Popular Reading Book Reviews

Enjoy these Popular Reading book reviews provided by one of our amazing Circulation Student Assistants, Samantha Caudillo.

Title: Circe

Author: Madeline Miller

Born to Helios, the god of the sun, Circe grows up as nothing but a weak sea nymph. Being a powerless girl among gods does not bode well. She is rejected by all, including her family. She turns to the world of man for acceptance and comfort; through this she finds a great power within her, the power of sorcery. When word of this power reaches Zeus, the king of the gods, out of fear he banishes her to an island. Living alone on an island gives Circe a lot of time to study and learn the full extent of her powers. Being a powerful woman among gods does not bode well, but when the gods come for her, she will be ready.

Circe was an amazing character to watch grow. In the beginning of the story we see a little girl running after her father wanting acceptance, begging for it. But as the story progresses, we see Circe grow into a powerful sorceress who is feared among the gods. The choices she makes might be frustrating or seem unreasonable, but these choices help her grow into the goddess she wanted to be. I recommend this book to everyone. It is a great way to pass the time while you are quarantined.  This book takes you through the adventures and events of a goddess who learns how to truly live. I will add a trigger warning for rape. The scene is not graphic, but it does describe the victim’s emotion.


Title: Lovely War

Author: Julie Berry

Two love stories trying to survive the terror of World War I. Hazel, a pianist, and James, an aspiring architect-turned-soldier, meet and fall in love at a London party the day before James is sent to the frontlines of the war. Aubrey, a talented musician, is a member of the 15th New York Infantry, one of the all African American regiments being sent to Europe to aid in the war. There he meets Colette, a chanteuse with a tragic past. The story is told thirty years in the future by Aphrodite, the goddess of love, at the peak of World War II.

The main narrator of the story is Aphrodite. She tells the story from her point of view as she watches the two love stories unfold. Personally, this is what drew me to the book in the first place. I have never heard of a romance book narrated by the goddess of love herself. This choice of narration adds a different element to the story. For example, The Book Thief was narrated by Death. The choice to have Death narrate such a horrific time in history aided the story by showing the world at the time through Death’s eyes. While Lovely War using Aphrodite to narrate gives the love story a sense of timelessness. If the goddess of love, who has seen a million loves throughout her immortal life, remembers these two love stories it is because they are important. I highly recommend this book to romance and music lovers alike.