I look forward to the summer for so many reasons, but one of the big ones is because I finally have time to read. Like, REALLY read, not just sneak in a chapter or two before I pass out after a long day of classes. This summer, I was able to read eight books total (one duology, one trilogy, and three standalone novels), which I’m proud of considering how busy I was.
So, without spoiling too much, here are my three favorite books that I read this summer! Buckle up, I have a lot to say. Let’s do this thing!
- Circe – Madeline Miller
You may recognize Madeline Miller as the author of the widely popular mythological retelling of Homer’s Iliad, The Song of Achilles, but her second book, Circe, is not to be overlooked. This is the story of Circe, daughter of the powerful Titan Helios, who is cast out of Olympus by Zeus after she discovers that she possesses witchcraft. Miller’s retelling follows Circe throughout her life, documenting her struggles and triumphs in her father’s court and in her exile. Battling great monsters and ordinary mortals alike, Circe is about one witch’s journey to finding herself and her purpose in the world.
Okay, I LOVED this book. Right from the beginning, I was obsessed, and I think Miller has a really fantastic way of telling Circe’s coming-of-age story. Though the story spans centuries, I was on the edge of my seat while Circe learned what it is to heal, love and forgive. The characters, the plot, all of it, just *chef’s kiss*. I want more! If you love mythology (hi Percy Jackson fans), a complex heroine, and just a damn good story, add this one to your list ASAP.
- The Lost Apothecary – Sarah Penner
In 18th century London, Nella lives in her hidden apothecary shop, friendless, childless and alone. Once, she and her mother were respected healers; now she uses her knowledge of herbs and chemicals for a darker purpose — poison. She sells the women of London well-disguised poisons to liberate them from the men who wrong them. When Caroline Parcewell, a once aspiring historian, arrives in present-day London, she stumbles across a relic that will bind her fate to Nella’s in an unforeseen way.
The Lost Apothecary has another complex heroine and let me say that I am here. for. it! I finished this book in record time, and for good reason. Penner does a fantastic job switching between perspectives and time periods, while still keeping the suspense and the plot strong. I really enjoyed Caroline’s character growth and her emotional journey, but Nella’s perspective provides some fascinating insights as well — after all, why does someone dedicate their life to poisoning other people? If you’re a fan of poison, peril, and a healthy dose of British history, then this is the book for you.
- The folk of the air series – holly black
Jude is a human living in a faerie’s world which is, to say the least, difficult. She and her twin sister Taryn were brought to live in the High Court of Faerie after their parents were murdered ten years ago, and Jude wants nothing more than to belong. But, the fey despise humans, none more than the terrifyingly beautiful Prince Cardan. The Folk of the Air series spins a tale of Jude’s discovery of her own violent trickster ways as she comes into her own amidst palace deceptions, and her strange attraction to Prince Cardan. Betrayal, violence, and power all have a seat at the table in the High Court of Faerie.
Yes, this is not a book, but I couldn’t not include it. I was a little skeptical of this series at first, but one of my friends continued to speak so highly of it. Eventually, I caved, and I am SO glad I did. Jude is such a strong, resilient character and I could not get enough of her spirit. Cardan is a very complex character as well, but his progression throughout the series continued to surprise me. There’s always some crazy plot in the High Court, and I couldn’t get enough! I would 100% recommend “The Folk of the Air series to anyone who loves magic, swordplay, strategy, and politics, but especially those who love a good enemies-to-lovers story. READ THIS!
That about wraps up my review! Let me know your thoughts below, or what your favorite books were from this summer. I’m always looking for recommendations!