April 30, 2011

Winner! - State of Mind Giveaway


An email will be sent shortly to notify the winner.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated.

If you didn't manage to snag a copy of State of Mind be sure to look for it at these book retailers:

April 29, 2011

Review + Giveaway: Malcolm by Eliza Gayle

Author: Eliza Gayle
Publisher: Gypsy Ink Books
Series: Black Cougar Series, Book 3
ISBN: 0012381322
Purchase Information:
All Romance Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*Novel provided by the author via Bewitching Book Tours

For more information please visit Eliza Gayle's website.

He can run be he can't hide. Not from duty. Not from danger. And especially not from the woman who forces him to face the truth.

Malcolm Gunn's time is running out along with his ability to shift. When confronted with his past he thinks he's found a solution. With the help of a little rope, he can let nature takes its course. Unfortunately the woman who is the key to his existence harbors a powerful secret that will destroy them both.

Cheyenne's been hired to track and retrieve Malcolm at any cost. Her only plan is to get in, get out and keep her sanity intact. In that order. But she's been warned...If he catches her, he will stake his claim whether she is willing or not.

Deceit and lies bring them together. Murder puts them on the run. Their enemies are closing in and there's only one, irreversible way out. Some choices can never be forgiven and one man's anger can destroy it all...Malcolm.

Malcolm, the third installment in Eliza Gayle's sexy Black Cougar series, is must read for anyone who loves a good mystery, hot characters and a mind numbing attraction that is only out shone by the inferno of passion between them that will leave you breathless and begging for more. This is may be my first time reading anything by this author, but just one sample and I'm utterly, irrevocably hooked!

From the first page, I was drawn in to this story. The immediate sense of action and barely restrained chemistry instantly captivated me. This helped to ease the way as we delve into the excellent world building, bringing in past histories and grievances that made this an easy read to step into regardless of whether or not you have read the previous books in the series. The settings and atmospheres are nicely captured as well encompassing anger, danger, and mystery that keeps the reader turning the pages desperate to know more. Truly the social structure of the cougars and the wolf/cougar hybrids creates an interesting landscape filled with prejudice and intrigued, the perfect atmosphere for a tantalizing tale of forbidden passion.

The characters themselves are just as wonderfully created with great personalities and a complex history between them that is hard to turn away from. The anger and hurt that these two characters carry creates an intricate framework filled with a great emotional pull that definitely kept me on my toes. You literally never knew whether these two super sexy warriors would throw a punch or fall in to bed together, or even do a little bit of both. But, what I also enjoyed was the journey that these two took that resulted in a growing bond that was intense and full filling leading Malcolm back to his roots and family, something that I would have liked to see explored a bit more as I loved the endearing relationship and group dynamic between him and his Black Cougar brothers. There was also a lot of great insight in to the thoughts of these characters exploring why they felt they had to do certain things that ended up hurting the other all of those years ago, as well as exploring the toll that those actions took on the individual. This was wonderful to see explored as it made the characters seem far more three dimensional, not to mention far less cold hearted then they may appear when words seem to fail them, which tended to be often.

The mystery and action of the story definitely added to the tense relationship between Malcolm and Chey as well propelling this story at a break neck speed. The writing style added to this encompassing a flow that managed to give both insight and an unending source of entertainment and passion. The mix was definitely something that I enjoyed, keeping me locked to my chair, reading fervently just to see what would happen next.

My only complaint though was the ending of the story. Well, even that isn't quite right. More like the culmination of the mystery when the 'villian' is unmasked, his nefarious plot brought to light. It just felt a bit rushed, the insanity and sense of injustice that the antagonist felt falling flat against the well developed characterization and drive of the other characters. Over all, if came off as a bit anticlimactic despite some great action that reinforced the bond between the cougars and Chey, as well as being a catalyst to reveal one last twist that I really loved. In the end however, this wasn't enough to sour the experience of the novella as a whole because first and foremost this is definitely an erotic paranormal romance with a mystery thrown in to keep the story moving.

In the end, I would highly recommend this to any fan of paranormal romance who doesn't mind some hot bed play between two aggressive, sexy warriors. And if you haven't read a story by Eliza Gayle before, then you are definitely missing out!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Scars

Advisory: Strong sexual content

Other Books in the Black Cougar Series:


In honor of the Malcolm eBook tour through Bewitching Book Tours, Eliza Gayle is generously offering up one eBook copy of any of the Black Cougar shifter novels to one lucky winner! To enter please leave a comment with your preference of eBook format (i.e. PDF, ePub, etc.) as well as the title of the novel that you would like to receive.


  • Contest ends May 2, 2011
  • Open internationally
  • You do not have to be a follower to enter this contest
  • To enter, leave a comment with the eBook format of your choice, as well of the title of the novel that you would like to receive (Lucas, Kane, or Malcolm)
  • Please include a valid email address in your post
  • Winners will be chosen by random.org 

April 28, 2011

Review: Turned by Morgan Rice

Author: Morgan Rice
Series: The Vampire Journals, Book 1
ISBN: 0012120243
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*Novel provided by the author for a honest review

For more information please visit Morgan Rice's website.
Eighteen year old Caitlin Paine finds herself uprooted from her nice suburb and forced to attend a dangerous New York City high school when her Mom moves again. The one ray of light in her new surroundings is Jonah, a new classmate who takes an instant liking to her.

But before their romance can blossom, Caitlin suddenly finds herself changing. She is overcome by a superhuman strength, a sensitivity to light, a desire to feed--by feelings she does not understand. She seeks answers to what’s happening to her, and her cravings lead her to the wrong place at the wrong time. Her eyes are opened to a hidden world, right beneath her feet, thriving underground in New York City. She finds herself caught between two dangerous covens, right in the middle of a vampire war.

It is at this moment that Caitlin meets Caleb, a mysterious and powerful vampire who rescues her from the dark forces. He needs her to help lead him to the legendary lost artifact. And she needs him for answers, and for protection. Together, they will need to answer one crucial question: who was her real father?

But Caitlin finds herself caught between two men as something else arises between them: a forbidden love. A love between the races that will risk both of their lives, and will force them to decide whether to risk it all for each other.

Turned is the debut novella in Morgan Rice's young adult series, The Vampire Journals. Nicely written and an extremely fast read, this is good start to a new vampire series sure to be a hit with readers who are looking for a light, yet entertaining story.

Rice does a great job of pulling you into the story from the beginning, utilizing a great descriptive quality that transcends the mere painting of the setting. Instead, Rice is able to capture the feeling of the atmosphere, in this case the public high school in which Caitlin is forced to attend, and explore the emotions and tension that become perfectly evident, even shared by the reader. This is the aspect that initially drew me into the story because the 'feeling' that a place is able to evoke is often overlooked or only briefly nodded at. In this case, it was as if you standing right there with Caitlin experiencing the first day in a new school that may as well have been a new planet. But, while this is the thing that I loved most, it quickly vanished. It was as if Rice shifted gears without bothering to use the clutch because seemingly all of a sudden her focus is on building a relationship between Caitlin and Jonah.

This is really the thing that bothered me the most within this novella because while she does a wonderful job of focusing on these individual aspects, she was seemingly unable to utilize them all at once. Honestly, if she could have continuously developed all of these aspects - romance, action, world building, characterization- at once, then this would have been a really, really amazing novella. Instead, the shifting focus only served to make this world very two dimensional as we are only able to see one thing at a time explored.

Of course, that's not to say that the individual aspects aren't done well. In fact, Rice does a great job of building her elements. For instance, the characterization. Caitlin is an interesting character who's life is forever changing. The only constant in her life seems to be that nothing is ever the same. She's very introverted, drawn into her own thoughts and seems to keep mostly to herself. When she meets Jonah she feels an almost instantaneous connection seeing another lonely soul. But, those aren't the only changes that she has to cope with as a sudden fierce rage seems to overtake her in moments of stress as well as an undefinable hunger that border on debilitating. While Caitlin's character is nicely developed, I felt like the supporting ones were fairly one dimensional with their personalities and relationship to Caitlin feeling very rushed and incomplete. This is something that I think really became evident when Rice started building the relationships and romances within the story.

Mostly, the romance was okay, and felt sort of normal for a teenage love. Everything feels very big and with a character that is sort of naive when it comes to forming bonds with people I can sort of see how the romance within this story fits. However, it felt way too naive for my liking. The connection between Jonah and Caitlin was nice, and truly, I think with a bit more development could have felt completely natural. But, what we get is very little interaction between the two leaving me feeling like Caitlin's feelings for him are way too premature. She does actually admit that thought to herself a time or two, but it doesn't seem to dissuade her. But, it wasn't the relationship between these two teenagers that bothered me, instead it was the one that seemed to come out of nowhere with Caleb. Now that was just plain ludicrous. Within an hour of knowing him, they're in love. Seriously, the 'L' word was being thrown around within a few pages. And while I liked Caleb's character well enough, I think this is something that Rice needs to work on, her development. Relationships just don't spring out of nothing and I really think that's what Rice tried to accomplish here.

Likewise, I think that the villains of the story were far to cartoon-ish for my liking. I mean, I think it says it all right in the different coven's names with White and Black there in the forefront. This makes the plot seems a little more campy, especially when the prophecy of 'The One' is brought into play with the introduction of a mysterious sword that supposedly Caitlin will be able to find. Again, I think this needed a bit more development as did such elements as the vampire social order, the segregation of the covens, and more information regarding the prophecy and Caitlin's half-breed roots. While I'm sure more of this will be explored in book 2, the entire point of a first installment is to help build the foundation for the world in which the series will take place.

Overall, this was a good read that kept me interested. While there is a lot that I would like to see improved, I think that this was a good solid start with a lot of room for Rice to explore in future novels. I would definitely be interested to know what happens with Caitlin in the future and will definitely be reading more novellas within this series.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Scars

April 27, 2011

Want it Wednesday [22]

Cake (Blood Nation #1)
by Derekica Snake

To be loved by a vampire…

I've been called many names in my day. Most of them weren't flattering but they were true. I was a right unholy bastard. Eighteen months ago, I was a fat, nasty, legally blind, computer programmer who decided to try his chubby hand at industrial espionage. I wasn't good at it. I caught the attention of a Vampire Assassin, Marcus.

He was just supposed to kill me; but he wanted me instead. I became his toy for a year. During which time he reshaped my body; fixed my vision and broke me psychologically into three pieces. On the anniversary of my kidnapping, he gave me the choice to become an equal or remain a toy. Little did we know that he would never be my equal.

It turns out that I was the last of the lost Blue Bloodline of the Royal House. A genetic hybrid hidden within the human race -- Xavier Von Drachenfeld, Lord Emperor of the Vampire Nation.

Then we start to find out why there are no Blue bloods left in the Vampire world.


Enclave (Razorland #1)
by Ann Aguirre

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.


Touch of Crimson (Renegade Angels #1)
by Sylvia Day

Can a love that transcends death survive a war between angels, vampires, and lycans?

Adrian Mitchell is an angel of immense power and insatiable desire. Leading an elite Special Ops unit of the Seraphim, his task is to punish the Fallen—angels who have become vampires—and command a restless pack of indentured lycans.

But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals—losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her—Shadoe, her soul once more inhabiting a new body with no memory of him. Only this time he won’t let her go.

With no memory of her past as Shadoe, Lindsay Gibson only knows she can't help being fiercely attracted to the smoldering, seductive male who crosses her path. Swept into a dangerous world of tumultuous passion and preternatural conflict, Lindsay is soon caught in the middle between her angel lover, her vampire father, and a full-blown lycan revolt. There's more at stake than her love and her life—this time she could lose her very soul.

April 26, 2011

Review: Burn Down the Sky by James Jaros

Burn Down the Sky
Author: James Jaros
Publisher: Harper Voyager
ISBN: 006201630X
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Pre-Order Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the publisher for a honest review

For more information please visit James Jaros's website.
After the destruction of nature and the death of the world . . .

After the Wicca virus drove billions to madness and suicide, replacing order and reason with violence and terror . . .

In the parched ruins of what once was civilization, one commodity is far more valuable than all others combined: female children.

When well-armed marauders roll in at dusk to brutally attack a fiercely defended compound of survivors, Jessie is unable to halt the slaughter—and she can do nothing to prevent the ruthless abduction of innocents, including her youngest child. Now, along with her outraged teenage daughter, Bliss, Jessie must set out on a journey across a blasted landscape—joining up with the desperate, the broken, the half-mad, on an impossible mission: to storm the fortress of a dark and twisted religion and bring the children home.

Never before have I read such a vivid, intense novel as Burn Down the Sky by James Jaros, the pen name for acclaimed journalist and author Mark Nykanen. This bleakly oppressive read definitely hits chords that resonate unease and suspense by the bucket load focusing on subjects that send shudders down the spines of parents everywhere. If you are squeamish about graphic, brutal violence or child abuse, then this is certainly not for you! With disturbing plot lines and thrilling, nail-biting action, this is definitely not bed time reading!

From the first paragraph, Jaros's amazingly descriptive writing set the stage for a word that was bleak and filled with hardships from not only the chaos left by the sky rocketing temperature, but from the sheer plight of resources. It is painfully obvious that nothing comes easily in this broken world and that the dangers that lurk in the blazing sun are beyond numerous. The tone and atmosphere were intensely created, bringing the reader directly into a frightening, brutal world where simply surviving is as good as it gets. The absolutely chilling thing though was the plausibility of this barren world. The sheer horror of the possibility is what definitely sets this novel apart as it keeps a very realistic edge.

The characters weren't exactly what I had been expecting. They're brutal and violent, far removed from hope for a better world. But, despite this, there is still an unyielding love and sense of loyalty about family that drives these characters passed survival as they feel the only hope possible-the safety of their children. Each is complex, making the toughest possible decisions with tragic and complicated histories that have shaped them, some for the better, but some for the worse. But, because of the horrific consequences of a raid that stole young girls to be delivered into a church formed of child molesters, the young girls really stole my heart with their strength and bravery. Their never ending faith that their parents would come, that someone would stand up and recognize how wrong and disturbed this world had become waiting really sparked great emotion, especially as the girls realized that while you can hope for the best, ultimately you have to fight for your own survival as well. There was also a lot of twists as characters surprised me throughout, something that I didn't think possible. But, by the end I was so conflicted about some of the characters that I simply had to say that this is one world truly dominated by shades of gray and black with little to no white.

There was a lot of great action within this story with each chapter propelling you deeper and deeper into darker territory. The gripping suspense as the girls are drawn closer and closer to a church built around child molestation and the thrilling chase of the parents bent on rescuing their them truly made this an adrenaline packed novel. But, there was definitely a lot that left me cringing on the verge of feeling violated myself. The writing style definitely pulls you into the moment, which at times is a good thing and at others simply makes you feel dirty fearing the possibilities that this future holds.

Overall, this was an intense read that really took my breath away. But, while it was a marvelously well done work, it definitely left me quite conflicted about how to rate it. There was a lot of merit to the author's writing style as well as the development of the world and characters, but there was just so much that put me on edge, which was definitely the purpose of the novel. Burn Down the Sky is without a doubt NOT for the light hearted as there are a lot of elements that are disturbing and brutal, I would definitely not recommend it to younger readers. That said, if you can handle a dark, intense read focused on disturbing and bleak subject matter, this is definitely an interesting and gripping read that definitely illicits some strong emotional responses.

My Rating: 4 out of 6 Scars

Advisory: Brutal violence, disturbing subject matter focusing
-NOT recommended for younger readers-

April 25, 2011

State of Mind Blog Tour: Character Interview with Jake Travissi

About the Novel: State of Mind

Your thoughts are not your own...

In the not too distant future, freedom is a just a word that you willingly trade for a dozen donuts, based on the dubious promise that you can eat what you want and never gain weight. You can also take drugs will no ill effects or call a friend while surfing the web without a phone or computer. All this and more will be yours following the simple installation of a P-Chip in your brain.

After botching the arrest of the governor's son in Los Angeles, Commander Jake Travissi is banned from law enforcement. the workaholic homicide cop spirals into depression... until he is given a rare second chance. The price? Volunteer for chip implantation and join Homeland Security's experimental Enhanced Unit.

The grisly assassination of a prominent Nobel Laureate brings the newly formed Unit on the scene to investigate. But as the body count rises, Jake begins to realize that his actions, and even his thoughts, are not his own. Fighting to regain control of his own State of Mind, Jake finds himself embroiled in a global conspiracy to enslave the human race!
Read my review here.

About the Author: Sven Davison

I’m a Californian by conception, a Texan by birth, and I spent fifteen years prior to college in Colorado. Like many folks my age, I was inspired by Star Wars when I first saw it in the theater at the ripe old age of seven. I saw it so many times during the summer of ‘77, I was able to recite every scene from memory. I cast aside my dreams of becoming a navy pilot and devoted all my time and energy into mowing lawns and painting houses in order to buy a super-8 film camera.

Writing was always at the core of my filmmaking aspirations and as time went on, I lost interest in making films but writing remained.

The worst thing I ever wrote was the first to get produced. The making of ICE CREAM MAN (staring Clint Howard, Jan Michael Vincent, Olivia Hussy, and Lee Majors II) is far more interesting than the film itself. But that's another story.

After ICE CREAM MAN I moved to Beaver Island and wrote my first novel BLOCKBUSTER. After that I spent ten years running the Global Content Development Group for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. I worked with talent on a daily basis and land they inspired me follow my passion to write.

I was lucky enough to marry Jeannine, a person who supported my dream. I quit my executive job and wrote two novels. The most commercial of which is STATE OF MIND. During this time our son Isaac was born. With Isaac in the picture I'll need to get back to full time work again to help support the family. I plan to find a way to make writing pay the big bills... that is certainly my near term goal.

Thanks for reading.

Bio provided by Sven's profile at GoodReads.

 Welcome to Black Lagoon Reviews, Jake!

BLR: Can you begin by telling us a little bit about yourself prior to implantation?

JT: I was cocky and overly confident. I had been successful at an early age and that created a false sense of security. People said I had anger issues and I thought they were full of crap. Even when my anger killed my career, I continued to ignore my real problems. Like most people I wanted to fix the symptoms and avoid confronting the cause at all costs. The P-Chip was the perfect answer. I was scared of it, but at the same time I saw it as a Godsend.

BLR: After receiving the P-Chip, can you tell us a bit about your initial thoughts? What did it feel like having all that power at your disposal?

JT: At first it was incredibly disorienting. Having multiple images appear in my brain. The ability to retain 100% of all information I absorbed. I could ingest a mountain of knowledge in a few seconds, which would take a normal person a month to learn. Someone speaking inside my head was… bizarre, but then it began to sound just like a conversation flowing through my physical ears. There was a twenty-four-hour period there where I was beginning to love it. I was superman. If I hadn’t had the memory bleeds I would have been addicted in a matter of days.

BLR: When did you initially begin to think that something may be wrong?

JT: From the start I had headaches which would not go away. I was surprised because the P-Chip was supposed to be the miracle cure for everything biological. Then my first day on the job I began to have shocking visions of my actions at a crime scene. I brushed it off because I believed having the chip was my chance to stay on the force. I was enjoying the benefits of the chip, and felt that my visions had to be an integration issue. I also had an emotional outburst at Parks, the rookie on our team. It was a ridiculous overreaction on my part and something I had never done before. My actions did not seem like I was the cause… it was a creepy feeling.

BLR: Can you describe to us the feelings you experienced when you finally realized what was going on?

JT: I was scared shitless. I had no idea what was real and what was fake. I could not trust anything I saw, felt, tasted-- even thought. It was the ultimate identity theft. I was basically a prisoner in my own mind. My fear turned to anger and determination. I had to act fast in order to get the God Heads out of my mind, otherwise the Jake I knew would be dead and I would be trapped in my brain, a prisoner in a chamber of horrors, watching myself carry out crimes. Or perhaps I would just cease to exist… it would have been a better alternative to the former scenario.

BLR: After having it removed, can you tell us a bit about your actual experiences versus the false illusions implanted into your mind? Whey do you think that the God Heads couldn’ t control you?

JT: I spent a very long time trying to sort out what was real and what was not. How many crimes had I actually committed under their influence? I’m still uncertain but I can say I didn't kill anyone innocent. My moral fiber—better angels of my nature—what have you, won out. The God Heads could not access and destroy my core self. That was what gave me power over the hacking and the physical chip in my brain. I’m happy to know I’m innately a good guy. Then again… maybe I’m still chipped and we’re not really having this conversation.

BLR: After all the trauma you’ve experienced, would you ever consider re-joining the police force? Why?

JT: I don t belong on the police force. I feel I can do more good for this world in another capacity. I was originally going to be a lawyer before I felt I could have more direct impact on crime as a cop. Now I’m thinking it’s better to be farther up the food chain and influencing policy– Who the hell am I kidding? I’m no politician, I’m a soldier at heart… I'm not sure what I’m going to do. I’ve got a few offers, but I need to work out my strategy. I would also like my nightmares to stop.

BLR: How are you coping with learning to trust your memories?

JT: I’m not sure I do. One of the reasons I’m lying low and remaining relatively inactive is to prove that I’m not doing anything crazy. Then again, maybe the God Heads have won. Maybe I’m living out this fantasy life in some corner of my brain while my body is out assassinating people and exhibiting the personality of a God Head… but I’ m having that thought less and less now. I do “ feel” like I’m locked in reality. Funny, I used to take this feeling for granted.

BLR: Does this experience make you more hesitant to trust authority figures?

JT: I was never much on authority figures because I thought I could do it better myself. After The Chip, I don’ t trust anyone. I see conspiracies everywhere. It's not a good thing--being paranoid. I find my faith in leaders is dead. When I regain trust in myself, I hope I ll take a chance on others.

BLR: After everything that’ s happened, what are your thoughts about putting so much faith in technology?

JT: I’ d like to think I had a healthy skepticism of most things before this happened. Now I’ m even more skeptical. You really can’t believe everything you read, hear, or even witness. Question everything. Find your own facts. Challenge those facts then make a decision. I am absolutely against joining or enhancing our intelligence with machines. If we do so, we cease to be human and become something else.

Sometimes I think about the world my grandparents grew up in. There were no Omnis, PDAs, e-mail, personal computers, Internet, ATMs-- and life was slower. They had no choice but to wait for things. Sure, it was more inefficient, but it forced their generation to stop and really be in the moment. They experienced their physical environment. The day was segmented between work, family, and friends. Today it’s all tossed in a blender and everything is out of focus. No wonder people want the escape into the arms of the P-Chip.

BLR: Now that everything has come to light, what’ s next for Jake “ The Jackhammer” Travissi?

JT: I’ve discovered some demons in my past and I want to face them. Then again I can’t ignore my core nature. The more I see where society is going the more I want to do something about it. Yet I long for simplicity. I could apply to work at one of the extractions sites on the moon before they replace everyone with robots. Of course they’d have to allow pets. I’ d like the view from 370 thousand kilometers. It would make all my problems seem small.

Thanks for dropping by!

For more information about Jake Travissi and his harrowing experience be sure to pick up your own copy of State of Mind!

Now Available at:

April 24, 2011

Promo: Illusions by April Lynn Pike

 Author: April Lynn Pike
 Publisher: HarperTeen
 Series: Wings, Book 3
 Release Date: May 3, 2011

 For more information please visit April Lynn Pike's website.

Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail

Spoiler Alert!
This trailer contains spoilers for the Wings series.

Other Books in the Wings Series by April Lynn Pike:
Wings | Spells | Illusions