Monthly Archives: January 2019

Wednesday Briefs: January 30, 20

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.

In Pieces #38 (10.1) by Julie Lynn Hayes

The warmth of Ben’s body against his was soothing. Ryan couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept so well. After they’d made love, he’d fallen asleep, wrapped around Ben. Even now, he was reluctant to open his eyes, start a new day—he wanted their first night to last forever… or at least as long as possible.

He felt soft lips touch his own, eliciting a smile at the thought of Ben.

“Morning, sleepyhead,” Ben whispered, then kissed him again. “I forgot how adorable you look when you’re sleeping.”

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Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 18 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 18      

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 2, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/202 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Rin and Yukio have been sent by Mephisto to rescue Shura, only to find her in the clutches of the demon Hachirotaro Okami. When Rin attacks the serpent, using his Satan Bomb move, Shura realizes he has gained greater control of his flames. He’d been against the name at first, finding it stupid, but she explained to him that it would be easier for him to remember, and she turns out to be right. The brothers rescue Shura but the serpent escapes. Shura can’t help but remember when Father Fujimoto asked her to watch over the twins, although she was less than interested, and she wonders if he foresaw this day.

They use a key to get back to True Cross, and Yukio winds up in the infirmary, to his chagrin. Rin tells him to get better and then he can go back to his special training, whatever it is. Shura starts to talk to Rin about what happened to Yukio in Aomori, then decides against it. Meanwhile the search for the demon serpent is on, but unfortunately someone on the other side finds him first and turns him over to Lucifer and his forces.

After she recovers, Shura goes to see the director and learns the serpent has been given to the others. They suspect Shima, but have no proof, since he is a double agent. Shura asks Mephisto if all of this is part of some big plan of his, but as usual he is cagy, and remarks that she cares more about others than she used to.

Back at the dorm, Rin is practicing grilling fresh fish, so he can cook for Yukio in the hospital. The others tell him he won’t be allow to grill there, much less with Satan’s flame. They find Bon hanging out Lightning’s laundry and make fun of him for allowing him to use him in that way, but he explains that he is trying to attain a state of selflessness, so they let it go.

Lightning takes Suguro to the underground library of the True Cross Japan branch, which is huge. Lightning got them permission for five days of research, and he intends to investigate the Illuminati. He thinks everything that is going on began on the Blue Night. He’s sure Mephisto knows the truth and he intends to make him talk.

Things are really getting good in this volume, especially trying to figure out everyone’s hidden agenda. Since her rescue by the Okumura brothers, Shura has become more human and likeable, although I could do without the skimpy outfits. Shima is an enigma. You want to intensely dislike him for being a spy, and yet there is something compelling about him that makes you want to give him the benefit of the doubt. One of the funniest parts of the book involves Rin’s confession to Shiemi that he likes her, and its aftermath, which involves the return of someone Rin cannot stand. Lightning isn’t the punk I first took him for, and his investigation of the Illuminati, along with Bon, is becoming very interesting, especially if it leads in the direction I think it is.

Another great volume from Kazue Kato, I look forward to the next one.

 

 

Wednesday Briefs: January 23, 2019

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.

In PIeces #37 (9.3) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Ryan wasted no time in scrambling onto his bed, into Ben’s waiting arms. He nuzzled Ben’s neck, inhaling him. Ben wound his arms about him, pressing their bodies close together. He tangled his fingers in Ryan’s hair, clutching at him as if he’d never let him go.

Ryan was no virgin. He’d had a few lovers over the past ten years, but none who felt nearly as good as Ben did at this very moment. No wonder his relationships had never lasted. Somewhere in his heart he’d always known Ben was the one, and everyone else was but a pale imitation of him.

Ben was warmth,

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Wednesday Briefs: January 16, 2019

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.

Adrift: Chapter 23 by J. Alan Veerkamp

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Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 17 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 17     

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 4, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/186 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

When Shura disappears, Mephisto sends Yukio and Rin to find her, telling them to go to Aomori Prefecture, as that is where she is from. Plus the most recent GPS reading places here there. Yukio claims he can handle the assignment alone, to Rin’s dismay, but Mephisto insists they work together, so off they go. He also lets Yuki know that he knows about his dangerous training, and to be careful.

They take a train to Lake Towada and find room in an inn. The old lady who runs the inn assures them they’ll have privacy, having totally misinterpreted their relationship. As they relax in a hot bath, Rin questions Yukio about the dangerous training, which his brother blows off, then reveals how he has messed up with Shiemi. He asks Yuki if he likes Shiemi too, but doesn’t really get an answer to his question. Later, in speaking with the innkeeper, they learn that Shura spent the night there and said when she left that she was sort of going home.

Meanwhile, Shura meets with a mysterious figure she calls Hachiro who is insistent that she keep to the terms of her blood contract and have a child! As Yukio and Rin search for Shura, Yukio tells his brother the story of the baba yaga of Lake Towanda, and of how Father Fujimoto rescued  Shura, who was being held prisoner there. Rin senses trouble ahead. They find an injured Shura lying in the snow, and she tells them she is going to die soon! She tells them the story of the blood contract that began even before she was born…

This volume is primarily about Shura, but it’s also about Yukio and Rin, giving them some brotherly alone time which they seldom get. Shura’s backstory is interesting, and the contract she was burdened with horrendous. Finally resigned to her fate, it takes the two brothers to make her see she can have a life of her own. I love the flashbacks of when she met Father Fujimoto. The things she said and did made me laugh, especially when she said she wanted to have his baby! I loved seeing Rin and Yukio working together. I worry about Yukio, and whatever power is coming to light inside of him. I think he’ll be all right. After all, look at Rin! He’s a good boy, just high spirited. And not likely to be swayed to the dark side.

Another great volume, look forward to more!

Wednesday Briefs: January 9, 2019

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.

Ghostly Blues in the Big Easy: Part 2 by Avery Dawes

The next day I tossed and turned, only managing a little sleep. One of the downsides of working odd hours meant I passed the daylight hours buried under the covers, taking full advantage of my awesome blackout drapes. It didn’t hurt that my windows faced west—thank you, Damien for that! After my grandma passed, I inherited her shotgun-style house. While it was cute, it needed work, and I didn’t have the time or energy for repairs. Then, along came Katrina, and well, it was more cost-effective to bulldoze it than rebuild it. Damien had a fabulous mansion . . .

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Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 16 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 15    

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 6 , 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/218 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Yukio visits Shura in the hospital to discuss the current situation and to explain about Shima being a double agent. A tired, overworked Yukio doesn’t trust either Mephisto or Shima, but for the present there is nothing to be done about that. Shura tells him that Mephisto has given her tickets for everyone to an ultra bath in Southern Cross, and tells a reluctant Yukio he needs it as much or more than anyone else. So everyone heads out for some down time, including the acknowledged spy in their midst.

The girls share some time in the bath, while the boys goof around in their bath. When Shima shows up, they think he’s acting weird, until he reveals the reason for his behavior – namely, that Izumo, Shiemi, and Shura are right next door, and they are naked! His stated intentions of seeing them naked produces an unexpected declaration from Rin.

Back at home, Rin finds an abandoned kotatsu with a missing blanket, and dreams of being able to have people over for a hot pot party! Concerned about his brother, he questions Yukio, who blows him off, as always. At the Vatican, Mephisto is attending a meeting at True Cross Headquarters concerning recent develops. The name Igor Niehaus is brought up, the former instructor who was suspended after an attack on Rin and whose current whereabouts are unknown. Accused by Arthur Angel of being a traitor, Mephisto convinces them that he has their best interests at heart, and is working to keep the Gehenna gate closed. Lightning privately convinces Angel to have him assigned to the Japan Branch of True Cross, so he can look into matters.

To the Exwires dismay, Yukio informs them that they will be taking exorcist certification exam sooner than expected.  They must each resubmit their desired meisters ahead of time. Rin discusses the Yukio situation with Shiemi, but she is as much in the dark concerning his behavior as Rin is. Meanwhile, Yukio has his own agenda, one that brings him little sleep, brought on by unexpected observations of himself. Lightning shows up at True Cross as an instructor, and takes Suguro on as his acolyte/servant. The other Exwires can’t believe the highly alpha Suguro acting like such a toady, but Suguro insists Lightning is his mentor and he wishes to learn from him. He hopes that if he does well, Lightning will take him on as an apprentice.

Shiemi is uncertain which meister she wishes to study for, so returns home to consult with her mother, only to have an unexpected discussion. On a routine mission, Shiemi and RIn find themselves trapped together, and things are …. well, said… that could have interesting consequences.

The action doesn’t stop in this volume of Blue Exorcist. Never a dull moment. It’s interesting to watch Shima’s return to the school and see how the Exwires relate to him, especially Suguro and Konekomaru. Being a double agent must be tricky. How can either side fully trust him, not knowing for sure where his true loyalties lie since he has to be convincing to all of them? We see more into what Yukio is up to, and his doubts about himself as well as the potentially harmful way he is dealing with it. Sooner or later, I think he needs to tell Rin what’s going on, and Mephisto too. Despite being odd, I suspect there is more good than bad in Mephisto. A love triangle is forming, but I think it’s based on erroneous information and is more a comedy of errors than anything else. Can’t wait to see what happens.

Another great volume, looking forward to more!