Tag Archives: music

ARC Review – Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

22749539Title: Echo

Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. 

Huge thank you to Scholastic Canada for this ARC!

Sam’s Review: 

This is my first Pam Munoz Ryan novel. I had been meaning to get to some of her more popular books, but when this was handed to me at OLA a few weeks ago by a Scholastic Representative, I knew the time had come.

Seriously, the writing in this book is gorgeous. It’s lyrical, hitting note after note, and it simply dances about as you read on. This novel hosts three different stores, each centring around family and a harmonica. For such a chunker of a novel, I was surprised how fast I read it. But I found myself very invested in each one of the stories. My favourite was easily Friedrich, if only because he loses his sister to the Hitler Youth Movement, and no matter how much he tried to bring her around, he never entirely succeeded. He loses so much in his life, and so quickly, yet he tries to preserver and do ultimately what he thinks his right.

Reading through Friedrich, Mike and Ivy’s stories, you get this sense of passion and zest for life. Regardless of their hardships, they are children who are attempting to make sense of the world around them in the early 1940s. They are all at curious ages, coping with worldly changes that will affect their lives in the long run. The characters in this book were beautiful, and they accompanied by very fantastic and thoughtful adult characters who didn’t treat them less than simply because they were children.

The only thing I wasn’t huge on was the ending. It was a bit of a non-ending in some ways. You get this sense of everything coming together, the characters coming together and then it just stops. I’m not really big on those, but I don’t think it should deter someone from enjoying this novel. The writing and characters alone make this novel quite the pleasure to read.

Reading Echo gave me a lot of different feelings, and transported me to a time that felt familiar. It certainly has it’s moments where it can make a reader uncomfortable, but it’s shown with the right reasons in mind. This story is beautiful, poetic, and it solidifies why people adore Pam Munoz Ryan’s works. Echo really was a joy to read.

River’s April Wrap-up

jtmayHow, HOW is it May???? Time is going by so fast, I can’t even. Sooooooo anyway, in April a lot of things happened! What you ask??? Well…



I read fifteen books. Eleven ARCs and four of my own books. YES! I didn’t read ONLY ARCs for once! Also my lovely friend Melissa Giorgio’s book The Soul Healer came out and that was really exciting! Best book of April was a tie between After the End by Amy Plum and Audrey, WAIT! by Robin Benway.



Reading Audrey, WAIT! brought back ALLLLLLL the music feels from my youth (along with maybe my birthday, sobs) and I started to listen to a lot of the music that I listened to when I was in college. So this past month I’ve been rocking out to bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Panic at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, and all that indie-emo-rock that was ‘so underground it’s cool’ back in the early 2000’s. MAN, I miss being in my early twenties, going to shows, moshing, all that fun stuff.



I’m SUPER behind on my TV watching thanks to all of the reading I’ve been doing (and running around being busy with other things) but husband and I have been SUPER into S.H.I.E.L.D since it suddenly got REALLY FREAKING GOOD. I’ve also been watching Game of Thrones but I tend not talk about that because I can’t keep up with the freaking book fans who want to crucify me for not reading the books. Other than that I haven’t started anything new and wont until I catch up with Arrow, The Originals and The Vampire Diaries.

General life stuff

tokyoI went to Tokyo three times last week and I’m going back next week. So crazy… but it will probably be my last time to do anything in Tokyo. I know I haven’t said much on here, but husband and I are moving to the USA in a few months (I will make a big post about that soon-ish, we’re still working on the details and I feel crazy saying anything until I know more spesifics)

Anyways, I took this photo from the fourteenth floor of the Shibuya West Mark City tower. Husband and I were stopping by the bank before heading to his alma mater to visit his college professors. It was really fun, but A LOT of train riding (about 6 hours total for the day!!!). It was really fun to see his school again and to speak with his professors. We also went out for THE MOST delicious sushi I’ve ever had.

A few days before that I’d also spent a couple of days in Tokyo with husband’s family, and I went to the eye doctor. My eyes are super stable right now and I said goodbye to my eye doctor (it was actually kinda bittersweet! She’s been taking care of me for the past SEVEN YEARS) and got some documents to give to my new eye doctor in the USA. I just… have to hold out until I get there (and get health insurance… come on eyes, you can do it!) and hope that my eyes remain stable.

And next week is Golden Week (which is just a series of national holidays that a lot of people get off from work) so husband and I are going to spend some MORE time in Tokyo to say goodbye to friends, visit his family and… say goodbye to Tokyo itself.



music for my soul





Songs that have always been there for me. Songs that I can listen to for hours, days, even weeks, on repeat. Songs that hold me steady when I feel as if I am going to float away.