elektra: (cat sitting on book graphic)

I’m a part of this week’s Mind Meld at SF Signal–read about which genre author I think deserves more recognition. And about which authors Jamie Todd Rubin, Jonathan Laden, Mike Resnick, R. Leigh Hennig, Nick Mamatas, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Deborah Walker, Eric James Stone, Anna Yeatts, Alex Shvartsman, Lynne M. Thomas, and Marguerite Kenner deemed worthy of more appreciation.

Read all about it at:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/08/mind-meld-underappreciated-genre-authors/. And while you’re at it, check out SF Signal. It’s full of fun!

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (book with bookworm)

Author Peter J. Wacks just pointed me toward http://storybundle.com/ – an opportunity to pick up a group of epic fantasy ebooks for . . . whatever you choose to pay. Authors include Neil Gaiman, David Farland, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Peter David, and Brandon Sanderson.

There are lots of choices here: how the money is divided among the packager and the authors, whether you’d like some of it to go to charity, which books make up your package. No matter how you slice it, it’s a great deal!

But it’s a limited-time offer, so get ‘em while they’re hot!

Send to Kindle

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

The latest attempt to capitalize on the young adult market that so loved the Harry Potter series steps up to the plate with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. It’s got great special effects, but doesn’t explain things as well as it might, and there’s a definite lack of adult supervision. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
What glimpses we do get of the world are tantalizing and interesting, including a trip to the titular City of Bones, watched over by the Silent Brothers, under the cemetery, where the bone and ashes of dead Shadowhunters are laid to rest. Those remains hold a certain amount of power, when used properly.

Send to Kindle

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Monsters University, Pixar’s anticipated follow-up to Monsters Inc. takes a step back from the Scarers at the Scream Factory of Monsters, Inc. and shows us a happier time, when things were slower and less competitive–college! See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The movie begins with Mike, as he and his class at Frighton Elementary tour the Scare Floor at Monsters, Inc. and he is inspired to become a Scarer himself. He works hard and gets good grades.

And he goes to Monsters University to follow his dream. Early shots of MU are great.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

And four, well that’s even better. Especially when they’re really, really good and just a touch obnoxious.

And they have better tricks than anyone ever has. Is is real magic?

An excerpt:
The Four Horsemen are committing crimes. Or are they? What they’re doing is impossible, unless real magic somehow exists. When a bank robbery becomes a part of the act in Vegas, FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) bursts on to the scene, interrogating everyone in sight.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Another visually stunning animated fantasy movie, this one from Blue Sky. Amazing performances highlight a really cute story. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
Of course, you rapidly discover that all is not as it seems: unknown to us human “stompers,” the forest is teeming with tiny people, an entire society too small for us to see.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful is a lovingly crafted homage to what has gone before, filled with beautiful costumes and visually sweeping CGI, a feast for the eyes. It’s not as intellectually stimulating as Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked, but it will keep you entertained. See what I had to say at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The largest single performance in the movie is James Franco as Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs aka Oz. Franco gives us Oz the stage magician, Oz the sincere lover, Oz the Don Juan, and Oz afraid of being a failure (“I’m not the man you want me to be.”).

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Some great performances and fun CGI sequences highlight an uneven fairytale redux in Jack the Giant Slayer. See all the nitty-gritty details in my review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
As far as good points went, everywhere the story of Jack deviated from the traditional fairy tale we all know and love (Jack didn’t trade his cow for some magic beans, he ), it was always a plus. Characters had sensible motivations, and acted on them.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Sometimes, you’re just in the mood for a silly romp through the woods, with lots of fun weapons. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters gives you that, without getting heavy or serious. It’s a lot of entertainment wrapped up in tight, black leather. Read my wrap up at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
It begins with a simple recap of the fairy tale we all know and love, including a truly delectable candy cottage and a really creepy witch. But that “incident” led to grown-up Gretel and Hansel as kick-ass bounty hunters, traveling the countryside, killing witches.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

The first of three movies adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is in theaters now. Brought to you by the same team that did the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it’s more of the same, only with lots more dwarves. My full review is up at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The novel The Hobbit was written before The Lord of the Rings–it is a simpler, lighter story. In adapting it the screen, Peter Jackson faced the dual challenge of handling a prequel after a successful sequel and trying to please both fans of the original material and fans of the previous movies. Not an easy task, by any means.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II (have there really been five movies?) wasn’t as bad as it might have been, but it’s not for everyone. What it boils down to is it’s a well-done adaption of a novel with some serious plot issues. See my full analysis at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
Michael Sheen chews his way through every scene he’s in–the evil comes off him in waves. He is ultra creepy and scary–in a group of vampires! He can truly act, whether in a genre film (Underworld, Twilight) or pure drama (Frost/Nixon, Midnight in Paris). His presence elevates these films.

My review of the first four films can be found here.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Twilight: New Moon
Director: Chris Weitz
Twilight: Eclipse
Director: David Slade
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I
Director: Bill Condon

Writers: Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer (novel)

Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattison, Taylor Lautner, Sarah Clarke, Matt Bushell, Billy Burke, Gil Birmingham, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Chaske Spencer, Mackenzie Foy, Michael Welch, Justin Chon, Christian Serratos, Cam Gigandet, Michael Sheen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Christopher Heyerdahl, Rachelle Lefevre, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edi Gathegi, Anna Kendrick, Ty Olsson

Good gods–did I really spend over twelve hours watch Twilight movies?

For those of you wondering, yes, I am a masochist. I read the books a long time ago, but I still remember not thinking they were anything special. Here goes nothing . . . .

Twilight has a decent enough beginning, with a voiceover by Bella (Kristen Stewart). It sets the tone for the whole series: too much tell, not enough show.

I remember what it’s like moving into a new area, starting at a new school–the kids are never as nice as Eric (Justin Chon), Mike (Michael Welch), Jessica (Anna Kendrick), and Angela (Christian Serratos). Yet Bella ignore their friendly overtures (and attempts to date her) to obsess over Edward (Robert Pattison), who won’t even speak to her at first. What’s up with that?

Once Edward decides he likes Bella, he turns into a stalker. He chases her down to tell her they shouldn’t be friends, then leaves, only to find her again to tell her that if she was smart she would stay away . . . but he keeps seeking her out. “I like watching you sleep” is downright creepy.

Too, despite being from a larger city (Phoenix), Bella goes into Port Angeles at night and doesn’t know enough to avoid walking through lonely alleys by herself. She went into Port Angeles in the first place to buy a book she found via the internet. Once she brings the book home, she flips through it briefly to find search terms she can google. What’s up with that? I preferred the book version, where Jacob told her the legends while they walked on the beach.

In the first film, I still felt sorry for Bella, who was a normal seventeen year old, and only wanted a normal relationship, but fell in love with Edward, who couldn’t give it to her.

She puts her trust in the vamps to protect her, then slips away from them to meet James (Cam Gigandet) as soon as he threatens her mother. Does she really believe he’ll let her mom go?

I understand why Belle is emotionally immature–she’s seventeen. For real. But why does Edward (emotionally) act like he’s seventeen, too? He’s 109. Has he learned nothing in all that time? Bella is already talking about how “People die a little bit each day . . . ”–she’s obsessed with her physical appearance, looking older than Edward–she is very, very shallow. Also a bit suicidal it seems.

The Cullen’s house first appears here, and it is nicely replicated from the book, down to Edward’s room having no bed. It’s both isolated and beautiful.

The vampire vs. vampire fight scene is well-handled. People, vampires, and stuff gets destroyed.

The awkwardness of a human in the group of vampires is well-handled, particularly by the actors playing vampires: Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), Rosalie (Nikki Reed), and Emmet (Kellan Lutz).

Billy Burke does an excellent job as Bella’s father Charlie–the best scenes in Twilight are those between him and Kristen Stewart. The running gag about the pepper spray is entertaining, as are his references to being a cop and having a gun throughout all the movies.

Alice (Ashley Greene) comes off as suitably odd and vulnerable, and her boyfriend Jasper as appropriately protective. They make an excellent onscreen couple. James is very threatening, you believe in his ruthlessness and ability to kill.

New Moon also has a nice beginning–the dream sequence plays on Bella’s obsession with getting old, just as she’s about to reach ancient eighteen.

Kudos to Jacob (Taylor Lautner) on how much more buff he is. There’s a huge transformation described in the books, and he mirrors it nicely.

The Volturi are introduced in this movie as refined, elegant, patrons of the arts, and deeply respectful of vampire laws. Also very powerful and not to be messed with. Then you meet the head Volturi Aro (Michael Sheen), who is Evil with a capital “E”–just a glance from him makes me shiver.

Marcus (Christopher Heyerdahl) and Caius (Jamie Campbell Bower) are also members of the Volturi but they barely have anything to say. They do look impressively scary, though.

Note to Edward (who should know better): the best way to get a teenager to do something is to tell them not to do it. Go ahead and tell Bella not to do anything reckless . . . .

Note to everyone: Jake is Bella’s best friend, she finds him attractive, he can lift a dirt bike, he’s totally into her, and Edward (who pushes her away every time they kiss) has left her. Why doesn’t Bella just date Jake? Other than the series would be very short. Never mind–Dad likes Jake, so he’s totally unacceptable.

Once Bella is in on the whole werewolf thing–her give and take with Jacob is great: “I’m not the right type of monster for you?”

I know James was a super-tracker, but he found Bella’s address in Phoenix by looking at her school records in Forks. If he could do that, why can’t Victoria find her address in Forks?

By the end of New Moon, you would think Bella would be crippled, given the amount of damage she’s taken.

Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) shows his creepiness here–very nice performance. The actor can do an amazing amount just with his eyes.

Eclipse opens with the Cullens and the werewolf pack failing to catch Victoria, who is still at large, because they can’t cooperate with one another. Tension between the two groups is high, and the slightest border infraction leads to a major tussle.

The increased vampire activity is causing more and more of the indians to turn into werewolves.

Jacob explains about the mental bond shared by the pack, and concept of “imprinting”–that the proper mate triggers a kind of love at first sight. This will, of course, be important later.

Meanwhile, Bella has convince Edward to turn her into a vampire. He only agrees if she will marry him first.

Deaths in the woods that appear to be animal attacks are actually the work of newly made vampires. Bella convinces the Cullens and werewolf pack to work together to protect her and Charlie from the increase threat. There is a great training sequence showing everyone how to handle fighting the newborn vampires (the younger a vampire is, the stronger they are).

Jake, Bella, and Edward in a tent in the snow–Bella falls asleep, and Jake and Edward have a heart-to-heart about her. She sleeps through it?!? Sure. Of course, no one expected it would be cold and brought extra blankets, either. Winter in the mountains, whoda thunk it?

Bella is fine once she’s awake–dashing through the snow without a jacket.

The battle is well staged–starting with the attacking vampires walking through a body of water, not swimming. The cuts are a little fast, but this isn’t an R-rated movie and that holds down the details. The violence of the attach comes across well, as does the speed and power of the vampires and the werewolves, and some really nice maneuvers.

You know, it’s a good thing vampires are so incendiary. Poof!

The flashback showing Jasper’s history is insightful and well-done–I’m liking Jackson Rathbone more and more. There’s a bright point.

Bella’s mom seems overly pleased that her eighteen year old daughter is getting married, but she’s always been a ditzy character. The vampires at the wedding are very pretty–and the other guests actually notice!

I’ve never been to a wedding where so many people got to make speeches–very odd. The dancing was nice and inconsistent, like a real event.

Bella as a character failed for me yet again on the Alice packed her suitcases and she was surprised that the contents were not what she wanted. Has Bella met Alice?

The pacing for Breaking Dawn Part I was surprisingly well done–it kept building. Since I wasn’t sure there was enough material there for two movies, I was pleasantly surprised.

These movies are for fans of the Twilight series. All others need not apply.

At least I have fulfilled my angst quotient for the next twelve months.

Stephenie Meyer got a producer credit on Breaking Dawn Parts I & II. Is there anything she can’t do?

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

I went to see Pixar’s latest offering, Brave. It had its high points and low points–bring your kids, they’ll love it. My full review is at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The overall themes running through the movie are good . . . did someone at PIXAR see The Hunger Games coming and just know that archery would be the Next. Big. Thing?

‘Nuff said.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (book with bookworm)

Arcane Society: The Looking Glass Trilogy: In Too Deep by Jayne Ann Krentz (1/2/11)
Midnight Cravings: A collection of Six Sexy Bites by Michele Hauf, Karen Whiddon, Lori Devoti, Anna Leonard, Vivi Anna and Bonnie Vanak (1/5/11)
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (1/7/11)
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George (1/7/11)
Demontech: Get Her Back by David Sherman (1/12/11)
The Great and Terrible Quest by Margaret Lovett (1/8/11)
Women of the Otherworld: Counterfeit Magic by Kelley Armstrong (1/8/11)
Her Little Majesty: The Life of Queen Victoria by Carolly Erickson (1/10/11)
Angel: After the Fall, volume 1 by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch (1/11/11)
Angel: After the Fall, volume 2: First Night by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch (1/12/11)
Angel: After the Fall, volume 3 by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch (1/13/11)
Angel: After the Fall, volume 4 by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch (1/17/11)
The Edge: Living on the Edge by Shannon K. Butcher (1/17/11)
Angel: Aftermath, volume 5 by Kelley Armstrong (1/18/11)
Dark and Stormy Knights edited by P.N. Elrod (1/18/11)
The Walker Papers: Demon Hunts by C.E. Murphy (/1/2111)
Savannahs Illustrated vol 1 no 1~January/February/March 2011 issue (1/23/11)
Needlecraft Mystery: Buttons and Bones by Monica Ferris (1/24/11)
Truthseeker by C.E. Murphy (1/25/11)
Mageverse: Master of Smoke by Angela Knight (1/27/11)
Virginia Edition: Letters I by Robert Heinlein & John W. Campbell (1/31/11)
The Literary Handyman by Danielle Ackley-McPhail (2/3/11)
Bengals Illustrated vol 5 no 1~January/February/March 2011 issue (2/5/11)
Jane Yellowrock: Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter (2/5/11)
Cat in the Stacks: Murder Past Due by Miranda James (2/12/11)
The Others: Born to be Wild by Christine Warren (2/14/11)
The Others: Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here by Christine Warren (2/16/11)
Day of the Dragon by Rebecca York (2/18/11)
V.I. Warshawski: Hardball by Sara Paretsky (2/19/11)
V.I. Warshawski: Body Work by Sara Paretsky (2/23/11)
TICA Trend vol 32 no 2~February/March 2011 issue (2/24/11)
The Theory of Cat Gravity by Robin Wood (2/28/11)
Modesty Blaise: Cry Wolf by Peter O’Donnell (3/1/11)
Son of Dracula by Victor Ambrus (3/1/11)
A Diversity of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey, Richard Woods and John Howe (3/2/11)
Thomas and Charlotte Pitt: Rutland Place by Anne Perry (3/5/11)
Victoria Square: A Crafty Killing by Lorraine Bartlett (3/5/11)
Fangs for the Mammaries edited by Esther Friesner (3/8/11)
Gideon Crew: Gideon’s Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (3/11/11)
Letters II by Robert Heinlein (3/13/11)
TICA Trend vol 32 no 3~April/May 2011 issue (3/18/11)
Simon Canderous: Dead Waters by Anton Strout (3/25/11)
The Naming of Kinzel (ebook) by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (3/28/11)
PSI: Pack of Lies by Laura Ann Gilman (3/30/11)
Girl Genius: Agatha H. and the Airship City by Phil and Kaja Foglio (4/4/11)
Betsy Taylor: Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson (4/8/11)
The God Engines by John Scalzi (4/10/11)
Tales of the Amazing Conroy: The Amazing Conroy: Buffalito Contingency by Lawrence M Schoen (4/12/11)
Savannahs Illustrated vol 1 no 2~April/May/June 2011 issue (4/14/11)
The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories by Joan Aiken (4/16/11)
Goblin Tales by Jim C. Hines (4/16/11)
Green Rider: Blackveil by Kristen Britain (4/19/11)
Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi (4/21/11)
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (4/23/11)
Old Man’s War: The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (4/25/11)
Bengals Illustrated vol 5 no 2~April/May/June 2011 issue (4/27/11)
Old Man’s War: The Last Colony by John Scalzi (4/27/11)
The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi (5/1/11)
Old Man’s War: Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi (5/7/11)
A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (5/13/11)
A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (5/24/11)
TICA Trend vol 32 no 4~June/July 2011 issue (5/30/11)
A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (6/2/11)
Dragon Precinct: Unicorn Precinct by Keith DeCandido (6/3/11)
A Song of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (6/10/11)
Truthseeker: Wayfinder by C.E. Murphy (6/12/11)
The Hollows: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison (6/14/11)
Mercy Thompson: River Marked by Patricia Briggs (6/17/11)
Parasol Protectorate: Heartless by Gail Carriger (6/21/11)
Midnight Louie: Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme by Carole Nelson Douglas (6/21/11)
Kate Daniels: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews (6/24/11)
Southern Vampires: Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris (6/25/11)
Liaden Universe: Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (6/26/11)
Spellcast by Barbara Ashford (6/27/11)
The Morganville Vampires: Bite Club by Rachel Caine (6/28/11)
Cat in the Stacks: Classified as Murder by Miranda James (6/29/11)
The Lincoln Lawyer: The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly (7/1/11)
Bengals Illustrated vol 5 no 3~July/August/September 2011 issue (7/4/11)
The Walker Papers: Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy (7/5/11)
Booktown Mysteries: Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett (7/6/11)
Death’s Excellent Vacation edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner (7/9/11)
Pillow Talk by Freya North (7/16/11)
Pure Hate by Wrath James White (7/16/11)
Double Vision by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (7/17/11)
Arcane Society: The Looking Glass Trilogy: Quicksilver by Amanda Quick (7/20/11)
Knosses West: Beyond the Vision of Dreams by Stella and Audra Price (ebook) (7/20/11)
Savannahs Illustrated vol 1 no 3~July/August/September 2011 issue (7/21/11)
Kitty Norville: Kitty’s Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn (8/2/11)
Dresden Files: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (8/11/11)
Myth & Magic: Mercy Burns by Keri Arthur (8/14/11)
TICA Trend vol 32 no 5~August/September 2011 issue (8/18/11)
A Song of Ice and Fire: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (8/25/11)
Chastain & Morris Investigation: Sympathy for the Devil by Justin Gustainis (8/28/11)
Women of the Otherworld: Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong (8/30/11)
Occult Crimes Investigation: Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis (9/5/11)
Women of the Otherworld: Becoming by Kelley Armstrong & Angilram (9/25/11)
Agent Pendergast: Cold Vengence by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (9/28/11)
The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging (10/3/11)
TICA Trend vol 32 no 6~October/November 2011 issue (10/17/11)
Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in American by Nathan J. Winograd (10/30/11)
Cucurbital 2 edited by Lawrence M. Schoen (11/2/11)
Savannahs Illustrated vol 1 no 4~October/November/December 2011 issue (11/7/11)
Blood Work [graphic novel] by Kim Harrison (11/9/11)
Bengals Illustrated vol 1 no 4~October/November/December 2011 issue (11/13/11)
Sentinel Wars: Blood Hunt by Shannon K. Butcher (11/28/11)
The Edge: Razor’s Edge by Shannon K. Butcher (11/29/11)
Collegium Chronicles: Changes by Mercedes Lackey (12/8/11)
Dragonrider’s of Pern: Dragon’s Time by Todd McCaffrey and Anne McCaffrey (12/12/11)
The Edge: Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews (12/15/11)
Marla Mason: Grim Tides by Tim Pratt (12/19/11)
PSI: Tricks of the Trade by Laura Ann Gilman (12/24/11)
Harry Bosch: The Drop by Michael Connelly (12/28/11)

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (cat at computer)

Grim Tides is the sixth book is T.A. Pratt’s Marla Mason series, and he’ll be serializing it (free!) online starting on January 2nd. I finished copyediting it last week, but all I’m willing to give away is that it contains old friends and new, lots of ass-kicking and magic, and that it is entertaining as hell. I loved it and I’m sure you will, too. I can’t wait until everyone else gets to read it, so I can talk about it with someone.

Tim funded his writing of Grim Tides via a successful Kickstarter campaign–it’s not too late to donate and join in the fun!

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

October 2016

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