Nadaness In Motion is the book blog owned by Nada Adel Sobhi and it is where honest book reviews meet author interviews, guest posts, and personal writing ranging from poetry to short stories alongside the Takhayyal/Imagine writing prompt challenge. ---
“You cannot kill a breeze, a wind, a fragrance; you cannot kill a dream or an ambition.” - Michel Onfray
year I make a list of the "best of the best" books I've read. I'm
glad I made my wished-for book count in 2018, where I've come across some
beautiful and inspiring books.
were several more books I had hoped to finish – and see if they would make it
to this list – but starting October time was not on my side, followed by no
reading in November for NaNoWriMo, which I won by the way, then December is
just rolling by and I've also been unable to pick up where I left off.
books in this list are not put in any order whatsoever. Most are indie books
but some are with traditional publishers. Making it to this list does NOT mean
that the other books weren't great but as I said this is the "best of the
best". For all other reviews, check out the full Book Reviews page.
This year's list has poetry, short stories, and novels spanning horror
to children's books, mysteries to becoming-of-age books. Just to name a few.
So, what were the best books I've read in 2018?
Breathe. Breathe. by
Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
collection of dark, fantastical and realistic, beautifully-written, highly
visual poems and short stories, where several pieces that reminded me of
literature, such as "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Great
Expectation". Al-Mehairi later told me personally and in an interview that
my connections were spot on.
main themes recur throughout Breathe. Breathe., namely abuse and
violence against women, which I believe Al-Mehairi brings some of from past
pains in her life, and the idea of breathing; the need to breathe and
Stalked", "The Heirloom", and "Clock of Doom" were
among the 10-star poems in the collection. Here's an excerpt from the poem:
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Disappearing Diva
by Gemma Halliday and Kelly Rey
A highly humourous, fast-paced, exciting, and enjoyable cozy mystery. Loved
every bit of it and couldn't put it down.
"Do you think we should knock on that door?"
"I think we should leave and never come back," Irene
said. "Rebecca Lowery probably jumped out of her casket and ran off by
herself when she got a look at this place."
The book has all the aspects Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is
popular for – but differently. Holmes "hardly a celebrity. Especially considering he
didn't actually exist". The address for the now popular but
elusive detective is in Baker Street, while Irene Adler is the narrator's best
friend and main accomplice in creating the detective façade.
"Not to make too dramatic a statement, but yes, it could be."
adventurer Matthew Connor receives a phone call from friend and former lover,
Alex, to join her on what could be the discovery of a lifetime in Egypt. Alex claims
to have uncovered a pharaoh's tomb AND the famed mythical Emerald Tablets,
which may have the secrets of the universe. Anyone who acquires the tablets
would have major wealth and power but if they fall into the wrong hands, well
the world as we know it would be in great peril.
The lost pharaoh is
believed to be son of Khufu, and I must applaud Arnold for the massive research
she has done and put into the novel, making it realistic and plausible. There
are a lot of historical tidbits in the book, which prompted me to do my own
research after I finished reading.
“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.”
The book is an emotional
story about family, hardship, a journey to something better, and how fairy
tales can bring people together. Bridie, the protagonist, is a kind-hearted
15-year-old who is on the cusp of growing up. She wants to live in the world of
fairy tales, while her mother and step-father seek to drag her to the real one. A
Welsh couple on board the ship sailing to Australia help her realise that she
can have both fairy tales and the real world.
There were so many
beautiful quotes in this book. Lots of wisdom and the characters all develop on
their journey to a new land with promised opportunities.
“We all need
stories, Mr. Bustle. They help us understand our lives.”
fast-paced fairytale retelling of the Beauty and the Beast with a dark twist
and lots of beautifully-flawed characters, Academia of the Beast is a must-read
on all levels.
"She saw within him a soul just as lost as she was. When he held
her hand, she was at peace."
is a witch, a breed that's being hunted down, who meets the princes of Elastria
at a party. One of the princes is Conall, whom Allyn had met previously. A brief
encounter rekindles their love but there are darker forces at bay.
"We found her."
Conall froze. "What?"
"You heard right…. Not just any witch. We found the one that Lennox
told your father about. She sounds incredible. None of the others were able to
do the things she did that night in the woods. And no one escapes Lennox."
In the first
instalment in a fast-paced, exciting, Ireland-set paranormal mystery series, we
meetunemployed actress Derry O'Donnell with a possible ability to see
into the future through tarot readings. She poses as fortune teller Madam Tulip
at a celebrity charity event where she encounters a dead body.
"Derry O'Donnell was fully qualified for unemployment in three
book is full of lots of laugh-out-loud situations, sleuthing, and excellent imagery
and similes. Five stars to this ride. Plus, Ahern creates Madam Tulip
from his previous work in the art and acting industry, giving depth and
experience to the novel and characters, and how they act and react.
"Next to Marlene, Derry felt like a hobbit - a hobbit overweight
and round even by the famously relaxed standards of hobbits."
Russell has a knack for finding dead bodies and by that I mean if there was
ever a Guinness World Record for the number of dead bodies found, Ellison
Russell would break the record several times over.
"Of the three partners at Bisby, Marshall, & Wallace, one was
hospitalised, one was murdered, and one was a murder suspect."
were a lot of angles to the mystery, allowing Mulhern to keep the reader
off-track most of the time. There's also a lot of
"show-don't-tell". Used expertly throughout the book.
Last but certainly not
least is the Hardened Hearts anthology published by Unnerving and
featuring 17 short stories of heartache, heart-breaks, and as the title
suggests, hearts that have turned to stone or worse. While the book, for me,
opened with a not-so-impressive tale, the rest just blew me away, wrenching my
heart deep within.
Some of the stories in
this collection will move you deeply, others will keep you guessing, and some
will have you putting your hand on your heart as you try to separate fiction
The anthology features
authors like Calvin Demmer (yes, you've met him in The Sea Was a Fair Master
above), Theresa Braun (interviewed by Nadaness In Motion), Erin Sweet
Al-Mehairi (also above and interviewed on this blog), Somer Canon, Tom Deady,
and many more amazing authors and wordsmiths.
THE DEEPEST HEARTACHE IS THE ONE YOU DON'T SEE COMING.
Golden couple, Sawyer and Quinn Denali, have an amazing love story. A match in every way, their happiness is evident to all who spend time with them. The arrival of twin baby girls completes their picture-perfect family.
When Quinn has the opportunity to help others on a two-week volunteer trip, she reluctantly leaves her family, knowing a short break from the demands of motherhood will be good for her.
She doesn’t expect the trip to change her life forever. But it does. It changes everything.
Struggling from day to day, the young family moves forward, finding happiness . . . and love.
But fate isn’t done mixing things up in their lives. When an unexpected event leaves them all reeling, the unspoken question rings loudly and can’t be ignored: “What happens now?”
A Me and You Thing is a novel that explores the strength of enduring love and friendship.
Praise for A Me and You Thing
Wow! This heart-tugging romance blew me away. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride of epic proportions…so prepare yourself. My heart soared up into the heavens, then was dragged into the bitter misery of hell, like being dragged behind a pickup truck for a mile or so. Ouch! But I got my happy (actually, glorious!) ending, so I loved it. The ending was so much more fulfilling because of what my heart went through to get there with the characters. This story is unique and refreshing—not your run-of-the-mill predictable romance that doesn’t stick with you when you finish. No! This one is made of super glue, and will be stuck in your heart forevermore. ~Author Charissa Stastny
Here's my recommendation. Don't read the summary. Don't read any more reviews. Order this book now! Clear your calendar and plan to spend the day reading. You'll be thanking me if you do. ~Kathy Habel
Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/28/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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 Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I hope you'll find some time to write a piece, no matter how
I hope you like the December 2018 writing prompt, which for me seems to mix magic with Christmas. Update: This will also be the January 2019 prompt since it would be great to have a bit of magic to start the new year with ;)
So, is this father Christmas? A wizard in red robes? What is he up to?
Your words, your story (or poem)... you decide!
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.
·No nudity, violence,
the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this
piece MUST be inspired in some way or other
by the above picture
is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others'
free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!
"Our unsub has never been about hiding the identity of his victims. He's always left their teeth intact and never mutilated their faces, making identification easy."
On the Count of Three by Carolyn Arnold is the seventh instalment in the Brandon Fisher series. This is my first read in the series and I didn't feel lost in any way with it being the seventh.
I loved that the book opens with a flashback from the killer, initiating suspense from the first page. The "unsub" appears to seek out recently-released people who were found guilty in drunk-driving accidents.
Miami police department (PD) officer Kelly Marsh investigates a murder and thinks there is a serial killer on the loose. So, she calls former mentor Jack Harper and his FBI team to assist her with the investigation.
A lot of emotions are flying as Kelly struggles with her boss, who doesn't do much but get the spotlight, while Brandon Fisher, a member of Harper's team, feels that there is some kind of history between Kelly and Jack. Throughout the novel, we see Brandon being jealous of Kelly, creating some occasional humour and suspense.
"Not only had they been happy to see each other but every word that came from [Kelly's] lips seemed to make Jack proud. And in contrast, everything I said was frowned upon. Literally."
On the Count of Three reminded me of the show Criminal Minds, and later one of the characters voices my thoughts. I felt that several of the characters were similar to those from Criminal Minds; Zach is a lot like Spencer Reed, and their lead Jack Harper is a bit like Aaron Hotchner.
Also like the series, there were some bits that felt like the quotes they used at the beginning and ending of each episode. Still, the book is different in its own way.
"The BAU?" Her brows rose in perfectly shaped arches. "Like from that TV show Criminal Minds?"
Each character has their pros and cons; I liked the medical examiner with her black humour, and Kelly, a woman hell-bent on bringing justice to those who deserve it and one who views the perpetrators who were murdered by the killer as victims.
My Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC)
One of the things I really liked about On the Count of Three is the use of actual policing and procedures. Arnold provides detailed information about body decomposition and lividity in a way that is both educational and exciting.
There is also lots of conversation throughout the book to keep the pace quick and the reader's mind working.
"Hope was a double-edged sword. It could empower and destroy. In some ways, hope was worse than closure. Especially, when bad news came on the tail end of sparked optimism."
I felt that On the Count of Three had too many perspectives. Nearly all were in the third person, with the exception of Brandon's, which was in the first person. In most cases it was easy to pick up whose perspective the reader was seeing the events from.
The sections where the killer was the speaker were interesting, showing how they felt, spoke, acted and reacted, and so on.
"I would kill to sleep in."
She had no idea how exhausting kidnapping and killing were. How both deserved a nice, long snooze afterward.
Although the book is one of the Brandon Fisher series, Brandon is not the only main character. We see perspectives from various characters including Zach and Kelly. I felt that Brandon wasn't the know-it-all who had all the answers. Again, since this is my first read in the series, I don't know if this is the case with the other books – but it is something I thought worth mentioning.
Overall, On the Count of Three is quick-paced and exciting. The reader is easily immersed in the investigation as the FBI and Miami PD detective seek to uncover clues and pinpoint bits and analyse what is going on to catch the serial killer.
"Charm and charisma were two of the best weapons in any murderer's arsenal. Sweet, yet sticky like honey."
The language is easy and I picked up some new investigative and medical-examiner terminology. I enjoyed Arnold's word choice throughout On the Count of Three, including the quotable bits at the beginning of some chapters. But particularly how the book ends not only by catching the killer but through word choice.
"Chaos and aftermath didn't have to be viewed as horrible. Light came from darkness."
Note: I received an advanced reader's copy (ARC) of On the Count of Three from the publisher Hibbert & Stiles in exchange for an honest review. Update: The following book in this series is Past Deeds, which I got as an ARC in 2020 and gave a 5-star review.
Update: I've finally picked up one of the police procedural books in the Detective Madison Knight Mystery series. I started with book 10 What We Bury and I loved it!
More book reviews for books by Carolyn Arnold on Nadaness In Motion:
CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international bestselling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author, in her genre, with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.TM
Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.