Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Cryptogram Chaos: A Virtual Reality Adventure by Linda Covella (Excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY)




by Linda Covella

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GENRE: Middle grade adventure

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BLURB:

What if you were 8, or 11, or 14, and you could race cars at 150 mph, bungee jump, fly, eat all the ice cream and candy you wanted, or become powerful avatars such as Robobug, Kulshedra the dragon, and Altai, the gryphon avatar?

All this and more is possible in the ultimate virtual reality game The Cryptogram Connection created by 14-year-old computer whiz Cody Reynolds and his two classmates, Nicole Nash and Kerry McCorkle. To advance to different levels in the game, players must solve cryptograms, or secret codes. (Readers also get to solve the cryptograms.)

They create their game to be used with the latest VR technology developed by local game manufacturer NuVision Games–a headset with biosensors that transmit signals to the brain, fooling it into tasting, hearing, feeling, seeing, and smelling what was programmed into the game. The games are as close to reality as reality itself.

The game becomes every kids’ virtual dream, and Cody, Nicole, and Kerry, besides becoming national celebrities, make more money than they ever imagined. But The Cryptogram Connection turns into “cryptogram chaos” when an evil presence inhabits Zazar, the laser avatar and the most powerful, and takes control of the game. It’s up to the three partners to enter the game and fight Zazar to save the gamers from virtual—and real—disaster.


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EXCERPT
  
I sat on my bed, biting my lip, jiggling my leg, tapping my finger on my eMaster. The handheld computer was ready to go. This was it. Tonight we’d test The Cryptogram Connection. We’d meet in the ice cream parlor at exactly twelve o’clock midnight. Our parents, Brad, and Kerry’s zillion little brothers would be asleep.

The four sensors pulsed slightly against my head. I watched the red numbers on the digital clock change.

11:57. I stared at the computer and the home page I’d created. Ice cream sundaes, racecars, scooters, and manazomes repeatedly spun to the center of the screen, becoming larger and larger, until they zoomed to the back and faded away.

11:58. I thought of Nicole and Kerry sitting with their computers. Waiting like me. I thought of all the hours and days and weeks we’d spent working on the game. I thought of how they were counting on me, on my code. I threw back my head and whispered, “Oh, man, I hope the game works.”

11:59. I keyed in my password then held my thumb over the enter icon. I adjusted the Ultra on my head. Would there be any glitches? Probably. Any major ones? Man, I hoped not.
The clock blinked.

12:00. Holding my breath like I was at the top of the highest hill on a roller coaster, like I was about to fly down the hill with my arms raised in the air, I pushed the button.




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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Linda Covella’s varied background and education have led her down many paths, but one thing she never strayed from is her love of writing.

In writing for kids and teens, she hopes to bring to them the feelings books gave her when she was a child: the worlds they opened, the things they taught, the feelings they expressed.

Linda is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).


She lives in Santa Cruz, CA with her husband, Charlie, and dog, Ginger.



Connect with Linda:





Website
Facebook
Twitter @lindacovella
LinkedIn
Goodreads
Pinterest
Google+
YouTube channel
Amazon author page


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GIVEAWAY


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The tour dates can be found here 


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My review:

 

4.75 stars






Cryptogram Chaos: A Virtual Reality Adventure by Linda Covella is a middle grade contemporary adventure and fantasy story that features a trio of ninth graders who learn to see beyond the cliques that have formed and work together.

Cody Reynolds is a computer whiz but not part of the ‘in’ crowd, which makes it all the more surprising when the very popular Nicole and her sidekick Kerry approach him about an idea for a very different type of game. Their creative idea has wonderful possibilities, but not everyone wants them to succeed, and Cody discovers that there are pitfalls he never considered and the game may end up being the worst idea he’s ever come up with.

This is such a fun story that combines creativity, intellectual stimulation, and a mystery. The concept of a virtual reality game that allows one to experience both thrilling adventures on land, sea, and in the air plus a chance to interact with, and as, various mythical creatures, sounds like something that definitely would enthrall kids and kids at heart everywhere. I like the gradual evolution of the relationship between Cody and the other kids as it seemed an accurate representation of the way each side can view the other one negatively only to discover their perceptions are wrong. The puzzles that have to be solved in order to access the next level in the game start with basic challenges and escalate, and provided a nice depth to the story, and the research and information at the end explained things nicely and gave intriguing glimpses of developments in the field of virtual reality. I am tempted to continue playing with the PigPen/Rosicrucian version of the puzzles, lol, and a little curious to know how one knows to leave out the ‘J’ in the Figure Cipher, but fascinated by all of the cryptograms.  What a great book for stimulating a love of learning in a fun way!

This title was provided to me for review.

72 comments:

  1. Good Morning and thank you for this opportunity you have given us to win

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    1. James, thanks for stopping by and for entering!

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    2. Hi, JR, thanks for visiting!

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  2. If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

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    1. Mai, thank you for your question! My advice would be: "Careful who you trust."

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    2. That's such a great question, Mai! Thank you for popping in.

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  3. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

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    1. Peggy, I think I'm having writer's block now! LOL I want to start the third book in my Ghost Whisperer series, and first drafts are always the hardest for me. To overcome writer's block, I just need to start writing. Even if I end up changing the beginning (or any other part of the story) at least I'll *get going*. And now your question has encouraged me to start. :-) Thank you!

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    2. Great question, Peggy, and congrats, Linda, if that has helped remove the blockage!

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  4. Thank you for the chance to win :)

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  5. E.L.F., Thank you for reading Cryptogram Chaos and for your wonderful review. I appreciate it very much!

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    Replies
    1. You're quite welcome, Linda. Thank YOU for such a fun book and good luck on the tour. I appreciate you taking the time to interact with my visitors.

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  6. Replies
    1. Thank you, Rita. E.L.F. picked a good one!

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    2. Glad you liked it, Rita. Thanks for popping in!

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  7. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

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  8. Awesome review!! This sounds like a really great book, thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you so much for the compliment, Victoria. Great to see you and I hope you get a chance to read this fun book!

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    2. I plan on it! I've found quite a few good books by following your blog.. .you haven't disappointed yet on your recommendations :)

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    3. Thank you, Victoria! If you do read it, I hope you enjoy!!

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  9. I think my kids would love this book

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Thanks for visiting!

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    2. Yes, thank you for stopping by. Happy Reading to you and your kids!

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  10. Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary. It was fun to write. :-)

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  11. Very true, Mary. Thanks for coming by!

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  12. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

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  13. Good Morning! Raining here in Michigan but hope your day is a sunny one. Thanks for this giveaway

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    Replies
    1. Sunny here is Santa Cruz, but we can always use the rain. :-) Thanks for visiting!

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    2. Hi, J.R. Send some of that moisture to our poor drought-stricken state, especially with the fires! Thanks for visiting!

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  14. The book sounds very intriguing, looking forward to reading it!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Nikolina! Thanks for coming by!

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  15. Virtual reality is something that intrigues me... but also scares me a little if I am honest. LOL. This book sounds like a fascinating read! Thank you so much for the giveaway! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, and thanks for stopping by and entering!

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    2. I think it's an intriguing concept, but I get seasick with some of the regular video games...I can't imagine what would happen in a VR game, lol. Thanks for visiting!

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  16. I'm back, hope you're not too tired of hearing from me. Thanks again for this opportunity to win and have a terrific day!

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    Replies
    1. Welcome back! :-) Have a great weekend!

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    2. You're always welcome to come by and wave, J.R. I'll apologize in advance if I don't greet you, sometimes I am a bit swamped, but feel free to visit and enter the Rafflecopters!

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Thanks so much for the giveaway and have a great weekend!

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  19. Hope you are having a great weekend! Can't wait to read this book!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ally! Hope you're having a good Sunday!

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  20. Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's who may see this and thank you for the chance at winning this giveaway

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  21. I have added this book to my TBR list and look forward to reading this book!

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  22. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ally! I hope you enjoy the story. :-)

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  23. Happy Monday! Weekend sure went by quick. Thank you for the giveaway

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  24. I am back and thanking you once again for the great giveaway. I appreciate it!

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  25. Good Afternoon! I appreciate all the work you have put into bringing us this giveaway, thank you

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  26. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to reading this book!

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  27. Hello! I am helping my brother out entering his giveaways for a bit while he is camping with his kids and having a fun weekend. Thank you for the chance to win, I know he enjoys entering and following some terrific blogs. He enters many books for me and my other sister so we all appreciate it.

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  28. Dropping by to wish everyone a happy Wednesday!

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  29. I just found out that Cryptogram Chaos has won a Gold Medal from Children's Literary Classics for the category of teen fiction! Very excited. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Deservedly so! Congrats, that is fantastic news!

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  30. Have a terrific weekend and thanks so much for this giveaway

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  31. Hello! Hope your day is awesome and thanking you for the giveaway.

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  32. Happy Friday! Hope it's a good one for you I appreciate your offering us such a great giveaway and thanking you for all you put into this for us.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Have a great weekend and thanks for all you do amd hard work you put into offering us the great giveaways

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  34. Enjoy this beautiful Sunday and thank you for this chance to win

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  35. Shared on G+, have a great day!

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  36. Happy Monday and thanks again for the chance to win

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  37. I'm back and thanking you once again for the opportunity at winning your great giveaway

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