19 August 2014

Farewell to Cassie & Evan: Stolen Dreams Tour, Character Interview & Review

Stolen Dreams - Cassie Scot #4
by Christine Amsden

Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

Buy Links:

Print Release Date: October 15, 2014
Audiobook Release Date: TBA

The Cassie Scot Series:

Cassie 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.

Author Spotlight:

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.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!

What I say (review): I've really enjoyed reading Christine Amsden's Cassie Scot series and was really unsure what to expect from the last instalment Stolen Dreams. I knew what I wanted to happened but I was concerned Christine may decide on an anti-HEA  by throwing a major spanner in the works.

If you've read the previous books then you'll remember Cassie wasn't exactly in the best place when the story ended. It was looking like she would never forgive Evan for his involvement in her magic situation. 

Stolen Dreams isn't just Cassie and Evan's story, it focuses on magic in general. The big issue is the impending battle between their families, the Scot's and the Blackwood's. I kept thinking that even if Cassie could forgive Evan, how can they be together when their families hate each other (we all remember how Romeo and Juliet ended)! 

I've always liked Cassie because in every book she shows strength and determination, but in Stolen Dreams she really comes into her own! I liked how she wasn't prepared to be pushed aside or told what to do anymore. She takes on those who set out to control or manipulate her. Cassie is extremely stubborn and I kept wanting her to see how much Evan loves her.

Evan is as determined and bad ass as ever, but we get to see a softer side and a few moments of doubt. He can be kind of condescending at times and whenever he'd try to tell Cassie what to do, I was hoping she'd smack him (lets be honest, Cassie's probably the only one who could get away with it). 

There are lots of twists in the story and I enjoyed the reveals about certain secondary characters. I had certain doubts about some characters who went on to redeem themselves but there were others who shocked me!

I really enjoyed how Christine finished Cassie's story and has nicely set up the spin-off series. I would have liked a longer ending but that's mainly because I'm greedy!!

4 Stars in my Sky!

Check out the super awesome exclusive Interview with Cassie and Evan after the end of Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot #4)


This interview is a special treat for Cassie Scot fans; if you have not read the series yet, don't read this interview. :)

Hi Evan and Cassie (or is it Cassandra now?).

Cassie: Cassie is still fine; I admit, I'm still getting used to Cassandra.

Thanks for joining me at Zili in the Sky today. I’m guessing with the secretive world you live in you don’t often do interviews, so thanks!

Cassie - It seems like most people in your life want something from you; how do you deal with this?

Cassie: I don't mind as much as you might think. I love feeling needed more than just about anything else in the world. Things got out of hand after Alexander announced to the world that I'm a drained woman. People started wanting me for things I wasn't willing to give, but I feel like I stood my ground.

Evan – You’ve done your fair share of manipulating Cassie in the past, how do you feel about others trying to use or profit from her? How do you justify your actions involving Cassie?

Evan: I've been in love with Cassie since the day I met her in first grade. Everything I've done for her, I've done to protect her. I won't stand by and let anyone take advantage of her.

Cassie – You and Evan were friends for years, how was seeing him dating other girls?

Cassie: It was tough. I can't say I've been in love with Evan since the first grade, but definitely for a long time. I wanted to smack every girl I ever saw him with. But I couldn't say anything or it would have ruined our friendship.

Evan – Just how jealous were you of Cassie and other guys? Also a chastity spell, really?

Evan: I was desperate. You have to understand that I always pictured a future with Cassie. Always. I dated a bit in high school (not as much as she remembers)...

Cassie: I may not have my mom's eidetic memory, but I remember every name.

Evan: Almost every one was a single date.

Cassie: But you made sure I never got a chance to date other men.

Evan: I let you date Braden.

Cassie: You LET me?

Evan: Bad choice of words.

Cassie: I'm pretty sure it's the perfect choice of words. It was okay for you to date dozens of girls, but I didn't get a turn until you left for your apprenticeship.

Evan: None of mine were serious. I came back to find out you were “serious” about Braden! How was I supposed to feel about that?

Cassie: We didn't have an understanding.

Evan: I know. Believe me, I know. So there I was, terrified that I'd acted too late, that I should have said something sooner even if it meant your father would have killed me. Or maybe I shouldn't have gone off on my apprenticeship, where I learned more about myself and my magic than I can possibly say. Jealous? Yes, I was insanely jealous! But I never hurt Braden.

Cassie: You turned him into a frog!

Evan: That was an accident. He's better now.

Evan, Cassie – I didn't mean to start a fight! But I really do want to understand how you justify that chastity spell.

Evan: Like I said, I was desperate. I knew Matthew was using mind magic against her. Since I'm not a mind mage, there wasn't much I could do; Cassie had to find the strength to fight him on her own. I've only felt so helpless one other time.

Anyway, I poured over books of magic. By the time I ran across the chastity spell I was desperate for anything, even if it would just buy me some time. Buy her some time. And it worked. So maybe I'm saying the ends justified the means, but I never claimed I was perfect.

Cassie – How do you deal with having a hubby with a magic kiss?

Cassie: I enjoy it!

Cassie – Is it strange when one of your besties starts dating your younger brother?

Cassie: It was almost creepy. I know Madison got really hurt by it, I have to say I'm glad they split up. I just hope she finds someone who deserves her. She's got a sweet spirit, but she's so shy.

Cassie – It must have been strange growing up without magic in your family (I remember reading you squib Harry Potter quote in book one). How do you feel about this now and it you could have a particular power what would it be?

Cassie: I'm at peace with it. Honestly. Actually, now that I'm pregnant I'm channeling the baby's magic and it feels unnatural. The dreaming gift I recently uncovered feels like the right fit for me – a way I can solve mysteries and protect people better. I have to admit, learning to use it is coming along slowly, but I'm very glad of it.

Evan – If you love Cassie as much as you say you do and always have done and being her friend meant you knew how she felt about not having any, why didn’t you offer to give Cassie her magic back straight away?

Evan: What's your great talent? The thing you do better than almost anything else? The thing that defines you? Are you a great dancer or painter or writer or singer? Now imagine that one day, someone said you weren't supposed to be as good a singer as you are. That thanks to you, your best friend is utterly tone deaf. Would you just give it away?

I am a sorcerer. It is as much a part of who I am as loving Cassie is.

Cassie: It's okay; I understand. That's why I said no. Besides, I was wrong to define myself by what I'm not, instead of by what I am.

Evan: Cassie really is stronger than I am. I suspected it a long time ago, but I knew it for sure when she turned down my offer. And maybe I should have made it sooner, but it was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.

Cassie: I could have made things easier for him. When he offered, I realized that I needed the offer more than I needed the magic.

Evan – You’ve done some pretty shady things over the years, how do you justify them?

Evan: I have a worse reputation than I deserve, although I brought it on myself. I wanted to be feared, to make it easier to protect the people I love. And everything I do is done to protect the people I love.

Cassie – What has happened to your detective agency?

Cassie: I've come full circle. My business cards now read “Paranormal Detective”. I do a lot of consulting work with the sheriff's department, but I've also been helping The White Guard with some of their magical cases.

Cassie – What happens next for you and Evan?

Cassie: The baby is due in December. I think that's going to keep us busy for a while. And we both want more children. I'm not sure how I'm going to balance work and motherhood, but I guess I'm not the first woman to wonder that!

Evan – You’re very protective of Cassie, how do you think you’ll cope being a father?

Evan: I've wanted a big family my entire life; I never liked being an only child. So I think I'll do great.

Cassie: Until our daughter starts dating.

Evan: I still have the chastity spell.

Cassie: No, you don't.

Evan: Excuse me?

Cassie: We'll talk about it later.

Evan: We'll talk about it now! What do you mean I don't have the spell?

Cassie: Nothing. I just tore out the page and burned it.

Cassie, Evan - Maybe you two really should talk about this later. Moving on … Is it strange having Christine telling your story? Are there any sneaky/fun facts Christine left out that you can share with us?

Evan: Apparently, she left out the scene where Cassie somehow snuck past the wards on my lab, stole a book, tore out a page, and burned it.

Cassie: It was pretty easy. We did, er, baptize every room in the house after we got married, including your lab. You fell asleep. I took advantage.

Both – Do you really think both of your families can live harmoniously and move on from the past?

Cassie: I don't think things will be perfect. They never are. Happily ever after takes a lot of work and has to be reinforced daily.

Evan: You still haven't forgiven me for the chastity spell, have you?

Cassie: Evan …

Evan: What?

Cassie: I don't know. It's not like I regret what happened, but it was really over the line, you know? And I don't think you get that. If you did, you wouldn't have joked about using the spell on our daughter.

Evan: I'm sorry. I thought we'd put all that behind us.

Cassie: We have. That's why I burned the spell.

Evan: You haven't put it behind you. You said I didn't get it. What don't I get?

Cassie: It's really not something we should talk about here.

Evan: Why not? She knows all our other secrets. What's bothering you? Do you wish you'd slept with Matthew?

Cassie: No! Of course not. I would have seriously regretted sleeping with him, but that was my choice and … and I guess what I want to know is if you would have loved me less if I had?

Evan: Oh Cassie, of course not! Is that what you thought?

Cassie: Yeah, a little bit.

Evan: You're right, Cassie. Happily ever after is something you have to work at every day. We'll finish talking about this later, okay?

Cassie: Okay.

Cassie – How is your mum doing after everything that happened?

Cassie: Well, honestly, she's not so good. I think she's still suffering from a major depressive episode. She has good days and bad days.

Evan – Your Gran was one wise lady, how helpful was she to you when Cassie wouldn’t see you?

Evan: She probably would have been more helpful if I'd listened to half her advice!

Evan – In a badass wizard battle, could you defeat Harry Potter?

Evan: Harry Potter is useless without a wand. All I have to do is rip it out of his hand, and since I'm telekinetic, I'm thinking that would be pretty easy.

Cassie – Will you be doing the numbers thing with your children? (you have a LOT of siblings).

Cassie: No! I'm not sure how many I'll end up having, but I don't need to have any particular number.

Both – If you could change one thing which has happened over the past few years what would it be and why?

Evan: I would have told Cassie the truth right away. I don't think I could have offered the magic back right away, but I should have told her the truth.

Cassie: Nothing.

Evan: Really?

Cassie: I like how it turned out too much to mess with it.

Evan: I don't deserve her.

Cassie: That's true.

Evan: Hey!

Both – What is your favourite thing about each other & what annoys you the most?

Evan: Are you sure you want to ask that question now?

Cassie: What does annoy you the most about me?

Evan: You're stubborn. And you don't stay where I put you. What annoys you about me?

Cassie: That you think I should stay where you put me.

Evan: I do love that spirit, though. And your courage and compassion.

Cassie: I love your compassion, too. And I even love your overprotectiveness.

Evan: Really?

Cassie: Yeah. Most of the time.

Both – I’m a Brit, so I gotta ask, have either of you ever visited or do you have any plans to visit England any time soon? We have a lot of magical places…!

Cassie: Our fathers visited in their youth, back when they were friends. Their story made me curious about London and The Order of the Golden Dawn, although just at the moment we're pretty busy starting a family and helping organize a magical movement. Maybe one day

Thank you both for taking the time to talk to me and hanging out at Zili in the Sky, in particular a big thanks to Evan for not killing me (dude may be hot, but he’s kinda scary).

Cassie: Thanks for having us here. Apparently, we had a few things we still needed to air out.

Evan: Did you hear that? She thinks I'm hot.

Cassie: She thinks you're scary.

Evan: Good. I'd hate for anyone to think I'm a nice guy.

Cassie: He actually is a nice guy, even if he's made some mistakes. But don't tell him I said so.

A huge thanks to Christine for allowing me to do this interview, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!?


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