Crime, Mystery, and LIFE DEBTS: Reviewing Secrets and Lies

Hello, this is Sam!!!

If you all joined me last week then you might have noticed the review I did for the book Cassie Scot Paranormal Detective. If not, then before you read this, I HIGHLY suggest you read that review. Just follow this link: Cassie Scot Book 1: Review

This week's review, as I mentioned in last week's, is the sequel to Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective. Again, I received this book by mail, and it was offered to me by a woman who I believe is the author's agent. This is a purely HONEST review. That just basically means I've read it, and this is what I honestly have to say and I have not in any way been paid off by the author to just speak good about it. I don't operate that way.

Secrets and Lies

Author: Christine Amsden
Genre: Paranormal Mystery/ Romance
Year of Publication: 2013

Secrets and Lies is the second book in the Cassie Scot series. Cassie is a girl in her 20's who was born into a family of very powerful sorcerers, but has no magical powers herself. As if this wasn't enough, her parents have now disowned her and she owes a life debt to her friend Evan. Also, two young girls have gone missing from a camp and Cassie has been hired to locate them which is a whole other mess of trouble. Add in the fact that Cassie's family is having major issues and is falling apart and you get one crazy ride. 

If you are interested in book one I seriously recommend purchasing it and reading it before reading this review unless you don't mind knowing that umm.....stuff has happened since the last book!! So stop here and go pick it up, read it and come back. For those who are still on the iffy train of whether to read it or not and want to see this review, then fine, stick around, but don't blame me if you read anything you don't want to know before reading the first book.

Like usual, let's take a quick pause to reflect on this cover, shall we? I'm going to be the first to admit that I really loved the first cover a lot more. Allow me to explain why. I loved the blue tones and how Cassie's clothes were color juxtaposed against it. It was awesome. I love the purpley tones here, and the sunset, the green and the lake....however, Cassie and Evan in the's cute. For sure!! But I'm not sure the placement is how I would love it best. This cover is great and mostly captures the way the characters feel in the book and major aspects of it, but I don't feel like it captures enough of the actual conflicts. While on the first cover you see Cassie alone (which can reflect her feeling a bit isolated and also trying to be independent), this one kind of looks like its supposed to be a cheesy romance novel. In all actuality, it isn't. There is romance yes, but it isn't the WHOLE book. I like this cover, but I don't love it and I would've liked to see some more aspects of the conflict come out onto the cover (maybe even the camp in the background or a stable, totally setting appropriate). Again, I don't hate this one, I just prefer the other one. This is still really well drawn though and I do like it quite a bit. It just could've been so much more awesome with a different approach to layout. The colors are still gorgeous though. 

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was significantly more gripping than the first. I loved book one, but I was really upset when I couldn't find time to get in another chapter of this second one. I had a lot of school work to get through and that really upset me because it kept me from reading. Yes I know, school comes first and I will continue to put my schoolwork first. It's the ultimate test of how good a book is. How sane can I remain until I can return to the book? Well, I did maintain my sanity while I was away, but I did constantly want to keep reading instead of doing whatever else I had to do. Luckily I have some self control and can manage these bookish problems. 

I honestly preferred this book, simply because the tension is way higher than it has been thus far. Sure Cassie has been in life or death scenarios, but it has never seemed so intense as it does in this book. There is so much more of Cassie's family and many more interactions between her and Evan (which I absolutely love and wish I could have even more!!!!). Secrets and Lies fills in a lot of gaps that I didn't even notice existed, but that make complete sense. I can't say any without giving away major spoilers, so I will refrain from specifics and will simply say that after reading Secrets and Lies, the first book has actually been improved, as well as the series as a whole thus far. Things I hadn't considered came up and I was constantly being surprised by each new unveiled development. I also love the conflicts that arise and that not all of them are immediately wrapped up by the end. Seriously, the ending KILLED me. I finished the last chapter, then read the epilogue and afterwards I just sat quietly unsure of what to do next. It was so frustrating, but understandable. I'm not satisfied yet. This CANNOT be how it ends (obviously not since there will be a third book coming out in just a few months!! {yes I will be getting my hands on that one too and reviewing it for anyone curious, more news on that later}). I really liked the conflicts here, the girls being missing and everything connected to their disappearance, as well as the way all the obstacles to finding out what happened are presented. These are numerable and varied, from other characters, to their motives, to other's really a big web of things, but amazingly it isn't too much or overdone. 

So overall, Cassie Scot #2: Secrets and Lies is an excellently written book with interesting characters that have become much more developed since the last time we saw them and gripping conflicts that will keep you reading and not wanting to stop. I will definitely be reading this one again (I've already read the epilogue over ten times) and am extremely excited for the next book to see if things will play out the way I really want them to. I still love the interactions between Evan and Cassie, the tension is even higher than it was before. I can't wait to get more of them, if I can......the thing I love most about the epilogues of these books is that they're written from Evan's perspective instead of Cassie's, so for about four short pages I get really excited to see what has been hidden by the first person perspective that centers on Cassie. 

Read these books, I highly recommend them both. Not gonna lie, when I finished this book I was almost in tears, although I'm not telling why. The point is that it got a major rise out of me in a positive way, which only some books have been able to achieve. I cared and want more. Therefore, I give Secrets and Lies a Lone Star rating of  ✯✯✯ out of 5, due to getting me so excited, having intricate characters and conflicts, deeper relationships, as well as being well written and very enjoyable. It went beyond the first book and showed that there was lots of improvement made between the two.   

This concludes my review for today, please come back again soon for the next one!!!

Buy this book!!! Secrets and Lies on Amazon
See what others are saying about it!! Secrets and Lies on Goodreads
Find out more about the author and her books!! Christine Amsden's Website

Also, be sure to leave a comment below, letting me know:
  • What you think of this book if you've read it
  • If you haven't read it, are you planning to?
  • What else you want to see me review
  • What you like about my blog and what can be improved


  1. Hi
    I like your review of this book but I probably won't buy it, only because its not my type of book.
    As far as the post goes - your lavender background makes reading a bit difficult - you did ask.
    Anyway, still very much enjoyed your post. All the best

    1. Color changes have been made to the overall site in hopes of easing the reading experience, thanks for the feedback!


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