The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale
by Katherine Arden
#1 in the Winternight Trilogy

Publisher: Del Rey Books
Date: 2017
Pages: 323
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Histoical Fiction
Days to Read: 11
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

The Bear and the Nightingale follows Vasilisa a young girl living in on the brink of the wilderness in a fantasy version of Medieval Russia. She lives in a town that believes in both the christian church and the stories of old. After her mother passes away Vasilisa’s father heads to Moscow and brings home a new wife. 

Vasilisa soon discovers what happens when a truly devout woman decides that within the town household spirits will no longer be honoured and is backed by the new town priest. From the moment they arrive things begin to go downhill, from freezing winters to failing crops Vasilisa becomes highly worried about her family’s ability to survive the harsh winters. 

So, this book has A Lot going on. Vasilisa is a fantastic main character. She is wild and brave and not afraid to stand up to the norms of medieval Russia where she is oppressed and expected to be obedient. I really liked how she was wild at heart and cared deeply for the household spirits, even when it caused her to be labeled as a witch. 

The story as a whole was interesting and definitely something I hadn’t read before. Russian myth is not something I am familiar with however it is definitely mythology I would be interested in finding out more about. The story definitely had some magic woven into the hardships of winter described. 

Katherine Adren’s writing lends itself to the historical fiction fantasy genre. There were some beautiful description of the settings. Even being in the midst of summer here in Australia it was like I could feel the bitter cold Russian Winter being described. I find that particularly important to a book with such depth and detail as this. Without a greatly detailed and engaging setting I can end up feeling like the story is to dense and I am unable to get past the denseness to the beauty behind it. 

As I listened to the story on Audiobook I found it a bit hard to keep track of all the names they were definitely not super complicated but I did find that I muddled them up quite a lot. I don’t know if that is necessarily a critique of the book or just my listening skills. 

There were a few characters that I really disliked throughout the story. Vasalia’s stepmother Ana was one of them. I found her totally irrational and completely unfair to Vasalisa to the point where she was clearly treating her poorly. 

I also absolutely despise and I mean despise Constantine the priest who comes to the village. It has absolutely nothing to do with him being the religious figurehead and everything to do with him being the worst person ever. The fact that he blatantly blames a child for his actions and thoughts is something that bothers me to no end. He is also quick to sacrifice anyone but himself -even his more devout follower – when given the option to protect himself by doing so. I would get so outraged while I was reading. Especially when he wouldn’t let Vasilisa run away and the only answer for him was for her to go to a convent, even though running away would culminate in the same result. 

The beginning of the story is slow. It was a bit difficult to get into. There are so many events that happen in quick succession that are necessary for the story but also happen way too fast. I also found some moments unnecessary. While in Moscow one of Vasilisa’s brothers decides to become a monk. I don’t know if I missed something or if this will become important to the next two books but for ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ there seemed to be no reason that we spent so much time with him coming to the decision. 

The first book in this beginning to a Historical fiction trilogy that weaves the stories of Russian mythology. It follows a wild hearted protagonist who was definitely a trailblazer born into the wrong century. 

Plot: 6/10
Ease of reading: 7/10
Character Development: 6/10
World Building: 6/10
Quality of Writing: 6/10
Overall: 3/5

The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan

The Tyrant’s Tomb
by Rick Riordan
#4 in the Trials of Apollo Series

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Date: 2019
Pages: 439
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Mythology
Days to Read: 4
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks

In his penultimate adventure, a devastated but determined Apollo travels to Camp Jupiter, where he must learn what it is to be a hero, or die trying.

It’s not easy being Apollo, especially when you’ve been turned into a human and banished from Olympus. On his path to restoring five ancient oracles and reclaiming his godly powers, Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) has faced both triumphs and tragedies. Now his journey takes him to Camp Jupiter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Roman demigods are preparing for a desperate last stand against the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Tyson, Ella, and many other old friends will need Apollo’s aid to survive the onslaught. Unfortunately, the answer to their salvation lies in the forgotten tomb of a Roman ruler . . . someone even worse than the emperors Apollo has already faced.

By the second last book in The Trials of Apollo series, so much has happened and The Tyrant’s Tomb is no exception. ‘The Burning Maze’ ended with the death of a beloved character that honestly rocked me as a reader. During the events that take place in ‘The Tyrant’s Tomb’ we also see characters grieving this death and how each individual deals with thr repocussions of this.

Throughout all the Rick Riordan series so many important themes are dicussed, especially for the age bracket that they are intended for. I find that Rick Riordan broaches topics such a gender fluitity, death, sexuality, race and religion in a manner that allows readers to understand concepts, ideas and even themselves in a deeper way. This also allows for everybody to be represented in a large range of books.

The way that Apollo is represented in the stories is one of my absolute favourites. I love that his personality is the same regardless of where he is represented. He is definitely very self confident and has a humerous way of expressing himself. I found myself laughing out loud at some of his lines.

The plot as a whole was enjoyable to read. We spent a lot of time with the heroes from the Roman camp and watched as they battled these ancient villains, always the self sarcrificer to save others. We also see more of the importance of every charcaters in the story with all of them developing so fluidly that the changes aren’t really visable in each individual book.

The Tyrant’s Tomb gave me another of the mythology stories that I live for. It is an important addition to the Trials of Apollo series. As readers we have been set up well for the finale to Apollo’s story of redemption.

Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 7/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 6/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Overall: 4.5/5

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

The Ship of the Dead
by Rick Riordan
#3 Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Trilogy

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Date: 2017
Pages: 410
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Mythology
Days to Read: 23
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD Scribd

Magnus Chase, a once-homeless teen, is a resident of the Hotel Valhalla and one of Odin’s chosen warriors. As the son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus isn’t naturally inclined to fighting. But he has strong and steadfast friends, including Hearthstone the elf, Blitzen the dwarf, and Samirah the Valkyrie, and together they have achieved brave deeds, such as defeating Fenris Wolf and battling giants for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now Magnus faces his most dangerous trial yet. His cousin, Annabeth, recruits her boyfriend, Percy Jackson, to give Magnus some pointers, but will his training be enough?

Loki is free from his chains. He’s readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, complete with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Asgardian gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It’s up to Magnus and his friends to stop him, but to do so they will have to sail across the oceans of Midgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfar before it’s ready to sail. Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon. But Magnus’s biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. Does he have what it takes to outwit the wily trickster god?

Ship of the dead is the conclusion to the ‘Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard’ Trilogy. In the third book Magnus and his friends are trying to prevent Ragnarok which is about to happen! We pretty much follow them as they go up against Loki to prevent the end of the world.

Magnus is a character I can really get behind. He is so caring of his friends and accepting of everyones differences. The diversity of the characters within this trilogy is great. We have characters from different races as well as a character who is gender fluid and asks characters to use their preferred pronouns on any given day.

The plot of ‘Ship of the Dead’ explores more into the Ragnarok myths from Norse Mythology. I enjoyed that we continue to look at different aspects of this myth throughout the three books in the story. I did struggle through parts of this story because I felt as though we were exploring characters we’d already explored previously, however when we looked into the back stories of some of the characters we haven’t really explored before I was really into it.

Magnus Chase is a great series for anyone who enjoys Rick Riordan’s book or mythology in general. Its a great way to enter mythological worlds for readers and can really grow a passion in both young and older readers.

Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 7/10
World Building: 7.5/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Overall:4.5/5

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: 2011
Pages: 352
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Historical
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD Scribd

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

If you are just stumbling upon my blog with this review, first of all, Hi, my name is Kate. If there is something to know about its that I love all things mythology but what began my passion was Greek Myth, Legend and History. This is a relatively new thing that I have discovered about myself as I recently (in the last couple of years) visited Greece and went on a classical Greece tour which was utterly amazing and taught me so much about the incredible myths of the country. I also married a greek – opa! – which has not only made me an honorary greek but introduced me to a wealth of knowledge through his family.

After I read Circe also by Madeline Miller I knew that I would be picking up Song of Achilles. To be brief Song of Achilles follows Patroclus through his life and journey which finds him at the battle of Troy with the hero Achilles. The intricacies of this story are incredibly woven with the depth of the characters and a plot rich in history. I loved every minute of it. I felt as though I was sitting by a fireside drinking in the knowledge of a legendary story.

Patroclus really makes readers feel something. He is a character with great empathy for others and a desire to help people. He wishes to learn more about the people he encounters and not only teach them but also learn as much as he can from then. I felt his giving nature in all of his interactions with people.

The descriptions of both Pthia and Troy were incredibly rich in detail and as a reader I really felt as though I was in the story experiencing things along with our characters.

Song of Achilles is a story I cannot wait to revisit in the future and experience these amazing characters over and over again. If you are someone who enjoys Historical Fiction or Greek myth this book will definitely give you one incredible story.

Plot: 9/10
Ease of reading: 6/10
Character Development: 9/10
World Building: 9/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Overall:5/5

November TBR

I know this is super late to post however, I still wanted to post it, just to have a record of my reading plans for the month of November.

I know there are a lot of books there, however I am participating in the Triwzard Tournament readathon which requires a few books so most are for that.

What are your November reading plans?

October Book Haul

I know this is a little late but I wanted to post it anyways, so here is my October book haul.

Waiting for Spring
Volume 2
by Anashin

Mitsuki Haruno has a timid personality and she doesn’t have any friends at school. Towa Asakura is Mitsuki Haruno’s classmate. He is on their school’s basketball team. Due to a case, Mitsuki Haruno begins to hang out with four good looking basketball players: Towa Asakura, Rui Miyamoto, Kyosuke Wakamiya and Ryuji Tada. Her school life changes profoundly.

Mitsuki Haruno begins to have feeling for Towa Asakura and Towa Asakura holds feelings for her, but, Mitsuki Haruno meets her childhood friend Aya Kamiyama. He came from USA and is a basketball player at another high school. He likes Mitsuki Haruno.

This is Where it Ends
by Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

The Tyrant’s Tomb
Book #4 in the Trials of Apollo Series
by Rick Riordan

It’s not easy being Apollo, especially when you’ve been turned into a human and banished from Olympus. On his path to restoring five ancient oracles and reclaiming his godly powers, Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) has faced both triumphs and tragedies. Now his journey takes him to Camp Jupiter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Roman demigods are preparing for a desperate last stand against the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Tyson, Ella, and many other old friends will need Apollo’s aid to survive the onslaught. Unfortunately, the answer to their salvation lies in the forgotten tomb of a Roman ruler . . . someone even worse than the emperors Apollo has already faced.

Sadie
by Courtney Summers

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Ninth House
book #1 in the Alex Stern Series
by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Loki: Where Mischief Lies
by Makenzi Lee

This is the first of three young adult novels from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee that explores the untapped potential and duality of heroism of popular characters in the Marvel Universe.

Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard’s resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.

But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard’s most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.

When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he’s meant to be.

August Haul

August being my birthday month, I was lucky enough to get some books for my birthday from family and friends and I picked up a couple for myself as well. These are all the books I’ve picked up and are super keen to read.

Obsidio
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

Sorcerer to the Crown
by Zen Cho

Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large… 

Daisy Jones & The Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

Prince Charming
by Rachel Hawkins

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair, a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

Sparks of Phoenix
by Najwa Zebian

In Sparks of Phoenix—Najwa Zebian’s third book of poetry—she takes her readers on a powerful journey of healing.

As the phoenix emerges from its ashes, Zebian emerges ablaze in these pages, not only as a survivor of abuse, but as a teacher and healer for all those who have struggled to understand, reclaim, and rise above a history of pain. The book is divided into six chapters, and six stages of healing: Falling, Burning to Ashes, Sparks of Phoenix, Rising, Soaring, and finally, A New Chapter, which demonstrates a healthy response to new love as the result of authentic healing. With her characteristic vulnerability, courage, and softness, Zebian seeks to empower those who have been made to feel ashamed, silenced, or afraid; she urges them, through gentle advice and personal revelation, to raise their voices, rise up, and soar.

The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Flowers, Essential Oils, and More
by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Discover the power of natural magic and healing through herbs, flowers, and essential oils in this new guide to green witchcraft.

At her core, the green witch is a naturalist, an herbalist, a wise woman, and a healer. She embraces the power of nature; she draws energy from the Earth and the Universe; she relies on natural objects like stones and gems to commune with the land she lives off of; she uses plants, flowers, oils, and herbs for healing; she calls on nature for guidance; and she respects every living being no matter how small.

In The Green Witch, you will learn the way of the green witch, from how to use herbs, plants, and flowers to make potions and oils for everyday healing as well as how crystals, gems, stones, and even twigs can help you find balance within. You’ll discover how to find harmony in Earth’s great elements and connect your soul to every living creature. This guide also contains directions for herbal blends and potions, ritual suggestions, recipes for sacred foods, and information on how to listen to and commune with nature. Embrace the world of the green witch and discover what the power of nature has in store for you.

To Kill a Kingdom
by Alexandra Christo

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

1984
by George Orwell

Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.

The Thief
by Megan Whalen Turner

The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Wilder Girls
by Rory Power

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Love Her Wild
by Atticus

Love Her Wild is a collection of new and beloved poems from Atticus, the young writer who has captured the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of avid followers on his Instagram account.

In Love Her Wild, Atticus captures what is both raw and relatable about the smallest and the grandest moments in life: the first glimpse of a new love in Paris; skinny dipping on a summer’s night; the irrepressible exuberance of the female spirit; or drinking whiskey in the desert watching the rising sun. With honesty, poignancy, and romantic flair, Atticus distills the most exhilarating highs and the heartbreaking lows of life and love into a few perfectly evocative lines, ensuring that his words will become etched in your mind—and will awaken your sense of adventure.

Waiting for Spring
by Anashin

A sweet romantic story of a soft-spoken high school freshman and her quest to make friends, Waiting for Spring will delight fans of earnest, fun, and dramatic shojo like Kimi ni Todoke and Say I Love You.

Mizuki is a shy girl who’s about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys’ basketball team weren’t exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she’s been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include… love?

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One
by Amanda Lovelace

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

The Final Empire
by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy trilogy overturns the expectations of readers and then goes on to tell the epic story of evil overturned in a richly imagined world.

A thousand years ago evil came to the land and has ruled with an iron hand ever since. The sun shines fitfully under clouds of ash that float down endlessly from the constant eruption of volcanoes. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk are condemned to lives in servitude, sold as goods, labouring in the ash fields.

But now a troublemaker has arrived and there is rumour of revolt. A revolt that depends on criminal that no-one can trust and a young girl who must master Allomancy – the magic that lies in all metals.

A word of mouth success in the states the Mistborn trilogy has, this year, broken onto the New York Times Bestseller list. The time is ripe for its success to cross the Atlantic.

Circe
by Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy
by J.R.R. Tolkien

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

Sorcery of Thorns
by Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Red, White and Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

If I’m Being Honest
by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegmund-Broka

High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy he doesn’t even want.

The Dark Between Stars
by Atticus

From the internationally bestselling author of Love Her Wild comes The Dark Between Stars, a new illustrated collection of heartfelt, whimsical, and romantic poems from Instagram poetry sensation, Atticus.

Atticus, has captured the hearts and minds of nearly 700k followers (including stars like Karlie Kloss, Emma Roberts, and Alicia Keys). In his second collection of poetry, The Dark Between Stars, he turns his attention to the dualities of our lived experiences—the inescapable connections between our highest highs and lowest lows. He captures the infectious energy of starting a relationship, the tumultuous realities of commitment, and the agonising nostalgia of being alone again. While grappling with the question of how to live with purpose and find meaning in the journey, these poems offer both honest explorations of loneliness and our search for connection, as well as light-hearted, humorous observations. As Atticus writes poignantly about dancing, Paris, jazz clubs, sunsets, sharing a bottle of wine on the river, rainy days, creating, and destroying, he illustrates that we need moments of both beauty and pain—the darkness and the stars—to fully appreciate all that life and love have to offer.

The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter
by Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek

The New York Times bestseller, now fully updated to include Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Who was the real Nicholas Flamel? How did the Sorcerer’s Stone get its power? Did J. K. Rowling dream up the terrifying basilisk, the seductive veela, or the vicious grindylow? And if she didn’t, who did?

Millions of readers around the world have been enchanted by the magical world of wizardry, spells, and mythical beasts inhabited by Harry Potter and his friends. But what most readers don’t know is that there is a centuries-old trove of true history, folklore, and mythology behind Harry’s fantastic universe. Now, with The Sorcerer’s Companion, those without access to the Hogwarts Library can school themselves in the fascinating reality behind J. K. Rowling’s world of magic.

Newly updated to include Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Sorcerer’s Companion allows curious readers to look up anything magical from the Harry Potter books and discover a wealth of entertaining, unexpected information. Wands and wizards, boggarts and broomsticks, hippogriffs and herbology, all have astonishing histories rooted in legend, literature, or real-life events dating back hundreds or even thousands of years. Magic wands, like those sold in Rowling’s Diagon Alley, were once fashioned by Druid sorcerers out of their sacred yew trees. Love potions were first concocted in ancient Greece and Egypt. And books of spells and curses were highly popular during the Middle Ages. From Amulets to Zombies, you’ll also learn:
•how to read tea leaves
•where to find a basilisk today
•how King Frederick II of Denmark financed a war with a unicorn horn
•who the real Merlin was
•how to safely harvest mandrake root
•who wore the first invisibility cloak
•how to get rid of a goblin
•why owls were feared in the ancient world
•what really lies beyond the Veil
•the origins of our modern-day “bogeyman,” and more.

A spellbinding tour of Harry’s captivating world, The Sorcerer’s Companion is a must for every Potter aficionado’s bookshelf.

Her Royal Highness
by Rachel Hawkins

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

Hello Girls
by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry

Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

Rage
by Cora Carmack

Princess or adventurer.

Duty or freedom.

Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.

If Aurora knows anything, it’s that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.

In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.

This feels like more than rage.

It feels like war.

what are some books you picked up in August?

‘Wings of Olympus’ by Kallie George Review

Wings of Olympus

by Kallie George

Publisher: Harpercollins
Date: 2019
Pages: 224
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Mythology
Days to Read: 2
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks

Take flight with Pippa and her winged horse in this heartfelt two-book series about a young girl who must win the hardest race in ancient Greece in order to stay with her closest friend.

High on the slopes of mighty Mount Olympus, among the sun-splashed meadows and sparkling waters, glide the winged horses of the ancient gods. Here up high is normally no place for a lost, parentless girl like Pippa. But once every hundred years, the gods and goddesses descend to the mortal realm to choose jockeys for their winged horse race—and Pippa is one of the lucky children chosen to ride.

With her undersized, impetuous winged steed, Zephyr, by her side, Pippa has to confront the greatest challenge of her life: achieving victory in a race across the sky.

No one expects Pippa and Zephyr to win, or even finish, this death-defying race. A poor orphan who’s spent her life working in stables, Pippa doesn’t seem to belong in the world of the gods. And while she loves Zephyr with all her heart, he’s smaller than the other winged horses racing. But if Pippa and Zephyr don’t find a way to win, the gods will separate them—forever.

To stay with Zephyr, Pippa will have to work harder, train longer, and dare more bravely than her competition. In a race filled with petty, jealous gods and goddesses and a host of ruthless riders, Pippa must prove that love is greater than might.

Find me a book with a pegasus on the cover and honestly I am completely and utterly in, I don’t care if it’s a middle grade. I genuinely heard about ‘Wings of Olympus’ on Youtube and bought it as soon as I could. Because I am crazy for anything Greek Myth!

In the story we follow mostly Pippa who is an orphan who wishes for more from her life and is an avid horse lover. Pippa along with other children are selected by different Gods to compete in a race to choose then next pegasus that will assist Zeus. Obviously everyone wants to win.

The middle gradeness of the story really comes through not only in the cast of characters being children but also the gorgeous moral storyline and the ultimate story of trusting yourself and your instincts. its honestly so cute!

Pippa is a determined mine character. We don’t get to experience much of her really with the book being so short but I love her dreamer quality. I love reading from a dreamers point of view an the selflessness that comes along with that. I was really on her side from the get go.

One this I wish was different about this story would be the length, I want more!

Wings of Olympus is a quick and fun read that is so light hearted and whimsical that I can always get around it.

Plot: 5/10
Ease of reading: 10/10
Character Development: 6/10
World Building: 6.5/10
Quality of Writing: 7/10
Stars: 4/5


What is your favourite thing to read about?