Thursday, December 24, 2015

Takhayyal 26: Happy Holidays & 2 prompts

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

The holidays are almost here and I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Moulid Nabawy Sharif and Merry Christmas as well as a Happy New Year!

I hope you'll find some time to write a piece, no matter how short. To keep you inspired, I'm posting two pictures this week. Feel free to use one or both in your writing!

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

Note: I found these pictures online and I don't know who they belong to.

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!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bound by Prophecy - Book review

Bound by Prophecy is the third installment in the Bound series by Stormy Smith. Like its predecessor, it picks up where the second book left off – straight into the action.

Amelia had fallen into a kind of coma after the battle at Cresthaven and Aidan could only reach her in his animal form.

I felt that I could have used a quick reminder or short summary of what happened in the previous books, even though I read them, but unlike the other two which I read almost simultaneously, there were several months between the second and third books.

Bound by Prophecy is more focused on Aidan and Amelia's relationship, which means there is more romance than the previous books. It's still a clean novel, but I sometimes felt I needed less holding hands and kissing and more moving forward with the plot, which has several twists and turns that I doubt anyone saw coming.
"His fear washed over me like the first swim of summer, the water like ice until you're fully submerged."

Quick-paced, the novel shifts between three perspectives this time, namely: Amelia's, Aidan's and Micah's. We also get to see the characters from book two more in-depth, especially Baleon and Micah.

When the characters started travelling, I got confused, especially since there was Cresthaven and Syria. What was in Syria and how did they know? This part was a big question mark for me especially since I didn't remember it being mentioned in the second book – it could have been there but my memory fails me. Also, why is their home in Syria not Cresthaven?

There were several instances in the novel that I felt Amelia was selfish, which is understandable and an important aspect in her character as a to-be leader, still sometimes I felt it was a bit much.
There is also a lot of speculation as to Amelia's powers and her Keeper power, which has been a bit of a vague subject since the first book.
"I'm not part of some destiny or prophecy. What I am is a curse."

One of the most likable characters in all three books is Amelia's best friend Bethany, AKA "B". Her character is light, funny and sometimes the voice of reason. One of my favourite quotes was when she was reprimanding Amelia.
"Do you know what that means, Miss 'nobody likes me, I should go eat worms'? That means he doesn't hold it against you. And if he doesn't hold it against you, you damn well can't hold it against yourself."

There is also the strained relationship between Micah and Bethany, who dated briefly before Amelia was forced to be with Micah (end of book 1 & most of book 2). Still there were some indications of hope.
"Micah walked slowly toward Bethany, as cautious as a zookeeper approaching a big cat, and likely for a good reason."

Bound by Prophecy is filled with beautiful quotes and speeches by a variety of characters.

Here Cole tells Amelia about their father's choices:
"He looked at me, and said, 'Cole, there are times when you have to rip your own heart out to show it how to beat.' I thought he was crazy, but I get it now. We were his heart. And what he had to do to us tore him up, but we had to learn how to beat alone."

One of the characters that develops significantly in Bound by Prophecy is Micah, who moves from a prince put down by his mother to a strong leader.
The parts narrated from his viewpoint are interesting, quick and calculated. He doesn't have time to lose and the character development is clear. His speeches were among the best in the novel. Below is the confrontation scene between him and his mother, Queen Julia.

"Power is held by those who take it. It is kept by those who wield it unflinchingly. It is earned by those who are willing to compromise anything to achieve their purpose."
"No mother," I interjected, "that is where you are the one who has it wrong. Power is earned by those refuse to compromise their ideals and beliefs. It is kept by those who put the greater good before themselves. It is held by those who are supported and believed in. Power is merely having the resources to accomplish your objectives, and it is fleeting to those who throw people away like garbage when they don't conform.
"Power is celebrated and revered by those who benefit from it," I continued. "You have maintained your power through coercion and fear, and that is why you are dying. You couldn't sustain your power because it was never meant for this purpose. You are dying because your life is not worth the air you need to breathe. You're dying because you are evil in the world needs rid of you."

Although Bound by Prophecy was not my favourite book in the series, I enjoyed the first and second books more, it still earns a 3.75-star rating and is an interesting, fast-paced conclusion to the series – which Stormy Smith has said she might write new books using other characters J

Note: I know this review is long overdue – I finished the book in time but I did not have time to write the review. My apologies for the delay.

Note II: I received a free copy of Bound by Prophecy from the author and as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Twice Upon a Time - Cover reveal

Twice Upon A Time
(The Black Angel Book  #1)
By: Hope Irving

Once upon a time, there was the wandering soul of Morgann, an 8th century Irish calligrapher-monk longing to be reunited with his soul mate. Deirdre was his forbidden love, a witch with whom he wrote a coveted book.
Under her spell, the souls of the star-crossed lovers travel from bodies to bodies until they find each other. Eventually.
That became his quest: unearth her new body and trigger her memory, for she is clueless about whom she once was. Unfortunately their story didn't get a chance to become a fairy tale yet it still turned out as a famous urban legend referred as The Black Angel Book.

Twice upon a time, not so long ago, there was me, rational and devastated Rose. I needed to get a grip, said my French mum after my year of numbness due to a painful break-up that led me to cut my wrist daily, to feel something, anything.
So she sent me off to the free-spirited village of Provincetown, Massachusetts, to spend the summer with my American relatives. And just like that, I wasn’t myself any longer. Because someone pulled me out of the darkness and bewitched me, somehow.
I couldn’t wait to jump his bones… but why was he holding back?
He couldn’t wait to welcome me into his world… but was I ready to question my convictions and acknowledge that my self-inflicted cuts were now healing in record time?
How could I have imagined he was longing for his own unorthodox fairytale to come true? Frantically.

Check out previous excerpt here. This book had another cover but the above one is the newest.
Random facts about the Hope Irving:
·        I'm a recovering TV addict. Haven't watched TV in about a year; I'm a happy bookworm.
·        I still indulge on movies at the movie theater.
·        I love red heads.
·        I am not into sports (at all) but I enjoy walking (a lot), especially when shopping.
·        I hate karaoke but love music blind tests.
·        My favorite ice-cream flavor is peanut butter cup although I don't like peanut butter. Go figure!
·        I am a French citizen who has a soft spot for country music… probably because I lived in Texas where I graduated.
·        I was 16 when I first traveled to the US.
·        The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is the first book I read in English.
Connect with the author:
·        Facebook:
·        Twitter: @HI_author
·        Pinterest:    
·        Goodreads - Book page:
·        Goodreads - Author page:
·        Blog:
·        Twice Upon A Time playlist on YouTube:

Buy links:

About the Author:
Hope Irving is a debut indie author who lived in Paris, France, most of her life and also in the US, where she graduated with an MBA. She currently lives in Paris with her family.
When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, going to the movies and watching paranormal TV series. Her influences are diverse: Choderlos de Laclos, Brett Easton Ellis, Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris or S. E. Hinton.
She can't stand the rain but it gives her an excuse to watch the Barbie movies with her daughter, over and over again, and sometimes Harry Potter and Edward Cullen sneak in.
She loves Nutella and Camembert cheese (not together), carrot cake, cinnamon Altoids and Dr. Pepper.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Enter the Light – A Takhayyal poem

Let the light seep in,
Softly treading on my skin,
Steps gently falling,
Slowly awakening my numb limbs

My eyes begin to see colours:
Of gold and green,
Blue and orange

A feeling long buried, forgotten
Streams through my being,
Singing a melody,
Washing away the greyness
Of my world.

Purple, pink and blue
Bathe me, bathe me,
Lights of every hue,
Awaken my soul
Within the crumbling walls
Of this human shell,
Replenish this drained body

Green, orange, lemon, peach
Revive my senses
Encase me in your colourful warmth
Make me get up
And breathe once again.

Written 5 December 2015 at 4:15 am
This piece was inspired by the first picture in Takhayyal 25 prompts. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Excerpt from The Concealed by Sarah Kleck - Blog Tour

The Concealed by Sarah Kleck
Publication date: 1 November, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

“Can you be happy when what you desire most means your doom?”
Evelyn Lakewood, an orphan, is crushed after the death of her beloved sister Zara. But the nineteen-year old enrolls in Psychology at Oxford in honor of Zara.
There, Evelyn first becomes friends with vivacious Sally and seemingly charming Felix. But the encounter with Jared Calmburry, whose incredibly blue eyes immediately captivate her, fundamentally changes her life. She is instantly drawn to this mysterious stranger around whom unusual things happen and who simply disappears every time Evelyn tries to confront him about his puzzling behavior.
After finding a mysterious book with a unique symbol on its leather cover in the university library, her curiosity is perked. She doesn’t know what to make of it but Jared’s best friend Colin Sullivan encourages her with cryptic hints to continue her search for evidence. When she discovers the same medieval symbol is worn by hostile professor Karen Mayflower and engraved on another faculty member’s seal ring, she realizes that an ancient secret surrounds Jared.

An excerpt from The Concealed

“Sleep well, Evelyn,” he said and exhaled lightly. Then he stroked my cheek so with the back of his hand that I hardly felt it. I gasped. Although he had barely touched me, his fingers left a hot tingling on my skin. I shut my eyes but he let his hand fall away. A second later, Jared turned and walked toward his car.
No! I couldn’t let him walk away this time. I had to know what it all meant and why he behaved so strangely toward me. He definitely owed me a few answers!
“Wait!” I desperately cried out and ran after him. I caught up with him after a few steps, and he stopped and turned toward me. All of a sudden, I forgot what I wanted to ask him—I didn’t even know anymore why I’d run after him. His stunning appearance left me in awe. He looked at me, and, as before, I could see he was infinitely sad.
At that moment, I longed for nothing more than to see him happy. To make him happy.
I didn’t know what it was about. Maybe because we were alone and darkness hid us like a protective cloak from curious onlookers. Maybe it was because this feeling was even more intense than before. But I finally lost my last shred of self-control. I didn’t know why and I really didn’t care, but at that moment I gave in to my inner longing, threw my arms around Jared’s neck, and kissed him. For a second, he stood there motionless, then he wrapped his arms around me. One hand on my hip, the other on my back, he pulled me in and pressed my body so tightly against his I could feel his heart hammering wildly in his chest. He returned my kiss with a heartfelt sigh—long and intense. Then he withdrew and moved his lips along my neck while moaning with each breath, moving his hand along my back and pulling me even closer. Almost trembling I threw my head back and wrapped my arms even tighter around his neck. Every muscle in my body appeared to vibrate.
“Oh God, Evelyn,” he whispered into my ear. A second later I again felt his lips on mine and his tongue in my mouth. I had pictured countless times what it would be like to be so close to Jared . . . but reality made fantasy pale in comparison. It was so much better than I had ever dreamed. I attempted to pull him closer to me and prayed the moment would never end. But in the next second, he detached himself, pushed me gently away, and looked into my eyes. I wanted to melt into his arms but he held me back with gentle pressure.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, full of pain, stroked my cheek one last time, got into his car, and drove off into the darkness.

As part of the blog tour for The Concealed, there is an tour-wide giveaway – open internationally via the Rafflecopter widget/link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the tour schedule here, including other excerpts as well as book reviews.

Purchase via Amazon & Barnes and Noble.

About the Author:
Sarah Kleck, born in 1984, studied Education, Psychology and Sociology at the University of Augsburg.
Currently, she’s working as a human resources officer and lives with her husband and a newborn in Germany near Lake Constance.
The Concealed is her first novel

Author links: