Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Bite Club, Last Breath, and Black Dawn (Morganville Vampires #10-12)

Bite ClubAfter discovering that vampires populate her town, college student Claire Danvers knows that the undead just want to live their lives. But someone else wants them to get ready to rumble. 

There's a new extreme sport getting picked up on the Internet: bare—knuckle fights pitting captured vampires against each other—or humans. Tracking the remote signal leads Claire—accompanied by her friends and frenemies—to discover that what started as an online brawl will soon threaten everyone in Morganville.

Last Breath: With her boss preoccupied researching the Founder Houses in Morganville, student Claire Danvers is left to her own devices when she learns that three vampires have vanished without a trace. She soon discovers that the last person seen with one of the missing vampires is someone new to town-a mysterious individual named Magnus. After an uneasy encounter with Morganville's latest resident, Claire is certain Magnus isn't merely human. But is he a vampire-or something else entirely?

Black Dawn: With its eclectic mix of vampire and human citizens, Morganville, Texas, has always been a risky place to call home. But with the invasion of the vampire’s deadliest enemy, Morganville isn’t just in danger—it’s dying…

Claire Danvers and her friends get their hands full when they must battle the vampire's worst enemies: Bishop and the draug. In Bite Club, Bishop reappears to seek vengeance against Amelie, the town's ironclad ruler. Michael and Eve finally decide to test the town's rules on vampire-human marriage. In Last Breath and Black Dawn, the vampires' secrets are revealed: Amelie and her vampires had been running from the draug ("water vampires") for centuries with no way to destroy them. The vampires had a few strong hits here and there but usually at a great cost. Morganville was supposed to be a safe haven for vampires since it's located in the desert away from water sources. This time, however, the Morganville vampires have no where else to go. When Claire discovers the draug's weakness, hope is in the air. So, vampires and humans go down fighting -- not without sacrifices.

This was an interesting arc because it exposed the vampires' secrets and weaknesses. I always wondered why Morganville, Texas was picked as the setting for the town. Furthermore, Claire begins to question her own future in Morganville. If the vampires no longer have a powerful foe, what will become of the human residents of Morganville? The Bishop and draug sagas have been a fun and adventurous ride, and I look forward to the last arc in the series (hard to believe it will be over so soon!

Stay tuned for the thirteenth book in the Morganville Vampires series, Bitter Blood: The Morganville Vampires .

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ghost Caught on Restaurant Camera

From Iowa's TV station, KWWL and the Huffington Post:
One area restaurant might have caught a ghost on camera.

At least, that's one explanation.

Chuck & Edna's Maid-Rite in Cascade has two possible instances of paranormal activity caught on camera. Owner Pat Orr said his surveillance cameras caught something spooky one night in mid-April.

In the first video, dated April 14 at 6 p.m., a shadowy shape is seen approaching the kitchen's dish-washing sink. It moves haltingly and occasionally, not fluidly.

Some say it looks like a shadow. Others say it could have been a bug that landed on the camera. One thing is for sure: it's unexplained.

"We found you can't make a shadow on the floor back there because of all the lights. Some people said it's a bug on the lens," Orr said. "I don't know what the thing is."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: Strike the Blood (2013-2014)

Strike the Blood is a Japanese fantasy/supernatural anime that takes place in contemporary Japan. It contains 24 episodes.

The Fourth Progenitor is the world's strongest vampire who should only exist in legends. This phantom vampire appeared in Japan with his 12 familiars. For the observation and oliberation of the Fourth Progenitor, the Lion King Organization has decided to dispatch an attack mage (Sword Shaman / "sword-maiden") to watch over him. However, for unknown reasons, the organization sent an apprentice named Yukina Himeragi for the task. She comes to the special demon city, Itokami City, wielding the strongest anti-progenitor spiritual spear. Her task is to find out the true nature of the Fourth Progenitor, Akatsuki Kojou.

Strike the Blood was a great show even though the harem and fan service was a little over the top. The vampire concept was unique, and the supernatural battles kept the plot far from boredom. In addition, the ending leaves the idea open for a sequel (which I hope they do because it would make a fantastic addition to the series). There is also a hint of budding romance between the main characters. I highly recommend the show.

[Updated February 2019]: There are two sequels to Strike the Blood that premiered in 2016 and 2018.

Opening Theme: #1: "Strike the Blood" by Kisida Kyodan and The Akebosi Rockets #2: "Fight 4 Real" by ALTIMA

Ending Theme: #1: "Rainbow Heart Rainbow Dream" by Yuka Iguchi #2: "Strike my soul" by Yuka Iguchi #3: "Signal" by Kanon Wakeshima

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review: Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunter #4)

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy both Dmitri and Honor, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting...and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more.

Archangel's Blade, by Nalini Singh, is the fourth novel in the Guild Hunter series. Dmitri, vampire and leader of Raphael's Seven (a group of warriors who swore their oath and loyalty to serve the archangel), comes across a case that stirs hidden memories from a life centuries ago. The severed head marks a distinctive tattoo stirs up anger from the Maker who tormented and turned him. Thus, his desire to discover the truth is nothing compared to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo. Her presence alone blindsided him for once -- feelings of love he buried and never thought were possible to awaken.

Savaged in a brutal attack by vampires that almost killed her, Honor St. John was rescued by the Guild. In return, she joined the Guild as a hunter and expert on ancient languages. She has been assigned to the Dmitri's case, but she is nowhere near ready to come face-to-face with the seductive and lethally dangerous vampire. Dmitri can't get enough of Honor's mysterious hold on her and vows to punish and eradicate those who abused her. Furthermore, Dmitri is determined to end the darkness that lurks in his soul, even if it means facing a nemesis much older and powerful than his nearly 1000 year as a vampire.

I really enjoyed this book because it focused on Dmitri, Raphael's righthand man. It's nice to read about other characters in the main cast from their perspective. This plot device reminds me of the Night Huntress World series by Jeaniene Frost, focusing on other characters' backgrounds. The female protagonist, Honor, was a breath of fresh air for Dmitri, finally bringing him out of the darkness and painful past. The mystery and action was also very good. I highly recommend the book.

Stay tuned for the fifth novel in the Guild Hunter series, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter). (Finally, a book about Jason!)