Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

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Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

Altar of Bones by Philip Carter (♦♦♦♦)

A homeless woman named Rosie is assassinated in the streets of San Francisco. Her attacker has been searching for clues of the existence of something called the “altar of bones”. Before dying, Rosie reveals a mysterious message and the story begins.

Eighteen months prior to Rosie’s fatal stabbing, a man named Mike O’Malley makes a startling confession to his priest son about a film that he must find if he is to keep alive. After that confession, Mike O’Malley dies and his priest son is killed for not having the film.

Ry O’Malley, Mike’s other son, survives an assassination attempt and infiltrates the Russian mafia in California, in an effort to find the film that can guarantee his life. Ry joins forces with Zoe Dmitroff, a gutsy attorney with blood ties to the stabbed homeless woman, in order to find the film and ultimately the altar of bones and discover its secrets.

I liked this book. It is a non-stop adventure, full of interesting twists and unexpected turns. The story is a rich tapestry with elements of historical fiction--that may not be as fictional as they seem--, thriller novel and Russian folklore. I did like the concoction, though it is far-fetched at times, such as when talking about the fountain of youth. Aside from that, the story is well written and hard to put down.

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