Blog Tour: Warcross by Marie Lu: Review + Favorite Video Games

If you watch my YouTube channel, you’ll already know what a huge fan I am of Marie Lu’s Warcross.  I’ve been raving about it since June so I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour to celebrate this wonderful book! In this post, I’m going to share my in depth review of the book, my five favorite video games and a giveaway courtesy of Penguin Teen! But first, here’s a synopsis of the book:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Review

Favorite Video Games

  1. Donkey Country 2 – This will forever be my go to comfort game. I could honestly beat this with my eyes closed at this point.  I love all the Donkey Kong games for Super Nintendo, but I’m especially partial to DK2- it might have something to do with pirates? (just a hunch!)
  2. Mario Party – I’ve always loved Mario Party! The board game style play just really works for me (and others since they’re up to Mario Party 11 at this point!) and I love that it was one of the first games that made it really fun to play with friends and to each have an equal turn (there was always that one friend who wasn’t great at games and then I would feel bad if it was mostly me playing!).
  3. Pokemon Y  – I don’t think I put down my 3DS for several days straight when Pokemon X/Y debuted! My (younger) cousin and I used to work together and on our lunch break one day she needed to stop at the grocery store so naturally I was glued to my 3DS and she kept making fun of me for making her feel like she was running errands with her child lol!
  4. Bioshock – This is the only game on the list that I personally haven’t full played but I have watched my husband play the majority of the first game.  I’m just so taken with the worldbuilding and the lore of the game that I had to include it.  Plus the graphics are beyond stunning and I love that the game is a bit on the creepy side while you try to figure out what’s going on.  I really want to read the book soon too!
  5. Super Smash Bros. – My husband and I got really addicted to Super Smash Bros for Wii U a couple of years ago! There were a good couple of weekends where we would order pizza and wine and just play until all hours of the night!

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) grand prize winners of a WARCROSS prize set (including hardcover of Warcross, shirt, keychain, and postcard). (ARV: $18.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 4, 2017 and 12:00 AM on September 29, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 2, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio

Marie Lu is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Young Elites, as well as the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and one Pembroke Welsh corgi.

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Kristin

Turn of the Season: Hello, Autumn! – Most Anticipated Fall Releases

Turn of the Season is a week long blogging event being hosted by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and I.  Alexa is a sweet Summer child and I’m an Autumn fox baby so we wanted to put together an event celebrating the end of Alexa’s season and the beginning of mine.  Throughout the week we’ll be highlighting some of our summer favorites as well as our autumn anticipations!

Most Anticipated Fall Releases

  1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #7) – September 5th
  2. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken (Prosper Redding #1) – September 5th
  3. Warcross by Marie Lu (Warcross #1) – September 12th
  4. Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor – September 12th
  5. Fireblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #2) – September 12th
  6. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalso (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) – September 19th
  7. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo – September 26th

  1. Invictus by Ryan Graudin – September 26th
  2. The Name of the Wind 10th Anniversary Edition by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) – October 3rd
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition by JK Rowling (Harry Potter #3) – October 3
  4. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise of the Empress #1) – October 10th
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic Collector’s Edition by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #1) – October 31st
  6. Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Renegades #1) – November 7th
  7. Middle Earth: From Script to Screen – November 21st
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Kristin

Turn of the Season: Hello, Autumn! – Fall Aesthetic + Ice Cream Book Tag

Turn of the Season is a week long blogging event being hosted by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and I.  Alexa is a sweet Summer child and I’m an Autumn fox baby so we wanted to put together an event celebrating the end of Alexa’s season and the beginning of mine.  Throughout the week we’ll be highlighting some of our summer favorites as well as our autumn anticipations!

Fall Aesthetic

Fall Aesthetic

 

Fall Aesthetic by superspacechick

Ice Cream Book Tag

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Kristin

Turn of the Season: Goodbye, Summer! Hello, Autumn! – Fall bucket list

Turn of the Season is a week long blogging event being hosted by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and I.  Alexa is a sweet Summer child and I’m an Autumn fox baby so we wanted to put together an event celebrating the end of Alexa’s season and the beginning of mine.  Throughout the week we’ll be highlighting some of our summer favorites as well as our autumn anticipations!

Fall Bucket List

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Kristin

Turn of the Season: Goodbye, Summer! – Favorite Summer Memories

Turn of the Season is a week long blogging event being hosted by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and I.  Alexa is a sweet Summer child and I’m an Autumn fox baby so we wanted to put together an event celebrating the end of Alexa’s season and the beginning of mine.  Throughout the week we’ll be highlighting some of our summer favorites as well as our autumn anticipations!

Favorite Summer Memories

BEA / BookCon – These happened at the tail end of May into June but I got to spend the entire event with Alexa which was such a pleasure! We got all the books we had been looking forward to, attended some really fun parties with amazing authors, and hung out at BookCon with Rachel, Andi and Lili!

Meeting Jenny Han, Sarah Dessen & Jennifer E. Smith – I’ve ALWAYS wanted to meet Jenny Han.  She’s my favorite contemporary author and I was THRILLED when Books of Wonder announced the event.  Lili was even sweet enough to pick up a book and number for me so I didn’t get stuck there ALL since this was a VERY popular event!

Attending Joe & Kris’s Biergarten Show – My brother in law and sister in law are super talented musician and one Sunday afternoon they had a gig at the Biergarten in Astoria. Andrew and I attended along with his parents and his sisters Brittany and Molly and we had such a great time!

Alaska – Alaska is certainly a place that I never planned on venturing to but when my brother in law moved there with his fiance, that plan changed! It was really fun to spend so much time with Andrew’s family and to see the beautiful landscapes that are so very different from those in NYC.

Brunch with Andrew, Kristina & Joe – Kristina and Joe made a quick trip to NYC and Andrew and I were able to meet up with them at Dos Caminos which was so much fun! We hadn’t ever met Joe but he was so nice and it was fun to hear about their wedding planning!

My Birthday Weekend in Mystic, CT – This was SUCH an amazing trip! Andrew, my brother Bob, his girlfriend Amanda and I ventured to Mystic, CT the weekend of my birthday and it was the perfect mini getaway.  We packed so much into so few days- we visited Gilette Castle, the Mystic Aquarium where we fell in love with the most friendly beluga whale, Mystic Pizza and my personal favorite, Book Barn where we saw a cute little Hobbit Hole!

Ice Cream dates with friends – I’m really glad that I’ve began seeing Alexa and Rachel on a regular basis<3 It’s so nice to have bookish friends so closeby and even better to be able to eat ice cream together and talk about books! And our last ice cream date was with Lili who I adore!

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Kristin

Turn of the Season: Goodbye, Summer! – Favorite Summer Reads

Turn of the Season is a week long blogging event being hosted by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and I.  Alexa is a sweet Summer child and I’m an Autumn fox baby so we wanted to put together an event celebrating the end of Alexa’s season and the beginning of mine.  Throughout the week we’ll be highlighting some of our summer favorites as well as our autumn anticipations!

Favorite Summer Reads

Warcross by Marie Lu (Warcross #1) – Emika Chen is a bounty hunter in Warcross, an MMO that has taken the world the by storm.  When she glitches herself into the championship, she becomes an overnight sensation and gets an invitation from the game’s creator himself, Hideo Tanaka, inviting her to help control a security threat.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #1) – Jude, a mere mortal, longs to be an important member of the Fae society but she is battling daily harassment from the Fae born royals in the court where she resides.  Chaos ensues when Jude inserts herself into Fae politics and no one is safe in this story.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices #2) – Lord of Shadows picks up after the events of Lady Midnight and follows the Blackthorn family through the world of the Fae.  I don’t want to give anything away since it’s a sequel!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer #1) – This beautiful masterpiece is a dual perspective story following Lazlo the Librarian on his quest to uncover the secrets of the lost city of Weep.  When Lazlo gets the opportunity to travel to Weep, we learn the rich history of the city and just how thin the line between heros and villains can be.

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella – This laugh out loud novel follows Katie, a country girl who moves to London and lands a job at her dream company, but she quickly learns that the perfect lives people portray on instragram are not always truthful.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise of the Empress #1) – This villain origin story follows Xifeng in her early days when she’s beginning to carve out her own path.  It’s an Asian fantasy novel inspired by the Evil Queen and it’s every bit as delightful as you might imagine.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin – Farway Gaius is an overconfident captain who’s born outside of time.  After being sabotaged in a simulation that’s supposed to result in Farway getting his own ship, he’s cast out of the academy but he receives an intriguing invitation to captain a black market ship which specializes in going back in time to steal expensive artifacts.  The quirky crew is a tight knit family and they’ll leave you with some serious Firefly vibes.

Frostblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #1) – Ruby is a Fireblood, a race that’s been wiped out by Frostblood’s by the corrupt King and she needs to conceal her gift in order to stay alive… so naturally her secret is revealed within the first chapter.  Frostblood is a fantasy novel with rich elemental lore that’ll keep you turning the pages.

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Personal Thoughts:  A new Stephanie Perkins novel is pretty much an insta-buy for me.  Despite Stephanie tackling something so outside of her wheelhouse (horror instead of the cute contemporaries of hers that I’ve come to love) I had been excited to keep an open mind and read her next story.  Since I do enjoy the occasional horror novel, I was hopeful that Stephanie’s would deliver but sadly I did not end up enjoying this one.

Plot Summary:  In small town Nebraska where there’s a deadzone for cell phone service, teenagers at Osborne High begin getting killed off one by one.  In a series of gruesome murders and an intense hunt for the killer, we follow Makani and Olly as they try to stop the murderer while also having to confront their pasts.

Critique:  While I appreciated the diversity in the story- Makani is an African American girl who has recently transferred to Osborne High while running from her past- I did not enjoy this story sadly.  The first half of the book kept my interest but things took a turn about halfway through.  The killer was revealed too early, making the rest of the chase feel a bit anticlimactic.  There were several moments that had me peeking out the windows of the log cabin I decided to read this in but overall, it didn’t scare me anywhere near as much as I was hoping for.  In regard to the big reveal, I also felt that the killer’s motivations weren’t thoroughly explained and I was left with some questions that answered, would’ve enhanced the story.  Overall, I was just expecting more out of this one.  I kept waiting for a twist that never came.  The one thing I did enjoy is the romance between Makani and Olly.  Stephanie Perkins can do no wrong when it comes to writing teenage relationships.

Do I Recommend?:  Sadly, I can’t say that I do. I would stick to Stephanie’s contemporary romances if you’re looking to read one of her books.  As a horror novel, I found it unsatisfying.

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Daughter of the Pirate King by Trisha Levenseller (Daughter of the Pirate King #1)

Personal Thoughts:  The title says it all- Daughter of the PIRATE King, you can bet this title quickly captured my interest! While pirate is the first word that got my attention, the next was daughter.  I love reading books about pirates but I had yet to read a novel where the lead character is a female pirate.  After some mixed reviews, I was worried I wouldn’t love it as much as I had hoped but thankfully I found this book to be one exciting adventure!

Plot Summary:  Alosa, the daughter of the infamous Pirate King, stages her own kidnapping aboard the Night Farer as part of a mission she accepted from her father.  Once Alosa is taken aboard their ship, she is to search for a piece of an ancient map that is said to lead to a legendary treasure trove.  But once Alosa boards, she meets the clever and attractive Riden, the ship’s first mate, who makes her mission a bit more challenging than she had anticipated.

Critique:  Daughter of the Pirate King doesn’t waste any time getting straight to one of the many action scenes that pepper this novel.  If I had to sum my feelings up in one sentence I would say that this story is an irresistibly fun adventure that will have you yearning for the second book.  Alosa is such a fantastic character- she’s a regular BAMF when it comes to kicking pirate butt and manipulating situations in her favor.  As ruthless as Alosa is when it comes to completing her mission and impressing her father, she still has a heart of gold when it comes to the people she trusts. She spent her childhood training and preparing to take over as the Pirate King’s heir and her experience and resilience really shows.  There’s a spoilery thing that happens midway through the book (which I obviously won’t mention!) but it vastly increased my overall interest in the story. I did see it coming but I was so happy when it was confirmed.  Then, there’s Riden (swoon).  He’s a dark and brooding pirate with a cunning wit and soft spot for Alosa and her hi-jinks. He has a complicated relationship with his brother, the captain of the Night Farer and I love his obsessive compulsive neatness.  My one kind of major complaint about Daughter of the Pirate King is that there’s little to no pirate language.  It’s definitely a fun pirate story and while all of the situations feel very pirate-like, there’s just a lack of “arg’s” and “matey’s” and such which is not enough to change my opinion but I did find it a little disappointing.

Do I Recommend?:  Yes! If you like pirates, adventure, and quick action packed stories, you’ll also love Daughter of the Pirate King.  I still can’t get over how fun this book is and I can’t wait to contiune on to book two.

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Kristin

Girls Made of Snow & Glass Giveaway + August TBR

Hi all!  This month I’m participating in two readathons- ARC August and the Tome Topple readathon!  I honestly haven’t been this excited about my TBR in a little while and I just cannot wait to read all the books! If you want to know all the books I’m planning on reading this month, you can check out my newest video below.  I’m also giving away THREE copies of Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust which is one of my most anticipated releases.  Just read this synopsis:

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

GIVEAWAY

  • (3) Copies of Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
  • No purchase necessary

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Kristin

August Small Goals

I’ve seen a bunch of people post small monthly goals (and I recently realized that Writes Like a Girl started this monthly post & has a monthly link up for it on her blog!) and I really like the idea of re-centering and re-evaluating everything more frequently.  It’s awesome to make yearly goals but it’s also easy to lose focus or forget about them entirely over the 365 day period we’re aiming to accomplish them in.  Having small monthly goals to help get to those bigger picture yearly ones is something I’m eager to try out!

MAY – JULY CHECK-IN

Sooooo, I really fell behind here since my last small goals post was way back in May! I blame all of the traveling, filming of bookshelf tours which took way more out of me than I ever anticipated and just an overall step away from social media and online things.  It was quite a nice break!

1) Start our really ambitious Star Wars marathon – PASS – We’ve taken a small hiatus (we’re re-watching Doctor Who now that a female Doctor has been announced!) BUT we have watched the first two prequels and some of the first season of Clone Wars (according to the StarWars.com chronology list).

2) See Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2  – PASS – We did this! Woo! And guess what? We also saw Spider-Man: Homecoming!

3) Send out Wedding Thank You Notes  – PASS – Oh yeah! I did this too! No wonder I was so busy these past few months!

4) Spend as little as possible  – FAIL – They couldn’t all be winner’s right? On the bright side, I have a ton of new reading material and basically all the clothes that Madewell sells!

AUGUST GOALS

1) Spend minimally – If at first you don’t succeed- but really, between both of our trips and the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (my favorite sale of the year because it means that pumpkins are just around the corner) coupled with the easy of excuse of “but it’s my birthday month!”, it’s time to scale back in the shopping department.  I cleaned out my whole closet over the weekend (a laborious two day long event) and I’m going to do my best to spend next to nothing in August.  We’ll see how that goes!

2) Continue eating healthy / resist all the snacks!  – I’ve been waking up early on Monday mornings to do some cooking and meal prep and it’s been going really well! Especially since I don’t have to do it every single day >.<  I also threw out all the snacks we had in our cabinets (with the exception of a couple of small things in the event we have unexpected guests) and the real challenge will be resisting buying new junk food on every subsequent grocery shopping trip.  I even made a list of healthy snacks that I can prepare quickly to reference in times of weakness.

3) Read one more Man Booker nominee or classic book  – I’m planning on participating in ARC August and the Tome Topple Readathon next month but I’m only going to choose two tomes and three ARC’s to focus on.  That’ll give me the freedom in my TBR to dive into a classic (most likely Pride & Prejudice) or a title on the Man Booker longlist (most likely The Underground Railroad- I’ve already read Lincoln in the Bardo and Exit West).

4) Consistently Blog & BookTube  – Like I said, I’ve taken quite the break and it’s been amazing for my mental health because really, I’ve been going and going for almost 8 years now? I sometimes can’t believe how much of my life I’ve devoted to creating online content but it is because I truly enjoy it.  I just need to remember that it’s for fun anytime I’m feeling pressure.

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Kristin
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