Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Virtual Book Blast: Bite Me For Christmas by Megan Slayer

 Good morning everyone! Please welcome back author Megan Slayer!  It's always exciting to see what she's been up to! This time it's Bite Me For Christmas. Intriguing title, don't you think? Megan will be awarding a prize pack featuring a necklace made by her to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!


Bite Me for Christmas

by Megan Slayer




GENRE: Contemporary Erotic Paranormal Romance (Holiday)






He came to her in a dream, but he’s more like a nightmare in tight jeans, and she wants a taste.


Rachael isn’t good at magic, and she’s not versed in life, but this witch wants to lay her hands on the sexy vampire who’s come to her in her dreams. Can she have her Christmas wish -- the vampire?


Gavin wants the witch, but he doesn’t believe he’s worthy of her. Part of him wants to devour her magic and save himself, but what if being saved doesn’t involve dying?


Anything is possible with a little Christmas magic.








Rachael admired the twinkle lights she’d strung around the kitchen. Somewhere people were enjoying themselves. They might even be making love under the Christmas tree. She’d like to try that -- sex in front of the tree.


Instead, she’d pulled the chore of kitchen clean-up. She always pulled that chore and the rest, too.


She draped the washcloth over the faucet and surveyed the room. Everything appeared to be back in place.


When she peeked into the living room, Serena and Millie were deep in another round of cards. The last Rachael knew, they were playing hearts. Rachael tiptoed out to the back porch to admire the snow. The cauldron bubbled with some batch of potions. She had no idea what her sisters made, only that she had to clean out the pot when they finished. The tangy smell filled the enclosed space and made her dizzy.


She crinkled her nose. If she knew how, she’d change the scent to something nutmeg-y or pine -- anything but the overwhelming aroma.


Something flashed among the white snow. She folded her arms and stepped up to the screened-in windows. Maybe the flash was the play of firelight on the snow.


The snow glittered and mesmerized her as it fell -- that had to be it. The flash was falling snow.


She hummed the tune of a Christmas carol and fought back tears. Christmas shouldn’t be this depressing, but she couldn’t help herself. She tried to make the day bright, but Christmas Eve would forever be the day her parents died and her world turned upside down. The loss turned her sisters bitter, too. The official account said nothing about her being at fault, but her sisters swore she’d created the fog, which caused the collision.


She wished she knew the truth.


One day, she wanted to know, but she also wanted to replace the sad memories with good ones. She’d never forget her parents, but she needed to move forward with her life.




The flash returned, but this time, a man appeared among the snow.


Her blood sizzled, and she gasped. She knew this man.


Her vampire.


“Gavin,” she whispered. “You’re here.”


“You did ask for me for Christmas.” He moved across the snow and stood in the doorway to the porch. “Said you wanted a vampire for Christmas.”


She longed to touch him, but feared she’d draw her sisters’ attention.


“You did request me, didn’t you?”





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.


Find out more about Megan and Wendi at: http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm


Sign up for the newsletter here: http://ymlp.com/xgjmjumygmgj


Website - http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm


Blog - https://wendizwaduk.wordpress.com/


Fan Page - https://www.facebook.com/wendizwaduk.meganslayer/


Amazon Author Page - http://www.amazon.com/Megan-Slayer/e/B008BJCFSC


Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/megan-slayer


Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/wendizwaduk/


Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5330530.Megan_Slayer


Twitter  - https://twitter.com/#!/MeganSlayer


Buy Links:












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Monday, November 29, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: The Christmas Makeover by Susan Lute

 Good morning everyone! Please welcome author Susan Lute to Full Moon Dreaming! She is here to tell us about her new release, The Christmas Makeover. Susan will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!


The Christmas Makeover

by Susan Lute




GENRE: Sweet, small town romance






He’s ready for the lights…


Baker Grant Reed loves discovering new Christmas recipes, making people smile, and Angel Point—not necessarily in that order. But when his editor turns down his proposal for a Christmas cookbook, he must show her how serious he is about becoming the premier pastry chef in the country. He turns to his best friend, Faith—if anyone can give him a complete makeover that will turn heads, she can.


She knows how to make things sparkle…


In her past, Faith Hathaway was a costume designer for some of Broadway’s most prestigious plays. Now, after moving to Angel Point to help her grandfather, she owns and operates a vintage boutique and helps out at the local theater. When Grant asks for a makeover, she’s torn—she loves him the way he is, mismatched socks and all.


In exchange, he promises to show Faith, who has never enjoyed the holiday season, the magic of an Angel Point Christmas. But as the two grow closer, Grant can’t help but wonder…has he got his Christmas wish all wrong?







“Okay, here's the deal.” Grant gave her a searching look. “I want you to give me a makeover.”


“A makeover?” Faith sat back in her chair. “Why?”


“I need to convince Rachel that I'm ready to take on the world with my cookbooks. That means—”


“Getting a new look?” She frowned at the man watching her so closely.


“My favorite jeans have holes in them. I love Christmas more than the average elf. Oh, and my socks never match.”


Faith tried to hold in her laughter but failed. “I like all those things about you, except your jeans and those hideous, loud T-shirts you wear.”


“See?” He threw up his hands before he caught on that she was teasing. He joined in her laughter. “If I'm going to make people watching the video believe I'm a respectable baker, it all starts with a new look. You're the costume designer, so I know you can do this.”


Well, dang it. The wind went out of her best-first-date-ever sails. She sighed heavily, patting her upper chest. “Grant, that's just all window dressing. What's important is what's in here.”


He held her gaze. “You're right, but if people can't get past the window, how are they ever going to find the good stuff inside?”


Heat flashed up her neck as she admitted softly, “I like you just the way you are.”


“I appreciate that, but—” He squeezed her hand. “The YouTube gig was your idea.”


A good friend would help a guy in need. The words played in her mind, not on his lips.


She sputtered out, “You are . . . kind of . . . scruffy. But what's in it for me?” If she sounded self-serving enough, maybe he'd change his mind.




AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Susan is an award winning author of contemporary romance, women's fiction, and dystopian romance. Like all children of military families, she spent her childhood moving from one duty station to the next. She likes to say she is first and foremost a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer, and novelist. These days, when not working as a Registered Nurse, she remodels her house and writes whenever she can.



Website:          http://susanlute.com/  


Newsletter:      https://www.susanlute.com/new-release-alert


Instagram:       authorsusanlute


Pinterest:         https://www.pinterest.com/sidella/


Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Lute/202040233153546


Goodreads:     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1252907.Susan_Lute


Twitter:            https://twitter.com/SusanLute




Tule Bookstore: https://tulepublishingshop.com/products/the-christmas-makeover

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088NC2KXB

B&N Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-makeover-susan-lute/1137030508

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-christmas-makeover/id1521503916

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-christmas-makeover-1

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Susan_Lute_The_Christmas_Makeover?id=eyrwDwAAQBAJ&hl=en_GB

Amazon Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088NC2KXB




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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday is Horror Day #38 - Krampus Origins, Jeepers Creepers 3,Prisoners of the Ghostland

 Krampus: Origins, Jeepers Creepers 3

I am going to make these reviews short, basically because I didn't finish either one.  Krampus: Origins takes place during WWI. There are soldiers, there are nuns, I think. Orphans. But mostly it has bad acting, bad writing, and a ridiculous story. I gave up after fifteen minutes.

I got farther with Jeepers Creepers 3 but also gave up, both because of problems with the disk and because I was really confused as to what was happening. I have the feeling this one takes place between the first and the second, which makes no sense to me, and it was boring. I'm not going to rate either one, just recommend avoiding both of them.

'Prisoners of the Ghostland

Hero (Nic Cage) and Psycho (Nick Cassavetes) rob a bank, but things go horribly wrong. Hero hadn't intended for anyone to get hurt, much less an innocent child. In attempting an escape, Hero unwittingly causes another child, a young girl, to be injured and her mother killed.

Years pass. The warlord of Samurai Town, the Governor (Bill Moseley) has a tight grip on the inhabitants of this pseudo Western town. But when his adopted granddaughter Bernice (Sofia Boutella) disappears, he calls on the only man he believes capable of finding her and bringing her back to him - Hero. He promises Hero his freedom when he accomplishes his mission. But of course there is a catch. Since he doesn't trust the man, he has outfitted him in a special leather suit with some interesting modifications. Namely, explosive devices set to go off at pre-set times or under particular circumstances. He has three days to find Bernice, each passing day chiming on a wrist band. When he finds her, she has to speak her name into the wrist band, and he will have two more days to return her.

Another explosive device is around his neck, and another around his crotch - to make sure Bernice comes back pure and unviolated. He gives Hero the keys to a car, and he takes off. Hero runs into trouble and crashes his car, finding himself in a strange place with strange people. He shows them the picture of Bernice and asks if anyone has seen her, but no one is talking. There is something really off about this place. Some of the girls are dressed like mannequins. And some of the men are concerned with a giant clock and a prophecy regarding the starting again of time.

Hero locates Bernice and tells her she must come back with him... even if she doesn't want to. She 

actually left Samurai Town of her own volition. But Hero is running out of time - and body parts - and he has to bring her back. But what is he bringing her back to?

I can't say this is an uninteresting film, or that it doesn't have some very unusual sequences and pretty shots. But I can say it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. As if someone edited out some of the important scenes that might have helped to create a more coherent story.

The basic premise is easy enough to understand. Hero needs to find Bernice and bring her back before his suit blows up and he will be set free from prison. But the subplots are ... confusing at best. The large clock? Is that the atomic clock? Or it is making a statement that the people are all prisoners of time? I don't know. There is a strange Japanese style Greek chorus, as well as the human mannequins. And from what I can tell there are references to the aftermath of the atomic bomb, whether the real ones that were dropped in 1945 or future bombs dropped at some indeterminate date. The backdrop of Samurai Town is almost like spaghetti Western meets samurai film, and then they threw in Nic Cage to play the part of the hero. 

Don't get me wrong. I found the film worthwhile just to watch Nic Cage in action. The rest of it, though, is another matter. Hero feels guilty over the death of the little boy, even though he didn't cause it, and the ghostly child keeps popping up. Why Hero is robbing banks in Japan, I have no idea.  Then there is the busload of prisoners who end up in an accident and become the victims of some sort of atomic radiation.

All in all, I would recommend it to Nic Cage fans, otherwise probably not for others. Just for that reason, I'll give it 3 Stars, because I do love me some Nic Cage.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: A Rock and a Hard Place

Good morning and Happy Hump Day ! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.  

If you'll recall, last week was the last of Char and Ty, at least on the blog. I'll be starting something new next week, but this week I wrote a little one-off, entitled A Rock and a Hard Place, and I was inspired by the prompts: toffee, smoke, and bar.  Don't forget to visit the other Briefers. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

A Rock and a Hard Place

The smell of toffee was overwhelming. For some reason, it reminded her of stories her great-grandmother told of the Great Molasses Flood. But that had happened back in 1919 Boston and this was 2019 Boston, and never the twain shall meet.

Breathe, just breathe, Carly.

She’d always had an overactive imagination, even as a child, as well as the most unusual interests for someone her age. Her favorite companion had been Richard Feynman, the physicist. It never mattered to her that no one else could see him, she could and that’s what counted. He came to her room and played his bongos and they talked about quantum field theories and other things that went straight over her head. But she was grateful for the companionship. He never made fun of her, always treated her as a person, unlike the others.

Even so, he wasn’t with her now and she wished he was because she was sure she heard footsteps behind her and that made her more than a little nervous. Why had she agreed to go on this scavenger hunt in the first place? Mostly because one of the top prizes was round-trip airfare to the destination of one’s choice. There were restrictions, of course. Had to be continental US, couldn’t be during certain holidays, blah blah blah. But Carly knew just where she wanted to go, had dreamed about going for years—Los Alamos, New Mexico. A place very important to her friend Richard, not to mention his friend, the one he called Oppy.

But she was beginning to think she’d made a very serious error in reading the map. This street was very desolate and not what she’d been expecting. Not to mention there were no other participants in sight, and surely there would be, wouldn’t there. The buildings on either side of the street were dark and foreboding, almost as though they’d lined the windows with black-out material.

Get a grip, Carly, this isn’t WWII London, and this isn’t the Blitz.

She took a deep breath then took a few more steps, listening carefully. Nothing. See? Just her imagination getting the better of her. She breathed a huge sigh of relief. Such a story she would have for Richard when she saw him again.

Wait, what was that? Footsteps, louder this time. Carly’s heart almost burst from her chest.

Get away, gotta get away, gotta get…

She spied a doorway just to her right. Above the door a dingy sign read avern. She assumed the word was tavern and the t had simply melted into oblivion or fallen from view. Either way, it was a public space and she was going for it. She grabbed the handle and pushed. A bell rang, betraying her presence to anyone within.

The first thing she noticed, after pushing the door shut behind her, was the smoke. Hanging in the air like an almost palpable cloud, it reminded her of a London fog. The difference was that this fog smelled sickly sweet. She realized recreational marijuana was legal in Massachusetts, and people were open about smoking it, but this was taking it to an all new level. She could probably get high for free at this rate, if she were given to such things.

“Hey sweetheart, what’s a pretty thing like you doing alone?” a voice leered at her from somewhere in the smoky depths. At the same time, she heard the bell tinkle behind her. She gasped, whether from the unknown danger before her or the possibility her stalker had just found her, she couldn’t say.

Why or why hadn’t she stayed home? She could have found a way to get to Los Alamos somehow. And she wouldn’t be in this precarious predicament.

A hand grasped her wrist. “Come along then, ducky. Let’s find someplace private.” Mr. Lewd and Lascivious again. He was tugging her forward and her inclination was to dig in her heels. But what if the other guy was right behind her? Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

“Let go of me!” she screamed. But her voice didn’t come out as a scream, and she couldn’t even be sure he heard. Or if he did, he didn’t care, as he tried to drag her… who knows where. She felt heavy breathing on her neck. Great, another country heard from. What she wouldn’t give to hear the soothing sounds of Richard Feynman’s bongos right about now.

“You there! Unhand my sister!” Another voice, a quiet yet commanding voice, broke into her panicked thoughts.

From out of the reefer smoke that surrounded them, a figure emerged. A fairly young man of indeterminate age, curly dark hair, pretty blue eyes. He reminded her of Tony Curtis, especially when she caught a glimpse of pearly white teeth.  She knew he wasn’t her brother, but the lecher didn’t know that, naturally.

The newcomer detached the would-be attacker’s grip from her arm with a firmness that would not be denied. The other man grumbled but melted back into the mist, and when she dared to turn her head, no one was there, thank goodness.

“Sorry for the lie,” her rescuer whispered into her ear. “I didn’t mean to overstep my bounds.”

“No, no, thank you,” she reassured him. “You saved me from… well, you know.”

“I know, I know.” His voice was soothing and gentle. “If you don’t mind my saying so, this is not a good place for you, Miss, not at all. Why don’t I see you get somewhere safe?”

He guided her toward the door and they quickly stepped outside into the fresh air.

“What’s your name, Miss?” he asked.


“Lovely name.” He gave her a very wide, very Tony Curtis smile. “My name is Albert. Albert DeSalvo.”

“Nice to meet you, Al.” She beamed at him. To hell with the contest. She would just go home and call it a night.

She was safe now. And she couldn’t wait to see Richard again.


Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Cia Nordwell

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Virtual Book Blast: Can't Think Straight by Isabel Scheck

 Good morning everyone! Please welcome author Isabel Scheck to Full Moon Dreaming! She is here to tell us about her new release, Can't Think Straight. Isabel will be awarding a $10 or $15 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning! To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!


Can't Think Straight

by Isabel Scheck










A collection of 35 poems in which a poet thinks about women a little too much... (Sapphic poetry)







Poem no. 7: Scary, Isn’t It?



I often think about how scary it is;
one minute you’re fine and the next
you’re yearning for a girl you’ve only just met. And the mere thought of her is enough to give you violent butterflies.


The more you get to know her
the more she becomes everything you think about.


The more you know her the funnier and prettier she becomes until the butterflies aren’t
only reserved for when she’s near;
they’re there forevermore.


I often think about how scary it is;
How is it that a singular person has that much of an effect on you?


It’s scary because you know that you’re giving her the power to break your heart if she so chooses.




; font-family: "Arial","sans-serif";">~~~~~~~~~~~~~


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Isabel is a self-published author and artist who comes from England, but lives in Switzerland. She works with children, which she adores, but she also loves to write; especially in the genres of fantasy, poetry and romance. She uses experiences and images as inspiration to create words. Isabel also loves to express herself by drawing.

Instagram: Isabels_artwork

Tumblr: Hues-of-Purple

Twitter: IzzyS97

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThePoeticQueen97/


Lulu spotlight for all of my books: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/isabelscheck


Link to Can’t Think Straight: https://www.lulu.com/en/gb/shop/isabel-scheck/cant-think-straight/paperback/product-mv998q.html




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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Saturday is Horror Day #37 - False Positive, See No Evil (2006)

 False Positive

Lucy (Ilana Glazer) and Adrian (Justin Theroux) have been trying for about two years to get pregnant, with no luck. Adrian manages to land them an appointment with Dr. John Hindle (Pierce Brosnan), a highly noted fertility specialist who was Adrian's teacher in med school. He assures them they are in good hands and he will do everything he can to assure them a baby through IVF. Before long, Lucy is pregnant - with triplets!  Two boys and a girl.

Dr. Hindle suggests that three babies will be too much, considering Lucy's previous history, so suggests he perform a selective reduction and suggests keeping the twin boys, who share a placenta. Lucy is appalled, already having named her unborn daughter Wendy, after the girl in Peter Pan. She wrestled with her conscience and finally agrees to the reduction, but they have to save Wendy, which the doctor agrees to.

Lucy's career seems to be taking off, for which she is ecstatic, although Adrian encourages her to be a stay-at-home mom. But she begins to feel off, not herself. The other expectant mothers in her group attribute this to mommy brain, but Lucy doesn't think so. Plus she finds Dr. Hindle's nurse, Dawn (Gretchen Mol), more than a little creepy, and definitely a fervent admirer of the doctor and his work.

Lucy sees an advertisement for a mid-wife named Grace Singleton (Zainab Jah) and despite knowing 

Adrian wouldn't approve goes to see her. She is comforted by the woman's manner, and decides to go with her instead of Dr. Hindle. As predicted, Adrian is angry but Lucy's mind is made up. However, when the time comes, things don't go as planned, and Lucy has to be rushed to the hospital, where a huge surprise awaits her.

I noticed this Hulu exclusive movie and decided to give it a try, primarily because I just love Pierce Brosnan. There is a lot going on here, more than just the pregnancy. The film seems to tackle broader issues, such as male dominance, the role of women, and more. It has definite Rosemary's Baby vibes. I have to confess I figured out the twist but not the ending. It was a sufficiently creepy film that could have been a little better. Gretchen Mol was creepy in the way she played the nurse, and Pierce was very creepy as well. It was worth watching. I'll give it 3.5 Stars.

See No Evil (2006)

A routine call goes horribly wrong for two police officers when they are attacked by a psychopath with an axe while attempting to rescue a young woman whose eyes have been cut out. The rookie ends up dead while the other officer is maimed, but only after shooting the killer in the head. Four years later, he's working at the Detention Center for troubled youth. A group of them have been offered a chance to shave a month off their sentences. All they have to do is a little community service.

The teens end up at the Blackwell Hotel, which has definitely seen better days. But the owner intends to renovate it as housing for the homeless. Kids being kids, they intend to party as much as possible. After all, not obeying the rules is what got them there in the first place. And they didn't exactly volunteer for this duty, they were impressed into it. The hotel is in terrible shape, and bugs and rats are not uncommon.

Unfortunately for them, the psychopath is hiding in this hotel, and he sees them as fresh meat, and he is more than happy to kill and kill again. With no way to contact the outside world, can the teens survive long enough to tell about it?

I have to say that this film is long on blood and short on most everything else, including actual plot or 

character development. Granted, that's not necessarily a requirement in a horror film, but it helps. I would call this movie an example of horror porn. It moves from one bloody scene to another for the sake of blood and death.

Which is all well and good, if that's what  you're looking for. But I had other issues with the movie. Such as these so-called teens looked older than that. What, couldn't they find actual teen actors?  Also, I can't believe they could just arbitrarily assign these delinquents to that kind of duty without at least notifying their parents, if not getting written permission.

As I said, the hotel is in deplorable state. Three days of work from these kids is not going to put a dent in what needs to be done. Not to mention, none of them seem to have any experience with this sort of things. Furthermore, I would think before the hotel is ready to be cleaned, they would need to send in an exterminator to help with that pest problem, ie rats and bugs.

Finally, none of the teens seem horribly disturbed by this place, or the thought of sleeping there for three days (I don't think any of them brought a change of clothes or anything). Someone should be at least a little freaked out here. And one couple chooses to have sex in a maid's room. God knows how long since those sheets - or anything else in this hotel - have been cleaned. The very thought is disgusting. 

We get some glimpses into the motivation of the killer, Kane,and his overly religious fanatic of a mother who made his life as a boy a living hell. His actual reason comes to light at the end of the film.

The acting is tolerable, nothing to write home about. Most of the horror is of the gory variety, and it's of the kind that thinks it's better to be watching it than living it. There is a sequel, which I'll review once I get it from the library. In the meantime, I'll give this one 3 Stars

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Book Review: 21st Century Boys, Vol 2: 20th Century Boy by Naoki Urasawa


21st Century Boys, Vol 2: 20th Century Boy      

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 19, 2013

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Mystery/Sci-fi/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★


Time is ticking away! If they don’t figure out where the remote control for the giant robot is, it will press the button that detonates the anti-proton bomb, and all of mankind will die! Kanna tries to force her way in to see Kenji, saying she knows the remote is in the secret headquarters. But the guards won’t let her pass, since Kenji has gone into the game and is not to be disturbed. Will he find the answers he seeks in the past and will Kanna find him in time to stop the bomb?

And now we reach the climax of our story. Twenty-four volumes have brought us to this point. So much going on as the threads come together and complete the picture, and Kenji finds his answers. It just goes to show that even one small act can have dire consequences. Kenji isn’t the only one who learns this. Manjome too wishes he could undo what he did before, but alas, he cannot. However he can try to help Kenji as best he can.  Watching Kenji interact with his younger self was fun.  Watching the drama unfold as everyone tries to save the world was great. And at the end, balance is restored, and life goes on.

This was an amazing series, and I enjoyed the journey. Hope you enjoyed it as well. See you in the next series when I start to review Pluto.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: An Unholy Alliance #25 (6.4)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day ! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.  

When we last left Char and Ty, they were going to get a drink at a local bar. See what they're up to in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget, this will be their last appearance in these pages, since I want to write faster than this allows. But never fear, a new story shall begin next week, and you may just recognize some familiar characters you've seen before! Don't forget to check out what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!'

An Unholy Alliance #25 (6.4)

I scowled at Tyrone as I slipped past him into the dimly lit interior of Hannibal’s Hideaway but I fear the effect I was striving for was lost on the man. I didn’t like being made fun of, never had. As a child, this had led to more than a few fisticuffs with my brothers, who were quick to take advantage of my sensitivity to slights and never hesitated to ally themselves against me. Because of such intimidation, as I grew older, I learned to defend myself in any way I could. Being turned only served to enhance what skills I possessed, as my brothers quickly learned to their great chagrin when they no longer held the advantage of their vampirism over me. With time, their attacks became less physical and more verbal. I suffered their slings and arrows and learned to mask my true feelings behind a shell of outward indifference, giving no indication which barbs might have struck home.

Dominique seemed to encourage my siblings, for reasons I couldn’t begin to fathom. When I was very young and unable to adequately defend myself against the four of them, I would run to the kitchen afterward to seek shelter with Mama Lil. She would hold me on her lap while she tended to whatever injuries I’d sustained, dry my tears, and tell me she loved me. She encouraged me to stand up for myself and not accept their bullying.  While she took care of all of us, I was the one who was closest to her. Many times I’d wished she were my mother, instead of Dominique. At first, that thought brought a sense of disloyalty, but with time, I accepted the way things were, even if I didn’t comprehend why.

“C’mon, let’s grab a table in back.” Tyrone touched my arm lightly as he moved past me to take the lead. I shrugged and followed him. We threaded our way between mostly empty close-set square tables before choosing one tucked into the farthest corner.  That was fine with me, as it gave me full command of the room. With my back to the wall, no one was going to come up on me unawares. I wasn’t being paranoid, just cautious. After our little run-in with Tyrone’s cousins, I wanted to be prepared for anything and everything.

There was nothing particularly remarkable about this place that Tyrone had brought us to. Just a typical neighborhood bar with little to commend it. No fancy décor. No selection of slick electronics to catch the eye and drain the pocketbook. But maybe that was the point. This was a place where the locals could feel at home and not necessarily worry about the intrusion of outsiders. Such as me. But then again I found myself an outsider no matter where I went, so what did that really matter?

Quit wallowing in self-pity.

Apparently Tyrone was no stranger in this place. Probably why he’d suggested coming here. I heard the bartender call out to him in greeting when we entered, and some of the other patrons said hello as we passed by, which was impressive as there weren’t that many people there. And yet they knew Tyrone. I didn’t exactly peg him as a barfly, so there had to be another reason.

I pulled out a chair and slid into my seat, surveying my surroundings. One advantage to being a vampire is that my eyesight is better than most people’s, especially in dim light. I sensed no danger, though, and relaxed slightly.

“What would you like?” Tyrone asked. “If you like beer, I recommend the Guinness. I think we have the best draft system in this area, if not the state, if I do say so myself.”


“That’s fine.” I wasn’t about to ask, didn’t mean I wasn’t curious.

He gave me a thumbs up and a grin before heading off to the bar. Mere minutes later he was back, with two frosted glasses of stout in hand. He set one on the table before me then took a seat across from me. When I reached for my wallet, he waved me off.

“Not necessary. There’s no charge.”

I quirked an eyebrow. “Since when is a bar a philanthropic institution?”

He laughed. “Since I became part owner, I guess.” He took a good long drink before adding, “Having Guinness on draft was my idea, and it’s actually gone over rather well.”

I regarded him with some surprise, before taking a taste of the beer. I had to admit it was better than I’d expected.

“It’s called a microdraught,” he explained. “The beauty of the system is that it doesn’t require a keg. Makes it handy for smaller bars, like this one. We’re working on updating everything, but it takes time, you know? Time and money.”

Okay, now I had to ask. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as a bartender. Sorry, bar owner.”

“I don’t actually work here,” he admitted. “More of a silent partner. But it’s a good place to get a drink. And the money comes in handy too.”

That certainly accounted for the name then.

I remembered how his obnoxious cousin had taunted him regarding his lack of employment. “So, you used to work for your family, right?”

Tyrone nodded. If my question upset him, his demeanor didn’t reflect it. “Up until a couple of years ago. Oh don’t worry, it’s not like we don’t get along or anything. I still love my family. I’m just not interested in carrying on the family tradition.

His words took me aback momentarily. I’d already seen that he was a cannibal, and so were they, so that couldn’t be what he was referring to. Obviously he had no problem with that, as evidenced by our breakfast. So, what…

“I just don’t want to marry one of my cousins.” He shrugged lightly, as if this discussion was entirely natural and normal.

And I thought my family was bad?

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!

Cia Nordwell

J Ray Lamb

Book Review: 21st Century Boys, Vol 1: Death of the Friend by Naoki Urasawa


21st Century Boys, Vol 1: Death of the Friend      

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 15, 2013

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Mystery/Sci-fi/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★


Kenji’s arrived at the Expo Center and the crowd goes wild. They want to hear him play their song… but he refuses, tells the band to play instead. A helicopter explodes above them and crash lands inside the arena. Not everyone makes it, including Sadakiyo and Friend. When Kenji removes the Friend’s mask at last, he sees… Fukube!  How can that be? He died a long time ago. Nothing is making any sense.

Back in the past, an old woman in a convenience mart broods over which of the children has stolen a badge from her store and angrily scans every child who walks by, seeking the thief. A boy in a mask reveals his strange dream to a few of his friends, who aren’t particularly interested until he tells them they were in it, and one of them killed the other. They are not amused and walk away. The boy debates telling them the ending… about the final bomb. The one that will really kill all of mankind. Or at least those who remain on the planet.

Maruo and Yoshitsune tell Kenji they saw a ghost at a Shinto shrine, but Kenji doesn’t believe them and decides to find out for himself… only to come face to face with himself!

In the present, the UN forces have assumed control of Tokyo after the destruction of the Friend regime. A profiler interviews Kenji, to learn what he knows about the Friend. Most particularly he is interested in learning what Kenji knows about the last page of the New Book of Prophecy, the one that speaks of an anti-proton bomb that will destroy the world. The UN is taking this threat very seriously. They plan to send forces into Friend World, into the virtual reality game,  but Kenji tells them that won’t work. He has to be the one to go there.

So much of the past is finally being exposed as present, past, and future reveal themselves in an elaborate tapestry, one  woven by a master. Things that didn’t make sense before become clear.  I really enjoyed watching the relationship of Kenji and Yukiji from the beginning. Gosh, Kenji was… is… so dense.  At the same time, the more we learn, the less we know. So much to grasp. A copy of a copy?  Fukube? Sadakiyo? Someone else? Kenji runs into Manjome in Friend World. He’s lost his way and is seeking a way out, but Kenji has to tell him that won’t work because in the real world he is dead. We see more and more of Manjome in the past, and the part he played in what happened.

Detective Chono seeks answers regarding his grandfather, the legendary Cho-san. And Kenji wants to know why he was called evil. What did he do in the past that would warrant such an accusation? The story isn’t over yet, one more book to go. Is there an anti-proton bomb? And can they find it before it takes out the world? On pins and needles waiting to find out!