Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mind Games

Could there possibly be a Sookie Stackhouse, (pre-TrueBlood TV),that I would feel comfortable recommending to older teens or my friends who didn't like the more "adult features" of that series? Could Nancy Drew be updated in a paranormal world and work? I did not think it was possible. Then I discovered Christine Amsden and her Cassie Scot series and have turned into a believer. I love this series!
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Mind Games is the third book in this four book series, (out now for ebook; Trade Paperback June 15, 2014). For those who know Cassie, you will devour this installment. I am awaiting the final book with bittersweet anticipation. I want to know how things wrap up but am dreading the end of a series I love. 

I was introduced to Cassie Scot when I agreed to review the second book in the series. The author, very generously, sent me the first book along with the second, (signed too! I almost died). I wasn't expecting what was inside the covers of those books. I read a lot and am not extremely picky. I will give most any book a chance. Some I enjoy greatly, some I am greatly disappointed in. A few I have had to shelf just because they are the kind I need a mood for. A few I shelf with the hope a second chance later on will make them better, (it happens and you know it). A very small number I can't get through at all. I choose my books from all genres. I read popular authors and unknowns, publishers and self published. It makes for a variety of writing skills and types. I have learned to not expect anything, (even from popular authors of big publishing houses - they fail too and you know this). So I opened the book with the hope of a good story and was drawn in so quickly I read for hours. I immediately got the same tingle I got when I read Nancy Drew as a girl. Oorah! A winner. Yeah I did do a happy dance. 

Cassie Scot is a young adult born into a magical family. She, however, is "normal". With no magical skills to be found, Cassie decides to open a "normal" detective agency in a town full of paranormals. Since she has no magical abilities she advertises for normal investigations. With no real takers and no real money coming in, Cassie agrees to accept a paranormal case. Why not? She does know the community well. So begins our journey. Cassie pairs up with a paranormal, good looking guy that she was friends with long ago. Just because their families have an issue doesn't mean it will affect them, right? Wow. What that leads to!

I don't want to give out too much as I hate when reviews tell me everything. I have no reason to read it then, do I? I will tell you that the first book hooked me in with the feeling I got while reading it. It was the same feeling I got when I read Nancy Drew. It was the tingle that said this book is going to be my friend. I will visit with it again, (and again). The mysteries presented are good but it is the characters that truly captivated me. Ms. Amsden writes characters that are interesting and likable, (a few not so likable), and very human. The relationships and the road they travel are fascinating, maddening and sometimes heartbreaking. Tell me that doesn't sound like real life. I know, you may be saying I read to escape real life. I get that. I do too. Trust me, you will have that escape. After all how many paranormal relatives do you have? How many paranormal investigations are going on at your house? Exactly. You can relate to the characters but still be taken away. It is magical writing. 

Mind Games is the newest release in the series. So much has happened. Cassie has had her heart broken. She has decided to work with the sheriff's department. And she has faced a family issue that will rip your heart out. She has survived but what was the cost and where will it lead? Mind Games brings us exactly what the title suggests. There is a new love interest, a new mystery and more family issues that give true meaning to the title. I thought I was unraveling things fairly well early on in this book. I didn't mind though as there are layers to these books. The mystery is only one layer. Excitement and suspense flow like a babbling brook in the woods. You may know where it leads but you keep walking along side of it for the sheer fun and beauty of it. As for me unraveling things quickly? Well turns out that the brook didn't exactly go where I thought it did though it was close by. 

Each book in the series has its own mystery to be solved yet it remains woven into the book before and after. There is a cliff hangar, of a sort, at the end. The series has no strong language issues. There are some sexual references, which is why I recommend it for older teens and adults, that are not overly graphic. There is some violence but it is also not over the top. I do recommend, for best enjoyment, that you read the series in order:

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective  15813209

Secrets & Lies                                     17972727

Mind Games                                         20556236


Stolen Dreams (coming soon)

The series is a total of four books which make it perfect for gift giving. I love those kind. I enjoy giving books and being able to gift an entire series without breaking my budget is awesome. (And, why yes, I do think of Christmas year round LOL). 

The author did send me copies of the books for review purposes. I also purchased Kindle copies. After reading the first book I decided the author was well worth supporting by making my own purchases. The books she sent me are on my shelf, enjoying space with my Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, Gone With The Wind and Sookie Stackhouse books, (among others). My reviews and this blog piece are based solely on my honest thoughts and feelings while reading the series. My review, neither right nor wrong, is my honest opinion of what I read. I do hope you will check out this series. 

The author has also written:
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Christine Amsden can be found at:






Moving Back Home

Hello Friends,

The past year has been one of the long haul ones. It was this time last year that I started treatments in Alaska for my illness, (on top of the infusions I was already getting on a regular basis). Fun times never end. In addition to my own health issues, my parents in the Midwest are getting older and having issues. So I made the decision to come back to Illinois for a bit. Like I said fun times never end.

So, here I am, in Illinois, enjoying the comforts of various couches. Why couches and not my own place you may wonder. I know, after the past few weeks, I am wondering. I think it is because I do not want to establish a place of my own. I do not want to give up on my living in Alaska, (or Kentucky), dream. Alaska is an amazing place to live. The beauty and wildlife adventure cannot be beat. The cost of living is higher than I like but it is getting like that every where. So, in my mind, if I do not get my own place, I will eventually leave to find my place. Right? Help me out and say right.

In case anyone is wondering just what kind of wonderland I have signed up for my mom has been diagnosed with diabetes and dementia, (testing for exact diagnosis starting now). My dad has diabetes. So I am learning a healthier lifestyle cooking for them. My dad is the easy one. He knows I am using diabetes meal planning and will eat what I put in front of him. My mom though is a whole another story. She is a picky, junk food loving type of eater. One who has no memory of the Doctor saying she has diabetes and needs to test once a day. I have to watch her carefully or she will pop something in to munch as I get the test ready. I find myself in the strange position of being an adult child living in my parents home where I need to be the parent. It is such a strange position. I have to admit I am having difficulty with it. I haven't found the combo that lets me fulfill all the roles I play now. I try to respect the fact that this is my mom's home and she recognizes me as her child. The role I have to play though interferes with this though. I have to tell her things to do, what to wear and what/when to eat. I worry that she will feel that I am taking over, that she will feel useless. I worry that I will fail at this. I freely admit that I don't know what the hell I am doing or how to do it. I feel like I am learning to swim - not a good thing. I can't swim today because of memories I have of nearly drowning when I went for swim lessons. Good start right? I keep telling myself that I will do this. That I can do this. After all I raised children with no help. I had no instructions for that. I married and divorced three times, obviously no instructions there. I have infusions regularly to survive and I have had radiation. No fun there, (though when I got the first treatment I bought glow sticks. When I got in bed I broke them open and placed them under the sheet around my body. Seeing the reactions of my friends who were helping me was pretty funny so I guess there were moments of fun). I had my first grandson with me while both his parents worked, (me during the week, weekends with mom and dad deal). No instructions. And then I had another grandson with me for 5 years. Six months into it I knew something was wrong. Another six months and I was told autism. Trust me when I say I had no freaking idea of anything then. All I knew was Dustin Hoffman in Rainman at that point. I looked at the doctor and said what is the most important thing for him to know. He told me communication. So I learned sign language, we watched every word show I could find, I read to him, we played find the happy face, sad face, mad face, etc face for hours and I read every book I could find on autism. I searched out blogs and looked for products to help. I might have been lost but I had a map. And now he is verbal, loving, smart and fun though he still misses a lot of clues that come so easy to most of us. He taught me as much as I taught him. But this dementia thing I don't know what to do with. I already know the answer to what is most important - my mom being happy as I let her go. What the hell is that? I know we have to let go - death is part of life- but my heart screams not yet. So what do I do? I'm not even certain I am strong enough for this. I have no experience with diabetes or dementia. I am reading up but everything is contradicted. If you have any ideas, suggestions or want to share an experience please leave a comment. My sanity may depend on it. Haha.

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