Tuesday, September 24, 2013

[Book Review] Gaming For Keeps

Gaming for Keeps
Author: Seleste DeLaney
Date Published: June 10, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Ever After
Source: ARC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense, New Adult

Barnes & Noble

Book Information:
Pen Holloway’s done with men—in real life. Guys in game are so much less drama. But when her partner from Heroes of Fallen Gods invites her to the convention of the year, she panics. What if he’s another jerk? What if he’s not? Cal Burrows is living his dream of being a spy. One of TRAIT’s misfit spies, but still a spy. It’s the perfect job… until an arms dealer with a taste for blood invades his not-so-secret geek haven. All Cal wanted from ConDamned was to meet his on-line girl. Now, with the threat of mass murder looming, he’s forced to choose between keeping his mission a secret and protecting the girl of his dreams.Despite their attraction, Pen can’t help but suspect Cal’s hiding something. She also can’t shake the feeling he’s not as much of a stranger as he seems.

Rating: ★★★

Move over, James Bond! There's a new spy in the neighborhood! He's geeky and he's awkward but he's out to prove that chivalry is not dead!

When I was reading Gaming for Keeps, I remember the many late night computer-gaming sessions I had way back in College. I was addicted to an MMORPG game then, and spent many nights in an internet cafe just to play. I wasn't proud of it because it created a serious dip in my grades, but it had been fun. In fact, up until now, I still visit my MMORPG account every once in a while and play for a few hours. (Gamer right here! Hee.)

Story-wise, I love the incorporation of an MMORPG game and a game convention into the story. It's like stepping into a familiar territory: Geekdom! Also, I love the inclusion of cosplay, because seriously, what's a game convention without cosplay? LOL! (I used to cosplay, too, so yeah...) Also, I love the mystery bit included in the story, and how Pen became a sort of ticket for Cal to infiltrate the convention program involving the arms dealer.

Character-wise, I find Pen relatable. Aside from the fact that she's a gamer and she cosplays, it's easy to understand why she became jaded with men. When she agreed to meet a guy she only knew online without even asking to see a picture of him first before their meeting, I wanted to smack her with a broom just to knock some sense into her. I understand that asking a picture would probably be anticlimactic to the story, but it was the smart thing to do, in my opinion.

As for Cal -- well, any guy who could pull off an elf costume without his head blowing up because of fan-girls in a con is just awesome. Hands down. On the other hand, I feel slightly affronted because Cal said he doesn't like anime though. I mean, how could you not like anime?! Oh, well, at least he's a spy with superb coding skills. That definitely earn him points from me.

I really liked Gaming for Keeps, but I couldn't give it a higher rating because it's a little short, and the romance aspect between Pen and Cal felt a little forced. Seriously, sleeping with someone you just met in a convention is a little careless. And I felt that the part about their attraction and sparks was a little over the top. All in all, I still enjoyed it though.

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