Circe by Madeline Miller
“When I was born, the word for what I was did not exist.”
Circe is a retelling of the Greek Goddess of sorcery. From her birth and through thousands of years of her life. In her early life, she discovers a strange power within her and she finds she can transform her enemies into monsters. Fearful of her power, Zeus has her banished into exile, to spend her immortal years on an island alone.
As the years go by Circe faces those who come to her island, some are friendly and some are foe. In this, we get her side of the story and see that things are not always as they seem.
“You cannot know how frightened gods are of pain. There is nothing more foreign to them, and so nothing they ache more deeply to see.”
Madeline Miller is a writer I love, her book The Song of Achilles is very close to my heart. So when I saw that she had written another novel I was very eager to read it. I didn’t remember much about Circe and after I started I admit I needed to look her up for a refresher. One of my favorite thing about Miller is her writing style and the way she bends the English language to her will. All the words flow so elegantly across the page, I love reading what she has to say.
Circe was a very interesting character, but also a passive one at least to me. I felt a lot of her life was watching things happen to other people, and while she was involved, it wasn’t until the end that she felt like the heroine of her own story. I liked seeing Miller’s take on all of these famous characters and how the stories we thought we knew might be a little bit different than we think.
A beautifully written book and an interesting story, if you like the classics and retellings you should pick this book up.
“It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”
Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
I’ve been going through a massive reading/reviewing slump lately. I think this book was a massive victim of that slump. I hoped a Wallflower book would pull me out of it, but alas it didn’t. There’s nothing wrong with this book, I just failed to connect to it. My fault and not the author’s.
This book is about the youngest wallflower Daisy, whose father declares a match for her when she doesn’t procure an English husband. Unfortunately, Daisy hates the American businessman her father chose, despises him in fact. But sometimes the person we least suspect is the perfect person for you!
Anyways, I liked parts of this book but wasn’t feeling it. I loved the first 3 books in this series, and I will happily read more by Kleypas in the future.
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
“Everybody has a heart. Sometimes you gotta work hard to find it.”
So I read this book based on work recommendations from fellow librarians. These are the librarians who do not rate high very easily and all of them told me this book was a 5 out of 5. I had ZERO interest in reading this book. I mean it’s historical fiction AND magic realism? Totally not my thing. But I pulled up my big girl pants and checked it out and gave it a chance, and I am so glad I did!!! This book is something else, and I feel all ages could read it.
Echo tells 3 main stories: Friedrich, Mike and Ivy. All are children of preteen age, they all live in different times, places and circumstances. We get to read each one of their stories separately, and the power of music is what connects their stories in ways you wouldn’t have guessed.
“Music does not have a race or a disposition! Every instrument has a voice that contributes. Music is a universal language. A universal religion of sorts. Certainly it’s my religion. Music surpasses all distinctions between people.”
I cannot say much else than that because SPOILERS. What I can say is that from the first page I couldn’t put this book down. The way it’s written and the stories involved in it, it’smagical. I loved the themes, how many of them are still relevant today. The characters felt so real to me, there were moments where I was in great big tears because apparently I am a wuss. This is a book I can see myself rereading in the future and giving it to a lot of kids to read.
Honestly, I ask you as an adult to read this book. Or read/give it to the child in your life whether it be your child, niece or nephew, family friend, anyone. I know it’s aimed at middle grade age range but I feel it’s a book any age can love. It’s amazing.
I have also had people tell me and read reviews on here where people have said to listen to the audiobook. My friend played me a small bit of the audiobook and I can agree because it plays music that enhances the story.
“She said people on hard times deserved to have beauty in their lives as much as anyone else, whether or not they could pay their rent or were walking to a breadline. Granny said that just because someone was poor didn’t mean they were poor of heart.”