Wednesday Briefs: March 29, 2023

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #67 (14.2) by Julie Lynn Hayes

If this suspicious excuse for an officer of the law thought this was going to fly, he had another think coming! What the hell was going on here? This had to end and it had to end now. Troy grabbed for me just as I was about to launch myself at Jenkins. He wrapped both arms around my chest to hold me in place. Breathing heavily, I glanced around. The others seemed as shocked and perturbed as I was. Even Joey seemed perplexed at these unexpected developments, his mouth wide open and gaping.

The minister was striding toward his son and his son’s captor, his voice booming with ministerial authority. “Please explain

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Saturday is Horror Day #106 – One Missed Call


One Missed Call

People begin to received mysterious missed calls that leaves messages containing the person’s date and time of their deaths. Nobody will listen to Beth (Shannyn Sossamon) who is explaining about the phone calls and how they tie in to the deaths. But Detective Jack Andrews (Edward Burns) believes her, because of the death of his sister. Together, they are going to get to the bottom of this!

That may sound like an oversimplification of the plot, but it’s not. In fact, it makes it sound more interesting than it is. The story goes from person to person, one missed call after another, followed by two days of hallucinations – centipedes and ghostly figures – before death ensures. Even that is more interesting than this film. This is a remake of a Japanese film of the same name, and even that wasn’t particularly well received. This version is so bad it received a score of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Far from being frightening, I found this film boring and couldn’t wait for it to end – and it’s only an hour and a half long! The writing isn’t good, neither is the direction, the acting is so-so, and the characters are forgettable. Would I recommend watching this? Hell no! I’ll give this film 1 Star and that’s all I have to say on that.

Wednesday Briefs: March 22, 2023

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #66 (14.1) by Julie Lynn Hayes

“What are you people doing here?” were the first words from the newcomer’s lips. The voice was low, a little gravelly. Smoker, perhaps? The policeman had his thumbs tucked inside his belt, his jaw thrust forward almost aggressively. Not what I was expecting at all. His attitude further confirmed that these two were not Anderson-sent.

The policeman’s eyes seemed drawn to Ethan, even as he spoke, he angled himself toward him. His deputy—or whoever he was—hung back and remained silent.

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Saturday is Horror Day #105 – Phantasm V: Ravager, Dead Snow

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Phantasm 5: Ravager

Reggie (Reggie Bannister) is trying to find Mike (A Michael Baldwin) and rescue him from the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). And also save the world.

I know, that’s an oversimplification of the plot, but seriously, this is the plot for every entry in this series. And this is the last one (I don’t believe, at least I hope there will not be a sixth Phantasm. No reason there should be to be honest).

How does this one compare to the others? The series has been going downhill after the second one. This one is no exception. It’s terrible. We have Reggie who yo-yos back and forth between the future where he is an old man in a nursing home and Mike tells him he has dementia and none of what he knows is real and a present where he is fighting the Tall Man.

The only redeeming quality of this film is that someone figured out that Reggie Bannister is a better actor than A Michael Baldwin and they made the plot Reggie-centric. I do use the word plot loosely. And, of course, Reggie being Reggie, there has to be a girl involved. Cause he’s this chick-magnet, don’t you know? And hey, we even get to see Jody (Bill Thornbury), Mike’s brother again.

All in all, a terrible film. I only give it 2 Stars because Reggie amuses me. Unless you’re compelled to finish the series, I would skip it.

Dead Snow

A group of medical students are taking a ski vacation at the cabin in the mountains. Fun and friends, the recipe for a fun vacation, right? Well, unfortunately for these medical students, they’re not only in the middle of nowhere, but they are about to enter a nightmare they could never have dreamed of before

The group reaches the cabin, anticipating the arrival of its owner, Maria. But unbeknownst to them, Maria has met with foul play and she won’t be coming. Everyone decides to relax, drink, and play games, including Twister. This cabin is so rustic that it has no indoor plumbing, necessitating the use of an outhouse.  An unexpected knock on the door frightens them, but it turns out to be an older man, who asks for a cup of coffee. Familiar with the area, he is dismissive of the young people and their lack of preparation for their trip. Do they even know the history of this area? He tells them a story about German occupation and how the locals fought back after three years of oppression. But, he concludes, there is an evil here, a presence that can’t be denied. He drinks their bad coffee, smokes a hand-rolled cigarette and is on his way. They dismiss his words as so much nonsense.

But then they begin to hear things. When one of the young men goes to the outhouse, he is joined there by one of the women, and more fun ensues. Afterward, he returns to the cabin first…but she is not so lucky. Attacked in the outhouse, she tries to make her way back to the cabin, but never makes it. While they try to figure out what is going on, they find themselves under attack…by Nazi zombies! The fight is on!

At first, I admit, this film is pretty much the standard young people in a cabin in the woods terrified by a menacing presence they have to overcome. As such, it’s a little slow at first. But the difference is – Nazi zombies! That’s something you don’t see everyday. The make-up on these guys is great! And they are pretty terrifying. Not sure what I would do if faced with this bunch.  And they turn an okay film into a more terrifying and interesting. Be aware, there is a lot of blood and guts and such, so not recommended for the squeamish. But it was definitely worth watching, and I’m looking forward to the sequel. I’ll give this film 4 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: March 15, 2023

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #65 (13.4) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Carlos approached us, clearing his throat respectfully. “I think we need to get everybody somewhere that’s not so open.”  He eyed our surroundings then gestured toward the woods just on the other side of the clearing. “Frankly, right now I’m afraid we’re sitting ducks where we are.”

“You’re so right,” Ethan agreed. “We should move everyone to the shelter of those trees, and make sure we keep together. That’ll make it easier for us to keep everyone safe.”

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Book Review: Overlord, Vol 4 by Kugane Maruyama

Overlord, Vol 4     

Author: Kugane Maruyama

Publisher: Yen On

American release date:  May 23, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/Fantasy Adventure /304 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The day begins much like any other for the lizardmen. Until the ominous black cloud appears out of nowhere with a warning – The Great One is coming in eight days, with a great army, and you will be destroyed. Naturally, the members of the lizardman tribe are alarmed. Who wouldn’t be? Zaryusu is a member of the village, a traveler who happens to be in the village when the message arrives. He goes to see his brother Shasuryu, who is head of the village. A meeting is called to decide what to do. According to the messenger, they will be the second lizardman village to be destroyed. So there must be others who have survived. What to do?

After much discussion, they decide that Zaryusu will travel to the other villages and attempt to arrange an alliance with them. Surely, they will be stronger together than separately against this unknown menace. The first village he visits is the Red Eye village, where he seeks an audience with their leader, who turns out to be an albino female lizardman named Crusch Lulu… and Zaryusu finds himself instantly attracted to her. She seems amenable to his suggestions and determines that she will go with him to talk to the other villages. In the Dragon Tusk village, he encounters a big guy named Zembel, who challenges him to a fight.

But when the time comes for the promised army to return, the sheer numbers alone are daunting, and it will take everything the lizardmen have to defeat this unknown enemy… who is actually none other than Ainz Ooal Gown and his followers from the Tomb of Nazarick.

This volume of Overlord is a definite departure from the first three in that we are introduced to and get to know the intended targets, the lizardmen. And that makes a great deal of difference. I have supported and applauded Ainz in everything he did previously, but here I found myself hoping he didn’t really mean to attack them, and that he certainly wouldn’t hurt them, as I came to know and like these lizardmen. I know that Ainz’s guild was known as PK, which means they would fight other players. I tend to avoid those fights myself, whether in D2 or WoW. But until now, I’ve never really thought about what that means in these books, and I have to admit to finding myself a little disturbed at the attitude that is taken toward these lizardmen who have done nothing to warrant being attacked simply as a matter of subjugation. I hope Ainz reconsiders his strategy and chooses a path of peace and prosperity rather than war. I understand he doesn’t know exactly who or what he is up against. And I have to wonder if there are other actual players out there doing the same thing he is. Definitely opens up some moral issues, which I expect will be addressed in future volumes.

I have been getting each volume from the library until now, but I love these books so much that I have decided to purchase them. I already have volume 5 and look forward to reading it.

Saturday is Horror Day #104 – Green Room

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Green Room

Punk rock band The Ain’t Rights consists of four friends – Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole), and Tiger (Callum Turner). The band is touring the Pacific Northwest, but to say they’re not getting good gigs would be an understatement. They’re kind of forced to take what they can get. Which is how they end up in a bar in the middle of nowhere, filled with all sorts of creepy neo-Nazi sorts. What the heck, it’s just one night, and it’s more money than they’ve been getting lately, so why not?

Their set goes about as well as expected… more or less. The friends just want to get their money and move

on to the next gig. But things don’t quite go as planned, when they become witness to something they weren’t supposed to see. And now they are being held in the Green Room, while it’s decided what will happen to them. Can this possibly end well?

This film is really gritty and very visceral. Imagine being at the mercy of young violent skinheads, not knowing if they intend to kill you for what you accidentally saw, or even just for their own pleasure. It’s hard not to sympathize with the members of The Ain’t Rights, and there is nothing even remotely sympathetic about the people who hold them hostage. Not even their leader, Darcy, played by the inimitable Patrick Stewart. This film does not hold back, be warned of that. Explicit and gory, it’s not for the faint at heart. Green Room explores the seamier side of human nature. It’s scary to think that people such as this exist, but I’m sure they do. I’ll give this film 4 Stars.

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 16 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 16       

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  January 6, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/shojo manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Following her unfortunate encounter with Reino, Kyoko is able to find safety, thanks to Ren’s agent, with Ren. But who could imagine that Sho would end up knocking on the door, looking for her? Seriously? But oh dear, Kyoko wanted to explain the circumstances of how she was rescued and bring up Sho’s name herself. Now the cat is out of the bag and she is sure Ren is furious with her, smiling his “gentlemanly” smile. This is just getting worse and worse!

Meanwhile, Reino is in a snit because of what happened, and because it involved Sho. My goodness, this web is becoming more and more tangled! The next day, Ren takes a walk through the woods to clear his mind. Kyoko wanders off herself, despite what happened the day before, because she is…well, she’s Kyoko and her mind tends to drift a lot. She remembers how things used to be when she was younger, but she knows she won’t be able to come to a certain area and find Corn there. To her amazement, though, she manages to discover Ren, on his walk. (Funny, innit? Will she ever make the connection?)

While Kyoko is convinced Ren is furious with her, he is doing his best not to do something that will probably label him as a pervert, holding back his feelings for her. Sho is tired of Reino and his group stealing his songs, so he lays a trap for them, and to discover who is selling him out. And then Ren and Kyoko have a tender moment.

I love how Mr. Yashiro tries to play matchmaker to these two, but they are both so stubborn and naïve that they never seem to catch on. I think he’s being too subtle! They need an awakening. Of course, Ren needs to come clean to Kyoko.  When Kyoko finds out he is Corn… well, that won’t be pretty. It’s amusing that now he can’t have her, Sho wants Kyoko back. And Reino is after her too!

Another great volume, looking forward to more!

Wednesday Briefs: March 8, 2023

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Broken Path, Starless Tail: Chapter Two by Cia Nordwell

Something sharp poked his chest, and he jolted awake. His breath caught, what little he could with the weight on his chest and the daggers at his throat. Nothing prepared him for this, and he should have known better.  

“I swear I locked that door.” Parallax was Colby’s cat. Or the family’s cat. Or a cat that lived in the woods that bordered their side of town, and he somehow had free reign on their house and demanded food the moment the horizon began to light and the stars began to fade before he scampered off to wherever he hid

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Film Review: Jab We Met

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Jab We Met

Aditya Kashyap (Shahid Kapoor) is at the end of his rope. His father’s death has left him in charge of his very successful business, but there is the matter of his mother, who was also a part of the business but left the family to run off with another man. Feeling stressed, Aditya simply runs and finds himself on a train going who knows where. But his life is about to change when he encounters a very talkative young woman named Geet (Kareena Kapoor), who first chases him out of her seat on the train and then won’t stop talking.

When the train stops, Aditya gets off. Geet notices him walking along the platform as the train begins to pull away. Frantic, she calls him but he does not respond, so she jumps off the train to get him back on. Unfortunately, her Good Samaritan intentions cause her to miss the train herself, to her dismay. She berates him for what she sees as his fault, and tells him he has to make sure she gets home. She has a fiancè, even if her family doesn’t approve. Well, they don’t even really know yet. But she knows they won’t approve, so he has to take her there, no mater what he says.

And so their journey begins….

Jab We Met is a fabulous Bollywood rom-com that I watched for the second time, and I still cried, even though I knew what would happen. It is funny and romantic (as a good rom-com should be!), but throw in some great music and dancing, and you have a very wonderful film. The main characters have wonderful chemistry, and watching the evolution of their relationship from complete strangers to two people in love is wonderful. Bollywood musicals are so upbeat, I love them! Geet’s family are wonderful and very colorful. But of course there has to be a complication, both with her family and with the man she thinks she loves!

This is a wonderful film, and I highly recommend it!  I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars!