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Secrets and Lies is the second installment in the Cassie Scot new adult paranormal mystery series. Though there’s a bit of backstory in this novel, it’s preferable to read the books in order, if only to find out from the beginning who Cassie is, how she got started as a detective and, especially, how her romance with Evan evolved. Also to understand the animosity between their families.
In Secrets and Lies, two girls have gone missing from a summer camp and although the local police have already started investigating, Cassie is hired by a family member of the girls to help in the case. Evan, always wanting to protect Cassie, joins her in the investigation.
Because Evan saved Cassie’s life in book 1, Cassie believes she owes him and finds it difficult to deny him what he wants. This makes life both frustrating and thrilling for Cassie, who is not only an independent, smart, 21-year old sleuth, but she’s also powerfully attracted to him and prone to succumb to his charms…but who can resist a charismatic, handsome warlock?
As the two begin to investigate, it becomes increasingly obvious that magic is involved, and that the girls might still be alive. At the same time, there seems to be a “ghost” or “invisible person” robbing banks in town. Are the robberies and the girls’ disappearance connected in some way? Adding further tension to the mystery is the ongoing war between Cassie and her parents, who betrayed and disowned her in book 1, as well as the unending feud between Cassie’s and Evan’s families, who totally loath each other. This, of course, puts pressure on the young couple, who are not only in lust but also in love.
As Cassie closes in on the villains, tormenting issues about her mother resurface. On her mother’s deathbed, Cassie must make a decision that could forever distance her from her mother or could possibly reunite them — or at least ease some of the tension in the family and improve their relationship. The book isn’t titled Secrets and Lies for nothing, as there are plenty of these in the story, not to mention enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read. First of all, what I love most about Cassie is her voice. She is very likable and sympathetic, with just the right amount of good qualities and flaws. She’s smart, independent, witty, sensitive, and has a good heart. Amsden does an excellent job with her character’s interiority.
The second aspect of this novel I enjoyed the most is the romance between Cassie and Evan. It’s just the right amount, without veering the plot away from the mystery. It also has its fair share of tension, as we never know how it’s going to end up for these two. The author keeps us guessing in this roller-coaster of a love story.
The pace flows fairly quickly, as this author doesn’t use too much exposition or description. Action and dialogue propel the story forward. The paranormal aspect adds fun and spice to the story without getting overwhelming, and I enjoyed all the magic 101.
The ending left me breathless with a mega-revelation that will have a major impact on the relationship between Cassie and Evan. Having read both books in the series, this is my favorite, and I can’t wait to see what Amsden will come up with in her next installment, soon to come out in 2014. Fans of paranormal mysteries will relish this one!
Visit Christine Amsden’s website.
Originally published in Blogcritics.
When Conner Carter is banished from New York for cheating on his socialite wife, he flies across country to Sonoma, California to stay with his brother Cody, Cody’s ridiculously wealthy husband, Rhett, and their two adopted Cambodian children. Since childhood, Conner has been jealous of the gilded life Cody has led, but Conner learns that what glitters often tarnishes and shatters in shocking and dangerous ways. Having always taken life’s easiest route, Conner now finds that path closed when he is forced to step up for his brother when Cody’s personal life crumbles after Rhett goes missing in Colombia on a documentary film shoot. Conner’s world unravels when the woman he’s fallen in love with, their black Puerto Rican nanny, Zinzi, finds her violent past catching up with her. From the tattered and surprising pieces of these characters’ intense and complicated lives, these people will discover the strength in WHAT REMAINS.
With two feature films, eleven movies for television, four television series credits, as well as eight theatrical plays produced around the world, WHAT REMAINS is Bart’s second novel. Bart’s first novel, HONEYMOON WITH HARRY, was a critical and commercial success and the movie rights were bought by Warner Bros./New Line Cinema for a feature film. He’s recently sold a film project in conjunction with the hit song by Miranda Lambert, OVER YOU, to the Lifetime Network. Bart lives in Ellisville, Missouri with his family.
Cold War era biological experiments are resurrected and after Boston experiences a seemingly inexplicable bio-terrorist attack, the Center for Disease Control’s Dr. Davie Richards and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Paula Mushari once again join forces to uncover who is behind it. An obscure reference to a Dresden project found amid crash site evidence marks them both for execution. Paula and Dave are forced to leave Boston in the middle of the night and head to Washington, D.C.,where they soon find that anyone they contact also becomes the target of assassins. When the daughter of the CDC’s director is taken hostage, Dave and Paula come face to face with an evil that forces them to question the very nature of duty and service to country. With the help of one man, they learn the true meaning of dark operatives while they desperately try to stop another bio-attack from happening.
There was a chill in the morning air. A marine layer had moved into the Bay Area of San Francisco, creating a soft mist off in the distance as Anna looked up the street. Anna Wheat was late to her job at one of the downtown branches of Bank of America. She so wanted to be on time that she wished she could just jog the rest of the way, but her three-inch heels made that idea more comical than practical. She had been a teller for the last two years and had been in line for a promotion, but like most things in the last few days, it had stalled. Anna knew it wasn’t just her bosses were who preoccupied. It seemed as though everyone in the country was distracted with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Coworkers chatted about the evening news instead of last weekend’s football games. Married friends told her of their concerns for their kids. And she too felt on edge from the constant news bulletins that came across the radio and filled the morning and evening TV news reports. Anna just wanted to concentrate on her work, start her new job, and be preoccupied with something positive.
She knew the bank’s human resources division in Los Angeles was waiting for the paperwork to expedite the change in her employee status from Grade 1 to Grade 3. Anna had done an amazing job that she jumped a pay grade, something that barely had been achieved in the bank’s history and even more rarely by a woman. The bank’s manager, John Kiley, often cited Annie’s accomplishments to other employees, saying that hard work made anything possible and they should all reach for the stars. He was fascinated with the NASA astronauts, and the Space Race with the Soviet Union inspired his language. He would remind any employee that would listen that Americans didn’t like settling for anything, and setting goals was the surest way to focus a nation’s, or a company’s, energies. President John F. Kennedy had set a goal for the country back in 1961, he would remind his staffers, and soon after, on May 5th, Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. The Soviets beat us there, but we were catching up, Mr. Kiley would say.
Mr. Kiley’s cheerleading and holding up Anna’s promotion as an example didn’t go over well with other employees, especially other women. Anna was very young, attractive, and ambitious. And while she liked the attention she earned for her work, she hated the unpleasant glances from the other young tellers and the ashen-haired head teller with the droopy eyelids. Some of the young women would whisper despairingly behind her back, lewd suggestions on how she had moved up the corporate ladder. Anna tried to ignore them and do her job. She wasn’t going to let them have the satisfaction of knowing they upset her.
That morning, as she walked along the street, Anna passed a newsstand that featured papers emblazoned with warnings about the Cuban Missile Crisis. There was a palpable fear in the fear in the city and across the country that the missiles placed in Cuba by the Soviet Union and now aimed at the United States would lead to nuclear war, if not by intent, by some accident or miscommunication. Anna’s sister in Virginia was so panicked about it that she packed up her kids and drove across the country to Monterrey, California, in order to live with their mother and father until the crisis ended. Anna’s personality was the opposite of her sister’s. In fact, it was her cool demeanor that made her a perfect fit for the banking world. She always managed to stay calm no matter how upset a customer was.
She passed a TV store as she headed up to California: one of San Francisco’s steeply inclined streets. The brisk morning walks kept her quite fit, but this morning, she didn’t seem to have the same vigor she usually had. It had been difficult to get out of bed, and she had to skip breakfast because she was running late. No food, no coffee—that was the problem, Anna thought. She really wanted to push past the fatigue and be on time for work. She believed punctuality was important, especially if she wanted the men she worked with to take her seriously.
Anna was determined to be the first woman to become bank manager at her branch. She wasn’t like all her high school friends, who also were working, but whose long-term goals were marriage, a house, and kids. She wanted those things too, but she knew she wanted something more.
Anna looked in at an appliance store window as she passed by, and all the TV screens displayed news coverage of President Kennedy in a press conference. The president looked tired and unusually grim. She had been a Richard Nixon supporter and felt he would have been better at handling such a dangerous confrontation with the Soviet Union. Anna continued walking, reached the top of the street, and had to stop to catch her breath. That’s unusual, she thought, and then noticed her hands trembling. She remembered there was a donut shop near the bank, and she planned to stop in there and get a coffee and something to eat.
She stopped again. There was something more ominous going on than low blood sugar. She wiped her forehead. Her breathing was rapid and shallow. She was perspiring. She tried to catch her breath but started coughing up thick, bloody mucous. A passerby showed concern. She held up her hand to signal that she was fine.
Anna straightened up and made her way another half a block to her Bank of America branch. She reached for the door, but severe vertigo prevented her from grasping the handle. Her legs became wobbly, and she fell in a heap in the doorway.
Mr. Kiley came running out to her. “Anna. Anna. Can you hear me?”
She didn’t answer.
Mr. Kiley asked the other employees who had gathered around to stay with Anna as he rushed back into the bank to phone for an ambulance. Anna just lay on the sidewalk, semiconscious, vision blurred.
What is travel? Asking this question is like asking, “What is life?” or, “Who are you?” (or, as I’ve frequently been asked, “Who are you?”). The answers to such questions are as numerous as the people asking. The Idiot of Funkyville: Becoming an Everywhere Citizen takes a chronological snapshot of actual personal experiences as a young and less-than-young man living and playing abroad; exploring each of the above questions in the context of a displaced American piecing himself together on foreign turf.
Contained therein: perhaps an excess of sex, more than a healthy dose of drugs, and all the rock ‘n’ roll one can ask for. Balance is achieved as the vignettes build one on top of the next.
Pondering the course of my life from the confines of a Qatari jail cell, reminiscence begins with teenage confusion at a Mexican bar and concludes with grown confusion as an expat in the Middle East. In progression, the narrowing spiral of personal growth leaves finer grained finger prints as the tales evolve through destinations and age. In theory, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But that’s for the experts to decide.
Having dismounted a train, plane, boat, or rickshaw in nearly forty countries (including Canada), The Idiot of Funkyville documents a life of travel as a point-blank portrayal of my life through travel. And who doesn’t love life and travel both? Whether you’ve already gone or have no intention of ever, ever going near the place, wonder is universal. We all have questions. A good majority of my questions just happened to be pondered abroad.
ABOUT ASH HODEN
Ash Hoden is a writer, foreign correspondent for a California-based design studio, and architect currently living, working, and writing about living and working in Qatar. His pursuits have always involved creation. He firmly believes social contribution is a fundamental requirement for a happy existence. He attended Colorado State University where he received the American Society of Landscape Architect’s Honor Award for exceptional academic design work. In addition to ongoing contributions in the business world, he previously founded an independent design firm and organized CambodiaFund, a method of providing basic school supplies to Cambodian children in need.
The Idiot of Funkyville is his first published book. You can visit Ash Hoden’s website at www.ashhoden.com.
The Idiot of Funkyville Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule
Monday, May 6 – 1st chapter reveal at Freda’s Voice
Wednesday, May 8 – Guest blogging at Between the Covers
Friday, May 10 – Interviewed at Review From Here
Tuesday, May 14 – 1st chapter reveal at Parenting 2.0
Wednesday, May 15 – Guest blogging at Allvoices
Thursday, May 16 – Interviewed at Examiner
Monday, May 20 – Guest blogging at Books, Books, the Magical Fruit
Wednesday, May 22 – Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Thursday, May 23 – Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz
Monday, May 27 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Tuesday, May 28 – Guest blogging at The Writer’s Life
Thursday, May 30 – Book featured at Authors and Reader’s Book Corner
Wednesday, June 5 – Interviewed at Digital Journal
Thursday, June 6 – Guest blogging at Redroom
Friday, June 7 – Interviewed at Blogher
Monday, June 10 – Interviewed at Books, Books, the Magical Fruit
Tuesday, June 11 – Guest blogging at Allvoices
Wednesday, June 12 – Book featured at Literarily Speaking
Thursday, June 13 – Book featured at Plug Your Book
Friday, June 14 – Guest blogging at My Cozie Corner
Monday, June 17 – Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Tuesday, June 18 – 1st chapter reveal at As the Pages Turn
Wednesday, June 19 – Interviewed at Between the Covers
Thursday, June 20 – Book featured at My Cozie Corner
Friday, June 21 – Guest blogging at Reading Through Life One Page at a Time
Monday, June 24 – Book featured at Beyond the Books
Tuesday, June 25 – Interviewed at Broowaha
Wednesday, June 26 – Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Thursday, June 27 – Guest blogging at I’m Shelf-ish
Friday, June 28 – Book reviewed at The Self-Taught Cook
Join James Berman, author of the Business/Personal Finance book, Lessons from the Lemonade Stand, as he tours the blogosphere March 4 – April 26 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
Written for aspiring investors of all ages, Lessons from the Lemonade Stand explains everything you need to know in the context of that most classic of all American businesses: the corner lemonade stand.
Rooted in the fundamental truth that “common sense is the best investment tool,” the book slices important concepts into simple sections, sweetening them with folksy, easy-to-read language. The trials and tribulations of lemonade stand owner Lucinda highlight every concept from interest rates to retirement accounts to leverage. Learn investment basics as you follow Lucinda Lemonade Inc. along its sweet (and sometimes sour) journey as a start-up, from the squeeze of the first lemon to its initial private equity deal and its eventual foray into tech, all in the tidy town of Lemonville.
Entertaining and fun, Lessons from the Lemonade Stand supplies readers with the ingredients they need to become savvy investors.
ABOUT JAMES BERMAN
James Berman is the president and founder of JBGlobal.com LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm specializing in asset management for high-net-worth individuals and trusts. With over 16 years of experience managing client portfolios, Mr. Berman is a specialist in value investing and asset allocation. As the president of JBGlobal LLC, the general partner of the JBGlobal Fund LP, Mr. Berman manages a global equities fund that invests in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Mr. Berman is a faculty member in the Finance Department of NYU (SCPS Division), where he teaches corporate finance. He also serves as subadvisor to Eitan Ventures LLC, a venture capital fund based in New York.
Mr. Berman has appeared on CNBC, the Fox News Channel, the Cavuto Show, and the Fox Business Channel and is frequently published and quoted in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Barrons, Fortune, Bloomberg, and CNN Money. As a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, he covers financial topics ranging from hedge funds to the economy. He writes a monthly interactive investment letter, the Berman Value Folio, a Forbes/Trefis publication.
Mr. Berman received a BA (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Harvard University and a JD from Harvard Law School.