Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Book Review | Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine





3 stars

Welcome to Dead House is book #1 out of 62 of R.L. Stine’s original Goosebumps series which is a children’s horror fiction book series.

  After the Benson family is left a house from their long lost uncle, when he dies, they pick up and move to a new town called Dark Falls. When the family arrives at the house that is inherited to them the Benson children, 12-year-old Amanda and 11-year old Josh Benson, aren’t entirely thrilled, in fact they’re immediately creeped out by the old creepy old looking house and its the seemingly strange town. Also their dog Petey seems to agree with the children and start barking randomly and acting oddly when they arrive at the house. Their parents assure them that everything is perfectly fine and that once they settle in and make friends everything will be back to normal. But everything is far from normal, after a few days of Amanda and Josh living in their new home they begin to see and experience things that aren’t there that is until they meet some of the neighborhood kids and things start making sense why Dark Falls seems so dark.


     I am sure everyone in the world has heard of the book series Goosebumps, especially if you’re a 90’s child like me. Goosebumps was everywhere growing up and I wanted to give the first book a try to see how it held up with being an adult now.

The first thing I noticed was that the writing wasn’t the best. I know it’s a children’s series, but I’ve seen better writing from other children book authors. Also it is the beginning book in the series so that could also be the reason for the choppy writing writing and overused punctuation (no I’m not perfect at grammar so I’m not going to nitpick too much lol) after that is looked over the story is pretty good. 

I liked how they treated their dog Petey as part of the family instead of just a dog. I liked the plot of the story and the twists the book takes us on. Josh however was pretty whiny, especially at the beginning. I question the parents parenting skills, I mean who leaves their kids home alone to go to a party when they’ve just moved in and been complaining about weird things happening? I wouldn’t necessarily call these books horror books but they are spooky, even as an adult there was parts I was surprised to see in a children’s book.

It had a few cheesy moments but overall it’s a good book, I do hope the writing improves in the future books. The one I look most forward too is book two, Stay Out of The Basement, when I was a kid I would watch the tv series and that episode creeped me out! 


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Friday, January 5, 2018

Mini Book Review | Ghost Goldfish by Lemony Snicket



2 stars ★ ★ 

Goldfish Ghost is a children’s picture book by author Lemony Snicket who is best known for his popular children’s series: A Series of Unfortunate Events.  

  
  After Goldfish Ghost is born in a fish bowl he decides that he is lonely so he goes out into the world floating along looking for someone to keep him company. He searches in town, on the pier, and on the beach but no one seemed to take notice of him. Goldfish Ghost spends a whole day searching for a friend until he hears a voice that calls to him.


I usually love everything Lemony Snicket does so when I seen he published a new book I of course picked it up at my library. I thought this book was going to obtain Snicket’s usual twisted dark humor but it didn’t. I also thought when I picked it up that it would be a good way to explain to kids about death but no, the book was very short and pretty bland with little plot. Basically a dead Goldfish looking for a friend, which could have been incorporated into what I thought the book was going to be about had the author added a few more pages and a little bit of more plot.

The illustrations I personally liked, but when shown to my 2 year old nephew who usually enjoys anything that has to do with fish, he didn’t even care for them. 

Not all books done by authors can be home runs I don’t hold this against the author and will pick up more books by Lemony Snicket in the future. 

Check out all my Lemony Snicket reviews here - Lemony Snicket Reviews!



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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mini Book Review | Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman



2.5 stars ★ ★ ½ 

Cinnamon is a childrens picture book by famed English author Neil Gaiman.

   Cinnamon is a young Indian princess who is blind and does not speak. Her father and mother offers items to anyone who can get the little girl to talk, but all fail, that is until one day a talking tiger comes to their palace claiming to have all the answers if only they let the girl go with him. After some persuading the family allows the tiger to take Cinnamon into the Forrest to learn the keys to speak again.


So when I initially seen the trailer for the book I was excited! The illustrations looked beautifully done and the premise sounded promising so I immediately rdered it from my local library and was the first in line for it once received.. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

The illustrations were beautiful, which is why I didn’t rate it any lower, but the story itself felt like something missing. I didn’t connect with it all. Sure it was a children’s book but it didn’t have enough info to make sense. 

The lessons that the tiger tried teaching Cinnamon to start talking didn’t really add up to why she didn’t speak in the first place. They would make more sense had the story gave more information of the life she lived with her family. I.e. Were they mean to  her? Did they talk to her often? Didn’t treat her as a equal? No explanation..

Then the ending, like who does that? The story was just choppy and didn’t really add up.

I do look forward to reading more by Gaiman in the future, just maybe his more adult books.


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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Review | The Before Now and After Then by Peter Monn



4 stars ★ ★ ★★


The Before Now and After Then is a YA LGBT book written by Peter Monn.


16 year old Danny Goldstein has spent most of his life in the shadow of his twin brother Sam, that is until his life is shook up one day and he then has to find where he belongs in the world, without his brother. After the incident that changes his life Danny starts his senior year at a new school where he will meet some friends and people that will change the way he sees himself and everyone else. 


     I love Peter Monn's book videos on YouTube so when I seen he had a book I decided to give his book a try going in without any idea what it would be about and was pleasantly surprised, it was great! 

Knowing from what I've watched in his videos on YouTube I enjoyed seeing some of Peter's life/characteristics in the book. The story did have some insta love in it, which I didn't hate, but the relationship did move fast and have quite a few sappy moments so if you’re not into that this book may not be for you. For me there was a few moments in the story that made me giddy and wanted to read more.

Like many, I felt Cher was a bit much for me at the beginning at least . I thought that she kind of used Danny as a "gay pet" not saying their friendship wasn't genuine but it happened so fast and it seemed like she only was mainly interested in being his friend because he was gay. BUT the good thing is that Cher does later evolve in the story and grow up a bit and improve as a character becoming a more like-able character.

Danny of at the beginning doesn’t have much of his own individuality, of course I think that has to do with him living in the shadow of his “better” twin brother most of his life but I liked that once he met Rusty and started coming to terms with himself and finding who he was and where he belongs that it started to show. I also liked the fact that Danny didn't want to just be defined by his sexuality. I especially liked Alex, Danny’s uncle and Danny’s moms relationship. 

Overall the book was enjoyable. The book flowed and was straightforward. I liked the writing and can't wait to read Peter's future work! Hint hint Peter, hurry with more books! Ha!


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Monday, November 20, 2017

Book Review | The Passion of Cleopatra by Anne Rice & Christopher Rice


5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra
is the long awaited sequel to The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned originally published by Anne Rice in 1989. The Passion of Cleopatra is set to be released November 21st, 2017 and is co-written by Anne and her son Christopher Rice.


   Following up where the first book, The Mummy, Or Ramses the Damned, left off the original gang is back and hoping to continue life as normal as possible after the unforgettable incidents that occurred back in Egypt. Immortal Reginald Ramsey and his bride-to-be are on their way back to their home in London where Juliet’s old fling and friend is planning their engagement party. Trying to disguise their new found “gift” obtained in Egypt they worry their old friends and family will notice the changes in them, but, that is the least of their worry as chaos pursues when unexpected guests crash their engagement party.

However, these aren’t your average wedding crashers among these crashers are an angry ex immortal lover, an ancient African queen, as well as immortal minions sent by their recent awakened immortal leader. All these characters are sent for a different reason and when their plans don’t go as planned a battle begins. Along the way we meet a innocent mortal American novelist, Sybil Parker, smack dab in the middle of everything after she starts developing a stronger inner connection with the once thought to be dead immortal queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, thus bringing them closer together but for better or worse, you’ll have to read to see.

 

     Wow! What a treat! I absolutely devoured this book up. Which I’m not surprised because I love Anne’s work but I have to admit I was a bit hesitant with her co-writing with her son, not because he’s a bad author but because I wanted it to be authentic to Anne’s writing style, luckily I can say that even with a Christopher helping it stuck true to Anne’s style.

I’m not quite sure if it was because I read The Mummy not long before starting this but I was so ready for this book and it didn’t disappoint! First off let me say that if you didn’t want to read book one you could read this book as a stand-alone as it does give most the backstory in the beginning, but, I do recommend reading The Mummy because why not?

I was so glad to see the original characters come back and as well as new characters to shake up the series and give more stories for Rice to bring to life. As far as the originally characters I was glad to see Julie with some thicker skin as she was a bit too emotional at times in the first book. Ramsey was the same, though not as confident as the previous book. Elliot was in it for a bit, I like Elliot and hope that someday he can find his happiness. Cleopatra has her little part in the book but isn’t up and center as the previous book. And Alex is... Alex, meh. Lol.

New character wise I loved the new additions. Bektaten was my favorite addition, she is so strong willed, clever, and like-able. Sybil is interesting, I’m excited to see what Anne does with her in future books.

I enjoyed the overall story and plot. I thought that all the characters played an important role somehow and it all worked. I loved all the history parts and how it connects all the lingering questions we may had from the previous book. I also enjoyed seeing how all the characters intersect. I loved getting more of the backstory  of Ramses’ elixir. One last thing is that I noticed there was less romance in this book as there was in the previous so depending on what you like that may be a good thing or bad thing.

At the end of the book it leaves off where we could expect more sequels which I hope so because I really enjoy this series and I would love to see another adventure in the Ramses the Damned series!

Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra - Out today, order now! -


Note: I requested a ARC of this book from the publisher Knopf in exchange for my honest review and here it is. I am thankful that they have sent me ARC’s of Anne’s for the 2nd year in a row.


Are you a fan of Anne Rice? Check all my Anne Rice reviews here:

Ramses the Damned #1: The Mummy by Anne Rice


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Review | The Mummy, Or Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice




4.5 stars (½)

The Mummy, Or Ramses the Damned is book #1 out of 2 in the Ramses of the Damned series, which is a historical-horror fantasy novel published by the author Anne Rice in 1989.

  The story takes place in 1914 London with the main character being Lawrence Stratford, a archaeologist and shipping company owner. After Lawrence goes on a dig in Egypt he discovers an unusual tomb. The tomb has warnings on the entrance to not disturb or be cursed, Lawrence of course heeds all warnings and continues his discovery by entering the tomb and finding even more unusual things. Among those things were accounts claiming that the Mummy in the tomb belonged to the great pharaoh Ramses the II but the dates left on the papyrus don’t add up, leaving Lawrence and others scratching their heads not quite believing the story. Shorty after the tomb is opened Lawrence is found dead in the tomb causing many speculations as to wether or not the tomb and the Mummy itself is indeed cursed.

 Since Lawrence was to discover the tomb and the mummy his daughter, Julie Stratford, orders the Mummy to be sent to their home in London for a quick viewing by his close acquaintances before being sent to the British Museum. Before the items and the Mummy can be sent to the meseum strange things start to occur affecting everyone close to Lawrence, making  disbelievers into believers in the curse.

    
     Despite my bad reading year, caused by life putting me into a reading slump/funk, once I got news that Anne Rice and her son Christopher Rice was collaborating in sequel to the Mummy I decided to push through my slump and read it, for the first time by the way, in preparation for a new book by my favorite author.

When going into The Mummy I predicted the main premise of the story but instead of the horror-fantasy I thought it was going to be I was surprised to see that there was quite a bit of romance. Now I’m use to a certain degree of romance from reading The Vampire Chronicles series  but this was a different romance, a more, how do I put it... Sexier? A bit of steamy romance. Which I didn’t mind at all and rather enjoyed! After noticing the published date of this novel I realized that it was published shortly after Anne’s erotica which is written under the pseudonym of A.N. Roquelaure and Anne Rampling. Although this wasn’t as erotic as it was romance I would definitely say wether romance fans or horror-fantasy fans you’ll enjoy this book.

The book at the beginning started off slow for me which wasmr because I didn’t find the story interesting but rather there was quite a bit of characters introduced in a short period of time and unlike other work by Anne it switches back and forth to each of the characters. Once I was able to get to know the characters and their backgrounds and how they fit into the overall story, I was enthralled.

I really liked the the characters and the individualities that she gave to each of them. The way Mr. Ramsey was described you can’t blame Julie for liking the man! As always Anne brings to life stories to life like no other can do, especially historical ones. Another thing she does so well is feature a well rounded “diverse” characters, which seems to be the topic of today’s society. Many of her characters going beyond the typical stereotype, gender, race or sexuality.. especially for the time written, she was always ahead of her time.

A common theme that occurs through most of Anne Rice’s works is immortality and this book was no exception.  The common questions it makes you think of is if there was a way to be immortal would you do it? If so at what costs and risks would you be willing to take to achieve it? And why..

By the time the book was finished I wanted more. I wanted to know more about the characters and what had become of them, I wanted to know more about the history of how things came to be and what the future holds. At the end of the book Anne leaves the readers with a promise to a continuance that she is now sticking to 28 years later in book #2:

Ramses the Damned: Passion of Cleopatra, which is set to be published November 21st, 2017 and I highly recommend you read book #1 then pre-order/order book #2! 


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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Book Review | The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis




3 STARS ★ ★ ★



The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is book #1 out of 7 books in the book series: Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Most people know the synopsis of this book already but for those that don't, the book follows four siblings  - Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy who go to live with the mysterious professor after being evacuated during World War II.

Once there in the countryside house the children are exploring Lucy stumbles into a wardrobe which the further she went ended up being some magic portal to a forest in a land called Narnia.

When there she meets magical talking creatures including a faun named Mr. Tumnus who invites her in for tea, with the intention of betraying her and turning over to the White Witch, but in the end doesn't and helps her back to the wardrobe so she can escape. Once out of the wardrobe what felt like hours in Narnia was actually only minutes. When Lucy tells her other siblings they don't believe her until she returns days later during a game of hide-and-seek this time her brother Edmund follows only to run into the White Witch herself..


     I remember watching the 2005 film in elementary and enjoying the movie but never read it since I wasn't into reading then. Once I started reading the book most of the details came back to me, which was pretty spot on to the movie adaptation, and I knew I would like it.

What I didn't pick up when watching the film when I was younger was all the Christian allegory which was pretty easy to pick up on as an adult. I didn't mind it. Edmund was a little twat.

Overall it was a good book with a fun adventure, not great, but good enough that I would continue the series to see if they improve and what happens.


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