Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Feature: Link to Japanese Anime Reviews

I have a new feature on my blog. I have made it easier for users to access my Japanese anime reviews. If you scroll down to the subheading, Favorite Japanese Anime on the right side of the page, you will find several listings in a blue color. It would like the picture below:



If you click on any listing in the blue color, it will link you directly to my review. If an anime listing is not in a blue color, I have not written a review yet.

Bookmark this site so that the next time you visit I may have already updated my anime reviews list. I want my blog to be accessible and user-friendly to my readers.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

True Blood 1st Season DVD Set Debuts May 2009

The True Blood First Season DVD series will be officially available for purchase in May 2009. If you cannot wait that long to add it to your wish list, Amazon.com allows you to immediately pre-order the item online. The company will ship the item once it becomes available.

In addition, you can order the first seven novels (boxed set) of the Southern Vampire series on Amazon.com. It includes Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, and All Together Dead. The site is selling the set for $32 (official retail price is $56). This is a terrific gift to introduce your friends and family to this wonderful paranormal series. Hurry before this sale ends.

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Review: Blood in the Water (Vampire Files #6)

“There’s a new crime boss in town and he’s gunning for a vampire. So are the police. Lucky me.

…when Chicago gets this hot, even a vampire can get burned.”


Blood in the Water, the sixth novel in the Vampire File series, is the sequel to Fire in the Blood. It is the year 1936 in gangland Chicago. Jack Fleming, our journalist-turned-vampire protagonist notices in his rear-view mirror that a car is following him. He tries to drive away to no avail. Frustrated, he stops the car and realizes it’s Vaughn Kyler’s chums, the crime lord who inherited Frank Paco’s territory in the previous novel. Kyler is a devious and ruthless snake, someone who will make your hair crawl all over your skin. Nonetheless, with his supernatural strength and abilities, Fleming can easily handle these men with no sweat!

When Jack Fleming returns back to the office of Charles Escott, British-born private agent, it is a serious wreck inside. Kyler’s men had beaten Fleming to the place as they ravaged he place looking for the diamonds-and-rubies bracelet, the very same jewelry that left four people dead in the previous novel. Jack chases the men out the house and finds Escott hiding in a trapdoor room fearing for his life. The two agree to find Kyler to settle this score once and for all.

The two men visit the International Freshwater Transport to meet Kyler and his men. Fleming investigates the place alone. He exchanges the bracelet to Vaughn Kyler, but suddenly realizes it was a setup. Chicago’s finest Lieutenant Blair and his undercover cops appeared there on the scene. With everything happening so fast, Jack quickly escapes the docks. He worries that his girlfriend, Bobbi Smythe, may also be in the same trouble. His fears became true: some of Kyler’s men were waiting at the Top Hot clubhouse.

Escott suggests that they should seek refuge at The Nightcrawler Club. This gives Jack and Bobbi painful flashbacks: Bobbi used to work for Slick Morelli, former club owner and a main character in the first novel (Bloodlist). It was Morelli who murdered Jack before he became a vampire. With nowhere else to hide, they hide at the clubhouse which is under the ownership of Gordy (a former Slick Morelli gang member). Jack then leaves to see if any of Kyler’s chums are waiting outside the club. As he walks away, he notices a car following behind him. Kyler's men quickly surround Jack with their cars and open the doors with their guns drawn. Just before they can shoot, a semi-truck stops in the area, the trailer doors open, and a mayhem of gunshots sings in the streets. Jack is pulled into the trailer quickly while most of Kyler’s men lied in pool of blood.

Jack, speechless by what he has seen, wonders who are these people who saved his life. The leader of the group is a woman and daughter of Frank Paco, Angela. While her youthful appearance makes her quite attractive, she has a heart as cold as any other crime boss. She is a foe of Vaughn Kyler, and knows that Fleming started the fire in the “laboratory” basement (Bloodlist). Escott rescues Jack and hurries back in his Nash before the break of dawn. On their way back, gunshots rattle over his car as they barely escape the rough streets of Chicago.

They find refuge with Escott’s old pal, Shoe Coldfield (Bloodlist), in a predominately black neighborhood where the police and Kyler’s men will not find them. The next evening, Jack ventures to Kyler’s Travis Hotel, his headquarters, to search the place and to hopefully meet Vaughn Kyler himself. However, Kyler was not inside the building and instead kidnaps Opal (Fire in the Blood), Kyler’s accountant, to get some significant information. The whole trip back to their refuge camp is hilarious as Jack is just plain mean to Opal. He tries to stays calm but he tells her to shut up!

Meanwhile, Jack tells Charles to watch Opal as she dozes off to sleep. Kyler suspects that Gordy’s men were behind the shootout that killed all but one of his men. Fleming rushes to Gordy’s place to find it in a police barricade. These were not ordinary cops – they were faux policemen working for Kyler and holding Gordy hostage behind his desk. With Jack’s supernatural skills such as hypnotism and invisibility, he follows the policemen back to Kyler’s second mansion.

As Fleming meets Kyler alone in his extravagant mansion, he notices that Vaughn Kyler is reading the book, The Invisible Man. Jack mentally laughs as he tries for one last time to connect to Kyler’s mind. Since the fourth novel, Fire in the Blood, Jack cannot order Vaughn around against his will because he has strong mind control. Unfortunately, his mugs, including Chaven, burst inside the room and fire away at Fleming. The bullets went through Jack's undead body and struck Kyler endlessly, killing him instantly. With so much shock and confusion, Jack vanishes and reappears in another room, shaken and distorted by what he has seen. Vaughn Kyler, the snake who made Jack’s life and his friends a living misery, is dead.

But things become more interesting. As Jack tries to escape from Kyler’s mansion, he stumbles across the ailing Frank Paco. Jack pities the man because he is now mentally ill. Kyler held Paco hostage, which is why Angela hastily wants her father back. Jack wastes no time with Paco as he leaves the place in one of Kyler’s Cadillac cars. He races back to the refuge, where he discovers that Angela Paco and her men had kidnapped Escott and Opal. With Coldfield and another man, they race to Frank Paco’s mansion to rescue them. As Jack finds Escott in a tortured state, he becomes dizzy and powerless.

Vampires have weaknesses? What do you think Angela Paco has under her sleeves? Does Jack ever rehabilitates himself after this crazy night? Check this novel out.

Wow! This book definitely resurrects the fifth book from bombing to the grave. At first, I was disappointed with the fifth book, Fire in the Blood, since it was a bland, almost endless story. Some parts of the book were so boring that I felt it was an unnecessary edition into the Vampire Files series.

After reading this book, I can truly appreciate and understand what Elrod was trying to portray. After all, you must read previous novel in order to understand book six! This book describes in greater detail (foreshadows) the situations Jack must face to get his life back together. He is in some messy stuff as he endures bullets, grenades, near-death experiences, vulnerabilities and unexpected danger to his close friends. If you like wild action, this is definitely the book for you!

We all think that Fleming, as a vampire, is superhuman to everything. Think again. Blood in the Water, similar to the second novel (Lifeblood), physically and emotionally describes Jack’s situations for survival. The humor is ingeniously and meticulously great by Elrod (I laugh because the characters, with a 1930s pop culture slang, are so funny). Nevertheless, this story really describes how tough and dangerous it was to live in Chicago.

As long as there’s awesome character development, humor, action and suspense, I will continue to be satisfied with this series. Please heed this warning: there are so many references to previous novels you must read them in order to fully understand the series. You may also buy the entire first six novels in Vampire Files I (Books 1-3) and Vampire Files II (Books 4-6) collections.

I have already published a review of the second novel, A Chill in the Blood, on this blog. Please check it out.

Stay tuned for my next review on the eight novel of the Vampire Series, The Dark Sleep.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"UFO Crash" Witnessed in Saudi Arabia

A friend alerted me this morning that a UFO crash has recently occurred in Saudi Arabia. Surprisingly, the Western media has not mentioned this breaking news. The news article also contains pictures. AboveTopSecret also has an active thread discussing this strange phenomenon.

Astonishing events are occuring around the world and not as much as a word about them is being written or said in the West. In Saudi Arabia last week what might well have be a UFO, possibly crashing into earth, was witnessed by literally millions of people in the vicinity. Multiple photos of the object have come to light.

Arabic language forums are abuzz with Saudi citizens claiming to have witnessed what is even being described by some in the normally conservative Saudi Arabian press as a possible UFO either crashing to earth or simply executing manoeuvres designed to scare humans. Others are claiming the object was an Asteroid or a Satellite. Witnesses are reported to be waiting for an explanation from local meteorological bureau’s but have received no answers yet.

ON Wednesday 7th of January after evening prayers a loud noise was heard in the sky followed by the sighting of an intense large light heading from the west above the Al-Qasim region east of Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh. Many locals had seen meteors prior to this but claimed this one did not fit the typical description at all: it was a blue green colour and was shooting out green lasers.

One witness Khalid commented ‘No one has ever seen anything like it.


I looked at the pictures, and the bright blue light falling in the sky eerily looked similar to the "supposed" meteor shower caught by a police dash camera in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have the video of that event below.



There are other (supernatural) beings besides humans in this universe.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Video: Delerium feat. Sarah McLaughlin - Silence (Karma Album)

I heard this song on the radio this morning. I loved it and had to share its success here! This is Delerium, a Canadian electronia music band, featuring Sarah McLaughlin, another well-known Canadian acoustic singer, singing "Silence" from the Karma (1999) album. It remains so popular that it still plays in many dance clubs today. It helped push dance and electronic music to mainstream audiences on the Adult Top 40 Billboard charts.

This version is different from the radio edit and other trance remixes that have a faster, upbeat tempo. It demonstrates a slower melody of ambient music. Sarah McLaughlin puts a lot of emotion in the words. I love the cathedral Georgian chants and spanish guitar rhythm which makes the music so dark and mysterious. The video below contains lyrics so enjoy the song!


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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review: Witch Blood (Elemental Witches #2)

A water witch, Isabelle Novak has always led a chaotic, nomadic existence. But her life spins out of control when her sister--her only friend and emotional anchor--is killed by a demon. Driven by grief and a desire for revenge, she turns her back on the Coven and its sacred rede: Harm ye none...

Witch Blood, by Anya Bast, is the second novel in the Elemental Witches series. Isabelle Novak, a tenacious and independent water witch, is tormented over the sudden death of her sister, Angela, who was murdered savagely by a powerful, cannibalistic demon from another world over 25 years ago. The demon was summoned by the Duskoff International, an organization of evil warlocks who had broken away from the Coven. Since she fails to capture the demon, Isabelle seeks the rich and handsome Duskoff leader -- Stefan Faucheux -- as the next best alternative for her revenge.

Although her attempt to interrogate and mutilate Stefan didn't proceed as planned, Thomas Monahan, a very powerful earth witch and leader of the Coven, persuades her to stay with the organization in Chicago so that they could investigate and defeat the demon together. They learn from the imprisoned Stefan that the demon is murdering witches so that he can conduct a ritual to return home. More witches are dying and slaughtered in the most gruesome ways. It becomes apparent that the demon is selecting individual witches with certain qualities to successfully open the demongate.

Thomas also becomes more irresistable to Isabelle. He has a very stern, no-nonsense personality, but he gradually becomes attracted to Isabelle's emotionally volatile and wild side. Water and earth are natural attractions. Their passions explode and become one sexually. They also work well together. Could this actually be love? All her life she escaped failed relationships, (including her absentee mother) to pursue her own independent lifestyle as a travel writer. She tries to resist these feelings initially, but she learns to gain his trust every day. Thomas vows to win her heart and protect her at all costs. When Isabelle learns the demon wants to steal her life, she has a decision to make: Should Isabelle fight to save everyone she cares for even if it means sacrificing her own life?

Witch Blood resumes where the first novel ends. She mentions previous characters (Jack McAllister, Mira, Stefan Faucheux) who have very minor roles (only a few lines spoken and never heard from again). Thomas Monahan has a much larger role in this novel. When I first started this series, the sexual imagery actually turned me off because I am the type of person who enjoys quality content and not filler. I have become more accustomed to the sex scenes as I try to explore my own sexual desires (sorry Jack and Mira!). In fact, Bast's writing continues to improve. Some readers may find the ending disappointing. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this series.

This story focuses on the life of Isabelle Novak. She fears getting close to men and would rather leave unannounced because the past torments her. In addition, she learns to forgive and make amends with her imperfect mother, whom Isabelle shares many of her personality traits. Isabelle, in my opinion, is a free spirit; she can be stubborn, spontaneous, and unconventional. However, she gradually becomes attached to Thomas, her soulmate who eases her fears. In the novel, water and earth witches are natural attractions. Isabelle also undergoes changes as she learns to cope with her difficult past and do what is best for herself. She learns to stop running away from difficult life decisions. Her encounter with the demon makes her a better person: she works as a team player and has a loving relationship with Thomas.

Stay tuned for the next review in the Elemental Witches series, Witch Heart
.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Video: "Take Me Away" by Avril Lavigne

One of my friends showed me this video. The title says it's "Gothic Angel" sung by Avril Lavigne featuring Evanescence, but it's actually the song, "Take Me Away," from the Under My Skin (2004) album. Amy Lee does not sing in this song. Avril Lavigne and Evanescence have never collaborated on a song together, although I believe they could produce a popular rock hit. Nevertheless, I thought the video was very well-made. Enjoy!



Click on the link below to read the lyrics.

I cannot find a way to describe it
It's there inside all I do is hide
I wish that it would just go away
What would you do you do if you - if you knew
What would you do?

Chorus:
All the pain falling in
All the signs lead back to you
Back to whats never said
Back and forth - inside my hand
I can't handle this confusion
I'm unable - come and take me away

I feel like I - I'm all alone
All by myself I need to get around this
My words I called I don't want them to hurt you
If I show you I don't think you understand
Cause no one understands

[Chorus]

I'm going nowhere on and on
im getting nowhere on and on
im going nowhere on and on
and on and on and on

[Chorus]
I'm getting nowhere on and on
Take me away
I'm going nowhere on and on and up and on
And up and on

[Chorus]

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Review: Fate/Stay Night (2006)

Fate/stay night (2006) is a Japanese magical fantasy series that takes place in contemporary Fuyuki City. There are altogether seven wizards (Masters) who can summon their respective spirits (Servants) from different classes. These spirits are also reincarnations of legendary and mythological souls from all across time. The Servants' true identities are hidden so that their enemy would not know their weaknesses. These chosen wizards must prove one should have access to the ancient relic, the Holy Grail; therefore, they must battle and eliminate each other in this ritual of war. It is said that the Holy Grail grants wishes to only one Servant left standing. The seven servants are: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, and Berserker.

The story takes place around Shirou Emiya and his role in the Holy Grail War. A wizard, Kiritsugu Emiya, adoptsed him when Shirou lost his parents in a fire in his childhood. Shirou admires his adopted father and desires to become a hero of justice, a guardian who could protect the weak and innocent. Kiritsugu warns him that the life of wizardy could lead one to destruction, but if one truly sets on helping people, he should hone his craft privately. However, Shirou lacks the talent/power to become a wizard and becomes more frustrated with his progress. He could only do one magic spell despite years of training so he feels inadequate with how he could orient his magic to help society. On one fateful day, Shirou was drawn into the Holy Grail War and had to summon a female servant known as Saber in order to protect himself. In order to escape death, he contracts with Saber to become her master.

I was truly amazed by the plot and artistic development of this series. In a world where magic is only known by a select few, these seven individuals--destined to a path of destruction--must battle each other in the darkness. Their servants are legendary warriors in history who aid them in their quest for the Holy Grail. Traditionally, the Holy Grail was the cup that held the blood of Jesus Christ. It was taken to England where it was visible only to a pure individual. The Holy Grail is well-known in Arthurian and medieval legends. I won't spoil the identities of the servants, but I would say most come from European, Near Eastern, and Asian mythology.

This series attracted both male and female audiences. The female warriors will definitely attract some fan service. All the Servants have their own distinct personalities and use different tactics to fight each other. Since this story revolves around Shirou, he can be hard to swallow. His personality can be quite stubborn and heroic. He doesn't always want to summon Saber even though he's too weak to fight an opponent twice his size and power. The music was fantastic too. Fans of fantasy and medieval genres such as King Arthur and Lord of the Rings will definitely find this series an excellent addition to their collections. I also recommend this series for young adults (age 13+) and older. Keep in mind this is a serious and violent show. Not as bloody as Elfen Lied but definitely not suitable for young children because the show deals with dark magic.

This series is available to rent and buy on DVD.


  • Episodes: 24

  • OP Song: 1) "disillusion" by Sachi Tainaka (eps 1-14); 2)"Kirameku Namida wa Hoshi ni" by Sachi Tainaka (eps 15-23)

  • ED Song: 1) "Anata ga Ita Mori" by Jukai; 2) "Hikari" by Jyukai (ep 14); 3) "Kimi to no Ashita" by Sachi Tainaka (ep 24)





OP Song: "disillusion" by Sachi Tainaka



ED Song: "Anata ga Ita Mori" by Jukai


[UPDATE: 10/26/2010]: In January 2010, Fate-Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works was released in movie theaters in Japan. It is now available with English subtitles. While the original TV show follows the Saber/Shirou route, the movie follows the Archer/Rin route and what would happened in the Holy Grail War. Overall, I liked this movie. You can watch the trailer below:



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Monday, January 5, 2009

Review: Definitely Dead (Southern Vampire #6)

Definitely Dead, by Charlaine Harris, is the sixth book of the Southern Vampire (“Sookie Stackhouse”) series. It is the spring season in Bon Temps (Louisiana), and everything was back to normal, or so Sookie thought. As a cocktail waitress at Merlotte’s Bar, Sookie Stackhouse has a secret gift: she is telepathic (she can read people’s minds). She considers her gift a curse. Sometimes, you want to avoid what the other person is saying about you. Or avoid being as an investigative tool for the police. She’s around 26 years old. Alcide, her former Were boyfriend, was still suffering the loss of his father during a Were pack ceremony. He has a new girlfriend, Maria-Star. Her brother has turned into a partial shape-shifter. She still cannot escape the death of Debbie Pelt which lingers in her mind mentally and emotionally.

Nevertheless, Sookie faces new problems. The police wanted her to help find a missing child. Two Weres tried to kill her on an evening date with Quinn, the tiger shapeshifter. In addition, someone murdered her cousin-turned-vampire Hadley in (pre-Hurricane Katrina) New Orleans. Once she heads to her cousin’s apartment, she discovers a dead Were-turned-vampire in the closet. Such conversions are prohibitive in the Were and vampire community. The Vampire Queen orders her to attend her marriage in New Orleans to find the truth behind the death of her cousin. Even worse, Sookie learns a terrible secret about one of her former loves. With the assistance of familiar supernatural allies, Sookie must again solve a mysterious death before she becomes definitely dead herself.

Anyways, this book was a very quick read (try four days!) for being almost 400 pages! And this book did not disappoint at all! I really enjoyed the Quinn character because he was not a seductive Bill or a stubborn Eric. He was a real gentleman despite his size and shapeshifter capabilities. I could not believe the truth behind one of Sookie’s lovers. Bill did not initially love her. He was ordered by the Vampire Queen to investigate her, even it meant seducing her. No matter how much Bill tried to persuade that he really loved her, Sookie was so hurt by his words that she ordered him to never come near her ever again! Wow, this was truly a shocker! I cannot wait to read the next book!

Overall, this book was nice for getting through those long days and perfect for indoors rainy weather season. I thought the last hundred pages of the novel were very disorganized because I could not understand why Sookie and Quinn were in one place (New Orleans) and suddenly in the woods in the next five pages! I understand that Harris has huge demand for her novels, but she must make sure that the chapters smoothly flow. Whenever she has major plot development, such as fights and battles, I can never really follow the action sequences. This is one of the few negative complaints I have about her writing style. I hope the next novel includes a truce between Sookie and Alcide. I certainly missed him in this novel although it was refreshing to do without his indecisive and stubborn behavior. Sookie was right to leave him since he always thought about his former girlfriend, Debbie Pelt. Ladies, when a man cannot make up his mind, leave him before he hurts your feelings!

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Southern Vampire series, All Together Dead.
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Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 Reflections of Wicked Melody's Tavern

Happy New Year 2009!

2008 was a great year for Wicked Melody's Tavern. I originally began this project in December 2007 as a side hobby. When I was a child, I had a tendency to gravitate towards the magical and mystical. I have been reading and writing reviews about my favorite paranormal authors for several years now. But I had never posted them on the internet so that they could be accessible to the public. My goal was to create my own personal blog that would introduce people to the paranormal and the supernatural. I expanded this idea to works of fantasy and science fiction. As a lifetime Japanese animation enthusiast, I also wanted to share my favorite shows (some of which are based on mythology and legends). I would initially cover novels, movies, TV shows, music, and urban legends.

As of today, this site has received over 5400 visitors from around the world!! I averaged 62 visitors per day. More than I had ever anticipated. I believed my site would not receive much attention because many people are skeptical and not interested in the supernatural. The premiere of TV shows such as True Blood and Supernatural successfully proved to producers that audiences enjoy this genre. It also shows there is a large global audience who demands paranormal coverage. Remember, we live in a very spiritual and supernatural world.

I want to say thank you very much everyone for your support. Please spread the word about my blog. I will continue to provide excellent paranormal reviews and updates of your favorite authors and entertainment!

Note: I am also open to new novels, movies and TV shows. I am always making improvements to this site. This is where I need your help. Please post suggestions so that I would take your ideas into consideration and cover them in this blog. Thanks!

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