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.