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Bending the Universe by Justin Wetch

While this is based on the book, Bending the Universe, by Justin Wetch, I find myself not wanting to write a traditional review on this. Is it because this is the first poetry book to be featured on my site? Maybe. Yet, there’s just something about this piece of work that seems to understand parts of me that I can’t eloquently describe as well as Justin did here.

Split into 5 sections (Society, Love, Life, Personal, Nature), Justin pours his heart and honesty from his own life into 100 poems. I can always admire people who pour out their soul into their work – I mean, I also write out my feelings especially when they’re overwhelming me as it has been more lately – but what makes this extra special is just how much they resonate with me.

Each section has something special that just makes me go, oh wow, I completely get that. That is ME too. The below will hold snippets of his poems and why they resonate with me so much.


I pour out myself to others, and it’s been a taxing toll sometimes. I call it like leaving a piece of myself with them as once I do so, I won’t take it back. It’s theirs to keep. It’s been important to me to love others, to share life and all that is good with them.

Like a candle giving its flame to another

Selflessly, spreading light and colour

It takes nothing of ourselves to inspire

goodness in others, to speak life and new fire

into existence. (Candles – SOCIETY)

Heartbreak. Ah, to feel the burning passion that seems to consume us. We know it’ll hurt to get so close to the flame, yet there’s something poignant and real to be so close to something we deem worth the pain. Ah, it goes back to the old saying. To have loved and lost or to have never loved at all? Which is better?

What is this sickness within me

That longs to be burned to ashes by a fierce passion

And hates this peace?

This dreadful, meaningless, horrible, good calmness.

So in the middle of the night

I awaken in a cold sweat

And without a plan, leaving everything behind

I flee to a foreign city

Where I don’t even speak the language

Where the doctors don’t know my name

Where the Lithium will soon wear off

And I will soon be free again.

I don’t want safety or guarantees –

I want a life worth living.

I want to jump off a skyscraper

And fashion a parachute on the way down

Out of my fears and trepidations

Because sometimes survival

Isn’t the most important thing

And surviving

Isn’t the same as living. (Lithium – LOVE)

In those darkest nights when I lie in my bed and wonder or despair – sometimes consecutively and around we go – and sleep abandons me to my endless train of thoughts and anxieties.

Hope is a foolish disaster, ending

All realism and rationality, lying

Always promising too much, trying

To blunt the painfulness of life, muting

Dark thoughts and catalysts for weeping.

Sadness is the cruelest of emotions, crying

Deep sobs into the canyons of the mind, sinding

Broken songs of torment and death, sending

Echoes at random into the future, requiring

All happiness to be punctuated with mourning. (Midnight – LIFE)

Yet from all these above poems, nothing resonated as much as the poems in the Personal section. It’s like Justin gets me – or vice versa. To understand someone I love, to live a life that’s meaningful with no regrets at the end of the day, and to love someone wholly with all that I truly am.

I wanted to ask you

What thoughts plague your mind

When you stay up past midnight

And allow your brain to think freely;

I wanted to know, truly I did so,

But I merely wanted, and did not do.

I wanted to ask you

Many a thing, telling it true

I wanted to delve into your soul

And find out what makes you, you;

I wanted to, but I guess I’ll just settle

For a “I’m good, how about you?” (I wanted to ask you – PERSONAL)

What does it take to please me?

How will I learn to be happy?

I could be the greatest things

And still yearn to be better

Because, in truth

My greatest fear on this earth

Is to be on my death bed

– Hopefully at an old age –

And to look back upon a life

That I didn’t live to the fullest. (Eternity – PERSONAL)

I cry out and scream

Demanding answers, any at all

What does any of it mean

When will clarity call?

Will I ever give my heart

To love without reservation?

Will I ever learn the art

Of waiting with true patience? (The weight of the future – PERSONAL)

And last but not least, I too feel the same weight of nature on my heart. I could be outdoors all the time, really. But most of all, I can spend eternity staring up at the night sky with all those stars staring back at me.

When the brightness of one star

Is lost in the multitude of its brethren

It makes one feel so insignificant

But simultaneously irreplaceable.

Thoughts of chance and destiny

Burn into my retinas

So when I close my eyes

I see only profound thoughts.

Under a night’s sky

Filled with a hundred billion stars

Is it so crazy to believe

Our paths were destined to cross? (A hundred billion stars – NATURE)

I probably shouldn’t go on much longer but this book is filled with poems such as these. Honest, real and heartfelt, there was so much connection found in these pages. No matter the heartache, sleepless nights or other experiences that come our way, we are connected to one another through it all. This book proves it. Now go and see how much of these words resonate with you too.

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Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

letters to the lost -brigid kemmererJuliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate.

But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.


5 Drink Me Potions


Where do I even BEGIN with this book?

Letters to the Lost is everything that I could EVER hope for in a YA contemporary. Brigid Kemmerer is an absolute genius. It’s like she gets the heart of not only teenagers – and how they react when cornered – but the general human heart. When have we not suffered from isolation, feeling like we didn’t belong; grief from the loss of a loved one; the need to talk our feelings out with someone – ANYONE – before we feel like we’d explode from keeping it all within?

This book has ALL OF THAT.

Juliet and Declan have both been dealt a crazy hand in life. With the loss of her photojournalist mother, Juliet found it was hard to let go of her so she wrote letters and placed them on her mother’s grave. Where surprise, surprise, a guy with a recent criminal record for crashing into an empty building while driving drunk picks it up while mowing the grass in the cemetery.

The beauty of this story lies in how our paths connect. That was how Juliet and Declan intersected with each other. Yet the story asks big questions! Do we have the power to make our own paths or are we destined to stay stuck in the awful hand that was thrown our way?

It never felt too dark. It was more realistic than anything. You can’t expect a light, fluffy little piece when the topics it covers are literally life and death. But alongside the heavier topics, friendship and family were very much highlighted. Juliet had a hard time dealing with her comparably more boring father who looked like he barely acknowledged her presence even after all these months since her mother died. Declan felt like he couldn’t fit in with his mother and stepfather as they seem to think he’ll never amount to much more than this hardheaded criminal who may repeat his crime. If it wasn’t for the fact that they anonymously found each other, and through letters and emails, were able to talk about the deepest stains on their soul.

It was just beautiful. And heartwrenching. And the exact right thing for both of them.

Aside from family, Declan’s friendship with Rev was a delightful thing. Rev too had his own demons and his own story (stay tuned for More Than We Can Tell to learn even MORE) was hinted at throughout Letters to the Lost. For a secondary character, he was very well-developed and definitely not your regular plain besties that are just featured but never really stand out. No matter his past, he was there for Declan and stood by him even when the world felt like it was crushing him on the shoulders. I loved that about him, and I can’t wait to see how he’ll fare as a protagonist.

Anyway, coming into this book, I thought the romance would be the highlight of it all for me. Oh boy was I wrong. I normally LOVE romance, but I’m so glad that this took a bit of a backseat here. Yes, they exchange messages all the time, and attraction of some sort grows. Here’s the thing. They don’t know who the other is and so the attraction isn’t physical per se. It’s the connection they have with each other. Later, even when they don’t know who the other is, their crossed paths show that there’s underlying chemistry there. A sense of pain that only the other fully understands. So who needs the physical stuff (kissing, etc.) when this relationship is built on just KNOWING the other? If only ALL of our relationships were more like Declan and Juliet’s.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. My heart is still somewhere in between those pages and those messages. And to top it all off, Brigid ends the story with a great message for us all. Yes, we can make our own path and change it if we’re just brave enough to do so with our unconquerable souls.

P.S. there are so many beautiful quotes in this book that I just can’t figure out where to start and how to group them all in this one review. So I’m not gonna post any and just tell you to READ this thing NOW.

Overall Recommendation:
Letters to the Lost is a gorgeously written story that evokes true emotion in its readers as we follow the tragic situations placed in Juliet and Declan’s lives. This is a novel that really punches you in the gut and heart as it depicts topics such as true friendship, grief, family, strength from our experiences and future growth. The romance was realistic and just PERFECT as their relationship was equal parts friendship, trust, and attraction. I don’t think anyone else can write this story any better. If you love anonymous letter/email messages between protagonists such as Tell Me Three Things, then this book is for you. If you have a HUMAN HEART, then THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. I honestly don’t know how to be any more clear about this.


So, something different with this review happens to be that this book was provided to me directly from Brigid Kemmerer. Granted, I won the auction late last year for donations to Puerto Rico, but I am still so lucky that this is a signed and personalized version of the book in my hands. Honestly am so delighted that this book was physically in Brigid’s hands as well. This story just blew my mind and I am ecstatically the proud owner of such a beauty! Look below 🙂 Oh, and look out for a review of her next novel, MORE THAN WE CAN TELL, soon as it comes out in March!!

letters to the lost book

Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Series: The Last Magician #1

the last magician -lisa maxwellStop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.


5 Drink Me Potions


If you want action, excitement, mystery, intrigue and plot twists, then The Last Magician is completely for you!

First off, I need to say that Lisa Maxwell is absolutely phenomenal in her storytelling. I fell in love with this 1900s version of New York and I never wanted to leave it. It’s so very hard to write a good historical fantasy that stays true to the time and location that was chosen. I absolutely loved this, and felt completely immersed in this land as much as Esta did.

Mystery and intrigue are high up there as we follow Esta back to the past to stop this elusive man known only as The Magician from destroying a book of magic that held secrets to protecting all those born with magical abilities in the future. What a tall order that was, but this girl was courageous – if not a bit too reckless at times. She was an amazing protagonist to follow as she navigated a world that wasn’t completely her own yet felt somewhat familiar at the same time.

If that wasn’t enough, the pacing of the book always felt just right. Yes, it could get a little slower in some places, but this gave room for introducing new characters and building relationships. Although a good romance is always forefront on my mind whenever I read a book, I enjoyed the friendships made along the way in this past time. And the book wasn’t completely devoid of romance!

The Magician, as it turns out, was no other than Harte Darrigan, an intriguing guy to follow in the book as well. Although it wasn’t always clear what his intentions and plans were, he’s a character that you can totally put your faith in and support no matter how sketchy others may have viewed him at times. And his chemistry with Esta was tangible, especially when they were at odds with each other. No matter that she’s supposedly his enemy and would have to betray him at some point to get the book, there was so much anticipation for what could be between them. And let me just say, it was enough to satisfy, although I honestly can’t wait for book 2 to come out already.

Even if none of the above has gotten your heart pumping by now, how about this? At the heart of the story, it’s a complicated con and heist that the crew Esta joins would need to pull off in order to steal from the horrendous Order that is hunting all magical people. Who doesn’t love a good villain, first of all? What’s better than some elusive and secretive group chasing the good guys? Honestly, this book HAS IT ALL.

Whether you’re looking for romance, action, suspense, plot twists, good world building or character development, The Last Magician really does have it all . It’s been a long time since I felt this way for a new author, but this feeling Lisa Maxwell induced in me is akin to reading some of Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling and Julie Kagawa’s books. No matter what you love more, or if you aren’t the biggest fan of historical books, trust me, you have GOT to give this a try.

It just may change your entire perspective. Or engulf a good portion of your time as you escape into New York, 1902.

Overall Recommendation:
Words are no match to the strong feelings that The Last Magician has invoked in me. Full of intrigue, suspense, action, character development and romance, Esta’s mission into the past to steal back a book that could save other magical people is both daring and more complex than it initially seems. Along the way, you’ll fall in love with the people she meets there, from a magical crew who becomes like family and a certain Magician who is more than meets the eye. And if not the people, you’ll come to love New York as it was in 1902, with magic as normal as your average person. Lisa Maxwell has created a world that I fell completely into and never wanted to leave. Book 2 is on my most anticipated list for 2018!