Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review: New Moon (2009)

New Moon (2009) is the sequel to the first film, Twilight, based upon the very popular vampire-teen novel series by Stephanie Meyer. This review will reveal major spoilers about the movie’s plot. I saw this film in movie theatres in November 2009. I have finally come around to publish my thoughts.

In the beginning, Bella Swan dreams where she meets Edward Cullen, her vampire boyfriend, in the woods and perceives herself in the mirror as an old woman. Edward is immortal whereas she is human. Bella is finally 18 – officially an adult, but she has a growing distaste with growing older now that she realizes she’s technically older than Edward (he changed at age 17). Nevertheless, the Cullen family throws a birthday party for her. When she cuts her finger to unwrap a gift, Jasper Cullen becomes overwhelmed by the blood scent and attacks her. Edward realizes his family’s supernatural nature poses a threat to Bella’s life so he abruptly ends their romantic relationship. The Cullen family leaves Forks, Washington permanently, and Bella sadly does not know their new destination.

His departure leaves Bella psychologically heartbroken and suicidal for months. She would lock herself in her room in despair hoping that Edward would return someday. However, when her father, Charlie, insists that he wants her to live with her mother in Florida, she changed her behavior and resumed hanging out with her school friends. Her experiences and activities remind her of Edward who, as an apparition, warns her to stay away from danger. She seeks companionship with Jacob Black, who eases her pain and loss over Edward. When Jacob disappears for weeks and Bella searches for him, she discovers that he has joined a werewolf pack, a natural enemy of vampires. Worse, another former enemy has returned to kill Bella to avenge the murder of her mate. Jacob must hunt with the pack to patrol the area. Alone and sad, Bella continues to engage in risky behaviors to ease her sorrow.

When Bella finally discovers Edwards’ whereabouts, she races to Italy with Alice to stop Edward from committing suicide in the sunlight. In a series of miscommunication, Edwards believes Bella has died and feels he has no purpose in living anymore. Bella stops Edward just in time, but the Volturi, a powerful vampire coven, learns about Bella and believes she knows too much about their ways. She has two choices: death or become a vampire herself. Alice saves Edward and Bella with a premonition that Bella will transform in the near future. Back in Forks, Edward apologizes to Bella about his quick departure; he only left to protect her. The Cullens decide either Alice will change Bella after graduation or Edward will change her if she decides to marry him. Meanwhile, Jacob warns Edward about their treaty – the vampires and werewolves will not attack each other as long as the vampires do not bite a human.

The movie illustrated a few things: 1) growing tension between the Cullen family and werewolves, 2) Bella's fate as a vampire, and 3) preview of the Volturi. Jacob saw the most plot development as he transitions from an adolescent to a mature werewolf. Edward plays a more minor role (near the beginning and ending), so the film focuses more on the relationship between Bella and Jacob. There was not much action in this film, so it disappointed me. This was definitely made for the book fans who know what to expect (I have never read the books). I thought the film could had provided more drama and suspense. Some scenes seemed too rushed and unoriginal. Bella was too depressed and emotional for my taste. I wanted to tell her, "Don't do that because it's stupid!" However, I have to say the actress improved her acting; she played the part of a dysfunctional teenager very well. Victoria is also still on the loose, but I hope the next film will see her demise. I still recommend this film (3.5 out of 5 stars), but I think Twilight was the better movie.

Stay tuned for more updates about the third film (2010) in the Twilight Saga, Eclipse.

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Review: Cold Streets (Vampire Files #10)

“Bullets will fly. Blood will flow. And it will become clear that the simple life of a club owner is not in the cards for a vampire with a thirst for justice.”

Cold Streets, by P.N. Elrod, is the tenth book in the Vampire Files series. It is January 1938, winter Chicago. Six months have passed since his disturbing encounter with the mob and the discovery of a murdered woman. Multiple events have delayed the grand opening of his new nightclub, Lady Crymsyn. He enjoys his life as a vampire. He’s one of the good guys with a heart for justice -— and blood. He aids his best friend and colleague, Charles Escott, British private agent, in investigating and solving difficult cases.

Jack returns to his club where we meet reoccurring characters: Bobbi Smythe, his girlfriend who has aspirations for Hollywood; Gordy Weems, major Chicago mob boss, owner of the Nightcrawler Club and one of Jack’s best friends; Adelle Taylor, multi-talented actress and now performer at Lady Crymsyn; and Myrna, from the previous novel, the club resident ghost, who warns Jack of trouble. Now, he meets two new people, who want to work at his place: Faustine Petrova, Russian ballerina dancer, and Roland Lambert, her American partner, from war-intensifying Europe. However, New York mob boss, Hog Bistrow, drunk and boorish, has some dangerous business to settle with Gordy. Why at the Lady Crymsyn? Growing tensions seem to be looming in the air.

The man behind the kidnapping of Sarah Gladwell has Jack fearing for his (undead) life. How can Dugan resist his hypnosis? Is the man insane or not even human? Dugan knows Jack’s supernatural abilities, and Fleming will do anything to prevent this guy from exposing the truth. If things can’t get any worse, Hog’s crew guns down mob boss, Gordy, and Jack must race against the clock to save his best friend. It seems that Jack not only has his club to run but also has one of the largest gang territories in Chicago under his guidance. From newspaper journalist, private detective, jazzy club owner and now mob boss? Let’s just hope Jack survives this unprecedented rapid change in his already busy (supernatural)lifestyle.

Cold Streets is the tenth installment to the Vampire Files series by P.N. Elrod. For newcomers, Jack Fleming became a vampire in 1936 in an unfortunate, merciless murder. How did he become a vampire? Even he doesn’t know but he has avenged his death. Since the first books—Bloodlist, Lifeblood and Bloodcircle—(I recommend reading these books and my reviews at the bottom of the page when possible), he has helped Charles Escott in several murder cases and later found enough cash to start his own business with the help of his closest friends. Along the series, Fleming discovers secrets unveiled to him in startling and upsetting ways. Cold Secrets continues the vivid imagery and action-packed excitement present in most Vampire Files novels.

Elrod includes historical tidbits and popular culture in this book to entertain and inform the readers about the 1930s. Fleming mentions Charles Lindbergh, the Lusitania ship (know your WWII history???), J. Edgar Hoover, and other insightful references to the time. Bobbi’s dress, with cartoon characters featuring Snow White, reminds the reader that ‘Snow White’ was one of the first Disney films in the 1930s. The most famous historical celebrity from this time mentioned is Al Capone of the 1920s and Prohibition era. He had, according to many mobs, left a legacy in Chicago with his bootlegging and how mobs were ran and operated. This story takes place just around World War Two, so Elrod is including more international affairs in her novels. I just wished Elrod didn't include so many new wonder if they're really important to digest.

While the character development is excellent throughout the novel, I’ve noticed how more sarcastic and unsure Jack Fleming has become. Maybe that was the accent/talk of his time (he can recognize Chicago and New York accents in a second. What is exactly a Chicago accent??). He is 37 years old in human years, although as a vampire, he looks much younger in his age. He almost has an episode with Bobbi by draining the life out of her. This reminded me of the fifth book, Fire in the Blood, when he almost kills a woman by taking too much blood. Near the end, the audience will witness Fleming’s greatest fear when his own life and those around him are in jeopardy. Elrod makes sure to make references from previous novels to create a continuous, upbeat narrative.

I have not read a novel so bloody, brutal and disturbing since the seventh novel, A Chill in the Blood. You see a different side of Jack--almost like a monster--in this story. The idea that a man knows Jack’s supernatural secret leaves more questions than answers: what will happen to Dugan? Will he try to kill Jack again? The ending is somewhat incomplete (I know, I had to keep re-reading paragraphs for I was in a state of shock. I didn't like the ending.) but leaves more excitement for the next book sequel in the Vampire files Series. Just like the character, Angela Paco, encompassed two books (Blood in the Water, A Chill in the Blood), I bet you that Dugan will be in the next book, but only this time, we hope Fleming will stay alive and complete his unfinished business.

Stay tuned for my next review on the eleventh novel in the Vampire Files series, Song in the Dark.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

'Supernatural,' 'Legend of the Seeker' Resume January 2010

The fifth season of Supernatural resumes Thursday, January 14, 2010.

The second season of Legend of the Seeker resumes Saturday, January 9, 2010.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review: Le Chevalier D'Eon (2006-2007)

Le Chevalier D'Eon (2006-2007) is a Japanese historical anime that takes place in 18th century France. It is a supernatural twist to the tumultous events that lead up to the French Revolution. It contains scenes of blood, gore, and murder so it is not suitable for young audiences. It contains 24 episodes.

It is Paris (1742), and King Louis XV still ruled the kingdom. A casket floats along the Seine River with the word "Psalms" written in blood and contains a deceased woman's body. Her name was Lia de Beaumont, a loyal servant to the king. Her only twin brother, D'eon, loyal knight and spy for the king, determines to discover the truth behind her sudden and violent death. According to the Catholic Church, her soul cannot enter heaven and will continue to wander the earth unless she seeks vengeance.

Throughout his journey, D'Eon searches for her murderer. However, there are some strange movements throughout Europe. Three companions accompny him to help with his investigiation, including the disappearance of a number of French women. They encounter revolutionaries, supernatural forces (magic, warlocks, corpses), and betrayal. D'Eon never imagined that he would become the vessel for Lia's angry and restless soul.

This anime is loosely based upon the real French cross-dresser, Chevalier d'Eon, who was a French diplomat, spy, soldier and Freemason who lived the first half of his life as a man and the second half as a woman. He referred to himself as Lady Lia de Beaumont, and the anime uses actual historical events to develop the plot.

Overall, this is one of my favorite historical animations of all time. The original soundtrack is beautiful (enchanting classical instrumentals that takes you back into time), and the storyline is breathtaking and adventurous. The soul of Lia wants revenge, and she is a great fighter. I like how the author took a supernatural twist with this tense period. Eventually, the proletariat rebelled against the monarchy and aristocracy. I highly recommend this anime. It is now available in English dub version.


Owari no Mata Kotoba Ariki (one of my favorite songs on the album!)

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Music: Blackmore's Night - Ghost of a Rose

I am officially done with school finals, and can now focus on this blog! I have so many things to post in the next few days. Let me introduce you to one of my favorite songs:

Blackmore's Night is a Renaissance-inspired folk rock band led by Ritchie Blackmore (electric and acoustic guitar) and his wife, Candice Night (lyricist and lead vocals). Candice is multi-talented and has a beautiful voice. The band produces folk and Neo-Medieval music. They are very popular in Europe. It reminds me of the Middle Ages in Europe and has a lighthearted, adventurous melody. This song is from their album, Ghost of a Rose (2003). I highly recommend their music. Enjoy!

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Video: "Once Upon a December" by Deana Carter

This is one of my favorite songs, "Once Upon a December", by Deana Carter. The song is from the Dreamsworks animation film album, Anastasia. It reminds me of a magical Europe. Winter has arrived, and there is snow on the ground. I thought this was the right time to show this video. I also posted the lyrics to this classic song. Enjoy!

Dancing bears,
Painted wings,
Things I almost remember,
And a song someone sings
Once upon a December.

Someone holds me safe and warm.
Horses prance through a silver storm.
Figures dancing gracefully
Across my memory...

(Instrumental interlude)

Someone holds me safe and warm.
Horses prance through a silver storm.
Figures dancing gracefully
Across my memory...

Far away, long ago,
Glowing dim as an ember,
Things my heart
Used to know,
Things it yearns to remember...

And a song
Someone sings
Once upon a December

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Review: Karin the Blood-Giving Vampire (2005-2006)

Karin the Blood-Giving Vampire (2005-2006) is a Japanese teen vampire series based in contemporary Japan. It derives from the manga, Chibi Vampire, and the anime adaptation contains 24 episodes.

Karin Maaka is the eldest daughter of a family of blood-sucking vampires. She is not a normal vampire. She suffers from an odd condition: she does not feed on blood; she actually over-produces it! She must bite others to control her condition (nose-bleeds are the side effects). Unlike her family, she can attend school like a normal teenage girl in the daytime. However, her life changes forever when a new transfer student arrives at her school.

Kenta Usui is the new transfer kid who has big eyes and spiky hair. Unfortunately, Karin suffers nose-bleeds around his presence. She tries to avoid him but they share the same class and work schedule. Karin's older brother, Ren, wants to erase his memory but Anju, Karin's younger sister, stops him. The family decide Kenta can be Karin's ally during the daytime while they are asleep and vulnerable. As they become friends, they eventually fall in love with each other.

More obstacles lay in their way. Per the request of her uncle, Yuriya, a human-vampire hybrid, spies on her. She disapproves of the relationship because hybrids are sterile. Furthermore, someone kidnaps Karin when it is later revealed her strange condition can cure the sterility that plagues vampires at the cost of her life. Can Kenta rescue his love before it is too late?

Karin, the Blood-Giving Vampire is an amusing teen vampire drama that will please everyone. The animation may seem weird in the beginning, but it has its funny moments as the storyline progresses. The Maaka family is not evil; they care very much for Karin, and, to a lesser extent, Kenta. You can't help but think Karin is cute with her unusual condition and outspoken personality. I would say this show was one of the best teen vampire dramas. I highly recommend this series.

It is now licensed and available to buy and rent on DVD.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

World's Largest Pyramid ~Mirador~ Discovered

This was reported last month on CNN. The world's largest pyramid in Latin America was discovered a by a team of archaeologists. Scientists are hypothesizing this could be the legendary lost ancient Mayan city of Mirador.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Vanished Ancient Persian Army Found in Desert

I am very sorry I have not posted in weeks. I have been extremely busy with schoolwork (I'm a graduate student now!). I found this MSNBC article which is a major monumental discovery. Archaeologists have recovered the grave site of an ancient Persian army that was destroyed in a powerful sandstorm nearly 2500 years ago. The area has 50,000 skeletal remains in Egypt.

The remains of a mighty Persian army said to have drowned in the sands of the western Egyptian desert 2,500 years ago might have been finally located, solving one of archaeology's biggest outstanding mysteries, according to Italian researchers.

Bronze weapons, a silver bracelet, an earring and hundreds of human bones found in the vast desolate wilderness of the Sahara desert have raised hopes of finally finding the lost army of Persian King Cambyses II. The 50,000 warriors were said to be buried by a cataclysmic sandstorm in 525 B.C.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Reminder: Legend of the Seeker Season 2 Premiers November 7/8

This is a reminder that the second season of Legend of the Seeker premieres November 7/8. Do not miss this! Check your local listings for channel and time. I added the trailer below:

Season 2 Trailer

(The Legend of the Seeker TV series is based on the critically-acclaimed Sword of Truth fantasy novel series by Terry Goodkind.)
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

Blood Promise, by Richelle Mead, is the fourth novel in the Vampire Academy series. Rose Hathaway travels to Russia to find and kill Dmitri, her lost love who has turned Strigoi. She leaves everything behind at St. Vladimir Academy, including her guardianship and friendship to Lissa Dragomir. She finds herself in situations that she would have never imagined -- hunting Strigoi for pertinent information, meeting mysterious characters who understand the Russian underground scene, encountering a dhampir commune in Siberia, meeting other dhampirs who share similar common occurrences with Strigois, and finally witnessing Dmitri up close and personal.

Before she can carry out her plan, she meets new people who she depends for assistance after she learns new clues on her journey. First, she must emotionally find the strength within herself to understand who she is and what is her purpose in life. Meanwhile, Lissa is exhibiting erratic behaviors and losing her mind slowly at St. Vladimir's Academy. Rose can only helplessly watch from afar. Can a new person take over her former friendship role, even if Lissa and Rose are both shadow-kissed? Does Rose have the courage to kill the man she still loves deeply within her heart? You can find out the answers in this thrilling novel by reading it today!

I simply have four words to say: I LOVE THIS BOOK.

I am so happy I finished this nicely thick novel. The hardcover book was almost 500 pages long, but the storyline flowed very well. Rose has flashbacks of her memories and times with Dmitri throughout the story. Although he is now a Strigoi, he still exhibits human-like characteristics and remembers her favorite treats. Strigoi are undead vampires who are evil and soulless (red eyes, pale skin, superhuman strength). Moroi are living vampires who suck blood to survive and have elemental magic. Throughout the novel, he consistently wants Rose to be his eternal partner. Rose has a challenging dilemma!

Most importantly, this is my favorite Vampire Academy novel because readers can see all the major characters develop and form their own personalities through self-actualization. The ending of Shadow-Kissed was depressing because Rose saw Dmitri disappear before her own eyes. This novel goes through many twists and adventures that sometimes I wanted to yell at Rose often because she was losing her concentration and sense of justice. She also finds herself in dangerous situations and unravels new mysteries around her past. The cliff-hanging ending has set the stage for another exciting adventure that leaves many readers hungry for more Rose + Dmitri! There is a high possibility there will be a positive ending in this series.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Vampire Academy series, Spirit Bound
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5th Vampire Academy Novel (Spirit Bound) Expected Release May 2010

The fifth novel, Spirit Bound, of the spectacular vampire teen fantasy series, Vampire Academy, has an expected release date of May 2010.

Here is a summary of the plot below:

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong...

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won't rest until Rose joins him... forever.

In the meantime, enjoy the first four books (Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kissed, and Blood Promise) by Richelle Mead. Stay tuned to New Moon and the third season of True Blood! Click here to read the rest of this post...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Music Video: "My Last Breath" by Evanesence

Amy Lee (yes, I know she has a new last name) of Evanescence produced this rare rock song, "My Last Breath." You can find this song on the Fallen (2003) album. Amy is an amazing singer and songwriter in this video.

Click on the link below for the lyrics.

Hold on to me, love
You know I can't stay long
All I wanted to say was
I love you and I'm not afraid, oh

Can you hear me?
Can you feel me in your arms?

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light, it ends here tonight

I'll miss the winter
A world of fragile things
Look for me in the white forest
Hiding in a hollow tree
(Come and find me)

I know you hear me
I can taste it in your tears

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light, it ends here tonight

Closing your eyes to disappear
You pray your dreams will leave you here
But still you wake and know the truth
No one's there

Say goodnight
Don't be afraid
Calling me, calling me
As you fade to black

Holding my last breath
(Say goodnight)
Safe inside myself
(Don't be afraid)
Are all my thoughts of you
(Calling me, calling me)
Sweet raptured light, it ends here tonight

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light, it ends here tonight
Holding my last breath

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Review: Witch Heart (Elemental Witches #3)

With a strange and powerful type of elemental magick, Clare isn't destined to remain a demon's handmaiden. Yet this has been her fate since she was six, when her warlock mother brought her to Eudae. Now an adult, she's about to discover her true power -- and how far others are willing to go to take it away...

Witch Heart, by Anya Bast, is the third novel in the Elemental Witches series. It has been a year since Thomas escaped Eudae with the assistance of Claire, a human servant who has been living in Eudae since her childhood. She belongs to Rue, who is the leader of the Ytrayi race in Eudae. Over the years, he has treated Claire as an experiment by tampering with her earth magick. As a result, she can release bits of air, fire, and water magick. During an Atrika surprise attack, Rue forces the elium into Claire's chest against her will and shoves her into a portal to Earth. Unfortunately, two Atrika military warriors also follow her. Tevan, a lieutenant, and Kai, a captain, want to capture her because the elium is a very powerful weapon. They need the elium to finish their mission: destroy the Ytrayi race in Eudae.

When the Coven witches hear about Claire's whereabouts on Earth, they rush to the asylum hospital to rescue her. Adam and Theo take Claire as fast and far as they possibly could. These Atrika warriors have amazing superhuman and super-healing powers. Meanwhile, Adam finds Claire attractive in a non-conventional way. He finds her very erotic and has urges to seduce her. As their journey becomes more dangerous, Claire has become reacquainted with Earth traditions and wants to establish a life with Adam. Does she have the determination to always live on the run, or will she sacrifice herself so that no one can use her as a weapon?

The Elemental Witches series is geared toward an adult audience. The sexual imagery is very descriptive and not suitable for children. Some of the major returning characters return: Thomas, Isabelle, Jack, Mira, Adam, and Micah. Since the second novel, the Coven has been training hard to fight against their archnemesis, the Duskoff, and other daemons who enter the human world.

Readers will learn a few new items. It seems the aaemon (Coven witches) and daemons have a common ancestor. The Coven witches descend from the Ytrayi (leader) daemons, and the Duskoff witches descend from the Atrika (warrior) daemons. There are two other daemon classes (scholar and builder). Thomas and Isabelle are now married, and so are Jack and Mira. There is a surprise at the end when Claire learns her real identity.

I found this novel did not flow very well. There were certain sections that bored me, and other cast members had very minor roles. Readers will learn more about Adam's past. The storyline did not instantly gravitate to me like the previous two novels. The sexual details were also redundant. Yes, we know that Claire and Adam love each other, but they are trying to survive too! I believe it didn't mesh well because the enemies were daemons from another dimension (instead of the usual Duskoff warlocks). On the bright side, I think the ending hints a new twist -- highlighting what may happen in the next novel.

Overall, this novel disappointed me, but I was able to finish it. Stay tuned for the next novel in the Elemental Witches series, Witch Fury.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Music Video: "Show Me the Light" by Lunaspace

Unfortunately, not much is known about this band, Lunaspace, other than they have produced other popular hits such as "Where's the Party? (2006)" I believe the German eurodance label, Beatwerk Records, was their label company. If anyone has a link to their biography, I would definitely appreciate it. Nonetheless, this is a great song I highly recommend. Click on the link below for the lyrics.

Here are the lyrics below:

Calling the dreams of yesterday
In a world so far away
Show me that love is here to stay
Can we find another way
Please take me far away
To the world of yesterday

I'll wait for my dreams to come true
It's another point of view
Turn back time and you'll find
You are always on my mind
You'll be here
And I have no fear
The time is right
Just show me the light
you show me light (you show me light)

Maybe I'm too blind to see
There's no chance for you and me
But you're always in my heart
And I knew it from the start
Just come back to me and stay
We will find another way

I'll wait for my dreams to come true
It's another point of view
Turn back time and you'll find
You are always on my mind
You'll be here
And I have no fear
The time is right
Just show me the light

I'll wait for my dreams to come true
It's another point of view
Turn back time and you'll find
You are always on my mind

I'll wait for my dreams to come true
It's another point of view
Turn back time and you'll find
You are always on my mind
You'll be here
And I have no fear
The time is right
Just show me the light

Just show me the light (You show me the light)
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cast of True Blood Thanks Loyal Fans

CNN posted a special video where the cast of True Blood thanks fans for another successful season. You can watch it below:

Stay tuned for season 3 of HBO's hit series, True Blood!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: Kannazaki no Miko (2004)

Kannazuki no Miko (~Destiny of the Shrine Maiden~) is a Japanese supernatural anime series about the reincarnations of the Solar and Lunar priestesses as they wage a cosmic battle against an evil god in contemporary Japan. It contains 12 episodes.

Himeko Kurusugawa and Chikane Himemiya are two high school teens attending a prestigious academy in Mahoroba, Japan. When an ancient evil awakens on their birthdays (in Japanese folklore, October means "godless month"), the girls are plunged into their destined roles: defending the world against the eight-headed Yamata no Orochi, an evil god who wishes to destroy the world of humanity and create its own realm.

The first Orochi ("follower of the evil god") who tries to kill to kill the priestess ("miko" in Japanese) is Soma Ogami, who is in love with Himeko. However, he rejects his fate and vows to defend her against the other seven Orochi. Each Orochi has a mecha with superhuman physical strength and endurance, and they eventually become totally evil as they progress in power. Those who resist the curse receive a painful punishment.

As the girls train for their roles as priestesses, the series takes a twist for the worse as the battle becomes more intense and complicated. Although the girls have a very close relationship, Chikane is hiding something important from Himeko. Can the girls defeat the Orochi together, or will the world forever live in darkness?

I had high expectations for this show because it is about two reincarnated girls who must save the world from evil destruction. I immediately thought of the series, Blue Seed, because it also contains Japanese mythology and the Yamata no Orochi character. The music (by artist KOTOKO) is also lively and upbeat with a trance background. I love watching shows where the girls have magical powers. More interestingly, they both love each other like yin and yang (two opposite personalities who become whole when combined). If you are not comfortable with yuri themes (lesbian scenes), you may want to ignore this show.

Unfortunately, the plot disappointed me. There was definitely a lot of fan service, but the storyline overall fell flat. The female protagonists even annoyed me because their character development was lackluster and stereotypical. There are several mecha scenes, so the primary audience is teens (boys and girls). The ending did surprise me with Chikane turning evil, but it did not save the show. The only thing I will take away from this show is the music (excellent tracks, but completely forgettable.)

You may buy or rent this show on Amazon.

  • Opening Theme: "Re-sublimity" by KOTOKO
  • Ending Theme: "Agony" by KOTOKO

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Mysterious Lake Creature Found in Latin America

Forgive me for not posting much on my blog this month. I have returned to graduate school, and it is kicking my behind workload-wise. I have finally managed to get my assignments under control, so I will add some new posts later this week.

I found this article in the Sun UK magazine. Apparently, a group of teens in Latin America discover a lake creature on the beach. It terrifies the entire town:

TERRIFIED locals in a South American town are running scared after a strange creature they describe as "Gollum" crawled out of a lake and charged schoolkids.

The beast — which has "sparked fear and confusion" in the small town of Cerro Azul, Panama — was spotted on Saturday when four 14 to 16-year-olds were playing by the waterfront.

This is so weird. The link also includes photos and a video of the scene. It does look like a lake monster. But what is it exactly? =/

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Supernatural 5th Season Premiere September 10

A 5th season of the popular Supernatural series will premiere September 10 at 9:00pm Eastern Time on the CW Channel. Sam kills Lilith according to the prophecy, and the rise of Lucifer from hell is inevitable. This is the moment all fans have been waiting anxiously! Season 5 will be one wild adventure.

UPDATE: Wow, Vampire Dairies and Supernatural back-to-back on the CW Channel. Thursdays are officially my favorite nights.

If you still cannot remember season 4, check out the recap video below:

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Movie: Cirque Du Freak - The Vampire's Assistant (2009)

There is a new horror/supernatural movie, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009) that will premiere in cinemas on October 23. Just in time for Halloween. I have heard positive reviews about this film, which is based upon the popular children's book series, Cirque du Freak, by Darren Shan.

A young boy named Darren Shan meets a mysterious man at a freak show who turns out to be a Vampire. After a series of events Darren must leave his normal life and go on the road with the Cirque Du Freak and become a Vampire.

You can watch the trailer below:

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

10th Sookie Stackhouse Novel May 2010; New Short Stories Book, A Touch of Dead

New York Times Best-selling author, Charlaine Harris, will have a new book (A Touch of Dead) of previously published Sookie Stackhouse stories available for purchase on October 6, 2009. You may also pre-order on also has an exclusive online True Blood essay and Sookie Stackhouse Q&A with the author on their website.

Updated February 2010: The tenth Southern Vampires novel will be available on May, 4 2010. The title is Dead in the Family.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Egyptian Bust Looks Like Michael Jackson

The Field Museum in Chicago has a 3000-year-old ancient Egyptian limestone bust that amazingly resembles the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, in his final days. It is most apparent with the eyes, lips, and broken nose. It went on public display in 1988. Michael Jackson also based his 1993 music video, "Remember the Time," in Ancient Egypt. It is quite eerie.

“I have no idea whether Jackson ever visited the museum,” a Field spokesperson said to the Sun-Times' Michael Sneed. “But the similarity between the limestone statue of a woman – which is about 3,000 years old --- and Jackson is astounding.”

Interestingly, Jackson cast himself as an interloper in ancient Egypt in his video for “Remember the Time,” so maybe he sensed some Egyptian roots.

Could Michael Jackson be the reincarnation of this ancient Egyptian?

UPDATE #1 (August 11, 2009): Sony Pictures will release a movie of the canceled "This Is It" Michael Jackson concert on October 30, 2009. "The world will see what our team was so fortunate to experience, which was the full commitment, passion and creativity that Michael put into the project," [director Kenny] Ortega said in a statement.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review: Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne (1999-2000)

Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne (2000-2001) is a fantasy Japanese anime series about a high-school girl who is the reincarnation of Joan of Arc. It takes place in contemporary Japan. It contains 44 episodes. In English, the TV series is called "Divine Wind Thief Joan."

Marron Kusakabe seems normal because she enjoys gymnastics, but she can transform into the reincarnation of the heroine, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc in French). She battles against demons, who hide in treasured pieces of art and possess the souls of their victims. Unfortunately, once a demon is defeated, the art work itself disappears leaving the police bewildered and suspicious. The senior police detective's daughter, Miyako (who is also Marron's classmate), suspects Joan of Arc is an art thief ("kaitou").

Meanwhile, Marron and Miyako cannot help but fall in love with their new classmate, Chiaki. He knows Marron's true identity so he follows her closely in school which, much to her dismay, annoys her. However, he quickly falls in love with her once he realizes how much he cares for her. Marron is confused by Chiaki's advances because she doesn't understand what "love" is since her parents abandoned her years ago. A new rival, Sinbad, emerges and seals demons. Marron must race against the police and Sinbad so that she can defeat the Devil from wreaking havoc on earth.

This show follows the magical girl genre that was very popular and successful during the 1990s with the Sailor Moon metaseries. The primary audience is children and young adults with some comic elements, although the plot becomes very serious later in the series.

This show is very good: excellent plot, smooth character development, lots of action. I thought the ending could have been better. What makes Marron so pleasing to fans is that she has an ultimate goal: her own self-worth and self-determination. She was abandoned by her parents when she was young, and she's gradually learning to accept love and her destiny. She also discovers she's in the middle of a major war between Heaven and Hell, and she must have the emotional and physical courage to overcome it all.

I really believed Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne could have enjoyed the same international crossover success as Sailor Moon. However, the religious symbolism could have bought forth controversy among more conservative families. There are also many chess references throughout the series. It is so underrated that it's a shame because many female fans would love to watch this series on their local television screens.

If you enjoy shows such as Full Moon wo Sagashite, Blue Seed, Fushigi Yuugi, and Chrono Crusade, you will definitely enjoy Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne.

You can watch the opening scene of the show below:

Opening Theme #1: "Piece of Love" by Shazna
Opening Theme #2: "Dive into Shine" by Lastier

Ending Theme #1: "ハルカ… (Haruka...)" by Pierrot
Ending Theme #2: "Till The End" by Hibiki

Note: There is no official DVD release because it is still currently unlicensed in North America. The manga is currently available for purchase on

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Monday, August 3, 2009

It's Official: True Blood (HBO) Gets 3rd Season!

It's official people! HBO's hit vampire television series, True Blood, will have a third season! This is fantastic news to all fans.

In a move that very few should be surprised by, HBO has renewed the hit vampire drama "True Blood" for a third season to air in 2010.

The current, second season, which will air its seventh episode this Sunday, has shown dramatic growth in terms of ratings - with new viewers tuning in for each new episode and bringing stellar ratings that HBO has not seen the likes of since "The Sopranos."

This news comes on the heels of Alan Ball's statement in an interview with Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello that he is already breaking stories for the third season and is aiming to get the first two episodes filmed before the end of the year.

"True Blood" is based on the Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris. The third season will likely draw its main storyline from the third book, Club Dead, and will likely hit the airwaves next summer.

Stay tune for more updates, including an official trailer, later in this post! I must say Season 2 has exceeded my expectations.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tsubasa Chronicle "Ring Your Song" Video

It has been over two years since I have heard this song. This poem is so beautiful and sad that tears run down my face. This is "Ring Your Song" by Kajiura Yuki featuring Itou Eri. You can find this song on the Tsubasa Chronicle Future Soundscape IV soundtrack.

Tsubasa Chronicle is a fantasy series about a young boy (Syaoran) who travels with companions through dimensions to retrieve all the feathers that would save his dear princess' (Sakura) life. The stanza highlights Syaoran's long journey and Sakura's lost memories, which symbolizes a new future. No matter what challenges lies ahead, Syaoran is determined to protect her until the very end because he loves her. I found this music video, which perfectly illustrates the special love Syaoran and Sakura have for each other.

Now we've come so far from darkness
And we'll never be apart
So we leave for tomorrow
To start our lives again

Find me there my tiny feathers
Of my holy ancient days
You will calm all my sadness
And sing your song only for me

Find me there my tiny feathers
Of my holy ancient days
I will calm all your sadness
And sing my song only for you

For you

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Music Video: "Rose Red" by Emilie Autumn

It has been a while since I posted new artists. I discovered Emilie Autumn through a friend, and her music is pretty amazing. She is well-known for her vibrant long pink and red hair color and flamboyant theatrics. Her music generally has a medieval and gothic rhythm with modern percussion. The name of this song is "Rose Red", a fast-beat mysterious melody based on a medieval fairytale. Her voice echoes throughout the song. The lyrics are posted in the video. Enjoy!

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Review: Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2)

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places--and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampires is hardly ordinary--and neither is the demon inside of him...

Blood Bound, by Patricia Briggs, is the second novel in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy Thompson, a coyote shape-shifter and auto mechanic, has her hands full these days. She was raised in the supernatural. She grew up among werewolves and has vampire and fae acquaintances. She can even see and talk to ghosts and turn into coyote anytime. She's also involved in a love triangle between two dominant werewolves: Alpha wolf Adam and her possessive roommate, Samuel, son of the Marrok (leader of all North American werewolves). Poor Mercy, who finds herself always in their presence.

A new, malevolent sorcerer-turned-vampire is causing death, destruction, and fear among the supernatural community. Mercy agrees to help her vampire friend, Stefan, with a case that is terrorizing the Tri-Cities in the state of Washington. Although her vampire and werewolf companions are much stronger, they realize her special abilities will save the town from further havoc and defeat the demon-possessed sorcerer once and for all. Before she can investigate, she must watch out for the vampires in the community who have their own schemes. This intense story plot where the supernatural lives beside ordinary people is full of suspense, drama, and terror.

I really enjoyed this novel because Mercy Thompson has a very likable personality. She has the tough, girl-next-door look who is independent and smart. She is used to dealing with domineering men throughout her life, and cares about her friends. She lives in an alternate universe where she's an auto-mechanic in the human world, and a coyote shape-shifter with special abilities in the supernatural world. She is well-respected and can be affectionate towards others. I believe Mercy will become display more exceptional qualities later in the series.

The character development and story pacing were very good. The plot was filled with surprising turns and romantic triangle moments. I almost feared for Mercy's life because her friends were captured and imprisoned. She became the strong hero who defied expectations and saved the human and supernatural world from a powerful, destructive force. Readers would like this attribute about Mercy. I definitely enjoyed this novel better than Moon Called. I can't wait to read more novels from Briggs.

Stay tuned to the next novel in the Mercy Thompson series, Iron Kissed.
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Friday, July 3, 2009

Michael Jackson's Ghost in Neverland

Larry King had an exclusive CNN interview with Jermaine Jackson about the death of Michael Jackson. A video camera caught a footage of Michael Jackson's ghost walking into his ranch home, Neverland. Watch the clip at the 8:21 mark.

This further proves that ghosts ARE real. That was Michael Jackson's spirit. You can discuss this video on the AboveTopSecret thread.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Film: Blood, the Last Vampire (2009)

Wow, I can't believe I missed this update. Last month, Sony Pictures posted the trailer of the live-action adaptation, Blood: The Last Vampire, based upon the original 2000 Japanese anime. Its U.S. theatrical release date is July 10, 2009.

I am definitely looking forward to this version. I haven't been this hyped about an Asian action film since the Kill Bill movies. In the meantime, I am watching Eden of the East. It is growing on me, and the storyline is very intriguing. I plan to add a review next month when I finish the show. Enjoy!

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Review: Lady Crymsyn (Vampire Files #9)

“…Jack may have become a creature of the night, but he’s still a man with a strong sense of justice. And he won’t rest until he finds out who killed the lady in red—even if it means resurrecting secrets the mob would kill to keep buried…”

Lady Crymsyn, the ninth book in the Vampire Files series, has Jack Fleming, vampire detective, opening up his new club. It is June 1937, post-prohibition Chicago. Two months have passed (for fans who have read the previous novel, The Dark Sleep) since his troubling encounter with some enemies who tried to murder his best friend, Charles Escott, English-born private detective. Life is just not easy in the city of gangs. Jack already knows this fact since he’s already dead.

The name of the upcoming club is Lady Crymsyn. Previously just an idea, now it’s under construction. The place will definitely be the one of the city's hot spots, as Jack endlessly describes the details and legal taxation procedures with Uncle Sam (the IRS). The building, once a speakeasy (a place for the illegal sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks during the Prohibition era in the United States), rumors have it the place is haunted from its previous owner, Welsh Lennet, who died a tragic fate. But that’s not what’s bothering Jack and Charles. As the crewmen for the club work in the basement, they uncover a dead body—a lady in red tied together suffering a horrible death alive—behind a conserved brick wall. Soon, the police and newspaper reporters rush to the scene. Jack does not like this situation at all.

Lieutenant Blair, of the Chicago Police (who hasn’t been a main character since the Fire in the Blood) appears at the scene and really despises Jack. Before things get too rough to handle, Fleming makes sure to hear the updates on the dead woman and tells the police lieutenant to leave. Jack asks Gordy at the Nightcrawler Club if he knows anything about the corpse. Gordy is the man who seems to know everything about the city. Feeling extremely weak, Jack drives to the Union Stockyards for a fresh meal (blood) before he has to pick-up his lovely and talented girlfriend, Rpberta "Bobbi" Smythe. Like Fleming, she is not a Chicago native but a Midwesterner trying to pursue larger dreams as a stage actress in New York or Hollywood. Jack Fleming wants her to be happy (although he has asked her for marriage several times!).

With Bobbi's help, Jack discovers the identity of the dead skeletal woman. Joe James, a fashion designer for women’s clothing, identifies the woman as Lena Ashley, the hip, daring but not-so-smart gal who explored the wild side of life in Chicago. All evidence until now points to Booth Nevis, who owns the property of Fleming’s club and archenemy of the late Welsh Lennet. Jack meets Rita Robillard, Lena’s best friend, at the Flying Ace, Nevis’s club in the Loop. She is shocked to learn that her best friend was the dead girl walled up in Lady Crymsyn. While he tried to gain any other useful information about Lena, she immediately leaves him for protection around Shivvey Coker and Tony Upshaw, Nevis’s righthand men, telling them what Fleming said to her. As he is about to leave, the bartender, Malone, and some other goons engage in a brawl. Fleming quickly rescues and carries him back to his home. Why was he suddenly the object of brutal attacks? What kind of past does Malone have?

As Jack ventures from club to club with new faces and new trouble, he realizes that his time is running short. Will he ever seek vengeance for poor Lena Ashley? The club's grand opening deadline is tightly near and things still need some polishing to do. Jack never asked for this, but as a man of honesty, he wants justice.

Lady Crymsyn has an unusual storyline. Leon Kell, Jack’s daytime manager for the club (Fleming is a vampire, so he needs someone whom he can trust to run things while he’s sleeping during the day), tells them the bad news about the skeletal female body. Fleming just stumbled across an investigation he never expected but was willing to resolve the matter quickly before his club’s grand opening. He exquisitely describes the interior of the club that will just marvel any reader. How did Jack come up with this money and designs? Just pure luck from a previous novel, )A Chill in the Bood) and a lucky friendship with Gordy Weems, a main character in the Vampire Files series. This book also discusses more about Al Capone, who in this era would still be alive, which I found intriguing.

Elrod interestingly explains the importance of the Union Stockyards in the Chicago Southside. While I have always known this was the feeding place for Jack, I never realized that it was also a national depot center. You learn many historical facts in all of her books, although I don’t quite understand why she waited until the ninth book to explain the significance of this place. She always refers back to previous novels describing other characters and events, like Slick Morelli (Bobbi’s dead ex-boyfriend in Bloodlist), the Long Island mystery (Bloodcircle) and Alex Adrian (Art in the Blood).

Jack and Bobbi touch on a subject that both trouble them for a good chapter. The first novel of the series, Bloodlist, recollects in their minds, as he does not want to think about how he died and turned into a vampire. The idea of Bobbi turning into a vampire also scares her as she always questions Jack if the transformation is painful. This book has many flashbacks to events and characters in previous books of the Vampire File series. Elrod is big on this to keep a continuous narrative and please longtime fans with deeper character development and reference. Jack even admits to the readers that he will rather be a vampire than be a mortal human again. Given his supernatural abilities and charismatic charm on women (and strong hypnosis on men), why give up such qualities to be another average Joe?

Elrod also adds more supernatural themes, such as ghosts, that terribly irks Jack. However, I felt that this book dragged endlessly between chapters. As I learned more about the characters, the suspense proved even greater as this murderer has not been found yet! The climax is quite bloody, and Jack’s rage can be taken as hilarious or downright scary. This book took me a while to finish, but in the end I was very pleased. While Charles Escott is not a very important character in this novel, Escott fans will be pleased to hear about new lady luck. (He is a lady’s man??!) This is one of Elrod’s BEST works since A Chill in the Blood. If you haven’t read that book, I suggest you do so right now!

Stay tuned for the tenth novel in the Vampire File Series, Cold Streets.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Video: Michael Jackson Is Dead

This is a very sad day. Who would have thought Michael Jackson would die so soon?

These past few years haven't been good for him. No matter what people said about him, I never thought he was a criminal. He didn't deserve the negative jokes and labels.

He was the King of Pop. He influenced American culture and how we listen to popular music for over three decades. His album, Thriller, is still the top-selling album of all time. I think all of us at some point did the Moonwalk dance! 2009 is also Motown's 50th anniversary. This world will miss him tremendously.

May he rest in peace. I know he's not suffering anymore. You will always be a legend.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review: Hellsing (2001-2002, 2006)

Hellsing (2001-2002, 2006) is a dark supernatural vampire thriller Japanese anime that was made into a TV series (13 episodes total, different screenplay) and OAV (which closely follows the original manga storyline).

The storyline is graphic and takes place after the end of the second World War. The anti-heroic vampire king, Alucard, and his former police officer-turned-vampire apprentice, Saras Victoria, both serve a secret and mysterious British vampire-extermination group, the Hellsing Organization. In essence, Alucard and Saras Victoria are vampire hunters who combat ghouls, vampires, and other supernatural creatures that threaten England.

The Hellsing Organization was founded by Abraham van Hellsing. Its mission is to protect the Queen of England and her citizens from the undead and other evil supernatural forces. Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing inherited the leadership role after witnessing the death of her father at a very young age. Her bodyguard is the faithful and formidable Hellsing butler, Walter C. Dornez, and Alucard, an ancient and powerful vampire who was captured and imprisoned by the Hellsing family hundreds of years ago.

When a new breed of vampires terrorizes the streets of England, Alucard must step in to stop this madness before another World War erupts in Europe.

I really enjoyed watching both versions of Hellsing, which have high-quality animation and excellent vocal cast (in English and Japanese). The OAV is much shorter than the TV series but each screenplay has its own twists and humor. Alucard is a funny and scary vampire, and knows how to terrorize his enemies. He finally meets a foe almost equal to him and the battle rages on. There is some Christian element in this series because the Hellsings are Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church sends Iscariot Organization, Section XIII, a gigantic and muscular priest-soldier, to destroy Alucard. Iscariot is more scary and crazy when you think about it. Alucard's voice is also deep, sinister, and sexy. The actor did a tremendous job.

If you like dark, mature vampire series such as Blade and Vampire Hunter D, you will enjoy Hellsing. I highly recommend this vampire series. In fact, it has raised the bar to what a cool, powerful vampire hunter should be.

Warning: This is not a show for kids under 13 years of age. Blood, nudity, and graphic violence are common images. Please watch the trailer below.

Trivia: If you didn't notice, Alucard's name is the backwards spelling of "Dracula."

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

New TV Series: Impact (ABC, June 21)

There will be a new end-of-the-world, four-hour TV mini-series called Impact. A meteor strikes the moon, and it's on a collision course with Earth. How will the people save the planet? (I am not a physics expert, so I have no idea how a falling moon would impact earth's gravitational pull.) The producers behind this series are from Germany.

It will debut Sundays June 21 and June 28 at 9:00pm EST. It looks very interesting. Here is the promotional video below:

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Update: True Blood 2nd Season Debuts June 14

This is a reminder that the second season of True Blood premieres this Sunday, June 14, 2009 on the HBO Channel at 9:00pm Eastern Time. If you are still looking for promotional clips, this link provides excellent preview footage of the storyline and new cast members.

Don't forget to view my latest review of the ninth Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead and Gone. I have also posted the official promotional trailer of the upcoming Twilight sequel, New Moon. Fans should rejoice this summer!

I will be very busy this summer because I will begin the transition from work to school. I will be a graduate student in the fall! My activities (traveling, moving expenses) will not disrupt this blog. I hope to finish my review of the first season of Legend of the Seeker in a few days. Stay tuned to another Japanese anime review.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

New TV Series: The Vampire Diaries (CWTV)

There is a new vampire series debuting this fall. "The Vampire Diaries" will premiere on the CWTV Channel at 8:00pm EST every Thursday. (UPDATE: The show premieres September 10 at 8:00pm Easter Time.)

"Vampire Diaries," based on the early '90s young-adult novels by L.J. Smith, is the story of Elena (Nina Dobrev) who is torn between a pair of vampire brothers, the tortured and well-meaning Stefan (Paul Wesley) and the devilish Damon (Somerhalder).

The popularity of "Twilight" and "True Blood" has impressed loyal fans and newcomers to the supernatural romance-mystery genre. This would be a good show for teen and young adult viewers. You may watch the 5-minute promotional video below:

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

French Plane Vanishes over Atlantic Ocean

I am posting this news story because it's so weird that not even the experts have the answers. This classifies as a strange phenomenon.

An Air France plane carrying 228 people from Brazil to France has vanished over the Atlantic after flying into turbulence, airline officials say.

The Airbus sent an automatic message at 0214 GMT, four hours after leaving Rio de Janeiro, reporting a short circuit. It may have been damaged by lightning.

It was well over the ocean when it was lost, making Brazilian and French search planes' task more difficult.

France's president said the chances of finding survivors were "very small".

A French plane bound for France disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean! No traces of the plane can be found. Why is this weird? Because if this plane had crashed, the rescue crews would have found plane debris and bodies floating across the water. It just vanished without a trace! No radar can pick up the plane's signal.

Do you think the crew and the passengers will be found? Or something more mysterious (perhaps supernatural?) has taken place here?

[UPDATE #1: June 3, 2009]: Wreckage from the missing Air France plane has been finally found. Efforts to retrieve the black box and debris will prove exceedingly challenging because the ocean floor is nearly 3-4 miles deep. This is a very tragic ending for the people on board that flight. No one will clearly know what happened.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Movie: New Moon Official Trailer

The upcoming, highly anticipated Twilight sequel, New Moon, is out. It made its first debut at the MTV Movie Awards.

Are you looking forward to the upcoming Twilight sequel? The theatrical release date is November 20, 2009.

Post your thoughts here.

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Review: Dead and Gone (Southern Vampire #9)

For Sookie Stackhouse, the day-to-day activities of the vampire and Were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest. She's blood blound to the leader of the vamps, is a friend to the local Were pack, works for a man who is a shifter, and has a brother who is a werepanther...

...The Weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world.

At first it seems to go well. Then the mutilated body of a werepanther is found in the parking lot of the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows who--human or otherwise--did the deed.

But what she doesn't realize is that there is a much greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings--older, more powerful, and far more secretive than vampires or werewolves--is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too-human pawn in their battle...

Dead and Gone, by New York Times Bestselling author Charlaine Harris, is the ninth installment in the Sookie Stackhouse ~Southern Vampire~ series. The shapeshifters -- werewolves and other shifters -- decide to come out and let the world know of their existence after the vampires successfully made their transition into the human world. Sam, the owner of Merlotte's Bar, is a shapeshifter and so are Tray and Alcide (Weres). Sookie Stackhouse, the brave and pragmatic protagonist-female heroine, finds herself caught in the middle of a deadly supernatural civil war. Diantha, the half-demon niece of Mr. Cataliades, warns her that some fairies want her dead because of her connection to fairy prince and great-grandfather, Niall. Meanwhile, two FBI agents visit Sookie's home to question how she and Barry the bellhop were able to intuitively find survivors in the horrific Pyramid of Gizeh explosion. Unwilling to expose her telepathic gift, she does her best to sway them away from the truth. When a werepanther is found dead and crucified outside Merlotte's Bar, the whole community is shaken with fear and disgust. Her common sense and straightforward personality that had protected her through many supernatural cases and battles are pushed to the limit in this novel.

Sookie discovers how human (and vulnerable) she truly is in Dead and Gone. Very bad things happen: she experiences torture, betrayal, and loss. She tries to do her best as situations become increasingly more dangerous and complicated in the supernatural world. The average reader thinks fairies are kind, moral, and happy. In Harris' supernatural world, the fairies are darker and more powerful; they do not mind bringing chaos and destruction to the human world. This novel is very violent, and readers would wonder if the main characters will survive this war. It's that intense and scary.

When no one is there to save her, she endures physical torture beyond imagination. When she cannot trust her longtime friends, and finds herself seeking refuge within the supernatural community. She finally learns the truth about the death of her parents, and witnesses another loss of family. At this point, she stands at a crossroads that involves life-changing opportunities. Dead and Gone ends with a clever cliffhanger that would make many fans anxious and hopeful. Sookie learns that no one -- not even Eric, Bill, or Quinn -- can guarantee her safety and happiness. Nevertheless, she is gradually maturing into a woman who knows what she wants in life. I was definitely looking forward to this novel, and Harris delivers another exceptional and thrilling chapter to Sookie's increasingly complex world. We will learn what Sookie decides in the next novel.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Southern Vampires series, Dead in the Family.

Don't forget that the second season of True Blood begins Sunday, June 14 at 9:00pm EST on HBO.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Review: Smoke and Ashes (Tony Foster #3)

 ...Tony's been promoted to a Trainee Assistant Director on the show, and he's hoping that the only supernatural events he'll be caught up in are those in the script. But, of course, that just isn't meant to be, for unbeknownst to the young wizard, a Demonic Convergence is about to begin. This will create weak spots around the world through which lesser demons may find a means to enter our world.

To complicate matters, Leah, the incredibly sensual and seductive stuntswoman who free-lances for the show, is in reality an immortal Demongate--or, as she puts it "the oldest piece of magic in the world."

Can Tony--with the help of Leah, Henry, a tabloid reporter, a Mountie, and the cast and staff of Darkest Night-- halt a demonic invasion, keep Leah alive, and stave off the end of the world?

Smoke and Ashes, by Tanya Huff, is the third novel in the contemporary Tony Foster Wizardry series. It began as a spin-off from the Vickie Nelson/Henry Fitzroy Blood books. After battling shadowlords in Smoke and Shadows and surviving a haunted house horror in Smoke and Mirrors, wizard-in-training Tony must fight against demons who want to invade our world. He has been promoted to trainee assistant director (TAD) on Vancouver's hottest cult vampire detective TV show, Darkest Night. Unfortunately, the CB Productions studio is the supernatural epicenter for an upcoming deadly Demonic Convergence. He meets a sensual, sexual stuntswoman named Leah Burnett, who happens to also be an immortal 3500-years-old handmaiden and demongate of Ryne Cyratane, the sex demon that controls her. She seeks Tony's help because she has become vulnerable to demonic attacks.

With Henry Fitzroy, 450-year-old vampire and bastard son of British King Henry VIII, and his mortal companions (Amy, Lee, Jack, Chester Bane and more) to assist him, they must protect Leah and prevent a demonic invasion so large that it could be the end of human civilization. Tony also becomes more mature and comedic as he learns to improve his wizardry spells and techniques in the face of danger.

I was very disappointed with this novel. The previous novel, Smoke and Mirrors, was full of surprising twists and suspenseful moments that I couldn't wait to read the next book in the series. I loved the haunted house storyline. Ashes was so difficult and dull for me to read that I was glad to be done with it. This should have been an enjoyable book but there were some passages that contained dry humor and not enough supernatural excitement. Tony is battling demons, but the demons don't have any unique personalities. The sex scenes are very tame and censored at best. One positive thing that came out of this novel was the personality development of the minor characters.

Although Henry Fitzroy was a major character, he played such a minor role. Huff does not highlight the deep relationship Tony and Henry used to have as former lovers much or how Tony met Henry in the Blood series. However, there is more development in Tony and Lee's growing romantic relationship, so this should please some readers. Another reason why I could not enjoy this book was the numerous references to highly popular epic fantasy movies such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. As someone who never watched the films, I knew I was missing out on the humor. While Tony will impress many readers, I am not a major fan of wizardry novels unless it contains a good vampire mystery or haunted house adventure.

I will update this review when Huff plans to add a fourth novel to this series. As of right now, there are only three novels.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review: Hitsuji no Uta (2003)

Hitsuji no Uta ~Lament of the Lamb~ (2003) is a four-episode Japanese horror anime about two distant siblings who suffer from a genetic disorder of vampirism. The ending song is "Destiny ~Shukumei~" by Hayashibara Megumi and Seki Tomokazu. It takes place in contemporary Japan.

Kazuna Takeshiro is an average high school student who begins to lose control at the sight of blood and the color red. He traces his family history and learns that his family had a vampire-like thirst for blood . His adopted parents are actually friends of his deceased mother. The biological father committed suicide six months before the beginning of the story. He searches for his long-lost older sister, Chizuna Takeshiro, for help. Kazuna admits he has incestuous feelings for his sister because she was never around in his childhood.

Chizuna warns Kazuna's artist friend, Yaegashi, that she doesn't want her to see Kazuna again. She has been suffering from the blood disorder since childhood. The Takeshiros must withdraw from society and hide from humanity because of their disease. Yaegashi, who has a crush on Kazuna, refuses but eventually backs off. He pushes her away because he had a dream where he killed her for her blood. Chizuna gives him two bottles to cope with the disease: one containing a serum for pain relief and the other containing suicide medicine if it becomes too much. She also has heart problems, and the serum damages her general health.

She knows the sickness carries a heavy burden and tries to help her brother control his urges. In the end, Chizuna is dying due to her weakened condition. In the anime, Kazuna commits suicide because he doesn't want to live a life without her. Both siblings are unconscious in Chiznua's bedroom. In the manga, Kazuna actually lives and finds himself recovering in a hospital. All of his memories of the past year with Chizuna and coping with the disease disappear from his mind.

I finally have a new review this month. It has been so busy for me. I saw this show several years ago, and I thought the vampire concept was unique. Chizuna and Kazuna are not vampires in the popular mythical sense; they suffer from an inherited, uncontrollable blood-craving disorder. Despite their unfortunate family fate, you could tell that the siblings loved each other.

The ending song is very dark, mysterious, and beautiful. I am a huge Megumi Hayashibara fan because she is one of the best seiyuus in the Japanese animation industry. I included a video clip of the song below:

I highly recommend this show for those rainy days when you need something to do. It's not memorable (only four episodes), but I like the different approach it took on vampires.

This series is available to buy and rent on DVD.

This is the English translation to the song:

Under these cherry blossoms, I searched for someone's shadow
Closing my eyes, I piled up memories of my childhood days

As if in a dream, you looked at me kindly
And took my arm as if leading me

The destiny of the time to which I cannot return
Is killing me, frightening me, as I struggle

The suffering is too painful and too sad
And it attacks me again and again
But even if I'm hurt by it, I won't leave your side
Wherever in the world we are
Our invisible bonds will pull us together

To heal the thirst in my frozen heart
I held one drop of red tranquility in my mouth

My heart quietly settles
Warm tears make their way down my cheeks

I realized, I felt
That I couldn't live alone
More than loneliness, more even than deep pain
I want to understand you, more than anyone
I just want to save you who are sad

Led unwillingly into the flock of light
With difficulty, alone, I cut my body
The fated bonds, even in danger
Are living in the darkness

I realized, I felt
That I couldn't live alone
More than loneliness, more even than deep pain
I want to understand you, more than anyone
I just want to save you who are sad

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Monday, May 4, 2009

UFO Sighting in Kashira, Russia

There has been a recent UFO sighting in Russia, just a few miles outside Moscow. A lucky person captured a good image of the disc-shaped flying saucer in the sky above a shopping mall complex. Then, it immediately disappears. You can find more information about it here.

UFO sightings and footage have never been more frequent in Russia and many local ufologists believe that aliens will soon be openly revealing their presence on our planet.

Do you believe in extraterrestrial life now?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Review: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)

Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they'll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I'm not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too.

Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs, is the first novel in the Mercy Thompson werewolf series. Based in the contemporary Pacific Northwest, Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson happens to be an auto mechanic with a thing for German cars. She isn't normal herself -- she is a shape-shifter who can turn into a coyote. In addition, a vampire friend owns her auto shop, which used to belong to a fae under previous ownership. Her next-door neighbor is the Alpha leader of the Columbian Basin werewolf clan. As a child, she was orphaned and raised by werewolves. She ran away to start a new life in the Tri-Cities. Mercy is a laid-back, self-confident, and tough girl who values loyal friendships and speaks her mind freely. She shifts at her own will and has enhanced senses and speed, even in her human form.

Meanwhile, a strange teenage boy stops by her shop looking for a job. She knew he wasn't a local resident, but he proved himself handy as her assistant. She also learns that he is a forcibly-turned werewolf with no ties to a clan. Suddenly, mercenaries and werewolves come looking for the boy, the local Alpha leader has been attacked in his own home, and a dead body is left on Mercy's front porch as a warning to stay away. The local witches and vampires also take an interest in the case. The national leader of the werewolves eventually becomes involved in the case because he plans to inevitably announce their existence to the public. Mercy seeks refuge with her werewolf companions for answers and protection. Mercy quickly uses her analytical mind and quick speed to investigate who is behind the killings in her area.

I finally have a new review! I have been so busy these past month that I am glad that I finished this novel. The weather is getting warmer, and that means more time to explore other books this summer.

This is my first novel in which the protagonist is not a witch, vampire, or telepath. I was initially skeptical about starting a werewolf series. I must say that Patricia Briggs definitely hit the bull's eye with this new series. I liked the flow of the storyline, character development, and extra attention to details. The supernatural originally came from Europe, and have hierarchies within their groups. Only the shape-shifters are native to North America.

This is not a romance novel. Although there are mentions of Mercy's previous relationships, this is primarily a mystery/action story. There were no physical sex references (read Lynsay Sands' or Anya Bast's novels). Readers learn more about her personality and surrounding area. She is cool, intelligent, and courageous. I definitely want to read Mercy's future adventures in the rest of this series.

Stay tuned to the next novel in the Mercy Thompson series, Blood Bound.
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