Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Review: Hereditary


Hereditary (2018) is Ari Aster's debut film. The story begins with a still-pic of an obituary of an old woman. Annie, the old woman's daughter played by Toni Colette, gives a less-than-adoring speech in the first scene of her mother's funeral. Immediately, the movie reveals tension, animosity, and secrets within family. Annie, her devoted husband, pothead son, and oddball daughter return back to their home and discover the mother's dark past.

The setting of this movie is in a mountainous part of Utah with lots of pine trees and beautiful, rustic homes without close neighbors. Annie is an artist who lives in one of those beautiful homes and uses it for inspiration by making dollhouses and minitature dolls of her family. Her art reminds me of the miniature dollhouse room exhibits at the Chicago Art Museum. The dollhouse artist job is really a metaphor for Annie who is only a doll with someone else manipulating her life.

SPOILER ALERT

Annie's son Peter is somewhat forced to take his weird, younger sister to a party. He blows her off to get high with friends. She eats something with peanuts and has an allergic reaction. As Peter rushes her to the hospital, she opens the window to get fresh air, and then he swerves accidentally into a telephone pole, decapitating her like she decapitated a bird in an earlier scene. There is a third headless body scene at the end of the movie in the attic.

One of the women in Annie's grief support group talks her into contacting her dead daughter through a seance. This woman and the seance are fakes. Annie later learns that this so-called friend is really a cult member who knew Annie's mother. She intends to finish what the old woman started by getting Paimon, a demon, a vessel/body from Annie's family so that he can live in human form. Annie's son is that vessel. In the end, evil wins.

My review: This is one of those GREAT horror movies that belongs in the same class as Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, The Exorcist, and Devil's Advocate. Aster scared the crap out of me in so many scenes. His kind of horror is a psychological kind with a great story that is very real to those who believe in spiritual good and evil. Aster is the master at subtlety, madness, and surprise. Midsommar is supposed to be even better. I will definitely check into that movie. Easy 5 star rating.

Some Symbolism

Paimon: A djini spirt pre-dating Christianity originating from the Arabic culture. The djinn are 72 spirits. Some say they are 72 pathologies of the demented mind. Paimon is mentioned in Mesopatamian culture as a goddess. He is also one of Satan's generals who rules 200+ legions of angels. A legion is 5K-6K men. Paimon is the 9th spirit in Aleister Crowley's The Goetia. Paimon is known for teaching arts and sciences to humans.

Decapitation-Symbolic for taking away one's ego.

Sigil of Paimon-Aster slightly deviated from the original, but it's very similar.

Drawings of Charlie the Spirit-Peter's eyes are X'd out. Eyes = windows of the soul.

Shameless Plug: If you are looking for books that have to do with spiritual war of God and the fallen angels, please check into some of Dina Rae's works.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Haelend's Ballad by Ian V. Conrey

 


Dark Fantasy/Steampunk

Date Published: November 30, 2021

 

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“Some call me Murderer, others call me Lord. I've been called Savior and Enslaver. But no one has ever called me Child.”

 

A young man signs his own death warrant when he joins an already failing militia. A teenage girl is haunted by her childhood abuse and begins to crave the very things she hates. A childless mother finds herself on the run as a convicted murderer. Yet they are all unaware that their own fates are tied to a young orphan who has drowned and come back to life in a foreign land where he will be the death of everyone he meets.

Hælend’s Ballad is a tale about what happens when men and women from two colliding cultures realize they may not be on the right side. Heroes are villains. The persecuted are oppressors. And when rumors begin to spread that the world is dying, the darkness of their own hearts betrays them.

 

About the Author

Ian Conrey is both a teacher and student of history and theology, who actively fights against human trafficking and is working toward an M.A. in Religion. In his free time, he enjoys reading biographies and ancient mythology, discovering early American folk songs, and exploring the Cohutta Wilderness. He lives with his wife and three children in the North Georgia mountains.

 

 

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Hearts Set Free by Jess Lederman

 


Inspirational Literary/Historical Fiction

Date Published: March, 2019

Publisher: Azure Star, LLC


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Seven Lives Inexorably Intertwined. Over Eighty-Six Years. That Will Bring a Revelation Beyond What Any of Them Could Imagine.


An award-winning work of Christian-themed literary fiction

 

The Alaska Territory, 1925. When Yura Noongwook’s husband abandons her and her thirteen-year-old son, she vows to win him back and destroy the woman who stole his heart. They embark on an epic cross-country quest that leads them to the Nevada desert, where they meet a man who has turned into the last thing anyone expected him to become …

 

David Gold. Reno, 1930. A Bible-school dropout known as the Pummelin’ Preacher. His boxing career is fading, just like his faith. But then a former call girl shows up, tells him about the rag-tag congregation she’s part of; how their pastor was murdered. And that the Spirit is moving and David’s destiny is to lead their tiny flock.

 

Las Vegas, 2011. Cable TV star Tim Faber is an atheist bent on proving God is only alive in people’s imaginations. But Joan Reed, his producer, is trying to recapture the faith of her youth. And both of them are driven to unravel a mystery surrounding the Big Bang theory, never dreaming the answer will forever change their lives.


To do that, they have to meet with the now 99-year-old Luke Noongwook and David Gold’s grandson, Daniel.


The veil is being pulled back, but none of them are prepared for what they’ll find on the other side.

 


"Lederman’s powerful debut interlaces three stories that span nearly a century and are tied together by a church of outcasts in Las Vegas...Readers of inspirational fiction will love this moving story that affirms the power of God's mercy."

--Publisher's Weekly


 

About the Author

After I graduated with a degree in music from Columbia University, a lust for expensive pianos drew me into an unexpected career in finance. It turned out that I had a knack for business; I gained much that the world had to offer and became a hedonist, a gambler who haunted the poker rooms of Las Vegas, and an arrogant atheist. I’ve written fiction for most of my life, and at one point I quit work to devote myself to writing a novel. During that time, my late first wife, Teri, and I lived in Paris, down the street from where Hemingway once lived, and later in the mountains of Idaho. But the novel was never published, for my soul had not yet awakened, and I did not yet have anything important to say. So I went back to the business world.

One day, when we were living in Dallas, Teri heard a radio interview with Francis Collins, an eminent scientist who wrote The Language of God, which tells the story of his journey from atheism to becoming a disciple of Christ. Collins’ book led us to the writings of C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald, who became the midwives of our rebirth from above.

There’s no hiding from the Hound of Heaven, once He’s on your trail!

Several years later, Teri was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and we left Dallas and the business world behind and moved to a small town in Alaska. There we looked out on the glory of God’s creation and read to our heart’s content during the last two years of her life. Faced with tragedy, we learned to trust utterly in Him, and He blessed us with the peace that surpasses all understanding.

It was after Teri’s death, while I was still living in the far north, that the idea for Hearts Set Free—which opens in the Alaska Territory in 1925—was born. People who know that the novel contains autobiographical elements (and several historical characters) sometimes ask me, “How much of the story is true?’ And I answer, “Perhaps twenty percent—and the rest is even more true!” What drives my writing is the desire to convey truths that transform lives. Truths of the heart.

In 2013, I met a wonderful woman—my current wife, Ling—and soon we began talking about having children. “Impossible!” said our doctors. “According to your test results, there’s no chance at all, even using the latest techniques.” Of course, within two months of that pronouncement, Ling was pregnant with little David, who just turned three, and we subsequently adopted Daniel, who’s now twelve.

After David’s birth, we moved to southwest Washington. I’m currently at work on a novel that begins in the last days of the Wild West and ends in Las Vegas in 1955. When I’m not writing or chasing my sons around, can usually be found at the piano playing Chopin nocturnes for Ling.


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Sunday, November 7, 2021

Glamor Girl by Vera Jane Cook



Historical Fiction

Date Published: 10-06-2021

Publisher: Indies United



Escaping from her childhood, Sheela, flees her aunt's motel where she is forced to work as a cleaning maid and provide ‘favors’ for wealthy guests and winds up in Miami in Kit Malone's fancy brothel. Beautiful and stately, Sheela becomes a high-class prostitute, a millionaire’s mistress and a Billy Rose showgirl. When she meets the love of her life in Manhattan, the charming but naïve Julius Clark, life blossoms into something both frightening and titillating. But when Sheela gives birth to her daughter, Fanny, it is this shadowy and stormy relationship that alters the course of both of their destinies and defines their future.



About the Author

Vera Jane Cook was born in New York City and has been a city girl ever since. As an only child, she turned to reading novels at an early age and was deeply influenced by an eclectic group of authors. Before Jane became a writer, she worked in the professional theatre and appeared on television, in regional theatre, film and off Broadway.

At the age of fifty Jane began to write novels. Some of her titles include Dancing Backward in Paradise, winner of an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and an Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction, 2007. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater and Dancing Backward in Paradise received 5 Star ForeWord Clarion Reviews and The Story of Sassy Sweetwater was named a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. She has published in ESL Magazine, Christopher Street Magazine and has written early childhood curriculum for Weekly Reader and McGraw Hill.

Jane still lives on the upper west side of Manhattan right near Riverside Park where she takes her delightful dogs for a jog, Peanut and Carly. She comes home to her spouse of thirty years and her two cats, Sassy and Sweetie Pie.


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Sunday, October 31, 2021

Fractured Lives by Russ Colchamiro

 

 

The Angela Hardwicke Mysteries Book 2

Sci-Fi Mystery

Date Published: Sept 2021

Publisher: Crazy 8 Press


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In the cosmic realm of Eternity, there’s only one private eye to hire when your world gets turned inside out—Angela Hardwicke.

 

Darla Fyne, a college freshman and galaxy design savant, is suffering from a nervous breakdown—or is she the victim of an urban legend known as the Scarlet Raj?


As Hardwicke follows the intersecting worlds of art galleries, college dorms, and a semi-secret clan that patches up tears in the Universe, her investigation will either uncover a hoax gone wrong or a plot that could shift the balance of power across the entire realm. If only she can fight through her own paranoia to tell the difference.

 

In Russ Colchamiro’s new Sci-Fi mystery Fractured Lives, Angela Hardwicke is confronted by a PI’s worst nightmare—dark secrets from her past.


 

About the Author

Russ Colchamiro is author of the Sci-Fi mystery Crackle and Fire the first novel in his ongoing series featuring intergalactic private eye Angela Hardwicke. Russ is also the author of the rollicking time travel/space adventure, Crossline, the SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, is editor of the Sci-Fi mystery anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, and co-author of the noir anthology Murder in Montague Falls.


Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Agents of the Abyss, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Camelot 13, Footprints in the Stars, Devilish and Divine, Badass Moms, and Brave New Girls.


Russ is a member of the Mystery Writers Association and Crazy 8 Press, and hosts Russ’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster podcast, where he interviews best-selling and up-and-coming scifi, fantasy, crime, mystery, and horror authors.


For more on and Russ’s books and his podcast, you can visit www.russcolchamiro.com, and follow him on Facebook, as well as Twitter and Instagram @AuthorDudeRuss.


He lives in New Jersey with his wife, two ninjas, and black lab, Jinx.



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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Primeval Waters by William Burke

 



Horror

Date Published: 08-04-2021

Publisher: Severed Press



Planetary geologist Dr. Micah Clarke, his nine-year-old daughter Faye and his assistant Catalina Abril are abducted at gunpoint; forced to join a megalomaniac’s paramilitary expedition down an Amazon tributary ruled by murderous pirates and cannibal tribes. The goal—recover a meteorite capable of providing clean energy for the world. But prehistoric terrors lurk around every bend in the river. Swarms of six-inch titan ants and a seventy-foot Titanoboa tear a bloody swath through the flotilla. Micah is convinced that some unknown intelligence is manifesting these primeval horrors to protect the meteorite’s secrets. To defend his daughter, Micah must battle monsters, pirates and cannibals, all leading to his ultimate confrontation with an ancient force possessing the power of creation, or total destruction… and the doomsday clock is chiming midnight.


About the Author

Primeval Waters is William Burke’s third novel, following a long career in film and television. He was the creator and director of the Destination America paranormal series Hauntings and Horrors and the OLN series Creepy Canada, as well as producing the HBO productions Forbidden Science, Lingerie and Sin City Diaries. His work has garnered high praise from network executives and insomniacs watching Cinemax at 3 a.m.

During the 1990’s Burke was a staff producer for the Playboy Entertainment Group, producing eighteen feature films and multiple television series. He’s acted as Line Producer and Assistant Director on dozens of feature films—some great, some bad and some truly terrible.

Aside from novels Burke has written for Fangoria Magazine, Videoscope Magazine and is a regular contributor to Horrornews.net


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Monday, October 25, 2021

Pixies in the Mist by Rasta Musick


Fantasy

Date Published: 10-05-2021

Publisher: Cinnabar Moth



Jake had drifted to Japan without any serious intent, and it was going… okay. He had made friends in the local Salsa community, his Japanese was improving, but for Jake the familiar feeling that had dogged him most of his life—that something special should be happening—had struck again.

Kenneth had been assigned to Japan by the pixie queen years ago, which is just enough time for a pixie to get bored and complacent while keeping tabs on the local talent. Most humans had no magic, and most magical humans didn’t know it was their power that made their food taste better, their paintings more vibrant, or people like them more.

When the two met, the spark in Jake gave Kenneth’s role a new urgency. Jake didn’t just have magic, he had a wild and unpredictable kind seen only once in a generation. How could Kenneth keep Jake’s magic from falling into enemy hands? Kill him? Recruit him? Somehow keep him ignorant?

Jake’s magic had quietly led him to Japan, subtly influencing every choice in his life. That something special Jake had been waiting for was about to happen, ensuring his and Kenneth’s lives would never be boring again.




About The Author

Rasta Musick spent the first 12 years of his life in California before moving to Japan with his family. After graduating from college with a Bachelor’s in economics at the age of 16, he spent the years after learning Japanese and working. Having spent more than half his life in Japan, he’s confident that it’s his home.

With many different hobbies, chief of them being Latin dance, he keeps himself physically active as well as mentally active as much as he can. The Latin dance community in Japan is alive and, surprisingly, quite large.

Rasta has lupus and hereditary coproporphyria. Given their complicated nature, he’s had to learn a lot to adapt and manage them. The process also taught him a lot about managing other aspects of his life, and all of this influences his writing.


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Review: Hereditary

Hereditary (2018) is Ari Aster's debut film. The story begins with a still-pic of an obituary of an old woman. Annie, the old woman&...