Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Language Thieves – Book Review


"Were there actually people called Cerebrals who could steal languages from your mind?
They sounded like vampires draining words from people."

The Language Thieves by Marc Remus is fun, quick-paced young adult story for anyone who is a fan of languages.

Daniel is moving to a remote area in Scotland with his parents after his mother suffers a strange disease that renders her unable to speak or move and after his father is cured of cancer. His father brings everything Irish and green along with them, while Daniel resents his Irish roots.

On board the ferry transporting him and his parents from Ireland to Scotland, Daniel encounters a strange scene where a man somehow steals a language from a boy who had been speaking Irish Gaelic earlier. After that, a girl, Jenny, warns him not to mention to anyone that he speaks a second language at the island, Inverdee, where he would be living.

Shortly after we are introduced to strangely-dressed people, known as Cerebrals, who are believed to be the language thieves.

"It was happening all over the world. Languages were disappearing every day. It seemed as if someone was deleting one language after the other."
"But that's been happening for centuries. Languages just keep dying out."
"And this is what they want you to believe," Jenny said. "They want you to think it's normal that people pass on their languages to the next generation. But I think it's a cleverly-devised plan by the Cerebrals."

The novel moves as Daniel attempts to learn more about the Cerebrals, who are superb at covering their tracks, and as he wonders if they had a hand in his mother's illness. Along with Jenny and Connor, the trio infiltrates the Cerebral village, trying to discover the Cerebrals' agenda for stealing languages. What they uncover is brilliant!

I enjoyed the pace in The Language Thieves, which was mostly quick. I think the book would make for a good movie, especially with all the architecture involved in the Cerebrals' village.

We also meet the Cerebral Emily, whom Daniel has a crush on and who is terrified of the Cerebral tradition, a kind of rite-of-passage, where children often return changed or don't return at all.

"This is very serious. If you don't keep this to yourself, you will be in great danger. This language will be taken from you, and if you are really unlucky, you will be left with an empty mind."

The Language Thieves is Remus' first young adult novel. He previously wrote the middle grade series Magora. I felt that some of the text was still in the middle grade range, even though Daniel, Connor, and Jenny are within the 15 to 16-age range.



I also liked how Remus kept me guessing throughout the novel whether it was fantasy or science fiction. No, I'm not telling.
I also felt the ending was slightly rushed; that there should have been more emotions and development at the end.

The writing was easy, too easy. I liked the use of Gaelic and the overall plot of how and why the languages were being stolen. I felt that Jenny was the most mature of the trio but I think they all developed in one way or another. There weren't many images to quote but the book read like a movie with lots of vivid description.

"I have finally figured out a secure way to get rid of all the languages in the world. Once this is accomplished, they'll all speak the old language again."

Overall rating: 4 stars

More on the Magora books.

It is worth mentioning this part from Remus' bio:
"Marc Remus has travelled many times to Ireland and Scotland and developed a passion for these countries over the years. While he stayed with his family in Arizona, he began writing his first young adult novel. The Language Thieves interweaves the writer's fantasies with his experiences in Ireland, Scotland, Arizona, making the book a unique multicultural blend.



Monday, September 10, 2018

Cover reveal for Purple Kisses by Priya Prithviraj


Today, I'm taking part in a cover reveal for PURPLE KISSES by Priya Prithviraj. The book, a poem with illustrations is having a new cover. It was launched earlier this year with a different cover and now it's time for a makeover.

I'll be reviewing the book on 27 September, so stay tuned for that.

Oh, the cover! Here it is

Behind the book... Meet the author and illustrator

Priya Prithviraj

Niveditha Warrier



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Impulsive Bones, poetry collection – Book Review



Impulsive Bones by Molly Madd is a collection of poetry ranging from pieces from her childhood to topics tackling drinking and drug use – no idea if these are personal experiences or part of the inspiration process – and love.

I felt the collection could be divided into themes, since some of the love poems in there were a bit sappy, I figured they were written earlier in Madd's life, as opposed to other poems that were deep.

There are a few heartbreaking pieces in there. The collection encompasses 108 poems!

Impulsive Bones opens with two emotional pieces, namely "Nani" and "Heavenly Sight"; although I wasn't sure if Nani, in the first, were a mother's name or someone else. Both are recommended pieces.

Both "The Darkness" and "Disappear" are five-star pieces that would be great reads at a poetry recital.

But not all is beautiful or interestingly dark. Several of the pieces had unnecessary repetition, or jargon that isn't fitting for a poem. In one piece "Comfort from a Stranger" I felt like I was reading an economic news article rather than a poem. Similarly, "The Book" was one of those pieces where redundancies weakened what would have been a great poem; the same for "Finger Printed Breaths".

The fear of emotional melancholy
I feel it anyway, in my bones, it fries
Like chips in sizzling water
I hope for a higher feeling of numbness
Of comfort
My soul deprived
Needy of the casing to cover me
Only to be left in silence as I wait.
From "Opiate Haze"

"He's Calling You Upstairs" and "Mum's Meds" are two of the most painful and heartbreaking pieces in Impulsive Bones. They are also the strongest and they made me shiver. Along with "Bathroom Lunch", these poems highlight personal and societal problems. Each of them gets five stars.

I love poetry, but at one point I considered dropping this collection. Many pieces just didn't make sense. Still, going back to the book, there were several beautiful pieces.



I was despairing then a poem like "Duplicate Dreams" came along and my vigour in the collection was restored. I wish I can quote this poem whole.

Other recommended poems in Impulsive Bones: "Running Wild", "Your Presence", "Your Touch", "Cup of Love", "Voices of the Unheard", "Unknown", "Carbon Polo", "Selfless", "Car Weather", and "Magic.

One of the things that bothered me about Impulsive Bones was the spelling mistakes. Moreover, I felt that some poems could have been lengthened or shortened to bring a closer meaning and a stronger emotion to the reader. Poems, unlike stories, can't handle redundancies and over-the-top repetition.

Last but not least, I liked the cover.

I'm still a bit unsure about how to rate Impulsive Bones. I had originally given it a 2-star review, but while rereading my notes and the poems I liked, I've moved it up a notch to 2.5 stars. I think the collection needs work to reach 3 or more stars.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Takhayyal Writing Prompt 89: #amwriting by the Sea


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

I honestly didn't know what to post this month. Kept going through lots of pictures, some on my phone, some on my computer, Pinterest, Facebook…

Then I thought I could use two images I took with my phone that well I think might be inspiring. September is when people are leaving the beach behind and getting ready for school, so here are two images for the hearts we're leaving by the sea (I know I am) with a final dose of salty sea spray.

I've also heard or seen a few people who dream of being able to be inspired to write by the sea; this is for YOU!


Ready?

Get set...


Here we go!

Photography by Nada Adel Sobhi. Taken at Egypt's North Coast 2018.



Photography by Nada Adel Sobhi. At Egypt's North Coast km 89. 




Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.
Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

Give credit where due, the images were taken by me, Nada Adel Sobhi at Egypt's North Coast.

General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        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!

Let's IMAGINE!

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Stone – Poem by Nada Adel Sobhi



They gather round
Humming,
A faint musical sound

Clap-ta-thum
Clap-ta-thum

A lone woman sings
Stars, hidden behind clouds, appear
Others; parents, children
All gather in a circle of magic

In the midst of a milling crowd
The songstress
Unravels a majestic stone,
A ruby, the size of a full-grown palm

Breaths caught,
Hearts drum
With the ever-growing hum

Clap-ta-thum
Clap-ta-thum

She sings to the world
Of the living
Those that have lived
And those yet to live

Some make out her words
Some don't
She goes on
Uninterrupted
Untethered
Tales must be told

Her song hitches into a whistle-like note
Her body moves beneath the unmoving moon
Her pitch reaches its full strength

Then she stops
Hands raised,
She takes the strength of all who'd gathered
And brings it all down
Into the magnificent ruby

Its light hue
Burns into the flaming red

A red
People far and wide could see

A stone
Of strength
Power
Virtue
Magic

She turns to the assembly

"This stone,
I gift to you.
May its strength
And magic
Heal you.
But first,
You must believe!"

The women hum
Clap, and with their legs, ta-thum
As the songstress disappears into the night

Hum, clap-ta-thum
Hum, clap-ta-thum


"The Stone" is inspired by a scene in THE TIDES BETWEEN by Elizabeth Jane Corbett, an interesting historical fiction about how fairy tales can help people on a journey.

You can check out Nadaness In Motion's five-star bookreview of The Tides Between.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning - Book Excerpt


Today, I'm featuring author Patrick Canning and his novel The Colonel and the Bee with an exclusive excerpt. The book has an interesting story line and I can't help but wonder about the jewel and the Sphinx!

Title: The Colonel and the Bee
Author: Patrick Canning
Categories: Literary, Adventure, Historical, Contemporary
Publisher: Evolved Publishing LLC
Publication Date: 1 June 2018
ISBN: 978-1-62253-024-3

Synopsis:
Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.
One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show.
This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Oxford Starladder.
Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.
The criminal seeks a precious figuring, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on earth.


Exclusive Excerpt to Nadaness In Motion from The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

“Flying the Ox is much more akin to playing an instrument than operating a machine. Approach the challenge less formally, do so with confidence, and the craft’s perfect obedience will be your reward.”
I lost sight of the burner strap and by accident pulled a vent on the main balloon. We began to rotate and descend with great rapidity. The Colonel allowed me to find the correct cord on my own, and I did so just in time as the Ox nearly scraped a rolling pasture hill, startling a herd of brown Belgian cows enough to sour their milk.
Taking care to avoid the ripping line, I continued to bring the Ox up, searching for the northwest wind. To my chagrin, I sent us southeast, and it took a deft intervention from the Colonel to set us right. Applying the correct pressure on the correct combination of cords in the correct sequence did indeed give him the appearance of an accomplished maestro.
“Skill comes with practice, and northwest can be elusive. Northeast can be downright tempestuous,” he said as if recalling a talented snooker rival.
I readied another question, but the Colonel anticipated me. He held up a gentle hand to stay the incoming query, motioned with both hands downward, indicating I should relax, then gestured to the edge of the Ox.
So worried I’d been about that morning’s lesson, I’d hardly taken a moment to observe our environment. I joined the Colonel at the railing, and became lightheaded with wonder. The full effect of flight had been disguised by darkness the previous night, and now, in the maturing light of dawn, I beheld a world transformed by perspective: rivers and mountains were maps come to life, trees were seas of leaves that shimmered emerald in the breeze, even birds flew at a height far below the Ox, moving like schools of fish in currents of wind.
“Toast my bloomin’ eyebrows,” I mumbled, forgoing any attempt at eloquence. “I didn’t know... I couldn’t have imagined...”
“Wonderful, isn’t it? From this height, we’re permitted to see plainly the orchestrations of daily life, rank with crisscrossing motives and the clutter of needless haste. Up here in the rarefied air we are weightless in cool æther, unspoiled by the odour and noise of man’s desires far below.”
We stood side by side, watching the scene in silence, until something in the distance stole the Colonel’s gaze.
“There. Antwerp on the horizon. Drink your leaf juice if you must.”
By now, all of the Manx were flying in a loose halo about the Ox, gently displacing the Belgian mist we floated in as they dove and twisted as birds in play.
“They have such charm and spirit,” I said.
“They detect my excitement. This visit could prove fruitful in our search for the criminal. He’s been most elusive thus far.”
“Do you know the murdered party?”
The Colonel’s face fell a note, but he recovered quickly.
“I’m interested in the criminal.”
“To bring him to justice?” I gulped my tea. “For this or a past transgression?”
“There is plenty to choose from. It is enough for you to know I seek an audience with the man.”
“He has committed other crimes?”
“Certainly.”
“Is he dangerous?”
Most certainly.”
I finished my tea as the green vegetation and black soil of tilled fields shifted to the red brick and grey stone of buildings. Antwerp’s harbour introduced itself to the nose long before the eyes.
The Colonel inhaled deeply.
“Have you been?” he asked.
I shook my head.
“A bastion of crime and seafood, how I adore this city. I apologise as it’s unlikely we’ll have time for a proper tour. Perhaps a return under less harried circumstances. Unfurl those ropes there, won’t you?”
The spiderweb of roadways below passed ever faster as we descended. I let drop a collection of heavy ropes over the side of the Ox as the Colonel set her down in a rather regal park. Despite the posh surroundings, there was an air of danger. Apparently, the Colonel felt it too.
“No chance we’re deflating here,” he said. “Down the steps with you. Help secure us.”

About the Author:

Patrick spends as much time as possible turning coffee into collections of words that look like books, shorts, and screenplays. Most of his stories attempt to look for the meaning of life in an adventurous way, and often employ humor, important since the search usually doesn’t turn up much.


Friday, August 24, 2018

The Tides Between – Book Review


Book: The Tides Between
Author: Elizabeth Jane Corbett
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Travel, Relationships

Synopsis:
In the year 1841, on the eve of her departure from London, Bridie's mother demands she forget her dead father and prepare for a sensible adult life in Port Phillip. Desperate to save her childhood, fifteen-year-old Bridie is determined to smuggle a notebook filled with her father's fairy tales to the far side of the world.
When Rhys Bevan, a soft-voiced young storyteller and fellow traveller realises Bridie is hiding something, a magical friendship is born. But Rhys has his own secrets and the words written in Bridie’s notebook carry a dark double meaning.
As they inch towards their destination, Rhys's past returns to haunt him. Bridie grapples with the implications of her dad’s final message. The pair take refuge in fairy tales, little expecting the trouble it will cause.


Book Review

“Painful, it is, when the words that once brought comfort seem to lose their voice. It’s not the stories that are at fault. Or that we are foolish to believe. Only that we must learn to see with different eyes. Sometimes it takes time and the answers aren’t always easy – that’s part of the magic. But we are never too old for fairy tales, Bridie Stewart, no matter what Alf or your Ma might say.”

The Tides Between by Elizabeth Jane Corbett is an emotional story about family, hardship, a journey to something better, and how fairy tales can bring people together.

Bridie, the protagonist, whose name I’d been reading as Birdie until half-way through the book, is a kind-hearted 15-year-old who is on the cusp of growing up. She is seen clinging to a notebook her father bought her before he died and her mother trying to wrench it away from her, demanding that she grow up and leave the world of fairy tales behind her.


The book begins with Bridie finding some form of solace in Rhys and later Sian, away from her demanding, and often cruel mother and her "stupid" stepfather, who "the subtleties of life often eluded him."

The story brings together a host of characters and their families. There is Bridie, her pregnant and bad-tempered mother, and her stepfather Alf, as well as the Welsh couple Rhys and Sian, Dr. Roberts, and many more. The book shows their relationships, both personal and towards their fellow travellers, and how they grow and weaken as they traverse the seas all the way to Australia for what is touted as a better life with lots of jobs.

“Fairy tales are nonsense.”
“We all need stories, Mr. Bustle. They help us understand our lives.”

One of the things I liked about The Tides Between is the storytelling. There are lots of stories within the novel itself, many of Welsh origin, told by Rhys and his wife Sian. There are also a lot of songs and poetry.

The pace is good, even though not many events take place. Events in this book are in the sense that people are coming and going and the rise-and-fall of their relationships and, actions, reactions. Nearly the entire story is told onboard the Lady Sophia which is travelling from London in the 1840’s to Australia.

“Every piece of music held a story, her dad told her – a thread that attached itself to the heart. She’d become attuned to those threads, growing up to the strains of Mozart’s Magic Flute, and Purcell’s music for The Tempest, hearing tales of fairy queens, Arabian nights and midsummer dreams – this was a sad song, quite apart from Peachum and his cronies in the Beggars’ Opera. A long haunting melody that spoke of sadness and longing.”

I absolutely loved the characters in The Tides Between, how they mingled together, even the obnoxious Tom and the silly but kind Alf. I also liked how Corbett weaves her characters’ background into the stories. We learn about Rhys’ relationship with his father, Sian’s possible curse, the relationship between Bridie’s parents and others.

As the Lady Sofia nears Australia, Bridie begins to merge her childhood with the responsibilities bestowed on her; she begins to see her stepfather, Alf, in a new light. Alf along with several other characters also see some development.

There are many great images in the book and even stronger quotes and dialogue. By the time, I finished reading The Tides Between, I felt that the characters had become a part of my life.

It is worth mentioning that The Tides Between is not your average read. There is no major mystery or nerve-wrecking suspense. But it is a story about characters, about people. It is deep, emotional, and a must-read.

I would also like to mention that there was a scene that inspired me to write my poem "The Stone"

“We are all of us running, Tom, from poverty and disappointment, perhaps, some of us from cruel expectations. It takes courage to see ourselves truly, to take pleasure in our modest achievements. I’m not sure I have that courage. Or that I will ever now find it. Pray God, I am wrong. That like Elffin, I will one day find wealth where I least expect it.”

Overall rating for The Tides Between: 5 stars

Note: I received a free copy of The Tides Between from its author Elizabeth Jane Corbett in exchange for an honest review. The free copy has not impacted my review in any way.


About the Author:

When Elizabeth Jane Corbett isn’t writing, she works as a librarian, teaches Welsh at the Melbourne Welsh Church, writes articles for the Historical Novel Review and blogs at www.elizabethjanecorbett.com.

In 2009, her short-story, Beyond the Blackout Curtain, won the Bristol Short Story Prize. Another, Silent Night, was short listed for the Allan Marshall Short Story Award. Her historical coming-of-age novel, The Tides Between, was published by Odyssey Books in October 2017.
Elizabeth lives with her husband, in a renovated timber cottage in Melbourne's inner-north. She likes red shoes, dark chocolate, commuter cycling, and reading quirky, character driven novels set once-upon-a-time in lands far away.


Connect with Elizabeth Jane Corbett via Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and her Website.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Let it Rip! - Poem by Nada Adel Sobhi



"Let us burn!
Let us burn!"

So the woman sings
Her voice ringing
In my ears
Before me the sea rises
Can it hear her too?
 
My view. Photography by Nada Adel Sobhi

The music calms
So does the blue
In anticipation
I expect
Only to beat
At the immovable rocks
Once the beat picks up

"Let us burn!"
But I hear the sea
It says
"LET IT RIP!"


By: Nada Adel Sobhi

Written while listening to "Let Us burn" by Within Temptation. Read it again while listening to the song!



Hope you enjoyed reading "Let it Rip!"
Please let me know what you think. You can also share it on social media. 
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