The Sunshine Blogger Award


A big thank you to Demetra @ bookstraveller for nominating me for this, it’s my first award since I started blogging in March so I’m pretty excited! If you don’t already follow her blog, go check it out!


1. What Hogwarts house are you in?

I’ve admitted before on this blog that I only ever got as far as Chamber of Secrets so I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to the Hogwarts houses! However, I’ve seen all the films, and I’ve always felt a strange attraction to Slytherin. I’m not quite sure what that says about me…

2. What Ilvermorny house are you in?

I had to google this and I had no clue it was another Harry Potter thing! Sorry, Demetra! I found the houses though and I like the sound of Thunderbird the best as it ‘favours adventurers’ and I’d like to think I’d be an adventurer if I had magical powers and all that.

3. Have you read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child already or planning to?

Seeing as I never made it past Chamber of Secrets, I don’t think I’ll ever read The Cursed Child, although it does sound interesting!

4. Is there a book you own more than one copy of?

I own two copies of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I read it for fun and loved it, then had to read it again at university, but I needed a particular edition of the book because this one had an introduction. Other than that, I don’t think so, but I’ve almost finished my ARC of Goldenhand by Garth Nix and seeing as it’s my favourite series I want a finished copy too, in case there are any changes! So I’ll probably have two copies of Goldenhand soon.

5. What kind of book or movie related merchandise do you own?

I picked up a bunch of bookish freebies from YALC so I have loads of excerpts and postcards and badges! I have some movie-tie-in editions of books, like my copy of Never Let Me Go and I also collect those 1 litre special edition movie cups from Vue cinemas (this won’t make any sense unless you’re British) because I’m a sad person. They’re giant cups with a movie poster printed on and they have little figurines on top and I feel like such a child asking for a Katniss or Bucky Barnes figurine. (Although I desperately wanted a Bucky Barnes one). I even have a dinosaur one from when I went to see the new Jurassic Park. I used to love dinosaurs as a child, okay. However, I have no shame buying the big special edition cups for Marvel films. Marvel rules all.

6. If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you want to have seen?

I’ve always had a fascination with the World Wars, but I think it would be much too harrowing to go back and witness any of that. So probably a happier event, like the coronation of Elizabeth I or something. Or, I’d go back to when dinosaurs roamed the planet, as long as someone could guarantee I wouldn’t be eaten.

7. What’s your favourite TV show?

This is really difficult to choose, so I’ll pick a few: The 100, Mr. Robot, The Returned (the original French version, of course), The Bridge (the original Scandi version), Game of Thrones and of course Peaky BlindersThere’s definitely more but my mind has gone blank!

8. What’s your favourite movie?

Once again, how can I choose?! Anything Marvel, especially the Captain America films. And I’ve always loved The Lord of the Rings films, they’re just perfection. I’m not even gonna mention any more because I’ll be sat here forever.

9. If you could be any book character, who would you be and why?

I think Sabriel from the Old Kingdom series, although I don’t know if I’d be very good at fighting the Dead, I’d probably pass out from fear. But then again, if I was Sabriel, I’d pretty much be fearless.

10. What do you look at first: the book cover or the blurb?

Book cover, definitely. I try not to judge a book by its cover but you can usually tell if something isn’t your cup of tea just by the cover. Even still, if the title catches my eye or I’ve heard great things, I’ll check out the blurb.

11. Which book should everyone read?

The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix! Or anything by Virginia Woolf! I’m a broken record on this blog.

My Questions

  1. Who are your three favourite protagonists?
  2. What’s your favourite book cover?
  3. Is there an antagonist you’ve ever sympathised with? Or even liked more than the protagonist?
  4. Do you write books as well as read them?
  5. Do you prefer Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Or do you not like either?
  6. Do you like books being adapted for film/TV, or do you hate it?
  7. Do you prefer paperbacks or hardbacks?
  8. If you could compete in any Olympic sport, which one would you choose?
  9. If you could be friends with any character (book, film or TV) who would you pick?
  10. Is there a book or series you think is underappreciated?
  11. If you could be a superhero, what powers would you have?

I Nominate



A Novel Discussion: How Important Are Characters Clothes?

A Novel Discussion

I recently reviewed Carrie Ryan’s YA Mystery Daughter of Deep Silencewhich I gave 3/5 due to its lacklustre characters and plot. However, one thing I didn’t like about the novel that I didn’t actually mention was the style of one of the characters. Sounds petty, I know, but as soon as Greyson Wells, the love-interest, was described as wearing ‘pressed khakis and a light pink button-down shirt’ to a posh fundraiser, I knew I would never grow to ‘swoon’ over this supposedly handsome love interest. Not a chance.

Who wears khakis to a respectable event? What are you do wearing those monstrosities? I immediately imagined the short khakis, not the long trousers, which I’m presuming he’s wearing because it’s summer and they’re by the beach, but still. Unacceptable. And khaki with pink? Don’t even go there.

Yes, I am well aware that I sound like the fashion police right now, but of course I’m exaggerating (just a little). I’m pretty sure ‘pressed khakis’ are much more popular in the USA (where the novel is set) than the UK, so khakis might sound extremely normal to any American reader. In fact, when I google ‘pressed khakis’, there are only results for American retailers, no British ones. But for me, it just sounds like a fashion disaster. Invest in some nice suit trousers, Greyson Wells, not khakis. I think of khakis and I see Donald Trump, and I really don’t want to imagine the love-interests in novels as young Donald Trump’s.

So, this got me thinking; how important are the clothes characters wear? Clearly Greyson Wells’ fashion sense was enough to put me off him a little, but his personality wasn’t great either. Sure, if he’d had a great personality, I’d have forgiven the khakis, because I read novels to learn about and enjoy these fictional people, not lament over their dress sense. But still, it clearly affected my overall attraction to him as a character.

Of course, in Fantasy or Sci-Fi novels, clothes are often used to convey status, such as the use of flashy armour, family insignia’s, jewellery. Even today, clothes still convey status. A man wearing an Armani suit? Must be rich. Maybe a businessman. Or a celebrity.

Let’s use a TV programme as an example here. Arya Stark in Season 1 of Game of Thrones wears a thick cloak, a fresh dress, her hair clean and plaited. Arya Stark in the most recent Season is wearing rags, her hair limp and greasy, her skin dirty. You don’t need to watch Game of Thrones to understand that something bad has happened to Arya between these two stills. Clothes show status, but I don’t like Arya any less for being dirty and in rags. So why did Greyson Wells’ outfit put me off him?

Maybe I expected him to dress well because his father is a rich senator, but wealth doesn’t equate fashion sense (yes, Donald Trump, I mean you). Or maybe, because he’s the love-interest, I expect him to dress in a style that I like on men. Just a normal suit would have sufficed. But I can’t expect every girl in every book to dress how I do, or every boy to dress how my boyfriend does.

However, you do expect a love-interest to be one thing: handsome, in some way or another. I don’t expect every man in every novel to look like Tom Hardy, although I can dream, but they do need to have something that’s attractive about them. Whether that be their face, their personality, their physique or style, you want to be attracted to them, you want to root for them to end up with the other main character, be they man or woman, if there’s a romance.

Let’s take another example from a TV series, Peaky Blinders:


Now, let’s ignore the fact that Cillian Murphy is very pretty and focus on the clothes. Clean, sharp (I’m not talking about the razor blades in their caps here), layered. You know they’re organised, that they care about looking good, that they have money. Their suits say power and confidence. Clothes tell us immediately what someone is like before they’ve even opened their mouth. John, on the left, hat slightly askew – what does that imply? That he breaks the rules? You’d be right about that, but then again they all do. Tommy, in the middle, hat straight, arguably a nicer waistcoat than John’s – he’s the leader. Arthur, right, coat buttoned-up – things he wants to hide? Yes, but I do watch the show, so I’m probably just reading into it. But still, you see what I mean, their clothes can tell us what they’re like. And also, those suits are way more attractive than khakis and a pink shirt. I’d make my boyfriend dress like the Peaky Blinders if I could (yes I would, Mark).

So how important are the clothes that characters wear? In my opinion, quite important. They tell you something about the character. Even if it’s a knight in armour, you know they’re strong and respected. Clothes will tell you if someone conforms or rebels, what their personality may be like, how much they value their appearance.

On the other hand, some authors never tell us what their characters are wearing. Do I mind? No, I just imagine them how I like, or how I think best fits their personality. Yet this still proves the importance of clothes; not just as something to cover people up with, so characters aren’t running about naked in our heads as we read a book, but so that we can project what clothes we like and want onto them. It gives us a sense of ownership, makes us like them more. In the end, clothes, to me, are an important factor of characterisation. But does it matter a lot? No, unless your character is personality-less and dresses like Donald Trump, in which case, yes, it matters a lot.

Page Break

So, over to you; how important are the clothes characters wear? Let me know in the comments below, whether you agree or disagree with me, I’d love to hear some other opinions!

Caitlin (1)

Book-to-Screen Adaptations That Actually Work

Book-to Screen (1)

As a bookworm and film fanatic, it’s great to see characters you’ve connected with on paper be portrayed on screen, whether it’s TV or film. However, a fair bit of the time, the crew behind the screen adaptations of these novels don’t always get it spot on. Of course, you have to accept that they can’t fit everything into an hour-and-a-half film, or 12 episodes, but you don’t have to accept it if they take your favourite novel and massacre it on screen. One such film for me was Inkheart. I adored the books as a kid and when they finally brought out a film adaptation, it just didn’t fit. One main reason for me was that I’d always imagined Basta being a young man in his 20s, but on screen he was old and fat. That killed it for me.

But, on a more positive note, there have been a lot of book-to-screen adaptations that have worked surprisingly well. Here is a list of my favourites:

1. Game of Thrones

I have to admit that I’ve only read the first two novels of the A Song of Ice and Fire series as I just haven’t had time for the others. Whilst the TV adaptation does leave out and move away from some of George R. R. Martin’s plot points, the creators behind the series have passionately recreated Martin’s world and characters. I adore Game of Thrones.

2. The 100

I started series 1 of The 100 before the books but, when the TV show had undeniably hooked me, I went out and bought the novels. Now, this may be a bit of a controversial selection, as The 100 TV series deviates heavily from the novels. However, this is one of those rare times where I actually think the TV adaptation is better. It’s more exciting, with better plot twists and an improved story-arc involving the Grounders and Mount Weather. However, if you call yourself a fan of the TV programme, you should definitely check out the books to see where it all began.

3. How I Live Now

How I Live Now is one of my favourite novels. Beautifully and uniquely written, Daisy’s voice is strong and fraught with emotion. This book had me in tears and so did the film. The movie adaptation stays true to the book and captures the anguish and isolation Daisy and her cousins experience as Britain is invaded by foreign forces. This is both a novel I wish I’d written and a film I wish I’d directed. The only most obvious difference is that Eddie is not younger than Daisy in the film, as he is in the book. But how can anyone complain when you get to look at George MacKay’s face? Not to mention he’s an exceptional actor; this film was brilliantly cast.

4. Never Let Me Go


I read Never Let Me Go before I saw the film. Another of my favourite novels, I was in floods of tears at the end; to me, it’s a modern masterpiece. So, when it came to watching the film, I was sobbing my eyes out at the first scene! I couldn’t handle it. The film is just as moving as the book and I especially loved Andrew Garfield as Tommy. Even Keira Knightley (who can be a little hit-and-miss) was excellent.

5. Warm Bodies

I got Warm Bodies many a Christmas ago and couldn’t put it down. Witty, philosophical and very touching, it is yet another of my all-time favourite novels (do you see a pattern here? I’m kinda lucky that so many of my favourite books have had good adaptations done!). As for the film, it’s sweet and funny and I loved Nicholas Hoult as R. My only gripe is that they left out R’s somewhat-telepathic conversations with Perry. There’s a moment near the end of the novel (no spoilers, I promise) where Perry is speaking to R and sometimes I go back and re-read that passage because it is some of the most heartfelt prose I’ve ever read. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. But overall, I really enjoyed the film adaptation and I think they did the book justice.

6. The Children of Men

Whilst the film does deviate substantially from the plot-line of P.D. James’ novel, the film is a triumph in its own right. It perfectly captures the fear and desolation of James’ world where no baby has been born for nearly two decades. Both the book and the film explore the horrors of that world and the lengths humanity will go to when faced with its own extinction.

7. Love, Rosie


I heard about the film adaptation of Cecelia Ahern’s Where Rainbows End before I’d actually heard of the book. But, upon learning it was a novel originally, I read the book whilst waiting for the release of the film. Yet again another novel and its subsequent film adaptation that had me in floods of tears. Both were hilarious and moving, excellent rom-coms and, whilst the film didn’t span quite as many years as the novel, I actually preferred that. Not to mention I really like Lily Collins.

Page Break

Have you read any of these books and their on-screen adaptations? Did you enjoy them? Do you think the film/TV does the book justice? Let me know in the comments below!

Caitlin (1)

What’s the Deal with Dystopia?

dystopia-1I’ve just finished reading ‘The 100’ trilogy by Kass Morgan. As an avid fan of the TV series, I was keen to see how the books tied in with the programme. And for once, I actually found myself to be more of a supporter of the TV series than the books. Being a book lover normally means that it is more often than not the other way around; the books are always superior. However, I felt Morgan’s writing lacked finesse and proper thought at times. Some scenes seemed a little rushed and I felt that the writers of the TV series had fleshed out the characters and the general plot of ‘The 100’ much better. Yet again, I still enjoyed the books. I’m not one to bash an author, especially when I’m aspiring to be one myself. Everyone can write a novel, but not everyone can write one well.

This leads me to the ideas of dystopia and apocalypse. What’s the deal? Why the obsession? I ask all this even though I myself am a pretty hardcore fan of all things dystopic and apocalyptic. My family often say I need to branch out, but who ever told Stephen King he needed to quit the whole horror thing? Once a genre captures your attention then that’s it; you are undeniably hooked.

The ideas of dystopia and apocalypse can be found as far back as the Old Testament, and the word ‘dystopia’ comes from the Ancient Greek language. They’re nothing new and certainly not so in literature. What about George Orwell’s ‘1984’, published in 1949? Or one of my favourite author’s, Margaret Atwood, and her stunning dystopic novels (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ being my number one) published back in 1985. Yet the hype for this genre seemed to become apparent not long after the vampire/supernatural phase. There was, to be frank, so much shit written during that genre’s reign, everyone jumping on the bandwagon, that it was nice to have a change.

Cue the arrival of ‘The Hunger Games’. The novels were everywhere and soon after came the films. Yet they provided a refreshing escape in the Young Adult genre. The novels weren’t centred around a gag-worthy romance. They focussed on the downfalls of a society, ones that can be seen reflected in our own world. Whilst ‘The Hunger Games’ novels are no masterpieces, they were highly entertaining and raw. They depicted a society of mistreatment and violence. And wouldn’t it be so horrible to live in that society, that dystopia? Well, some people do. Just look at North Korea. If you want an example of a dystopic society in our time, there’s your perfect reality of one.

Dystopia and apocalypse are now genres that dominate Young Adult literature, and can be seen just as frequently in the adult sections of book shops. I like to read a selection of both, whether the protagonists are younger or older. It’s often just the depiction of a new society that I’m interested in. What would it be like to live there? What it would be like to live in a world ravaged by war, or disease? Terrifying, that’s what. It makes me see how good I have it in my little boring middle-class bubble. But there are people out there who are dealing with situations so similar to those that I get lost in when I read or watch TV. These novels often paint us a picture of what we’re doing wrong somewhere in our world, or what roads we could head down. These stories force us to look at our own reality without explicitly saying so. Some of the best societal critiques can be found amidst an imagined society. What about the misogynistic treatment of women in Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?

So I will keep on reading these books, I’ll keep on writing these apocalyptic stories, and I’ll keep on watching ‘The 100’. Even when I’m ogling the men on my TV screen, it’ll be hard to forget how much this all rings true with some parts of our world.

Caitlin (1)