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June 15, 2011

Kings & Queens Ten’s List




Today I have with me Courtney Vail, the author of Kings and Queens, to talk about her top ten favorite Kings and Queens

More about Courtney:

Courtney Vail writes totally twisted YA and adult suspense. She enjoys braiding mystery, suspense & romance with some kind of weirdness. Her addictions to crazy coffee concoctions, Funny Bones, Ben & Jerry', and bacon keep her running and writing. She currently lives in New England with a comedian stud and a wild gang of kidlets.

10. King’s Dominion ~ I’m a huge fan of amusement parks and Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia is one of my faves because it’s packed with awesome roller coasters. The only coaster I’m not crazy about is the indoor one --Flight ofzsmall Fear--that I call The Head Trauma Ride, and unless they’ve redone it since I last rode it, you should probably skip it, unless you’ve got a helmet on hand or a prescription for Vicoden. It has these supposed buffers for your head but there’s not enough padding so your head gets bashed the entire ride. It has this coolness factor, in that you can’t see where you’re going, but, oooww, yeah, skip it.

9. The Queen Bee of Bridgeton by Leslie Dubois ~ My favorite recent read. I love books that feature a protagonist with a passion, and Sonya Garrison is all about dance. She’s a shy, black ballerina, who lives in the ghetto but attends a ritzy private school on a dance scholarship, and when she attracts the attention of the star, white basketball player, the queens in her school make her life a living hell. This book made me literally laugh out loud in several places and it also made me cry. Any book that can move me to such a degree gets high props…definitely 5 STARS.

8. King Cobra ~ I love Mustangs, especially older ones, and the ’78 King Cobra is no exception. It has a bit more swagger and muscle than it’s predecessors. It’s gorgeous. I’m not sure how it drives, so I can’t attest to that, but it’s a beauty to look at, especially with its sweet cobra hood art. Absolutely love it!

7. Breaking Benjamin’s cover “Who Wants to Live Forever” off Killer Queen ~ Let’s be real, it’s impossible to top Queen, but they provided a perfect tribute. Breaking Ben is all about the metaphor and I love how they were able to pull that off in a song they didn’t even write. They didn’t try to recreate the song but instead infused that style into it and made it their own. It starts off with a quiet urgency that builds and builds to highlight the song’s existential question. Simply gorgeous.

6. Lady Jane Gray, the Nine Days Queen ~ She’s omitted from Britain’s royalty charts, but this unlikely girl held the crown for nine days until Mary I had her arrested and executed on trumped up charges so she could seat herself. It’s a story that could’ve been yanked out of a classic tragedy, except that it’s totally true. I read her biography back in the tenth grade and itK&Q cover image small still haunts me.

5. Sam Cooke, King of Soul ~ Mmmm. His voice is like smooth caramel, porch swings, lemonade and warm breezes. One of my favorite things to do when I get stressed out or overloaded with too much auto-tuned garbage is to sit back and listen to some real music, especially Same Cooke or Nat King Cole. Oh. Another KING. Two-for-one. Definite mood stabilizers here.

4. Queen Esther ~ This young bride risked death to go before her husband, King Ahasuerus to plead for the lives of her people. I don’t think I could ever be that brave…but it inspires me to try. And Esther is one of my favorite books from the Bible too, as it’s great from a storytelling perspective. It features a hesitant heroine who needs to find inner strength, an evil villain hell-bent on destruction and murder, conflict, danger, suspense, romance and a climax with the villain getting his due justice in the end. And the very best lemon twist of all: irony.

3. Kings of Leon ~ I’m so impressed that guys this young have cranked out as much music as they have, music that encompasses a full spectrum of styles and emotions. Take the song, “Charmer”. Now, I’ve heard songs that evoke lust, but never one that perfectly conveys it: that pent-up, out-of-control feeling that’s driving you crazy, and it seems to catch you everywhere you look. Just brilliant. I enjoy their full body of work from their grittier early stuff to their more polished, mainstream tunes of today. They get criticized by die-hard fans for their newer stuff, but I love it all! I prefer bands that are constantly experimenting with their sound and evolving, and I haven’t heard a song I hated yet.

2. The Lion King ~ The sheer beauty of this film, especially in the first five minutes, with the mist and the kicked up dust and all the animals rushing across the savanna to meet the new king, is so stunning, it chokes me up. I had the privilege of seeing this in the theater, and it set the bar for animated cinema. It remains King of all and has yet to be usurped.

1. Queen ~ Queen is one of my all-time favorite bands and Freddie Mercury’s voice is one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard, not just in range and scope but emotional conveyance. Their rock opera sound is still so greatly loved and appreciated today. It refuses to be forgotten or ignored. Queen has truly and rightly earned the carelessly tossed around title: epic.

Thanks Courtney!

More about Kings & Queens:

Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father’s fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek…or, no…maybe Alec…maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right bef ore slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.
All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they’re sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it’s not like she cries wolf. Not really. They’d be freaked too, but they’re not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse.
So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do…try to I.D. the nutjobs before they act. But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she’s left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.

Sounds good right"?!

To find out more visit the Kings & Queens website as well as Courtney’s website. And be sure to check out my review of Kings & Queens coming soon!



  1. Thanks for having me! I had a lot of fun writing the Tens List. You guys, rock!


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