Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: Hardcover, 480
Publication: September 29, 2015

Synopsis:
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
 

Another book in the Grisha world? Hell freaking yes. I'm so excited for this book. I loved the Grisha trilogy and the world that Leigh Bardugo created. Her world is so expansive and creative, so I can't wait to delve into her new series. Also, this cover is absolutely gorgeous.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Diversity


Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters (example: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC,  neurotypical character, LGBTQ etc etc.)
 

  1. The Madonnas of Echo Parkby Brando Skyhorse
  2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  4. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I can only think of FIVE books that fit this criteria. Not only does this poorly reflect on me, but it also shows why we so desperately need things like the We Need Diverse Books Campaign. I guess I just read books about white, straight characters. Also, most of the books that I have read that include minority characters, non-straight characters, etc. are all supporting characters.  

So, in order to complete this post without looking like a complete jackass, I’ve added five books that do celebrate diversity that I really want to read:

            1. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
            2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
            3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
            4. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
            5. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
I'm very disappointed in myself that I could only think of five books that promote diversity. I'm sure I'm not the only case (if I am, then damn I need to catch up with the times). I hope that as the young adult book world continues to evolve, there will be an increased amount of diversity in books. It's about time that there's more diversity than your typical, white, skinny, beautiful hero or heroine in YA.

For more information about the We Need Diverse Books campaign, visit http://weneeddiversebooks.org

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Title: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2)
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: Hardcover, 337
Publication: May 26, 2015
Wow. Where do I even begin with this book? I absolutely ADORED To All the Boys I've Loved Before. It was my favorite book of 2014. So, I guess you could say I had very high expectations for the sequel. While it wasn't as good as the first one, it was still pretty amazing.


P.S. I Still Love You picks up very close to the end of To All the Boys I've Loved Before. In fact, it seems like Lara Jean hasn't had much time away from Peter. However, that doesn't keep her from missing him immensely. When Lara Jean and Peter got back together, it was so satisfying that my two of my all time characters were in an actual relationship. 

Things couldn't get any better, right? Well, they could definitely get worse.


Remember when Lara Jean and Peter had that steamy make-out session in the hot tub? Well, someone recorded it. Sounds bad? Someone put it online. Even more terrible, right? After the video is released, LJ's and Peter's relationship goes from light and fun to something incredibly complicated. Not only does Lara Jean freak out about the video, it also makes her extremely suspicious of basically everything about her relationship. Throughout this whole book Peter seems to be getting closer and closer to Genevieve, LJ's kind of sort of sworn enemy. Lara Jean seems to think that Peter still has feelings for his ex-girlfriend, and she completely flips out. She breaks up with him in a way that is completely immature. It really made me mad how LJ did this. However, it goes to show that this book is even more of a coming-of-age story than I realized because we, as readers, see LJ as so put together and adult. However, when it comes to matters of her heart, she is very immature.

*steps onto soap box*

This plot device helps sends a message to any person reading this book. A message that I whole-heartedly support. The best part of this book for me was the message that it supported. When Lara Jean finds out about the video, the first thought she has is, "Oh my god everybody is going to think I'm a slut." A reaction that most girls around her age would have to something like this happening to them. Enter Margot: the feminist, awesome character of this story. She points out the ridiculous, patriarchal system that the world has. There is such a double standard when it comes to sex. For males, having sex is seen as an awesome thing. For females, it's somehow degrading and whoreish-- that having sex somehow makes a female less than a person. Additionally, Han even discusses the topic of slut shaming, something that is so prevalent in our society. I appreciate this so much. She sends such an amazing message to any person reading her book, male or female.

*steps off soap box*

Another thing I loved about this book was its emphasis on family. Everything with her dad, Margot's official end of her relationship with Josh, and Kitty solidified the message that family is the only thing that's constant in life. No matter what Lara Jean was dealing with, her family was always there for her.

Another amazing thing about this book was John Ambrose McClaren. I love this kid. He's so incredibly awesome. When Han introduced John, I thought she would also be introducing a love triangle, which I don't think I would've been okay with. And briefly, she did. However, it wasn't for the reason most authors have a love triangle in their books. Most introduce one for the sake of drama and adding interest. However, Han does it for a much different reason. She adds John Ambrose McClaren into the mix in order to prove a point. She makes it very obvious, by Lara Jean choosing Peter in the end, that she is moving past her childhood and moving into adulthood. 

P.S. I Still Love You isn't just a messy love story. It's a coming-of-age story. It's a story about a girl choosing to grow up and consciously putting her childhood behind her. It adds so much depth to an already good story.

This book is hilarious, honest, and heartfelt. I would totally recommend this to anyone looking for a light, fun read.





Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book Trailer Reveal: The Six by Mark Alpert


Title: The Six
Author: Mark Alpert
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: Hardcover, 368
Publication: July 7, 2015

Synopsis:
Adam's muscular dystrophy has stolen his mobility, his friends, and in a few short years, it will take his life. Virtual reality games are Adam's only escape from his wheelchair. In his alternate world, he can defeat anyone. Running, jumping, scoring touchdowns: Adam is always the hero.

Then an artificial intelligence program, Sigma, hacks into Adam's game. Created by Adam's computer-genius father, Sigma has gone rogue, threatening Adam's life-and world domination. Their one chance to stop Sigma is using technology Adam's dad developed to digitally preserve the mind of his dying son.

Along with a select group of other terminally ill teens, Adam becomes one of the Six who have forfeited their bodies to inhabit weaponized robots. But with time running short, the Six must learn to manipulate their new mechanical forms and work together to train for epic combat...before Sigma destroys humanity

Praise for The Six:

“Adam is an unusual hero—and he faces a frightening question: Computers can’t kill—CAN they? I’m still shaken by the answer. Will the near-future really be this terrifying?” —R.L. Stine, bestselling author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series
“An exciting action story chock-full of characters you’ll love. The Six is full of big ideas, big questions, real science, and things that will make you think and wonder and lie awake late at night.” —Michael Grant, New York Timesbestselling author of the Gone series 
“The Six are introduced as terminally-ill teens, but there’s plenty of high-speed action in which they engage. Their physical disabilities and limitations through disease are forgotten as the teens’ hearts, minds, and personalities shine through...questions of principle, power, and possibility keep this look at our modern, hardwired existence fresh and fascinating.” STARRED Booklist
“Alpert's exploration of neuromorphic electronics raises interesting questions about ethics, technology, and human nature…a haunting ending scene will leave readers pondering the line between progress and loss. A thought-provoking clash between humanity and machinery.”- Kirkus Reviews
“A well-researched, hardcore science-fiction joyride, great for fans of first-person shooter video games like Halo and Destiny. Highly recommended” –School Library Journal
“Do not just read The Six; make your friends read it too.” –VOYA Magazine



Excerpt:
Shannon rears back in her seat as if she’s been slapped. “And where are you going to store the copies of our brains?” Her voice is furious. “In a supercomputer? A big electronic prison?” 
Dad doesn’t take offense. He answers her calmly. “The scanning process converts human intelligence to a digital form, allowing it to run on any neuromorphic computer that has enough memory and processing power. But in the initial stage right after the transfer, we believe it’s important to connect the intelligence to a machine that can move around and sense the outside world. A human intelligence is accustomed to controlling a body, so if we want to preserve its sanity, we’d better give it something to control. Here, let me show you.” 
He puts the vial of nanoprobes back in his pocket and pulls out something else, a small remote--control device. He points it at the doorway beside the stage, and a moment later I hear a loud clanking. The noise startles the soldiers standing by the doorway. They step backward, flattening themselves against the wall. Then a seven--foot--tall robot emerges from the doorway and brushes past them. 
The robot strides across the stage. It has two arms and two legs, but otherwise it isn’t very humanlike. It has no head or neck. Its torso is shaped like a giant bullet, with the rounded end on top. Its legs angle downward from the base of its torso and rest on oval steel--plate footpads that clang against the floor. 
The machine marches briskly past the podium and stops in front of my dad, who presses a button on his remote control. This command extends the robot’s arms, which telescope to a full length of six feet. They look like multi--jointed tentacles. The machine’s hands, though, resemble human hands, with dexterous mechanical fingers and thumbs. 
Dad presses another button, and the robot’s rounded top starts to turn like a turret. “The cameras and acoustic sensors are up here,” Dad says, pointing at the top end. “But the neuromorphic electronics are deep inside the torso, encased in armor plating. These robots were originally designed for the war in Afghanistan, so they’re pretty sturdy.” He raps his knuckles against the torso. “All in all, it’s an excellent platform for a newly transferred intelligence, but really it’s just the beginning. The whole point of the Pioneer Project is to bridge the gap between man and machine, and that means the human intelligences must explore their new environment. The Pioneers will have to learn how to use their new capabilities, and that includes transferring their intelligences from one machine to another.” 
His voice grows louder again, full of enthusiasm. “Once the Pioneers have mastered these tasks, our hope is that they’ll be able to establish a connection with Sigma. If all goes well, they’ll start communicating with the AI before it launches any of the Russian missiles. And then the toughest challenge will begin. At the same time that the humans are learning how to be machines, they’ll have to teach Sigma how to be human.”


                      Amazon | AppleB&N | BAM | !ndigo |  IndieBound | Kindle |  Nook 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Note on 2014

Well, hello there. Long time, no see. I'm very disappointed to say that I have been very absent from this blog for a very long time. Let's just say that life has been crazy these last months.

However, among my new years' resolutions were two that I am extremely dedicated to: reading and blogging. I've missed blogging a whole bunch. But these last 5 months or so have been a whirlwind. In fact, this whole year has been exceptionally crazy.

While I haven't blogged a lot this year, Confessions of a Book Addict celebrated its first blog birthday. It also finally hit 100 followers on Blogger, which was probably one of the proudest moments of my blogging career. This year, I got to network with so many amazing people: bloggers, editors, authors. People that I never dreamed that I would be able to communicate with, let alone even be friends with.

On a more personal note, this year has been a series of ups and downs. While I've had some low moments in my life, I've also been extremely fortunate to celebrate some extraordinary moments this year. I started my senior year in high school. I became a QuestBridge Scholar. I was accepted to Vanderbilt University with a full ride scholarship.

It's been great.

Now, looking to 2015. This year, I hop,e will be even better. Filled with even more memorable moments.

So, here's to 2015. Here's to the friends, family, future memories, and, most importantly, the books.

-Halee

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Always Forever Blog Tour

Displaying banner for Always Forever Tour.jpg
I am so happy to be a part of this blog tour for Always Forever. I'm really excited to read this book. Mary has been an awesome blogger friend of mine, and, on top of that, an excellent writer.

Displaying Always Forever cover (small).jpgSynopsis:
Music has been there for them, Always Forever

Colton Cruise has a determined, focused, hardworking attitude. He’s the manager of one of the most popular bands. However, all of his problems are coming from a smart mouth, petite, guitar player of the opening band.

Ivee Jamison is a blunt, outspoken girl who has been on her own for a while. She does whatever she wants. That is, until her new boss, Colton Cruise, starts barking orders.
The secrets that drive them are the one holding them back. Now will the music be able to save them once again? 

Displaying Always Forever full wrap (small).jpg

Excerpt:
I walked into the dimly lit bar. I small grin crept onto my face. It felt familiar, maybe because 

I spent a lot of time here behind the bar, and with Shine. I strolled up to the corner of the bar. A 

large breasted blonde smiled from behind the counter, and strutted up to me. 

“We’re closed sweetheart.” Her bright white smile was completely fake.

“Let Wills know that Colton is here, and then bring me a Budweiser. Thanks.” I ignored her 

statement. She looked at me strangely, but nodded, heading to the other side.

I gazed around the exact room that helped me get Shine where it is today. There were no 

tables, no stools, only a large bar that covered the whole length of the building. In the very back, 

on a large platform, was the stage. 

That was where all the magic happened. 

Right there. 

It really wasn’t anything special if you looked at it in the light. It’s a black, elevated stage, 

which Wills built himself. But to Shine, and to me, it was everything.

“Colton,” Wills thick British accent made me turn toward him. “How the hell are you?” He 

wasn’t as tall as I was, but he was much larger. I knew that he had to be at least two hundred 

eighty pounds and had always been that way.

“I’m good.” I gave him a quick, firm hand shake.

“I’m glad that you could make it up here on short notice.”

“Now, I came up here because it was you, Wills, but why the fuck am I here?” I crossed my 

arms, as the blonde set my beer in front of me, and a drink in front of him.

“You’re looking for someone to open for Shine, right? For the North America tour?” Wills’ 

questions. 

I nodded.

“Well, look no further Mr. Manager-of-the-World’s-Hottest-Band, I have that opening act.” 

Wills smiled at me, pushing back his thick black hair off his forehead

Buy Links:

Information about the model/muse:

About the Author:
Displaying Mary Smith's author photo.jpgMary Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois but raised in Princeton, Illinois. She is currently living in
West Virginia with her amazing husband. Mary never misses a Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago 
Bears or a Chicago Bulls game. She loves her sports. Mary never goes anywhere without her 
Kindle, her laptop or a book in hand. If you can’t find her reading than she is reviewing books on 
her site, which she co-founded, Book Nerds Across America.

Mary Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois but raised in Princeton, Illinois. She is currently living in 
West Virginia with her amazing husband. Mary never misses a Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago 
Bears or a Chicago Bulls game. Mary never goes anywhere without her Kindle, her laptop or 
a book in hand. She is the author of the Amazon bestselling Sports Romance series, The Ice 
Series, and The Penalty Kill Trilogy, which she co-authors with Lindsay Paige.

Stalk Her:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

17332564Title: How to Love
Author: Katie Cotugno
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: Hardcover, 389
Publication: October 1, 2013

Synopsis:
Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated-and pregnant-Reena behind. 

After: Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?


I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I had held off reading for quite a while. (I got the book for Christmas and read it in April if that is any indication.) I honestly didn't know what to expect from it. The reviews had been mixed. They were raving from the people over at Epic Reads, but there were many negative reviews over at Goodreads. But I had to see for myself. This story goes much deeper than I thought it would. How to Love explores the complexity of human relationships and love in a way that draws the reader into the story. However, it took me a while to actually fall head over heels in love with this story.

Plot:
The story itself was unique. It wasn't the sweet and perfect love story that I had come to expect from most YA contemporary romances. It had dark twists and turns. The POV switches back and forth from before and after Reena has her daughter, and I really enjoyed that. It kept the story lively and entertaining.

Characters:
The main problems that I had with the book lie in the characters. Reena could be such an annoying main character. It was completely understandable how naive that Reena was in the before chapters. She was young and in love for the first time. First love makes characters do stupid things. However, in the after chapters Reena prides herself on being smarter than when she was with Sawyer for the first time. Whenever he was around, she made such stupid and thoughtless decisions. She reverted back to her pre-baby self, and it was annoying. She had her parents and her prior experience with Sawyer to guide her, yet, at times, she ignored both. Sawyer was a bit of the same way. He was reckless and stupid. But it seemed that whenever he was with his daughter, he became more responsible, which made his character development amazing.

Romance:
Man, do I love a slow burn romance. It took a while for Reena and Sawyer to get together, but when it happened, it was great. In the before chapters, their relationship was fun and reckless, but in the after chapters, their relationship matured and developed in ways that I didn't think was going to happen. I really enjoyed Sawyer and Reena together.


Overall:
Slow to like at first, but it pleasantly surprised me