Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Challenge Update

TBR Pile: No progress :(

Completely Contemp Challenge: No Progress :(

New Authors Challenge: COMPLETE!!!
15. Divergent - Veronica Roth

What an Animal Challenge: No progress :(

A-Z Book Challenge:
F - The First Days - Rhiannon Frater

So I've completed one challenge, but kind of stalled out on the others. Time to get to work!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blog Tour: Pretty in Black by Rae Hachton Review


Some Things are Pretty. Some Things are Black. Love is both.

Ellie Piper

She wanted to die. He arose from the grave. He was sent to kill her. She was trained to kill those of his kind. But fate had other plans. He searched for 119 years to find her. There's no way in hell he's letting her go. Dead or Alive. They're fated.

Marcus Marble

How far would you go to be with the one you love? Would you die for her? Would you kill for her? What if the only reason you're still alive is because of her? What if the reason you came back from the dead, was to be with her? But what if your job was to kill her, but you fell in love instead? And now you're being hunted by your own kind?

Destroy? Or be Destroyed?

My Thoughts:

This book started off very dark. Ellie is in a very dark, hopeless place after her sister's murder, but Marcus helps her to move forward and see the beauty in the darkness and feel joy again.

Marcus Marble is our dark, romantic hero. He sweeps Ellie off her feet and is incredibly romantic. While his leaning are a bit dark for me, he and Ellie fit together perfectly (though he can still take me to the opera sometime). But the course of true love never did run smooth and Marcus has a secret or two he's not sharing!

I enjoyed the concept of the paranormal element of the book, though I found the last section a bit rushed and confusing (though this may be more clear in the next book). Another thing I would have liked is more depth in Ellie's mission. It was introduced, but I wish it had been explained further.

There are some serious mysteries left at the end, so I'm excited to see what happens in the sequel, Black Satin!

On the Cover:

Oh my goodness, this is one of my favourite covers EVER! It is so gorgeous and perfect!

Source: An ecopy was provided for review as part of the Pretty in Black blog tour.

Where to Find It: Goodreads | Kindle | Amazon | The Book Depository

Stalk the Author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Bonus: Book Trailer!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review: Dearly, Departed


Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

My Thoughts:

This book is an awesome read! Nora is a great heroine and Bram is a superb leading man. I really enjoyed all the characters because they all seemed well-rounded and realistic, complete with likes, dislikes, hopes, fears and all that good stuff.

I completely adored the setting of this book! New Victoria is a really cool steampunk future. I love the idea of culture going backwards, while still retaining some technology. I've always enjoyed stories set in Victorian times, but with the addition or technology, a rich history and zombies, well, it gets even better!

I think the zombie concepts were handled well. I liked the idea that sometimes zombies come back feral and sometimes they come back relatively normal. I guess it adds an extra bit of chance!

On the Cover:

Beautiful cover. I am totally in love with this cover! Everything is perfect! The model, the font, the colours, everything!!

Favourite Character:

I love Pamela Roe. While she is only a secondary character, I still think she is awesome, especially at the end!

Rating: 5 Hearts

Source: Borrowed from the public library.

Where to Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | The Book Depository

Stalk the Author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Don't Just Take My Word For It: Novel Heartbeat

Bonus: The cover of the second book in the series, Dearly, Beloved, has just been released. What do you think? I think the picture is pretty, but I'm not crazy about the placement of the author's name.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blog Tour: Straight to Hell/Straight to Heaven by Michelle Scott

Welcome to my spot on the Straight to Heaven blog tour. Not only do I have my review of the first two Lilith Straight books, but I also have an interview with Lilith herself! Exciting!

Straight to Hell/Straight to Heaven Dual Review:

Straight to Hell Blurb:

The moment Lilith Straight dies, the Devil appears to claim her soul and cash in on a family curse. Now, Lilith has no choice but to work for him. The job is bad, the boss is worse and she can’t imagine how she’ll explain her new reincarnation to her eight-year-old daughter. But then an arrogant, yet oh so yummy, incubus shows up…and hell heats up just a little more.

Straight to Heaven Blurb:

Hell’s newest employee, Lilith Straight, thinks she’s got a handle on her job as the Devil’s temptress until she finds herself going horns-to-halo with a guardian angel who’s determined to rescue Lilith’s next victim. To make matters worse, William Darcy, the hottest demon in hell, is trying to undermine Lilith’s mission with a few temptations of his own.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed both of these books. I thought they were cute and fun. Perfect for the beach or a vacation! I liked Lilith as a character, especially her love for her daughter. I might not have always agreed with her decisions, but I respected her as a character, so it worked for me. Also, the secondary characters were great. I loved the variety of secondary characters, with my favourites being Mr. Clerk and Ariel.

I liked the premise of the story and the way the afterlife is portrayed. I enjoyed how Hell was hidden under a polish veneer, but it's denizens couldn't always hide their true faces. I also enjoyed Lilith's struggle with morality. Can someone who does bad things (and works for the devil) be a good person? Lilith makes me believe that maybe they can.

And then there's Mr. Darcy, Lilith's oh-so-sexy coworker. A very attractive reminder than sometimes the flaws make the man.

On the Cover:

 The covers and cute and fun, much like the books. But man, those ladies have wonky shaped bodies!

Favourite Character:

This one is a toss-up between Mr. Clerk and Ariel. I love Mr. Clerk and his fashionable, tragic existence. And Ariel is an interesting character. Despite all her flaws, she is a lot of fun and an awesome cousin to Grace.

Rating: 4 Hearts

Source: I was provided with ecopies of both books for review as part of the blog tour.

Where to find Straight to Hell: Goodreads | Kindle | Smashwords

Where to Find Straight to Heaven: Goodreads | Kindle | Smashwords

Stalk the Author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Bonus: Interview with Lilith Straight

Hello Lilith and welcome to Megan Likes Books! I’m very excited to have you on the blog today!
Excellent! I have 10 questions for you today, so let’s get started!

1.       Let’s get right to the good stuff. What is the biggest way your life as changed after being hit by a car and dying? 

 Well, it’s certainly changed in a lot of ways, but I guess the biggest (and worst) difference is that I feel like someone is always looking over my shoulder.  I mean, there are doorways to Hell all over my house, and the demons think they can pop in on me no matter what I’m doing!  They have no sense of boundaries.  Sometimes, I feel like an animal in a cage at the zoo.  But if I try to pop in on them, they get very cranky.  Double standards play a big part in the life of Hell.
2.       Describe yourself in 5 words.  Hmmm.   

Mother, fashionista…  Well, I guess I should add succubus as well, even though I really don’t want to.  And, I guess if I’m being honest, ‘lonely’.  See, now that I work for Hell, there’s no one I can discuss my new life with.  After all, I’m not about to break the news to my friends or my family.  Okay, now there’s one word left.  Unlucky?  Yes, I guess I’ll go with that.  Since becoming Hell’s newest employee, I can’t help but feel sorry for myself.  Although ‘loved’ might be better since I know my family loves me.  Even though it’s not okay for a succubus to love, I’m pretty sure there’s no rules in my contract that say other people can’t love me.
3.       What is your favourite thing to do with your daughter Grace and niece Ariel?   

We have this tradition that we do every Friday night.  We all get into our pajamas and watch a Disney movie.  If we’ve seen the movie too many times, then I turn off the sound and we fill in the dialogue ourselves.  I realize that doesn’t sound like anything amazing, but after a long week, it’s the one thing we all look forward to.  Even Ariel.  Also, this is the one time that I allow the girls to eat junk food (and I sneak a bit of it myself as well!)
4.       What are your hopes for the future for Grace and Ariel?  

I want Grace out of this ridiculous contract with the Devil.  That is my single goal for that child.  After that, I hope she goes to college and gets a degree that is more marketable than mine (women’s studies).  I hope Ariel does the same thing, but I’d be happy if that girl if becomes a gas station attendant as long as she stays away from drugs, unlike her mother.  Oh, and I want them both to marry good men.  Men like Tommy and not Dr. Ted.
5.       I understand you’ve been through a divorce recently. What was the most difficult aspect of that? Has anything positive come from it?  

Okay, don’t even get me started on Dr. Theodore Dempsey, my cheating ex-husband!  Ugh.  The most difficult part?  That would have to be trying not to tell Grace was a moronic, pig-headed, jerk her father is.  Believe me, I want to.  But Grace thinks her dad is godlike, and I don’t want to spoil that for her.  And, yes, something positive has come from it.  The fact that I no longer have to share a bed with a guy who used to lecture me on things like the best way to add milk to cereal.  Believe me, Ted has a system for everything.  Like I said, don’t even get me started on that man.
6.       What is the most important thing you have learned from your mother?   

We didn’t see much of each other when I was growing up, so this is something I learned after she was dead.  And that is, you might have to act like a monster in order to protect the ones you love.  I’d grown up thinking that my mother had abandoned me because she couldn’t be bothered with a baby, but that wasn’t it at all.  Now that I understand that she was trying to keep me safe from her demon overlord, I know that my mother went to a lot of trouble to pick the right doorstep to leave me on.  I love her for that.  I can only hope I can do as much for Grace without hurting too many more people in the process.
7.       What is your biggest hope for the future? 

 That I will get out of my damn contract!  That’s number one, of course.  Number two would be to start dating William; although, he needs to get off the idea that a physical relationship is better than an emotional one.  I’d also like to convince Patrick Clerk to wear something other than white.  I want to see my stepsister get a job, and also have her get together with Tommy.  Whew!  This is a long, probably impossible, list, but I do love to dream.
8.       Biggest fear?   

Miss Spry when she’s really, really angry.  That and having Grace take my position as the next succubus.  Both of these things give me night sweats.
9.       Favourite fashion designer? (I’m a Dior girl myself)  

Oh, Dior is excellent!  If I haven’t gotten out of my contract by this fall, I’m planning on using the otherworld doorways to see their spring/summer show in Paris.  I mean, Hell has to have some benefits, right?  Anyway, I’ll go with Ralph Lauren as my favorite.  Jasmine says it’s because I’m old and boring, but Lauren has that classic style I love.  If I don’t know what to wear, I’ll grab my favorite Lauren slacks and a top and I know that I’ll look put together.   On the other hand, if I’m feeling more playful, I’ll go with Dolce & Gabbana. D&G bags are my favorites!
10.   Last question. Curveball! How do you feel about aliens?  

Lol.  Okay, until a few months ago, I didn’t even believe in demons and angels, so after that experience, I think that anything’s possible.  It would be just my luck, though, that another relative of mine made a deal with space aliens, and I’ll soon find out that I’m next in line to get probed or something.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thank you! It was a pleasure to be here.
Author Bio
Michelle Scott received her MFA from Wayne State University.  Her stories have appeared in such places as Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, All Possible Worlds and Realms.  Her fantasy novel, The Dragons of Hazlett was nominated for a 2009 EPPIE Award.  Michelle’s YA novels include the vampire romance, Blood Sisters, and the fantasy Uncommon Magic.  Her latest fantasy novel, An Anthem for the Battle Lands, was recently released from Mundania Press, LLC.  Michelle lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and three children.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Pretty in Black Edition

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today my teaser comes from Pretty in Black by Rae Hachton.

"His [eyes] were emblazoned by a dark symphony. When he blinked, his lashes spread below his bottom lid like satin spider legs, a million wishes could be made upon them, in exchange for these nightmares." (page 11)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: The First Days by Rhiannon Frater


The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde.

Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni's stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.

They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town.  There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form. 

Fast-paced and exciting, filled with characters who grab your heart, The First Days: As the World Dies is the beginning of a frightening trilogy.

My Thoughts:

 To start off, I love zombies. I have a complete zombie-apocalyspe plan in place, with Plan Bs and Plan Cs to boot (1 involving the apartment building across the street and another involving my brother's ranch). That said, I'm also a bit of a zombie snob. I like my zombies dumb and my protagonists smart. I'm not afraid to stand up (or sit behind my laptop) and say that the last to Romero films I watched (Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead) were absolute crap. Before you all hunt me down, I still agree Romero is the master, but his recent films are no where near as good as his earlier work.

The point of this post is not to criticize Romero, it's to applaud Rhiannon Frater for her great zombie novel, The First Days. It has everything I want in a zombie book: smart protagonists, truly undead zombies and a good story. From the very first scene, this book grabbed me and it still hasn't let go! I loved the first chapter, I can't think of a better way to start a zombie story and I can't wait until I can get the next installment from the library.

Katie and Jenni are great characters and each must deal with the loss of their families, though they do so in very different ways. I've heard a lot of people comment on Frater's use of two female protagonists (and the inclusion of homosexual relationships), but to be honest, there is so much more to this book than that and I feel like focusing on sexuality and feminism is a disservice to this awesome story.

Anyone who loves classic zombie stories will love this book. These zombies aren't sexy (like Bram in Dearly, Departed) or cool and likeable (like Angel in My Life as a White Trash Zombie). No, they are scary, stupid, bite-your-face-off monsters, which is perfect!

There were a couple things that bothered me a little about this book. First, sometimes Frater would use a lot of slang in her writing (not just in dialogue), while I would prefer slightly more polished descriptions, but a lot of that comes down to personal style and preferences. Second, I thought it was unrealistic how long the power and water lasts in this situation. I grew up in a rural area and the power would go out in a thunderstorm, let alone a zombie apocalypse!

On the Cover:

I like the grittiness of the cover and I think it fits to story. But I don't like how muscular Katie's arms are.

Favourite Character:

My favourite character was Katie. I like how competent and in control she was throughout the story, despite the difficulties she encounters.

Rating: 4.5 Hearts

Source: I borrowed this book from the public library.

Where to Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Kindle Store

Stalk the Author: Goodreads | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Don't Just Take My Word For It: Xpresso Reads

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Theme Thursday - Dark Magic Edition

Theme Thursdays
Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:
  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
    Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

    This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

    DRINKS , tea, wine, beer, water (anything liquid)


    This week my Theme Thursday comes from Dark Magic by James Swain.

     "His head was throbbing and he went to the bathroom and downed two aspirin with a glass of water" (page 107)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth


In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

My Thoughts:

 Wow, so I definitely understand what all the fuss what about. Divergent was awesome! This is the kind of book I want to push on all my friends! I've already told my boyfriend he needs to read it and strategically placed it on his nightstand. I'm dying to read Insurgent now!

Fangirl gushing aside, this book really was awesome. I was sucked right into Tris's world and I feel like Tris is a friend. I rooted for her throughout and stood in awe of her when she did things I'm not sure I could have done.

Four was also amazing. I thought his character was well done and believable. No sickenly perfect boys here! Four was real and believable and all-around awesome! The secondary characters were well done as well. I liked Christina and Caleb and Tris's parents.

My absolutely favourite part of this book was the world. I love dystopians, but I thought Divergent was especially well done. The structure of the factions, the lack of a cohesive society between the factions, the factionless as second-class citizens; I loved it all.

I also loved the non-stop action. From the Choosing Ceremony to the finale, I was always dying to know what happened next! Speaking from experience, this is not a good book to start reading right before final exams!

The blurb from goodreads seriously does not do it justice!

On the Cover:

 I like the cover. The symbol really catches your attention and it's a nice change from the 'girl in a dress' covers I've been seeing lately.

Favourite Character:

 Tris! She was so awesome, brave and all-around badass!

Rating: 5 Hearts!

Source: This book was purchased for my personal collection.

Where to Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | The Book Depository

Stalk the Author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Bonus: You can take the faction test on Facebook. I was Dauntless. Very surprising. I always thought I would be Erudite. Or Amity, except I picked the knife because I'm a chicken. Wait, I'm Dauntless? Oh dear.

Don't Just Take My Word For It: Burning Impossible Bright | The Daily Prophecy | Novel Heartbeat

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Unicorn Keep Blog Tour - Excerpt

 I'm very excited to share an excerpt with you from Unicorn Keep as part of the Unicorn Keep blog tour. Hello, there's a unicorn on the cover! How can I not be excited! Plus the author is a horse-girl, just like me! Shout-out to my horse Scarface! Although even if he had a computer, I double he would read my blog.

Title: Unicorn Keep
Author: Angelia Almos
Genre: YA Fantasy
Jiline of Ainsley is dismayed when her best friend is selected by the mages to become a unicorn keeper at the Keep, an isolated mountain fortress. Especially since Madelen is in love and engaged to the richest boy in the village. Jiline on the other hand has no prospects of marriage or a trade in their small village. So, she comes up with a plan to take Madelen’s place at the Keep and hopefully flunk out of unicorn keeper training before the mages can discover the deception. Unfortunately, the unicorns have their own plans for her.

Mage Herrick, son of the Keep Mage, returns home to the Keep as the trainee keepers arrive. A chance encounter with Jiline, who he believes is Madelen, on the trail sparks a magical connection between the two. Knowing he can’t feel a magical draw to someone who has no magic, he tries to prove Madelen (Jiline) has magic within her. His attention brings unforeseen complications for both of them.

Author Bio
Angelia Almos formed a lifelong passion for horses at the age of five when she talked her parents into riding lessons. Horses often play a prominent role in her young adult fantasy books. She also write horsey nonfiction and space opera. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, and one pony (she often thinks of bumping that number up to two).

    “No, you’ll go with Wilm.” She spoke fast before she could talk herself out of her sudden scheme. “You’ll leave for the Keep just as expected. Wilm can head off for his apprenticeship. You two will meet up and go together.”
    “But they’ll know I didn’t come.”
    “No, they won’t.” She took a deep breath. The plan would not only help her friends, but benefit her family as well. “I’ll go in your place.”
    “The crystal didn’t glow for you.”
    “We’ll just have to hope they don’t have a giant crystal at the entrance or if they do they’ll just assume that I, Madelen, did something between today and then that ruined my soul.”
    Madelen turned her head to stare directly at her. “You’ll go as me?”
    “Of course, I can’t go as me. My name isn’t written on that parchment.” She brushed Madelen’s hair out of her face with her fingertips. “You know how everyone always jokes we look more alike than different. How we could almost be twins?”
    “You’re my best friend, if they discovered our deceit...”
    “They won’t. They won’t remember me from today. I’ll be you and you’ll be me.” The plan solidified in her head and became more possible with each passing second. “I’ll tell my parents I learned of an apprenticeship for myself. They’ll be happy to see me go. Wilm will go to the apprenticeship he’s been waiting on. I’ll travel with him for safety. You’ll go to the Keep. We’ll meet on the trail. You become me and go with Wilm.”

Thanks for stopping by! If you're interested, you can find out more about Unicorn Keep at these sites:
Print - Create Space -
Print - Amazon -
Ebook - Amazon -
Ebook - Barnes and Noble -
Ebook - Smashwords -