December 21, 2011

Giveaway Winner: CREEP

And the lucky winner of Creep, autographed by author Jennifer Hillier, is . . .


Congratulations!  I will be emailing you directly to get your mailing address for your new book.

A big THANK YOU to all who visited my blog and entered this giveaway.  I do appreciate each one of you taking the time to visit and post here.  I hope you all will stick around for future giveaways, reviews and interviews.

Thank you to author Jennifer Hillier for making this giveaway possible.

Compliments to for selecting the lucky winner.

Happy reading!

December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jane!

Today marks the 236th birthday of the lovely and beloved Jane Austen and there is plenty of celebrating going on!

It is launch day for Abigail Reynolds' newest Austenesque work, Mr. Darcy's Letter.  Isn't the cover just gorgeous?  Visit Abigail's post here to enter a drawing to win your own copy of Mr. Darcy's Letter.

My Jane Austen Book Club and November's Autumn are throwing an Austen's Birthday Soiree.  Visit My Jane Austen Book Club or Austenprose for details and participating bloggers.  

Sourcebooks has an e-book promotion aptly titled A Darcy for Everyone!  The following 14Austen inspired books will be priced at only $1.99 until Friday, December 30:

A Darcy Christmas – Carolyn Eberhart, Sharon Lathan and Amanda Grange

The Darcys & the Bingleys – Marsha Altman

Darcy’s Voyage – Kara Louise

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star – Heather Lynn Rigaud

The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice – Abigail Reynolds

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One – Sharon Lathan

Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard – Belinda Roberts

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife – Linda Berdoll

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre – Amanda Grange

Pemberley Chronicles – Rebecca Ann Collins

Pemberley Ranch – Jack Caldwell

Searching for Pemberley – Mary Lydon Simonsen

Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy – Sara Angelini

Darcy and Fitzwilliam – Karen V. Wasylowski

All titles and information may be found here.

Readers, what will you do to celebrate Jane Austen's birthday?  I am considering curling up with the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice tonight.  It's my absolute favorite and Colin is my favorite Mr. Darcy of all time.  Or perhaps the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet version of Sense and Sensibility - - Colonel Brandon breaks my heart every time.

December 15, 2011

Author Interview: VICTORIA SIMCOX

Today I am pleased to welcome Victoria Simcox, author of the newly released The Black Shard, to Psychotic State Book Reviews.  Welcome, Victoria!

Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose children’s fantasy to write?

VS:  Ever since I was a small child I have always loved fantasy and fairy tales. Now that I’m an adult, juvenile and young adult fantasy are still my favorite genres to read. I chose to write a children’s fantasy because I have a great imagination that I felt I’d like to put  to good use. I also love children and the fact that they have such vivid imaginations and a sense of wonder. Being an elementary school art teacher, I get to hear all about the books my students are reading, and I love how excited they get when they explain their favorite stories to me.

Did you outline before you wrote your book or did you just go with the flow?

VS:  I definitely go with the flow, but I do plan things loosely, and I do go back through my manuscript at times to change situations and plots.

Who was your favorite character in The Black Shard and why?

VS:  I have many favorites, but one I loved creating was Werrien, because in the beginning of the story, in The Magic Warble he starts out as your typical good looking, self-centered, teenaged boy, but as the story progresses he becomes kinder, more sensitive, but yet still physically strong.

What was the inspiration behind the story? Where were you when you came up with the idea?

VS:  I remember I was sitting in the movie theater, watching the first Harry Potter movie, when I envisioned my main character Kristina walking down a snowy sidewalk. At the time that’s all of the story I had. I went home that night and wrote my first page not knowing where the story would go.

Thank you for this interview, Victoria. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your wonderful new book?

VS:  Yes, for sure! 

If someone is interested in checking out the first book in the series, where can I send them? 

VS:  I'm glad you asked me that because even though The Black Shard can stand alone as its own story I recommend reading the first book, The Magic Warble (  There are also quite a few reviews for The Magic Warble on Amazon

Still looking for  that perfect gift for the reader (child or adult) who loves fantasy, a la Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia?  The Magic Warble and The Black Shard would make an excellent choice!  Read my review of The Magic Warble here; my review of The Black Shard is coming up in the next few days!    


Kristina's stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it's all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester's cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it's actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can't refuse.  

Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends ... and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn't get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the ''Black Shard'', Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it's in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.


Dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and an evil queen all these and more can be found in The Magic Warble, an enchanting tale of adventure and friendship.

Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and the evil Queen Sentiz.

In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she's honored as ''the chosen one'', the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz's control. But it s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous ''Magic Warble,'' in its final resting place. And she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen s ''zelbocks'' before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart. 

December 13, 2011

Book Review: POISONED LOVE by Caitlin Rother

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Kristin Rossum had everything going for her: Beauty, brains, youth, and the start of a brilliant career in toxicology. But the 24-year-old daughter of accomplished academics from Claremont, Calif., was torn between three relationships: one with her husband, who was found not breathing with red rose petals sprinkled over his body; one with her married boss; and one with crystal methamphetamine, an old friend with whom she had become reacquainted. In the true crime thriller Poisoned Love, Pulitzer-nominated investigative journalist Caitlin Rother tells the story behind the “American Beauty murder” case, a cautionary tale that illustrates how an obsession for passion, a fatal attraction to crystal meth and easy access to dangerous narcotics can devastate not just one life, but many others in the process. This updated edition explores the psychological aspects of this complex case, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the investigation and major players that the public never got from the mainstream media. The 496-page book reveals e-mails, diary entries, letters and other court evidence that lend insights into Rossum’s character, as well as 16 pages of new developments about her appeals, which raise forensic questions about her conviction.

My Review
Fans of the true crime genre will rejoice with another entry to add to their library, Poisoned Love by Caitlin Rother.  In the style of Ann Rule, a true crime favorite of mine, Ms. Rother delves deep into the background and psyche of not only the accused but the victims as well and provides painstaking detail of the crime, the trial and the aftermath.  

Reading Poisoned Love will make it clear to the reader that Ms. Rother spent an inordinate amount of time on her research and with admirable results.  Every person introduced in her work has a voice, not just "friend of the victim", "co-worker of the accused", etc.  This is perhaps the strongest point of Poisoned Love in my opinion - - rather than merely being "the victim", Greg de Villers is presented as a real human being, with thoughts, dreams and aspirations and you feel sadness and even grief at his life ending prematurely.  Ms. Rother also does a good job at presenting the de Villers family's sense of loss and helplessness as Greg's brother Jerome fights to prove his brother did not take his own life.  

The accused, Kristin Rossum, remained an enigma for me even after finishing the book.  She exemplified the brainy beauty who should have had it all but threw it all away for drugs, for an illicit affair, and/or for narcissism.  She was frightening to a degree in her cold natured indifference and the void that seemed to be present in  her makeup.  

While Ms. Rother's attention to detail is commendable, for some readers it may be a bit too much.  The book itself is hefty (coming in at just under 500 paperback pages) and there were a few sections where I felt it dragged a bit and portions could likely have been minimized or cut so as to keep the story moving fluidly.  

Even having watched a true crime program or two on this case and knowing the outcome, I was drawn into the book and learned many facts of the case I had not previously known.  In short, I thought Poisoned Love was extremely well written and researched and one of the better true crime books for those who want an in-depth look at the case rather than merely glorified violence. 

I would not hesitate to recommend Poisoned Love to a true crime buff or to any reader looking to explore the genre.  Caitlin Rother is certainly an author to watch out for and one that will be on my "must read" list.

Poisoned Love is available for purchase at major booksellers now, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate.  If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.  


Paramedic Sean Jordan and his assistant, April Butler, had just finished a quick dinner at Rubio’s, a fish taco restaurant, when they got a call at 9:23 p.m.: young male down, not breathing and no pulse. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) had purchased the La Jolla Del Sol complex about a year earlier as off-campus housing, so the 911 call went first to the campus police dispatch center.
“My husband is not breathing,” Kristin Rossum told the dispatcher.
Jordan and Butler carried their gear up the stairs to the second-floor apartment, where they found Kristin standing in the living room, crying and talking to the 911 dispatcher on a cordless phone. She motioned them to the bedroom, where her husband, Greg de Villers, was lying on the floor, flat on his back. His slim, six-foot, 160-pound body was dressed in pajama bottoms and a T-shirt. His skin was pale, and his lips were blue around the edges. Red rose petals were scattered on the carpet around his upper torso, with a single stem and stamen next to him.
Jordan started setting up next to Greg’s left arm. Butler squeezed into position, setting aside an unframed wedding photo of the couple, which had been propped up against the base of the bureau, as if someone had positioned it just so.
Greg looked a little nervous in the photo. He smiled for the camera with a quiet contentment, all dressed up in his tuxedo and striped cravat, his dark brown hair slicked back and his blue eyes shining. Kristin looked radiant, her shiny blond locks pulled up under a white-flowered tiara, and a veil trailing down her back. She wore a string of pearls with her white dress, which had short lace sleeves that covered her shoulders, and she held a bouquet of pink and white flowers tied with bows of ribbon. They both seemed so very happy as Greg declared his supreme devotion to her in front of their friends and family.
In all the commotion, the wedding photo got moved to the top of the chest on Greg’s right side, next to a blue plastic cup of clear, odorless liquid that looked like water. And a yellow cup, also containing clear, odorless liquid, rested on a nightstand on the opposite side of the bed.

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

With thanks to Pump Up Your Book! for including me on this virtual tour! 

To celebrate the release of Caitlin Rother’s new release,Poisoned Love, she is offering one signed copy of her of her book at Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  Plus, one copy of her next book, Naked Addiction! Click here for details!

Upcoming virtual tour stops for Poisoned Love:
Wednesday, December 14

Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama
Thursday, December 15
Book reviewed at Colloquium
Friday,  December 16
Book reviewed at Bookspark

December 11, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up: December 11, 2011

Happy Sunday!  I hope you have had a wonderful week.  Amazing to think that we only have one more weekend before Christmas!  

On Monday, I posted my review of Dara England's The Magic Touch.  

On Tuesday, I posted my list of favorite childhood books for The Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I posted a free preview of Amanda Usen's new book, Scrumptious.  

On Thursday, I hosted an interview with author Charles Rosenberg.  

On Friday, I posted my review of Charles Rosenberg's Death on a High Floor.  

On Saturday, I posted giveaway winners for Cloudburst and the Black Sun's Daughter series, as well as a giveaway for Jennifer Hillier's Creep.  

On Sunday, I posted my review of Sarah Kernochan's Jane Was Here.  

How did your book week go?  

Book Review: JANE WAS HERE by Sarah Kernochan

BOOK DESCRIPTION:   mysterious young woman calling herself Jane turns up in a small New England town. She claims a fragmentary memory of growing up in this place, yet she has never been here before in her life. Upon her arrival, strange and alarming things begin happening to some of the town's inhabitants. As Jane's memories reawaken piece by piece, they carry her back to a long-buried secret, while the townspeople hurtle forward to a horrific event when past and present fatally collide.

Jane Was Here , by Sarah Kernochan, is an incredible book on so many levels.  It's a puzzle that will leave you shuffling the pieces and trying to make them fit up until the very end; a tale of a broken romance; a story of the dynamic of a small town and it's motley group of core residents; a father and son struggling to find a bond; and a mysterious woman who brings it all to a head.

As a person who is interested in the subject of reincarnation, Jane Was Here was a treat to delve into, to consume and to luxuriate in.  There are many possibilities when reincarnation is the theme of your work and Jane Was Here takes a unique and marvelous route, with a wonderfully fulfilling payoff.  So intoxicating was this story that I read the entire book in one sitting, not willing to let it go until I knew all.

History fans too will enjoy the flashbacks to the little town of Graynier circa 1853. I particularly enjoyed making comparisons between the Graynier of today and when the characters had memories or visions of that time past.   There is a portion of the book about midway through that gives a great amount of detail on Jane of the past; I cannot say more than that without giving away important aspects of the story.  Trust me when I say that those portions are satisfying and heartbreaking.

The characters in Jane Was Here were somewhat of an anomoly.  I either found them fairly to flat out unlikable or so perplexing that I could not get a read on them.  And yet I was still utterly intrigued by their plight and their plot and wanted to know, needed to know, what was going to happen to them.  I am still puzzled by the Jane of the book's title; even after reading the final page questions remain.

Not that this is a negative.  In fact, isn't it wonderful that a day or more after finishing Jane Was Here, I am still contemplating it, turning the story and possibilities over in my mind?  In this reader's opinion, having a story stay with you after you turn the page is a hallmark of a great tale.

The story is the strongest part of Jane Was Here, with Ms. Kernochan adeptly weaving each character's backstory, past and present, to a brilliantly spun literary web.  Ms. Kernochan's experience as a screenwriter has served her well here; her prose is as powerful as her plot.  Her characters sound like real people having true conversations and going about normal, average lives.

Happily, too, Ms. Kernochan's descriptive narrative is equally powerful, leaving the reader with a very clear and concise mental picture of Graynier and its residents.

Jane Was Here begs you to curl up with it, get comfortable and settle in with a cup of tea and a blanket, although do not mistake it for a cozy mystery.  It does have some strong language and sexual scenes that are necessary to the book's ebb and flow but the book also manages to possess a nostalgia and an allure to it as well.  It's an intriguing, consuming story that will leave you hungry for more.

Jane Was Here is available for purchase at major booksellers now, including Amazon  I am an Amazon affiliate.  If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.  

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

With thanks to Crazy Book Tours for including me on this virtual tour! 

Upcoming virtual tour stops for Jane Was Here:  
12/12/2011  --  Mental Foodie
12/13/2011  --  Tiffany's Bookshelf 
12/14/2011  --  Book of Secrets
12/15/2011  --  Endlessly Bookish
12/16/2011  --  Sinnful Books
12/18/2011  --  Proud Book Nerd
12/19/2011  --  True Book Addict/Castle Macabre
12/21/2011  --  WV Stitcher
12/23/2011  --  Reader Girls

About Author Sarah Kernochan

Sarah Kernochan received early acclaim for her Academy Award winning documentary Marjoe. She then recorded two albums for RCA as a singer-songwriter. In 1977, her first novel Dry Hustle was published. Returning to film, she scripted the the film Nine and ½ Weeks, Impromptu, Sommersby, What Lies Beneath and All I Wanna Do, which she also directed. She received a second Academy Award in 2002 for her short documentary Thoth. 2010 brought the re-issue of Dry Hustle as an ebook, and a third album of songs. 2011 brings us to Jane Was Here; Sarah’s first love and teenage ambition – a novel about reincarnation.

December 10, 2011

Giveaway: CREEP by Jennifer Hillier

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Pulsing with the dark obsession of Radiohead’s song “Creep,” this taut thriller—Jennifer Hillier’s superb debut—rockets from its seductive opening to a heartpounding climax not easily forgotten. 

If he can’t have her . . . 

Dr. Sheila Tao is a professor of psychology. An expert in human behavior. And when she began an affair with sexy, charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Consumed by lust when they were together, riddled with guilt when they weren’t, she knows the three-month fling with her teaching assistant has to end. After all, she’s finally engaged to a kind and loving investment banker who adores her, and she’s taking control of her life. But when she attempts to end the affair, Ethan Wolfe won’t let her walk away. 

. . . no one else can. 

Ethan has plans for Sheila, plans that involve posting a sex video that would surely get her fired and destroy her prestigious career. Plans to make her pay for rejecting him. And as she attempts to counter his every threatening move without her colleagues or her fiancĂ© discovering her most intimate secrets, a shattering crime rocks Puget Sound State University: a female student, a star athlete, is found stabbed to death. Someone is raising the stakes of violence, sex, and blackmail . . . and before she knows it, Sheila is caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with the lover she couldn’t resist—who is now the monster who won’t let her go.

To read my review of Creep, please go here.

Thanks to the lovely Jennifer Hillier, author of Creep, I have a brand new, autographed copy of Creep available for one lucky reader!  

To enter, simply leave me a comment telling me the scariest or most frightening book you've read and you're entered to win!  Be sure to leave your name and email address (or at least indicate that your email address may be found in your profile). NO EMAIL ADDRESS = NO ENTRY!

No P.O. boxes. No Military APOs. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada only. My apologies to my overseas friends.   

Contest to end on Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 11:59 P.M. PST and the lucky winners drawn by on Sunday, December 18, 2011.

Good luck! 

(And to throw my own hat in the ring, so to speak . . . the scariest book I've ever read would have to be The Night Stalker by Philip Carlo.  I wouldn't even sleep in the same room with the book.)  


And the lucky winner of the Black Sun's Daughter series of books by M.L.N. Hanover is . . .

Mary@ Sweeping Me

Congratulations!  I will be emailing you directly to get your mailing address for your new book.

A big THANK YOU to all who visited my blog and entered this giveaway. I do appreciate each one of you taking the time to visit and post here. I hope you all will stick around for future giveaways, reviews and interviews. 

Thank you to Melissa Gramstad and Simon & Schuster for making this giveaway possible.

Compliments to for selecting the lucky winner.

Happy reading! 

Giveaway Winner: CLOUDBURST

And the lucky winner of a brand new copy of Cloudburst by V. C. Andrews is . . .

Cindy C. Bennett

Congratulations!  I will be emailing you directly to get your mailing address for your new book.

A big THANK YOU to all who visited my blog and entered this giveaway. I do appreciate each one of you taking the time to visit and post here. I hope you all will stick around for future giveaways, reviews and interviews. 

Thank you to Melissa Gramstad and Simon & Schuster for making this giveaway possible.

Compliments to for selecting the lucky winner.

Happy reading! 

December 8, 2011

Book Review: DEATH ON A HIGH FLOOR by Charles Rosenberg

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  When much-despised Marbury Marfan senior partner Simon Rafer turns up dead, with an ornate dagger buried between his shoulder blades, it comes as a surprise to no one. Rafer had recently been on the warpath, clearing out the "dead wood" partners from the firm, not to mention any associate who dared cross him. A thousand attorneys, scattered across four continents, had good reason to want Rafer in the ground, but homicide Detective Spritz has his eye trained on only one--senior partner Robert Tarza, with his shadowy connection to a rare and infamous ancient coin. Robert and his friend and colleague--and maybe a bit more--Jenna are soon forced to play detective themselves, in a race to find the real killer or killers before Spritz assembles what looks to be an airtight case. But in the end, only Jenna's trial skills will stand between Robert and a free room at San Quentin.

If Death on a High Floor is any indication of author Charles Rosenberg's future efforts, Scott Turow and John Grisham should be prepared to admit one more to their club.

Yes, Death on a High Floor was that good.  This book was highly addictive from page one, an absorbing and all-consuming legal thriller extraordinaire that manages to stay fresh and exuberant and avoid being just another entry in the genre.  Despite the opening murder, and the "whodunit" aspect, this is - - surprisingly - - a fun book.  There is definitely a mystery involved, as well as the pressure on main character Robert to find out who really killed the much disliked Simon in order to save his own skin, but the ride to the conclusion proves to be an enjoyable one.

I liked Robert as the slightly intrepid (at least when it comes to matters where he is the client) sleuth, not always so deftly attempting to clear his own name while tracking down an actual killer.  He isn't your garden variety hero, a serious and sixty-ish attorney, but he works.  And he works well with the younger and sassier senior associate Jenna, who wants to see justice done as much as she'd like a partnership.

The chemistry between Robert and Jenna was entertaining and, oftentimes, amusing.  Theirs wasn't a romantic chemistry but the sort that produces the type of banter found between siblings.  I must say that it was a refreshing change to not have a love interest/romance side story to plump up the plot or push the story along.

Not that it would have been needed here.  The story moved along at a generous and steady pace, with little drag time.  While at first glance the book can seem a bit thick and even overwhelming for the less eager reader, Death on a High Floor will move at such a pace and so captivate you that you will reach the conclusion before you know it, grateful and happy to know the resolution and ending but sad that the story has ended.

This is author Charles Rosenberg's debut fiction work (he has written nonfiction works previously) and he comes out of the gate a winner.  Being an attorney himself, he has written what he knows and his expertise allowed him to fluently describe the inner workings of a high powered and prestigious law firm - - the "high floor" type of firm, as described in the title - - as well as the mechanics of the courtroom and trial preparation.  Those scenes were realistic and I especially appreciated seeing the courtroom from Robert's point of view as a defendant, rather than attorney, but with an attorney's mentality and vision.

Mr. Rosenberg's greatest strength, in my opinion, is his dialogue.  Always crisp, sharp and engaging, not only do the exchanges bring the already brilliant characters to supreme fruition but they make Death on a High Floor nearly impossible to put down.  It's well written, entertaining and includes a nice subplot on rare coins and coin collecting.

If you enjoy legal mysteries and thrillers, I would not hesitate to recommend Death on a High Floor.  With the holidays fast approaching, it makes not only a nice gift but a perfect airplane/vacation read - - although in substance, it is much more than that.

Job well done, Mr. Rosenberg.  I anxiously await your next book!

Death on a High Floor is available for purchase at major booksellers now, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliateIf you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

To read my interview with author Charles Rosenberg, please go here.  

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Charles Rosenberg’s new release, he will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including a paperback copy of of Death on a High Floor!  Visit the official party page here!

Review copy of this book provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

With thanks to Pump Up Your Book for including me on this virtual tour!

Upcoming Virtual Tour Stops for Death on a High Floor:

Monday, December 12
Interviewed at Examiner
Tuesday, December 13
Book Giveaway at Reviews By Molly
Wednesday, December 14
Guest blogging at Night Owl Reviews
Thursday, December 15
Book reviewed at SOS Aloha
Friday, December 16
Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama