Tag Archive: Reading

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. :)

Farewell to November

NaNoWriMo is ended (it actually ended for me somewhere around the 18th) and now it’s time to take stock.

November’s Writing

I’ve written 50k this month on varying projects. 33k of it was on The Shadow Raven, as intended, but then I fell off of that and I’ve been working on short stories and blog posts instead.

November’s Reading

November’s reading has been quite unimpressive. I’ve read a little of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, a little of Echoes by Miranda Marie (that one I was saving for after I won NaNo, so I only read a couple of chapters when I met my word count goal), and a little of Thread and Spindle by Holly Hook. I’ve enjoyed all of them, and now I get to finish reading Echoes. ^-^

Other Exciting Stuff

I’m on vacation at the beach for the first time since I was probably three. It’s not anywhere super warm, unfortunately, but still. It’ll be cool to see what a beach is like in person so I can write it better. And you know you’re a writer when you see your two-week vacation as story research. ;)

Clean Fantasy and Boring Cover Syndrome

Since recently subscribing to a number of clean fantasy authors’ newsletters, I’ve come across a disappointing trend. A lot of clean fantasy books have really unimpressive covers. You know the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and that’s great in principle, but when it comes to books, readers really do judge books by their covers. As a reader myself I can attest to this. Heck, it’s why I’m writing this post.

I love finding clean fantasy books. They’re rare, and thus they’re hard to find. *thinks of all of the fantasy books she’s read that have been almost clean, but not quite* We need more authors of clean fantasy (or clean anything, for that matter), and we need those authors to step into the reader’s shoes and think about whether or not the cover they’ve chosen will draw someone’s attention or if it will just be overlooked on the bookshelf or as a reader’s scrolling through Amazon or whatever. If your goal as a clean fantasy author is to bless your readers with something they can easily trust to not have sex scenes or language or whatever else we don’t want to read, bless them by making your book stand out on a shelf, too, so that they can actually find it to read it. Maybe these books are fabulously written, but I’ll never know because the cover doesn’t make me interested enough to even look.

Now, this is not to say that all clean fantasy books have boring covers. I know several authors who write clean books and have wonderful covers (Wayne Thomas Batson, Miranda Marie, Jonathan Rogers, Evan Angler…), but it appears that as a general rule, clean fantasy has dull covers.

As a reader and author of clean fantasy, I just want to ask a simple favor of any other clean fantasy authors out there: Please pay attention to your covers. Please put effort into them. The Book Cover Designer has fairly affordable pre-made covers, if you want to start there. Since I’ve only ever bought one cover I can’t attest to anywhere else, unfortunately, but look around. Find something pre-made or get something custom made, just give thought to your cover.

Farewell to October

October’s Writing

October’s cumulative word count is 29,953. I like to think a lot of that was written on The Last Assassin, but I’m honestly not sure. Approximately 7,300 was written on short stories.

I’ve prepped for NaNoWriMo, deciding on what I want my bullet journal word count tracker to look like for the month, doing a little bit more worldbuilding, working on The Last Assassin, stuff like that.

On top of my more pressing writing with The Dark War Trilogy, I’ve also come up with ideas for a couple of short stories to connect to it as well as two new worlds, one of which I’m fairly consistently thinking about and working on developing. I think it’s going to be really cool when it’s done, and I’m glad it’s being subtle enough to not get in the way of TDWT, lol.

October’s Reading

I’ve actually kind of done a lot of reading this month compared to most. I finished Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, and I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. I’m also in the midst of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson, and The Darkling Child by Terry Brooks.

October’s Blogging

Because this has been really long in the past, I’ve decided to leave out the character interviews and weekly updates this month.

Mourning Marie – Short Story Sunday

The “Boxes” I Stick My Characters In

What Makes a Character Likeable

Charming – Short Story Sunday

My Story Binder

One Shot – Short Story Sunday

The Struggle of Sitting Down To Write

Book of the Month Review: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

NaNoWriMo Pre-Update

NaNoWriMo Resource Round-Up

Why I Write

I write for my readers. I write to make them feel. I write to make them connect with my characters to the same extent that I have, to make them care about fictional people as much as other authors have made me connect with their fictional people. When I get to see those reactions – their laughter or screaming or crying – it tells me that I’ve done a good job and I’ve done what I intended to do.

That’s why I adore my little mini fandom so much. Three friends of mine are reading The Last Assassin as I write it, and it’s amazing to watch their reactions and hear my sister try to puzzle out the mysteries, and see them be head-over-heels for a ship that I’m still claiming is unofficial, and squeal with them over the little tiny adorable child that is Cor Claris.

I love sharing my excitement over my books with others. I love making them love the characters and feel at home in the setting and making them shudder because that villain is just. So. Creepy. It tells me that I’ve done a good job, and it tells me that they’re enjoying my stories, which is why I write in the first place. I write to give people the same escape and enjoyment and impact that other books have given me. That is my goal as a writer.

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