Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fire, Secrets, and Witch Hunts: REVIEWING Cassie Scot #3: Mind Games

Welcome to The Real World According Sam!! Today I've got a special treat for you dear reader. This is a review.....but it is also part of a book tour! I'm doing my first ever book tour for the lovely Mrs. Christine Amsden. If you've been keeping up, you'll have noticed my reviews for the first two books in the Cassie Scot series. This will be for book 3, coming out this June!  Included in this review will be the links for purchase as well as a giveaway!!! That's right, there's even a giveaway for you. So this is not only the first book tour that has made a stop here, but also my first giveaway and I'm so delighted to have you here to participate in all the festivities. So, let's go on and get started!!!!!  

If you have not yet read the books, read with caution as there might be some minor spoilers. If you haven't yet read my reviews for the previous two books in the series, here are the links for them:

Review: Cassie Scot Paranormal Detective #1
Review: Cassie Scot #2: Secrets and Lies

*****PERSONAL DISCLAIMER***** 
I was given an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in order to participate in this book tour, in exchange for an HONEST review. I was not paid to write a positive review or any of the like. As always, my blog is always about complete honesty when it comes to books and movies.


Cassie Scot #3: Mind Games
Author: Christine Amsden 
Year of Publication: 2014
Release Date: June 15
Genre: Paranormal Mystery  

     Mind Games is the third book in the book series that follows Cassie Scot, a young woman from a magic family who possesses no magic abilities herself, and the problems she finds herself having to face. In this book it includes her broken heart, disjoints within the magical community, issues with friends and family, and some enhanced animosity from a church ready to engage in a witch hunt. This is all piled up on top of a murder that has taken place and needless to say, Cassie has her hands full.

     After being able to read the first two books, I've become pretty hooked on the characters and the settings. At this point, I've reached the stage of reading where I already have a clear idea of what I would really like to happen in terms of certain things and I will feel frustration when these things don't line up. Yes, I've fallen into that trap, like so many before me. I greatly enjoyed this book. The characters are just as intriguing and the plots are put together exceptionally well. There are a lot of things that have been filled in over the course of the 3 books and once they're all together, everything makes a lot of sense. I'm really fond of how the author has achieved this and hasn't had any inconsistencies in the plot or characters. I would think that it could be very easy for something to slip through the cracks with books like these, but everything has lined up incredibly well and I think Mrs. Amsden definitely needs props for that achievement.

 
    Really quickly though, let's talk about this cover. I love book covers!!! I don't tend to judge book covers too harshly before reading, but once I've read it I do like seeing how the cover compares to what is inside and if any of the content is well communicated through the cover. That being said, I really like the cover for this book because it does exactly what I think book covers should do.  The colors are warm and slightly mystifying (thanks to the purple hue). There is a building on fire, indicating some action going on. The full moon is also kind of reminiscent of paranormal aspects, with a focus also on night, potentially indicating dark times and Cassie is directly top and center, showing her as the main focus of the entire thing. So far, this cover is my favorite because it captures everything that's important about the book once you read it. It's beautiful, eye catching and entirely fitting. Major props to the artist or designer who did this one. I give two thumbs up and the Sam Stamp of Approval.


     By this point, if you read my other two reviews, you'll know that I love the characters and why I do. I don't feel a complete need to explain that again. This book in particular had a really great plot. I was so intrigued as the story progressed and only got more engrossed as I read on. The stakes are really heating up and things are getting way more serious the longer we experience Cassie's life with her. In this book, she has a lot of tough decisions to make and she's finding out that she isn't as simple a person as she first believed herself to be. There is a lot of necessity for Cassie to start finding out who she is and what she needs. By the end of the book, I think she has a better handle on this thought process than she had at the beginning of the series.

     One of the greatest things about this book in terms of the others is the character development. This is not in terms of how a character is written or anything technical like that, but that the characters are undergoing REAL changes as they go through these experiences in the books. They are experiencing, feeling, understanding and learning from what they do. I love this aspect especially. Cassie is not the same girl as she was when the series started. Not by a long shot!!! At the same time, she has not once been out of character. I think that this is a hard thing for writers when it comes to book series. You have characters that people grow to love, but they need to undergo change as stories progress and even more so in a series because its several events happening. If a writer goes too far with a change, the reader can easily lose connection with the characters. If the change isn't that big at all and its very minor or barely noticeable, the character becomes flat and even lifeless sometimes. Neither of these is the case here. Cassie is a massively dynamic character and she still finds ways to frustrate me. These frustrations aren't by any means negative!! To me, they are a sign that I'm highly engaged and that I care. Getting me to engage and respond is the best thing a book can do and every book in this series does that.

     There is no end to the action. Something new is always being uncovered. There are new leads and clues and problems constantly being brought up. This is another thing I really like. There isn't ever a really dull moment because something is always needing fixing. Even the things that aren't yet tied up by the ending are gripping enough to make me want the next book. I like when there's something more to look forward to.

     Another thing going on in this book, is some romance. Cassie is in a new relationship, still trying to heal from the previous one. The good thing I find about this aspect, is that it isn't the central focus. Mind Games is not a romantic paranormal mystery. It isn't a romance. Its a paranormal mystery with romantic elements included within it. The relationship is not the main focus, its an additional plot point. It doesn't detract from the main story, it adds to it. That's how I like my romance to be. I'm not going to lie...I'm not a huge fan of Cassie's new boyfriend. He's nice and all, but in the end I still prefer Evan. Quite frankly, I want Cassie and Evan together in the end. That's where I'm at. I'm waiting for that to happen. There is so much tension between the two, but here it isn't romantic electric tension. There have been a lot of secrets that have come up and things just keep interfering with the two of them being together but........I still want that to happen. Matthew Blair is not my pick for Cassie. He's not a bad guy, but in the grand scheme of things, the match just isn't right to me. I also don't know what Cassie is playing at sometimes. At first she wants nothing to do with magic at all, not even in a relationship. She thinks of this and refuses Evan majorly hardcore because of it.....and then ends up dating a mind mage? This is another point in the book that involves some plot stuff, so I won't go into it. I'm just saying that I was a little suspicious about this little factor and Cassie needs to figure out what it is she wants. Her journey to finding out is what makes her so likable as a character though. She isn't perfect and she doesn't know everything about herself, what she needs, what she wants, and how to get it. She doesn't. And to me, that's perfectly ok. That's not to say it isn't kind of frustrating though.

     Overall, Mind Games is an exceptional book with a lot going for it. It is one of the strongest books in the series so far and it addresses many of the conflicts that have come up in the past books. The characters are well done, the plot is wonderfully intriguing, and the delivery is awesome. Not to mention that awesome cover. I give this book a 5. I really can't wait for the next book in the series. I highly recommend all three and I hope you all pick it up and try it...maybe even love it as much as I do. I would say it's definitely worth having on your shelf. I plan to read it a couple more times when I can catch a break to do so.

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Thank you for reading this review! I'd like to include a thanks to all my readers who keep coming back for more and to Mrs. Amsden for the opportunity to read these books as well as the chance to have the book tour stop here at my blog. Just after this paragraph I will include links for purchase, as well as what others have said about the book, and the blurb. but first........I promised you all a giveaway!! I have never done a rafflecopter giveaway before so I don't really know how to use it just yet. I am including the link for the giveaway here and hopefully it works so you can enter it as a reward for sticking around this long. Come back on Friday for another special surprise!! The blog tour has not finished visiting The Real World According To Sam and I'm happy to say that my favorite character from the book will be stopping by for an interview!! Make sure you don't miss it, it's going to be a lot of fun.

Click here to go directly to the giveaway (prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card): Giveaway

Mind Games (Cassie Scot Book 3)

Beware your heart and soul…

Evan broke Cassie’s heart two months ago, and she still doesn’t know why. She throws herself into family, friends and her new job at the sheriff’s department, but nothing helps. The only thing that finally allows her heal and move on is the love of a new man, mind mage Matthew Blair. Cassie finds him…irresistible.


Matthew may also be the only one who can help keep the non-magical residents of Eagle Rock from going crazy over the murder of a beloved pastor’s wife. It looks like a sorcerer is to blame, but while Cassie tries to figure out who, others take matters into their own hands. With tensions running so hot, a single spark might set Eagle Rock ablaze.


To Purchase the book:
                             Mind Games on Amazon
                             Mind Games at Barnes and Noble

About the Author: 

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.

Author's Website
Author's Blog
Like her on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter


Praise for the Cassie Scot Series

From Publisher’s Weekly:

“Amsden continues the story of the only mundane member of a supernaturally-gifted family in this middling sequel to Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Cassie, stubborn and proud, is bravely trying to live on her own after her family disowns her. Struggling to make ends meet, she accepts a case involving a pair of magical girls who disappeared from summer camp. With the aid of the handsome Evan Blackwood, to whom Cassie is attracted despite her family’s disapproval and her own better judgment, she follows the trail of the missing girls. What she finds is a dark side of the magical world, and the hidden depths of her family’s past force her to reconsider long-held assumptions. The growing complexity of Cassie’s world makes this an entertaining installment, focusing as much on the will-they, won’t-they romantic chemistry between Cassie and Evan as on the primary mystery. An inconclusive ending is clearly intended to feed into the next volume.”

Kim Falconer, bestselling author of The Spell of Rosette, Quantum Enchantment Series, had this to say:


When sorcerers call the shots, what’s a girl without powers to do? Get ready for a ripper of a murder mystery full of romance and intrigue, where magic potions bubble, passions spark and vampires are definitely not your friend. Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective grabs you by the heart and won’t let go until the very last page. Well written, immersive and unputdownable. This is urban fantasy at its best. More please!”

This concludes another post here at The Real World According To Sam, thanks for stopping by!! Come back on Friday!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for being part of my tour! I'm so glad I could be your first. :)

    And wow! What a wonderful review. This was one of those that made me think, "Oh, she GOT it! I mean really, really GOT it!" This is everything I want readers to be thinking, feeling, and even hoping at this stage in the series.

    Sadly, there's only one book left for Cassie. But it was also important to me that the series was as long as it needed to be, and not artificially longer. Yes, I could have written more books. But especially when you have a romance as a significant subplot, there comes a point where it's like, "Are they going to get together or not already?" :)

    Madison and Kaitlin will both get spin-offs, though, so there's more in this world.

    I hope you'll be part of my next book tour as well!

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