Thursday, 23 July 2015

Firedragon Rising - Guest Post + Excerpt! ¦ TOUR STOP!

Title: Firedragon Rising
Author: Mary Fan
Expected Publication: July 28th 2015
Publisher: Glass House Press

A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)

Sinister plots. An underground rebellion. And a treacherous road filled with monsters and enemies unknown.

It's been three months since Aurelia survived the International Challenge—an elite monster-fighting competition. And the Triumvirate has been keeping a close eye on her ever since … as if they expect her to cause them more trouble.

They’re right. 

Now that she knows about the underground revolution—and the dark secrets of her own past—Aurelia is hell-bent on escaping the government’s watchful gaze and joining the rebels. Finally, she’s found a cause worth fighting for. A way for her kind, the Norms, to take back their freedom.

Then, when she overhears a Triumvirate official’s conversation, she learns that it’s even worse than she realized. The government knows about the rebels, and the rebellion. They’re searching for people who sympathize with the cause. And they’re coming after her next. 

Suddenly the time for dreaming about the rebellion is over. Aurelia must make contact with the rebels and plot a quick escape … before the Triumvirate has a chance to capture her. But government forces and miles of monster-filled wilderness stand between her and the rebel headquarters, and dangers she never imagined lurk in the shadows. 

Before she can fight for the freedom of her people, she must achieve her own—or die trying.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

[DISCUSSION] - Languages and Why We Should all be Bilingual.

One question I often get asked is this:

Why are you trying to learn so many different languages?
The easy answer is, because I can and because language fascinates me. But I'm not interested in talking about the easy answer.

My native language is English (British). I like to think I'm pretty damn fluent in it. I am currently trying to learn three new languages: German, Norwegian and Japanese. I'm doing pretty well in German, and I can hold small conversations. Likewise, in Norwegian, I'm almost as good.

These two languages, when looking at their spelling, word order, and translation, are not too far off from English- which is perhaps why I am able to pick them up with relevant ease. I just really have to work on my pronunciation of the words.

Japanese (Hiragana, for now) is much more difficult for me to grasp. I think it is because of how very different the character system is- I'm used to letters, and variants of them.

Enough of that, though; let's talk about why I really like learning new languages.

First of all, it's fun. It's nothing like having to study for an exam at school- this is just to benefit me as a person, in my own time, with no deadlines or drawbacks. I get to proceed in a way that is comfortable for me and at a pace I get to choose and be happy with.

Second, I get to learn about cultures. I can discover fascinating people, and understand how they react because of their speech patterns- Norwegian vocabulary does not have words for "the", and will often emit "of" from sentences. How weird is that? But then think: how normal is that.

Learning a new language is going to benefit my career and ambitions. I wish to enter the journalism world, and also travel- both which would require an ability to communicate with people all across the globe. Just think of how many interesting stories I could cover in foreign places!

I think the final reason is the most extravagant. It's because I want to read, and not just English texts. Yes, texts are translated - The Metamorphosis was originally written in German, just like Murakami's books were in Japanese and Jo Kyung-ran's in Korean. I want to experience these books in their unaltered form- not every word translates. Some words translate wrong, lose their meaning.

And so I want to learn as many languages as I can, and as in depth as I can- because I know that doing so will make me a better person. It will make me more educated, and it will open up far more doors for me in the future. This is why I believe bilingualism should be essential and mandatory in schools all across the UK and the world. In many places it is, but it isn't here. Sure, it's preferred, but it's not forced, which means children won't do it if they don't have to.

Are any of my readers bilingual? If so, I'd like to hear from you! What languages can you speak? What's your opinion on schools teaching second languages?

Thank you for reading :-)

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Review #31 - Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray


A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.