Tag Archive: Book Review

Book Review: Echoes by Miranda Marie

This book is amazing. I’ll just start with that. This book is wonderful. The style, the characters, the plot… It’s just wonderful.

I had the privilege of reading excerpts of this book, since Miranda (Mandy) and I are in the same writing group (which in no way affects this review, because this book can more than stand on its own), and I immediately fell in love with the poetic writing style and intricate characters. Every excerpt just piqued my interest more, and by the time I was finally able to buy Echoes I was dying to read it. Unfortunately, I’d made it a reward for reaching my goal of 100k for NaNoWriMo (which I didn’t come close to), so I waited to read it until sometime in December (although I did cheat on a couple of chapters on days that I met my daily goal. Shhh).

Now I’ve finally been able to read the whole thing, and I love it even more. Fair warning, the style isn’t for everyone, and it crosses the lines in genre, but Mandy did an excellent job executing it. The writing style is poetic and unlike anything I’ve ever read, told from a limited third-person POV that allows the reader to see Emma’s fascinating, unique way of thinking and seeing things. Emma sees symbolism in anything and draws incredibly poetic parallels between things in her description. It’s gorgeous to read, and even though there’s very little dialogue, you never really get tired of reading the long descriptions because they’re so beautifully written.

The characters are incredibly well-developed, the two most prominent characters (Emma and Natan) being particularly distinct from any other characters I’ve seen. Emma is shy, and her quirks are well thought out and shown clearly and in a way that makes her particularly stand out as developed and unique. She doesn’t talk much, but that doesn’t detract from her character (or the story, for that matter) in the slightest.

The character relationships are another thing I really admire in this book. The contrast between Natan and Adrae (and their relationship in general), (**minor spoiler ahead**) the way that Natan protects Emma, (**more major spoiler ahead. Highlight to read**) the relationships between Emma and those she knows from her old life, etc. Mandy is excellent at skillfully writing the dynamics between characters so that they seem real. (And you ship couples way easier than in the majority of popular YA fiction. Or anything else for that matter.)

Overall, Echoes is definitely worthy of five stars, and I highly recommend it. :)

Book of the Month Review: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

This book… Oh my gosh… I’m half convinced that Rachel Coker wrote Chasing Jupiter on psychic paper. I relate to this book so much in so many areas. My feelings about this book can be summed up as follows:

I can’t believe that when I got this book I started reading and thought it was awful! WHY, Younger Self?! WHY?! This book is now in my top five favorite books. It made me FEEL, okay?! Very few books can do that! The only two other books that have done that (I think) are The Giver by Lois Lowry and Heartless by Marissa Meyer. But anyway…

This book was beautifully written, the main characters were well-developed, the MC (Scarlett)’s struggles and feelings were super relatable (her relationship with her best guy friend, okay? I relate so much!), and Cliff was just the most adorable kiddo ever! He and Cor would get along so well. ^-^

So I guess I’ll start with Scarlett’s overall life. Her brother is considered odd by everyone around, as is her grandfather, her parents aren’t the wealthiest people in the world, and she has a hippie older sister who’s quite independent. She has a lot on her shoulders, and she doesn’t understand why things are so hard and won’t get better. (ME, PEOPLE! I totally relate to that hopelessness!) She also has no friends, because her brother is weird and she sticks up for him.

She becomes friends early on with a boy, Frank, who sees past hers and her brothers’ peculiarities, and Frank is seriously the sweetest guy ever. ^-^ Her relationship with him is so relatable, though… Seriously, this relationship is the part of the book that makes me feel like Coker was writing about me. She and Frank ask each other random questions all the time, they joke around… There are some exact quotes that I’ll mention, because I was just like “O-O MEEEEEE.”

…A smile broke out on his face, slowly at first but then blossoming into a full-out grin. He had a wonderfully handsome face when he smiled, like the difference between a small flame and a blazing fire.

*******

Maybe that’s what our friendship was. It was the feeling that we didn’t have to think or explain. We could just sit in the darkness and watch the tadpoles just as easily as we could lie out in the heat and breathe in the smell of peaches and gravel, all without saying a word.

There was another one, but now I can’t find it. Oh well.

The emotions were beautifully written all around. Anger, love, frustration… Her relationship with Cliff (her brother) was amazing. I wish I were that gracious with my siblings. She gets frustrated with him, too, but for the most part she’s gracious with him and is able to effortlessly show him that she loves him.

The book does have its flaws. The biggest one was that I felt like Scarlett’s sister, Juli, didn’t really have much of a purpose in the book and was really underdeveloped.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Another was that when she develops a crush on Frank, the pastor’s wife suggests that she tell Frank. That’s mostly just a minor annoyance, but it kind of precedes my next comment…

I was reading over the reviews on Goodreads and someone said it was unrealistic for her to be thinking of marrying Frank after just a few months and a crush on him. While I do understand that, to an extend, I also know that my brain works exactly that way. When I have a crush on someone, I tend to think forward to how they’d be as a husband. My brain totally skips over the whole dating/courting aspect of it, because I don’t see the point of having a crush on someone if that relationship won’t go somewhere in the long run. But that was basically a tangent.

***SPOILERS COMPLETE. PROCEED.***

The foreshadowing in the book was also really good. She follows the Checkov’s Gun rule quite well, and the Checkov’s Gun rule is that if there’s a gun on the table in act one it needs to go off in act two. Obviously it doesn’t only apply to guns, but that’s the basic theory. Rachel Coker did that very well.

Overall I thought this was an excellent book, it made me feel a lot, I read it all in one sitting (it’s only 221 pages), and it’s a new favorite. Definitely giving it five stars.

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