Monday, 28 July 2014

Review: Peter and Alice by John Logan

Ever since I heard about the play Peter and Alice I've wanted to see it, unfortunately residing in a different continent on the other side of the world intervened with that so I settled on buying the play, which did not disappoint! The play follows Peter Llewelyn Davies and Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the children whom inspired J.M Barries novel, Peter and Wendy and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The play begins in the back room of the Bumpas bookshop in 1932 where the older Peter and Alice meet, this is a fictional account of their discussion from the effect of 'being' Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. This is a dark and heart breaking play which explores the burden of fame at a young age, the innocence of youth and controversial questions which have constantly surrounded the relationships between the authors and their muses. 

What I found heart wrenching about this play was the cold, harsh truth behind the discussions of Peter Llewelyn Davies and Alice Liddell Hargreaves. How the burden of fame affected them their whole lives, how Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland became their shadows, for example; Peter Llewelyn Davies was only ever known as Peter Pan; "Peter Pan joins the Army", "Peter Pan marries" and even after he committed suicide, "Peter Pan: The Boy Who Never Grew Up Now Dead." Reading about the real life people, Peter and Alice emphasis the burden that was placed on them since their childhoods, as though the only time they were truly happy was as children, or as Peter so eloquently puts it, "I think I know what childhood's for, it's to give us a bank of happy memories against future suffering."

Whilst Peter and Alice are the primary figures in the play J.M Barrie and Lewis Carroll make appearances with the fictional Peter Pan and Alice, creating flash backs pin pointing moments between the authors and their muses. What I found interesting was how they viewed their relationships with the authors when they were children and how naive they would act. As adults looking back Peter declares that they were the authors lives, how as children they were able to merely go on with theirs yet grown men don't go home and move on with their own. How to the grown ups they were indeed flesh and bone, they were real and they could love them and hope to be loved back. This is where it darkens, which is shown in Alice's relationship with Lewis Carroll, with private conversations together and holding back on walks to talk alone. Discussing between themselves, Peter and Alice analyse their characters and conclude that Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland were created out of loneliness, that Barrie and Carroll succeeded in writing down characters who would never age and could never leave them. In the play Logan doesn't go far into the still existing allegations against the authors with regards to possible sexual abuse between the children and themselves but Peter and Alice were quick to squash all the rumours. Instead the play focuses on the unsettling longing of both authors, Carroll's yearning for Alice or Barries dreams of youth and belonging.

When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.

An absolutely amazing play and I hope one day I can see it performed live. A five star review to be sure! I found this play to have a delicate balance of history, fiction and fact with intriguing and compelling discussions about the burdens of youth and fame and the realties of growing up. Painfully beautiful and heartbreaking.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Review: The Summoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #1) by Kelley Armstrong

This book is pretty good given that upon appearance I was not that impressed because really after Twilight came out paranormal romance has become huge and is really getting on my nerves now! Yet this book defied everything I've just said and adds an extra kick by making it almost impossible to set down!!

I honestly don't want to give the plot away (although I think I all ready have in my first line:) ) so please don't continue unless you have read the book and would like to contribute to the conversation! I love how creeped out I was throughout the whole book! The idea of a group of teenagers been confounded in a mental institution for supposed 'mental issues' was stunning! A idea running off of governments having secret organisations which deal with supernaturals like in all the comics we all love! Armstrong was able to take it to the next step by making her protagonist, whom all ready sees ghosts, be locked up in a mental institution, my attention did not waver till I had finished. All though during the majority of the book I was filled with pure terror my attention was slightly wavered at times by the cynical and (supposed) not so attractive Derek who made me love him (use a little ;) ) he captured my attention through his snide remarks and intelligence ( yes I know in real life it is preferable to ram a pencil in there eye but in the pages of a book they appear to be completely different.)

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House...before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

I have all ready read the other books, both amazing but the first book is my favourite! Definitely recommend this for those who don't mind the feeling of fingers running down their back the whole time their reading! 

Monday, 1 April 2013

Review: Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally

After reading Catching Jordan, a spunky young girl with a tom boy streak who I greatly admired I decided to purchase the rest of Miranda Kenneally's books but sadly I've been disappointed with them. Things I Can't Forget is a companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.  These books are meant to have a sporty theme showing women to be in control but the past two books depict these girls to be anything but strong whilst, yes I admit facing huge problems. I was attracted to these books after reading Catching Jordan which shows a girl who didn't care about appearances but wanted to be treated on the same level as any man and taken seriously by her love of football. Things I Can't Forget on the other hand depicts Kate, the protagonist who does not have a main focus on sport (yet she did suffer a sport injury) but on art and religion. Religion is a difficult thing to write about given it can offend many. I found the continuous reference to god to be irritating but understanding in which this is the way Kate found guidance.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…
This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt--with her.
Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

I would recommend this book for anyone who does not have problems with adult themes or mind references to religion.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Hearing about this book I was extremely excited! A novel about Tiger Lily!!!! A novel about Tiger Lily AND Peter Pan!!!! Unfortunately though the book was told from the perspective of Tink, a fairy. I found book reviews to be very misleading of the book as well as the book itself it seems to sway between audeiences! I was able to grab a sneak peak before ordering it online and I thought it sounded fantastic: “Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you've ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't win.” This sounds like a powerful and tremendous book filled with passion and heartbreak but all I got was a mediocre story line and a few amazing lines stuffed in and an amazing cover.

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

After a while I warmed up to Think being the narrator and she was able to put an innocent twist on this novel. Although I wasn't that keen on this book it was extremely heartfelt and made my heart swell at times here are a few quotes:
“Sometimes I can't see myself when I'm with you. I can only just see you.”
“And I never expected that you could have a broken heart and love with it too, so much that it doesn't seem broken at all.” 
“Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well just be words on a page, because we're only what we've done and what we are going to do.” 

A book I keep and open to a weary page just to read a few innocent lines is worth the read of this whole novel.

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Given the recent release of the epic movie "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" I thought it was fitting I would review the book! I absolutely loved this novel yet I absolutely hated the perspective. The plot, characters, emotions... everything was amazing yet I found the story annoying being told through a collection of letters. It was extremely effective though given the fact that writing is extremely therapeutic and Charlie (the protagonist) is going through quite a few things and just needs someone to talk to. Yet unfortunately I did not enjoy this given the fact that it is just entries which just cuts the story off but I thought the letter format was unique that came across as open and sincere and really plays on the innocence of Charlie. 

Despite the dare I say it... perky title this story is not one for the light hearted it deals with harsh realities in life and the difficulties some adolescents endure while growing up. Chbosky wrote many memorable quotes that where so heartfelt and honest I think that is one of the reasons many people feel quite emotional hearing them such as;
"We accept the love we think we deserve" 

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

I also loved Chbosky's reference to one of The Smiths songs "Asleep" (which is one of my favourites!) I guess what makes me love this book was how accurately Charlie’s experiences with anxiety and depression were presented. 

A book not intended for the light hearted but intended for an understanding and sympathetic audience.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Review: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

I have to be honest, I liked this book and I didn't like it, trust me I can barely explain it. After writing this first sentence I have left it to mull over my thoughts for the last five months. (I know long time but I've been busy and this is an extremely difficult review to write!) Rose's story is amazing and I was drawn into her story but I was quite frustrated at times when Rose is blocked off, I know you must have no idea what I am talking about but ARRRRGH I can't explain it!!

It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone-- and her future full of peril.

I'll try to give you a quick overview: Rosalinda Fitzroy wakes up in a stasis tube in which her parents placed her 62 years ago. She is the sole surviving heiress to an interplanetary empire, a princess really, but that doesn't provide much comfort when everyone she ever knew, including her wonderful boyfriend Xavier, is dead. A few decades ago, during the Dark Times, the population was decimated by a plague indirectly caused by her father. The technology has advanced while she's been stassed yet she remains the same frozen in time as a 16 year old girl.

I love details in books which Sheehan’s is able to provide and is able to shape the world in my mind but she does not sadly go into to many details but focuses mainly on her characters, this helps us see the world through them at least.

Rose is an extremely complex character whom I hate to say is pretty selfish and does things that will drive me crazy and what to give her a good shake and yell "DON'T YOU SEE THE REPERCUSSIONS OF YOUR ACTIONS ALREADY????" I am able to see her kind side though when she befriends a 
genetically engeneered, blue-skinned half alien called Otto.

I absolutely loved the ending and wanted to sink my hands into the next book but unfortunately it is still not out:( most I can guarantee where absolutely freaked out as well as creeped out by the ending but I don't know I just wasn't, I can not explain without giving the plot away I just felt I guess hope. Hope for Rose.

Review: Gilt (The Royal Circle #1) by Katherine Longshore

This book is a definite read for those Tutor lovers out there! This book is from the perspective of Kitty Tylney who was the best friend of Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's 5th queen, many know of her ill fate. I would have to say this book follows the Tutors to the exact detail. How Francis Dereham Catherine's first love was hopelessly in love with her and sets out to make the best of himself for her sake. Then Master Culpepper, a cold yet handsome man with a stare of ice. This book follows the timeline of Catherine's early  teenage life at Chesworth House under the care of a distant relative, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk where she meets Dereham till she is discovered by a member of the royal court and selected to be the king's 'entertainment'. Henry believes he is in love and marries Catherine, she knows if anything about her past is revealed she would be in great danger especially that any Queen of England has enemies. Catherine meet Culpepper, risking revealing her secrets to be with him. Meanwhile poor Kitty has to deal with knowing all this and risking the death of a traitor while dealing with her own conflicts upon her heart.

In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free--
and love comes at the highest price of all. 
When Kitty Tylney's best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII's heart and brings Kitty to court, she's thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat's shadow, Kitty's now caught between two men--the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat's meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

This is an amazing read which almost makes me not want to know all the intimate details of the time so I could read this book and not predict the outcomes! A fantastic novel that any and every Tutor or period lover must read!