steiger_mindwalkerAt seventeen, Lain Fisher has already aced the Institute’s elite training program for Mindwalkers, therapists who use a direct neural link to erase a patient’s traumatic memories. A prodigy and the daughter of a renowned scientist-whose unexplained death left her alone in the world-Lain is driven by the need to save others.

When Steven, a troubled classmate, asks her to wipe a horrific childhood experience from his mind, Lain’s superiors warn her to stay away. Steven’s scars are too deep, they say; the risk too great. Yet the more time Lain spends with him, the more she begins to question everything about her society. As she defies the warnings and explores Steven’s memories, it becomes clear that he’s connected to something much bigger…something the Institute doesn’t want the world to discover.

Lain never expected to be a rule breaker. She certainly didn’t plan on falling in love with a boy she’s been forbidden to help. But then, she never expected to stumble into a conspiracy that could ignite a revolution.

Hardcover, 400 pages

Published June 9th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published June 4th 2015)

Lain is a Mindwalker, a kind of psychologist who can go into your memories and alter them. The citizens of her world have rankings according to their mental stability. There are guards who keep watch over them and random scans take place often. They watch for those who may be losing control and causing problems for other citizens.

Steven, a level 4 whom has to wear a collar, approaches Lain at school and asks her for help altering his memories. He has survived tragedies in his past and wants to forget. Lain accepts the job against her guardians (and boss’s) advice. As she begins her sessions with Steven, she finds something in his memories that does not match what he has told her. As she looks deeper  into Steven’s past, she finds a connection to her own.

Mindwalker is a very fast-paced story with twists and a lot of action. Lain and Steven are complete opposites, and the romance that develops between the two is cautious and caring. Steven was my favourite character; he is emotional, truthful, and wears his heart on his sleeve. Lain is a bit more uptight; she speaks carefully, and thinks before she acts. It was fun to see her mind unravel as she begins to see what is happening. I think the world building was also very interesting. The city is somewhat enclosed. I really enjoyed seeing (the bit that we get to) outside the city and the people who choose to live there.

This is a science fiction tale that is realistic and frightening at times with a variety of characters that really stand out; it’s both tragic and hopeful. It’s is one of my favourite reads so far this year — a story that I would recommend to everybody. I was hooked from the first page.

 



Belinda_kisses_tnBel reflects on this powerful documentary.

 

 

bowling-for-columbineI have my own personal thoughts on the gun laws in the USA, so watching this one brought up a lot of emotion, made my mind boggle and my stomach churn. Michael Moore takes a look at the gun culture in the US, with a focus on the Columbine school shooting and the Buell Elementary school shooting.

There are extremely graphic scenes of people being shot, shooting themselves and the remains of those who were shot. It is not at all comforting. Nor should it ever be.

The emergency calls from those within the Columbine school are horrific, the desperate pleas from parents asking for information on their kids, and the media vultures wanting to be patched through for live on air information.

He interviews one of the creators of South Park,Matt Stone, who shone a light on the internal stresses on students. I have to agree there was unnecessary stress put on students to achieve. The focus was less on their personal well being and more on their academic or sporting prowess — the fear of the unknown beyond high school, and how that may have lead to the school shooting.

Marilyn Manson was given his chance to comment, and though I’m not a fan of his music, he spoke sense. He said that perhaps people were not listening to them, or listening to the people who may have been able to signal any problems.

Moore takes a look at the differences between Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and the US, and asks the question ‘Why there is so many gun related deaths in the US?’

The jewel in the crown would have to be the interview with Charlton Heston the leader of the NRA (National Rifle Association). This man showed up after both of these tragic shootings and rallied on his constitutional right to bear arms.

There have been over 20 gun-related mass shootings in the US since the release of Bowling for Columbine.  There is no question that changes need to be made; the difficulty is trying to get the change to happen.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on this documentary if you’ve seen it.

 

 



Bel and Joelene went to the Hachette blogger evening in Sydney recently to meet and listen to Holly Black speak. They had and awesome time, and here is the first of 4 videos they made to share it with us.

 



JoeleneHow long have you been writing for MDPWeb, why did you join the group, and what do you like about being part of it?

I started writing for the Burn Bright website in 2012. I wanted to get out of a reading rut and give some other authors or genres a chance and reviewing for MDPWeb seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’ve loved a lot of books that I otherwise would not have given a chance – Unidentified by Rae Mariz, Bitterwood Bible by Angela Slatter and One Small Step ed. Tehani Wessely being the stand out ones.

What creative piece are you working on, and what author would you liken your work to?

I’m in the process of writing the second book in what will hopefully be a trilogy. Stylistically, my writing is probably most similar to Sarah Rees Brennan’s. I prefer funny to angst; and what I lack in the plot and description departments, I make up for in dialogue and character.

What book have you most enjoyed reviewing for MDPWeb?

Lian Tanner’s Museum of Thieves. It was such an astoundingly good book that I needed to tell everyone about it. I began writing the review almost as soon as I had put the book down.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

Sleeping ranks highly… At the moment outside of work I’m reading the WIP’s of two different friends so that I can give them feedback before they submit. I’m trying to get through some of my review shelf (and ideally write the reviews after). I’m working on my own story, trying to make time for friends and family, and getting ready for a Sydney trip. So right now, whenever I have the chance to sleep, I seize it.

Is there somewhere else online/in bookstores we can find your work?

Alas no. Perhaps someday, if I ever get around to submitting and someone actually accepts…

What’s your favourite TV series?

Avatar: the Last Airbender. Hands down best TV show ever. It’s funny, has consistent and believable characters, avoids shallow stereotypes, and is set in a fantasy world that is deeply complex – both physically and socially. For a kid’s cartoon, it is beyond amazing. Not only does it include a racially diverse cast of characters – including main characters – it is also inclusive of characters with disabilities, and has some pretty awesome female characters too.

Who or what is your current crush?

Agh. That’s a question. There are so many. Maybe Ada Wong? Or Marrow from the X-men? All of the X-men from the X-men? I’m just going to stop myself here; this list could get out of hand.



 

Natasha ObrienYour teen years are all about discovering who you are. For many young people this is also the lifestage where they discover their sexuality and identify themselves. What I’m referencing here is “Coming Out”. Coming out can be a really exhilarating but also anxiety provoking process. It’s not the kind of thing you can do in one fell swoop, like ripping off a proverbial bandaid. It’s a process that needs to be repeated over and over again. It’s like public speaking for months/years straight. (Or not so straight in this case)~Natash

 

So what can you to support a friend coming out?

 

coming out-@cm077

  1. Talk to them about other OUT queer persons you know. This may make then feel more comfortable about you accepting them as well. Maybe even introduce them to other queer friends you know.
  2. Help find resources. If you feel your friend could benefit from more support maybe point them to organizations and LGBTQ clubs and organizations
  3. Do respect their confidentiality. It’s important to individuals coming out that their sexuality/gender identity is disclosed only to those they feel safe with when they feel comfortable doing so. You may be proud and want to celebrate your friend, but do refrain from sharing their news with others without their consent.
  4. As an LGBTQ ally its hard to imagine that people can be intolerant. Jerks do exist however and they may make appearances in your friends coming out process. LGBTQ persons face much discrimination. They worry about violence, job security, are bullied etc and their worries are legitimate. Be prepared to listen support and point to resources when necessary.
  5. Help them rehearse their coming out speech, write coming out letters and notes. For many people working up the confidence to say the words “ I’m Gay/Queer/Lesbian/Pansexual…” to important people in their lives is very difficult. Having a friend be a sounding board or re-read letters and offer reassurance can be that boost on confidence they need.
  6. Include and extend extra invites. Your friend may loose connections with friends and family along the way. Your friendship may be even more important to them now, especially during special occasions like the holidays.
  7. Make your friends a coming out card. Coming out is a celebration of identity! How do we celebrate most life events? With cards. Why not make a card that says something like “Congratulations you’re my Superqueero”
  8. Celebrate milestones. With every “Coming out” conversation you’re friend is closer to living openly as who they feel they are. Celebrate the successes!
  9. Most of all just act normal. Well as normal as you both were to begin with. Your friend hasn’t changed they are the same person. They still want to binge watch Netflix, make YouTube videos and kick your butt at swimming. So just go about being the duo you always have been. Business as usual.
Photo courtesy Instagram @cw077

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