Two New Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Midnight Waltz by Maria Giakoumatos. Photo:

Summer is often the time when people catch up on their reading. Whether vacationing at the seaside or in the mountains, bibliophiles can take advantage of the long daylight hours in summer to make a dent in that reading list and work on the TBR (to be read) pile. Add the following new titles and enjoy. A night of spooky fun exploring a haunted house takes an unexpected turn when Anthony meets the undead Emily. Their awkward, newfound friendship attracts an eccentric group of demon-fighting paranormal investigators—as well the cult of dark mages holding Emily’s soul captive for their mysterious schemes.

Released in April 2018 by Blysster Press, Midnight Waltz is the first book by the Greek-American author Maria Giakoumatos, and the first of the four-part Infernal Symphony series.

“Midnight Waltz is no ordinary supernatural tale,” said Charity Becker, Blysster Press editor-in-chief and author of the Presence horror series. “The author takes a familiar genre and gives it a wicked twist with sharp wit, deep character development, and expertly-crafted suspense that keeps you turning pages. Maria shows off her unique voice and attention to detail throughout the entire novel, making sure readers are engrossed and entertained with every page. Great for YA audiences and older readers alike, Midnight Waltz is more than just a fun supernatural romp. Maria has crafted an entire world with deep story arcs and believable tension.”

Giakoumatos grew up in the Kent and Seattle area, which serve as the main settings for Midnight Waltz. She worked as a journalist for the University of Washington’s The Daily, while studying for a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology. Being a proud member of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Seattle, Giakoumatos cites her strong Greek cultural and Orthodox Christian background as the inspiration for many of the spiritual elements in her writing. Aside from writing, she enjoys playing piano—her twenty years of practice influencing the classical music references in her story. Giakoumatos runs her own blog, posting short stories, writing tips, and reviews at

Midnight Waltz by Maria Giakoumatos is available online at:

Kosta Giakoumatos, a member of AHEPA’s Seattle chapter and his daughter Maria, holding her first novel, Midnight Waltz. Photo: Facebook

Circe by Madeline Miller is a fascinating retelling of myth, recasting the character of Circe from the Odyssey as the protagonist of her own story. From the very first pages, Miller captures the reader’s attention and draws them into what is essentially an epic family saga with strong, unforgettable characters.

The book begins with Circe’s birth as the daughter of the sun god Helios and a nymph who was herself a daughter of Oceanos, the divine personification of the sea. Her childhood progresses rapidly since divine beings do not follow the growth cycle of mortal beings and we are soon drawn into the story with the punishment of the Titan Prometheus for stealing and giving humans fire. This is not the first time Miller has been inspired by Greek myth. Her first novel, The Song of Achilles, reimagined Homer’s Iliad and was published in 2012.

According to her biography, Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years, Miller has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She also studied in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms.

Circe by Madeline Miller is available online and in bookstores.