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: On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION “In the future, mankind has colonized other worlds, mined asteroid belts, and sent ships so far into the blackness of space that light from their drives won’t reach Earth for centuries. Through it all, life has been found in almost every system we visited and yet we’ve never encountered another intelligent species.

Until now. When the Colony on the planet known as Hayden’s World stops transmitting on their CASIMIR FTL system, a Solari Fleet Task Force is sent to investigate. When they arrive there are enough oddities in the situation that they in turn send in a special operations unit to contact the colonists and determine what happened. Only one of those operators survives to make planet fall. Sergeant Sorilla Aida finds herself against an alien force of unknown power and capability. Her only assets?

A depleted suit of power armor, her rifle, basic kit, and a few hundred Hayden born civilians looking to take back their home. Just what she was trained for.”

RATING 4 STARS

I picked this up after reading Currie’s “Into the Black: Odyssey One.” That was a great read, and I was anxious to see what else he’d done. I wasn’t disappointed.

As opposed to a lot of science fiction, here we’re given a great female protagonist. And instead of a utopian future and amazing tech, you’ll find a universe that you can easily relate to. Humanity is still the same. And so, when the protagonist is dropped into truly alien experiences, you’re along for a great ride.

The pace is quick. But character development and relationships aren’t sacrificed for plot. I wish my daughter read more action/adventure and sci-fi, because there are so few great female characters out there. Here’s one where the fact that the story centers on a female marine is simply taken for granted. It’s a non-issue, there’s no pandering, and the story tears along dragging the reader with it.

Since this isn’t a space epic, the scale is much more local – and it works. That alone would be a nice change of pace, but the fullness of the story and the great characters make it a 5-star book.

4 star book review

Recommended for Sci-fi readers and anyone who likes a solid cheap kindle book.

Grab On Silver Wings now on Amazon!  It’s only $3.99!

Thanks for reading my blog!  Can’t wait to post more awesome book reviews!

Book Review: The Dig by Michael Siemsen

the dig, contemporary fiction, sci-fi books, YA sci-fi, 3 star book reviewsThe Dig by Michael Siemsen

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “A mysterious woven metal artifact is found at a paleontological dig in Africa. Mystified experts, confounded by the impossible timeline they get from traditional dating methods, call upon a stubborn young man with a unique talent. Matthew Turner’s gift is also his curse: Whenever he touches an object, his awareness is flooded with the thoughts and feelings of those who touched it before him. It is a talent that many covet, some fear, and almost no one understands. Despite being exploited as a child and tormented by the unpleasant experiences imprinted on him from the various items he has “read,” Matthew agrees to travel from New York to the forests of Kenya. There, threatened by unknown enemies and helped by a beautiful but prickly ally who begins to understand his strange ability, he journeys back in geological time to make a discovery so shocking that it forces us to rewrite all human history.”

Print Length: 324 pages
Publisher: Fantome (January 17, 2011)
Recommended Age: Young Adult

REVIEW: 3 STARS-IT WAS OKAY

In The Dig, Siemsen manages to keep the reader engaged in two completely distinct stories. There’s a modern, paranormal, story that he uses to weave in a second, more science fiction, story that’s easily as compelling. It’s a great feat. And I found myself happily transitioning between the two worlds.

Likewise, he’s developed some great characters. A few reviewers have complained that they didn’t find anyone truly “likable.” But, I think the “problem” is actually a more three-dimensional protagonist. Unfortunately, the villain is a bit caricature-ish, which may undermine the more well developed characters. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to turning each page.

The disappointment didn’t hit until the end… Siemsen wrote two great stories and wove them together almost seamlessly. So, over the course of each chapter the anticipation of a great pay-off builds. You want to know where it’s all going! But, the great climax never arrives… In fact, it felt incredibly anti-climactic when it was all said and done. The best that can be said is that all the loose ends were neatly tied up.

Hopefully Siemsen brings his great style to another book, and the storytelling is paired with a more dramatic purpose.

three star books, ya books 3 stars

You may enjoy this book if you liked: Neanderthal

Recommended for guys, Sci-fi readers and YA book fans.

Grab THE DIG now on Amazon or B&N for $2.99!