HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I’m sorry for the delayed wishes for the new year (and I mean both Jan 1st New Year and Chinese New Year 🙂 ).  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and as the owner of this blog I’m absolutely horrified with myself!  I miss this blog almost everyday, the feeling of thinking up materials for posting, and then posting them.

Hopefully soon, I’ll be back to my usual posting.

Until then, Words That Flow Like Water is on a semi hiatus.  I’ll post from time to time, but it seems I don’t have enough inspiration and my life has become a bit cluttered.

I will update you all as soon as I can and get back soon :).  For now, though, if you want to follow what I’m doing or reading you can find me here:

Wordsthatflowlikewater @ Instagram

Nina {ᴡᴏʀᴅs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ} on Goodreads

I’m so sorry! I’ll be back soon!


Top 5 Favourite Book Covers

Another totally random post!  I love the Top 5 theme, but as for the topics, I suppose I’m still figuring out whether I want to stay Books Only, or branch out to other favourites – so we’ll see!

Today’s topic is favourite book covers – this is so hard!!  I don’t even know where to start, but I suppose this top 5 will be my favourite standout book covers ever (and I think I’ll avoid repeating any covers noted in the other top 5 post for now!)

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Undoubtedly one of my absolute favourite book covers is A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.  I also love the other covers in the series – they’re just as gorgeous.  I actually bought this book based on the cover, and also based on Sam’s (over at A History of Books) recommendation.  I’m really looking forward to reading this when I get round to it, which will probably be around the time when the third and final book comes out.  What I love about this cover is the blend of colours.  I really love the colour scheme here.  I love the watercolour texture – particular the way it makes the images of the two cities (the bottom more than the top) look as if they’ve been painted.  And I really love the simplicity of the font.

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Omg, yes.  The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is beautiful.  It truly is a very beautiful cover.  And I love it a WHOLE lot more than the new covers -> HERE.  I am a bit biased though because I read the books with the original (above) covers.  And when I think of Kestrel, I see a girl like the one in the cover.  The new covers ARE truly pretty and I think they’re awesome BUT I don’t think it represents the story.  In fact, I feel like they misrepresents the Winner’s Trilogy.  Kestrel is kickass, but it’s with her mind.  She just isn’t like the girl on the new covers.  The new covers make her look like an assassin, but the old ones give a sense of gentle distress, of silent conflict, and of a world of power and politics – the dress seems to represent to me a world of fashion, polite society.  I absolutely cannot wait until I read The Winner’s Kiss! 

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Alienated by Melissa Landers is a cover that really attracted me.  I think what I like about it most is the composition.  Then the sky in the centre, and then lastly the position of the people.  I think the name of this book also captures my attention. And there’s a sense of alienation between both the people on the cover.  This was a cover that made me really want to buy it, and I have plenty of plans to do so soon!

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4. 18284908

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Undeniably one of my favourite covers for the dress.  Look at that dress!  I love they way it just billows about, green amongst the sea of stars.  It’s really pretty!  I really love the blue of the starry sky.  The cover too really matches the story even though most of the story is actually situated on a deserted planet.  What I loved most about this story was the way both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner approached the possibility of life beyond Earth.  And not just your usual humanoid life, but something that well, gave me a bit of the creeps.  The cover though, doesn’t quite translate that part into it, but on the whole symbolises the need that both the main characters had and needed from each other.

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And lastly, for now, is this beautiful cover.  I bought this book in part because of the cover, and on the other part, because of the story.  I’ve heard only good things about this story!  And it’s like a scientific approach to reincarnation.  From the premise on Goodreads, I also get the sense  of All Our Yesterdays (time travel).  I can really see the whole time after time thing in the cover, and I’m really excited to read this.  I think whoever designed it was and is a genius.

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And those are my top five favourites!  What about you?  What are some of your all time favourite book covers?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

  • Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2) by Lauren DeStefano Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3) by Lauren DeStefano – The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano
  • The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass The Elite (The Selection, #2) by Kiera Cass The One (The Selection, #3) by Kiera Cass The Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass The Selection Stories The Prince & The Guard (The Selection, #0.5, 2.5) by Kiera Cass The Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass – The Selection Series by Kiera Cass (though I dislike the Crown cover, because the dress looks way too big! The colour is nice though)
  • Matched (Matched, #1) by Ally Condie Crossed (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie Reached (Matched, #3) by Ally Condie – Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie
  • Eon (Eon, #1) by Alison Goodman Eona The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2) by Alison Goodman – Eon Duology by Allison Goodman
  • Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) by Sarah J. Maas Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas – Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
  • Incarnate (Newsoul, #1) by Jodi Meadows Asunder (Newsoul, #2) by Jodi Meadows Infinite (Newsoul, #3) by Jodi Meadows – Newsoul Trilogy by Jodi Meadows
  • The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1) by Jodi Meadows The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2) by Jodi Meadows – Orphan Queen duology by Jodi Meadows
  • And more!

Top 5 Favourite Book Series.

Totally random post (and I have no idea what day I’m scheduling this for!), but I felt like sharing 5 of my favourite book series.  Since I’m only going for 5, they’re probably all going to be YA.  But I do have some favourite adult books and of other genres!

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  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter! Of course, I LOVE this series. It takes an undebateable top spot on this list simply because this was the first series I ever read and loved to bits. Even though when I first came in contact with this series, I was around 7 or 8?  I had it read to me, because I was at a point where I couldn’t read it for myself yet. But by the time Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I was reading the books on my own, over and over again.  So of course, this series takes the number one spot on my top five favourite series.  How can it not?  😛

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2.  A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) by Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) by Libba Bray

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Next on the list would have to be the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. This is on here because it was the first YA series I read during highschool. I’d love to say I read books every single day since I first encountered HP but truthfully, I stopped for a while for a variety of reasons. And because I stopped, I wanted to get back into the swing of things. And doing that, I started with standalones like Just Listen (Sarah Dessen), The Truth about Forever (Sarah Dessen) and Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher). But the Gemma Doyle Trilogy was my first series. And I LOVED it for the historical setting. LOVED it for its gothic story. LOVED the ending even though it was somewhat heartshattering.  But it was also the first time I had ever encountered a story that did not end in happy ever after (if you’ve read this series, then you’ll understand what I mean!)

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3. Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Magic Study (Study, #2) by Maria V. Snyder Fire Study (Study, #3) by Maria V. Snyder Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Night Study (Study, #5) by Maria V. Snyder Dawn Study (Soulfinders, #3) by Maria V. Snyder

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Next would have to be the Study Series. This holds a special place in my heart for being so awesome.  I think what I loved about this series was that Yelena is the main character.  Despite her hard history, she is able to stand on her feet and keep trying.  Although she falls in love, their romance is not the sole focus of the whole story.  I love how it’s there, and yet, doesn’t take over the whole show!  Not to mention that this was perhaps one of the first series where I decided to read it again right after I had just finished it.  How did I come across it?  I think I was looking for stories that involved assassins – in particular female, since I really was in the mood.  This wasn’t it, but it came up in the search, and I figured I’d give it a try.  It was also one of the first few books in which I actually did not mind the larger age gap between the main protagonist and her love interest.

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4. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

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Even though I’ve only read this series recently, it definitely deserves a place on my list of favourite series for simply being amazing.  I think it’s one of the most creative retellings I’ve ever come across in a long time.   l love the mesh of science fiction, fairy tales, and imperfect characters.  The romances are also very adorable.  But what holds this series together, is the well planned out plot.  Some of it was very predictable, but there was enough emotion to keep the roller coaster going.  I had to consume each book as quick as possible, and I think, asides from the other books on this list, this is something I haven’t done for a long time (or so it feels like!)

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5. Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #1) by Isobelle Carmody The Farseekers (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #2) by Isobelle Carmody Ashling (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #3) by Isobelle Carmody The Keeping Place (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #4) by Isobelle Carmody The Stone Key (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #5) by Isobelle Carmody The Sending (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #6) by Isobelle Carmody The Red Queen (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #7) by Isobelle Carmody

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I include the Obernewtyn series here as well because I feel I need to add at least one Australian author on my list.  And there aren’t many Australian authors with series I wanted to list that I’ve finished.  But Obernewtyn, though I started it late, is definitely a long time favourite of mine.  I forgive the somewhat slow ending because I love, love love what Carmody does with her story here.  Not only is it a great story that features heavy themes about Being Kind to Animals and whatnot, Carmody does something really special with the language.  As a linguist, I don’t see this kind of creativity very often.  Most other authors who’ve written books set in the future and are considered YA don’t really give much attention to the language. But language, people! is tied with our existence, and it does not truly remain the same.  It evolves!  It would definitely look different in the near and distant future.  Carmody knows language.  It’s beautiful.  I think this was probably one of the reasons why I was really attracted to her story (that and all my favourite characters!)  She even gives the animals a really believable language system too!  And this is why I also love the Obernewtyn series (not just the story!), it’s because of her approach to the language.

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And those are my top five favourites!  What about you?  What are some of your all time favourite book series?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

Blog Tour: Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

24035804Title: Storm and Silence

Author: Robert Thier

Publication Date: March 19th 2016

Add on Goodreads.

Freedom – that is what Lilly Linton wants most in life. Not marriage, not a brood of squalling brats, and certainly not love, thank you very much!
But freedom is a rare commodity in 19th-century London, where girls are expected to spend their lives sitting at home, fully occupied with looking pretty. Lilly is at her wits’ end – until a chance encounter with a dark, dangerous and powerful stranger changes her life forever…Enter the world of Mr Rikkard Ambrose, where the only rule is: Knowledge is power is time is money!




Storm and Silence.  Robert Thier


An unpolished version of this book is posted on Wattpad. You can check that out before making up your mind about purchasing the book, but know that the published version has extra material that you want to read. Trust me. 😉

Make sure to check out the other posts in this blog tour!

Name Date Blog Link
Jinan 19th of March LINK
Henz 20th of March LINK
Aira 21st of March LINK
Raven 22nd of March LINK
Nina 23rd of March LINK
Eti 24th of March LINK

About Robert Thier


Robert Thier is a German Historian and writer of Historical Fiction. His particular mix of history, romance and adventure, always with a good deal of humor thrown in, has gained him a diverse readership ranging from teenagers to retired grandmothers. For the way he manages to make history come alive, as if he himself had lived as a medieval knight, his fans all over the world have given him the nickname “Sir Rob”.

For him, Robert says, becoming a writer has followed naturally from his interest in history. “In Germany,” he says, “we use the same word for story and history. And I’ve always loved the one as much as the other. Becoming a storyteller, a writer, is what I’ve always wanted.”

Besides writing and researching in dusty old archives, on the lookout for a mystery to put into his next story, Robert enjoys classical music and long walks in the country. The helmet you see on the picture he does not wear because he is a cycling enthusiast, but to protect his literary skull in which a bone has been missing from birth. Robert lives in the south of Germany in a small village between the three Emperor’s Mountains.

Here Come The Habibs – My Thoughts.

OKAY here’s the cracker.  YES.  Take the damn cracker and sit down.  (Okay so you don’t really have to sit down and read this, but I’d love you to. Because I’m so nice, and I gave you a cracker.)

Now that the cracker is out of the way.  (If you don’t like crackers, I have cookies.)  I’m sorry guys for disappearing again!  I got a little bit busy (still busy, got a personal deadline coming up) but I wanted to spend some time to write this post, in all hopes that it comes out sounding somewhat rational.  I did after all begin writing this in the spur of the moment.

Here’s what I want to talk about.  HERE COME THE HABIBS.  A new Australian sitcom featuring a Lebanese-Australian family who’ve one the lottery – 22 million – and moved into an upper class typically ‘white’ suburb.  It runs for 30 minutes every Tuesday night at 8:30pm.  If someone hadn’t switched the channel to Channel 9, I wouldn’t have bothered watching it – but this is only because I didn’t know what to think about the show – but someone did, and yes, I spent last Tuesday night and last night sitting for 30 minutes and watching this new multicultural sitcom on Channel 9.


Controversial?  Hell yes.

Take a look:

Now why is this controversial?  In Australia, we call ourselves multicultural, and indeed, on tv, you will have a multicultural character every so often.  On SBS, pretty much all the time, it’s the channel for multiculturalism, that’s why it was created in the first place, and why if you want your cultural fix, flick over to that channel.  Now, if we look at Australian commercial TV however – by all means, I’m not an expert, but I have spent copious amounts of time searching for interesting shows on TV, and without Foxtel or the like, it’s usually very hard, because everything is nearly always so typically white – no offense, as much as I love that stuff, it’s tiring and boring to watch all the time, and so here I am, deciding to write up my own opinion based on everything I keep hearing, and since NO ONE has yet written a detailed blog post as to why or why not one should watch HERE COME THE HABIBS, I figured I might as well.  I’m tired of reading summaries of the show and questioning pieces on the net by media outlets that REALLY don’t say anything at all about the show and FAIL to give it justice.

So here it is.  Your Blogger Nina, writer of Words That Flow Like Water, a ridiculously long name for a blog that I should probably think about changing sometime in the future, will now tell you my thoughts about the first two episodes of HERE COME THE HABIBS.

Let me set the scene.

Last Tuesday night, like always, I sit down in front of the TV pull my laptop onto my little lap desk, and fire it up.  I plug in my usb and flex my fingers ready to continue working on my writing project.  It’s night time after all, personal writing time.  Unfortunately, I’m one of those nutty writers who have the tv on in the background – but hey, why not? I live in a working middle class estate an hour away from the city, it gets quite eerie at night, and a little too quiet for my liking.  If it weren’t for the train passing by the back of my house every half hour or so, I would have moved a long time ago.  I’m not a rural girl. I like the city.

And there I was already to work – well semiwork – all that was left to do was find something decent for background noise.  Since I had no control over the remote for once, I just had to cross my fingers and pray that something good would pop up in the flick-a-channel marathon.

Final button press – Channel 9, running overtime (like always), with Here Come the Habibs scheduled on next.  At first, I’m conflicted.  I distinctly remember when the promo was blaring in my face every day, every hour since 2015, and I distinctly remember dismissing it, with the single thought – crap, they’re going to eff it up real bad, there’s no way I’m going to watch this s***.  Yep.  That’s how I thought.  I mean, why not?  It’s a multicultural show on a commercial channel?  When was the last time that happened?  Don’t make me laugh!  Oh yes, I can be quite harsh, and certainly, I was quite so during the lead up to the show, but the only difference is, as the time came closer for its premiere (it was vaguely in the back of my mind somewhere), I never said I wouldn’t watch it.  Sure, I might have disliked the thought of it for months before, dismissed it harshly, and didn’t think much of it thinking it was just a horrible joke gone wrong, but I like giving people the benefit of the doubt.  And with THE FAMILY LAW on SBS fully receiving my utmost attention (when I manage to catch it, but hey, I’ve read the book and currently using it as a source of data for my research), my head was already spinning towards thinking, maybe it might not be so bad.

But of course, since I’m a busy person, and TV schedules don’t really interest me all too often, I forgot about when HERE COME THE HABIBS was supposed to be premiering.  It was just a coincidence that it and I were in the right place at the right time.

Just so you know what kind of a person I am – if you haven’t read my suggestive reads posts that is – I’m the kind of person who’ll think of the pros and cons and will probably like something if it has merits worth praising.  I also, like to make up my own mind about something, I may also try and push my opinion on you, but hey! You don’t have to take it, since really, it’s just my opinion.  So, from here on out, I’ll be briefly summarising the episode plots, then I’ll go through the pros and cons of the show, and then, well, it’s up to you if you want to go watch the show. 

Episode One:  Essentially the Lebanese-Australian, Fou Fou, brings his family to their new home, a mansion in Vaucluse.  Pretty much a rich white upper class suburb.  They meet the neighbours – the O’Neills – and it’s clear right from the get-go that Oliva O’Neill doesn’t like them.  But this dislike probably stems more from her desire to get the house back – something to do with her family and family history and how her house and Fou Fou’s used to be connected.  (I will definitely comment on the O’Neill’s later.)  Fou Fou arrives in a little wooden dinghy –‘boat people’ imagery inspired here – he steps out and he kneels on the sandy forefront, bobs down and kisses it.  He’s then in the fountain playing, to some extent, with the water, pretending to be a human sprinkler, while his family enter the house.  The kids aren’t happy with the decisions being made for them, but they don’t mind checking out how big the house is.  Fou Fou meets the neighbour, who is well affronted by the sudden ‘invasion’.   They also have a little disagreement about a fence, so Fou Fou moves it for her, so that he can access the boat ramp.  Elias (youngest son of Fou Fou who is in his first year of uni) stacks it when he’s on his way back from buying food, and he meets the neighbours daughter.  Throughout the episode, Miriam meets the neighbour as well, offering baklava, and Olivia later organises a welcome party for Madison.  Olivia also spies Fou Fou looking a bit shifty, crossing the lawn with a suitcase that accidentally opens to reveal stacks of money.  Meanwhile, Layla goes to visit a friend/boyfriend, and her older Toufic finds out, so Toufic and Elias go to well, beat the guy up (friend of Toufic’s or something), in the process they get Madison to drive them to Bankstown.  There, they hang out a bit, showing Madison where they used to live, and well, Layla finds the guy she wanted to me, scratches his car as payback, before they all head back home where the party is in full swing.  Fou Fou’s family have a typical kebab bbq, while their neighbours are having a fancy bbq welcome party.  Olivia has found out that Fou Fou got his money from the lottery, and that no one in his family except his wife knows.  At some point of course, embers from the O’Neill’s bbq spark a fire on the newly varnished (a peace offering by Olivia’s husband – the varnishing) wooden dinghy of Fou Fou’s, and it bursts into flames…the episode ends with Olivia vowing to get rid of them.


Episode Two:  The secret is out.  Thanks to Olivia who tipped off the press, Fou Fou has to explain everything to his kids.  Layla is ecstatic while Toufic is a bit disappointed.  But that isn’t all.  It’s the rest of the family and friends that matter.  Phones start ringing, and Layla is on the phone to the radio.  Fou Fou organises for Elias to take the suitcase filled with money to the bank, away from the house before the relos sniff it out.  Elias once again recruits Madison to help him out.  On the way to the bank, they stop so that she can go to see someone about a tattoo while Elias is left in the car.  His brothers sneak up and fake rob him with masks and all, but they’re caught by the police, and have to explain everything.  Madison comes back, the whole problem is sorted but then she’s arrested for unpaid parking fines.  She works her way out of that one, and then they find out the case of money has been stolen.  Meanwhile, Miriam, wants to join the club – Olivia’s club – and after meeting the Commodore, Olivia’s friend sponsors her in.  Unfortunately, Olivia makes mischief and tricks Miriam into fishing off the pier for the mascot (Miriam didn’t know).  Elias returns and tells his dad what happens – turns out Mustapha  (sidekick uncle?) had been following them as a precaution because of Elias’ older brothers.  While his kids had been away, Fou Fou had been meeting with all the relos to find out what they want (outrageous and expensive of course), and recruits Olivia’s husband to help him out (with the silent threat to sue for putting Fou Fou into the paper).  For Miriam, it turns out the Commodore was happy that the mascot had been caught, cooked, and served, and welcomed her and her family to the club, to Olivia’s horror.  And it turns out Olivia’s husband had also nominated all of Fou Fou’s relos to the club too…paid for by Fou Fou.


And Now…what to think?

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  • I love that this is a multicultural cast.  Not just one character is a non-white person, but a family.  Since this is a story about Lebanese-Australians.  Granted it’s only restricted to either Lebanese-Australian or white-caucasian-anglo-saxon.   But that’s the most multicultural I’ve seen on commercial TV for a long time.  THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE PRO.  WE don’t have enough of this kind of sitcom on Australian commercial TV that’s not sourced from overseas.  It’s local as well, which is a big bonus.  SBS is multicultural too, and The Family Law is another current show at the moment that is comparable.  And I do actually like the Family Law better because the script and production is done so much better, but I can’t just dismiss HERE COME THE HABIBS. 


  • Commercial TV. To  my friends and family, they know how much I abhor watching soap operas, comedies, and dramas on Australian commercial TV that’s specifically sourced locally.  I know.  As an Australian, I’m such a terrible one.  But hey!  I’m an ABC.  And you know what?  I’m REALLY sick and tired of the same old plotlines, same old white cast, same old boring repetitive stories.  This is why I didn’t watch Packed to the Rafters.  This is why I dislike Winners & Losers.  Good luck to anyone who watches and loves those shows, but you can count on me to not watch it – I just don’t get what’s so “Australian” about those stories when, when I look at myself in the mirror, I’m just not like that.  My family is mixed, and though there’s no way I would ever say that I’m not Australian, I do sometimes wonder, or at least, feel my mind straining against the stereotypical labels of what it means to be Australian.  Commercial TV has not been a good indicator of ‘what Australian is’.  Sure, shows set a few decades back, include a non-white character, however, it’s never more than one or two, it’s never a whole big fat family.  Everyone has their own bone to pick – the need for more diversity and representation in body types, gender diversity, LGBTQ diversity, etc., but for me, it’s multiculturalism.  Especially on the commercial channels – yes, I am not including SBS because SBS is made to be multicultural.   SO YES, this is a big pro for the show!


  • This is a controversial point.  And I don’t fully agree with it, because the source of humour is the main source of controversy.  But firstly, the style of humour we see in HERE COME THE HABIBS is a self-deprecating, making jokes of ourselves for laughs kind of humour.  It’s in many ways what I think and feel is typical Australian humour.  At the beginning, I didn’t want to laugh AT ALL.  Because I was worried about the jokes.  But – sigh – I ended up laughing partway through.  So, to some degree this show is funny, particularly for the caricature image it creatures of the Lebanese-australians, and also of the upper class snob next door.


  • Discourses of race and class can be read from this show. What I like about this show is that it really hones on these discourses, and gives you something to think about.  It’s another reason why this show is so controversial.  Since the jokes can be considered incredibly racist.  But in my opinion, I don’t think they’re supposed to be like that at all.  They’re just jokes.


  • HERE COME THE HABIBS so far as they (producers, creators, directors, scriptwriters) don’t mess it up big time with some bullshit storyline, is much better than the other crap (yes, I’m sorry, but I disliked it, found it offensive, and hated it to pieces) such as Fat Pizza and Housos absolutely rubbish. At least HERE COME THE HABIBS doesn’t make me throw up every five minutes in disgust.  HERE COME THE HABIBS so far, is pretty family friendly.  There’s no vulgar sexual or drug references at all, and THIS guys, is a DEFINITE pro.  We don’t need those other negative influences on the young audience.  I don’t know why they put it on at 8:30pm, but I swear, I hope it’s not because we’re going to get some nasty surprise later on.


  • AS a linguist, I’ve VERY curious in how they’re portraying accent.  Will it be fully Australian (within the broad-general-rp continuum) or would they give the Lebanese-Australians their own flair (which from my experience they do have their own flavour) — this though, I’m still observing.


  • Omg, yes, I will include this as a pro – but I am shipping Elias and Madison. It’s a bit of a strange pro, but they’re pretty cool together.  I don’t know if I want to see them together, or just see them as friends for a long time, but I think they’re pretty cute to watch haha.

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  • Oh yes, there are cons! And this one has plenty of them!  The first major con I want to point out is the production and scripting – mostly, it’s fine, but seriously, it could be so much better.  Perhaps the only reason why it’s like this is because this is just the beginning of the show.  But I would love to see stronger relationships being built between the characters.  Then again I can also understand why this isn’t a strong element, since this is a light sitcom in its initial stages.


  • Hate to say this, but which genius thought it would be a good idea to tag Kyle Sandilands opinion of the show at the end of the promo videos? Sure he says it’s funny, but um….since when was his opinion trustworthy?  I still remember when he was on Australian Idol and had a thing for complimenting a singer’s looks over their vocal talents.   Not to mention he’s white and somewhat typically Australian.  Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to tag on opinion tweets from other people?  I didn’t even recognise the names of the other people either, which is why I didn’t trust what they said.  Why should I trust what these people say?  I don’t even know them, or care about them.  Keep it multicultural!


  • Gawdbloodyblimey, there are so many stereotypes in this series.  So long as the series doesn’t overdo it, it could still work.  But HERE COME THE HABIBS walks a fine line between what’s okay, and what’s terrible.


  • Bad jokes. Oh yes.  The jokes border on really bad.  Since they’re jokes orientated at a particular set of discourses, not everyone will accept them.  Like in the most recent episode (2), when the Habibs’ family and friends are admitted to the sailing club, they arrive in boats, reminiscent of the image of refugees arriving by boat, hence why Olivia cries out ‘boat people!’  Funny, but can be read as insensitive to a critical issue at the same time.


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Look, in the future for this show, I’m expecting a lot.  I want more.  I want more cultural situations.  More Habib family moments.  What is lacking in this show is strong relational ties.  Everything at the moment is sitting on a 5 rating. It’s good, but not great.  It’s fun, but not funny.  It’s different, but bordering on absolute rubbish.  Where the Family Law really hits it off strongly with strong themes and great relationships between Ben and the other characters, HERE COME THE HABIBS doesn’t quite have that yet.  HERE COME THE HABIBS is like it’s still within that creative process, one that’s not yet finished.  Needs a bit more tweaking for perfection.

In saying that though, I should probably say that The Family Law is really different in terms of production and humour, and production.  The Family Law is bit more well rounded.  But HERE COME THE HABIBS shouldn’t be crossed off the list yet.  I think it has plenty of promise.   And comparatively quite decent compared to Fat Pizza  and Housos.  Yes, I will keep bringing those up, even though I know a couple of the actors and creators from there are also a part of HERE COME THE HABIBS, but I can’t help it, the former two just ruined my appetite for anything remotely ethnically related Australian-produced.  But maybe, just maybe, I’m regaining my faith with HERE COME THE HABIBS.  If it’s cultivated and nurtured well, HERE COME THE HABIBS might actually make it as a memorable Australian TV show.

Btw, for other countries, this might not seem unusual, but yes, I feel in Australia, we just don’t get enough of these kinds of TV shows and multicultural casts.

Have I missed anything?

Have you watched Here Come the Habibs, what do you think?

What about opinions on multicultural sitcoms?  Or simply, diverse sitcoms?

Where’s The Key Alice? Work in Progress!

Today, I want to talk about my latest photomanipulation.  This post, of course, comes later than the creation I uploaded on DeviantART, simply because I haven’t had the time to write it up.  Life, as always, has been busy.  But lately, it’s been so much busier because asides from researching, I’ve been writing.  Oh yes.  I’ve been writing, and it’s taking such an immense amount of my concentration, I can’t even think beyond my day life (researching), and for the moment, night life (writing project: Golden Phoenix).  But sometime over the last month, I’d managed to find the time to do this:

Where's the Key Alice by N-arteest

My second greatest feat since I returned back to doing what a hobby artist does in her spare time: create, is Where’s the Key Alice?  

Creating something big, wonderful, and beautiful, takes a painstaking amount of time out of one’s day.  While I won’t say that what I make is beautiful, but I do feel extremely proud of my accomplishments.  Until, of course the next one, which makes the previous one seem like it needs a lot of work! Haha.

Every time I come back to creating something new, I find myself improved over time.  This is probably very normal, and is, like with most things, writing, reading, singing, dancing, probably influenced by the changes that have occurred in our lives, that gives us a new perspective on the world.  For me, I just got a little bit older, and hopefully, a little bit wiser.  Every day, though, I still fear the thought of losing yesterday (like the poem I wrote: Voices of Yesterday), of having my world become clear and focussed, rather than that beautiful rosy tint. I don’t, obviously, want to go back to being a child.  I like growing up.  But I don’t want to lose the endless daydreams of childhood, or the boundless abundance of hope that filled them.

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Time is such a precious commodity. I know I spend a lot of time thinking, I’m wasting time sitting here!  Eating is a waste of time!  Why am I wasting my time right now?  Every moment counts.

But some days.  We just need to sit back.  Relax.  It might be hard.  But there is a whole world in front of you.  And just maybe something will inspire you.  If you push yourself to the limit, you will go mad!  Or become so overstressed by the problems that are attacking you from left to right.  I would say get organised!  But maybe what you need is a little disorganisation?  Something to break up the chock-a-block routine you have going, and to completely disrupt your system until it’s in complete smithereens, and all you can do is think…I’ve had.  I’m going to take that damn break.  And maybe, like Forest Gump, you might want to run back and forth across the country, think things through, until sudden you stop, and realise.  That’s it.  I don’t need to think anymore.

Working on Where’s the Key Alice? became my spontaneous inspirational-drop-everything-else break.  Sure I had my research up in the day and I was researching and thinking and reading.  But I also had a jpg of my project up so I could stare at it and analyse what could be eliminated and what could be added.  At some points, I put it away and turned to my research, and found myself thinking…oh…now I didn’t think about that before.  And at night, I spent most of my time piecing and unpiecing, editing, and blending my gigantic mess, all the while, my writing project is open in the background, to glance at every so often, but with no pressure for me to really think about it.  Since there was no need.  Writing comes when it comes.  You don’t force it.  Otherwise you might want to get a pair of scissors and stab the screen for its corniness, or lameness.

So I focussed, with no real solid idea in mind, except that I was inspired while randomly looking for garden pics.  I came across this picture with a fairy girl hunched over a book, and beside her was a great sleeping dragon of some sort.  Overall the composition was very simple.  But I liked this idea of a secret garden.  A second scene to the first Which Way Alice which I really didn’t plan to make a sequel of.

Which Way Alice by N-arteest

Unfortunately, the hair on the two ‘Alices’ look different, because I was trying a different technique.  The feel between them is different too.  However, if I were to ever make it into a series (depending on whether I’m inspired or not), there’d definitely be an explanation! But now that they’re both done and next to each other, I feel like the second one, is the first scene, and the first is the second!

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And now, for the works in progress!  I think I should counted how many layers I used, but in the end, I lost track.  I do know there is at least 100!

So.  Part 1: The Background.  The background in my works is usually just piecing stock photos together, blending it into a much bigger scenery, one that’ll match my imagination.  Unlike with Which Way Alice? I didn’t change my design after I began it.  Right from the beginning, I was pretty set on my idea.  The question was, how do I do it?  when it comes to photomanipulation, the best thing is to have good stock.   It doesn’t have to have the best lighting, or even the best angle, so long as it fits your idea and you can manipulate it realistically.  Lighting you can edit later.


Above, is the first part, and which I called ‘background’ when I was layering my image.  Since I use many pictures to create a bigger picture, many little elements blended to be one, there are alot of layers.  Coupled with the fact that I use clipped layers for each one to adjust the Colour Balance, it can get a little messy.  So I divide my picture into sections. For Where’s the Key Alice, I went from left to right, and grouped the sections according to an approximate third of the pic.  At the moment, there’s only the colour change applied.  2

The next part of the background, was the middle ground and I wanted waterfalls. I’ve always wanted to manipulate a photo to have an amazing waterfall!  But as you can see, I’m getting there!  Colour Balance again.  You want to have a nice even colour scheme overall.  Mine was aiming for a vivia entrancing, luxurious green for the flora, and a mysterious magical blue-green for the waterfall.


And of course, a stone mini castle there at the edge of the waterfall.  I wanted to add as many pathways as possible too, since to me, mostly, I love pathways.  I love lots of meandering paths, and misleading doors, that bring up the questions of which way?  4

The Foreground.  Above, we have the last part of the picture.  Originally, I’d enlarged the floating island so that it was at the very forefront of the picture, however, since I wanted to show it floating, I had to shrink it.  Which may have been for the better, but I feel, here, I might have erred, since you can’t see the writing on the lamp post as clearly.  And most of that is important.  Important to the floating island, is the doorway seemingly to another world. This, I definitely, absolutely wanted to add, because the calm of the scenery inside the archway was to contrast against the beauty outside.

5Lighting!  And adding in all the details.  Like the lights, the glow of the lamps.  The faeries.  I brightened up the image using the burn and dodge tool, adding in shadows in some places, and then dodging others to be brighter.


Stone angels were inserted for their significance.  Just like the other image (Which way Alice) there are exactly 3.  Death is also present.

And now, below, for the Close Ups! The first is of the left side of the picture, by the crystal fountain.  I did blend in sun rays, because I wanted the light shining through, blindingly and brilliantly.  Here as you can see, in the light of the crystal fountain, the shadow of death is waiting along the path.  Just another obstacle along the way.  I still think I probably overdid it with the crystal fountain, and also think I tried something too early too soon.  But hey, when you’re constantly honing your skills, it’s all about the trial and error!  The faeries are all different sizes though,I deliberately did like that because well, they’re magical beings, no need to be rational there!

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Sorry, my WIP kind of went astray and I didn’t talk about the techniques I used as much, but I’ve never really been very good at describing them.  After all, I’ve only just learnt half of the techniques I used for Where’s the Key Alice and Which Way Alice recently myself!  Plus, my method is really very simple, and learnt from tutorials online.  But if you want to know more, let me know!  I will try and whip one up!  Since I know, sometimes tutorials aren’t all that useful, because they’re bam, bam, bam, and unless you’re trialling and errorring, you don’t really know what they’re talking about.

Main Tools of Use:

  • Photoshop (I use C2 since that was the one version of photoshop I first fell in love with!  But I do want to upgrade to the latest since the newer update has a tool I really want to use!)
  • DeviantART stocks and resources (absolutely fabulous)
  • My brain (yes, I did use this, and though it’s obvious, I figure I’d add it in ;P)

I had a lot of fun making this.  And it’s now my laptop wallpaper.  It’s a completed thing, but my skills, like always, are a work in progress.  Everything in life is a work in progress. Nothing is ever truly finished!  When you put your mind to it, you can create something amazing that you didn’t think you could, and when you get older, you can look back and think, wow, I can’t believe I did that then, look what I can do now?  For me, that’s how I hope I’ll see the things I did this year, last year, back when I was 15, in 20 or 30 years time.

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**NOTE: All stocks used for “Where’s The Key Alice” are listed on DeviantART (Another link for you: HERE.  And wow.  I’m amazed.  It’s taken me a few hours to write this all up, and WordPress has autosaved it for me 84 times!  I don’t know why, but I find it quite impressive!


Guys, guys, guyyyysssss, I have some news for you!  I have INSTAGRAM.  Amazing, isn’t it?  Lol.  Well, truthfully, I’ve never really considered getting an Instagram, mainly because I heard someone say in some media, onscreen, mini conference/discussion thing that it’s better than Facebook.  Better because it’s not that invasive. I’m not sure if I agree with that.  Sure, Facebook is like the World’s Largest Archive of Living People (let’s not go into the details about this right now, since I’m sure there are more than humans using profiles on facebook…even if the one controlling the profile behind the screen is human lol), it’s a social network that allows you to put all the details about yourself out there.  Well, you don’t have to do that!  I for one have a very private facebook account that only has the names of friends I know, and not randoms.  And after that little discussion on channel 10?  (Or maybe it was 9) The first thought in my head was, but Instagram is….pictures.  You’re taking pictures of yourself….or of other things….isn’t that a bit invasive too???  But I also knew that the lady was probably right, since Facebook is a profile system social network, but Instagram doesn’t really use that.  You can write whatever you like about yourself and hide all the important private details.

So, I have come a long way.  And even though I’m using a variety of other social media, I spontaneously made an Instagram.  Im still trying to figure out the little things, linking, authorising, etc, it’s very confusing and makes me feel like an old person.  Even though, an old person is probably more adept than I am right now, and there aren’t even that many things to get confused over!!  Thankfully, the app is easy 😀

Here is the link:


Follow me!  And I’ll follow you!  Hopefully I’ll actually have something interesting to instagram lol.