Author Archives: wedbriefsfic

Wednesday Briefs: September 23, 2020

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 Six by Cia Nordwell

My scans indicated there was a rocky outcropping nearby, and based on what I’d seen of the wildlife so far, I wanted nothing more than to put some solid stone at my back. Climbing would do me no good, and while the ground level was rarely safe either, I’d have to take my chances there. Setting up a shelter would take too much time, though I’d brought collapsible poles and and flex fabric.

I would fear what I couldn’t see. Being inside a shelter wouldn’t make the predators go away, and I’d rather see them coming. I’d make a fire;

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Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 3: Hero With a Guitar by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 3: Hero With a Guitar     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 16, 2009

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kenji is baffled as to why the dying homeless man proclaimed him to be the one who has to save the world? Who is he but a lowly shop owner, and what can he do to save anyone when he’s clearly made a mess of his own life?

Things are starting to come back to him, though, as Kenji begins to connect the dots, as he realizes that what is happening mirrors the story he wrote so long ago, as a child. A tale told among friends about super heroes saving the world from a deadly menace. How can it be coming true now? And why?

Kenji tries to talk to each of his friends, but after they unload their tales of woe on him, he doesn’t have the heart to involve them in what is going on. In pursuing Donkey’s student, whom he is unable to find, he learns about a concert being given by The Friends, and his blood runs cold. He knows he has to be there, so tells his mother to watch Kanna and heads to the concert. There he ends up on stage and comes face to face with Friend. Well, relatively speaking, as Friend is hiding behind a mask. But his words are clear and strike distinct fear in Kenji.

Kenji almost forgets about his class reunion. Maybe he’ll recognize Friend among the attendees. Or at least gain some clues as to which kid wore a mask. But he doesn’t recognize a lot of his former classmates after so many years. Yukiji doesn’t make the reunion because she has to work at the airport. But someone else shows up who recognizes Kenji, and as they catch up, Kenji remembers things he’d forgotten, such as who the kid in the mask was, and what the next target in the story was. But can he stop the next disaster from taking place?

He has a sudden premonition that his niece Kanna is in trouble, and races to save her, but from what… or who…

Things are really happening in this volume of Twentieth Century Boys! When I read what Kenji learned at the Friend concert, I literally gasped! Imagine how he must feel, wondering if he is crazy or is there someone out there following the plot of a story written when Kenji was just a child? But if he’s right, and that’s what happening, then the fate of the world could very well be at stake.

This volume is action packed and exciting. I love the artwork a lot, as well as the story. Kenji is not your typical hero, in that he is an ordinary man with an ordinary job and an ordinary life, who thinks he’s accomplished nothing of note in that life. He fails to realize how special he really is, what a good man he is, but I have the feeling a lot of people will know about him before this tale is through.

Seeing Friend for the first time, albeit behind a mask, was very interesting, his surprise announcement even more so. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 22 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 22     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 5, 2008

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ichigo’s dad’s secret is out in the open—he’s a former Soul Reaper! Whodathunkit? And he’s more than passing acquainted with sneaky old Kiskue. Apparently they are both aware of the existence of the Visoreds. Not only that, but Isshin predicted they would contact Ichigo, which they have. As Isshin describes them, the Visoreds are “a lawless gang of ex-Soul Reapers who tried to acquire hollow powers through forbidden methods.” He goes on to note the change in the Arrancars, which can probably be laid directly at the renegade Aizen’s feet, with the use of the stolen Hogyoku. That could become a distinct problem for all of them, especially the Soul Society. Prior to this, there was a limit to the Arrancars’ power, but now that Aizen plans to complete them, there could be hell to pay.

Dutch Boy has given Ichigo a lot to think about. Namely, that he is like the Visoreds in that he has a Hollow inside of him. One who is now making himself heard to Ichigo, which is a chilling thought. At the same time, Uryu is wrestling with his father’s offer—have his Quincy powers restored, but at the price of never involving himself with Soul Reapers again. What will he choose?

Dutch Boy is making no progress in his efforts to get Ichigo to join them. He is now attending Ichigo’s school, which Ichigo certainly doesn’t appreciate. Hiyori shows up after school to find out what the hold-up is, only to find that Dutch Boy has been followed by Orihime and Chad, who want to know what’s up and what do they want with Ichigo.

Two new Arrancars arrive on the scene—Ulquiorra and Yammy, sent by Aizen to find the person with the strongest spiritual pressure and kill him. The rest are nothing but ants, according to him, not worth their time. But when they attack Tatsuki, Orihime refuses to stay quiet and responds. With Orihime’s life in danger, can Ichigo be far behind?

Back in school doesn’t necessarily mean back to normal, as Ichigo discovers when some familiar figures appear unexpectedly in his classroom. What the heck is going on, and why are they there? And now why are they at his house?

Certainly an interesting volume of Bleach as the plot thickens. The appearance of Ulquiorra and Yammy can only mean that Aizen has begun hatching his dastardly plot, whatever that might be. And the appearance of the Soul Reapers can’t be a coincidence.  With Renji and Ikkaku around, you know there will be hijinx, and whatever they are, poor Captain Hitsugaya probably won’t like it.  The part with Keigo and Chizuru and their protectiveness of Orihime was hilarious, as was Keigo’s recipe—two parts ginger ale and one part calpico, which he says tastes just like hair tonic. Seriously, dude?

Ichigo has to come to terms with the fact that he has a Hollow inside of him. The question is can he control it or will it overwhelm him and make him into something horrible? I loved the scenes with Isshin and Kiskue. I don’t remember knowing this early in the anime about Isshin, so I like that. Karin realizes Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, although he has admitted nothing. At some point, he has to learn that playing the lone wolf, the brave knight who takes everything upon himself and requires no one else, is a stupid attitude to take, and he can and must rely on the help of others, especially his friends. He puts them in more danger by leaving them out of the loop than by including them.

I liked seeing Kiskue and Yoruichi. We don’t see them often enough, especially her. I already know Dutch Boy will grow on me, so will Alquiorra. Right now the latter is just an emo Goth Arrancar, and Yammy is a big strong dummy.

According to the preview, another team of Arrancars is on its way!  Can’t wait to see them too!

 

Wednesday Briefs: September 16, 2020

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 Five by Cia Nordwell

It reached in again and scraped the log but pulled back an empty paw. Whining again, it jumped on top of the log, then reached again from the new angle, this time getting another small grub.

Sheer terror had me on the defensive, and I’d only thought I was observing the beast. I kept thinking I knew what it was, but no… I was wrong. This was not the same one I’d seen earlier. It wasn’t one of the young ones either.

It was between the two sizes. Not as a big, not as dark red. The stripes were just

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Wednesday Briefs: September 9, 2020

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.

Phases of Moon: Part 30 by J. Alan Veerkamp

The county courthouse doors swung wide and Sawyer stepped down the short stairwell to the sidewalk, Jada by his side. Fall beginning to set it, the breeze held a slight chill as the season threatened to turn. Midday pedestrians passed each other without words on the sparsely populated street. Staring down at the pavement, Sawyer made an effort not to step on the sidewalk’s seams. No need to invite any bad luck today.

“That was easier than I expected.”

Jada’s somber exhale mimicked his mood. “A little anticlimactic.”

“Our marriage dissolved with a few signatures and a rubber stamp. I’m not sure how to feel.”

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Book Review: The Shadowed Sun (Dreamblood #2) by N.K. Jemisin

The Shadowed Sun (Dreamblood, Book 2)   

Author: N.K. Jemisin

Publisher: Orbit Books

American release date: June 12, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy /517 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Hanani is a Sharer Apprentice. Sharers are similar to but different from Gatherers, in that they are healers who also go into the realm of dreams to help sufferers where the Gatherers ease the sleeper into a peaceful death. What makes Hanani unique among the Sharers is that she is a woman, and such a thing has not happened before. Which also means she is subjected to the scorn of some people for going against the perceived behavior of her sex, even among her fellow Sharers. Luckily for her, she has the support of her mentor, Mni-inh, to help guide her.

Wanahomen, son of Eninket, has been gone for some ten years, ever since his father’s overthrow and death at the hand of a Gatherer. Biding his time, he is gathering support so he can claim his birthright, and refuses to listen to those who claim his late father had gone mad and had to be killed. His eye on the prize, Wanahomen is willing to do whatever it takes to regain what was lost, no matter who gets hurt in the process.

Tiaanet’s mother, Insurret, is of the shunha caste, her father Sanfi a merchant. Tiaanet is extremely beautiful, and many men lust after her. But her father has his own ideas regarding her future, as well as his own ideas regarding their relationship. No wonder Insurret is waspish and surly, keeping to herself and away from Tiaanet as well as her  daughter Tantufi, who has… issues. But Tiaanet is a dutiful daughter, even when that duty is very distasteful to her, and she is also clever and knows how to handle people… except her father. As a supporter of the returning Prince, Sanfi sees nothing wrong in bedding his beautiful daughter with the handsome prince, as long as he’s in control of the situation Then again, he sees nothing wrong in sleeping with her himself.

Sunandi Jeh Kalawe now governs Gujaareh on behalf of the Protectors of Kisua. She is happily married to Anzi, a general who commands the forces of Gujaareh. But Sunandi has neither forgotten the events that led up to the death of the mad Prince Eninket, or the young Gatherer Nijiri, whose mentor/lover Ehiru was the one who killed Eninket.  When Nijiri comes to see her in the middle of the night, Sunandi knows something is up… and it’s not likely to be good.

Something is wrong in Gujaareh. People are dying mysteriously in their sleep, but the Gatherers don’t know why or how it happens. Turmoil is in the air, as forces align themselves. War feels imminent as Wanahomen works toward the overthrow of the current regime, that he may take his rightful place as ruler. But he needs the support of others to accomplish that.

Something big is just on the horizon… will it be the start of something new or the end of the life they now know?

As much as I loved the first book, I think I might love this one more, although I wish Ehiru had been able to come along for the ride. In the intervening ten years, Najiri has greatly matured, although undoubtedly carrying the scars of what happened and the loss of Ehiru. I was tickled to see Sunandi again. She’s such a strong character, and someone I would love to really know. Plus we get to meet interesting new characters, such as Hanani and Mni-Inh. Hanani is struggling to exist as a woman in a man’s world, and she does it wonderfully.  And then there is Wanahomen , who is older than when we last saw him. It remains to be seen if he has gained any wisdom or maturity.

N.K. Jemisin weaves an incredibly intricate tale, like a beautiful tapestry composed of the lives of her characters. The religion she has created feels so real, it’s hard not to believe that these things can’t happen in dreams, that such people as the Sharers and Gatherers don’t really exist. Her world-building skills are beyond belief. Her characters take on a life of their own, certainly not one-dimensional by any means. There is no cookie-cutter black-and-white dichotomy, good versus evil. For no one is entirely good, and no one is entirely evil. And bad things do happen to good people, and sometimes evil thrives.

For now, this is the last book in the series, but the author admits she would like to visit this world again. We can only hope she does, and that she’ll be willing to take us along on her next visit.

I highly recommend this book, and I intend to seek out her other stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Briefs: September 2, 2020

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.

Phases of Moon: Part 28 by J. Alan Veerkamp

The wait was killing him, driving invisible arrows deep into his back and chest, leaving him an emotional pincushion. Jimmy had arrived at the restaurant early, having witnessed Sawyer’s penchant for schedules. If he wasn’t careful he was going to wear out the soles in his boots from pacing alone.

He kept checking the bus top on the corner in case Sawyer arrived from there, only to call himself stupid each time because her knew Sawyer had a car. An awful, little efficient sedan, but he could drive on his own. As long as he didn’t get himself into a fatal car crash.

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Wednesday Briefs: August 26, 2020

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.

Phases of Moon: Part 26 by J. Alan Veerkamp

The full moon crept over the forest’s edge, gradually washing Fergus and his pack in its silvery glow through a cloudless sky. At least sixty men and women of various sizes and ages stared back at him. Most packs numbered below twenty, so commanding one of this size, no matter how ragtag, was an honor most alphas never knew.

Given their long lives, the moon limited their numbers, although this pack’s bloodlines were so weak a normal human lifespan was all they could count on. Except Fergus, of course, which is what made him the ideal choice to lead.

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Wednesday Briefs: August 19, 2020

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.

Phases of Moon: Part 24 by J. Alan Veerkamp

Dirt spit out from under Jimmy’s tires as he came to a hard stop on the service road next to Fergus’s truck and police cruiser right where he said to meet. He didn’t want to offend his future alpha, but the interruption—and ruining his first real opportunity to court Sawyer had his hackles risen. He pressed his palm over the business card in his vest pocket, making sure it was still there, hoping to calm himself down. His wolf hadn’t stopped snarling and clawing at his spine since he’d walked away from his mate an hour ago.

Crap. He called Sawyer his mate again.

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Wednesday Briefs: August 12, 2020

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.

Unicorn Quests: Chapter Forty-one by Cia Nordwell

The smoke enveloped me. Gray lightened to white then faded to an opaque background. My breath caught in my chest.

“What is this?”

No one had said there would be magic during the release. My heart thundered in my chest and my breath sawed in and out. “No, no, no…”

I’d barely held it together when I changed form. It was only the need to keep the ceremony going, and knowing exactly what to do that kept me focused.

Not on me, but what I had to do for Wenn’s spirit.

“And I thank you for that.”

I spun and

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