Friday, February 27, 2015

Reading and book-buying blues

I know most bookworms have a 'tendency' to buy more books than they can read. Going to a bookstore was both joy and suffering.. as my book pile kept growing, stretching far beyond the shelves in my room and the shelves over my bed, and as I could never read books as quickly as I buy them. 

Holding yourself back at a bookstore is HARD. Bookaholics can relate.

Recently, and particularly after I start this reviewing thing, I've developed a bigger problem. I'm offered free books – in exchange for honest reviews – and I cannot say No!

There are three ways to get free books:

1) Some authors offer their books for free on Smashwords and Amazon. Sometimes always and sometimes for a limited time. – I had a problem that I kept downloading free books, within my reading genres and with a fair interest in them, but only because they're free.
2) Book/blog tours: Most if not all of my participations in or contributions to blog tours have been book reviews. I feel that the guest post is just a copy/paste thing and does not include much effort on my part at least. Hence, I've requested more books but this time with deadlines which I've had to keep. (This is going to change slightly in the coming months, especially since there are a lot of interesting posts out there, with writing tips and info about publishing and so on).
The problem with these is that promoters tell you what books are available for review and several of them are brand new, with a pretty cover and a – very – interesting synopsis!
3) The worst kind – for me – is when an author asks if I would review their book. I have a weak spot. When authors ask, and the book is in my reading genres I have massive difficulty in refusing even when I'm overloaded. (Some of these also come after I sign up for a book blitz or cover reveal for a book). Authors are so kind, sweet and nice.
I've already started informing authors that my schedule is booked one or two months from now – or from the date they contact me. If it is acceptable for them that my review comes out in over a month or two, then I have one more book to my to-read list. If not, then tough luck for both of us.

I had planned several reading-related resolutions for 2015. I have not achieved or even started the journey towards achieving most of them.

Reviewing books has brought me closer to many authors worldwide. I feel culturally-connected to the world more.

Although most of the books I review are not available in my home country, Egypt, authors do not complain – and neither do I.

At this year's Cairo book fair, I managed to buy a select few books and to keep my hands away from many. I bought some necessities like George Orwell's 1984 and Harper Lee's To Kill A Mocking Bird, plus a few other bargains I came across and a few Arabic books (for one of my resolutions and for some author support).

March starts on Sunday and I have a TON of books to read for that month, many as part of book/blog tours and others as author requests.

My April to-read list has already full!

Upcoming reviews in March:

·         The Outcast Star by I.M. Tu (my first review of a children's picture book) (3 March)
·         Insanity by Cameron Jace (6-10 March)
·         The Sham by Ellen Allen (I'm 41% done)
·         Family Secrets by Kat Nicols
·         Seasons of Time by Miriam Khan
·         Just Pru (last week of March)

I hope I didn't miss anything!
Busy month ahead. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Infinite Expanse - Krymzyn book 2 cover reveal

The Infinite Expanse by B.C. Powell
(The Journals of Krymzyn #2)
Publication date: March 31st 2015
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Science Fiction

Evil lurks in the desolate Barrens of Krymzyn. For millions of Eras, predators with insatiable cravings have prowled the wasteland. When a traitor of the Delta enters their realm, the solitary beasts may finally have a leader to unite them.

As a new order emerges in the Barrens, Chase and Sash begin their lives together. While Chase fights to prove he belongs in Krymzyn, the power inside Sash flourishes in ways no one could have imagined. But a vengeance from the wasteland is soon unleashed upon them.

After Chase is trapped deep in the Barrens, his only escape is into the Infinite Expanse. Unaware of the deathly perils that take shape there, he may be lost forever. For Sash to return him from the endless wilderness, she’ll have to harness a mystical energy not seen since the beginning of time.

Check out my 5-star review of Krymzyn here.

About the Author:
BC Powell is a fantasy author from Los Angeles, CA. His debut science fiction fantasy novel Krymzyn was published in October, 2014. The Infinite Expanse, the highly anticipated second book in The Journals of Krymzyn series, is scheduled for release on 31 March 2015.

Powell has a diverse background, having held several creative positions in the entertainment industry, including executive roles at ABC-TV and Technicolor. In recent years, he's authored several non-fiction works, primarily educational books and training programs for trading the financial markets. He dual majored in journalism and philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Writing fiction has been his lifelong passion and goal. “The Journals of Krymzyn” represents, in his words, “finally finding the story I want to tell with characters that are able to bring that story to life.” He's an avid reader and lists Ernest Hemingway, Frank L. Herbert, Stephen King, Jane Austen, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. as his favorite authors.

Brad, as he prefers to go by in personal communication, lives with his longtime girlfriend, three sons from a previous marriage, and their rescue dog and cat. He enjoys hiking, ocean kayaking, spending time at Southern California beaches, movies, and reading.

Author links:

Takhayyal - #writing prompt week 4

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

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a means to get inspired and spark our writing once more.
This week I'm featuring a friend and fellow writer's artwork. I hope you find it inspirational and will encourage him to get back to drawing.

As always, your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

General guidelines:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Deadline: Late Wednesday
·        Word count: No minimum, but 300 should be enough so others can have the chance to comment on various works (not going to be too strict about this bit)
·        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 kind and encouraging gesture to comment on others pieces.
·        NEW: Add your Twitter handle so I can tag you in my tweets!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Memory’s Wake Trilogy Blitz, Video & Giveaway

Book & Author Details:

The Memory’s Wake Trilogy by Selina Fenech
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis of book 1 - Memory's Wake

Lost in a world full of monstrous fairies, a troubled sixteen year old has to find out who she is and why her memories were stolen before she is found by those who want her dead.

She takes the name “Memory” and knows she has just one goal – to find her way home, wherever that is. But this land is strange. No technology to be seen, and iron is banned, thanks to a pact the humans have with the magical creatures who share their pre-industrial era world. In her t-shirt and torn jeans, Memory knows she’s different, even before she performs impossible magic.

Haunted by her past, chased by a dragon, wanted by the king and stalked by the strange, handsome savage that seems to know her, everyone is after Memory, and she suspects it’s not just for her eye-catching outfit. Her forgotten past holds dangerous secrets that will challenge everything she believes and risk the lives of everyone she loves.

Memory’s Wake contains over 45 illustrations by the author and artist.

Check out the book trailer for the trilogy here

Synopsis of book 2 – Hope's Reign

Everything is slipping away from Memory. The bond of friendship between her, Eloryn, Roen, and Will, that was formed while running for their lives is tearing. In a world that doesn’t feel like home, with a mind filled with nothing but questions, Memory struggles to be true to herself… whoever that is. When her past self starts haunting her, she knows her sanity could be the next thing she will lose.

Synopsis of book 3 - Providence Unveiled

A wicked plot dating back to the very beginning of Avall is coming to its end, and Memory is a vital part. In order to save her friends, Memory will break all the rules. With all worlds put at risk by her actions, she will have to step up and make the greatest sacrifice to repair Avall and make the world something better than before.

Check out the books on Goodreads 

As courtesy of author Selena Fenech and via Xpress Book Tours, there is a giveaway of any one of the trilogy.
To qualify please share a link of this post via Google+ or Twitter and tag me @NadaNightStar. I'll select a random winner. Please leave your name and link to your post/share as a reply here and I will get back to the winner.

You may select which book you'd like to receive as a reply to this post.

Buy the books via Amazon and B&N
About Selena Fenech:

Born in 1981 to Australian and Maltese parents, Selina lives in Australia with her husband, her baby girl, an unnamed cat, and a lorikeet who is far too clever.
During her life Selina has found ancient Roman treasure, survived cancer, had knights joust at her wedding, been mugged for doughnuts, made a living as an artist, eaten every bizarre and wonderful food put in front of her, and now enjoys writing novels.

Author links:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Ray of Hope - Takhayyal

At last life has begun to creep into the sun once again. It had been gloomy for days.

I had to walk to the car the other day and the wind kept hurling me back-and-forth, struggling to get me out of the way and onto the street.

Though I had moved the pretty little pots in my balcony to the comfort of my room, I could still feel and sense them shivering, wondering why the sun had not graced them for several days.

I could tell they too missed it.

But at last this is coming to an end and I can see the light coming from the sky, faint though it may be, it is still light; a ray of sunshine, a ray of hope.

My piece for this week's Takhayyal. I hope to write another one soon.
Comments, as always, are highly appreciated.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Takhayyal writing-prompt week 3

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

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a means to get inspired and spark our writing once more.
Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction, you name it and write it.

This week I'm featuring student and photographer Haya Faragallah. Feel free to use one or both of her pictures as your inspiration. If you put her pictures on your blog, please write down her name as the owner.

Title: Good morning. Photography by Haya Faragallah

Alexandria Bridge. Photography by Haya Faragallah

General guidelines:

·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Deadline: Late Wednesday
·        Word count: No minimum, but 300 should be enough so others can have the chance to comment on various works (not going to be too strict about this bit)
·        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 kind and encouraging gesture to comment on others pieces.
·        NEW: Add your Twitter handle so I can tag you in my tweets!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sword by Amy Bai - Interview & Giveaway

Sword by Amy Bai
Publication date: 10 February, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Sword shall guide the hands of men . . .
For over a thousand years the kingdom of Lardan has been at peace: isolated from the world, safe from the wars of its neighbors, slowly forgetting the wild and deadly magic of its origins. Now the deepest truths of the past and the darkest predictions for the future survive only in the verses of nursery rhymes.
For over a thousand years, some of Lardan’s fractious provinces have been biding their time.
Kyali Corwynall is the daughter of the Lord General, a child of one of the royal Houses, and the court’s only sword-wielding girl. She has known for all of her sixteen years what the future holds for her–politics and duty, the management of a House, and protecting her best friend, the princess and presumed heir to the throne. But one day an old nursery rhyme begins to come true, an ancient magic wakes, and the future changes for everyone. In the space of a single night her entire life unravels into violence and chaos. Now Kyali must find a way to master the magic her people have left behind, or watch her world–and her closest friends–fall to a war older than the kingdom itself.

Add Sword to your Goodreads to-read list:

Check out this mini-interview with Amy Bai about her novel Sword

Q: What is your novel about?

Amy Bai: Sword is a coming of age high fantasy about a girl pretty much at odds with everything, including and especially herself. It's set in a fictional kingdom called Lardan, one with a long history of magic and war, and a population so complacent they've forgotten that either one ever applied to them. They learn differently when history begins to repeat itself: there's an uprising, the kingdom is thrown into civil war, and the royal family, of which my main character Kyali is a satellite member, is murdered. Kyali, her brother, and the princess are forced into exile with a small army of refugees. Kyali was badly hurt during the uprising, and comes out of that a changed person; unfortunately for her she's now the only person with the training to command what is left of the army, and her friends need her. 

Sword i
s her story, how she learns to deal with what happened to her without shutting out the people she loves, and with the responsibilities she has to shoulder now that the older generation is dead and the kingdom is overrun. It's about loyalty and love, fate and family and politics. It's also violent, occasionally sarcastic, and unabashedly sappy. 

Q: What inspired you to write the story?
AB: I had a very sullen young woman with a battered old sword and no patience kicking my frontal lobe. As motivators go, it was a pretty good one.

--Ok, so that's a little dramatic, but really not too far from the truth (except the part about the frontal lobe, of course). Kyali Corwynall started out as a patchwork of some of my favorite characters from books like Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, and Patricia McKillip's Cygnet, going all the way back to Barbara Helen Berger's Gwinna, which I read when I was seven. My brain is like cosmic flypaper: the stuff I like (or hate) sticks, accumulates, eventually acquires a gravitational field, and before I know it light's bending around it and I'm up at 3 am mainlining coffee and my keyboard's broken. Sword was like that. One day I had scattered pieces, and the next I had a character with layers, flaws, goals, scars, and a complicated history. Stories always start that way for me, no matter how cool my premise may be (or how cool I may think it is, anyway) --my characters inspire and drive it, start to finish.

Q: Since your novel is medieval-influenced, can you tell us a bit about your researching journey?

AB: Wow. How I'd love to give you a list of planned, organized steps I took. It would make me feel so much smarter!

But no. I stumbled into the research for Sword much like I did the story itself. I think my research began the moment I realized I had no idea how heavy a sword really was, or how hard it might be to wear armor and, you know, walk at the same time. I remember thinking writing fantasy would be easy (yes, feel free to laugh at me). It didn't take long before I realized it was very, very obvious when I didn't know what I was talking about. So I went from looking up Irish baby names online to running to the library after work to find the Focloir Scoile or The Book of the Sword. I eventually learned to restrain myself, because research can be a wonderful excuse for not writing when you're stuck-- but overall, it was great fun.

Q: What's your best revision tip?
AB: Remember basic dramatic structure when you're reading your draft(s). It definitely doesn't always apply, and definitely shouldn't always apply, but I've found it can be a great lens: I can look at the whole story, each subplot and character arc, each chapter, and each scene with that structure in mind, and I'll always find something to tweak. Or mangle. Or outright kill.

...Revision is a slightly violent process for me. 

There are TWO giveaways for this book. One is for an e-copy of Bai's Sword. To enter, just leave your name and email in the comments below and I will randomly select a winner.

The second is an international giveaway for a PRINT copy of Sword (which comes with an extra short story and character sketches) and a poster of the cover. You can apply for this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase via Amazon and B&N  

About the Author:
Amy Bai, author of Sword
Amy Bai has been, by order of neither chronology nor preference, a barista, a numbers-cruncher, a paper-pusher, and a farmhand. She likes thunderstorms, the enthusiasm of dogs, tall boots and long jackets, cinnamon basil, margaritas, and being surprised by the weirdness of her fellow humans. She lives in New England with her guitar-playing Russian husband and two very goofy sheepdogs.

Author links:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday 13th & V-Day Recommended Reads

I realise Friday the 13th is over for most of us, myself included, I still wanted to post this. Here are a few recommended reads for the two occasions, both the scary and the loving.

Also check out this week's picture prompts for Takhayyal, I have one for each occasion.

Back to the books: Click on the book to check out my review for it. (They are not arranged in any order whatsoever)

Scary Stuff:

Thirty Scary Tales by Rayne Hall
Strings by Darren Gallagher (short story collection)


Dreams of Perfection by Rebecca Heflin
Ghosts of theFalls by Sarah Gilman
Hand of Fire by Judith Starkston
Rising by Holly Kelly
My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan
Twin Magnolia:A Soul Call by Victoria Popescu
Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith (While this book does not focus on love, it still has a lot of emotions with a tinge of romance. You'll love Aidan. I know I did)

Keep reading and writing!