Sunday, May 19, 2019

On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles by Sophie Schiller – Book Review

Book: On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles

Author: Sophie Schiller
Number of pages: 76
Publication date: 31 January 2019
ISBN13: 9781794456693

This review was originally meant to be published in April for National Poetry Month 2019 but better late than never. Today, I'm reviewing a poetry collection titled On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles by Sophie Schiller. The collection features poems inspired by Schiller's visit to the Caribbean.

Comprising 30 poems, On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles is a collection of mostly rhymed and absolutely picturesque verse. The poems 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

One of the most beautiful pieces in the collection is "There Is a Wise Man in the Sea" with the "wise man" being a surprise.

He was at least three feet in length
With flippers that showed that greatest strength
This mast of his aquatic domain
Taught me that "Nature does nothing in vain."

Another picturesque piece is "I Found a Danish Skilling" which tells the story of a Danish ship buried in the sand since 1767. The image it paints is beautiful and each time I read it, takes my mind to an image of ship buried in the sea with divers surrounding it and marveling at it.

In her poems, Schiller uses her surroundings including lizards, birds, and flowers, for inspiration. Her poem "The Oyster" and "I Dive Beneath the Ocean's Waves" are examples of that and must-reads.

As I said, Schiller dedicates several pieces to historical figures in On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles including "The Land of Alexander Hamilton," "The Legend of Kong Juni," and "Queen Coziah."

"In 1733, as the legend goes
In St. John of the Caribbees
Arose a slave both brave and both
Whose name was Kong Juni

This African, a warrior chief
With each whipping he endured
Decided he would never rest
'Til his liberty he had secured."

Some poems are also dedicated to historical places like "Annaberg" and "Charlotte Amalie."

Schiller concludes her poetry collection with notes on some of the poem's topics and historical figures like Kong Juni and Queen Coziah added to Danish impressionist painter Hugo Larsen, who had lived in the Danish West Indies and painted between 1904 and 1907.

It is rare that one falls in love with an entire collection. There were may be one or two poems that weren't "amazing" for me but the collection On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles is definitely one of the best I've read. It's a must-read picturesque selection of poems. I hope Schiller visits more places and writes about them.

Overall rating for On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles by Sophie Schiller: 5 stars.

Note: I received a free copy of On a Moonlit Night in the Antilles from its author Sophie Schiller in exchange for an honest review.

Connect with Sophie Schiller via Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Knight's Secret by Jeffrey Bardwell – Book Review

The Knight's Secret by Jeffrey Bardwell is a bit of a strange fantasy with some creativity in terms of characters and ideas. Having said that, I think the book could use some work because the first two chapters were amazing then the story dragged.

The book opens with Kelsa's grandfather, Sir Corbin, being invited to give a speech before the new Empress. However, shortly after he dies – before making the trip. So, Kelsa and her mage mother cook up a plan to transform Kelsa into Sir Corbin, take on the role, and give the speech.

The Knight's Secret is narrated from Kelsa's perspective, first as a girl, and starting chapter 3 as a woman pretending to be a man. An old one.

There is lots of humor, especially how Kelsa adjusts to being an old. Imagine a 16-year-old girl turning into an 80-year-old man with a lot of health hazards!

"It was an effort to straighten myself, not from any aches – though my body had those aplenty – but from old habits. Kelsa sat in the saddle like a sack of potatoes…but the great Sir Corbin? The Hero of Jerkum Pass always perched in his saddle like he had a spear shoved up his backside."

In terms of characterization, I loved Kelsa and her witty, sarcastic comments. She is the main character after all. And she does all the hard work in the novel.

The language in The Knight's Secret was fine, with little imagery. Narration was a bit difficult to navigate. Even though it's all from Kelsa's perspective, when she becomes her grandfather, she thinks as a man and would occasionally comment that some fleeting thoughts are Kelsa's.

I applaud Bardwell for his idea of transformation but felt it was a bit confusing at times. Still, the book wasn't as fast-paced I would have liked. Remember the speech from chapter 1? By chapter 10 or later, it's still not written or given.

I came to a point where I was thinking of dropping the novel altogether but decided to give it one more chapter to decide. Luckily, that chapter kept me going till I finished it.

Did characters ever talk so much? In The Knight's Secret they do. A freaking lot! There was a ton of dialogue in the book. And while I favor dialogue over endless descriptions, I felt that The Knight's Secret had too much that just didn't move the action or novel forward. I honestly started skipping lines.

I rarely comment on book covers, unless they're wicked amazing, but in The Knight's Secret, I felt there was a discrepancy since Sir Corbin was over 80 years old. When Kelsa transformed, she looked like her old grandfather. Not the young-looking knight on the cover. I like the cover but I just don't think it's fitting for this book.

There was also some adult content that I had not been expecting. Considering who the characters were, it wasn't particularly interesting. Or I wasn't willing to read this.

A lot of secrets and information the reader has been craving throughout the book are revealed at the end. But let's not talk about the end because I felt the story ended abruptly. I understand that series tend to have open endings, but this was odd. I felt like I was watching TV and the lights went out in the middle of the movie, not that I got semi-satisfying ending.

Overall, I think the book could use some work. Hence, my overall rating is 2.5 stars.

Note: I received a free copy of The Knight's Secret from its author Jeffrey Bardwell in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Takhayyal Writing Prompt 96: Ramadan Lanterns

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 or Imagine.

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

The month of May this year coincides with the holy Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan. I found this image I had saved a while back to be the perfect celebration and means of inspiration where hundreds of millions of people come together to fast and be united.

You're free to interpret the image as you see fit. May be take your Muse in an oriental realm? Or imagine what it would be like to be surrounded by these beautiful lanterns? What about characters? What does their seller think, feel, or even want in life?

As always, your imagination and your words...

Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction, an imaginary situation, an artistic thought; you name it and write it.

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!