Author: Kendare Blake

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Nov 13

Girl of Nightmares Review

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Girl of Nightmares ReviewGirl of Nightmares (Anna, #2) by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor Teen on August 7th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 332
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Goodreads five-stars

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's 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.

Girl of Nightmares is the sequel to the ever-so-popular Anna Dressed in Blood, so be warned there may be SPOILERS for the first book! This review is also very short because books like this are hard to review without giving too much away and ruining the fun of the read for everyone.

Super Short and Sweet Review:

  • Cas is back, and he’s just as moody and kind-of-sort-of angry as in the first book. He’s not as hell-bent (no pun intended) on revenge, but now he’s kind of mooning over the fact that Anna is gone…or is she? At first he thinks he’s going crazy as he starts to see her when he’s out ghost-hunting, but then he becomes convinced she is in some kind of trouble (more trouble than a usual trip to the afterlife would entail) as she always appears to be tortured when she appears. Yikes.
  • Cas’s friends are more real in this book. At least, this time I actually remembered them, whereas when I started this one, I only had a vague recollection of there being other people involved somewhere…maybe that’s my fault, my memory is not the greatest. 😛 His mom is sweet and adorable and reading the scenes with the two of them kind of made my heart hurt. Like, what is it like to be able to be friends with your parents?
  • Partway through, the book moves to England and I LOVED IT. It just made it that much more interesting even if they didn’t get to explore nearly as much as they should have because obviously they were trying to save Anna.
  • Anna herself is only in this book in VERY short segments. I was a little bit disappointed by that but there was really no way to bring her into the story that would make sense.
  • The descriptions succeeded in making me pull my covers up and make sure my doors were locked (not that locked doors would help me if there was a ghost after me…buuuuut you know). I love it when a book succeeds in raising the hairs on the back of my neck! Surely I’m not the only one that literally has that happen…not just a figure of speech here!
  • The ending was…well, it was closure…and that’s about all I can say without spoiling it! My hat is off to Kendare Blake for ENDING THIS DUOLOGY right here. I can imagine it might have been tempting to extend it, with the popularity of Anna Dressed in Blood, but it felt really good to finish not only a book but an entire story.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Girl of Nightmares! Follow me on social media to keep up with more reviews and bookish posts!

   

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Nov 02

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood

Book Reviews, Books/Writing 7 ★★★★★

Book Review: Anna Dressed in BloodAnna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult, Modern
Pages: 320
Goodreads five-stars

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas's life.

YES. THIS. This is the book I’ve been waiting for the entire month of October. Don’t get me wrong, I read a couple of other winners, like Stalking Jack the Ripper and The Architect of Song, but this is THE PERFECT Halloween book. I knew there was something behind it being on at least half of the TBR lists for the Halloween Read-A-Thon. It actually wasn’t on my TBR, but after the DNF on my “horror or thriller” category, I decided to give it a whirl.

urban-legends

There will always be more dead, and the dead will always kill.

I actually wasn’t expecting much out of a YA horror book. My skeptical brain said, “How bad can it be?”  Two nights afterwards, I was still jumping an embarrassing foot back from anything unexpected when the house is dark. The cat. A sock in the floor. The door. A fart.

Cas, our ghost-slayer, is a cynical piece of work who seems to rather enjoy his job. He was definitely HUGELY influenced by the death of his father in the line of this duty. The origins of said duty are never fully explained…but I guess that would have taken a lot longer than the span of this format. Still, I would have enjoyed finding out! Anyway. He’s not your typical 17 year old, but he doesn’t rub it in the face of his classmates…at least not most of them. He’s rather cold and uncaring in the beginning, but throughout the story he really grows and develops into a much more feeling person by the end. No thanks to coming up against more powerful ghosts, which he is grudgingly forced to admit, he can’t take down alone. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with any of the side characters, but I really liked that he had to reach out of his comfort zone and take the risk of trusting other people.

Anna – yes, the one dressed in blood – I love her. I feel horribly sorry for her. I practically shook in my chair when reading the flashback scenes. Like holy shit. No one deserves what she went through. I liked that she took personal responsibility for everything she did after she became a ghost, even if it wasn’t truly all her fault. She was influenced…but it was still her hands that did it. I could see the attraction between Cas and Anna, but I wasn’t entirely convinced. I mean…she’s a GHOST. Even if she really appears corporeal at times. Come on, Cas. And I didn’t want her suddenly returned to life to make a happy ending because…yeah no.

The plot moves along quickly. I was a little shocked when I realized that Anna was NOT the ghost that killed Cas’ father (not a spoiler, as if you read the blurb carefully, it DOES say that…I just somehow did the old 2+2=5). Kendare Blake does an AMAZING job of dropping ALL the hints that you just KNOW are leading up to something HUGE…and then smacking you in the face with the truth you didn’t see coming. I sat with my jaw hanging open even as I mentally ran back through all the foreshadowing. Yep. There it was. I just…didn’t realize…yep. Total awesomesauce.

“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.”

The descriptions were amazing. Gory at times, but um, if you weren’t expecting that by the title…well, maybe you should look at the cover again. Just saying. I had chillbumps. I curled into a little ball and pulled my hoodie as far over my head as possible while still being able to see the book.

I swear I could hear the blood dripping from Anna’s dress. I felt the wind, the chill in the air…oh, right. I was also reading this as the weather was getting decidedly colder. BUT THIS IS WHY IT WAS SO AWESOME!! I was looking for a book that could make me feel like I did as a little kid, like Halloween wasn’t just costumes, but maybe something darker…maybe the veil really does grow thin on October 31st. Well. Mission completely fucking accomplished. My almost-30-year-old self no longer wants to go to bed alone.

5/5 stars. I immediately ordered the second one and HIGHLY recommend this one if you like creepy and young adult books.

 

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