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I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.

Hello and welcome!!

Welcome to my first monthly email! I'm very excited to share some of my favorite things from this month with you :) 

This month's email is interspersed with quotes from one of the books I read this month, Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It's a very quotable book (and also a good one — more on that later.)

Even though I'm still in quarantine, my life has been busy. I'm beta reading for an author friend, working on my own writing, spending time with my family, and doing schoolwork. I miss going places but I don't lack things to do. I look forward to the lifting of restrictions so I can get together with some of my friends, go to the library and parks, and return to church services!

(Warning: this email got pretty long. I might try a shorter format next month, but since I had fun writing this I decided to send it anyway!)

Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it.

reading 📚

I read most of these books on Libby, since my library is closed.
  • Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (reread): 4/5 stars, ages 12+. A fun and unexpected Beauty and the Beast retelling. 
  • My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse: 5/5 stars, ages 12+. A hilarious collection of short stories.
  • Outlaws of Time (series, reread) by N.D. Wilson: 4/5 stars, ages 11+. A fun time-traveling adventure with strong characters and theme.
  • The Night Gardener (reread) by Jonathan Auxier: 4/5 stars, ages 12+. A scary story (don't read before bed, like I did). 
  • Red Rising (trilogy) by Pierce Brown: 4/5 stars, ages 16+. A fast-paced novel with captivating characters, plot, and worldbuilding. One of my favorite books so far this year; I recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction, dystopian, or Star Wars. (content warning: profanity, violence, mention of rape)
  • Melanie Dickerson books (thanks to my friend Lydia for these): 3/5 stars. Lighthearted and enjoyable historical romances. 

Of all the things in all the worlds, words are power.

watching 🎥

  • The Chosen (TV show): 5/5 stars. A crowd-funded show about the life of Jesus, seen through the eyes of his disciples. The first season follows Mary Magdalene, Matthew, Simon Peter, and Nicodemus. Get the free app to watch it.
  • Onward (movie, PG): 4/5 stars. A fantasy story about brotherly love. 
  • Stargirl (movie, PG): 4/5 stars. I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. At first glance, it looks like a typical teenage romance, but it's so much more. It's about being different, being known, and moving on after loss.
  • Thor: Ragnarok (movie, rewatch, PG-13): 4/5 stars. Action-adventure/ comedy/drama/scifi/superhero movie about identity.

She believed in something beyond herself,
and her death gave her voice power it didn't have in life.

writing ✍🏼

  • Cathedral (poetry and short stories, 12,000 words): I'm working with beta readers and an editor on this collection! I'm hoping to publish it in the fall. 
  • Remnant (high fantasy, 44,000 words): I'm continuing to write this novel with the goal of finishing it by mid-July.

Death isn’t empty like you say it is.
Emptiness is life without freedom.

listening 🎧

  • "Dead Mom" and "Home" from Beetlejuice: 4/5 stars. The musical has a very strange premise and I'm not interested in the story as a whole, but these two songs are very catchy and have some great lines and themes. 
  • Correspondence: An Instrumental by Levi the Poet: 5/5 stars. Perfect instrumental music for writing (and the tracks with lyrics are lovely too).
  • Into the Lantern Waste by Sarah Sparks: 5/5 stars. An acoustic album inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia with beautiful, good, and true lyrics.

I said I would give you justice. Vengeance is an empty thing.

May spotlight: Garrett Aldred ✨

This month I'm spotlighting my friend Garrett! He's a writer and blogger. His posts always make me think (which is a good thing). He recently reviewed NAMO's album Namo for me. If you like interesting and thought-provoking writing, be sure to check out his blog and Instagram.

 Live for more. More than power.
More than vengeance. More than what we’re given.

blog posts 💻

I took a break from blogging in early May (I'm returning June 6!) so I only have links to two posts for you. 
I'm hosting this writing contest with my friends Kiki and Charis! The deadline is May 31 (this Sunday) at 11:59 PM and the contest is open to writers ages 13-25. To learn more (and submit your story), click on the image!
I use these posts to share mini updates on things like my writing, reading, and blogging plans. This one includes snippets of my poetry and a question for my readers.

until next month, my friend!

I hope June goes well for you. Stay safe! And tell me: have you read Red Rising, or do you want to now? Would you prefer a shorter newsletter, or do you like the long format? What have you been doing?
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Copyright © 2020 Maya Joelle, All rights reserved.

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