Book Review: “Anna Dressed in Blood” by Kendare Blake (Anna #1)

What an arresting cover. Just... wow. And the color scheme continues inside the book itself, with the type done in a very attractive burgundy that's both pretty and easy to read.

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood (Click to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Kendare Blake

Available In: Hardcover, eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook.

Maturity Level: Mid-to-upper YA. Quite a bit of violence, blood, and gore, and one sensitive scene that directly addresses violent assault on a child. Strong language.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy the TV shows Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer; you like a strong horror story; you’re a fan of Holly Black, Melissa Marr, or Sarah Rees Brennan’s; you enjoy paranormal investigative fiction; you’re looking for a fast-paced, evocative read.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you don’t like YA or horror; you dislike gore and violence.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Theseus Cassio Lowood has a job to do, and it’s not the normal teenager’s occupation of bagging groceries: he hunts and kills maleficent ghosts. It’s a legacy that’s been passed down through his family for ages, and Cas is pretty okay with it. And luckily, he has his mom (who sells charms and potions that she brews up on her kitchen range), her ghost-sniffing half-Siamese cat, and a motley group of friends and informants across the world to help him out. When one of them tips him off about a ghost known (ominously) as Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas immediately finishes his current job and takes off to Thunder Bay, Ontario…. Where he just might find more than he was looking for.

Anna Dressed in Blood is by far one of my favorite books read in 2012. The pacing, characters, and concept come together to form a fast-paced read with lots of humorous/chilling/downright scary moments. Cas’ world is not all that different from ours, but the way in which it is realized is a joy to read. I absolutely ADORED Cas’ mom (particularly scenes where she was trying to sell him on different colleges based not on academic subjects/cost/career opportunities, but on the population of ghosts in the immediate vicinity) and Tybalt (warning: if you’re a cat person, there’s at least one scene in this book that will squick you out). Anna was brilliant, and the relationship she has with Cas is quite a beautiful one, a tenuous connection between a guy who purposely pushes people away and a girl who has been burned one too many times by betrayal. She’s also a badass with a conscience, which is always a plus.

Annnd the references. I almost don’t know where to start with those. There’s the obvious Supernatural connection (ESPECIALLY in that first scene with the hitch-hiking ghost), along with myriad references to Buffy, Harry Potter, Bruce Lee, The Hulk, The Matrix, and GHOSTBUSTERS (which lead to several scenes in the book that made me laugh out loud). These references could have become very heavy handed and derivative, but Blake is pretty skilled at nodding to other fandoms and then going right on to her own story.

Overall, this was a super fun read with ghosts, blood, and a kickass cast. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of horror and ghost stories, and will most certainly be rereading it as soon as I have the chance. 😀

Pros

  • Tybalt.
  • Theseus Cassio Lowood. Most awesome name ever.
  • Awesome worldbuilding.
  • Cas’ mom.
  • The romance. ❤
  • Blake obviously did her research regarding ghost stories, lore, and Wicca.

Con

  • Cas is just a little bit pretentious.
  • A lot of sentences are the same length.

Favorite Scene (s):

  • Pgs 1-10. Excellent opening that had me hooked from the beginning. It didn’t hurt that there were plenty of SPN references to excite my inner fangirl: Cas, a classic car, and a hitch-hiking ghost? Yes, yes, and YES.
  • Pg 200-205. Here’s where we find out exactly what happened to Anna, and it is absolutely CHILLING. I literally felt like I’d been punched in the gut after reading it.

Favorite Line (s): “Don’t be afraid of the dark, Cas. But don’t let them tell you that everything that’s there in the dark is also there in the light. It isn’t.”~pg 132

Star Rating on Goodreads: 4.5 out of 5

Final Grade: A+. Nice read, very slick and full of references to things that I love. Solid ghost story that looks like it’s going to be continued excellently in the upcoming Girl of Nightmares , which I am eagerly awaiting.

Advertisements

Waiting on Wednesday: “Girl of Nightmares” by Kendare Blake (Anna #2)

 

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine and showcases releases we just can’t wait to get our hands on. 😀

Title: Girl of Nightmares (Click the cover to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Kendare Blake

Expected Publication Date: Aug 7th, 2012

Summary from Goodreads: In this follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas begins seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep, and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong. These aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

 Why I’m Waiting:
I haven’t gotten my review for ADIB up yet, since my life has been crazy, but I really, really enjoyed it and book #2 looks like it’s shaping up to be just as good. The hell aspect intrigues me, and I can’t wait to find out how Cas intends to grip her tight and raise her from perdition save Anna.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Comment below and let me know/link me back to your WoW post. :)

Favorite Anime and TV Pairings (of All Time and In No Particular Order)

So, this is in the same vein as my previous post about my favorite book pairings of all time. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make a vid this time– cutting movie clips together in my video editor takes forever and an age, and I’ve been working/going to kickboxing/writing all week. My spare time has been devoted to finishing some of the books in my currently-reading stack, and answering correspondence, which really didn’t leave me six hours to edit a vid. I might still do one in the future, depending on how much time I have/what clips I can get my hands on.

That aside, I did gather some pretty pictures for you all, so I’ll just go right ahead with my list. 😀

Nate and Sophie, Leverage

The odd thing is, I don’t even like Nate on his own. I think he’s a whiny, manipulative drunk with power and control issues. However, he and Sophie have one of the most adorable romances currently running on TV, and Sophie brings out qualities in Nate that make him almost likable.

Dean and Castiel, Supernatural

Thing #1: Yes, that is a manip. Good one, no? Thing #2: Yes, I know, guys. Dean’s straight, Cas is asexual, and this pairing is NOT CANON. However, they did make it to the final round of eOnline’s TV Top Couples Tournament, and the writers/directors tend to toss out terms such as “long distance marriage”, “war widow”, and even the incredibly unsubtle and infamous “one in the trenchcoat” comment from season 6. So yeah. It basically boils down to that if Castiel had appeared in season 4 looking like this:

…. Dean would have been on that in three seconds flat, and all of the questionable UST that they already have would have become, well, resolved sexual tension.

(Needless to mention we might have had a girl on SPN who could survive sleeping with one of the bros.)

Alec Hardison and Parker, Leverage

There is one word that is perfectly apt to describe this pairing: cute. Sweet might also be applicable. Just watch this clip and let me know if your heart doesn’t melt.

Shunsui and Nanao, Bleach

These two were always my favorite couple/pairing/enemies from Bleach. There’s not really much overt romance going on between these two, but under all of the fighting and bickering there is a.) a man who cares for Nanao truly and deeply and b.) a girl who is very, very loyal and capable.

Ten and Rose, Doctor Who

They were fun. They had undeniable chemistry that Eccleston and Piper simply didn’t. And I do believe this is the closest that we have ever gotten– aside from perhaps Sarah Jane– to the Doctor having a canon romance.

Which can really be summarized in the following quote: “If I believe in one thing, just one thing, I believe in her.”

Amy Williams/Pond and Rory Pond/Williams, Doctor Who

Just when I thought DW was done giving us tragic and beautiful romances, they threw this one at me. These two love one another in ways that I was starting to think weren’t possible, and they’re also wonderfully fun together. And FYI? I would totally watch this show if it were real. 🙂

River Song and Eleven, Doctor Who

Way too much Doctor Who, I know. But I felt that this one needed mentioning. 🙂 I really do hope to see River back next season.

Buffy and Spike, BtVS

Despite the borderline abusive turn of their relationship later in the series, I identify Buffy and Spike as a couple by this moment, when Buffy is sitting on the steps angsting and the previously highly antagonistic Spike offers her a moment of absolute tenderness that harkens back to the bad, dorky poet he was before he was turned. Plus, they have more sexual chemistry than Buffy and Angel ever did.

 

Willow and Tara, BtVS

Willow and Tara, despite their difficulties, brought out the best in one another. I was profoundly sad when Tara died, because I feel like Tara was The One and The Only for Willow. Willow and Kennedy, Willow and that werewolf guy who’s name I can never remember, Willow and Xander– none of them had the same quality as Willow and Tara, two girls who loved one another so much that they were able to work past their issues with addiction and low self-esteem, and who, in the end, were willing to die and/or kill for one another.

ETA: For some reason, the picture I had for this pair completely disappeared at some point today while I was out running errands. So here’s a new one 🙂

So, who is YOUR favorite TV/Anime couple? Let me know in the comments!