[BOOK REVIEW] ”Careful what you ask the wind.” //The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab//

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

Until a stranger arrives. No signs. No warning. He sets foot in this old town full of old people set in their old ways and all of a sudden, the wind shifts it’s course.

Faint voices intertwined with the howling wind – as if lamenting it’s loss of attentive listeners. It wants to tell you a story. A story that’s as old as Near itself. A story of a misunderstood but powerful soul and it’s soul’s thirst for revenge.

Are you willing to listen?

I sat in the front yard – with my back propped up on one of those black chairs that my dad keep with such care, and legs straightened on the other. The wind that started in the rusting leaves found it’s powerful way into my open hair. It felt as if the driving force of the book I was holding in my hands had crawled into my world, and it was just the beginning.

The Near Witch had come.
Or had I gone to meet her?
Was I in the town of Near?
Or was it in me?

Honestly? I don’t even know. All I cared about was the fact that there was this strange music all around me – the wind was singing and the words were compelling. THAT was the power this book held over my mind, even my surroundings.

From the very first page itself, I was left in awe of the way Schwab played tricks on me – her hauntingly lyrical prose and the world she created were so convincing that for the time being, nothing existed other than me, the town of Near, and it’s people.

”Nothing good grows out of fear.”

Fear is a strange thing.

It has the power to make you act in ways you never even contemplated of. But while it may be true for some, others see it as an opportunity to finally let out all those horrible urges that they have been holding on for far too long. And that’s what happens when one by one, the children of this moor bound town start disappearing. People’s ignorance and unwillingness to at least try to understand a point of view that goes against their idea of what’s ”NORMAL” ignites the fire of chaos and fear feeds it until it becomes uncontrollably large and dangerous.

And all of it must come down to that mysterious stranger that ”vanishes in thin air.”
Does he?
Doesn’t he?
How can we know for SURE?!

”He’s a ghost.”

”No such thing as a ghost. He’s a halfling – part man, part crow.”

Rumors and lies start spreading all around and everyone decides to take the course that’s of the least inconvenience to them. And all of this – for what? JUST TO KEEP THEIR OWN PASTS HIDDEN.

Yes. A LOT of happens IN the story, as it goes on. But let me also tell you what happens OUT of it.

You see it’s one thing to follow the characters – especially such strong and determined ones as Lexibut it’s a whole another thing to actually BE them, to lose yourself in their struggles and actions that you experience the same changes that THEY go through. ALL OF THAT is what happens seemingly away from the hustle and bustle of the ongoing plot

because it happens in oneself;
it happens IN THE HEART AND THE MIND.

Lexi was someone who believed in what she did and did what she had ABSOLUTE AND UNWAVERING FAITH IN. She was so in touch with the gifts that the moor – the nature – had bestowed on her that it was a delightful experience to just BE ON THE JOURNEY WITH HER.

The way the whole story is structured and written is additive BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS!! What started as a love affair with the cover soon made me realize that the TRUE beauty of this book lay deep within it’s heart, in it’s very core – and I could not have been more pleased!

Page after page, I could feel myself becoming more and more emotionally invested in Lexi and Cole’s relationship. Theirs was an attachment that was given time to flourish as naturally as a little rose bud spreading it’s petalled wings delicately and unapologetically FOR ALL TO SEE AND ADMIRE AND FALL IN LOVE WITH IT!

COLE, though! I fell for him. Ached for him. Rooted for him. I did it ALL for him and Lexi. AND OH MY GOD! The more I fell for him, the more I feared that he would be taken away from me! 😦

BUT WAS HE?

WHAT HAPPENED EXACTLY –
To the Near Witch that she had to unleash her wrath upon the village?
To the people of Near who were so rigidly set in their – borderline idiotic – ways?
To Lexi and Cole who were thrown into circumstances they SHOULD NOT have had to deal with so young?
AND ABOVE ALL –

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU ONCE YOU DECIDE TO PICK UP THIS GORGEOUS BOOK?

I’ll let you find all of that out o your own. But, always remember –

“Properly buried.”
“Properly kept.”
“That is the way with witches.”
“And with all things.”

And disrespected bodies often give rise to vengeful bones that lay their roots deep and infect the land with their hatred and anger.

[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.