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:

https://i2.wp.com/nukezilla.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/5star.png

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/

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/

Interview + Promo Post: Angella Graff (Author of Alexandra Fry, Private Eye)


Hey guys! So, I’ve been a little busy and haven’t been able to write the review for the book I just finished, That Ghoul Ava and the Queen of Zombies, but I will have it ready in a few days. I promise! In the meantime, I have an interview with an amazing author, Angella Graff who is the lady behind the book, Alexandra Fry, Private Eye. There’s also a promo post following the interview where Angella talks about her book and the Tucson Alliance for Autism. Hope you enjoy!

INTERVIEW

Hi Angella! Welcome to That Artsy Girl’s Book Blog. I’m so glad to have your here. 🙂 Why don’t you give us a little intro about yourself?

Hi!  Thanks for having me, I really appreciate it.  Well I’m a pretty simple person.  I’m married to a wonderful man and we have three gorgeous kids.  I work as an editor for a publishing house by day, and when I’m not doing stuff with the kids, I’m usually writing (or at Zumba!) or spending the evenings digging away in my garden.  Nothing extraordinary, but I definitely feel like I hit the ground running from the moment I wake up!

Your book, Alexandra Fry: Private Eye sounds like a supercool book. Tell us what the book is about.

Well Alexandra Fry, Private Eye is a young adult series about a girl, Alexandra, who has a very unique gift.  She can see ghosts.  The ghosts who visit her are some of history’s most famous, and they come to her for help in finding items that used to belong to them that have been stolen.  She gets into a lot of sticky situations trying to recover these items, but with the help of her friends Penelope and Jack, they get the job done.

Alexandra is your typical twelve-year-old girl dealing with Middle School, too.  She experiences things like bullies and embarrassing moments, and her first sort-of crush.  Her best friend Penelope is pretty quirky, and Jack has his own, very interesting secrets.

Fifty percent of the book’s proceeds are also going to my local Autism Alliance, so every purchase of the book is a donation.

What inspired you to write the story? Was it a sudden spark or something that has been on your mind for sometime?

Actually my ten-year-old daughter inspired me.  She was joking around, playing pretend, and made up a rhyming name for her pretend character.  It was something like Melanie Proctor, Future Doctor, or something, and I started brainstorming on what would be catchy and cute.  Then my daughter and I started coming up with plot ideas on what kids would like to read, and that’s how Alexandra was born.

Who is the lead character of your book modeled upon?

She’s a compilation of many things, really.  I draw a lot of her experiences from my own from middle school, and I try and take inspiration from my daughter and her friends, watching them interact with each other, paying attention to the trends they like and don’t like.  I like to think Alexandra is her own, very unique person, but my kids are definitely in there as well.

What is the very first story you wrote and when did you write it?

The first story I wrote was this 700 page epic fantasy about dragons when I was about sixteen.  That’s not counting a lot of the short stories I had been writing since I was in first grade.  I’d always wanted to be a writer, so trying to track down my first ever is tough.

What is your artistic muse?

Oh that depends because my muses are all over the place.  I’m three books in to an Urban Fantasy series for adults, also with a bit of detective mystery and mythology thrown in there, so it really depends.  A lot of time a phrase, sentence, song lyric, almost anything, will spark my interest and I’ll just sit down and write for hours.

Favorite authors and books?

Oh this is always such a tough question for me because I don’t read a lot of fiction books.  I have a degree in Medieval Theology, so I read a lot of theology theory books.  My favorite is Elaine Pagels, who wrote the Gnostic Gospels, one of my favorite.

I will give a shout out to Phillip Hall, who wrote Memories of the Dead, which was the first “vampire” book I’ve read in years that I actually enjoyed.

To you, what is the best thing about writing?

For me, writing is so many things.  It’s a way to unwind after a hard day, it’s a creative outlet, and sometimes it’s a way to escape.  Writing for me is like reading for a lot of other people, where I can just get lost in another world, and sometimes I forget where I’m at until one of the kids comes up to me and drags me out of it.

What do you do when you don’t write?

Oh a ton of things.  Right now since it’s summer, I spend a lot of the day trying to entertain my three kids who are on their break, which isn’t easy since where we live it’s boiling hot outside.  I edit during the day, so I spend a lot of hours in other people’s manuscripts.  In the evenings I’m usually out in my garden, and three or four nights a week I do Yoga and Zumba just to throw in some “me” time.  Late nights the hubby and I try and spend an hour or two together after the kids are asleep, but it always feels like there’s not enough time in the day.  Sometimes I wonder how I actually find time for writing!

You mentioned that half the proceeds from the sales of your book will go to your local Autism Alliance. What made you take this decision?

Well truthfully, it was always something I wanted to do.  I moved to Tucson in 2004 when my son was three.  He’d been at several doctors and we’d spent over a year trying to give him a proper diagnosis.  His pre-K teacher was the first person to notice some of his symptoms, and once he was diagnosed, the Tucson Alliance for Autism was invaluable in their help when it came to parenting techniques, coping mechanism, and peer therapy for him.  The information I got there really helped relieve a lot of the stress caused by trying to parent an Autistic child without knowing what steps to take.

He’s an amazing kid, at the top of his grade and with the coping skills he’s learned from the Autism Alliance, he’s been able to be more social, and even joined the band this year which is something I never thought he’d do!  I felt like giving back to the Autism Alliance was the least I could do for them.

If your book was turned into a movie, who do you think would be apt choices to play the lead characters?

Oh gosh that’s also a tough one.  I hadn’t even thought about it that far, which is probably terrible.  I’m sure if I gave this question to my daughter, though, she’d have the entire cast-list written out in five minutes!

And finally, what is the one thing that you would change in the world if you could?

In all honesty, I think that people are way too focused on forcing other people live up to other’s values.  I believe strongly in freedom of choice, as long as the choice you’re making doesn’t take away the choice from another person, and doesn’t cause them harm.  If more people participated in a live and let live philosophy, I think there would be a lot more peace and tolerance in the world, leading to happier, and more productive people.

PROMO POST

Alexandra Fry, Private Eye: The Curse of the Lion’s Heart will be free on Amazon.com/Amazon.Co.UK starting June 26th and June 27th .

As 50% of the proceeds are being donated to autism, the free books will not count toward any donations.  If you download this book for free and enjoy it, and want to make a donation, please do so here at http://angellagraffbooks.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-tucson-alliance-for-autism/

$1.00USD will go toward the donations for the Autism Alliance. 

Alexandra Fry is just your average seventh-grader.  Or is she?  Starting a new school, Alexandra hopes to leave her old life, and old reputation of “Loopy Lexi” behind.  But it’s not so easy when Alexandra is the kind of girl who sees ghosts.  And not just any ghosts, but history’s most famous.  They come to her to solve mysteries, when things from their past life fall into the wrong hands.

Desperate to be normal and make some friends, Alexandra is devastated to be visited by none other than Queen Elizabeth the First during a lesson in school.  But Queen Elizabeth doesn’t just have your average, run of the mill problem.  The thing that was stolen was a locket– a cursed locket, and if it’s not returned to the museum, the entire world will be in danger.  It’s up to Alexandra and her new friends Penelope and Jack, to find out who took the locket and why.  Ducking security guards, breaking and entering, and finding out someone isn’t who they said they were is just your average day for this seventh grade girl.

Fifty percent of the proceeds for Alexandra Fry, Private Eye series will be donated to the Tucson Alliance for Autism.  The Tucson Alliance for Autism is a wonderful organization helping parents and kids with all levels and types of autism.  They provide services, counseling and peer support.  My twelve-year-old son is Autistic, and when he was younger, I wasn’t sure what to do.  But the Tucson Alliance for Autism provided me with so much material and support that my son is now a flourishing sixth-grader with friends, activities, and he’s even joined the band at his new middle school– something I thought he would never do.  I’m thrilled and excited to help give-back to my community and this wonderful organization that has helped so many people here in Arizona.

Thank you in advance for your purchases and support of this amazing cause, and for any information please visit their website at www.tucsonallianceforautism.org

To make a flat donation to the Tucson Alliance for autism click here.