The Martian

The Autumn Tag

It’s time for another autumnal tag! You know I love a tag when I’m trying to post something every day of a month. This is the Autumn Tag and it’s created by Jenniely, do go check their blog out. Now onto the tag!

1. Hot Chocolate – what is your comfort book?
I’m not sure if I have a comfort book anymore as it’s been so long since I’ve read a book multiple times, no matter how much I love a book. Thinking about it, the only book I think that fits this description – even though I’ve only read it the once – is The Martian by Andy Weir. It was such a fun and hopeful story and I adore the film adaptation.

2. Pumpkin Carving – what is your favourite creative outlet?
I don’t think I’m that much of a creative person. Though I guess my blog and writing for JumpCut Online are my creative outlet. I enjoy writing reviews for books and films and just generally being organised and scheduling posts ahead of time.

3. Falling Leaves – changes that appear bad, but you secretly love?
(This one is a bit ambiguous; it can refer to your life or fictional changes in books & movies!)
In terms of books, I sometimes struggle with stories that have multiple point of views or have been from one characters perspective for the majority of it and then suddenly switches to someone else’s, but in the end I do end up liking seeing another side to things more often than not. I think I tend to like multiple POV stories more than most people.

4. Pumpkin Spiced Latte – something you love that others tend to judge
Having a weekend doing nothing and staying in your PJs all weekend? I’m sure everyone enjoys lazy weekends now and then, but I still feel a little judged sometimes when I either say before a weekend that I have no plans so I’m really looking forward to the weekend, or if after a weekend people ask what you got up to and then I’m like, “I slept and watched Netflix and/or read books?” Guess this is one I should lean not to get too caught up in what other people think.

5. Bonfire Night – what makes you explode with joy?
Oh boy, after the year that has been 2020, I’d definitely say the answer to that is seeing my friends, especially in real life. I haven’t seen my best friend of ten years since February due to us living in different cities and I cannot wait to see her again. And I think even generally before 2020 I loved seeing my friends as I’m lucky enough to have a lot of different groups of friends who live in different places, so I’m used to not seeing some of them for a while but now it feels extra weird that I can’t see some of them – like it’s almost exactly a year since I’ve seen my work wife!

6. Fright Night – favourite scary book or film
I am a wuss so have read or watched very few scary things. There’s a sequence in Lirael by Garth Nix that I still think is one of the scariest things I’ve ever read. No matter how many times I reread that series, that sequence still freaks me out.

7. Halloween candy – favourite thing to eat
When the nights get darker and longer, I seem to eat a lot more biscuits – especially chocolate chip cookies and chocolate digestives.

8. Scarves – your autumn ‘must have’ accessory
Well it’s obvious but I do love a good scarf. I’m also a big fan of fingerless gloves even though they’re not too practical. Note to self: I need to get new fingerless gloves as I seem to not have a complete pair anymore.

9. Fire – a book or film that burns your soul
A recent read that made me very happy at a deep an emotional level was Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble by Graham Hunter. I just loved reliving those six incredible years in Spanish football and learning things I didn’t know about people and matches that I’d watched.

10. Toffee apples – a book or film that seems one thing but really has a different inside
For book I’m going to say The Passage by Justin Cronin, mainly because I didn’t realise it was a first book in what turned out to be a trilogy when I was reading it, so as I was getting through the story and there were less and less pages for everything to be resolved I was really freaking out!

As for films, I’ll mention Personal Shopper as for some reason I thought it was going to be a full on horror/thriller and while it certainly has those elements it was a much more impactful film than I thought it’d be.

I tag anyone who facies doing this tag!

The Christmas Carol Book Tag

We’re almost halfway through blogmas so thought it was time for a Christmassy book tag. The Christmas Carol Book Tag was created by Lauren Wade on YouTube and I saw it over on Jess’s blog, Jessticulates. I read A Christmas Carol when I was in school, but when I think of the story, it’s the film Muppet’s Christmas Carol that always comes to mind.

The Ghost of Christmas Past – A book that was a childhood favourite
Love Street by Andrew Matthews
I think this is one of the first YA books I read and it was one I reread over and over again. It’s about a teenage girl who makes up her own soap opera in her head to deal with the stresses of friendship and relationship drama.

 

 

The Ghost of Christmas Present – A recent book that you think will become one of your all time favourites
The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
I read this book at the start of the year and I still think about it. It’s funny and heartfelt and it deals with such tough topics it can be equally infuriating and inspiring.

 

 

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – A book coming out next year that you’re most excited about
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
I’m so bad at keeping track of book releases but this in one I know about and will definitely be getting. I don’t particularly like the books title but I’m looking forward to going back into the world of The Hunger Games.

 

 

Bah, Humbug! – A book that everyone else loves that you just can’t stand
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I do get why people like this book and I did like the writing style but the story just didn’t grab me and I didn’t like the relationship and (albeit very small) hints at romance between the two main characters.

 

 

Bob Cratchit – An old dependable that you always recommend
Luther: The Calling by Neil Cross
This is the prequel book to the first series of the TV show Luther but I still think it’s the kind of book that both fans and non-fans of the TV show would enjoy because it’s such a creepy and tense thriller.

 

 

Tiny Tim – An underhyped book that you think deserves more love
Safe as Houses by Simone can der Vlugt
I read this thriller earlier this year and it gripped me from beginning to end and it definitely deserves to be talked about more.

Today? Why it’s Christmas Day! – What’s a book that always gets you in the mood for Christmas (apart from A Christmas Carol)?
I don’t really read a lot of Christmassy books to be honest, nor do I reread a lot of books, but I do like reading comics and graphic novels on the run up to Christmas because they’re shorter and my brain likes to get in that more chilled out mood as Christmas is a time for relaxing.

The Muppet Christmas Carol – Your favourite film adaptation of a book
The Martian by Andy Weir
Book to film adaptations often get a bad wrap but there are a lot of good ones out there. While an honourable mention has to go The Lord of the Rings, I’m picking The Martian. It’s one of my favourite books of recent years and the film got so much right, the humour, the characters and the heart of the story. Plus, The Martian is just an endlessly rewatchable film.

The Festive Christmas Book Tag

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Book Tag but as it’s blogmas and I’m looking for blog posts, here’s a seasonal appropriate one. This tag was created by Girl Reading on YouTube and I came across it via Bookables video.

1. A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with?
Is it cliché to say the Weasley’s? Because they are the first family I thought of and I can’t think of a better fictional family to spend Christmas dinner with.

2) A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?
If we’re talking about items from a book, could I get a Time Turner? That’d be very handy. Or bookish items in the real world, I’m a big fan of book sleeves. I love there’s so many designs and companies out there. I have two from BookBuddle which I love, and I received a Black Panther one in a subscription box which is very relevant to my interests.

3) A fictional character you think would make a perfect Christmas elf?
Samwise Gamgee. He’s so kind, helpful and thoughtful that he’d make a great Christmas elf! Plus he’s resourceful so if there was any mishaps, he could sort it out quickly.

4) Match a book to its perfect Christmas song.
I find this kind of thing really difficult but after a lot of thinking I came up with Step Into Christmas by Elton John to be paired with The Martian by Andy Weir. My thinking is, it’s just the kind of song that Mark Watney would be stuck listening to months on end.

5) Bah Humbug. A book or fictional character you’ve been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list?
I read the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness this year and was so annoyed by Todd through the entirety of the first two books, and then through a good chunk of the third book too. He disappointed and frustrated me with his naivety so he’d be on the naughty list.

6) A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserve to be put on the nice list?
The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet. It’s a completely bonkers fusion of fantasy and real life and when the line blurs between fiction and reality it’s a lot of fun. I don’t know anyone else who has ever read this book so it definitely needs more love – or at least, I need to find people who have read it to talk about it.

7) Red, Gold and Green. A book cover that has a wonderfully Christmassy feel to it.
Now this one I found really difficult and I thought I was going to skip it as I didn’t think I had any books with Christmassy covers (mainly because I don’t tend to read books set at christmas time) but then I remembered by copy of The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I haven’t read this book yet (it’s been on my shelves for years though) and while it might not be exactly Christmassy, it’s definitely wintery with all the snow and mountains.

8) A book or series you love so much, you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year, so they can read it and love it too?
As the spin-off is coming in the New Year and I’m so excited, I’m going to have to say the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. I think Eragon, and The Lord of the Rings films, was my gateway into fantasy. I’ve reread the Inheritance Cycle a few times over the years and I still love it.

I tag whoever wants to do this tag!

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Favourite Science Fiction & Fantasy Films

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week’s topic is in honour of the Booktube SFF Awards and instead of focusing on books, we’re talking about our favourite science fiction and fantasy in other media, whether that’s TV or Film. Me being me, has gone for film and here are some of my favourites.

Moon
If you’ve not watched Moon you really should. It’s a small-scale sci-fi film that sometimes feels claustrophobic, but that just adds to the underlying tension running throughout the film. Moon is eerie and gripping and Sam Rockwell is fantastic. It’s a film that’s lodged itself in my brain from the first time I saw it.

 

Transformers
While I do feel this franchise has gone on far too long and has generally gotten worse, I do love the first Transformers film. It’s one of my “comfort” films, if I feel down for some reason I’ll put it on and the over the top characters and action cheer me up. The battle in Qatar’s desert between the US military and a Decepticon is one of my favourite action sequences ever.

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Finally Fall Book Tag

As I’ve said quite recently, I love Autumn. And look what I found that puts two of my favourite things (books and autumn) together – the Finally Fall Book Tag! This tag was created by Tall Tales, it features 11 questions and I’m just going to get stuck right in.

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!
The Gunslinger by Stephen King. This is the first book in The Dark Tower series and not a lot really happens in it but you definitely get a vivid description of this place that the Gunslinger roams. It’s like a desert in a dying world, and it feels incredibly lifeless and harsh.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.
The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinsborough. This is a short story about death, grief and the ties that binds a family until they don’t anymore and it’s beautiful. It’s very sad as a woman is basically with her father, in the family home, waiting for him to die as her siblings briefly visit them. It’s a great look at family connections and how they can break so easily while also being about how hard it is to see someone you love slip away.

3.Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla. I learnt so much about what it’s like being a person of colour in Britain today, and no matter how much I read up on it I’ll probably never understand it because I’m white. (more…)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Ten Movies I Can Watch Over and Over Again

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. This week is a movie freebie so you can write about whatever you like, top ten all time favorite movies, top ten foreign films, top ten rom-coms, whatever! I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about the films I can watch over and over again and no matter how many times I watch it I never get bored.

lord of the rings elenasquareeyesThe Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)
So while obviously The Lord of the Rings is actually three film I count the trilogy as one since it is one big story. Every December, as close to Christmas Eve as I can get it, I rewatch the entire trilogy in a day. It’s a little tradition I’ve been doing for over ten years and I can’t wait till it’s December and I can watch Lord of the Rings.

 

The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001)the mummy elenasquareeyes
I count these two as one film too because they follow so well from one another – plus there’s no third film. These films feature one of my favourite fictional couples and my favourite fictional family ever! The O’Connell-Carnahan’s with Ardeth Bey are just the best! The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are so much fun and full of adventure and I could never get bored of watching them.

legally blonde elenasquareeyesLegally Blonde (2001)
Elle Woods is a feminist icon and so is Legally Blonde. Whenever I see Legally Blonde is on TV I always end up watching it, I can quote so many lines and I adore the soundtrack. Elle Woods makes me want to work harder and to be the best I can be and I love getting that feeling every time I rewatch this film.  (more…)

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Favourite First Sentences

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about memorable first sentences of a book and what they do to pull you into the story.

i capture the castle“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” – I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
I’ve not actually read the entirety of I Capture The Castle, in fact I’ve only ever read the first chapter (not sure why I ever put it down and I must rectify this soon) but this first line has definitely stayed with me.

 

 

FullSizeRender (75)“I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked.” – The Martian by Andy Weir
The Martian starts as it means to go on and this opening sentence(s) give you the best introduction to Mark Watney.

 

 

pride and prejudice“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
I like how kind of blunt yet sarcastic this line is and straight away you know this is going to be a story about marriage and romance and the politics that will probably come with it.

 

 

harry potter“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
I like how the Philosopher’s Stone starts because it is so normal and potentially boring but then then you know that something decidedly not-normal is bound to happen.

 

 

stormbreaker“When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.” – Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz.
I read Stormbreaker for the first time over ten years ago and this is the first sentence that immediately sprang to mind when I saw this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic. It’s so memorable because it is so true, no one ever wants their phone or doorbell to ring in the early hours of the morning because it’s never a good thing.

 

What are your favourite first sentences?

My Top Ten Favourite Films of 2015

It’s the end of the year so that means it’s time for best-of lists! So if you haven’t spotted my top ten list on HeyUGuys Movie Bloggers Top Ten – a list you should check out because it’s interesting to see what a load of different bloggers love – here is my top ten and my thoughts on each film. Now please note, all of these are UK cinema releases because as you’ll notice, one of these films came out two years ago in America.

10. Dope
I watched Dope on a plane and it was great. It made me laugh and think and I really enjoyed all the characters and their chemistry. It’s a small film that definitely deserves a lot of love.

9. Spy
Spy is a film I missed at the cinema but then I caught it on a plane and I wish I’d seen it at the cinema! It was surprising, funny and often kind of ridiculous but it really was so much fun. Jason Statham neds to do more comedy films.

8. Straight Outta Compton
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Straight Outta Compton. It was about a time in recent history and a band that I knew next to nothing about but I couldn’t help but get pulled into the story and I found myself caring about these people.

7. Ant-Man
Who would’ve thought that the Marvel film on my top ten list would be Ant-Man and not Avengers: Age of Ultron? Not me! I was really anti-Ant-Man a year ago, mainly because of my dislike of Hank Pym from the comics, so I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed Ant-Man. The cast had great chemistry, Michael Pena stole every scene he was in, and it was about a heist and I love heist movies! Ant-Man really was a pleasant surprise. (more…)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. Where has this year gone?! As we’ve only got a few weeks left, here’s the ten books I’ve loved the most this year. In June I talked about my favourite books I’d read so far this year so if you want to know about some other awesome books and to see which ones made both lists shimmy over here.

For once I’ve put these in order, going from ten to my number one book of the year.

FullSizeRender (91)10. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I love me some thrillers with unreliable narrators and The Girl on the Train certainly has that! I loved how Rachel wasn’t reliable or even likable a lot of the time and it was one of those mysteries that left me guessing till the gripping finale.

 
FullSizeRender (82)9. Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid by Sid Lowe
Barcelona and Real Madrid’s rivalry is legendary and Fear and Loathing in La Liga delves deep into both clubs history and looks at Spain’s history too. This was a fascinating read, it was sometimes a bit dense and a little dull when it was talking about players I didn’t know about but on the whole it was great read.

 
FullSizeRender (99)8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I thought A Monster Calls was just a children’s book and I was so wrong! Yes it has illustrations and is about a young boy but it deals with grief and death and abandonment so well. It really makes you think and the beautiful passages go so well with the often scary drawings.

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. As the title suggests this week is all about favourite quotes I’ve read in books recently. Some of these I knew I wanted to feature straight away because they stuck with me, others I had to think about a bit. Also this could have quite easily been ten quotes from The Martian but I managed to restrain myself.

I can’t stand seeing girls hate on girls. There’s enough of that in the tabloids.
#scandal by Sarah Ockler

If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.
The Martian by Andy Weir (more…)