Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Tour for Her Perfect Game by Shannyn Schroeder (Review & GIVEAWAY)

The world of geeks and gaming has never looked so sexy as in Her Perfect Game by Shannyn Schroeder.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this book as well as the author's take on sexism in gaming.  You'll also get my impressions of this read and learn even more about it by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win 1 of 5 iBook copies of this book too!

I am not a gamer, so the title of this post might seem odd. I grew up in an era where video games were played at the arcade for a quarter a pop. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Asteroids were staples of my childhood (but Centipede will always be my favorite). I didn’t spend lots of time at the arcade, but I can’t remember ever being told that I couldn’t play a game or that I couldn’t be good at it because I was girl. I don’t know when that changed, but it definitely has. Maybe the sexism was always there, but I was lucky enough to not witness it.
In doing my research for Her Perfect Game, one thing that popped up constantly was sexism in gaming. As a parent, I was aware of some of it— things like women being used in games only as sexual objects or props. Even the women who are true characters are there to be rescued by the men. They can’t take care of themselves. It’s also painfully obvious that women are supposed to be there for the visual pleasure of men based on the fact that even lead female characters are dressed like hookers instead of having a badass outfit like the guys wear.
But it wasn’t until I started reading more about how girl gamers are treated that it hit home for me. The incredible stories about the nastiness that goes on in games when females are successful are ridiculous. There’s an overwhelming prevalence of “you’re a girl, so you can’t be good” or worse if you are good, it’s “you’re a fat, ugly bitch.” The personal slams seem to be a constant part of that world.
When it’s brought to light, too often the subject is swept aside.It’s said that women are too sensitive and can’t handle some trash talking. Some men didn’t realize how bad it is for women until they logged on as a female character. When other playersstarted to attack them simply based on gender, it was a wake up call.
I don’t know when or how gaming became a boys-only club, but it’s sad. It’s sad that so many men are afraid to compete with women. It’s sad that women have to disguise who they are in order to do what they enjoy.
Her Perfect Game is a novella, which means it’s short, but I still felt the need to explore at least part of this. Charlie is a gamer and a hacker, and she’s good. But this kind of sexism is stuff that she encounters on a regular basis, both in game and in person.
I have two daughters, neither of whom has expressed any interest in gaming (at least so far) and there’s a huge part of me that is grateful for that because the world is ugly enough without having to protect yourself when you’re doing something you love. I wish I had some answers as to how to fix this, but I don’t. I think the more people talk, the more it will be recognized as a problem, and then maybe we can generate some solutions.

Spring break is supposed to be a week of fun in the sun for three childhood friends about to graduate from college. But one of them is ready to get her game on somewhere else…
Charlie Castle is an expert archer and a fierce warrior—in her favorite video game, anyway. But college life was a program she couldn’t quite master. To land a cybertech job without a degree, she’s entering a “hackfest” over spring break—where she also hopes to meet the sweet gamer who’s been flirting with her online. Instead, she runs into the hot guy who walked away years ago, and can’t fight the desire that comes rushing back.
Jonah Best has never gotten over Charlie, whose kisses were always as deliciously creative as her coding. But now that they’re face to face again, he doesn’t know how to admit that her online admirer is really him—or how to convince her that he’s offering her a job for her incredible skills, not her sex appeal. Can Jonah cut through their communication glitches and persuade Charlie that the next level up for them should be forever?


The elevator dinged on the fourth floor, and Jonah ushered her out and down the hall. Their steps shushed against the carpet, and Charlie wanted to talk, say something, but she didn’t know what.  At her room, she slid the key card in, and as she pushed the door open, she tugged Jonah inside.
“What are you doing, Charlie?”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and breathed in his scent. “I don’t want to be alone.”
Charlie held her breath, waiting for him to push her away, but he didn’t. His arms came around her and stroked her back. Memories flooded her brain. Jonah holding her, touching her, kissing her senseless. She’d give almost anything to have that again, even if it was only for a night. To feel grounded again.
She turned her head slightly and brushed her lips against his warm neck, and his hands paused on her back. She pressed on, though, kissing his jaw and loving the rough feel of the stubble.
“Just kiss me, Jonah.”
She didn’t look into his eyes, afraid to know what she’d find, but she knew he wanted to kiss her. If for no other reason, out of sheer curiosity. She kept her eyes closed as she tilted her head.
His lips met hers with tenderness at first. Then they became more insistent, and she softened against him, inviting his tongue into her mouth. His hand reached up and cradled the back of her head, and she wanted more. This heady feeling wouldn’t last the night, but Jonah could give her more.
She tugged at his T-shirt, searching for his warm skin. When her fingers met his flesh, he jerked back. “Charlie.”
But she didn’t stop.
He grabbed her hands. “Charlie.” Then he waited for her to meet his eyes. “We’re not doing this.”
She swallowed hard. His steel gray eyes sparked with lust. She didn’t misread the signs. He wanted her. “Why not? Got a girlfriend?”
“No girlfriend. You’re well passed halfway to drunk. I don’t want you to do something you’re going to regret in the morning.” He grabbed her shoulders and turned her toward the bed. “Get some sleep and we’ll talk tomorrow.”
“What if I don’t want to talk tomorrow?”
He sighed. “Then I guess we won’t.”
She crawled on top of the covers. “Will you stay and talk for a while if I promise not to molest you?”
He glanced to the other side of the room. “Sure.” He scooted the armchair a little closer to the bed.
“There’s room here.” She patted the bed beside her.
He simply shook his head.
“Who is it that you don’t trust—me or you? I already gave my word.”
He laughed and stretched his legs out in front of him. The light from the hall cast him in shadows. Between his dark hair and black T-shirt and jeans, he blended into the dark.
She tucked her hands under her head as she lay on her side to watch him talk. “Tell me about the people you work with.”
Jonah accommodated her again and spoke in quiet tones until she became sleepy and struggled to keep her eyes open. He stood, leaned over, and kissed her head.
“Hey, Best?”
“I’d never regret you.”
Another heavy sigh came from him, but she didn’t know how to interpret it. Then she heard the door close with a quiet thunk.


BUY LINKS:  Amazon  |  BN  |  iTunes


The world of gaming and Cons has never been so vividly portrayed as it is in this second installment in the Hot & Nerdy series!  From the unique participants to the excitement around every corner it's a compelling backdrop to the burgeoning relationship between Charlie and Jonah that first surfaced three years ago but ended abruptly.  Where Jonah looks to have this be their first step to forever, Charlie sees it as what happens at the Con stays at the Con as she worries he'll be disappointed if he discovers the truth about her.

Charlie was a woman on edge when she and Jonah first met, reeling from her roommate's suicide and looking for revenge against the man who caused the tragedy.  Jonah grounded her for awhile but it was clear she was on a path to destruction which he couldn't stand by and witness.  In the intervening years Charlie has remained unique in how she approaches life but it's also made her touchy when it comes to how she thinks others see her.  In the gaming world she's strong-willed and studious, but in real life she's overly emotional and lacks confidence which was a bit disappointing.  It's clear she's letting her past rule her future by keeping her life at a standstill.  She's quick to judge and her low self-esteem has her running away from what she really wants but is afraid to admit.

Jonah is a strong and sturdy man who's always supported Charlie but knew when he had to walk away to protect his own heart.  He's back with a vengeance though and hopes to claim her once and for all if he can just admit his own secrets before it's too late.  Jonah wears his heart on his sleeve unafraid to admit what he feels for her.  He wants nothing more than to do right by her and in subtle and blatant ways sets out to give her what she's always wanted.....a job catered to her maverick skills and unconditional love.  Jonah's every girl's hero as he's sexy, a good listener, and watches over her from afar and I thoroughly fell for him!

This was a quick read that dealt with some heavy issues in a casual way.  The atmosphere was vividly depicted and made for an exciting and memorable backdrop that I'd love to see again as it's the nerd's version of Las Vegas.  The focus of this story was on Jonah and Charlie but there were brief glimpses of her supportive friends to give a hint of what the rest of this series will offer which has me intrigued.  Overall this was a fun and flirty story with steamy interludes and a main couple whose connection crackles with sensuality.

My rating for this is a B

*I got this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered arounda large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

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  1. Thank you so much for hosting me. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thank YOU for stopping by! With the #Gamergate issue and Felicia Day's recent discourse on women and gaming this story was very timely.....

      The Scarf Princess