Goodbye July, Hello August 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? Fortunately, July was a calmer month for me with the more relaxed wind down to the end of term and a quieter social life too. All of which left me with a bit more time for cooking, television and reading. Here’s what I managed to read:

Fiction: 4          Non-Fiction: 1

At the beginning of the month, during the run down to the end of term, I escaped into Wendy Darling, Volume 3: Shadow by Colleen Oakes; which was an enjoyable and satisfying end to this refreshing re-imagining of Peter Pan. Next, I started The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, the first book in her popular Cousins’ War series, however it wasn’t till the start of the holidays that I was able to fully throw myself into this fascinating look at the life of Elizabeth Woodville. Once I could though, I was magically transported back in time.

I continued the magical theme, with The Lioness and the Spellspinners by Cheryl Mahoney, a witty and charming prequel in her wonderful Beyond the Tales series, that gently pokes fun at the traditional fairy tale tropes. Finally, with only a day to spare, I finished listening to the audiobook of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling, which was read by the hilarious Stephen Fry. My full thoughts on these last three books are still to be posted, so keep your eyes peeled for them in August. Also I am still making good progress with the 10 Books of Summer 2017 challenge, with three of these books being off my list; meaning only three more to go!

Alongside these fictions, I also finished reading naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham’s memoir Fingers in the Sparkle Jar. It was back in May, I actually started reading this, so not a quick read but I found I needed to take my time with this vivid, touching and candid recount of Chris’ childhood as an introverted, nature-loving boy in a world that didn’t understand him.

Pick of the Month: Fingers in the Sparkle Jar

Altogether that is five books completed in July, that is one more than last month and I am thrilled to say the quality has remained just as high – so much so it was hard to choose just one for my ‘pick of the month’! During the month, I have also continued to read the classic North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and I started a re-read of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman.

In August, I look forward to my friend’s wedding; helping with my church’s kids club; a holiday to Rome and hopefully some lazy days of reading too!

What did you do and read in July? What are your plans for August?

Adaptations: July 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptation lovers, here are the adaptations I have been watching during this month:

Kidnapped (1960)
Read     Film     Television

One weekend, I accidentally came upon this colourful Walt Disney screen adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure being shown on BBC 2. Whilst this hasn’t been as well thought of as Disney’s earlier adaptation of Treasure Island (1950), I thought it was a perfectly adequate, faithful and charming film – good for a lazy Saturday afternoon. Okay watch.


Grimm (Series 5)
Read     TV Series     Television

Finally, I got to catch up with series 5 of this crime drama with a dark, magical twist, whose characters and creatures are based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Another fun and twisting series that had danger and new enemies round every corner, but it has kept its great cast of core characters, who have brilliant chemistry. I look forward to catching up with series 6, which sadly I believe is the last! Good watch.


The Monuments Men (2014)
Not Read     Film     Television

Interestingly, this WWII film, loosely based on Robert M. Edsel’s and Bret Witter’s history book, follows not soldiers but instead a passionate band of art lovers – who bravely went to the frontline, risking their own lives, to rescue the hoards of art stolen by the Nazis. A fascinating film, with beautiful moments of humour and sadness, and a great ensemble cast. Great watch.


Mirror Mirror (2012)
Read     Film     Television

At the start of my summer holiday, I found this bright, colourful screen adaptation of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White being shown on Film4. This is a refreshing take on the classic tale, that sees Snow White (Lily Collins), with the help of seven dwarves, take on the wicked queen (Julia Roberts) and save the prince! A super fun and chilled holiday watch. Good watch.


Altogether that’s four new-to-me adaptations. However, I have also enjoyed comforting re-watches of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012); both being shown on ITV. Which takes my total up to a grand total of six adaptations watched this month. Plus I still have some great adapted works on the go, including: The Handmaid’s Tale (2017), Vikings (Series 4 – Part 1) and Game of Thrones (Series 7)!

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?

Adaptations: June 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptation lovers, here are the adaptations I watched during June:

Wonder Woman (2017)
Not Read     Film     Cinema

After enjoying Batman vs Superman last year, I have been looking forward to this 4th instalment in the DC Extended Universe, which focuses on the Amazonian princess Diana who, believing it is her destiny, sets out to end World War I and in doing so becomes Wonder Woman. This is a CGI spectacular however what really makes it is Gal Gadot: she is perfect as the sensitive almost naïve Diana as well as the super, kick-ass Wonder Woman! You go girl!

***


Return to Cranford (2009)
Read     TV Series     Television

A Christmas special of the BBC’s popular period drama, inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford Chronicles, which sees Judi Dench and a wonderful ensemble cast return to the small, rural town of Cranford for more nostalgic and touching stories. While there are a lot of changes and additions from the original, this series does capture beautifully the mood and atmosphere.

**


Sleepy Hollow (Series 4)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

This is the fourth and final series of this supernatural crime drama, which is loosely based on Irving Washington’s short story. Even more loosely based than usual as this series saw the action move to Washington DC. While I still loved our hero Ichabod Crane and all the different monsters and myths he faces, I was less keen on his new companions. I missed Abi! Looks like I wasn’t the only one because the fifth series has been cancelled.

*


Also ITV3 have been re-running the nostalgic crime series Endeavour, so I have been able to enjoy re-watches of the pilot episode, series 1 and 2. On the same channel, I was also able to finally watch one of the illusive episodes of crime series Lewis that I missed first time around. While on the BBC I enjoyed a brilliant re-watch of Daniel Craig’s first Bond film, Casino Royale (2006). Altogether that’s seven and a bit adaptations watched this month!

As for non-adaptations, I watched the heart pounding 6th series of US political drama Homeland and the rollercoaster 10th series of Doctor Who, which is the final run for the 12th Doctor: Peter Capaldi. Now, the big question is who will step into the Time Lord’s shoes next?!

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?

Adaptations: May 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptation lovers, here are the adaptations I’ve watched during May:

Goosebumps (2015)
Read     Film     Television

As a kid I was a big fan of the Goosebumps book series by R L Stine, so I was thrilled to finally watch this film. Where we follow Zach as he accidentally opens his reclusive neighbour’s (Jack Black) locked manuscripts unleashing the monsters within! What follows is a funny, jumpy, mad-cap family adventure. Okay this isn’t a ground breaking film, but it is a whole lot of fun!

**


Legion (2017)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

A critically acclaimed new series about Marvel character David Haller/Legion, a powerful mutant diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child, played by Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame!). A visually stunning and refreshing take on the superhero genre, which I enjoyed but it was a bit too trippy for me to love it.

*


I also enjoyed re-watches of historic drama Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), Marvel’s nostalgic Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and the awfully good fun Clueless (1995). Altogether that’s five adaptations watched this month.

As for non-adaptations, I was absolutely gripped by the third series of the BBC’s ‘Welsh-noir’, crime drama Hinterland. I also went on an emotional rollercoaster ride watching two outstanding dramas based on real crimes: first, ITV’s heart breaking Little Boy Blue and the second, the BBC’s powerful Three Girls. On a lighter note, I finally watched Rush (2013), about the rivalry between F1 legends James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?

Adaptations: April 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptation lovers, here are the adaptations I’ve watched during April:

Testament of Youth (2015)
Not Read     Film     Television

A sumptuous period drama based on the memoir of Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), an independent young woman who abandoned her Oxford studies to become a war nurse. A heart-breaking portrayal of the love and losses of WWI. Also starring Taron Egerton as Vera’s brother and Kit Harington and Colin Morgan as his best friends; strong performances from the whole cast. I warn you tissues are needed for watching this one!

***


Oblivion (2013)
Not Read     Film     Television

Post-apocalyptic, visual effects bonanza based on the graphic novel written by the director Joseph Kosinski. The Earth is a desolate wasteland after a cataclysmic war with an alien race, that forced the human race to relocate to Titan. Now only Tech 49 (Tom Cruise) and his partner remain to maintain the machinery….but all is not as it seems! An action packed, old school adventure in the vein of classic science-fiction films.

**


Emerald City (2017)
Read     TV Series     Television

A brand new fantasy series which has put an adult twist on L. Frank Baum’s ‘Land of Oz’. In this series, a young nurse, Dorothy Gale, is transported by a tornado from Kansas to the magical land of Oz, where she will unwittingly be fulfilling a dark prophecy. I thoroughly enjoyed this colourful new series and I was intrigued by the refreshing, interesting twists it put on Baum’s original characters and themes. I hope there will be another series.

**


Over the Easter break, I also enjoyed re-watches of the classic The Railway Children (1970); the hilarious Guardians of the Guardians (2014) and the wonderful Pride and Prejudice (2005), all of which were being shown on terrestrial television, and then Fantastic Beasts (2016) which shockingly was my brother’s first watch of this amazing film. So altogether that’s an impressive seven adaptations watched this month.

As for non-adaptations, I was absolutely gripped by the chilling second series of Fortitude and the emotionally exhausting, third series of ITV’s brilliant Broadchurch.

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?

Awards: One Lovely Blog Award

Hello my fellow bookworms, I am so pleased to share that I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Shameeka’s Fictional World; thank you Shameeka! The rules to take part are simple:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to them.
  • Share 7-15 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 9-15 bloggers you admire and contact them.

10 Facts About Me:

  1. If you read this blog regularly you will know I love to read, but you may not know that this is actually my eighth year blogging here about books.
  2. My favourite genres to read are: fantasy, historical fiction and mystery.
  3. Some of my favourite authors are: JRR Tolkien, Jane Austen, CS Lewis, Daphne du Maurier, Terry Pratchett, Susanna Kearsley and Charles Dickens.
  4. My favourite place to read is snuggled up in a blanket with a mug of tea (preferably peppermint or camomile); even better if my cat Bonnie comes to snuggle with me.
  5. As well as reading, I love to watch adaptations of said books which I discuss in monthly posts.
  6. I also have a new-found love of cooking and cookbooks, so I have also started doing monthly posts for that too.
  7. I particularly enjoy cooking and eating large, comforting one-pot dishes like stews, soups, casseroles and curry…especially curry!
  8. Outside of blogging, I work one-to-one with children that have special educational needs in a primary school.
  9. My other hobbies are: watching television and films; going to the cinema and theatre; and dancing: I have been a member of a local belly dance group for about 7 years.
  10. Finally, but certainly not least, I am a practicing Christian and an active member of my local church. I recently led my first Holy Communion service! However you will usually find me with my hand up a puppet in the kid’s club.

My Nominations:

I have decided not to contact each nomination personally, because I have done this award several times over the years, as I am sure others have too, so I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to join in again. If you do join in, great! If you don’t that’s fine too – I just wanted to say a big thank you for all your wonderful writing and I want others to know about you too.

Adaptations: March 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptation lovers, here are the adaptations I’ve watched during March:

Logan (2017)
Not Read     Film     Cinema

The long-awaited and final instalment in the Wolverine thread of the highly popular X-Men film franchise; based on the characters from Marvel Comics. After an apocalyptic style event wipes out most of the world’s mutants, Logan is left with little to live for until he meets a girl like him. A bloody, gritty and realistic film which is a serious and refreshing change from a regular comic book film.

***


Persuasion (1995)
Read     TV Film     Television

BBC period drama based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, one of six adaptations of her novels produced during the mid-90s, which is the first of this novel I have seen. A mature and realistic portrayal of Anne and Wentworth’s complicated, heart breaking relationship. While the film quality looked a little aged, I think the style and acting performances are timeless.

***


SS-GB (2017)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

New BBC alternate-history drama, based on Len Deighton’s 1978 novel, that takes us back to November 1941 where we follow Detective Archer during a routine murder investigation but in a Nazis occupied Britain. An eerily realistic and stylish look into the uneasy alliances, dangerous tensions and political intrigues between the occupied and occupiers.

***


Wow that’s another three 3* (my highest rating) adaptations; I can already see that picking my top 10 could be harder this year! I also enjoyed a comforting re-watch of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), so altogether I have watched four adaptations in March. Also this month, I continued to enjoy new series The Emerald City; an adult re-working of L Frank Baum’s ‘Oz’.

As for non-adaptations, I watched series one of ITV’s wonderful bio-drama Victoria (2016), which stars the lovely Jenna Coleman as the young Queen Victoria.

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?