Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Review: Blood Lines (Vickie Nelson #3)

“Long-imprisoned by the magic of Egypt’s gods, an ancient force of evil is about to be loosed upon an unsuspecting Toronto…

Blood Lines, by Tanya Huff, is the third book in the Blood (Vicki Nelson) series. The setting is contemporary (1990s) Toronto. It is now October (fall) season. Victoria “Vicki” Nelson, private investigator and former Metro Police cop, finds herself in a marathon race with former lover and ex-partner, Detective-Sergeant Michael “Mike” Celluci, at the CN Tower. While both detectives have the energy, enthusiasm and ego to strive for excellence, you wonder how they manage to stay together. On the other side of town, Henry Fitzroy, 450-year-old vampire, romance writer and bastard son of King Henry VIII, Duke of Richmond and other titles, lays restless in his sleep as he dreams of the golden sun. Does the sun means his life as a vampire is near the end? Must he sacrifice himself to keep the nightmares away? Feeling weak, miserable and insane, Vicki stays by his side, so that he does not commit suicide.

On the other side of the world, British scholars in the United Kingdom have uncovered a sarcophagus undisturbed in the basement. Inside the tomb lies an ancient evil that must never be opened. The British once reported they did not need any more relics from the Eighteenth Dynasty. Dr. Rax, head of the Egyptology Department in the Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto, brings the sarcophagus to his coworkers, hoping to uncover ancient knowledge and to claim celebrity status. However, during one night a janitor at the museum accidentally removes the top from the tomb and has his life taken away. The news press and police arrive at the scene of the crime. Mike Celluci has taken interest in the case after rumors have spread that a mummy has killed the man. His worst fears become true (after Blood Trail) after questions and evidence pinpoint that something supernatural is behind this mess.

Meanwhile, Henry’s condition worsens as the sun blazes brighter in his dreams. He must confront his fate, he asks himself, but then what? Mike tells Vicki what happened at the museum, and asks if she can take the case. Before they can settle down with the details, Mike and Henry must settle a jealousy fuel over who is more worthy of Vicki. All she can do is shake her head and urge them to act more like mature men. As more deaths escalate, Vicki, Henry and Mike must battle a mummy before he revives an evil Egyptian god into this world.

Blood Lines was an interesting and enjoyable book. While only 270 pages like the first novel in this series, the interaction between the characters was rich and hilarious. The jealousy (love triangle) between Henry and Mike over Vicki was memorable and priceless. I thought she could have made a longer and better book by explaining the mummy’s past besides being a life-sucker of mortal souls. Something always happens to poor Vicki. At least Mike and Henry team together, despite their petty fights, when it comes to saving Vicki and the world.

Huff makes many references to Toronto landmarks in the story, like the Royal Ontario Museum and the CN Tower. For trivia sake, the CN Tower is the world’s tallest free-standing structure. Its symbolism with ancient Egyptian history and architecture becomes important in this story, as the mummy (Anwar Tawfik) searches for a place to perform his ceremony to the other world to summon his god. This story could have been excellent, but the ending was too brief and flat. There were some flashbacks of Henry’s past whenever he confronted the mummy, but they were not all that relevant and intriguing. If you're not into ancient Egyptian terminology, you may have a hard time understanding Egyptian references.

Stay tuned for my next review in the Vicki Nelson Series, Blood Pact.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (techno version) by Tchaikowsky

This is the electronica version of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" by P.I. Tchaikowsky. It is originally from The Nutcracker ballet. This is a really good remix version. It has a dark, edgy feeling. I am an avid fan of dance, techno and electronica music if it has a good beat. Enjoy everyone!

[Last updated January 2019] The original video was deleted. I was unable to find another version. As a replacement, I am sharing the video from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. It still has the dark edgy sound like the previous video that makes this classic spectacular

As a side note, I am a fan of Lindsay Sterling's version too!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review: Club Dead (Southern Vampire #3)

“But when Sookie finally finds Bill—caught in an act of serious betrayal—she’s not sure whether to save him…or sharpen some stakes.” 
Club Dead, by Charlaine Harris, is the third novel of the Southern Vampire series. Sookie Stackhouse has a secret gift: she can read people’s minds. It is December in Bon Temps, Louisiana. The setting is contemporary America, and she’s now about 26 years old. She stops by her vampire-boyfriend’s (Bill) home where he sits at his computer. They have been together for several months. He tells Sookie that he has a secret assignment no one—not even the vampire organization in his area—must know. Before she can attend her job as a waitress at Merlotte’s Bar, head sheriff vampire of Shreveport, Eric, summons and assigns Bubba (whom readers will recognize is the legendary singer whose name starts with an ‘E’), to protect Sookie.

While finding it difficult to cope without Bill, a werewolf attacks Sookie at her job. Pam, the vampire assistant to Eric, rushes to the bar to tell her the bad news: Bill is missing. This news unfortunately worries the vampire community because it is pertinent to find him. However, Sookie does not need to know that his secret assignment involves Bill’s vampire ex-lover. Eric gives her another assignment (her second task from the vampire community from the previous novel, Living Dead in Dallas) to travel to Jackson to find any information linking Bill’s disappearance and the head vampire of Mississippi: Russell Edgington. Before she can leave, she has someone to accompany her as a bodyguard on this journey—Alcide Herveaux, a pure werewolf. He must pay off a debt to the vampires if he does this necessary task for them. Despite the situation, he is one sweet guy (and has quite a nice body).

Alcide takes Sookie to a local club (‘Club Dead’ as he refers it) where shapeshifters, werewolves and vampires hang out at night. Before she can have a good time with him, a werewolf biker disturbs the romantic moment and attacks Sookie. A vampire rescues her. This vampire IS Russell Edgington. He is embarrassed by the awful disruption, and insists that she visit his place again. Is this Russell guy really all scary and influential as he seems? Alcide, upset about the club incident, returns her to his own home. However, when they begin to relax, the werewolf that attacked her at the club is found dead in his home’s closet. Does anyone know about Sookie’s background in Jackson? Are they trying to place her as the murderer?

Sookie must quickly find Bill to answer some unsettled questions. He can be still be alive (well, still existing, he is already undead) in the torture chamber or be truly dead like the ashes. She has some personal business to deal with once and for all—vampire or no vampire.

This novel concentrates primarily on the relationship between Eric and Sookie. Bill is only mentioned in four chapters, so Bill fans might be disappointed. There is stronger character development about new cast members, such as Alcide and Eric.

Harris describes politically and socially the existence of vampires in America and globally. Some nations (mostly liberal, first-world) have accepted vampires as legal citizens ever since the invention of Japanese synthetic blood, which gives vampires an alternative to human blood. Vampires are allergic to the sun, garlic, wood and silver. They must have an invitation to enter a human’s home. They have keen hearing, smell and eyesight like wolves and can fly. Authority and rank in the vampire kingdom depends on the vampire’s age: the older you are, the stronger you are.

Nonetheless, vampires are still far from having equal rights. Sookie is involved in a love triangle with THREE MEN in this novel. She also goes through a gradual emotional and psychological transformation so dark that it may scare some readers. While living in fear of her life and her close friends, I don’t blame her change of attitude! I highly enjoyed this book!

Stay tuned to the next novel in the Southern Vampire series, Dead to the World.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"In Love With the Darkness" by Xandria

Xandria is a German symphonic metal rock band. The lead singer, Lisa Middelhauve, has a mystical, beautiful voice. I am in love with this song. You can find their album here. I will have more information about the band later.

Tonight is a full moon. Enjoy the dark, magical night.

"In Love With the Darkness" by Xandria

Friday, April 18, 2008

Review: Chrono Crusade (2004)

Chrono Crusade (2004) is a historical fantasy Japanese anime series. It is the year 1928, New York City. Economic prosperity and poverty flourished, but something sinister and dark was lurking the streets of Manhattan: demonic Sinners.

The Magdalene Order, a secret Catholic organization, tries to fight this evil force. Two trained exorcists, Rosette Christopher and her assistant, Chrono, a deci who tries to overcome his dark past by fighting against the Sinners, eliminate these demonic threats against society. Rosette has her own reason to fight: finding her missing brother, Joshua, who has been captured by the Sinners. Furthermore, the two enter into a life contract: whenever Chrono uses his demonic powers, Rosette loses a portion of her lifespan.

On their journey with fate and time against them, Chrono and Rosette gather friends, comrades and new holy weaponry. She, however, has no idea her destiny would also reveal she is the reincarnation of Mary Magdeline. I found this story very good, and the ending is sad and emotional. They developed a complex and loving relationship. This series involve a lot of Christian themes. I highly recommend it.

This series is available to rent and buy on DVD.

  • Episodes: 24

  • OP Song: "Tsubasa wa Pleasure Line" by Minami Kuribayashi

  • ED Song: "Sayonara Solitaire" by Saeko Chiba

Opening Song: "Tsubasa no Pleasure Line

Ending Song: "Sayonara Solitaire"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Review: Tall, Dark and Hungry (Argeneau Vampires #3)

Etienne and Rachel are already married.

Lucern and Kate are about to be married.

Bastien is a lonely, busy bachelor taking care of the family business...until he meets the unexpected.

Tall, Dark and Hungry is the third novel of the Family Argeneau series by New York Times Best-selling author, Lynsay Sands. This novel centers around Bastien, 500-year-old vampire and only Argeneau brother who hasn't married his lifemate, or soulmate, in the family. A person's lifemate is one whom you can naturally click together and always want to stay by his/her side. You cannot read their thoughts or actions, a sign of true love and compatibility.

It is New York City where Lucern and Kate will have their wedding. Kate's cousin from England, Terri, wants to fly in before the wedding to help assist her cousin. Bastien is the best man and Terri is the maid-of-honor. Unfortunately, most hotels in NYC are not inexpensive. So Lucern and Kate thought that she should stay at Bastien's luxury penthouse for the time there. However, Bastien's cousin, Victor, vampire stage-actor who is frivolous and wild, is uncontrollable when it comes to his hunger desires. The last thing Bastien needs is Terri with bite marks on her neck!

Bastien has always thought love and romance were awful nuisances rather than his normal operational business workload. The one woman he loved left him leaving him in tears and fear. Terri was once a married woman who moved to England to be with her loving husband, before he caught cancer and died in her arms. Both people are afraid--but want--someone to cherish forever without making the same mistake(s) again.

As the preparations for the wedding are not going as smoothly as planned with many distractions, Bastien and Terri discover a secret, highly-sexual love for each other. It take confidence and courage to overcome their anxious, emotional hearts.

Stay tuned for the next book in the Argeneau Vampire series, A Bite to Remember.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Memories" by Within Temptations

Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal rock band. Founded in 1996, they have produced some of the most amazing rock music ever. Their leader vocalist is Sharon den Adel. She has an excellent spiritual soprano voice. Their lyrics are mostly in English (some songs are in sung in Dutch). They are also awesome to watch in live concerts. Stay tuned for more music by Within Temptation on this blog.

This "Memories" (2005) by Within Temptation.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Review: Blood+ (2005)

Blood+ (2005) is a vampire science fiction series. Saya Otonashi is raised by an adoptive family in modern-day Okinawa, Japan. She is anemic, but nonetheless an ordinary 14-year old girl with a loving family. She adores her father and her two adopted brothers (Kai and Riku). One day, she defeats a giant bat-like monster, a Chiropteran, with her own blood. She has no recollection of her past and learns she is the only one who can defeat these creatures. She joins the secret Red Shield organization to exterminate the Chiropterans and rediscover her identity.

Saya was born in 1833. She depends on the blood of others to survive. She travels the world with her family, allies, and faithful chevalier, Haji. However, she has no idea that she has a twin sister, Diva, who has other plans: to create a world of Chiropterans. Diva has her allies (the Cinq Fleches group) and her own five chevaliers who will make sure Saya does not ruin their plans. Saya will undergo a complete transformation throughout the series mentally and physically. She will witness danger, despair and death. Can she fulfill her destiny by saving mankind before it's too late?

I had just recently learned Blood+ was actually based upon a true story in Eastern European folklore. Back in the 1600s, two vampire sisters were separated at birth when their parents were killed by vampire hunters. The uncle separated the twins by placing one sister with another vampire family and leaving behind another sister in the forest. A farmer found the girl and raised her as his own daughter along with his two sons. As they became older, the sisters rediscovered each other. The Diva twin (who was raised by the vampire family) killed the farmer. With superhuman strength, both sisters fought each other until they both died.

Many Japanese anime series have their origins in folklore and urban legends. Please check out the OAV that inspired this series: Blood the Last Vampire. I have already written a review about it. The anime and music albums are available to buy and rent.

  • Episodes: 50
  • OP Songs: "Aozora no Namida" by Hitomi Takahashi; "Seasons Call" by Hyde; "Colors of the Heart" by UVERworld; "Raion" by Jinn
  • ED Songs: "Kataritsugukoto" by Chitose Hajime; "CRY NO MORE" by Mika Nakashima; "This Love" by Angela Aki; "Brand New Map" by K
  • Similar Shows: Blood the Last Vampire (2000)

Blood+ Openings 1-4

Blood+ Ending 1: Kataritsugu Koto

Blood+ Ending 2: Cry No More Blood+ Endings 1-4

Friday, April 4, 2008

Review: Pure Moods Vol. 2 (Audio CD)

I have another Pure Moods Volume 2 that I want to share. It is another excellent soundtrack of New Age music from singers and bands across the world such as Dream Academy, George Benson, and Yanni. Please relax and enjoy yourself. I have also included a music video from one of my favorite songs on the album, Nightingale by Yanni.


  1. "The Mummers' Dance" – Loreena McKennitt
  2. "Montezuma" – Cusco
  3. "The Cradlesong (DaWa)" (remix) – Sacred Spirit
  4. "Nightingale" – Yanni
  5. "Life in a Northern Town" – Dream Academy
  6. "Zarabanda (Saraband)" – Adiemus
  7. "Euphoria (Firefly)" – Delerium
  8. "Weather Storm" – Craig Armstrong
  9. "Teardrop" (edit) – Massive Attack
  10. "Theme from Harry's Game" – Clannad
  11. "Chariots of Fire" – Vangelis
  12. "Breezin'" – George Benson
  13. "Emily" – Dave Koz
  14. "2 the Night" – Ottmar Liebert
  15. "Beyond the Invisible" (short radio edit) – Enigma
  16. "The Mystic's Dream" – Loreena McKennitt

Yanni - Nightingale (It reminds me of ancient China)