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: “Unspoken” (The Lynburn Legacy, #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and highlights upcoming releases that we just can’t wait to get our hands on. 😀

I have to say, I adore this cover. I love the juxtaposition of black on red, and the wonderfully Gothic font.

 Title: Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

  Author:Sarah Rees-Brennan

Expected Publication Date: September 11th, 2012

  Summary from Goodreads:

 Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the- Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Why I’m Waiting:It’s SARAH REES BRENNAN. I adore her, though I haven’t quite finished the Demon series yet (got through Lexicon and Covenant, will pick up Surrender as soon as I can). Also, it’s a Gothic romance. What’s not to love? This is on my preorder list, for sure.

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

Top Ten Books I Would Save if Disaster Struck

(Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish.)

I don’t have a tremendous amount of time to blog this morning– I’m on a rather tight schedule for today and am also suffering from the Head Cold of Doom– but when I saw this TTT topic, I couldn’t resist jotting my list down really quick. 🙂

And the books are…

  1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This book is a classic for me, and definitely something I’d want to be reading if there was a disaster 😀
  2. Wild Magicby Tamora Pierce. Ideally, I’d be able to save all my Pierce books, but if I had to pick just one, it would be this one.
  3. Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones. I love the humor in this book, and the romance, and just… pretty much everything about it.
  4. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Best steampunk I’ve read in a while.
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoneby JK Rowling. Again, I’d prefer to save all of them, but this particular copy has sentimental value.
  6. The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. I just love this book too much– from the moment Nick Ryves popped his head and his sword out from under the kitchen sink, I was hooked.
  7. Drink Slay Loveby Sarah Beth Durst. Best vampire book EVER.
  8. White Cat by Holly Black. This copy also has sentimental value– it has been signed and doodled in by Black herself!
  9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Again, signed copy. Also, the most emotionally wrenching book I’ve ever read.
  10. My audiobook copy of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Because awesome story + Neil Gaiman’s voice= unforgettable.

What books are in  your top ten? Feel free to link me to your post or let me know in the comments!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That I’d Hand To Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read

When I was a kid, I devoured books. In first grade, I was already reading MG/YA  and classic novels as opposed to those little readers that they give you in school. Therefore, it was always anathema to me when my brothers or my friends would complain about HAVING to read books, because I was really interested in reading EVERYTHING EVER. As I grew and matured, I discovered to my shock and horror that this was not an uncommon attitude. Even now, there’ll be times when I run into people who say that they just don’t like to read, and give me a mildly dismissive shoulder shrug.

So I, of course, must rise to the challenge and recommend books to these people. When I saw that today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Top Ten Books That I’d Hand To Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read, I just HAD to join in. 🙂

(Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke and The Bookish.)

Top Ten Books That I’d Hand To Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read

1. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone + sequels

This one is obvious. It got my brothers reading, it got my friends reading, and it started a wildfire in the world of young adult literature.

2. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett

This was the first novel I was able to get my youngest brother to read that wasn’t for school. Success!

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I’m guessing this is going to be on a lot of lists. Got my brother and three friends to read this one.

4. Anything by Patricia C. Wrede

Wrede’s witty, lighthearted style is sure to convert even the most hardened book haters.

5. Anything by Cassandra Clare

For that girl you know who says “I don’t read, but I did like Twilight.” Only, Clare is obviously tons better than Meyer.

6. The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

For that girl/boy you know who likes adventure and paranormal TV shows but doesn’t read.

7. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

For everyone. Ever. It’s impossible to hate this series.

8. Eragon + sequels

I am personally not as into these books anymore, but they do tend to get young people reading (and even writing!).

9. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Again, something of better quality for the Twilight-and-nothing-else chick.

10. The Amulet of Samarkand + sequels

This is a good one for boys or girls who are fond of The House of Anubis/similar shows but have a hard time finding something that suits their taste in books.

So, those are my (admittedly somewhat genre-slanted) offerings. What books would YOU recommend for reluctant readers? Let me know in the comments or link me back to your own Top Ten Tuesday post!

Waiting On Wednesday: TEAM HUMAN by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that showcases books that we are eagerly awaiting.

Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier

Publication Date: July 3rd, 2012

When a vampire shows up at Mel’s high school, it’s up to Mel to keep her best friend from falling in love with him. Add a mysterious disappearance, a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and poignant.

I’m pretty sure y’all know that I am… well, not the biggest Twilight fan. In fact, I kind of hate it. The writing is sub-par. Bella is about as interesting as a piece of cardboard. There’s some truly creepy and disturbing messages about sexuality threaded throughout the series– and this is coming from someone who used to read SLASH FICTION on the internet, guys. That can get pretty squicky, but still not as squicky as Jacob imprinting on Bella’s kid.

Anyway, I am not a Twilight fan.  And when I saw that Sarah Rees Brennan was going to be co-writing a Twilight/vampire fiction spoof with Justine Larbalestier, I was freaking ecstatic. The title makes me snicker, the cover is just perfect, and the tagline? AWESOME~!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Let me know in the comments or link back to your WoW post!