Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Deadlocked (Southern Vampire #12)

It's vampire politics as usual around the town of Bon Temps, but never before have they hit so close to Sookie's heart.

Deadlocked, by Charlaine Harris, is the twelfth novel in the Southern Vampire series. The events of Dead Reckoning—particularly the death of the despicable but powerful vampire Victor—have consequences for part-fairy Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire friends. When Sookie’s vampire husband, Eric Northman, summons her to his Shreveport home to welcome his guest, King Felipe de Castro and his entourage, she is shocked to find Eric feeding on another (younger!) woman in his bedroom.

Later, someone contacts the police when the woman Eric fed from turns up dead with a broken neck on his front lawn, putting Eric and Felipe’s entourage under suspicion.
With the help of ex-boyfriend Bill Compton, Sookie is determined to to clear Eric’s name. Meanwhile, Sookie learns more about the magical item her late grandmother left behind for her—the cluvier dor. Legends say that this treasure is the last of its kind on earth and whoever possesses it can grant the owner’s true wishes. She must also try to keep the local fae under control after her kin, Claude and Niall, return to the land of Faery. Someone knows the cluvier dor exist, and is willing to murder in order to obtain it.

The police are on Sookie’s trail, and won’t leave her alone unless someone finds the cause of the woman’s untimely death. Sookie must navigate the complicated hierarchies of werewolf, vampire and fairy politics if she wants to survive another case. Fate also puts her on another test when she must decide what kind of life she truly desires. As loyalties realign and betrayals are unmasked, Harris sets the stage for the final mystery.

Harris created another wonderful mystery that unravels more secrets and reveals the true insidious nature of the supernatural community in Louisiana. While no one likes Sookie getting snagged into cases that have often endangered her safety, I have learned more about Sookie's desires and concerns than in any previous novels. Surprisingly, there is little romance and sexual prowess in the novel, but it was not missed since Sookie had to keep herself out of jail. Readers will also be shocked to learn whom she uses the cluvier dor to save. I also believe the incidents in Deadlocked became the ultimate turning point in determining how Sookie and her supernatural friends will proceed in the final showdown.

I noticed many readers felt disappointed with the last few novels in this series. Is it starting to wane? Yes, but this is appropriate. Harris has entertained me with the world of Sookie Stackhouse for over ten years! Her books have inspired the HBO hit television series, True Blood. All good things have to come to an end at some point. Sookie is not only getting older but is also becoming wiser as she learns how to navigate the complicated politics of the supernatural community. She starts to consider her own happiness for the right reasons, and it is time that she makes a decision on whom she chooses as her companion. The conclusion in Deadlocked reveals what lies ahead for her as she starts to realize deep down her own true feelings. Therefore, while I am not totally happy about this series drawing its final curtain next year, the timing makes perfect sense with regards to Sookie's character.

Stay tuned for the final novel in the Southern Vampire series, Dead Ever After.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Stir: Top 10 Sexiest Vampires of All Time

Check out this list of the top ten sexiest vampires of all time from The Stir. It lists actors and actresses from popular TV shows and movies in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Ah, the memories.

Sure they have the power to break your bones with one squeeze, or send you into the world of the undead with a quick nip to the neck, but it's hard to resist the sexual prowess of vampires. Here are 10 vamps we'd totally fang bang...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1)

Harry Dresden -- Wizard: Lost items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No love potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Storm Front, by Jim Butcher, is the first novel in the Dresden Files series. The novel centers around the protagonist, Harry Dresden, a trained wizard private investigator and consultant to the Chicago Police Department. Whenever the police has a case that involves supernatural elements, they come to him for answers. When the police seek Harry's assistance in a double homicide committed with the most blatant forms of black magic, it is his job to investigate who is the new wizard in town and why are witnesses dropping dead like scenes from a horror film. Meanwhile, he must also prove his innocence in front of the wizard council who are always looking for a legitimate reason to execute him for good. Can Harry defeat the black magic before it attacks his friends and eventually consumes his soul?

After many recommendations from friends, I finally decided to take on the Dresden Files. It is hard to believe Butcher has been writing this series since 2000. Storm Front was a delightful novel. Harry Dresden is a sympathetic character who struggles with human world realities but has the courage and stamina to protect friends. He is a real wizard who trained and . I look forward to other supernatural adventures he encounters as a private investigator. No longer seen as the black sheep within the wizard community, Dresden can look forward to the future. Of course, I certainly have a lot of catching up to do within the next year. Lastly, I always like to read a paranormal novel based in Chicago because I completed my undergraduate studies in the Windy City. I love to recollect my alma mater memories.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Dresden Files, Fool Moon
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Trinity Blood (2005)

Trinity Blood (2005) is a Japanese science fiction anime that takes place in a futuristic setting where there is peaceful co-existence between vampires (Methuselah) and humans (Terrans) in the post-Armageddon era. This show contains 24 episodes.

The Methuselahs are a major political and military force who continue to wage war on the "Terrans," as they call the human inhabitants of Earth. The Vatican, based in Rome, is a major military power determined to protect humans from major enemies. The Methuselahs have their capital in Byzantium, which is surrounded by a field of particles to filter out UV radiation, thus protecting the Methuselah population.

In order to protect the humans from the Methuselah, the Vatican has to rely on other allies to counter the situation. The protagonist, a priest called Peter Abel Nightroad, travels through the countries as a representative for the Vatican. However, he is also part of "Ax", a special operations group controlled by the Cardinal Catherina. Abel's secret identity is feared among the vampire population: he is a Crusnik, a genetically-engineered vampire who drinks the blood of other vampires.

Meanwhile, an unknown rising power, the Rozen Kreuz, threatens to disturb the peaceful co-existence and bring about another apocalypse. When an independent kingdom loses their beloved Queen, actions are taken quickly to find the "Star of Hope" who can restore order and peace between the Terrans and Methuselahs. Abel's encounter with a young girl called Esther and his quest to find his missing twin brother, Cain, will also determine the future of Earth.

Many years ago, I was excited to watch this series on television stations like Cartoon Network (aka Adult Swim). But somewhere long the way I got busy with schoolwork and had to set aside this show. Fast forward almost six years later, I have finally finished this anime. Trinity Blood is both entertaining and mysterious. The creator used extensive research to develop a future that weaves smoothly both religion and the supernatural.

The idea of a vampire that feeds on other vampires is a new concept. Abel, who wants to atone for his sins from the Armageddon era, has the absent-minded professor appearance but can turn into a blood-sucking intimidating power in his Crusnik form. As a representative for the Vatican, Abel is able to use his position to search for the Star of Hope and investigate the whereabouts of his missing twin brother, Cain. The action is intense and filled with religious metaphors. Nevertheless, I thought the ending seemed incomplete because Abel never found happiness. His journey still continues...to defeat Cain.

I still recommend this anime for fans who like a science fiction twist about vampires. When the author, Sunao Yoshida, died unexpectedly of a lung blockage in 2004, his friends and family pushed for this popular story to become an anime adaptation. Their efforts paid off very well. The music is also fantastic (BUCK-TICK also sang the opening theme for Nightwalker: Midnight Detective.) Enjoy the show!

Opening Theme: "Dress (BLOODY TRINITY MIX) by BUCK-TICK

Ending Theme: "Broken Wings" by Tomoko Tane

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blue Moon Spectacular

In case you haven't heard, August 2012 is Blue Moon Month. The first full moon occurred on August 1, 2012 and the next full moon (the actually blue moon) will appear on August 31, 2012. The next year of double blue moons is coming up in January and March of 2018.

Another definition of blue moon is seasonal.If a season has four full moons, then the third full moon may be called a Blue Moon. The next blue moon by this definition will fall on August 21, 2013.

The term "blue moon" actually refers to the rarity of multiple full moons within a single month or year. Hence the term, "once in a blue moon." You can find more information about blue moons below:

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Moonlight (2007-2008)

Moonlight (2007-2008) is a vampire detective series about a sexy vampire who wants to help others and find a cure to become mortal again (think of it as a modern spin-off of the cult classic, Forever Knight). Based in contemporary Los Angeles, Mick St. John is a vampire private investigator who became a vampire in the 1950s when his beautiful vampire bride, Coraline, turns him during their honeymoon. He shuns the vampire lifestyle when Coraline kidnaps a human girl. As a way to atone for his past sins, he avoids drinking human blood and solves murder mysteries.

Mick eventually falls in love with Beth, who was the same human girl that Mick saved from Coraline. Now a broadcast news reporter for Buzzwire, she assists Mick with gathering information for murder cases. Over the years, he watched her from a distance because he felt drawn to protect--and possibly love--her. Meanwhile, the series highlights a popular dilemma with vampires: is eternal life a blessing or a curse? In the end, Mick knows a vampire-human romance is eternally alluring and dangerous.

Moonlight originally aired on CBS during the 2007-2008 television season. The season was truncated to 16 episodes due to the Writers Guild Strike. Because of that, the series at times feels unresolved--especially in the finale when ratings were improving but the strike hindered continuous progress. When interest to revive the series became possible in 2009, all the actors had moved on to other projects. Thus, the show became permanently cancelled.

Nevertheless, Moonlight is well-crafted and has beautiful production value. The plot also had similar undertones to Forever Knight. Some fans would say it was a total rip-off of the cult classic; others were delighted to watch a modern version of Nick Knight on television again. The 16-episode, 4-disc DVD set was also voted the 2008 People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama. While I wished it had continued for a second season (what would have happened to Mick St. John when an unknown person wants to reveal his identity to the public?), this show will not disappoint fans and newcomers who like their vampires sleek, sexy, and passionate.

CBS Trailer
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Review: Moonlight Secrets, Midnight Games and Darkest Dawn (Fear Street Nights)

They only come out at night.

Fear Street Nights (2005), by R.L. Stine, is a teen thriller miniseries that takes place in the famous fictional city of Shadyside. It has been the background for all of Stine's Fear Street novels since 1989. As someone who has read these books since the mid-1990s, I also believe this trilogy brings closure to the popular series.

Set in the present, a group of teenagers sneak into the Fear Street mansion and steal some possessions before demolition crews arrive at the site. When two teenagers almost fall to their deaths in an unmarked grave, they unleashed a terrible evil--Simon and Angelica Fear--who won't stop killing until they seek revenge for the loss of their possessions. Can the teenagers defeat the powerful couple before all of their friends become dead?

Altogether, the three books combine to 543 pages. Each book is also written in the first person from a different main character, and the writing is geared towards a teenage audience. I provide descriptions of each books below.

Book 1: Moonlight Secrets

It all started with Lewis and Jamie. They were sneaking out late at night to be together. Then their friends started joining in. First at the old burned-down Fear Mansion. Later at the local bar Nights.

They called themselves the Night People. And they carefully protected their secret world. No parents, no work, no stress. Just chilling with friends in their own private after-hours club.

But then the nights turned dark. Unexplainable accidents, evil pranks...and then, later, the killings. The Night People know they have to stop the horror all by themselves, or else they risk exposure -- not to mention their lives.

Book 2: Midnight Games
Dana Fear isn't thrilled about spending her senior year at Shadyside High. The Fear family history goes way back in this town, and she's not so into lugging around the baggage.

But then she gets in with the Night People. Shadyside's pretty cool when it's 3 A.M. and you're chilling at a bar called Nights with your new best friends.

Until the evil returns, and the Night People start mysteriously disappearing one by one. Dana swears she has nothing to do with it. But all fingers point in one direction. Because there is, after all, a new Fear in town....

Book 3: Darkest Dawn
The Night People are safe at last. After all the ugly pranks and vicious murders, things have finally started to return to normal. The friends who are left try to forget and move on, taking comfort by meeting up at their old hang out, Nights. It was the ancient spirit of Angelica Fear that caused all the trouble. And now she's been destroyed once and for all. Burned in a fire. But if it's true that the horror is dead, what did Angelica mean when her voice cried out from the flames?..."The Evil Lives!"?

R.L. Stine literally invented the teen horror genre with Fear Street, the bestselling teen horror series of all time. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was a popular tradition for teens to gather together late at night (before cell phones and online chat rooms existed!) and tell horror stories and legends (think of the successful Nickelodeon series, Are You Afraid of the Dark?). Simultaneously, the horror television genre was also popular with late-night shows like Tales from the Crypt.

His first Fear Street book, The New Girl, was written in 1989, and you can have find reprints of his novels in bookstores and online marketplaces. I became hooked on these novels in elementary and middle schools. It was during this time that I became captivated by the supernatural and developed a passion for reading paranormal novels. By high school, I transitioned over to adult content by other authors which you can browse on my top books page.

Since 2005, R.L. Stine has not written any new Fear Street material. That is why I believe this miniseries comes across as the final tale in the popular teen thriller genre. With the greatest evil finally defeated, the people of Shadyside can finally have peace. If you haven't read a Fear Street novel, I highly recommend it! Click here to read the rest of this post...