Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War
by Julie Berry

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Date: 2019
Pages: 480
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Days to Read: 7
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

A sweeping, multi-layered romance with a divine twist, by the Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa, set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II.

It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.

Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.

Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.

Julie Berry is an American Author who has written 12 books so far in her career, with The Lovely War being her most recent release.

The Lovely War follows our wondrous Greek Gods, namely Aphrodite, Aries and Hephaestus as Aphrodite defends herself as she and Aries are put on trial for their affair. To defend herself Aphrodite tells two stories of love from the first world war. Throughout which we begin to see the world and the god of Love does.

The way that Julie Berry tells the stories of these for characters doesn’t make it feel like a historical fiction. Most of my previous experience with historical fiction has been dry and difficult for me to feel engaged in. As I saw reading ‘The Lovely War’ I felt transported back to the story of the first world war and the experiences of these characters. I was utterly invested in the outcome of their lives.

Hazel and James’s love story was one that I was wholeheartedly invested in. The Character were well written and had so much dimension and depth. You could really see how their characters change and develop through the war and what that does to a person and their connections within society.

Aphrodite as a narrator was an aspect of the book that I found really interesting. Looking and the relationship between love and war from the perspective of love was something I hadn’t seen before. I really enjoyed that the narrator was a character and seeing the little additions and notes the character makes throughout the story.

I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “dislike” but I felt that I was so invested in the story that when the main four characters we follow were treated badly I was really sad. I really didn’t like the racism that was clear in the times of the first world war, but I feel like that’s more of my own issue.

Overall, ‘The Lovely War’ is a transformative book that sends the reader back in time as they listen to a tale weaved by a god. The experience is one that can make someone appreciate the love that they have in their own lives.

Plot: 8.5/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 7/10
Overall: 4.5/5

Completing 3 Rick Riordan Quizzes

So Classic Sunday… I’ve just finished my latest read, yes I’m hella proud of myself, and I want to spend some time relaxing before getting organised for the week ahead. I’ve watched all my YouTube subscriptions and my fiancee is playing an utterly terrifying video game….

Next best option quizzes!

I stumbled upon some quizzes on Rick Riordan’s Website and decided why not.

The First one I completed was ‘Which Greek Hero are you?’

my results…..

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Which I totally love because I strive to be dedicated honourable and brave (although that ones a bit harder haha)

Next up I did the ‘What’s Your Magical Object?’ Quiz

I got….

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I honestly love this! It made me laugh so much!

The last quiz I did – because lets face it I really need to get organised for work – was the ‘Who’s Your Godly Parent?’ Quiz and I was so ready…

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Definitely not complaining about that!!

What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon…

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Let me know what you get if you take any of these quizzes

Review: ‘The Burning Maze’ By Rick Riordan

Burning Maze

‘The Burning Maze’
By Rick Riordan
Book #3 in the Trials of Apollo Series

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: May 2018
Pages: 419
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Middle GradeFantasy
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

 

“Then humans destroyed most of the wilderness, and Pan faded into nothing. You humans. You’re why we gods can’t have nice things.”

Synopsis

The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.

With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor—and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles—somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon.

‘She gave me a wry smile. “That’s nice. I like that. You’re sure you’re not the god of wisdom?”
“I applied for the job,” I said, “But they gave it to someone else, something about inventing olives.” I rolled my eyes.’

Thoughts

‘The Burning Maze’ is the third instalment in the Trials of Apollo series. We continue to follow Apollo as he attempts to reclaim the five Oracles from three very crazy, murderous Roman Emperors. So far we have explored oracles Dordona and Trophonius and now Apollo is set to free Erythaea. We are yet to reclaim the Sibylline Books written by Cumae or Delphi

As in the first two books Apollo is joined by heroes from the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series. In ‘The Burning Maze’ we follow up with Grover, Coach Hedge, Jason, Piper and Leo with mentions of both Percy and Annabeth along the way. This is one of the things I have been loving about Rick Riordan’s books, the connection between the series and the characters is one that really engages me as a reader. You never know when a character that you loved from a different series is going to pop up again.

‘The Burning Maze’ was definitely more fast paced than ‘The Dark Prophecy’  (book two is the Trials of Apollo Series) we jumped right into the action, or so it felt. We learn what Piper, Jason and Hedge have been doing since our last encounters with them and we begin to learn more about just how much power these Emperors hold.

Most of this instalment is set in Palm Springs, which is a location that holds an immense amount of history for one of our characters whom we begin to learn more and more about (yay for character development and backstory, I love it) as well as exploring the reach of this world that Rick Riordan has created and introducing us to different Dryads and exploring their importance in the world.

‘The Burning Maze’ acts as any third instalment does and builds us up for the end of the series – there are 2 more books to be released in this series as far as I am aware –  with no real resolutions to the overall problem of the series. However this book is emotional! You have been warned! We also see Apollo develop some more human emotions than he has shown is previous books, which again is great character development.

Overall this was a great read. I got really into it near the end and could not put it down.

‘I give you my heart
I mean metaphorically 
Put away the knife’

Rating

 

Plot: 8/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 10/10
World Building: 9/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Stars:  5/5

Review: ‘The Dark Prophecy’ By Rick Riordan

dark

 

‘The Dark Prophecy’
By Rick Riordan
Book #2 in the Trials of Apollo Series

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: May 2017
Pages: 414
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

Synopsis

The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.

With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor—and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles—somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon.

Thoughts

This is the second instalment in the 5 book series ‘The Trials of Apollo’ (3 of which are out) and we follow Apollo as he travels to the next Oracle to help take them back under his control. In this book we are based in Indianapolis and Calypso and Leo head out with Apollo.

Throughout the mission we are met with other characters we have met through out the ‘Percy Jackson’ series and the ‘Heroes of Olympus’ series. Both with Apollo and against him. I really enjoyed seeing these different characters come back into the picture and learn a bit more about Apollo’s back story.

I found of difficult to get into the book to begin with but by about 50 pages in I was completely into the story and desperate to find out what was going to happen in the story.

We were also introduced to some magical creatures and I am all about that. With the Griffins being an important aspect of the story.

This book is filled with action almost from the very first page and really sets the scene for the next 3 books.

Rating

Plot: 8.5/10
Ease of reading: 7/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 7.5/10
Stars:  3.5/5

 

 

Review: ‘The Mark of Athena’ By Rick Riordan

Mark

‘The Mark of Athena’
By Rick Riordan
Book #3 in the Heroes of Olympus Series

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: October 2012
Pages: 586
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

 

Synopsis

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket, Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving command: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader—but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brian by her side

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare.

 

Thoughts

I ended up listening to ‘The Mark of Athena’ on Audible. I got 24 pages into my copy and discovered it had been a misprint and I was missing pages 24-57. Wonderfully Booktopia are sending me a replacement copy. (They were so amazing about it) But I was already 100% in the story so I knew I needed to keep going straight away.

I mean that says a lot about the book for me, that I was only 24 pages in and I needed to know what happened straight away, I couldn’t wait. It began on such I high with the Roman and Greek camps finally becoming as intertwined as I felt they needed to be and all these characters thats I’d grown to love over the first 2 books (and for some in the Percy Jackson series before that) were finally going to be in one book, all together.

The plot continued on perfectly from the second instalment in the series, even with a different characters point on view beginning this story.

The world is being built spectacularly with with an amazing incorporation of the myths of the Ancient Greek world and the Ancient Roman world with the modern world. This book really dives into the difference between the gods in the Greek Myths and the Roman myths and has characters grappling with their different identities. We also get a look at what the gods may be feeling about how they are portrayed in each myth.

During this book the characters are developed really well, while we also learn more about Annabeth and what she faces being the daughter of Athena.

This series is definitely a recommend! Although it is a series that you need to read in order.

Rating

Plot: 8.5/10
Ease of reading: 6/10
Character Development: 7/10
World Building: 9/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Stars:  4/5

Greece Travel Diary #2: Mainland Tour (Day 2)

On the second day of our jam packed tour we rose early – around 6:30am – with a wake up call from reception. After packing up our suitcases and leaving them outside our doors to be loaded onto the bus we headed into a Buffet breakfast with the rest of the tour group – Which I feel like I should point out now were AMAZING and we met some really fantastic people- We headed out at about 7:30am to drive out to Olympia, our first stop of the day.

Straight up, these are the reasons I love Olympia
1. My fiancee’s dad’s side if from just outside Olympia
2. Its the site of the Ancient olympics (incredible)
3. there are some crazy old buildings there
4. Alexander the Great build himself a temple there with his father
5. there are remains of both a temple to Zeus and a temple to Hera ( I could not be loving this more)

The weather wasn’t fantastic, putting it nicely, when we went to Olympia and that did impact our experience, but hey what can you do? we were able to do a walking tour in the rain around the ruins – NOTE: even if you go in summer, pack a rain coat – seeing remains of the training stadium, the temples to Hera and Zeus and maybe the most incredible we were able to walk where the athletes would of walk thousands of years ago in the ancient olympic stadium.

When you go, it doesn’t look like much, the earth has reclaimed most of it, but you can really get a feel for what it would of been like.

When the rain got too heavy, and let me tell you, the heavens opened and it POURED. We headed to the Olympia museum where we were doing a walking tour with Dimitra. There were so many sculptures and statues from the Classical Period in Greece (a lot of the Greek Gods stuff) pretty much it filled the whole museum and it was AMAZING! (I am probably going to say that a lot)

We then boarded the bus and drove where quiet a while to reach our Amalia Hotel for the night in Delphi!

– Useful links – 

Tour
Olympia
Delphi Amalia Hotel

 

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