Friday, January 31, 2014

Waiting White


White engulfs the world,
Bathing it in a sea of snow.
Magic crawls underneath,
Creating tiny cracks in the ice.
Even the clouds crowd together,
Dreaming of warmth.

No colour,
Near or far;
Nothing
To ease the heart.

And yet,
A fire burns within,
Waiting for the chance
To spread,
To breathe life
Into a frozen world.





Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dance


I dance to a rhythm,
A rhythm of my own creation.

A wild flower dancing
In a storm,
A mermaid,
Against the current.

The music is loud in my ears.
I can feel it tugging
At my strings and chords,
Reverberating within me.

Every breath, a note,
Every heartbeat, a drumbeat.

Melodies of magic
Playing at my core.

I dance,
Unaware of the world;
I dance
Dropping every mask,
Every show, every emotion;

I dance
And dance
And dance
To a rhythm
Of my own creation



Written 28 January 2014 – at 12:30 am

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sparks of Life – FSF


They flew like crystal-coloured rain, showering the ground and disappearing as quickly as they had appeared. Flowers of fire igniting and fading over and over, never faltering.

Emma stood mesmerised by the never-ending sea of sparkles before her. They invigorated her, breathing life into a depressing day.

She took a deep breath and smiled to the blacksmith as he continued hammering a mighty sword.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2 Officers - Arabic Review


تتناول رواية 2 ضباط للكاتب عصام يوسف حياة كل من وليد سامي الضابط بالأمن المركزي وشريف بيومي الضابط بشرطة المباحث. تبدأ فصول الرواية الأولى بتقديم الشخصيتين الرئيستين قبل التحاق كل منهما بالشرطة وأسباب التحاقهم بها وتفوقهم وعلاقتهم بالآخرين وحياتهم بعد الالتحاق بكلية الشرطة والعمل في هذا المجال.

يبدأ عصام يوسف برسم شخصياته بدقة بالغة من خلال تعاملاتهم وحوارهم الذي يعطي بعداً لكل شخصية ويغرزها في عقل القارىء الذي يستطيع بعد قليل توقع ردود أفعال الشخصيات في المواقف المختلفة. على الرغم من أن هذا الوصف الدقيق يجعل الجزء الأول من الرواية بطيئاً بعض الشيء فإنه يعطي كافة المعلومات التي يحتاجها القارىء لتكوين فكرة عن شخصيات الرواية كما أن القارىء على يقين أن حياة كل منهم الرغدة لن تبقى على هذا الحال كثيراً وأن العالمين سيصطدمان في وقتٍ ما. تتبادل فصول الجزء الأول من الرواية بين حياة وليد وشريف حتى بعد زواج كلٍ منهم
.
شريف بيومي هو أخر العنقود المدلل وأناني، يمتلك والده معرض سيارات مما يعطي شريف خلفية ممتازة عن كل ما يتعلق بالسيارات والتجار الأخرين. يبدأ شريف تكوين العلاقات حالما يبدأ عمله بالشرطة وسريعاُ ما يسعى إلى تحقيق طموحاته التي لا نهاية لها وجمع الأموال والتفاخر أمام غيره وعند تدرجه في الوظائف سريعاً ما يرتبط اسمه بالفساد خاصة بعد زواجه عندما يكون له ظهر قوي يستند عليه.

أما وليد فيأتي من عائلة بسيطة، يتسم بالولاء والوفاء حب الخير للجميع مما يجعله نقيض شريف ولا يدري القارىء متى أو كيف سيلتقي مثل هذان النقيضان.

تعد فكرة السلطة وقدرتها على التأثير على الأحداث أحد أهم أفكار الرواية – إن لم تكن الفكرة الأساسية فيها، إذ تأخذ الرواية منعطفاً جديداً وشيقاً عندما يصطدم عالم وليد بعالم شريف المليء بالكذب والفساد والعلاقات مع الكبار. ويحاول وليد سلك الطريق القانوني لأخذ حق زوجته وأخيه ولكنه يفشل بسبب علاقات شريف. ويعيش وليد صدمة أن اتباع الطريق الصحيح لا يجدي نفعاً ويدرك أنه إذا أراد الحق فعليه أخذ حقه بيده.

بعد اصطدام العالمين المختلفين تتوالى فصول الرواية بسرعة فائقة مما يجعل الجزء الثاني من رواية 2 ضباط شيّق وممتع جداً وتحتوي الجزء الثاني على الكثير من الحوار مما يزيد من سرعة أحداث الرواية.

يروي عصام يوسف روايته باللغة العربية الفصحة السهلة في حين أن الحوار باللغة العامية ويحتوي على بعد الأفاشات والتهكم في بعض المواقف. ويساعد الحوار على زيادة سرعة الرواية.

وعلى الرغم من الرواية تركز بشكل أساسي على شريف ووليد ولكن هناك عدة شخصيات ظريفة ولها دور فعّال في الرواية مثل عمرو صديق وليد وصاحب النكات والأفشات ومغازي الضابط الصعيدي بالأمن المركزي الذي يلعب دوراً رئيسياً في مساعدة وليد على أخذ حقه.


تعد رواية 2 ضباط هي الرواية الواقعية الثانية للكاتب عصام يوسف، إذ سبقتها رواية ¼ جرام، ويقول عصام إنه بصدد بدء كتابة روايته الثالثة قصر البارون والتي ستكون رواية رومانسية.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Moon - FSF


This week's Five-Sentence Fiction (FSF) prompt is "Moon", hosted by Lillie McFerrin. Here is my piece:



The night is dark and winter is coming.

The words echoed in Maria’s head as her bare feet moved silently on the forest floor. She wrapped her shawl around her tightly; she was freezing but was not sure if it were the cold or the fact that she had no idea where she was.


The slightest sounds of wind rustling the trees or owls hooting in the distance terrified her even more. Worse though was when she thought she saw the moon shine ahead amidst the trees, she rushed to the possible source of warmth and light and instead found herself facing an impeccably beautiful white wolf that was just about to howl at the moon.


*The "winter is coming" part was inspired by The Game of Thrones series.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dauntless Authors Giveaway





Join The Dauntless Authors for a giveaway for 2 $25 Amazon Giftcards during the week of January 13. Throughout the week they'll also be giving away TONS of ebooks at their Facebook Party!





Team Dauntless:



Kate Avery Ellison 


Nancy S Thompson

Wendy Knight
Amber Argyle


RaShelle Workman

Elle Strauss
Megg Jensen
Angela Corbett
Cindy Hogan
Christy Dorrity
Rachel Morgan
Shantal Hiatt


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014 Egypt Reading Challenge


After seeing several annual book-reading challenges and joining two myself, I decided to start one with the theme being books set in my home country EGYPT

The aim of this challenge is simple: remembering the ancient civilisation that started on this land thousands of years ago, seeing its development, its tumultuous history and modern-day Egypt. In otherwords, bringing the spotlight on a country rich with history and potential.

The challenge rules are simple:

·        Books must have a setting in EGYPT.
·        Books can be in ANY language. (since several of the ones I’m reading will be in Arabic)
·   Books can be in ANY format (e-books, paperback, audio; you name it, it counts)
·        Short story collections are fine. Anything that counts as a book.
·        Books can be written by Egyptians or non-Egyptians.
·        Books about Ancient Egypt are of course welcome and encouraged. (These include non-fiction as well)
·   Books for this challenge can be included in any other challenge participants are taking part in.

**NOTE: Books read on/from 1st of January 2014 with the challenge setting can be included in your list. 

To join the challenge, please create a blog post with the challenge logo and add it via the InLinkz button below with your name and the name of your blog. For example: Nada @ Nadaness In Motion. If you don't have a blog, put your Twitter URL in the URL section when you sign up.
If you don’t have a blog, just post your name and Twitter handle here (and revert back to this page every month or so with your reading progress).  

I have two beautiful challenge logos for you so feel free to pick one or both in your sign up post.
Created by Sara Ahmed


Created by Sara Ahmed 
At the end of each month or quarter if you prefer, I’d like you to post the books you’ve read for this challenge. It might help give the others some ideas about what else they might like to read. At the end of the year, let’s see how many books you had planned to read and how many you’ve actually read. You don’t have to decide now on the number of books or level.

We can discuss books in common here on my blog or on Goodreads.
I will – ask my friends to – create badges for each set of achievements.

Craftsman/Craftswoman 1-5 books
Scribe 6-10 books
Priest/Priestess 11-15 books
Vizier 16-20 books
King/Queen of Egypt 21+ books

If you’ve written books about Egypt, please e-mail me or post them below.

Some suggested titles:
English Books:
·        Any books by Naguib Mahfouz (as most if not all of them are set in Egypt)
·        Before the Throne by Naguib Mahfouz (it’s a novella)
·        Shiri by D.S. Taylor*
·        Tutankhamun Speaks by Cheryl Carpinello
·        The Scribe and the Lotus by Bakr Fahmy*
·        ¼ Gram by Essam Youssef (trans. Loubna Youssef)
·        Murder on the Nile by Agatha Christie
·        Storm Cycles by Roy Johanson

Arabic Books: (Just a few examples since the list is endless)

·        أي كتب لنجيب محفوظ (أمام العرش/يوم قُتل الزعيم/ثرثرة فوق النيل/ثلاثية نجيب محفوظ)
·        ¼ جرام – عصام يوسف
·        2 ضباط – عصام يوسف
·        شكلها باظت – عُمر طاهر
·        تاكسي – خالد الخميسي
·        الفيل الأزرق – أحمد مراد
·       تراب الألماس – أحمد مراد
·       Cilantro اسكندرية – كريم هشام
·        

.Feel free to add me on Goodreads.
Note: Books with an asterisk (*) have been reviewed on this blog.

Ask your questions or leave your comments and suggestions here.

The Sapling (Pantoum)


Into a life of misery you’ve been hurled
Like a sapling in a raging storm,
Fighting for your life; it’s you against the world,
Your emotions, your beliefs against the norm.

Like a sapling in a raging storm,
Fighting, winning once and losing twice;
Your emotions, your beliefs against the norm,
In every fight, you lose a part of you; a slice.

Fighting, winning once and losing twice;
While the world continues and carries on
In every fight, you lose a part of you; a slice.
Few will notice when you’re gone.

While the world continues and carries on,
You sink in an abyss of darkness and ire.
Few will notice when you’re gone.
For them and for yourself you’ll need to find your fire.

You sink in an abyss of darkness and ire,
Your emotions, your beliefs against the norm,
For those who care and for yourself you’ll need to find your fire.
Like a sapling in a raging storm.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge Sign up Post

It seems there MANY reading challenges that pop up at the beginning of the New Year. It is only fair that my 100-th blog post should be something related to reading.

I've signed up for the Arthurian Reading Challenge and now I'm signing up for the Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge hosted by Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf. 

I'm not sure how far I can go here but with wizards being allowed in the challenge and will have to see if Mages qualify as well, I'd say I'll start with the INITIATE which requires reading 1-5 books and go from there.

If you'd like to join any of these reading challenges, simply click the links above.

Happy reading!

Arthurian Legends Book Challenge

I hope I'm doing this post right - it's supposed to be 'my pledge' to reading books about Arthurian legends in 2014.
I already have a couple on my list with more to go. Luckily, the are variations or related-readings that can be included in the challenge. More info is here: http://howlingfrog.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_18.html


Arthurian Literature Reading Challenge 2014
My current reading list includes:


  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (Book I in The Merlin Trilogy)
  • The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White
  • The Lost Years of Merlin by T. A. Baron (I think this counts)

(not sure if this should be a page or post though)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Her Knight's Quest

Her Knight’s Quest by Alexis Morgan is the second instalment in the Warriors of the Mist series, following My Lady Mage.

Her Knight’s Quest picks up where its predecessor left off; the five Warriors of the Mist had concocted a plan in the hope of defeating Duke Keirthan and putting an end to his tyrannical rule aided by blood magic, thus fulfilling their quest.

The novel begins with setting Gideon’s plan in motion. According to the plan, Gideon and Murdoch are to stay with Lady Merewen and guard her keep from further attacks, while Duncan would pretend to be scholar seeking work as a scribe in the abbey to be able to gather information to defeat the Duke, and finally, Kane and Averel would travel to the city and seek work in the Duke’s palace. Keirthan would be quite interested in having a man like Kane who bears a dark mark on his face.

The first 10 chapters in Her Knight’s Quest shift between Gideon, the other warriors and Lady Merewen and events taking place at her keep, on the one hand and Duncan and Lady Lavinia, on the other. Starting chapter 11, however, the novel takes the reader to a new dimension in the story; Duke Keirthan. We are introduced to the Duke – whom we briefly met in My Lady Mage – and his history. The present Duke of Agathia is Ifre Keirthan, who, it seems, usurped the dukedom from his brother Armel.

Chapter 11 solves many questions that come to the reader’s mind over previous 10 chapters. It also solves the other characters’ frustrations and questions they voice. As dark and bloody as Ifre Keirthan is, many events come to light in this chapter, which has a climactic feel to it.

After chapter 11, the story continues to shift but not between two parties, but three, as Duke Keirthan becomes more involved in the story. Starting chapter 11, it is almost impossible to put the book down. The reader feels that all chapters are of extreme importance. 

Alexis Morgan’s tension build-up picks up pace. More mysteries are answered in chapters 13 and 14. Duncan and Lavinia reveal things about themselves that set the story in motion and that link different characters and parts of the story together. Starting chapter 11, momentum builds up and there is no stopping it till the end of the book.

Her Knight’s Quest differs from its predecessor, My Lady Mage, in that there is a lot going on everywhere with each of the characters; there are events taking place at Merewen’s keep, at the abbey, and with Duke Keirathan. We also learn about the Duke’s past, his rise to power or rather usurpation of the dukedom, and about magic, the duke’s dark blood magic and Lavinia’s pure earth magic.

Despite the constant rise in tension, Morgan employs occasional short romantic scenes and some humour. A single humourous line easily breaks the reader’s tension, giving them a bit of relief. Morgan is lauded for this in both My Lady Mage and Her Knight’s Quest.

As with My Lady Mage, Alexis Morgan ends her novel on a high note of anticipation. The reader feels as though they need to read all three parts consecutively without halt or pause.

It goes without saying that I can hardly wait for the Honor’s Price, the third instalment in the series.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ink Smith Publishing's Giveaway

Follow the links below to enter the daily Rafflecopter giveaway offered by Ink Smith Publishing

Ink Smith Publishing's Book Release Giveaway
Enter now for your chance to win the following:
A paperback copy of Ink Smith Publishing's upcoming release Five Corners: The Marked Ones A package of 3 copies of Ink Smith Publishing eBooks An eBook copy of the upcoming release Five Corners: The Marked Ones.
This is Ink Smith Publishing's first book release give away, but depending on the success they would like to hold giveaways before every book release!
For more information on Ink Smith Publishing's book titles: www.ink-smith.com
So enter today for your chance to win!
You can enter daily.

Happy New Year 2014 & a Poem


This post is to wish all my followers, and readers, a Happy New Year 2014 and a belated Merry Christmas, or an in-advance Merry Christmas to Egyptian Coptic Christians who celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January.

Have you set up your New Year’s resolutions?

Here is one for me: I just challenged myself to reading 50 books this year.
I had planned on reading 30 books in 2013, then when I finished all 30 in October or early November, I raised my challenge to 36. I managed to read 39 books in 2013, so it’s only fair I challenge myself to something bigger this time. (I don’t go over the wall with 100 books though).

Without further ado, here is a New Year’s Poem, which is a bit old and wasn’t written for 2014, but fits anyway ;)

A New Year


Now, comes a new year
A new page has been turned
A new day has come

People all over the world
Have driven away their tears
Their hearts have been filled
With new hopes
All for the new year

A year has passed
And another has come
Hopes have died
Other have arisen
People have died
Others have been born

Everyone hopes and wishes
this new year
Will be better than the last

And now a New Year has begun
May all go well!