Out Now: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross uS Cover

Released elsewhere in 2018, The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross – a retelling of Beauty and the Beast – is out in the United States now.

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

A luxuriously magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in seventeenth-century France–and told from the point of view of the Beast himself.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

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Marvel’s Black Widow finally lands a director – and she’s a Canberran

This was announced a few days ago.

Canberra-raised Cate Shortland has been announced as Marvel’s first solo female director. She’ll direct, Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson.

Marvel’s Black Widow finally lands a director – and she’s a Canberran

We’ve produced a few Hollywood stars around here, and a number of Oscar-nominees. I actually used to work with one in the theatre. And – hey – my mother used to socialise with James Bond fifteen minutes away in Queanbeyan!

Canberra woman Cate Shortland is set to smash records and become Marvel's first solo female director.

JRR Tolkien family settle $80m merchandise row

Today, the 21st of September, is the 78th anniversary of the publication of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.1937. FIRST EDITION

I can only imagine that when you sell film rights in 1969, and then actually make the movies decades later, you’re going to run into some legal issues with the changing face of merchandise!

JRR Tolkien family settle $80m merchandise row

JRR Tolkien’s family have settled an $80m case against Warner Bros over the merchandise rights of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

The famous author’s daughter, Priscilla Tolkien, and his estate, joined up with publisher HarperCollins to sue Warner.

The estate sold the rights to the films in 1969 along with some merchandising.

But they said the studio had overstepped the mark with video games, apps and gambling games. Warner said the matter was “amicably resolved”.

It ends a legal wrangling which first began in 2012, when the family sued the studio for $80m in damages plus legal costs for copyright infringement.

 

Warner then counter-sued, claiming the estate had made an “about face” and had previously consented to merchandise rights.

However, the estate had argued the rights only allowed Warner Bros to create “tangible” goods such as figurines, clothing and stationery.

They claimed the studio had gone beyond the deal by using Tolkien’s characters in digital form – including in online gambling games and casino slot machines – which the family said caused irreparable harm to the author’s legacy and reputation.

After settling the case, Warner Bros says: “The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.”

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films were released between 2001 and 2003. The trilogy won 17 Academy awards, a record for a movie trilogy.

His Hobbit series was released between 2012 and 2014.

Twenty Years of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

Yes, I’m a day late (it was first published on the 26th of June), but it is the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter.

I was at the end of my schooling when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came out. So, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by a book craze about a little wizard boy and his magic wand, complete with cutesy illustrated covers.

I moved to London shortly afterwards, and was watching live on television when the casting for the first movie was announced. However, it was also the time the first Lord of the Rings movie was released, and I was accidentally in Leicester Square the evening of the world premiere (which meant I got to watch all the red carpet arrivals, even though half of them weren’t famous yet – Orlando Bloom? Viggo Mortensen? Who’re they?!).

The media in England set up a fan war between the two franchises, with plenty of British newspapers printing long lists of “evidence” J. K. Rowling plagiarised J. R. R. Tolkien. I believed it at the time; not anymore.

Eventually, my boss made a deal with me: she’d read my Lord of the Rings books if I gave Harry Potter a chance. I was about twenty, and not that interested, but in the end I did actually enjoy them (though I never finished the series).

Viktor Krum Harry Potter Movies

My favourite character was that Bulgarian (? – Hungarian?) wizard guy who was Hermione’s boyfriend for about three seconds. I wanted them to end up together!

My boss HATED The Lord of the Rings (I don’t really blame her); she couldn’t get past the first twenty-thousand pages describing all the Hobbits. I didn’t hold it against her that she didn’t finish.

So, I’m no Harry Potter fangirl, but this was definitely an important Book-World anniversary to mark. We need another quality book franchise for the next generation. Maybe next time everyone won’t be raging misogynists and will let the female author publish under her real – feminine – name.

Patricia Briggs’ New Book

silence-fallen-mercy-thompson-10-by-patricia-briggs-cover

Silence Fallen, the tenth book in Patricia Briggs’ hugely popular Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series, is due out now.

Briggs is one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, and if you haven’t tried her books yet, I’d highly recommend going back to the beginning of the series and starting there. This is a complex world with ever-evolving characters and a strong relationship at the centre.

silence-fallen-mercy-thompson-10-by-patricia-briggs

Coyote shapeshifter Mercy Thompson is attacked and abducted in her home territory. Fighting off a crazed werewolf, she manages to escape, only to find herself alone in the heart of Europe, without money, without clothing and on the run from the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world.

Unable to contact her pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, but first she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy needs to be at her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves – and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise. . .

Kissing or hitting…?

the-princess-bride-1987-westley-nearly-slaps-buttercup-domestic-abuse

I love you so much I have to hit you in the face!

I’m seeing so many book blogs and history blogs going all crazy over The Princess Bride at the moment. It is the thirtieth anniversary of the movie adaptation’s release, so I suppose that’s why.

However, I’m still troubled that I’m the only one who seems to have huge issues with William Goldman’s 44-year-old book.

You know the part in the movie version where “hero” Westley raises his hand to hit heroine Buttercup in the face, and she flinches away from it? This movie came out when I was FIVE, and even then I knew there was something very wrong about that scene.

The book is worse.

Here is the scene as it is in the book the movie is based on:

 

“I am no one to be trifled with,” replied the man in black. “That is all you ever need know.” And with that he yanked her upright.

“You’ve had your moment.” Again he pulled her after him, and this time she could do nothing but follow…

…“I have loved more deeply than a killer like you can possibly imagine.”

He slapped her.

“That is a penalty for lying, Highness. Where I come from, when a woman lies, she is reprimanded.”

“But I spoke the truth, I did, I–” Buttercup saw his hand rise a second time, so she stopped quickly, fell dead silent.

 

I’m being told all over the place how FUNNY the book is, but the way I read it, it’s not so much funny as pretty horrible. I am also not a fan of making Buttercup so stupid so that her man can spend an entire book patronising her.

However, I would have thought the abuse alone would’ve been enough to at least raise a few eyebrows.

Apparently not so much… It may famously be called a kissing book, but it is also a hitting book!

YA Drama

I have not been paying any attention to young adult fiction drama for a while, but apparently I’ve missed something big. Author Keira Drake has been accused of racial stereotyping in her book, which led to a slew of one-star reviews on Goodreads.

the-continent-keira-drake-halrequin-teen-pulls-book

Which has led to Harlequin pulling the book from their line-up (at least temporarily).

harlequin-teen

Has Harlequin ever done anything like this before?

The author has responded to the accusations, and it can (and probably should) be read HERE.