Happy Friday Everyone! For those of you who don't know, this week I've been promoting Lindsay Smith's paranormal historical novel Sekret as a member of her street team. The fabulous folks at Fierce Reads have put several teams together to celebrate their recent and upcoming releases, assigning all of us fun challenges to complete over the course of a week.
Earlier in the week I posted a visual introduction to Russia as well as character profiles of main characters Yulia and Valentin, and today I'm going to share with you my list of Sekret favorites. First up: Favorite Scene.
The challenge actually asked for both a favorite scene and a favorite quote, but mine are pretty much one and the same so I've combined them. My favorite aspect of the story, aside from the Russian setting, is Yulia's relationship with her brother Zhenya. It's a very, very small element overall, but for me it's one of the more powerful ones because I can feel how much love there is between them. Zhenya is the type of person very much locked up inside his own head and who needs the comfort of routine to get through the day, but he has a gorgeous mind and thanks to Yulia's ability to see things through touch, she's able to relate to him on a different level than most people.
Below is my very favorite quote in artwork form, with a snippet of the full scene underneath to give you more context.
I laugh bitterly to myself. He does remember me. "I promise this won't hurt. But will you let me see what you're thinking?"
My heart shatters in my chest when he answers. "I wish you always would."
Oh, Zhenya. I wish I only knew how to decipher your thoughts. I twist my fingers in his, and with a jolt, a fractured landscape unfolds. His thoughts are alive and vibrant, like a Kandinsky painting, with great slashes of color and heavy strokes of disparate thoughts. I find myself wanting to reach out and reorder the jumbled-up brush strokes, make sense of the chaos.
• • • • • • • • • • •
Though there are a number of villains to choose from in this story, the most terrifying to me is General Rostov with his ability to punch through anyone's mental defenses and seize complete control of their minds. Other individuals in Sekret can see or hear thoughts, but Rostov doesn't simply listen in or observe, he makes his presence known in the most painful way possible and I can't help but shudder when I think about what that would feel like.
"You should be happy. You are helping the State. And you are paying your debt." Rostov reaches for my chin, and his touch is glass shattering inside my brain. Deeper, deeper–an icepick lobotomy, every note of my musical shield splitting apart like atoms."
• • • • • • • • • •
Though there are two boys vying for Yulia's affection, there is only one clear choice for me personally, and in my opinion, one choice for Yulia as well. Sergei makes his interest known, but Yulia never seems overly connected to him (at least in my mind), and thus I don't feel he is a true romantic threat to Valentin. Valentin and Yulia have some really stunning moments, my favorite of which is this one:
He kisses like the dawn. My hands stroke his stomach, his arms, and he sets me on fire; he claims my hair for his own as his lips explore my neck. The music dripping off him like fervent sweat mingles with my own and we are protected, sealed, locked forever in this symphony, in the sounds of Yulia and Valentin.
• • • • • • • • • • •
The final piece of the challenge was to write our predictions for Skandal. I don't have any predictions per se, more things I'm hoping to see in the sequel :)
- More Zhenya please! As you all saw above, he is my favorite part of the story but his role is minor, much to my dismay. He still obviously made quite the impression on me even with his short page time though, and I've got my fingers crossed he'll be a bigger player in book two.
- I would like to see Yulia's ability put to use in a wider variety of situations. We get a taste of so many different gifts in Sekret that Yulia's doesn't stand out quite as much, so I would love for her to get a few more chances to really shine.
• • • • • • • • • • •
An empty mind is a safe mind.
Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.