Monthly Archives: March 2022

Wednesday Briefs: March 30, 2022

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.

Rose and Thorne 6 #17 (4.3) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Benny’s suite contained two bedrooms, which was pretty standard for the Hamilton Arms, as we’d learned during our previous sojourn at the hotel. I was just glad we weren’t staying in the same suites as before—me with Troy and Ethan with she-who-shall-not-be-named. In fact, I was grateful we weren’t even on the same floor as that would have brought up rather unwelcome memories as well.

We ordered dinner from room service. I had to admit the steaks there were pretty good. Plus food seemed to just taste better on the government dime. Maybe that’s

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Saturday is Horror Day #54 – Hell House LLC, Grave Encounters

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Hell House LLC

The grand opening of a Halloween haunted house in the Abaddon Hotel in 2009 leads to inexplicable tragedy. Fifteen people died, including both those on the tour and the staff. Five years later a documentary crew travels to the small town of Abaddon, seeking answers. However, these are not readily forthcoming.



A video taken by one of the guests on the tour ended up on You Tube. Plus the owners of the attraction have everything documented from the time they first arrived. The documentary crew locates a surviving member of the staff, Sara Havel (Ryan Jennifer) who reluctantly talks to them and tells what she knows of that night, and the time leading up to it.


From the moment of their arrival, the hotel is found to be in less than good shape and very creepy, but

that can only serve to heighten the atmosphere they want to create on Halloween night. The friends have definite ideas on how to achieve the effects they want in order to scare the wits out of their guests, including very eerie mannequins, a haunted bar and piano, and a basement that will provide the biggest scares and serve as the finale to the tour. Sara will be chained to the wall, her job being to scream her head off.

Even before opening night, things begin to get creepy in the haunted hotel. Mannequins are inexplicably moved, mysterious sounds can be heard. At one point, Paul (Gore Abrams) mysteriously disappears,, and when he reappears he has no explanation for what happened, or much of anything else. Tensions begin to run high. And then opening night arrives, and all hell breaks loose….


This found footage pseudo documentary was pretty well done, in my estimation. Between the film taken by the event staff and that of one of the guests, there is a pretty complete picture of that night, even if it’s not always clear what happened or why. There is a definite creep factor which only grows as the events unfold. Have you ever wanted to scream at the screen to tell the people to get out of there. By the end of this movie, that is how I felt.

I think this was a pretty scary film and it was well done. I look forward to seeing more of the series. I’ll give this one a strong 4 Stars.

Grave Encounters

Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) leads a team of paranormal investigators in the reality TV show Grave Encounters. Every week they visit a different haunted site and lock themselves in to encounter and record the supernatural. The sixth episode of the series is being filmed in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Lance and his cast have themselves locked in by the hospital caretaker Kenny (Bob Rathie) who promises to return to unlock them the following morning at 6 am. Lance and the others aren’t particularly worried because they realize something the TV audiences don’t – they are fakes, and they are not above paying someone to say he saw something he didn’t. So what’s a night locked up in an abandoned building?

They set up cameras on various floors in order capture whatever happens. Kenny the caretaker gave them a tour of the building before he made his departure, mentioning various points of interest. Such as the window which is sometimes found to be unlocked… from the inside. Or the bloody tub where a young girl killed herself.  The abandoned building is very dilapidated and neglected, but what’s one night among friends?


Strange things begin to happen.  The high-strung Matt (Juan Riedinger) disappears. A feeling of foreboding pervades the air, and things are starting to get real. More real than they’ve ever been in the history of this fake TV show.

Grave Encounters consists of the found footage of the filming of the TV show, some 70 hours.  Filmed 

on a shoestring budget and at night, using flashlights, there is a distinctly creepy and unsettling atmosphere about this hospital. If I’d ever considered a paranormal type lock-in before, this film cured me of the idea.

A lot of the horror is subtle yet creepy, but don’t worry. There are jump scares as well. At first the film crew goes into this hospital with the attitude of this being just another job, but that changes as they begin to realize that just maybe they’ve run across an actual haunted building. I thought the cinematographer did a good job giving Grave Encounters the appearance of found footage, and the actors are very believable in their descent into terror


I thought this film succeeded in being creepy and scary and was well worth watching. I give it a solid 4 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: March 23, 2022

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 Eighty-three by Cia Nordwell

I was sure of Ases though. As soon as we’d gotten away from the planet and his family’s suffocation, he’d returned to the man I’d known. He’d sent so many questions via the comm.  Everything about him screamed someone who was ready to seize the joy of his new life with both hands.  

And by the way Bouncer just rubbed along his side, he approved too. Traitorous little shit. Eses hadn’t even fed him. Was it the animal thing? Like calling to like?  

I cocked my head. “Come on. I’ll take you for a short walk and a meal.” Pointing


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Book Review: Skip Beat, Vol 8 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 8     

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


After winning a part in Sho’s new music promo, Kyoko is finally recognized by Sho, to his surprise and horror. Sho’s agent and the other co-star, Mimori, whom he has been flirting with, are shocked when they realize Kyoko and Sho have past history, especially Mimori. Kyoko assures Mimori there is nothing between her and Sho, and Sho assures his agent that he always thought of Kyoko as a housemaid (which is true). But he also goes on to say he still thinks of her as his. Seriously?

In the promo, Kyoko and Mimori play angels, one good and one bad, while Sho is the devil who falls in love with the good angel (Mimori). Kyoko’s bad angel is infuriated that he has done this to her friend and kills him. But whenever they shoot the scene where the bad angel chokes the devil before he falls to his death, Kyoko gets into the role a little bit too much and almost kills Sho for real. She wants to do her best, not for revenge, but for her acting career, which she has begun to take very seriously, but she’s afraid her hatred for Sho is overcoming her acting abilities.

Who can she turn to for advice? She calls Moko, but the call goes to voicemail. She considers Ren, but she doesn’t even have his number. She manages to obtain that and calls, leaving a panicked garbled message. Moko calls back, and gives Kyoko some advice that really makes sense and helps her decide how to play the scene. Meanwhile, Ren is on set with his agent, Mr. Yashiro, between takes. Yashiro is surprised to see Ren look at his messages and actually listen to one, something he never does. And then he is shocked to see Ren return someone’s call! He knows the call can’t be work-related, as they would have gone through him first. So who can this special person be?

After the scene, Kyoko and Sho get into an argument, and while they are fighting, Kyoko’s phone rings. Sho grabs it and answers, not speaking. He is shocked to hear a voice he recognizes as Ren Tsuruga’s! Why is he calling Kyoko? What’s going on between them? Sho turns immediately jealous and barks something into the phone before clicking off. Unfortunately, Ren recognizes the other voice as well and jumps to all the wrong conclusions. When Kyoko runs into Ren and Maria back at the agency, she is horrified to find him angry with her, although he disguises it well. But she can tell by his gentlemanly smile that he is mad. And now she’s also in the middle of a mystery with Moko that her friend refuses to explain, so Kyoko and Maria follow her to learn what is going on with her.

Kyoko is growing as an actress and as a person, as she realizes that her need for revenge on the deceitful Sho is being overshadowed by her love of acting and her desire to be the best actress she can be. Sho is such a brat, and he has the nerve to think he owns Kyoko! He’s only interested because he’s seeing her as a person for the first time, and has never truly appreciated her. He’s still just a shallow vain punk, and I hope and pray Kyoko never falls for his tricks and insincerity ever again. On the other hand, I was tickled to see how jealous Ren is and how he is becoming more and more transparent to his agent, who is already beginning to guess at Ren’s feelings for Kyoko. Just imagine if he knew the whole truth! Sometimes I forget that Ren is just four years older than Kyoko, at the age of 20, because he acts far more mature and worldly. I wonder how much he will reveal to Mr. Yashiro, and what exactly did Moko do that has threatened her career?

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Saturday is Horror Day #53 – Planet Terror, The Craft: Legacy

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Planet Terror

Cherry (Rose McGowan) is tired of stripping and decides to make a new life for herself. She gives her scumbag employer her notice and walks out the door. Dr. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) is planning to leave her doctor husband William (Josh Brolin), but she has to be careful about it. She can’t let him see the texts between her and her accomplice/lover.



Something strange is going on at the army base. A group of men arrive, led by Abby (Naveen Andrews). He’s brought something, but quickly discovers that something is amiss. The cage is empty and the subjects not to be found. Things quickly go wrong when a noxious gas is released into the air. Before things get too ugly, Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis arrives) and he wants answers.


When Tammy’s (Fergie) car overheats, she stops to use water from a pump near a bbq restaurant. The owner, JT (Jeff Fahey) offers her some bottled water and a meal. She takes the water and thanks him but declines the meal, even if it is the best bbq in Texas.  JT calls his brother, Sheriff Hague (Michael Biehn) and tells him a couple of people are hanging outside his place and he’s convinced they’ve been sent to steal his secret recipe. But the truth is far worse than that.

Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) drives a tow truck but his reputation as a troublemaker apparently precedes 

him. He ends up at the same restaurant as Cherry and tries to renew their relationship.

Meanwhile it seems there is an outbreak of pustule-laden zombies, created by the gas at the military base, one that is threatening to destroy the town. What can be done to fend them off?


This is not your usual horror movie. It’s campy, schlocky, and very violent. Kind of like an old B horror movie but better. Look for Rose McGowan and her machine-gun leg, as well as Quentin Tarantino in a small role. You might remember Freddy Rodriguez from Six Feet Under, where he played Rico. This is something different for him. And of course my favorite, Naveen Andrews. So damn sexy it’s criminal. He plays a biochemist who knows just what is going on.

This movie was fun to watch, but it isn’t for the faint of heart, let me warn you now. There is a lot of humor, something I appreciate in a good film. This film was originally released along with Grindhouse, but that didn’t do well, so the films were separated. Guess I need to find Grindhouse now. I’ll give this film a solid 4 Stars.

The Craft: Legacy

Lily (Cailee Spaeny) has her life upended when her mother Helen (Michelle Monaghan) moves them into the home of her new love Adam (David Duchovny) and his three sons. Feeling like a fish out of water, Lily starts her new school the next day and meets three girls, Lourdes (Zoey Luna), Frankie (Gideon Adlon) and Tabby (Lovie Simome). During one of her classes, Lily unexpectedly begins her period, and her predicament is called out by Timmy (Nicholas Galitzine), to her horror and shame. She goes to the girls’ room, and while she is pondering what to do, the three girls show up with a pair of shorts and words of encouragement. Lily begins to hang out with them and they make her the fourth in their group of witches.

The girls decide to test their powers, and sneak into Timmy’s home, placing a spell. They almost get caught and barely escape without being seen. The next day, Timmy is like a new man. He’s sensitive and attention and more in tune with his better self. The girls are delighted with this new Timmy and find themselves attracted to him, especially Lily.


While delighted to have made such good friends, Lily finds life at home difficult. Adam is very 

tyrannical. He’s a motivational speaker who thinks he knows everything and tries to control everyone around him. Disturbing things begin to happen. Timmy is a friend of one of Adam’s sons, Jacob. One night, Lily casts a love spell that brings him to her room, but they are interrupted before they go too far. Adam texts her to be continued. But the next day brings tragic news.

The girls blame Lily for what happened, disrupting their friendship. But things continue to go downhill. Lily witnesses one of Adam’s group meetings with his sons, and she realizes there is more to them than she realized. She wants to leave there, but how to convince her mother, who is so besotted with Adam? Lily’s accidental discovery of some very shocking news makes her even more vulnerable. Will Adam capitalize on this vulnerability? What is it he actually wants from her, and to what lengths will he go to to obtain it?


The Craft: Legacy is a sequel to the original Craft movie of some twenty years before. Again, we have three girls seeking and finding a fourth to complete their coven of witches, and then playing around with their powers. The problem with this movie is we have a different writer and director (Zoe Lister-Jones) and a different cast. But it’s primarily the bad writing and the terrible direction and story that make this film both boring and just plain bad. There isn’t much to it, and it lacks any of the charm of the original. I found myself wishing it would end soon. Luckily, it isn’t very long, just seemed that way.

I love David Duchovny, and even he is terrible in this, so that will give you some idea what this film is like.  I’m going to give it 1 Star and a serious recommendation not to watch it.

Wednesday Briefs: March 16, 2022

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 26 by J Ray Lamb

Sandy and Trent silently drove along the road from the farm towards town. It wasn’t necessarily towards Racoon Rapids, or ‘town’ on the farm, nor towards Flat River, the ‘city ‘. Sandy had no idea where they were going but he trusted Trent not to get him into trouble. Just as he had fully relaxed, Trent started taking small county roads getting onto smaller and smaller roads that had quickly turned into a small rutted path through a field.

Trent realized that Sandy was completely disoriented and smiled to himself. He wanted to go somewhere quiet…

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 53 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 53   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 4, 2012

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Ginjo is not only dismayed at Rukia’s unexpected appearance where she hands Ichigo a sword, he is shocked that Ichigo still has any powers since he thought he drained him of them. Turns out the sword contains the power of a number of the captains from Soul Society. At the Old Man’s request, they’ve come to help Ichigo, since he was instrumental in saving Soul Society. Renji, Byakuya, Hitsugaya, Kenpachi, and Ikkaku are all there with Rukia and ready to do battle. Apparently Ginjo and Tsukishima’s little scheme has failed. But Ichigo learns something surprising. Before him, there was another deputy soul reaper. And apparently that man was Kugo Ginjo!  The plot thickens!

Chad and Orihime are baffled at the turn things have taken, still under the mistaken impression that Tsukishima is a long-time friend. They assume the Soul Reapers are there to help them but they seem to be on Ichigo’s side! And why does Orihime feel so bad when she sees Ichigo cry? Mercifully, Kiskue and Isshin take Chad and Orihime out of the battle, although Isshin complains about having to take the heavy one (Chad, of course lol)

Ginjo distributes the power he has taken from Ichigo among his people, who are amazed at the way they feel. Yukio creates arenas in order to force match-ups between the two sides. Kenpachi sees Byakuya has been paired with Tsukishima and wants him to switch since he thinks he’s stronger than his opponent but that doesn’t work and he is left with Giriko. Ichigo faces Ginjo, but is unexpectedly joined by Uryu, who apologizes to Ichigo for not telling him sooner what he surmised concerning the deputy badge. Hitsuguya faces Yukio, whom he dubs the “annoying guy”, while it’s Rukia versus Ruriko, who keeps trying to bombard her with cute things. Ikkaku is stuck battling with Tsukishima’s lackey, Shishigawara, the lucky one. Will his luck run out against Ikkaku? Renji is paired up with Jackie Tristan and her Dirty Boots, but he refuses to strike first against a woman.

Let the battles begin!

To be honest, I just want to see Ichigo and the Soul Reapers kick a lot of Fullbring hiney and end this obnoxious arc. Not much to say other than each battle brings its own troubles that have to be overcome. Even so, it’s a foregone conclusion who will ultimately win, so it’s more a question of how than who. Even so, still love the series, looking forward to the next volume.

Saturday is Horror Day #52 – Deliver Us From Evil, Fantasy Island

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Deliver Us From Evil

Hitman In-nam (Jung-min Hwang) is ready to pack it in and retire to the sunny beaches of Panama. He agrees to one last hit for his boss and takes out a Japanese mobster.  While on the job, he receives a call from his ex wanting his help, but he doesn’t have time for her. The next day he learns that she has been killed and her nine-year-old daughter is missing. On top of that, the mobster he killed has a younger brother, Ray (Lee Jung-jae) who will stop at nothing to avenge his death.

This business just got personal.

In-nam follows the trail of the kidnappers to Thailand where he engages the services of a guide, a 

transwoman named Yui (Jeong Min Park).Learning that the children are being stolen for their body organs, In-nam and Yui pose as a couple who are in search of a kidney. They find a group of children who are locked-up, waiting to be sold, but Yoo-min (So-yi Park) is not among them. They continue to follow the trail, even as they are being pursued by Ray, intent on killing the man who killed his brother.

This film starts off a bit slow, and at first I was a little confused as to who was doing what and why, but the pace picked up and I finally caught on. For fans of Squid Game, be prepared to see Gi-Hun in a much different light as the tatted vengeful killer. 


I thought Jeong Min Park did a great job as Yui and Lee Jung-jae was sexy as Ray. It was a good film, very enjoyable. I give it a solid 4 Stars. I found another film that Jung-min Hwang and Lee Jung-jae are in together, called New World, and I plan to watch it too.

Fantasy Island

Have you ever wanted to change a past decision? To take the road not taken? To undo an old regret? Then come to Fantasy Island, where you can live out your fantasy… to its natural conclusion.

Gwen (Maggie Q) regrets the day she didn’t say yes to the marriage proposal from her boyfriend, Robbie (Allen Chambers). But you can’t go back and changes things… or can you?

Melanie (Lucy Hale) has had revenge on her mind ever since high school when she was tormented on a daily basis by Sloane (Portia Doubleday). All of the bad things in her life stem from that time, and she wants nothing more than to get revenge on Sloane, and see her tortured as she once was.

JD and Brax (Ryan Hansesn and Jimmy O. Yang) are brothers, although nobody believes them since Brax is Asian. But JD’s father married Brax’s mother when Brax was still in diapers, and they’ve been close over since. Now their biggest fantasy is to have it all…

Patrick (Austin Stowell) always wanted to join the military but never did, for personal reasons. The closest he ever came to performing service was to become a policeman. Now he fantasizes about being an actual soldier

What do they have in common? They’ve all just arrived on Fantasy Island.


Fantasy Island is a place where dreams and fantasies can come true. But always be aware of the old adage… be careful what you wish for. The host of Fantasy Island is the enigmatic Mr. Roarke *Michael Pena). He is there to see to his guests comfort as they fulfill their fantasies. There are only two rules on the island. One is that there is only one fantasy per guest. The second is that the fantasy must play out to its natural conclusion.  But he always says that “Fantasies rarely play out as you or I might expect.”


Fantasy Island is based on the TV series by the same name, which originally starred Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize, but the director and writers have taken these stories in an entirely different direction. Would you expect any less from a Blumhouse film? These are the people, after all, who brought us Paranormal Activity (which series I love). The film has twists and turns you won’t see coming, and the ending is far from predictable. 

Although I did see some negative reviews, I personally enjoyed watching it. I thought the acting was good, Michael Pena makes a good Mr. Roark.I recognized his assistant Julie (Parisa Fitz-Henley) from having seen her as Fiji in the series Midnight Texas. You might remember Jimmy O. Yang from Crazy Rich Asians, another wonderful film. 

Watch for references to the series, and just the obvious ones, such as “The plane” or Mr. Roarke’s iconic white suit. It was enjoyable to watch and I do recommend it. I’m giving it 4.5 Stars.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 52

Bleach, Vol 2     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 4, 2012

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Ichigo finds himself blinded by Ginjo during their battle. When Orihime attempts to heal him, she is locked into a cage from which her voice cannot be heard. But Ichigo battles on, only to discover Ginjo’s reason was to help him achieve his complete Fullbring. Afterward, an exhausted Ichigo wants nothing more than to go home. But when he gets there, he’s in for a rude shock when Yuzu tells him they have a visitor, their cousin… Tsukishima? Wth?

When Ichigo attacks Tsukishima, Karin and Yuzu are appalled at their brother’s lack of manners. What can he be thinking, to try to hurt their lovely cousin? And why are Keigo and the others here? The situation grows worse when Tsukishima calls Orihime and Chad to join them! Everyone is convinced that Tsukishima is their friend, such a great guy. Confused and upset, Ichigo escapes. He lucks out and runs into his boss on the street and she takes him home. Finally, someone who’s on his side. Or is she? Oh no, she’s called Tsukishima too! Making a hasty exit, Ichigo goes to the Fullbring hideout, only to learn that the others, aside from Ginjo, have all been taken by Tsukishima!

Ginjo takes Ichigo to another secret hideout, but Yukio finds them anyway, and they end up following him to a large house… where everyone is waiting to welcome Ichigo back and forgive him for his bad behavior! It’s like a nightmare he can’t wake from! How can he protect his friends and family if they think he’s in the wrong and Tsukishima is such a great guy?

Ichigo attempts to battle Tsukishima, but it’s difficult when everyone else keeps getting in the way, attempting to run interference. To his dismay, Ginjo steps between them only to be cut by Tsukishima’s sword. Will he become buddy buddies with the enemy now too? When Uryu arrives, Ichigo doesn’t know if he’s siding with the others or not. But in one move, he now realizes who his enemy really is.

Poor Ichigo has it hard in this volume of Bleach. His friends and family think he’s acting badly and he can’t make them see that it’s Tsukishima who’s the enemy, not him. Kiskue and Isshin seem to be up to something, not sure what. Guess we’ll find out in time.  I was right not to trust those Fullbrings! Can’t wait for the next volume!

Wednesday Briefs: March 9, 2022

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 Eighty-one by Cia Nordwell

“You can’t do that!” Sonez blustered. The Heeze whispered in his ear. “It’s dereliction of duty!”  

“Watch me.”  

Garjah had let me handle my former captain until that moment, but when he took another threatening step forward, he decided to get in on the action with Bouncer. He brought one thickly-muscled arm up and pointed right at the red-faced captain who thought he could bully me. “If you touch him, I will remove your arm. And since you only have two, I don’t think you will function very well.” He flexed his fingers, so casually menacing that it was more


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