My WARCROSS Team + Giveaway

Are you excited about Marie Lu’s upcoming book, Warcross? I have read an early version of the book and let me tell you- it is AWESOME. I can’t wait for it to release because I just know the hardcover will look amazing! Today I’m sharing who I’d want on my Warcross team..but first about the book.

29385546Warcross
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Adults

Check out this AMAZING site for WARCROSS

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 players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing 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.

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A Warcross team is made up of five members- Team Captain, Architect, Thief, Shield and Fighter. If I were playing Warcross this is who I’d want on my team.

Team Captain-

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows– he is a total bad-*** and I just know he’d be able to create a plan for our team that would have us in the lead. He has pulled off so many heists Warcross would be a breeze.

Architect-

Sherlock Holmes- His Mind Palace would come in handy wouldn’t it?

Thief-

Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows– Inej is incredible at plotting and seeing from all angles ….plus, she’s a ninja.

Shield-

Malyen Orestev from Shadow and Bone– ok, he’s a tracker but I think he’d be an incredible shield for my team.

Fighter-

Diana from Wonder Woman: Warbringer– um, enough said.

Oh wait! I didn’t put myself on the team, lolol. I honestly have NO clue what role I’d be any good at. I’ll go and take pics -how does that sound? Who would you want on your Warcross team??

Pre-order Campaign

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Be sure to check out the WARCROSS pre-order info here

Giveaway

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GIVEAWAY LEGAL:

Enter for a chance to be one (1) of five (5) grand prize winners of a WARCROSS Galley set (including galley, shirt, keychain, and postcard) or to be one (1) of ten (10) second place prize winners of a WARCROSS Galley (ARV: $0.00 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on July 31th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on August 28, 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 August 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Blog Tour- Review and Giveaway for Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

geminaGemina (The Illuminae Files #2)
By: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff and Illustrated by Marie Lu
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Friend

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

My Thoughts:
Last year Illuminae BLEW ME AWAY. I wondered- could this companion ever compare? The answer is YES. Gemina was incredible- we get all new characters this round (though the ones we love do appear) and a new story line. I will say that, because of the character switch, I struggled a teeny tiny bit just getting used to the new voices. It’s like when there is a new Doctor in Doctor Who– I sort of mourn that I’m not seeing the old characters. But it didn’t take long before I was wrapped up in this story.

I really think that Kaufman and Kristoff work magic creating these books- I have no clue how their minds come up with this stuff but it is incredible. It has the feel of old science fiction but it brings it up to our day and age and gah- it’s just perfect really. I’m amazed that with the format being as it is (transcripts, emails, surveillance video, etc) the reader still connects deeply to the characters. It really says so much about the talent of the writers to accomplish this. Beyond that Gemina is HUGE- yet- it is such a fast paced read you’ll actually wish it were longer.

The characters- especially Hanna- were badass. She might be pampered but no one will keep this girl down. She was fierce and a force to reckon with and that she was never a push over. Nik I had a little bit more trouble really getting a connection with but once I did I fell in love with him. His chemistry with Hanna was perfection.

There are some really great and complex side characters-my favorite being Nik’s cousin Ella. She brought humor to the story and was just such a great character. I think her relationship to Nik really helped me get his character.

Gemina was action packed and there were many twists I didn’t see coming. The big bad in this one wasn’t a virus but an alien. I will admit- the virus idea scares me more but these aliens were NASTY. I wouldn’t ever want to encounter one. The descriptions were spine tingly and really vivid (for better or worse).

As I mentioned before the story was presented in transcripts, emails and the like. I really love this technique and I feel it works so well for these books. I love seeing the story unfold through all these methods and it give the story a great dimension.

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Final Thoughts:
You really need to read these books to get a feel for how amazing they are. Any details I can give will just take away from the excitement of the reading experience. Go get these books!

Giveaway

This giveaway is provided by Penguin so is US only.

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Review of The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

themidnightstarThe Midnight Star
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 11th 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina’s story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.

My Thoughts:
I have been such a fan of The Young Elites series. Each book has improved upon the prior to me and the characters never cease to capture my heart and interest. I was so eager to see how Lu would finish this story and what fate Adelina would have.

I didn’t have the time to reread the prior books so I had to rely on my memory and the first few chapters to help remind me of where the story left off. It didn’t take long for me to be right back into the midst of things. I will admit that at first I thought the pacing was a bit on the slower side and I was struggling just a tiny bit. I believe this was mostly due to my not rereading the prior books again but I did start to worry that this book wouldn’t be as amazing as I hoped.

Thankfully, not too far along things picked up for me and I was completely immersed. The entire plot of these books- where each of the characters has such evil inside especially the main character. I loved watching Adelina degrade into her visions and mind. Her power slowly sucked out her humanity and left a paranoid shell behind. I found her journey to be so mesmerizing and well done. Her relationships to those around her helped to allow the reader to see the difference between what the voiced in Adelina’s head were saying versus what could possibly be the real reality of her world.

Lu didn’t hesitate to really hit the reader where it hurt and put her characters through trials that were really tense and heart breaking. I loved how she never hesitated to take the story just that little bit darker. I felt that this finale was everything I had wanted in the series and the final conclusion was so well done.

themidnightstarig

Final Thoughts:
Of course this review of The Midnight Star has got to be vague since it’s the series final. I never feel that I can give an incredibly detailed look at the book or reading journey because it’ll spoil things. Just know- if you are a fan of Lu and the series you must read this one.

Review of The Rose Society by Marie Lu

TheRoseSocietyThe Rose Society
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 13th 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young
Format: Print ARC
Source: wonderful friend

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed the first book, The Young Elites but I think on a whole I enjoyed this novel more. I loved how dark it was and how Lu so eloquently wrote Adelina losing her grip and control. I flippantly say, “I love villains” but reading Adelina’s decline into the darker areas of her power was actually heart wrenching and difficult! I found myself hoping for her to fail more often than not. This was a very unique experience for me since typically I’m rooting for the main characters.

Though overall I loved this book the pacing did feel a tad uneven for me. There were areas (mostly in the beginning) that dragged the smallest bit but this could have been a mood thing for me. The mid- to end were breathtaking and gripping.

I think the biggest highlight of this series has been watching Adelina become the White Wolf. Her powers feed on hate and terror and so Adelina learns to love taking these emotions from others. Her subtle decline and loss of control were equal parts exciting and disturbing. There was what could be considered to some a slight love triangle. I hesitate to call it this though since it was rather complicated.

The novel was written from Adelina’s point of view and also a few chapters focused on another character (Raffaele, Teren and Mauve specifically). I think this approach worked well in regards to the story telling but it did throw me off a bit because of the change of point of view from first to third. This felt a tad awkward for me.

Since Adelina was on a journey to find new Elites this novel introduced a few new characters. I felt that they weren’t overly developed but what we did see was well done and added to the story well. I hope we learn a bit more about each of these new characters in the following book.

Final Thoughts:
I have really enjoyed this series thus far and felt that The Rose Society was a wonderful addition. I loved (though it was painful) reading of Adelina’s growth in her powers and loss of those things that kept her from delving into the darkness. I can’t wait for the next book.

Review of The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)The Young Elites
By: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Putnam Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Won from The Midnight Garden

My Rating:
star

Summary:
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

The Story:
This book was awash in darkness and hurt. Go into this one expecting a story full of action and characters that reside fully in the grey. There are no good or bad characters- everyone was squarely in the middle. I have only read the first book in the Legend series (though I own them all, thank you Stephanie!) and yet I was ecstatic about The Young Elites because of that amazing summary. I was beyond thrilled when I won a copy in a giveaway. This book did not disappoint.

Lu’s writing was incredibly easy to get immersed in and I was eager to learn more about the world she created. A horrible fever swept through the land killing many and marking the survivors with physical abnormalities and varying skills. I thought that the idea of an illness scarring its victims as well as ‘gifting’ them with powers was a wonderful concept. I loved that it was as much a curse as a gift and the details Lu gave into the powers and where they derived from. We get just enough details to give the powers credibility and interest but I can’t help but be excited to see even more about them in the next books.

The book set a moderate pace with areas of action as well as flash backs to the main character’s past. I thought these were perfectly done and gave me insight into her character and the world. I really enjoyed the scenes focusing on Adelina’s training and her honing her skill of illusion. They were written clearly and were very easy to picture how her magic worked. That says a lot because it would have been very easy for her illusion ability to become very confusing in a less skilled author’s hands.

The Characters:
To me, the characters were the strongest element in The Young Elites. I found Lu’s main character, Adelina, to be so damaged though relatable. She had lived through so much at an early age which gave her a darkness but also a strength that really made reading about her a pleasure. I loved that she struggled with her inner darkness. I felt that this gave her the potential to grow and develop. I loved her progression through this first book but I’m most excited to see what happens next.

Enzo was swoon-worthy with a side of tension. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure of his motivations in the beginning. I thought that Lu’s representation of an elite group of teens with abnormalities was right on and intensely compelling. The fact that she made their ‘gifts’ derive from a life threatening illness was timely as well as unique. Because each character was affected differently it created an intriguing secondary cast.

Final Thoughts:
I think Marie Lu has created a surprisingly unique storyline and characters based on a somewhat typical trope (teens with remarkable powers) I felt that this novel was incredibly strong and was delightfully dark. The way Lu ended this novel gives me utmost confidence that this series will be amazing.