My advice to First Year Cre-Commers

Hey everybody, long time no talk.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer. I am, it’s super nice to sleep again and be able to relax. I’m still keeping busy with rugby, catching up with people, and my TBR pile got a little out of control during the school year. I’m finally starting to put a dent in it. I think I’ve read about 10-15 books so far, but I’m not going to talk about books today. Shocking, I know. It doesn’t happen often on this blog.

Today I want to give some advice to all the incoming CreComm students who will be starting with us at the end of August (Holy crap, it’s coming up so fast!). I planned to post this way back in June because that’s when the acceptance letters went out. What can I say? I’m on vacation. I’m enjoying my time off and I write when I want to. It’s a good time.

Anyways, we’re moving on.

I polled my classmates on Facebook to get some ideas for this post, so I will be sharing those with you and some of my own thoughts and feelings. Take what you will from this post and I wish you all the luck in the future.

Also, keep an eye on Hannah’s Geeky Corner as she has said she will be making some similar posts for first years.

Without further ado, read on, absorb, and be skeptical of everything.

Surviving First Year CreComm:

First things first.

Make sure this is something you want.

It’s a really tough program mentally and kind of physically too. (Lots of late nights and stress if you let things pile up.) Be sure that you have a strong support system that can help you through this that is outside of your school family (yes, they’ll become like family).

As Christiana Jones says, “CreComm is a swirling black hole, pulling us into the void and crushing us under the immense weight of an imploded star. Take time to remember that it’s not actually a literal black hole, even though it feels like it. There’s life outside of CreComm (this includes positives and negatives), visit it every once in a while.”

No one outside of CreComm is going to understand

It’s important to find people in your class to talk to about school and stuff because people outside the program just don’t get it. They just don’t, they’ll try, but it’s not something you can understand unless you’re living it every day. There’s a reason why the Kingshead Pub is such a popular place on Friday afternoons.

You do still need that support system outside of school though, because even though they don’t understand, they’ll still listen and be there for you.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

(To quote Mad Eye Moody: “Constant Vigilance”)

One thing that can help is getting prepared for school early. Know the basics of your computer and your camera. They don’t really go over them in your classes and you get assignments that you’re graded on. If you have anxiety like I do, take the time to watch some YouTube tutorials while you have the time. Also, find the genius in your section and see if they can help you out with stuff. There are lots of resources you can use. Find them and make use of them. I know this is coming rather late, but get used to it. In this program, you learn from failing.

WATCH/READ THE NEWS!!!! Everybody tells you to do it and you say you’re going to, but then suddenly you’re staring down the barrel of your first news quiz and you can’t remember how to spell your own name. Get into a routine and start small, yes the comics count as small, but push yourself to go beyond that and read a few sections every day, mix it up and challenge yourself.

Also, buy a tripod. Just do it. You can rent equipment free of charge from the school and it’s great, but if you get struck by inspiration at 4 o’clock on a Friday and you need a tripod, you’re SOL. Spend $50 and buy one from Wal-Mart, trust me, it’ll save you a lot of headaches and stress.

Prioritize Yourself

Going back to anxiety and mental health, always take care of yourself. You will cry, a lot, that’s just a fact of the program. It’s all about taking it one day and one deadline at a time. Like my dad would tell me all through the year: “You don’t eat an elephant in one sitting.”

To quote Diana Chabai: “Go to sleep. Take care of yourself. Push yourself to do your best. Drink water. Learn how to take criticism and ask for more, because it will make you better.”

And she’s right, if you hit a wall with an assignment, go to bed. Go to bed and tackle it with fresh eyes the next day. You’ll be surprised at how productive you can be if you sleep. I also would think about my projects and plan them out in my head. It made the execution process a whole lot easier if I had a plan in place. Also, midnight naps are a thing and can be quite helpful if you didn’t plan very well.

Marika Laczko has some more advice on that note. “Even though you have a million things due and a lot of stuff going on, take it one day at a time. Figure out what you need to do today and do it. If it’s just reading a chapter of Zinsser, then that’s it.”

Lists will become your best friend, and get an agenda or a day planner. Seriously, it will save your life. Just don’t obsess and flip back and forth through your agenda stressing over all the stuff you have to do, it doesn’t help and it’s not fun. Take it from me, I have personal experience with this. Another tip I picked up was to use a white board to plan out your month. It gives you a big picture view, helps you focus on the pressing things, and makes it easier to prioritize you, this was the best decision I made and I’m annoyed at myself that it took me until second semester to start doing it.

Also, don’t forget to eat. Austin Grabish highly suggests packing big lunches from home. It’ll save you money and time, as Austin says “never ever go to the Tim Hortons before class unless you have 20 minutes to spare,” this is college kids and coffee, you do the math. Lines be cray.

Another good way to keep yourself on track and focused is by using the gym. Red River College has one on campus and Rob Mahon speaks from experience when he says “It will keep you alert and there will never, ever be a gym that is both free and where you are anyway again,” definitely try to take advantage of that and burn off some steam. It’s a great way to keep your endorphins up, which, coincidentally, helps alleviate stress.

Don’t be afraid to fail – but try not to.

Like I said before, this program’s tagline should basically be “you learn from failing”. Auto fails are real and happen to everybody. Just accept it and do your best to avoid them. My advice; auto fail one of your first assignments. I know it sounds crazy, but they’re not worth as much as later assignments and then the pressure is off.

If that’s not your cup of tea, take these helpful hints from Austin Grabish and Trent Burton: Highlight every single proper name and double and triple check it before you hand it in.

As Matt Alcock says: “proofreading is the difference between a decent mark and a great mark.” Basically, pay attention to the little things and you should be alright. Some insight I’ve picked up through my first year is to write to your teachers. What I mean by this is figure out their quirks and expectations and write to suit them, then work on developing your style.

  • Make Joanne cry.
  • Make James think.
  • Make Kenton laugh.
  • Make sure your grammar and tenses are 100% for Emily.
  • Make Karen uncomfortable (with good writing though, elicit emotion basically)
  • Make sure you’re technical with Kathy.

That’s sort of what I’ve figured out anyway. I could be completely wrong, but I feel I’m pretty bang on. Basically all you can do is read your handouts (I’m talking MULTIPLE times), proofread everything, have someone else look at it, and try to let it breath for a day and proofread it again before you hand it in. Is this doable? Absolutely. Is it realistic to do this for every project you’ll get? Absolutely NOT. Do your best, learn to expect Cs and don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers, the counselors, or us second years. We’ve all been through it and we’re more than happy to help. Even if you only get Cs all year, you’ll be OK. You’ll learn and grow and then eventually get a B in there somewhere.

School Supplies will help you make friends

You think I’m joking, but I’m not. If you have a stapler, an eraser, a pencil sharpener, mechanical pencil leads, and staple refills on the first day of class you will legitimately make fast friends with everyone, because most people will forget that stuff. Also most, if not all, your assignments need to be stapled together, you see where I’m going with this? Staples and staplers are gold.

Also, ALWAYS print ahead of time and keep some spare dimes on you at all times. We’ve had the print shop go out of order on us when an assignment is due (well a section did) and there were a lot of tears that day, so try to print the night before.

Make friends with the computer people

Leslie and Lora are awesome if you have issues with pretty much anything computer related. They will help you out if you fall victim to the CreComm curse, which is when one person has issues with printing and connecting with the servers. All you can do is cross your fingers that it’s not you, and if it is, find Leslie or Lora.

Get to know all the people who can help you. As I said before, there are lots of resources available to you, make use of them and you will do alright.

Savour your time here

Savannah Kelly speaks the truth when she says, “The year will go by a lot faster than you think. Savour it. Also, you’re a hack and no one will ever hire you,” the last bit is a little bit of CreComm humour, we get a little cynical sometimes, all part of the fun.

She’s right though, soak up all you can from this program, but don’t kill yourself to do it. It’s OK to need some time off. Take Cam Deamel’s advice: “The moment you start to thoroughly evaluate your self-worth is the moment you’ll start to grow the most in the program. Also, you’ll burn out in the second semester and that’s TOTALLY COOL. Talk to a second-year student and they will comfort you.”

He speaks the truth, burn out is a thing that happens to everybody. Like Dani Boily says, “Group hugs are important,” especially late into the second semester. The thing to remember is that we’re all in this together. Don’t be afraid to seek us out. You may get snapped at, fair warning, but it’s just because we’re all in the same boat, so no sudden moves. We can be like horses and spook easily so approach us with caution and never from the back.

The main thing to remember is this is college, and like Hanna Gehman says, “You’re totally allowed to wear jeans and hoodies to class everyday. Sometimes the same hoodie and jeans,” trust me, no one cares. Savour that while it lasts because before you know it you’ll be dressing like a grown up and adulting all over the place.

In the immortal words of Miss Frizzle: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

Prepare yourself for a roller coaster ride of a year and to save yourself some headaches and start thinking of ideas for:

  • Your blog
  • Two short stories
  • A personality profile
  • This I Believe
  • Science Article
  • Sports Article
  • Multiple ads
  • Your magazine
  • Your feature article for your magazine, and
  • Your IPP

Be prepared to be overwhelmed in the best way possible. Godspeed friends.

Oh, and one last thing:

Hailey Gajadhar: “Stay away from the neon green Rockstars at the Merc. They all belong to Hailey.”

You’ve been warned.

Here’s to a great year.

And as always, please read responsibly.

Stephanie

Cover Changes – The Good, The Bad, and The Horrible

We’ve all heard that old saying; never judge a book by it’s cover, and while I firmly stand by that statement (there are some great books out there cursed with terrible covers) it’s still kind of fun to do and is a big part of marketing a book.

Today I wanted to talk about when a book gets a new cover, either because the sales are doing poorly, or if it gets a new publisher, and all the good reasons to change a cover. Basically I’m just ranting about why I hate book covers if I’m being completely honest. And full disclosure, I have no idea what I’m talking about design wise.

Here we go:

The Diviners series by Libba Bray.

I own the original cover design for the book, the one on the far left, and it looks gorgeous without the jacket on. It’s a black book with white swirls on it, and it is to die for.

I’m not sure what prompted the publisher to change the covers of the books, I think this one does a great job of conveying the creepy, occult tone of the book, and with the New York skyline in the background there’s no questioning where the story is set.

What really bothers me about these new covers, is the simple fact that I had already purchased the book, in hardcover no less. Books are expensive, and when you change the cover art part way through a series, have the decency to re-do all the covers. That, and the fact that the second one is just different enough that it could still fit in on my bookshelf next to the original cover, is the reason why this cover swap doesn’t bother me as much as some of the other ones on this list. Also, be a pal and release the entire series with one type of cover before you change it. Please!

I’m really not a fan of the re-print of the first book. It kind of looks cheap to me. Some of the graphic elements, like the halos of light around the characters, are cool, but it just makes it look cheesy. The cover for Lair of Dreams is less cheesy so it ranks a little bit higher for me.

Dark Caravan Cycle series by Heather Demetrios.

I’ve talked about how the title of the main book gives it that cheesy romance novel feel in an older blog post, and the cover photo does nothing to dissuade the reader from thinking that. But it is exquisite. It’s one of the main reasons I picked up the book in the first place.

I also talked about the potential cover change in another blog post and how I was pissed but wouldn’t pass judgement until I saw it. Well, the third cover you see in the picture has replaced the second one on Goodreads. I think it’s safe to say that this cover change is happening (I’m still crossing my fingers that this is only the paperback edition AU: I’ve visually confirmed the switch and I hate it), and I could not be sadder and more annoyed at the publisher about it.

You have this great book series about jinni, a parallel realm where war is being waged, and the soul survivor of an Amazonian-type race of warrior woman who is fighting to stay alive just so she can save her brother from a work camp, and you give me these boring-ass bland covers that hint at nothing? Travesty!

While the first two play up the romance angle a little too much, they are still much more interesting to look at than the third picture. Again, I think I’m more pissed off that I already bought the book than I am at the actual cover change. But, come on, it’s so boring and not memorable at all. If you want sales to go up you need an eye-catching cover.

Across the Universe series by Beth Revis.

This one made absolutely no sense to me. The original covers were these gorgeous galaxy infused beauties, and then they switched it to these weird metal monstrosities. And for like the millionth time I’m going to mention that it was changed before the series was finished. Just Gah. Sorry I sound like a broken record, but them’s the facts.

I am decently OK with it, because I bought the first two in the gorgeous galaxy covers and the final book involves the main characters landing on an Earth-like planet so I can justify it in my head that it follows a narrative. Basically I lie to myself to make myself feel better 😀 #coping.

I don’t understand why this was changed at all, or why they didn’t just wait until the final book was released and then re-release them. I’m sure it has something to do with money and they just want us to re-purchase all the books. Honestly that bothers me, but whatever.

Curse Workers series by Holly Black.

This is one of those cover changes that actually improved the book covers in all honesty. What bothered me, again (for the millionth and first time, sorry), is that they were changed before the final book came out. All I have to say to that is what the heck publishers? WHY??? Fully release a series and then start screwing around with the covers, that’s all I ask.  The cover with people for Black Heart was never available in the bookstore that I went to, ever. That annoyed me, because even if the covers aren’t great, it’s all about how it looks on the bookshelf. Maintaining your bookshelf can be very expensive.

I actually really like the new covers, and this is why I’m starting to wait longer and longer before I purchase a series so I can be sure that they all look the same. I would have been more inclined to buy the series if it had had the cool 1920’s inspired covers. Although, to be fair, they don’t really give you any hint as to what’s going on in the book. But they are just weird enough to make them memorable and they’re gorgeous on top of that.

***

The one time that a cover change doesn’t bother me as much is when they are changed for movies. So long as it doesn’t mess up the rest of the covers. If it does that, then we have a problem. It’s a polarizing issue in the book community. Some people get really passionate about it and think that if you buy the movie book covers you’re not a real book lover, which is just ridiculous. I own a few of the movie covers actually and sometimes they’re cooler.

The way I look at it, so long as you’re reading, that’s all that matters.

That’s all for me this week guys, hope you enjoyed and as always please read responsibly.

Stephanie

Goodreads Links:

The Diviners

Dark Caravan Cycle

Across the Universe

Curse Worker

 

Novellas

I am slowly becoming a convert to novellas and short stories. Normally I didn’t really think they were necessary, but the way a lot of authors are tackling them now is a great way to add something to their story. It helps build the universe and make it interesting and fresh.

There’s a mix of story lengths that can be used in novellas. Some are just short little vignettes and glimpses into one particular scene and others can be full blown standalone stories that could probably be made into books of their own. I think that’s where the danger lies with novellas though. There has to be an end somewhere for the original series to have any meaning. All good things must come to an end and all that jazz.

I have a list of novellas that I wanted to discuss today and they all demonstrate the different ways that this medium can be handled. What I like about where it seems to be going right now, is that it’s like the bonus content for movies and TV shows. It’s that background piece that’s fun to see and adds a little something extra.

Twilight – The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer – Published June 5, 2010; 178 Pages.

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This one was my first introduction to novellas being released as actual books. Before that, for me anyway, they were just included as extras in the books themselves or released as web only content. I could never really be bothered to pick them up, but at the same time I always felt like I was missing something.

This one falls under the category of story that could have been its own book. It follows a newly turned Bree Tanner as she navigates life as a fledgling vampire. It takes place in between Eclipse and Breaking Dawn in the Twilight universe and offers the reader a behind the scenes look at the army being raised by the villain Victoria.

I really enjoyed this one actually, it was short and sweet and I knocked it out in a few hours. I think I read it a few times in a row. Novellas easily lend themselves to that. Even though it’s part of the Twilight universe and most people would reject it on principle, I still found it an enjoyable read. When it came to its inevitable conclusion I was actually sad. It was nice to see outside of the core families featured in the series. It made it seem a little less isolated.

The Selection – Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass – Published October 13, 2015; 416 Pages.

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Full disclosure, I have not read any of these shorts yet, I’ve read all the books in the series and all the shorts are on my TBR list, but Kiera Cass is insufferable with the release of these things. All four were released as e-books, then released in re-prints of the original series, then in two separate bind-ups, and then they were released all together as Happily Ever After. So you can understand why it has taken me awhile to get around to reading them. Every time I try I get confused and think there’s a lot more than there actually are.

From what I’ve gathered reading their respective Goodreads pages these shorts fall under the vignettes and a deeper look into a scene category. They also seem to offer up the same scenes from another characters point of view, something that is becoming more and more popular. I enjoy those only if they truly offer up a different perspective.

Kiera Cass clearly knows what she’s doing and I do look forward to eventually picking this up and getting to read them.

The Lunar Chronicles – Stars Above by Marissa Meyer – Published February 2, 2016; 369 Pages.

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I’ve talked about this a bit. You know how I feel about it. You can check out my thoughts on the book by reading my Stars Above Review post and my Most Anticipated Releases of 2016 post.

There are a variety of lengths and types of stories in this bind up. It’s probably the most eclectic on this list. That’s also what I liked about it. Everything seemed to be just the right length for what it was trying to accomplish.

We got to see characters in familiar situations, we got to see scenes from other characters points of view, we got some background on how our characters ended up where they did in the series, and we got a lovely epilogue that was not included in Winter. All in all, it was a smart move that will keep the fans talking about the series for some time.

I was not let down by a single one of the stories included in this book. It was fun to hang out with those characters again and get some insight into their pasts.

Throne of Glass – The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas – Published March 4, 2014; 448 Pages.

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These books followed, or rather probably inspired Kiera Cass, in that they were released as individual e-books first and once they were all released they were put together and released as a physical copy and an e-book as well.

This is the one that I legitimately fell in love with. I’m not sure if it was purely the universe it was based in or the fact that I was completely immersed in that world when I read it, but the stories that are included in this bind-up perfectly accompany the books in the main series. They answer so many questions about character motivations and they make all the characters more lifelike. You also understand where the main character is coming from in her quest for revenge.

It’s a great bind-up and you can either read it before you’ve read the series, or at the mid-point. Although for spoiler purposes I suggest that for your first time, read the first three books in the series first, then The Assassin’s Blade, then continue on with the second half of the series.

The Mortal Instruments – The Bane Chronicles & Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman – Published November 11, 2014 & To Be Published November 15, 2016; 507 Pages & 672 Pages.

I read this series in a weird order. I got into the habit of buying all the books in soft cover so now I have to buy the whole series in soft cover or else it looks weird. I have a problem, don’t judge me. Because of that, I read these either really late or from the library. In the case of these bind-ups, which like so many others on this list are released one at a time as e-books and then released as physical books to build hype, there is a long waiting period.

I haven’t read the Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy yet, but I’m dying to, I’ve already watched a few booktube reviews on it. I will have forgotten everything by the time the book comes out, trust me.

If The Bane Chronicles is anything to go by these will all be from the same characters point of view and may jump around in time a bit. Again, it seems like the point of these is to expand the universe and give the reader a wider scope. I can’t help thinking that it also helps fanfiction writers too, because they have a bigger sandbox to play in and therefore more content can be created by fans. While some view this as a negative, it’s seemed to only have helped Cassandra Clare who is currently writing the third installment in what is rumored to be a five part series. Not bad for someone who used to write Harry Potter fanfiction.

Dorothy Must Die – Dorothy Must Die: Stories Vol 1 & 2 – Published March 3, 2015 & February 16, 2016; 392 Pages & 336 Pages.

I picked Dorothy Must Die up on a whim and it was a pretty decent read. When I discovered the novellas, or stories, I couldn’t help feeling a little exasperated. At this point, pretty much every book I was reading had some type of extra content and e-books so it was a little bit annoying. Being the type of person that I am, I had to at least read them, so I bought them as e-books, because novellas actually work out to be cheaper than books, for once. And they were pretty dang good.

The story of Oz is very vast and covers a lot so that is why it lends itself so well to interpretation. Once I started reading the shorts I couldn’t stop, I needed to keep reading  to find out what happens. This is especially good because it builds hype for all the subsequent books to follow.

I haven’t read Stories Volume 2 yet, but I’ve seen them on my Kindle store and read up on them on Goodreads and I am stoked to read them and delve back into the wonderful world of OZ. This take is a lot darker than the movie version so it’s really fun to see all the cockamamie and shenanigans that the characters get into.

Thanks for sticking around guys, I hope you’re having a lovely April. All this snow is just fantastic! (This is why we need a sarcasm font.)

As always, please read responsibly.

Stephanie

Goodreads Links:

The Short Second life of Bree Tanner

Happily Ever After

Stars Above

The Assassin’s Blade

The Bane Chronicles

Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy

Dorothy Must Die: Stories

Dorothy Must Die: Stories Vol. 2

The most important screen in my life.

Hey everybody, this week we’re talking tech.

In my Ad class we were given a blog assignment to write about media and technology and where we think it’s going.

I chose to write about the most important screen in my life. As a millennial, I have never known a world without the internet. Luckily, I got to grow up alongside the internet and was not born into it, so I still experienced things like dial-up, Minesweeper (does anyone actually know how to play that game?), and Microsoft Paint. I’ve had screens around me my entire life and my favorite has changed as I grew up.

The early years:

TV was my favorite screen when I was a youngin. I would get home after school every day and watch Arthur and Sailor Moon. I had the theme song for both of those shows memorized within a week. I hadn’t discovered the wonders of the internet yet so TV and books held my attention.

The teen years:

As I grew up, the internet and computers became better, I was just never that into them. I still had my books, and TV still had my heart as my screen of choice. It wasn’t until I was out of high school and bought my first laptop for university that computers started to chip away at TV’s grip on me.

University to present:

This is when computers really became my bae. I bought my first laptop at 17, for my first year of university. It was stolen a few months after school started, and even though I’d only had it a short while, I really felt the loss. My life was in that little black box. I wouldn’t get my first cell phone until I was 18, a month after that, and I didn’t succumb to getting a smartphone until I was 23 0r 24. What can I say? I’m what the tech community refers to as a laggard.

Once I received the replacement laptop I really started to discover the joys of a personal screen. I was on that thing constantly. I joined Facebook and a few chatrooms and communities that kept me occupied. I also discovered the CD-Rom drive and began watching TV shows on DVD, my binge-watching habit was born.

Once I discovered that I could watch TV online, avoid the commercials, and not have to deal with my family talking over the good parts, TV was out and my computer was in. Not to mention that i could now watch everything in order and I could do it on my own time. My parents had discovered all the good stuff on TV too so there was rarely a free moment for me to watch what I wanted. So long as I had a power cord and an outlet I didn’t need to leave my bed to interact with the world.

I now have a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, and a Kindle (a girl’s still gotta read). My favorite one is my tablet when I’m at home, and my phone when I’m out and about in the world (my Kindle wins when I’m traveling, how else could I carry 600 books with me? I cracked the screen once, I cried, not even ashamed). I do often use them in tandem actually. The number of times my dad has checked on me and found me working on my laptop with my tablet playing something while I’m on my phone, AND I have a book cracked next to me is almost too embarrassing to admit. I may have a slight problem.

The Future:

I read a lot, as you may have noticed, and in a few of the books I’ve read tech can be extreme. I’m excited and a little scared of what the future holds. I’ve read a number of books that have barcode tattoos on the wrist acting as everything from bank cards, bus passes, identification, even the keys to cars. Don’t even get me started on the implants and enhancements that exist. I’m talking having access to the internet using just your eyes. Being able to navigate through the internet using eye movements and having the content visible on your eye. The possibilities are endless.

The only bad thing about this is that all of these new innovative things could be corrupted and used for sinister deeds. In one book I read, the barcode tattoos were used to secretly determine if someone was genetically prone to disease, and if they were their life was suddenly thrown into chaos. They lost access to their money and they were usually fired and they had no explanation. I think that’s the real thing we need to be worried about.

I believe that the next big screen will be our own eyes. We make strides in tech every day and I think it’s only a matter of time before we’re all part cyborg. Science fiction has been guessing at what the future holds for years, I do wonder if it’s influence or prediction. Only time will tell I suppose.

Here’s a list of 15 science fiction books that predicted the the future of tech.

And a handy dandy video that shows 10 science fiction prediction that came true.

 

Let’s just hope we use the future for good.

Thanks guys, as always please read responsibly. Enjoy your week.

Stephanie

TV Shows to Books

I’ve talked about a lot of adaptations on this blog, it seems to be my theme for this semester. It was not planned I swear.

Anyways, a few weeks ago I talked about book to TV adaptations. This week I wanted to take a look at the other side of the coin and talk about TV show to book adaptations, or tie-ins.

These adaptations are quite a bit different than when you take a book and turn it into a show or a movie. While they can be very good, I find a lot of the nuances are lost because the characters come off as a little bit one dimensional in comparison to when they are on-screen.

I want to talk about three series where I have seen the shows and read the books that came after as tie-in material.

Ready? Here we go.

Supernatural series – 14 books, written by various authors and released from 2007-present.

IMG_2899I was researching these books again to get pictures and numbers and all that good stuff that no one cares about, and I discovered that we’re getting two new books in 2016!! I already have them pre-ordered from Chapters because I have no impulse control and I’m just that nerdy.

Supernatural is a cult series that has been on for 11 seasons and, I must admit, it’s still putting out some good stuff. I have sort of fallen off the band wagon a little bit, but I catch up when I can. I’m considering giving up on the series, but I don’t think I’ll ever fully walk away from it.

Anyways, back to the books. They are kind of hit or miss for me. Depending on who’s writing them. Keith R.A. DeCandido is my favorite author, probably because he wrote the first one, but also because of all the extras that he includes in his books and the obvious care he puts into the stories he writes. He tries to place his stories in between episodes and follow the established canon as closely as possible, he includes awesome playlists that he listened to while writing the book, and it just puts you right in the mood. The best part is that it actually feels like it could be an episode. DeCandido really gets into the heads of his characters, so you don’t feel like you’re reading someone else’s  version of the boys. If you wanted that you would read fanfiction.

This one is probably my favorite tie-in series because of writers like DeCandido who understand what the fans want from a tie-in series and give it to them consistently. I would definitely recommend this for fans of the show who are looking for, what amounts to, G rated fanfiction.

Charmed series – 41 books, written by various authors and released from 1999-2008.

CharmedI was obsessed with this show growing up. I was big into witches and wicca and everything that had to do with that. My friend and I would watch the show together on the phone. We’d sit there and have a running commentary throughout the episode. Usually I would put the phone down to focus on the episode and pick it up only on commercials. I did not pay the phone bill OK, it was fine.

The books were a nice little bonus that I discovered a few years later, while I was building up my collection of all the seasons on DVD. For these ones you have to suspend your belief and go into them with fresh eyes. They are not considered canon in the slightest, and if you watch the show you get that right away. They’re still a fun little side piece that would be great to get you through the aptly titled hellatus summer months when most shows aren’t putting out new content.

I haven’t read all of them yet, (There’s 41 books and they are hella difficult to come by, cut a girl some slack) but I do have some favorites in the 10+ that I’ve read. The ones that I enjoyed the most were the ones that, again, sort of capture the spirit of the show and the ones that I could most easily picture as an episode. When a writer captures the voice of a character so well that it doesn’t take you out of that world, it is a sign of someone who knows what they’re doing and is giving great fan service.

Glee series – 3 books, written by Sophia Lowell and released from 2010-2011.

GleeBooks1If you haven’t figured it out yet I am a nerd. Yup, you got me. I’m a big nerdy, nerdy person. As you can see I have varied taste, but I am passionate about all of it.

I bought these books more for the fun of it than for any actual literary content. I didn’t really like them all that much, and I have a feeling that’s why there weren’t more books in the series. Not because I was the only one who disliked them, but because Glee is a hard voice to get right. Even the creators had trouble sometimes.

Like the Charmed book series, you had to go into these ones with an open mind and check all your canon luggage at the door to enjoy them. The one that felt the most real to me was the Glee: The Beginning book. I think it’s because that’s when the characters were still underdeveloped even in the creators minds, so you could have a little fun with the way the characters acted and be able to get away with it.

So the long and the short of it is, if you’re looking for good stories that are thought out and capture the voice and essence of your favorite characters, read fanfiction. No, but seriously, tie-ins are great but they are very rarely done well, so enjoy them for what they are and don’t overthink it too much.

That’s all for me this week guys, enjoy your weekend and as always, please read responsibly.

Stephanie

Goodreads Links:

Supernatural

Charmed

Glee

 

Reservations Review

Author’s Note: *SPOILERS*

Normally I try to avoid them but they’re important to the discussion of the play. Proceed at your own risk.

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WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Actors from right, Tracey Nepinak, Steven Ratzlaff and Sarah Constible in a scene from the Theatre Projects play titled RESERVATIONS.

Hey everybody,

I had the lovely opportunity to attend the Theatre Projects Manitoba performance of Reservations on their student night, Tuesday March 15 at the Rachel Browne Theatre.

Reservations is a play with an interesting structure. It’s actually two separate one-act plays that are performed together. They are called Pete’s Reserve and Standing Reserve. Both deal with indigenous issues and were written by and star Steven Ratzlaff.

Pete’s Reserve, the first play, is about a farmer named Pete (Ratzlaff) who has a crisis of conscience after a heart attack and decides to gift his acreages of land back to the Siksika Nation. They were the original ‘owners’ of the land before settlers, and Pete wants to return it. The conflict arises when Pete’s daughter Anna, played by the amazing Sarah Constible, is invited to visit by Pete and discuss this decision, as it will affect her inheritance. Pete is also married to a Cree woman, Esther–played by Tracey Nepinak, who is caught in the middle. Anna pleads her case to her father. She makes several attempts to change his mind and attempts to sway him with money. In the end we don’t know what Pete does, the ending is left open ended and ambiguous. As an audience we are left with the image of Anna and Esther enjoying a smoke together and discussing the future.

I enjoyed this play, overall, the most. The acting from all parties was phenomenal, and I really felt like there was a respect amongst the actors, and their characters in the story. They captured the family dynamic very well, and even with the heavy subject matter they interjected humor and levity into the story. I enjoyed the portrayal of Ester and Anna’s relationship. I felt that they were believable as a stepmother and stepdaughter who were ‘forced’ together later in life, and it wasn’t awkward. Again, there was a respect between the characters that radiated outward.

I actually enjoyed the fact that this play left us without a real ending, which surprised me, normally I am all for having a satisfying ending. I think that, because of the subject matter and the fact that this issue, in the real world, cannot be solved quickly is why I liked that it was left open. It would have been disingenuous if there had been a clear ending.

The set for this play was very minimal. There were only three 6 x 20 foot screens that had images projected on them that created the illusion of space and open fields of an Alberta farm, four chairs, and a table. The Rachel Browne Theatre is a very small and intimate venue. I think it was the perfect choice for a play like this, where the audience can practically be in the scene with the characters (More on that later).

A few things that I did not like about this part of the play were the music, at times, and the long introduction. For certain parts the music was quite well done and really helped amplify the emotion, but other times it just seemed at odds with what I was watching and it took me right out of the play. The introduction sequence was, I think, too long and unnecessary. We didn’t really learn anything vital to the play and I just wanted it to start.

All in all, it was a well acted play that threw a lot of information at you. I am no expert on indigenous issues, but I walked away from this play with a different perspective than I had before. These plays really make you think. It also made me examine my own privilege as a white woman. I could really see myself in Anna, yet I identified more with Esther. It was an interesting experience, and I always enjoy plays that keep me thinking and wanting to talk after.

Standing Reserve, the second play, was hit or miss. In a way it was broken up into two parts as well, so we almost had three plays. It starts in the home of a white couple, Jenny (Constible) and Mike (Ratzlaff) who are waiting on a CFS agent named Denise (Nepinak) to come discuss their concerns about their new social worker.

Jenny and Mike have no children of their own, but are fostering three indigenous siblings. Jenny loves them like they were her own biological children and is concerned with all the changes and ‘forced’ visits that the children must make to the reserve. The first half of Standing Reserve  is set in Jenny and Mike’s living room. They are arguing about the visit and we see the actual visit with Denise. The tension is raised considerably when Jenny finds out that Denise was also a former student of Mike’s, just like she was. The subtext in this scene was amazing and made me a little uncomfortable. After Denise leaves, Jenny expresses her fears that her children might be taken from her, but Mike appears indifferent.

The second half of Standing Reserve was set in a university lecture hall and was a literal lecture on German philosopher Martin Heidegger. It compared his philosophies to Cree teachings. We learn in the set up that Jenny and Mike did in fact have their children taken from them and may be on the road to divorce. Denise is presenting to a class and Mike introduces her. Jenny storms in late, sits in the gallery and observes until the question and answer period where she confronts Denise, because she blames her for her children being taken away. Again, there is no real resolution to this play. We are unsure of what happens to Mike and Jenny’s  marriage and the fate of the children.

I enjoyed the first half of Standing Reserve very much. It was due in large part to Sarah Constible’s superb portrayal of Jenny. There were points where she was visibly shaking and had tears in her eyes. Her strong performance nearly brought me to tears a few times myself. I truly believed that she was afraid of losing her children. I also liked that they didn’t dumb down the content and make it seem like they were talking down to the audience. There were some parts that I found confusing but they did a decent job of conveying the content. As an audience member you got the gist. The music for this part was a lot better suited to it in my opinion. There were still a few times where it felt off, but it worked better than Pete’s Reserve, and they managed a few laughs as well.

They made great use of the intimate setting. In this play they had a couch, a few chairs, a table, and a number of children’s toys in the first half. The screens had a paisley pattern on them and it really made you feel like you were in Mike and Jenny’s living room. In the second half the screens were used as Denise’s projector and showed pictures and video. The movement of the actors inside these small spaces was integral to help place the audience in that setting with them. There was lots of movement in Pete’s Reserve and the first half of Standing Reserve that kept me interested.

The shift from one play to the other caught me a little off guard. It was jarring to see an actress who was just playing a daughter suddenly be openly discussing how she was screwing the character who was just playing her father. It took a minute, but once you got into the story it was fine.

Once we got to the lecture hall and that part of the story I was done. The play started to feel preachy in a way that it hadn’t before, and I felt that it was a weak point. It had a lot of information, subtext, and emotion, but all the philosophical talk made me check out. This part made the play lag and it went on way too long. I also didn’t enjoy Mike’s character. I often wondered why he was fostering these kids when he clearly didn’t want to. At one point I think he even referred to them as his wife’s hobby. That did not sit right with me, and I completely felt Jenny’s pain when he said that he wouldn’t fight to get the kids back if they were ever taken away. It kind of broke my heart a little.

I think the first half of Standing Reserve was the strongest part of the entire play. It got the most emotional response out of me, and the acting was very visceral. Sarah Constible appeared to go all out with this character, clearly portraying this mother’s anger and fear. I also found Tracey Nepinak’s performance as Denise much stronger than her portrayal of Esther. I think that had more to do with the nature of the character’s than Nepinak’s acting. It was nice to see the contrast. Steven Ratzlaff was consistent throughout the production, but I did feel like he played pretty much the same character in both plays.

We were also treated to a talk back session after the play where the actors and certain members of the crew come back on stage and the audience members can ask questions. I quite enjoy going to these. I’ve been to a few and never really asked any questions myself, but I like hearing other peoples’ questions and perspectives. Normally I walk away with some tidbit of information or insight that makes the play more enjoyable. This talk back didn’t do that for me. It got off track early when it appeared that Steven either couldn’t hear or didn’t want to answer the questions, and then the questions that were asked got a little off topic. It wasn’t the best talk back I’ve been too.

Regardless of my feelings, this play is still definitely worth checking out, if for the simple fact that it gets you thinking and makes you question things. Anything that does that is always a thing worth seeing.

Reservations runs through March 20 at the Rachel Browne Theatre. Tickets are available at TheatreProjectsManitoba.ca.

Thanks for reading guys, I will see you next week with a blog post about TV to book adaptations, yes those do exist.

As always, please read responsibly, and this week go to the theatre. It just might change your life.

Stephanie

Book to TV Adaptations Pt. 2

Hey everybody.

Let’s not mince words, here is part two of my book to TV adaptations. I have also included a much anticipated TV show that I can’t wait to see come to life.

Here we go.

The 100 – Books, TV series.

The 100 by Kass Morgan – Published from 2013-2015; 3 books.

I’ve mentioned this before, and it’s actually why I got the inspiration to do these blog posts. I read the books after I had gotten into the TV series and I really wasn’t a big fan of them. If you want to read my thoughts on the series you can check it out in my Worst Books 2015 blog.

For the purpose of this blog, I’ll just re-cap the story for you. In the books, we follow four different story lines. All four are teen aged residents of a space station that hold the remaining survivors of a nuclear attack on Earth. Earth has been uninhabitable for almost 100 years.

Because of overcrowding on the space station all crime is punishable by death, unless you are a minor. In which case you are put in prison until you are 18 and then you are tried again and usually executed, or floated. At the start of the book 100 juvenile delinquents are sent to Earth to see if it can support human life again. The juveniles are sent because they are considered expendable. When the spaceship lands, obviously nothing goes as planned, and we follow these four characters through all the shenanigans of trying to survive on Earth. Everything from finding food, water and shelter, to surviving the locals, because surprise! People have managed to survive the apocalypse.

The reason I didn’t like the books was because the show was so good that I had super high expectations and a very different idea of how the story was going. This was one of the rare occasions where they pretty much changed everything, but they improved on it so much that you really can’t complain.

The 100 television series premiered March 19, 2014.

qzPlDyMTI was introduced to this show late in its first season. I’d seen a few promos but thought it was a little cheesy and didn’t really want to give it my time. Boy was I stupid.

I marathoned the entire first season in under a week and became obsessed with reading the books. It was so well acted and believable, and they were not afraid to kill people, including main characters. This is what the Hunger Games was missing. It’s comparable to the Walking Dead in it’s realistic portrayal of life and death after the apocalypse.

What makes this show so great is that it took some OK source material and just expanded upon it and went so much deeper into the thought process and characterization of all the characters. As a viewer, you can see the decisions that have to be made and it’s just so satisfying when they actually follow through on tough calls.

This show has also been praised for its realistic and varied depictions of sexuality, and as a person who is drawn to love story lines and has an entire fleet of ‘ships that she will gladly go down with, it’s an amazing thing to see. Also, the female characters are incredibly nuanced and portray women up and down the spectrum. It’s great to see so much diversity. There’s still a lot to do, but it’s a great step forward for television.

Check out the trailer below, and if you aren’t watching this series yet, it’s time to seriously re-examine your priorities.

If you want to learn more about the series, check out Keepin’ it “Reel” with Marika’s post about it from last week.

 

The Mortal Instruments – Books, Movie, TV series.

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare – Published from 2007-2014; 6 books plus 6 spin off series.

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We’ve been over this a lot. I’m sure you’re probably getting sick of seeing these book covers so often, but it’s such a good series and I can’t talk about it enough.

Here’s a list of all the times I’ve talked about this series so far, go check them out.

Most Anticipated Releases of 2016

“You got a taste of sweet divine” Pt. 3

Wow, that’s actually not as many as I thought, huh.

Anyways, this series has a bit of a rough start, as so many things do, but if you stick it out into the second book it just becomes amazing. There’s this great twist at the end of the first book that I could not go on without knowing. Cassandra Clare has a real knack for continuity and dropping hints that pay off down the line.

Some people criticize this series for beating a dead horse and being a cash cow. Which is totally understandable considering that there are set to be 12 books in the over all series, (who knows there may be even more) and over 15 novellas that have been released so far. The saving grace is that the quality of the writing and the passion of the writer is still there, plus they also introduce new characters that readers can get excited about. It’s a series definitely worth checking out and you can see why, after Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games, it was made into a movie.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie released August 21, 2013 – 130 minutes.

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I hated this movie. It was just, it was really bad. My biggest problem with it was how much that they changed and cut for no apparent reason and without real explanation.

There were some good things about it too, they just didn’t outweigh the bad parts. A lot of my problems came back to the writing of the script and also the CGI and the decisions that were made there. If I had to visually represent my feelings about this adaptation, and pretty much any adaptation that is made from a book, it would be with this gif:

 

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This is what I wanted to do to every single person who worked on this project. I even invented a job, my dream job really, that basically involved making sure that every single person on set had read the book. Maybe even multiple times. After the fiasco that was Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban and then this, it’s clearly a role that needs to be filled.

The movie tanked, and I think it’s because they didn’t think about what the fans wanted in a movie. They focused on the love story more than anything and that’s not the main focus of the book. Plus Magnus Bane wasn’t in rainbow leather pants so it just fell apart. Robert Sheehan was an amazing choice for Simon though, and I was sad that it wasn’t up to par because he’s a great actor.

Check out the trailer below and judge for yourself.

 

Shadowhunters television series premiered January 12, 2016.

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When I heard that we were getting a #secondchance with a Netflix TV show I couldn’t handle it. I was so excited, but at the same time I was apprehensive about it. It had already been “ruined” with the movie so my expectations were relatively low.

The show premiered a few weeks ago, and so far it’s a mixed bag. It’s slightly better than the movie but it’s still got a few kinks to work out. The last episode that I saw showed a lot of promise of good things to come. It took the Vampire Diaries seven episodes before it really found it’s footing, so I’m willing to reserve judgement until then.

I don’t know what it is about this franchise but they always pick a Simon that is spot on. Alberto Rosende is killing it and he is one of the high points of the show. Alec, who’s played by Matthew Daddario, is hitting his stride too and becoming one of my favourite characters. Harry Shum Jr. is doing a great job as Magnus Bane, the high warlock of Brooklyn, although he has yet to don the signature rainbow leather pants from the book so I won’t let him off that easy.

I’m willing to let this series grow a little and find its footing before completely condemning it, but they really have to step up their game. How they handle some key story lines and twists in the first book will be the real judge of the show for me.

Check out the trailer below and check it out on Netflix.

 

And finally, here’s an upcoming/much anticipated series that is set to come to Netflix in August of 2016.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Books, Movie, TV series.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – Published from 1999-2006; 13 books plus 3 companion books.

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Who hasn’t read at least one of these books? These were pretty much my childhood. I got through at least eight books before they got a little too depressing for me. Plus I wasn’t as well versed in the internet so it was difficult to stay on top of all of them. I’m going to try to finish them up at some point in the future, probably with long breaks in between.

The books follow the three Baudelaire orphans; Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, after their parents die in a mysterious fire. Because they are underage, Sunny’s still teething, they are put in the care of their distant relative Count Olaf who attempts to steal their inheritance. Once Olaf’s original plan is foiled by the orphans they are sent to various other relatives and guardians. Olaf begins stalking the children and makes many attempts to steal their family fortune.

Along the way and throughout the series many characters die and and the Baudelaires learn more about their parents’ mysterious past and their involvement in an organization called V.F.D. In each book the orphans use their particular skills and talents to figure out and stop Count Olaf’s plot. Violet is an inventor, Klaus is a reader, and in the beginning Sunny likes to bite things. As she grows older she becomes very good at cooking.

Because the series was critically acclaimed it seemed like a no-brainer to turn it into a movie.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events movie released December 17, 2004-107 minutes.

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I actually didn’t mind this movie so much. Jim Carrey was a really good casting choice for Count Olaf. Though he may have been a bit over the top, but in the books Olaf was an actor who was prone to wearing outlandish disguises, so it was a pretty decent fit. My issue with the movie was that they tried to cram in too much. This movie tried to include the first three books in the series so the pacing was a little bit off.

The movie actually did pretty well, so I don’t understand why it never got a second movie. It did very well at the box office and even won some awards. My guess is that it just didn’t track well online and there wasn’t any buzz created so they figured no one was interested. I honestly have no idea, I’m just making stuff up.

This was one of the better adaptations that I’ve seen. The only thing they did wrong was they tried to include too much and the villain received his comeuppance by the end of the movie. The books were way more drawn out than that, but it’s still worth a watch. Maybe the timing just wasn’t right, now seems like a good time to bring it to the small screen.

Here’s the trailer for the movie:

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events series set to premier August 2016 on Netflix.

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I just recently learned about this adaptation and there isn’t much out there yet. What I know from IMDB is that Neil Patrick Harris is attached to the project and he’s slated to play Count Olaf. After seeing him in American Horror Story Freak how I think he’ll be a great fit for this role.
This is definitely one of those book series that is better suited to a TV series than a two-hour movie. There is just so much to cover and so much to know. All the little details in the books will be able to come through better in a series.
Because it hasn’t been released yet I can’t really comment on how well it was adapted, but I’m excited to see what they’ve done with the Gothic noir tone of it.
Here’s a teaser trailer to whet your whistle until August:
Thanks for sticking with my guys, I hope you enjoyed. As always, please read responsibly.
Goodreads Links:

The 100

The Mortal Instruments – Shadowhunters

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Book to TV Adaptations

I’ve talked a bit about book to movie adaptations on this blog, and it got me thinking about the other type of adaptation that, I feel, is starting to pick up speed again. That is book to TV show adaptations.

Like most things, adaptations like these happen in waves. In doing my research for this post I realized that it’s actually been happening for quite a while and was not a new idea like I thought.

As much as I like movies, I am coming to the realization that for most books, a TV series might be the way to go when adapting it. There’s just a lot more time for character development and you can really get to know and understand the characters, because you’re with them for so much longer, and dare I say it; the TV show is usually better than the book.

I know, don’t look at me, I feel dirty.

I went through the long list of TV shows that I attempt to keep up with and matched them to the equally long list of books I have read and found the crossover. For brevity’s sake I have only included series where I have actually read the books, and even then I realized that I have a lot to say, so I’ll be splitting it up into two posts. Trust me, you want me too, I want me too. It’s good for everybody.

Onwards and upwards my friends.

Friday Night Lights – Book, Movie, TV series.

Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger – Published September 1, 1991 (original); 357 Pages.

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If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know that I don’t normally venture into non-fiction, or sports for that matter. But, I make exceptions every now and then if I’m properly motivated. In this case, my ‘I must read the book first’ was the biggest factor. I go through phases where I get semi-obsessed with things and have to know everything about it. I was super into the idea of the movie and needed to know the backstory. Hence why I read this book.

It’s a non-fiction book written by journalist H.G. Bissinger. He followed the Permian High School Panthers football team from Odessa, Texas in 1988 on their road towards the Texas state championship. According to Wikipedia, the book started out as “a Hoosiers-type chronicle of high school sports that holds together a small town, the final book ended up being critical about life in the town of Odessa.” Odessa is an oil town that lives and dies by the oil boons. The one constant is football and it’s pretty much the reason why half the town gets out of bed in the morning.

 I must admit I was not the audience for this book, but I still enjoyed it. I read it when I was about 15 and a lot of the stuff that went on probably went over my head, but it was an interesting look at life and sports in Texas. As the premise of a movie or even a TV show it had all the things needed to tell a compelling story. It only helped that it was a true story.

Friday Night Lights movie released October 8, 2004 – 118 minutes.

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I am a huge fan of sports movies. It may not seem like it because I don’t really follow sports in real life, or talk about it at all, but the reason I don’t is because I get attached to things, and in actual sports there is way to much change for me to get into anything. Although my dad says there isn’t as much change as I like to think, but I digress. Plus, once a movie is made it doesn’t change, so bonus for me.

I saw the movie before I read the book. I know, I know blasphemy. But like I’ve said before, sometimes movies come into my life and then they lead me to books. That’s what happened with this movie.

Because I watched the movie first I went into the book with a different perspective of the story than I would have had I read the book first. I actually thought it was written as a narrative so when I read the book I was a little taken aback. The movie takes the characters and adds drama to their lives but for the most part it follows the book pretty closely, they even kept the fact that the team lost in the movie. Which is pretty gutsy for a Hollywood movie.That’s why I think it’s such a good adaptation, it keeps the big picture of the book and the only real things that they change are small things that don’t affect the story. In all honesty it’s one of the best adaptations I’ve seen.

Check out the trailer below:

 

Friday Night Lights television series premiered October 3, 2006.

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Because the movie did so well, it doubled it’s budget, they decided to turn it into a fictionalized TV show on NBC.

It immediately caught my attention. It doesn’t seem like it would be something that would be of interest to me but it’s like a good contemporary read. It’s necessary to pull me back to Earth every now and again.

Because the book only followed one season with the Panthers they had to go a different route with the TV series. They still kept the over reaching themes of the book like race, class, and football in the south, but they fictionalized it and added real life problems that these people could have encountered.

It was a critically acclaimed series that figured out a way to do the highschool ensemble perfectly. They focused more on the coach than they did the players, so when it was time for some of the core cast to graduate they were still able to to stick around and keep telling great stories about love, life, football, and Texas. it expanded on what the book did and, while it was a bit far-fetched sometimes, was still incredibly realistic and made you feel for every one of the characters.

Clear eyes, Full hearts, Can’t lose!!


Check out a compilation trailer of the entire series below:

Texas forever.

 

Pretty Little Liars – Books, TV series.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard – Published from 2006-2014; 18 books.

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I honestly don’t even remember what got me into these books. I’m pretty sure it was the TV show, because I didn’t start reading the series until there were at least five books out and I don’t like going into things without reading the book first, if I can help it anyway.

The book series follows a group of girls after their best friend goes missing. A year after Alison DiLaurentis disappears the clique has fallen apart without Ali’s leadership, and the girls begin to receive threatening text messages and emails from an anonymous person who goes by “A”. “A” threatens all the Liars with exposing dark, personal secrets that only Alison knew to the world. Just as the Liars are convinced that Ali is alive and torturing them for some reason, Alison’s body is discovered in her yard. The books switch POVs between all the Liars and follow them through a lot of dangerous twists and turns as they try to protect their secrets and figure out who “A” really is.

There are apparently four different “A”‘s throughout the series as it grew bigger, more mystery and intrigue needed to be added.

My biggest issue with this series, and fair warning I did not finish it, is that I honestly could not see any of these girls being friends. At all, and I guess that was the idea, Ali was the glue that held them all together. That plus the fact that she knew terrible secrets about all the girls.

Pretty Little Liars television series premiered June 8, 2010.

b2e6e8b3-da4f-49ff-90c9-51e92689a80c425_littleliars_lc__041410Even though I wasn’t really a fan of the books, I was still really excited when the TV show was announced. I love seeing books being brought to the small screen and, like I’ve said before, they’re usually better. I had high hopes going into this and I was not disappointed.

The TV series fixed a lot of the issues that I had with the book, while still staying relatively faithful to the source material. The girls were actually friends outside of Ali and they actually communicated (!!!!!) about the texts they were receiving and for some reason it was way more believable that four girls could be stalked and threatened and be afraid to go to the cops for help.

Because it’s a teen drama series, it did eventually become a little too over the top for me. I’m about a season behind and I’m in no real hurry to catch up, but if you like soapy teen romances with a dash of murder and intrigue than this show is for you. Plus the fashion is on point.

Check out the trailer for the first season below:

 

Vampire Diaries – Books, TV series.

Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith – Published from 1991-2012; 8 books plus 5 spin off series.

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I was deep in the vampire vortex when I came across these books. They’d been out for a while and I actually bought the first four books in bind ups. I haven’t actually finished the series and I doubt I ever will. The story never really caught my attention, plus the show came out and it’s a lot better. So, sorry, not sorry.

In the books, we follow young Elena Gilbert, a high school girl who falls in love with a vampire, and then falls in love with his brother. #teenproblems #angst.

I’m going to be honest, I got really confused with this book series. I think it was mostly because I had no idea what order the books came in and then they added a bunch of spin offs and sequels. Needless to say, I never finished the series. I never really committed to it.

Vampire Diaries television series premiered September 10, 2009.

the-vampire-diaries-suffers-a-colossal-loss-as-original-cast-member-spoilers-leaves-th-343858This show. This show is ridiculous, and I love it. It took me over seven episodes to actually get into the series, and it took me about a year to get through those seven episodes. It was eventually very worth it. I literally spent a whole 12 hour period in a coffee shop and watched pretty much a whole season I was so obsessed.

What I’m finding with the book to TV adaptations that I like (the modern ones if you will) is that they take the basic premise of the book and improve upon it. So while they don’t follow the books exactly, they give you just enough to satisfy and then they amp up the rest to eleven so you don’t even really notice the differences. There are so many Tumblr memes out there that describe all the differences between this TV series and its book counterpart, but what bothers me in movies, doesn’t really bother me on TV.

Check out the season one trailer below and get introduced to Elena, Stefan, and Damon’s epic love triangle that puts Twilight to shame.

 

Come back next week for part two, that will include a much anticipated show that is coming to Netflix.

As always, please read responsibly.

Stephanie

Goodreads Links:

Friday Night Lights

Pretty Little Liars

Vampire Diaries

Stars Above Review

I have an upcoming blog post about novellas and I will mention this bind up on there, but I couldn’t wait to talk about this book. It’s been a really long time since I did just a basic review of one book so I’m excited to get back to that. I do really like doing the lists though so as long as I can keep coming up with ideas, I will keep posting content.

Anyways, Stars Above is still kind of a cheat because there are technically nine stories in there so it’s still sort of a list, but whatever they’re all in between the same covers so it counts as one book.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer – Published February 2, 2016; 369 Pages.

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To get the run down about what this book is about, or to refresh your memory, check out my Most Anticipated Releases of 2016 blog and get caught up. I try to stay away from spoilery reviews but we’ll see how that goes.

Go ahead, I’ll wait while you read up on that…

We good? Everybody good? Great! Let’s talk about this book!

This bind up of novellas and shorts seemed like a bit of an after thought to me, but it still did it’s job of keeping all us Lunartics invested in the series even after it ended. These shorts had been released as e-books along with the original series, but as someone who enjoys having hard copies of things, I love it when they actually get to print them and I can hold them in my hands.

There was a mix of story lengths in this book. Some were just short little vignettes and glimpses into one particular scene and others were full blown standalone stories that could probably be made into books of their own. I liked the variety and all the background that we were provided.

As a fan of the series I felt that it added a lot of depth to an already great series, and it filled in some gaps that were in the original series.  I’m not talking plot holes, just those times when you’re reading a book and you ever thought to yourself, ‘huh, I wonder why that is?’ or whenever just a little bit more information would have satisfied you that much more. That’s why these novellas are written.

One critique I did have was for the ‘The Little Android’ story. While it was very well written and I really enjoyed it, it took away from the main story of the series. I think it either should have been one of the first stories in the book, or omitted entirely. I was really looking forward to reading it, but it was definitely an aside story, I think it would have worked better if Marissa had written novellas about other princesses or fairtales and featured it there, because all the other novellas explored some aspect or character that was heavily featured in the main series.

As a novella on it’s own it was a fresh new take on the Hans Christian Anderson story and it was really fun to see what plot points worked their way into the story and this world of robots and space travel. It’s probably the most bittersweet story featured. While it does have a happy ending, it’s not our protagonist that gets that happy ending.

All in all it was a really good read and I can’t wait to freely browse Tumblr without fear of spoiling myself. This one will definitely get a place of honour on my bookshelf (or bookpile, however you want to define it) and I will gladly re-visit this world again in the future.

Thank you Marissa Meyer for bringing this world to life and filling it with such great characters. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

Thanks you guys, I hope you enjoyed. As always, please read responsibly.

Stephanie

Festival du Voyageur

Voyageur! va faire tes bagages

C’est à l’aube que nous partirons.

C’est à l’aube oui, oui, oui

C’est à l’aube non, non, non

C’est à l’aube que nous partirons.

Bonjour et bienvenue mes belles amis. Aujourd’hui nous allons faire quelque chose un p’tit peu different que normal. Nous allons visitez le Festival du Voyageur.

Pour ceux qui ne connaissent rien au sujet du Festival, c’est une célébration de la culture français. C’est aussi un festival d’hiver qui se roule pour dix jours à Winnipeg. Ça prend place chaque Février et à travers le divertissement, les arts et l’artisanat, de la musique, des expositions et affichages les visiteurs peuvent découvrir ce qu’était la vie à l’époque du traite de fourrure.

Alors, venez vous joindre à moi que nous explorons la merveilleuse vie nocturne au festival. J’ai visitez la tente du jeux qui a été accueilli par Across the Board Game Café et le Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface.

Allons-y!

Mid Shot Sculpture
Lorsque vous entrez dans le site du festival, vous êtes accueillis par de belles sculptures de neige éclairées par des lumières rouges et bleues la nuit du 19 Février, 2016 / STEPHANIE SETKA
Outside Wide
Il y a beaucoup de tentes et les vendeurs de nourriture partout sur le site et les sites culturels et historiques pour chacun d’explorer la nuit du 19 Février, 2016/STEPHANIE SETKA
Mid Shot - Enter
Nous trouvons la tente correcte dans le labyrinthe du site et aller à l’intérieur la nuit le 19 Février, 2016/STEPHANIE SETKA
Mid Shot - Instructions
Brooke McFarland lit les instructions pour Bamboleo et nous essayons de comprendre comment jouer sur 19 Février, 2016/STEPHANIE SETKA
Close up - Game set-up
Après avoir lu les instructions de Bamboleo nous avons compris comment mettre en place le jeu et nous avons obtenu du conseil à l’équilibre sur le ballon (sorte de) sur le 19 Février, 2016/STEPHANIE SETKA
Close up - Playing
Brooke McFarland regarde Thomas Oman enlève un morceau du jeu et attend de voir si elle va rester en équilibre sur le 19 Février 2016/Stephanie Setka
Mid-shot - Giving up
Après quelques tours, Thomas et Brooke ont trouvé un nouveau jeu à jouer sur le 19 Février 2016/STEPHANIE SETKA

Et voilà, j’ai passé une belle nuit avec des amis jouer des jeux et de sentir l’odeur de pin, que je ne l’ai pas eu le plaisir de profiter depuis l’école primaire.

J’espère que vous avez apprécié et se joignent à moi la semaine prochaine quand nous revenons à notre programmation à l’horaire fixe.

Close up-Festival hat
Un des logos pour Festival Hé Ho! 19 février 2016/STEPHANIE SETKA

À l’année prochaine.

Hé Ho!

Stephanie

Links au jeux

Bamboleo