Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “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.”

Paperback: 320 pages
Recommended Age: Older Teen
Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (July 3, 2012)

RATING 4 STARS 

I almost walked away from this one a few times… But, I kept picking it up anyway and, eventually, it was worth it.

Anna Dressed in Blood has a great premise – and that’s what kept me from giving up on it. It’s not vampires, love triangles, and teenage angst (at least not entirely.) It’s a ghost story. A really creepy ghost story at times.

The problem, at least for me, was how slow it was to take full advantage of the premise. I was almost half-way through the book before the plot itself was gripping enough to keep me turning the pages. In and of itself, that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. But, during that down time there wasn’t anything to balance out the lack of excitement. Every time it felt like it was about to kick into gear, it still managed to meander of pretty quickly.

I would really have liked to see more character depth from the beginning. More relationships. More conflict. More to keep me reading, and building the suspense, while waiting for the “ghosty” parts. Heck, I really wouldn’t have been upset to see any of the characters suffer a horrible death for the better part of half the book. That’s a problem.

As the story goes on, I never really fell for the protagonist, Cas, but there was still enough there to keep me hooked. Maybe that was the problem – the bulk of the beginning was supposed to be introducing Cas… and I just never really grew to like him during that time. At times I actually disliked him. If nothing else, how do you have a “ghost hunter” who seems so weak at times.

I normally would have rated this around three stars. But, my rule is that if I’ll pick up the next book in the series it’s worth 4. And, I just may grab the next one. Maybe. This book actually ended on a note that strongly reminded me of Demon Kissed – and that’s a great series.

***Although YA, my twelve year old will have to wait for this one… Otherwise I foresee a lot of nightmares in the near future. Just an FYI – maybe your kid is made of stronger stuff. But, I was creeped out at times, and I’m old enough to know the bogeyman isn’t under the bed.

4 star book review

Recommended for people who read YA Horror, Ghost Stories, and like a good creep-out.  Need a spooky read for Halloween?  This is it.  Anna Dressed in Blood is followed by Girl of Nightmares (release date Aug 7, 2012).

Grab Anna Dressed in Blood on Amazon now. It was only $2.99 when I grabbed it!

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Book Review: The Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3) by Rick Riordan

rick riordan, kane Chronicles, percy jackson, middle grade fiction, books for boys, Egyptian gods, adventure booksThe Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3) by Rick Riordan

A Pirate Princess Review

Description: “He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sade Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld.

Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.”

Reading level: Ages 10 and up
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition edition (May 1, 2012)

5 STARS! NOT TO BE MISSED!  I MEAN IT!

Sadie and Carter Kane are back~!

This book is my favorite out of the Kane Chronicles.  Sadie, Cater, Bast, and the rest of the gang are back! This book takes place at a couple of fun places, let’s see if I can name all of them: Dallas, TX, Brooklyn House/21st Nome, 1st Nome, Egypt, and the Daut. 😛 Hey, I did it! Whoo hoo!

Anyway, back to the book. This book has a good plot, but I admit, he hinted at something a little too much. I figured it out almost straight away. I’m not saying exactly what, because I don’t want to spoil it. If you have read Serpent’s Shadow, ain’t that awesome!

The main conflict is: How will the Kanes stop Apophis? Me, I know how because I’ve read it.

The two main characters, Sadie and Carter, I can tell they’ve grown up. Sadie still has her attitude. Carter is still Mr. Wikipedia. Anubis, Walt, and Felix are back also. I like Walt tons! More than Anubis (That’s right! You heard me! {Or at least you saw what I typed} Anubis, sure he’s a god that everyone says is hot, but seriously. I like Walt much better.)

I liked that Rick kept the sarcasm and laughs even with all the conflict. When something shocking happened, he made up for it in some way (I said shocking. I did not cry at all when reading this book. I was close to during one thing though).

I LOVE his chapter titles tons, like these two, Bulls With Freaking Laser Beams…and…Welcome to the Fun House of Evil. LoL.

I did find some areas where I was confused. There were at least a couple of typos, too, but nothing major (I read the hardcover).

I think this book was the best out of the series. The Red Pyramid started the Kane Chronicles off, but it was slow-ish at the beginning and some parts in the middle. The Throne of Fire, the second book in the series…I think was just…Umm, too much conflict. I just…didn’t favor that one very much. This one answer questions I wanted to know, has good conflict, not too much or little, doesn’t really have any slow or boring spots, good humor. You get it now, right?

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I would recommend SERPENT’S SHADOW to:  middle grade, tween, adventure readers, people who enjoy fun books, Rick Riordan fans, fans of mythology, and Percy Jackson fans of course. If you liked Peter and the Starcatchers, you will also like this series.

This book was the third and final book in the Kane Chronicles trilogy.  It is preceded by The Red Pyramid (#1) and the Throne of Fire (#2).

Grab SERPENT’S SHADOW by Rick Riordan, the final book in the Kane Chronicles now!  The kindle edition is on sale for less than $10!

Related posts: Event: Rick Riordan Q&A

Book Review: Kingdom Keepers V-Shell Game by Ridley Pearson

kingdom keepers V, disney books, childrens books, 5 starsKingdom Keepers V: Shell Game by Riddley Pearson

A Pirate Princess Review

DESCRIPTION: “As the five Kingdom Keepers enter high school, everything is about to change. The Maintenance Base that controls all four parks in Disney World is under attack by the Overtakers, a group determined to change Disneyforever. Relationships between the Keepers are no longer as simple as they once were. In fact, nothing is as simple as it once was.
An after-hours visit to Typhoon Lagoon is a game changer. The Keepers lose one of their most valuable supporters. But there’s work to do . . .

The Disney Dream leaves Port Canaveral on an historic cruise to Los Angeles with a special treat in store for guests: the Disney Host Interactive guides are on board. Finn, Maybeck, Charlene, Willa, and Philby join guests as the DHI experience moves to one of the most advanced cruise ships in the world.

But all is not right below decks. Strange things are happening. Only the Kingdom Keepers know the truth behind their invitation to be in attendance: nearly every Disney villain is aboard the ship, including Maleficent. The Overtakers have infiltrated the cast and crew. And no oneknows what they have planned.

The Dream sets sail filled with enthusiastic guests and crew. But not for long. Maleficent takes over a video screen and warns the guests of trouble to come. With the ship arriving to the beaches of Castaway Cay–its first of many exotic ports of call–the Kingdom Keepers are under attack; back home the Base is threatened and about to fall. The Overtakers have expanded in ways never foreseen, and it’s clear they intend to use this element of surprise to accomplish what has eluded them so far: victory.

But not if Finn Whitman and friends have anything to say about it.”

Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (April 3, 2012)

REVIEW 5 STARS-NOT TO BE MISSED!

Two words(Well four if you count the two before). Awesome. Cliffhanger.

This book is the fourth in the Kingdom Keepers series, written by Ridley Pearson. It takes place on the Disney cruise ship, The Dream and The Fantasy. Kingdom Keepers are now traveling from Orlando, Florida and across the Panama Canal to California.

The Keepers, Finn, Willa, Maybeck, Philby, and Charlene along with their two friend Jes and Amanda, have a new adventure on their hands.

The book had amazing conflict and twists that I didn’t see coming. I couldn’t figure it out except for when the author told me(Haha!) and I can usually see who the culprit or what’s going to happen before the end of the book. The main conflict in this book is hard to place, but you’ll see when you read it it’s this. Why do the Overtakers want a certain item and why are they on the ship? Finn has the most conflict in this book, and you’ll see why.

I’ll compare the first book of this amazing series to this one. I think I like this one better. There’s more conflict, more problems the Keepers have to face, and it has an awesome ending, but the ending also made me go into shock.

Speaking of the ending, I have to say I did enjoy it. True, I did go into shock when I read it and re-read it to make sure I got it right…But it was still good. I thought the series was over then and there, but then I heard two more books are coming and I was jumping up and down like a crazy person(No! I am not crazy!).

I liked the characters in the books, but I found I didn’t like two of them as much any more, and they are not Overtakers. Finn, as always, is awesome, but I found some of his personality changed. Amanda…..Is amazing. That’s all I can say. New characters are introduced in this book to, but I won’t say who.

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I would definitely recommend this book to around 10-Adult. People who enjoyed the previous books of this series should read this one. Tweens and teens will lie it to. Heck! Adults will LOVE it!!!

Grab SHELL GAME now at AMAZON or B&N or WalMart

Book Review: Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

bestselling teen reads, ya paranormal romance, ya historical fiction, ya books that rockClockwork Prince (Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.”

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1ST edition (December 6, 2011)

RATING 3–STARS A GOOD READ

Clockwork Prince is the second book in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.  The story takes place in London, England in the mid 1800’s.  There were many elements that drew me to this series.  I enjoy historical fiction and it’s not a dominant theme in YA.  Tying the two together gives the reader a faster HF read, since YA typically moves at a faster pace than adult novels.  I’ll get more to the pacing later.  I enjoy paranormal, and really like books that cross the paranormal worlds and smash them together.  This was that kind of book.

The characters grew in Clockwork Prince.  Tessa, Jem, and Will are all growing and changing.  Tessa is becoming more sure of herself, even though she isn’t sure what she is. I wish there wasn’t a love triangle, but there is.  The triangle doesn’t seem forced, but I think it portrays Tessa as a weaker character.  I like reading about Jem and Will.  They are both opposites, but that plays off of them nicely.  It makes them seem real, which is awesome.  And Will is such a hot mess, who couldn’t love him?

Tessa is the main character, and she doesn’t know what type of creature she is.  As the novel progresses, she gets more clues as to her heritage, while becoming more bold as the plot unfolds.  The Institute is under attack, and another Shadowhunter is trying to take it from Charlotte.  The world itself it beautifully woven together.  There are demons, ghosts, vampires, nephilim, and more mythical creatures that live together under the noses of the human population.

The steampunk thread that runs through these books is also interesting and well done.  It doesn’t feel out of place or shoved in there.  The mechanisms are an integral part of the story-line.  In short, this makes the series a prime candidate as a paranormal smorgasbord of all-time favorite creatures with mass appeal.  I should have loved it.  I really, really wanted to…

But, there was a major flaw with the pacing of this book (and the previous book). I felt bipolar while I was reading it.  Some days I loved it, and others I hated it.  I finally figured out why. The pacing throughout this novel was erratic.  It felt like the story was stuck in second gear.  The book progressed that way through both novels, without a serious climax.  Don’t get me wrong – the book did climax a little bit, but for the size of this 500+ page book, and the depth of the story, well the climax fell short.  Then the story for the third book started.  I don’t have issues with that.  It creates cliffhangers and I love cliffhanger endings.  It’s just that the characters and the world were so awesome, but the story itself seemed lackluster in comparison, which was disappointing.

The other issue that pulled this down to three stars was the fact-checking.  There were three oopsie facts, back to back toward the end of the  book.  One sentence was a string of words that should have described a gown, but meant nothing.  They strung together words that were meant to sound technical, but they were the wrong words.  The sentences immediately following were about cameras with incorrect period info. It may not bother other people, but having several issues in a row jerked me out of the story.

Clockwork Prince is proceeded by Clockwork Angel.

three star books, ya books 3 stars

This book is recommended for YA Paranormal readers, historical fiction fans, and Cassandra Clare fans.  Younger readers should be aware that this novel has a graphic scene about war spoils that some may find upsetting.

Grab CLOCKWORK PRINCE on Amazon by clicking here.

Book Review: The 13th Prophecy (Demon Kissed #5) by H.M. Ward

demon kissed #5, paranormal romance, fallen angel book, best YA booksTHE 13th PROPHECY (Demon Kissed #5) by H.M. Ward

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “The time has come for Ivy to face her dark fate.

There are no other options—she must destroy Kreterus. Failure to destroy him will result in the annihilation of the world we know and Ivy being doomed to reside in the Underworld for eternity.”

Reading level: Ages 16 & up
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Laree Bailey Press (March 5, 2011)
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/demonkissed

REVIEW: 5 STARS–NOT TO BE MISSED

This series started out as solid Young Adult reading. I devoured them alongside my daughter… But, with this concluding volume the series has really graduated into a full-fledged adult paranormal romance – and it’s stronger for it.

All along we’ve seen Ivy Taylor struggle with the reality of who she believes herself to be versus who she is fated to become. With this book, the underlying theme that has been alluded to all along becomes much clearer – life comes in shades of gray. Good and evil, right and wrong, aren’t always clear cut. That’s what made me appreciate this series so much for younger readers. Can a likable, lovable, relatable character really by damned? Can true love be deeper than mere swooning, and complicated by less admirable feelings? Does someone always have to win?

This was a really great, satisfying, conclusion that avoided the typical Disneyification that we expect in modern stories. And, that’s also why my twelve year old won’t be reading this last book for a while… The sexual tension in the past books is ratcheted way up and allowed to play out more than it has before. The relationships are more complex – and at times twisted – than a young kid could be expected to follow. And, the ending leaves readers feeling as though the author was true to the story and characters, even if it meant taking us all on a wild ride and a very dark roller coaster.

If you’re an adult reader who hasn’t picked up this series yet, the Ivy-Eric relationship alone will be enough to keep you turning pages.

THE 13th PROPHECY is the 5th and final book in the Ivy Taylor/ Demon Kissed story.  H.M. Ward has announced that Demon Kissed will continue under a new series name FALL OF THE GOLDEN VALEFAR, and follow Eric’s story.  Anticipated release is Summer 2012.  See author’s website for more information.

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*Recommended book club read.  Due to the nature of this series, it is an easy book to discuss, with many talking points.

I would also recommend this series for teen or adult paranormal romance readers, dark paranormal readers, vampire fans, and readers who enjoy lots of fast-paced action.

The 13th Prophecy is the fifth book in the bestselling Demon Kissed series by H.M. Ward.

Grab THE 13th PROPHECY (Demon Kissed #5) on Amazon by clicking here.

Related Reviews: Demon Kissed, Stone Prison

Book Review: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

shattered souls, mary lindsayShattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

A Pirate Princess Review

“Lenzi hears voices and has visions – gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can’t help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she’s a reincarnated Speaker – someone who can talk to and help lost souls – and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn’t make a decision soon.”

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Philomel; First Edition edition (December 8, 2011)

REVIEW: 5 STARS–NOT TO BE MISSED!

Lenzi..or Rose, thought she was going crazy when she heard boogie baby crying out to her.  Turns out that she wasn’t nuts.  She can hear ghosts.  And helping them figure out how to move on is Lenzi’s job.

Then there’s Alden.  When he showed up, Lenzi got pissed.  She had no memory of who he was and the story is interesting as she finds out.  This book is written in 1st person, so the reader learns about stuff at the same time as Lenzi.

Zak is supposed to be Lenzi’s boyfriend, but he ain’t a good one.  Let’s just say that he’s got issues.

The character’s personalities were consistent throughout the book. Lenzi is sarcastic, smart, funny, and gets mad. Alden disobeys, obeys, and is unpredictable. Zak is whack. He gets drunk, gets jealous, and……ick.  Other yucky behavior.

SHATTERED SOULS takes place in Texas.  It ties in the historical event that leveled Galveston Island in the early 1900’s, so it has a bit of a historical fiction element.  I think that lent to the story.  I also liked the paranormal stuff going on in this book.  It has ghosts and it’s Lenzi’s and Alden’s jobs to help the ghosts out.

The pacing was great and the ending didn’t disappoint.

pirate princess book review 5 stars

Recommended for people who like ghost stories, soul stories, paranormal, and past lives.

Get SHATTERED SOULS now on Amazon!