Monday, September 15, 2014

Family, Love and Magic REVIEWING: Stolen Dreams

Hi everyone!

It's been a while and I must admit that I have been super busy. That is why my posts have become a tiny bit more sporadic and not as consistent as they've been before. This is what happens when you honor 4 classes, take 5 total classes, decide to start working out weekly, and become president of an active campus organization, while trying to maintain time with family and a relatively social life. Luckily, I have certain things that MUST be done here, including this post, which is part of a several month long event...celebrating the release of the final book in the Cassie Scot series. If you've kept up with me, you know that I've already reviewed the past 3 books in the series. We have finally come to the end. I would like to give a very big thank you to Christine Amsden for giving me the opportunity to review every book in the series. Let it be known that just because I got the book for free, doesn't mean that my review is swayed in any way. Book and movie reviews are all HONEST. Now we need to get started.

Catch up on my Cassie Scot reviews by following these links:
Cassie Scot Paranormal Detective (#1)
Cassie Scot #2: Secrets and Lies
Cassie Scot #3: Mind Games
Mind Games: Exclusive Interview with Evan Blackwood

Stolen Dreams: A Cassie Scot Novel
Author: Christine Amsden
Genre: Fantasy/New Adult/Paranormal
Publication Date: October 15, 2014

    I have been following Cassie's adventures since the beginning and it has finally come to this. The last book, which I reviewed back in May, left a lot of things open and I was hurting to get back into the town of Eagle Rock. I was excited and tense and wanted nothing more that to see what happened next. Stolen Dreams starts right where Mind Games left off. I was ridiculously excited to find out that book 4 was finally available to reviewers. 

I'm sure that we all know by now that I'm going to take a brief moment to discuss the cover, as usual. Covers are very important and I'd like to think that I have a rather deep appreciation for art. I've been rather fond of the covers for this series and I don't feel the least bit disappointed about getting to see this one on my shelf (The artist is Ural Akyuz if anyone is wondering). I like the warmth of the main colors and that we get to see Evan again. If you've read my previous review and guest post you know that I really like Evan. He is a fascinating character that I just haven't been able to get enough of. I don't know how Cassie manages to refuse him the way she does (actually I do, but I like to ignore her reasons sometimes). It's nice to see the main two characters together and the magic barrier adds a bit of edge that is thrilling. I was really excited to dig into this book and the cover just made my curiosity boil over. 


Getting into the actual book, the premise is this: Cassie returns from Pennsylvania to find out that sides have been chosen and the Scots are ready to fight the Blackwoods. Her dad and Evan's have always hated each other, but things have gone farther than they ever have before. Cassie doesn't want anyone to fight and so she seeks help from a seer. When the seer (Evan Blackwood's grandmother) sees her own death and it comes from Cassie's father, Evan's dad kills him. Or does he? Evan and Cassie have to team up and find out what is going on and many twists are coming. All of this tension piles on top of all the anger and pain that Evan and Cassie already have between them. This is where it all ends!

This book sent me on a rollercoaster. I didn't know where I was going, how far things were going to go, or what to expect most of the time. That is the way I like books to leave me....breathless and wanting more. I read this book almost in one sitting. I took a break while I was at school and while waiting for a meeting and for my ride to come, I read it. I sat in one of the main buildings and just read and read. If I have to be honest, I cried and whimpered and read in a feverish manner. It is pretty rare that a book will make me cry. The last one that made me cry was Beastly (review for that to come later). I think I cried about three times over the course of this book. It was THAT good.

I still love all the characters. There aren't very many new ones. Most of the characters we already know and care for. Others are just kind of there. Still there are one or two that we may feel great disdain for. Ultimately, that isn't what makes the book so good. The characters are consistent and as usual, in my opinion, Cassie and Evan are still the best of all. The plot is what makes the book so enjoyable. There are so many twists and turns, so many unexpected things, starting with the death of Cassie's father (this isn't a spoiler since it's on the back cover anyway). The tension between the Scots and Blackwoods is high and you can definitely feel it. Things are not black and white at all. There are overlapping issues and no direct path that is correct. Not to mention all the stress that Cassie has to deal with. She is still struggling to find out her feelings for Evan, to keep her family together, to handle Alexander Dupris, a man who has caused more than enough trouble, and the investigation to find out what or who really killed her father. There is also the little issue of her cousin Jason, some vampires, and her friends' pregnancies to be concerned about. My favorite plot line however, still has to be the tension between Evan and Cassie. Never have I ever wanted a couple to get together as badly as I wanted Evan and Cassie to. There is just something about them that belongs together. I was in anguish over what would happen. I like all the ways in which their relationship has been made complicated. Cassie really wants nothing to do with him anymore and I don't blame her one bit. The tensions are super high and as usual, Evan just never gives up. He doesn't make the smartest choices all the time, but I don't think I could find it in me to really hate him or want him to fail in his efforts to make Cassie his own (in a loving way, not just a dominating power thing like so many others have wanted). There are even more struggles for the two of them and it was so invigorating to experience. I won't say what happens but I will say that I cried more than I should have considering this is all just fiction. I really felt like my heart has been tearing, being fixing, and torn all over again over the course of these four books. 

Another cool thing that was in this book that hasn't been in the others is the exploration Cassie begins with her dreams. Dreaming isn't exactly the kind of "magic" anyone thinks of in Eagle Rock. Her father doesn't believe it is worth any time or a kind of magic at all. Abigail, Evan's grandmother, takes Cassie as her apprentice and encourages her to start trying to make sense of what she dreams about. I liked this aspect because I really wasn't expecting it, but it gave Cassie something of her own to focus on. She doesn't have magic, but she has a chance to do something for herself that no one else can do or take from her. I thought it was very cool (especially the dreams about a certain someone that made me blush and squeal in delight because it helped me keep hoping). Right when you think the book will slow down and give you respite, it just keeps throwing things out there and holding you captive. I never wanted it to end, and now that the series is over, I really don't know what I'm supposed to do. I'm almost hopeful that we'll get to see Cassie again at a later time, even if it isn't likely or planned at the moment. I haven't had enough of these characters and the setting. I want more and more and more. Looks like I have to move on though....or I could restart the series all over again!!!  

Anyhow, I think I've gone on long enough. I love the book, I love the series. These are books that I highly recommend to anyone who loves magic, a dash of romance, and suspense. There is definitely something special in these books and I hope that more people read them because they are such a delight. This is one of those books that would be great as a movie if Hollywood actually knew how to adapt books in the first place. Knowing the industry, they would ruin it and any movie would never be better than the one that resides in my mind. However, it MUST be noted that I did see this book as a movie in my mind while reading. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this sensation before, but it is absolutely crucial for me to be able to do that in order to really enjoy a book. I have to be able to see it in my mind. That is when it feels real and takes me over. I might go further into this because I know I haven't mentioned it in any of my past reviews and it is so crucial for me as a reader to experience. It is how I know a book is indeed amazing. Also by the way I talk about them. Clearly this book is A+ because I can't seem to stop talking about it or thinking about it. I will NEVER EVER EVER forget Cassie or Evan and the Scot family. They will forever be my friends and they will always feel like actual people I met in real life. That is the real magic that Amsden has given to her readers. I'm honestly really sad that it's over now. 

Stolen Dreams, the fourth book in the Cassie Scot series, is without doubt a 5 out of 5. I am very happy that I own it and can read it over and over again...or just skip to my favorite spots whenever I feel like it. I highly recommend that you all purchase it when it comes out. I don't think you would regret it in the least (and if you did, you could just send it to me because I would not complain about having a second or third copy for coffee table display and to carry around when I go out). I am very much considering purchasing Mrs. Amsden's other books to see if they are just as wonderful as this series was and I greatly look forward to whatever project she has planned for the future. This concludes a review here at The Real World According To Sam, please come back on Wednesday for an exclusive guest post from Christine Amsden!!!! Thanks for reading!


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