Posted in The Bookshelf

Adaptations: The Best, The Worst & The Promising.

Inspired by A Redhead’s Rambling’s post: Book to Big Screen: The Best and Worst Adaptations, today’s blog is all about book adaptations. I’m currently a little bit addicted to them and I know that in the bookish world they’re a subject that can really kick start a discussion. So I thought I’d share some of my opinions and I welcome you to share yours with me. Let’s get a conversation going and maybe we can all discover something new?

The Best Adaptations:

The Handmaid’s Tale

I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood quite a while ago now. It was a set text for my English A Level, however it’s a story that’s always stuck with me. So when I heard about them making a television series, I knew I was either going to love it or hate. Now, after watching the whole of series one, I can confirm I love it. There’s a spark of plausibility with The Handmaid’s Tale that gets right under my skin; it’s a feeling which I believe is a mixture of fear, disgust and just downright outrage. So when the show started to make me mad, I knew it was doing something right! I’ve heard they’re making a second series to The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m intrigued exactly where they’ll be taking that. I think I may need to give the book another read.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Controversially picking the Jim Carrey GIF for this one. However, I do feel the need to include both the movie and the Netflix series in this discussion.

Along with The Harry Potter Series, these books were my childhood. Their kooky, quirkiness was something I adored as a kid. I can still remember now the moment I discovered Jim Carrey was going to play Count Olaf. As soon as I read the words on my computer screen I jumped up from my chair and went running through the house to find my Mom and let her know the fantastic news! (I’m a huge Jim Carrey fan for those of you who are unaware. To discover that one of my favourite book series and my favourite actor were to be involved in the same project was like the best thing in life ever!) I believe I went to see that film in the cinema some where in the region of ten times. I owned all the Burger King toys, along with the PC game and the PS2 version, I even got a fringe cut like Violet’s and a Victorian style coat to match. I was a little bit obsessed. That movie holds many a quote that my mother and I still use in casual conversation that will always provoke a smile.I love it. In fact, for years I clung on to the hope that they’d one day do the rest of the series…

So when I first heard about the Netflix series, I did kind of try and ignore it’s existence in the hope that it would go away. However, with gentle persuasion from my boyfriend, I caved and watched it. I like the Netflix series, for all intent and purposes it was a fantastic adaptation that kept me hooked even though I knew the stories like the back of my hand. But I know deep in my heart that Jim Carrey will always be my Count Olaf.

 

The Harry Potter Series

I’m a huge fan of J.K Rowling’s Wizarding World and I can honestly enjoy the Harry Potter stories in any format. (Most recently I’ve been enjoying listening to them on audiobook.) However, I think without the films, as amazing as the Harry Potter books are on their own, we wouldn’t have the Wizarding World we have today; The Warner Bros Studio Tour, all the amazing merchandise, Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. The films have shaped how we visualise Harry Potter universally and I really don’t mind. So really it goes without saying that they are some of my favourite adaptations.

 

The Twilight Saga (specifically Breaking Dawn Part 2)

I’m just going to say it now, I love The Twilight Saga. The time when it was at its prime was such a roller coaster for me and Twilight was one of the few things I could cling to and escape within. Edward Cullen was my first official fictional boyfriend and it was the first book series I ever managed to complete by myself, before the films came out. Therefore when the films did appear they never ruined anything for me and I could enjoy them as if I was welcoming home an old friend. However, in this best adaptation list I want to give a special mention to Breaking Dawn (Part 2). I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to give too much away. However, that film is the perfect example of how adaptations can breathe new life into something without completely disregarding and therefore disrespecting the original source material. A very clever move guys, I loved it!

 

The Worst Adaptations:

A Time Traveler’s Wife

I was so excited to see this film before its release. In fact, I remember sitting in the front room with my Mom just before we were about to leave for cinema, discussing what parts we were most looking forward to. Both of us were there reminiscing about this beautiful love story and balling our eyes out at the prospect of seeing it come to life. The film as a film, fine. The film as an adaptation, not so fine. However, my main problem is with the ending, so instead of ruining anything for anybody all I’m going to say is if you ever fancy watching this film, read the book. Or if you’ve already watched the film but have never read the book, read the book.

 

Murder on the Orient Express

I know you should never judge a book by its cover but I’m definitely judging this Poirot by his moustache… Wowzers.

I love Agatha Christie, I also love Kenneth Bragnaugh. (After my version of the Ultimate Harry Potter Tag I’m pretty sure we all know how I feel about his Gilderoy Lockhart.) So it was only natural that I started out loving everything about this film, that was until I saw the first trailer.  My Mom has likened Bragnagh’s facial hair to the face-hugger from the Alien movies and she’ the biggest Agatha Christie fan I know.

I know, I know the film isn’t even out yet and I’m judging it so intensely. I’ll obviously give it a chance once it’s released. But, can I just refer you to this quote:

His moustache was very stiff and military.” –  Captain Hastings

 Now scroll back up to that GIF.

I feel it was a very bold choice to alter Poirot’s rather iconic stache so radically for this new adaptation. David Suchet’s tash was so on point, somehow this just all seems wrong. But truly only time will tell with this one.

 

The Vampire Diaries

I recently began watching The Vampire Diaries again from the beginning and I have to admit, I do enjoy this show. It makes my inner teen verrrry happy. “So why have you put it in your Worst Adaptations Section?” I hear you cry! Well that’s because I’ve also read The Vampire Diaries. Admittedly I have only read the first two books, but that’s okay because I’ve only really watched the first two series.

The books were very, well, childish I’d say compared to the television show. The readers of The Vampire Diaries would probably be much younger than the watchers. I believe the TV show made the stories darker and more sexual and thrilling, which are all very good things but as a direct adaptation from page to screen, it doesn’t ring true for me. As a watcher becoming a reader I was a little disappointed in the books because of what I’d seen from the show. From what I remember the characters names and descriptions are all the same but the actual stories are very different. I may be wrong it may pan out that way and catch up with the show in the later books. If you’ve read them all, let me know!

 

The Adaptations I’m Most Looking Forward Too:

The Bell Jar

As soon as I saw there was a new adaptation of The Bell Jar happening I jumped for joy but also panicked. I love that book. I love Plath. They cannot mess this up for me. I’ve heard Kirsten Dunst is involved in the project though, so I have faith that it’s in good hands.

13 Reasons Why

Fun Fact: I have owned the book of 13 Reasons Why since 2009, I am yet to read it. However, after the recent Netflix series, I have heard nothing but good things, so I really want to watch it now. But after waiting on my TBR pile for all those years, I think I better read the book first.

All The Bright Places

This book is everything. It is all the colours in one, at full brightness. I know the casting for Finch is still on going at the minute. I can’t wait to see who it will be!

Looking For Alaska

Alaska is one of the sassiest female characters I have ever read, to bring her to screen just seems right. However, in terms of John Green film adaptations I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but as soon as this one hits the cinemas I’ll be there.

 

– B xo

(Disclaimer: All GIFs used in this post are from the website Giphy, apart from the one of Poirot, I found him on Tumblr.)
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Posted in The Bookshelf

And the winner is…


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas!

Thank you to everyone who voted! (See my previous blog post if you’re a little confused about what I’m talking about.) I gathered together all the votes that took place across my blog, Instagram, Twitter and on the Books & Writing Amino, Throne of Glass was the clear winner! 

I’m enjoying what I’ve read so far, even though that’s not much, and I’m already looking forward to where this story is going. 

If you’ve read it/ voted for it let me know in the comments what you love about Throne of Glass. (Spoiler free please! Obviously.) 😊
Right then, time for me to soak up some sun, sea and a good read! ☀️🌊📚❤️

– B xo

Posted in The Bookshelf

My 2017 Summer Reading List. 

Guys… I need your help! 

For me the perfect summer’s day consists of a seat in the sun, a cold refreshing drink and a good read. Whether that be on a beach towel by the sea or in a deck chair in the garden, it all sounds like bliss to me as long as I’ve got that book in my hands.  However, with my current read rapidly coming to an end and my TBR pile looming over me like a personal Everest, I’m yet to find my next summer sizzler. And so this is where you come in…

I need your help picking what to read first this summer. And to plunge you all in at the deep end, it’s going to be a holiday read too. (No pressure guys!) I’ve  managed (with the help of my Moma) to whittle down the choices to just six books! (A feet in itself!) But I need your help making that final decision! 

So here are the nominees. I’ll leave a little bit of info about why I’ve chosen them below and also hyperlink you to their Goodreads profiles, in case you are not aquanited yet. (Just click on the title.) You can then vote by posting your choice in the comments. 

I look forward to seeing (and reading) what you choose! 

The Nominees: 

  1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass – I have heard so many good things about this book. In fact last year I feel like this was the book/ series everyone was reading and blogging about. The feminist inside of me is very excited for a female lead fantasy and I love a romance story with a twist. 
  2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but I adore the cover of Fangirl, especially the Zoella Bookclub edition. 💛 Rainbow Rowell is the only author on this list I’ve read before, which I thought was an interesting fact. I enjoyed her World Book Day story, Kindred Spirits, and know that I like her writing style. 
  3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – This book was my Mom’s choice and it has been kindly lent to me by her. Her only criticism was it had a slow start, but I’ll be on holiday, so I’ll have time for slow starts. I’ve heard it’s a good crime/ thriller and something to wrap your head around. 
  4. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon – The blurb for this book is very ambiguous, but that intrigues me. I also know this book has a film coming out very soon and who doesn’t want to join the hype train before it leaves the station?
  5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – Everyone keeps telling me to watch the Netflix’s series for this,  but I know within my heart I can’t do that until I’ve read the book. I’ve also owned this book since 2007 and still haven’t got around to reading it! Maybe it’s about time I did. 
  6. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – I recently bought a signed edition of Ness’s new novel, Release, so I really want to like the guy. But from where I’m standing right now, I don’t see why I shouldn’t. I feel like this book will be moving but beautiful as that’s the impression I got from the movie trailer and I presume the book will have much more detail. 

Happy Voting! 

– B xo

Posted in Tags, The Bookshelf

The Ultimate Harry Potter Tag

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. So to celebrate I thought I’d take on the “Ultimate Harry Potter Tag” courtesy of fandomsontherun.

1) Favourite book?
 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is the story I remember most vividly from my childhood, when the books began to take a darker turn.

2) Least favourite book?
 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. What happens in this one again?  

3) Favourite movie? Goblet of Fire. The excitement of the game, Cedric Diggory, the focus on Hufflepuff house. 💛

4) Least favourite movie? Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. What happens in this one again? (Honestly, I think I’ve completely erased this story from my memory.) 

5) Favourite Quote? “But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

6) Favourite Weasley?
 Molly and her magical knitting will always have a special place in my heart, but I love Fred and George. Their wicked sense of humour and playfulness will forever make me smile. (And sorry, I refuse to separate them.)
7) Favourite female character?
 Luna Lovegood. Luna was the first character I truly related too. 

8) Favourite villain?
 Draco Malfoy. Who doesn’t love a bad boy? But seriously, Draco’s journey through the books is one of my favourites. His loyalty is admirable. 

9) Favourite male character? Neville Longbottom. My heart swells for this boy. I’m still so proud.

10) Favourite professor? Gilderoy Lockhart. I’d have been one of those swooning second years. But also his character is one of the greatest comic reliefs in my opinion.

11) Would you rather A) wash Snape’s hair or B) spend a day listening to Lockhart rant about himself? See previous answer. 😍

12) Would you rather duel A) an elated Bellatrix or B) and angry Molly? 
Bellatrix. No one should ever challenge an angry Molly.
13) Would you rather travel to Hogwarts via A) Hogwarts Express or B) Flying Car? Hogwarts Express, wouldn’t want to miss the lady with the sweet trolley.

14) Would you rather A) Kiss Voldemort or B) give Umbridge a bubble bath?Pucker up Voldy.

15) Would you rather A) ride a Hippogriff or B) ride a Firebolt? Hippogriff! It’s all about creatures for me. 

16) Is there a character you felt differently about in the movies? No one is springing to mind.

17) Is there a movie you preferred to the book?
 No.  

18) Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore? 


Richard Harris.

19) Your top thing (person or event) that wasn’t in the movie that you wanted there the most? Peeves. That is all.

20) If you could remake any of the Harry Potter movies which would it be? Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Just purely because of the advancement in cinematography.

21) Which house was your first gut feeling you’d be a part of?
 Hufflepuff. Always.

22) Which house were you actually sorted into on Pottermore?
 Hufflepuff. 💛

23) Which class would be your favourite?Care of Magical Creatures.

24) Which spell do you think would be most useful to learn?
 Lumos. I always like to bring light to even the darkest of places. 

25) Which character do you think you’d instantly become friends with?
 Luna, we could be weird together. 

26) If you could own one of the three Hallows, which would it be?
 The Invisibility Cloak. The youngest brother’s story. ❤️

27) Is there any aspect of the books you’d want to change?
 I wish Hagrid would have been allowed to keep Norberta.

28) Favourite Marauder? Padfoot but maybe more as Sirius Black.

29) If you could bring one character back to life, which would it be?
 Cedric Diggory. It wasn’t his fault he was there, he had no need to be killed. His death was unfair. 

30) Hallows or Horcruxes? The horcruxes do intrigue me, but my good nature will always lead me to the hallows.

I would like to tag anyone who fancies joining in with the celebrations today. Spread the magic. ⚡️


– B xo

Posted in The Bookshelf

My non-fiction binge. 

I’m currently working my way through a non-fiction binge. My “just finished”, my “currently reading”, my “tbr” all non-fiction. 

Not that I’m complaining, it’s just that normally I’m not a fan. The realms of unknown worlds, that promise of escapism, dream-like situations and brand new discovery just normally call out to me louder than the rest. But at the moment I just can’t get enough of real life happenings. 

Recently I finished Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Ian Nathan.


Slightly cheating here, I know. But although talking about the wizarding world, Inside the Magic showcases, in gloriously fine detail, the making of a film of such size and imagination. Informing the reader of in depth characters design, costumes and sets. And how everyone had to work together to create a beleiveable fantasty world filmed within our normal one. 

Currently I’m reading Uggie The Artist: My Story. 


Again, a different take on non-fiction with this autobiography written from the perspective of a dog. However Uggie’s journey is in itself factual and an interesting angle to look through on the making of some of my favourite films. Having once been the proud owner of a Jack myself, I find Uggie as a dog utterly adorable and am loving reading about his escapades. 

Then after that I have two more non-fiction books already lined up for me. 

First up, Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes.


Whilst researching my genre and audience when writing Unravelled, Keyes was a name that kept popping up. Never having read any of her work, I picked up this book straight away when it popped up in my local library. The blurb instantly appealed to me with its comic take on everyday life and it’s appropriate tag line “notes from a small woman.” I can’t wait to dive into this soon. 

And finally, one of the newest additions to my bookshelf, The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. 


I’ve been very excited about the concept of hygge ever since I first heard about it a couple of months ago. Cozy-ness, me time and hot cups of tea are right up my street. Plus this has to be one of the most adorable hardbacks I’ve seen in a while. What is there not to love? 
Do any of you experience this bout of binge reading? Do you do it with non-fiction or is it another genre that normally doesn’t turn your head but then suddenly cosumes all of your time? Let me know! Also, if you have any non-fiction recommendations, be sure to leave them in the comments. 

P.S: I’m currently in the middle of doing author talks for Unravelled. If you’ve managed to pop along to one already, thank you so much for coming, if you’ve not yet been able to, don’t forget the Wool-ves Yarnival is taking place this Sunday at the Newhampton Arts Centre. I recently got the times for my talks confirmed as 1pm and 3pm. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there! 

– B xo