Saturday, October 31, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: I Survived Midterms! (and the flu)

What's New:
I officially survived midterms! I have written and handed in five papers and one project in the last two weeks and I have not keeled over or pulled my hair out! I also survived the flu in the midst of all this academia, so that is why things have been a little slow and unorganized here on the blog.

But, I'm looking forward to getting caught up on comments and reading my favorite blogs and hopefully I will be able to get back to reading now that things have slowed down!

I have a lot of posts in mind to go along with the Classic's Club Women's Literature event I'm participating in, and I'm hoping to find the time to write them up soon, but for now, I need a break from any heavy writing.

What I read:

Not a whole lot again, still working on The Raven Boys and I am close to finishing The Lamplighter for class. I haven't had a lot of time or energy to sit down and read for a big chunk of time so I have also picked up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl whenever I have a few minutes.

What I Bought:
Just one thing that my mom picked up for me! One good thing about all the papers is that it doesn't leave me any time to buy or shop for books!
Snake Bite by Andrew Lane number five in the Young Sherlock Holmes series
This series is a lot of fun, and I highly recommend you check it out! 
What I Posted:
Tuesday- TTT: Mysterious Novels Recommendations
Wednesday- I reviewed In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (perfect Halloween read)
Thursday- I posted my TBR for the Classic's Club Women's Literature Event 
Friday- I did another post in my Which Adaptation is Right for You? series, this one on Jane Eyre

Last Week's Wrap-Up (short and sweet)

What's Next: 
I'm hoping to have some more posts up for the Classic's Club Women's Literature Event this week in the form of a poetry spotlight and a list of recommendations. I have a lot of posts I really want to do for the event, I just need to find time to write them up. I'm really excited about this event and I really hope you join in!

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: Tynga's Reviews
The Sunday Post Hosted by: The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Friday, October 30, 2015

Which Adaptation is Right for You?-- Jane Eyre

It's always exciting to finish a book you've been meaning to read forever just so you can watch the adaptations! But sometimes the adaptation options can be overwhelming. So, with this series I'm hoping I will be able to assist in finding the right adaptation for you, whether you have read the book or not. 

Previous Posts:
Pride and Prejudice
Romeo and Juliet

Will humankind ever get an adaptation of Jane Eyre right? It's not looking that way, at least not in film form. Today I've got two film versions of Jane's story to discuss, but I'm not really happy with either honestly. Film versions tend to minimize Jane's character and resilience and focus solely on the romance between her and Mr. Rochester.

Now, there are a lot of adaptions that I have not watched yet, so please let me know which is your favorite so I can check it out. Is there any good mini-series adaptations of  Jane Eyre? Let me know!

Jane Eyre- 1996
William Hurt as Mr. Rochester
Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane Eyre
Anna Paquin as child Jane Eyre
Release Date: 1996
Running Time: 112 minutes

This film was just okay. It has the look of a film made in the 90's, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for me, but I know some people can be bothered by it.

One thing that I did like about this film was the casting. The characters were not romanticized in this version. Jane is rather plain and timid. Mr. Rochester is obviously much older than Jane and is not what would typically be considered handsome. His ruggedness and rudeness comes across in this version more so than the next version.

Because the film is so short, a lot of Jane's life without Rochester is rushed. Her girlhood is a little rushed, but the time in between her leaving Mr. Rochester and the events at the end of the of the novel is almost non-existent. St. John Rivers and Jane Eyre are bffs when they live together after she flees Thornfield and Jane and Mr. Rochester's separation lasts about five minutes in the movie.

Jane Eyre

Mr. Rochester

Young Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre- 2011 
Staring: Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre
Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester
Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfox
Jamie Bell as St. John Rivers
Release Date: 2011
Running Time: 2 hours and 1 minute

This film is very visually stunning. The scenery is very typical of a period drama, and there is a lot of wide angle shots. This one has a more modern feel in the way it is shot and looks.

The casting is romanticized. Michael Fassbender is incredibly attractive and not nearly old enough to be Mr. Rochester, but he gets away with it. Wasikowska is great as Jane, but she has a very distinct look, where Jane is meant to be more plain.

I watched this one with my mom who had not read the book, and she had some questions regarding the plot and characters because it leaves a lot out of the plot. Of course the romance is the focus again in this one. But I found this one to be my favorite of the two. Jane seems a little more like her feisty self in this one. If I were to rewatch one of the two, I would pick this one, it's not perfect, but it is quite enjoyable.

Jane and Thornfield Hall

Mr. Rochester

Jane and Mr. Rochester

Overall, I would give both of these films a 3/5 rating, but they are still worth watching if you are in the mood for the story of Jane Eyre but don't want to commit to rereading the book.

Those who haven't read the book: Jane Eyre- 1996
Jane Eyre Pros: Jane Eyre- 2011 

And please, leave me your recommendations for adaptations of this novel in the comments so I can continue my search for a satisfying adaptation.  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Classics Club Women's Literature Event: Reading List

The past two weeks have been a little crazy, I had five papers due in a two week span, and I came down with the flu this past weekend so I'm a little bit behind. But I'm back today finally with my reading list for the Women's Classic Literature Event! I made a list of all the classics I own by women and it was much longer than I expected. I decided to make a list of my top fifteen or so priority reads from what I own, and if I read them all before the event is over, I will make a new list...but let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

You can read my announcement post and survey answers here!
So, here are fifteen books I'm hoping to read for this event:

A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792 (essay)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte, 1848
The Lamplighter, Maria Susana Cummings, 1854 (currently reading)
Silly Novels by Lady Novelists, George Elliot, 1856 (essay)
The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1892 (short stories)
The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton, 1905
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf, 1927
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier, 1938 
Gigi and The Cat, Colette, 1944 (novellas)
The Heat of the Day, Elizabeth Bowen, 1948
The Collected Poems of Dorthy Parker, 1940's-1950's (Poetry)
The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath, 1956-1963 (Poetry)
Memoirs of a Beatnik, Diana di Prima, 1969 (Memoir)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou, 1969 (Memoir)
Beloved, Toni Morrison, 1988 

I'm pretty happy with the diversity of this list. I have some short stories, novels, essays, memoirs, and poems. I have a lot of 20th century classics, but I have a mix of older classics too. I will of course be blogging about works previously read that are not on this list, as well as these works. I'm really looking forward to sharing the love for some amazing female authors. 

So, let me know which of these you have read and what you thought. And let me know what you are reading for the event so I can add to my TBR! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Recently Read: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Author: Cat Winters
Genre: Young Adult/ Paranormal Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 387
Rating: 5/5

Add on Goodreads

Also by Cat Winters:
The Cure for Dreaming 

Mary Shelley Black is named after, you guessed it, the author of Frankenstein. She is living in America during the Spanish Flu of 1918 and WWI; the country is paranoid about spies and germs and no one rests easy. After her father is arrested for voicing his political opinion Mary Shelly is sent to live with her young widowed aunt where she is reunited with her childhood crush Steven and his older brother who is a spirit photographer claiming to capture spirits of the dead in the photographs of loved ones. Mary Shelley doesn't believe in spirit photography, she prefers science, but events begin to change her mind.

First of all, I love Cat Winters' novels. She is so great at paranormal historical fiction, and this novel along with The Cure for Dreaming weaves in old photographs into the story that really add to the creepy atmosphere of the novel. The second thing I love about Cat Winters is the way she writes young female characters that defy their time-period and seek independence. Mary Shelley is a young woman interested in science, something quite uncommon and frowned upon by 1918 standards. She is outspoken and never shy about voicing her opinion. 

This book was actually much darker and more emotional than I expected it to be. The added element of WWI and Mary Shelley's childhood crush going off to war added a depth of emotion to the creepy elements of the story. I think I would go as far as to say that I liked this one more than The Cure for Dreaming which is saying a lot. I loved the science elements and how they mixed with the spiritual elements of the novel. I loved the part where Mary Shelley goes to the library and reads poems and first hand accounts of the war (naturally) and I loved the photographs chosen for this novel.    

This is a perfect Halloween read for those who like historical fiction or paranormal. Winters builds the terrified and death-filled atmosphere of 1918 America perfectly, and the mystery element of the plot is quite intense and hard to put down. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday:Fall Mystery Recommendations: What to Read After Your Spooky Stories

I'm not the biggest fan of spooky. I'm a chicken. I do enjoy reading magical and paranormal books around Halloween, but what are you supposed to read after all those spooky books when you're still in the mood for a fall book? Well I always lean towards a mystery. I love curling up with a good mystery on a fall Saturday, and all these books have an element of mystery to them. 


1. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
King is great at magical realism, and it's perfectly done in this YA contemporary. I love how the lines between reality and dreams gets blurred in this novel, and I love the message behind the novel too. 

2. Sherlock Holmes stories and novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I LOVE reading or listening to Holmes during the fall and winter months! There is something so cozy about Holmes' smarts and Watson's loyalty. My favorite stories include: The Red Head League, The Sign of Four, and A Scandal in Bohemia.

3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Christie is the Queen of mystery. This one was so fast paced and addicting, I didn't want to stop reading until I finished it! I really need to pick up more of her mysteries, but this is a great place to start.  


4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
This book is absolutely perfect for fall. It's a book-lovers heaven, it has it all: mystery, old books, a historical setting, suspense, romance, and loveable characters. 

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
If you read this book, you must read it on fall stormy nights. The atmosphere of this novel pairs so well with fall, and the ghosts give it a little touch of creepy. I know this novel gets a bad rep. but it's worth a try, trust me.

6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Every time the weather gets cold, I have the urge to reread Jane Eyre. The Brontes are made for fall reading. 


7. Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
The suspense and magic in this one makes it a perfect fall read. This is one of my all-time favorite novels and I can't recommend it highly enough. 

8. Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
This is a book you will want to read in one sitting. It's so suspenseful, there is no way you will be able to put it down until you've finished. 

9. The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
This is another great mystery for book-lovers, and a great nod to Sherlock Holmes and his fans.
10. Tracks by Louis Edrich 
This one takes place in the fall and winter quite a bit, and the magical realism elements again put me in mind of the fall-time. Edrich is a really great author who writes about Native American culture and characters, and I highly recommend this one by her. 

Leave me your link below! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: Short and Sweet

What's New:
This week was extremely busy with writing papers and filling out school related paperwork, so I didn't do much of anything outside of school, and laying in bed avoiding school.

This wrap-up is going to be pretty short and sweet because there's not a lot to report. I'm hoping that things will get back to normal within the next few weeks and I will have a little more time to read and blog.

What I Read:
I've been continuing The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, but haven't made much progress this week. So far, this book has a lot of potential though! I'm enjoying what I have read.

What I Bought:
Nothing this week!

What I Posted:
Monday- I reviewed Austen's Sense and Sensibility
Tuesday- I made a wish-list for the Book Genie
Wednesday- was a Theme Spotlight on Family Relationships

Last Week's Wrap-Up (with a big Book Outlet Haul)

What's Next: 
I was only able to post three times this week, so I have some ideas stored up that I didn't have time to get to that I'm hoping to get out next week!

Monday- In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters review
Tuesday- Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday- I'll be discussing what I want to read for the Classic's Club Women's Literature event
Thursday- Which Adaptation is right for You? Jane Eyre

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: Tyngas Reviews
The Sunday Post Hosted by:The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Theme Spotlight: Family Relationships

I've rounded up some more reads for another Theme Spotlight. This one is all about family. I've broken this list into two categories: sibling relationships and whole family relationships.

Previous Theme Spotlights:
Gender in YA
Spirituality in Classics
Unique Form

Sibling Relationships
This is one of my favorite books I have read all year, and it is one of my favorite sibling relationships I have ever read. Jude and Noah are twins who have been torn apart by hurtful words and actions, and the novel tells the story of their breaking apart and coming back together. If you have not read this yet, please do.  

 This is a free verse novel about conjoined twins. It's super interesting and addicting- I read the whole novel in one sitting- I couldn't put it down. This is a really unique sibling dynamic and a really unique YA novel. I highly recommend checking this one out.

Marianne and Elinor are a very well-known pair of classic sisters. I love the way Austen contrasts these two opposite sisters and makes their relationship the focus of the novel rather a romantic relationship. I love Austen's humor and wit!  

Family Relationships
 This book is really great. I love Nelson's writing and the way she tackles family relationships. The relationships in this novel are so realistic, and Nelson captures the little unique aspects about a family perfectly. This one is about Lenny who is dealing with the death of her older sister, and it's both heartbreaking and beautiful.

This is an adult novel that has gotten a lot of buzz since it's publication and rightly so. This one tells the story of a mixed American- Chinese family living in Ohio in the 1970's dealing with the death of their daughter/sister. I love how it tells the story of the parents relationship, the two siblings lives, and the life of the dead sister. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Genie, I Wish for These Books

Toady I bring you my book Christmas list! I would ask the book genie (AKA my mother) for these lovely, overpriced and/or hard to find books. I have been eyeing some of these for a very long time; some have been on my Book Depository wishlist for as long as I can remember. Which ones are worth the splurge? 

1. Texts From Jane Eyre by
I love the idea of books that make jokes about classics, this one sounds really cute.

2. Hark! a Vagrant by Kate Beaton  
Another book that makes classic lit. jokes, I have heard great things about this one, plus Beaton just came out with a second book.
3. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater 
This one is not really a splurge, just a need. I'm reading The Raven Boys right now and I'm going to need the next two books ASAP.
4. The Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery 
I owned this whole series at one time, but got rid of it. So naturally I desperately want to read it now. I have never read anything by Montgomery and this is the natural place to start.

5. Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes 
We all know I love poetry, but I have been hesitant to pick up any Hughes for a while. I'm a huge Plath fan and his actions just don't sit right with me, and I'm infinity bothered by the fact that he had control over all of her works after her death and controlled what was published and how. But I have heard some great things about his works, and I think it will be cool to read both Plath and Hughes as they almost addressed each other in their works sometimes.  
6. Watership Down by Richard 
I've been really interested in this children's classic for a couple of years now. I really love this anniversary edition by Penguin.
7. Orlando by Virginia Woolf 
I really need to read more Woolf, and this one sounds so interesting. I haven't been able to find an edition of it that I love in person, but I do love this Penguin Modern Classics edition. If only Penguin was easier to get a hold of in the States, sigh.

8. The Big Sleep and other stories by Raymond Chandler
Same predicament as above. I have watched and loved this movie, and this read is something a little out of my comfort zone, but I really want to read some Chandler.
9. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I can't find any editions of this in the US, but the Brits love this one. It's a coming of age story about a girl who lives in an old castle.

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Recently Read: Sense and Sensibility

Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Classic
Publication Date: 18
Page Count: 363
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

Also by Jane Austen:
Pride and Prejudice

Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are sisters and the best of companions. After the death of their father they find themselves, their mother, and their youngest sister forced to move out of the family home. The two sisters who couldn't more opposite fall in love and face heartbreak in very similar ways, yet handle it completely differently. 

I'm sure we are all well aware of my love and respect for Austen by now, so I will skip all of the praise of her wit and mastery of the subtle and go straight to my thoughts on the novel. 

I loved both Elinor and Marianne in this novel. Elinor is older, composed, quiet and keeps her emotions to herself. Marianne is young, a little wild, and very open about her thoughts and feelings. I loved how Austen put both sisters through very similar circumstances that they handled in completely opposite fashions. I also loved the sister dynamic these two had. They would really do anything for the other one, and always stuck by each other's side. Another thing I enjoyed about this novel was the lack of focus on the love interests. In this novel the love interests were a little unlikable in some cases and flat in other cases, which was fine with me because it left all of the focus on the two Dashwood sisters and their relationship with each other. 

This novel was funny, I found myself laughing out loud a few times, and relating to both sisters at different times in the novel. I'm dreading the day that I run out of Austen novels to read for the first time, but I also can't wait to reread them all. If you haven't picked up Austen yet, please do. 

This is the only Austen novel that I have given four stars instead of five, and that was simply because I thought the end of the novel was a bit rushed. Austen usually has a pretty quick, happy wrap-up but this one was just a little too quick for me. Regardless I still loved the novel, and I loved that this one had a focus outside of the romance. 

Of course, I have a few adaptions in mind that I want to watch after finishing this one, and I will be reporting back on those.      

Leave me your Austen recommendations (adaptions, biographies, fictional novels about her, retellings etc.) I want to consume them all!  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: Book Outlet Order

What's New:
School continues to dominate my life. This upcoming week is midterms week so I have exams and papers up the wahzoo, but hopefully things will slow down a little bit after that.

I have found a project that has reignited my excitement for reading and blogging: The Classics Club's Women's Literature Event. My survey answers are linked down below in the "What I Posted" section if you are interested to hear more about my plans for the event. I will be making a list of classics I own by woman very soon on the blog, so stay tuned for that. I hope you will join in this event, and if you do, please let me know so I can follow your progress!

What I Read:
This week I read (and loved) In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. I love Winters' novels, and this was her debut. I might have even liked this one better than The Cure for Dreaming (shocking, I know.) and I am hoping to start The Raven Boys right after typing up this post! I have been meaning to start this one forever, and I have really high hopes for it!


What I Bought: 
The Bookoutlet order that I made a week or two ago came in. Bookoutlet is both a blessing and a curse. I got some really great deals on these books, but I really didn't need more unread books. But anyways, here's what I bought.

Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz and In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks


Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth and Among Others by Jo Walton

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas and Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan

Miss Emily by Nuala O' Connor 

What I Posted:
Monday- I reviewed One by Sarah Crossan, a really interesting free verse novel about conjoined twins.
Tuesday- I talked about Author Team-Ups I dream about
Wednesday- I posted my Survey Answers for the Classics Club Women's Literature Event
Thursday- I posted a Recently Watched on the 2009 BBC Tess of the D'urbervilles mini-series

Last Week's Wrap-Up  (It was a rough week, but I bought some books to make myself feel better)

What's Next: 
I will be reviewing Sense and Sensibility on Monday, but the rest of the week beyond that is a mystery. Hopefully I will have some time/motivation to write some posts this weekend or early this week, but I have a lot of paper writing to do.

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: Tyngas Reviews
The Sunday Post Hosted by: The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

How was your week? What have you bought lately?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Recently Watched: Tess of the D'urbervilles

Previous Recently Watched: 

Produced by the BBC
Consists of four sixty minute episodes
Staring Gemma Arteton, Eddie Redmayne, and, Hans Mathenson

I read Tess (review here) last month and enjoyed it. I was motivated to pick it up since I received the newest BBC mini-series adaptation for Christmas last year. I love everything the BBC puts out, and once again this BBC production was great. 

The Casting was perfect, Gemma Arteton makes such a beautiful Tess, and Eddie Redmayne was adorable as Angel. The scenery was gorgeous, and the acting was great. 

Watching the story of Tess was a different experience than reading it. Without all of the wordiness of Hardy's prose to distract from the story, the plot took center stage. I was much more infuriated with the ill-treatment that Tess receives in the mini-series than in the book because the prose was not there to soften the tragedy that befolds Tess. This story is not a happy one by any means, and what happened to Tess still happens today. This book is still bringing up the same conversations it brought up when it was first published.

The treatment that Tess receives from men in this story is shocking and repulsive; at one point in the novel she actually covers herself with dirt and cuts her eyebrows as to make men stop looking at her as she sees them all as a threat to her personal safety. I don't like anyone in this story besides Tess, and perhaps Liza Lou, and this screen adaptation really cemented just how doomed Tess was from the start. 

I recommend watching this if you have read the novel, as it might give you new thoughts on the story as it gave me, and it is a beautiful adaptation (plus, Eddie Redmanye does a couple bare butt shots. so there's that.) 

Let me know if you have any other adaptations of Tess that you have seen, or any other BBC adaptations I need to watch!