Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (Review)

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

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About the author

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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet, playwright and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in English history. He wrote 39 plays, 154 sonnets and other verses.

Blurb

The play centres on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as Cesario) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man.

Review

This is another book off my Summer Goodreads Reading Challenge and the prompt for this one was to read a format of book you do not usually read so I chose a play because I have not read a play since school. I must admit I really enjoyed it and plan on reading more plays in the future.

I saw this play a few years ago live at a National Trust property outside and laughed a lot I have fond memories of yellow cross gartered stockings. I loved reading this play and it reminded me a great deal of the play when I saw it years ago. Shakespeare is a true comic genius and the use of this genius is evident in this play.

The storyline of the twins is brilliantly executed although I do think the ending is rather rushed but that might just be me wanting the play to last longer. I loved the character of Viola, trying to survive in a man’s world and at the same time falling in love with a man who she cannot go near without blowing her disguise. Sebastian’s part is small in comparison to Viola’s but still vital to the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this play and it only took me a few hours to read. I gave this book a full 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Review)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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About the author

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Donna Tartt is an American writer who received critical acclaim for her first two novels, The Secret History and The Little Friend. Tartt was the 2003 winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend. Her novel The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014.

Blurb

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Review

I must admit I was excited to read this book to begin with but sadly that excitement did not last. Several times I almost gave up on the book and went for days when I did not read it but I kept coming back to it because I wanted to get to the end and see what happens.

Theo is a very troubled young man who really needs help, even at the end of the book he still in my opinion needs help and I just hope he gets some. I also found him to be terribly frustrating at times and wanted to shake him.

I did not like Kitsey at all in the book whether as a child or an adult, she was simply spoiled and rotten to the core. Boris however has a very troubled life and at times acts very disturbingly but he has a good heart and tries to help his friend Theo.

My favourite character and the reason I kept reading was probably Hobie, he was such a sweet kind hearted man who only wants what is best for the people he knows. Hobie teaches everything he knows to Theo and gives Theo amazing opportunities to better himself and give him a fantastic career but Theo takes advantage.

In my personal opinion I think the book could have been a lot shorter as there was a lot of waffle which just made the book drag on. It was like the author did not know how to stop or edit her work. I really do think that if it had been shorter and more to the point it would have been a good book but I was just losing the will to live and the ending was a massive disappointment to me. I even had to switch off the percentage on my Kindle because the lack of movement just depressed me.

Overall I did not enjoy this book at all but because I finished it I gave it 2 out of 5 dragons. I do not think I will read it again and I am not sure I will try Tartt’s other novels. However, this is only my opinion and I know a lot of people would not agree.

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Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell (Review)

Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell

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About the author

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Katherine Rundell is an English author and academic born in 1987. Rundell is the author of many children’s books including Rooftoppers, which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and Blue Peter Book Award in 2014.

Review

This will only be a short review as it is only a short book of 80 pages. This little book is an essay on why it is good to read children’s stories as an adult.

I personally love reading children’s stories as an adult and I think they are wasted on children because they can not appreciate them like an adult can. My particular favourite that I have read many many times is 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. So this book immediately appealed to me, hence why I added it to the cart on a recent Waterstones order.

To begin with I enjoyed this essay and Rundell has some excellent points in the essay but the thing that bugged me the most was that Rundell kept trying to be funny in the book and to be honest, in my opinion just trying too hard and after a while it began to wear thin and just annoy me. I believe if she had cut back on this and stuck to her essay she would have made a far better book.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and it only took me about fifteen minutes to read but because of the fake humour I only gave this book 3 out of 5 Dragons. A good little read but I will not be reading it again.

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Matilda by Roald Dahl (Review)

Matilda by Roald Dahl

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About the author

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Roald Dahl was born on the 13th September 1916 and was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter and fighter pilot. He passed away on the 23rd November 1990.

Blurb

For hundreds of kids “The Trunchbull” is pure terror—for Matilda, she’s a sitting duck.

Who put superglue in Dad’s hat? Was it really a ghost that made Mom tear out of the house? Only sweet, gentle Matilda knows. Because she’s the one playing all the jokes! She’s a genius with idiot parents—and she’s having a great time driving them crazy. But at school things are different. At school there’s Miss Trunchbull, two hundred pounds of kid-hating bully. Pull a trick on “The Trunchbull” and she’ll string you up. Get rid of The Trunchbull and you’ll be a hero for every kid in Crunchem Hall. But that would take a superhuman genius. Or may a sweet, gentle—crafty—genius?

Review

This is another book off my summer reading challenge and a childhood favourite. I must admit it was nice to read a book I have not read since childhood. I still remember when my big sister bought me this book, most of my Roald Dahl books I got off PG Tips boxes but Matilda my sister bought from the local bookshop and I remember wanting to read it straight away. My copy is very well read and getting very fragile.

I love the story of Matilda, I always loved the fact that a small child could reek revenge on adults who think they know more than a child just because they are adults and quite frankly most of the time that adult is an idiot. I remember quite clearly as a child not being listened to or ignored because I was a child and I always swore that I would listen to children when they want to tell me something, and as a teacher I always try to do this and hey I have actually learned a lot.

Matilda is a very gifted young girl who is very different from her family and because of this her family especially her parents do not understand or appreciate her. Matilda soon realises life is unfair but to make it bearable she decides to get revenge in a way the adults would not work out it was her.

The main message of this story was to stand up to bullies and when you do you will realise they are cowards. This is a delightful story that I will always love and I highly recommend it to children and adults because it gives you a feel good feeling and makes you realise that against the odds you will triumph. I gave this book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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My Cat is a Dick by Malcolm Katz (Review)

My Cat is a Dick by Malcolm Katz

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About the author

Malcolm Katz is a distinguished feline behaviourist and author. Some of his most famous work includes peeing in his owner’s school bag, bringing in a bat someone else had killed, and sniffing the eye of anyone who comes close enough.

Blurb

No matter how much of a cat lover you are, you have to admit those loving feelings can be pretty one-way. Cats are total dicks. And here is the photographic evidence.

Review

A few Christmases ago I bought this book for my husband and since then I had forgotten about it until friends who visited for a few days spotted it and commented about it, so then I decided to kill ten minutes and give it a read along with a cup of tea.

Now since living with two cats I have come to realise more and more that cats can be complete jerks! I must admit I am a dog person because a dog always shows love and affection and a cat just ignores your existence.

There is not much to read in this book as it is just photos of cats with a catchy caption to go with it. The pictures are very funny and have some very cute cats however in my opinion some of the captions do not quite fit and are not very amusing.

Some pictures and captions were a bit disappointing and the book could have done without them but overall it was a good book and filled a quick ten minutes. This book would be an excellent gift for cat and animal lovers, especially people who watch a lot of cat videos. I gave it 3 out 5 Dragons.

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Lyra thinks the book is great!

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Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj (Review)

Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: You’re Not Sick; You’re Thirsty: Don’t Treat Thirst with Medications by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj M.D

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About the author

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Fereydoon Batmanghelidj M.D was born in 1930 in Iran and was a trained doctor who practiced medicine in the United Kingdom before he returned to Iran. He wrote many books related to health and wellness.

Blurb

You are not sick, you are thirsty! Don’t treat thirst with medications! This is an absolute must-read classic book on natural health. This ground-breaking book is the first of Dr. B’s You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty series of books. It introduces a new paradigm for preventing and treating many degenerative diseases. A self-help book that reveals the new knowledge of the amazing health values of natural, simple water in maintaining personal health.

Review

I got this book because it was part of the recommended reading for the Diet and Nutrition Diploma I am working on and whilst dipping into it for certain references I thought I would read it all. I am so pleased I did because I loved it.

I’ve always known since school that drinking water is beneficial to the body but after starting this course and reading more about the need for drinking water I have realised that it is critical for our bodies and must admit when I drink plenty of water I do feel more energised and focused.

This book has many interesting theories about just what water can do for you. A lot of these benefits I have heard of but the others in this book are completely new to me. The ones that intrigued me the most were the claims that asthma and allergies could be cured by being properly hydrated. As an asthma sufferer I was interested and found the chapter very interesting although I’m not sure I will give up my inhalers just yet and try using water and salt to cure an asthma attack.

The book was full of interesting points about water helping people to lose weight, help with arthritis, improve the brain functions, stomach ulcers and much more. I also loved the letters that were included from people who had started drinking more water and certain problems they had been having had started to get better or disappear due to water.

The other point that I appreciated and agree with in certain aspects is that modern medicine is far too eager to prescribe drugs to solve all problems. This book looks at the possibility that if we drink more water and our bodies are properly hydrated we will not have so many problems so instead of taking drugs to solve our health issues we should try water. After all, water is cheapest of all beverages.

I do not often read factual books and very rarely cover to cover, but I loved this book and since reading have been striving to drink more water and less tea. The writing style was easy to read and not too highfalutin to understand when you do not have a medical background. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is interested in their health and wellbeing and I have given it the full 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Book Details

Page count: 196

Format: Paperback

Published: 2008

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Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster by Liza Palmer (Review)

Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster by Liza Palmer

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About the author

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Liza Palmer is an internationally bestselling author of Conversations with a Fat Girl and six other novels. She is an Emmy-nominated and lives in Los Angeles.

Blurb

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM MARVEL STUDIOS!

Carol Danvers kicks off her U.S. Air Force career with her first year at flight school, where she’ll be tested in ways she never thought possible-and make a lifelong friend, Maria Rambeau, in the process-in this atmospheric and exciting prelude to the upcoming Marvel Studios’ film, Captain Marvel! Focusing on Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau as they wend their way through a space that was still very much a “boys’ club” in the 80s, the important social-cultural themes explored in this novel are sure to draw in not only fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but readers of social issue-focused YA who gravitate toward relatable protagonists learning to navigate the world around them, and to succeed in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity.

Review

Who doesn’t love a free book? Yes, I got this book for free when I bought the Captain Marvel DVD from Sainsbury’s. I do love the Marvel films but I was not keen to see Captain Marvel, however when stuck on a plane for 8 hours and feeling at a loose end I decided to watch the film and to be honest rather enjoyed it, although it was probably because I rather liked the cat Goose.

Anyway, back to the book review. The book focuses on Carol Danvers who as we know becomes Captain Marvel and after a slow start I really began to enjoy this book. To start with I was not sure I would carry on reading the book as I found it rather slow and not my cup of tea but I’m so pleased I persevered as I really enjoyed it and because of reading it I appreciated the character of Carol Danvers in the film more.

The characters in the book were brilliant and I loved how the friendships developed especially between Carol and Maria. It really showed how a character can grow more as a person through friendship. The way Carol developed through the book, or grew up really linked in well with the film and you can see she has always thought that she has something to prove.

The other element I enjoyed was the fight Carol and Maria have in a male orientated world.  They have their dreams but know that in the U. S. Air Force men are the ones who get all the top flying jobs. However, in their own way and their constant pushing they make things work for them.

This was a really quick read and should have taken me no time at all to read but I was reading two other books at the same time so I was slightly distracted. It was an excellent YA book and deals with a lot of issues with growing up. I gave this book 4 out of 5 Dragons because the beginning was a bit slow.

Book Details

Page count: 249

Format: paperback

Published: 2019

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Amazon

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