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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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Review | Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow by James Howe



3.5 STARS ★ ★ ★ (½)



Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow is book #7 out of 7 books in the book series: Bunnicula by James Howe.


In the 7th and final book in the Bunnicula series it follows the story of how Pete Monroe meets his favorite author M.T. Graves.

  Afte Pete Monroe writes to his favorite author M.T. Graves who created his and Howie's favorite book series FleshCrawlers. Toby his brother mocks him and thinks he's uncool until one day Pete receives a letter back explaining that his letter was chosen out of many applicants to be entered to win a school visit from M.T. Graves himself which excited most people besides Chester who is suspicious of the author and his creepy ways.

M.T. Graves also notes that he would like to stay at the Monroe family's house to spend quality time with the Monroe pets which Pete mentioned then family pets weird characteristics. Chester tries to spook Harold and Howie with all his suscpions such as how in the FleshCrawlers series animals always get harmed and thinks M.T. Graves is trying to get to them to harm them causing Chester to go into his own investigation.

   
     Going into the book I must say I was a bit sad to be leaving behind our familiar friends Harold, Chester, Howie.. and Bunnicula. Mainly the first 3. Harold is now a old dog with arthritis but had a final tale to tell.

This book gave everything I could've asked for in a series wrap up. It had the spooky elements I enjoy, witty and funny moments, and clever storyline.

I liked how there were many Poe references and other author mentions.

 Although I hate to say good bye to the characters I came to enjoy in this short children's book series I hope to read more of James Howe's in the future and I hope to see him put out more books soon. :)

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review | Bunnicula Strikes Again! By James Howe



3 STARS ★ ★ ★



Bunnicula Strikes Again! is book #6 out of 7 books in the book series: Bunnicula by James Howe.

In the 6th installment in the Bunnicula series follows Chester accusing Bunnicula once again of being a vampire and going as far as to starve him in order to protect the Monroe family.

 Once Harold and Howie find out that Bunnicula is sick or sad and thinks that he may possibly missing his real mother who left him in the local theater a few years back before the Monroe family found him while watching Dracula one night. Chester tries to assure the two dogs that he is taking care of it but Harold and Howie don't trust Chester with the past outlandish behavior he's shown especially regarding Bunnicula and him being a vampire so they are set to help Bunnicula get better and not be so hard but they'll have to get past Chester first.


     This book is one of Howe's smaller novels and so I didn't expect there to be much of a plot and it wasn't bad. It was another short adventure with the usual funny puns with the usual Monroe family pets.
   
The plot is still revolved around Chester thinking Bunnicula is a vampire and trying to prove it as he has since book #1. I think this book and book #3 is the weakest in the series so far but I think a younger person may enjoy them equally as good as the others.

I can't wait to read the next and final book but I'm a bit sad to say good bye to the Monroe pets Harold, Chester, and Howie!

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review | Return to Howliday Inn by James Howe


3.5 STARS ★ ★ ★ (½)



Return to Howliday Inn is book #5 out of 7 books in the book series: Bunnicula by James Howe.

  Harold, Chester and Howie return with another unwanted adventure as the Monroe family are once again leaving the pets at Chateau Bow-Wow.

Howie having been born there is rather excited to visit but for Chester he feels hesitant after remember his and Harolds last experience.

Once there they notice many differences including an array of new animals such as a sneaky weasel, troubled cats, a parrot named Ditto and more new exotic characters.


     Another little fun adventure with a bunch of characters with unique personalities. James Howe has "character dumped" in book #2 Howliday Inn but he makes them fun that it doesn't feel like a chore to keep up with which character is which and done what.

I thought that the book had a spooky feels at times which is always a plus. The Monroe pets was full of funny puns and dialog as always.

I'm also noticing a pattern since starting the series and that is when the books in the series are a bit longer I seem to enjoy them better, I think it has more plot as I've mentioned in prior reviews.

Bunnicula wasn't present in this book which is fine since Bunnicula doesn't talk he'd be pretty dull. I am enjoying this short series, it's just a fun light read!

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review | Nighty-Nightmare by James Howe



3.5 STARS ★ ★ ★ (½)



Night-Nightmare is book #4 out of 7 books in the book series: Bunnicula by James Howe.

The Monroe family and pets (Howie, Harold, and Chester) are back and this time with a mysterious adventure occuring after going on a family retreat at Boggy Lake.

  Harold, Chester, and Howie tag along with them after Mr. Monroe comes up with the idea to go camping outside opposed to staying in their room.

Chester however is hesitant reminding Howie and Harold that it is the eve of Saint George's Day the night where monsters and spirits come out. Harold tries to dismiss Chesters claim as over imaginative like he usually is until later that night where they come across a group of mysterious individuals that seem out to the Monroe family harm.

     Finally Howe gives a more creepy story and even for a children's book I think it worked!

I thought that Howe gives the right amount of creepiness to still be enjoyable for the younger targeted audience but enough for older people to like as well. The plot was good and was an interesting read.

Between the Dracula references and Howie's oh so cheesy puns it kept me wanting to keep reading and not put down.

No technically Bunnicula wasn't physically in the story but by now I've came to the conclusion that Bunnicula isn't really the end all to continue the series.. I think that Harold, Chester, and Howie's relationships and personalities are enough where Bunnicula can pop up from to time to time or not and I'd be content either way.

I don't really have any complaints for this book I thought it gave us a bit of everything I think the series needs and I hope Howe keeps up the series this way :)

I also liked the overall message that the story tells,

Don't necessarily judge someone by their appearance.


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