Monday, 30 June 2014

Blogger Life: No Bookish Book Theories! Sorry everyone!

Happy Monday world! How are you today?!



If you haven't seen my tweet already, then you should've probably figured out by the this post that there is no Bookish Book Theories for this Monday!


Sorry guys! But I have been extremely busy for the past couple days, and I haven't been getting NO SLEEP either.


For all those that don't know, summers in Canada are pretty hot and humid- we do have hot months here in the North. Unfortunately for my family and I, we don't have a working A/C at the moment, so I have been unable to get a good nights sleep for the past two weeks!


In addition to not getting any sleep, blogging for me has become extremely difficult, despite the fact that school is out. My computer is DIRECTLY underneath a skylight (see bellow):


Note: this was taken just a few moments ago, and I am sitting directly under it.



So from 8am-2pm, it get's really sunny and hot to the point where I can't use my computer. Add this to the fact my house has no A/C at the moment, using the computer during daylight hours is 'at your own risk'.

Aside from the extreme heat and caution that comes with using our computer, I'm packing!

I am leaving for my French immersion in FOUR DAYS, and this is all that I have packed at the moment, my clothes:


This isn't all of the clothes I'm packing (I still have to buy running shoes, workout clothes, and a swimming cap) because I'm FAR from being done! I still have to buy a bigger suitcase, alongside reading all 15 books (that includes ebooks) before Friday, and studying for Quebec!

So sorry guys! No Bookish Book Theories! Hopefully I'll have a couple ready before I leave!

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Review: Sekret by Lindsay Smith







Author: Lindsay Smith
Pages: 341
Publisher: Roaring Book Press/Macmillian Children's
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Received from: NetGalley 
Status: Sekret #1


Synopsis (from Goodreads)


An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive.

Russia's powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities for their psychic espionage program. Their mission: protect the Soviet space program from American CIA spies. Why shouldn't the KGB use any means necessary to make the young psychic cooperate? Anything to beat the American capitalist scum to the moon.

Yulia is a survivor. She won't be controlled by the KGB, who want to harness her abilities for the State with no regard for her own hopes and dreams. She won't let handsome Sergei plan her life as a member of elite Soviet society, or allow brooding Valentin to consume her with his dangerous mind and even more dangerous ideas. And she certainly won't become the next victim of the powerful American spy who can scrub a brain raw—and seems to be targeting Yulia.

Review

Sekret is a dazzling, mind playing, and thrilling read about Soviet Russia, and the people behind the scenes who do their best to keep the iron curtain from falling!

The story is about Yulia, a girl who is on the run with her mother and brother. They live a hard, but fairly ordinary life together, until Yulia's family is taken away, and she is sent away to a crumbling Imperial prison run by the KGB. There, she meets others like her with special abilities, but she quickly realizes the facade they put on is simply for show- they are all tools in the war against America. She has to learn how to control her powers, otherwise she won't be safe from the threats both inside and outside the walls of her prison.

This book really did surprise me in many ways. I got this e-ARC before it's release date, however, I didn't get really far with reading it (I probably got to 27-30% before stopping?), because it was really confusing at times. However, after finally forcing myself to sit down and read it, I learned that this book wasn't meant to be simple.

For me, the plot story is a little all over the place, and it took me awhile to understand what was going on because of Smith's writing style. It got easier as I kept going though. Yulia is a little scattered with her thoughts from time to time. There are times when I don't know if she's seeing things in the past, seeing them through the eyes of others, having memories, having dreams etc. I didn't really like it initially, especially when she didn't establish her position on what side she wanted to play on, but I let it go as the novel progressed.

This story is hard to explain and to follow, because Yulia herself doesn't know who to trust 98% of the time, and this is due to the fact others can go inside her head if she pleases, and that she doesn't entirely remember what happened before her father left her family.

It's confusing and very intense at times, but it's understandable in this story. This story is supposed to play with your mind because in 1963-64 USSR, everything was confusing and hard and scary and intense. The conflict that you get when reading the story and understanding the characters reflects the conflict of that time period.

All the characters were amazing, and Larissa and Valentin were two of my favourite; I had a huge crush on Valentin, and couldn't believe I was blinded by Sergei in the beginning.

Even though there were times I didn't know how to feel about her, I have to admit, Yulia is pretty badass for sticking up to her superiors and being her own person. She has a sense of protectiveness that is really nice, and even when she's at her weakest moments, she picks herself back up.

The story does end with a lot of lose ends, which I hope will all be answered in Skandal (I don't know if this is a trilogy or not). I really want to know what happened to the characters in the end, and I especially want to know what caused the division in Yulia's family. I'll be honest with you, that was my main concern throughout the novel that I hope would've been answered, but was really disappointed when it wasn't.

This book was an amazing, fast-paced, and thrilling read, and I recommend it for all historical fiction junkies like myself, and to anyone that likes a good spy story! (Ally Carter fans, I'm looking at you!).

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



Friday, 27 June 2014

Fangirl Friday (#11): He Said, She Said (Art of Lainey Edition)







Hey guys! Today is a special edition of Fangirl Friday!



I get to share with you this awesome little feature that I did with Paula Stokes a couple months ago. This is called He Said, She Said, and something that we do on our school newspaper.



Essentially, a guy and a girl give their own opinions on a given topic. Usually, these are longer opinion pieces where both the guy and girl chosen justify their responses, but for time purposes, we decided to make it into a Q&A version. For this post, Micah and Lainey will be giving their own opinion on a bunch of questions that I will ask them (so sorta like 20 questions, but I don’t have 20 questions…)

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Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.
 
And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work!  But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be? 
 


Ready? Well, then let's begin!

Question 1: What’s do you guys think of sports?

M: I like watching sports a lot, especially Cardinals’ baseball and Blues’ hockey.

L: I’d always rather be on the field than on the sidelines. I watch soccer, of course, for Reasons.

Question 2How do you guys feel about music?

M: Music has always been an important part of my life, especially now when it’s the major thing that keeps me feeling connected to my dad.

L: I used to just like stuff you could dance to. Lately I’ve been trying out some new things. I never realized how much power a song could have.

Question 3: What do you guys think of Denali? And how do you guys feel about working there?

M: If you had told me a couple years ago that I’d be working at an Alaskan-themed hippie coffee shop and actually feel like I fit in, I would have said you were nuts.

L: I bitch about it a lot, but let’s be honest: there are way worse places I could be working. Plus it’s really hard to get fired when your dad’s the boss.

Question 4How do you guys feel about living in Hazelton? Do you ever think of escaping to St. Louis?

M: Hazelton is pretty cool. Nearby St. Louis gets all the big bands and there’s a lot of stuff to do here. I kind of want to live somewhere bigger someday, though, even though I would hate to leave my mom and sister.

L: Yet another thing I complain about. (I should probably complain less, huh?) There’s nothing wrong with suburban St. Louis, but it feels so small and the world feels so huge, you know? I need more.

Question 5One word: Bianca?

M: She’s one of those girls who is nice to everyone all the time and still manages not to be annoying. I wish all the girls were like her ;)

L: I heard that, Micah. Whatever. But I totally agree. Bee is THE BEST.

Question 6Now that we know how much you both love Bee, what do you guys think of Leo?

M: Leo lives in my building. He’s just an all-around cool guy. Smart, laid-back, hard worker. I’m glad my manager agreed to give him a job.

L: Leo is one of those people you might miss if you’re not paying attention. He’s quiet—not shy, exactly. He sort of operates on his own plane.

Question 7: Since we’re on the theme of people, what about Kendall? *looks sneakily at Lainey*

M: *blinks* Who?

L: Ha-ha. Kendall isn’t a bad person. She just has issues and so she does a lot of bad things. I figure we’ll work it out eventually, now that I’ve quitletting her control me.

Question 8Okay, now it's time for the big question! How do you feel about the world reading the Art of Lainey?

M: I KNEW you wanted to touch my hair. And now you can’t deny it, because I have evidence.

L: Shut up. *blushes* Man, reading this book really highlights how clueless I used to be. I’m glad I figured things out this summer.

Question 9Well, I hope you do know Micah that you have your own story about to be published? How do you feel about the world reading about you before Lainey?

M: Sharing this story hurt a little (okay, a lot), but it shows how much has changed in just a few months. Also, the parts with my sister and me are basically perfect.

L: Your sister is basically perfect. I’m pretty sure she’s going to grow up to be Bianca. Ugh. Reading this makes me want to give you a giant hug. *hugs Micah*
 
Want more Micah and Lainey? Check out The Art of Lainey (available now) or Infinite Repeat (available in August.)
 


Paula’s bio:



Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where she graduated from Washington University and the Goldfarb School of Nursing. When she's not writing, she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. Paula loves interacting with readers! Find her online at www.authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

Blogger Note: She's pretty awesome, and is super talented! Go say hi to her on twitter!

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