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…

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (♦♦♦)

Originally published in German, Translation by Simon Pare

Jean Perdu, owner of the renowned Literary Apothecary on the margins of the Seine, sets sail aboard his cargo book barge searching for the remainder of the life the woman he loved twenty one years ago has left behind. Accompanying him is Max Jordan, France's most famous author under 30, who is suffering with writer's block and under his newfound fame. Soon other characters join the pilgrimage along France's waterways.

Paris and books, need I say more? Yes, indeed I do. I thought The Little Paris Bookshop would be reminiscent of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which I loved; instead, I was somewhat disappointed. The Little Paris Bookshop is an uneven book. I liked the story of Mr. Perdu; how he dealt with his grief, and the trip he embarked on to find himself again. I also liked the language: rich and smooth like velvet, the descriptions of French towns and life in the southern coast, and food recipes.

I didn't like, however, Manon's diary entries or the passages involving her, at least until the very end when her story finally came together. I don't think her character, despite being drawn out of memory, was that well defined. The book would have been better off without those passages, again until the end, because it was then that Manon’s journey and choices finally made sense.

The ending was nice, positive and all wrapped up with a colorful bow, but I liked it very much particularly because it was a good departure from the grief so talked about during the earlier chapters.
                                                                                                  
DISCLAIMER: I received from the publisher a free Galley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

  1. It's certainly an interesting concept for a book, but it sounds as though you thought the execution didn't quite live up to that interest. Still, it might be worth a look just for the description of the trip through southern France - always a fascinating part of the world.

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    1. Well, Dorothy. If you read it for the descriptions of France you won't be disappointed. The descriptions are sumptuous and made me feel I was experience them as well. I read it for the love of books and that's where I think my expectation got the best of me.

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  2. Oh no! I loved Penumbra's Bookstore too...sorry this one didn't live up to it.

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    1. Well Sarah, perhaps I was expecting too much. Mr. Penumbra was a lot of fun and I thought this would be similar but it wasn't. Apparently other readers disagree with me because some have rated it five stars on Amazon.

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