Author Archives: wedbriefsfic

Wednesday Briefs: November 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 One Hundred Fifteen by Cia Nordwell
 

“The building that’s on fire,” Garjah broke in and said dryly. He wiped his face. “We didn’t see your mech, though.”  

“Oh.” Ases cleared his throat, paling. “Well, you got out so others probably did too, right? The damage probably isn’t that bad. My mech caught it on camera, so I sent him in, just in case, to make sure no one needed help.”  

I snorted. “And the Kardoval want to make you and me the bad guys.”  

“What?” Ases put on an outraged face and staggered back a few steps. His hand landed on his chest as he straightened.

 
 

 

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Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 1: Time for Assassination

Assassination Classroom, Vol 1: Time for Assassination

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 2, 2014

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Class 3E at Kunugigaoka Junior High find themselves in a rather unique situation. Besides being considered to be the dregs of the entire school, looked down upon, belittled, used as warnings to other students to do well or end up like them, forced to attend class in a rundown classroom on top of a mountain…they have also been assigned the task of assassinating their teacher!

Their teacher is like no other in that he resembles a tentacle monster, can move at Mach 20 speed, and is impervious to most everything. Oh, and he is responsible for the destruction of two-thirds of the moon, which hangs in the sky as a silent reminder of what has occurred. He has threatened to destroy the entire earth in one year unless his demands are met. And what he demands… is to teach Class 3E at Kunugigaoka Junior High.

Why does he want to do this? No one knows, but they are in no position to resist, so he is given the assignment. The government tells the students of his class that they are to kill him, but also no one else is to know about what is going on outside of their class. Well, it’s not like they are even allowed to enter the other part of the school. But the real incentive is the reward of 10 billion that is being offered for the teacher’s death! So, game on… time to kill teacher!

This first volume is a perfect introduction to this unusual manga. The students of class 3E have a hard time, used by the principal as examples of what not to be. But this teacher, whom they have named Koro Sensei as a play on can’t be killed, sees them for who they are. While encouraging them in their assassination attempts, he also teaches them and raises their self-esteem. This book is both humorous and touching. I love the artwork. Koro Sensei is awesome! There is also a fantastic anime of this series which I highly recommend.

Saturday is Horror Day #86 – Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II, The Collector (1965)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Hellraiser (1987)

Frank (Sean Chapman) is on a quest for pleasure at any price. But he gets more than he bargained for when he purchases a puzzle box from a mysterious shop owner. In solving the mystery of the puzzle, he opens himself to the Cenobites, whose idea of pleasure might be considered pain to some. They tear him apart.

Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his second wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into Larry’s childhood home, while his daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) takes a room nearby. Little does Larry knows that disembodies Frank is in the house. Or that his wife has carnal knowledge of his brother. Due to a freak accident, Larry’s blood feeds the hidden Frank, who begins to regenerate. He calls upon Julia to help him regain his full being. She is still enthralled by the memory of their time spent together and, although repulsed by his current looks, agrees to provide him with fresh blood.

Kirsty is protective of her father, and doesn’t have the best of relationships with his wife. She is

appalled to discover that Julia is taking men to their home when her father is away. But it’s worse than that, as she learns when she encounters the hideous form of her Uncle Frank, who tells her “Come to Daddy”. Kirsty isn’t sure what it means but she takes the puzzle box. Now she and her boyfriend have to figure out what’s going on, before it’s too late.

The original Hellraiser stands the rest of time, thanks to the imagination of Clive Barker. I like Andrew Robinson as the hapless Larry, who doesn’t realize what a viper he has married, and I liked him as the tailor Garak in Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Frank and Julia make quite the evil couple, while poor Kristy is at her wit’s end trying to save her dad. Creepy, definitely, and the Cenobites are unique, especially Pinhead. I’ll give this 4 Stars.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) finds herself in an institution after the events of the first film, with no idea of why she is there and her boyfriend nowhere in sight. A young doctor named Kyle (William Hope) tries to keep Kirsty calm, but she wants to leave. But she doesn’t seem to have much choice. The institute is run by Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham), and he seems very interested in what Kirsty has to say, although he dismissed her story out of hand. Afterward, he has the mattress from Kirsty’s father’s home brought to his office and “persuades” one of his patients to bleed on it, thereby reviving Julia (Clare Higgins). When Kyle, who believes Kirsty, takes her to Channard’s home, tragedy ensues.

Kirsty meets another patient, a young girl named Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) who doesn’t speak. She is very good at puzzles though. Channard and Julia kidnap her and force her to open the box. The Cenobites comes, but Pinhead persuades them not to kill Tiffany, as she did not summon them, Desire did.

The Cenobites allow Kirsty to explore the Labyrinth, and she runs into Frank (Sean Chapman) again, up to no good as always. But Julia gets her revenge on him, and Dr Channard doesn’t fare very well either.

Much as I like the first Hellraiser, I think I like the second one a little bit more, especially Pinhead. We see his origins in this one, although we are far from knowing what the Cenobites are all about. Kirsty is plucky as ever, and now she has an ally in the silent Tiffany. And of course we have our old friends Frank and Julia, with their new friend Dr. Channard. Look for more good times with this sequel! I’ll say right now the third movie isn’t very good, and I’ve been advised to avoid numbers four through ten, so I will. I’ll give this one 4.5 Stars

The Collector (1965)

Freddie (Terence Stamp) is a quiet young man, a loner who collects butterflies. When he sees art student Miranda (Samantha Eggar), he decides he must have her, so he kidnaps her and holds her hostage. He doesn’t mistreat her in any way, makes no demands, physical or otherwise. He only wants to have her near, so she can fall in love with him and they can be together as man and wife. But Miranda only sees that she has to escape at all costs.

This movie is a little known underrated gem. Director William Wyler gives us a very subtle but powerful story in the interplay between hostage and captor. Terence Stamp is especially brilliant as Freddie, the naive sociopath who believes that if she gets to know him, Miranda will love him and all will be right with the world. Even so, he will do whatever it takes to keep her with him forever.

Sometimes you can’t help but hope that Freddie wins her heart, but at the same time you root for

Miranda to make her escape and reclaim her life. The tension is subtle but palpable, and the wonderful score only serves to emphasize what is going on. Nothing explicit, nothing overt, but powerful all the time.   I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars.

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 8 by Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Pluto, Vol 8     

Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 19, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Sci-Fi Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Atom has awakened, but everyone wonders what will he do now? Meanwhile, those behind the dastardly plot are rejoicing that their work is almost done. However, one witness remains. Within the United States of Thracia, Eden National Park opens, hailed as the greatest healing zone in the world. Uran is worried about her brother. His behavior since awakening is odd. He’s writing lengthy equations on the walls. When Professor Tenma visits Brau 1589 in prison, the robot asks Tenma what he did to Atom. Brau already knows what formula Atom is writing – the formula for an antiproton bomb.

Atom meets with Gesicht’s widow and lets her know that her husband was always thinking of her and that he loved her very much. Atom has a piece of Gesicht inside him now, including his hatred. That could be dangerous. Also, it’s becoming evident that the world is in danger from something below the surface of Eden Park, something that concerns both Pluto and Bora.

As the trial of Darius XIV begins, an earthquake can be felt. He tells them not to worry, it’s the beginning of the end, although having nothing to do with him.  He tells them it was all Abullah’s doing. At long last, the truth is coming out. About Pluto and Bora, about Abullah and Sahad. Why so many good robots had to die. But will Atom be able to reverse what has been set into motion, or is the entire planet doomed?

This is it. The last volume. I didn’t expect to cry over it, but I did. As I read the seven volumes that came before, I mourned the death of each and every robot, especially Gesicht. I was so sure he’d survive. I worried about how everything would end. Urasawa is amazing, and he’s told a very amazing story. The ending is all you could ask for and then some. Masterpiece all the way around. Glad I was able to take this journey with such remarkable characters.

Wednesday Briefs: November 2, 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 #47 (10.1) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Dinner was absolutely wonderful! I hadn’t really had a chance to appreciate Maureen’s cooking in its full splendor before since she’d been recovering from a stroke during our first visit. And how she managed to stretch this most excellent meal to accommodate all her extra guests was beyond me but she did and her efforts were most definitely appreciated. I could only imagine what Thanksgivings must be like here, at least from a culinary standpoint. Ethan and I tended to eat out on holidays, for the most part. I know he was as happy as I was at our unexpected largesse.

Of course, the fly in the ointment as far as holidays went, was Ethan’s older brother. He sat through the meal like the proverbial bump on a log and only spoke when he was directly addressed…which meant not very often.

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Saturday is Horror Day #85 – Hellraiser (2022), V/H/S 99

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Hellraiser (2022)

Riley (Odessa A’zion) has a problem with addiction. She lives with her brother Matt (Brandon Flynn) and his boyfriend Colin (Adam Faison). Even though he is concerned for her welfare, she likes to push him to test his limits too. One night she goes out with her boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkey) to help him with a little job, one that involves robbery. They break into a container only to find a safe. Riley manages to open the safe with brute force, but inside they only find a smaller ornate box. Disappointing to say the least. But  Riley takes it anyway. Afterward she gets into a fight with her brother, who throws her out. She plans to sleep in her car but isn’t tired, so she takes the box to the park, where she manages to open it, cutting herself in the process.

And then the weird things begin to happen…

This is a reboot of the original 1987 Hellraise by Clive Barker. I’ll be frank – it could have been so much better. In this version, we have a new Pinhead, a female Pinhead, played by Jamie Clayton. I think the role had so much potential, but it was wasted. The plot was rather lackluster, and the Cenobites less menacing. I found myself not caring about anyone, especially not Riley, which makes it hard to care about what happens. I was thrilled to see Goran Visnjic as a greedy millionaire with more money than common sense, and he does fine, but his is not a sympathetic character either.

I think there were a few nods to the original Hellraiser films. I just found out there were ten of those,

which I didn’t know, but the first two are the best and the third is tolerable, with the rest forgettable. This one could have been so much better. I do think they used the original composer, so the music gets a nod. But otherwise, don’t rush to see this. I’ll give it 2.5 Stars.

V/H/S 99

V/H/S is back with a new collection of found footage gems designed to unnerve the most discriminating of horror palates.

In “Shredding”, a punk rock band with a high opinion of themselves known as R.A.C.K. like to perform pranks. They decide to look into the legend of a band called Bitch Cat, who supposedly died under their fans’ feet, trampled to death during a fire. They even go so far as to prank one of their members by pretending to be possessed. But their actions come back to haunt them.

In “Suicide Bid”, a college freshman named Lily has her sights set on a particular sorority, and does

even bother applying to any others, although she knows that is considered to be a suicide bid. The girls watch her video interview and then meet with her. They tell her she has to perform a dare in order to be admitted – she has to spend the night inside a coffin. She agrees, despite learning that another student who did the same thing mysteriously disappeared. But then things go upside down….

In “Ozzy’s Dungeon”, a children’s competitive game pits two kids against one another. But just when Donna is about to win, the other contestant injures her badly and wins himself. A few years later, Donna’s angry family decides to wreak their vengeance against the horrible host of the game show by kidnapping him and forcing him to compete in a dungeon of their own making.

In “The Gawkers”, teenage Peeping Toms get a lesson as they spy on the young woman who lives across the street.  In the last segment, “To Hell and Back”, two friends are hired by a cult to video them on the eve of Y2K. But they end up fighting for their lives in Hell. And this is where they meet Mabel.

Also, threading through the other stories, is another story involving a young man who is filming his toy soldiers in action. I did like this new addition to the VHS series. I am a huge fan of found footage films, as you can tell by the many I have reviewed. I especially liked Ozzy’s Dungeon, but I have to say Mabel steals the show. I’ll give this 4 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: October 26, 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 Thirteen by Cia Nordwell
 

“We’ve already given away the element of surprise,” Garjah said. “They will expect me to try to flee the city, so they’ll be on the lookout for anywhere I might go, like my house or the port.”  

“Which is why you won’t do that,” Ases said. “We’re going to get my mech. You’re staying here to distract the Kardoval.”  

Garjah raised his eyebrows, the skin on his forehead wrinkling around the ridges pushing back from his forehead and curling around his skull. He looked skeptical. “How exactly am I doing that?”  

Ases had been somewhat vague on that part of

 
 

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Saturday is Horror Day #84 – A Quiet Place, Annabelle Comes Home

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

A Quiet Place

Monsters have invaded our world, terrifying blind creatures with preternatural hearing. At all costs, don’t let them hear you or your life is forfeit. Survival is the name of the game for the Abbott family. Lee (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their three children. They are always on the move, staying ahead of the creatures, keeping silent in order to not be heard. But little children sometimes do stupid things, and the Abbotts’ youngest is taken from them. Daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) feels guilty for what has happened, and feels that her father blames her too, and doesn’t love her as much as her brother Marcus (Noah Jupe).

The Abbotts have a farm where they have set up a system of lights that warn of danger if the lights are red. Lee works with electronics and sound and has devised ear plugs that two people can use to share music. He takes his terrified son out one day and explains to him that if there is a louder noise, that noise will attract their attention every time. Evelyn becomes pregnant, which brings its own problems with it, such as a crying baby, but they have provided for that with a special place for the newborn. However, when plans go awry, the whole family finds itself in danger.

 

This film demands you give it a certain amount of attention because so much of it is visual as the people dare not speak. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, although I’m not really sure how the creatures got there. But they’re there, and the world is in serious danger. It’s bleak and somewhat horrifying. I can’t imagine having to deal with this kind of life. I know if I can’t listen to my music at the office, the silence drives me nuts. They can’t talk to one another, play music, and they always have to worry about making any sound. John Krasinski is also the director of this film, and I think he did a good job. I’m looking forward to the second one. I’ll give this film 4 Stars

Annabelle Comes Home

Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren are going on a business trip so they engage local teenager Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Mary Ellen’s classmate Daniela (Katie Sarife) learns of her job with the Warrens and invites herself over to the house. She befriends Judy Warren (McKenna Grace), who doesn’t have many friends. Daniela is excited to be in the Warrens’ home and asks a lot of questions, especially about where the haunted items they collect are. She is told they are downstairs, but the door is locked and no one is allowed down there.

Daniela persists and finds an opportunity to stay at the house while Mary Ellen and Judy are gone. She immediately begins snooping, and manages to find the key, letting herself into the forbidden area. She is fascinated by what she sees, especially the creepy looking doll in the glass case which has a sign warning not to open it ever. But as she’s looking around, the doll seems to move, and curiosity gets the better of the girl, and she opens the case.

 

This isn’t the worst film of the Conjuring series, but it isn’t exactly good either. Somewhat predictable, it 

utilizes cheap jump scares. We do find out why Daniela is obsessed with the Warrens, as she wants to contact her late father, who died in a car accident while she was driving. I think the film suffered from the lack of the Warrens, but then it would never have happened either because they would not have allowed access. If you are just into watching the series, go ahead. Otherwise, not worth it. I’ll give it 3 Stars, mostly because I like Patrick Wilson.

Book Review: Spy x Family, Vol 8 by Tatsuya Endo

Spy x Family, Vol 8   

Author: Tatsuya Endo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 20, 2022

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Action & Adventure/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Yor receives an assignment that necessitates her to accompany the target she is protecting on a luxury cruise.  But luckily, Loyd and Anya have won a vacation on the same ship! What luck! However Loyd and Anya have a suite in third class while Yor is in the first class section. Tor feels bad for her subject, Olka, who has lost her husband and her family. All she has left is her child, and now she is being relocated for her own safety. When Olka requests that she be allowed to stretch her legs, how can Yor refuse? She tells Olka that her own husband and child are on the ship, but they don’t know about her real job. So Olka gives her something to disguise herself with.

Meanwhile, there is a spy on the ship who has ears on everyone, and overhears Olka conversation with Yor, and is able to pinpoint what name she is traveling under, and which room she is booked into!  Back in the room, Yor and Olka hear a knock at the door. It’s a steward with a cart… but they never ordered anything! More than a little suspicious. As this is going on, Loyd and Anya are having a stand-off in the gift shop over a skeleton keychain that Anya insists she must have, but Loyd think it’s useless junk. He worries that if he doesn’t give it to her, people will suspect he is not her real father. Such a dilemma!

Anya reads the mind of one of the bad guys and realizes he intends to battle her mama right outside of where she and her papa are! She has to keep him occupied, otherwise he’ll find out what Yor really does and that will ruin everything!  To stall for time, she insists that Loyd has to dress in a way that conveys he is having fun. “That should keep Papa busy for a while,” Anya thinks to herself.

After the battle, as Yor sits guard to protect the client, she worries about leaving Loyd and Anya, and questions why that thought even bothers her. After all, they’re just for show… right? The next day, a concerned Anya wants to check on her mama, but she has to devise a way to distract Papa. Otherwise he’ll just ask questions she won’t want to answer. She tries various activities, to no avail. Turns out, though, that the festivities for that night include fireworks!

Excitement plus in this volume of Spy x Family. I love this series so much! And the anime is soooo adorable! I especially love how Yor is beginning to realize her feelings for her family are more genuine than she bargained for, and she would do anything for them. At some point, I have to believe they are all going to find out about one another, and they will become a real family in every sense of the word.

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Wednesday Briefs: October 19, 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 #45 (9.3) by Julie Lynn Hayes

“That sounds like a good idea,” Ethan agreed. “Thanks, Dad. I’ll let Mom know what’s going on and see what we can do to help her. I don’t want us to be any trouble to her.”

Ethan’s father nodded his approval to this suggestion, for all intents and purposes giving the appearance of a loving and thoughtful spouse, although I wasn’t entirely sure about that. But maybe this leopard had managed to change its spots. And maybe nothing had really happened between him and his daughter-in-law. I hoped that was true, for Maureen’s sake. Or if it did, I hoped it was over now.

Sheesh, such a tangled web.

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