Saturday, October 29, 2022

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

 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, October 26, 2022

Wednesday Briefs: Bad Karma and the Family Plan #46 (9.4)

 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.

As you'll recall, circumstances have conspired in such a way that Ethan and Vinny and Sarah and Uncle Benny will be staying with the family longer than expected. There is one member of the group who is less than thrilled at this outcome, though. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Bad Karma and the Family Plan. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #36 (9.4)

Sarah and Alex came down the stairs just as Maureen was saying, “Well, then, looks you’ll be able to stay for dinner after all.” She sounded very happy, and I couldn’t blame her. She had her whole family together for the first time in a long while, even if the circumstances were less than ideal.

“We’re staying for dinner?” Sarah turned inquisitive eyes to Ethan and me.

“Yeah, looks like we’ll be here for a few days,” Ethan replied. “Things have come up and Anderson thought it was best.”

She and Ethan exchanged glances, and I could tell she understood something was going on and we would tell her later. She shifted Alex from her hip to the floor before a sudden thought must have struck her.

“Oh but where’s everyone going to sleep?” she asked as she straightened up.  “And what about clothes and stuff? I don’t know if I have enough pull-ups for Alex.”

“I’m sure we can make a quick run to the store, can’t we?” I turned to Ethan and he nodded.

“We can, absolutely. And as for sleeping—”

“They’re kicking me out of my room for you!” Joey belligerently interjected. I couldn’t tell if he was really trying to start a fight or he was just stupid. My inclination was the latter.

“Stop it!” Maureen said sternly. “You’re a guest here as much as they are. And I’m sorry your circumstances are what they are. But I won’t allow you to take it out on everyone else, do you understand me?”

Whoa, looked like Maureen had definitely found her voice. She wasn’t putting up with shit from her husband or her older son. Good for her!

“Straighten up that room and get what you need for tonight, then help Sarah up with her things.”

I noticed that Sarah didn’t look particularly bothered at Joey’s outburst. She turned to her mother and said, “Thanks, Mom! All my stuff is in the trunk, Joey.” That last was, of course, aimed at her brother.

“We can bring those in,” Ethan quickly said. I suspected he didn’t want Joey touching our rental car. Besides, our stuff was all there too.

“I’ll help too,” Benny chimed in. He already had Alex comfortably ensconced on his lap

Well, that was settled.

“Can I help with dinner, Mom?” Sarah asked.

“Sure, honey, that would be nice.” The two women headed toward the kitchen. Joe Jr had thrown himself into his father’s armchair and sat in sullen silence. Not as though I expected him to help with anything. As of one accord, Ethan and Benny and I exited through the front door. I couldn’t help but wonder if the agents Anderson had spoken about were in place even now, watching us.

“I’m so sorry to cause everyone so much trouble,” Benny said as we hefted everything from the trunk.

“Don’t even think that,” Ethan assured him. “You’re family, and that’s what counts. And once this is all over and done with, I hope we get to see a lot more of you.”

“You can count on that,” Benny said. “I’ve missed everyone so much. It feels so good just to be back with y’all.”

“Ditto, Uncle Benny, ditto.”

“Once this is over and I figure out what to do with myself… well, I guess we’ll take it from there.”

We filed back into the house with our baggage.  Joey looked as though he hadn’t moved a muscle and deliberately avoided making eye contact.

“Joey, is the spare room ready for Sarah and Alex?” Ethan asked. I suspected he knew the answer to that as well as I did, though.

Ethan’s brother made no immediate response. At least not until he saw Benny take up a position beside his chair. I would have wilted under that stern glance, and I suspected Joey was made of less sterner stuff.

At first Joey pretended not to notice, but he couldn’t pull that off for long.

“Your brother asked you a question,” Benny said in a quiet voice.

Joey opened his mouth and closed it quickly, sliding out of the chair without a word. He skirted his uncle and reluctantly made his up to the stairs. He was almost at the top when he responded with, “You can’t tell me what to do. You’re nothing but a jailbird!” Not waiting for a reaction, he disappeared out of sight.

The three of us looked at one another of one accord and burst out laughing.

I guess when it comes to family, you have to take the bad with the good.

to be continued

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

Cia Nordwell

Sunday, October 23, 2022

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

 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.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

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: ★★★★★


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, October 19, 2022

Wednesday Briefs: Bad Karma and the Family Plan #45 (9.3)

 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.

Looks like things are getting a little crowded at the Thorne residence, at least temporarily. Ethan's minister father suggested they stay there, which is what they were angling for. But how will this work logistically? And what will Ethan's less-than-pleasant brother have to say about it? See what's going on in this week's chapter of Bad Karma and the Family Plan. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #45 (9.3)

“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.

One obstacle gotten over, on to the next one.I still couldn’t help but wonder how this house would accommodate everyone, what with Joe Junior already being there. Speaking of which, I wondered what his reaction would be when he found out we were staying for a few days. I suspected as unhappy as he was to see us for just a few hours, he would be even less happy to know we weren’t leaving right away.

Would it be awful of me to say I wanted to see his face when someone broke the news to him?

We chatted for a few minutes with the minister before heading out to talk to Ethan’s mother. I was surprised no mention was made of the FBI position he was trying to talk Ethan into taking. Maybe because he figured out nothing was going to split us up so he gave up? At least I hoped that was the reason. Not that there was anything wrong with working for the FBI. But we liked what we were doing. Not to mention, this job brought us together. I wasn’t sure how things worked in the Bureau, but I suspected we wouldn’t necessarily be allowed to be partners, and I never wanted to see that happen.

Maureen was in the living room, having left mother and child to bath time upstairs. We seated ourselves on the couch again and Ethan began our tale. I was concerned how his mother might react to the news of what was going on, but she was quite the opposite. Of course she was concerned, but her concern was for all of us, not herself. Knowing that she would be there with us, watching over us, probably gave her a sense of security that would have been lacking had we been forced to go to a motel, as I’d thought we would.

But that still left the matter of sleeping arrangements.

“Don’t worry, I can fit everyone in,” Maureen assured us with a warm smile.

“Fit who in where?” Joe Jr had slithered out from under his rock and just caught the tail end of the conversation from where he lurked in the hallway. Looked like I was going to get my wish

“Come on in, Joey,” his mother beckoned. “You need to know this too.”

He looked as though he would rather not have anything to do with us, but he probably knew what would happen if he didn’t listen to her, so he shuffled into the room and parked himself in his father’s chair, poised on the very edge as if ready to make a quick exit if necessary.

“Ethan and Vinnie and Sarah and Alex and Benny are all staying for a few days,” Maureen said smoothly.

I closely observed Joe Jr’s reaction and was gratified at the wide eyes and gaping mouth as he took in her words. He sputtered something that was not very intelligible, but Maureen had already moved ahead with her next pronouncement.

“Now, because of that, I’m going to make some adjustments for the short term as far as bedrooms and such. Sarah and Alex can take the spare room upstairs.

“W-what?” Joey protested. “That’s my room. They can’t—”

“They can and they will,” Maureen interrupted. “Your sister has a child. Of course they need their own bedroom. As for you boys, you can sleep in here. Pretend you’re camping out. That will make things easier on Ethan and Vinnie to keep an eye on everyone.”

Joey was furious, of that there was no doubt. “Goddammit, why can’t they stay in a hotel and not be a burden to us?” he protested.

“That’s not an option,” Ethan responded. I almost asked his brother why he didn’t go to a hotel then, but that seemed senseless since I knew the answer. Plus it might come off as rude.

Ethan turned to his uncle, as if he anticipated his brother’s next comment, forestalling it. “Benny, you go ahead and take the couch. We’ll be good on the floor.”

“On the floor!” Joe Jr appeared apoplectic. “How old do you think I am? Ten?”

“Sometimes I wonder,” his mother responded, which produced snickers from the rest of us.

I didn’t mind sleeping on the floor. I mean, the carpet was fairly soft, and I’d slept in far worse conditions when I was homeless. It was the prospect of spending the night in close proximity to Ethan’s brother that I found unappetizing.

I had a feeling this was going to be a long long night.

to be continued

Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to!

Cia Nordwell


Monday, October 17, 2022

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 7 by Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka


Pluto, Vol 7     

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: ★★★★★


Professors Tenma and Abdullah keep watch over the sleeping robot as it tries to assimilate the billions of personalities that have been programmed into it, unsure if it will ever awaken. Professor Tenma receives a request to meet with Gesicht’s widow before she returns home. She gives him something of her late husband and asks Tenma to ensure Gesicht did not die in vain. Tenma still hopes he can bring Atom back to life.

Epsilon, disturbed by Gesicht’s death, receives a surprise visit from Hogan, who has been assigned to protect him, under the assumption that he will be the next target. He wants to take Epsilon to a safe house, but Epsilon says he can’t go. It’s his birthday and the children have organized a party, complete with gifts. Hogan tells him to make it short then. Epsilon learns that the non-verbal Wassily has drawn something for him. The child shows him the drawing, saying “Bora” and then he begins to speak. And then something sinister unexpectedly appears…

Uran is discovered by her principal in the library after hours. She tells him she has felt two enormous sources of grief, but isn’t sure where they come from. She is reading Pinocchio, and has her theories about both Pinocchio and Geppetto and about being manipulated, like a puppet. While Epsilon is away on business, authorities come to the orphanage in order to take Wassily and have him adopted by humans in Norway. By the time Epsilon returns, the child is gone and the robot is upset. Wassily is turned over to none other than Professor Abdullah. When he sees him, Wassily screams out “Bora!”And not only that, but Pluto is there, and Abdullah refers to himself as Pluto’s father! Epsilon goes to rescue Wassily and finds himself in combat with Pluto. “Who is inside you?” Epsilon asks.

Professor Tenma encounters Uran at Atom’s grave and takes her to where Atom is. Epsilon is able to get through to Pluto, but the other robot warns him that something bigger is coming… Bora…And just then Atom awakens!

So much grief and sorrow, how much more can we take? I can’t believe Gesicht is gone. Seriously? And now another robot? When will the madness end? Only two volumes left. Dreading what might come in the next one. Fantastic series, sheer genius.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Saturday is Horror Day #83 - Speak No Evil (2022), The Curse of La Llorona, House at the end of the Street

 Speak No Evil (2022)

While on holiday in Italy, Danish couple Bjorn (Morten Burian) and Louise (Sidsel Siem Koch) meet a Dutch couple, Patrick (Fedja van Huet) and Karin (Karina Smulders). They hit it off well. Each couple has a child. Bjorn and Louise have Agnes (Liva Forsberg) while the other couple has Abel (Marius Damslev). After the holiday, Bjorn and Louise receive an invitation to visit the other couple in the Netherlands, an invitation that includes Agnes. They decide to drive, as it's only 8 hours and cheaper than flying.

On their arrival, they found Abel to be a bit sullen and nonverbal, but don't think much of it. The visit begins well, but then begins to go downhill. Patrick and Karin invite Bjorn and Louise to dinner at a nearby restaurant, but don't tell them until the last minute that it's adults only and they've arranged for a babysitter. They unwillingly go along with the plan, but dinner becomes awkward at best, perhaps because of too much alcohol.

More red flags appear and the couple thinks perhaps they should just leave. But little do they realize what they are actually up again.

This was a very interesting film, although my friend and I kept yelling at the couple not to ignore the red flags and get the heck out of Dodge. But did they listen? Of course not lol Until the end, we didn't know why these things were happening and speculated as to the cause, but as it turned out we were wrong. The reality was worse than what we imagined. Very creepy film, and the music added to the ambience, becoming rather chilling during otherwise innocuous scenes. I give this film 4 Stars

The Curse of La Llorona

Anna (Linda Cardellini) is a social worker who sometimes has to make difficult decisions. When she goes to visit one of her clients, Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velasquez) because of her two boys truancy, she finds the boys locked in a closet and has no choice to but have them removed. She doesn't listen to the mother's pleas that it's for their safety.

However Anna soon finds herself in a similar predicament when her children begin to display bruises she can't account for and certainly didn't inflict. She talks to Father Perez (Tony Amendola), but he tells her the church cannot help, and gives her the name of someone who can. Anna and her children find themselves plunged into a supernatural world, and a witch named La Llorona, who steals children in compensation for the ones she lost. Can they fight against her? And can they defeat her once and for all?

This film is part of the Conjuring series, but only tangentially, through Father Perez. So if you don't 

watch it, it won't detract from the Conjuring. There are definite flaws here and not enough good points, I'm afraid. Linda Cardellini, who you may remember as Samantha from ER, isn't a strong enough actress to carry the lead role, and Patricia Velasquez, whom I last saw in The Mummy, does okay. But the plot is painfully thin, the scares are primarily jump scares, and the witch isn't really all that scary. Unless you're like me and want to watch the whole series for closure, I would skip this one. I am giving it 1.5 Stars.

House at the End of the Street

Four years after a double murder, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) move into the house next door, unaware of the murders. Thinking the house to be unoccupied, Sarah is shocked to see a light there in the middle of the night. She asks a police officer at the hospital where she works about that and learns that the dead couple's son Ryan (Max Thieriot), who wasn't living there at the time of his parents' deaths, now lives in the house and the neighbors are not happy about that. They think having a murder house in the neighborhood is bad for real estate values.

Wanting to make friends and fit in, Elissa meets Tyler (Nolan Gerard Funk), who invites her to a party. But things don't turn out well and she begins to walk home. That's when Ryan drives by and offers her a ride home, so she reluctantly accepts. She learns that he is really a nice guy, just misunderstood, and they begin to grow close. However, Sarah is suspicious of him and goes out of her way to let him know it.

Rumor has it that Ryan's sister Carrie Anne, who was responsible for the death of their parents, is hiding out in the woods, which is a creepy thought. But just maybe things aren't what they appear to be.

This didn't turn out to be the predictable film I thought it was going to be, it was actually better. Not great, but decent. I don't regret having seen it. It's hard to know whose side to be on here, or who is good or bad. It's not clear-cut. Jennifer Lawrence is good as Elissa. I think this came out before she got onto the A list. I'll give it 3 Stars

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Wednesday Briefs: Bad Karma and the Family Plan #44 (9.2)

 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.

More trouble is brewing with our boys! What should have been a simple assignment has turned dangerous and confusing. Now their boss tells them to stay out of Atlanta for a few days. In fact, they need to stay put where they are and he'll send agents to watch out for them. How will the Reverend Thorne take to this? See what's going on in this week's chapter of Bad Karma and the Family Plan. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #44 (9.2)

I understood Ethan’s reasoning, but I wasn’t sure how he intended to accomplish the execution of said plan. What I did know was that I trusted him completely, and I would follow him anywhere.

“Do you want me to tell Dad to come out here?” Sarah offered.

Ethan shook his head. “I think he’ll feel more comfortable in his study, to be honest. We better do this now, though.” He turned toward me, and I sensed the unspoken question.

“You want me to come with?” I wanted to make sure I didn’t misunderstand him, even though he hadn’t actually spoken the thought.

“Of course. He has to understand that he cannot divide us, and that we stand united on everything.”

Okay, that made sense. I wasn’t afraid of his old man… well, not much. I could do this. For now, though, I would simply follow Ethan’s lead.

We all rose and re-entered the house. Maureen and Benny were talking together while the minister was playing with Alex, who seemed to be basking in his attention. I realized he probably saw his grandfather on a fairly regular basis, since Sarah lived so close to her parents, and for just a moment, I wondered what it would be like to have grandparents. I would never know, as my mother’s parents had disowned her before I was even born, and the other side of the equation doesn’t even bear thinking about.

Enough with the pity party, back to the drama.

Sarah swooped in and claimed her son. “Bath time, little man!”

That seemed to be Maureen’s cue. She rose, excused herself to her brother and said, “Let me get out a towel for him,” before bustling up the stairs. At the same time, I watched as Ethan leaned down toward his father, speaking in a low voice. The minister seemed a little surprised, but he quickly nodded without argument. He rose and headed from the room.

Ethan turned to Benny. “Sorry, Uncle Benny, something’s come up. We need to talk to Dad first, but as soon as we get his okay, we’ll let you know what’s going on. Mind hanging out here while we do?”

“Of course not,” Benny assured him. “Do what you need to do. I’ll be fine.”

I noticed Ethan glance around the room, as if ascertaining how safe it was to leave Benny here. He must have decided there was minimum threat, because we hurried down the hall to his father’s study, knocked briefly, then entered.

Joe Sr. was seated behind his desk. He seemed as unruffled as his daughter had been. I guess he saved the explosions for the pulpit…or for finding out his son’s girlfriend was actually a boyfriend. He waved us into chairs. And didn’t this scene feel familiar? Hopefully, it would have a different outcome than the last time.

I let Ethan have the floor, naturally. He was definitely the most eloquent speaker between us. Plus, his father, you know. He laid everything out for the minister in terms of what our job was, why we were with Benny, and what had been happening in the few short hours since we left Roanoke. He kind of skated over the part about Sarah and the baby daddy, made it sound like we had her and Alex with us as a matter of convenience, not to get away from her ex.

I still had my doubts as to the outcome of this little discussion. Ethan’s dad listened intently, never interrupting.

“That’s why I wanted your advice, Dad,” Ethan finished. “What do you suggest as our best course of action?”

At first, Ethan’s father said nothing. Oh oh, that couldn’t be good. Maybe he was trying to think of a polite way to tell us all to get the hell out of his house and take our troubles with us. Maybe he would suggest a nice hotel or nearby bed and breakfast. The longer the silence continued, the worse I felt.  I was just beginning to brace myself for his utter dismissal of our needs when he suddenly said, “I think it’s best if you all stay here, as your supervisor suggest. We can make this work.”

I think I just witnessed a miracle.

 to be continued

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

Cia Nordwell

J Ray Lamb

Virtual Book Tour: Silver to the Heart (Light of Adua, Book 1) by Brien Feathers

 Good morning everyone! Please welcome author Brien Feathers to Full Moon Dreaming! She is here to tell us about her book, Silver to the Heart, which is the first book in the Light of Adua series. She will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a 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!


Silver to the Heart

by Brien Feathers




GENRE: Dark fantasy, urban fantasy (adult, not YA)






— So begins the apocalypse, with death and a story of love —


An old soul (several centuries old), the lover, fighter, and telekinetic Drake receives an order to safeguard Ana, a mortal with Elder Talent.

Ana, an artist beset by haunting visions, falls for the perfect stranger while venturing home to mediate emergent family chaos.

Past-warlord and present commander Sasuke wields his telepathic might to outwit Council traitors in an effort to save the human realm and its Guardian from a new Dark War.

Criminal and light bender Lou, now sought by the Council to answer for his sins, seeks shelter with the Reverend—an Elder fit to bypass rules of magic meant to be unbreakable.

As time’s last grains of sand deplete, an ancient battle may renew, with pieces of the fractured realm imperiling man’s modern world. Though few on Earth are cognizant, dark days now lie ahead. . .


One fate, two paths, six singular perspectives, and plethoric danger. 

Contemporary fantasy at its polychromic finest—pure delight.




NOTE: This book is free.






Drake held her around her waist with one arm. He needed at least one hand free. Seeing the harbor maybe 100 yards away, he landed them on the roof of a nearby building. With his Push, he broke their fall with a moment of levitation—Ana shrieked.


“Ana, you have to stay quiet, I have to be able to hear the arrows.” Preferably when he first releases one, so I can find him.


“What the hell is happening!” Not quiet, but loud. “Drake!” Still loud.


Drake couldn’t hear the Aerian or the arrows—they needed to take cover. As he leaped again with Ana, something grabbed his leg and swiped them into the side of a building. Midair, he turned to put himself in between the building and Ana and felt the impact as they slammed into it.


Pushing against the wall, he leaped with Ana as more arrows whizzed toward them. One, two, three arrows, one after another, struck the cement wall instead of them and fell to the ground harmlessly. They couldn’t kill Drake this way, but he didn’t want Ana hurt. He needed to take down that Aerian, but couldn’t leave Ana behind. In his decision to break direct order not to engage, he hadn’t accounted for Ana. Drake still wanted to capture one of the soldiers—alive, to inquire about the Reverend, but carrying Ana around like screaming luggage, this fight wasn’t going the way he wanted. 





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Brien Feathers is a fantasy author living in the land of permanent frost, horses, and Mongols. She likes reading, writing (of course), riding (horses and husbands), drinking dark beer, and checking things off a to-do list.


Although she claims to love everyone equally, she really loves her youngest son the most. He has autism superpowers that allow him to speak all types of rare languages including drumbeats, elevator dings, and police sirens.


Miss Feathers loves grey days, orange cats, and all creatures human or otherwise. And she hopes you will love her world (fantasy) and people (characters) as well. 






The Interview 

1) You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

I’ve brought a satellite phone and someone highly important or filthy rich— someone likely to get rescued. Because I’m not staying on an island where there is no internet or cats. If I could bring a fictional character, I’d bring Giselle from my book. She teleports and can carry others with her.

2) Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?

Chicago, the 2002 film; I’ve never the seen the play. In the musical, I’d like to think of myself as Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones’s character) but in reality, I’m probably Amos Hart, Roxie’s husband, the one who has the sad Mister Cellophane song.

3) What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

My husband is a director (in Mongolia, I’m Mongolian) and when we get the chance for a breather, we like to watch films together. I’ll watch anything except for Rom-Coms, but my husband particularly likes Korean gangster films and old Russian World War II movies— so we watch that, and drink beer. That’s our romance.

4) If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?

That should never be a film, not whilst my parents are alive. But should there be one, I want it to be an anime, and I want myself drawn with orange hair. I love redheads, but the copper color doesn’t suit my complexion. I’ll also be drawn with longer legs, superpowers, and a vampire boyfriend… I’m sorry, what was the question again?

5) Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?

The queen alien from Aliens (1986). Because Ripley is one of my absolute favorite protagonists of all time, her villain is equally phenomenal as well. Strong protagonists need greater villains. Freddy Krueger also gets an honorable mention because he’s funny— I think he’s hilarious. I realize those are both films, but I don’t read horror books, so I don’t know any literary villains (that aren’t made into movies). Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ series was as close to horror as I’ve ever gotten, but that’s dark fantasy, not truly horror.

Although my own series, Light of Adua, is listed as ‘dark fantasy/horror’, there is no horror— just dark fantasy set in modern-day New Orleans. If you’d like to give it a chance, ‘Silver to the Heart’, Book 1 is perma-free across all retailers. But even without the horror, there is a reader warning for mature content.

Anywho, thank you so much for having me here and letting me answer fun questions.


My Review of Silverr to the Heart

Let me start out by saying that I absolutely loved this book to pieces!

In Silver to the Heart, Brien Feathers has taken what we know about the supernatural and recreated it in a most fascinating way. Her characters are not stereotypical by any means. The villains aren’t always stupid, and the heroes have their own bad moments. There is an origin story that will blow your mind, and a very sexy vampire named Drake who is to die for. Luckily, this is just the first book and I want to know more about this world she has drawn. Five stars, without a doubt.

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Saturday, October 8, 2022

Saturday is Horror Day #82 - Let the Right One In, Carnival of Souls, The Intruders

 Let the Right One In

Oskar (Kare Hedrbrant) lives with his mother in an apartment building. The delicate-looking 12-year-old is something of a loner, and is bullied by some of the boys at school. He meets a most unusual girl name Eli (Lina Leandersson). She doesn't go to his school, he only sees her at night, and she is always asking to be invited in. But she isn't judgmental, and he finds himself attracted to her as they grow closer.

But Eli has a secret, one she can't afford to have discovered. One that keeps her and her guardian constantly changing locations. When the unthinkable happens, and Eli is forced to fend for herself, Oskar is afraid he will lose the most important person in his life.

This Swedish film puts a new spin on an old theme. It's done quietly and seductively, and yet the horror shines through. It's darkly romantic and also visceral. Well written and directed and acted, I would highly recommend it. I'll give it 4 Stars

Carnival of Souls

A drag race between two cars filled with young people leads to tragedy when the car containing three young women plunges off a bridge. At first there are feared to be no survivors, but then Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) emerges from the water. Mary makes a fresh start, moving to a new town to become the church organist, although she insists that the church is just a place of employment, nothing more. She rents a room from Mrs. Thomas (Frances Feist), which is more than adequate for her needs. The only other resident is John Linden (Sidney Berger), who is more than a little weird.

After learning of an abandoned carnival, Mary visits the site with her employer, the minister (Art Ellison), but he won't be party to entering the grounds. Mary returns later and wanders about. She finds she is drawn to this place and can't stay away. But unsettling things are happening, most frightening of which is a strange man who appears at the oddest times and places, including inside her own home. But no one else seems to notice him. And there are times when people seem not to hear or see Mary herself...

This film came out in 1962 and is in black-and-white, which adds to the eeriness of what's going on. It 

doesn't rely on blood and guts to produce a feeling of horror. Even though the ending is not difficult to figure out, watching Mary reach that conclusion is worth the price of admission. I can see why it's considered a cult classic. I'll give it 4 Stars.

The Intruders

Rose Halshford (Miranda Cosgrove) and her father Jerry (Donal Logue) relocate from California to Chicago following the death of Rose's mother. Rose is less than pleased with the move but had no say in the matter. At the suggestion of her psychiatrist, she is taking off a semester from school. But Rose doesn't like this new house. It's creepy and old and needs a lot of work. When she meets the girl across the street, Leila (Jenessa Grant), the girl wonders how can they even stand to live in that house. What does that even mean?

Rose's father has hired people to work on repairs to the house. One morning Rose comes upon one, unaware he has keys to the house, and hits him with her phone. Afterward, she apologizes to Noah (Austin Butler) and they become friends. Rose has been given medication to help her deal with everything, but she stops taking it, although she lies to her father and tells him she is taking it. She hears things in the house, and strange things are happening when her father isn't home, which is most of the time. But no one believes her, and she's afraid they're going to convince people she's crazy and lock her up. Her mother had been diagnosed with schizophrenia before she died...

Rose goes into the basement and almost gets locked in. She finds a name carved into the wall, and wonders who Rachel is. Turns out Rachel used to live in that house. She was taken in by the previous owner who lived there with her son. But Rachel disappeared. More and more, Rose is convinced that something happened to Rachel, but what? But everything she does seems to end badly, and she's afraid her father doesn't believe her any more. Can she convince him of the truth before it's too late?

This is a fairly decent movie that isn't obvious from the beginning, like some are. I had various theories as to what was going on, and they were all wrong. I am a huge fan of Donal Logue, and he does his usual good job, not to mention looking pretty good. Miranda Cosgrove is good as Rose, sufficiently confused and horrified and determined to not get on your nerves. I would recommend watching it. I'll give it 3.5 Stars.