Friday, August 13, 2010

Review of "Massively Multiplayer" by P. Aaron Potter

Massively Multiplayer This book didn't turn out like I thought it would. Ended up being much better.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in exchange for a review. I did not receive any sort of monetary incentive for a positive review.

Type: Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Gaming, Hackers, Stand alone

About the book: " When Andrew Hunter logs into his favorite online game, he's escaping the pressure of school and family. In the world of Crucible, Andrew doesn't have to worry about what major to pursue, or whether he should get a summer job. All he has to do is worry about whether or not he'll get eaten. For programmer Wolfgang Wallace, though, Crucible isn't just a game, it's his job. So when a mysterious hacker begins using the game servers to transfer huge amounts of encrypted data, Wolfgang needs to act fast before the FCC the FBI, or the Better Business Bureau shut down his company for good. Unfortunately, the hacker seems to know all that, and has taken pains to lock Wolfgang out of his own system. What Wolfgang needs is a player on the inside of the game. What Andrew needs is a reason to play - or stop playing. What the hacker needs is anyone's guess, and until they figure out the rules, they're going to have to play for their lives."

I thought "Massively Multiplayer" was very reminiscent of "Neuromancer" by William Gibson. I found plenty of similarities between the stories, such as the fact that the reader is just thrown into the story, and said reader is just supposed to know certain things about the world. But I found "Massively Multiplayer" a little easier to understand, since it does explain things, eventually. This book takes place some time in the future, where people conduct every-day business in a virtual reality, through a computer set up called a Virlo. While Andrew Hunter's parents use this set up for work, Andrew uses his for his online games. For anyone that has ever played a Roleplaying game.. as much as you get into your character, it's still just a figure on a screen- but not in Andrew's world. Andrew can hook himself up to his computer, and actually become his character - Druin. We actually see most of Andrew's part of the story from Druin's perspective in the game.

I'll admit to being confused for the first almost half of the book. I wasn't sure how these two extremely different people - a young man playing a character in a game, and the programmer dealing with some strange computer issues, were related. So even though the book was good right from the beginning, my confusion kept me from being unable to put it down. But once I reached about the half-way point, I was hooked. It was literally like a switch was flipped. This book went from good-but not great, to something I couldn't put down.

Andrew/Druin set upon a strange quest in his game, a quest that has real-life consequences. All of Druin's quest-mates have something to hide, and Druin was brought in to keep the group together. All the while, Wolfgang is trying to deal with whomever is hacking into his system, and why. But in order to get the results Wolfgang needs, he has to make sure Andrew, and his character, keeps going. I don't think I could pick which character was my favorite - I loved Andrew/Druin, who was so good-hearted, and he so wanted to do good but seemed to keep falling short of his parents expectations, and then there's Wolfgang, who you just can't help but love. You even get to witness a seemingly rare moment, when Wolfgang appears in the game itself.. and I loved seeing that side of this character, even if it was just a virtual representation of himself. And Malcolm... who could forget him? A side character, Malcolm is a "noobie"... more commonly called a "llama." But one can't help but be amused by his ever formal medieval-esque speech. Forsooth.

This story is incredibly complex. The reader finally thinks every secret has been revealed, and we're getting close to the climax.. and then BAM, another element is added to the system. A lot of thought went into this book, and I was pleased with the result. Yes, the book did take it's time leading up to the story, but once you really hit that spot, you can't stop. If you enjoy science fiction/virtual reality stories, this is definitely something you'd want to pick up.

I'm going to give "Massively Multiplayer" by P. Aaron Potter a FOUR out of FIVE (4/5). I really, really enjoyed this book, but the initial confusion I felt made me knock it down a point. However, that doesn't mean it isn't one for the keeper shelf! Well.. the virtual keeper shelf, that is.. since "Massively Multiplayer" is currently only available in ebook format. Which, considering the content... it probably fitting!

Read the book? Share your thoughts in the comments! Want to check it out? Find it at - Only $4.79 for this rather awesome book.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

Coming up:
"Entwined" by Elisabeth Naughton
"Lost Innocents" by Sonnet O'Dell
"How to Succeed Without Dying" by Becky A. Bartness

Thursday, August 12, 2010

To read, or to sleep...

I'm sure anyone with a love of books has, at some point, had to make a decision between finishing a really good book, and getting enough sleep to be able to function the next day. And I'm sure everyone has chosen reading more than a few times. But what do you do when you don't really choose?

By that, I mean... what happens when a book starts invading your dreams, and you can't sleep? Or maybe you do sleep, but your dream is so busy, filled with new worlds and awesome adventures, that you feel like you haven't slept at all.  Lucky me, I'm currently dealing with this dilemma. I'm reading a book I was sent to review, a science fiction-y type that deals with virtual realities. And while the book is great, sucking me in for hours at a time... I've found that I've dreamed about it the past two nights, and woke up feeling like I haven't slept at all.

Does that mean I will stop reading this book? HECK NO! I need to know what happens! So, essentially I am choosing a book over sleep. And while I know my body will be grumbling for a few days... The book lover in me is intensely happy.

What about you guys? Have you ever chosen a book over sleep? Or has a book wormed its way into your dreams?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My "Must re-read every couple months/years" - Series edition

Today, I shall tell you the series that are so important to me, and I love so much, that I have to re-read every couple months, or in some cases... every couple years.

Let's start at the beginning (or.. the one I read first).. The Chronicles of Narnia. The whole reason I started reading this series, was because I found a tape of the old BBC versions of "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe," "Prince Caspian," "The Dawn Treader," and "The Silver Chair." Watching them now, I recognize them as uh.. so-so movies. But when I was little? They were the BEST THINGS EVAR! I actually own them on DVD now, of course. But from those movies, I found the books. And as I said, they're now some of my favorites. And, in my opinion, the best of them all? "The Last Battle."

I even love the new movies. Prince Caspian makes me sniffle sometimes, even. Oooh, epic battle scenes, I love you!

Next up? Lord of the Rings of course!! I remember when I was about thirteenish, my Mom told me I HAD to read The Hobbit. It actually took me forever to get into.. but once I did, I raced through the rest of the series. I love them all (well.. maybe the Two Towers a little less), but maybe Fellowship and Return a little more than the rest. And Return had a bunch of Appendices in the back. The nerd in me had a fun time reading them all. And while I had plenty of gumbles with the movie versions of this wonderful series... I have to say, they did a pretty good job, considering how tough Lord of the Rings can be.

Of course "Harry Potter" is on the list! I've read all but the last one many times... but that final book. Dang, I can't do it. I can't believe it's over, so I apparently think that as long as I don't re-read the last book when I go back through the series, it will never end. I would love to see a book or two featuring the Marauders when they were in school. I'm sure some of you have noticed my love of side characters... so of course I had to focus on characters that were either dead before the series even started, and aren't mentioned too much, or... Well, you know.

So what is that next one? The Fallen series by Thomas E Sniegoski. Man do I love these books. And I consider them one of my life changing/view changing series. I remember getting these books out of the library so often, I'm sure the librarians were sick of putting them away. And finally, I got the series for Christmas, and I nearly cried I was so happy. There are four books, featuring fallen angels and their nephilim children. I actually haven't re-read this series in a while. Obviously I need to get on that! And Fallen is definitely what started my fallen angel obsession. I think they made these books into a miniseries... if so, I've never watched it. Maybe someday. I do know that the books were reissued.. with the first two books packaged together, and the final two done the same. I do love the new covers.. so much so I might have to buy them. Darn my fallen angel obsession!

Well, there you have it, folks. My Must Be Re-Read books - Series edition. Hopefully some time soon I will feature my Must Be Re-Read books, stand alone or singular edition. Singular meaning it's sort of part of a series, but it stands out more than the rest, at least to me.   But how about you guys? Do you have any such series?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Review of "Deeply, Desperately" by Heather Webber

Deeply, Desperately: A Lucy Valentine Novel I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of the first in this series, "Truly Madly," to review several months ago. You can find my review of that, here.

Disclaimer: I, the reviewer, purchased this book for myself. I did not receive this book, nor anything else, in exchange for a review.

Type: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Psychics, Matchmaking, Private Investigators

From the back of the book: "   Lucy wants to breathe new life into her family's Boston-based matchmaking company. But how? Even though she comes from a long line of ancestors blessed by Cupid with psychic abilities, a freak accident left Lucy with only one special skill: finding things. Car keys, socks in the dryer, needles in the hay-stacks... and now, in a stroke of professional genius, lost loves! It's not long before Lucy's on a winning streak, helping old flames reunite and create new sparks. Business is booming. But when Lucy finds herself involed in a possible case of murder, she realizes she's in too deep. Enter Sean Donahue, Lucy's handsome fire fighter-turned-private eye neighbor, Sean is just the man she needs to help her on the job. Could he also be the man she's been looking for all along? When it comes to Valentine, Inc. falling in love is always serious business.  "

I absolutely loved the first book in the series, "Truly, Madly," so of course I jumped on the second one when it was released. And "Deeply, Desperately" didn't disappoint! Frankly, these books are great for almost any reader - there's hints of romance, mystery, detective stories, and paranormal aspects. Yes, resident psychic Lucy Valentine is at it again, now with her own business of finding lost loves, aided by her hunky boyfriend Sean. Not to mention a whole host of other loveable characters... and some new ones that I'm very excited about. No spoilers (because it's a big one!), but eeeek - I need to know more!

"Deeply, Desperately" had so much going on, so much action and mystery packed into three hundred pages. I'll admit it, during scenes with a lot of dialogue, I tend to skip the in-between parts and just focus on what the characters were saying. But I quickly learned to stop when reading this book. As I said, there is a lot of stuff going on, and just skipping a sentence inbetween paragraphs of dialogue will leave you feeling lost later on down the road. It's a fast-paced novel, and you have to pay attention. But with everything going on in the plot, Lucy's story will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I just want to take a second to talk about the cover. I absolutely love it. The colors are cheery, and though there are definitely some un-cheery moments in this book, I feel like it reflects Lucy's sometimes-overly-opptomistic outlook on life in general. And the ivy flowing down from the rooftop just ads a nice touch.. especially the leaf that hangs over the girl's head. Maybe it's just me.. but that particular leaf looks a heart.

I'm going to give "Deeply, Desperately" by Heather Webber a FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). I loved it, of course, and I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series "Absolutely, Positively," due out in February of 2011.

Read one or both of the Lucy Valentine books? Tell me your thoughts in the comments. Want to check them out? Find them at! Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow