Monthly Archives: November 2021

Wednesday Briefs: November 10, 2021

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.

The Garret Farm: Part 12 by J Ray Lamb

Dinner was over and the five men sat around the table talking about the farm and what Sandy could expect if he was brought on as an intern.

Jason and Garret were sure he would work out just fine but Trent wasn’t sold on him yet. Trent had also noted the expensive electric sports car that Sandy was driving and it didn’t fit with someone who wanted to go into animal husbandry and ag management.

What was silently hanging over the conversation was the extra-curricular activities that happened on the farm without warning and without regard for who was around.

Click here to read the entire Brief:

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 45 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 45

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 7, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Shinji’s sword has an unusual shape… and Aizen has no idea what it can do. But he’s about to find out. Apparently Shinji’s sword changes up to down, front to back, right to left, left to right. Aizen doesn’t seem particularly concerned, but maybe he should look behind him, because here comes Ichigo!

Aizen just loves to taunt people, and he wastes no time trying to chip away at Ichigo’s ego. But the Thirteen Court Guard captains quickly step up and assure Ichigo they will protect him. Aizen turns his attention to Hitsugaya, hitting him where it hurts—Hinamori. But Shunsui takes advantage of Aizen’s preoccupation with the diminutive captain to sneak up on him. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, Gin thinks how clueless they all are regarding Aizen’s powers.

Ichigo is being careful not to witness Aizen’s shikai. But the others, having seen it, are vulnerable to it. Which makes their actions inexplicable to Ichigo, who wonders what they’re doing when they result in one of them being wounded by another one! The Captain General now steps into the fray, determined to take down Aizen himself… even if he dies doing so.

And now it’s everyone against Aizen, with Tosen gone and Gin just standing by. (Wonder why that is?) Will they really be able to take him down? Will the battle for Karakura Town really be over? Or is this just the prelude to something else? I suspect Aizen still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and it won’t be as easy as they hope. Another great volume, look forward to the next!

Saturday is Horror Day #35 – Creep(2004), V/H/S 2, Waxwork

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Creep (2004)

 

Kate (Franka Potente) goes to a party with some friends, but it isn’t quite what she hoped for. A guy she works with, Guy (Jeremy Sheffield) doesn’t know how to take no an answer, making himself quite obnoxious. But Kate has better places to be. Her friend knows where George Clooney is partying that night and has two tickets for them to get in. But her friend leaves without her, so the disappointed Kate heads to the subway, hoping to find her. Having had a bit to drink, she falls asleep and only wakes after the last train has gone.

 

The station is eerily silent with no one else there. To Kate’s dismay, when she heads up, she finds the gates locked and no one around. When after a while a train unexpectedly shows up, she gets on with great relief, only to find Guy there. And he still won’t take no for an answer.  But as he tries to assault Kate, something grabs him and pulls him off the train. Suddenly Kate becomes painfully away there is someone or something else down there. Something deadly.

 

Kate has to navigate the subway tunnels, searching for a way out. Her life depends on it.

This isn’t a half-bad horror movie. It has a creepy premise, and who wouldn’t commiserate with Kate,

who is having a bad night and just wants to get home? That is the secret of horror films. You care what happens to the main character and live vicariously through them, which also means you become scared for them as well, which heightens the thrill of the movie.

 

When Kate runs into George, the new subway employee, she feels a sense of relief at seeing another human being in the same predicament as her, sure that by working together, they can flee this place.  There are a number of jump scares, not unexpected. And the atmosphere is sufficiently icky/creepy to convince me not to go into a subway, ever. But what does bother me is the answer to the riddle, the explanation for the place Kate found, and for the guy who obviously lives in the tunnels and probably has his whole life. One can extrapolate based on what is shown, but that really isn’t quite enough. And so you are left with a great big WHY at the end of the day. I am giving this 3 Stars.

V/H/S 2

 

A private investigator and his girlfriend/assistant are given an assignment to find a missing student by the student’s mother. She gives them permission to go into his house in order to look around. The PI breaks in, but can see nothing, other than a video set-up and some VHS tapes. He has his gf watch the tapes while he searches for clues in the rest of the house.

 

 

What she finds is a series of found footage videos, with different stories. One of the films is about a man who lost his eye in an accident and is given an experimental prosthetic eye with a camera. The only downside is that the camera sees all, and he’ll have virtually no privacy. After coming home from the doctor’s office, he begins to see strange things. People who look like they are dead. Naturally he starts to freak out. And then he receives a visitor – a girl who was also in the office. She says she needs to talk to him and he will want to hear what she has to say. Apparently she had a cochlear implant, and now she can hear the dead people he can see.

 

A young man has a video channel and is going to make a video of his bike ride. But inside the woods, he almost runs into a woman who is covered with blood, screaming that he has to help her boyfriend. Panicked, he tries to help. But what he sees in the woods is a lot worse than an injured man, and when he returns to the woman, it seems she has met the same fate. Things just go downhill from there.

Young documentary makers want to film an interview with a cult leader in Indonesia. He reluctantly 

allows them to visit the cult in their compound. But from the beginning, something seems off, maybe even unnatural. They all refer to the Leader as the Father, and he talks about taking them to their safe haven. Shades of Jim Jones! Or is it something worse?

 

Two brothers and a sister are left home alone for the weekend while Mom and Dad are away. The boys decide to prank the sister and her boyfriend when he shows them and interrupts them in the bedroom. They vow revenge. But what starts out as a simple prank becomes far worse when aliens decide to attack on that night, and they want to take the boys with them.

This film is similar to the one before in that it involves found footage on a video tape. But the stories are different, and each is told rather well. And there is more than a sufficient creep factor for horror buffs. The couple who are the investigators are the framework the film is built on, their story framing the whole. The one about the implant could be a glimpse of the future. The alien story might be a little over the top, but feasible if you believe in aliens. The cult story is very damn creepy, because I’m sure there are people out there just that fanatical about their cult leader. Definitely worth watching. I give it 4 Stars.

Waxwork

 

A new waxwork museum has just opened up in the middle of a well-to-do residential neighborhood, and some of the teens are curious. A couple of teenage girls receive an invitation from the proprietor (David Warner) to come for a private party at midnight, and they can bring some of their friends. But no more than six people, please.

 

 

Mark (Zach Galligan) likes China (Michelle Johnson), but she is rather flirtatious, to put it mildly. He agrees to go to the waxwork to be with her. The group assembles outside the door on time, but a couple of the kids chicken out, to the disappointment of the diminutive man who answers their knock. The group begins their tour of the wax exhibits, and are surprised at how lifelike they appear.

 

 

 

Some of the exhibits include Count Dracula, Jack the Ripper, the Mummy, the Marquis de Sade, as well as others. But something strange begins to happen. One by one, the teens find themselves inside the different exhibits. More than that, they are part of the exhibit. And suddenly they find they are fighting for their lives in order not to become permanent parts of the exhibits.

 

 

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this comedy horror movie, but I became really interested. Okay, the characters are a little stereotypical teens, but that works in this context. It’s watching what happens when each gets pulled into a different exhibit that makes it interesting. The girl’s reaction to the Marquis de Sade (J. Kenneth Campbell) is not what you would expect, neither is the girl who winds up with Count Dracula (Miles O’Keefe). David Warner is handsome as ever, and look for John Rhys Davies as a werewolf, and Patrick MacNee as Sir Wilfred.  A fun romp, although maybe it could have been tightened just a bit. There are a few moments that last too long. I give this a solid 3.5 Stars.

 

Wednesday Briefs: November 3, 2021

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.

Ancalagon: Chapter Sixty-three by Cia Nordwell

“Where did Bouncer go?” Sedating him again had not made him happy. He’d been so close to me for the last few days, his steady presence against my thigh, it was startling for him to be gone. I’d gotten a narrow-eyed stare when he lifted his head after we touched down and I revived him from the sedation, but this was the first time I’d lost sight of him.

“He’s outside.” Garjah peered out the door of the skimmer. A vine slithered over the metal and dropped into the space, and he brushed it aside. “Pacing.”

I didn’t blame him.

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 44 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 44     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 7, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Yammy holds Rukia in his hammy grasp, and things aren’t looking good for the Soul Reaper when who should appear, like a glorious deus ex machina?  Why, Ichigo Kurosaki, of course! His first comment to Yammy is, “Hey! You’re grown real big since the last time I saw you. I almost didn’t recognize you.” He is always laid back, even in the face of danger. Ichigo has left Orihime in the World of the Living so she can heal Uryu. He’s going to take care of this big guy and then he needs to get back to the big fight, over Karakura Town.

When Ichigo hollowfies, Rukia thinks she notices something different about his mask, and even Ichigo thinks something feels different to him. But things are starting to look bad for Ichigo when two saviors appear on the scene unexpectedly—Byakuya and Kenpachi! And they are arguing over who arrived first! They tell Ichigo to step back so they can fight as he is a major embarrassment. Byakuya tells Ichigo he is needed at home because he is the Deputy Soul Reaper. But Ichigo says he has no way to go…

And then here comes Kurotsuchi, and he sends Ichigo off with Unohana.  Kurotsuchi settles down to watch the fight, and wait for the corpses he wishes to dissect afterward. Growing impatient, though, he tells the two Soul Reapers, “Will you please hurry up and kill each other? If you allow him to get any bigger, it will make the dissection harder.”

Now Aizen is facing Shinji, while Komamura and Hisagi are still squaring off against Tosen. But Tosen has another trick up his sleeve! There seems to be no going back for him, much to Hisagi’s regret.

Getting closer and closer all the time. Ichigo is finally on his way. As he and Unohana travel together, she explains to him why no one else can defeat Aizen, and her explanation really makes sense. She also comes to realize that Ichigo is a lot stronger than she imagined, and perhaps he is the savior they are looking for. The appearance of Byakuya and Kenpachi was unexpected and great!  Also Kurotsuchi. He’s odd but you just gotta love him (just don’t let him experiment on you!).

I think we’re reaching the climax of this arc now. Does Aizen have some master plan, or is he winging this? How will he react when Ichigo enters the scene? Looking forward to finding out!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 7 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 7   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 2, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

While recuperating at Mt Natagumo, Tanjiro seeks to learn about fire breathing techniques from Shinobu, but she suggests he ask someone who actually uses those techniques, such as Rengoku. As he and the others are leaving, Tanjiro encourages the shy, quiet Kanao to follow her heart, telling her she can do it.

Arriving at the train station, Tanjiro and Zenitsu discover that Inosuke has no idea what a train is when he furiously head-butts it! Tanjiro says they need to get on the Infinity Train so he can talk to Rengoku, who is already there. He suggests they put their weapons away and try to blend in. Zenitsu advises Inosuke to wear clothes, in that case.

In talking to Rengoku, they discover there is a demon on the train. Tanjiro smells something odd just before the conductor approaches to punch their tickets. Rengoku spots the demon and is immensely happy that he will be able to slay it. What none of them realize is that they are on the Train of Infinite Dreams, and they are asleep, at the mercy of this same demon. Tanjiro dreams he is back with his family and they are all alive and well, and nothing has changed. But his subconscious is sending him signals that he is asleep and dreaming, and he needs to figure out how to wake up and then wake the others or they will all die!

This volume of Demon Slayer is all about the Infinity Train, and it’s actually pretty interesting. Everyone loves to dream, but not all dreams are good ones. And you can get so lost in the good ones that you don’t want to come back to reality. That is what the demons on this train count on, which makes the dreamers easy prey. It’s their misfortune that some Demon Slayers chose to ride the train. They are the only hope the others have.

Along this journey, we get to see backstories for some of the characters, which are interesting. Still not sure about Inosuke, but I imagine his story will emerge at some point.  The demon who is invoking the dreams doesn’t seem completely evil, and that is something I like about this series.  There is no clear-cut delineation between good and evil, and sometimes it’s just a small step or a minor circumstance that causes someone to cross from one side to the other. Tanjiro’s situation is heartbreaking in that of course he wants to be with his family, and the demon uses them to guilt Tanjiro into staying asleep. Nezuko performs admirably in this volume. Go Nezuko!

Another great volume, looking forward to more.