Thursday, February 28, 2008

Taking a Break

I need to take a break. I am currently interviewing for jobs and I still need to write more reviews. In the meantime I will collect more new books, anime, news and music to review. I know I need better time management skills. I just feel overwhelmed right now! I will resume blogging the week of March 31st. Hopefully the spring season will make the weather look brighter and my mood more invigorating. =)

UPDATE: I have postponed my comeback date to April 4th. I am still on vacation and applying for jobs. Wish me luck everyone!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Review: Death and the Maiden (Jonathan Barrett #2)

Death hasn't been easy for Jonathan Barrett. But aside from sleeping through the day and having to explain why e always skips his meals, things are finally starting to return to normal--or as normal as they can be, with soldiers stationed in town and an attempt on his father's life from inside their own home.

In order to find the culprit Jonathan must learn to control the new abilities his change has given him, and soon. Because if he's too late, the lives of everyone he loves could be forfeit.

Death and the Maiden, by P.N. Elrod, is the second book of the Jonathan Barrett, Gentleman Vampire Series. At the height of the American Revolutionary War (18th Century), Jonathan is a few years older and is growing accustomed to his new identity as a vampire. Unfortunately he hopes to hear from his sweetheart, Nora Jones, another vampire. The Barretts are a loyal Tory (pro-England) family who want nothing more but an end to the war. Fearing for the rest of their relatives, Marie Fonteyn invited her cousin and friends to reside in their home until the war ends. Lord James proposes to marry Elizabeth. While events seem typical, Jonathan precautiously realizes something does not seem right. So he investigates.

Although Jonathan has become an instant hero in the local area, some people have a cruel grudge against him--even to the point of murder. Someone tries to kill his father! In the meantime, Jonathan has often lost control over his emotions and abilities. Can he protect his loved ones from those who wish to collect murder rewards? Or must he unleash the demon inside him?

Originally printed in 1994, this second edition includes more than 35 pages of new material. This novel is darker, more emotional and full of constant action. Elrod pushes the Barrett family to deeper, more unknown areas of trust and stability. In addition, Jonathan must understand the strengths and limitations of his own powers if he wants his family to not fear him. He also realizes he cannot resume his old life, such as practicing law in a courtroom during the day.

He has an aversion to sunlight and wood, only drinks blood, heals quickly, must sleep on a mattress of "family earth", and has the power of mind control. He can fade into a shadow and fly in the air. Plus, he has supernatural strength physically and mentally. Overall, I really enjoyed this book because it has a very surprising ending.

Stay tuned for the next book in the Jonathan Barrett series, Death Masque.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse Tonight!

I am currently looking outside my bedroom window, and I can see the lunar eclipse outside. It looks very clear and beautiful. Soon, it will return back to a white full moon.

What is a lunar eclipse?
Wikipedia says, "A lunar eclipse occurs whenever the moon passes through some portion of the Earth’s shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle." The moon looks orange.

Enjoy the lunar eclipse wherever you live. The next lunar eclipse will not occur until 2010!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Review: Blue Seed (1995)

Blue Seed (1995) is a science fiction Japanese anime about demonic plant-like monsters who threaten to destroy Japan.

Momiji Fujimiya is just an ordinary 15-year-old girl until she discovers that she is the descendant of the ancient and powerful Kushinada family. The Kushinada blood can tame and put these demonic plants (Aragami) into an eternal sleep. The Terrestrial Administration Center, Japan's secret supernatural police force, must defeat these demonic creatures, such as Yamata no Orochi and Susano-oh. She meets a mysterious man, Kusunagi, who has seven mitamas embedded in his body and always rescues her. He was chosen to protect the Kushinada. The story becomes more complex when she meets her supposedly dead twin sister, Kaede. She wants to revive Lord Susano-oh and purify the planet of humanity's pollution and foulness. With the help of the TAC and Kusanagi, Momji fights the Aragami, even if she must sacrifice herself to save the nation.

There are several religious references to some aspects of Shintoism and Japanese mythology throughout the series. The story is based on the tale of the god, Susanoo, and the eight-headed monster, Yamata no Orochi. Each aragami wears a blue mitama bead. It also stars one of th greatest and most dynamic Japanese female seiyuus (actress-singer), Megumi Hayashibara.

If you do not want to see the full series, there is an original animation video (OAV) in English called Blue Seed Beyond (1996). It is a 3-episode sequel to the Japanese TV series, and the setting takes place in San Francisco, California. A crazy scientist creates neo-Aragami, and the United States government needs the help of the TAC members. This OAV is adequate.

This series is available to rent and buy on DVD.

  • Episodes: 26
  • OP Song: "Carnival Babel" by Takada Band
  • ED Song: "Touch and Go!!" by Megumi Hayashibara (eps 1-25) and "Life" by Megumi Hayashibara (ep 26)
"Touch and Go" by Megumi Hayashibara

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Stories" by hitomi

Here is another lovely music video by hitomi called "Stories." This is from the Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion anime series. I will have a review of the show soon. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Review: Bloodcircle (Vampire Files #3)

...Her trail has led me to the palatial estate of a wealthy widow -- and a two-hundred-year-old gigolo with a taste for young blood. He claims not to know where my long-lost lady is -- or is trying to kill me -- but then again, you can never trust a vampire.

I should know...

Bloodcircle, the third novel in the Vampire Files series, is the sequel of Lifeblood. (I highly recommend that most readers read Lifeblood before they begin this book. If anyone reads this book out of context, they will be oblivious to the storyline and characters)

The story begins with Jack Fleming, journalist-turned-vampire detective, sitting in an interrogation room at a Chicago police precinct. He is the only witness to the murder of Braxton and the traumatized condition of Mattheus Webber at the radio station that evening. The police lieutenant questions Fleming with serious expertise about the scene of the crime. Agitated, Jack hypnotizes the police chief and later Webber what they should say to the press conference. The last thing he needs is to stand trial and reveal to the public he is a creature of the night.

Jack returns to his sweetheart, Bobbi Smythe, to update on events. He has an unfortunate harsh time with Marza Chevreaux, Bobbi’s accompanist from the previous book, but soothes his anger in her presence. He tells his girlfriend he must take a trip to New York with his private agent British partner, Charles Escott, to solve his own murder case. (This is where readers should remember or re-read the first book, Bloodlist.)

As Fleming and Escott discover one of Maureen's confidantes in Manhattan, the woman offers little help because she has not heard from Maureen either. While Jack is furious, Escott calms him down on the current situation. Escott discovers information on a woman named Emily Francher, and the two examine her mansion on Long Island. There, they meet another vampire -- Jonathan Barrett! He tells Jack and Charles his entire life story: how he and Maureen were running away from Gaylen, Maureen’s mad sister. Unfortunately, he has not heard from Maureen either.

While Escott and Fleming leave the mansion grounds with disappointment, Charles has an idea for Jack to sneak back inside and collect more clues. Jack is successful, although he had a few close calls, since Barrett shares the same night vision! Jack finds a few surprises in the mansion. He unexpectedly finds Barrett, who warns Fleming to leave the suburb of Glennbriar. After this incident, Jack decides to repay a visit to Emily Francher’s mansion -- with or without Barrett’s permission.

As Fleming travels back to the Francher’s home, he discovers a cab driver dead with a head injury. Someone tries to kill him with wood. Miraculously, Charles saves Jack in time. As he and Escott enter the mansion, Emily Francher is dead and Barrett lies lifeless with a wooden stake in his chest. Who is doing the killings? What will happen next? It looks like Fleming has another case worth his own bite…

This book concludes the first Vampire Files trilogy (Bloodlist, Lifeblood and Bloodcircle). We finally discover the truth about Maureen Dumont (If you REALLY want to know, you must read the books yourself!). I have to say that this was a really sad story. Very emotional and sympathetic at the end but Elrod writes magnificently. Not my favorite of the three but I now know the truth behind Maureen’s disappearance. This was an enjoyable and engaging novel.

Stay tuned to the next book in the Vampire Files, Art in the Blood.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Our Solemn Hour" by Within Temptation

I am definitely feeling this song this week. "Our Solemn Hour" (2007) is from their latest album, The Heart of Everything. It is so good and amazing. It has a very gothic, spiritual and European theme. I am shaking my head like a rock star and singing "Sanctus Espiritus!" repeatedly. The background speech is from former British prime minister, Winston Churchill, during World War Two. It means "Holy Spirit" in Latin. Here is another music video by the awesome gothic symphonic rock band, Within Temptation. Go Sharon!!