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/

Guest Post + Giveaway: Edward Lorn (Author of Life After Dane)


Edward Lorn is an American horror author presently residing in the southeast United States. He enjoys storytelling, reading, and writing biographies in the third person.

Once upon a time, during a session of show and tell, a seven-year-old Edward Lorn shared with his class that his baby brother had died over the weekend. His classmates, the teacher included, wept while he recounted the painful tragedy of having lost a sibling. Edward went home that day and found an irate mother waiting for him. Edward’s teacher had called to express her condolences. This was unfortunate, as Edward had never had a baby brother.

With advice given to her by a frustrated teacher, Edward’s mother made him start writing all of his lies down. The rest, as they say, is history.

Edward Lorn and his wife are raising two children, along with a handful of outside cats and a beagle named Dot. He remains a liar to this day. The only difference is, now he’s a useful one.

Edward’s page on RAP: http://redadeptpublishing.com/edward-lorn/

Edward’s blog: http://edwardlorn.wordpress.com/

The Reality of Ghosts

Something goes bump in the night, and the hairs rise on nape of your neck, as well as on your forearms. A slight bolt of electricity courses through you. Your interest is piqued, whether you believe in ghosts or not.

You tell yourself, “It’s the house settling,” or, “It’s just the wind,” and you go back to sleep.  But in the back of your mind, you’re wondering if you could actually be haunted.

Ghost stories are unique in the way that people can believe the fiction and not look insane. A few people believe that vampires, werewolves, and/or zombies are either real or forthcoming, but those individuals are often marked as unstable. Whether or not the R/Edward Cullen/Jacob Black apocalypse is coming is irrelevant, because it has yet to come. Ghosts, however, are rather commonplace. Almost everyone has a ghost story, even those who don’t believe in specters and spooks. Personally, I am on the fence regarding the supernatural, yet I have experienced unexplained phenomena that could very well be described as ghostly activity.

Then you have the personal connection. Before books like Twilight and Warm Bodies, we were all mostly scared of the undead and shape-shifting sorts. But ghosts have always been a little bit of both good and bad. My wife and I believe that her aunt is watching over our kids. Though it’s impossible to prove or disprove, it’s a pleasing thought. Even if it could be proven false, we wouldn’t care. After all, how is it hurting anyone? Some find the idea of ghosts to be sacrilegious, blasphemy even, because when you’re dead, you’re dead. Heaven or Hell: that’s the only choice for your soul. Alas, I won’t go any further than that. Friends shouldn’t discuss religion, politics, or cheese preferences. My point is that a haunting isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In my newest novel, Life After Dane, Ella May Peters is dealing with the death of her son, Dane. When her son seemingly returns from the grave, everything she’s ever known and believed is challenged. Is Dane a hallucination, or is he really haunting her? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there’s something for everyone in Life After Dane. One thing’s for sure, though. Like Dane Peters, this one stays with you.

E.

Life After Dane releases on August 2013. Be sure to check it out!

A mother’s love is undying… and so is Dane.

After the state of Arkansas executes serial killer Dane Peters, the Rest Stop Dentist, his mother discovers that life is darker and more dangerous than she ever expected.

The driving force behind his ghostly return lies buried in his family’s dark past. As Ella desperately seeks a way to lay her son’s troubled soul to rest, she comes face to face with her own failings.

If Ella cannot learn why her son has returned and what he seeks, then the reach of his power will destroy the innocent, and not even his mother will be able to stop him.

Here’s where you can buy the book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Life-After-Dane-ebook/dp/B00DVR2DEK/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/life-after-dane-edward-lorn/1115994993?ean=2940148310594

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Life-After-Dane/book-8nxUhaB_iUmISuGQ22Vfgg/page1.html?s=ipu8d4jClkGqF8qr59p6NA&r=1

Goodreads Page:

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17929809-life-after-dane

**GIVEAWAY**

There is also an awesome giveaway for The Dane Tour. Click on the link below to go to the Rafflecopter page:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0510ed16/

Guest Post + Giveaway: David Litwack (Author of Along The Watchtower)


Please enjoy this guest post by David Litwack, author of the gripping contemporary novel, Along the Watchtower, and the deep, dark dystopia, There Comes a Prophet. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

The Virtual World of Gaming and the Plight of War Veterans: A Guest Post by David Litwack

Gaming and war would seem to be as far apart from each other as you can get. But while you’re in the midst of them, they share one thing in common—a sense of being in an alternate reality.

I’ve always been fascinated by how much of what we consider to be reality is subjective, how each of us bring our own experiences and biases into play. But when we’re ripped from our normal lives and placed in extreme circumstances, our reality becomes totally fragmented. Such is the case with hospitals and war.

A couple of years ago, I became engrossed in the online game, World of Warcraft, thanks to my son. I’m on the east coast and he’s on the west, so we’d meet every Wednesday evening in the virtual world of Azeroth, where our avatars would go on quests together. I was struck by how immersed I became in the mood of the game as we wandered through castles and crypts, solving riddles and vanquishing demons, how for a short period of time, I could totally buy in to the alternate reality.

The fantasy gaming experience has a dream-like quality to it, which led me to wonder: how would this experience affect the dreams of someone whose reality has been fragmented by the trauma of war? These concepts—war, hospitals, and the fantasy world of online gaming—came together in Along the Watchtower.

I began to research the effects of war on returning veterans. I learned that 30% are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress. That means after six months they’re still dealing with flashbacks, disturbing dreams, depression and difficulty re-assimilating into their former lives. And that doesn’t account for the many others who are seemingly able to adjust but continue to deal with inner turmoil. The war experience changes all forever. Many have suicidal thoughts (the suicide rate among veterans is triple that of the general population. More soldiers have died by their own hand than in the war itself). Many struggle with dark thoughts and have difficulty forming relationships, unable to “turn off” the normal flight or fight syndrome, leaving them suspicious in crowds and always on alert.

And then, there are the physical injuries. One of the ironic successes of these recent wars is the advance in battlefield medicine. The result is that far fewer die of wounds than in prior wars. The ratio of wounded to dead in WWII was 1.1/1, in Vietnam 1.7/1. In Iraq, it’s 7/1. More are saved, but more come home with debilitating, lifelong injuries. And 68% of the wounded have some form or brain trauma, penetrating injuries from shrapnel or non-penetrating concussions from the blasts of IEDs.

To learn more about brain injuries, I read In an Instant, the story of Bob Woodruff. The brilliant Woodruff had just been named co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight. Then, while embedded with the military in Iraq, an improvised explosive device went off near the tank he was riding in. Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly killed him. The book describes his recovery and recounts how fragile the human brain can be. At one point, the erudite Woodruff could rattle off the names of all prior U.S. presidents but couldn’t remember the names of his own children.

And I read about post traumatic stress. One of the best books is Achilles in Vietnam. Written by Jonathan Shay, a Vietnam War era PTSD counselor, it compares his clinical notes from patients to the text from Homer’s Odyssey, showing how we as human beings have dealt with war trauma across the millennia. He shows how war disrupts our moral compass, leaving re-entry into normal life as a brutal and agonizing experience.

Playing a make-believe fantasy game and going to war both have a surreal quality that takes us out of our normal reality. But for war veterans, the sense of normality doesn’t return without a struggle.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a wonderful organization, dedicated to helping veterans adjust. Their stated mission is: “To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” How successful we’ll be at achieving that goal will tell a lot about who we are. It’s one of the most important stories of our time.

Watchtower Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, both Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack are on sale this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Pick up Along the Watchtower at its discounted price of $2.99 on Amazon
  2. Get There Comes a Prophet at its discounted price of 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  4. Visit the featured social media events
  5. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

Along the Watchtower tells of a tragic warrior lost in two worlds; a woman who may be his only way back from Hell. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

There Comes a Prophet A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a time of violence and social collapse. Nathaniel has grown up in their world of limits, longing for something more. For what are we without dreams? Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

David Litwack, the once and future writer, explores the blurry line between reality and the fantastic. Visit David on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

You can also enter in the following giveaway to win many AMAZING prizes. So, enter away!

Interview + Giveaway: Safe by Dawn Husted


Today, on That Artsy Girl’s Book Blog you get to read my interview with Dawn Husted, author of Safe. Also, she has been generous enough to offer an ecopy of Safe to ONE international winner. So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Q: Hi Dawn! Welcome to That Artsy Girl’s Book Blog. I’m super happy to have you here.

Thank you for allowing me on your blog!

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I never thought I’d be a writer! It wasn’t until I had kids, that I started writing. In 2008, I began a book intended for my eldest child. A book filled with magic and mystical beings, called Nicova. However, I was new to writing and found out later how horrible the book was! I like to think that I’ve improved considerably since then.

Q: Now, your book SAFE which is releasing on August 1, 2013 is a post-apocalyptic YA book. What was the inspiration for you to write this book?

For years now, I’ve loved almost everything I have watched and read in regard to post-apocalyptic fiction. My notion of wanting to write something, not sure what, within that genre grew. I’m also a huge fan of zombies, but I didn’t want to write about that particular subject (if you read SAFE there is a mention of zombies in a non-science-fiction way). SAFE combined my desire to write science-fiction with a post-apocalyptic twist. It’s a young-adult novel, and I hope readers enjoy it!

Q: Is the main character of SAFE based on a real life character that you know? Yourself, perhaps? No. There may be a few qualities of myself within Penny, but not much.  I wrote the character as someone that thought she knew everything about where she lived, and as she discovers the truth, her world is changed dramatically.  I had to be careful about letting myself decide the way a character would react in situations; letting it be the character speaking, not myself. There were a few times I deleted dialogue, because it just didn’t fit Penny.

Q: What qualities in Penny do you think sets her apart from other YA heroines? Lots of YA heroines are tough, athletic, and physically capable of winning the story. Penny is fully capable, but she lacks the physical strength. She finds herself relying more on her mind than her body to survive, but overall, it takes all three characters working together to stay alive. Those three are: Penny, James and Lucan.

Q: Who is your favorite character in the book apart from the MC, Penny?

I really like Lucan. He’s funny and brings a lot of humor amidst the threat of dying.

Q: Who is your writing muse?

My husband. I’m fortunate to have someone constantly encouraging me to achieve whatever I go after. On the days I’m feeling off my game, simply being around him makes me a better writer.

Q: What and who is your absolutely most favorite book and author in the whole, whole world?

To be honest, I never enjoyed reading when I was younger. Now that I’m older, I like….Patrick Ness, Stephanie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, Nicholas Sparks, and the list goes on. Of these authors, Patrick Ness’s book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, was unexpectedly amazing.  His writing style is unique and different. I really like that. And the story was unlike anything I had read before.

Q: What is your favorite type of music and name a few of your favorite bands or singers.

I enjoy music that’s calming and helps me de-stress, but also fun. Here are a few names:

Flightless Bird, American Mouth – Iron and Wine

Serena Ryder – Stompa

Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble

The Lumineers – Ho Hey

Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks

Eric Church – Creepin’

Karmin – Brokenhearted

Okay, I have a bunch more, but I’ll stop there.

Q: Favorite movies or TV shows?

The new season of Covert Affairs is about to start, love this show. I’m also sad that Walking Dead is over until October. A few more shows I like are:

Rookie Blue

The Vampire Diaries (can’t wait for this to start up again)

Grimm

Supernatural (I’ve caught every episode)

Rizzoli & Isles

Hart of Dixie

Nikita

I’m sort of addicted to movies, so there’s too many to list.

Q: What is your favorite food that you can never stop eating?

Chocolate and french fries.

Q: Do you have any writing quirks? Like you know, putting on classical music when you write and stuff like that (I’ve been known to do that sometimes).

I have to be in a room where I know I won’t be bothered. So if that means I need to close the door, I do. For some reason, I always feel someone is watching me, standing behind me, and then I can’t focus.

Q: Why do you want to be a writer?

It’s a way to express myself and allows me to write about anything I find interesting. I love that.

Q: Tell us a bit about your childhood. Were you a bookish kid? Did you want to be the President or a rock star? 🙂

HA! I always thought I would grow up and work for the CIA or NSA or anything along those lines. It makes me laugh, because until now, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. After graduating from college, I had a job or two, then I became a mom. Writing has been an amazing journey and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. However, I don’t know what the future holds. One thing is for sure, no matter what job I have, I will always be a writer.

Q: What book are you reading right now?

I’m in the middle of reading Infraction by Annie Oldham. After that, I’ll be reading Wicked Hunger by DelSheree Gladden and then finally, I’ll be reading War World Z! That movie was great!

Q: Tell us something about you that only your closest friends and family know. (I know, I’m too nosy :D)

When I was 16, I helped build an orphanage in Malawi, Africa. I lived there for almost two months and hope to go back one day, visit the people living there.

Q: If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?

Voicemails that say, “Hey, call me,” would be outlawed. If you are going to leave a message, at least make it detailed. LOL. Of course, my sisters would say, “Then answer your phone.” I’m more of a text messaging kind of gal.

Dawn’s Biography

Dawn Husted resides in Texas with her husband, two toddlers, two dogs and a rescued cat named Kitty. She’s always around nature, including the crazy squirrels stealing food from birds in her backyard. Her passion for reading grew after she graduated college and started writing for fun. Her appetite produced many short-stories and books until finally, SAFE was born. This is her first novel, but not her first time writing science-fiction. Her favorite books to read and write are all young-adult fiction. For more information, please visit http://dawnhusted.weebly.com.

Website: http://dawnhusted.weebly.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheDawnHusted

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DawnHusted

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6434441.Dawn_Husted

What makes this book different?

BOOK: SAFE by Dawn Husted

The basis for how the apocalypse happened is new and refreshing for readers that enjoy these types of books. It’s not a story re-done over and over. And it’s not too terribly long, or short, about 56000 words.

Synopsis:  A science fiction novel in a post-apocalyptic setting; Penny, a teenage girl, has been genetically mutated along with other inhabitants by a vaccine given to their great-grandparents who settled the Land, an island. This particular serum caused everyone to develop vine like marks all over their bodies, along with enhanced abilities passed down through the generations. Penny finds a shift in her reality that causes her to fight for survival as she searches for the truth, even if it puts her at odds with the only person she can trust.

SAFE will be released August 1 on Kindle and Nook. Print copies will be available later.

Now, for the giveaway…

If the widget below doesn’t display “Click here to reveal Rafflecopter” go the following Rafflecopter page directly: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2749f11/

Freebie Spotlight: Creatures of Fire by J.B. Brooklin


So, today I want to let you guys know about a book by J.B. Brooklin called Creatures of Fire. The blurb for the book sounds so awesome! Don’t you want to read this book? Yes? Well, lucky for you, this book is free on Amazon for THREE days starting from July 21, 2013 to July 23, 2013. So, just click the link below the blurb and it will take you to the book’s Amazon page. So, what are you waiting for? get reading!

https://thatartsygirlsbookblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/3103a-51dkgfjrhrl-_aa278_pikin4bottomright-4722_aa300_sh20_ou15_.jpg

She is a half demon, oblivious to her true nature.
He is a demon set out to avenge murder.

Together they are hunted by the one person she thought she could trust.
Separate they may be able to save each others lives.

New York – Paris – Dschinnanya.

Excerpt:

Bloody hell, he cursed silently. He had been hoping to achieve better results; to find out more about Baldwin’s aims and motivations. As it were, all he could do was feed off the energy he had tapped into. In a matter of minutes he felt more alive than before. He might not have been able to complete his mission but at least he was stronger now. Only a little bit more and he would be able to escape from his prison.

Five minutes later he was ready to leave. It was about time; Baldwin wasn’t paying attention at the moment, but there was no telling how long this would last. Fortunately, though, he was still angry. Alexander was just about to draw back when a thought entered his head.

Why was Baldwin in a rage?

The man barely had control over himself. He was close to killing the person who had caused all the emotional turmoil. But who was it?

Sariel. The name was just a whisper in his head. And then Alexander knew.

amazonDo you want to thank the author who has given you the opportunity to read this book for FREE? You can like her like her Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/JbBrooklin

Or you can stalk her on Twitter here:

https://twitter.com/JB_Brooklin

Or you can subscribe to her website here:

http://www.jb-brooklin.com/