Book Blast: Game Changer

Welcome to the Game Changer Book Blast, hosted by I Am A Reader!~

Title: Game Changer
Author: Charissa Stastny
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 5, 2017
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Meridee Mansford wants nothing to do with the popular crowd. She’s comfortable being invisible. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the hunky football player who visits the campus ice cream shop where she works. Still, she’s smart enough to know he’d never notice a girl like her, and she’d never want him even if he did. Too much unwelcome attention.
Parker Harrington basks in the glory that’s been his since the game-changing passes he caught that pushed his team into the national spotlight. Sticky Fingers is his media moniker now, and the cheerleaders who used to ignore him when he sat the bench have become his most devoted fans. But when he accidentally crashes into a quiet coed and covers her in orange chicken, it throws off his offensive game.
As fate, ice cream, and orange chicken throw the opposites together, will Parker continue keeping company with women he knows are only using him for his fame, or will he change up the game and risk his heart on a genuine girl who despises the attention he craves?

Buy Link:
Amazon

Praise for the Book:

“A fun and flirty new adult romance. It’s a sweet indulgence that keeps you turning pages. The start to what is sure to be a great new series. – Jennifer Peel, author of Pianos and Promises series

“Opposites attract when the overlooked sweet girl lands herself the popular football star in this quasi-Cinderella story. It’s the perfect read to keep you up way past your bedtime…”Taylor Dean, author of Chasing Fireflies

Book Trailer:

Excerpt:

Parker waggled his brows at me. “I’m waiting.” When I glared, he leaned over to whisper. “Call your man, or I’ll know you’re lying and be by to pick you up tomorrow night for our date. Tara told me where you live.” His blue eyes crinkled at the corners.
Tara had what? I folded my arms. No way would I let him ruin my first date in over three years. “Fine. I’ll call him.”
He raised an infuriating brow. “Thanks, Mare. I can’t wait to meet your soul-mate.”
“It’s Meridee.” I stomped into the break room and sent Danny out to handle the teenage rush with Bryce. <em>Soul-mate.</em> What a moron.
Pulling out my phone, I hit speed dial. On the third ring, my big brother answered.
“What’s up, Mare?”
“Thanks for answering.” I released the breath I’d been holding. “I need a huge favor.”
“Name it, sis. You know I’m here for you.”
I frowned at the pity I detected in his voice. But pride had no place at the moment, not with Parker Harrington waiting in the shop. “There’s this guy bothering me at work. Stalking me.” If he suspected danger, Mark would rush right over to save me. “Can you come to the shop and pretend to be my fiancé so he’ll leave me alone?”
“Ew. You’re my sister.”
“It’d only be for pretend. Please? I need your help, Mark.”
“You don’t expect me to hold hands or kiss you, do you?”
“Oh, shut up. Just get over here and let me introduce you to him. He doesn’t believe I have a boyfriend.”
“You don’t.”
I gnashed my teeth. “I know. That’s why I need your help.”

Buy Link:
Amazon

About the Author:

Charissa Stastny is an avid reader, happy writer, wasp-hater, iris-lover, and food connoisseur (especially sushi and chocolate, but not together). She was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children that make her smile and laugh all the time. She called Idaho her home for years, but has recently moved to Utah, where she was thrilled to discover dozens of flavors of hot chocolate to keep her happy in the winter. The cherry one might be her favorite (this week). She is the author of five books and ‘imagine-eer’ of many more.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Blog

Giveaway:

Enter to win a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card OR $100 of Paypal Cash!

Ends 11/5/17

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

To enter, click on the image below!

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Book Blitz: Just Friends

Welcome to the Just Friends Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Title: Just Friends [The Agency #1]
Author: Elizabeth Grey
Genre: Adult Comedy Romance
Publication Date: September 15th 2017
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Why did her heart have to choose him?

Violet Archer has her dream job at one of London’s top advertising agencies, and the fact she gets to work with Ethan Fraser every day makes it even better. He’s the best friend a girl could have. And she’s never even noticed how hot he is. Nope. Definitely not.

When a big night out deteriorates into a great big mess, Violet’s world starts to wobble like a drunk giraffe on stilts. She’s caught in a web of secrets, none of which are hers. And maybe she is starting to notice how hot Ethan is, after all. And sweet and kind and… oh dear.

Has Violet fallen for her best friend? Can their friendship survive yet another secret? And, the question Violet is most scared to ask, could Ethan have feelings for her too?

This raunchy, hilarious rom-com is the first in The Agency series by Elizabeth Grey.

Buy Link:
Amazon

Buy Link:
Amazon

About the Author:

Elizabeth Grey spent a sizable chunk of her childhood in North East England locked away in her bedroom creating characters and writing stories. Isn’t that how all writers start?

Following a five year university education that combined such wide-ranging subjects as fine art, administration, law, economics, graphic design and French, Elizabeth entered the business world as a marketing assistant before moving into operations management.

Marrying Chris in 2007, Elizabeth now has three young children and runs a small, seasonal business selling imported European children’s toys and goods – www.tildaandtom.co.uk. During her time as a stay-at-home mum, Elizabeth rekindled her love of writing and thinks herself lucky every day that she is now able to write full time.

When not working, Elizabeth finds herself immersed in her kids’ hobbies and has acquired an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter (thanks to the big boy), Star Wars (thanks to the little boy) and Barbie (thanks to her daughter). She loves European road-trips, binge-watching Netflix series and doing whatever she can to fight for a nicer world.

She’s been told she never loses an argument.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Blitz-Wide Giveaway:

Enter to win a sign copy of Just Friends! Open internationally.

 

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Game Review: Tooth and Tail

Title: Tooth and Tail
Developer: Pocketwatch Games
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Website

Synopsis:

Lead the revolution with an army of flamethrowing Boars, mustard gas-lobbing Skunks, and paratrooper-puking Owls. Tooth and Tail is a Real-Time-Strategy game featuring Single Player, Online Competitive Play, Split Screen, Replays, and more.

Build a base, lead your army, eat your enemies!

The War for Meat

The Longcoats, the Commonfolk, the KSR, and the Civilized are in the midst of a Civil War over who gets to eat, and who has to be the meat. A darkly humorous tale of riots and revolution is told through an extensive Single Player campaign.

Review:

When I first saw the images for Tooth and Tail, the first thought that came to my mind was Redwall. However, the more I played it the more I realized it shared more similarities with Animal Farm than it did with Redwall. Whereas Redwall was run by mostly innocent animals living in peace, Tooth and Tail chronicles several different animal factions as they war over the dwindling food supply. The twist here is that animals have recently taken to eating meat, and consider eating vegetables to be beneath them. The losers of this war will be eaten by the victors, and the animals are fighting to not starve to death. Adding to the Animal Farm similarities are the appearances of a Tsarina, secret police, and the constant references to a revolution. These dark plot points are balanced out by moments of levity which ensure that the game is never too morbid. Having said that, this game is most certainly not for animal lovers.

In-game screenshot.

In the game, you take control of the four different factions: the Longcoats, the Civilized, the KSR, and the Commonfolk. Each faction has unique missions, and their stories all intertwine. The Civilized are the ruling class who deemed the Commonfolk lowly enough to consume. Then there’s the Longcoats, another faction, which revolts under the Civilized rule, and the KSR, also known as the secret police. Unlike other strategy games, you only control one character- the commander. As the commander, you’re able to rally troops and direct them to attack specific enemies. By only allowing you control over one character, Tooth and Tail simplifies the strategy experience so that you don’t have to worry about micromanaging your entire army. Moreover, Tooth and Tail only has one objective: destroy the opposition’s farms to win. Through streamlining the experience, Tooth and Tail is incredibly easy to pickup and learn, yet difficult to master. Matches tend to only be around 10 minutes each, making the game perfect for quick sessions. Further, between mission, you have the opportunity to return to home base and interact with your army and start new missions. Through these interactions, you’ll gain a sense of the larger picture and the different opinions within each faction.

In-game screenshot.

The graphics in Tooth and Tail are simple but very informative. Each faction has a distinct colour to make them easily distinguishable from the others. Specific types of units are matched up to specific animals: ferrets are infantry, birds are air units, snakes are artillery, etc. This is a clever use of the animal motif that also helps the player easily identify the different units in a crowded battle. Another positive side effect of the simple art style is that the game runs smoothly on most computers, even older laptops. The settings are limited, but only in the sense that you should be able to hop into the game without adjusting anything. There weren’t any noticeable bugs, and the game ran without any issues.

In-game screenshot.

Tooth and Tail’s dedication to simplicity means that the amount of tactical options in engagements are limited, with strategy mostly restricted to what type of units to use. Because you control the leader, all you can really do is order units to charge in and fight. Another issue I had was the length of the campaign. I was hoping that Tooth and Tail would have a longer campaign to explore all the different factions and flesh out (no pun intended) the setting and the story. I was a huge fan of Pocketwatch Games’ last title Monaco, a cooperative heist game, and that contained a massive campaign filled with memorable twists and turns that this game doesn’t quite reach. Lastly, there is no option to play the campaign cooperatively, which was a slight disappointment given Monaco’s large emphasis on cooperative gameplay. However, this is understandable given that the games are completely different genres.

In-game screenshot.

All in all, I would recommend Tooth and Tail to anyone who is interested in strategy games but is not a fan of complex controls or micromanagement. The streamlined approach and intriguing story kept me hooked, while the multiplayer gives the game replayability. Here’s hoping this game leads to an actual Redwall game in the future!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Graphics: 4/5
UX: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

Steam Code obtained via Pocketwatch Games in exchange for an honest review.

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Giveaway: Without Merit (OR Book of Your Choice)

Because I feel like we need more good things and deeds in the world, I’ve decided to give away 3 copies of Without Merit by @colleenhoover! (YES, that means 3 winners!) This is one of my most anticipated reads this year so I want to share it with everyone.
🍁
(Note: If you win and want a different book, I’d be happy to give that to you instead, as long as it’s of relatively similar value.)
🍁
How to enter:
1. Like and comment on this post with something that makes you happy (+1 entry)
2. BONUS ENTRY: Comment with a (credible) charity that you support (Up to 3 times, separate comments). 1 extra entry if the charity is related to hurricane relief or the recent shooting in Las Vegas. (Up to +6 entries)
3. BONUS ENTRY: DM me with proof of a recent (within the past two weeks) donation. (+10 entries)
4. BONUS ENTRY: Share this post on any social media platform and comment with the link (+1 entry)
🍁
Rules:
-Must be 18+ (or have parent/guardian permission to enter)
-Must be following me (on any of my channels)
-Book Depository must ship to you.
🍁
Giveaway ends Oct 13, 2017 at 11:59PM EST.
🍁
This giveaway is not associated with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress in any way.

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Review: Zero Repeat Forever

Title: Zero Repeat Forever
Author: G.S. Prendergast
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Science Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival depends on trusting each other…

Review:

When they advertised this book as being similar to the 5th Wave and Beauty and the Beast, I jumped on the chance to read it and I wasn’t disappointed! Also, that cover is so beautiful.

The beginning of the story was maybe a little too similar to 5th Wave. We have a girl who’s fighting for her life, who’s injured by an alien. Then we have Eighth who wants to help her. However, where 5th Wave was a lot of action and romance, this book was smack full of character development. Right from the beginning we have the dual perspectives of Raven and Eighth, and we immediately get into their heads. There’s so many more layers to this story.

Unfortunately, the pacing was off for me. The first half of the book was a little slow and I couldn’t get that into. Yes, the story was interesting, and the characters were set up well, but there just wasn’t anything that captured me in the first half. I found myself more invested in just finishing the book than actually reading it – I checked how many pages were left to the book a lot of times during this half.

However, come the second half I was enthralled. This is where the Beauty and the Beast aspect comes in. All that character development and world building came to fruition and I was enamoured with the story. I cried, I laughed, I got to the end and groaned in absolute frustration that I need to wait for the sequel. I got swept away by the story and the characters and I loved it.

Was it a little predictable, sure, but I was surprised where the book ended off. Can I see where the story might be going? I have my theories, but I’m willing to read the second book because the characters have completely captured my heart.

Also, the meaning behind the book’s title got me – like my heart just could not handle it. This book was well thought out, well written, and well developed. I am so looking forward to the sequel!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Pacing: 3/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.97/5

eBook obtained via Simon and Schuster Canada via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Fantasy Romance
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Review:

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT… I didn’t like it. At this point, I’ve read up until ACOWAR and I still didn’t like it…

Let’s start with the writing. Chapter 1 – we get it, it’s winter. Not only does Maas have the description of the crunching snow, how hungry Feyre is, and how cold she is, it is stated that it is winter, explicitly, three to four times. This was my first impression of the book and I wasn’t impressed to be honest.

Then there’s the story – comparing it to Beauty and the Beast is like comparing my foot to my dog’s foot. Yeah, sure they both have the same functionalities, and maybe some of the bone structure is the same (idk anatomy, so I can’t tell you how accurate that is), but at the end of the day if you swap ’em neither of us will be content. It’s the same thing here. Sure – there’s the father disappearing and the girl taken away by these supposedly dangerous creatures who are kind of cursed (honestly, there are worse things that can happen…), but that’s where the comparison ends really.

Now that we’re on the fae… Tamlin… oh Tamlin. There’s grass more interesting than Tamlin. He’s just there. Being silent and grumpy, and I can’t find anything to love about him. He’s an alright fellow if you like boring guys, but there’s not much there for ya. Lucien was more interesting to me than Tamlin. Her maidservant… Alice? I think her name was…. is also more interesting than Tamlin…

Side bar comment – HER SISTERS ARE SO ANNOYING LIKE HOLY. NOPE. (They get better, but ugh.)

That being said then, how on earth does Feyre come to love him? It’s so forced that I just could not deal with their romance and what triggers the latter section of the book.

On that note, I’ll tell you now that you’ll need to get through about two thirds of the novel to get anywhere with this book. Even Rhysand didn’t save this for me, but he’s a lot more entertaining than Tamlin. In the end, his character’s presence in the next two books is the only thing that kept me reading this series, but even then I can’t say I loved the other two book either…

I’d say this series is just over-hyped. There’s no other way to describe it. Like you have to love it ’cause everyone else does, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t even just me. My roommate and my sister tried reading this book and they were both left wondering how it was as popular as it is… We’ll see what else she has in store, but I can’t say I’m quite sold on the Maas hype.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Pacing; 1/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.28/5

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Game Review: Tacoma

Title: Tacoma
Developer: The Fullbright Company
Release Date: August 2, 2017
Website

Synopsis:

Tacoma is a narrative adventure set aboard a high-tech space station in the year 2088. As you go about your mission, you’ll explore every detail of how the station’s crew lived and worked, finding the clues that add up to a gripping story of trust, fear, and resolve in the face of disaster.

At the heart of Tacoma is the facility’s digital surveillance system, which has captured 3D recordings of pivotal moments in the crew’s life on the station. As you explore, echoes of these captured moments surround you. You’ll use your ability to rewind, fast-forward, and move through the physical space of these complex, interwoven scenes to examine events from every angle, reconstructing the multi-layered narrative as you explore.

Tacoma is the next game from the creators of Gone Home, and carries on that tradition of detailed, immersive, and powerful storytelling, while pulling players deeper into the narrative than ever before.

Review:

As we’ve established previously, I’m not a game person. I’m simply a booknerd on a quest to find stories in other places. And I’ll tell you this now, Tacoma has one hell of a story. I’ve had brilliant experiences with multi-perspective books, and I was curious to see how Fullbright handled multiple perspectives in Tacoma.

20170922183753_1

In-game screenshot.

As you play from the perspective of Amy Ferrier, you get to explore the space station Tacoma which was recently abandoned by its crew. Scattered throughout the ship are augmented reality (AR) videos that take you through the crew’s story. These videos were recorded anywhere from 8 months to 16 hours ago, and you use them to dive into the lives the characters.

I loved the way that the story was presented here. You have what has already happened to the original crew, and then what your character sees. The story takes on this multiple perspective lens where you observe AR versions of the crew members running around, performing tasks, and having conversations. The AR medium allows you to sit in on conversations, rewind, and then follow different characters as they move through the ship and interact with one another. It’s like a third-person story following the lives of five different characters, but you get to see them move, react, and live. Honestly, by the end of it, I was so invested in all of their lives that I was sad to be done with the game and to have completed the story. However, just like books can be reread, games can be replayed. Now I’m aiming to get all the achievements!

Screenshot provided by Fullbright.

Something I appreciated about this game is that the characters were very diverse. It wasn’t just their racial backgrounds, though people of colour were certainly represented, but also the fact that they had people of different sexual orientations, body types, and believable personalities. Each character was very distinct when compared to the others and that really fed into the character and story development. Further, as you dive into their lives, you get to see snippets of who and what they left behind on Earth. In time, you also get to hear them talk to their families, converse with Odin, and read through their emails and text chats. This investigative aspect made me a lot more invested in the characters, their lives, and what happened to them.

In-game screenshot.

Another fun little detail is how languages are translated. Throughout the ship there are items with various languages written on them. As you go through, most of them will automatically be translated for you – but you do have the option to turn it off. The packaging for some of these things were really detailed and well thought out.

In-game screenshot.

Off to the technical aspects, and I have to say that the interface was pretty straightforward and easy to understand. I wasn’t sure what to do when presented with the first video (icons pop up on the video bar), but I figured out that it was a signal that something important occurred for a different character who may not be in the same place. As noted earlier, this aspect drives you to seek out the other characters and see what is happening with them. Sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes you need to examine the environment in order to find a pass code to the door. It’s really quite addicting.

On the topic of details, I appreciated the different books featured in the game and the literary references made throughout the game. There’s some Sylvia Plath, Shakespeare, and much more. I think the funniest part is that even in a space station classic literature is being read. Bet Shakespeare never anticipated his works would get all the way out there!

In-game screenshot.

Finally, the art. This game is visually detailed and realistic while still being slightly stylized. As you can see, each character shines brightly with their unique colours, but the scenery is also something to be admired. As you explore, the environment is just as important as the people and the videos, and it’s extremely detailed and riddled with secrets and answers. Additionally, the environment often blends with the music, setting the atmosphere for the AR videos and that specific area of the ship. To be honest, my base mood throughout the game was mildly fearful – I mean you’re walking through an abandoned ship, it’s bound to be a little creepy. But it was so amazing exploring the world and the lives of these characters that I couldn’t stop playing.

Concept & key art by Rebecca Mock

This game was like a story you walked through. Maybe it won’t be as interesting to people who prefer action games, but it was amazingly fascinating and new to someone like me who tends to prefer flipping through the pages of a book. The story and the characters were extremely well developed given the short timeline that you, the player, are given to get to know them (it’s about a 3-4 hour long game). I appreciated that the short length allowed you to take in the entire story in one or two sittings. All in all, I’d recommend booknerds give this game a try – I think you’ll all love it!

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Graphics: 5/5
UX: 4.5/5
Overall: 5/5

Steam Code obtained via The Fullbright Company in exchange for an honest review.

 

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