Monthly Archives: September 2022

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 74 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 74     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 2, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


This is it. The last volume. The big battle. And so it begins…

Hard to believe the journey is over. Ichigo vs Yhwach. I don’t believe there was ever any doubt as to the outcome. Even so, there are obstacles to be overcome. Like Yhwach knowing the future, and planning for it. Such as the way he breaks Ichigo’s sword. That’s a hard one to overcome. But now the ghosts of the past rematerialize and all things are possible.

This last volume is filled with a lot. Old faces, new losses… and happy endings. We learn the truth about Uryu (which I said was coming), as well as the shocking truth about Yachiru. Will we ever see her again? We have lost close friends, such as Ukitake, while others have changed who they are.

I do have one question, though, if anyone can answer that. What happened to Aizen, after the battle? Where did he go? Is there room for another round of Bleach? Or will it become one of Bleach’s little mysteries?  I don’t know about that, but I do know the ending is very cute and heartwarming, and I am so glad I took this journey, even if I will miss all my companions on this wonderful voyage. Looking forward to seeing the new anime that is coming next month.

Bleach is awesome! Gotta read it all!

Wednesday Briefs: September 28, 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.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #42 (8.5) by Julie Lynn Hayes

“I’m so sorry.” Maureen continued to apologize for her ill-mannered child, even though she clearly wasn’t to blame for his bad behavior. And honestly I couldn’t fault the minister either. Face it, Joe Jr. was just a bad egg.

Ethan, Sarah, and Benny were quick to assure her that his words were not his fault, while I maintained a stoic silence. Both because I didn’t feel it was my place to intrude in this family moment and also because I had nothing but expletives to use regarding him and didn’t think that would be appropriate behavior on my part.

The minister retreated to his study, at least

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 73 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 73   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 3, 2018

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Quincy Nakk le Vaar boasts that he can acquire immunity to anything that is thrown at him – but he hasn’t figured on the infinite ingenuity of Kiskue Urahara! Le Vaar, although impressed, has something else up his sleeve, and manages to pierce Kiskue’s eyes . Now, at long last, Kiskue feels he has no choice but to utilize his never before seen Bankai. What can it possibly be?

Hitsugaya is still battling Gerard Valkyrie when Byakuya steps in for the assist. When they see Kenpachi arrive, Toshiro and Byakuya exclaim “Here comes trouble.”  They consider him to be like a bull in a china shop, one who acts first and thinks later. But in this case, his actions might cause the Quincy to grow beyond their ability to handle if they can’t control him.

The final battle is about to begin – Ichigo vs Yhwach!

If this is going to happen, it has to happen soon as the series is almost done at this point. The battle with Hitsugaya and Byakuya against Gerard Valkyrie is monumental, and takes up a great deal of this volume, but it has one unfortunate and unforeseen consequence. No one is safe in this world, alas.

I am happy to say that Uryu is no traitor to his friends, but more of that later. The important thing here is that everything is drawing to a close, and we have one more volume to go! It should be epic!

Saturday is Horror Day #80 – Hangman, Bad Ronald

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Will Ruiney (Karl Urban) is a homicide detective who finds himself on the trail of a serial killer who is playing a sadistic game of Hangman with his victims. He calls his own partner Ray Archer (Al Pacino) out of retirement to assist in the case. Nosy reporter Christi Davies (Brittany Snow) inserts herself into the case and insists on following the detectives around, despite the potential danger to herself. Each victim is found hanging, with a letter carved onto them. 

I’m not gonna beat around this bush – this is not a good movie. In fact, it’s fairly awful. The only saving grace is that it’s short. And I’m saying this despite the fact that I do like both Pacino and Urban. But even they couldn’t save this disastrous formulaic boring film. Urban basically phones in his part, Pacino is just playing Pacino and he seems to be amusing himself as much as anything. And Brittany Snow isn’t much of an actress, at least not in this.


The writing is awful, the plot boring. I read someone’s description of it as imitating the film Seven (which was good, btw). I almost turned it off, I was so bored. The killer doesn’t appear until the end, and he isn’t very good either. I’m just going to give this 1 Star because I do like Pacino and Urban, but I recommend you not watch this horrible movie.

Bad Ronald

Ronald Wilby (Scott Jacoby) is a rather shy, introverted young man who lacks some of the social graces. It doesn’t help that his peers have a tendency to tease him mercilessly and relentlessly. Ronald lives with his ailing mother Elaine Wilby (Kim Hunter) in an old Victorian mansion. One day, Ronald cracks and accidentally kills a young girl. He confesses to his mother, not knowing what to do. Together they devise a plan whereby they make the downstairs bathroom into hiding place, remove the door and replace it with drywall so no one will know it is there and Ronald can live there until it’s safe for him to surface again. He does the work himself and adds a small opening in the walk-in pantry where his mother can give him his food.

But things go wrong after his mother goes into the hospital for routine surgery…and dies. The house is sold to a couple with three daughters – the Woods (Dabney Coleman and Pippa Scott). In his hideaway, Ronald continues his hobby of drawing and painting the fantasy world he has created, with himself as the hero. He spies the Woods and becomes immediately drawn to one of the daughters, Babs (Cindy Fisher). He spies on her and her family through holes he has drilled himself, and fantasizes about Babs. Sometimes he takes a chance and goes into the house when no one is home. But the nosy neighbor Mrs Schumacher (Linda Watkins) spots him one day, and things are about to go downhill


This film is from 1974, a time when films didn’t show as much violence as many do now. This film is 

no exception, but still manages to convey a very creepy vibe. Imagine someone living behind the wall in your house? And not just anyone but a murderer. Spooky, right? Scott Jacoby gives a chilling performance as Ronald, the titular character, just the right combination of naivete, nerdiness, and downright creepiness. This is an early role for Dabney Coleman, and for once he isn’t the creepiest in the room lol

I really enjoyed this film, but it is really short, about an hour and a quarter. I think it’s well worth the watch, and thanks to my friend Vinny, who recommended I watch this. I give this film 4 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: September 21, 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 One Hundred and Eight by Cia Nordwell

Bouncer pounced with his claws extended, and for the first time I saw why everyone was so afraid of cerops. It wasn’t just the wide wounds his claws slashed across the officer’s throat, it was the poison that bubbled from the wounds and the froth that immediately bubbled from the male’s mouth. He died instantly. “Bouncer, no—” was all I got out before he was already stalking back to my side.

Ases squeezed my shoulder. “That guy was on the vid feed.”

“What?” I couldn’t look away from the bloody pawprints coming straight from the body to us but

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Book Review: Alice in Borderland, Vol 2 by Haro Aso

Alice in Borderland, Vol 2   

Author: Haro Aso

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 15, 2022

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Dystopian/344 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ryo, Karube, and Chota have teamed with Saori to defeat the land of Borderland and make their escape by playing their stupid games. It’s Karube who figures out they needed to head to the Beach, wherever that is. But then they find themselves playing a game from which only one operson will emerge alive and everything changes.

Afterward, Ryo stops caring about what will happen, unable to stop thinking about his friends and what has happened to them. He is found by a girl named Usagi, who brings him back to a semblance of himself after telling him her story. He decides that they need to fight on together. They decide to carry on the search for the Beach, asking players they run across. But eventually they realize they are talking to the wrong crowd so they decide on a strategy, waiting for the games to be over and talking to the survivors. Through trial and error, and clever deductions, they eventually reach their goal, although it isn’t quite what they expected.

The Beach isn’t an actual beach, it’s a hotel where a number of the players have gathered. On arrival, they are each ranked according to the cards they possess. The goal is to collectively gather all the cards necessary to leave the island, which appears to be the entire deck. But no one knows if more than one person will be able to escape. And some cards are more difficult to acquire than others, while no one has even seen the face cards yet.

But are the players at the top manipulating the others for their own agenda? Can Ryo and Usagi survive this place, and is there any actual chance of escape?

This is certainly a dangerous place to be for all involved, but somehow there is a question that really hasn’t been addressed. Probably because they’re all too busy trying to survive. But I have to wonder who is behind this, and what purpose does this serve? This manga is certainly a dark version of Alice in Wonderland, full of twists and turns. I will have to wait for the next volume because it is just now coming out, so the library won’t have it right away. Looking forward to it.

Saturday is Horror Day #79 – Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead

In pursuit of the Tall Man, Reggie (Reggie Bannister) and Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) run into a few snags in their plan to prevent his unholy invasion. Mike is kidnapped and Reggie has to find him. But along the way he acquires a couple of new friends – a little boy named Tim (Kevin Connors) and a young woman named Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry). They also keep seeing Mike’s dead brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) who seems to be residing in one of the Tall Man’s silver balls.



The third entry in the Phantasm series is weaker than the first two, and some of the acting leaves something to be desired. The Tall Man is becoming very one note, and the special effects aren’t so special. I hope this is not an indication of what is to come as I see a few more films ahead in this series. I’ll reserve judgment on them, but this one gets 1.5 Stars.

Not really a lot to say other than watch at your own peril, but I found it to be not very frightening.



Wednesday Briefs: September 14, 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.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #40 (8.3) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Well, let’s just say luck was not on our side when we arrived at the Thorne family home. Thanks to having been alerted by Sarah, Maureen was waiting for us when we pulled up the long drive, but she wasn’t alone. Her husband sat beside her on the porch swing. He stood when we pulled up but made no move to follow her as she flew down the steps toward the car.

I was surprised to hear Ethan mutter something under his breath that sounded like a curse, surely not at the sight of his mother. Alarmed, I glanced around us, not sure what he was upset about. And then I noticed the other car parked on the grass and I recognized it from our last visit. Joe Junior. Weren’t we just the lucky ones? And why did I think his being here had nothing to do with the return of his uncle to the family fold? Also, shouldn’t he be working? Doing whatever insurance agents did every day?

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Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 18 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 18   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 3, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Tanjiro and Tomioka face Akaza, Number 3 Upper Level Demon. He sneers at Tanjiro, certain that the demon slayer has used all of his water moves. But does Tanjiro have something else up his sleeve? Tanjiro has finally come to understand what his father meant by the Transparent World.  Having killed Rengoku, and believing he has killed Tanjiro, Akaza taunts Tomioka, unaware that his fate is right behind him. But when Tanjiro slices off the demon’s head, he doesn’t die! What’s up with that?

Kanao is in a struggle with the demon who killed her sister, Doma. When Inosuke comes to Kanao’s rescue, Doma is mildly amused, but certainly not threatened. In fact, Doma thinks they have met before… a long long time ago. When Inosuke was just a baby in the arms of his mother. Can what he says be true?

Much of this volume is taken up with Akaza’s backstory, which is interesting. It’s nice to get to know the characters, even the so-called bad ones. Everybody has a story to tell. Plus we finally meet Inosuke’s mother and learn more of the circumstances of what made him what he is now. Also, Tanjiro is growing exponentially. He’ll be a Hashira in no time, if not more.

Great volume, looking forward to the next one.

Saturday is Horror Day #7 – Stay Out of the F***ing Attic, The Lift, Rec 4: Apocalyse

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Stay Out of the F***ing Attic

Albert Schillinger (Ryan Francis), Imani (Morgan Alexandria) and Carlos (Bryce Fernelius) are ex-cons and friends who have gone into the moving business together. They have a job at a creepy old house which requires them to pull an all-nighter in order to meet the client’s deadline. Piece of cake, right? But there are things there that should never see the light of day and a simple job goes horribly wrong. Can these three survive the experience?

Okay, this is definitely a Grade B horror flick, but as those go, this one is entertaining even if the premise isn’t exactly original. But it’s done pretty well, the acting isn’t bad, and it will keep you entertained. What more can you ask for? Watch it with a friend, maybe a bottle of wine, and try to guess the secrets of this strange house.

For example, when the villain is revealed, I swear he suddenly developed a thick German accent he didn’t

have before lol Seriously, no new ground is broken here, but it’s a short and enjoyable film. I’ve reviewed far worse. I’ll give this one 3 Stars

The Lift

With a title like the Lift, how could I resist? I mean, I work in the elevator industry after all! This is a Dutch film, about an elevator mechanic who is perplexed by the problems with the elevators in a new office building. They shouldn’t be acting up but they are, and no one can figure out why.  He goes out of his way to solve the mystery, even teams up with a curious female journalist, and manages to alienate his wife in the process, putting himself at risk for unemployment as well.

This film is odd, kind of horror, but also kind of sci fi, and rather failing to make a decent hybrid. I think the problem is it took itself too seriously as we follow Adelaar (Huub Stapel) while he investigates whatever is going on. This film would have greatly benefited by some skilful editing. The pace is slow and tedious and it’s too easy to lost interest in what’s going on. The way the elevators work got on my nerves. There are three elevators, and they seem to open and close simultaneously, which is odd. Also, I’m not sure why there is a computer involved.

This film may have had potential, but I can’t even swear to that. I understand the lack of gore, it is  1983 after all, but it almost put me to sleep. I’ll be kind and give this 2 Stars, but barely.

Rec 4: Apocalypse

Television reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) can’t believe her good fortune when she is rescued from the house of horrors that is the apartment building where she has been trapped with some horrible monsters! But her relief is short-lived when she finds herself being held against her will on a ship headed… where? She has no idea and no one is talking. Two of her rescuers are there, as well as an older woman who is looking for her family. She last saw them at the wedding,  but when she woke from a nap, they were gone!

To Angela’s horror, she discovers that the virus that previously held her hostage has now appeared on the ship and is making inroads into the crew! Who are these doctors and why are they so adamant that they need to perform surgery on her?

Rec 4 takes up where Rec 2 & 3 ended. But now, instead of being sealed into an apartment building, the brave reporter is being held hostage in a ship  on the high seas, no clue as to their destination or what they want with her. The doctors on the ship want to operate on Angela, convinced she holds the key to what is going on. But the virus has gotten loose and the crew is turning ugly! Supposedly the last entry in the series, the ending might suggest otherwise. See what you think. I think this was a worthwhile successor to the franchise. I’ll give it 3 Stars.