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.

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.

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.

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

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?