Tag Archives: Oceans

Island of the Lost by Joan Druett


Title: Island of the Lost
Author: Joan Druett
Rating Out of 5: 2 (Managed to read it… just)
My Bookshelves: Biographies, History, Oceans
Pace: Slow
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2007


This was an incredibly well researched book. It was even well written, a little dry, but not overbearingly so. It stated the facts and gave you a bit of a personality insight into each of the key players without taking too many liberties.

This book really wasn’t my thing. Partly because although it was great that it didn’t take liberties, I actually wanted a little more drama to the story. There was nothing to inspire me to keep reading.

And then there’s the fact that I actually have zero interest in maritime history. So, maybe not the best book for me to try and read in hindsight, but still 1uite interesting.

<- The Happiest RefugeeZlata’s Diary ->

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Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Amazon.com: Moby-Dick (Word Cloud Classics) (9781626860575): Melville,  Herman: Books

Title: Moby-Dick
Author: Herman Melville
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Oceans
Dates read: 5th – 22nd October 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1851
5th sentence, 74th page: When Bildad was a chief mate, to have his drab-coloured eye intently looking at you, made you feel completely nervous, till you could clutch something – a hammer or marlingspike, and go to work like mad, at something or other, never mind what.

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“Call me Ishmael” is the iconic opening line of Herman Melville’s classic American novel, Moby-Dick. Ishmael is a seaman aboard the whaling vessel, Pequod, under the vengeful captain, Ahab. Maniacally seeking retribution from the great white sperm whale called Moby-Dick–the whale responsible for the captain’s missing leg–Ahab leads the crew on a quest to kill the infamous beast. A fictional work based on actual events, Moby-Dick is a classic that has been enjoyed for generations, and it’s now available as part of the Word Cloud Classic series, making it a stylish and affordable addition to any library.


I can totally see why this is such a well-known classic. It was a very enjoyable and intense story. And, even though I only gave it 3 stars, I would totally read it again. I felt like throughout this I was actually missing quite a bit… so I would actually quite enjoy re-reading this and picking up on all of the bits and pieces that I missed. Actually, I think that this is one of those stories, that no matter how many times you read it… you’ll always find something new to the story that you just didn’t notice before.

There was a heck of a lot of symbolism throughout this story. More than my puny little brain seemed to be able to comprehend if I’m being honest… although, most of the symbolism that I felt I was picking up on was very homosexual in nature… I’m not sure if that was just the mood I was in though. Or the simple fact that the Whale is a sperm whale (I mean, queue the jokes here).

This isn’t a feel good, comfortable story. At all. Which is probably why I did enjoy it and am likely to reread this. I’m not necessarily big on stories which are all sunshine and lollipops every time I open a book. And at the time of reading this, I was finding that there were a few too many happy, happy stories on my TBR. This was a really good break from that – I loved the discomfort that it left you with.

This may not be my favourite classic. But it was an enjoyable one. It was pleasant and fun, and I can’t wait to pick it up again in the future and learn more about all the parts of this story that I missed…

<- The Prince and Other TalesAnne of Green Gables ->

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Image result for twenty thousand leagues under the sea word cloud classic book cover

Title: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Author: Jules Verne
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Oceans, Science fiction
Dates read: 31st May – 3rd June 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1870
5th sentence, 74th page: I was in ecstasies with the vivacity of their movements and the beauty of their forms.

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French naturalist Dr. Aronnax embarks on an expedition to hunt down a sea monster, only to discover instead the Nautilus, a remarkable submarine built by the enigmatic Captain Nemo. Together Nemo and Aronnax explore the underwater marvels, undergo a transcendent experience amongst the ruins of Atlantis, and plant a black flag at the South Pole. But Nemo’s mission is one of revenge-and his methods coldly efficient.


This is one of those stories that you can read again and again and find something new and fun each and ever time. This first read I mostly just got an overall impression of amazing writing, in depth characterisation and vivid settings. Ones that I just couldn’t get out of my mind’s eye even after I turned the final page of the book.

There are some classics that are tedious in the extreme. Don’t get me wrong, you can understand why they’re a classic. But, they’re just long-winded and difficult to read. Verne still has a convoluted and beautiful way with words, but there is something so much more accessible about the way he uses them and twists the world around him. Something about the journey that you are swept away on that makes it really hard to look away. And, even though I absolutely know that I didn’t pick up on every small detail of the storyline, I still loved every moment. Every beautiful, meandering stop along the adventure.

One of the aspects of this writing that I loved the most was the fact that each chapter was its own adventure. There was a strong connection with what happened in the preceding section, but it functioned incredibly well by itself as well. It meant that although I found the novel hard to put down because of the amazingly talented writing, there were also pauses in which it felt feasible and logical to put aside to act like a real adult…

<- The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnThe Age of Innocence ->

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Flotsam by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Image result for the mammoth book of vampire romance 2 book cover

Title: Flotsam
Author: Caitlin R. Kiernan
In: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: OceansRomance
Dates read: 5th May 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: But it’s all the same, really, as I am hers to do with as she will, no strings attached, no farthest limits to my devotion; I made that promise the first night and have not yet regretted it.

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Sometimes we make promises that are hard to keep. Other times, it’s the easiest decision we’ve ever made.


I found this tale a little hard to get through. Which was a little weird when I considered that so far, I have loved every Kiernan short story that I’ve read. And then I realised that this entire story was a single block of text. No paragraphs or breaks of any kind. Just a big wall of sentences and text that reflected the vastness and overwhelming sense that the ocean provides.

There are so many ways in which the ocean is idolised and picturesque. Yet this story doesn’t really highlight that aspect of the vast horizon, rather it shows the idea that the ocean likes to take. As well as give. But, in the case of this story and partnership, it takes and hurts, and in some, weird, roundabout way, manages to make the giver feel more alive and vibrant. Makes them feel that they’re vital in ways they weren’t before.

 <- Love Bites ReviewThe Murder King’s Woman Review ->
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Beluga Days by Nancy Lord

Image result for book cover beluga days nancy lord

Title: Beluga Days
Author: Nancy Lord
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: The Coast, Conservation, Non-fiction, Oceans
Dates read: 25th February – 20th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: The Mountaineers Books
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: We headed for the bay, about ten miles from Anchorage, and found the whales, white backs rising, then disappearing.

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Living in the waters adjacent to the city of anchorage, the beluga whales of Cook Inlet, Alaska, once seemed countless. But after sharp declines, this isolated and genetically distinct population is now endangered.

Beluga Days brings to life coastal Alaska and the complex relationships that coalesce in a mad theater around the beluga whale crisis. In the company of regulators, environmentalists, researchers, businesspeople, whale lovers, and hunters, Nancy Lord explore the challenges of protecting whales and habitat while respecting Alaska Native traditions.

First published in 2004, Lord’s timeless story is part personal journey and part inquiry into the processes of science and politics. Today, the Cook Inlet beluga population has begun a slow recovery, assisted by the protection of the Endangered Species Act and increased public awareness.


It took me a little while to get through this novel. Not because it wasn’t incredibly interesting and fun, but because it is a great, easy read. You can read a chapter, put it down, and then pick it up a week or two later. There is so much information in this novel that my head is still reeling from it hours after I have turned the last page.

Most of the books I read around conservation are about grass roots efforts to save an animal, species or landscape. This was a little more formal in the outlook. Where many of these journeys are an incredibly personal anecdote that is incredibly difficult to put down, this was filled with information about the bureaucracy, politics and many different peoples who are directly involved in the lives and livelihoods of the Cook Inlet Belugas.

I know next to nothing about Belugas. They’re not a species of whale that happens to be anywhere near Australia. And I honestly don’t read many books about marine animals – my area of obsession tends towards the terrestrial animals. So not only was I finding out amazing amounts of information about this cutely funny looking mammal, but I was also finding out a lot of information about the ecosystem in which they live and the society which surrounds its shores. One of the parts I loved about this book was that it investigates all of the different stakeholders in the health and safety of the Cook Inlet Belugas. This starts with Lord discussing her own insight into these whales and her own experiences in finding out more and more about their endangered status. Then she starts to delve into the scientific practices of research and understanding. Following this, the politics and requirements of the legislation in protection are investigated. And, finally, to round everything off beautifully, the needs and wants of Native Americans are talked about. By discussing every single angle of the debate, Lord is able to provide a uniquely diverse and well thought out discussion of just what the Cook Inlet Belugas are facing, and just how they might be saved.

 <- Why I Live at the Natural History Museum ReviewThe Compass Inside Ourselves Review ->
Image source: Nancy Lord

Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill

Image result for book cover aquicorn cove katie o'neill

Title: Aquicorn Cove
Author: Kay O’Neill
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Graphic novels, Oceans
Dates read: 7th April 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Graphic novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: I’ve heard all about you and your mother.

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From Eisner Award-nominated author of The Tea Dragon Society and Princess Princess Ever After comes Aquicorn Cove, a heartfelt story about learning to be a guardian to yourself and those you love.

When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a big storm, Lana remembers how much she’s missed the ocean – and the strong, reassuring presence of her aunt. As Lana explores the familiar beach, she discovers something incredible: a colony of Aquicorns, small magical seahore-like creatures that live in the coral reef. Lana rescues an injured aquicorn and cares for it with the help of her aunt, who may know more about these strange creatures than she’s willing to admit. When a second storm threatens to reach the town, choices made many years ago about how to coexist with the sea start to rise to the surface. Lana realizes she will need to find the strength to stand on her own, even when it means standing up to the people who she has always relied on to protect her.


This is the last of the Katie O’Neill graphic novels on my shelf. And I put off reading it a little… just because I have completely fallen in love with this woman and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. And now that I have… I feel both intensely happy and a little disappointed at the same time.

I’m Australia, so anything to do with the beach and the coast seems to be integral to our culture. Even though I don’t really like swimming in the ocean, I have that same fascination and need to protect this beautiful ecosystem. So it’s really nice to know that O’Neill feels the same way. Especially about coral reefs which feature so strongly in this great little tale.

Not only does Aquicorn Cove deal with the importance of conserving and protecting our aquatic environment, it’s also about moving on and dealing with grief. Lana has lost her mother and moved away from the home that she has always known and loved. This combination of storylines had the same impact as Princess Princess Ever After and The Tea Dragon Society. There is such a beautiful hope and love throughout the storyline.

This is a must have for any bookshelf. Regardless of what your preference is, it is such a cute, sweet easy and inspiring story. Accompanied by some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve seen for a while.

 <- The Tea Dragon Society ReviewPrincess Princess Ever After Review ->
Image source: Simon & Schuster