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Sunday, July 15, 2018

For The Immortal by Emily Hauser

Title:  For The Immortal (Golden Apple Trilogy #3)
Author: Emily Hauser
Publisher: 14th June  2018 by Random House UK, Transworld Publisher
Pages: 384 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, Greek mythology
My Rating: 4 crowns


Thousands of years ago, in an ancient world where the gods control all and heroes fight to have their names remembered down the ages, two extraordinary women become entangled in one of the greatest heroic tales of all time . . . and must face how much they are willing to risk for immortality.
Desperate to save her dying brother, Admete persuades her father, the king of Tiryns, to let her join Hercules on one of his legendary twelve labours. Travelling to the renowned female warrior Amazons in search of a cure, Admete soon discovers that both Hercules and the fearsome Amazons are not as they first seemed.
The Amazons greet the arrival of the Greeks with mixed feelings – and none more so than Hippolyta, the revered queen of the tribe. For Hercules and his band of fighters pose a threat to her way of life – but also stir up painful memories that threaten to expose her deepest secret.
As battle lines are drawn between the Greeks and the Amazons, both women soon learn the inevitable truth – in war, sacrifices must be made; especially if they are to protect the ones they love most . .
My Thoughts

Emily Hauser’s Golden Apple trilogy investigates various women from Greek mythology. Although the three books are connected, they can be viewed as a standalone as each covers a different legend. The final book in this trilogy centres around three women Hippolyta the Queen of the Amazons, Admete the daughter of Eurystheus and Hera, goddess and wife of Zeus.

For the Immortal mostly alternates between the stories of Admete and Hippolyta - two seemingly unrelated stories, but in time, the paths of these two women do cross. Admete and Hippolyta come from such different backgrounds and way of life, but both face similar problems - the overriding authority of living in a male dominated world. These (in)famous men are portrayed very differently here - you really won’t like them - but that is the point.

These stories are, in the words of the author, ‘based around a conglomeration of different myths from all sources’. In this instalment, you will encounter the stories of: Hercules (formerly Alcides); Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons; briefly, Theseus; and of course, the Greek Gods themselves with the spotlight here on Hera. Hauser’s notes at the end of the story clearly outline her decision making in which myths and characters she included and her interpretation of them. I particularly enjoyed her portrayal of Hippolyta and her two sisters and how she fictionalised each of them in distinct phases.

There are some slow parts but overall another wonderful escape into the world of Greek mythology. It is clearly evident the amount of research Hauser has undertaken, and how she cleverly provides a wealth of information, merged and translated for fictional purposes in an effort to create her unique and fascinating interpretation. Definitely worth a read for lovers of Greek mythology.

‘You are a bard, and I a scribe. Together we may make a story, a tale of heroes that will be told down the generations’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper

Title: The Songs of Us
Author: Emma Cooper
Publisher: 31 May 2018 by Hachette (Headline Review)
Pages: 432 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: fiction, contemporary
My Rating: 4.5 crowns

If Melody hadn't run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn't be left with a condition that makes her sing when she's nervous. And she definitely wouldn't have belted out the Arctic Monkeys' 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' in assembly at her son's school.
If Dev hadn't taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn't have happened. He wouldn't have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life's heart.
But if they hadn't seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be 'Us'.
My Thoughts

‘Our life –no matter what happens in between –starts and ends with a heartbeat: our own personal rhythm, our own song.’

What an interesting book this proved to be. Swayed by other reviews, I am happy that I ventured into this somewhat darkly comic, family story.  This is no ordinary tale and therefore I feel the author has done an excellent job that is both funny and incredibly heart wrenching - in equal measure will you laugh and cry.

When you first start reading you may fall under false pretenses that this is a familiar themed chick lit with its generic romantic comedy formula. Light and fluffy this certainly is not, as you will seriously invest yourself in the many complex and challenging situations and characters. This book certainly did not venture down the path I first foresaw, in fact, the path is a mightily twisted and curved, one that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Each of the four main characters - Melody (Mum), Dev (Dad), Rose and Flynn (children) - have something unique to contribute as they walk through their life’s journey. Yes, you may very well laugh along as poor Melody’s condition will see her belting out another song and dance routine at the most inopportune times, but behind this facade is a far deeper, richer tale to be told. You will be captivated by these endearing characters and the battles they face both individually and together.

‘True love is simple. It’s there in the little Post-it notes, in the cup of tea when you wake up. It’s there when you argue and laugh five minutes later.’

Altogether it is such a well rounded book with a storyline that has a myriad of issues happening, some of which you simply will not see coming, but none are overwhelming. It truly is a heartwarming story of Melody and her struggles to do right by her family and those she loves. The characters and issues are real and therefore very believable and you will be taken on an emotionally charged journey throughout.

This novel will captivate you in unforeseen ways - you will laugh, shed a tear, feel your heart break and then have your faith in love restored. I recommend this quirky tale and don’t feel you will be disappointed.

‘I know I did the right thing to wait, because today was about flying, about rising above all of the world and its problems and leaving everything else behind.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.