Hoohoo, friends of the blade!
I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for ages, now. Years, even? I definitely wanted to do more recommendation posts based on godly parents after I did the Hermes one in 2020. Yet, here we are and it’s only post number two, this time focusing on Apollo.
Apollo is the Greek of… well, a lot. For one, he is a spring god associated with light and the sun, but he also the god of prophecies and of the arts. He also has an aspect of healing. That’s a lot, isn’t it? In my head, Apollo usually is this sunny, upbeat guy who gets in trouble with his big ego. For me, Apollo is summer and creativity and letting yourself be yourself. I know that there are other sides to him, darker and probably even vengeful and vicious, but in my head he’s just… more on the sunny side I guess. And has a strong bond with his twin sister Artemis. I know, I know I’m definitely influenced by modern takes on him, but I don’t really care. Anyways, let’s see what I come up with.
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Favourite Books to Recommend for Apollo
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Nora is a cut-throat literary agent at the top of her game. Her whole life is books.
Charlie is an editor with a gift for creating bestsellers. And he’s Nora’s work nemesis.
Nora has been through enough break-ups to know she’s the woman men date before they find their happy-ever-after. That’s why Nora’s sister has persuaded her to swap her desk in the city for a month’s holiday in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. It’s a small town straight out of a romance novel, but instead of meeting sexy lumberjacks, handsome doctors or cute bartenders, Nora keeps bumping into…Charlie.
Why do I recommend it? First of all, the two main characters both have jobs in the publishing industry and work with the written word day in day out. The written word and especially romance takes a big place in Book Lovers. Not only the process of writing but also what it means to different people. It is also a creative, fun book that I enjoyed so, so much. I loved the quick wit and the banter and the jokes. I loved the strong sibling relationship. It’s a wonderful, warm book.
Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever, so there’s no reason to change her modus operandi—keeping to herself, dreaming of the day she can leave.
But after a disastrous summer party, a poorly executed act of revenge lands her in big-time trouble. As in, jail…alongside the last person with whom she’d want to share a mugshot: the son of the boat mechanic across the street, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend.
Josie and Lucky become the talk of their coastal small town. But during a summer of secrets, everything changes, and the easy friendship they once shared grows into something deeper and more complicated. Can Josie and Lucky swim past obstacles that come with rough waters, or will they both go down together?
Why do I recommend it? If the Ancient Greeks had known about photography, Apollo probably would have been the god of that too. Or maybe they would have had another muse who were closely associated with the god. This is also a very summery book. It’s not only set during summer, but it has this really warm atmosphere. I loved that we see Josie’s perspective through her camera and her creativity, that we get to see the love for her art. It also has estranged best friends to lovers trope which I’m an absolute sucker for. Read my review here.
You’re the One that I Want by Simon James Green
Freddie has a reputation as a ‘nice guy’ – inoffensive, sweet, kind – and therefore completely un-dateable.
As he starts sixth form, Freddie decides that this nice guy isn’t going to finish last any more. No more missing out on parties because he’s got to do his homework. No more saying no when he really wants to say yes. And most of all no more lusting after unobtainable straight boys who enjoy the attention but ultimately break his heart.
Freddie embarks on a series of changes designed to transform his social and romantic life, and suddenly he’s a drama darling, getting invited to all the popular kids’ parties, and hot new boy Zach is showing an interest. Life couldn’t be better!
But the path to love is never smooth – and Freddie’s about to learn that changing everything about yourself isn’t necessarily a foolproof way of finding the right person…
Why do I recommend it? I mean, it has drama. And by drama I mean both what you do on stage and everything that’s going on behind the scenes. What would a Simon James Green book be without awkward situation, laughing out loud fun and a lot of dramatics? I highly enjoyed this hilarious, wonderful book that gives hope to all the weird kids out there. It has all the warmth of the spring sun and all the fun and anger and belonging of drama.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.
Why do I recommend it? If there is an embodiment of “creativity running wild” it would be Anne. She’s such an openminded, creative and all around lovely person. I loved reading her story, her ability to see the good in most things but still holding some grudges if necessary. When I think of her, I think of sunlight filtering through the tree’s summer green leaves, I think of meadows and acting out scenarios I made up in my head, I think of stories told to friends. And I think that fits certain aspects of Apollo as well.
Camp by L.C. Rosen
Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.
This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.
But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?
Why do I recommend it? Drama again! To be honest, I could see Apollo watch happily as all this very gay drama unfolds. This is such a fun, upbeat book with serious undertones, tackling the problems of the queer community, especially stereotypes and homophobia experienced within the community. It’s set at summer camp and the main character, Randy, is very into drama. I think the whole book just gives off Apollo vibes. Read my full review here.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
In the markets of eighteenth century of Cairo, thieves, tricksters, con artists and outcasts eke out a living swundling rich nobles and foreign invaders alike.
But alongside this new world, the old stories linger. Tales of djinn and spirits, of cities hidden among the swirling sands of the desert – full of enchantment, desire and riches – where magic pours down every street hanging in the air like that.
Many wish their lives could be filled with wonder, but not Nahri. She knows the trades she uses to get by are just tricks and slights of hand, there’s nothing magical about her. She only wishes to one day leave Cairo, but as the saying goes…
Why do I recommend it? Remember that Apollo has a healing aspect? Well, this book definitely caters to that! It’s also the beginning to one of my favourite fantasy series with amazing world building, complex characters and interesting character dynamics. It’s about knowledge and family and belonging and magic. It’s a stunningly written series with a family of healers at its core.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
Why do I recommend it? Ah, one of my favourite books of all time! I love, love, love this stunning tale of magic and libraries and connection. Yes, there is a big library with dangerous books, of course I had to include my favourite sword wielding librarian Elizabeth Scrivener in this post! It’s a fun, sometimes dark story with great dialogues, interesting settings and characters with great dynamics! Read my full review here.
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.
11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.
12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.
Why do I recommend it? This book features a photographer and a singer both of whom are very creative and use that creativity and the passion for their art of choice. I really liked that despite their secrets and differences Lucky and Jack worked really well together. I liked how they explored Hong Kong together. It’s a summery, wonderful book about two people just trying to get by while following their hearts.
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.
Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.
Why do I recommend it? Akemi Dawn Bowman has truly written a masterpiece with that. If that isn’t enough to connect it to Apollo, then there’s also the main character, Rumi. She’s a musician through and through and together with her sister, they make wonderful music for themselves. Lea’s death and Rumi loses her music. I loved how the novel interlaces music and grief and healing. It’s a sad but hopeful story, it’s a powerful one with beautiful messages.
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.
But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time as her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the West Coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns transformative truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.
Why do I recommend it? Another beautiful story by Akemi Dawn Bowman. This one also shows grief and passion and art but in different ways than Summer Bird Blue does. Where Rumi is angry and grieving after a loss, Kiko is lonely and grieving for something she never had in the first place. She wants to follow her dream of painting but doesn’t really know how. It’s an honest, raw book about hope and escaping, about having your art speak for you when you don’t have the words for it.
The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital and her girlfriend in jail, she’s branded the latest tabloid train wreck.
Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing.
Will the inevitable fallout turn her into a clickbait scandal (again)? Or will she find the strength to stand on her own?
Why do I recommend it? A wonderfully queer book about following dreams, making music and struggling with the fame that comes with it. I really liked this loud, unapologetic and angry book that had its soft parts as well. I liked the characters and how they not always harmonized but were connected by the art they shared.
I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman
For Angel, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.
But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think, and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together they find out just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.
Why do I recommend it? What would this list be without a book by Alice Oseman? What I loved most about this book is how much music can mean to a person and how differently it is perceived by each of them. The one making the music and the one listening to it. I loved how the different sides to being a famous musician were written, the negative ones as well as the positive ones. There is so much about believe in I Was Born For This, believing in music and art, believing in your friends, believing in yourself. It’s a wonderful story about friendships and anxiety and the power of music.
The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino
YA / NA paranormal
When Tess and Eliot stumble upon an ancient book hidden in a secret tunnel beneath their school library, they accidentally release a devil from his book-bound prison, and he’ll stop at nothing to stay free. He’ll manipulate all the ink in the library books to do his bidding, he’ll murder in the stacks, and he’ll bleed into every inch of Tess’s life until his freedom is permanent.
Forced to work together, Tess and Eliot have to find a way to re-trap the devil before he kills everyone they know and love, including, increasingly, each other. And compared to what the devil has in store for them, school stress suddenly doesn’t seem so bad after all.
Why do I recommend it? This book definitely would be on Apollo’s darker side. But it is mostly set in a library and also portrays a strong bond between siblings. It’s full of magic and the monsters that lurk in libraries but also within us. It’s a bit of a scary story but absolutely captivating and I simply couldn’t stop reading. Read my full review here.
Other books I’d recommend
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented—something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.
Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.
This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick, and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny—they must sing.
A band of human musicians, dancers, and roadies have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilizations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.
And there are vast fortunes to be mad, if you know where to find them…
Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It’s their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded by layers of protection – and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is so scrupulous.
Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of Rackamore’s crew, signed on to save their family from bankruptcy. Only Rackamore has enemies, and there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen in particular.
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Books I think would also fit the list but that are still on my TBR…
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
They sold out arenas from coast to coast.
Their music defined an era and every girl in America idolised Daisy.
But on July 12 1979, on the night of the final concert of the Aurora tour, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.
This is the whole story, right from the beginning: the sun-bleached streets, the grimy bars on the Sunset Strip, knowing Daisy’s moment was coming. Relive the euphoria of success and experience the terror that nothing will ever be as good again. Take the uppers so you can keep on believing, take the downers so you can sleep, eventually. Wonder who you are without the drugs or the music or the fans or the family that prop you up. Make decisions that will forever feel tough. Find beauty where you least expect it. Most of all, love like your life depends on it and believe in whatever it is you’re fighting for.
It’s a true story, though everyone remembers the truth differently.
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.
Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish–to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age–her tyrannical father has made that much clear.
And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true–but his help may cost her everything.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own… shell.
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
I think I love You by Auriane Desombres
Emma is a die-hard romantic. She loves a meet-cute Netflix movie, her pet, Lady Catulet, and dreaming up the Gay Rom Com of her heart for the film festival competition she and her friends are entering. If only they’d listen to her ideas. . .
Sophia is pragmatic. She’s big into boycotts, namely 1) relationships, 2) teen boys and their BO (reason #2347683 she’s a lesbian), and 3) Emma’s nauseating ideas. Forget starry-eyed romance, Sophia knows what will win: an artistic film with a message.
Cue the drama. The movie is doomed before they even start shooting . . . until a real-life plot twist unfolds behind the camera when Emma and Sophia start seeing each other through a different lens. Suddenly their rivalry is starting to feel like an actual rom-com.
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.
When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.
But as Tessa checks each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about—including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all?
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.
She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.
When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.
But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.
That’s it from me and my Apollo list! Which books would you have chosen for this list? Have you read any of the books mentioned here? Which Greek God is your godly parent?
Until next time,