Review + Author Interview: Cassie Scot: (Para)Normal Detective by Christine Amsden


https://i1.wp.com/d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1360012911l/15813209.jpgCassie 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.

Rating:

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Review:

Alright, so here’s a fact about me: I rarely give 5 stars to a book. A book should have to thoroughly impress, entertain and delight me in order for me to give it 5 stars. So, you might wonder what is so great about this book that I rated it so highly. Let me tell you what.

First of all, this book is freaking fantastic. I enjoyed the world building so much that after finishing the book, it took me some to realize it was all fantasy and not real. Second of all, the protagonist Cassie Scot? She kicks butt. She is strong and independent and fierce and not at all, obsessing over the guy every few pages. I loved that about her. Also, she cares a lot about her family and her family plays a huge part in this book, which is not something you see in many paranormal books.

For some reason, before I started this book, I was of the impression that Cassie Scot was a YA book. Well, it’s not. I was initially a bit disappointed because pulling off a fantasy plot in an adult or let’s say, New Adult world is kinda difficult. But Christine Amsden did pull it off. The words flowed smoothly without any glitches and the plot is smooth as well. There are no unnecessary scenes in the middle that distract the reader from the very interesting mystery happening in the story.

Now, romance is a major part of the book, but so is the male lead Evan. He plays an important role in the plot and I loved the ending. I LOVED Evan. He was smoking! And that kiss at the end of the book! I had to surreptitiously check that no one was watching me because I didn’t want anyone to see me drooling all over my e-reader.

One thing I didn’t expect from this book was the gore and the scares. It isn’t “horror movie” gory, but there were some scenes that sort of gave me the chills. I had expected it to be a fun, fluffy read, but it was so much more than that. Another thing I loved about Cassie Scot was the fact that there are hardly any cliches involved. This are no hero-pining heroines. The hero doesn’t pop up every time the heroine is in trouble. The hero doesn’t stalk the heroine, meaning he has a life. It was refreshing to read a book that didn’t follow any of the regular paranormal tropes.

Now, if there is one thing that bothers me about this book, it is the fact that I really, really, REALLY want to get my hands on the sequel to the book which is called Secrets & Lies! Like I would kill to read the next book in the series. If the author is reading this, I just want to congratulate her for being such an awesome story teller and to keep up the amazing work in Book 2.

Ooh, and one more thing. This book has got a fabulous murder mystery going. If that doesn’t want to make you pick up the book, I don’t know what will. 😛 🙂 Also, I think the cover looks super-cute. Don’t you?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What was the most difficult part for you when writing CASSIE SCOT?

This rough draft of this book came very easily to me. More easily than any other, I think. But then I had to let parts of it go. That was the tough part. For example, there was a chapter between the current chapters one and two in which Cassie stops by the diner to chat with her friends. The only reason it was there in the first place was that I was exploring the world as I went along, but once it was in place it was tough to let it go, even knowing how boring it would be for readers to wade through an entire chapter of girl talk before getting to the dead body! There were a few other moments like that.

What was the easiest part?

Cassie’s character. She came to me all in a rush one day and I could barely contain her. In fact, I had to write all four books back to back because I couldn’t get her out of my head!

What is your favorite scene or was your favorite to write? Don’t forget to tell us why. J

My favorite scene comes near the end, after Cassie kisses Evan for the first time. There’s a lot going on in this book and in the series, but the romance was my special favorite part and that scene really kicks it off. Plus, Evan is a really good kisser.

The sequel is SECRETS & LIES. Can you tell us a little about what’s to come?

Secrets and Lies picks up where Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective leaves off. Without spoiling the end of the first book for you, I can tell you that Cassie is struggling at the beginning of the Secrets and Lies. She’s trying to live on her own for the first time and not having an easy time of it. Her family is falling apart around her, her two best friends are having issues of their own, and then there’s Evan. Cassie owes Evan a debt in Secrets and Lies, making it difficult for her to refuse him anything she knows he wants. And he wants her.

Is there anything in CASSIE SCOT you hope readers take away after reading, or something you want to point out you don’t want readers to miss?

I hope the book speaks for itself! More than anything else, though, I hope readers love Cassie. Her character arc is the point of the series, so if you’re not into her in the first book, you’re not going to be into the series. If you like her, though… I’ve got a lot in store for her. It’s going to be a bumpy road for her and for the people in her life. But trust me. I’ve not only got a plan, but I’ve got the whole series written. (I’m actually super eager for the whole thing to be out so I don’t have to keep biting my tongue about what’s coming!)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Christine Amsden has written stories since she was eight, always with a touch of the strange or unusual. She became a “serious” writer in 2003, after attending a boot camp with Orson Scott Card. She finished Touch of Fate shortly afterward, then penned The Immortality Virus, which won two awards. Expect many more titles by this up-and-coming author.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Amsden-Author-Page/127673027288664

Twitter – @ChristineAmsden ; https://twitter.com/ChristineAmsden

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1030664.Christine_Amsden

If you want to visit the rest of the tour stops, here’s the link:

http://atomrbookblogtours.com/2013/07/04/tour-cassie-scot-paranormal-detective-by-christine-amsden/

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


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In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Rating:

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Review:

This is the third book I’ve read that deals with angels, the other two being ‘Hush Hush’ and ‘Angelfall’. Without a doubt, Angelfall is the best of the three. Unearthly falls somewhere in between, much better than ‘Hush Hush’ but not quite equal to ‘Angelfall’. Unearthly puts a unique twist on angel lore. In Cynthia Hand’s world, angels are born on earth to satisfy a purpose and Clara, being an angel blood, has to fulfill her purpose. Before that, she has to figure out what her purpose is. The clues come in the form of dreams or flashes of the future and Clara has to use these clues to figure out her purpose.

When I started the book, I had high expectations because of all the good reviews this book had received on Goodreads. But about 25% into the book, I realized that though this was a solid YA book, this would not turn out to be one of my favorites. And the reason for that was… well, Clara. Clara is beautiful, fast and there is almost nothing that she can’t do. At least, that was the impression that I got when I read the book. Which instantly put me off because I love my protagonists to be a bit flawed and Clara seemed a little too perfect for my taste. Secondly, what is the deal with her obsession with Christian? I get that she keeps getting visions of him and that her purpose has something to do with him. But she automatically assumes that it means that she and Christian should “be together”. She starts obsessing over him, about whether he is looking her way, whether he is talking about her etc. It gets a bit annoying when she does this.

Except for Clara, I liked all the other characters including her mother, her brother, Christian, Tucker, Wendy and even the mean girl whose name I have now forgotten. If not for the romance aspect of this book, I would have given this only 3 stars. But as it happens, I really, really dug the romance in Unearthly. It was sweet and believable and good news – no insta-love. And there is a twist in the romance part which most of the readers will be able to predict after 50% of the book. But still, I’m thankful it was there. I would have hated the book if it was not.

Now, moving on to the ending, I loved it. Maybe it could have been a little less rushed, but still, I loved it. Plus, there is another twist at the end which even I, with all my supernatural abilities, didn’t expect.

So, I will probably read the sequel if only because I am craving a good dose of a certain character from the book.

Review: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett


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Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

Rating:

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Review:

Going into this book, I was fully expecting a romance with maybe a touch of paranormal. But guess what? This book has an actual plot, you guys! Yay! Also, the heroine of this book, Dusty is really, really likeable. She is not popular but she doesn’t whine about her unpopular status every five pages or so. Double yay!

The Nightmare Affair was very enjoyable for me, but I had to take away one star because some portions of the book sort of reminded me of Harry Potter. Like the boarding school that Dusty goes to, the teachers, some of the secondary characters. Even the murders happening in the book were sort of reminiscent of the second book from the HP series. But that said, the mystery surrounding the murders is one of the reasons I liked this book. It is so nicely done with just the right amount of suspense, whodunnit and whoisnext. Although I guessed one of the villains the minute he was introduced, I was still a bit surprised by the main baddie of the book.

Coming to the romance aspect, again I have to give credits to the author because she has managed to pull off a sweet romance that doesn’t ruin the flow of the story. Even though it’s obvious Dusty feels an attraction towards the guy Eli, that doesn’t make her act like a complete idiot in front of him. She is strong and independent and fierce just the way I like my heroines.

So, this is a well-written book with an amazing set of characters. I think a lot of people would enjoy this book if they managed to stay oblivious to a few HP similarities. 🙂

Review + Giveaway: Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian


I’m really sorry I haven’t updated my blog in quite a while, but I broke my laptop a week back and now it’s display is shattered to smithereens. Hopefully, it will be back in good condition by next week in which case I will be able to post more often. In the meantime, I’ll be using my friend’s laptop, so please go easy on me if the posts are sporadic.

So, anyway, today I bring to you a book that will appeal to all fantasy fans. Plus, there are TWO awesome giveaways. The first is blog specific and is for five ebook copies of Cobweb Bride. And the other giveaway is for paperback and hardback copies of the same.

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Release Date: July 15, 2013

Publisher: Norilana Books 

Imprint: Leda 

Trade Hardcover
(First Edition)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-112-6
ISBN-10: 1-60762-112-6

$24.95 US / 20.00 UK

Trade Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-113-3
ISBN-10: 1-60762-113-4

$14.95 US / 12.00 UK 

Ebook (multi-format)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-114-0
ISBN-10: 1-60762-114-2

$5.99

Many are called…
She alone can save the world and become Death’s bride.

Cobweb Bride is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

What if you killed someone and then fell in love with them?

In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary “pocket” of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill….

Covered in white cobwebs of a thousand snow spiders she lies in the darkness… Her skin is cold as snow… Her eyes frozen… Her gaze, fiercely alive…

While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war… A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father … Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court…. Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living…

Look closer — through the cobweb filaments of her hair and along each strand shine stars…

And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death’s own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North…

And everyone is trying to stop her.

Rating:

four-stars

Review:

I received a free copy of this book from Fiction Addiction Blog Tours and I’m so glad I did.

I have read many books to date but none like this. The best word I can think of to describe this book is unique. Everything about this book is unique – the story telling, the characters, the plot, everything. When I first started this book, the language seemed a little too flowery for my taste but as I delved deeper, I realized the language was just setting the tone for the book. The story is every bit as beautiful as the language in which it is written. The characters are far from flat. They jump out of the pages. They are very, very real. They are neither good, neither bad. They are gray, as are all humans. The descriptions and world building are important elements of the story as they add the necessary magical touch to the book. Plus, unlike many books that are coming out now, romance is kept on the backseat while plot develops at a slow but steady pace. If you are looking for a good fantasy book with awesome characters and close to no cliches, I would definitely recommend this book for you.

As for cons, the only thing that bothered me about this book was the pace. In some parts, I wished the story would move a little fatser but that didn’t make me lose interest in the story in any way.

Giveaway #1

Giveaway #2

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Rating:

Review:

For some reason, I had been putting off reading this book for quite some time now. I don’t know why. Maybe the cover, although gorgeous, didn’t pull me in. Yeah, yeah, I’m kind of shallow when it comes to covers. But two days back, my brother and I had gone laptop shopping and while my brother was busy checking out all the cool new features in his laptop, I got bored and opened up this book on my e-reader. And I instantly knew I would love it.

I can write paragraphs on Laini Taylor’s writing style alone, but I’ll try to keep it short. It was simply spectacular. The descriptions pop off the page and hit you over the head like a sledgehammer, making you feel as though you are seeing Prague and Marrakesh and Brimstone’s shop with your own eyes. This book reminded me of why I started loving fantasy and still do. The story kicks off at an impressive speed and it is so thrilling that I couldn’t put the book down for ten hours straight. Yeah. It was that good.

And the characters! Oh, God, they were so beautifully written. You can feel Karou’s anguish as if it were your own and I loved Brimstone and Issa. And Zuzana? I wish Laini Taylor would write a book about Zuzana once she finishes Karou’s story. I loved Zuzana almost as much as Karou. The girl is seriously, side-splittingly funny! Every character in the book was amazingly crafted. I just wish when I write a book, I can manage to capture the essence of each character in such a beautiful way.

Coming to the topic of the love interest, I didn’t realize this book was going to be a romance from the way things started out. I mean, we see Akiva for the first time only about 35% into the book. But after he does enter the plot, we start to realize that the entire plot of the book wouldn’t happen if not for the romance. Which kinda, sorta disappointed me because I hugely appreciate a well-executed plot that doesn’t revolve around the “lurv” between the leads. But oh, well. It has been so hard to come across a good YA book nowadays that I let that slide. Because honestly? Even though the book was all about Akiva and Karou’s romance, I didn’t cringe while reading it. Karou is an independent and strong character who even the hardest cynics (me?) will like. If anything, I was a little let down by Akiva. He just didn’t light my fire, if you know what I mean. But like I said, he didn’t make me cringe either, so he is in the safe zone. The book did kind of drag (just a little) during the past-Karou-Akiva scenes, but it quickly picked up momentum after that.

The world building is awesome and I loved the idea that the seraph and the chimaera were not biblical creatures, but rather two warring races. I am definitely reading the next book and I so dearly hope it doesn’t let me down.