Ignite Blog Tour & WIP Update

Hullo, world!

It’s a new day, and a very exciting one at that. Vancouver saw its first over 35 °C (and even over  40°C in some places!) which is not the exciting thing that happened, in case you’re wondering, but noteworthy natheless…

I FINALLY GOT TO SEE THE KIMETSU NO YAIBA MUGEN RESSHA MOVIE!!!

(Sorry, I had to do that.) The theatres finally opened toward the end of last month, and I finally caught up with the rest of my Japanese friends who have cried buckets which I also did. (And I don’t think I’ll ever recover from this movie…)

Just looking at this makes me cry😭

AND, JENNA TERESE’S IGNITE IS NOW OUT!!!

(I know, I should probably stop with all the caps.😂 ) I got to ARC-read it, so TBH it feels like some time has already past and people should know about this book, and that’s not the case, so let me present to you Ignite by Jenna Terese…

Ignite

Rating: 4/5 stars

Contents: Thematic elements, deaths

Reminds me of: MHA, TPN, Marvel 

What if superhumans weren’t considered heroes?

When Scarlett Marley is attacked by an illegal super with fire powers, she doesn’t get burned, but now she has a fire-like glow flickering in her eyes.

With superpowers criminalized, she has no choice but to turn herself over to the Superhuman Containment Facility, or risk hurting everyone she loves.

Her normal life seems lost forever, until she is selected to be one of the first to receive the experimental cure to destroy her powers. In exchange, she must first complete one mission:

Infiltrate and capture one of the largest gangs of supers in the remains of once-great Rapid City. 

With the cure and all her future at stake, Scarlett is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring these criminals to justice so she can return to her family. But this gang and their leader, Rez, aren’t what everyone says, and Scarlett begins to question everything she was ever told about the SCF and the fire flowing in her veins.

The cure is her only hope for returning her life to what it was before, but is that life worth returning to after all?

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My Review

Note: I received an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

1. Theme–I loved how the story focused on home and family, which I think is lacking in YA sci-fi/dystopia. Jenna streamlined the themes with the story, the characters, and everything else it felt natural. I loved how faith was part of this theme and was pleasantly surprised it was just as conversational as the rest of the themes, yet at the same time digging deeper into the issue. I’m excited to see how it develops in book 2!

2. Prose–Jenna’s prose is smooth and comfortably fits into the rest of the story. As prose is usually a big factor for me, I’m glad to say I didn’t feel conscious of reading or got startled out of the world. 

3. Characters–This is where the story shines. All the characters of the story come alive, off the page, and I was invested with their stories. I actually wasn’t as into Scarlett’s story as I would have liked (even though she’s the MC). I won’t have to mention it, but I will–I’m so going to adopt Ares. #aresfanclub And being slightly unpopular, I would say Dr Bailey was done well! (Esp. as someone who keeps on getting him for the character quizzes, lol.) And Seth. I really, really want to get to know Seth more. Also, I initially disliked Nadia, but she grew into her character quite well. Overall, the cast is well developed, and it made me want to know more about each of them!!

4. Plot–There’s a major turning point in the middle and I honestly wasn’t expecting the story to take the direction it took until then. It definitely kept me turning the pages, although I think the ending was a little predictable. 

5. Execution–In general, Ignite ties together the story of what having superpowers could look like in modern society and how it affects families. I loved how it stayed focused on a smaller aspect than just a random big disastrous thing happening TM or evil detainment facility ©. 

If you like:

a) superpowers & their consequences

b) families & friends like families

c) slightly dystopian-sci-fi settings

This book is for you!

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AUTHOR BIO:

Jenna Terese believes stories are powerful. That’s why she’s dedicated to creating fiction that will impact the world. You can find this INFP dreaming about the future, fangirling over her favorite books, geeking out about Marvel, playing piano, or sipping a chai tea latte as she writes sci-fi novels.


WIP Update

So, I think the last time I did this was back in March? Since now that half of 2021 is past, I thought it’ll be a good time to recap the last three months + overall WIP progress this year so far. 🙂

Recap of Months 4, 5, 6

April–Camp NaNoWriMo month. I got 30K into Woodstone, which I was very happy about. 

May–I had a major writing crisis where I thought I’d give up on Juliet permanently and wrote 25K in Osthauptstadt with lots of tears. 

June–I recovered from said writing crisis ™ and got 15K of rewrite into Juliet and 6K into an experimental secret project no. 2. (I know, I really should stop wandering off in the middle of bigger projects to pursue dust bunnies…)

So far…

That brings the total word count of the year 2021 so far to 123, 822 out of 300,000 words planned. In the bigger sphere of things, that makes it 593, 566 words written so far in mostly fiction writing. 

Now, some of you may be thinking, Gahh, I loathe numbers! It’s giving me a headache!! In which case, thank you for bearing with me. 

Personally, I find numbers to be comforting because it gives me a clearer picture of where I’ve been and  how far I’ve come. Although I couldn’t make it to the halfway mark of 150K by June, I’m really glad of what I have so far. It’s roughly 40% of my word count goal, and knowing I’m almost there makes it easier for me to plan out my next stage–I’ve come this far, I can make it to the end.

And if you feel discouraged for whatever reason today, remember this: You’ll always move forward one step at a time, one word at a moment. 

Courage, dear heart. We’ve got this. 

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Thank you for reading!  Are you excited for Ignite? (And if you’ve already read it, are you on the #aresfanclub?) How is your writing going so far? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

Afternoon Tea with SJ Blogiversary Edition

Good afternoon to you! 

Today is my second blogiversary…and I can scarcely believe it’s been two years since I started blogging. There’s so many things I want to say, share with you, but first of all this: Thank you. Thank you for being a SJ Barnard reader and being a part of my reading-writing journey. It’s been incredible every part of the way, and I could not have done that if not for you!

-June ‘21 Afternoon Tea Setting-

Location: Beach House

Tea: Sayama-cha, Iced-peach strawberry, Iced-lemon mint

Offered with: Peach-strawberry parfait, lime-lemon-mint sherbet, pink champagne/green tea macaron 

Without further ado, let the celebration begin!

Stats ‘21

Views–4,121

Visitors–1,995

Likes–331

Comments–201

Best Month–May, with 1.1K views!

Total Followers–169

Total Email List Followers–31


Top 5 Posts

  1. 5 Ways to Write (Without Actually Writing) 
  2. AH: 5 Truths to Remind Yourself On Painful Writing Days 
  3. The Original Outstanding Blogger Award + WIP 
  4. Happy First Blogiversary! 
  5. 12 Classic Loves Collab with Samantha 

Wow. I mean, compared to my last blogiversary, I’ve definitely seen growth. (A lot of the stats have doubled or tripled!) I think I also grew into my blogging style so it’s quite comfortable for me. 🙂 

Q’s

More tea, anyone? I personally love iced-lemon-mint tea! Also, the peach strawberry parfait and pink champagne macarons are absolutely gorgeous. 

Okay, this is my impromptu Q & A session! (Note: I actually forgot to ask questions ahead of time and did this kind of last minute, so thank you to everyone who sent their questions in. You can still ask me questions in this post!)

Nicole Dust

1. Current fav. song? 

Ooh, this is a tough one…Maybe Name of Love by Cinema staff?? Listening to it makes me tear up every time. 😭 Also, I’m really in love with most songs in my Toumei-sei (Transparency) playlist. 

2. What’s an anime you’d recommend to literally anybody?

I want to say AoT except I wouldn’t recommend it to literally anybody, so I’ve got to say Future Boy Conan, which was one of Miyazaki’s earliest works and also one of the awesome-est. It literally has every theme he’ll explore in the coming years!!

Paperstrider 

What’s your favourite blog post you’ve ever written?

That’s a great question. Hmm, favourite blog post…If I had to choose, it would be between The Narnia Tag (I still think it was the most genius idea I’ve ever come up with), AH: 5 Truths to Remind Yourself On Painful Writing Days, and any Afternoon Tea series!

Jenna Terese

What’s one thing you’d want to tell the whole blogosphere?

New Aesthetics & Direction

I’m getting a little thirsty…I think I’ll have a classic green tea, Sayama-cha. Would you like some sherbet?

Finally, I’d just like to share a few things about my blog. 

You might have noticed I rebranded my blog a few weeks ago. I loved my old blog identity, but felt like it didn’t completely resonate with me anymore, partly because I’ve been discovering a wider range of aesthetics than what I’ve previously known, and partly because my philosophy has gone back to the simplest form of Ecclesiastes 12:12-13. 

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 12:12-13

So, I’m trying to find my stride with a more minimal, Lewisian-vibe aesthetic. Obviously it might change again, but for the time being this is what I’m going with!

(P. S. Some of my favourite aesthetics are: minimalism, academia, beige milk tea, cottagecore)


At the same time, I just love reading and writing. It’s something I’d keep on doing even if the world was ending. 

All this is to say, I’ll keep on posting as I am–with focus on mental health, reading classics and modern books, ranting about my favourite fandoms, and talking about my writing journey. 

So, thank you once more for being a part of this journey. And shall we say, The road goes ever on and on. 

Thank you for celebrating my two-year blogiversary with me! How has your month been? Is there anything you’re curious about my writing/blogging journey? What are your favourite aesthetics? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

Finding God in Anime & Capsule Review

Hullo, world! 

I’m so excited for today, not simply because I get an excuse to ramble on about my favourite things, but also because I get to share with you some of the awesome things I’ve been able to be a part of. 

The first of those is…*inserts drumroll*

THE FINDING GOD IN ANIME DEVOTIONAL!!!

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Yes, you heard it right. There’s a brand new devotional feat. manga & anime and it’s the one thing you didn’t know was missing from your life ™. 

About Finding God in Anime

Being a Christian can be tough. Being an otaku can be tough. But being both at once?

Sometimes it seems easier to become Hokage rather than explaining your faith and passions to others. That is why we otaku have united in this devotional: To encourage otaku like you spiritually and through a medium we all cherish.

In this devotional, you will find God in the animes you know and love. Each devotional presents spiritual lessons found in animes ranging from the world-famous Attack on Titan to fan-favorite Haikyu!! to beloved classics like Cowboy Bebop. Each piece will feature a different theme such as:

  • Human Will vs. The Holy Spirit in Yona of the Dawn
  • Choosing to be Free in Free! Swim Club
  • Not by My Might in My Hero Academia

…and many others! We believe that God can be seen throughout His creation—even in places where people might not intend! So pull out your cosplay and snuggle close with your plushies as you join us in Finding God in Anime.

About the Organizers

Laura and Moriah’s life consists of giving each other manga recommendations until they see whose TBR pile will fall on them first. Rest assured they’re both still safe…until another manga releases. In the meantime, they enjoy sharing beautiful pictures of Japan and trying to make each other laugh with anime memes. They both have an appreciation for cute stickers, samurai, and pins. If they’re not chatting about all things otaku, you can find them trying to write their next story or surviving on ramen and pocky after their latest manga order. 

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MY REVIEW:

First off, how cool is it that you get your devotions done and spend time reminiscing about your favourite manga & anime?? I spent this week and the last reading from FGiA, and it has been a blast…and let me explain why you should be using this devotional as well. 

Reason #1: My mum and I have recently reached the conclusion that it’s impossible not to see biblical themes reciprocated in certain manga/anime, starting from Ghibli and extending to AoT, TPN, &c. We often spend time discussing aspects of our favourite manga & anime and tying it into our personal devotions. So, if you don’t have someone like my Mum, you can still have this discussion with FGiA!

Reason #2: As an anthology, FGiA consists of short devotional entries that’s easy to follow and enjoy even if you don’t know the specific story. It’s a great pick-me-up first thing in the morning (even if you slept in) or the go-to for those small snippets of time you might have on hand

Reason #3: All of the stories featured in FGiA are certified to be clean and God-honouring, even if some of them are darker than the others. It’s a great way to find out more about other manga & anime you were interested in but weren’t sure. I for one was reminded I was really into Yona of the Dawn a few years back and am thinking of giving Naruto Shippuden another read. 

And lastly, just a personal side note: I was super hyped Renée Le Vine included Precure. I basically grew up watching Precure since it started and it has a special place in my heart! I also love Nausicaa (esp. the manga), so I was pleasantly surprised it was featured on more than one occasion. 🙂

So, if you’re an avid manga-reader or anime-lover and would love to explore biblical themes within them, this devotional is absolutely for you!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 31st

–       Laura A. Grace | Blog Tour Kick-Off

–       C.O. Bonham | Special Feature

–       Author E.E. Rawls | Book Spotlight

Tuesday, June 1st

–       Angela R. Watts | Special Feature

–       Jenna Terese | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, June 2nd

–       The Clean Fiction Blog | Book Spotlight

Thursday, June 3rd

–       Author Hannah Carter | Book Spotlight

Friday, June 4th

–       Deeply Shallow | Book Spotlight

Saturday, June 5th

–       SJ Barnard | Book Review

Monday, June 7th

–       The Artist Librarian | Book Review

–       K.A. Cummins, Exploring Possibilities | Behind-the-Scenes Interview

Tuesday, June 8th

–       Tabitha Caplinger | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, June 9th

–       Piper Bee Blog | Book Review

Thursday, June 10th

–       Erudessa Gentian Blog | Book Review

Friday, June 11th

–       Bigger on the Inside | Special Feature & Review

Saturday, June 12th–       Laura A. Grace | Blog Tour Wrap-Up


I also got to be a part of the Capsule ARC team! Mel Torrefranca’s first novel, Leaving Wishville, has been one of my highlight reads of 2021 and I’m super excited for her second book to come out on July 10th! 

Capsule

Rating: 4.5/5 stars, PG13

Contents: Thematic elements, mild romance, crime, accident, some swearing (no f-words)

Two students from Brookwood High School mysteriously go missing on the same night.

The first is Peter Moon, a heartless pescatarian who bashes students from Brookwood on his blog, turning everyone against him. The second is the adored Kat Pike, an audacious girl desperate to boost her adrenaline. Three days pass. No leads.

Indifferent to the disappearances, sixteen-year-old Jackie Mendoza remains immersed in her virtual world of video games and online friends.

When a menacing app by the name of Capsule downloads itself onto Jackie’s phone, she enters a game interlaced with reality. A game threatening to erase Peter and Kat forever. Only Jackie can save them now—but Capsule is the most ruthless game she’s ever played.

Mel Torrefranca delivers a heart-wrenching thriller about unlikely friendships, bittersweet memories, and a never-ending search for answers best left forgotten.

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MY REVIEW:

I was super excited to be able to ARC read this book as I enjoyed Mel Torrefranca’s first book, and needless to say, I was not disappointed!!!

Note: I received an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

1. Theme–It’s honestly refreshing how Capsule visits the themes of family, siblings, friendships, and being present in your life. I just loved how streamlined the themes were in the sense it was completely natural. I also loved the way it subtly made me think of my online presence and IRL friends.

2. Prose–Again, I’m super picky about prose, but with Mel’s books I never have to worry about it. 😉 It’s vivid and imaginative, setting a clear tone to the story as well as offering an insightful narrative.

3. Characters–I usually like “unlikeable” characters, and I found I was really drawn to all three of the main cast–Jackie, Peter, and Kat. Jackie is into online games, something I’m not interested in, but I could feel her seclusion. (Not to mention I adored the brother-sister relationship between Jay and Jackie.) Also, her character arch was really encouraging. Peter was probably my favourite character because…(trying to think of all the good things about him)…he’s human? IRL, I think he would be the type of person I’d avoid, but it made me reconsider people who might look one way but are really another. Also, I shouldn’t be laughing, but some of his comebacks and remarks about other characters were funny. I initially thought I wouldn’t like Kat, but I think three chapters in about her made me reconsider everything and she also became another character I rooted for. Or not. But I did love the way the characters all blossomed!

4. Plot–The plot is straightforward, and I was expecting it to be more sci-fi but Capsule reads like a contemporary. (I know, sorry I keep saying *insert book title* reads like contemporary. It just does!) Where Leaving Wishville had a decided dystopian/sci-fi undertone vibe, Capsule was lighter on the genre expectation which I think was refreshing because TBH, I wouldn’t have connected to the story as much as I did if it was all about gaming. #sorrynotsorry I personally love countdowns since they give a clear visual of the story. I think that although the story is simple, the ending gives it a nice twist and sharpens the focus. (Open-endings are the way to go!!)

5. Execution–Overall, Mel Torrefranca did an excellent job with Capsule’s composition. I think I would have liked one more thing, but it’s really emotionally gutting and thrilling.

If you like:

a) Contemporary with soft sci-fi elements

b) Strong relationship between characters

c) An alternate look at life vibes

This book is for you! 

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And that’s it for today! 

Thank you for reading! What did you think? Are you a manga and/or anime lover? What are some of your favourite manga/anime? Are you excited for Capsule to come out? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!