The Sunday Post #18


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which book bloggers recap their week and look at what’s to come.


My boyfriend came to visit on Friday and just went home today so I was busy all this weekend and haven’t done any blog hopping. I’ll try and catch up next week! However, it was lovely seeing Mark as we’re currently doing long-distance after uni ended. It’s difficult but we’re managing it!

Anyway, that’s my little update. Here were the posts this week:


I finished my last book in the Halloween Read-A-Thon, The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich, which was sadly a bit of a disappointment. After that, I started my ARC of Gilded Cage by Vic James. I’m only a few chapters in but I’m really liking it. The atmosphere is great and the characters are intriguing, not to mention the opening was especially good.

After that, I was planning to start A Darker Shade of Magic but An Ember In the Ashes has been looking at me from the bookshelf. I’m really tempted to start that instead. However, I’ve had A Darker Shade of Magic longer.

I also got Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) this week and whilst I’m itching to read it, I’m going to be patient and read some books I’ve had for longer first. Whether I can actually be that patient is another thing entirely!


Instead of music this week, I’m going to post a film trailer! Specifically, the new teaser for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I am so so excited for this film, and even more excited for the Avengers Infinity War films when the Guardians will meet up with the Avengers. That’s going to be one strange encounter.

Enjoy and Happy Halloween!



Film Review: The Girl With All the Gifts


I read the novel The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey about two years ago now and it’s definitely a book that has stuck with me. Excellent writing, lots of tension, great characters, and a unique twist on the zombie genre. If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you know I love all things zombie, so to find such a well-written addition to the genre was great.

Understandably, I had high expectations for the film adaptation, especially after seeing some glowing reviews from the likes of Empire.  Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed!

I dragged my boyfriend along to see the film and, strangely, we had an entire screen to ourselves. This was good in the sense that no one would be talking or texting, but bad in the sense that when Mark left to go to the loo, I was sat in a big screen watching a zombie movie all by myself with surround sound. Needless to say, it was creepy.

Anyway, onto the film itself:


The film itself is very, very true to the book. A couple of scenes were dropped, along with the concept of the “Junkers”, but the vast majority of the major plot points are pretty much identical, which was amazing.

For those of you who don’t know, The Girl With All the Gifts tells the story of Melanie (Sennia Nanua), a young girl kept in an army base along with other children. Each day, she is strapped into a wheelchair by guards who treat her like she’s dangerous and taken to a classroom for lessons from the kind Miss Justineau (Gemma Arteton). That’s when we discover that, outside the army base, the world has been ravaged by a zombie virus, specifically a fungal virus that turns people into “Hungries”. Melanie and her fellow kids in the classroom are Hungries, but they’re different. They aren’t mindless and feral, but instead act like any other average human child. I won’t say why, but be prepared for a very unique zombie story.

And then, one day, it all goes wrong and the army base must be evacuated. Only a handful escape, including Melanie, Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks (Paddy Considine), Dr Caldwell (Glenn Close) and a couple of soldiers. Will they make it to safety? Can the calculating Dr Caldwell develop a cure? You’ll have to wait and see.


The heart of the story is Melanie. A kind and courageous girl, you can’t help but become deeply attached to her whilst almost slightly fearing her, and I thought Sennia Nanua did an excellent job of portraying the complexities of Melanie on the big screen. Interestingly, in the novel Melanie is white and Miss Justineau is black, but it’s been reversed in the film. I think it’s great that a young black girl has been given such a big part as the main protagonist here, and she was definitely the best actress to play Melanie.

Aside from that one change, I thought all the characters were very true to the book in terms of personality. Helen Justineau’s kindness and protectiveness, Sergeant Parks’ bravado hiding a softer interior, Dr Caldwell’s determination, Private Gallagher’s innocence. It really is a very true adaptation, keeping the core values of the book and much of the plot.

However, whilst this is a film about zombies, it is truly a film about humanity. Some of the best zombie films and books are the ones that look at humanity, not just the blood and gore. I can’t explain too much without revealing the ending, but there are some huge moral dilemmas in The Girl With All the Gifts. Me and Mark had a long conversation about it all afterwards, with differing opinions on morality. It’s definitely a bittersweet story.

The film has also clearly taken inspiration from Danny Boyle’s amazing 28 Days Later so, if you enjoyed that, you should enjoy this. I don’t think it’s as scary as 28 Days Later (Cillian Murphy in the church? The infected at the window? Terrifying), or even as scary as the novel, but it’s not trying to terrify you with jump scares; it’s about so much more than that. It’s about terrifying you with the prospect of the end of humanity.


In addition, I have to give a special shout out to the score for this film. It’s amazing. So creepy and tense and eerie, it was one of the best scores I’ve heard in a long while for a horror film. EDIT: (See link at the bottom to listen to the main theme).

However, there were a few slight negatives to the adaptation. One was that I think the ending was a little rushed. It needed more explanation. This was where me and Mark argued a little as the climax missed out some key aspects from the book and I had to explain it fully to him to make him understand the reasoning behind some of the actions in the finale. There were also a few scenes from the novel I would have liked to have seen included, but there was probably issues with running time. Lastly, whilst most of the big scenes did make it to the screen, some had been changed, and I would have liked them to be the same as the book because I think it would have had more of an impact. But hey, that’s just me being a picky reader.

Overall though, this was an excellent adaptation of the book and I was thoroughly impressed. Excellent acting, very true to the novel and a great score, I couldn’t have asked for much more. I definitely recommend both the book and the film.


Have you read The Girl With All the Gifts? Or seen the film? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

EDIT: I just managed to find the main theme from the composer on Soundcloud, so check it out here.


Film Review: The Conjuring 2


I have a love/hate relationship with horror. Mostly it’s love – I can’t get enough of it – but I struggle to watch a horror film without having to peer through my fingers. There’s something about scaring yourself half to death that is just so much fun.

I saw the first of The Conjuring films in the cinema when it was released and I absolutely loved it. It was terrifying and hilarious all at once and I vividly remember the scene where the old witch is suddenly on top of the wardrobe due to me shrieking ‘WHAT?!’ at the top of my voice in a packed screening. What was she doing up there?! Like I said, terrifying and hilarious.

The Conjuring refreshed a slightly stagnant horror genre where recent films were just no longer cutting it. Paranormal Activity was only truly scary the first time around, and installments like Ouija and the Insidious films just weren’t freaky enough. So, when I heard there was going to be another of The Conjuring films, I was extremely excited. I dragged a reluctant Mark to the cinema with me a week or so ago, ready to be terrified, and I wasn’t disappointed.


For starters, look at that thing. Just look at it. It really creeps me out. The team behind The Conjuring films really know what they’re doing when it comes to horror. One thing they’re especially good at is camera angles. Ever since I studied Media at A-Level, I’ve been a bit obsessed with camera angles, and The Conjuring team are excellent at them. They make you look in dark corners just in case, and they keep the things that go bump in the night just out of shot to ramp up the tension. They also know when is the best time to reveal what the antagonists – whether it be ghost, demon or witch – look like.

As with The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 is packed full of twists and dread. The twists in this installment aren’t obvious which is great, because that’s quite often how horror films suddenly lose the scare factor. However, whilst the twists were unique, I found the major twist killed the horror a little bit for me. I still liked it, but there was something about it that just didn’t work; I think it could have been handled a little better. This is a spoiler-free review so I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it just didn’t sit quite right with me; it was almost too convenient.

That being said, the film is still very scary. Not quite as scary as the first, though, as I think one of the antagonists, The Crooked Man, didn’t fit. I still watched a vast majority of the film through my fingers, however, and The Conjuring 2 retained that sense of impending dread that made the first film so creepy.


I also enjoyed the fact that it was set in England. I think horror films set in the UK are always just a little bit creepier than ones set in the US, one reason being because the UK still has so many period houses that I think make a better setting for a horror. Ghosts haunting a Tudor house are a lot scarier than ghosts haunting a semi-detached new-build in the suburbs because its just so much more believable, and also provides a much wider scope for horror – all manner of horrible things could have happened in a Tudor house over the centuries.

The setting of The Conjuring 2 is a relatively modern house, in contrast, but this isn’t your average haunting (as you’ll discover). It sounds like I am completely contradicting myself here, but still a British setting is always just a tad creepier for me, period house or not. Perhaps it’s because it just feels closer to home than an American horror.

I also thought Madison Wolfe as Janet Hodgson was excellent, although her North London accent was a bit off every now and then (she’s American). However, I felt the climax of the film was slightly rushed. The evil plaguing the Hodgson family was defeated surprisingly easily and I would have preferred more time between the major twist and the ending. There was a sprinkling of cheesiness in the film that killed the mood a little but, that being said, it was still an excellent horror film and I did enjoy it.

So, if you were a fan of the first film, the second won’t disappoint. Of course, you may like the twist more than I did, but I think that was what let it down a little in comparison with the first film. It just didn’t pack enough of a punch and, like I said, was a little too convenient. Hopefully, the spin-off of The Nun will make up for it. Although I don’t know how I feel about seeing that creepy nun again…

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Have you seen The Conjuring 2? Did you enjoy it? Was it scary enough for you? What did you think of the twist? Let me know in the comments below!

Caitlin (1)