Sekret and Skandal (Sekret #1 and #2)
Author: Lindsay Smith
Publication: April 1st 2014 and April 7th 2015
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Format: Kindle Edition 352 pages and Kindle Edition 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Read: June 2015 and March 2016
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.
Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
exciting, intriguing, mysterious, suspenseful, sometimes down right terrifying, lots of twists and turns, definite ending but it’s not over
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
historically accurate, elaborate, thorough, shows doesn’t tell, tight meaning precise word choices, vivid, descriptive
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
Yulia is an amazing protagonist. She’s very strong and brave. She fights for herself and her family with such tenacity, it’s admirable. She has a survivalist mentality no only because of her upbringing but because of the situations she’s put in. She’s really cunning yet at the same time dedicated to her decisions and on trying to build a better life for her family.
There’s quite a few side characters in this series and they’re all super complex and intriguing. There’s a small love triangle which I personally don’t consider it a love triangle at all. It’s basically that two guys are interested in the main character but she doesn’t give a crap about one so it doesn’t count. I really love the cultural aspects of the characters and how that affected the romance. I am just a huge giant fan of this crazy, kind of scary but also heartwarming cast of characters.
The dramatic sequel to Sekret, this psychic Cold War espionage thriller follows Yulia to Washington, DC, where she fights to discover the truth about her family without losing control of her mind.
My mind is mine alone.
Life in Washington, D.C., is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia’s allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international Skandal.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
exciting, intriguing, suspenseful, full of action and mystery, new setting and new characters, lots of twists and turns, a lot more emotionally deep than the first, really intense
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
historically accurate, elaborate, descriptive, detailed, vivid, poetic, emotional, precise, intense
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Yulia is still one of my faves but she’s in shaky ground in this book. She’s in a whole new place, with a completely different kind of culture and it’s tough for her to get her bearings. She’s still incredibly brave and determined and powerful. However, she has a lot of doubts about herself and her insecurity shows and we get a glimpse into a more vulnerable part of her life. She’s angry and emotional and scared a bit. I loved her development and really enjoyed the ending.
I wasn’t captivated by the new characters in this series as much as I was in the first book. I liked them but I didn’t find them as intriguing as the group from the first book. They made an appearance and I was blown away by them once again. The romance developed in a very natural way, I loved how it wasn’t just all sunshine and roses. It reflected what was happening in the plot and what the characters had been through, while still tugging at my heart and pushing me to root for them. I feel like it was a great way to end the duology though I want more of the world.
I was so surprised that I enjoyed this duology when I read it. It’s now one of my favorite of all times.
The first book was awesome, I was really blown away by it. The plot was intricate. We follow Yulia in 1960s Russia who has spent most of her life in hiding because of her psychic abilities. She gets captured by the KGB and forced to participate in their teen psychic group. I really loved this book. I really enjoy plot that deal with strategy and spying and espionage and this one had psychic kids! There were so many different kinds of abilities that were described, I got so completely obsessed with it. I wanted to know more and more, to say how they all worked and what their limitations are and for the most part, the details are really intense and vivid. We only get to know what is happening in the plot from the main character’s point of view and that helped to keep the mystery and suspense alive. You have this strange feeling that not everything is how they say it is but you can’t find out until she does and that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! The background plans are so heavy and deep and I really couldn’t believe the direction things took. There’s so much more to be explored in the second book and it made me so excited. Yulia is fierce. She really loves her family and she’ll do anything to help them. She takes protecting them very seriously and is constantly looking for a way out of the situation she’s in. It’s really hard when you’re being forced to do something that you know is wrong and even when you could tell it was a struggle for her, her moral compass stayed on point. I really loved her development and she’s one of the smartest characters I’ve ever read about. One of my favorite things about this book is that music is a huge element in the plot. Psychics use pieces of music to try to shield their thoughts and it also plays a part in developing the romance. There’s a lot of mentions of classical music but also the Beatles which I thought was awesome because they were just starting out at that time and it makes the setting feel that much more genuine. I said it above and I’ll say it again, there is no love triangle in this book. There is more than one suitor for the main character but her eyes are only on one of them so I consider it not a love triangle whatsoever. I really loved this book and while the ending wasn’t a cliffhanger, it was a little bit more open ended than most and left a lot of possibilities open.
I was anxious to finish this duology because I loved the first book so much and this second book did not disappoint. The plot is suspenseful. Yulia has traveled somewhere new and she is now a part of the CIA, thanks to the connections her dad has in America. However, she does not recognize him at all, he’s changed completely, and she’s put to work to stop the KGB, the people who held her captive as well as her mother and brother, and end their plans. One of my favorite parts about this book is the world building. We’ve moved from Russia to America, so there’s a little bit more freedom to explore the surroundings. The music, the clothes, the slang terms and the roles in society were all totally on point and amazing. It really helps transport you to a different time. But I feel like that was the part that really caught my attention not the plot. I was intrigued and interested enough but it was a lot slower and a bit less mysterious than the first book. The beginning was interesting but it wasn’t until halfway that I was really snagged into the plot and got me to that edge of my seat feeling. I wish it could’ve been just as exciting as the first book but I also understand why it wasn’t that way. There’s a lot of other factors at play when you are in the US than when in Russia specially at that time in history. The ending was really bittersweet and not really what I was expecting but realistic and actually quite on the hopeful side. Yulia is all over the place in this book but again it’s understandable. She’s in a new country, new city where things are completely different than where she’s from. She’s reunited with her father after years apart but he’s not how she remembers him and she has no idea why. However, the character traits that I loved about her are still relevant: her tenacity and determination. Her strength is actually quite awe inspiring for me.
Overall, I really need more people to read this duology! I feel like it’s completely underrated. It’s a great representation of historical fiction and I highly, highly recommend it.
So that’s it for this review! Let me know if I’ve picked your interest about this series. I sure hope so because I need more people to talk about it with. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!