Saturday, January 27, 2018

Thoughts on Social Media and the Blog

Hey everyone!

You may have noticed that I have been pretty quiet of late. Just when I think I have a handle on keeping the blog and my Social Media presence updates, life stuff gets in the way.

Don't worry. I am not going anywhere and I have some big plans for 2018 for this place of mine on the web. One of the big things revolving around how I utilize Social Media to get visitors such as yourself here.

Let's face it. Twitter is a breeding pool for all kinds of nastiness lately and I honestly do not want to spend any more time on there than is absolutely necessary. I just get angry and how narrow-minded and selfish people really are. And I am tired of all the hate. The result is that I will be using Twitter for blog update posts only. So, if you do find your way here from my tweets, that part won't change at all. I will just be less engaging on that platform.

However, I need to make up for that and will be a lot more active on Instagram. It is relatively free from nasty trolls and has a lot of opportunities to engage with a wider audience. I also dabble in photography, so it has been fun to play around with images and filters. Give me a follow on there if you aren't already. @urbanisedgeek of course!

Also, I am getting so tired of Bloggers, BookTubers, and other reviewers all reviewing the same titles at the same time. I used to think that I had to do this in order to stay relevant. But, who honestly wants to see the same titles being rehashed all the time?

 Of course, I will still chat about new releases but I would also like to give older and lesser-known titles some appreciation too. This will include Indie authors both locally and abroad.

Another thing I am working on is my review format. It's not exactly spicy and engaging currently, and I really want to come up with something more concise and structured. This will mean no copy-pasting of blurbs and something more personal and hopefully still informative too.

Authors are welcome to contact me to have their books reviewed, although if you fall outside my range of tastes, please do not be sad if I decline review copies of your books.

That's about it for now! Any comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Title: Warcross (Warcross #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin (September 2017)

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.
Marie Lu is one of those authors whose books I have collected simply based on her excellent reputation for exciting storytelling. I read Legend a while back, did a reread of it at the start of this year and then jumped right into Warcross.

I absolutely loved everything about this book. There are so many geek culture references and the whole idea of Warcross, a VR MMO that the novel revolved around, is so plausible. I would love to play it. It reminds me a little of Overwatch, with players being allocated specific roles and facing off against another team of real players.

There is solid world-building in between epic action scenes. I didn't feel that anything about the world in Warcross was glossed over and enjoyed that it also wasn't too far removed from our own.

Emika is a decent enough character, though she does fall into some YA trope territory. I admit that she was more of a vehicle for the story than the reason I wanted to keep reading. But that's 100% ok as this is not a character-driven novel.

There is a smattering of romance, which actually does play a role in the story, but to tell you more would give important things away. ;)

This is even better than Divergent, although not a Dystopian, and shares a similar feel in the latter parts of the novel. So if you found the former lacking, give Warcross a try.

As an added incentive, the hardcover version in SA stores at the moment is totally worth owning and sports a stunning cover under the dustjacket.