Amazon Barnes and Noble Print Release Date:
October 15, 2014
Audiobook Release Date: TBA
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The Cassie Scot Series: Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs. Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Cassie Scot #1) Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot #2) Mind Games (Cassie Scot #3)
Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.
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IT IS MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME BACK CHRISTINE AMSDEN TO THE BOOK REVIEW.
As you all know, Christine and her Cassie Scot series is one of my favorite series and it's always a pleasure to have Christine join me on my blog. Today Christine is going to share with us TOP TEN list of books everyone should read. This is an interesting list.. so without further ado....
Top 10 Books Everyone Should Read
I try to be a somewhat eclectic reader, but I confess that when people ask me which books "everyone" should read I get stumped. "Everyone" is such a diverse group of people, with strongly opposite tastes and opinions. If I hadn't been sure of this fact before, watching my own books receive enthusiastic acclaim from some readers and harsh criticism from others would have convinced me. But I will list some of the books that I have loved or that have meant something to me. :)
10. The Chronicles of Narnia – This series was the foundation of my childhood interest in fantasy. Looking at it through the lens of today's literature, and especially today's young adult literature, I'm not sure how well it will hold up. Today's young adult books are fuller, richer, and expect more of children from a younger age. The narration in The Chronicles of Narnia, on the other hand, is in the manner of a story-teller, and in places it almost seems to talk down to its audience. Yet it is a wonderful story for children, the original escape into a magical kingdom.
9. A Wrinkle in Time – This book helped form my love of science fiction. The main character is a fourteen-year-old girl who, like many fourteen-year-old girls, has self-esteem issues and doubts. Though this book is also a little older, it's ahead of its time in that BOTH of Meg's parents are scientists. And while they don't have cell phones or ipads, the core story isn't easily dated. I think young teens today would love this as much as I did.
8. Tuck Everlasting – This is a book I read for school in sixth grade. It's the only book they forced me to read in school that you will find on this list. But this one haunted me then and still haunts me to this day. When I wrote The Immortality Virus, many readers wondered at my angle – that immortality wouldn't be all that great. But for me the idea that long life wouldn't actually be that great was obvious, and it began with Tuck Everlasting.
7. Wishes by Jude Deveraux – This book was my introduction to the romance genre. Having read many, many more since then I won't say that this is the best or that it is somehow emblematic of its genre, only that it had everything someone new to romance could ask for – a fairy godmother, a selfish family, a desirable hero, and an overweight heroine. In addition, the sex scene is minimalistic in nature … enough to shock the naïve fifteen-year-old me who first read it but nothing but sweet to the grown woman I am now. My aunt actually recommended the book to me and I can see why. It's a fun, gentle introduction.
6. Ender's Game – One of the best science fiction novels ever written. The companion to this book, Ender's Shadow, may be the best. If you only read one or two science fiction books in your life, make it these. You get a lot of the classic science fiction devices here – aliens, space travel, advanced tech, etc., but it is interpreted through the eyes of a child who is pushed beyond his limits. I first read this in college, but have read it two or three times since then and continue to love it each and every time.
5. The Dresden Files – Urban fantasy is a big thing nowadays, but it took me a long time to get into it, despite the fact that I wrote the Cassie Scot series. The Dresden Files is probably the reason why I was able to write it. Before this series, I saw urban fantasy as a genre of vampire romance, something I can't get into. But The Dresden Files showed me how cool, inventive, and fun a world of magic living right alongside our own could be. I just offer my usual word of caution when recommending this series: Like all authors, Jim Butcher had a learning curve. The first couple of books in this series are okay; it takes off somewhere between books 3 and 5 (depending upon who you ask). You can start at book 3 without missing too much.
4. Kiss of the Highlander – If you get to a point where you're ready for some steamy romance mixed with druids and time travel, I can't recommend this book enough. I almost didn't read this because it's the fourth book in Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series, and the first three were only okay. But as I said once before, there are learning curves to writing. Kiss of the Highlander is the best book of its kind that I know. The best mix of fantasy and romance. The romance is both hot and sweet at the same time (a difficult blend).
3. Middlesex – Okay, now I'm going to completely change gears to literary work and recommend a book that will open your eyes about transgender issues and give you a new understanding of the world. There aren't many books that will change your worldview, but this is one of them.
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy – Science fiction at its most hilarious! "For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons."
1. Cassie Scot:
Stolen Dreams by Christine Amsden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Stolen Dreams by Christine Amsden is a 2014 Twilight Times publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The day I have anticipated and also dreaded... the last book in the Cassie Scot series. While I was excited about reading the book, I was also sad. I have really come to love these characters and are invested in them. So, I didn't want the series to end. Having said that, it was probably best to give the readers a bit of closure especially in the situation between Evan and Cassie which really needed to change because it's quite obvious that the two of them love each other, always have and always will, they just got a raw deal. It looks as if all hope is lost when the story opens. Cassie is back home, engaged to Alexander, and the war between the families , the Scots and the Blackwood's is at an all time peak. Cassie's feelings for Evan are no longer confusing to her. She hates him, really. There is nothing there anymore except for pain, anger and bitterness. It looks like that's probably a good thing, since her family has posted “wanted “ signs everywhere and a million dollar bounty is hanging over Evan's head.
This is the set up leading up to the ultimate showdown between the families. Be prepared for tears, pain, joy, and finally peace and understanding.
Evan and Cassie have been on a long journey together. Evan's confidence was shaken when he discovered the truth about Cassie's absence of magical ability and had a really hard time dealing with it. Now, however, that is the least of their worries as bodies begin piling up. There are stunning, mind blowing revelations and a mystery so murky I didn't know if we would ever get to the bottom of things.
The only complaint I had about the story was that we didn't get to see how Cassie's relationship with her family evolves. Notably absent was any discussion between Cassie and her mother. There were some really big emotional blows that were a bit too glossed over and not enough time was given to the reader to digest it. That said, there was a lot going on and a lot of issues that had to be worked through to spend too much time on any one relationship except that of Cassie and Evan, and ultimately they are the main focus of book, and rightly so.
During our time with Cassie we have seen a young girl go through a tough time dealing with being different from others, having her heart broken on more than one occasion, have moments of doubt and moments of clarity. Her Romeo and Juliet relationship with Evan has appeared as doomed as the Shakespeare version. Her family is firmly pitted against his and these two have certainly paid the price over the years. There are so many elements to these stories I could go on and on about them, but in the end I think the reader will feel very content with the way things work out. A high price was paid, and there are devastating losses, but Cassandra will come out of triumphantly. She will learn who she really is deep down inside, what really matters to her the most, and will be rewarded greatly for all her suffering So, even though the series has ended and I am sad I will not be hearing from these characters again, I do feel like the final outcome will give the reader enough to satisfy them about the future Cassandra will have and we know she now has all she ever needed.