Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Poolside Reads

I love reading by the pool during the summer! My family home has a pool in the backyard that we have had since I was in first grade so pool-side reading has been a staple for me for a long time. I have certain genres that I love to read by the pool, so I thought I would share some of the books from these genres on my TBR for this summer.
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish


1. Anything by Agatha Christie- I love reading mysteries in the sun, and Christie is the Queen of Mystery. I've loved all the Christie I have read so far so I am eager to read more.
2. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron I'm really excited to start this mystery series where Jane Austen solves mysteries.
3. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde- This literary based mystery looks like a lot of fun; I have heard lots of great things about Fforde.


4. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Byrson- Nonfiction is another of my favorite pool-side reads, particularly outdoorsy and nature inspire non-fiction like Bryson's novels. This will be my first Byrson and I'm excited to see what all the hype is about.
5. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer- This nonfiction classic has been on my TBR forever, I would love to cross it off by the pool this summer.
6. Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane Di Prima- I will be starting this one really soon. It's on my Classics Club Women's Literature Event TBR and I love the Beatnik movement. I'm eager to learn more about women in the movement as they were somewhat of a rarity and faced discrimination.

Young Adult

7. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas- I have heard that this YA thriller is supper addtictive, perfect for a pool read.
8. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski- I need to finsih this trilogy and the other two books were fast paced and sucked me in so I expect this one to as well.
9. These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelley Zekas- I think this one will be a fast and light read.

Graphic Novels

10. Comics!- I am on a comic book kick this summer; I plan to read as many as I can. Right now I have tons of Robin and Wonder Woman to read.

What are your favorite genres to read by the pool, on the beach. or even on your couch in the summer?
Side note: does anyone else miss Mad Men as much as I do?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Recently Read: Robin Archive Vol. 1

Author: Various
Genre: Comic Collection
Page Count: 236
Publication Date: 2005
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

While at Comic Con (post on that here) I picked up this hardcover Robin Archives for five bucks on a whim. I had never read any Robin comics, but since this is volume one, it starts with Robin's very first solo comic appearance, which I thought sounded fun. I have been in a huge comic reading mood lately so this fit the bill. 

I really loved reading through this collection. The stories are so entertaining and cheesy, making them fun and fast reads. I loved seeing Robin beat Nazi hold-outs and battle for the safety of the Atomic Bomb (which also got my wheels spinning thinking about who Americans place as the villains in our stories over and over again through out time; spoiler alert: it's the Germans and Russians.) Some of the reviews of this collection are so critical and accuse Robin of being cheesy which to me is a big fat DUH! His comics started in the late 40's when all the comics were cheesy, and that's what makes them fun. I think people can be too critical of comics, which to me are meant firstly to entertain more so than contain a lot of substance, an issue is only twenty pages long for gosh sakes! 

I love the way the original comic book colors are preserved in this new version, and I have my eye out for more of these Archive editions because they are a really fun way to gain comic experience and enjoy the original story lines of these heroes. This was a perfect read to pick up while sitting in the sun or when I only had a short amount of time to dedicate to reading. These would be great for semester reading. 

Leave me your comic recommendations and thoughts!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up: Holiday Weekend

What's New:
This weekend is a long holiday weekend with Monday being Memorial Day, so I have a lot of plans to relax and hopefully read. I have been trying to get into some-what of a schedule for the summer but it's been a bit of struggle.

What I Read:
This week I read Robin Archive vol. 1 which I thought was a lot of fun and Paula McLain's Circling the Sun which I also really enjoyed (reviews coming next week.) McLain has become an auto-buy author for me as I have loved both of her historical fiction novels I have read so far. I am currently reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater and am totally sucked in. I will be following it up with The Raven King of course and I'm excited to see how this series ends and sad to see it finished.


What I Bought:
I didn't buy any books this week, but Out of Print was having their annual buy one get one free sale on their book t-shirts so of course I picked two up. If you have never checked out this site, please do (link is above); you will love it! I ended up ordering a Frankenstein t-shirt because I love this novel and have been working so closely with it this past semester and an On the Road t-shirt, another novel that I love. I love everything on this site! I have my eye on some of their socks next.

What I Posted:
Monday-Newest Favorite Poetry Discoveries
Wednesday-1 A.M. Discussion Post: Do You Feel Library Guilt?-- Let me know your thoughts here guys
Thursday-Her Treasures Poetry Collection Review

Last Week's Wrap-Up feat. Comic Con Loot Post

What's Next: 
I have two reviews, a Top Ten Tuesday, and possibly a tag planned for next week, which means I better get busy writing posts this weekend! Have a good holiday if you are in the States!

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: tyngasreviews.com
The Sunday Post Hosted by: http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Recently Read: Her Treasures

Author: Fida Islaih
Genre: Poetry
Publication Date: 2015
Page Count: 64
Rating: 3.5/5

Add on Goodreads

I was provided a copy of this poetry collection by the author in 
exchange for an honest review. 

It's no secret that I love poetry as I talk about it on the blog all the time, and I have also mentioned my desire to get into some modern poetry and poets as that is an area of poetry that I know very little about, so when Fida contacted me about her poetry collection I said yes of course. 

This collection was really unique. It almost reads as a travel diary in poetic form in the first section, and the moves to thoughts on war, and finally personal loves of the author. This collection contains the authors experiences and thoughts about her culture, heritage, and travels to Malaysia. I really enjoyed the topics of this collection. It felt both personal and thoughtful and allowed me to experience a new point of view.

The collection is broken into five large sections with smaller poems within them which made for fast and engaging reading. My favorite poem in the collection was the second section which deals with war and foreign invasion. The voice in this poem is particularly powerful.

This collection covers a wide range of themes and topics from Islamic culture, travel, war, and the joys or reading and writing. If you are new to modern poetry like myself, I think this is a really great collection to start out with, but I think you will enjoy it if you are a modern poetry buff as well. This collection was a quick and enjoyable bit of poetry to add into my day.

P.S. you can visit Fida's blog here

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

1: A.M. Post: Do You Feel Library Guilt? Reading My Books vs. Library Books

I'm home for the summer, which means I am six minutes away from my local library again and I have more time to read. This is great and also stressful. Let me explain; I love my library and I especially love to get graphic novels from my library as they are so expensive to own, but I also own a stack of unread books that is at least twice as tall as I am. Therefore, when I go to the library and check out a book or get an ebook from my library's catalog and read it, I am not reading one of the books belonging to the aforementioned stack.

Because of this, I can feel guilty and stressed while reading books from the library, particularly if I take a while to read them, because that means I'm not reducing my TBR pile of books that I paid for. Now, I buy a lot of my books used or discounted, but I still spent money on them and they still take up physical space in my room and are a physical reminder that I'm not reading them every time I look at them (which is quite often.)

I love my library and really like to take advantage of being so close to it while I'm staying at my parents house, but I also really want to reduce the number of unread books I own. I think part of the problem is that as a college student, summer is the only time I can really read material of my own choosing, so I try to cram in as much reading as I can which also causes stress and probably causes me to read less.

Basically, my overthinking brain is making something fun and recreational into a chore and a stressful event, which is not what I want. This summer, I'm going to just read freely from my own shelves and my libraries shelves. A good book is a blessing no matter where it came from, and I love supporting my local library.
Me reading everything and not caring where it came from

Do you guys feel this way about borrowing from the library? Do you ever feel guilty about not reading books you already own? Help me out here and tell me I'm not alone.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Newest Favorite Poetry Discoveries

If you guys have been here before than you know that I LOVE poetry. This semester I took my last literature course for my degree (Modern British Literature) and while that makes me a little happy and sad at the same time, I found some really great new poems through this class. We spent a lot of time on the Romantic period, something that I did not have much experience with before hand, and then moved on through to the modern short story. Here's a few of my favorite poems from the class.

I have linked you to the poems, so just click on them to read them.

Romantic Era
"Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth
"Frost at Midnight" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
These two are great examples of the nature imagery and love of nature that dominated Romantic poetry as well as nature's connection to humanity.

"Written in the Churchyard in Middleton in Sussex" by Charlotte Smith
This one is quite a haunting look at nature and humanity's connection.

"They" by Siegfried Sassoon
"Glory of Women" by Siegfried Sassoon
WWI has inspired some of the greatest poems of all time, and I will be adding these to my favorite war poems. Both are so bitter, biting, and question the morals and presumptions of the most powerful nations in the world.

"The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats
"September 1, 1939" by W.H. Auden
Modernism is really interesting and complicated. I would love to tackle it in a Literary Look post soon because I want to learn more about it myself. These two poems deal with the inevitable doom of humanity and the world, which is always a great topic for poetry. Sept. 1, 1939 is the day that Hitler invaded Poland, that's information you will need before reading that poem.

As always, I would love for you to recommend me some of your favorite poems.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up: Back to Blogging!

What's New:
I'm finally back to blogging and reading after the busiest semester ever! I've got lots of blogging and reading plans for the summer, and I'm loving getting back into the swing of things. The weather is warming up and I can't wait for the sun to be permanently out. This past weekend, I attended my third Comic Con (a post with details and my loot is linked below) and that was a lot of fun. It really reignited my love of comic books and put me in the mood for comics and graphic novels. Let me know some of your favorite comics and graphic novels so I can add them to my list!

What I Read:
I haven't done much reading over the past few months, but I have done some reading since school has been out. It always takes me a couple of weeks to get into the reading groove after school lets out, so I'm hoping I will hit my groove soon!


I reread Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during the end of the semester because I needed something I could keep up with while going days at a time without reading it. I loved it of course and want to continue rereading the series. This past week, I started and finished Black Widow: Forever Red after watching Civil War. This one was a lot of fun and really fast paced. My review is linked below. I'm currently reading Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. I really enjoyed her debut novel The Paris Wife so I'm excited to get into this one.

New Books:
From the Library


What I Posted:
Reading and Life Update!
Reflections on Comic Con, Loot, and Reflections on Women in Comics
Next on my Watch List: Classic Movie Haul
Recently Read: Black Widow: Forever Red

What's Next: 
Next week I'll be sharing some of my new favorite poetry finds, posting my first Top Ten Tuesday in forever, and hopefully reviewing a poetry collection.

Which books top your summer reading list?

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Recently Read: Back Widow: Forever Red

Author: Margartet Stohl
Genre: Young Adult/ Super Hero/ Comic Character
Release Date: 2015
Page Count: 400
Rating: 3.5/5

Add on Goodreads

Natasha Romanoff is one of S.H.I.E.L.D's biggest names and deadliest assets, going by the name of Black Widow. Trained in the art of fighting, survival, and espionage as an orphan child in Russia, Natasha has joined the Avengers in an attempt to protect the world. When she hears word that Ivan the Strange, the man who abused and trained her in the Red Room is still alive and looking for her and another girl she saved from the Red Room years ago, Natasha is forced to attempt to save the girl and the world from the destruction of Ivan the Strange.     

I love Black Widow and have been dying for a Black Widow movie just like the rest of the world. I won't get into the sexism that's very obvious in the Marvel movie franchise, but I thought this book would help to fill the void a little for me, and it did. I thought this book was a lot of fun; it was fast paced and set up exactly like a Marvel movie. The book fit in with the already existing movie timeline, which I thought was a nice touch, and the characters were pretty true to their movie and comic book personalities. 

This is not a novel about Natasha's origin and transition into the Black Widow, which is kind of a bummer, as I would have loved to read that. However, I did enjoy the other two main characters who are teens, Ava and Alex. I also really loved the parts of the novel set in Russia and it really made me want to do more research on Russia and their traditions and legends because I love the dark twist they always have.

I thought Stohl did a really great job of capturing Natasha's personality and hard exterior for the novel. There was lots of action and kicking butt, which made the pace quick and exciting. I'm really excited about the events that took place at the end of the novel to set up the sequel, and I will be picking it up for sure when it comes out. This book wasn't mind-blowing by any means, but it was a lot of fun to read and just what I was in the mood for after seeing Civil War. 

I plan to pick up some Black Widow graphic novels or comics next, so let me know if you have any recommendations. I'm really glad to see the large number of female comic book characters that are getting their own YA novels, as that means someone has finally recognized that there is a willing and excited audience for female superheros.   

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Next Up on My Watch List: Classic Movie Haul

I have purchased quite a few new movies at great prices lately and I'm glad it's summer so I can finally watch more movies. If you have read any of my posts on movies before, than you know I love old movies and Leonardo DiCaprio and these purchases won't be surprising. Let me know if you have seen any of these and leave me your recommendations for movies you think I might like.

The Way We Were 1973
This one was mentioned on Gilmore Girls quite a few times, and I love Robert Redford so I'm really looking forward to this one. It's a love story, so I will have to wait until I'm in the mood for it.

The Maltese Falcon 1941 
I have been looking for an inexpensive copy of this one forever, so I was really happy to find it for a good price as a combo with another Humphrey Bogart movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Not too long ago I watched The Big Sleep and really enjoyed it so I have been wanting to watch more classic crime.  

The Barefoot Contessa 1954
Another classic Bogart mystery that I have yet to see. I know nothing about the plot of this one so it will be fun to go into it blindly. 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1958
I just watched Tennessee William's A Street Car Named Desire (brief thoughts here all the way at the bottom) and I enjoyed it. It was pretty thought provoking, and I'm thinking this one will be pretty similar because the main male and female characters sounds a lot like the characters in Street Car. I haven't read the original plays for either of these, but I would love to so I can compare them to the movies. 

The Beach 2000
I LOVE Leo, especially young Leo. I'm a little nervous for this one because I think it's a thriller and I don't usually go for thrillers, but I will sacrifice for the viewing pleasure that it 2000 Leo.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Reflections on Comic Con, Loot, and Reflections on Women in Comics

This past Saturday, I went to my third Comic Con which is always a lot of fun. If you aren't familiar with comic con, it's basically an event to celebrate all things fandom and comic. People dress up in amazing quality costumes, actors from T.V. shows and movies (usually minor actors and actresses at my state's comic con) sign autographs and take pictures with fans, people are selling comics and tshirts every where, and artists sell all kinds of art. The comic con in my state is much smaller than say the San Diego Comic Con, but it's still a lot of fun.

I thought I would show you what I picked up this year for art and comics because I'm pretty excited about my finds.
I got two small art pieces this year, both by the same artist. I was really excited to see this Ms. Marvel art, as this was the only time I had come across her on any art at the convention. Oddly enough, right before I saw this art, I saw an actual girl dressed up as Ms. Marvel and I was so happy to see that because I love this new series and the way women are represented in the comic. I was on the hunt for Wonder Woman art that day, but everything I saw was pretty generic and was just copies of original artwork, so I decided to go with this smaller piece until I found a larger one I really like in the future. I also picked up this metal Rey bookmark with a print of someone's original art, and I am soooo excited to use it in my next read!

These are the Wonder Woman comics I picked up (featuring my sleeping cat.) I used to read and buy comics all the time as a kid because my dad was (and still is to some extent) a huge comic collector, but it's been years since I have read one or picked one out. I just picked these up pretty randomly, I have no idea of their place in a bigger series or timeline, but I'm not really too worried about that as I'm just picking them up for fun. I would have loved to spend more time at the comic booths and get a ton more, and I think next year I will! These comics have quite a range of dates, and I would love to display the covers of a few of them because I love the art. I will be displaying the top right and bottom left corner covers for sure.
I also picked up this Robin collection in hardback for five dollars (the original price on the back is fifty dollars) with original comics from the late 40's. These should be a lot of fun to read, as the premise of some of them are so cheesy (for instance, the atom bomb gets stolen and must be recovered by Robin in one issue.)

Being at a comic convention made me do a lot of thinking about women in comics, particularly as I was skimming the cover of hundreds of Wonder Woman comics. Obviously male superheros dominated the comic selection, white, male superheros that is, and they also dominated the art work at the vendor booths, but many of the Wonder Woman comic covers were quite interesting to me. Even though Wonder Woman is the main hero of her comic series and kicks some major behind, many of the covers portrayed her at moments of weakness while fighting an opponent, I found that quite interesting when placed side-by-side with say Batman and Superman covers where they almost always appear to be concurring evil with minimal effort. I think comics have come a long way, and the New 52 does a great job with the woman characters, the ones I have read anyways, and that's really great to see. Here's a couple example covers that I saw at comic con and thought were quite interesting.
1968 Text bubble on both: "Next to these Wonder Men-- I'm not a Wonder Woman"

1975 bubble: "Take a look at your beautiful face Wonder Woman. In a moment, I'll have it."

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on women in comics, comics in general, (where do you buy them, do you read them in order, etc,) and Comic Con! I really want to start building a collection of recent comics in graphic novel form and older comics in single issues.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Reading Update, Life Update, Summer Plans, Oh My!

For the last few months of the semester I had ZERO time to do anything beside school so I took a little blogging break. I didn't stop reading, but my reading slowed down a lot. I thought I would just update you with the reading I've done in the past few months, the end of my semester, and some things I want to get up on the blog this summer. 

Reading Update:
So since my last review on the blog I've finished four things: a play, a middle grade novel for school, a murder mystery, and a reread. I'm way behind on my Goodreads challenge, so hopefully I can catch up this summer but I'm not too worried about it. 

I listened to Lady Windermere's Fan on audio while driving back to my apartment from my parents house and of course I loved it. I have written about my love for Oscar Wilde many times. This play is witty, laugh out loud funny, and a great social commentary. I highly recommend picking up one of Wilde's plays if you have not yet. I gave Lady Windermere's Fan 5/5.
I picked up The Opening Night Murder because I knew I needed something light I could read for ten minutes and then put down for two days because of school. This one takes place in the reconstructed Globe Theater and revolves around a single mother main character. This one started off a little slow with a lot of set up, but it was enjoyable and the characters were likeable so I didn't mind. I have another one in this series on my shelves that I might get to this summer. I gave this one 3/5.


I read One Crazy Summer for my teaching literature class and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the historical setting, 1968 America, and the Civil Rights themes in this one along with the humor and mother- daughter and sister relationships. Highly recommend you check this one out. I gave this one 4/5.
Lastly, I reread Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets because I have been itching to ever since reading the illustrated first novel in December. I picked this one up when I was feeling a little down and it was the perfect pick me up. I love these novels and it has been a very long time since I have reread them, particularly the first few in the series. I cannot put into words how excited I am for all of the illustrated editions coming out. Of course, this reread got 5/5
End of the Semester Chaos:
The end of the semester was packed with papers and projects and I am so glad to have it all done! If you remember earlier I mentioned I was writing a paper on women codebreakers in WWII at Bletchley Park (for more on these ladies see the interesting links post and interesting books post) and I am happy to say that my paper won the best 300-level history paper for the 2015-2016 academic school year! That was a really great honor and I loved studying this topic and learning more about these amazing women. I know I will be reading everything I can about them for the rest of my life. 
Summer Plans:
I am taking a summer class and have three certification tests to take this summer, so it will be a working summer for me. I'm still thinking (and hoping) that I will have lots of time to read and blog. I would like to get up an average of three posts a week, it's just a matter of me getting organized and scheduling ahead. I have lots of posts that I have been wanting to write up for ages but haven't had the time to. I want to get up more of my lengthy series posts including poetry spotlight and literary look, and of course I want to read and post more for the Classics Club's Women's Literature Event as I haven't had much time to do anything with that this semester. 

What have you guys been reading? Are you on summer break? How was the last few weeks of the semester for you?  Any posts you want to see?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Just Added (15)

It's been quite a while since I did a Just Added post so I thought I would catch you guys up on some of the newest additions to my TBR.

Just Added (14)
Just Added (13)

Bohemian Gospel by Dana Chamblee Carpenter 

Summary from Goodreads:

Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as Mouse, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Some call her a witch. Others call her an angel. Even Mouse doesn’t know who—or what—she is. But she means to find out.

When young King Ottakar shows up at the Abbey wounded by a traitor's arrow, Mouse breaks church law to save him and then agrees to accompany him back to Prague as his personal healer. Caught in the undertow of court politics at the castle, Ottakar and Mouse find themselves drawn to each other as they work to uncover the threat against him and to unravel the mystery of her past. But when Mouse's unusual gifts give rise to a violence and strength that surprise everyone—especially herself—she is forced to ask herself: Will she be prepared for the future that awaits her?

Why I added it: I really enjoy historical fiction and I was drown to the unique setting of this one. I don't read a lot of books that take place that far back in history so it will be a nice change of pace. 

Wicked Like Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Release date: 2017

No Cover Yet!

Summary from Goodreads:
All the women in the Iris and Malina's family are born with a gleam—a unique way of experiencing and manipulating beauty through magic. Seventeen-year-old Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, her twin sister Malina interprets moods as music, and their cold, distant mother bakes scenery into decadent treats at her confectionery in Old Town Cattaro. But when a mysterious, white-haired woman attacks their mother and leaves her hovering between life and death, the sisters must trace their way back to the ancient curse that haunts their line. To break the curse and save each other, the sisters must untangle a thousand years of lies and come to terms with their own secrets. Pitched as the sensory magic of The Night Circus meets the Eastern European flavors of Uprooted. 

Why I added it: This one sounds really magical and atmospheric. I really enjoyed The Night Circus which it's compared to, so I think I will enjoy this one too. I will be keeping my eye out for this one's cover. 

The Muse by Jessie Burton
Release Date: July 26, 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturistcomes a captivating and brilliantly realized story of two young women—a Caribbean immigrant in 1960s London, and a bohemian woman in 1930s Spain—and the powerful mystery that ties them together.

England, 1967. Odelle Bastien is a Caribbean émigré trying to make her way in London. When she starts working at the prestigious Skelton Art Gallery, she discovers a painting rumored to be the work of Isaac Robles, a young artist of immense talent and vision whose mysterious death has confounded the art world for decades. The excitement over the painting is matched by the intrigue around the conflicting stories of its discovery. Drawn into a complex web of secrets and deceptions, Odelle does not know what to believe or who she can trust, including her mesmerizing colleague, Marjorie Quick.

Spain, 1937. Olive Schloss, the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer and English heiress, follows her parents to Arazuelo, a poor, restless village on the southern coast. She grows close to Teresa, a young housekeeper, and her half-brother Isaac Robles, an idealistic and ambitious painter newly returned from the Barcelona salons. A dilettante buoyed by the revolutionary fervor that will soon erupt into civil war, Isaac dreams of being a painter as famous as his countryman, Picasso.

Raised in poverty, these illegitimate children of the local landowner revel in exploiting this wealthy Anglo-Austrian family. Insinuating themselves into the Schloss’s lives, Teresa and Isaac help Olive conceal her artistic talents with devastating consequences that will echo into the decades to come.

Why I added it: I haven't read Burton's first uber popular and praised historical fiction novel yet, but it's on my list too. This one sounds really interesting as well. I tend to enjoy historical fiction novels with two cross-over time periods and I love the sounds of the art world featured in this novel.