It’s a beautiful Saturday here in Vancouver with a ray of unusual sunshine and rain (I know, that never seems to go away). I got my second cup of Caramel Brûlé latte of the season, the malls are playing “White Christmas”, and it snowed (!) one day, so life has been fantastic. (Okay, near fantastic if you forget the fact there’s a final exam on a Sunday morning which I still haven’t reconciled with.)
And so, on such a perfect day, it’s only fitting that I introduce to you my favourite author and blogger–Maya Joelle!
Cathedral is a collection of poetry and creative prose about beauty in the midst of grief and joy in the face of great sorrow.
oh brave one,
oh broken, beautifully brave one,
remember that no matter how tiny the fragments this time,
how far apart they are scattered,
how long you must search,
he will help you find the pieces of the person you once were
and the image you once bore.
// to the broken ones
First of all, I don’t read many books of poetry. But when I do, I’m always reminded how much I love it. (And of course, we know what Tolkien would say– ”poetry works into prose!”)
Some of my favourite lines:
Is it a shipwreck if the boat doesn’t break?
Is it a tragedy if I wanted to wreck myself?
I am broken.
And in my brokenness, I break things.
If I am dashed to pieces
May it be doing something worthy
For those who stand by my side.
I’ll kill your suitors and open my doors
And tell you that you’re loved
So come home to me, my love
I am your Odysseus
Some of my favourite poems:
to the broken ones
walk around the pasture
This book is for you if you like:
little snippets of poetry
classics & song & poetry inspired themes
small but honest warmth in poetry
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maya Joelle is a wordsmith, bookdragon, and avid forest enthusiast from Michigan. In addition to poetry, she writes high fantasy novels and short stories that turn into novels. When she’s not writing or studying, she is often found marvelling at the beauty of creation through the wonders of nature, music, and friendship. She writes poems to remind herself and others of God’s goodness amidst pain and sorrow, for the glory of the Author who knows the ending of her story.
I got through my first week of uni & although I’m already getting the anti-Christian vibes in one of my classes already, most of my profs & classmates are really nice and I’m super hyped about it!
Today, I have an exciting announcement to make…United We Fall, Bk 2 of How We Rise by Brooke Riley is coming out in 3 days!! Whoo!!! I was very privileged to ARC read her book, and here’s my review below…
United We Fall
Rating: 4/5 stars, PG13
Content: Violence, Romance, government control, thematic elements, some language
What is truth? What are lies?
It’s been two weeks since Raegan’s death. Two weeks since a big blow was dealt to the resistance. Two weeks since Peter lost his best friend and perhaps his soul mate. Now, he’s out for revenge on everyone responsible, starting with the biggest coward: Agent Specter.
Peter doesn’t care what rules he has to break to bring down those who took away the one he loved the most. When someone he never expected comes forward with information that seems too good to be true, he has to make a decision on what to do before it’s too late.
The shocking sequel to How We Rise
I can’t wait for UWF’s upcoming release in 3 days now!!!
NOTE: I received an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
1. Theme–Again, Brooke kept her focus on family, friends, and basically relationships between people when the world is changing. It’s quite relevant with today’s political atmosphere and spoke to me. ( ˙꒳˙ )
2. Prose–I was pleasantly surprised to find Brooke grew more into her prose. As UWF features multiple povs, I was really happy to find each character had a more distinct voice than bk1. ଘ(੭ˊ꒳ˋ)੭✧
3. Characters–Okay, this is obviously where I have to stop because, UWF is super character-driven like you would not believe.😂 (Also, most of the character arcs are spoilers for those of you who have not read bk1, so please be warned!) Prepare for your heart to be shattered, everyone!! ｡°(´∩ω∩`)°｡
> Peter: First of all, I was kind of sure HWR destroyed a lot of characters and the one who got the full brunt of it was Peter. *inserts comforting words & marshmallows and anything I can think of* I loved how he struggled with coming to terms with what it would look like after such a tragic bk1 ending–which he sort of didn’t, but anyway.🤔 I think it was realistic how he grappled with grief and guilt and revenge, and how it might continue into bk3!! Gahh!!
> Spencer: I was not expecting his arc to be this good. Tbh, I don’t remember much about him in bk1 (sorry, lol) and it came as a surprise when he stepped into the tragedy to really pull people together into healing and mending…and forgiving. I think this was a big score. So many YA dystopia I’ve read was depressing because the “rebellion” was just an excuse for revenge, a circle of hate upon hate. But Spencer changed all that. Honestly, he’s probably my fav. character because of it. 🥰
> Evan: Obviously, my absolute fav. character (other than Spencer & Peter) is Evan. Okay, I was waiting for UWF just because I wanted to know where Evan was going after HWR. 🙈 And, quite naturally, I am waiting for OWA to follow him all the way to the end. *terminate rant before I spoil anything*
> Carissa: I wasn’t expecting her to grow into the sort of jarring ending from bk 1…I think she def. helped deepen the world of the HWR trilogy because I didn’t see it as clearly before. She still isn’t my fav. but towards the ending of UWF, she really expanded into herself. (*´꒳`*)
> Samantha: Another character I’ve been waiting to see where she’d go, and I was not disappointed! Although to be sure, I would have liked to see more of where she came from and where she is currently, there’s a large cast at hand, so I think it was okay…
> Jackson: Here, I’ve absolutely got to stop. *deep breath* Do you like the “traitors who mend” arc?? (As in Edmund?) Do you like dorky characters who are actually really caring on the inside?? Have you been waiting for Jackson since the ending of HWR?? If so, Jackson is totally there for you and that’s like the only incentive you should need to read this book. ( ¯꒳¯ )ｂ✧
> Nicole, Sawyer, Noah, Stella: They were all deepened down & I was happy we got more screen time on them, although I do think they can be more fleshed out…Nicole & Sawyer’s arc was realistic and offered another way for the worldbuilding to expand.
(If you want to read it, highlight the paragraph below…)
> Raegan: I debated whether or not to put her in here, but I will. Tbh, I didn’t really feel for her in HWR and then the ending shook me…
And we have UWF.
Raegan is honestly such a resolute character that I feel bad for not seeing it earlier. She goes through such a traumatic experience but keeps her resolve, keeps moving forward. And that’s something not everyone can do.
4. Plot–UWF reads like a contemporary dystopian, so the plot is not too convoluted but rather more straightforward. It felt flatter in terms of action. There’s certainly tension and a buildup, although it felt a little too predictable. I think I would like to see more twists in bk3!
5. Execution–Overall, I think Brooke tied together all these elements well into a solid contemporary-dystopian. I think I would have liked to see more coherence in worldbuilding and a more streamlined plot to character arcs, but that’s about it. (୨୧ᵕ̤ᴗᵕ̤)
★∻∹⋰⋰ ☆∻∹⋰⋰ ★∻∹⋰⋰ ☆∻∹⋰⋰★∻∹⋰⋰ ☆∻∹⋰⋰ ★∻∹⋰⋰ ☆∻∹⋰⋰
If you like:
a) character-driven stories
b) redemption arc
This book is for you!!
Brooke Riley started her writing journey at fifteen when she had an idea about a world falling to ruin. Though the stories have come a long way from their original conception, she has found a refuge in writing books. A lover of literature and an avid bookworm, words have always been somewhere ingrained in her soul.
When she’s not writing, she’s dreaming up new worlds, making playlists, or hanging out with her family.
You can find her on:
Email List Update
Last week, I asked around a little about my email list. For a while, I’ve been meaning to work on it and haven’t really been able to, but from September, I want to change that.
“Mailchimp, as you might know, takes some time to set up (even with personalised templates). And, it hasn’t felt like it conveyed my sentiments &c really well anymore …
So, from now on, my monthly email would look a little different. Since I have the monthly reflection-thing going on already on my Afternoon Tea with SJ series I will cut the redundancy of stating them here. Instead, I will focus more on the month’s starting goals, TBR, WIP goals & c.”
PERKS of joining my email list:
Weekly blog updates delivered straight to your inbox
Monthly goal updates on reading, writing & life
One aesthetic writing quote wallpaper + One aesthetic writing task wallpaper
Exclusive sneak-peaks into my WIPs, character collages &c!
Priority updates into my future online writing group
So, if you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my email list. WordPress is a good place for my blog, but for any other announcements, it isn’t the greatest. By subscribing to my email list, you can be sure to stay in the loop of where I am outside the blogosphere. 😉
And that’s it for today!
Thank you for reading! Are you excited for Brooke’s upcoming book release, United We Fall? Have you read How We Rise? Are you subscribed to my email list (yet)?? Let me know your thoughts in the comment below; I’d love to chat with you!
I do so apologise that I forgot to post last week. I was at a 3-day intensive karate camp feat. 6 training sessions which was each around 2 hours long. Yes, it sounds kind of gruelling, but it was super fun! I learnt two new katas–Saifa and Tekki 1. Plus, if you remember me going on about the Tokyo Olympics’ karate results, you can probably piece those two together…
Today, I wanted to do something fun and light! I was initially planning to write a Complete Narnia Review since I re-read the entire series for the umpteenth time, yet realised that’s kind of…also intense? So, instead, I’ll be sharing the Books + Music + Movie recs for Each Hogwarts Houses from another fandom I’m re-reading–Harry Potter!
– The Illuminae Files
-The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
– My Hero Academia
– Stand By Me/Dead Poet’s Society
– Attack on Titan
– Beethoven Symphony no. 5, Dvorak Symphony no. 9
> My thoughts
A. This was one of the most fun lists to come up! I love the Gryffindor energy and their Shonen Jump vibes. 🙂
B. At the same time, it’s probably the second most-removed from my own personality…which is another reason it makes me kind of excited about it.
C. Random thing, but my fav. Gryffindor character is probably Hermione and the Weasleys. (Sorry, Harry!)
– To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
– I Capture the Castle
– March Comes Like A Lion
– 100 Days of Sunlight
– The Sound of Music/To Kill A Mockingbird
– Tchaikovsky Waltz of the Flower, Delius Coppelia
> My Thoughts
A. This one has the warm, fuzzy vibe that I totally want to stay soaked in!!
B. I think that Hufflepuff is the most removed from my own personna–although I’m still a nice person, I do swear–so I wish I can be more relaxed and be at-home. ☺️
C. My fav. Hufflepuff is Newt and Cedric. Obviously.
– The Secret History
– The Picture of Dorian Gray
– Sorcery of Thorns
– The Promised Neverland
– Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto no.2, Debussy Clair de Lune
> My Thoughts
A. This is my house!! So obviously, a lot of my tastes and favourites are reflected in the recs…
B. I really love the intellectual and magical vibes of Ravenclaw. I also love the pursuit of wisdom and ideas, too!!
C. My fav. Ravenclaw of all time is Luna. She’s also probably my fav. character in all of HP 😉
– Six of Crows
– Crime and Punishment
– Wicked Saints
– Tokyo Ghoul
– Schindler’s List/Goodwill Hunting
– Verdi’s Requiem, Chopin’s Funeral March
> My Thoughts
A. Personally, I think that Ravenclaw and Slytherin are THE dark academia houses in HP. Which, btw, is saying I loved them to pieces 😆
B. If I was not in Ravenclaw, I’d love to be in Slytherin despite their bad rep. I love the grungy-vibes and everything angsty about this house.
C. My fav. Slytherin character is Draco and Severus and Regulus!!
And that’s it for today!
Thank you for reading! Which Hogwarts house do you belong in? Do you have any favourites in the list? What books/movies/music would you recommend in your house? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!