C.H.B. Reviews: Anne Rice Read-a-Thon Book #1 – “The Mummy” Review

C.H.B. Reviews: Anne Rice Read-a-Thon Book #1 – “The Mummy” Review

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Title: The Mummy or Ramses of the Damned
Author: Anne Rice
Release Date: May 6, 1989
Total of Pages: 398
Publisher: Bellatine Books

*****

Goodreads Description

“Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.”

My Review

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For those who missed last week’s post, you can check it out here. Last week I announced that I would be conducting a Anne Rice book Read-a-Thon in honor of the long-awaited sequel to her novel The Mummywhich is to be released this November. I was contacted with the opportunity to read this before the release, but decided to first re-read The Mummy to refresh along with reading the first books of her other well-acclaimed series including The Vampire ChroniclesThe Mayfair Witches, and The Wolf Gift.

If you haven’t added me on Goodreads to follow me on my Read-a-Thon journey, you can send me a request here! You can never have too many friends on Goodreads and I love seeing what you all are also reading and your reviews.

The Mummy transports us back to what is called the “Edwardian London” period which is loosely the years among 1901 to 1910. If you’ve seen the original Universal “Mummy” films, they are mostly based during that time due to the archaeological digs that took place in Egypt around that time. The mysteries behind Egypt were on their way to be unlocked and released to the “modern” world.

Lawrence Stratford, renowned archeologist, embarks on an expedition that leaves him murdered, a daughter grieving, his company left to his brother and gambler nephew, and known for finding the mysterious tomb of Ramses the Great. How was he murdered? The papers say it was the mummy. But, in reality, he was poisoned by his nephew, Henry, after Lawrence denied to sign papers for more money to go to Henry.

tumblr_oodilhnNWa1utox96o1_500.gifThinking he could escape his sin, Henry feels the eyes of the mummy watching him. The story begins to pick up the pace from there as Henry begins to sink into his own madness. The moment Ramses fully awakes and stops Henry from attempting to murder his cousin Julie, Henry runs away in fear, screaming about the mummy almost killing him.

I admire Anne Rice for how much work she put into the novel and her research on the background of Cleopatra and Ramses. Ramses character is one of sadness for the loss of time due to him putting himself to sleep after the death of his love Cleopatra. But Ramses is also a character filled with revenge for Lawrence’s daughter, Julie. He set his sights on making it right and begins his plot for revenge….

For those who love the classic Mummy tale, take a look at this book! I’m completely ready to read the sequel and can’t wait to share it with you the Passion of Cleopatra!

 

Rating 9

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Read-a-Thon: Anne Rice Edition!

Read-a-Thon: Anne Rice Edition!

First off, HAPPY NATIONAL BOOK LOVERS DAY, Charmers!

 

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It is our day! Our day to dive into our stacks of books! Our day to break out of our shell and get our book-loving-freaky selves! And why not celebrate by conducting a Read-a-thon? Not just any Read-a-thon, but one of YOUR own choosing with YOUR own rules.

Now I recently received a message not too long ago that I have the opportunity to read and review, RAMSES THE DAMNED: THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA, the long-awaited sequel to The Mummy or Ramses The Damned By Anne Rice that is to release later this year! Her son, author Christopher Rice, joins her on this journey into picking up where we left Ramses back in 1989. Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors of all time and I’ve also enjoyed Christopher’s work too so you can only imagine my reaction to this once in a lifetime opportunity

….

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The last time I read “The Mummy” was after I picked up a copy from my local Half Price Books Store back in 2013. Since it’s been awhile, I’m in great need of a refresh. Therefore, I have constructed a plan….a plan so diabolical, I am surprised no one else has thought of it!

Ok, ok, I’m kidding about a diabolical plan. But I will be conducting a Read-a-Thon featuring one of the most notorious and well-known writers in the gothic horror genre next to H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. Anne Rice made her mark upon the literature world back in 1976 with a new take on the nature of the classic vampire monster.

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She gave the vampire a “soul”, a lingering conscience causing them to long for their humanity. Her main character, Louis, provided a heart-to-heart conversation and lesson in “Interview With The Vampire” which left some readers and future authors aghast while inspired many to explore the life of a vampire and bring them back to the “light” so to speak.

This Read-a-Thon will span the next week or so for myself. You are free to join me at your descretion, of course. Apologies in advance for the odd language. I watched the movie adaption to “Interview” last night and my brain is still tuned into the story.

*Film side note, You can’t tell me anyone can top Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Antonio Bandaras, or even Christian Slater’s performance in this film! If they remake this film, I shudder to think who they’d choose to replace them.*

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With this Read-a-Thon, I’m planning on reading the following Anne Rice Novels and will be providing reviews with them:

First

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Goodreads Description

“Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.”

Second – ARC REVIEW COMING SOON

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Goodreads Description

“Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.”

Third – Back to the Beginning

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Goodreads Description

“Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.”

Fourth – Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Goodreads Description

“On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking. And the witching hour begins…

Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling and the creation of legend, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of witches – a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being.”

Fifth – Feeling a Bit…Hairy

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Goodreads Description

“The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man”

Are you a fan of Anne Rice’s novels?

Which one is your favorite?

Let me know in the comments below!

I’ll be adding the books to my “Currently Reading” List on Goodreads. You can add me on there here if you’d like to join me on my journey!

Happy National Book Lover’s Day, Everyone! 

~C.C.

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Dead Girls Can’t Lie” By Carys Jones

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Dead Girls Can’t Lie” By Carys Jones

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads
Publisher: Aria
Release Date: August 15th, 2017

 

**Disclaimer – I received this book via NetGalley and Aria in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.

 

 

If you awoke from sleep to discover your best friend committed suicide, what would you do? What if the circumstances surrounding the suicide left more questions than answers to you? What if the events leading to the suicide made no sense whatsoever…..maybe even set off alarms in your head that it may not be a suicide after all….but a murder?

North Stone loses her best friend Kelly in what the local authorities rule out to be a suicide. Deep in her gut, North believes this is all wrong. She’s known Kelly her whole life and the events surrounding her death were the direct opposite to how Kelly would act. North begins to go down a rabbit hole filled with self discovery, a mysterious pregnancy, and answers she may not like.

My Review

North is one of those characters you truly sympathize with on some levels. She lost her parents at an early age where normal kids were discovering who they were. Instead, she never truly grasps who she is which is where Kelly comes in. Kelly is a stubborn, attention-grabbing girl who seems to always get her way with anything and anyone. Fast forward to when they are adults and Kelly all of a sudden commits suicide.

Because North practically spent her time attached to the hip with Kelly except for the last three months of her life, North immediately becomes suspicious. Now as much as I can understand her reaction, her and Kelly’s relationship almost feels kind of toxic in some ways. North does not know how to survive without Kelly making decisions for her and whisking her off from what adventure to another. A few land them in trouble where North takes the fall for Kelly’s actions.

We are given flashbacks to various occasions when the girls were growing up where we get the feeling of the girl’s personalities through their lives. We see Kelly is this “free-spirit” who wanted to make sure everyone knew her while North hung back as Kelly’s shadow most of the time. After Kelly’s death, we see North struggle with finding her footing as a person and even taking on Kelly’s personality at times in order to engage with people around her during her investigation into Kelly’s death.

In the end, this book needed a bit of work. Was it engaging? Yes. However, it was predictable. There were tropes in this novel that have been used repeatedly in mystery/thrillers both in print, films, and television shows I’ve seen over the years.

The unhealthy relationship between North and Kelly was a turn off as well. How can you continue to be friends with someone who causes you to lose your own identity and prevent your growth due to your dependence upon them? I get it if you are best friends, but there is a line between being controlled and being friends because of a connection. I wish North grew more in the novel, I honestly did. She had potential to be more than an obsessed “friend” who had concern over a friend’s mysterious death….

 

Rating 6

 

Happy Reading!

 

~C.C.

 

C.B.H. ARC Review – Emma In the Night By: Wendy Walker

C.B.H. ARC Review – Emma In the Night By: Wendy Walker

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Emma In the Night

**Disclaimer: I received this courtesy of SheSpeaks and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.**

Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 8th, 2017

“What Happened To Emma?”

On a dark night three years ago, sisters Emma and Cass disappeared without a trace from their home in Maine. Through endless searches, interviews, and an investigation leading nowhere – the police practically give up hope on finding the missing girls. That is until Cass turns up on her mother’s doorstep, wildly asking where her sister is and that the police must find her before it’s too late.

The narrative is told from the perspective of Cass and forensic psychologist Abby Winter’s perspective. The more I read and attempted to predict how the story unfolded, Cass’s internal dialogue would take over in the story and change it’s course. To the world, they knew Cass and her family as a happy one, but behind closed doors we discover secrets, rampant narcissism, affairs, and darker motives than meet the eye.

This past weekend, I spent pouring over this book from cover to cover and couldn’t seem to peel my attention away from it. It triggers suspense and endless questions your inner detective will beg to be answered. It’s truly a novel to add to your Suspense/Thriller TBR List!

 

Rating 8

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

C.B.H. ARC REVIEW: THE BREAKDOWN By B.A. Paris

C.B.H. ARC REVIEW: THE BREAKDOWN By B.A. Paris

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Available: Amazon/Goodreads/B&N
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 18, 2017

**Disclaimer: I received this courtesy of SheSpeaks and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.**

Why Didn’t You Stop?”

 

 

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I read B.A. Paris’ gripping thriller Behind Closed Doors (see review here) where a couple’s marriage isn’t always what it seems. Now, B.A. Paris comes back for round two where a woman finds out by not stopping to help someone in a broken-down car, can lead to dire consequences. But what will get to her first? A dark figure lurking in the darkness or her own guilt?

The book opens up to a dreary, rainy night. Cass Anderson decides to take a shortcut in order to get home quicker, despite her husband’s warning to take the regular route home. On her way, she notices a broken down car on the side of the road. She wrestles with whether she should make sure the person in the car is alright or stay on course.

Fast forward to the morning after, she learns the woman in the car was murdered and the woman just so happened to be an acquaintance of Cass’s. She begins to go into this downward spiral of guilt and paranoia. Guilt from the murder, but her paranoia stems from the fact she is beginning to loose her memory. Even the simplest things are beginning to fade away, but the memory of that night remains constant. But then the phone calls start…..and she begins to believe someone is watching her…..will she figure out who the killer is before it’s too late?

~

This book has a large set of shoes to fill considering how good Behind Closed Doors was. Did it meet up to expectations? Yes and no. B.A. Paris is fantastic with her pacing and build up. Where it lacks is in lists of suspects and characters as well as the reveal at the end. I don’t want predictability attached to my mystery. I want to be surprised! Or at least allow the reveal not be from an obvious character right away.

Aside from those complaints, this book is very well-conceived and written. Will B.A. Paris come out with another novel next year is my question and will it exceed expectations? Or will her next novel make us wonder….

“If you can’t trust yourself…..who can you trust?”

 

Rating 7

 

Happy Reading,

 

~C.C.

Quick ARC Review: “Quinsey Wolf’s Glass Vault” By Candace Robinson

Quick ARC Review: “Quinsey Wolf’s Glass Vault” By Candace Robinson

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.*

 

Goodreads Description

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?”

 

My Review

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This book, where to begin, it felt like a mashup of quite a few things I’m nostalgic about. It felt like it could have been an addition to R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series despite having nothing to do with the street mashed up with one of my favorite 80s horror films, Waxworks, starring Zach Galligan from Gremlins. It follows a similar plot as to if you go into a mysterious museum, no one hears from you ever again.

Unlike other reviewers, I actually had an issue with the way the main character, Perrie, point of view. Many of her sentences were slight, quips, and often short in a way that made no sense to the plot and there were times where they were often not needed. The writing structure in general needed work. It maybe since the copy I was sent was un unpolished draft, but the writing was weird at times and I’m not even discussing the plot.

The plot itself is genius and executed in such a way, you can’t help but keep reading. The thing is, you have to get past Perrie’s delivery. The images, other characters, and even the secrets hiding in the dark gave me chills as I continued to read on. It kept me hooked to say the least and the twist was very unexpected.

If you are a horror fan or looking for a quick thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat, then this is the book for you. I would be happy to read a sequel to this, but I’m strongly hoping Candace Robinson puts more work into how her characters speak and describe settings.

 

My Rating

Rating 7

 

Happy Reading,

 

~C.C.

Double Review: “The Book of Ivy” and “The Evolution of Ivy” By Amy Engel

Double Review: “The Book of Ivy” and “The Evolution of Ivy” By Amy Engel

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

The Book of Ivy Premise

America fell under the brutality of a massive nuclear war, destroying the whole nation. The remaining survivors split into two factions led by two families: The Westfalls and The Lattimers. Their feud expanded to new heights over the years till The Westfalls finally lost and them and their followers fell under the rule of The Lattimers. Fifty years have come and gone and the only way peace is kept between the two factions is by the Westfalls former followers’ daughters are paired up to be married to the sons from the Lattimer faction.

Now, it has come down to the marriage between Ivy Westfall, granddaughter to the original leader of the Westfalls and President Lattimer’s son Bishop. Unbeknownst to the Lattimers, Ivy has a secret plan. A plan she was raised upon to execute when the time came: to kill the President’s son. Ivy’s personal rage stems not from the original feud, but over the death of her mother. According to her father, Ivy’s mother was ordered to by murdered by President Lattimer under suspicious circumstances. Her along with her sister are raised to be ready to fight to overthrow the man who ordered the murder of their mother.

Does Ivy have what it takes to avenge her mother and murder her new husband?

 

My Review

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I originally purchased the first book from Book Outlet a few months ago and it had been resting on my shelf collecting dust. I finally gave in and devoured the whole book in less than a day. It’s not too long, but the right length. But right when it ended, it felt like the book was truly at a turning point and I couldn’t wait to read the sequel.

Our main character Ivy is not what you’d call a killer. Throughout the whole book she struggles under the weight of having to find ways to get secret information to weapons to her family and figure out a way to murder Bishop. Bishop, though, proved to be a challenge and not in ways you’d suspect.

Bishop is a complete sweetheart and gentleman towards Ivy. Not going to lie, I absolutely loved him. Ivy believed since being the president’s son, he’d be a rude, selfish guy who’d only use her for breeding purposes much like what marriage is mostly about in their community. Spousal abuse was brought up in the novel by Bishop and Ivy’s neighbors. Keep in mind, these couples are only sixteen-eighteen when they are married, practically still kids and immature.

Ivy witnesses the abuse firsthand and in the end Bishop steps in and pushes the husband off the roof in a fit of rage after the husband doesn’t agree to annul the marriage. Despite everything and the husband agreeing to annul the marriage, the wife immediately chastises Bishop and Ivy for sticking their nose into their business. Ivy constantly brings up this is a huge reason why teenagers should not be forced to get married let alone to people they do not know. In a way, we see what Bishop and Ivy’s marriage could have been, making Ivy’s “purpose” even more unsettling.

Minor Spoiler Alert!

Ivy does not kill Bishop. And rightfully so! She’s betrayed by her family and set up in order to get her thrown out of the community and “outside of the fence” to face the elements. We are left at the end of the book wondering if Ivy would survive and if her family would succeed in their deadly endeavors….

 

Goodreads Description of The Revolution of Ivy

“Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty–forced marriages and murder plots–for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall’s borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy’s life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she’s fought for.”

My Review

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The second book is not nearly as good as the first one. I sped through the second one faster than the first, but it didn’t have as much character development or growth as the first book did. We watched Ivy mature in the first book while I saw no growth whatsoever. Yeah the ends were tied up in a neat little bow but it felt rushed and not thoroughly thought through.

I must admit, I cried when Bishop showed back up to look for Ivy and stood up to his family. Yes, anyone knew it would happen, but come on….the way Bishop loves Ivy is a love I have not seen in male characters in quite awhile. Needless to say, if you do read the first one, be prepared because the sequel is quite predictable to say the least. Good short, sweet dystopian series overall though.

 

My Rating

 

Book 1:

 

Rating 8

Book 2:

 

Rating 5

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.