Magic

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s the time of year when everything seems magical. For this reason, our theme for December is ‘Magic’.

Don’t feel limited to keeping in the festive spirit though! We’ll except any magical creations you send our way!

~Nim


Want to take part? Leave a link to the blog you want to share, whether it’s flash fiction, a bog-standard blog, photography or even a painting.

We’ll feature your work on Saturday’s throughout the month, but only if they match the theme. This isn’t a competition by any means, just a way to help you get your name out there. To that end, if you have more than one idea, feel free to share more of your creations!

Since we’re just starting out, we’d appreciate you spreading the word!

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Tanka: Winter Magic

This week’s feature for our ‘Magic’ theme is this tanka by whippetwisdom. Better grab your coats for this one, both the photography and poem transport you to a winter wonderland.

whippetwisdom.com

winter trees in Cairngorms National Park

forest of snows
nature’s inner beauty
breathes
so sweet and intimately
deep inside my heart

© Xenia Tran

black whippet in winter coat on snow covered forest trail

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasononic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4, 1/500 s, ISO – 100 and f/4, 1/320 s and ISO – 150.

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

Dutch Goes The Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Message

Carpe Diem #1319 – Inner Beauty

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Carnival of Souls – Melissa Marr

Warning: Spoilers

In The City, the carnival hosts a competition every generation to give a chance for every daimon to become part of the ruling elite. For Aya and Kaleb, fighting to the death is their only chance at survival. In the human world, witches live in exile. Mallory knows little about the carnival but The City’s inhabitants know about her and, under her father’s tutelage, she prepares for the inevitable meeting.

Carnival of Souls is a YA, paranormal fantasy by Melissa Marr. I’m a little hazy on the details but the title of later editions was changed to ‘Carnival of Secrets’. For the sake of this review, I’ll refer to the novel as ‘Carnival of Souls’ because that’s the edition I read. Continue reading

Mirror Magic

Here’s our second feature for the weekend!

Maybe it’s just the fact mirrors star prominently in my WIP but I always think they’re a little underestimated. This poem by Kim881 captures the subtle power behind the looking glass beautifully.

writing in north norfolk

The mirror in the garden pond
is cracked with rushes, irises,
rotting leaves and watercress;

a single poppy lingers on,
pale petals promise oblivion.

In the mirror of the garden spade,
a toad with its glittering topaz gaze,
legs akimbo and puffed up body

dangles from the shiny blade,
toxin flooding warty membrane.

Mirror, mirror of tainted spells
misted murky with glabrous mistrust,
your gilt frame flakes with worm and rust.

The sorceress abjures her poisoned apples,
fills her hands with greetings not farewells.

Kim M. Russell, 2017

 

A poem for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night; also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads A Skyflower Friday: Goodbye

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The Coffin Dancer – Jeffery Deaver

Warning: Possible Spoilers

Criminalist Lincoln Rhyme and his team follow the trail of a serial killer known as ‘The Coffin Dancer’. With the only clue to the murderer’s identity being a tattoo of the Grim Reaper dancing with a woman, Rhyme has 48-hours to track them down before they strike again.

The Coffin Dancer is the second book in Jeffery Deaver’s, Lincoln Rhyme series. Continue reading

LOOKING FOR MAGIC

Our first December feature is this poem by Imelda. Sometimes it’s easy to miss the smaller magical moments that happen everyday and the wistfulness in this captures that perfectly.

MY WALL

Still I wait
For magic to come
Knowing not
What it is
I wonder if it has passed.
Was I blind?

Dappled light
Filters through the leaves
Shimmering
Long shadows
Stretch the trees, shorten the days.
Isn’t that magic?

Wind carries
The song of laughter
Echoing
Counterpoint
To the disquiet within.
It falls on deaf ears.

Frustration
Over little things
Settling in
Cast shadows
On moments that would have been
Simply magical.

Paul asks the DVerse Pub patrons to write a poem with ‘magic’ in it.  I ask “Where’s the magic?” through a Shadorma, a poetry form said to have originated from Spain.  It has 6 lines with  a 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllablic structure.  (OOPPS!  It turns out only the first stanza is a Shadorma.   Visit the Pub and see what magic brews in there. 🙂

The pictures were taken last Monday during our late afternoon walk around Borderland Park.

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Meadowside Cabin

(Resized) 11-17-17

Hi everyone! Nim here.

Since I haven’t shared a painting for a while, I figured I’d be brave with my latest.

I have mixed feelings about this one. While I managed to get the leaves looking a little better (in places), everything else felt like it went belly-up. Now it’s been put aside to dry for a while, I think it may have grown on me. A little…

Honestly, I can’t help but think the left side is a little empty. Maybe I’ll attempt this painting again and add in some patches of flowers to liven it up a little.


The end of the month’s fast approaching and with it ends our Revolution theme. Tul might share her own piece if she has time but for now she’s still on her break.

We’ll have another festive theme for December so keep an eye open!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!

Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett

Warning: Possible Spoilers

With Mister Simnel’s invention of a steam-powered locomotive, Moist von Lipwig is given the task of keeping Discworld’s newest fad on the rails and not lost to the realm of forgotton dreams. Raising Steam is part of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy series.

Raising Steam is my second foray into Pratchett’s Discworld series, although, I admit, I still haven’t finished Snuff. (In my defense, I did move while in the process of reading it and thoughtlessly shoved it into a box. It’s still in one of them. Somewhere.)

As a fantasy fan, I thought Pratchett’s work – as one of the well-known authors in the genre – would be right up my street. I’m a little disappointed to say, from what I’ve read so far, I’m not a fan.

I found it hard to truly invest in the characters in Raising Steam. Not through any lack of trying, of course. Pratchett has a tendency to scatter uncommon words throughout his work. One or two, I’d understand and certainly wouldn’t mind. I’m not against learning a few new words here and there.

In Raising Steam, every time I happened to lose myself in the storyline, I’d come across a word I’d never heard before and be yanked straight back out again. It didn’t take long to tire of the constant interruptions. Which, I suppose, explains why I wasn’t particularly taken with this particular novel.

Saying that, I’m not sure I’d have been any fonder of this story had there been less fancy words. While the idea was sound, the delivery lacked finesse. I didn’t feel as though the characters were ever in any real danger. That, more than anything else, didn’t help me invest in the storyline.

Not everything about Raising Steam was bad though. Pratchett has a very dry sense of humor. After spending several years in the USA, I hadn’t realized how refreshing the typical British brand of humor could be.

Someday, I’ll pull Snuff out of its box and finish that one too. Maybe it’ll help change my mind about Pratchett’s work. For the moment though, I think it’ll be a while before I pick up any of his other work.

As always though, don’t let me put you off. Go read it yourself and let me know what you think.

Goodreads


There’s still time to join in with our Revolution Theme. This Saturday is the last feature day for this particular theme before December brings a new one.

Tul’s going to be taking a break for a few weeks while she sorts out a few personal things so it’ll just be me for a while. I’ll try to alternate between Mural Monday’s and Written Wednesday’s but given my preference for writing, I may focus on reviews for a while. We’ll see.

For now, I bid you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

‘Til next time!
~Nim

A Silent Voice

A silent voice COVER

Good evening guys! Tulcadhiel signing in and today I am bringing you my review of A Silent Voice directed by Naoko Yamada, a movie adaption of the Manga under the same name by Yoshitoki Ōima.

As a note I would like readers to know I have limited knowledge of the original Manga series this movie was adapted from although I am aware there are some changes from the original material (even if I wouldn’t be able to point them out to you).

Warning: Potential Spoilers

A Silent Voice is a story about a teenager called Shoya Ishida, a suicidal, social outcast who is looking to make amends with a deaf girl, named Shoko, whom he bullied during his youth. Will Shoko be able to forgive Shoya for his past mistakes and will Shoya ever be able to get over his trauma?

I found out about this movie by seeing videos uploaded by some of the my favourite anime reviewers on YouTube. When I heard the story discussed aspects of bullying, self-induced trauma and featured a deaf character as one of the leads, I knew this was a movie I had to give a shot.


A silent voice ISHIDA

Shoya Ishida is voiced by Miyu Irino and Mayu Matsuoka (elder and younger versions respectively). Shoya is the main character of the entire story so he had to stand out and take centre stage. The voice actors were perfect for this character! Miyu Irino was great in bringing across the soft, nervous tone to Shoya that was needed to present him correctly. I especially love how Irino was able to express the characters joy, even when hesitant and unsure. And let’s not forget Matsuoka who gave a great performance of a bored, confused but ultimately cruel child. It’s important to note that Shoya honestly didn’t understand what he was doing to Shoko was wrong until he had a reality check and everyone deserted him, so Matsuoka’s cheerful, class-clown vocals was perfect for him.

Shoko Nishiyama was voiced by Saori Hayami and unfortunately, this actress didn’t get a lot of chances to use her voice. As Shoko is deaf her speech is not perfect and comes across as slurred, however credit where credits due, Hayami really brought emotion and depth to Shoko in the few instances she does speak. There’s a especially hard to watch seen where Shoko tries to speech throughout a whole conversation with Shoya, crying and spluttering, just in an attempt to seem normal. It’s clear that Hayami gave everything she could for this character when given the opportunity.

I feel the rest of the cast we’re appropriately selected for their roles. However anime and manga rely on the visuals to express the characters, meaning none of the actors got a real chance to act aside from using their voice. Don’t get me wrong, the voice acting is superb and I doubt it’s an easy job but I really feel like this movie could of used some more harsh elements, like perhaps uglier visuals at times or distorted imagery, just to get the characters pain and troubles to reach a new level and resonate better with the viewer. But I’ll go more in depth on the visuals later on.


A silent voice ...

As an anime, this movie knows exactly where to place a character in a scene to the best effect. Additionally, there are several shots in this movie that are utilised perfectly to present a mood, whether uncomfortable, unsure, panicked, pained or content.

However, I can honestly say the cinematography and angles used within this movie-adaption are expected norms for an anime. Again, anime is designed to be effective in the best way possible and if that means characters can be shuffled and moved to make the most visually appealing image, it shall be done!

Moving on, this movie has an simple but effective selection of environments it uses to make this story effective. The most important locations I would say are the primary school where Shoya and Shoko first met, the Nishiyama’s home and the Koi bridge.

The movie is very good a making the viewer feel familiar with the environments. The primary school feels big and daunting yet cosy on the inside. At times, the setting feels isolated and harsh and the movie is great at shifting from one to another. The Nishiyama’s home is a realistic which has a lot of power within this movie. It feels like a restricted place, like the viewer and Shoya shouldn’t be there.

The Koi bridge is a beautiful location that the movie continues to periodically return to and sometimes, not for a good reason. Sometimes Shoya and Shoko are signing to one another, another time it’s another characters place were they can cry. However, the Koi bridge continued to feel grand, beautiful and peaceful, despite whatever event occurred there.


A silent voice CAST

This movie looks great. The visuals are smooth and clear, the characters are all easily recognisable and not too artistically extreme, the environments are stunning when needed and mundane when not, hell, even the background characters have decent designs where the viewer can actually tell their different people, which is a rarity in most anime.

A fun visual played throughout most of the movie is these weird ‘X’ shapes across most characters faces. As the movie is shown through the perspective of Shoya, an outcast who doesn’t speak to anyone in his school and doesn’t know them, the ‘X’ signifies them as being unknown. Someone Shoya doesn’t know. As the movie progresses people around Shoya lose their ‘X’ and even during some scenes you can actually see how the individual speaking with our main lead causes them to develop a relationship, whether friends or just repairing old bridges.

The music and audio used in this movie is great. The power this movie gives to the characters voices is definitely used to it’s full potential and the few times where music is used, its not too jarring or off-putting, although I must confess the use of My Generation by The Who early on did make me jump a little.


The Final Verdict:

Overall this is a good movie! If you’re expecting a beautiful, loving romance you will be disappointed but if you’re looking for a story that goes into the effects of bullying and how to re-build bridges and overcome personal obstacles, this is the movie for you. There’s a lot of character growth and this is the perfect movie for anyone looking for something sad yet uplifting and hopeful.


So this is the first anime review I’ve done. It’s quite hard to review something based so highly on visuals, but I tried my best. Next week I’ll be posting my teaser for this months theme ‘Revolution’ but until then, hang tight! Ja matane!