Review – I Needed a Viking

Many authors have a way of touching the heart, but Alfa reaches deeper. She speaks to the soul. In I Needed a Viking, she reminds us of our own strength. She raises us up and readies us for battle because who better to fight for us than us.

In the first section, Forgettable, she gives us wisdom. Too often, we let the wrong people define us. Alfa reminds us that it’s ok to falter, as long as we get up. We are not always what others expect us to be. We are more, and that’s a good thing. My favorite piece in this section, “Fairytales Lie,” reiterates that we shouldn’t wait around on someone to save us. We can save ourselves. In “Light-Filled Days,” she tells us to be careful of those whose memory threatens our darker days. The ones who deserve our time will be there through thick and thin. Light AND dark.

In section two, Friction, I was drawn to the piece entitled, “You Know Better.” Her words are full of the wisdom of someone who has been there. Someone who learned the hard way that we shouldn’t get pulled back into the past. There will always be something or someone who wants to stop us from moving forward. But, we can’t let them hold us back. This hit me so hard, as I am so guilty of holding on to relationships that are not good for me. Sometimes, we have to let go.

Section three, Flamethrower, instills strength and resilience. Power and purpose. In “Make Every Second Count,” Alfa reminds us that we mustn’t dwell in the past. That we should surround ourselves with those who lift us up. Those who contribute to beauty, not those who steal it. One of my other favorites from this book is “The World Must Wait.” This is the poem I so often need to hear. It says it is ok to stop. It is ok to have anxiety. It is ok to need to pause and breathe. You are not a bad person for putting yourself first.

This book was the lesson I needed. It is filled with wise words written by a poet who knows what it’s like to be on the other side of brave. Alfa uses her words to encourage and embolden her reader. I suppose we all need a Viking, sometimes. But we needn’t look any further than the mirror to find one.

You can find Alfa on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Book Review – I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl

I am A World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl by Nicole Lyons

Right at the beginning, page 9, I stumbled onto one of the first poems that ever made the breath rush from my lungs. “The Next Big Thing” has since remained one of my all time favorites. Each time it pops back up, I remember its punch and how it left me reeling.

The rest of Nicole’s second book of poetry delivers those same gut-wrenching, breath-stealing, high-chasing lines I’ve come to love from her. In “Freight Trains,” she steps inside my inner chaos. In “Syllable by Syllable,” she picks me apart. Nicole knows me, far better than I know myself sometimes. She’s rolling around in my head and setting my heart on fire. She’s whisky, straight up, and she knows just how to burn.

In pieces like “A Poet’s Note” and “Anchored,” she illustrates the curse of empathy with absolute precision. The way we carry the pieces of others. The way we let them weigh us down. The way we drown so others may float. Nicole is a powerhouse of love and heartache. She doesn’t decorate her pain and shadows with pretty flowers. Instead, she lets it bleed in all its glorious madness. She is courage and fire, and this book is the definition of art.

You can find Nicole on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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– ashley jane

Book Review – I Find You in the Darkness

I Find You in the Darkness by Alfa

I’ve been obsessed with books since I was a child, and I’ve learned that each period of my life brings a new appreciation for different authors and genres. In this current period, Alfa is my diamond in the rough.

I Find You In the Darkness is a soul-purging, deep dive read. It’s love and heartache. Pain and beauty. And woven together with threads of relatable magic. Alfa has always had a talent for understanding her reader. She digs words from her own bones and serves them in gritty, raw truths. She leaves you to discover yourself in them. She touches the darkest recesses of your mind and sheds light on all those things you try to keep hidden. My favorite piece in this book is called Dangerous on page 169: “and for the first time in your life — you feel that your difference is not a detraction, but an attribute that makes you feel special. Your different is what makes your heart so alluring.” Her words are brilliantly boundless, and I am captivated by each one.

I will say, for those familiar with Alfa’s normal style and layout, this book is a bit different. It has a more modern, minimalistic vibe while incorporating pieces of art and shading. It is still a beautiful book, though, and I happily take it with me everywhere I go.

You can find Alfa on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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– ashley jane

Book Review – I am a Woman, Not a Winston

On her Facebook and Instagram pages, Cheryl Churchill has a way of blending art and poetry to build gorgeous visuals. This book is no exception. She weaves words with bold photos to create an amazing coffee-table style book. Her photos are rich and full of depth, and the imagery of her poems pair perfectly to tell a story full of emotion.

I was especially drawn to the piece in the beginning that accompanies a stark gray photo and contains the line:
“Starving on remnants of wishes and want
The skeletons began to show…
…We could not contain what wasn’t ours / We let this storm / Deplete us”

and at the end, paired with red-tinged ocean, she writes,
“My shadow lay patient / Across the sun / Under the moon
It’s there / Beneath yours / While our darkness bleeds
Lovers amidst raw truth / We echo infinity

Cheryl has such an eye for art, and between her photos and words, I think readers will find something honest and relatable.

You can find her on Facebook at CC_Writes and on Instagram at cc_writes.

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– ashley jane

 

Book Review – a jar for the jarring

Candice Louisa Daquin of The Feathered Sleep

Candice’s first poetry book has a unique tale on a confessional style, and the lay out works well fir it. She merges darkness and melancholy into a tale for transformation from child to adult, touching on the trials that came with the evolution. The book contains beautiful, heart wrenching prose and poetry that excels because of the authors grasp on the language, her excellent use of imagery, and the exquisite descriptions she uses to reel the reader in. She left me breathless with the subtle madness in her word play. And once I began the book, I couldn’t put it down until finishing it. Her words are both wholly personal and yet brilliantly relatable. You can feel the pain in her lines as if it were seeping from your own pores onto your skin and across her pages. She turns metaphor into magic with flashbacks and nature references. I was particularly drawn to her stream of conscious pieces, one word feeding and expanding upon the next. I was particularly drawn to two of her longer pieces, Verbi and Damask, for the bold and powerful way they gripped my soul. Her words are brave and raw and pure, and this book will the first of many I read by her.

– ashley jane