Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: Mermaid Forest (2003)

Mermaid Forest (2003) is a historical Japanese anime centered around Japanese mythology on mermaids. It is originally based on Rumiko Takahaski's "Mermaid" manga series. It spans 13 episodes (11 aired + 2 DVD only).

According to an ancient legend, eating mermaid flesh can grant one immortality. However, it only happens to a small percentage of people; the rest either die or become deformed monsters (Lost Souls). Yuta, the protagonist, is one of the lucky ones who has lived for over 500 years as he travels across Japan. During his journeys, he has also met others who lives have been ruined by mermaid flesh.

It is the year, 1936. When he finds a mermaid, he finds a human girl, Mana, in her home. Mermaids must eat young human girls to maintain their youthful appearances. Although he had to kill the mermaids to rescue Mana, they become close travel companions. He also discovers that Mana also consumed mermaid flesh and became immortal. Together, they embark on several investigative journeys hoping to become normal human beings again.

I originally saw the OAVs, Mermaid Forest (1991) and Mermaid Scar (1993). When I heard they were going to remake the series, I was ecstatic. The Mermaid saga is one of my favorite dark fantasy anime series. People worry so much about youth and longevity; this series illustrate the consequences of vanity and immortality. It also exposes our darkest secrets. In the end, be happy for who you are; otherwise, your life may end up as lonely as Yuta, who watches the people in his life come and go because he cannot age nor die.

The show also has excellent music. I have the opening and ending songs below:

OP: "Like an Angel" by Chiaki Ishikawa

ED: "Mizu tamari (Water Puddle)" by kayoko

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson #5)

...Mercy Thompson is smart enough to realize that when it comes to the magical fae, the less you know, the better. But you can't always get what you want. When she attempts to return a powerful fae book she previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secretes -- and the fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side -- leaving Mercy to cover for him lest his own father declare Smauel's life forfeit..."

Silver Borne, by Patricia Briggs, is the fifth novel in the Mercy Thompson series. Mechanic and coyote shapeshifter, Mercy Thompson, continues to experience more drama and danger as the plot switches from vampires to evil fairies (fae). There are three subplots—1) Mercy's attempt to return a magical, powerful book to a missing fae, 2) her difficulties integrating into Adam's pack, and 3) Samuel's deep misery over being a lone Alpha. It seems the book contains secret knowledge that the fae doesn't want anyone to know. Before Mercy can return the book, some members within Adam's pack wants her dead and gone. Meanwhile, Samuel is so overcome with suicidal depression that his wolf-side takes over, and Mercy must watch him before he goes berserk.

It seems her life has become more risky and dangerous that there is no turning back in this contemporary dark fantasy. She must rescue her friend, Phin, from the evil fae who want the missing book, and calm down the overly tense wolf pack from rebelling against her mate and pack leader, Adam. She also uncovers more facts about the supernatural than she can fully grasp. Her new adventure is full of love, mystery, action and betrayal. If she is not more careful, will she have the tenacity to survive against the odds?

Briggs continues to amaze me with her great character development and creative narration. She combines several subplots into one seamless story. In each book, Mercy experiences new adventures that challenge her personal beliefs and social interactions with others at deeper levels. She cares deeply for others, and is willing to risk her safety for the greater good. Although I believe Mercy wants a stable life, the supernatural continues to pull her into the unknown. This novel did not disappoint; I highly recommend it.

Stay tuned for the next book in the Mercy Thompson series, River Marked

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6)

The Queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same. Now, with Rose awaiting wrongful execution and Lissa in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and to question those they thought they could trust...

But what what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all? Each other.

Last Sacrifice, by Richelle Mead, is the sixth and final novel in the Vampire Academy series. Before Rose can rejoice and realize Dmitri has returned from the darkness, who will save her? It continues from the previous book, where Rose finds herself indicted for a crime she never committed: the death of the late Queen Tatiana. This tradegy has turned the entire Moroi world upside down. If found guilty, the sentence is death by execution. Rose also receives a mysterious note from the late queen, which reveals Lissa has a younger sibling. This can be the key to Rose's innocence and force the Moroi royalty to recognize a new candidate for the throne: Vasilia (Lissa) Dragomir.

Time is running out, and Rose must act fast. With the help of her friends, she escapes the claustrophobic prison and leaves the Court unexpectedly with Sydney and Dmitri, who vows to protect her under Lissa's orders. All they can do is wait until the Court chooses another king or queen. Rose does not like sitting around; she is all about action and investigation. When she reveals the shocking news to Dmitri and Sydney, they reluctantly decide to search for the missing sibling. During their adventure, they experience possibly the most difficult tests in their lives, which will test their most innermost feelings.

I finished this book (~600 pages) in one day. Literally. It was packed with all sorts of emotions (love, jealousy, fear, and hope). Mead is a very gifted author whose prose flows very well for young adult audiences. That's how much I loved this series.

I am very glad I gave this series a chance. The protagonist, Rosemarie (Rose) Hathaway, is very easy to like, relate and sympathize. Although she can act impulsive and irrational, he cares very much for her friends. Essentially, she is an independent free spirit who willing to sacrifice herself for good deeds. I am also delighted that she was able to find true love and happiness in the end.

Although I am no longer a teenager, Last Sacrifice energized me with its suspense, humor and romance. I am also glad she ended this series at six books. I thought it ended appropriately with an ending that will please everyone. I hope Mead continues to write short stories about the characters. I highly recommend the Vampire Academy series!

I have more exciting news: I recently attended the local book signing for Richelle Mead. Over 300 fans showed up to see her in person! She signed my copy of Last Sacrifice. It was such a mesmerizing experience. This is what I learned:

- Mead will continue the series under a different name, Bloodlines. Rose will no longer be the protagonist, but fans will recognize most of the characters. The expected published date is August 2011.

- Preger Entertainment brought the movie rights to the Vampire Academy series. I can honestly say this is definitely an heir to the Twilight mania.

- For more information about the film and casting, join the Facebook page, Official Vampire Academy Movie You can share ideas for casting there.

- Last month, produced a video interview with Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy) and Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse). Both are among my favorite authors. Watch the video here.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Video: Ghost Child in Historic Savannah Cemetary

If you don't believe in ghosts, this video will change your mind about the supernatural!

In this video, a young man from Cleveland caught sight of a ghost child jumping from a tree and running through the historic cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. Even paranormal experts believe this is real footage. Since the figure is glowing in the video, there is no doubt this is a real ghost.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Review: Occult Academy (2010)

Occult Academy (2010) is a Japanese science fiction anime that takes place in contemporary Japan. It ccontains 13 episodes.

The plot centers around two characters, Maya Kumashiro and Fumiaki Uchida. Maya is the daughter of the deceased former headmaster of Waldstein Academy, which has been thrown into chaos after a series of paranormal events. Walstein Academy is the premier private institution for the study of paranormal disciplines. As a result, it is also known as the Occult Academy. In the future (2012), Fumiaki is a secret agent who travels back to the past (1999) to save the world from alien destruction. Their arrival has caused people to live underground (think of it as loosely based on The War of the Worlds). He must find the Nostradamus Key, which will prevent the apocalypse.

When Fumiaki arrives, he becomes a history teacher at the infamous Occult Academy. He meets Maya, who is the temporary headmaster and a skeptic of the paranormal. She originally had the intention to destroy the school. Fumiaki tells her that the school is ground zero for the apocalyptic event that will destroy the world. He has a specialized cell phone that will allow them to find the Nostradamus Key. This will lead to a more peaceful world in the future. They work together to not only find the truth behind Maya's father death, but also discover what is the cause of the growing paranormal activity in the city.

I enjoyed watching this short series. It was slow in the beginning, but it gradually grew on me when I finally understood the storyline. This is not your typical science fiction show with a surprising twist in the end. It also has comedic and romantic elements. Overall, it was good show that amused me. The creators were able to infuse both paranormal and science fiction into an innovative story. The OST music was also good. I highly recommend it.

I will update this post when the DVD becomes available.

This is the trailer for Occult Academy with English subtitles:

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010!

Happy Halloween! I know this year has been more low-key than previous years. I am busy juggling my job and my schoolwork. Nevertheless, I decorated my home with monsters, pumpkins and ghosts. I cannot forget about this special day!

AOL Radio Blog released their Halloween Music Top 100 List. I like this list because it includes scores from legendary movie thrillers, such as Nightmare on Elm Street or The Nightmare Before Christmas. If you are looking for some awesome music for personal pleasure or party planning at the last minute, I highly recommend browsing this link.

I will end this post with the Monster Mash song, by Bobby "Boris" Puckett! In 1962, it reached the number one spot on the Billboard Top Pop Singles chart.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review: Highschool of the Dead (2010)

Highschool of the Dead (2010) is a graphic Japanese apocalyptic anime. The world is struck by a deadly pandemic: an infectious outbreak turns humans into zombies! A group of high school students in Japan are on a journey to find out what has happened in the world and how to survive in an unstable society. This series contain 12 episodes. Warning: This series is not suitable for children under the ages of 13.

The plot follows Takashi Komuro, a Japanese high school student, who survives the initial outbreak of the pandemic. Other classmates join him including a school nurse. In 48 hours, they face streets filled with horrific zombies, police barricades and loss of electronic communication. When they realize their situation is more dire than expected, they face additional threats, such as challenges to their own moral codes. It is a race for survival in a world that has suddenly collapsed.

I am generally not a major zombie fan, but gave this series a chance. The spread of the infection reminded me of Resident Evil (a movie series which I highly recommend, especially Afterlife). Although it was never revealed what was the source of the infection, it spread quickly across the globe. It happened so fast that not even the U.S. President could escape its wrath!

Overall, I thought there was too much fan service. Every camera angle was centered on accentuated female body parts. I thought the author could been more creative with the story line. The series ended too quickly where the audience does not know the fate of the students. I would probably have to read the manga for additional details. This is a good show to watch on a Friday evening but don't expect a lot of substance. It relies too much on graphic violence and fan service to carry the show.

This series is not available on DVD.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: H20 - Just Add Water (2006-2010)

H20: Just Add Water (2006-2010) is an Australian fantasy television series about three teenage girls, who discover their lives are anything but normal: they have become mermaids! In addition, they have supernatural powers over water. To keep their new abilities a secret from people, they enlist the help of a close friend, who attempts to discover the secret behind their transformations. As a children's show, the girls also encounter different life challenges. The series spans three seasons and contains 78 episodes.

The location is the Gold Coast, Queensland. The three girls -- Emma Gilbert, Cleo Sertori and Rikki Chadwick -- become stranded on Mako Island when their boat stops working. They eventually stumbled upon a pool inside a dormant volcano. When they jump into the pool, a full moon appears overhead and magically transforms them. After becoming mermaids, their new lifestyles have some disadvantages: ten seconds after contact with water, they transform into mermaids. When Lewis McCartney discovers their secret, he promises to help them by unlocking the secrets behind Mako Island.

It is rare that I watch live mermaid shows. I stumbled upon this Australian TV series when I was conducting research on mermaids. Surprisingly, there are not many books, movies or shows about mermaids. Since I am becoming more open-minded to television dramas outside the United States, I could not pass up this opportunity. I watched a few episodes, and instantly became hooked. Due to popular demand, the show spanned three seasons. The primary audience is kids and teens.

I enjoyed this show. The special effects are great. The girls look like real mermaids. I kept watching because I wanted to see the girls in action underwater and they did not disappoint. Each episode followed a typical teen situation which got repetitive at times (then again, I am not a teen). However, I thought the third season was lacking suspense and drama. The first two seasons were much better.

Only two series with a total of 52 episodes were originally planned, but due to popular demand, a third series was filmed. Series one premiered in July 2006, followed by series two in September 2007. Series three first aired in the United Kingdom in October 2009, with the Australian premiere occurring in May 2010. The theme song is "No Ordinary Girl"

This series is available to buy on DVD. You can watch the trailer below:

Theme Music: "No Ordinary Girl"
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Supernatural' Becomes an Animated Show

The hit American TV series will become an animated series by the creators of Death Note in Japan! Supernatural: The Animation will be released in February 2011. It will be on BluRay/DVD.

From Ningin:

Supernatural is currently an American television show in its sixth season on the CW. It follows the story of two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, who hunt the supernatural monsters that roam the Earth. The story is definitely one that is perfect for an anime adaptation, and after seeing this trailer, I am even more excited to watch it next year!

These special BluRay/DVD box-sets will feature remakes of the episodes that have already aired in the live-action, as well as brand new anime-only content. To the delight of many Supernatural fans, it’s also been revealed that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki themselves will be dubbing a couple of the episodes in English!

I can't wait for a group to sub this series! You can watch the trailer below:

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Music: "Fairies / Walking in the Air"

I found this lovely song, and it mesmerized me instantly. This is "Fairies" by the highly talented Chloe Agnew of Celtic Women. It is one of the most beautiful new age songs I have ever heard. This version reminds me of nature, travel, fantasy and time. It sounds innocent and peaceful. Click on the link below for the lyrics.

For those who desire a symphonic metal rock melody, this is the Nightwish (vocalist: Tarja Turunen) version:

Nightwish is also awesome and enchanting for its power.

Here are the lyrics:
We're walking in the air
We're floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below are sleeping as we fly

We're holding very tight
I'm rising in the midnight blue
And finding I can fly so high above with you

All across the world
The villages go by like dreams
The rivers and the hills, the forests and the streams

Children gaze, open mouthed
Taken by surprise
Nobody down below believes thier eyes

We're surfing in the air
we're swimming in the frozen sky
We're drifting over icy mountains floating by

Suddenly swooping low
On an ocean deep
Rousing up a mighty monster from his sleep

We're walking in the air
We're dancing in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Novella: The Sookie Stackhouse Companion (2011)

In February 2011, Charlaine Harris will release a novella based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse novel series. Called The Sooke Stackhouse Companion, it will include everything you need to know about the series plus an exclusive interview with Alan Ball, the executive producer of the True Blood series on the HBO Channel. There will also be a fourth season, which will premiere in summer of 2011! More fantastic news!

According to the description, readers will:

• Tour Bon Temps, the small Louisiana town that Sookie calls home, and visit the houses of her Gran and her sometime vampire lover, Bill
• Prowl around the werewolf and were-panther communities
• Browse through her best friend Tara's dress shop
• Belly up to the bar in Merlotte's, where Sookie works
• Get must-have Bon Temps recipes-including Caroline Bellfleur's famous chocolate cheesecake
• Test themselves with trivia questions from the series

This sounds like an excellent edition for any collection. You can pre-order your copy on today!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Shikabane Hime (2008-2009)

Shikabane Hime (2008-2009) is a dark Japanese action anime series about an undead girl, Hoshimura Makina, who must hunt down 108 undead corpses in order to gain entry into heaven. A secret society of anti-corpse Buddhist priests assist her efforts; her ultimate goal is destroying the ones who that murdered her family. Its English translation is "Corpse Princess." It contains 25 episodes (1st season, Aka: 13 episodes; 2nd season, Kuro: 12 episodes).

Makina turns into a living corpse (shikabane) after she is mysteriously murdered. Tagami Keisei, a Buddhist priest, rescues and brings her to the Kougun Sect, a secret society who monitors and fights the living dead (corpses). After extensive training, Keisei becomes her contractor and becomes a Shikabane Hime: she receives Ingram MAC-11 machine guns to fight them. Shikabanes exist because they either died a tragic death or had a huge regret/obsession in life. They also usually have superhuman strength and human intelligence. However, if her contractor becomes injures or deceases, she also suffers the same fate (corpses lack runes, or life energy) or becomes a shikabane (curse driven by madness).

Meanwhile, Kagami Ouri, a normal high school boy who lives with Keisei in a loving foster home, becomes drawn to the darkness of the shikabane world. When he follows a mysterious black cat, he seems to appear where the corpses are an meets Makina for the first time. Do the two share a destiny together? Can they both defeat the Seven Stars (Shischisei), the destructive shikabane who murdered Makina's family?

Shikabane Hime series is full of action, drama and suspense. It is always a plus to learn more about Japanese mythology. Makina is an isolated character who gradually warms up to those close around her. I never understood the point of Ouri until he becomes her contractor in the second season. The series ends on a cliffhanger where no one knows if Makina and the Shikabane Himes truly destroyed the Seven Stars. Unfortunately, I never saw the 13th episode of the series. The producers decided to make the 13th episode available via DVD only. No one has bothered to buy and sub the episode into English.

Nevertheless, I am not one who focuses on zombies a.k.a. the undead or girls-with-guns plos (with the exception of Resident Evil franchise), but this is an excellent story worth watching. It is currently available to buy and rent on DVD.


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review: Blood Bank (Vickie Nelson #6)

Blood Bank, by Tanya Huff, is a collection of short stories based on the Blood novel series about Victoria "Vicki" Nelson and Henry Fitzroy. Most of the short stories take place around Blood Pact and Blood Debt. Some stories are historical, chronicling Henry's journeys as a vampire. The collection also includes the TV screenplay for the Blood Ties' episode, "Stone Cold."

This Town Ain't Big Enough: Vicki Nelson, private investigator-turned-vampire must deal with a new vampire encroaching in her territory (Toronto). Can she defeat the elder vampire without sacrificing her life?

What Manner of Man: Set in the early 1800s, Henry tries to track down a spy before their departure to France. (I really enjoyed this story because the previous books did not focus much on Henry's past as a vampire living in Europe.)

The Cards Also Say: A psychic warns Vicki a fanatic wants to kill her. Vicki must find who he is before he stakes her.

Other short stories include...

"The Vengeful Spirit of Lake Nepeakea"
"Someone to Share the Night"
"Another Fine Nest" *
"Critical Analysis" *
"So This Is Christmas"

Tanya Huff officially stated on her blog that there will be no more Blood stories. It also looks like the Blood Ties TV series will not resume either. You can still watch full episodes online or purchase the DVD on Amazon.

I know this review is long overdue. If you are a fan of Vicki Nelson and Henry Fitzroy, I highly recommend the Smoke series about young wizard-in-training, Tony Foster. He was a reoccurring minor character in the Blood books. In the Smoke series, he has a major role. You can read more about Henry and his new life with Tony in Vancouver, British Columbia. I also hope Tanya writes more Smoke novels. Overall, it was a pleasure to read Tanya Huff's novels over the decade, and she will remain one of my favorite paranormal authors of all time.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Music Video: "Opheliac" by Emilie Autumn

I realized it has been over a year since I posted a song by Emilie Autumn. This song is part of her Opheliac (2006) album, her third full-featured album to receive full distribution around the world. Her music is typically a mixture of neo-classical, medieval and electronica. She writes, performs and produces most of her songs. If you listen to her other songs, she is very gifted on the violin and her lyrics can be very dark and emotional. Nonetheless, I think she is great and recommend it to anyone who likes this kind of music.

"Opheliac" by Emilie Autumn
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Supernatural 6th Season Premieres September 24, 2010

The sixth season of Supernatural will air on Fridays at 9:00 pm ET in the United States on the CWTV Channel and will premiere on September 24, 2010.

From the CWTV website:

Season 6 will be a season of mystery and shadow. Heaven and Hell have been left in complete disarray since the apocalyptic events of Season 5. And now, monsters, angels and demons roam across a lawless and chaotic landscape. And so Dean Winchester, who has retired from hunting and sworn never to return, finds himself being pulled back into his old life -- pulled back by none other than Sam Winchester, who has escaped from Hell. The two reunite to beat back the rising tide of creatures and demon-spawn, but they quickly realize that neither are who they used to be, their relationship isn't what it used to be, and that nothing is what it seems.

I can hardly wait. Mark your calendars and stay tuned!

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

New York Man Survives 39-Story Fall from Apartment

Some people are wondering whether divine intervention played a role in this miraculous story. A New York man, 22, survived a 39-story fall from an apartment complex after he tried to commit suicide. He landed on a parked car where he broke his legs. Meanwhile, the owner of the parked car admitted he rarely parks in that zone. He wonders if the rosary beads in his car saved the man's life.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Tsukihime Lunar Legend (2006)

Tsukihime Lunar Legend (2006) is a Japanese supernatural horror anime show. It takes place in contemporary Japan. The show can be very graphic, so viewer discretion is advised. It also contains 12 episodes.

Shiki Tohno is a second-year high school student. In his childhood, he suffered a life-threatening injury. When he regained consciousness, he could see "death lines" (Mystic Eyes of Death Perception) which allowed him to slash and kill objects with perfect accuracy. However, this new ability gives him major headaches and weakens his overall strength. He wears eyeglasses so that he cannot see the death lines and live a normal life. After this incident, he was forced to live with distant relatives. Eight years later, he was summoned to return to the Tohno family house. There, he has a sister, Akiha Tohno, who has assumed responsibility of the household after the death of their father. With two personal maids, the Tohno family come from a wealthy background. As a result, Shiki has difficulty adjusting back to this traditional lifestyle.

On his way home, he meets a mysterious blonde woman with red eyes in the park. He later finds out her name is Arcueid Brunestud, a very old vampire princess whom he "murdered" using his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. However, he does not remember the incident. Since his skills are highly useful, Arcueid recruits him to help her fight Roa. She is in a much weaker state (she can only use 30% of her power) and uses the remaining power to suppress her vampiric urges (e.g. need for blood). Meanwhile, Shiki notices his classmate, Ciel, has supernatural abilities and often rescues him when trouble arises. He later founds out Ciel used to be Roa's vessel in a previous reincarnation and fights for the Church to regain her humanity.

As Shiki helps Arcueid with her supernatural cases, he also investigates the lineage of the Tohno household. When he discovers Akiha drinking blood from one of the maids, he is determined to understand what really happened eight years ago. This will put him in very dangerous territory. Will he survive long enough to uncover the truth?

I found this series on Anime News Network when I was looking for similar titles under subject terms "vampires" and "horror" and "supernatural." Although this show is short, the plot was very interesting and suspenseful. There were times when I often questioned Shiki's behavior because he can come across as indifferent and uncaring although the accident left him mentally paralyzed. The level of action picks up dramatically in the last few episodes when Shiki fights the new reincarnation of Roa, which also answers many secrets about the Tohno family. The ending is also emotional when one of the main characters dies. Overall, it you are looking for a short and serious vampire anime, then I highly recommend this show.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4)

"By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargaiend for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan--and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close rlationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after.

It'll be her friends."

Bone Crossed, by Patricia Briggs, is the fourth novel in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy, a coyote shapeshifter, is learning to move on because she survived one of the darkest periods in her entire life: rape victim. Meanwhile, she receives an unexpected guest in her home. Stefan, a vampire friend who appears nearly shaken, drained and decomposed, needs blood fast. Fortunately, two alpha werewolves (Adam and Samuel) are with her to help him. Worse, Mercy discovers a huge magical bone-crossed painting on her garage store. It is a warning from Marsilia, the Vampire Queen in her area, that she is a traitor and they are watching her. When one member of Adam's pack nearly dies in an event instigated by the vampires, Mercy realizes her own friends are also targets.

Fearing for her safety, the werewolves perssuade her to leave the Tri-Cities and investigate a haunting in her best friend's house in Spokane, Oregon until they can resolve the local situation. A healthy Stefan agrees to protect her from the other vampires. What she did not expect is that an ancient vampire, known as the Monster, is responsible for the hauntings and terrors inflicted upon her friend's family. He is the most powerful vampire she has ever encountered. Can Mercy defeat the Monster and save her friends in the Tri-Cities?

I enjoyed this novel very much. Briggs is a very talented writer who can combine subplots and different supernatural characters smoothly. There is plenty of action, humor and suspense that keeps you wanting more. Like Harris, Briggs explores the supernatural world in depth: fae, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and shapeshifters. Most importantly, I like the way Briggs explores Mercy's vulnerable side. Although she acts like a heroine, she also has feelings and thoughts too. She is a good person who thinks highly of her friends' well-being.

Since this novel was short (~300 pages), I finished it in four days. What surprised me was how Adam made her a member of the pack so quickly. Although I knew he wanted to protect her, this may cause more problems for her since she is not a werewolf. As his official mate, she will have to adjust to her new role in the pack. The next novel will actually discuss this ordeal for Mercy. Overall, I highly recommend this series. Good series with werewolves are hard to find these days.

Stay tuned for the fifth novel in the Mercy Thompson series, Silver Borne.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Daily Mail: Boy, 13, Struck by Lightning on Friday the 13th

Yikes! Talk about major bad luck. From the UK's Daily Mail:

LONDON (Aug. 15) -- Friday the 13th proved especially unlucky for one 13-year-old British boy, who was struck by lightning at exactly 13:13 on the much-feared date.

The teenager was among a crowd of 170,000 people watching an aeronautical display at the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival in the east of England when he was zapped by a bolt from the sky, reported The Mirror. He suffered minor burns and is expected to make a full recovery.

Now you know why people fear Friday the 13th. He is very lucky to be alive!

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Winston Churchill and UFO Conspiracy

There is an conspiracy theory spreading on the Internet that Winston Churchill, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, held classified reports about a possible UFO during World War II.

It's a conspiracy theory worthy of the "X-Files," and it goes like this: Churchill, then the prime minister, apparently ordered a cover-up of an encounter between a Royal Air Force bomber and an unidentified flying object during World War II. The reason: Churchill feared that news of the incident would create public panic and a loss of faith in religion.

He ordered that the information about the possible UFO incident remain secret for a period of 50 years. Decades later, people now have access to these files and the new information (e.g., photos, reports) is quite profound and alarming.

Check out the video below:

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Review: Mai HiME (2004-2005)

Mai HiME (2004-2005) is a contemporary Japanese snime series where several high school girls must engage in battle to protect the school and save the world. This series contains 26 episodes.

Mai Tokiha and her younger brother, Takumi, have received a scholarship to attend the prestigious Fuuka Academy, a K-12 private school. They take advantage of this opportunity to live better and normal lives. However, rumors spread that there are monsters that lurk in the shadows and cause trouble. Mai realizes that she and twelve other female classmates possess the supernatural powers of HiME (Highly-advanced Materializing Equipment), which allows them to fight the monsters (orphans). Each HiME can materialize their own abilities (elements) and can summon metallic guardians (childs).

Mai learns to adapt to these changes as she tries to take care of her sickly brother and to avoid trouble whenever possible. With two partners (Mikoto Minagi and Natsuki Kuga) by her side, they investigate the origins of HiMEs and an evil organization (Searrs Foundation) is responsible for the creatures appearing on their school grounds. With different personalities and backgrounds, all thirteen girls must determine who they truly care about and why they want to fight. They must survive a deadly game where the loser not only sacrifices her soul but also loses the one they love.

I watched this show several years ago, and it still remains as one of my top ten best anime shows of all time. The main cast are mostly female, and they are smart, funny, and dangerous. The story development, characters' personalities, and action sequences were excellent. While there are some romance and comedy effects, this is a serious show where these destined female characters fight to discover the truth about HiME warriors.

The music is also phenomenal. I still play some of the songs, especially the tracks by the extremely talented composer, Yuki Kaijura. If you have not heard of her, please listen to her music on YouTube! She has produced background songs for many anime shows. Her music is full of energy and emotion, and she even has her own language!

Overall, I highly recommend this show. Although the creators produced another series that is set in an alternate universe (Mai-Otome), Mai-HiMe is considered the better series. This show is available to buy and rent. I also included a bonus track below. Please check it out! Enjoy!

Shining Days - Minami Kuribayashi

Kimi Ga Sora Datta - Aki Misato

Bonus: Mezame - Yuki Kaijura
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review: Witch Fury (Elemental Witches #4)

Sarafina Connell is having the worst week of her life. It takes an even darker turn when an infamous playboy kidnaps her and reveals a world she never knew existed....

It's a world where magick is real, and where Sarafina is given a chance to join a secret cabal that is bent on gaining absolute power. They could use a woman like her -- a witch with an untapped gift fo creating fire. But she isn't about to get in league with the devil...."

Witch Fury, by Anya Bast, is the fourth book in the Elemental Witches series. After burying her beloved foster mother in Kentucky, Sarafina returns to Chicago where she can live a normal life and forget about her tormented childhood memories. Before she can grieve, her life changes forever when Duskoff International CEO and heartthrob, Stefan Faucheaux, kidnaps her and her dog, Gossett, from her home. The warlock tells Sarafina that she has a powerful, untapped gift – she is a fire witch. Initially, she laughed because she thought he was insane but she began to make the connection when her biological mother died in a fiery blaze. She also meets an Atrika daemon named Bai who wants something precious from her.

Meanwhile, a group of witches storm into the house where she was held captive. Theo Winters, the group leader, takes Sarafina with her as a prisoner, whom he assumes is a warlock. They return to the Chicago coven, the witches’ headquarters, where Sarafina informed her hosts of Stefan’s plans and the Atrika daemons. The coven witches panic because daemons should not have the ability to travel between Earth and Eudae (daemon world). Worse, aaemon magick (the elemental witches) has no effect on daemons. Their only weakness is copper, and their blood is acidic on human contact.

Thomas Monahan, the coven leader, orders Theo to guard and train Sarafina. She meets the other witches and gradually gains control of her untapped power. When she volunteers to spy on Stefan, Theo almost loses his mind. Over time, he has developed sexual and romantic feelings for her, but he fears getting close to her because his previous two lovers suffered horrible deaths. Can he gain the confidence to tell Sarafina his true feelings, or will he lose her forever to Stefan and his Atrika bodyguards?

I really enjoyed this novel, especially last few chapters. I was hesitant to read this novel because the third novel disappointed me with bad plot development and poor pacing. Nevertheless, Bast's talent emerged in this story with action, comedy, and suspense. The sexual imagery was intense and realistic. Despite the loss throughout the plot, it tied up loose ends and finished on a positive note. I feel glad that I picked this author last year.

Sadly, this is the final installment in the Elemental Witches series. Overall, this was an excellent series. I enjoyed reading about Mira (Witch Fire), Isabelle (Witch Blood), Claire (Witch Heart), and Sarafina (Witch Fury). Each woman brought their own unique experiences to the coven. Their lovers (Jack, Thomas, Adam, and Theo. respectively) also become better men. I highly recommend this series.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Series: Being Human (BBC)

I recently discovered a new British television drama series that will interest paranormal fans of all ages. There are a total of three seasons. The first season premiered in 2009.

Being Human is about the extraordinary lives of three twenty-somethings and their secret double-lives as a vampire (Mitchell), a werewolf (George), and a ghost (Annie). They struggle to hide their dark secrets and live normal lives in the city of Bristol. Meanwhile, danger is always lurking when a vampire leader wants to kill Mitchell, and a group of religious zealots wants to rid the world of all monsters.

I just watched the first season, and I am completely hooked! I will need to watch the second season to follow the trio's next challenge. The show is modern, simple, and witty. There is less focus on special effects and more emphasis on what it is like to be human. Although the main cast realizes they are "monsters" from a paranormal perspective, they want to repent and regain their humanity.

The third season will premiere on July 24 at 10:00pm EST on the BBC America Channel.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: Song in the Dark (Vampire Files #11)

Going through a difficult recovery from a near-fatal clash with a sadistic gangster, Jack's unwillingly drawn into solving a brutal murder at the Nightcrawler Club. But that's nothing compared to the death sentence hanging over him. There's no escaping gangland "justice," especially when it comes from Whitey Kroun--a mob kingpin who can scare even a vampire!

Song in the Dark, the eleventh book in the Vampire Files series, has Jack Fleming, vampire club owner of Lady Crymsyn, taking care of his injured friend's (Gordy Weems) nightclub, The Nightcrawler. Before he can recuperate his life, he must deal with several mob business, which involves his life and other new characters, who often annoy his mood. The New York mobs want to know how he survived a horrifying punishment that would have killed any normal human being. They also want to know how he killed the man (Hog Bristow) who tortured him. The people back in New York don't like what happened to Bristow, but Jack manages to leave without any threats or executions. However, his life becomes more complicated.

Some bodyguards ("muscle") don't like the fact he controls Gordy's business. Although Jack Fleming is 37 years old, he looks much younger because he is immortal. He has several people on his watch: Alan Caine, a New York stage singer who has a habit for upsetting the wrong people; Mitchell, muscle who used to work for Morelli, the same mob boss who tried to kill Jack (Bloodlist) nearly a year ago; and the whereabouts on child kidnapper, Hirley Gilbert Dugan, remain unknown (see Cold Streets) despite the ongoing reward for his capture. This supporting cast helps him live his life as normal and safe as possible: Bobbi Symthe, stage entertainer and Jack's girlfriend; Charles Escott, British private agent and best friend; Shoe Coldfield, black ganglord of Chicago's Bronze Belt; and Myrna, the resident club ghost of Lady Crymsyn.

Although Jack Fleming survived the severe torture, his body has not completely healed from that event. The physical scars are still visible on his body. He has sporadic seizures and headaches where vanishing does little to ease the pain. His thirst for blood is uncontrollable, including his increasing desire for human blood. He doesn't need individuals, such as Mitchell, to reappear from the past and bring back haunting memories. Meanwhile, a couple are found dead and someone is on the trail to kill more. Will Jack be able to solve this murder mystery before all of Chicago tries to hunt him down? Will he also be able to overcome his panic attacks?

I finally finished this book. Who would have ever thought a vampire could have such mental breakdowns and ruthless enemies? The ending is spectacular! I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but if Elrod decides to write another book in this series, that character just has to be in it!!! Spoiler alert: Who would have thought that Jack Fleming would meet another vampire?

I really enjoyed this novel because I gained a better understanding of how mobs run their businesses. I also learned the hierarchical structure and what happens to members who disobey authority. Readers will also get to see a more vulnerable Jack Fleming, who contemplates suicide as a possibility to end the panic attacks and hellish nightmares. Plus, the entire cast is involved with some new people from the first book, Bloodlist. It just makes me want to read it all over again.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to Elrod fans and those who have never picked up a Vampire Files novel. This series contains a lot of action, comedy, mystery and suspense. Plus, it takes place in 1930s Chicago! If you have not visited Chicago, please visit! You will also learn American pop-culture history on the side. If you're looking for a paranormal mystery series with nightlife and mobs, this is definitely the book for you.

Stay tuned for the twelfth novel in the Vampire Files series, Dark Road Rising.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Twilight Parody: "Vampire Sucks" Premieres August 18, 2010

It has finally leaked. Vampire Sucks, a parody of the Twilight Saga series, will premiere in theaters on August 18, 2010. I highly recommend watching the three Twilight films before you see this movie. Here is the trailer:

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Love Song for a Vampire" by Annie Lennox (Music Video)

I recently watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), and listened to the song that was playing during the credits. It is difficult to believe this movie premiered nearly twenty years ago. Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves were emerging stars in their movie careers. Dracula, produced by Francis Ford Coppola, still remains one of the best vampire movies of all time.

This is “Love Song for a Vampire” (1993) by the synthpop-rock diva, Annie Lennox. She is a Scottish singer, who was also a member of the band, The Eurythmics. In the video, she wears a long white dress in a dark and gloomy garden. Various scenes from the movie play in the background. I love this song because it captures the film’s mood and forbidden love between Count Dracula and Mina. Annie Lennox has always been captivating throughout her career. Her image is mystical and confident.

You can find the lyrics to the song in the link below.

Come into these arms again
and lay your body down
The rhythm of this trembling heart
is beating like a drum
It beats for you it bleeds for you
it knows not how it sounds
For it is the drum of drums
it is the song of songs

Once I had the rarest rose
that ever deemed to bloom
Cruel winter chilled the bud
and stole my flower too soon
Oh loneliness Oh hopelessness
to search the ends of time
For there is in all the world
no greater love than mine.

Love o love o .... still falls the rain
Love o love o .... still falls the night
Love o love o .... damned forever

Let me be the only one
to keep you from the cold
Now the floor of heaven is laid
the stars are bright as gold
They shine for you they shine for you
they burn for all to see
Come into these arms again
and set this spirit free

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Review: Kemonozume (2006)

Kemonozume (2006) is a graphic action Japanese anime that takes place in contemporary Japan. It adopts an unorthodox animation style that symbolizes the show’s freakish and jagged storyline. It contains thirteen episodes. Viewer discretion is advised (violence, indecent exposure and blood).

The descendants of ancient cannibal monsters, the Shokujinki, survive by eating the flesh of humans. Their hands turn into beast claws. They can assume human form and live in the shadows while they hunt. A group of skilled swordsmen, the Kifuuken, is responsible for slaying these monsters. Toshihiko Momota, the son of the organization’s leader, falls in love with a woman named Yuka. However, trouble arises in this forbidden romance when it is revealed that she is a Shokujinki. Their relationship becomes more complicated when Toshihiko vows to protect Yuka from his own clan.

When I watched this show several years ago, I thought it was weird. The animation style was intriguing and repulsive. The plot was scary and genius. The characters are thrown into chaos and hell as they try to defeat the unstoppable villain. meanwhile the two main characters believe in the power of love to overcome their different worlds.

This show is also not for the faint of heart. It has several elements: bloodshed, nudity, violence, and gore. I would rate this show under the label, NC-17, which means no one under 17 years of age should watch it. If you are looking for material related to monsters, I recommend this show. Its unconventional animation makes it a worthy consideration.

Due to the violent nature of this show, it has not been licensed in North America.

"Auvers Blue" by Katteni Shiyagare

"Suki" by Santara

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review: Eclipse (2010)

Eclipse (2010) is the third film in the Twilight Saga, a teen paranormal novel series by Stephanie Meyer. It takes place in contemporary Forks, Washington.

Mysterious murders and disappearances haunt the city of Seattle. Edward Cullen and his family suspect that a new vampire is creating a new army of newborns (recently turned vampires who have an uncontrollable thirst for blood). Meanwhile, Bella Swan is preparing for high school graduation. The change is also near -- she agreed to turn into a vampire after she marries Edward a year later. She wishes to see her friend and werewolf, Jacob Black. Fearing for her safety, Edward hesitantly allows her to visit Jacob, knowing that the wolf pack will not harm her. During her visits, she learns the history of the wolf pack's encounter with the "cold ones" (vampires) in the region. Rosalie Cullen also warns her about the costs of becoming a vampire. She she would be eternally frozen in time and desire one thing most of all -- blood.

During a graduation party, Alice Cullen receives a vision that Victoria, a vampire who wants to kill Bella, has returned to Forks. She is responsible for the new army of newborns, who are committing the Seattle murders. The Cullens and werewolf pack join forces to defeat Victoria and her new minions. She has passed around Bella's scent so that they know who to target and kill. As everyone prepares for the important battle, Edward, Bella, and Jacob camp in the mountains. Flood of teen emotions emerge: Jacob expresses his love for Bella. While she wants to marry Edward, she is also in love with Jacob. At this time, Bella's uncertainty becomes obvious. When Jacob hears the news about the marriage, he runs away to join the rest of the pack. He is heartbroken over Bella's decision to turn into a vampire.

Can Bella love two men at once? Does she want to change into a vampire? Will Victoria finally avenge her lover's death?

Eclipse continues the story of 18-year-old Bella Swan and her vampire love, Edward Cullen. Eclipse is preceded by New Moon and followed by Breaking Dawn. I had the unique opportunity to watch this film almost entirely by myself in the movie theaters. I thought this film was better than New Moon. It had a suspenseful plot that delivered good action in the end. Although this film is made for teen audiences, young adults will enjoy the serious undertones.

The storyline focused mostly on the core love triangle: Bella, Edward, and Jacob. Her high school friends had minor parts in the film and were never seen again. The Cullens and werewolves finally collaborated together once they realized they had a common enemy. I was most impressed with Jasper Hale's acting. He had such minor roles in previous films that he truly shined in this installment. Audiences learned his history (Civil War-era), and his encounters with newborns. It was nice to see him as a hero for a change.

Bella has a lot to ponder. She wants to make everyone else happy, but hasn't really focused on her own feelings until now. She loves two men, but she can only be with one. The question now is who will it be in the next film?

Stay tune for the next film in this popular series, Breaking Dawn. It tentative release date is November 18, 2011. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Review: Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)

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 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 she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won't join him, he won't rest until he's silenced her...forever.

Spirit Bound, by Richelle Mead, is the fifth book in the Vampire Academy series. After Rosemarie (Rose) Hathaway returns to St. Vladimir's Academy to finish her education, several thoughts are running through her mind. She cannot forget her former lover because she discovers his new life as a ruthless Strigoi (undead vampire). This revelation aches her so much because she still loves him. She passes her guardian examination near the top of her class, and can finally start a new life as an adult outside the school grounds. She gradually starts a new relationship with Adrian and heads to the Moroi headquarters with her best friend, Lissa.

Meanwhile, Dimitri sends her letters stating that she's watching her, and she knows he is hunting her whenever she leaves the protection of the wards. Nevertheless, she cannot forget what she learned from her trip in Siberia: there is way to heal a Strigoi. This hopeful message forces Rose to develop a plan. This means a visit from the man who tried to kill her best friend. Before Rose can reunite with Dimitri, she has several obstacles in her path: who is more important to her? Lastly, can she face the consequences for her actions? More danger lies ahead of her if she is not careful.

I read this novel in a week. Seriously, it only took me seven days to read nearly 500 pages. I enjoyed this story very much, and I am still anxious for more information about Rose's future! Each chapter compelled me in such a way that I did not want to stop reading. I have been reading vampire mystery novels since high school, and this is one of the best young adult vampire series out there today.

I love Richelle Mead's writing style. Her stories are easy to read with suspense, romance, and action. She has a great command over her character's development and the complicated emotions that can happen when friends and lovers are apart. I sympathize with Rose because her life was torn upside down when she lost Dmitri. Now, she must prove her innocence before the Moroi Court or face death! There are so many twists, but it makes the plot even more interesting and mysterious.

Stay tuned for the sixth and final novel in the Vampire Academy series, Last Sacrifice

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Review: The Myth (2005)

The Myth (2005) is a historical adventure-fantasy film. It is loosely based on the real general, Meng Yi, during the Qin dynasty (221 - 206 BC). It stars Jackie Chan, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Kim Hee-sun, and Mallika Sherawat. Other settings include contemporary India and Hong Kong. The film title is also known as "San wa" in traditional Chinese (Mandarin).

Jackie Chan stars as Jack Lee, a famous archaeologist, who sets out on an amazing adventure to find clues about his past life. With his companion, William, they search for a rare material that can create a field of zero gravity in India. As he ventures further into his dream, he starts to connect the visions in his dreams. Their journey leads them back to China for the final clue to the puzzle.

In his past life, he is a Qin Dynasty general, Meng Yi, who falls in love with the king’s new concubine, Ok-Soo, whom he escorted and rescued when a raid thwarts their procession. The South Korean princess also falls in love with him and vows to stay by his side. When the emperor falls severely ill, he requests for the immortality elixir, which can save his life. When Meng Yi dies in battle, Ok-Soo and his companion, Nangong, are accused of treason and forced to drink the elixir. As a result, they are imprisoned in the emperor’s mausoleum for eternity.

In his journey, he discovers one of the greatest treasures in ancient China: the royal mausoleum of China’s first emperor, Shihuang, who was infatuated with immortality. Both Jack and William realize that the rare material is a fragment of a meteorite that fell on China during the Qin Dynasty. With the meteorite, the entire royal mausoleum is a floating sanctuary. Jack Lee also reunites with Ok-Soo, who has been waiting for him to return for nearly 2,000 years. However, their reunion is short-lived when Ok-Soo realizes Jack is not Meng Yi anymore and the world has changed since her time. After Jack escapes, the royal mausoleum collapses.

I loved this movie. The plot has a silly fantasy twist near the end, but I constantly wonder about the two lovers' fate. I quarreled with my friends whether Ok-Soo will finally reunite with Jack lee in a future life. The action was good, and I liked the scenes in India. I can tell Jackie Chan put a lot of serious effort into making the film. Unlike his prior comedic movies, this one has a more serious undertone. The theme song, "Endless Love," which is sung in Mandarin Chinese, is a beautiful classic. The duet capture the emotion of the ill-fated romance perfectly. Plus, Jackie Lee is a great singer!

Good news: If you want to watch more about historical legend, there is a new TV series based on the movie earring in China right now.

It is available to buy and rent on DVD.

Endless Love (Music Video)

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Review: Dead in the Family (Southern Vampire #10)

Sookie Stackhouse is dealing with a whole host of family problems, ranging from her own kin (a non-human fairy and a telepathic second cousin) demanding a place in her life, to her lover Eric's vampire sire, an ancient being who arrives with Eric's 'brother' in tow at a most inopportune moment. And Sookie's tracking down a distant relation of her ailing neighbour (and ex), Vampire Bill Compton. In addition to the multitude of family issues complicating her life, the werewolf pack of Shreveport has asked Sookie for a special favour, and since Sookie is an obliging young woman, she agrees. But this favour for the wolves has dire results for Sookie, who is still recovering from the trauma of her abduction during the Fairy War.

Dead in the Family, the tenth novel in the Southern Vampire series, takes place in contemporary Bon Temps, Lousiana. Her former roommate, Amelia, returns to New Orleans; her fairy cousin, Claude, moves in with her after the death of his sister, Claudette. After the Fairy War in the previous novel, Bill, Sookie's ex-vampire boyfriend, is recovering slowly from silver poisoning. Sookie takes it upon herself to find a missing kin to cure him. Alcide, leader of the local werewolves, asks Sookie for a favor to use her land for hunting. She discovers there are several dead bodies on her land, and someone not human has been trespassing in the woods.

Meanwhile, both Sookie and Eric confessed their love for each other and begin to take their relationship seriously. Before they can enjoy their time together, his maker, Appius Livius Ocella, appears with his new child/playmate, Alexei. His presence puts a strain on their relationship because Eric must heed to his maker's bidding. Then, Sookie develops ambivalent feelings for Eric once this new person and other important tasks enter her life. She still has not recovered fully from the Fairy War. Who is the dead body in her backyard? Why is the mystery person targeting her specifically? Sookie better watch her back carefully, because the deeper she dwells into the supernatural world, the harder it is to step back into the human world.

Before I begin my review, I was very excited to read this tenth addition in the Southern Vampire series. I love the character, Sookie Stackhouse, and her supernatural reality. I am also a huge fan of the True Blood series on HBO. When I heard that this book was officially released last month, I could not wait to continue reading more about Sookie's amazing journeys. The last novel impressed me with awe-inspiring suspense. If you a new visitor, please browse my previous reviews on this series under the "harris" label.

However, this book disappointed me. I wanted to enjoy it like the previous novels, but the storyline did not flow well. Some parts of the plot felt haphazardly written. Characters that I thought would receive more attention (e.g., her nephew) were only mentioned in two chapters and never heard from again. The appearance of a famous historical figure also felt strange because it happened so abruptly and I never felt as though I understood the character's background. Lastly, there were so many subplots in this novel that I wonder how does Sookie manage to live her own life!

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this novel. I thought it could have been written better with fewer characters and side stories. The new characters did not amaze me; their portrayal was short-lived. The entire plot became difficult later for me to follow on several occasions. I also lacked the compulsion to continue reading. Harris disappointed me in a major way with this story.

Stay tuned for the eleventh book in the Southern Vampire series, Dead Reckoning.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Music Video: "Fate" by Lee Sun Hee

This is "Fate - In Yeon" by Lee Sun Hee, one of the best Korean female singers I have ever heard. This is originally from the movie, The King and the Clown. In the background, she has the 12 Girls Band playing the Chinese musical instruments. Just beautiful music! The English lyrics are provided in the video.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Colorado Girl Survives Lightning Strike Without Scratch

This is an amazing miracle. A nine-year-old Colorado girl survives a lightning strike -- without a scratch!

"I was laying down, the lightning came through the window and shocked my foot," 9-year-old Lexie Archuleta told a local CBS station.

Lexi was in her bedroom watching television on Wednesday when the lightning hit her Commerce City, Colo., home, and shocked her, reported a NBC news affiliate. Lexie was barely able to speak after the incident.

"My daughter is just freaking out saying her insides are burning," her mother, Tracy Archuleta, told CBS.

When Lexie was taken to hospital for tests, she didn't show any sign of serious injuries.

She is extremely lucky. Thirty-four people were killed and 253 injured by lightning strikes in the United States last year, according to Click here to read the rest of this post...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bizarre Dead Creature Found near Canadian Lake

When my friend told me about this breaking news, I couldn't believe it.

Locals in a small Canadian town have been stumped by the appearance of a bizarre creature, which was dragged from a lake.

The animal, which has a long hairy body with bald skin on its head, feet and face, has prompted wild internet speculation that it is a more evolved version of the famous 'Montauk monster'.

The "Montauk monster" name originates from the finding of another similar creature that washed ashore a New York beach in 2008. I must admit it looks very ugly. Some bloggers think it is a chupacabra, which is rumoured to inhabit parts of the United States. Click here to read the rest of this post...

Friday, May 7, 2010

True Blood Season 3 Premieres June 13, 2010

The third season premiere for True Blood begins Thursday, June 13, 2010 on HBO. I am very excited and cannot wait!

In the meantime, you can watch minisodes (short side stories) leading up to the season premiere.

Minisode #1: Fantagsia Tryouts
Minisode #2: A Baby Vamp Walks into a Bar...
Minisode #3: Jessica

To be continued...

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Monday, May 3, 2010

New: Paranormal Phenomena Links

By popular request, many readers wish they had more access to paranormal phenomena. I found 3 sites that seem credible and provide good information. I realize I don't have the time to search for good mystery articles (which reminds me, I need to set up a personal RSS feeder in the near future!). I hope you find these sites useful. Please feel free to recommend and share more sites for future updates.

Paranormal Daily News
This blog covers paranormal news on topics such as aliens, UFOs, and ghost hauntings. The site has been active since May 2009.

Paranormal News
This site pretty much covers everything -- crop circles, UFOs, ancient mysteries, ghost hauntings, Mars/Moon anomalies, you name it. It also contains a forum, links, and news feed that is regularly updated on ghost hauntings.

Paranormal News Central
This site contains paranormal topics about unsolved mysteries, UFOs, weird/bizarre, ghost hauntings, and even cryptozoology! The site was recently redesigned in March 2010.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Review: Dance in the Vampire Bund (2010)

Dance in the Vampire Bund is a vampire romance anime that takes place in contemporary Japan. It contains 12 episodes.

Vampires, who have lived for centuries in the shadows, have reemerged into the human world. Mina Tepes, the princess ruler of all vampires, establishes a bund (an enclosed special district) with the financial help of the Japanese government where all vampires worldwide can live normal and peaceful lives. Although she looks prepubsecent, she has a cocky and assertive attitude and cares for the welfare of her species. She reveals to the world through the media the existence of vampires and wants both races to co-exist peacefully. Meanwhile, she searches for her guardian and lover who lives somewhere in Japan.

Akira, a high school student, suffered amnesia and has no recollection of his roots. He is kind, gentle, and very protective of his friends and loved ones. He later learns that he is a werewolf by birth who has undergone extensive training to become the guardian of the vampire princess. Throughout the story, he protects Mina from various enemies and later falls in love with her. Before Mina and Akira can reunite, several high school students have disappeared and reemerged as converted vampires. Conservative human and vampire extremists are also planning to assassinate her. She must also engage in a battle of roulette to save the lives of those dear to her.

My final exams are over, and I have just completed my first year in graduate school. I have a four-month break where I can just relax and focus on this blog. I know I somewhat abandoned it this year because my school work kept me extremely busy. Imagine being inundated with endless papers and weekly deadlines! The good news is I have purchased new novels and gradually added new anime over the months. Anyways, back to the review...

I finished this show last month, and I really enjoyed it. It had a lot of humor and action. Vampires and werewolves joined together to fight the vampire extremists. As usual, the extremists treated humans as guinea pigs and preferred living in isolation. Mina was also a complex character because she looks defiant on the outside but can appear weak when she is alone. She is also stronger than she looks because she is one of the few remaining true vampires -- very powerful. I am not sure if Akira truly loves her -- his love is more platonic because he vows to protect her.

My only disappointment is that I wish this show ran longer than 12 episodes. I never got a feel for the characters' personalities nor learn their background histories. The storyline seemed rushed. Lately, I noticed a lot of anime with fewer episodes in a series -- is this a trend related to the economic recession and lower budgets? I am not entirely sure, but I hope the production companies resume anime shows with 24+ episodes. Overall, I recommend the show!

This series is not available to buy or rent on DVD. Check back for more updates!

Opening song: "Friends" by Aiko Nakano

Ending song: "Tsumeato" by Hibuku

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

14 Greatest Vampire Stories of All Time

I received a link in my email called "Before Twilight: 14 Greatest Vampire Stories of All Time." It ranks the greatest print and screen vampire stories of all time. I actually like the Phlebotomy Technician Schools website's rankings (Sookie Stackhouse! Vampire Academy!) because it includes classics and upcoming popular series. I encourage everyone to view the site. It has made me consider other series to add to my wish list!

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crows Turning Up Dead on Campus

This is very scary news. At the University of North Alabama, crows and other birds are turning up dead across the campus. Officials are not sure what are causing the bird deaths, but they are not worried.

Since Thursday, crows have been turning up dead near the University of North Alabama campus. So far, at least 20 have been spotted. Although there haven't been any reports of people getting sick in that area, public health officials are taking notice.

Some offficials think it's the West Nile Virus, but the temperatures are not warm enough for mosquitoes. Could this be a supernatural event?

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