Tag Archives: Julie Lynn Hayes

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 60 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 60    

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 1, 2014

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Isshin encounters an unusual foe in the form of a black Hollow, unaware he is being observed by the Gruesome Trio, aka Aizen, Gin, and Tosen. Masaki senses the Hollow’s spiritual pressure and is determined to do something about it, but Ryu tells her not to interfere. He says that is the job of mixed breeds such as Katagiri, not a pure bred Quincy such as Masaki. Turns out this Hollow was created, with the use of a Soul Reaper’s soul! Masaki steps in and saves Isshin. She is concerned he might find out she’s a Quincy, considering what he is, but to her surprise, it doesn’t matter to him.

Isshin makes his report to the Soul Society, but conveniently doesn’t mention the Quincy he met. He slips away to the World of the Living, leaving a note for Rangiku, because he hopes to run into the girl again. Why didn’t he think to get her name? When Masaki returns to the Ishida household, Ryu castigates her, but suddenly she collapses. Turns out she was wounded in the recent battle after all. Thinking quickly, Ryu snatches her up and runs out to find help. He runs into Isshin, who is battling another Hollow. Isshin is appalled at what he sees, but doesn’t know how to help! Luckily, Fate intervenes in the forms of Kiskue Uruhara! (funny how that works sometimes)

Kiskue tells Isshin and Ryu what must be done to save Masaki, and only one of them can do it. Ryu knows what must be done, as Isshin agrees to bind himself to her for life, setting the two of them on their own path which will eventually lead to the birth of Ichigo and his sisters. And now his dad has told him everything… except for the night of his mother’s death. Why she was killed when she should have easily been able to defeat that Hollow. Now he can return to the palace to get his sword. But he has another truth he needs to learn.

Hitsugaya has lost his bankai, but he won’t just accept being powerless. He requests to be retrained, starting with the basics. And Captain Komamura decides to face his own past.

Wow, oh wow, this volume of Bleach is filled with all sorts of revelations, truths, and heartbreak. So much to absorb! And undoubtedly there is more to come. We finally get a picture of Ichigo’s mother, and right on the heels of that she is lost to us. And what I predicted before came to pass, but no more mention of that for now until the next volume. This explains so much about Ichigo. I can see both his parents in him. He has Isshin’s eyes and Masaki’s stubbornness, plus their combined commitment to justice and defending the weak.  If this is true for Ichigo, what about Yuzu and Karin? Will they go through the same thing? Now we know more about Uryu’s daddy too. And I got a brief glimpse of Shunsui lol

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Wednesday Briefs: May 18, 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 Ninety-one by Cia Nordwell
 

Ases sent his mech to the far side of the room where it extended its legs and looked down on the room. We’d been announced, and the applause had sounded sincere enough. The knots of people were slow to approach our trio, however, even after the mech moved away.  

“The clothing is certainly interesting.” Many people wore outfits that mirrored the patterns on their skin, spots or stripes, but in many different hues. Others wore draped robes held over a single shoulder or wraps in plain colors but accessorized with gaudy jewels. “I’m glad I packed several formal outfits.” He

 
 

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Saturday is Horror Day #61 – The Grudge 2, Unfriended

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Grudge 2

 


Aubrey’s (Amber Tamblyn) sister Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is being held in Tokyo, accused of burning down a house. Their mother is too ill to fly to Japan to deal with the situation but demands Aubrey do so, even though she has gone no contact with Karen. Aubrey goes and finds her sister under lock and key at a hospital. Karen is actually happy to see her and begs her to get her out of there. Aubrey meets a young man named Eason (Edison Chen) who also wants to talk to her sister. He is a journalist and he is trying to figure out what happened in that house, but Aubrey isn’t receptive to the idea.

Allison (Arielle Kebbel) is the new kid  at an elite academy in Tokyo. But she quickly becomes a target by some of the popular mean girls. Two of them take her to a house which was the scene of some horrific crimes and persuade her to go inside with them. There they play a vicious prank on her, locking her inside a closet, where she sees something horrifying. But the prank backfires when one of the girls goes missing, and Arielle just wants to go home.

 

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Trish (Jennifer Beals) has moved in with her boyfriend Bill (Christopher 


Cousins) and his two kids – Lacey (Sarah Roemer) and Jake (Matthew Knight). She wants to get to know them, but they aren’t sure about her. Jake thinks something strange is going on with their next door neighbors, but he isn’t sure what, other than they’ve come in with someone who huddles beneath their coat and can’t be seen. Strange things begin to happen. Trish and Bill are nowhere to be found, and he thinks there is something wrong. He sees things he is sure can’t really exist. But when he meets the girl next door, she tells him they followed her home.

The Grudge 2 picks up where the first one leaves off. There are three intertwining stories here, which sometimes makes it difficult to follow the plot. I’m still not entirely sure why these things are happening, although the film gives the same explanation as the first one. Again, not a bad film. I hope everything is wrapped up in the final installment. I’ll give this one 3.5 Stars as well.

Unfriended


A group of friends who are Skyping find themselves with an uninvited stranger in their midst, one they cannot get rid of no matter how many times they exit and enter. As if this wasn’t odd enough, someone is posting on the Facebook of a dead girl named Laura, who committed suicide… one year before. The intruder claims to be Laura and is determined to reveal all the group’s secrets, including who posted the embarrassing video that caused her to kill herself.

The intruder, who calls herself Billie, but whose account is linked to Laura’s, wants to play a game of Never have I ever. And secrets are being revealed that will tear friendships apart. But worse than that, breaking the rules of the game could prove to be deadly.

 

This film is told from the POV of the participants, as we watch them Skype on their individual screens. As the night progresses, the teens turn on each other as their secrets are revealed in the midst of this deadly game. It has a fair amount of scares and shock value to be interesting without being too obvious. In fact, at the end you can’t really be sure what exactly happened. 

 

None of these teens is exactly innocent, they were all cyber bullies who received their just desserts. Lesson to be learned – be careful what you do on the Internet, it will live there forever. I did enjoy this and will give it 4 Stars.

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo     

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Washington Square Press

American release date: May 29, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/LGBTQ Romance/400 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Monique Grant had high hopes when she accepted the position of staff writer at Vivant magazine, thinking this would be her springboard to writing fame. But so far, she hasn’t exactly been overwhelmed with great opportunities for thoughtful articles. Still reeling from her husband David’s departure and divorce, she is surprised to be called into her boss Franky’s office one day to receive a new assignment. Turns out that well-known actress Evelyn Hugo, who has been around forever and is still a very beautiful woman,  is donating some of her gowns for a charity auction and is willing to be interviewed regarding the donation. What is surprising about this is that Ms. Hugo has been reclusive for a very long time. Infamous as much for having been married seven times as for her acting career, talking to her would be a feather in any journalist’s cap. So why is she telling Vivant she wants to talk to Monique Grant and only Monique Grant? Monique is completely baffled herself, as she has no ties with the actress, has never met her. The only answer she can get is that the actress read her article about the right-to-die and was impressed. Her employer tried to replace her with someone else, but Hugo was adamant – Monique or no one. So Monique goes off to meet the woman and see what she can find out, although what is there to say about some dresses?

But not everything is as it appears to be. In fact, quite the contrary. At their first meeting, Evelyn discloses that this has nothing to do with dresses or the auction, but that she wants Monique to write her biography. Not ghost write it, to have Evelyn Hugo’s name slapped on it, but actually write it. Furthermore, Monique is going to sell it to the highest bidder (and there will be many of those, Evelyn assures her), because Evelyn won’t be around for much longer, and Monique is to keep all the royalties for herself. ALL THE ROYALTIES FOR HERSELF!

What’s the catch?

Monique is in disbelief, but Evelyn is adamant. She won’t tell Monique why, at least right now, but she assures her that she will find out the truth when the time is right… and she will hate Evelyn for it. How can a girl say no to such an offer? But she can’t let Vivant know what is going on, she has to string them along thinking she’s doing the piece about the dresses, because a girl has to eat, right? While in reality Evelyn is telling her life story, about each and every husband and her meteoric career, while also answering the question – who was her greatest love? This book could set Monique up for life easily.

At first I thought this was just about a Elizabeth Taylor-like actress who bagged and tagged multiple husbands while living the grand life. But I realized early on that it was so much more.  It’s an amazing story of an amazing woman and her journey through life – her loves, her husbands, her career. Certainly not perfect, she made mistakes and she did what she had to. But it’s an epic tale. It’s also Monique’s tale, her desire to hear and tell this story. And to learn its relevance to herself, even as she battles her own self-doubts and problems. I was so sorry to see this story end, but in a very satisfying way. Evelyn Hugo wasn’t free to love as she wished, born into an era which would never allow that to happen. How different things would have been if she’d come along now.

I will definitely have to look for more books by this author.

Wednesday Briefs: May 11, 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.

Garret Farm: Part 31 by J Ray Lamb

Jaosn knew his time at the farm was rapidly coming to an end. He stood quietly as his mind replayed his comments earlier in the day about how Murphy poaid him for doing nothing and also what Murphy had just said.

Claire sat quietly and tried to hide the smile that threatened to spread across her face. She and most of the female workers around the farm had been wanting Jason gone since the time that he had been brought on to the farm. Even several of the gay guys had had their run-ins with him and wanted him gone

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 59 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 59     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 2, 2013

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Step One in the healing process sees Ichigo and Renji arrive at the Bowing Pig Palace where their only job is to eat and get full! Ichigo digs right in, and although Renji has reservations about some of the things they are eating, that doesn’t stop him from stuffing himself also. Kirio Hikifune, whose palace they are enjoying the hospitality of, is the soul reaper who created the temporary soul and the ability to insert it into a body. She warns them that the guy in the next palace, though, is unpredictable. He is Oh-etsu Nimaiya, of the Phoenix Palace. He created the zanpaku-to.

Ichigo and Renji find Oh-etsu just a little offputting, as well as his bevy of big-busted beauties. But then he isn’t exactly impressed with them, saying they are heartless jerks who allowed their zankpaku-to be be damaged.  Can he fix them? That depends on them. He explains to them what Asauchi are, and how Soul Reapers imprint their soul upon one of them through long and difficult training.

Meanwhile, in the underground great prison, Zaraki and Unohana are about to square off in an epic battle, one Shunsui could not forestall. One in which only one Captain will survive… Each has made such farewells as they care to make, for the outcome of this battle is uncertain.

At the Phoenix Palace, Oh-etsu announces that Renji has passed, but Ichigo has failed, which means he has to go home. Ichigo doesn’t accept that, but Oh-etsu tells him that doesn’t mean it’s over, just that before he can move forward he has to go back to his roots. Back home, Ichigo can’t face Isshin and runs away. He takes refuge at his boss’ house, but Isshin finds him anyway. Isshin takes him home… and tells him the truth about his mother. Finally.

Omigosh, this volume is chock full of valuable information, stuff I’ve been wondering about for some time and stuff I should have been wondering about.  For example, who did Kenpachi beat to become Captain? Well now I know, and man, I never realized just how scary she is. This is a whole other side of her. Also, we learn more about Ichigo’s mother than we’ve ever learned before in a flashback to the past. Holy cow, she’s a Quincy? And she was raised in the Ishida household? Mindblowing stuff! Also, Isshin was a captain himself? And his name isn’t Kurosaki, it’s Shiba? Kurosaki is Masaki’s name.  Seeing past incarnations of Aizen and Gin gave me chills, too, since this is all pre-the bad times.

So, once he learns he is part Quincy, where will Ichigo’s loyalties lie? And when will Uryu make an appearance, which I’m convinced he must at some point. Can’t wait to see what the next volume brings!

Saturday is Horror Day #60 – The Funhouse, Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Funhouse


Amy Harper (Elizabeth Berridge) doesn’t get out much, under the watchful eye of her parents, but when the opportunity arises to go on a double date with her friend Liz (Largo Woodruff), she takes it. Amy’s date is hunky Buzz Dawson (Cooper Huckabee) and Liz’s date is the more nerdy Richie Atterbury (Miles Chapin). Amy tells her dad the two couples are going to the movies, instead of their original plans of going to the carnival, as her dad had told her not to go. But they end up there anyway. On a whim, they decide to spend the night in the Funhouse, and Amy tells her parents she is spending the night at Liz’s house.

Amy’s little brother Joey (Shawn Carson) has been a pain in the butt, but he loves horror movies, and he knows where his sister is going, so he sneaks out of the house and heads toward the carnival.  The two couples hide inside the Funhouse, and after hours, they’re making out when they hear a noise. They are able to see a room below them, where the drunken fortune teller, Madame Zena (Sylvia Miles) is talking to the man with the Frankenstein’s monster’s mask, who was operating the Funhouse. They make a transaction for money but when things don’t turn out to the man’s satisfaction, he wants his money back. Although technically he doesn’t say that since he seems to be only capable of grunts. When Madame Zena refuses, he flies into a rage and strangles.

 

Now the couples want nothing more than to get away from this place. But that seems less and less likely, and the creature knows they’re there and is after them. Turns out he’s dealt with this sort of problem before. Can the teens make it out of the Funhouse alive?

This film has something of a pedigree, with director Tobe Hooper, who you may recall from such films as Poltergeist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And writer Lawrence Block. Their combined work adds some quality to what is otherwise a forgettable film. It’s not so much that it’s bad, but I think the “freak” who is the oddball in the film and prone to violence if not handled correctly has been a bit overdone. There is no explanation of what is wrong with him, and how he came to be the way he is.

 

All in all, not a bad film and worth checking out. I’ll give it 3.5 Stars, mostly because I like Tobe Hooper

Human Centipede III (The Final Sequence)


To be honest, I wasn’t going to touch on this despite watching it today, but I’ll give it a brief mention anyway. First, you need to watch the first two, just because. They’re not exactly sequels but they also are. In the second one, we saw the first one as a film on DVD, and now in the third one, the first two are films on DVD. The doctor from the first film, Dieter Laser, is back as Bill Boss, the sadistic tyrant of a prison warden. Laurence R. Harvey, who was in the second film, is back as Boss’ accountant, Dwight Butler. Boss is beyond bad and terrorizes everyone, including his secretary Daisy (Bree Olson) and makes inappropriate sexual demands on her (not that there are appropriate sexual demands, just saying). 

Butler is obsessed with the Human Centipede films and makes Boss watch them, but he isn’t impressed. Neither is he impressed with the idea of making a human centipede at the prison, although Butler argues it will solve a lot of problems, including morale, discipline, and budgetary issues. The prison doctor, Dr. Jones (Clayton Rohner) is also a fan of the films and claims he can make it happen. Together, he and Butler think they have even improved the original techniques. Btw, Dr Jones is lucky to be able to work there, as Boss reminds him, because he has no medical license, so can’t be employed anywhere else. Boss changes his mind when the plan meets with the approval of Governor Hughes (Eric Roberts), although the governor doesn’t really realize what they intend to do.

 

Well, there is the basic premise. Let me just say it’s the weakest entry of the three, and most of the film consists of Boss’s ranting and raving and sadistic treatment of everyone inside that prison. Of course it’s gory, it’s a Human Centipede. Is there an actual 500 man centipede? Yes, but not until almost the very end. If you just want to finish the series, go ahead and watch it. If you want the same experience as the first two, do yourself a favor and skip it.

Well, I guess that wasn’t really brief, was it? Look for Tom Six playing himself. And you might remember one of the prisoners as playing the president in The Fifth Element. Anyway, I’ll just give it 2 Stars and will not rewatch.

Wednesday Briefs: May 4, 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-nine by Cia Nordwell
 

“The Galactic Council wants peace between the many unique species all over the universe.  I have come with Garjah and Essell to start the introductions.” Ases stepped forward and bowed. “My name is Ases. I hope that you will give me time to learn your culture and forgive any mistakes in my manners, but know I have nothing but the best of intentions as we create a bridge to bring your worlds alongside the Galactic society.”  

“This is not our way.” That question was not staged. A contingent of new arrivals pushed their way through the crowd, but they were

 
 

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Saturday is Horror Day #59 – Ju-on, The Forgotten

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ju-on

Rika Nishina (Megumi Okina) works as a volunteer for a senior health center. She is dismayed to find herself being sent alone to a client’s home, believing she is not ready to go alone. But she ends up going anyway. The house is a mess, and the woman she was sent to care for seems to be nonverbal.  While cleaning up, Rika hears a noise upstairs and goes to investigate. She finds a strange little boy, who says his name is Toshio. Wait, did he just turn into a cat?

 

Kazumi (Shuri Matsuda) comes home to find a messy house. She is annoyed because her husband’s sister, Hitomi (Misaki Ito) is coming for dinner. Kazumi’s husband Katsuya (Kanji Tsuda) is acting strangely, and he’s being no help. When Hitomi arrives, she can’t find anyone, and her brother’s mother-in-law is non-communicative. When she does find her brother, he is acting strangely and practically pushes her out the door.

 

Something strange is happening at Hitomi’s work, and it’s unnerving her. Late at night, most people gone for the day, she encounters a ghostly figure in the ladies room and hurries to tell security. The guard assures her he will check it out and to wait there. She watches in horror at what she sees on the cctv.

 

A young girl, Izumi (Misa Uehara) is walking home from school with her friends when she becomes frightened of a poster of three missing young girls. She hides away in her room, and tapes her window and draws the curtains, claiming that all three of them watch her! Turns out she knows more about the disappearance of her three friends then she lets on.

Ju-on is the original Japanese film that The Grudge was made from.  As the story unfolds, we see the story of this house from several different viewpoints until we get all the way back to where the grudge began. I think it’s more well-made than the Grudge, to be honest, and has a higher creepiness factor.  I plan to watch the sequels of each and will keep you posted. I’ll give this one 4 Stars.

The Forgotten

Although it’s been fourteen months since his death, Telly (Julianne Moore) just can’t let go. Every day, she goes to his room and looks at the things he left behind, looks through his photos and watches videos of him. But then one day, the pictures are gone, and the video has been erased.  She confronts her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards), who  refers her to her therapist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise). They both tell her that there is no child, she miscarried her pregnancy and what she thinks she knows are false memories.

Telly encounters Ash (Dominic West) in the park where her son Sam and his daughter Lauren once 

played together. Lauren was also on the plane crash that killed Sam, but Ash claims he has no daughter. A baffled Telly goes to his apartment, and uncovers evidence of Lauren. Suddenly he remembers.

Telly and Ash find themselves on the wrong side of the law. They try to convince Detective Pope (Alfre Woodard) that they aren’t crazy. When she goes to investigate, two men from the NSA try to take her case but she isn’t having that. What has the NSA to do with anything? Nothing federal here.

 

A strange man seems to be everywhere they are, and he tries to take them in, but they manage to escape. Telly and Sam come to the conclusion that no one would go to such lengths concerning dead children, so their kids must be alive. What is going on though?

For having such a good cast, and an interesting premise, this film simply falls flat. It isn’t bad, per se, but it really isn’t particularly good either. I believe these stars have given better performances, so I have to wonder what drew them to this script to begin with,. because it isn’t very good. Let’s look at this in some context. In 2004, Anthony Edwards was still starring in ER, so perhaps he was already anticipating his move to the big screen and didn’t care how he got there.  Julianne Moore had already done Hannibal by that point, as well as The Hours, so she shouldn’t have been exactly desperate for work. Maybe Gary Sinise wasn’t in big demand back then and thought why not?

I did watch the extended version with the alternate ending, which I have to believe is better than the theatrical. Still, the premise is somewhat predictable and yet leaves questions. Mainly exactly who and why. Unless you’re just a fan of these particular actors, I wouldn’t rush to watch this. I’ll give it 3 Stars because I do like Julianne Moore.

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 10 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 10   

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

 

The remake of Tsukigomori is getting a lot of attention. Kyoko is worried about the director. He seems so frail, as if the weight of producing a better film than the original is getting to him already… and they haven’t even begun shooting! Kyoko makes the mistake of asking Ren if he is nervous, and he gets irate with her. She is reluctant to admit that one reason she took the role was for a chance to act with him and watch him act. At a press conference for the film, a reporter asks the director why he changed his name and he passes out!

Kyoko shows up on the set on her first day as Mio, having already been transformed for the role, complete with scar. Her make-up is so realistic, she frightens some of the actresses playing school girls! Mr Yoshiro praises her for acting so scary only to discover she was being herself. Ren wonders when she changed, and speculates that it’s all Sho’s fault. The actress who played Mio originally, Miss Iizuka, who is playing her mother in the remake, arrives on the set, and she is clearly angry with their choice of Mio. She thinks Kyoko is a no-one and doesn’t deserve to play Mio. She decides she needs to test Kyoko on the role, and if she doesn’t perform to her satisfaction, Kyoko will have to step down! Meanwhile, Sho’s agent is trying to keep Sho from learning that Kyoko has landed a role in Dark Moon. Luckily, he is often oblivious to his surroundings. The trouble is they are headed to the very station that is producing Dark Moon!

Kyoko has a sudden inspiration and tells Mr Yoshiro she’ll be back soon, dashing away. He chases after her but to no avail. This sudden departure just feeds into Miss Iizuka’s prediction of failure if they continue with Kyoko as Mio. But Ren is confident that she will return, he has faith in her. The director prays that he is right. Three hours pass before Kyoko returns – with dyed hair and a new haircut! One that exposes Mio’s scar! What can she be thinking? Will the old battleaxe get her way and have Kyoko removed from the cast?

I love to watch Kyoko grow as an actress. She is so intent and so serious, and determined to give everything her best. It was hilarious when Mr. Yoshiro told Kyoko that Ren loves her but she wasn’t even listening! Watching the director of the film grow a backbone and tell that old witch he’s in charge was great! Kyoko’s interpretation of Mio is going to put her on everyone’s radar, I’m sure! I’m curious to see what Sho’s reaction will be, now that he’s seen the Dark Moon poster. Will he want what he can’t have? He did say that he considers Kyoko his!  Looking forward to the next volume!