book 2) in a giveaway, and found out these are time-travel/fantasy romances; and saw that gorgeous cover, and ... eep! *grins* I was happy to accept when Ashley offered me an e-copy of Book 1 so I could start this series at once!

We meet Sarah Matthews, the average eighteen-year-old, young woman. Just finished up with high school; planning to attend college come fall; living through a boring and uneventful summer, despite differing hopes and dreams.
Then, in a few crazy and unexpected moments, we're transported to Serimone, where Sarah is destined for an adventure she won't soon forget.

Yes. Time-travel is wonderful! ^_^ I'm not really a fan of contemporary; but when we just get a glimpse of the modern-day girl living a boring 21st century life ... and then suddenly she's whisked back into the medieval past, where masked men ride gallantly, evil men plot, and lovely balls are held at the palace ... I'm hooked! *smiles*

First off, Serimone is a great place! I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but as I mentioned above, this series has a fantasy twist. So not only are we time-traveling, but we get a splash of my favorite genre as well! *grins* It has a medieval feel. Robin Hood-like men. Beautiful gowns. Balls. All that sort of fun stuff.

Sarah was a lovely enough character to travel along with. I feel she's relatable to a certain extent; though there were some instances that you just don't understand her. Ha. She can be a little thoughtless or naive at points. But overall, I like her!

Will ... *sigh* Yep, he's one of those heroes that all the girls swoon over. Hehe. Mysterious. Dark past. Protective. Sweet. I have high hopes for him and Sarah!

Seth is the one who completes the familiar love triangle found in YA romances. You all who've read my reviews probably know by now that I am not a fan of love triangles. This one wasn't too bad. But there were some moments that I was quite annoyed with Seth. But he's still a really sweet guy too! *smiles*

Karen is great too! I enjoyed her character. Seth's family is wonderful. We got a little bit of time with Sarah little sister, Lilly, who's a cute girl. ^_^ Ooh, not to mention, the Shadow! He was fun! *grins* Seems he's a bit of a Robin Hood character. Very interested to see where that goes in the next two books. All in all, a very nice cast of characters. I enjoyed meeting them all.

The budding romance was very sweet and clean. Excited to see more on that.

As for violence and gore, there was a little bit of that. Not much. Probably more toward the end of the book, there is a scene or two. Also, there's a red-haired girl accused of being a witch. A sickly king. Suspected to-be-murderer. All that.

Oh, and I was really happy to find a Christian aspect to Rising Shadows! There are themes of trusting God, forgiveness, and redemption. A sweet touch. I hope it grows; and these themes are expounded even more in Chasing Shadows! ^_^

So overall, it was an exciting and romantic adventure! Action. Drama. Budding love. Intrigue. Unrequited romantic interest. Suspense. Lovely read. I'm over halfway done the second book now, and loving being back in Serimone!

I received a copy of Rising Shadows from the author in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Tricia Mingerink.
Author 11 books340 followers
July 2, 2016
This is such an adorable book! When Sarah and her sister are accidentally sucked into a past, but a past that looks very different from anything they learned about in the history books, they are thrown into a situation that is way over their head. Sarah must learn to be resourceful to get all of them out of danger and back home. That gets a little bit more complicated when she starts falling for someone.

Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. And that ending...ack! I knew it was coming, but it still made me want to shake Sarah, though I could see why she made the choice she did. It's the hard choice of any time-traveling book: stay with new friends or return to family.

The writing is fairly simple, but this is the author's first book, and she'll only improve and grow from here. I can't wait to pick up the next one and find out what happens next!
Profile Image for Deborah O'Carroll.
477 reviews94 followers
June 21, 2016
*happy sigh* What an enjoyable tale! A shorter book, RISING SHADOWS is a fairly quick read. It's the first in the Rising Shadows trilogy, and I had actually read book 2, CHASING SHADOWS, before reading this one -- so this was kind of like a prequel backstory sort of thing for me, which was actually a fun way to read it. I think it's a great introduction to the series, though, if you actually read it first (like one probably should... but since the story deals with time travel, I don't feel TOO bad about reading out of order. ;)).

Things I loved:

+ For one thing, anything involving time travel is a lot of fun -- I really enjoyed the setting of a medieval place called Serimone (sort of an alternate dimension type of thing?). Since I read the second book first, this was like getting to go back, and I was so happy to be in Serimone again! It just feels familiar and I like it. :) Besides which, castles and forests are my favorite settings, so...
+ The characters. Sarah is an unexpectedly nice heroine; I love Karen, she really grows on you; and Seth too.
+ Will gets his own point on this list. ;) He's an extremely awesome fellow, one of my favorites, a slightly mysterious and dark but also reassuring and capable person. He's probably the main reason I liked this book so much. :)
+ The hints at a growing romance was so adorable! Will and Sarah are so SWEET together! <3 Gaah. And their dialog back and forth is the best -- some really fun banter lines!
+ I absolutely ADORE masked-man-type stories, so The Shadow was super awesome and another favorite aspect of the story! He's kind of Robin-Hood-ish too, with some serious archery skills. Anyone who goes around through forests and creeping into castles in a green cloak and hood being an undercover hero is awesome. I'm a major fan of this guy. ;)
+ Though perhaps a simpler, more straightforward plot, the story was exciting and kept me flipping pages.
+ The Christian aspect was lovely and I quite enjoyed the thread of faith winding through the story. :)
+ It's quite clean.
+ I quite LOVED the ball and dancing! That was great! ^_^
+ And... I don't know, I just enjoyed it a lot. :) Sometimes a shorter, simple read with some loveable characters and adventure and a dash of sweet romance is just what you feel like, you know?

Things I didn't love:

As for complaints, I don't have many and they're fairly minor.
+ Many books featuring a contemporary main character who is suddenly swept away into another world or time can suffer from a slightly awkward beginning/transition, so this one is not alone in that; but once it gets underway it doesn't really matter. ;)
+ The sister, Lilly, seemed hardly there, like an afterthought? It's not really important, but she was kind of vague.
+ Occasional typos or a few minor details that seemed off to me were pretty much the only downsides other than that.


Overall a very fun read!

The book has a slight cliffhanger lead-up at the end, which transitions smoothly to the next book -- which made me glad I had already read CHASING SHADOWS! :) You can tell that it's very much part of a series in the way many things are left with loose ends, so I'm looking forward to book 3, DEFYING SHADOWS, to see where it all goes!

If you like YA Christian adventure/romance with time travel and a hint of Robin Hood, you should definitely give this one a try!

(I received a free copy of this book from the author. I was in no way required to give a positive review. These opinions are my own.)
Profile Image for Dominique.
334 reviews60 followers
September 14, 2016
Oh my stars this book was soooooo good!!!

Does someone know how to open a portal to Serimone? Cause I wanna go there X)

This cover is so pretty and the book is so good, just <3 <3 <3 <3
and all of the characters are amazing<3 <3 <3 <3
(*cough* Will *cough* ;)

That's all I can think to say about this book right now, I might try to do a longer review later...but for now go read this book...
now ;)


Profile Image for Jane Maree.
Author 9 books99 followers
June 3, 2020
This was such a fun adventure! I loved the characters and the storyline itself. I, too, would swoon over Will. 😏

There were a few rusty parts, but it was still really enjoyable. It reminded me so much of the style of writing I used to adore as an early teen and brings back all the nostalgia.

Definitely hoping to read the rest of the series!!
Profile Image for Christine Smith.
67 reviews74 followers
September 19, 2015
NOTE: I received a free ebook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was exceedingly happy when the amazingly sweet Ashley Townsend allowed me to read her debut novel, Rising Shadows. I mean, time travel? Medieval settings? A mysterious, masked guy? YES PLEASE. I’m a sucker for time travel stories. They’re my weakness. So I could not wait to read this one, and it was a wonderful ride!

Ashley Townsend built a beautiful setting and realistic characters that kept me up at night wanting to know what would happen next. I really liked her explanation of how the time traveling worked, and the mystery revolving around the setting Sarah finds herself in got me greatly excited. There’s definitely some timey wimey stuff going on in this place. But you’ll have to read the book to see what I’m talking about. *grins*

The characters really tugged at my heart and were probably my favorite part of the novel.
At first, Sarah seemed like your typical, begrudging fictional teenager, but after some time you see there’s much more to this girl than meets the eye. Her big heart toward others was inspiring, and even though she’s confused and not used to such a setting she landed in, she learns to adapt, and takes it in stride. Her awkwardness and the way she innocently blurts out her thoughts was endearing.
Karen was one of my favorites. She always means well, but isn’t the best at making decisions, causing a lot of trouble for herself and others. She had a fun, reckless personality that drew me to her the moment she entered the pages.
I loved how Sarah viewed “the Shadow” as a Robin Hood figure. Like her, I adore Robin Hood, so it made me like this intriguing man even more.
Then there’s Will who was probably my all time favorite. Will is quiet and constantly keeps a wall between himself and others, but as that wall cracks bit by bit you see there’s so much more to this young man than first meets the eye. I loved seeing his character develop, every page of his pulling at my heartstrings a little harder each time. His character arc was wonderfully handled.
Even the more minor characters stole my heart. Karen’s family-friends were adorable and I smiled every time they appeared.
All in all, the characters were beautifully done and I miss them already.

I very much appreciated the Christian aspect of the novel. Sarah many a time looks to God when she’s losing hope or needs a reminder of why she should keep going. Her faith runs deep and blesses many. Some of the Christian parts could have flowed a little smoother, a few scenes felt a little forced, but for the most part it was well handled.

The plot kept me fairly interested, though it did feel rather lacking in a few areas and was fairly predictable. The mysterious world and life-threatening plots sometimes fell in the background, the story leaning more in favor or Sarah and Will’s romance. Now, I definitely enjoy some romance in my novels, but I don’t want that being the sole focus. That said, the romance was very sweet and had me grinning many a time. I really loved those two. But I do wish more had revolved around the evil plots that were promised near the beginning of the book.

Take note that this was Ashley’s debut novel and there were a few things I felt were lacking or didn’t quite add up. I had so many questions that never got answered. BUT this is only the first book. Chasing Shadows is the sequel and promises much more plot and answers. All in all, this had an interesting storyline, loveable characters, and was an all around good start of what I think will be a trilogy.

Though the writing felt a little inconsistent at times and the plot didn’t always follow through to the mysteries brought out at the beginning, Rising Shadows held my interest to the last page. I immediately fell in love with the characters and was cheering them on all the way through. The writing-style provided a smooth, quick read, and the setting and history behind it kept me intrigued. And that ending! Get ready to snatch up the sequel as soon as you finish this one, trust me. I absolutely cannot WAIT to read the next book and delve deeper into this mysterious world and see how everything plays out.

Overall, I think Ashley Townsend has written a great debut novel and I look forward to getting my hands on more of her works in the future.
Profile Image for Miranda.
738 reviews111 followers
February 4, 2016
3.5 / 5 Fangs

I went into this book not really knowing much about it, and I am glad I took the chance to read this book. There were some things that I didn't like about this book, but I liked it as a whole.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was the time travel. I thought it was so interesting to see the characters travel back in time! The world that Ashely created was so much fun to read about. I am so excited to pick up book two so I can go back to the twelfth century! I also thought the plot was really intriguing. The book was a little slow at times, and some things that happened seemed a little too convenient, but I still enjoyed it.

Another thing I liked a lot about this book was Will. Will was charming, protective, kind, and mysterious. He was such an interesting character to learn about. I was always excited whenever he was in a scene. The main character, Sarah, was okay. I didn't necessary dislike her, but I didn't love her. I thought she was a little bland at times and a bit oblivious. I am hoping she will have some more character development in the next book.

The romance in this book was really cute. I thought Ashley did a great job at pacing the romance and making it seem believable. The one thing that bugged me about the romance department of this book was that it seemed like every young male that crossed paths with Sarah was entranced by her. I am exaggerating a little, but it honestly felt that way to me. I thought that was a little ridiculous and I am sure it will lead to a love triangle in the future.

I will say that I am not extremely religious, and the religion aspects were a little heavy at times. I completely respect the religion of the author and the main character. I have read plenty of books were the main character was religious and I have enjoyed those books! That is why I still picked up this book even though it had a religion weaved through the book. I just thought this book was a little too focused on religion at times instead of the plot. I wanted to see more plot development or maybe more development of the romance. However, that is just me!

Religion can be a touchy subject, and I am not trying to attack anyone's religion in any way <3

Overall, I thought this was a great book, especially since this was Ashely's debut novel! I am very excited to see how the story continues to develop.

3.5 / 5 Fangs

*This ebook was given to me in exchange for a honest review. *

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It
854 reviews45 followers
May 15, 2012
This was a neat book! I am a sucker for time travel novels, especially when characters are transported back in time. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and given that Rising Shadows is historical Christian fiction, I was really in for a treat.

Sarah is just your typical girl, getting ready to start college. One day, during a thunderstorm, she and her younger sister Lilly are transported to the twelfth century. Upon their arrival, they meet Karen, a college student who is also from the future. Karen is in the twelfth century with her adoptive father, who is a professor and coincidentally developed the time machine, which is really more of a neat time-travel set of watches. Karen and the professor ended up in the twelfth century by mistake, but while there, discovered a plot against the king and are working to bring the king's brother to justice, and therefore save the king's life.

There were a lot of things I liked about Rising Shadows. I liked Sarah and her levelheadedness. I liked her approach to problems, and her loyalty to others. I especially liked her faith in God, and how she turned to Him in times of trouble. I liked Karen as well. She was unpredictable (something I love in a character) and a great friend to Sarah. Will was a mystery for much of the book but I grew to really like him too. The minor characters were well fleshed-out and added a lot of depth to the story. There were several surprises along the way, which I loved. My favorite parts of Rising Shadows were the historical element and the Christian element, both of which were very well-handled.

I had a couple of problems with Rising Shadows. The first was that there were some predictable parts to the book. I knew who The Shadow was long before Sarah did. My second problem was that the ending was choppy. I hated Sarah's decision at the end of the book, then all of a sudden, the book was over. I kept clicking the 'next page' button on my Nook in vain, hoping for more, not wanting to believe that Townsend could leave me with such a cliff-hanger! I like being in suspense for the next novel, but leaving things so open between books always leaves me feeling frustrated. For sure, it's a fine line between an ending that leaves you wanting to read the next book and a chopped-off ending with series novels, and it's something that I think is very hard to get right. Rising Shadows is the first in a trilogy, so hopefully book two will answer the many questions I have after reading book one.

Overall, I enjoyed Rising Shadows. I plan to keep reading the series, and look forward to more from Ashley Townsend.
Profile Image for Mandy Fender.
Author 52 books59 followers
September 5, 2016
What an enjoyable book! I received this book and other goodies at a FB party the author hosted and was thrilled to win it! If you like time travel, a sweet love story, and a little suspense this book is for you! The end of the epilogue definitely has me curious, now I must read the next one to see what Sarah and Karen are going to do.
Profile Image for Ashley Townsend.
Author 3 books133 followers
May 15, 2012
The summary for my book is now available. I'd love for you to check it out! Stay tuned for updates.
Profile Image for Sarah Bell.
92 reviews31 followers
Want to read
December 22, 2015
I want this book. I want it I want it SO badly! I need it!!!!! okay. I'm going to try to keep myself calm as all I think about. ow is wanting this book. :D
Profile Image for Megan McCullough.
Author 1 book131 followers
October 6, 2016
I didn't really connect with the characters, but I really enjoyed the plot! There aren't enough time travel books. :)
Profile Image for Kim  Gregory.
1,025 reviews11 followers
May 27, 2018
An interesting take on a time travel story. I was especially interested in the story because of the "Robin Hood" aspect that the story was going to take. It turned out more interesting than I thought it would, even though the Robin Hood part of the story was a back ground part of the story rather than a main theme. The place they are "transported" to is also a wonderful part of the story. How clever of the author! She could pretty much make of the story what she wanted because where the girls were sent wasn't an historical setting. I didn't really feel offended by unauthentic use of verbiage for the 12th century characters because who knows how they really spoke in that place at that time? I just lost myself in the story and stayed on pins and needles waiting for the bad guys to show up again. I've got book two loaded and ready to go!

This was a clean read.
Author 6 books17 followers
May 29, 2018
Octavia E Butler, an outstanding science fiction author, once wrote “I just knew there were stories I wanted to tell.” And she went on to tell them winning the Hugo and Nebula awards. After reading Ashley Townsend’s Rising Shadows, it is clear she has stories to tell as well, starting with her delightful, science fiction/fantasy novel Rising Shadows. Her story takes Sarah, a present day teen, into the past where she encounters a fascinating medieval world. The way Sarah adapts and survives in that world is an entertaining read. I look forward the other stories this talent writer has to tell.
Profile Image for Ashlyn.
14 reviews1 follower
December 1, 2022
50 pages in so far. Where do I begin? Clearly not an ounce of research into the middle ages was done. Our main character, Sarah, travels back in time to the 12th century, and let's just say I'm getting a lot of gone with the wind, deep south, 1800s, cracker barrel energy, and not a speck of medieval energy.

Why? Well, so far we've been introduced to a middle class family from the time, the Jones family. They live in a "modest two-story house," have a porch with a rocking chair, use oil lamps, have a mother with a messy bun, and are eating biscuits. And oh, let's not forget their names. The kids are named Seth, Leah, and Joshua. While these names are older than the middle ages, they were certainly not commonly used. At all. I looked at several sources to confirm, and they just weren't names parents would have used at the time. It would be like if you came across a family today with kids named Ebenezer, Bartholomew, and Agatha. It's just not a thing. As far as the two story house goes, your average person in the middle ages would never have had such a luxury. They would have lived in a straw roofed hut, the family likely sharing one room. Also, let's move on to Porches and rocking chairs. These didn't come around until the late 1700s, so how they fit into the 12th century is beyond me. Same for oil lamps. They were an invention of the late 18th century. And I don't even know where to start on the messy bun, that the mom of this family is sporting. Women in the middle ages wore their hair loose, and covered. Especially married women. Buns were definitely the fashion in the victorian era, but they never would have been messy. As far as the biscuits go, this would not have been on the menu in the middle ages. Certainly not in Europe, even in this supposed fiction town that modern day has no records of. It's obviously set somewhere in Europe as the characters are white and at this point in time everyone white would have been in Europe. Biscuits - as they are described here - are an American cuisine, most popular in the deep south. The closest equivalent would be a British scone of some kind, but even these wouldn't have been around until the 1500s. Oh and I can't forget. The father in this family is referred to as "Pa." "Pa." Yep. That's right 1100s European kids were calling their dad pa. Which is really weird as well because they call their mom "mother." At least there's one miniscule bit of accuracy in this book I guess. So yeah, thoughts of Little House on the Prairie come to mind, but definitely not the middle ages. I just don't understand how in the world the author could decide to set her story in a time period she clearly knows nothing about, and is too lazy to educate herself on. Also, the way she's writing it makes it seem very much a deep south setting by the way the characters talk as well. "Glory be" is used, and they're calling the dad "Pa." Biscuits are being eaten, and definitely not the British kind. And though I've not really seen anyone from the actual time speak too much about religion, Sarah is very obviously an evangelical. I have a feeling that the medieval characters will be as well, even though everyone would have been very Catholic during this time period. Again. No proof of this yet, but given the spotless record of accuracy, I have low expectations. So yeah, at this point I don't understand why the author didn't just set her time travel story in the deep south in the 1800s. At this point it appears to match that time frame. Just change mother to ma and it works great.

Oh and another thing I forgot to add - another character, Karen, who is responsible for the whole time travel mess and is from modern day, apparently gets her medieval dresses from yard sales and thrift shops. Yeah...no. No way something like that is gonna pass in the middle ages. Either she's the luckiest girl in the world and finding accurate recreations that are some how affordable, or she's finding party city costumes from last years Halloween. You know the type. And yeah. That wouldn't have worked.

Page 53 and they're using a wagon to go into town. This takes them an hour. People didn't live like this in the middle ages. They lived in villages, close together. Imagine if these people needed a doctor? What do they even do in this time period. I guess the mother had to be her own midwife depending on when she went into labor? Wagons did exist, but they weren't used that often because the roads weren't very good. Just another reason people lived so close together. And yeah, from the way they were holding hands for their meal time prayer and there was no mention of crossing themselves, I'm basically positive at this point that I was correct in assuming no one would be Catholic.

Page 55. No, women didn't wear dresses with hoods connected to them in the 12th century.

Page 67. Yes, we know, Sarah. You're a Christian. We don't need to be reminded every 5 minutes.

Page 73. William, a man Sarah met briefly the day before is good looking and has a deep voice. He offers her a blanket as it rains. Sarah is reluctant to tell her about her connection with the recently captured Karen. He tells her "you can trust me," and since he's hot I guess - nothing else comes to mind here - her response is "I know I can."

Page 79. "Thankfully, she hadn’t developed an English accent in her attempt at accuracy." Ah so this historically inaccurate mess is set somewhere in England. I was afraid of that. Which brings me to another point. I guess Sarah had some unusual hobbies because she must be speaking with these people in fluent late old/early middle English depending on where exactly we are in the 12th century. Basically an entirely different language from modern English. Oh wait. The author doesn't believe in historical accuracy. I guess in this "modern day has no records" part of England, they were way ahead of the times and speaking modern day English. My bad. Also, really. We know she's a Christian. It's been established for crying out loud. Please, we get it.

Page 84. Huh? So apparently, Seth, one of the Jones boys, likes Sarah? But where? This is random lol. No build up here at all.

Page 92. "She was beginning to feel like she was getting the best history lesson of her life, and she tried to absorb every detail." Lol, no sweetie. No you're definitely not. Also, King Josiah was mentioned earlier. Again, just because a name is older than a time period does not mean it was used in that time period.

Page 94. Great. Sarah's going to evangelize Will, who was once religious, with her Protestant theology in the 1100s. He's going to be very confused lol.

Page 96. Will is lifting Sarah's chin up and she's kissing his cheek. After what, 3 days, and barely having more than a few conversations? I guess it's supposed to be the common cause that makes this seem like it's not forced and moving at a normal pace? Lol. Ok.

Page 103. No, Shadow, the guard would not think you were an angel or demon. Medieval people weren't total idiots. He'd think you were a robber or an assassin or something. Seriously lost brain cells from that one.

Page 109-110. Medieval English women did not curl their hair, oh my gosh. Please. Just a speck of research. This is the most basic stuff ever. Just 2 seconds of research is all this would have took. Also, the term "mama" didn't exist in the 1100s England. Oh and now apparently they're wearing petticoats. I can't with this book. I just can't. Petticoats didn't come around until the 1500s. Also, mirrors were expensive luxuries during this time period. Your average family wouldn't have owned a small one let alone a large one. Ok, and why is Sarah's dress sounding like a Renaissance inspired dress from the description??? The author probably thinks the Renaissance was the middle ages. Honestly expect as much with this track record.

Page 113. Ok so oil paintings have been around since the 7th century, but this wasn't a common art medium in Europe until the 1400s. Has the author ever heard of tapestries? Cause those would have what would have covered the walls of a 12th century English castle. Not oil paintings. I'm in physical pain. Normally I wouldn't finish the book, but I'm halfway through at this point and have not wasted time on this review for nothing. And the whole domed roof with angels strumming harps painted on it? What in the Michaelangelo? Yeah, tell me you don't know the difference between the medieval times and the Renaissance without telling me you don't know the difference between the medieval times and the Renaissance. Also, I can't with these inaccurate descriptions of what the guests are wearing to this ball. It's sooooooo bad.

Page 126. Oh? Sarah's not like other girls according to Will. Oof. Lol, she's like every other basic 2-D YA female lead. Maybe even more bland honestly. The only thing that makes her different is that she's a Christian. In case anyone forgot lol. It's only mentioned once or twice.

Page 133. Lol, of course Joshua goes by Josh. She really decided to make the name even more inaccurate.

Page 134. The dialog is so modern it's painful. "I'm a big boy," ok Seth. Definitely not a moody teenager from the 21st century lol. Also not related to the page number, but why the hell is the Jones family so welcoming to Sarah?? Like I understand friendliness but she's been here two weeks tops, and they literally think of this random girl as another daughter. Huh?????

Page 139. Was Will being the Shadow supposed to be some kind of plot twist? Lol. I read bigger plot twists in my second grade reading comprehension stories. Also this gem: "She closed her eyes tightly to shut out the world. When had it become so cruel?" Someone doesn't get out much, or pay attention in high school history.

Page 140. Oh my gosh. Sarah has got to be one of the dumbest characters I've ever read. The reveal that Will is the Shadow was so obvious and she's over here still not putting it together and confused.

Page 148. Why was removing Sarah's dress a priority for this frantic physician who knew she'd been cut on the hand with a poisoned knife, and there was a very small window of time to save her...? Also, said physician undoes the ties of Sarah's underdress to show Will all the cuts and scratches on her bare back from being dragged through the forest by one of the villains. Yeah, absolutely not. That wouldn't have happened in the 12th century at all. I'd be extremely hard pressed to believe it would have, even if Will had been a male relation other than her husband.

Page 150. Nope, nope, nope. The physician would not have told Will to stay with her until he returned. He would not have left them alone together, Sarah being poisoned and immobile or not. That would have been so far from proper at that time. Even if it was just a few minutes. AAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!! It gets worse. Oh gosh, it gets worse. The physician made an ointment for her wounds and he told Will to apply it - while he leaves. Again. Keep in mind these cuts are on her BACK AND LEGS. I legitimately think I'm getting brain damage from this book.

Page 152. Maybe I'm dumb, but the physician, Thomas, is Will's uncle, and we get this quote: "Though Thomas and Will’s mother had been identical twins, their personalities had been very different." Is this just a bad way of wording things or does this author legitimately not know how cousins work? Like...if this quote is to be taken as written...they're cousins. Not uncle and nephew.

Page 155. The reason Will is no longer Christian is so cliché but worse than that, modern. Death didn't shake people's faith the way it does now. Life was more fragile back then, and they were more accustomed to death. It was difficult and it's not to say they didn't grieve, but death was much more a part of life to those in the middle ages. Not only that, but their faith was stronger on top of this. While death isn't an uncommon reason for someone to fall away from their faith today, it's in part because death is far more foreign to us in general, and we live in a secular society.

Page 172. Every time a dress is described in this book, I cringe at the complete inaccuracy. Google is free, and was in 2012, when this disaster was published.

Page 174. No. Will would not have helped Sarah with her dress. Even just tieing the back closed. That would have been scandalous, AGAIN. Certainly not in a closed room. By themselves.

Page 188. "“Did you at least enjoy your time with your family?” Ruth asked as she sliced a large loaf of homemade bread." It's the 1100s. You don't need to specify that the bread is homemade. Most of the audience has been through elementary school history and is aware that their were no Krogers in the 1100s where you could just grab a prepackaged loaf of bread.

Not related to a page number, but Sarah having a little sister is possibly the most pointless part of this book. Like she has no relevance to the plot at all. She just shows up and then gets transported back to her time almost immediately. Then we don't hear about her again. At least not yet and I'm almost done with the book. Hopefully she does something in future installments because if not, I have no idea why she was ever here.

Page 200. "What a wonderful feeling to be free of technology and realize that she could be entertained without acquiring the latest gadget or gizmo!" Like I get the point here, but I feel like this is such dorky wording lol.

Page 200. "She would go off to college, probably get some boring office job that she would be stuck at for the rest of her life, and marry some dull, unadventurous man who would lose all his hair and only wished to study his coin collection in his free time." Damn Sarah is depressing lol. Or you could not get a major for something you hate, and not settle on the most boring man imaginable? Just a thought.

Annnnnd. I've finished the book. So overall, I've gotta give this a 1 star. Besides all I mentioned above (and I even left some out), the plot is very thin, and the characters are pretty one dimensional and or boring. Will is the most complex, and I'm truly not trying to be mean, but I really did read books with characters far more complex than him, in the 5th grade. I feel like this author read Waterfall from the River of Time series - medieval time travel story done right - and was inspired to write her own story. Which fell very short. I mean I like the River of Time series, but it's not like they're masterpieces (unless you're going by this book's standards), and even they were extremely thorough in research. And even though it was written by a Protestant, the characters are - though not explicitly stated - very obviously Catholic...because every Christian was before Martin Luther came around. Which was in the 1400s...

I mean Lisa researched and came up with explanations for almost everything, most of them somewhat believable, certainly for a YA series. This author though, well she couldn't even do a quick Google search as to when oil lamps were invented, and what kind of English was being spoken in the 1100s. I'm sorry, but Sarah would not have traveled back to this time and understood “Hwæt! We Gar-Dena in gear-dagum, þeod-cyninga, þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon!” - a quote taken from Beowolf, which was written in Old English.

So yeah. I know this review is long and a little harsh, but as someone who loves history and was interested in this book for a couple years, this was a huge let down. The complete historical inaccuracies (an understatement honestly) being the worst offenders. If it had been smaller stuff, or if she would have been more vague, it wouldn't have been a big deal, but it really was stuff that could have been Googled with results in 3 seconds. And if she wasn't feeling like doing that...well, she should have been more vague.

The worst historical inaccuracies I've ever seen, 1 dimensional characters, thin and boring plot, religion shoved down your throat the whole book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Marian Jacobs.
Author 1 book14 followers
July 26, 2021
This book was so sweet and fun! I love the twist of a time travel/other dimension story. I read this through pretty quickly, and started the second one right away!

I would have liked a longer intro to get to know Sarah's family a little more before the adventure began so I would've known more what she was missing. But all in all, this was a fun read!
Profile Image for Cassie C.
631 reviews61 followers
January 2, 2016
Review to come!

Update 1/1/16:

See more reviews on my blog Novels and Necklaces

Actual rating 4.5 stars

I would like to start this review off with a HUGE thank you to Ashley Townsend for sending me a copy of the first and second novels in this series in exchange for an honest review. This novel has been on my TBR shelf for a bit, and it always intrigued me. Very few authors can pull off time travel well, and when you mix it with fantasy...well you can get into a bit of a sticky situation. But this novel simply blew me away! I couldn't stop reading it! This novel is an exciting, epic adventure full of romance, medieval times, and a plot against the king. Plus, there's a gorgeous, swoonworthy hero. Seriously, you can't ask for a better combination in a book!


We first meet Sarah, our MC, in the 21st century. All she wants is one adventure in her life before she gives herself to books and studying at college. Well, Sarah certainly gets what she wishes for when she's quickly transported back in time to the 1200s. The crazy adventures only begin there. Sarah was a very enjoyable female lead. She was strong, brave, and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I absolutely loved this about her, and it made the story refreshing. Sarah is definitely an extremely relatable character, and the one thing that I did enjoy about her was her strength in regards to her faith. Her faith never once wavers in this novel, and while her Christianity plays a large role in the story, it never overshadows the plot. Ashley Townsend incorporates Sarah's religion in a simple, but enjoyable way. Being Christian myself, I did appreciate seeing this in a main character as it's not something you typically see in books nowadays.

Will, aka the swoonworthy blacksmith, had my heart immediately. I seriously ship Sarah and Will so hard right now it's not even funny haha! He was mysterious, protective, and such a gentleman. I loved his sweet nature. The romance between Sarah and Will builds slowly (hallelujah no insta-love!!), and what starts out as a lovely friendship turns into something much more. Their budding romance is sweet and clean, which was also refreshing. Sometimes a girl needs a little break from NA.

The secondary characters were equally as amazing. I loved that Ashley never just pushed them to the background. They all had a role to play. Whether it was helping out Sarah in times of need, or just helping Sarah grow. Karen is wonderful character in this novel. She helps out Sarah in any way she can, especially since she's responsible for Sarah being there in the first place. Karen was fun and I loved her tenacity. Seth and his family were great additions to the story. While he did have budding feelings for Sarah, I never felt he would be a good match for her. He was a little annoying at times, but I liked how protective he was of both Sarah and Karen. There's also the interesting character of The Shadow. I won't say much on him, but he's definitely a Robin Hood of sorts.

I highly recommend checking out this exciting fantasy novel! Ashley Townsend has a wonderful talent for writing that immediately draws you into another world...one you are very sad to leave. This novel was a fantastic and romantic adventure that has a little bit of everything. With suspense, some exciting twists, and intrigue, I can't wait to find out what happens next in Chasing Shadows!


Happy reading :)
Profile Image for Carolyn.
8 reviews7 followers
September 3, 2012
Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of this ebook in exchange for a review from LibraryThing. This is no way affects my review.

Preface: The opinions in this review are my own. They are not up for discussion. I am an atheist. I do not want commentary about said atheism. I offer this review from my non-religious stand-point for other like-minded people.

I have to be brutally honest. I wanted to hate this book. I really, really, really wanted to hate it. As shallow as it is (and yes, I recognize it is shallow), I felt suckered into choosing this book for my LibraryThing review list. No where did anything indicate this book is Christian Fiction. Once I was selected, a link brought me to Kirkdale Press, the publisher. “Kirkdale Press is a new digital publishing imprint from Logos Bible Software. Focused on Christian living and new voices in Christian fiction, Kirkdale Press builds on Logos Bible Software’s 20 years of leadership in electronic Bible study.” WHAT!?! I was NOT a happy girl!

Of course, if I ever wanted a book or ebook to review from LibraryThing again, I had to honor my commitment. I could have just faked a review. But I am waaay above that. And besides, I’ve read many of the classics and inevitably religion rears it’s head in them. I could survive.

So, I read it. I’ll get it out of the way first and say, yes, there is a bunch of religion in the book. Did it detract? Not particularly. Did it add to the story? Not particularly. Would it have been just as good without it? Of course, my opinion is yes. But I do think others would agree.

I will say that religion in the classics is handled much differently than contemporary fiction. It is almost like contemporary authors have the need to lead the reader by the nose through bible verses in order to get their message across. A little more subtlety could be just as effective.

I rate this book 3 ½ stars. Why does it get 4 in the review? Simply because I WANTED to hate it and I couldn’t. So, I rounded up. But, please understand that 4 stars is extremely high in my book. Only my all-time favorites get 5 stars. Out of 321 books on my Goodreads, I’ve given out a 5 only 22 times.

Riding Shadows is the story of a young girl who goes back in time, accidentally. Of course, this storyline has already been written. But Townsend is able to put a few twists so that we are kept engaged. Her character development is extremely well done. We are given a complete look at many of the characters and her stereotyping of others (for brevity) was appropriate. Her settings are so descriptive that I could easily see the forest for the trees (a pun – a lot of the book takes place in the forest). I have no idea what imagery she used, but it was fluid and refined. Nothing clunky about breaks, changes, or word choice.

There were a few loose ends not tied up, or plotlines not pursued. What the heck happened to the professor? Why even have Lilly in the story if you’re just sending her back right away? Why does Karen stay in the barn all the time? The end of the book made it obvious that this will be a series. Maybe these questions will be answered then. I’m actually looking forward to reading further in the series.

As with many ebooks, there are a number of editing errors. They were less than many ebooks I’ve read recently, and not as distracting, so I did not count off for that.

This review has been posted to LibraryThing, Goodreads, and Amazon.
Profile Image for Lydia Thomas.
Author 1 book9 followers
April 15, 2015
I couldn’t put Rising Shadows down. I put books down all of the time – it’s a necessity of my busy life and I wouldn’t get anything else done otherwise. I just find a good stopping point, bookmark it, and pick it up later. I couldn’t find a good stopping point with this book; I wanted to know what was coming next the entire time.

Sarah is now on my list of favorite female protagonists. No, really, there’s a list. I’ve noticed a trend in Christian YA Fantasy of female protagonists who whine-and-pine over love interests, and that’s essentially the entire story. That wasn’t the case with Sarah in Rising Shadows – she just wants adventure before settling into the routine of college (and everything that comes after that), and she doesn’t seem to want a romance to be that adventure. She relates to people in real ways: she experiences awkwardness, anger, and even jealousy. Beyond that, she’s direct and has a sense of humor. Seriously, what’s not to love?

And that brings me to my favorite character, Will. I get Will, and I am so thankful for the grace and empathy Ashley displayed writing his character. Most Christian writers don’t have the ability to write a character like him without getting preachy, but she did an excellent job. There was actually a point where Will was discussing some of his issues, and I actually cried. Granted, I’m a little emotional this week, but still…

Which brings me to Will. Again. Because besides relating to him, he’s actually this really knowledgeable and skilled character, with an incredible sense of purpose.

“To stop yourself from feeling is like ceasing to live; life no longer holds meaning. Hurt, anger, pain, desire, compassion, love – they’re what make us human. They’re what living is all about. Being able to feel is something we shouldn’t take for granted or push away when offered.”

Besides Sarah and Will, Rising Shadows has a great cast of characters. I am a huge fan of Dickens, so I love widely-varied casts of characters. I really enjoyed Karen and the Joneses. I would have loved a closer look at some of the villains, to get a stronger sense of what we’re up against, but that may just be personal preference. I am also not sure what Lilly’s role is, but I’m betting I’ll find that out as the series continues.

It has all of the elements I love. Time travel, an alternate universe (ish), world-building, action, romance, beautiful gowns, and even a ball. You know, elements that lend themselves to a great Pinterest Board.

As such I give Rising Shadows 4.5 out of 5 stars, and highly recommend it for fans of The Princess Bride and Stardust. (It’s nothing like either, but it reminded me of them, if that makes any sense).
Profile Image for Angie ~aka Reading Machine~.
3,233 reviews131 followers
September 11, 2012
Book exchanged for review~Per Goodreads rules

Sarah Matthews is eighteen years old really thinks her life is boring of late wondering where her summer has gone. She has complete faith in God and his plan for her life. Yet something is clearly missing but Sarah doesn't know what. When she and her sister Lily are transported back in time to the twelfth century. Sarah gets much more than she bargained for in adventure and intrigue. Sarah and Lily meet Karen, a young girl who happens to know that Sarah and Lily are not from this time period. Karen is running from a posse set on catching her because she's a suspected witch. As Karen, Sarah, and Lily hide and run from the posse; Sarah spies a man in a green hooded cloak. The Green Cloaked Man or The Shadow as he's called is very interested in Sarah. Karen tells the girls that the King has fallen ill and no one knows why only that Cadeus may possibly behind the King's illness but no one has any proof. Karen leads the girls to a family farm run by The Joneses where they can stay until Karen can return the girls back to their own time. Karen is also searching for a man called The Professor who might be able to help the girls. In the meantime, they will have to wait until arrangements can be made. Karen and Sarah go to town to see if they can find anything out about the Professor when Karen is caught by Dunlivey. Sarah is stopped from also getting caught by local blacksmith Will Taylor. Will Taylor usually minds his own business yet interferes in Sarah's business. Will kinda likes Sarah and tries to help her out. She asks if Will knows the Shadow because she needs his help. Will The Shadow help Sarah? What is Will hiding? Can Sarah free Karen? What is really causing The King's illness? How will Sarah's faith and love in God help her? Your answers await you in Rising Shadows.

I loved how the author wove the story threads together in such an intriguing way. She captured the spirit of one young woman's unwavering faith and love in God that you didn't feel pressured or force feed someone else's beliefs. It was a gently questioning of your own faith that didn't leave a bad taste in your mouth afterwards. The pacing and tone for the book was just right and made it easy for you to ask questions about your own faith and love in God. Experience this book for yourself.
Profile Image for Erika.
301 reviews10 followers
May 18, 2016
Find more of my reviews at Books, Stars, and the Pages in Between

**I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review**

This novels tells the story of eighteen-year old Sarah Matthews, who has recently graduated high school and is spending the summer, bored, in anticipation of her new college life in the fall. That is, until something strange happens, and she finds herself and her younger sister transported into the twelfth (the twelfth!) century. Caught right in the middle of a hunt for a witch, Sarah must navigate assassination plots and kidnappings, which leads her to ask for help from the mysterious Shadow, as well as the local blacksmith William Taylor...

Sarah was an interesting character to get to know. Her situation and mindset was completely believable and realistic; having absolutely no prior experience with anything remotely related to surviving, she relied heavily on her wits and politeness to navigate her way around the people and avoid questions. Though she sometimes felt too dependent on others, the ending leaves tons of space for Sarah to grow in the next books.

Though aspects of the plot were a bit predictable, it was still enjoyable. Sarah's determination to get her sister home followed by helping Karen were realistic goals, and shows where her heart truly lies. I can totally relate to those goals, and would probably do the same if I were in Sarah's shoes.

The main part I was set off by was the religion aspect. I completely respect it, but as I'm agnostic, at times it felt a little overwhelming. I felt that it sometimes took away from the overall plot, or acted as substitutes for the possibility of larger events.

This novel has a promising start, with tons of room to grow. The ending was really good, and it keeps the reader rightfully hooked. The predictable plot and the religion aspect were the down points but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more romance and action in the next one to make up for it!
Profile Image for C.M..
Author 2 books5 followers
October 22, 2016
Be careful what you wish for. It might be more than you baragained for.

Sarah Matthews wanted more for her summer vaccaton than staying home with her parents and sister, and prepping for college. One wish and the next thing she knows, she’s traveled a few hundred years back in time to Serimone, a kindom that isn’t even supposed to exist, protected by a mysterious hooded character known as the Shadow. He’s kind of like a combination of robin hood + the arrow.

Life suddely got a whole lot more interesting, and complicated.

Sarah was a good character, and it was nice how well she took the whole time travel part, not like most stories where the main character drives me nuts because they’re determined to live in some kind of weird denial until halfway through the book.

I can’t really see where her younger sister fit into the plot. The kid came and went so quickly she didn’t really have any effect on the story. I doubt anyone would have noticed if she were left out entirely.

Karen was great and I would have loved to have seen more of her in the story, maybe even some from her POV alongside Sarah and Will the blacksmith, who has quite a few secrets of his own to unravel.

*Warning! Spoilers Ahead!*

My biggest pet peeve was that there was no final showdown with the villains in this book. I really would have liked to see Karen’s rescue played out. It was really frustrating to have to sit back with the main character and wait, doing absolutely nothing, while the rescue was taking place somewhere else. I know the author was probably just trying to build the suspense and make us wonder whether Karen lived or died, but I would much rather have seen the action.

Safety Rating:

Romance: clean. Things are barely warming up.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: nothing recalled.
Blood/violence: several fights and chases. Both main characters get beaten and torn up a bit. There is some detail but nothing graphic.
Profile Image for Faith.
1,723 reviews
June 21, 2012
An action-filled adventure...in another time...

Sarah and her sister, Lilly, are swept from their life in the present day to a medieval time though historic with a rich history, is not remembered by time. There Sarah meets a mysterious man in a green cloak, who fights silently for what is right. What adventures will Sarah experience in this land that time seems to have forgotten?

Written in an engaging easy to read fashion, with accurately flowing, descriptions perfect for a fast paced novel. I really liked how the we got to see the many sides of The Green Shadow, and how he was something of an outwardly quiet and collected character, though on the inside he was just a normal guy. I liked how much action that the story contained, and how things really got going about halfway through.

I kind of felt like this book should have either been longer or shorter, either one, because there were a few gaps that I would have liked a little more explanation, and there were times in the beginning especially that I felt could have been tighter. I was kinda disappointed when they sent Lilly home, because I thought she would have been a great part of the story and some sisterly conflict or something like that.

Overall, I think this is a great new YA Christian Fiction book with lots of adventure, and romance, even deception and secret identities. I really enjoyed traveling back in time to another place, and I definitely think a sequel would be marvelous!

I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. Thanks!
1 review
January 31, 2013
My favorite new book of the year! My friend has been trying to get me to read this since September, but I was concerned about reading a book by an author a few years younger than myself. But I was so pleasantly surprised with the storyline, depth of the characters, and overall pace of the story. I couldn't put it down! And that Will Taylor. Let me just say I was sighing everytime he walked into a scene. There was plenty of tension between Sarah, Will, and that Shadow (I'm not telling!), although there wasn't as much "steamy" romance as I'm used to in most YA. I kept expecting to miss it, but this young author handled it very nicely, and I felt like I got a ton of romance anyway. I was never left wanting! I've read some of the excerpts she has on her website for the sequel, and it really seems much darker and more tenuous than the first book, which I love! Bring on the torment! She's also introducing a new love interest, a Spaniard, which I'm on the fence about. It will definitely put her and Will on the rocks, though, which always equates to some great tension, though there is NO WAY I am switching teams. Team Will all the way! Plus, this new guy could actually end up being pretty cool, though I'm saving my opinion of him until I actually read the book. The bad guy was a little underdeveloped, but I kind of liked how theatrical and overdone he was. I also really loved the background characters and the family that Sarah stays with. They were all really friendly and endearing, and I'm really hoping that they're in the sequel.
798 reviews17 followers
August 19, 2012
Received as an ebook from the publisher as part of Librarything's Early reviewer giveaway.

Partway through reading the book, I was flicking through and found that this is Ashley's first book and she is a young author too. This makes this début novel the better, with a decent storyline and some good primary characters. For those who dont like Christian themes in books this is not for you - Sarah has a strong relationship with God, as do some other characters, though Ashley does well to not make this too preachy and evangelical a novel. Those readers with an already established Christian belief system, or those looking for stories based with these values, will find this a decent story.

As to the story itself (coming from more a sci-fi bent as a reader), just a couple of things: travel back 700 years and the natives speak decent English? America didnt exist as we knew it in 1300, which equates to Chaucer-period in England - and 200 years before Shakespeare. Farmers willing to have 2 un-chaperoned girls living in the barn and come and go as they please? I suggest the matter of the Professor (notable by his absence in this book) and how they've been bouncing around time and space to be covered in a future book?

Anyway, strong debut novel, reasonable characterisations, some room for growth.
1 review1 follower
January 31, 2013
I read the book and really loved it, and then I got to the end all like, "Wow, that was a great adventure, all the mysteries are solved, I'm okay with the fact that Sarah never confronted Cadius, and now everything----What?! Are you kidding me? Where's the next book?!!!!!" I had every intention of finishing this "novel" and then moving on to the next stack of books on my floor and my Kindle, but then I read the cliffhanger ending and am currently freaking out. I NEED the next book. I discovered her website the other day and have been poring through every single thing she's ever written, and she's talked a lot about her work on the sequel, and she even shared some small sections of the sequel. It sounds crazy good! Rising Shadows was fun, fast-paced, endearing, and awesomely entertaining, but the next book sounds so dark and tormented in such a good way that I am literally DYING to read it, and she gets way more technical with the whole time travel aspect of the trilogy. And she keeps mentioning something about a new love interest named Damien. I adore Will with every fiber of my being, but I also have a serious thing for Spaniards. If anyone could make me swap teams from Will, though I'm not saying it's going to be easy, it would be a Spaniard. Crossing fingers it comes out soon!
Profile Image for Christina (Ensconced in Lit).
984 reviews288 followers
August 19, 2012
I received this book from Librarything in exchange for an honest review. I award this book 3.5 stars.

Rising Shadows by Ashley Townsend is about a teenager named Sarah that is whisked away one day to an unknown land that teems with handsome strangers, loving friends, and sinister villains. I admit that I didn't realize that Kirkdale Press was a Christian publisher, but was pleasantly surprised with the product.

I really liked the characters-- they were well fleshed out and fun to read about. I think that if I knew them, they could become my friends. I liked Sarah, Karen, and Seth. His family reminded me of the very friendly Weasleys from Harry Potter. I also liked the fact that while this was a Christian book, it focused on how faith can assist us and God doesn't always say "yes," which I think many people don't understand.

That said, there were a lot of religious references in this book and depending on God to get out of bad situations, so if this isn't for you, then you shouldn't read this book. The writing and characterization are pretty solid. This is Ashley Townsend's first book and I think she'll only get better from here on out.

Not my typical read, but great characters and an interesting plot.
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