About iscm13

I'm a mom of 3 living in NYC who loves to read. When i'm not at work, or shuttling my kids around the city (since i'm sure you can imagine that it's hard to entertain little ones in a small apartment), i'm immersing myself in all things pop-culture, watching movies, or listening to music. One day I hope that i can get inspired enough with an original idea so that i can join the ranks of some of my favorite story tellers to bring to life a great tale - but so far, i'm more than happy to dive head first into a good story or 2.

Review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollings 9/20/16
Length:   307 Pages
Series:  Three Dark Crowns #1

Overview

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. And don’t miss the highly anticipated sequel, One Dark Throne!

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

My Thoughts

I needed something new to read and this was a series that i’ve seen pop up in my feed a bunch but i’ve never gotten around to it.  glad that i did.  what we have here is the introduction to an interesting story about a world where those who live on an island have powers or ‘gifts’ and those who are on the mainland do not.  each generation of Queens born is a generation of triplets, each of whom is supposed to have a gift, and only the strongest will survive to become the reigning queen of their generation.  She must kill her sisters.

So this is the story that we go through on a journey with the triplets, Arsinoe, Katherine and Mirabella.  It’s an interesting world that they live in.  the girls are separated from one another when they are very young, taken to the town where their gift reigns so that they can grown and hone their powers.  The way that this story is written is in alternating chapters between the sisters so that we can both get to know them a bit more and see what struggles they are going through since it’s clear that they are much more similar than they knew.

Katherine is supposed to have the gift of poisoning, and what that means, i’m not entirely sure.  She’s quite skilled at creating and crafting poisons, but she’s supposed to be able to withstand all forms of poison and that doesn’t seem to be the case with her.  she’s training her body to cope with it but everyone around her wonders if she’s truly giftless.

Arsinoe is supposed to have the gift of being a naturalist- which means that she’s connected to all living things, plants and animals.  The thing here is that she’s supposed to have a familiar – an animal that is linked to her soul and she doesn’t – she’s not even able to make a simple bud bloom to life.  So there’s yet another question on whether she’s truly gotten a gift or not.

Then there’s Mirabella – the one that throws a wrench in everything.  She’s the most beautiful and enchanting by far, and she demonstrated her skills at being an elemental from day one – she’s one of the most powerful that they’ve seen and this makes everyone nervous and afraid since the triplets know that she will be the one to reign.

If that were the core to the story – then there’s so much more that’s going to come out.  What we see throughout is how others play a role in their lives.  There are priestesses who have their own agendas, families who want power, and girls who just want friends and romance.  While we think the story line is simple, really just a fight to prove gifts and stay alive, what we see in the last third is a total change in what the point and direction of the story will be.  I think that it’s no surprise to see what happens, but i also think that we’re setting up for a really great book 2 since the world as we knew it has turned upside down.  I can’t wait to see what comes next and i’m going to track down that next book ASAP.  Enjoy!

Review: Commander In Chief (The White House Series #2) by Katy Evans

Title: Commander in Chief
Author: Katy Evans
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 1/8/17
Length:   304 Pages
Series:  White House Series #2

Overview

We fell in love during the campaign.
The stakes were high.
Reputations could have been ruined.
Scandal hovered over us like a cloud.
Now the man I love is the President of the United States of America.
And its not my vote he is after.
He wants it all.
My heart. My body. My soul.
He wants me by his side.
In the White House.
Normalcy will be gone from my life, privacy forgotten.
I am only twenty three. I just wanted to play a part in history. But it seems like history wasn’t done with me. The part where I lost my heart to Matthew Hamilton? It was only the beginning…

My Thoughts

When all was taboo in the first book, the idea that Matt and Charlotte knew that if they were caught, everything that he was working towards would be for nothing, well life does go on.  And likely not in the way that anyone wanted.

She walked away – she had to.  Charlotte knew that the premise of Matt being the single President was something that the public liked – he made it a point to talk about the virtue of what he was and what he did and not needing a first lady, and she was willing to give up what she loved – who she loved so that he could live his dreams.  So that takes her on a trip to Europe where she was able to put distance between them.

That distance proves not to be enough when she comes back to DC for the inauguration, and their connection is as strong as ever.  Matt finds out which ball she’ll be at, and they seem to pick up right where they left off.  He offers her the chance to be his acting First Lady – a chance to move into the White house so they can be together, but still have the aura of nothing major going on since that would still ruin reputations.

That of course doesn’t last long – while Charlotte wants to make her mark as the first lady before any relationship details come out, it’s something that Matt can’t hide anymore.  The public loves them together – and that’s what matters.

So we go with them on their journey of how to balance their romance, make it real since it’s quite significant, while also watching how Matt struggles with not becoming the man that his father was to his family.  It’s sweet to see the level of growth that he has, and how he really does put life first even though he’s such a successful president.

There are other story lines going on too that makes this not just a romance story.  We see that Matt opens the book again on who killed his father, and is led to dead end after dead end. I kind of wish they had a different outcome, but i guess they got the closure that they needed.

Then there are the trials and tribulations of being a political couple, and having life just get in the way – and then of course it’s time for re-election.  So – all in all a nice and complete story in a 2 book series.  i hope you guys enjoy it!

Review: Mr President (White House Series #1) by Katy Evans

Title: Mr President
Author: Katy Evans
Publisher/Year:  CreateSpace Publishing 10/31/16
Length:   334 Pages
Series:  White House Series #1

Overview

He’s won the hearts of millions. But is he willing to lose his?

I met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a guy like him.

He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.

Two terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I’m determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.

Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one-and despite the risks, I’m helpless to resist.

We’re stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt’s chance at the presidency on the line.

Winning will take everything.
Walking away will be the hardest thing of all.

My Thoughts

This is what happens when i have a day off from work – i go searching for something to read and come across a series that i can’t put the book away – not because it’s so hot and steamy (although there are moments that are), the story is so sweet that you want to hope for a modern day miracle.

Matt and Charlotte met when she was 11 and his father was president and she’s had a crush on him ever since.  now that he’s running for president himself, she’s finding herself wrapped up in him again, working for him, and in love with him.  Of course, he’s now a politico, everything that she didn’t want to get into since her father was a Senator, and well, her heart wants what it wants.

This story takes us on a sweet story about this forbidden relationship, how they take too many risks to be safe, yet all they want to do is be together, until the final election, where we know that he’ll win and they can’t be together.

There are reporters who want dirt on him since he’s got none it seems, there are the 2 other candidates that want to tear him down to the public in the hopes of furthering their careers, there are families that don’t want distractions or scandal, and there’s the whole campaign staff that feels like something is up but not exactly.

Sprinkle in some of the hottest scenes ever – Matt is a man who knows what he wants and takes it from Charlotte, she’s never had a chance – well you can see the chemistry and tension between them is something incredible and real.  Cold shower area here!

When dreams have the potential to come true towards the end but it means that they have to give each other up, the question becomes, what will happen for Matt and what will happen for the couple?  There’s a cliff hanger at the end of this one, and i think that it will all leave you reeling.  enjoy!

Review: Dirty Money (Roughneck Billionaires #1) by Jessica Clare

Title: Dirty Money
Author: Jessica Clare
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 1/17/17
Length:   251 Pages
Series:  Roughneck Billionaires #1

Overview

Southern Texas heats up when four roughneck billionaires set their sights on love in the new series from New York Times bestselling author Jessica Clare.

Boone Price and his brothers know oil; at least, the dirty, backbreaking side of working an oil rig. But when their scrubby, worthless hunting land turns out to be sitting on top of one of the biggest oil wells in North America, they go from the rig to the boardroom and end up billionaires practically overnight.

Now with enough money to do whatever he wants, Boone is developing a taste for fine things. And the finest thing he’s ever seen is Ivy Smithfield, local realtor. Boone’s determined to win her affection and show the world that he’s more than just a dirty fool with a bit of money. Ivy’s classy and beautiful – she’ll make the perfect trophy wife. The fact that she’s sexy and funny is just a bonus.

There’s one tiny problem – Ivy’s as dirt poor as Boone was. Her carefully crafted veneer of luxury? All an act to promote her business. What’s Boone going to do when he finds out the woman he’s falling for is, well, in his league?

My Thoughts

Being a fan of the other series that Ms Clare has written, i was happy to stumble upon this one last night when i was looking for something to read.  Here we have another great example of how we have a family of brothers who are all so diverse from one another yet really quite the same, but we get to see how they figure out how to be happy in love and life.

This first installment and introduction to the series gives us a glimpse into the world of the oldest brother Boone.  Their father was killed in a rig accident when they were young, and Boone had to become somewhat of the authority figure for his younger brothers.  Figuring out how to make a living for them, and then striking it INCREDIBLY rich on the highest producing rig in the country – well we see how life can change really quickly.

Like we often see in these types of stories, what you see isn’t always what you get.  Boon is the kind of guy who does what he wants and how he wants it – but he truly just wants respect.  Because he’s not willing to conform, that respect is often out of his reach, and so through the direction of his brothers, he figures that maybe he needs to improve his image, clean himself up a bit and that would get him the respect in the business world that he deserves.

Enter Ivy – a realtor who Boone sees on a brochure, and by appearances is the classy woman that he needs, not only to find him a suitable house, but to be on his arm.  Little does he know that her life is far from ideal, and that’s the journey that we go on in this story.

Ivy has her own troubled past.  Her mom left, her dad is in jail, she’s living in a trailer trying to make enough money to give her younger sister the life that she never had.  It’s a struggle, and she’s in a job where she’s not respected at all, she’s just the low hanging fruit – the pretty girl who can’t ever do anything because her bosses suck.  So when Boone walks into her office, her life changes – both professionally and personally.

True to form of what we always see from Jessica Clare, we get a sweet story of a slow build to romance, but when it actually happens, it combusts.  It’s not easy and there’s so much that gets in the way, both in life and in secrets that you really have to wonder what’s going to come out first and what the damage will be.

It’s sweet and romantic all the same to see how Boone tries to woo her – makes me wish for that sometimes in my own relationship but oh well.  We also get to see some of the personalities of Boone’s brothers which will tease the coming installments which is also great.  I can’t wait to see how their stories go.  If they are as sweet, entertaining and hot/sexy as this one – then i think that we’ve got yet another great series on our hands.  Have a great day all!

Review: City Afairs: My Quest for Love by Seb King

Title: City Affairs
Author: Seb King
Publisher/Year:  Revival Media 5/17/17
Length:   201 Pages

Overview

An epic tale of heartbreak, despair, hope and second chances, inspired by a real life story. Felicité has a reasonably successful career, working in London’s Canary Wharf financial district; and is a faithful, doting wife. Her husband is an author and serial cheater. After catching him cheating for the umpteenth time, she sets him an ultimatum. Meanwhile, a dreamy mega-rich hedge fund manager has been showering her with attention. A chance encounter one lunchtime will have profound ramifications beyond her wildest imagination, catapulting her into a voyage of self-discovery.

As she struggles to make sense of everything, she is forced to confront her inner demons and grapple with the difference between fate and destiny. A strange confluence of circumstances conspires to present her with her greatest dilemma yet

My Thoughts

first off – thank you to the folks @Netgalley for getting me a copy of this book – definitely one that’s a bit different than what i’ve been reading lately even in the genre.   I’ll start off by saying that i’m a bit mixed about this one.  The story itself is a good one, but i feel like it’s a bit over written in places – where the vocabulary and the banter is more high brown than it needs to be, even when it’s used to make a point.

That being said – we have at the core a sweet story about our female lead Lissie who has found herself in yet another bad situation with her husband – someone that she’s been married to for 3 years, but has caught cheating 4 times already.  When she crosses paths with Pierre – the fiance of a friend, well sparks are flying and that in itself leads to so much confusion.

When they go off on a joint holiday, we see that things are getting even more interesting.  Lissie wants to call her husband out on his indiscretions and Pierre wants to find a way to spend more time with Lissie.  So we can all imagine what that means right?

Throughout the rest of this story – we see Lissie grow a pair – she gives her husband an ultimatum, and then try to sort out how she can be her own woman while being ‘alone’ doesn’t really suit her.  Her mind is taken up 24/7 by Pierre yet she won’t allow that to be something that comes into reality….until she does.

He’s persistent, and his Dom side really takes us to the next level on that.  That’s actually kind of where this story goes a bit awry to me too.  I feel like he’s definitely the alpha dom, but he doesn’t seem to have the compassion and the emotion that we typically see from Doms.  There’s usually more of a reciprocated connected, and he still seems like a playboy who wants to have his slave and the women fawning over him.

So from there we see Lissie’s friends question his motives, we see some powerful people voice their concerns and then we see the proverbial shit hit the fan when people dig too deep in places they should stay out of.  What that means for everyone involves, Lissie, Pierre, Anne (the fiance), Laura (the PA) and well just about everyone else, well – you’ll have to read to find out.  It’s not where you expect the story to go – that’s for sure.  Happy Sunday all!

ARC Review: Hard Cover by Jamie K Schmidt

Title: Hard Cover
Author: Jamie K Schmidt
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 11/21/17
Length:   232 Pages

Overview

He can read her like a book. But will he give her a happy ending?

Dawn: I’d do anything to keep my bookstore. It’s a safe place for all women, somewhere to let their freak flags fly. I call it sex-positive. The menfolk call it smut. That’s how I met Rory Parker, the local billionaire trying to shut me down on behalf of the “moral majority.” He walked in with an offer I couldn’t refuse . . . except I did. Now Rory wants to play dirty. Well, he picked the wrong bookseller. Let’s see how much support he still has after people get a load of the little movie I recorded of the two of us going at it like wild animals in my shop.

Rory: I could care less how Dawn Nolan makes her money. The only thing I care about is how much she’s making. Her bookstore isn’t the kind of upscale attraction my investors want in this sleepy little tourist trap, so it’s got to go. But when Dawn personally finds out how I treat bad girls who misbehave, she seems to enjoy it as much as I do. Now I just need to destroy the copies of that video she’s threatening to post—as soon as I stop watching it. The trouble is, when I’m with her, all I want to do is get started on the sequel.

My Thoughts

First off i need to thank the folks at NetGalley for getting me an ARC to read prior to November.  I love getting books early!

I usually have a big crash of emotions when i’m done with a book that’s not part of a series but that’s ok this time around since our author did a really good job of giving us a story that’s got legs and then wrapping it up well.

What’s interesting to me is the summary – it doesn’t really give us a true sense of what the story is by any means – just bits that kind of tie back to one scene or another, but i think that for me, it’s not always about the description that gets me hooked.

We have 2 leading characters who are not nearly as different as they appear to be, both of them having their own family stresses and life struggles, but when they are able to come together, well there’s something that’s really great that can come out of it.

Dawn and Rory knew each other in high school but never hung in the same crowd.  Dawn was always trying to be a bit of a rebel while Rory was living up to the expectations of his wealthy established family.  When their paths cross years later when Rory is trying to buy out the story that Dawn owns, you have to expect that it’ll get nuts.

From the get go – there’s clear chemistry between them – there’s no doubt that they are attracted to each other, but the question becomes then if it’s a one night stand type thing, or if there’s a possibility that real feelings can come together and then what will that mean since they both keep trying to fight it soo hard.

Add to that the fact that Dawn’s got issue with her family – they don’t approve of anything that she does (or do they and she’s just fighting it?).  Then there’s Rory – he’s always trying to prove his worth to his father and live the best life possible since his sister is in a coma because of a drug overdose.

So you can imagine how all that nonsense will lead to some really steamy scenes once these two let their guards down long enough.  And as expected in this genre – just when they think that things are finally going well, someone comes in between them, someone almost dies, and they are now split on opposite sides of the country.  Will they ever find a happy way to be together or was it just meant to be something short lived?  That’s what you’ll have to find out if you read it.  Great story overall though – so enjoy!

Review: Fallen Heir (The Royals #4) by Erin Watt

Title: Fallen Heir
Author: Erin Watt
Publisher/Year:  Pear Tree 8/13/17
Length:   338 Pages
Series:  The Royals #4

Overview

These Royals will ruin you.

Easton Royal has it all: looks, money, intelligence. His goal in life is to have as much fun as possible. He never thinks about the consequences because he doesn’t have to.

Until Hartley Wright appears, shaking up his easy life. She’s the one girl who’s said no, despite being attracted to him. Easton can’t figure her out and that makes her all the more irresistible.

Hartley doesn’t want him. She says he needs to grow up.

She might be right.

Rivals. Rules. Regrets. For the first time in Easton’s life, wearing a Royal crown isn’t enough. He’s about to learn that the higher you start, the harder you fall.

My Thoughts

I had forgotten about this series – and i don’t know how that happen aside from having read a ton of stuff in between.  The Royal family has had quite an interested year with the discovery of Ella and what her real father did to the Royals.  So we’ve gotten through a few bits of the family and now it’s time to see how things go for Easton – the middle child and the one who’s most like his deceased mother with her addiction issues as well as just having no real direction.

He’s not really challenged by anything at school anymore until Hartley comes into his view and well things get turned upside down.  She’s a girl who’s from a very well off family yet she’s living on her own – banished and she’s got secrets.  This story really is one of seeing how she comes out the other side from her demons and watching as Easton matures to be a friend and not just a flirt.

The story here is interesting since we only get hints for the bulk of it on what troubles Hartley and once they open up to each other, we see that it’s far worse than anyone knew.  When Easton tries to help, he makes it worse which leaves us at a really bad cliff hanger at the end.

Ms Watt gives us another really sweet YA story here – all about how you have to grow as a person, and build a foundation on trust and friendship before you can be more – and how if you have that strong base – when people threaten you, together you can be stronger.  We remember from the other stories that the girls at their school Astor are cutthroat.  They are only out to better their stature and that’s no rarity in this story either.  Hartley/Easton and even Ella are up against someone who’s out for blood and hopefully together they will come out on top.  Hopefully when the ending says that we get another book in 2018 that it means early 2018 since i’d rather not wait a year for another installment.  Enjoy!

Review: Wicked Dirty (Stark World #2) by J Kenner

Title: Wicked Dirty
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Ever After Romance 9/19/17
Length:   300 Pages
Series:  Stark World #2

Overview

Sometimes bad isn’t good enough…

On the outside, Lyle Tarpin is a clean-cut Hollywood actor whose star is on the rise. Inside, he’s battling his own demons, shunning relationships and finding solace in the arms of a string of anonymous women paid very well for their discretion.

But when he’s photographed in a compromising position by an over-eager reporter, the only way to save his career is to say that the woman he was with is his fiancée. And now Lyle has to play a very public game with the only woman who’s ever managed to get under his skin.

Struggling waitress Sugar Laine agrees to spend one night with Lyle—but only because she’s desperate to save her family home. She never expects that a night of passion will turn into a pretend engagement … or that the heat between them will blossom into love.

But sometimes love has a price.

And now the only question is—can Lyle and Sugar afford to pay it?

My Thoughts

One of the great things that Ms Kenner does is continue to create amazing stories to keep this world alive.  Each time we meet a new character in another book, we know that we’re going to get something beyond amazing when it’s time for their own story to come out.  Now it’s time for Golden Boy Lyle to shine.

There’s such a sweet undertone in this installment.  There’s so much under the surface with Lyle that we never knew before, that when we start to uncover why he is so elusive and why he makes the unattached choices that he does – well it all comes into place.

Then of course our leading lady is a bit damaged as well and we get to see how that meshes with Lyle.  Sugar has her own struggles – her mother and brother were killed leaving her to some how pick up the pieces of their home so she doesn’t lose everything.  It’s a chance opportunity that turns in to so much more that brings our story together.

A theme that pulls through just about every J Kenner story is that there are secrets that you know you can’t keep from the world and they will come out when you least expect it.  often shared by someone who has revenge or jealousy at the core.  That’s exactly what comes to play in this story, and it’s how the mains handle it that really shapes where the story closes.

The other nice thing here is that chemistry is definitely off the charts, but like the other story in this series as well as the others in the main series, sex isn’t the necessity on every other pages.  the way that the heat and romance and passion is written in, well it makes it that much more powerful and i think that when we get to the steamy scenes, well they are beyond hot.

So all in all you can tell that i really enjoyed this one.  I can’t wait to see how book 3 turns out since we finally get to learn more about the haunting ghosts of Noah – since there are quite a few.  On that note – have a great night all!

Review: The Billionaires: Bosses (Lover’s Triangle #2) by Calista Fox

Title: The Billionaires: Bosses
Author: Calista Fox
Publisher/Year:  St Martin’s Press 9/05/17
Length:   320 Pages
Series:  Lover’s Triangle #2

Overview

What do you do when you have not just one hot boss, but two? And they both want you?

What will it take to make her theirs?

Bayli Styles leaves California wine country behind for the bright lights of New York City, in search of fame and fortune. However, fame and fortune are a little further out of reach than she had hoped, so to supplement her meager modeling income, she seeks a hostess position at Manhattan’s hottest new venue, owned by billionaires Rory St. James and Christian Davila. Bayli gets much more than she bargained for when both devastatingly handsome and magnetic men make her blood sizzle…and offer her the guiltiest of all pleasures—themselves.

Bayli is the perfect solution to the two problems currently plaguing entrepreneurs Rory and Christian, professionally and sexually. She’d make the ultimate “face” for their current joint venture, but both men are thinking beyond business and waste no time seducing Bayli into their brand of double pleasure. In the end, the threesome will put it all on the line—their bodies, their hearts, their souls—either destined for failure, or for the redefinition of true love.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the first story in this series – seeing how things could ultimately work out for Jewel and her two guys Rogen and Vin.  Gave us a great foundation to get into this amazing story with Bayli, although what’s the real likelihood that within a group of friends, multiple girls would find themselves in menages.  But oh well, that’s all the suspension of disbelief in reading right?

So to that point, we have a really great set of mains in this story -Bayli, a girl who gave everything to take care of her mother, and now that her mother has passed, she’s trying to take life by the horns and make a name for herself.  She’s destined for greatness and just needs to figure out how to get there.  Enter Rory and Christian.  Hopefully the answer to her prayers for a bit when she tries to land a hostess job at their new restaurant.  A place where she feels like she’ll be seen by the right folks to catapult her career.  Only she doesn’t land the job – she lands herself on the floor after Rory knocks into her.

Where we go from there is an expected path but one that’s so hot and interesting that it keeps me reading fast and furious.  Both Christian and Rory are taken with Bayli – not just by her looks but from the spark that she has inside – she’s intelligent, commanding and she’s not afraid of them.  The exact woman that they both need (cause they share of course).

The journey from here is one where they try to figure out how they can be together without compromising this top secret project that they’re trying to get off the ground.  A project that will give Bayli the exposure that she’s craving to make a name for herself.  There’s a lot of tension as to what they need to do to be successful and what that looks like.  There’s also a concern around fan bases for the two eligible bachelors since once word gets out that they’re linked to Bayli, then there will be fans with hearts broken everywhere.

That leads us to the point of tension in the story.  Bayli has had stalkers in the past and it seems as though one of the more terrifying ones is back – going after her with passion.  Well, we know that the guys will rally around her, and of course when they find that it’s not the same stalker who’s trying to do real damage to her, the story takes a turn that’s yet another turn in their path for them to be successful or not.

It’s a sweet story and Ms Fox has been able to craft this plot line in a way that’s unique from book 1 but still has a lot of the same values and context that made book 1 great.  We also continue to get to see how the relationships between the three girlfriends makes it that much more solid.  That’s what carries us through and will obviously give us something great for book 3 with Scarlet.  I can’t wait to see that one soon.  Enjoy!

Review: Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Group 9/12/17
Length:   305 Pages
Series:  Warcross #1

Overview

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.

My Thoughts

I don’t know how our author does it – yet another amazingly different series – with a basis in something htat doesn’t even resemble the other series.  It’s such a great next step.

The world that we’re in now is one in the future where virtual reality is a way to escape life and it’s a necessary thing for Emi who’s now 18, alone in the world (her father died and her mother left years ago) and she’s in so much debt that she doesn’t know what’s going to happen next.  As a bounty hunter, that’s her way to make some money since she can’t quite get a job after a hacking situation that got her arrested years ago.  That same hacking is what’s about to save her life.

Warcross is the biggest thing in the world – a game that you can go pro playing and there’s a world championship each year where you can see the best of the best play in a team situation.  Emi hacks into the game just to get a high value power-up that she can sell on the black market and ends up hacking into the game itself – causing all sorts of problems.  In doing that, her life changes forever.

Her identity which she had worked so hard to keep secret is revealed to the whole world, she’s not in the press, and she gets a call from Hideo Tanaka – the creator of the game  – which she fears means her life is over.  Quite the opposite.

Hideo is an interesting character – 18, has demons and ghosts of his own, but the most successful man in the world through the development of his neurlink glasses which allow players to play the game and even see the entire world in VR.  Its intense to think about actually.  He brings Emi to Tokoyo becuase he needs her help and her ability to hack into the game shows that maybe she’s the one who can do it.

There’s someone called ‘Zero’ who’s been hacking into the game and collecting data, and Hideo needs to stop him since he doesn’t know what the end game is.  He hires Emi as a hacking bounty hunter of sorts (along with some others) who he will put into the tournament in the hopes that they can figure out who Zero is.

Through the tournament, we get to meet a lot of characters that make the story so much better.  Emi is put on the Pheonix’s – a team made up of 3 experienced players and 2 wild cards – herself and DJ Ren.  (a well known DJ).  We start to see how close the friendships are with the players and how that really keeps things going.  especially with the competitive nature of all the other teams.

Where this story goes is an interesting journey.  We don’t know who to trust – and we don’t know who’s on what side.  The friendships that grow are great and the secrets that live within Emi tear them apart.  We see an interesting romance begin and it’s something that you really root for since it humanizes a few people, but of course there’s a lot at stake for that relationship to continue.

When we learn the identity of Zero (through a glitch) (mind you i kind of figured this one out earlier on).  we see that what we thought we knew of the hack is something completely different.  The world at the end of the book is nothing like it was when we started and it’s now up to a few to change the course of actions already set in motion in the hopes of saving everyone on the world.

I’m so bummed that book 2 isn’t out already because this was really amazing to read – especially from Marie Lu – but i’ll be patient.  Enjoy!