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

Book Pop!: Sam Maggs Q&A + Giveaway

Welcome! I’m so excited to be kicking off Book Pop in celebration of Quirk Book’s 15 year anniversary! Quirk has always been one of my favorite publishers- they invest so much time into publishing the best books with the coolest designs, perfectly fitting the feel of each story.  They’re very innovative and not afraid to take chances so it makes sense that they would create Book Pop!  Book Pop is essentially an online comic con so everyone can participate and experience the fun without paying the price of admission, travel or hotel accommodations!  This online celebration will take place starting today, July 31st and run through August 11th.  There will be giveaways, a cosplay contest, and original programming such as Twitter takeovers, Facebook Live panels, and more!  To see the full list of events (including the most awesome interactive con map I’ve ever laid eyes on), click here.  And best of all, I was able to do a Q&A with Sam Maggs, author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and Wonder Women to start things off!

Kristin: After attending a ton of conventions, it’s clear that each con has its own unique personality and focus.  Of all the conventions you regularly attend, which is your favorite and why?

Sam: This is like Sophie’s Choice! You’re absolutely right in that each convention really does have its own personality, so it depends on my mood. I adore TCAF (the Toronto Comic Arts Festival); run by the folks at Toronto’s premier LCS, The Beguiling, TCAF takes place over a weekend in the Toronto Reference Library, is completely free to attend, and really puts the focus on indie and webcomic artists. (VanCAF is an excellent alternative for any west-coasters out there). PAX is rad if you’re looking for a gaming convention – they have an interesting mix of big publishers and small indie titles to get excited about. Emerald City Comicon is a good example of a larger con that still does a good job of focusing on their incredible Artist Alley. YALLWest, based in Santa Monica High School, is an intense blast of YA lit fun. There are so many fun options out there now that cater to whatever your fandom may be!

Kristin: Nothing is better than the memories we create at conventions- from meeting celebrities, writers and artists to witnessing breaking news live at panels to buying merch and getting collectibles signed and, most importantly, to hanging out with friends from all corners of the world! What’s your fondest convention memory?

Sam: Honestly, I want my answer to be something impressive about a celebrity (I will say that, one time, Stan Lee called me cute and gave me a little hug, so that’s got to be up there). The truth is, though, that my favorite memories are attending my very first cons with my mom when I was in my first year of university! We were both so new to it and everything was so fresh and exciting. We made so many friends from all over the world that we’re still in touch with. There’s really nothing like sharing a con with someone you love, and who shares the same interests as you.

Kristin: It wouldn’t be a convention without cosplay!  What’s your favorite cosplay you’ve ever worn?  Dream cosplay?

Sam: I think it has to be my most recent cosplay: Lup Taaco, from The Adventure Zone podcast! I love those McElboys so much, and it was a delight to bring a fully-audio character to life – I had so much flexibility and choice in putting together her look! A dream cosplay would be Sailor Mercury, but I don’t think my legs will ever be able to pull that one off. Because they are normal human length.

Kristin: It’s no secret that comics are a male dominated industry but thankfully, things have been slowly changing.  Have you personally witnessed a positive shift in cons welcoming female attendees? And how do you think we as a community can continue to welcome new fangirls?

Sam: This is an interesting question because, for as long as I’ve attended them, cons have always been a women-dominated space. My very first cons were all Stargate conventions, and (it may not surprise you to learn that) those were almost entirely attended by women of all different ages from all over the world. The internet has provided such a great space for women to find and form their own fan communities, and those groups all go out to big cons now. With the addition of Cosplay is Not Consent and harassment policies, cons are safer and more welcoming spaces than ever to people of all genders. It’s a place where we can all go to meet folks just like us.

Kristin: What do you consider to be your greatest fandom treasure that you’ve acquired at a con?

Sam: Original artwork. It took me years of attending cons before I realized I should be getting commissions from all the wonderful artists there while I had the chance. If you’re going to start collecting sketches or art, I would recommend choosing a theme – that way, your artist has some direction, but still has some choice in what they draw. I’ve been getting witches, and my Kevin Wada Nico Minoru is like, my ultimate Con Get.

Kristin: Let’s imagine that you were pre-approved to create and moderate any panel of your choosing.  Who would you want on your panel and what would the topic be?

Sam: It would be just a regular “How to Make Amazing Comics” or “How to Break in to Comics” panel, but it would be staffed entirely by people who aren’t straight white men.

Kristin: Cons always involve very long days with minimal sitting and the exertion of your inner extrovert.  Luckily, the excitement of it all usually drives con-goers’ adrenaline levels to an all time high, but what’s your favorite way to decompress after you’ve arrived back home from a long weekend away?

Sam: Self-care is so necessary after a con week! I like to indulge in speaking to literally no one for as long as humanly possible. Seriously though, I try to boost my immune system to keep away that con crud by aiming for food and teas with lots of vitamins C and B6, and I use a hydrogel face mask to repair the damage done to my pores by intense hotel and plane dryness. In terms of my mental health, I don’t make any social plans for the week I’m back, and I do all my unpacking and laundry the second I step through the door when I get home. Not having that hanging over your head for the rest of the week feels amazing, and it means that after work you can indulge in your favorite restful rituals (I like LUSH baths and ASMR hairbrushing).

GIVEAWAY

  • 1 Copy of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
  • 1 Copy of Wonder Women by Sam Maggs
  • No purchase necessary

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Kristin
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