Monday, November 20, 2017

Dual review: Ramses the Damned #1, #2 by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice

Series: Ramses the Damned #1
by Anne Rice
436 p.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 5/6/89 (first publishing)
Source: Own

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 thoughts:

I decided to reread the book I read a million years ago (or so it seems) since I knew I wouldn't remember much. I actually read this series before I read any of the vampire series. Although I did have problems with Ramses in the beginning, he did win me over in the end. I felt that although Ramses grew throughout the years,  his "affliction" of immortality sometimes made him prone to selfishness and gluttony. While these were problems and he was infuriatingly dense when it came to true love, he did finally learn after one HUGE blunder after another. Now you might think that this would make me not like the book, but the journey in his fascination in the new age as well as the secondary characters within really pulled me along in the book for a second time. It also made you hunger for the next book with a open ending. So happy that finally happened.

I give this one 4 stars. It was a fun reread and helped me remember how I saw it the first time and how things changed for me this time around. While I would have given it 5 stars before, I would say that the main reasons I removed a star is that I would have liked more emphasis on him as a counsellor he was to Pharaohs in the past rather than the bumbling researcher he was in the first book. Still, I really liked who he became in the end.

Series: Ramses the Damned #2
by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice
416 p.
Publisher: Anchor
Published: 11/21/17
Source: From publisher and NetGalley for review

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.

My thoughts:

Finally! Finally got to find out what happened after the ending of the last book. I was afraid there would be great leaps in the time and we would have to catch up again to what is happening like it often happens when large amounts of time go between books in a series. Plus this one was supposed to continue, then not and now it has! You can be relieved to know that this book starts right after the first book ended and so flows easily after my reread.

The biggest difference I felt was the "feel" of the book. While it still felt like the same author wrote it, it also felt more mature and a much fuller experience. It could be because the author has changed in how she writes or because her son has now come aboard and co-wrote it with her. Whatever the cause, it did flow a bit better for me than the first.

The adventure was still very interesting and I really liked that the history of the elixir was finally told as well as more about the other day-walker immortals that also roamed the earth. We got glimpses of tales of day-walker immortals in the vampire books but no information. While there are still some lingering questions, it does feel like a much better explanation and a much fuller history in the book.

I also enjoyed that questions were unanswered for the immortals themselves with Cleopatra and how she was resurrected and what or who she is now. The uncertainty of her future opens up the series to more books but even if the series ended with this one, it would be enough answers we could let it end in a more satisfying way than the first book.

I give this book 4 stars and I think this is a better book than the first. I would still suggest reading them in order as a large number of characters are established in the first book.


Friday, November 10, 2017


Sorry to have disappeared on everyone like that, but as my post of my pup went up my mom went to the hospital. All precautions but will result in other medical intervention. I don't want to say more since my mom is a very private person but I have been trying to help her out more so I've been spending very little time online and I've been admittedly quite tired.

Other things happened... but they were quite minor, but it did add to the stress so I took a bit of time off. Anyone have extra energy to spare? I'll take it! (I'm sure I'm not alone in that) Hopefully I'll be back to visiting everyone's blogs soon. Just trying to find the brainage to spare. Unfortunately I'm not sure I had much in stock. lol

Will be posting a few reviews soon but things may be a bit spotty at best. Thanks for sticking around. I hope to be more interesting soon... or least try... 😜


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Holiday Post: Halloween!

Hope everyone had a good Halloween!

Thought I'd give you a quick look at how monster pup dressed. 

Pic taken by Terri at PetCo

If you can't tell, she is a Gryffindor student! I made her costume with a toddler's shirt (I really needed a larger one as she barely fit when it was time to wear it! I swear it fit when I tried it on her when I finished... one week ago!).  I did eliminate the hood as it would have been a chew toy. I also made her a collar, leash and poo bag to go with the outfit. 

A better look:
The collar and leash say "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good" and the poo bag says "Mischief Managed".
Heh... I think I was the only one who laughed at that. *sigh* LOL All are done in glitter canvas and I'll see how it all holds up over time.

The big boy didn't dress up so he was saved that humiliation but was ready to share any treats she got. I did take her to PetsMart where they were having a photograph with a big costumed pup (guy in costume) but she took one look at him and noped it out of there. I didn't force it. She needs more bravery so that is why I put her in that house... although she is cunning enough to be in Slytherin. LOL Yea, I put too much thought in it but it is all in fun. 

Hope you all had a safe and fun holiday!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Arts and Crafts: Memorial Pillow and New Sling Bag!

If you have been around the blog this year, you know I lost one of my puppers. She was a sweetheart and LOVED to wear scarves. I got her into it as she was jelly of my other dog wearing coats (dobies are notorious for hating the cold and have a thin coat). She was a malamute (translation: fur, upon fur upon fur, upon... well you get it) so a coat for her would have been cruel. I decided that perhaps she would like a scarf instead and thus was born an obsession where she hated to go a day without one. She was sad when one was taken off (or walked off depending on how dirty she got it) and was elated when a new one was tied around her neck. Since she was my cousin's dog first and my aunt knew about the obsession I created, I decided to do some memory pillows out of her scarves. One for me and one for my aunt. I made hers first and still have to find the courage to make mine. Anyway, short story long here is the pillow:
This is actually a in the hoop embroidery design from Sweet Pea. You make each section and then sew them together. The grey and the black with paw print fabrics were my base and the rest were parts of her scarves she wore. Hopefully my aunt will get it soon.

And speaking of puppy crafts...

I needed a bag to carry my essentials for puppy classes for the monster pup. I didn't want to end up carrying too much so I took a small bag pattern I had and made it smaller. :) Just enough to fit essentials and my epi pens. This is the Speedwell Sling Bag by Blue Calla Patterns.

I would say this pattern is an intermediate one but the directions are clear so if you are up to it, I say try it even if you are a beginner. My biggest problems is that I reduced it by 15% so some of the details were a bit harder, but it was still doable. The parts I added was a zipper pocket in the back compartment for my epipens. I also lined it with insul-fleece by Pellon. That way my epipens stay at a more consistent temperature. Epipens should not be out in hot weather and never leave them in a car. Hopefully that addition will keep my medical supplies safe as possible.

I also added one of my charms and an embroidered note. If you are noticing the zipper, I added 2 metal zippers and crossed them at the top so it zips up on both ends to the top. I learned a lot about zippers with this one and a previous project. I'm becoming quite knowledgeable about them. More than I wanted to know, in fact! LOL I also added snaps to the pockets to keep things separated. The  pocket was exactly the right size for the epipens and I couldn't have gone any smaller. The bag is not big as it is written either (so it would be good for those not wanting a big bag).

I also added card slots in the front section. Your cards go "sideways" to fit. That way I created 6 slots and a pocket in the back. The original pattern just had the slip pocket. The zippered section is also part of the pattern. I did reduce the grommets to 1/4" instead of 1/2" to fit the ascetics. The grommets are so you can put earphones or electronic cords through. You can still get the earphones to go through it, but you have to slip it through with the plug end. The earphone section will not fit through it but I felt that wasn't needed in my case. I did add charms for bling and the front 2 charms on my bag each represent my 2 dogs. Also, the glitter on the bag is a glitter canvas and not glitter marine vinyl. I have a domestic machine which is good on most things but I still have to watch the thickness. A good canvas backed glitter with a think vinyl coating worked well here and should also wear well.

While this bag isn't recommend for a beginner, I do think that someone who hasn't been sewing long could tackle this bag easily. It looks harder than it is and this was the first time I put together a bag where you use a seam binding. It was much easier than I thought it would be and because of the binding there was no saggy lining. 

Hope this inspires you to tackle your projects! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Audiobook Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me #2
Narrator: Kate Simses
11 hrs. 57 min.
Publisher: HarperAudio
Published: 2/5/13
Source: Library
Amazon Affiliate Link (Book)
tick tick tick tick tick
it's almost time for war. 
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. 
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. 
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible. 
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.
My thoughts:

I'm glad I read the prequel and it did set things up nicely for this book. So, do get to that one first if you can. And yes, this one does set up things for the dreaded love triangle. I don't like triangles, but I don't have the aversion to them as others have when immediately hearing a series or a book has them. I've actually read good triangle books but I will concede that they are few in number. And how do I feel about this one? I'm not sure. It is too early to tell, but so far I'm intrigued by how it is set up. In some ways it makes sense depending on who Juliette decides who she IS in the end. She is still a child, growing and learning so she has things to think about. Even though she gets jumbled up in her head and needs to leave that space more often, she still finds a way to figure out, in baby steps, who she wants to become as she learns more about her world. Now, that I do appreciate and that is really what drives me along in the book. The triangle for me is just another way for her to explore herself more even if you might get frustrated with her confusion from time to time. It is good to remember her formative years were quite stunted.

I admit this one took me a while to get though. It was no fault of the book, and I was always glad to get back to it, but I also didn't have a problem letting it go from time to time. Still, by the end of the book I was very curious to how Juliette would progress and how all her friends fit in it.

I give this audiobook 4 stars. The narrator, Kate Simses, does the voicing of the various characters well and it is easy to get lost in her telling of the story. I really like how they took this visual book and made it work in audio. I do think I'll continue this one on audio if I can and it does look like the library has the next two. I do recommend the audiobook format.