Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: A Stirring of Dust (Forever Knight #1)

A Stirring of Dust (1997), by Susan Sizemore, is the first novel in the cult classic Forever Knight. Nick Knight is the protagonist, originally a medieval knight from Brabant (present-day Belgium and Holland) during the Crusades. He was brought across as a vampire by his master, LaCroix, in 1228. However, after centuries of killing humans to sustain himself with blood, he began to reject the vampire lifestyle, and desires to regain his his humanity--his mortality. In order to burn the thirst for blood and repay society for his past sins, Nick Knight decided to become a homicide detective for the Toronto Metropolitan Police.

In the city, police discover murder victims murdered in the most brutal fashion. Their throats are ripped apart, and their heads are missing. Initially, Nick Knight and his partner, Tracy Vetter, suspected a man recently released from prison for decapitating his wife committed the crime. Suddenly, if the victims heads are not cut off, they become walking zombies, or revenants. These creatures have vampire traits, but their skin cannot regenerate, and they lack rationality. Thus, Nick must suspect another horrific possibility from his long and dark past: an ancient monster among hiskind has awakened to seek revenge on Nick.

He was brought across in 1228, preyed on humans for their blood.

Now, he wants to be mortal again.

...to repay society for his sins...
...to emerge from his world of darkness...
...from his endless...
...Forever Knight.


A Stirring of Dust is the first novel in a three-book series based off the popular 1990s Canadian vampire detective cult series, Forever Knight. This show was amazing in two ways: 1) it set the standard for future vampire TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and 2) despite lack of funding, the acting was excellent, and 3) despite threats of cancellation, fans united to save the show for two more seasons. I watched it faithfully during my adolescent years on USA Network and Sci-Fi (now Syfy) Channel. I can remember many late nights looking forward to my favorite show (For the youngins', high-speed Internet did not exist back then!). After three seasons, it generated a cult status among fans; you can find hundreds of fan fiction stories across the Internet.

Due to show's popularity by loyal fans, Susan Sizemore, an American author of romance and science fiction, was asked to write a novel based on the television series. A Stirring of Dust was her first vampire romance novel in her career. She would later two more successful vampire romance novel series, Laws of the Blood and Prime Universe.

I am not sure why I waited years to start this book. It has been collecting dust on my bookshelf since my undergraduate days (!) until I decided to read the darn thing. Was my current life too chaotic to reminisce the past? Did I want to preserve what I last knew about this cult classic? Who knows. Nonetheless, I am delighted that I read this book because it brought back many childhood memories.

Stay tuned for the second novel in the Forever Knight series, Imitations of Immortality.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: Peach Girl (2005)

Peach Girl (2005) is a Japanese romantic teen drama about an average high school girl who everyone thinks is a slut because of her tanned skin and orange-bleached hair. This series has 25 episodes.

Momo Adachi, a former member of the high school swimming team, tans very easily and her hair is bleached out. She has a crush on a boy, Touji, whom she heard only likes non-tanned girls. This causes her to have low self-esteem. Therefore, she spends a lot of time trying to remake herself into the girl she believes he desires. Her best friend, Sae Kashiwagi, also likes Touji and attempts to steer him away from Momo by spreading false rumors in school, complicating matters and making her life miserable.

Meanwhile, there's another boy, Kairi Okayasu, who is in love with Momo. He is a popular and funny playboy who is determined to win over Momo's heart. Feeling sorry for Momo, he helps her get a date with Touji. In the show, Kairi later reveals to Momo that she had saved him from drowning in the high school pool during the summer. He reveals his true feelings by kissing the stunned Momo. Although she is finally dating her crush, she reconsiders her feelings for Kairi, eventually falling in love with him too. As the love triangle intensifies, Momo must juggle between the two boys' affections. Who will she ultimately choose?

I usually dislike writing negative reviews, but since I saw this show, I wanted to forewarn younger audiences who may stumble upon it. While the show is not terrible, the plot is not original either because it centers around Momo's tanned skin and bleached hair (hardly unusual in Western culture, but I digress.). Kairi is the only character who is funny and can see through Sae's facade, so his role alone prevents the show from failure. Momo also wonders back and forth what she should do in specific situations, which can be potentially annoying. Like most teen drama, the anime focuses on teenagers' low self-esteem and lack of trust issues. Nevertheless, The awkward character development and complicated love triangle would make anyone lose their mind.

Peach Girl sometimes feels forced and melodramatic with its happy and sad moments. While the animation is average, the soundtrack is pretty decent, especially the ending theme song by Sonim. I'm still unsure why I've re-watched this show twice, but maybe it is because Momo ultimately chooses the right guy (Kairi). The anime is also addictive because it makes you reflect and feel glad that you survived that part of your tumultuous childhood. I will admit that my adolescent days hit some low points (such as worrying about what others perceived me). The teen drama got higher ratings because viewers always wondered what other disaster could possibly happen to the lead characters. Overall, Peach Girl is primarily for the fans of the popular manga by Miwa Ueda. It is great to watch on a rainy day, but keep your expectations low.


Opening theme: "Baby Low Tension" by meg rock


Ending theme: Asunaro Ginga" by Sonim

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Grave Dance (Alex Craft #2)

"Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end--her own."

Grave Dance, by Kalayna Price, is the second novel in the Alex Craft series. The story takes place in the future in Nekros City, a territory founded for humans and the supernatural to co-exist after the Magical Awakening. Alex, a grave witch who can raise and speak to the dead, is recovering from a vicious fight with an evil sorcerer. Although she is ready to resume her normal life as a private investigator, her life is still in turmoil because of two things: 1) the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent, Falin Andrews, and 2) the love confession from Death himself. What is a girl supposed to do?

To distract herself, she accepts a new case that proves to be very dangerous. Missing body parts are washing ashore in the nature preserve, and police cannot identify the victims because there are no corpses. Alex assumes a a serial killer, possibly another witch, is involved because she discovers traces of dark gray magic. Magical constructs that resemble mythological creatures terrorize neighborhoods and almost take the lives of Alex's friends. As she continues her investigation, she learns more shocking secrets about her own ancestry. The rifts between the moral realm and Faerie (the world of the fae) are gradually crumbling; can Alex save humanity before it's too late?

Kalayna Price delivered another fascinating addition to this series. In fact, this novel was better than its debut, Grave Witch/ It was filled with action and suspense. The characters felt very real and likeable. Price has improved her story-writing skills, and it shows throughout the 370-page sequel.

Readers will discover the truth about Alex's ancestry, and learn what happened to her heartthrob, Falin Andrews. Although Death truly adores her, I do hope for Falin to end up with Alex in the end. Their chemistry works so well together, and Falin eventually chooses to follow his heart in spite of his role as the Winter Queen's personal knight. I can't wait to read the next book in this original series!

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Alex Craft series, Grave Memory.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

True Blood Season 5 Resumes June 10, 2012

The text below is from imdb.com and dailydead.com:

It was expected that True Blood‘s fifth season would return this June, but HBO has now officially announced the date of the season 5 premiere episode:

“The 12-episode fifth season of True Blood will kick off Sunday, June 10 at 9:00 p.m. (Et/Pt). Based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, this Emmy®-nominated hit drama series was created by Alan Ball, creator of HBO’s Emmy®-winning series “Six Feet Under.” The show follows waitress and part-faerie Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who can hear people’s thoughts, vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård).”

It has been previously revealed that this season will deal with supernatural elements and will also focus on the Vampire Authority.



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Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Lunchtime Reading Omnibus (P.N. Elrod)

Lunchtime Reading Omnibus, by P.N. Elrod, is a collection of Elrod's 16 short stories, spanning 15 years of writing in different genres. They have been re-edited and re-polished for this edition. Fans can now enjoy all the short stories in one book! It also contains 12 Vampire Files short stories, including a never-before-published story originally made for the novella, The Devil You Know! This collection is great to read one at a time during lunch break or before bedtime. For new readers, it may captivate you to buy her novels and view her visit her official website.

I have been an avid fan of P.N. Elrod since my high school days (Has it almost been ten years already?!). She was my first vampire mystery author, influencing me to pursue my undergraduate studies in Chicago (where Jack Fleming lived) and explore other paranormal mystery authors, such as Charlaine Harris and Tanya Huff. Although I think Elrod is underrated, her loyal fans have stuck by with her all these years. Her level of detail and characterization is amazing. I hope she publishes another Vampire Files novel because I can't wait to start on it!

Each story has been polished afresh for this anthology. Below are the titles:


  1. A Night at the (Horse) Opera (Vampire Files, Fleming)
  2. The Breath of Bast (Vampire Files, Ecsott)
  3. Bossman (Original mystery, no vamps)
  4. Slaughter (Vampire Files, Fleming & Gordy)
  5. The Devil's Mark (Original historical vampire)
  6. You'll Catch Your Death (Vampire Files)
  7. Izzy's Shoe-In (Historical mystery introducing Izzy DeLeon, fearless girl reporter)
  8. The Quick Way Down (Vampire Files, Fleming and Gordy)
  9. The Scottish Ploy (Original romance/mystery)
  10. Grave-Robbed (Vampire Files, Fleming)
  11. The Company You Keep (Vampire Files, Gabriel Kroun)
  12. Death in Dover (Jonathan Barrett before he got vamped, historical mystery)
  13. Drawing Dead (ALL NEW VAMPIRE FILES, Fleming)
  14. King of Shreds and Patches (Hamlet from a different point of view, mystery)
  15. Fugitive (Science fiction/space opera)
  16. BONUS STORY! The Wind Breathes Cold (Quincey Morris: Vampire)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Itazura No Kiss ~Playful Kiss~ (2008)

Itazura no Kiss ~Playful Kiss~ (2008) is a romantic comedy about a female high school student who falls in love with the popular handsome genius in her class. Although he rejects her initially, she is determined to have her feelings reciprocated. This show contains 25 episodes. Due to popularity, Itazura no Kiss has spurred many television adaptations across East Asia.

Kotoko Aihara fell in love with Naoki Irie since the first day of high school when she heard his speech at the opening ceremony. Naoki is the ideal student: he is stunningly handsome and popular, and excellent in academics and sports. Meanwhile, Kotoko is not very smart, and always ends up in trouble. Nevertheless, her highly-spirited personality continues to captivate others.

In her senior year, she confidently confesses her love to Naoki, but he rejects her. Despite this setback, fate intervenes in a strange twist when a mild earthquake destroys Kotoko's family house. While the house gets rebuilt, Kotoko and her father are invited to stay at the home of her father's childhood friend, who happens to be Naoki's father! Although he dislikes Kotoko's clumsiness and stalker behavior, he eventually starts to have romantic, protective feelings for her.

Itazura no Kiss is one of those great romantic stories that you will always enjoy regardless of age. You want to root for Kotoko as she tries every moment to win his heart. No matter how much Naoki wants to escape her presence, he notices something is missing from his perfect life and gradually falls in love with her. As the saying goes, opposites attract.

I really enjoyed this drama because it was funny and innocent. You watch how two teens from different backgrounds are forced to live together, transition from high school to college, and see each other's true personalities. While the plot may sound somewhat unrealistic, every girl can relate to Kotoko's innocence and determination. That's what make this series so exciting to watch again and again.

There have been several drama adaptations of the original Japanese storyline by the deceased Kaoru Tada: It Started With a Kiss (Taiwanese) and Mischievous Kiss (Korean). In my opinion, I believe the Korean adaptation is the best version out there. It closely follows the author's original storyline, and the Korean OST has very good tracks ("G.NA - Kiss Me", "Soyu (SISTAR) - Should I Confess", "Kim Hyun Joong - One More Time"). Kim Hyun Joong also played a lead role in the popular Korean adaptation of the Japanese anime, Boys Over Flowers. Overall, I highly recommend this series.


Anime Opening Theme


Korean adaptation

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Could Vampire Academy Become the Next Hunger Games Movie Superfranchise?

Could the Vampire Academy series become the next book-to-film successor to Twilight and The Hunger Games? Charlie Jane Anders (io9.com) and New Orleans fans thinks so. There have been official talks for a movie franchise since 2010.

The Detroit Free Press recently interviewed Richelle Mead, author of the crazy popular Vampire Academy series, and the Michigan native talked about the books and the movie adaptation that is in the works. Mead sold the movie rights to Vampire Academy about a month ago to Preger Entertainment. Michael Preger is producing the movie, along with Don Murphy, whose credits include Transformers and Real Steel. They want to create a film franchise that will appeal to both male and female fans. Preger told the Free Press, “We’re not just going for a movie, we’re hoping for a series of films.

As a huge Vampire Academy/Bloodlines fan, I hope this book series can successfully hit the big screen! Richelle Mead is an awesome writer, and audiences of all ages would enjoy the story. Spread the word!

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