Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress #2)

"You can run form the grave, but you can't hide..."

One Foot in the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost, is the second novel in the Night Huntress series. Half-vampire Catherine "Cat" Crawfield works as a Special Agent for the federal government to depose rogue vampires and other supernatural beings. It has been five years since she has last seen Bones, her former vampire lover. She uses everything her former lover taught her in her professional role. With a new identity and new friends, her mother is under the best protection and Cat leads her own military team in expeditions. It was the best deal given her predicament in the previous novel. Nevertheless, her new life still feels empty.

When Cat finds herself the target of a failed assassination attempt, she must turn to the man she left behind. Her survival depends on teaming up with Bones again. No matter how much she tries to act professional, she realizes that her passion and desire for Bones grows stronger than ever. Furthermore, she may finally meet the man who is responsible for her existence. With this piece of news, there's no turning back for her, or her dearest friends may become his next targets.

Frost continues to impress me with her story-writing skills. I read this novel in three days; that's how much I enjoyed this novel. She also amps the magic with erotic sexual scenes that will make you swoon with passion. Vampire politics and hierarchies are explored in greater detail. Finally, the mysteries behind Cat's father and Bones' master are also revealed. How will Cat react in both situations?

Many years (five to be exact) have passed between the two novels. Now 27-28 years old, Cat is a mature professional woman who pursues her government job very seriously. Although she sacrificed the love of her life with this decision, she befriends new people and lives a stable life for once. Although she tries to date a human, a twist of fate occurs when Bones reappears in her life in the most surprising way. Surprised by his appearance, Cat almost loses her composure and feels relieved to be reunited with him again. With a bounty on her head, she needs his guidance and protection to live another day.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Night Huntress series, At Grave's End

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: Seto no Hanayome (2007)

Seto no Hanayome ~My Bride Is a Mermaid~ (2007) is a Japanese comedy anime about mermaids. It contains 26 episodes. It also contains a two-episode sequel (2008-2009) in the form of an original animation video (OAV). It is based on the manga by Kimura Tahiko.

During his summer vacation at Seto Bay, a young teenage boy, named Nagasumi Michishio, enters the water for a swim. Fortunately, he is saved from drowning by a mermaid. Later, he tells the rest of the family about the mermaid. Soon, a young girl named Sun Seto, appears at his home and begs Nagumi to mary her.

Under mermaid law, either the mermaid whose identity was revealed or the human who saw the mermaid must be executed. She is followed by two large thugs and they take both Nagumi and his parents to Sun's home under the sea. It appears that Sun's parents are mob bosses. Nagasumi is left with the choice of either death or marrying Sun. In an attempt to save both of their lives, Sun's family reluctantly agree to the marriage.

Sun's father, Gōzaburō, is enraged about his daughter's sudden marriage. In fact, some members of the mob are determined to bring an end to their relationship. Between Sun's father constant attempts on Nagasumi's life and adversaries who want to torment him at school, Nagumi has a hard time transitioning into his eccentric married lifestyle.

This is a cute mermaid romance comedy. I congratulate the producers for taking on this project. Few mermaid shows currently exist, and Seto no Hanayome won't disappoint viewers. The plot is funny, wild and crazy. You wonder how does Nagumi survive and keep his sanity! The artists also took cues from popular classic films; some of the mob bosses resemble yakuza gangsters and cult figures such as the Terminator. The plot is surprisingly consistent for its length, and the violence and facial expressions are exaggerated for comic relief. While it is hardly epic (some scenes are flat-out idiotic and thoughtless), I highly recommend it for those occasions when you need mild humor to brighten up your day.

Opening: "Romantic summer" by SUN&LUNAR

Ending: "Ashita e no Hikari" by Asuka Hinoi

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

'Grimm' and 'Once Upon a Time' Renewed for 2nd Season

It's official news. ABC's successful fairytale romance drama, Once Upon a Time, has been renewed for a second season. In case you haven't seen the ending, it left little doubt that magic hasn't totally disappeared in Storybrooke.
“We have some ideas for Season 2,” One element of a second season will be the addition of the Little Mermaid character of Ariel, who was alluded to on the show a few weeks ago. “It’s been challenging to pull off (this show) every week because we’re trying to balance two worlds and thematically link them,” said Kitsis, who co-created the show with Adam Horowitz. “We were never interested in just retelling the old (fairy) tales. Kitsis also revealed that all Once Upon A Time cast members were the producers’ first choice for the roles. “Everyone that we asked (to be on the show) said yes.”

Meanwhile, NBC also renewed its fairy tale crime drama, Grimm for a second season. Great news for both shows. I'm expecting Fall 2012 premiere dates. Stay tuned for more updates.

UPDATE: Grimm will premiere on Monday, August 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM EST. Once Upon a Time will premiere on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 8:00 PM EST. Enjoy the trailers!

Grimm 2nd Season Trailer

Once Upon a Time 2nd Season Trailer

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review: Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1)

"Sometimes you have to fight the undead with the half-dead..."

Halfway to the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost, is the first novel in the Night Huntress series. Catherine "Cat" Crawfield has a major vendetta against the undead. Her deadbeat father, a vampire, raped and dumped her mother, making her a mockery in the community. Her mother hates vampires and considers them an evil abomination. As a result, Cat is a half-vampire, possessing both human and vampire capabilities. She avenges her mother's misery by killing every vampire she comes across in the Columbus, Ohio region.

Cat's fate would forever change when she is captured by Bones, a 250-year-old vampire bounty hunter. She is amazed she does not end up as his dinner. In exchange for finding her father, Bones trains Cat into a merciless vampire hunter ready for battle. With superhuman strength, immunity to hypnosis and excellent weapon skills, she becomes a kick-ass, sexy assassin. In return, she assists Bones with finding vampires who work for Hennessey, an ancient vampire who runs a hierarchical white slavery (sexual exploitation) operation in Ohio.

Can good vampires actually exist? Cat will ultimately have to choose a side. Does she stay with Bones, who is not only deliciously handsome but also the love of her life, or protect her mother, since her anonymity has been blown, more powerful vampires will come after her? It's a heart-wrenching decision that she must decide on her own.

I heard good reviews about this author, and decided to start on the first novel. I am so glad that I picked the Night Huntress series. Cat has had a complicating upbringing, always atoning for her sins by taking her vengeance on vampires. As an outcast in her childhood, she hated the fact that she was half-vampire and her own family even feared her. Before she met Bones, she felt responsible for her mother's well-being.

Cat and Bones are a great couple together. They have good chemistry and work well as a team. At the same time, Cat is mortal and he is immortal. She will age while he will never age. Will he want to turn her into a vampire, going against her desire for humanity? I think Cat realized this when she had to decide which path was better for herself and her mother. Thus, the ending was fantastic because it sets up the next stage of Cat's life as a paranormal assassin for the U.S. military in future novels. I think I will enjoy this series.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Night Huntress series, One Foot in the Grave.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review: Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2)

"Down in Atlanta, tempers--and temperatures--are about to flare..."

Magic Burns, by Ilona Andrews, is the second novel in the Kate Daniels series. In post-apocalyptic Atlanta, paranormal energy ebbs and flows like waves. People live in two worlds: one moment, you can use technology for ordinary tasks; the next instance, magic renders it useless. Every seven years, a major flare hits the city, creating explosive magic and havoc in the air.

Kate, a mercenary by training, is on a mission to retrieve stolen maps for the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shape-shifters. It comes to her attention that the thief is a heroic warrior with superhuman abilities, including teleportation. To make matters worse, she also plays caregiver to a malmourished young girl who is homeless and in grave danger. In searching for her missing mother in Unicorn Lane -- where dark magic disrupts and consumes everything it touches, Kate discovers the girl's secret -- a magical gift so powerful that evil enemies want to exploit her.

Meanwhile, Kate gets more than what she bargains for when reeves and their sea-demon servants begin to appear on the streets on Atlanta. These monstrous beings want to take advantage of the magical flare to awaken their master, a god-like figure from Celtic mythology, bringing him from the underworld. Kate realizes everything is at stake -- she must fight to the end in order to protect her friends and humanity from ultimate destruction. If Kate cannot stop the awakening, the city may not survive.

This is the second Kate Daniels novel by the husband-and-wife writing team. Full of adventure and dark humor, the protagonist dives deep into action as she slays supernatural beings and investigate for more clues. The authors use their skills to add a touch of Celtic mythology to test Kate's knowledge and stamina. Curran, the Beast Lord of the Pack, and Kate are also an amusing couple: he tries to dominate and she refuses to submit. I sense that Kate will eventually fall for Curran, even if she does not desire His Majesty, in in future novels. Kate discovers her best friend's secret, and vows to protect her from the Order of Merciful Aid. While the missions become more dangerous, it's thrilling to watch Kate grow as a person and care for others' well-being. This book series is growing on me, and I am enjoying it immensely. I highly recommend it.

Stay tuned for the next review in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Strikes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New TV Show: Falling Skies (TNT)

Falling Skies is an American science fiction television drama that picks up six months into a world devastated by an alien invasion. The aftermath decimated most of the human population. Brainwashing harnesses are surgically inserted into children's spines, which forces them to serve the alien rulers. Few survivors have banded together across major cities to protect the remaining human civilians and fight back against the alien invaders. Tom Mason, a former Boston University history professor, becomes the second-in-command of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment, a group of fighters fleeing post-apocalyptic Boston.

The first season premiered on June 19, 2011 with 10 episodes. It debuted to 5.9 million viewers, making it cable's best launched series in 2011. The second season will premiere on June 17, 2012. A DreamWorks Television production, it is produced by Steven Spielberg and is broadcast on TNT Channel. I provide the trailer below: