Sunday, July 3, 2022

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 66 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 66     


Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 1, 2016

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Everyone is appalled when Captain Hitsugaya is presented as one of Gigi’s zombies! Through observation, Kurotsuchi surmises that Hitsugaya was turned into a zombie before he was dead. Does that mean there is hope they can reclaim him? Kurotsuchi is excited at the idea of all the drugs he can test on Hitsugaya… for the sake of the Seireitei, of course.

Stern Ritter L – L for Love – Pepe seems to have Byakuya and Hisagi fighting one another. What’s up with that? They’re too smart to fall for that, right? Meanwhile, Kurotsuchi is having a very interesting conversation with Gigi, in which he explains how he anticipated her moves and countered with his own. In other words, he has turned her zombies into his zombies.

Back at Reiokyu,  Yhwach is seemingly impervious to attacks, surrounded by an impenetrable force. He presents to them Stern Ritter W, for the Wind, a strange looking little guy with two tongues. And in other news, just as Ichigo et al are about to take their departure in Kurotsuchi/Uruhara’s device, Ganju arrives and demands to go with them! (Long time no see, Ganju!)

Yhwach has more warriors up his sleeve, so to speak. Stern Ritter M (the Miracle) and Stern Ritter C (the Compulsory). He thinks this is the end of Squad Zero. But nothing is over until the fat lady sings…

Even if they defeat Yhwach… I mean when they defeat him… can life go back to the way it was in the Soul Society, or have they been irrevocably scarred by events? Hitsugaya a zombie? Say it isn’t so! But it is. And now we can only hope Kurotsuchi’s tactics and amazing brain will help bring the Captain back to himself.  Hopefully in the next volume we’ll see the arrival of Ichigo and the others. I can’t help but be reminded of the last time we saw this happen, when Ichigo, Chad, Orihime, and Uryu were catapulted into the Seireitei in order to save Rukia. Let’s hope they are equally successful this time!

Another great volume, on tenterhooks waiting for the next one! 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Saturday is Horror Day #68 - The Blackcoat's Daughter, The Mist

 The Blackcoat's Daughter


Rose (Lucy Boynton) and Kat (Kiernan Shipka) attend a rather exclusive private school for girls. But they have something else in common - at winter break, they've both been left behind by parents who never arrived to pick them up. The head of the school, Mr. Gordon (Peter James Haworth) tries to make the best of a bad situation, asking Rose to look after Kat. They will both be looked after by the nuns, but even so he feels responsible for them. Not enough to forego his own vacation, though, and off he goes.






Each girl has a secret, and neither is exactly enamored of the other's company. Rose is afraid she is pregnant, and doesn't pay attention to the admonishment not to leave the school, having her boyfriend pick her up for the evening. The isolated Kat has been hearing voices, a demon telling her what to do. His voice is growing more and more insistent.


Meanwhile another girl, who calls herself Joan (Emma Roberts) is traveling toward the school. She is noticed sitting all alone by a couple, and the husband Bill (James Remar) offers Joan a ride, although his wife Linda (Lauren Holly) is less than thrilled. Bill goes out of his way to be kind to Joan, and she fears an ulterior motive. But he finally confides to her that she reminds him of his late daughter.


An uneasy Mr. Gordon returns prematurely to the school, only to be met with a most disturbing sight.

I have to confess that the film can be rather confusing, as there are three timelines here but they seem to be happening simultaneously, although they aren't. I won't give away any plot points, but I honestly had to look up an explanation of the ending to understand what I saw. Then it made sense. Having said that, I spent more time wondering what was going to happen, but if I should watch it again, at least I would understand it better. The music does indeed set the scene. And coincidentally, this was directed by the same guy who directed Gretel & Hansel, which I just reviewed. That guy is Oz Perkins, whose very famous father was Anthony Perkins. I guess horror genes run in the family.

Now that I understand the ending, I like it better and might give it a second watch sometime. For that reason I'll give it 4 Stars.

The Mist


A major storm in a small town in Maine has wrought major damage to the dismay of the residents, locals and part-timers alike.  David Drayton (Thomas Jane) is on shaky terms with his next door neighbor, attorney Brent Norton (Andre Braugher), but they set aside their differences and begin to heal the rift in the aftermath of the storm, as both have suffered property damage. Norton's vehicle was destroyed, so he asks to ride along with David and his son, Billy (Nathan Gamble) to get a few things at the grocery store. The store is pretty crowded with people who have also come to make purchases, and tempers are a bit frayed. But then a local, Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn) stumbles into the store, blood on his clothes, claiming he just saw someone get taken by something in the strange mist that is creeping up on them, and no one should go out there.



David volunteers to go to the back of the store to look at the generator, and while he is there he hears something. He reports his findings to some of the men but they're skeptical, so he takes them back there. They hear nothing.  A teenage boy offers to go outside. David warns him not to go, that something's out there, but they don't listen, and the grown men encourage him, overriding David's concerns. But something is out there and it has tentacles....



The Mist is based on a Stephen King short story of the same name. The story is actually better, of 


course, but they did a good job with the movie. You can imagine being caught in this supermarket, with these other panicked people, not knowing what is going on outside, and then seeing these very scary creatures that no one is equipped to deal with. What would you do? I don't know, to be honest. Watch for the unexpected ending. I had already been spoiled for that, so it was no surprise, but I won't disclose that here.  I'll give this movie 4 Stars.


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 5 by Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka

 

Pluto, Vol 5      


Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 15, 2009

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Sometimes life is ironic. Like now, when Inspector Gesicht is taxed with protecting the man who wants to kill him, because he killed that man’s brother. At the same time, Adolf has been instructed to kill Gesicht, and he’s been told where to find the weapon to do it with.  Gesicht reunites Adolf with his family, and Adolf has to tell his wife the whole story of what is going on. She has no real sympathy for the dead brother, and doesn’t blame Gesicht.

Hercules and Epsilon are protecting Professor Hoffman until he is taken to safety, unaware that he knows that they have been fiddling with Gesicht internally. After he is gone, they feel a strange electromagnetic wave approaching. Hercules remembers a robot he fought alongside of in the war, one who couldn’t or wouldn’t stop washing his hands, as if trying to cleanse himself of guilt. Hercules decides to battle whatever is coming and tells Epsilon to observe. Most of the battle is below the water but when the combatants emerge, Epsilon sees a damaged Hercules clinging to what appears to be horns… and he seems to know who his opponent is.

Epison realizes Gesicht is the only one authorized to arrest the guilty party, but he can’t seem to raise him on his comm. Adolf attempts to carry out his instructions, but he soon realizes that the powers that be intend to kill him and his family as well. He begs Gesicht to protect his wife and son.

At Uran’s school, people have noticed a change in Uran. Not surprising since her brother Atom  just died. Even in her sadness, Uran feels someone else’s sorrow and searches for it. First she finds a kitten, and then a little boy who has been bullied. She leaves the kitten with the boy and goes on to help other creatures who are sad. Eventually she arrives at the grave site of Tobio Tenma.

When Dr. Tenma arrives to say his good-byes to Atom, they tell him Atom isn’t really dead but they haven’t been able to bring him back online. They want Tenma to help them. At first he refuses, but then he finds himself trying all the same. Gesicht goes to visit the deposed Persian ruler, and then Epsilon gives him what he recovered from what was left of Hercules. Can this image be Pluto?

Omg, how much more must we endure before we reach the truth? Will Gesicht be the last of the super robots? Another one gone now. Just horrible. We get some back story here, including Dr. Tenma and his son Tobio, as well as war memories. Just watching and waiting to see what happens, and crossing my fingers for Gesicht!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Wednesday Briefs: Bad Karma and the Family Plan #29 (6.4) (formerly Rose and Thorne 6)

 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.

I have an announcement to make today, although if you read the title of this post, you already know lol I have finally chosen a title for Rose and Thorne 6. I am calling it Bad Karma and the Family Plan. Hope you like it! Today we continue with the impromptu road trip taken by Vinnie and Ethan et al. What more can happen? Find out 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 #29 (6.4)

Sarah caught up with Benny, and Ethan and I fell into step just behind them. We paused at the door to admit a group of people of various ages who had just arrived, loudly complaining about the cold and lack of Southern hospitality. They seemed to be dressed for the weather. Maybe they were the kind who found fault wherever they went.

As we made our own exit, a straggler from the group hurried toward the building and almost bowled me over, managing to step on my foot as she did. I started to say something but was momentarily struck silent. This woman seemed familiar. Brown wool coat. Green head scarf. Large reflective sunglasses. A warning chill coursed through my body as I tried to place the memory. Had I seen her somewhere or was I just imagining things? And then she swept inside the building and the moment had passed. I mentally shrugged, put it down to some paranoia on my part, all things considered, as we continued on to the car.

“Mommy will sure be glad when her big boy can ride in a booster seat,” Sarah mumbled as she leaned into the back to fasten Alex into the car seat. I could understand the necessity for such safety precautions, but I was also grateful that Benny didn’t require any such measures. The dog, not the uncle.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Ethan said. We were just behind her as Ethan generally walked me to my side of the car and opened the door. My boy was ever polite that way. Of course sometimes it was simply an excuse to sneak in another kiss. “Before you know it, he’ll—”

Whatever he’d been about to say became lost in his next exclamation of “What the fuck?”

My heart leapt into my chest even as my hand went to my gun. Then my eyes widened in horror as I saw what Ethan was looking at—both tires on that side had been slashed. When Benny echoed Ethan’s exclamation, I realized those tires had been vandalized as well.

I quickly glanced around the parking lot at the few vehicles that were there, including a large yellow school bus which must be the source of the group we met coming out. Most were empty except for one small compact car which was just pulling up. The occupants were an older couple, probably in their seventies. They exited their car along with a small dog on a leash. They paid us no attention, walking the dog to the grassy are next to the brick building. I was pretty sure they could be ruled out as suspects.

Sarah finished securing Alex then backed out of the car, regarding us apprehensively before she too saw the carnage someone had wrought. “Oh shit, do you think that was deliberate?” she blurted out before catching herself. “Of course it was. Tired don’t slash themselves, do they?”

“Not likely,” Ethan replied.

I had a sudden horrible thought as a memory surfaced of Ethan and I at the grocery store back in Roanoke, and my cart collision with a woman dressed just like the one I’d just seen. “Caroline St. Clair!”

Ethan’s brows flew up in surprise before drawing together in perplexity. “What do you mean?”

“You might think I’m crazy but I saw a woman who looks like her going into the building as we were coming out.”

Not wasting the breath to argue with me or tell me I was nuts, Ethan calmly said, “We need to get back inside anyway until we sort this situation out. No sense in being sitting ducks. Sorry, Sarah, can you get Alex?”

“Of course.” She instantly reached inside and unbuckled her son, who must have been confused at the change in plans. She held him close to her protectively as she slammed the door shut.

“I’ll go first,” Ethan said, taking point. He motioned to Benny to follow him, then Sarah and Alex, and I brought up the rear. We didn’t draw our weapons, but we were poised to do so if necessary. No sense in alarming the locals if we didn’t need to. As we moved cautiously up the steps toward the building, I could see the same group we’d passed before begin to emerge, two or three at a time. They were still complaining, this time about unsanitary conditions in the wash room. But I didn’t see the woman in the brown with the green scarf among them. She must still be inside. Assuming I’d even seen her.

There was no one inside other than an older man pushing a broom across the tile floor. He never looked at us, intent on what he was doing. As far as I could see, there was no back door. So what did that leave?

“Here.” Sarah pushed Ethan’s nephew at him. “So, what does she look like?”

“What? No,” Ethan protested even as I gave his twin a description of the woman I’d thought I’d seen. Chances were it was someone else entirely, but better safe than sorry. And I certainly couldn’t go into the ladies room.

“I’ll be fine,” Sarah assured him. I had a feeling she was finding this more exciting than she should have, but I wasn’t about to argue with her. Not waiting for a response, she disappeared through the door marked Ladies.

 to be continued

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

Cia Nordwell

J Ray Lamb




Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Film Review: Mojin: The Lost Legend

 Mojin: The Lost Legend


In ancient times, a Chinese emperor who was strapped for cash allowed for the formation of the Mojin Xiaowei, official tomb raiders who would enter tombs to "borrow" gold for the use of the emperor. The practice has carried into modern times.  One group consists of Hu Bayi (Kun Chen), Wang Kaixuan (Bo Huang) and Shirley Yang (Shu Qi). Twenty years previously, Hu and Wang and another partner, Ding (Angelababy) found themselves in a tomb with their fellow party members. The three wished to leave the tomb but the others foolishly decided to destroy the statuary, which did not end well and brought about the death of Ding, whom both men were in love with. Twenty years later, another bad scenario causes Hu, Wang, and Shirley to leave China for New York City, but life is not good and Hu decides to quit.



Wang tries to carry on, but it's not easy when you're only one person out of three. However, he is 


enlisted to go to China to search for the Equinox Flower - the same flower that was involved with the death of Ding. He tells Hu, who says he isn't interested, so Wang goes on, hoping Hu will follow, which he and Shirley do. Leading this new group is Sister Hong (Xiaoqing Liu), head of a global corporation who is determined to find the flower for altruistic purposes. The Mojin trio find themselves in the same tomb where Ding lost her life, Is history about to repeat itself? Can the ghosts of the past truly be laid to rest?



This was a fun movie to watch, reminding me of Raiders of the Lost Ark but with even deeper roots in Chinese history. I loved the dynamics between the main characters, and the love/hate relationship between Hu and Shirley. You just knew that when push came to shove, neither would abandon the other one. Same with Hu and Wang, longtime friends. I watched one of the bonus selections about Kun Chen in which they dealt humorously with their relationship and suggested the actors were together. The movie was exciting and action-packed and did not actually delve into the realm of disbelief - it all made sense. I understand, unfortunately, that the Mojin Worm Valley did not fare so well, being not exactly a sequel or a prequel and having been recast for some unknown reason. The reviews are really bad, so I'll pass on that. I do recommend watching the Lost Legend, and I'll give it a solid 4 Stars.


Virtual Book Tour: Loving Summer Rain by Megan Slayer

 Good morning! Please welcome back one of our favorite authors, Megan Slayer! She is here to talk about her new release Loving Summer Rain. Megan will be awarding a handcrafted necklace and bracelet to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the greater 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!


 


LOVING SUMMER RAIN

by Megan Slayer


 

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GENRE:  Contemporary LGBTQ Erotic Romance

 

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BLURB:

 

A match made in heaven? More like a match made in Norville and made to last.

 

Arthur Burton wants a lover and partner, but no man seems to want to be with the local insurance agent. He’s not the bland two-dimensional man on the billboards, but he hasn’t been given the chance to show his colors.

 

Summer Rain Davis embodies the bohemian lifestyle. He loves his arts and crafts. He’s always had a thing for the buttoned-up professional types and when he’s set up with Arthur, sparks fly.

 

Love is possible in a small town if Arthur and Summer Rain are willing to give their romance a try.

 

Can these two men, seemingly total opposites, find common ground and love to last a lifetime? Or will their differences keep them apart?

 

 

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EXCERPT:

 

 

James turned him around to face the mirror. “So, what are we doing?”

 

“A trim and polish. Just neaten me up.” His heart sank. He was too buttoned-up already and not getting out of his comfort zone wasn’t helping much.

 

James stared at him through the reflection in the mirror. “May I try something? It won’t be too drastic, but I want to try a slightly different look for you.”

 

James had the ability to style individuals to make their uniqueness shine. If he had an idea for Arthur, who was he to argue? “Okay.”

 

“Yeah?” James grinned. The piercing in his bottom lip sparkled. “You’re sure?”

 

“I am.” He needed something. This could be the small change required.

 

“Good.” James combed Arthur’s wet hair. “Why do you look so lonely and sad, doll? Not because of that review? Talk to me.”

 

He kept so much bottled up. If he couldn’t tell his stylist, who could he tell? “Because I am lonely.”

 

“Why? You’re handsome, have your own business, are smart…” James parted Arthur’s hair, then began trimming. “What’s not to like about you?”

 

“I don’t know, but I don’t give myself the chance to look for guys, that’s one thing.” He cringed. “That sounds doofy.”

 

“No, you sound scared and like you need a little help.” James continued cutting. “You need a matchmaker.”

 

“I do.” He shouldn’t have admitted that out loud, but oh well.

 

“What do you want in a guy?” James asked.

 

He sighed, buying himself some time to think. “I want a man who is kind, considerate, who will work with me and make me better. A partner. I want a guy who isn’t afraid to date an insurance agent. Someone who sees beyond the shell and won’t let me get complacent.”

 

“And looks?” James stared at their reflection. He narrowed his eyes, then resumed cutting. “You must have a type.”

 

“Not really. I like guys based on their attitude and ability to empathize. It’s about being drawn to the man,” Arthur said. “You know? If there’s a spark when we’re talking, then that’s the thing. If there isn’t, then I don’t bother.”

 

“I do.” James finished cutting, then combed Arthur’s hair. “Sometimes, you just know the guy is right.”

 

 

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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.

 

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

Newsletter: http://ymlp.com/xgjmjumygmgj

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendizwaduk.meganslayer/

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Loving-Summer-Rain-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B09L8DQ7LC/ref=sr_1_1

 

 


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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 27, 2022

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 65 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol 65       


Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 3, 2015

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

The Quincies have managed to lay Zaraki low, intending to finish him off in his weakened state, which would be catastrophic for the Soul Reapers. So of course the others have to help. Shinji and Hinamori quickly arrive to lend their support. Shinji directs Momo to heal Kenpachi. Rukia and Byakuya are also hurrying to aid in the battle when they suddenly feel another spiritual pressure, followed by the long-anticipated appearance of Ichigo! Huzzah, the cavalry has arrived!

Ichigo finds himself face to face with four female Quincies, one of whom is highly indignant that he has covered her in dust! When Ichigo wounds one of the four, she turns to another one to heal her, but admonishes her not to use her blood. Turns out that this particular Quincy, whose name is Gigi, can create zombies with her blood! But she reminds the other girl that doesn’t work on fellow Quincies unless they are dead.

Quincy Bazz-B shows up to take over the fight against Ichigo in order to claim the glory for himself. But he isn’t the only Quincy to have that idea, as he learns to his dismay when four others also arrive, suggesting they all share the glory. Ichigo is surprised to hear the voice of Yhwach thanking him for leading them into the light. What does that even mean? Unfortunately, it means his actions will now allow them entrance into Reiokyu!

Ichigo is dismayed to find Uryu by Yhwach’s side, as are Chad and Orihime. Yhwach asks if Uryu has said his good-byes as they will be eternal. Ichigo demands answers but none are forthcoming. Chad tries to tell Ichigo that they still have a job to do, but Ichigo wants to follow Uryu. “I’ll smack him and bring him back.”  Uruhara arrives, “a step too late”, and asks Ichigo if he wants to book a trip to Reiokyu. Turns out Kurotsuchi has been building a replica of the Shiba family cannon beneath the barracks of Squad 12 because he is that kind of genius, although it isn’t a perfect replica. But they need more energy. Luckily Orihime arrives just then, but what in the world is she wearing?

Kurotsuchi, meanwhile, is having an interesting discussion with Gigi, intrigued by her zombies. But when she produces zombies she created from fallen Soul Reapers, he confesses he cannot fight them so leaves that to others, namely the Arrancars, who have no emotional ties to them. Unfortunately, Gigi has an ace up her sleeve in the form of one particular Soul Reaper she has zombified! Say it isn’t so!

The battle between the Quincies and the Soul Reapers is heating up, but at least Ichigo is back in the fray, which has to mean it must be the beginning of the end. But at what price? And when he succeeds in defeating Yhwach and his nefarious cohorts, what will remain of what once was? So many lost already. And now we face the horror of a former favorite captain who has been turned into a mindless zombie. Can that end any way but badly? Dreading but looking forward to the next volume!