[REVIEW] The Art of Living + Loving //Here at Dawn by Beau Taplin//

I awoke – a bit sleepy, a bit dreamy. Darkness still enveloped everything – inside and out. But I could hear the birds chirping excitedly. I got up from my bed, put the duvet aside, and went to open the window. Ah, the rush of air filled me just as it filled the room. I felt renewed. Sleep went away. I was filled with a certain energy. I had to get out, out of this room, out of this house. Just go outside and marvel at the soft hours before sunrise; watch the stars rushing back to their heavenly abode.

Everything felt so remarkably new, and yet nostalgic. I have been here before, I thought, picking up a twig – twisting it about my finger. 

The grass felt damp beneath my bare feet. I could feel the droplets compressing under every step I took. There was music all around. In the sky, on the earth, on every branch of every tree. There was still an hour before sunrise and I wanted to soak in every moment of this delicious dawn before light exposed the beauty and the magic disappeared. 

I have often walked alone – in the wee hours of morning – and imagined fairies whispering to each other about how the big folk don’t know how full of magic the world really is! I agree with them. I look at the delicate bud, cusp it in my hand with a gentle stroke lest it falls before ever blooming. So beautiful. The leaves dance with the gentle air, as if mocking me, making sure I know that they revel in this magic every day while I, I am just an occasional visitor. I know. *sigh* I know.

This is what Beau Taplin’s Here at Dawn is all about.

Have you ever taken a walk in the garden at 3 am in the morning? Breathing in the magic that hangs densely about you at that time of the day? If you have then you’ll know; you’ll know EXACTLY what he is talking about.

This whole vast world in which we live our tiny, tiny lives – is brimming with miracles. You just have to be able to look for them. 

Look, there it is – in the chirping of the birds.



And there – in the smile of the little girl dancing in the garden.

And wait, WHAT IS THAT? A squirrel. Look at its tiny hands. Isn’t it adorable? Such magnificent detail. Such craftsmanship.

And the couple over there? So lost in each other’s eyes they’d hardly notice if a bomb exploded by their side. Must be such a heavenly feeling – not caring about anything else in the world other than the person in front of you.

Oh my! Look! A bookshop. Let’s go together and browse for hours and hours, lose ourselves in the countless stories. And never come out. Not so soon anyway.

Surely, surely the ability to enjoy these little things – these seemingly mundane and routine things – must be magic at its supreme? 

When you walk down the road – going to the class, grocery shopping, meeting someone, taking a bite – you pass strangers, people of all backgrounds. They don’t know you. You don’t know them. And yet a single kind smile to someone struggling to shush their crying child is a like the wave of a magic wand. If you think you don’t matter to people around you, then think again. You, dear reader, are full of life, of love, or kindness – YOU MATTER. 

Listen to me, “Here at Dawn”, we don’t take people seriously. We regard them magically.

You are a miracle. A force of nature – gentle, loving, caring. You give to others JUST BY BEING, don’t you understand that? Taplin is asking you to take a look in the mirror and see – take a hard look at the person smiling back at you.

THAT person is nature.
Nature IS that person.
YOU are nature.
So mingle with it.
Take pride in it.
Lose yourself in it – in this feeling of belonging.

Taplin’s words sent a rush of creativity through me. I felt – serene – the kind of feeling that you experience watching a sunrise. Fresh. Renewed. He made me see that the world is just waiting for me to wave the magic wand of my attention. If I could just look closely, listen attentively, close my eyes and feel keenly – it’d be plain as day to me that this whole vast universe is a reflection of me, of my inner feelings.

Here at Dawn, sitting alone with my thoughts and the poet’s, I realized how true happiness arises from deep within, knowing YOU ARE ENOUGH. I read his words and they resonated with me like a chord longing to be struck. Until you realize that everything springs from your own self, you will remain unhappy, forever. And it’s this beautiful realization that made my heart swell and jump for joy.

Taplin’s poems made me feel complete again, as I am sure they will have a same effect on you – for these are little truths wrapped inside a handful of words. The medium may change but the core message? Never. 

Sitting there, with this beautiful book in my hand, I felt a surge of gratitude rise and rise and rise within my whole body and stop – suddenly – in my heart. Why did I feel that way though? It’s just the way Taplin talks about goodbyes – the beauty they contain, the lessons. And their necessity. It’s funny really, how we forget to embrace such an inevitable thing, to cherish those last few memories forever, to make the most of them. Well, no more. Because I cannot help but take his words to heart, lock them within until they make a firm impression on it. Never to forget. Never again.

I have sown flowers
deep into the earth of your memory
to remind me that,
even in the most lightless
of places, beautiful things do grow.

The way this whole book vibrates with gentle notes of hope makes for a beautiful experience. Never a page goes by that doesn’t make you feel glad that you are reading it, that fills you with gratitude that you are here – here in this gorgeous world – alive and free and much too childlike – just as you SHOULD BE. 

When the clouds of uncertainty and bad actions reflect upon your sunny dreams, Taplin, encourages you to take responsibility where it is required. You cannot run from it. You cannot hide from it. He wants you to understand that it’s YOU – you who is cause of it all and by accepting that responsibility, you create yet another miracle – of freedom. Freedom from ignorance, from failure.

Here at Dawn, you will understand the beauty of a helping hand – given or received. As Taplin says, 

We only flourish when we lean on each other.
This is how all great things
are grown.

This collection of poetry reinstated the need of companionship, of friendship – of the importance of surrounding yourself with genuine people and giving thanks to those who accept you without any judgement. I never knew it was possible to pack such – non romantic – thoughts into lovable poetry and yet, the poet has achieved this. And I am glad that he did because it is a delight to read, to own, to cherish.

Taplin’s poems are also wise with experience. They contain a knowledge that can’t be faked. They want you to understand them, understand the meaning in between – and as you’ll do so, you will find yourself liberated from every thought and feeling that has been weighing you down.

As I said before, reading these left my heart overfilling with gratitudefor the ghosts of the past, for the candles of the present, and for the dreams of the future. It’s been such a lovely, lovely experience reading these – one that I emerged wiser from, kinder to myself and the world around.

So come, dear reader, dance with the poet in the rain. And forget all your worries. Lose yourself in the magic all around you. You are beautiful. You are your own. You are the world. 

Let him teach you the art of living and loving and living lovingly.
Rise.
Reborn.
Here – in the arms of the beautiful dawn.

[REVIEW] The mute girl, her murderer sister, and the mermaid of the lake //The Cry of the Lake by Charlie Tyler//

I was sitting at my dining table with the book in my hand and my eyes glued to the first page. The door that opens in the hallway was ajar -revealing dark steps and as I continued to read – I felt this rush of warm terror inexplicable but unmissable.

A GIRL IS FUCKING DEAD?!

And that’s how The Cry of The Lake begins. With a shock. And a promise of many more yet to shake you in the process.

The image of a dead girl danced around my eyes as if I was present right there in the room with her lying next to my feet – dead as a fucking nail – blued lips and a creepy stare. And add to it the gritty details and the unsympathetic attitude of Grace in the beginning? The very air that hung around me began to feel cold somehow.

Almost every turn of the page brought with it a rush of excitement and wonder – some character detail that left me gawping at the pages with wide set eyes, or some piece of the puzzle that hadn’t even crossed my mind.

Back to back surprises – so engrossing that I didn’t even move my neck for an hour straight – sticking my nose in my kindle as if reading it from as close as possible would reveal something!

I adored how Tyler throws in JUST THE RIGHT DESCRIPTIONS at JUST THE RIGHT TIME! Handling the timing to keep the reader engrossed is an art, one that the author has mastered! 

The way that characters have been fleshed out is brilliant as well – giving them all an identity of their own – moving back and forth in three point of views – presenting a delicious contrast in nature, thinking, and priorities. Charlie Tyler’s extraordinary way with words painted really vivid and unique image of all the characters. You know what, it hurts me to call them mere characters. They are people in my heart now. Flesh and bone. That’s all they are composed of. Real people with heartbreaking stories – and I don’t think I will ever be able to get over them. I don’t think I even want to. 

The stark and deliberate contrast that the author presents to snap you out and then pull you back in only increases the creepiness factor. The narration is so subtle in introducing bits of horror stricken and disturbed images in your mind that you end up shivering and anticipating the worst at even the most normal and unimportant events. You never really forget Amelie’s body gurgling down to rot at the lake bed and that stinky smell of a rotting body – a fragment of my imagination for sure – but it was present throughout the narrative, even when everyone was all happy and seemed carefree – the power of Charlie Tyler’s words.

I went out after finishing the first chapter – to get some water. It was around 11 pm and the hall was dark and I could feel someone’s dead set eyes on me, the manic eyes of a crazy woman – the very thought sent shivers down my spine! GUESS WHO SLEPT WITH A THIRSTY THROAT THAT NIGHT? ME! Because I JUST COULDN’T make the painfully short journey from my room to the kitchen. THAT was the effect of this book’s beginning events on me.

From the very first page it hooked it’s claws into me, sucking me in  like a dementor – only it didn’t feed on my soul, it fed on my attention. All of it WHOLLY on this gorgeous, haunting, dark story.

The mystery surrounding the two girls keeps on twisting and turning it’s solid body around you – a snake from the depths of the characters’ pasts. Suffocating you. Keeping you captive in between it’s forceful embrace. And you end up liking it, enjoying it even! 

You are the happiest prisoner ever! Stockholm syndrome much? HELL YEAH! 

Secrets lay at the heart of Lily and Grace’s life – the anticipation of which had my insides in a knot. I don’t know why but I was terrified of knowing the truth, of reading on. I think a part of me just didn’t want this story to end. Very selfish too because Lily’s suffering was dependent on the ending but I just couldn’t handle. Yet my curiosity won over my reluctance every single time! 

Lily was made fun of her silence. Even by her sister. Grace’s actions made me loathe her. So much that I just wanted to enter the alternate realm and stab her in the heart – just so she could fucking stop tormenting her sister. I was so engrossed in their lives that I felt like one of them! Lily’s grief, the fact that she was in the cruel clutches of a life that suffocated her – her sadness – desperation – confusion – anger – hopelessness – the author captured it ALL. So broken was this teenager that I just wanted to rip apart the pages and enter her world and soothe her and tell her that everything was going to be OKAY! 😦

In all honesty, I hated Grace from the very beginning. Everything about her irritated me. But man, I didn’t have the SLIGHTEST inkling that my view of her would change so drastically. That, in my eyes at least, she’ll be redeemed by the end. It’d be cruel to let you in on any more details but just know that you won’t come out of this story unchanged. You WILL leave a part of yourself in there – between the pages – wrapped up tightly. But keep it away from Emily. She’ll break it.

But WAIT! WHO IS EMILY?! You’ll find out soon enough.

I sit here – with my eyes just a bit teary, my heart just a bit sad, my kind just a bit relaxed – it’s been a journey. I have been Emily – her rage; I have been Lily – her trauma; I have been Flo – her confusion; I have been Frank – his wickedness; and I have been Gil – with all his loveliness.

I have been them all. And let me tell you, even though learning about their lives destroyed me, I wouldn’t trade one bit of that wonderfully thrilling experience with anything else. Nothing else. 

I had already started reading another book the next day – trying to escape the tide of emotions reading The Cry of The River had set in my gut – but I just couldn’t shake the gloomy feeling of separating myself from these dear dear people.

Yes. I even missed Grace and her erratic and manic ways. It’s amazing how Tyler has forced me to be sensitive and understanding of a girl who has committed cold blooded murder before. You won’t believe the things she has done and yet, she is redeemed. Why though? I couldn’t tell you, despite knowing the contents of her past, I just couldn’t tell you why my heart wants to forgive her so badly. 

And Lily? I don’t wanna part from her. Her confusion, her nightmares, her dilemmas, her hallucinations – I have become addicted to them.

I don’t want to let go. I want to hold on. 

And I want Gil back. I want to hear him say “My lady of the lake, forgive me” one last time. I want to see his golden hair shimmering in the moon light and for once, just once, I want him to hold Em, the way she wanted to be held. 

I think I will be forever be haunted Emily sitting at the edge of the lake, with all the painful memories gnawing  at her heart – wasting away what little sanity she has left- forever waiting for someone who would never arriveher beloved, the mermaid of the lake. 

Ask anyone –
I’ve been gloomy
thinking about the future they might’ve shared –
Gil and Emily,
If not of love, then maybe of family?

And now I MUST ask YOU, dear reader,
to
share in my gloom. 

You will, won’t you?

[REVIEW] Love – with all it’s complexities and imperfections, beauty and transcendence //Our Naked Souls by Justin Wetch//

At first it read like broken sentences, not poetry. But as I made my way through, those little fragments started to make sense, started to rhyme in my heart – as a whole. Every single word written in this book is raw with the kind of love that comes with understanding, with maturity.

I fade away without your love
My colors dim and darken
I fall for you more every day
Without a hint of caution.

This gorgeous little book won’t make you swoon and pine over someone out of your reach; it will gladden your heart for the love that you already have, the kind of love that will stand with you, be your support THROUGH THICK AND THIN – no matter what! Reading such a mature and reasonable take on love – with all it’s flaws and complexities – was such a delightful experience.

And yet, with all the practicalities of the worldly love, you can still find – within the lines – the cosmic importance of it, the fact that such a pure emotion intertwines two souls in a bond that transcends time and all other bondage of this three dimensional world a love that makes you whole, while uplifting you, reinventing you in it’s lovely likenessa love that traps you together with a beautiful thread, while allowing you to roam freely wherever you will.

There is an uncomplicated magic to Justin’s words, as he romanticizes the mundanity of life – turned interesting in the presence of a deep love. 

I refuse to believe that something as perfect
As the meeting of our souls
Could have happened
By accident.

You won’t feel exhilarated while reading it. There won’t be any uncomfortable and fuzzy feeling in your heart. What you WILL feel however is gratitude – gratitude for the quiet and understanding love that you share with your lovergratitude for the simplicity of life. Gratitude for the fact that the REAL magic lies in the simplest but the most heartfelt of acts.

This book, as the poet says, will show you the art of transcendence through the simplest acts of love.

Promise me you’ll tell the truth
And not let me fall hard
If you’re not ready to fall with me.

I’ve been waiting for a girl like you.

Wrapped inside these words are also the seeds of such a passion, that when coupled with maturity and understanding, becomes the most beautiful feeling of them all. This passion will not destroy you, it will widen your horizons, deepen your soul!

These beautiful emotions flow so freely and deeply within the poet’s words that they pulsate with a life of their own – with deep sighs. It is so subtle, so very subtle, that it demands you whole attention or else you’ll miss it. And you’ll be sorry! 

These glorious words also vibrate with the impending fear of separation – one that, although can be delayed, cannot be prevented. You will find yourself feeling just a little bit gloomy, as the poet will paint a picture of the world without your lover. How will you cope? Can’t find the words? Let Wetch put them in your mouth, let him sting your heart with this bittersweet realization that all the time in the world, all the memories that you make, will never be enough – never be enough – for you will still feel the pain when you’ll say goodbye, old age will still arrive – taking a piece of your soul with it – wrapping it delicately, to wait until your time comes as well.

You will find yourself in a state of delightful longing – as you’ll make your way through these poems – longing for the sweet and comfortable embrace of your lover. You won’t wanna let go. And anyway, why would you even want to? 

This book is also about carefree journeys “up to the mountains”, with a desire to lose your being into one another – enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Isn’t that the most magical thing of all?

With fresh eyes I looked at living
She effortlessly changed my point of view
Dear god, let me forever keep loving
La fee qui rend tout jamais vu.

It’s about turning the most ordinary things into adventures – something that only love can achieve. Your heart will expand as you’ll read this – you’ll feel a comfortable stream of emotions flowing through it to illuminate your whole body – as naturally and effortlessly as the sun illuminates the sky. You will find yourself lost in the poet’s experiences, for the have been your experiences as well.

This is not about the outlandishness and grandeur of love – this is about a pure feeling that arises when you hold hands together, 

It’s about those beautiful moments that can only be found when you are not looking – in your every day – just lose yourself in the beauty that is life. It’ll teach you to be grateful for someone who understands you, is foolish with you, a bit childish with you. 

It’ll teach you how to look up at the sky – with wonder in your eyes and love in your heart – as you’ll sit on the terrace at night, holding each other’s hands, knowing that the love you bear in the depths of your beings is meant to be. Why else would the stars shine so brightly? Why else would the cosmos invite you to lose yourself in it – just like darkness loses itself into the night? It’s in these wondrous moments that you’ll realize, your own importance against the vastness of the universe – and you’ll know, you’ll know for sure that it’s because of the presence of love deep within your atoms that the world is suddenly such a happy, such a magical place to live in.

You should look at yourself
With the same wonder
With which you look at the stars;
You, my love, are a miracle.

It will also show you pain – the poet’s and your own – it will guide you through the unexpressed emotions welling inside you, eager to burst outand all will feel calm again.

The fear of losing someone you love so deeply is something that every one of us has experienced and it’s this fear that grips the heart of the poet – you will feel it in your bones as you’ll read through the sunny parts and arrive at the gloomy ones.

Addicted
To the idea 
Of love,
We were like seeds
Which sat in the rain
Expecting to grow
But withering away,
Forgetting the value
Of soil and rain.

The hurt that follows a heartbreak is unbearable and yet, through it emerges a renewed soul, a stronger heart and a desire to love again this time a bit more cautiously but a bit more passionately as well. You may lose the person but the memories remain – a warm reminder of the moments you shared; there is no time to lose and so you give live your all – you take a chance despite everything. That’s how you create something beautiful out of nothing, a phoenix rising out of ashes willing you to live again, to burn again – that’s the beauty of love, you are happy in it’s presence, you are wiser as it leaves – no harm done. In the end, it was all a lesson. 

Our Naked Souls is also about taking pride in what you have, what you meant to each other – never losing the sight of what’s important. Love is all about complacency and the poet is here to teach it to you in the most beautifully simple way possible.

Love is remembering what you have” and then reveling in that remembrance, 

It teaches you the art of a steadiness and passion – urging you to not burn out, but rather burn with each other, keeping yourselves aflame, with the feelings that flow in your body – so pure, so alive, so powerful.

So, dear reader, let the words flow through you and settle in your heart. 
Let the poet teach you how to turn your whole life into art.

Two loves and TWICE THE HATE// 1+3 Poetry REVIEWS//

”There are cages, and then there are your eyes” AND THEN THERE IS THIS BOOK YOU WON’T FORGET NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRIED //I Wore My Blackest Hair//

What it’s like to be an outsider in a country? Yes, that’s what underlies each and every word in this book but even if you have not known that feeling, you can still relate to her words. YOU KNOW WHY? Because in some way or another, we are ALL ALIEN TO THIS WORLD, IN THIS WORLD.

We think we are so smart having split the atom and toured the heavens.

We think we KNOW the world now.

We think we know the person staring at us from behind the shiny, reflective surface of self-discovery – MOCKING US, MIMICKING US.

We are delusional.

Continue reading “Two loves and TWICE THE HATE// 1+3 Poetry REVIEWS//”

This book left me HIGH!!//THE SEA BEAST TAKES A LOVER // REVIEW //

My interest in this book was limited to the title. I was intrigued. I JUST HAD TO READ IT BUT somewhere in my mind I had this feeling that I was going to be disappointed by what I encounter when I saw the email stating that my request for the book had been approved (on Netgalley), I felt giddy with excitement but there was also a hint of sadness – THAT IT’LL BE A BIG-ASS DISAPPOINTMENT.

And let me tell you one thing –

I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO FUCKING WRONG IN MY ENTIRE LIFE (except maybe once, when I was little and thought that if I dug deep enough, I’ll find lava ;p)

Continue reading “This book left me HIGH!!//THE SEA BEAST TAKES A LOVER // REVIEW //”