Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#Review ~ #Giveaway ~ #Interview ~ #Excerpt ~~ Madison's Song by @ChristineAmsden

Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black...

Today, I have the pleasure of presenting my fans and followers with an interview of main character, Madison, conducted by the author, Christine Amsden. 

This post will also include Chapter 3 in its entirety, my review of Madison's Song, information about the author, and a giveaway!

Let's get started with the fun!

Meet Madison Carter:

Hi, I'm Christine Amsden, author of the new paranormal romance novel, Madison's Song. I'm pleased to be here with Madison Carter at the beginning of her adventure. (So no spoilers!)

A few things you should know about Madison: She doesn't know that her life is about to get turned upside down. She's a bit on the shy side, so if she seems nervous during the interview, that's why. But she's creative, talented, and fiercely loyal. I'm not sure that she would describe herself that way, but as the author, I get the final say. :)

And now, without further ado, here's Madison!

Me: Hi, Madison, thanks for being here today.

Madison: No problem. I'm not sure why I'm here, though. Are you sure you didn't want to talk to my best friend, Cassie?

Me: I'm sure. Cassie's story is over, but people are still very curious about you.

Madison: Why?

Me: For a lot of reasons. But let's start with the obvious: Were you or were you not nearly killed two years ago?

Madison (shudders): Do we have to talk about that?

Me: No, but I don't feel like we ever got the full story there. I know Scott saved you, but now you keep your distance from him. Why?

Madison: He's a werewolf.

Me: I see.

Madison: He nearly killed me, after he saved me.

Me: Ah. Well, werewolves aren't exactly overgrown puppies, are they?

Madison: No. I burned a couple of werewolf romance novels after that night. Can we talk about something else? Anything else?

Me: Okay, I understand that a year ago you lost your fiance and your unborn baby on the same night.

Madison: Okay, maybe not anything else. (Bites her lip.)

Me: You do that a lot, don't you? Bite your lip?

Madison (blushes): Only when I'm nervous.

Me: Why did your fiance leave you?

Madison: Because he found out that I was Victor Blackwood's biological daughter and he was at war with the Blackwoods at the time. He thought I knew, that I was some kind of spy! But that's not what really hurt.

Me: What really hurt?

Madison: My dad, the man who raised me, sold the information for $10,000. That's how much I was worth to him, in the end.

Me: Were you really in love with Nicolas?

Madison: Maybe not. It probably would have hurt more if I had been. Can we talk about something else? Again?

Me: Okay. Let's talk about your life right now, is that okay?

Madison: Sure. What do you want to know?

Me: What are you up to? What are your hopes and dreams?

Madison: I'm a music teacher at Eagle Rock Elementary. I love my kids; this is the best job. I know many people who major in music want to perform, but not me. I'm happy just sharing music with my kids. This is what I want to do. What I want to be.

Me: So you're happy?

Madison: Well…

Me: What's wrong?

Madison: Nothing, probably. I haven't heard from my brother, Clinton, in a few weeks. I'm getting worried.

Me: Are you two close?

Madison: As close as we can be. Out mother died when we were young and our father … well, he claims to love his “real” child but he was never that great a dad. Mostly, all we had growing up was each other.

Me: That sounds lonely.

Madison: Yeah.

Me: What do you want, Madison? What do you want more than anything else?

Madison: A family. It's hard to trust, though, when you've been betrayed so many times.

Me: I can imagine.

Madison: Can I ask a question now?

Me: Okay.

Madison: Does this interview mean that something bad is going to happen to me? I mean, nobody wants to read the exciting adventures of a grade school music teacher.

Me: Maybe not, but we'd probably want to listen if we could hear you sing. Your voice is enchanting.

Madison: It's not my fault. It just happens. I mean, when I sing, whatever I feel, other people feel it too.

Me: It's a gift.

Madison: My dad didn't think so.

Me: And your dad isn't getting a happily ever after.

Madison: Am I?

Me: We'll have to read the book to find out. Thanks so much for being here, and good luck!

About Madison's Song:

Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison's nightmares are not.

Despite her fears, when Madison's brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.

Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton's home only to discover that he's vanished. Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she's not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott's are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.

*Stand-alone companion to the Cassie Scot series

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My Review:

Welcome back to the world of Cassie Scot!  I was so excited when author Christine Amsden contacted me about the next, but stand-alone, book in the Cassie Scot series.  As a companion novel, Madison's Song focuses on secondary characters from the original series.  This novel is about Madison, one of Cassie's friends, Scott, a werewolf, and includes Evan, Cassie's husband and Madison's half-brother.

I have read and reviewed all of the Cassie Scot novels and the reviews can be found here on the blog, on Goodreads, and on Amazon for your viewing pleasure.  Here are links to the blog posts for your convenience:

Cassie Scot Paranormal Detective ~ Book One:

Secrets & Lies ~ Cassie Scot ~ Book Two:

Mind Games ~ Cassie Scot ~ Book Three:

When Scott saves Madison from a madman two years prior, she's thankful he showed up in the nick of time.....until he marks her then turns into a menacing and scary monster. Now, Madison, who's terrified of werewolves and the full moon, must rely on the one man that haunts her nightmares. Madison's brother Clinton is in trouble, having been bitten by a werewolf and needs help. Instead of turning to Evan, Madison shows up on Scott's doorstop.

What ensues is a cross-country chase that ultimately ends in capture but not of who one would think. A game has been played that forces Scott's hand and he ends up being a guinea pig in a lab located in Texas. The madmen that run it have a sinister plan in place that is detrimental to the survival all werewolves. It's up to Scott to instill the confidence in Madison to use her magic as the gift it is and not loathe it like she was taught to by her family. Their survival and escape depend on it!

As with the 4 books in the Cassie Scot series, the dialogue, character development, and writing style of Madison's Song is well done. The content and plot in Madison's Song is fresh and unique. I was pulled into the world of Cassie Scot from day one with its smart heroine and strong hero and it continues with with story of Madison and Scott.

The undertones of the story are filled with unrealized, and sometimes push aside, feelings of love. Madison and Scott started off in a bad place, scarring Madison and causing Scott to be miserable. Being forced together to find Clinton allows some of the healing to begin for Madison and a spark of hope to ignite within Scott. I enjoyed the development of their love story and the end left me happy and satisfied with where things ended up.

The author has written characters that have deep layers and are emotional. They are believable and easy to love.  The entire novel was written with feeling and realistic emotions - from the feelings of being terrified all the way to the blossoming of love.

You won't be disappointed with the newest edition to the Cassie Scot world!

ARC review copy courtesy of the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

Read an Excerpt:

Chapter 3 ~

“You do realize that I'm a werewolf, not a vampire,” Scott said after a time. He sounded agitated.

Madison glanced down. Her fingers, she realized, had been toying with the crucifix she wore tucked beneath her shirt. She had bought the necklace after a series of local vampire attacks and had been wearing it ever since. Now, toying with the pendant was just another in a long line of nervous habits she couldn't seem to break. Or if she did, another bad habit would take its place. She had spent a year learning not to bite her nails, only to discover she had nearly chewed her bottom lip off in the process. She stopped doing that, and started twisting her hair, breaking the once beautiful strands. She'd cut her hair short and now she was back to chewing her nails, figuring they were at least a less prominent feature than her hair and lips.

“Sorry.” Madison dropped the pendant, then had to talk herself down from chewing on a nail. This was going to be a long trip.

“It wasn't an accusation. I was trying to start a conversation.”

“Oh,” Madison said. Well, she'd wanted to start a conversation, too. She should follow his lead, but all she could think to say was, “Sorry.”

“Stop apologizing for everything. It's annoying.”

“Sorry.” Oh God, had she really just said that? If she were Cassie, she would have played it off like a joke. That sounded like a good idea, so she forced a small smile.

Scott smiled back. “Cheeky.”

It had worked. Madison's smile grew wider. “Sorry.”

This time, he laughed. He looked so much more human when he laughed. Had she ever seen him do that before?

“It is made of silver,” Madison said. “Doesn't that count for something?”

“Only if you melt it into a bullet.”

“Telling me your weaknesses? Isn't that risky?”

“No. Because first of all, it isn't true, and second of all, you won't tell anyone it isn't.”

“What makes you so sure I won't tell anyone?”

His smile disappeared, replaced by his usual brooding expression. His green eyes grew dark and impenetrable, reminding her of how little she knew about this man. “You wouldn't do anything to hurt Clinton, would you?”            

“No. Of course not.” Madison looked away. So much for her attempt at levity. She shivered, and returned her gaze to the window.

“You know, I'm actually trying to help you. I didn't have to take you along. Do you think you could try not to be afraid of me, at least until moon-rise?”

Madison's head snapped back around. “It bothers you that I'm afraid of you?”

“Yes, it bothers me. I-it bothers me.”

Madison stared at Scott's profile for a long minute, trying to figure out what to make of him. She had tried to see things from his point of view before. Countless times, as a matter of fact. Intellectually she knew he had done nothing to her that hadn't directly led to his saving her life and even her soul. Emotionally, on the other hand...

There remained so many unanswered questions about that night. She couldn't bring herself to ask them, but they floated through her mind nonetheless: How had he even known she needed help? Why was he so far from his usual forest so close to the full moon? And why had he stayed away from her afterward? She wanted to understand that most of all, because there were moments when she swore she thought he wanted her. She could be wrong – she had little experience with men and she wasn't exactly a leggy bombshell like that woman he'd been with earlier in the night – but the way he often looked at her... She didn't want him to look at her like that; it terrified her, but he had saved her life. And sometimes, she was almost afraid to admit to herself, she liked the way he looked at her.

“Why does it bother you that I'm afraid?” Madison asked instead.

“Why does it-?” Scott turned his head slightly, scowling at her. “What kind of question is that?”

Madison pushed away her instinctive reaction to his scowl. He wasn't going to hurt her. The wolf inside him wasn't Scott, he'd said so himself minutes before she'd seen the truth for herself in the beast's eyes. And Evan had assured her that wolves could only shift at the full moon. It was the only assurance he had ever given her about Scott; mostly, Evan liked to unnecessarily reinforce her fears.

“You're scowling,” Madison said.

Scott's lips straightened and he turned back to the road. “I was?”

“You do that a lot.”

“I didn't realize that.” He frowned. “Maybe I've gotten hard. I didn't used to be that way, but dealing with a pack of werewolves all the time... I guess it's my turn to apologize.”

“It's okay.”

“No, it's not.” Scott sighed. “And no, I never wanted you afraid. I just didn't think there was any other choice.” He paused before adding, “Is there?”

“Yesterday, I'd have said no.”

“And today?”

Madison hesitated. “Today, there's a werewolf out there who I love and need to find a way to support no matter what.”

“Okay,” Scott said slowly. Then again, “Okay.”

“Maybe we could get to know each other a little better.”

“Okay,” he said again. “Why are you wearing the cross?”

Madison looked down at the cross, which she was once again twisting between her fingers. “I bought it after the vampire attacks a while back, but I like wearing it anyway. I am Catholic.”

“You are?”

“Go to mass every Sunday. Sing in the choir.”

“Huh. I wouldn't have expected that from Evan's sister.”

Half sister,” Madison corrected. “As in long lost and not raised together. My parents were both Catholic. I mean, my mom and my adoptive dad.”

“I'd just think being Catholic would make you think magic was evil or something.”

Madison shuddered. It wasn't the religion at all, it was entirely Phillip Carter. Father Owen had even said that her voice was a gift from God. Of course her gift wasn't exactly magic, but Father Owen didn't know that. Madison still had trouble grasping the difference some days.

“You do have a problem with it,” Scott said. “Is that why you and Evan have been having problems?”

“We're not having problems, exactly, and no, it's not the reason.” Madison had never thought of magic as being evil in other people, only in herself. When she thought about the logic there – or lack thereof – it made her head hurt, but didn't change her feelings.

“Interesting,” Scott said, as if she'd just told him a lot more than she had.

“This is getting awfully personal,” Madison said. “If you're going to ask me about all this, you should tell me something personal about yourself.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, I don't know.” Madison cast about for a subject that wasn't related to his monthly transformations. She wasn't ready for that yet, though she knew she would have to be soon. Unfortunately, the only other subject she could think of was almost as difficult to bring up. “Tell me about that woman who was with you tonight. Jessica?”

Scott's jaw tightened, but he kept his eyes on the road ahead of him. “She's a bitch.”

“A werewolf, you mean?”

“That too.”

Madison almost laughed. Almost. But she saw from the fixed expression on his face that he was absolutely serious. “You really don't like her?”

“She's one of the most selfish women I've ever known. She's not attracted to me, she's attracted to power. She's constantly asking me to work magic for her, and she's in love with my position as alpha. In the few months we've been together, she's already lorded it over the other females in the pack. I've had to intercede a couple of times.”

Madison looked straight ahead into the sunrise, trying to figure out why someone like Scott would be with a woman like that if he hated her. It must be the legs. Men went crazy for long, thin legs.

“She's pretty,” Madison said after a long pause.

Scott snorted. “Not my type.”

“What's your type?”

He glanced at her, his eyes raking her face and torso, settling for a few extra seconds on her chest before returning to the road. “I like curves.”

Madison's cheeks went red. Before she could stop herself, she had glanced down at her own chest, which she'd always thought was too big, much like the rest of her body. But Scott couldn't mean it. He'd only said that to unsettle her. And it was working.

“Anything else you want to know?” Scott asked.

“Why are you with her if she's not a nice person?”

“I'm not a nice person.” He paused then added, quietly. “I'm not even a person.”

“Oh, Scott.” And for the first time in his presence, Madison didn't feel afraid. She felt something else entirely.

Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble  Madison's Song

Meet the Author:

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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.

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Bonny McDevitt said...

I do love paranormal romance it's just sexy to completely be with the unbelievable!

Sapphyria said...

I love paranormal romances, too!

Thanks for participating!

Christine Amsden said...

Thank you so much for being part of my tour!

Sapphyria said...

You're very welcome :)

Kathy Davis said...

I think what makes a paranormal great is a strong hero or heroine, with a terrific super power that I admire. I also like to identify with the characters, so it can't be too hard to imagine.

Sapphyria said...

I love strong hero/heroine combinations.

Thanks for participating today Kathy.