The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar WildeBlurb

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend, the girls to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds, pandemonium breaks loose.

Only a nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

My Perspective

I actually read this because i was impatiently awaiting April 1 so i could read Draekora, the third book in The Medoran Chronicles. I’d seen the movie with Colin Firth so knew the general story line however i actually didn’t realise it was written as a play!

The story is about two young gentlemen friends who get themselves in a bit of a pickle when their fictional alter egos fall in love, their lovers think their names are Ernest and they won’t accept a lover with any other name.

The characters are all equally lovable as well as irritating, which works well for the story.

I couldn’t help but giggle all the way through the story, knowing what was coming yet still laughing like it was a complete surprise.

Obviously as the story was written in 1899, the language is a bit heavy however like I’ve said before, i don’t mind that at all. Also as it was written in the format of a play, some might find it stilted because it doesn’t flow like a novel however I’ve read quite a few plays and i don’t really even notice it anymore.

Overall i thoroughly enjoyed reading The Importance of Being Ernest and it was a nice, quick read that left me unhindered to start reading Draekora as soon as it was released. I would definitely recommend it if you like classics and comedy.

The Sea Wolf by Jack London

The Sea Wolf by Jack LondonBlurb

The novel begins when Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Francisco Bay, and plucked from the sea by Larsen’s seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. This ship’s evil captain, Wolf Larsen – The Sea-Wolf – is a murderous tyrant who uses his superhuman strength to torture and destroy, his brilliant mind to invent sick games, and his relentless will to control his mutinous crew. Pressed into service as a cabin boy by the ruthless captain, Van Weyden becomes an unwilling participant in a brutal shipboard drama. Larsen’s increasingly violent abuse of the crew fuels a mounting tension that ultimately boils into mutiny, shipwreck, and a desperate confrontation.

My Perspective

Having just read and enjoyed Treasure Island, I was definitely looking for something similar so I browsed all the classics that I’ve downloaded onto my Kobo and The Sea Wolf caught my eye. It wasn’t what I expected though!

The Sea Wolf is the story of Humphrey Van Weyden, a gentleman who becomes shipwrecked and is rescued by the sealing schooner, The Ghost. Rather than being dropped at the nearest port, he is put to work as cabin boy under Captain Wolf Larsen, who is known as one of the meanest captains in the sealing industry. Who he discovers is much more than simply a cruel man though and through his own intellect and previous study, he is able to connect with Wolf unlike any other person has before.

I quite liked Humphrey. At first i found him to be a bit insufferable however he soon got over himself and embraced his circumstances to the best of his ability. I respected him all the more with how hard he worked and the strength of character that he developed was very satisfying. Wolf Larsen was a completely fascinating character. I could not bring myself to hate him despite his evil ways. I found it hard to love Miss Brewster however i had to remind myself of the era in which she came from and when in context, she showed a lot of courage and bravery.

This book is not just a “sea faring tale”. The philosophical aspects it explores are intense and extremely challenging to one’s ideals. As i had no idea that the book involved any of that, i was a little bit unprepared however soon adjusted.

I enjoyed the basic story and adventure and i felt that it was written at quite an even pace. I did find it ended quite abruptly however really, it ended as it should have.

Overall it was an extremely well written book twisting adventure with philosophy. It certainly isn’t for the fainthearted of words and if you think, like i did, that it’s another “Treasure Island” – think again. This is more like a Tolstoy crossed with Treasure Island! I would definitely recommend this as a great classic and if you like stories that actually have a bit of substance to them.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

29485885Blurb

A mysterious seaman hides at a country inn; cut-throats raid a sleepy English village; suddenly, young Jim Hawkins becomes the owner of a map leading to a lost tropical island and a fortune in stolen gold. Three adventurers–Jim, Squire Trelawney, and Dr. Livesey–set out to find the treasure. — But they trust the one they should most fear, Long John Silver. Charming, brave, ruthless, murderous, Silver fills the squire’s ship with pirates. And on the desolate, fever-infested island, the quest for gold becomes a deadly war of hide and seek. Desperate defenders against merciless killers battling over a cursed treasure won with blood, buried with blood, sought with blood. Incredible wealth that Jim and his friends can only claim…

My Perspective

Treasure Island is the story of how Jim Hawkins came to be in possession of a treasure map and the journey and adventure he went on with Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney to acquire it.

I’m really in the mood for adventure stories at the moment so this is exactly what I felt like reading.

I really liked Jim. He was an easygoing young man, eager to please, hardworking, quick thinking and he had a lot of courage. Doctor Livesey was also an easy character to like whether Squire Trelawney I found a bit too freely spoken and over confident. John Silver was friendly and very easy to like, which of course made me suspicious. The rest of the crew were typical pirates, or “buccaneers”, self interested, not too smart, violent and drunk on rum all the time.

The story was very interesting and well paced, keeping you on your toes and turning the pages quickly. I did find some of the language hard to understand at times however it added to the feel of the story so I wouldn’t change it.

Overall it was a really enjoyable story, well written and full of adventure. I would definitely recommend it if you like classics, adventure stories or historical fiction.

October Baby by Eric Wilson and Theresa Preston

14978982Blurb

Not long after Hannah, a college student, experiences increasing anxiety and a sudden collapse, all signs point to the surprising circumstances of her birth. Hannah soon learns from her parents that she was adopted and is the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.

Bewildered, angry, and confused, she turns to her oldest friend, Jason, for support. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his friends on a road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for the unknown future.

Along the way, Hannah finds that every life is beautiful, and that life itself can be so much more than what we might have planned.

Based on the popular movie of the same name, October Baby brings to life powerful themes of hope, love, forgiveness, and redemption.

My Perspective

October Baby is the novel version of the movie, October Baby, which is about a college student named Hannah who collapses on stage during a performance due to medical issues related to her birth. Her world as she knows it falls apart with the knowledge of what really happened when she was born – that she was the product of a failed abortion and her parents adopted her. She joins a group of friends on their Spring Break trip to visit the place where she was born – and hopefully find some answers.

Last year we watched the movie version of October Baby at the youth group we run. The theme for the term was forgiveness and this story really explored that concept well. I was curious to read the novel version of it especially if any of our youth wanted to read it too.

At first I found it hard to get into the book as it started out when Hannah was a child and i found the reading a bit immature. I had to remind myself that I am not the target audience for the book and so i got into a bit more plus Hannah soon became a college student so things matured.

Hannah is a likeable and realistic character. She bugged me a little bit because she reminded me of myself with the acting – a little bit up herself. Plus I couldn’t get over how much she let her parents dictate her life even though she was an adult. I can understand she was living under their roof so it was their rules etc. but I felt like she acted like a young teenager! I liked Jason except I couldn’t really understand his relationship with Alanna. I found it hard to like her Dad because he was so controlling. I understood he wanted the best for her however he went about things all the wrong way! I really liked her mother.

The story really explores the concept of what abortion looks like when it fails and how the product of that is much more than just a fetus. I’d rather not get into a political debate about abortion in a book review however I think this book is a great way to start a discussion.

The story has a small element of Christianity throughout however it’s very subtle and doesn’t shove any agendas in your face. It mainly just focuses on the power of forgiveness, which I think is great.

The story flowed fairly well and although it was a bit sappy in places, it was an enjoyable read.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially to those who like a fairly lighthearted book with deep messages and themes.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

17942701

Blurb

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighborhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

My Perspective

I’m pretty proud to say that I’ve now read all of Jane Austen’s major novels, Mansfield Park being the last one. I’m a pretty huge Jane Austen fan so i think it’s only proper that i am acquainted with all of her works!

Mansfield Park follows the early life of Fanny Price, who at a young age is sent to live at Mansfield Park with her wealthy uncle, aunt and cousins, as an act of charity towards her larger, poorer family. Fanny is extremely shy and quiet however she soon adapts with the support of her elder cousin, Edmund. However with the arrival of the Crawford’s into the neighbourhood, much drama and scandal ensues with Fanny’s heart caught in the middle.

The story is well written with plenty of rich descriptions and character development. It is slower paced with a definite slow build up of tension and climax.

I’m not sure what i thought of Fanny. In some ways i really liked her, however her frail temperament really irritated me. I appreciated how reserved and thoughtful she was, especially in comparison with the other female characters. Most of the other characters annoyed me or i was indifferent towards. I really wanted to love Edmund however i could only just like him (and half the time i thought he was an idiot for being so blind). To be honest i was a little disappointed in the characters. It wasn’t that they weren’t well written – i just couldn’t grab hold of them and endear them like the characters in most of Jane’s other novels.

I also found the story ended very quickly and a bit oddly – it was wrapped up like an epilogue. I found this surprising because the novel itself was quite slow paced and nothing happened quickly.

Overall it was still a great novel, the intricacies of English society well explored. I would probably say it’s my least favourite Jane Austen novel though so if you’re going to start reading Jane Austen, maybe don’t start with this one.

 

 

Prodigy of Rainbow Tower (Legends of Windemere Book 2) by Charles E. Yallowitz

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Blurb

Luke Callindor and his friends are about to learn that the life of an adventurer can be brutally unforgiving.

Hungering for another adventure, Luke agrees to escort the heir of Serab along the L’dandrin River and into the safety of Gods’ Voice. A deadly gauntlet of cunning traps and savage creatures lay before the young warrior and his companions. Lacking the powerful magic needed to combat his enemies, Luke’s survival and victory may be in the hands of his newest ally. That’s if the temperamental Nyx doesn’t set him on fire first.

Luke will bravely face everything that is thrown at him, but how can he defend himself when he’s ignorant of the truth behind his mission?

My Perspective

I’ve been meaning to read this book pretty much straight after I read the first book in the series, Beginning Of A Hero (Legends of Windemere Book 1) by Charles E. Yallowitz. I bought it ages ago however I don’t have a Kindle so I have to read it on the computer, which I find annoying. Anyway a few months ago I was lying in bed holding my sick, (then) eight month old son who was only sleeping if he was in my arms, and all that was in reach was my phone. I’d already been through heaps of emails and it was doing my head in, I’m really quite sick of social media at the moment, what I felt like was digging into a really great fantasy book. Aha! I thought to myself. I will download the Kindle app onto my iPhone.

I usually wouldn’t be interested in reading on my phone because it’s small and I’m not a fan of reading on a backlit screen however it was the best choice I had! So I go to download the Kindle app and lo and behold, my iPhone 4 is too old to support the latest version. Bugger. I researched how I could get around it however it requires your computer (you download the app through iTunes and then when you go to download it on your iPhone as you’ve already “bought” it, it asks if you want to download an older version that is compatible with your iPhone. Very sneaky). Anyway after he woke up, I got onto the computer and worked my magic and soon I had the Kindle app on my iPhone with this book ready to read in preparation for his next sleep.

Prodigy of Rainbow Tower follows Luke and his new friends; Nimby, Fritz, Aedyn and Fizzle as they make their way to the city of Gaia to collect the apprentice of Rainbow Tower and board the River Scout to protect Kellia, heir of Duke Solomon on her journey home to Gods’ Voice. However now Luke has major enemies – not just the Lich but his demon servant, the Hellfire Elf who has sworn revenge. Although Luke and his friends expect trouble on their journey, little do they realise just how much trouble they will get – and that those two aren’t the only enemies that they are up against.

As it has been two years since I read Beginning Of A Hero, I really should have read it again to refresh my memory as I vaguely remember some details but it’s very hazy and I was a little bit lost with some things. Surprisingly the author doesn’t waste any time doing the “big recap” that so many books do where they basically give a summary of the previous book at the beginning of the next book. I found this both good and bad. It’s great because if you’ve just read the previous book, it really is a waste of time and it’s almost like it’s bringing up to speed any readers who haven’t read the previous book (which unless it’s by accident, why wouldn’t you start at the beginning?) however it’s also bad because if it’s been a bit of time between books, it’s nice to have a bit of recapping to help jog your memory. However in my case, it’s been long enough that I really should have reread Beginning Of A Hero.

Again, I really loved the characters. Luke continues to grow and mature and although he can be stubborn and reckless, he’s definitely not as annoying as the first book. It was interesting to read and learn more about Nimby, Fritz and Aedyn. Without spoiling anything, I was surprised at who I started to like more and the flaws that appeared in some of the others. Fizzle was as adorable as ever and I really enjoyed getting to know the new characters.

There were a lot of action scenes and sequences throughout this book involving both sword play and casting of spells. I really enjoyed reading how the characters interacted with one another while fighting and using their strengths together to help defeat their enemies.

There were quite a few twists throughout and I really didn’t see any of them coming! It was quite refreshing to be able to read a book and really go along for the ride without knowing what was coming next.

There was a lot going on in this book, not too much that it felt too busy, just a lot that it kept you absorbed in the story and keeping up really kept you on your toes. Interestingly enough, the book is fairly medium paced so although there is a heck of a lot going on, it doesn’t feel rushed at all and isn’t too slow that it bores you.

I’d also like to point out that in my review of Beginning Of A Hero, I mentioned there were quite a few grammatical errors throughout and the book could have been edited a bit more closely. I’m happy to say that this book was not like that at all. On that note, the author has definitely improved and this book was really well written (not that the first book was terrible, however it was the author’s debut and it’s good to see improvement – it gives credit to the author and the series). I’m really looking forward to reading the next book.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book, and this series. You really need to start with the first book in the  series though, Beginning Of A Hero. Like I said in my previous review, it has all the things a great fantasy should have: strong characters, both good and evil; a quest; mythical creatures; battle scenes; and even some romance. I am really looking forward to continuing the series!

Under The Duvet by Marian Keyes

Under+The+DuvetBlurb

‘When people ask me what I do for a crust and I tell them that I’m a novelist, they immediately assume that my life is a non-stop carousel of limos, television appearances hair-dos, devoted fans, stalkers and all the glitzy paraphernalia of being a public figure. It’s time to set the record straight. I write alone, in a darkened bedroom, wearing my PJs, eating bananas, my laptop on a pillow in front of me …’

Her novels are read and adored by millions around the world – now read Marian Keyes’s collected pieces: regular bulletins from the woman under the duvet.

My Perspective

Under The Duvet is a collection of previously published as well as unpublished writings by Marian Keyes. Most of them are lighthearted and humorous however a couple are quite in depth, serious memoirs. They give a glimpse into the real life of Marian Keyes – in true Marian Keyes style.

I really enjoyed this collection. It captured Marian’s writing style perfectly. She writes so well an honest take on life’s issues – both serious and not so serious – with a mix of fun and humour. It was also really interesting to read true facts about her actual life.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Marian Keyes as well as those new to her writings. It won’t disappoint!