Music Monday (Jun. 30)

Music Monday is a weekly book meme. Everyone can join in, you just have to do the following:
  • Choose a book or a scene from a book.
  • Choose a song that fits said book or scene.
  • Tell us why you paired them together.
  • Don't forget to share the title and author.
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!

They've been playing this song on the radio over and over again, luckily I like it a lot. While listening to the lyrics it did remind me of Rule by Jay Crownover. It could be either for Shaw or Rule, but to me this is for Rule. There are no big past feelings for him when it comes to her, though now that Shaw is really in his life, he is not letting go. 

Rule is the type of guy to go all in or not at all. He doesn't quite understand this spell Shaw has him in, though it's obvious he's loving it and actually just wants more. This love he has for her is almost all-consuming and as long as he has Shaw with him everything will be good.

If you don't have a blog and want to participate just share your links to the book and song in the comments. 

Review & Giveaway: Heart Shaped Rock by Laura Roppe

Sometimes a shattered heart needs to sing to love again . . .

Sixteen year old singer-songwriter Shaynee Sullivan hasn't so much as touched her guitar since her mom died six months ago. But when she meets a gorgeous and surprising rocker named Dean, her shattered heart begins to mend . . . and then burst at the seams.

Heart-wrenching, heart-warming, and sometimes even heart-racing, Heart Shaped Rock will leave you laughing through tears and rooting for love in all its forms.

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Shaynee has had a very tough year, watching her mom getting sicker and eventually losing that battle. She hasn't really dealt with it well. While her younger brother is really open about his feelings and thoughts, it seems Shaynee just keeps it all locked inside and once in a while that dam bursts.

To me it seems she has a great best friend that has helped her keep going. Though it hasn't been easy at all, because everyone seems to keep a brave face around Shaynee, but they are all dealing with that lose.

When Shaynee starts working at the coffee shop, that is the first big decision and action she has done since her mom passed away. It's a new beginning, a new opportunity and forces her to interact with people. 

After meeting Dean, which is almost fairytale like, things couldn't go better. He's a genuine nice guy, completely smitten with Shaynee and is still able to pull of a little of that bad boy vibe. Suddenly everything seems to go really well for her, until Shaynee finds out that Dean has been keeping certain secrets. Though in my opinion, secrets in this case is not really correct and Shaynee definitely overreacts towards the situation.

The connection between these two was pretty instant love, but they are very young and it's the first time they really felt that way. So they very much got caught up in each other and it's all very heightened. When things go wrong, they don't just turn bad, they turn miserable, that kind of stuff. Very typical of teenagers, so you just need to go with that.

This girl is so filled with grief and kept it all bottled inside, it now comes bursting out and not in the nicest way. She says some really awful things, behaves like a lunatic and is just mad at the world. All these frustrations need to be let out, before her heart can heal enough to let love back in.

So I'm blaming her behaviour on the grief and the fact that she is a hormonal teenager. Shaynee is very direct with her words, but afterwards often regrets what she said. She knows she made some mistakes and is ready to fix them, because she can not lose anymore people in her life.

Overall a delightful and pretty sweet story. There are some serious issues dealt with in a very direct way, which I liked a lot. Certainly listen to the music while reading, it helps set the mood and amplifies the emotions. That music was definitely a bonus for me and helped connecting with certain characters. Between the more emotional stuff, there is certainly place for some humor. There were a couple of situations (ex. walkie talkie scene) where I was literally laughing out loud.


Buy book: Amazon - B&N - Kobo - iBook

Hear the original music performed in Heart Shaped Rock at www.LauraRoppe.com. All music available on iTunes.

The Author
Laura Roppé is an award-winning singer/songwriter, author, audio book narrator, speaker, and former attorney from San Diego, California. In 2011, Billboard Magazine ranked her as Number Three on its chart of the Top 50 "uncharted" artists in the world. In May 2013, Laura began hosting Amazon's weekly podcast, "Kindle Love Stories," for people who love hearing about love stories, romance, and happily ever afters.

Her first book is the non-fiction memoir, Rocking the Pink. Her latest is a YA-teen romance novel entitled Heart Shaped Rock, featuring a soundtrack.

Connect with Laura Roppe:

Sunday Post (Jun. 23 - 29)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

Weekly Recap

(Review & Giveaway) Perfect Kind Of Trouble by Chelsea Fine (4 stars)

(Review) Rule by Jay Crownover (4.5 stars)


(Review) The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick (2.5 stars)
(Excerpt & Giveaway) Third Date by Kylie Keene

(Saturday Series) Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill (4 stars)


Next week
*Note: Some posts may change*

Music Monday
(Review & Giveaway) Heart Shaped Rock by Laura Roppe

Cover Madness Hop Giveaway

Waiting On Wednesday
(Review) Accidentally Married by Victorine E. Lieske

(Blitz) Hideous by Devon McCormack
(Review) Harder by Robin York

(Review) Touched To The Heart by Else Winckler
(Blitz) In Your Corner by Sarah Castille

(Saturday Series) Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill


New on my TBR


The beginning of the week started of with some great reads, but it seems that I'm now in a bit of a book funk.

With the summer holidays coming up, things are going to slow down a bit. In the next two weeks, there are still some great giveaways planned and a couple of blog tours I'm participating in.

After that I'll probably be starting with those two boxes of books here that are begging me to be read :)

Saturday Series: Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #3) by Chloe Neill

Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene—and to spy for the vamps while she’s at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan’s offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She’ll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals—not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries old master vampire.

*Do not read this review if you haven't read the previous book.*

Things between Merit and Mallory are still up in the air and it's obvious neither of them is really liking the situation. One of them just needs to make the first move. Meanwhile things between Merit and Ethan have seemed to settle down a bit as in they are not constantly getting on each other's nerves. Ethan is even helping her become a better fighter, in his own kind of obnoxious way of course, but still it's better. Until Ethan is once again up to do a little strategizing and planning, which involves Merit and shifters.

The shifters are definitely fun. Vampires are a bit uptight, while shifters are very down to earth and it's all about family. Especially the connection between Merit and alpha Gabriel was fun to read, they are always bantering with each other. It seems that being alpha comes with it's own set of powers, because Gabriel says something about Merit being linked to his family in the future. All very mysterious and I definitely want to know more about that.

Shifter in Chicago of course means there is going to be trouble. They just don't get along with vampires at all and the feeling is mutual. So it's strange that Gabriel asks them for help, but Ethan gladly takes the chance in the hopes of maybe forming an alliance with the shifters. Though it's clear there are some people who are not board with that idea and are after Gabriel. That's why he hired Merit.

By now Merit is pretty much used to Ethan's way of thinking and pretty much using her as a pawn. Finally though things might heat up between them and it looks like it's going to be great, but then Ethan just had to be himself. It seems he has some trouble with being Cadogan master and the side that Merit brings out of him. If he doesn't find a way for those two sides to work together, thing aren't looking great for them.

So the shifters thing is definitely a plus to me, adding more characters, more intrigue, more fun, more love, more drama, more action. All very good. The romance between Ethan and Merit was pushed to the front and I really liked that we got to know Ethan better. It slowly becomes obvious how complicated things are, though sometimes even though he's 400-years-old, he's still a dude. Hopefully we get even more of that in the next book.

Chicagoland Vampires - Reading order and purchase links




Blood GamesAmazon - Kindle (Aug. 5)

The Author
Chloe Neill was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest—just close enough to Cadogan House and St. Sophia's to keep an eye on things. When not transcribing Merit’s and Lily’s adventures, she bakes, works, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys—her husband (also her favorite landscape photographer) and their dogs, Baxter and Scout. (Both she and the photographer understand the dogs are in charge.)

Connect with Chloe Neill:

Excerpt & Giveaway: Third Date by Kylie Keene

At 23, Morgan is a little behind other women her age when it comes to dating and relationships. More specifically, she’s a virgin. Dating wasn’t a priority in high school and college, but now that Morgan has a job and her own apartment, she’s ready to jump back into the dating scene.

When Morgan’s friends at work inform her that most men expect sex on the third date, she panics. She’s convinced her lack of experience will be a total turn-off for guys and make for a really awkward third date. Her friends tell her to just do it with a random guy to get it over with, but Morgan isn’t sure that’s what she wants.

When she meets a guy she’s certain is her dream man, she’s ready to lose it on their third date. But doing so isn’t as easy as she thought. And then there’s the fact that she can’t get another guy out of her head.

Through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, Morgan eventually finds herself at a place she wasn’t expecting, but the place she wanted to be all along.

“Okay, here’s the deal. I’m ready to date but I’m kind of lacking in experience.” I wait for their response but they say nothing, so I continue. “What I mean is that I haven’t done the things that you’re claiming men expect on a date.”

“Wait a minute.” Kayla sets her wine glass down. “Are you saying you’re a virgin?”

“Yes.” I sit up straighter, the wine boosting my confidence. “I’m a 23-year-old virgin.”

“Hold on.” Kayla puts her hand up like she’s stopping traffic. “How is that possible? I mean, I know you haven’t dated much but—”

“Don’t listen to her,” Paige says. “I think it’s sweet. And romantic. You’re saving yourself for marriage. A lot of people do that. Good for you, Morgan.” She raises her glass as if we should toast to my virginity.

I ignore her raised glass. “No, I’m not saving myself for anything. In fact I really just want to get the whole sex thing over with, especially now that I know men are expecting it by the third date.”

“That’s not true for all men,” Paige assures me.

“It’s all men.” Kayla pours herself another glass of wine. “So how could this not happen in college?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t go to many parties and I didn’t live in the dorms. I lived at home with my dad, so it just didn’t happen. Plus, I never made it past the first couple dates with a guy. I wasn’t interested enough in any of them to . . . you know.”

“If you can’t even say the word, you’re not going to be able to do it.” Kayla jumps up and starts pacing the floor. “Okay, we can fix this. I can find you a guy who would be more than happy to take care of this for you.”

“She’s not getting her car fixed here.” Paige shoots a dirty look at Kayla, then turns back to me. “You need to find someone who cares about you. Someone who will make this memorable for you.”

“I don’t know if I want it to be memorable. I think I might just want to forget it after it happens and move on.”

“Yes, that’s exactly what you should do,” Kayla says. “My first time was prom night junior year with this guy I was dating. I made it into this huge deal and then it was over in like a minute. And he dumped me the next week. So trust me, the first time sucks. You just want to get it over with.

“You should really think about this some more.” Paige uses her mom-tone, soft-spoken and concerned. “You’ve waited this long. What’s the rush?”

“I’m not in a rush. And I’m not saying I need to race out and have sex. I just need to start dating. But if this third-date rule is a real thing, or even if it’s four or five dates, then I don’t know what to do. I’m completely inexperienced.”

Kayla takes some cheese from the tray and plops down on the couch. “Just have sex and get it over with. I’ve already got someone in mind for you. I’ll see if he’s free Friday night.”

“Friday night? As in this Friday night? That’s so soon. I don’t think I can do that.”

Kayla gets up, grabbing her purse. “You can do it. I’ve gotta go.”

“Morgan, don’t listen to her. You’re not going to have sex with a guy just to get it over with. And you’re not doing it with some random guy.”

“Paige is right, Kayla. That’s just not me. I at least need to know the guy.”

“That’s why you’ll go to dinner first.” Kayla’s at the door, but she turns back and says, “Show me your underwear drawer.”

“What? Why?”

She races to my bedroom. I run to catch up with her, Paige following behind.

Kayla opens my top drawer and pulls out one of my bras. She holds it up. “What is this? Polyester? Beige? It doesn’t even have wires in the cups. No wonder you always look so saggy. Where do you even buy something like this?”

“They come in a two-pack,” I mumble. “You can get them anywhere.”

Paige stares at my beige bra, dangling in the air. “Um, maybe you could get one or two new ones. I could go shopping with you if you want.”

I snatch my bra from Kayla. “But these are really comfortable. And I don’t need that much support. I’m not exactly large-chested.”

Kayla takes it back and checks the size. “34C? That’s not small. You need new bras. Just throw this one out.” She tosses it on the floor and reaches in my drawer again. “Paige, look at this. It gets worse.” Kayla holds up a pair of my underwear. Pink cotton high-cut briefs.

“What’s wrong with those?” I try to grab them but she holds them high in the air. “They’re cut high up on the hip. They’re sexy.”

“You tell her.” Kayla says to Paige. “You’re better at saying things nicely.”

Paige looks at the underwear, then back at me. “Well, I kind of wore ones like that back in middle school. Not that you can’t wear them. I mean, you could work out in them, I guess. But maybe it wouldn’t hurt if you got something a little more, um, appealing to the opposite sex. Maybe something that doesn’t come in a pack of six.”

“What do you wear?” I ask her. “You’re married. You shouldn’t care what your underwear looks like.”

“I’m married, but I still want to look sexy.” She unzips the side of her skirt to reveal her silky black bikinis. “These are my weekday ones. I have better ones for the weekend.”

Kayla keeps snooping in my drawer. “That’s all you have in here? You don’t even have one decent pair of underwear? There isn’t even any variety. They’re all the same style.”

“I stock up every year during the back-to-school sales.” My voice trails off as I realize how pathetic that sounds. I’ve been buying back-to-school underwear! The kind meant for tweens! The kind that’s sold in six packs! “All right. Maybe I could use some new ones.”

Kayla tosses my underwear back in the drawer and closes it up. “I’ve gotta go. But we’ve got some work to do.

Buy Book ($0.99)

Open internationally - Ends July 1st -10$ Amazon Gift Card 

Review: The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick

In a land riven with plague, inside the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control: the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.

And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack...

Assassination; ancient, impossible machines; torture and infamy – just another typical day in paradise.

*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Being inside the Walled City people are safe from the plague. They are pretty much in lockdown and the way they get supplies is from other countries over the sea. In this city are two powerful families who are at war with each other. On the one hand we have the Medici and they have Leonardo at their side. The other family is the Lorraines, with Galileo. Both inventors are brilliant and help their master get the upperhand, without actually making war machines.

Now the Lorraines have a beautiful daughter called Lucia, though she is not their biological daughter and it is never mentioned where she actually came from. This girl has caught the attention of Lorenzo, he's Leonardo's apprentice and these two are supposed to be star-crossed lovers. That these two are attracted to each other, that is believable, that they are madly in love, not. So far they've only talked once in this book when Lorenzo literally climbs into her tower. Before that it was just stolen looks on the street or at mass. So I kind of failed to see the real connection between these two.

Then things go wonky, people get killed, kidnapped, there is some weird cult and all the bizarre machinery. Someone wants to start a war it seems by making sure these two families really start attacking each other. It's up to Lorenzo to stop them, at least that is what the Shadow Master tells him to do. No clue who this guy is. He just shows up, talks in riddles and pretty much made everything more confusing for me. Lorenzo just follows his lead, because the guy does want to help the city.

The beginning of the book was good and I was able to follow, but then halfway through things just got very confusing and stopped making sense. There were so many characters and it wasn't easy to keep track of who's side they were on. I did like all the inventions by Galileo and Leonardo, they were fascinating and bordered on magic even to me.

That ending though was just the worst actually. Nothing made sense anymore and I feel like a lot of information was missing especially when it came to Lorenzo, Lucia and the Shadow Master. I kept swiping on that last page, not believing that this was it. There is no cliffhanger or anything like that, it just felt like there needed to be more.

So while the setup and the plot were actually good, the confusion and that ending was such a bummer. This could have been a great book if the second part wasn't so rushed and the author took more time to explain everything and make it more clear. The ending is so open, that it doesn't really feel like an end. There are a lot of things up in the air and too many unanswered questions. If the meaning is for us to fill it in ourselves, I'm afraid I missed that point.


Buy book: Amazon - B&N

The Author
Craig Cormick in an Australian science communicator and author. He was born in Wollongong in 1961, and is known for his creative writing and social research into public attitudes towards new technologies. He has lived mainly in Canberra, but has also in Iceland (1980–81) and Finland (1984–85). He has published 15 books of fiction and non-fiction, and numerous articles in refereed journals. He has been active in the Canberra writing community, teaching and editing, was Chair of the ACT Writers Centre from 2003 to 2008 and in 2006 was Writer in Residence at the University of Science in Penang, Malaysia.

Cormick's creative writing has appeared in most of Australia's literary journals including Southerly, Westerly, Island, Meanjin, The Phoenix Review, Overland, Scarp, 4W, Redoubt, Block, as well as in overseas publications including Silverfish New Writing (Malaysia) and Foreign Literature No 6 (China). He has previously been an editor of the radical arts magazine Blast, and his writing awards include the ACT Book of the Year Award in 1999 and the Queensland Premier's Literary Award in 2006. As a science communicator he has represented the Australian Government at many international science forums including APEC and OECD conferences, presenting on issues relating to public concerns about new technologies.

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Review: Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities) by Gail Z. Martin

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This is one of those books where you finish it and are not sure what to think about it. Deadly Curiosities wasn't a bad book, nor was it particularly any good. The thing that bothered me the most I think is the fact that it didn't feel like the first novel in a series or even a stand alone. There are a couple of short novellas, but they are almost all about Sorren, so it's not like I missed something there. You just get thrown in there and hope for the best.

Cassidy is already very well known with her powers and definitely knows how to wield them. That was probably the most interesting. The powers that are present in this world, are not the most common. So that part was refreshing, but the rest not so much.

I'm not sure what it was, but I had serious trouble finishing this book. I would read a couple of chapters, put it down and read another book, then read a couple of chapters and so on. On it's own the plot was okay. Objects around Charleston go very wonky, there might be someone out to destroy the city and it's up to Cassidy and her friends to stop this from happening.

Now things do get very complicated, because they investigate a lot of history and that sometimes got mixed up in my head. It wasn't always easy to follow what was going on. Also it felt a bit dragged out to me. Every time they discover something, a battle will follow and so on and on. I was also wondering if a lot of the information they were looking for, if it was really necessary. It did give us a very complete picture of the history, but I was still left unsure with why this guy was out to destroy the city. So on the one hand too much information and on the other hand, not enough when it comes to the motivation.

Overall it's not a bad story. There was just so much description that I got lost in it and not in a good way. I also had hoped for maybe a little romance, but there was absolutely none, not even a hint. The writing was good, Gail Z. Martin does know how to write. Just the story on it's own wasn't able to appeal to me or to keep my interest for 464 pages.


Buy book: Amazon - B&N

The Author
Gail Z. Martin discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The first story she wroteat age fivewas about a vampire. Her favorite TV show as a preschooler was Dark Shadows. At age 14, she decided to become a writer. She enjoys attending science fiction/fantasy conventions, Renaissance fairs and living history sites. She is married and has three children, a Himalayan cat, a Maltese and a golden retriever.

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