Sunday, January 5, 2020

Nadaness In Motion's To-Be-Read List for 2020

I saw a fellow book blogger (Armed with a Book) write a list of books they have reserved for 2020 and I was inspired to do the same.

There are many books I wanted to squeeze in 2019 but couldn't so including them in my 2020 to-be-read (TBR) list was the logical next step.

Also, having this list would keep me on track on how I was progressing with books I want to read.

With the Cairo International Book Fair launching in late January and with new books being written, published, and discovered, and review requests coming in, this list will probably get larger - the bookworm's dilemma. But for now I'll like to see if I can finish this list in 2020.

So here's the list, including fiction and non-fiction.

1.  No Longer Safe by A.J. Waines
I've had this book and another by Waines on my TBR pile for a while, but I don't want to rush them because they're psychological thrillers and Waines was a psychoanalyst so I want to dive into her books without distractions.

I've previously featured A.J. Waines on my blog through an interview and excerpt of No Place to Hide and another interview about No Longer Safe.

2.  A Fantasy Writer's Handbook by Richie Billing

Another book I planned to read in 2019; this was a review request that I wanted to dedicate time and energy to. It's about 300 pages long and I wanted to take my time with it as I work on my own fantasy novel(s).

3.  Letters to a Young Novelist by Mario Vargas Llosa
I originally added this book to my TBR pile in 2018, but haven't had a chance to start it. I was told that people studying for their Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) had this Nobel-Prize-winner as part of their syllabi so I figured I'd read it as well. It's short, about 130 pages, and so far the index indicates it would be a good read. Will read it in 2020 and let you know.

4.  Reading Like a Writer, a Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

Another book that I was told was part of the MFA program and that I included in my TBR pile. The book title is catchy and while I've been critiquing books for some time (You can see that on my Book Reviews page), I'm curious what and how others look at it. 
With these types of books and with book reviews, it is likely there'll be parts I agree with and others that I don't. But I won't pass judgement yet.

5.  Atomic Habits by James Clear
I've heard a great deal about this book and I found that my cousin, whose Kindle account we share, had downloaded it. Atomic Habits moved from my I'm-considering-this-book-but-won't-add-it-yet pile to my ever-growing TBR pile :D
So, will see what the hype is about.

6.  Bound (A Doyle Cozy Mystery) by Kirsten Weiss
I love reading Kirsten Weiss' books, in fact I've already reviewed several of her works. But this one is a paranormal cozy mystery so I couldn't pass the opportunity when I downloaded it free (it was on sale for subscribers to Weiss' newsletter).

I have several other books by Weiss on my TBR pile, but I'll focus on this one first.
Books I've reviewed for Kirsten Weiss include: The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum (Book 1 in a series by the same name), Pressed to Death (Book 2 in The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum series), Tales of the Rose Rabbit (a poetry collection that's part of the Doyle Witch series).

Last but not least, I interviewed Kirsten in October 2019. Here's our interview.

7.  Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business by Frances Frei & Anne Morriss
Another book I found on the shared Kindle account but one with a really cool and quirky cover. Also, as I delve into non-fiction, business development, and marketing, I feel this book would be great to read, review, learn from, and perhaps write about.

8.  Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals
One of the things I've developed an interest in over the course of 2019 was green technology and renewable energy. Something I plan to write and blog more about via LinkedIn (and my upcoming freelancer writer's website).

9.  Magora: The World Beyond by Marc Remus
The last book in the middle-grade Magora series by author and artist Marc Remus, the most-likely-epic conclusion to this amazingly artistic and magical series.
I'm super excited about this. In 2018, I read the first 4 books in the series, this year I read the 5th and as far as I know the 6th book will be released in 2020. Remus will tie up all the loose ends, Holly will come face to face with the Duke of Cuspidor and hopefully all the questions from previous books will be answered.
Here are my reviews of the previous books: Magora: The Gallery of Wonders (Book 1), Magora: The Golden maple Tree (Book 2) Magora: The Bridge in the Fog (Book 3), Magora: The Uprising, and Magora: The Woodspeople. I've finished reading book 5, but will do the review in 2020.

10 & 11.              The Laws of Jartin Books 2 & 3
I picked up the first book in this Arabic paranormal-ish series as 
part of a book club. It's been a while since I've been hooked on an Arabic book. It's not amazing but the writing style is definitely similar to many English books I read. 
I plan to buy books 2 & 3 during the Cairo International book Fair in January and read them during the course of 2020. 
Book review of Book 1 is a work in progress.

12.              Past Deeds by Carolyn Arnold
A thriller that is similar to the series Criminal Minds. This will be the second read for me in this series by Carolyn Arnold. 
The first was On the Count of Three in December 2018.

And these are just the books I already have planned, aside from the requests that keep coming in and books I pick up as part of a book club I joined. :D

In 2019, I published a post titled Why I Fear Reading Self-Help Books, but since then I've not only overcome this fear but have developed an appetite for non-fiction, seeking as much knowledge as I can.
As much as I can, I'll be publishing book reviews for all of the above-mentioned books. If you've read any of them or plan to read them, let me know, and we can do a short talk or we can compare notes (especially for the non-fiction books).

Don't forget to Check out My Top Books of 2019.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Takhayyal Writing Prompt 103: New Year's Wishes

January, the beginning of the New Year

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's MONTHLY picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal or Imagine.

January is when we all mull over new beginnings with new aspirations and hopes. So, on that line, I bring you the first writing prompt of 2020.

I think I first saw this image as a mobile background cover but I felt it was the perfect start to the year.

The rules?

Look at the image and let it inspire you.

You can write in any language or form (but comments will be on English and Arabic writing, since those are the languages that I know). You can include lines from other languages like French, German, or Italian but I'll just be guessing ;)

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.

General rules:

  • No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
  • Use the image for inspiration and write your piece in the comments below or publish it on your blog and leave the link to it in the comments
  • Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture.
  • Multiple entries allowed
  • It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
  • Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets or tag me @NadanessSobhi and I'll retweet you :)


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Nadaness In Motion's Top Books of 2019

The end of 2019 is almost here, which means it's time for another post on the top books I've read.
In 2019, I had planned to read around 12 to 15 books but ended up reading over 30 of various lengths. I started the year fearingself-help and non-fiction books but now I'm addicted to reading more and learning more.
I have several non-fiction books on my to-read list and many novels as well.
Check out the list, let me know if you've read any of these books or if you plan to read them.

Nadaness In Motion's Top Books of 2019

Clarissa's Warning by Isobel Blackthorn is a brilliant novel set on the Spanish Canary Island of Fuerteventura! Simply WOW!
The book begins with a strong opening both in terms of story and tone. The idea of the warning is delivered in the first chapter, keeping the reader on edge throughout the book. There were many beautiful descriptions and quotes in Clarissa's Warning.

"Despite the wind, there were pockets of stillness and the ruin exuded a timeless quality. Embedded in its dilapidated stated remained faint echoes of its history, overlaid with sorrow, as though the very stones and ancient timbers mourned their former selves, when they were united as one, strong and proud and true."

"There was a severed leg on my porch."
That's how cozy mystery novel Leg Up by Annabelle Hunter opens. From the first lines, the reader notices that Larklyn "Lark" Davis is one of the most sarcastic characters ever. And a hilarious one too.

Leg Up, the first book in the Lark Davis Mystery Series, is narrated from Lark's first person perspective, giving the reader a ton of humor and sarcasm, along with her inner thoughts. Can't wait to read more in this series.

One of the many things I enjoyed about Leg Up was the pace, which was quite fast, along with the characters. 

The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan is an interesting and fun book about the basics of personal finance. Fagan learnt the hard way what it means to have a credit card, why you can just spend, spend, spend, and why you should have a credit score.

"Did I have any other plans for retirement besides "die before my bad money choice catch up to me?" Of course not."

"Giving a shit about money doesn't seem fun, but ultimately it's the most liberating thing you can do with your otherwise chaotic young adult life."

Lost in a Quatrain by South African author and poet Adiela Akoo is apoetry collection I'm glad to have across in 2019. I could easily enjoy and relate to many of the poems in the collection. Akoo even writes about a woman's period in "Hormonal" which is something, experienced by billions, few ever talk about.
I related to "Empty Chairs" and was moved by "Cape Town 1990" and "New Apartheid." There were many deep pieces like "Not Enough," "Broken Winged Bird," "Are YOU Ready?" "As the Rain Pitter-Pattered," "Wrapped Up," and I must mention the hilarious story-conversation-power "What's Up?"

The first book in a new paranormal cozy mystery series, Designs on Murder by Gayle Leeson is about Amanda who, on a hunch, starts a fashion business in Shops on Main, a building housing several other small businesses.
"Gee, that was awkward," she said. "I was sure you knew."
"That I'm a ghost."

There, Amanda discovers her ability to see the place's resident ghost, Maxine "Max" Englebright. I loved the characters. Max is smart and hilarious; she constantly lightens the mood and puts Amanda in embarrassing situations. I would definitely love to read more of this series.
Designs on Murder has also helped me with a few points I'd like to edit and fix in personal work-in-progress paranormal cozy mystery.

While I gave this book a 4-star rating, I feel it deserves a mention in my top books of 2019. Why? Because of the effort undertaken by author Bharat Krishnan in trying to bring Indian and Hindu mythology to readers. We've all heard of Shiva and Rishnu but what are their stories? What are the Hindu gods likes? What are their stories?
Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate tackles all of that and more. Krishnan even includes comments and why he has included each story in book.
Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate is a middle-grade and children's book of short stories, although there is one that's a bit bloody. Highly recommended read though.

One of the books I read for National Poetry Month 2019 was Sophie Schiller's On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles, a collection inspired by the poet's visit to the Caribbean.

Comprising 30 mostly-rhyming poems, On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles is a must-read picturesque selection of poems, that paint pictures or tell the history of some of the Caribbean's historical figures.
Each poem is followed by a colourful illustration by Skaidra Zayas. I hope Schiller visits more places and writes about them.

"this is not/ a fairy tale/ there is no/ princess/ there is no/ damsel/ there is no queen/ there is no/ tower/ there are no/dragons/ there is simply/ a girl/ faced with the/difficult task/of learning to/ believe in/ herself."
This is how Amanda Lovelace begins her collection of untitled poems The Princess Saves Herself in this One, which is an interesting and emotional read. Though the writing style takes a while to get used to – if you write or read poetry regularly.
The Princess Saves Herself in this One is divided into 4 parts or stages: The Princess, The Damsel, The Queen, and You, and involves a lot of experimentation, with some poems being in bullet-points.

Bellamy by Darcy Coates
Bellamy is a creepy short story by author Darcy Coates. The story opens with Leanne who has returned to the orphanage where she and her brother were placed nearly 30 years prior. We later learn that her brother disappeared from the orphanage and was never found.

"Thirty years should have been long enough to forget the home. Thirty years should have been long enough for the dreams to stop."
Bellamy scared me and I loved it! There were lots of twists that kept me on edge and that had me read the book/story in one sitting. I can probably read this novella over and over.

Write Your Book in a Flash by Dan Janal
In Write Your Book in a Flash, Dan Janal takes the reader through all the stages of writing a book.
While Write Your Book in a Flash primarily deals with writing non-fiction books. Some of the advice can be applicable to fiction; like starting where you feel comfortable and how to edit your book.
I'm currently working the full book review for Dan Janal's Write Your Book in a Flash. Will publish it in January 2020. But it's a 5-star read!

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please let me know in the comments below.

And check out the Previous editions of this post:

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Nadaness In Motion's Most Viewed Posts of 2019

In this post, I'm highlighting the most-viewed posts on the Nadaness In Motion blog in 2019.

I'll be doing another post on the all-time most viewed posts later in January or February 2020. But for now, I'm focusing on 2019.

I started the year with a plan to read fewer books and focus on my writing; that did not happen but I'm glad to say I read many good books, featured some amazing authors and plan to continue hosting and featuring authors on Nadaness In Motion for many years to come.

So, what has garnered readers' attention in 2019?

Let's have a look. (These views are up until 20 December 2019)

In this post, I feature author S.C. Perkins and her cozy mystery novel Murder, Once Removed, the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.

Broken Bone China, an interview with Laura Childs (1,077 views)

In this post, I interview author Laura Childs, who has written many cozy mystery books and series. In this particular post, we talk about her 20th (yes twentieth!) book in the Tea Shop Mystery Series as well as her writing process and lots more.

In this post, I go into detail about my review process for novels and novellas. I focus on characters and setting, and of course a good book cover never hurts but often attracts a reader.

Earlier this year, in March to be exact, I was set to embark on a new job and journey that required reading self-help and non-fiction books. And I was worried. Worried because there are many things that don't stick in my head and to be honest I fear that I would forget things when I close the book (and that still happens). Hence, this post. It's a different kind of post.

Since then, I've overcome the fear but I also forget things I've read and would sometimes have to go back a few pages to remind myself what a book was talking about and where I was while reading it.

One of the most beautiful poetry collections I've read this year was Lost in a Quatrain by South African author and poet Adiela Akoo. There were many poems that I could relate to and others pertaining to moments in South Afrian history.

Lost in a Quatrain includes several deep pieces such as "Not Enough," "Broken Winged Bird," "Are YOU Ready?" "As the Rain Pitter-Pattered," "Wrapped Up," just to name few. There are many and I enjoyed them all.

"Hormonal" is a powerful womanly poem about – you probably guessed it – women's monthly period. I appreciated that Akoo wrote about this and included it in her collection.

This was my first cozy mystery read for Gayle Trent (or Gayle Leeson since she goes by both names)
I enjoyed reading Designs on Murder and learnt a few things from it for my work-in-progress paranormal cozy mystery. I even have a few new ideas I might incorporate in my own work.
"Gee, that was awkward," she said. "I was sure you knew."


"That I'm a ghost."

Amanda decides to go on a hunch and start her fashion business in Shops on Main, a building housing several other small businesses. There she discovers her ability to see the place's resident ghost, Maxine "Max" Englebright.

Clarissa's Warning by Isobel Blackthorn is a brilliant novel set on the Spanish Canary Island of Fuerteventura! Simply WOW!

The book begins with a strong opening both in terms of story and tone. The idea of the warning is delivered in the first chapter, keeping the reader on edge throughout the book.

Clarissa's Warning is narrated in the first person perspective of Claire Bennet, who often talks about herself in the third person in a humorous way. A British bank teller, who has won a lottery making her a millionaire, Claire's now bent on buying and renovating a ruin on the island of Fuerteventura, which is the second largest of the Canary Islands that comes with an ominous and possibly paranormal warning.

Cleopatra's Spring by Nada Adel Sobhi (personal poem) (349 views)

A personal poem I wrote while travelling to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt in December 2018. Journey into the heart of an oasis in this poem.

Cleopatra's Spring, image via Trip Advisor
As always, leaving comments on my blog posts (whether personal or book reviews) supports and encourages me as a writer and blogger and I can easily share those comments on social media and with authors. So don't hesitate to leave a comment even if it's just one word. :) 

If you've enjoyed this post, let me know so I can do more of it in the future.