Saturday, January 31, 2015

Launching Takhayyal and other events in February


February looks like a fairly busy month for me with lots to read and review. It is also gives me GREAT pleasure *drum roll* to announce that Takhayyal will launch on Thursday, 5 February, 2015.

I'm already in the process of scheduling the first five or so posts, so there wouldn't be any delays.

I'm still accepting artwork and photography to be featured for a week. Please bear in mind that the pictures you send will be used to spark others' imaginations and writing.

In case you haven't seen my Top Books of 2014, check them out here.

General February events:

·        The annual Cairo Book Fair started on 28 January and will end on 12 February. (Don't you wish it were longer?!) I hear they're doing a better job this year with an archive to see if the book(s) you want will be available in the fair.
·        Thursday, 5 February – First post in Takhayyal (I'm so excited!)
·        Tuesday, 10 February – I'll be taking part in a Blog Tour for Kate Avery Allison's Of Sea and Stone (Itlantis #1)

I also found this quote on Goodreads, and thought I'd share because it's just beautiful:

“Books are the carriers of civilization...They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.” ― Barbara W. Tuchman



Happy Reading and Writing Everyone!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Token of Remembrance


Gina walked through the look-a-like forest like a queen.

I am a queen, she thought; a fading one. My line is ending and there is nothing I can do about it. Sure they have created ‘laws’ against killing my kin – as though they take them seriously. Their laws are nothing like the laws of nature: binding, honest, trustworthy.

With heavy steps, she walked in the grass. She pretended not to see those ugly iron fences that surrounded the natural reserve. She liked to call it the forest for it gave her a glimmer of hope.

“Mama! Look at the tiger! It’s beautiful.”

I was beautiful, child. I wish you could have seen me in all my glory, when I roamed wild and free. My hide shone beneath the sun like a thousand coloured diamonds. They were beautiful days; if only you knew.

“It’s shame they don’t let us hunt’em no more. That fur’d be worth a fortune!”
Gina heard one of the observers.

Poacher. She grunted angrily to herself.
They come in all shapes and sizes. Even the women on the far right think my fur is worth more than my life – for a petty coat!
We are not evil; we were created as wild ones. But humans don’t understand that; anything that can eat them is evil and beastly. Typical. They haven’t seen themselves.
Greedy poachers!

Gina stood before the gathering audience, some watching briefly and some about to leave.

Here is something to remember me by.

She stood, her fur glittering black and orange beneath the sun.

One final stand.


And she roared with all her might, echoing on every air-wave, little breeze and howling tornado.

Taken from: http://dreamatico.com/data_images/tiger/tiger-8.jpg

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bound by Spells Cover Reveal



Spoiler alert! This is book two in the Bound series, so you might want to check out Bound by Duty first! It’s getting great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and the following synopsis will provide spoilers!

Synopsis:
Aidan Montgomery hadn’t been prepared for Amelia Bradbury to walk in and then out of his life. He also hadn’t expected to find the powerful magic hidden deep within him for the last nineteen years, but he’s embracing it — finding more control and more answers every day. Now, with the help of Amelia’s best friend, Bethany, Aidan is on a quest to understand his destiny and find Amelia.

Amelia decided to stand by her duty, which meant walking away from her first chance at love. Trapped in Cresthaven at the Queen’s mercy, she spends her days with Micah — an ally she still holds at arm’s length — struggling to manage her heartbreak while keeping her mind focused on the task at hand. As she continues to unlock the secrets of the Keeper power, Queen Julia’s true motives reveal themselves, forcing Amelia to decide, yet again, how much she’s willing to sacrifice.

Will Aidan get to Amelia before it's too late, or will the very power that sustains them keep them apart?


About the Author:
Stormy Smith calls Iowa's capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her. She knew quickly that stories of fantasy were her favorite, and even as an adult gravitates toward paranormal stories in any form.

Writing a book had never been an aspiration, but suddenly the story was there and couldn't be stopped. When she isn't working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy's favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.


Connect with Stormy



Also, check out Nadaness In Motion's review of Stormy Smith's Bound by Duty.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nadaness In Motion's Top Books for 2014

Here is my list for the "bestest" books I read in 2014

1.    Hand of Fire by Judith Starkston (a must-read book about love, family, war, and fate)
2.   Rising by Holly Kelly (I just loved this book)
3.   Dreams of Perfection by Rebecca Heflin
4.   Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan
5.   The Colour of Dishonour by Rayne Hall
6.     Mapping Me – edited by Tamara Azizian (though there were some pieces I did not like, there were many that were just too damn good)
7. Krymzyn by BC Powell 
8.   Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce (the third instalment in The Immortals Quartet)
9. Strings by Darren Gallagher (a collection of 33 short stories, I particularly loved the ones with a fantastical/paranormal element)


I had planned to read 50 then 40 books in 2014, but ended up reading only 36, with the 37th being finished during the first week of 2015. So, 8 out of 36 books is enough. I read many good books this year, but not all made it to my all-time favourites. (Links to reviews below)






Check out my reviews of these books here (note 2 of them have not been posted):


Friday, January 16, 2015

Offering - FSF




I extend my hand to you, palm open. You welcome my gesture, readily, immediately accepting.

Leaves fall, seasons change, in a heartbeat. I extend my hand and you always accept with a smile on your face.


But when I turn my back, you aim and stab then return to your old position, smile in my face and extend your hand in a friendly shake.



Found this online, it said:
Image courtesy of Continence Foundation of Australia/Peace offering by campionkid


This piece is for this week's five-sentence fiction prompt "Offering". It is also inspired by a dear friend's actual events.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chronicles of Steele - Review


Chronicles of Steele: Raven by Pauline Creeden is my first ever steampunk read, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed both the genre and Creeden’s storytelling. The book is divided into four episodes, each is subdivided into scenes.
The novel is about Raven Steele, a reaper. Reapers are not entirely mercenaries, or at least they did not start out as such. Their main code is, for every life they take, they must redeem it by saving another. This code stops them from falling in a downward spiral of becoming unfeeling and heartless.
The novel opens with Raven having made up her mind to go to Gregory and declare her love for him. On the way, a broken automated horse pulling a carriage lands in the water and Raven saves the young boy in the carriage. The boy turns out to be the young Baron, the second in line to rule New Haven. Raven is taken to the Duke and there his older son, Solomon, tells her that the young Baron, Darius, has a demon and that he just suffered a failed exorcism. He asks her to take his brother to the Wood Witch to cure him, or their father, the Duke, will kill him. Raven sees an opportunity to redeem herself by rescuing Darius.

At the beginning of the novel, we see Raven trying to think of other people as human. A short while after that thought and in her first confrontation in the book, Raven is arrested and the scene is described with “…gripped the chain between the cuffs and pulled her forward like an ox.” The image is highly ironic as she tries to think of others as people, whereas such people treat her like an animal even though she gets out of her way and saves a life.

Throughout the book, Raven tries to escape the Duke’s guard to get Darius to the Wood Witch. Getting there isn’t easy, but the worse is yet to come as it turns out the Darius is very special and the Wood Witch has much better and bigger plans.

The novel is narrated in the third person. The language is simple with many beautiful images:
Sunlight sifted through and between the buildings stacked next to one another like books on a shelf.”

Every scene in every episode begins with a few lines of advice or notes in the reapers’ code. For instance “Defeat is a state of mind. The loser is not the person who fails, but one who gives up. If one never gives up, lost ground can be easily recovered when the opportunity presents itself.” Also, “Actions must be guided by reason, not emotion. The moment decisions become based on feelings, one will err”.

I particularly liked Credeen’s use and choice of colours in these lines, which reflect both Raven’s and the author’s views as to the Duke’s choice since his guard wears brown coats. “Brown might be a good colour for a dirty job, but a bloody one? As a reaper, Raven wore black – the appropriate colour for the purpose.

In the Chronicles of Steele, there are many bits of sound and advice and food for thought. For example, Raven is highly intelligent and calculating, often anticipating her opponents’ moves. In one scene, she tells Darius, “You don’t have to be faster than a bullet, you just need to be smarter than the man holding the gun.”

Despite being such a strong character, certain little things still get to Raven. She’s hard on the outside but afraid of a tiny thing like spiders. This makes her character more realistic and believable. “As a reaper, she trained to conquer her fear. Yet the thought of eight hairy legs creeping across her skin made her cringe.
Moreover, we say Raven develop, particularly in terms of emotions. She begins to care for Darius and worries about him. Is he cold? Is he well fed? Later, she draws strength from his faith and trust in her.

Chronicles of Steele is rich in characters from Raven, to Monroe, Captain Jack Grant, Darius, Colton and even Nikki the dog. Credeen’s storytelling is enjoyable and when you think you’ve been let down, Credeen shows you she’s just been teasing – I liked that bit.

What I particularly loved about the novel is that it mixed so many genres into one beautiful read. It is action, adventure, disguise, mystery, fantasy and supernatural with a tiny tinge of romance.

That woman’s passion was like a storm, and he could either cower from the lightning, or be brace and stand in the rain.”

Note: I received a free copy in return for an honest review and as part of the Chronicles of Steele: Raven blog tour via Xpresso Book Tours.

Note: The books were originally published separately, though my copy is of all four episodes.
Keep reading for more info about the books and the author:

Purchase:

About Pauline Creeden:
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.

Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. It is also the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Winner in Historical Fiction. Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best YA Horror Novel.

Author links:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bound by Duty – Review


Bound by Duty is the first instalment in the Bound series by Stormy Smith. The novel focuses on Amelia, an 18-year-old with massive power she has no idea how important it is or how to control it.
Throughout her whole life she has been lied to by everyone. Her mother was murdered by Queen Julia, a malicious woman who craves dominion over all who possess magic. Not only that, as a baby Amelia was betrothed to Julia's son, and must wed him when she's 21.
Also, throughout her life her father has been distant and the only source of comfort had been had brother, Cole, who has had to leave in order to find out more about Amelia's power and destiny.
Bound by Duty moves at a quick pace; it opens with a scene, narrated in the third person, of the Queen and hunters. The rest of the novel is in the first person from Amelia's perspective.

Amelia is a very down to earth and highly believable character. We see her emotions rise and fall, build up and deflate. The reader feels her confusion and anger equally. It is like being one with her. She is also an Elder, and it remains fairly unclear to both the protagonist and the reader what that is, only that she is the last of her kind and the strongest of all the Elders.
She is often funny and sarcastic, and her situations are believable and natural. At one point she says: "I have to be the only person on the planet capable of pissing off every guy in my life on the same day while managing to get them all to lie to each other - while lying to them myself."

Furthermore, Amelia's character progresses slowly, despite some bad decisions which lead to more trouble, it is clear that she means well despite being unable to fathom the forces that she's up against. As Amelia learns more about herself and history, she becomes entangled in the theme of duty versus love.

Bound by Duty is rich in imagery. I particularly enjoyed those used to describe a Amelia's power; all her life she's been told to hide and keep her power hidden, so one of the images she uses to describe her power, she says "I felt my power build; pinpricks of electricity racing through my veins, filling my blood inch by inch."
I loved the image "I was a war-torn battlefield of emotion."

Although the novel mainly focuses on Amelia, there is a richness of characters. We see how others develop like Cole and Aidan, the latter being one of the mysterious characters along with Derrick.
Others include Bethany, the southern girl, who wants to hook Amelia up with a guy and gives relationship advice, as well as Micah, another mystery character who is not what he seems but appears to be a bit of a Snape-kind-of-character.
Finally, although we do not see much of Queen Julia, just a handful of times, the emotions she leaves the reader with are exactly those Amelia feels, hatred and anger at the mere mention of your name.

Bound by Duty has many wonderful and memorable quotes, so I'm just going to list a few here:
"Now I was falling faster than a comet plummeting to the earth, just waiting to create a giant explosion. Just like a comet, I had no idea exactly how much damage I would leave in my wake."
"Because I started our relationship with truth. I haven't lied you. I manipulated you to get you here, but I didn't lie to you. I don't lie."
"Your heart is yours to give, it is no ones to take. Not a queen. Not a prince. No one."

I enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading the next instalments of the Bound series.


Note: I received a free copy of Bound by Duty from its author Stormy Smith for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nada's New Year's reading resolutions



Though I feel I have read a lot during 2014, it seems I have not been able to make it to my Goodreads' goal of 50 books. I cut my target to 40 and barely made it L

At the start of 2014 and till June or so, I did a good deal of reading, however, following certain job-related changes I have been so crammed most of the time that I end up reading on the weekends and very rarely during the weekdays. This has – sadly – hindered my reading progress immensely and though I felt bad about it, at times, there wasn't much I could do. At the end of the day one needs to sleep to be able to make it till the end of the week.
                                                                                     
Accordingly, my book-related reading resolutions for 2015 will be of a different sort. Throughout 2014, most of the English books I read were ebooks, making my growing paperback collection – well just growing. Also, because I get many review requests – and I'm not complaining – and because I apply to many as well, I have not been able to meet my Arabic-book-reading target.
Hopefully, these two points – or at least one of them – will change in 2015, during which:

1-    I plan to read at least one printed/paperback book per month so I could at least cut my to-read printed books by 12.
2-    These printed books will most likely include the Arabic, so that might be hitting two birds with one stone.
3-    I plan on going back to my 2013 reading challenge of 36 books, realistic target of 3 books per month.
4-    Should I manage to complete the 36-book target before the end of October, I'll upgrade the challenge to 40 books. Should I pass that number then I'll have completed more than 100%.

I have come to realise that writing long and constructive reviews takes time, which may or may not affect my reading. Still, writers and authors like such reviews. And though I have tried to be concise, there are many points I like to tackle in my reviews, making it hard to write short ones. So, I hope my readers will forgive me.

I feel that saying you like or dislike a book is not enough – it's not what the author wants to know or what other readers want to know. What people want to know is WHY that book was good or not, WHY they should add it to their to-be-read shelves or WHY they should discard it.

5-    I plan to read more blog posts by others, whether reviews or flash fiction or poetry.

Though cannot be added to my Goodreads progress, I have come to realise that no blog can stand on its own. We all need each other's support even through a mere page view or an occasional share.

This is not reading related but:
6-    I plan to write more both prose and poetry and post a decent share of it on the blog as well.

I have been quite lazy and more immersed in the book-reviewing thing – but more lazy than anything. However, I need to get my groove back and write again. I have several stories in my head that need to come out in words and be read by others.

I would like more interactions from my readers and I think that may come slowly when I get back to posting my own works added to commenting on others' works, which many bloggers like and often return the favour.


That's all folks!