Novel Review: Gamers by Thomas K. Carpenter

Let’s be honest here. When it comes to books, I’m not always eager for review requests. You’ve probably noticed my reviews have been rather scarce these days. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading books though. I’ve just been quietly enjoying my reads. So when Thomas K. Carpenter asked me if I wanted to read Gamers, I was more than a little wishy-washy in my response.

I tell you, Mr. Carpenter hit me up at the right time though. I was at the tail end of my current read and wasn’t in the mood for searching for another book. So up next? Gamers. Before the review, how about the blurb?

Two points for brushing your teeth. Ten points for keeping your room tidy. Seventy-two points for the Bioeconomic Game Design pop quiz on the ride to school in your personal FunCar. Another thirty for making every hurdle in gym class. 

Life is a game, unless you’re not the one winning.

Gabby DeCorte, top student and reality-hacker extraordinaire, has been doing whatever it takes to keep her best friend, Zaela, from falling behind in LifeGame. Zaela has gifts of artistry that amaze Gabby, but none of those skills translate in LifeGame and with final exams coming up, they can’t afford to waste a single minute. But when a mysterious group called the Frags contacts Gabby claiming to know what really happens to the losers of LifeGame, she must choose between winning and what she believes in.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes || Smashwords

First off, I want to say I’m so thankful Mr. Carpenter didn’t say, “Screw you” and not reply after my not-so-enthusantic response to his review request. Because this was definitely a book I’m glad I had an opportunity to read.

So… The style: Mr. Carpenter can be my Game Master any day. 🙂 The novel mixed the futuristic world with the gaming world. Basically, Gabby’s life was a game of racking up points in order to reach the next level. Talk about your rat race.

It totally took me back to my EverQuest addicted days. The game talk, the leveling, the never-ending pursuit to acquire more, whether it be points, gear, etc… I was there. But it was a bit more, especially in the final raid. It took online roleplaying and a paper DnD twist to it. I couldn’t help but think about:

Let’s move on, shall we?

The plot: The story was well-paced. Once I got into it, I had a hard time putting it down, even going so far as taking it to the bathroom with me. Is that TMI? One thing I will say is Gamers seemed more like the beginning of something big. The major players were introduced but it didn’t have a sense of finality to it. It was more as if it set me up for the end of one adventure while opening the door for a whole new adventure. I haven’t read the full trilogy yet, but I definitely would say Gamers isn’t the book to stop on.

Okay… I really want to ruin this book for you with sentences that start with “like this one time…” But I know you’ll hate me for it. So… let’s talk about…

Characters: The novel was told from Gabby’s POV. She started out very much a part of the system, very focused on the end game, which in her case happened to be getting into the grand university. She reminded me a lot of the AP straight-A students I’d encountered while working in the high school. She knew what she wanted, how to do get it, and didn’t slack in reaching her goals. Yet she never acted like she was better than everyone else. She was just a regular kid (except for being a super genius) with typical problems…. well typical until the poo hit the fan. I liked her.

The other characters were rather fleeting. They didn’t take up much of my time, but each played important roles which pushed the plot forward or gave insight to an aspect of Gabby’s character of the total story. 🙂 To be honest, if you quizzed me, I wouldn’t remember a single name. That doesn’t say a lot though. I’m horrible with names and even had to read the blurb to remember Gabby’s. Still, I love the cohesiveness the characters brought to the entire story. Each was rememberable (not so much the names for me but the personalities definitely). I’ve snapped a photograph of each of them in my mind’s eye.

Final thoughts: Gamers had a few loose ends which gave the first book a cliffhanger feel to it. You all know how much I hate cliffhangers. Yet at the same time, I was satisfied with the ending, especially knowing the next two books are already available.

My score? 4.5 – 5 out of 5 stars. HIGHLY recommended for RPG-ers. Until next time, I leave you with our infamous friend Leeroy.

Anyone else in the mood for chicken?

Who Art Thou Thursday? Rachel Carrington

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a Who Art Thou Thursday? And I have to admit, I’m a little late on the ball with it. Today… tonight 🙂 We get to spend some time with Rachel Carrington, author of … well A LOT!

Reena Jacobs: I’m really excited to have you with us today, Rachel. Please tell us about your most recent publication.

Rachel Carrington: It’s actually an upcoming release, Waking Up Immortal, which is a paranormal/sci-fi romance, and it releases on October 20th. I’ve included the official book description below:

I could die today, and it wouldn’t matter. I’d still wake up tomorrow. Some people might consider that a good thing, and the time I took my first bullet, well, I can’t say I complained when I woke up, but that’s the middle of the story.

At first I didn’t want this “gift” which led me to a long search for my father. I thought he could help me. Turns out my father was in prison, and I just happened to get on the bad side of his warden—a huge, cyborg type of guy who could body double for Sylvester Stallone. He didn’t want me to see my father, and he was a pretty big obstacle for me to overcome. 

So here I am trying to convince this guy, Kier, to let me see my father when all hell breaks loose. Then I suddenly learn I really don’t want to see dear old Dad after all. My life isn’t in danger, but how I spend the rest of my immortal existence is. The only thing standing between me and certain torture is Kier. 

I don’t doubt he’ll protect me, but being so close to him makes me forget about things like safety. And the first time he kisses me turns into heat up the windows type of scene in the front seat of my car.

My immortal existence is safe with Kier. My heart is on shaky ground. Only I could fall in love with a cyborg while my life is going to hell in a handbasket.

RJ: I don’t know how you’ve managed to make a cyborg sound ultra sexy, but you have. 🙂 When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

RC: When I was sixteen. Prior to that, I was convinced I was going to be a school teacher.

RJ: You’ve been writing for quite a while. Give us a brief description of a story you have hidden in your skeleton closet? And will it ever see the light of day?

RC: I don’t really have any hidden stories because once I get the idea, I know I have to write the book. I don’t think I’ve ever left a book unfinished, although, my first novel, Not Her Romeo, will never see the light of day again. It was a contemporary romance with absolutely no plot, no conflict, and was really just a story about two people falling in love and having to overcome, well, nothing to do it. LOL

RJ: Ha ha. I’ve read books like that. Heck, I’ve written stories like that. I know exactly what you mean. 🙂 What are you working on now?

RC: The second installment of the Universal Security Series, Rising with the Heat. This delves a little deeper into Kier’s background and gives readers a better view of his history.

RJ: Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

RC: I’m inspired by life. There is not once specific thing that inspires me. I can hear a song, see an elegant woman with a wide-brimmed hat, or touch a turtle’s shell and get an idea for a story. Now, granted, sometimes all those ideas might just be fleeting, but my imagination is always on the lookout for unique ideas to mold into a story.

RJ: It’s amazing how just about everything we encounter in life is a story waiting to happen. What’s your favorite part about the publishing process and why?

RC: I’d have to say writing the story. When I’m writing, I’m so engrossed in the storyline that it’s hard for me to stop. I don’t stop writing until the words are just no longer there for the evening, and the next day, I’m excited about jumping back into the world of my characters. Just the idea of creating something that others will enjoy motivates me every time.

RJ: Do you have any advice for other writers?

RC: Find a mentor. I think every writer needs someone they look up to, respect, and can turn to in times of triumph and trials. I can’t say this often enough. A mentor is someone who will give you that mental push when you need it or the metaphorical kick in the pants. They will pick you back up, dust you off, and tell you to get writing again, but they’ll also coach you on where to send your writing and how to make the most out of a query letter. A person like this can be invaluable, and it might take a while to find the right mentor, but it’s well worth the investment of time.

RJ: That’s the best advice I’ve heard in a long time. Anything special you’d like to say to readers?

RC: From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you for reading my stories. I’m living my dream because of readers, and my gratitude is endless.

RJ: Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

RC: My website is the most detailed place. It’s at www.dawnrachel.com. Thank you, Reena, for having me. I really appreciate the time and the space!

RJ: I’m glad you chose to share with my readers. 🙂

About the Author

Rachel Carrington began her career writing fantasy romances of powerful wizards and wicked witches. Since then, she has branched out into contemporary romance and romantic suspense and has had books published with Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Red Sage Publishing, and more.

Currently, a freelance editor/writer residing in historical Charleston, South Carolina, Rachel has written non-fiction articles for Absolute Write, The Writer’s Journal, Writing for Dollars, Writer’s Magazine, and Writer’s Weekly.

Because she likes staying busy, Rachel has also taught classes for Suite 101 and for author groups regarding promoting, writing, starting your own business, and editing.

When not writing, Rachel loves to read romantic suspense (Lisa Gardner and Roxanne St. Claire are two of her favorites), rework old furniture, cross-stitch, cook, and drink lots of coffee.

Find works by Rachel Carrington at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Smashwords