Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: Stardust

Stardust is a 2007 fantasy adventure film directed by Matthew Vaughn and stars an ensemble cast led by Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Strong and Robert De Niro, with narration by Ian McKellen. The film is an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman 1999 novel of the same name. The movie opens roughly 19 years years prior to the start of the main character’s, Tristan Thorn (Cox), story with the meeting of his parents in a strange magical land. Baby Tristan is left for his father, Dunstan (Younger: Ben Barnes, Older: Nathaniel Parker) to raise in the fictional English town of Wall. When the story jumps ahead 18 years, Tristan is a rather naive boy who believes himself to be in love with the vain Victoria Forester (Sienna Miller). After seeing a falling star, Victoria agrees to marry Tristian if he retrieves it for her in time for her birthday. The night he is to set off, Tristan learns the origins of his birth in the magical land next to the town of Wall. Using a Babylon candle, which allows a person to instantly travel to the place they are thinking of when it is lit, gifted by his mother (Kate Magowan), Tristan tries to find her. But Tristan gets distracted by his thoughts of Victoria and the star, transporting him into a large crater where he falls onto a young woman (Danes) who he mistakes for his mother. He quickly realizes that the hurt girl is actually the fallen star and sets out to bring her back to Victoria, which leads to a wild journey for Tristan and the star, Yvaine, including run-ins with princes, witches, and even pirates. In this blog post I will look at the backstory established between the two mediums as well as the ways Tristan’s character is developed in the story. 

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Sabrina’s Book Corner: What You Thought Was True

Hello readers, and welcome back to Sabrina’s Book Corner! This week we are going to be discussing The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen.

Lindsey is on the verge of getting everything she wants. She is about to be named vice president at her marketing firm, something she has worked endless hours and suffered countless migraines to achieve. Lindsey’s hardworking attitude stems from comparisons to her utterly beautiful twin sister Alex.

Alex is a model, and she has everything she could possible want out of life. Since Alex seems to so easily get what she wants, Lindsey has always worked twice as hard to get the upper hand. But just as she is about to step out of her sister’s shadow, disaster strikes.

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Sabrina’s Book Corner: Golden

Hello readers, and welcome back to Sabrina’s Book Corner. This week we are going to be discussing The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. As some of you may know, The Outsiders celebrated its 50th anniversary this past November. And for the uninformed, The Outsiders is a much celebrated book, which was an incredibly important piece of fiction when it came out in 1967.

The Outsiders was revolutionary because it was written by a teenager, about teenagers, for teenagers. In fact, that was the original tagline when the book first came out. Some would say that The Outsiders was one of the first books in what would later become the young adult genre. The Outsiders is a book that has resonated with people of all ages over the last 50 years because of the relatable characters and strong themes.

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Book Review: A Twisted Vision

Hey, everyone! This week we are going to be talking about Kristi Cook’s Haven.

Violet McKenna is having a tough year. It’s bad enough that her father was brutally murdered, but Violet actually saw it and couldn’t stop it from happening. You see, Violet has visions of the future, mostly dealing with tragedies. Now all Violet wants to do is try and move on with her life.

So, when her stepmom gets a job in New York and gives Violet the choice to move to New York with her or move in with her ailing grandmother, Violet opts for New York. Enrolled at a new prestigious boarding school, Violet is ready to put everything behind her and be normal for once in her life. Winterhaven is Violet’s chance for a fresh start, but it might not be what Violet expects.

Strange things are happening at Winterhaven and Violet soon finds out that she is not the only one with a strange talent. Everyone at Winterhaven has one! Just as Violet is starting to feel normal, she meets Aidan. Mysterious, gorgeous Aidan who keeps only to himself. Soon after Violet meets Aidan, she starts to have visions of his death and it looks like she is going to be the one who kills him. Can Violet figure out the vision before it’s too late? Can she find out what Aidan is hiding before the vision comes true?

Mystery and supernatural powers abound in Kristi Cook’s Haven. You’re in for one wild ride.

That’s all for this week, and of course, happy reading!

— Sabrina Parr, Poetry Editor

The Princess Trials

the selection

Hello readers, and welcome back to Sabrina’s Book Corner!

I spent the summer reading any book I could get my greedy little hands on in order to tell you all about them. We are going to start off with one of my favorites, The Selection by Kiera Cass.

The heroine of The Selection, America, does not want to be a princess. The Selection is a competition to win the Prince’s love and become the new princess. To America, this sounds like a waste of time, and this isn’t the life she wants to lead. Besides, America already has her life figured out. She is going to save up money to marry her secret boyfriend, who is in a caste below her, and take care of her family.

Nowhere in her plans did America want to become a princess, but when her secret boyfriend breaks up with her, and her mother pushes her to apply, America finds herself not only applying for the Selection but winning a place. Now she is one of thirty-five girls who have a chance to compete to win Prince Maxon’s heart and become the next princess.

There’s only one problem — America still doesn’t want to be a princess. All America wants is for her heartbreak to end and to go home. That is, until she actually meets Prince Maxon. Maxon isn’t at all who she thought he would be; Maxon listens and is understanding. America could use someone like that in her life.

Hastily thrown into the world of ballgowns and royalty, America finds herself very confused. Could she be falling in love with a prince she swore she wasn’t even going to like? Could she become the next princess? Is that even something she wants? Thirty-five girls are competing for one man’s heart. Who will be the one to win Maxon’s heart? That is something not even he knows. 

Writer Kiera Cass brings us on a wild ride with The Selection. May the best girl win!

That’s all for this week, happy reading!

—Sabrina Parr, Poetry Editor

My Medieval Life

My Fair Godmother

Hello readers, and welcome back! This week we are going to be talking about My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison.

Savannah Delano’s life is going great. She is popular, a star on the track team, and dating the hottest boy in school. Everything is great until her sister steals her boyfriend. All Savannah has now is a broken heart and a prom dress she won’t be wearing because her boyfriend will be taking her sister instead.

Enter Chrysanthemum (Chrissy) Everstar, Savannah’s Fair Godmother. Yep, you read that right — Fair Godmother. Chrissy is a Fairy Godmother in training and she’s not doing very well, so she takes Savannah on as an extra credit assignment. Chrissy offers Savannah three wishes. What’s a girl to wish for? A prince and a ball, of course. One Cinderella story coming up.

The medieval period isn’t everything Savannah thought it would be — no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and serving your evil stepmother and ugly stepsisters isn’t fun. With no ball on the horizon, Savannah is less than happy. She keeps calling for Chrissy, but Chrissy never shows up.

When Chrissy does show up, she complains about being yanked away from her shopping trip. Savannah then uses her second wish, to be loved and taken care of. One Snow White coming up.

But being Snow White isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either. With one wish left, Savannah has to (1) get Chrissy to show up again, and (2) think of just what she wants. This is her last chance to get it right.

When Chrissy finally shows up, complaining about being yanked away from a shoe sale, Savannah uses her third wish. The wording has to be just right, so Savannah wishes for a princely guy to take her to prom while she is back at home.

Finally back at home, Savannah is ready to put her life back together. Everything is going well until Savannah finds out that the guy she’s been set up with — Tristan — is missing under mysterious circumstances. Turns out Tristan is trapped in the middle ages until he can become a prince. Savannah has to go back to medieval times to help him, what could go wrong? Can Savannah help Tristan? Will he let her?

Mystery and magic abound in My Fair Godmother. With three wishes, what could go wrong? That’s all for this week. Happy reading, everyone!

— Sabrina Parr, Poetry Editor

The Emotion Test

Some Quiet Place

Hello readers and welcome back! This week we are going to be talking about Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions, but she does see them in human form. They come and go as they are needed with other people’s emotions. All emotions but Fear have given up on her. Fear is determined to figure out why Elizabeth is this way and he is going to make her feel.

There is something strange about Elizabeth, other than not feeling anything, of course, Elizabeth’s dreams are haunted by a boy and girl. The girl is so lost in grief over the dead or dying boy that she screams into the sky. Why does Elizabeth keep having this dream? Where did it come from? Why can she see emotions when no one else can?

During all of this, Elizabeth is just trying to get through high school. She is trying to avoid getting in trouble at home where her father beats her, her mother hates her, and her brother ignores everything. But, most importantly, Elizabeth just wants to be left alone.

Elizabeth’s life takes a turn for the worse when a dark presence starts stalking her life. Even the emotions are afraid. What is stalking her and what does it want with a slightly abnormal girl like Elizabeth? Elizabeth’s life may depend on finding the answers and she may not be able to count on Fear to help her. There is more to her than meets the eye.

Kelsey Sutton takes us on an emotional ride in this novel, all puns intended. That’s all for this week. Check in next week for more, and happy reading everyone!

— Sabrina Parr, Poetry Editor

Monsters, Vegas, and Greek Gods

Lighting Thief Book Cover
Lighting Thief Book Cover

Hello readers and welcome back!

Today we are going to be talking about Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. This is a throwback for me because I first read The Lightning Thief in high school. This book is an oldie but a goody.

Percy Jackson, your normal American pre-teen, is about to be kicked out of boarding school. Again. Little does Percy know that he is actually not your normal American pre-teen. Percy is a demigod and he’s being accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

As if finding out you’re a demigod from your best friend (who just so happens to be a satyr) isn’t bad enough, while trying to get to a camp for demigods, Percy is attacked by a monster from Greek mythology. After arriving at Camp Half-blood, Percy finds out that he is being blamed for the theft of Zeus’ lightning bolt. With only ten days to clear his name before Percy gets smote by the gods, he, his best friend Grover (the satyr), and a daughter of Athena set out on an adventure to catch a thief.

Visiting everywhere from Las Vegas to the underworld, The Lightning Thief is one wild ride. Rick Riordan crafts a great new story about Greek mythology that is entertaining for everyone. If you’re looking for a quick read or a brief look into Greek mythology with a fun twist, The Lightning Thief is a good choice.

So happy reading everyone, and tune in next week for a new book review.

— Sabrina Parr, Poetry Editor

Discuss: Winter Reads

For those of us caught in the polar vortex, it seems that the weather is a mixed blessing. On one hand, we’re frozen into icicles every time we step outside. On the other hand, we have plenty of time to get cozy inside and do some reading. I know that my reading always ramps up when the weather grows nasty, so I don’t really mind when a polar vortex comes swooping through my area. If you’re more of a warm weather person, but you’re also a reader, then you might want to try making a list of winter reads. Hey, we have beach reads, don’t we? Might as well make a list of books you can read when you don’t want to be outside.

Over at Flavorwire, they have compiled a list of 26 Winter Reads that you might want to check out. On this list are books such as The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins, a book that has been on my shelf for years and has been sadly neglected. There is also Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges, which is a very entertaining collection of short stories to cozy up with. The list also contains Middlemarch by George Eliot, which is another book I’ve been meaning to get to. For some reason, the absolute massiveness of this book connotes a winter read. And, of course, modern classics such as Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

In addition to the books shown on this list, I would like to suggest some of my own. If you’re into fantasy and want to relive a book you might have read as a child, I would suggest The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones. I loved Diana Wynne Jones’ books as a child, but I never got around to this particular story. I read it last year just as it was beginning to get cold and it reminded me of being a child on winter break. I find that Jane Austen is always good to read during the winter months, if only because her works make you grateful that you don’t live in some drafty, old estate in the English countryside. And, of course, if you’re stuck inside then it would be an opportune time to re-read the Harry Potter series. I’m always looking for an excused to re-read the Harry Potter series.

What are you reading this winter? Do you have any books that you read every year when it gets cold outside? What is your list of books to be read now that 2014 has begun? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Most Anticipated Books

The summer is just about halfway over, and — perhaps more momentously — so is the year. We’re halfway through 2013 — isn’t that crazy? For those in the bookish and publishing communities, this halfway point in the year may mean many things, but it mostly means we get to look forward to the second half of the year’s book releases! Luckily, The Millions blog has catalogued the second half of 2013’s most anticipated books. And this post is a doozy! There are a ton of books on this list, categorized according to the month in which they are released, and if you can’t find something that you’d like to read here then I don’t know what you’re doing reading this blog.

One of the books on this list that I’m looking forward to is Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff. As some of you may know, Rakoff passed away earlier this year. But he finished this book before he did. David Rakoff is one of my favorite people. If you’ve ever heard him speak on This American Life or have read anything he’s written, then you might know why I feel that way. Last year I read his book, Half Emptyand enjoyed every last word of it. Although this new novel of his is written entirely in verse, and I’m not sure that’s something I will enjoy, I am willing to try this book out because I just love David Rakoff.

On the list is Aimee Bender’s newest collection of stories, The Color Masterwhich I think I already posted about here. It sounds really interesting, so I’ll probably be checking that out as well. There are so many awesome-sounding books on this list and, as you scroll through, the list might seem endless. What an exciting prospect for a reader!

What titles on this list are you interested in? Are there some upcoming book releases that didn’t make this list? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan