Throwback Thursday Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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Title: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Publication Date: October 17, 2011

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: 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.


I’m slowly but surely getting through my TBR list. Doesn’t help that I grabbed 6 new books from the library today…yikes. I heard this was being made into a movie so I figured I’d grab it and see what’s the what. Read the breakdown below. 

What I liked: This is the first YA book I have read with a male POV that I actually enjoyed. And when I say male POV, I mean all the way through. Usually that’s a turn off for me. I’m a brat, what can I say, but the male voice is not one that I particularly enjoy in YA. Cas’s voice kept me reading and I’m glad for that. Blake did a great job of making her M.C. accessible to all reader’s. The crack team was really what got me though. Usually, I’m not into the whole ‘everyone knows about monsters and there are no humans left,’ but I think Cas having friends made him a more likable as a character, because let’s face it, he was also kind of an ass in the beginning. His friends made him more human and added a certain voice to the book. ‘Anna Dress in Blood’ lived up to the horror. Blake is not afraid to kill, anyone. Those human friend, well, they are not all safe. 

What I didn’t like: There’s a romance and frankly it is weird. I’m not into it and I’m usually into the whole starcrossed thing. Plus, the whole thing just seemed rush. After no time Cas begins thinking of Anna all moony eyed and confuzzled. #No. I was a little disappointed that there was not more done to explore Anna’s death since that seemed like the major part of the story to me.

Overall, this was a decent book that kept me turning the page. 3/5

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Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Wrath and Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Publication Date: May 12, 2o15

Genre: YA

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.


I’m beginning to run through my TBR list and this was next up. I was a little nervous about this one because it was so hyped up on so many different level; that being said, I really, really enjoyed it and am eagerly waiting to receive my copy of its sequel

What I liked: The pacing. I was nervous given that this is a retelling of “A Thousand and One Nights,” that the majority of the plot was going to be the main character telling stories to her husband, and while I can get behind the whole story in a story deal, I was not looking to read that for several hundred pages. I’m glad to say that I was wrong. Thought Shazi, the main female character, does tell several stories to the Caliph-her husband, there is more to this tale than a conglomeration of several others. In fact, Ahdieh jumps right into the action and keeps it coming. This book is a slow-burn from beginning to end, but even when there isn’t ‘action’ there’s something happening. The relationship between Shazi and Khalid fills in any gaps between action packed moments, by providing the audience with a relationship they can really sink their teeth into. I’m a huge romance fan here and this one is one for the books. Shazi feels a lot of guilt, Khalid feels a lot of guilt; they come together to feel a lot of guilt. It’s awesome. I love them. Also, way to go Ahdieh for suggesting that married people have sex. #duh. 

What I didn’t like: The ending threw me a little. There is a scene in the last few pages where I could not discern if Khalid knew what was going on. Was he mad at Shazi or mad at the situation; guess I will find out in the sequel.

Overall, be ready for a slow-burn, evocative read. 5/5

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Intend to Read this Summer

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I have been seriously remise in my book reading, but not apparently in my book buying. So, naturally, what has happened is that from Spring-Summer I have amassed a TBR list to rival even the largest procrastinator. Some of these are new purchases, some are library books (damn D.C. for allowing me to have them for essentially 20 weeks!), and some are pre-orders. At this point I have had so little time to read that I’ve stopped requesting ARCs, which then causes a ripple effect of me buying the book and it collecting dust. On that note, this Top Ten Tuesday, as sponsored by The Broke and Bookish features Top Ten Books I need to Read this Summer. 


1. Flawed by Cecelia Ahern: I purchased this at a signing and was exciting to read this after hearing the author talk about it, but alas, time. 

2. Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan: Ditto #1

3.  The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood: Ditto #1

(Do we see a pattern here? I have impulse control issues. )

4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: Probably my most anticipated book of the Spring and I let myself get intimidated by its size. I’m beginning this one next, promise.

5. The Wrath and Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: I heard her speak at YALLFEST and she was so passionate that I grabbed this like ASAP and then let it sit cause I suck.

6. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: I blame myself for this one. I read an early review and stopped 5 chapters in without giving it a chance. I never refuse to finish, so I’ll get to it and probably be mad at myself.

7. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge: Read “Cruel Beauty” a few months ago and LOVED it. Hope this one is just as good.

8. Court of Fives by Kate Elliot: Again, I let myself read reviews and am now nervous.

9. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake: Okay, I know this one is super late, but I never really gave it more than a glance despite the hype surrounding it. When I heard there is possibly going to be a movie, I grabbed it thinking ‘what the hell.’

10. Gabriel by Nikki Kelly: This was an impulse purchase. I’ll admit it, so I haven’t really had the heart to crack it open.

So there it is, my list–and trust me this is small fries compared to what there actually is. Anyone have any thoughts about what I should read next, or what should make it into my Fall tbr? 

Book Review: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

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Title: The Great Hunt (Book #1 in Eurona Triology) by Wendy Higgins

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Fantasy YA

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: “Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”

She could only stare back, frozen.

When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.


I had really, really high expectations for this book, so naturally, I put off reading it till I could give it my full time and attention. I’m a huge Wendy Higgins fan. In fact, she was the first book signing I ever went to and she was just so lovely and kind. Her Sweet series is one of my favorite and possibly the first book I formally reviewed on here. That’s why it’s so hard for me to wrap my head around “The Great Hunt.” It’s not that I didn’t like it, as you’ll see below, it definitely has high points for me, but it just didn’t have that same essence that I felt in the Sweet trilogy, so it fell a little flat for me. Below, is the breakdown. 

What I liked: Very few people can write relationships as effectively as Higgins can. In every book of hers that I have read, the relationships between the characters is what draws me in and keeps me interested. In this case, I wanted more Paxton and Aerity. Not only did I love reading about them together, but the way they thought about each other was captivating. Paxton=major hottie but I got the sense that Aerity wanted what she couldn’t have while also falling in love with the whole ‘bad boy, good soul.’ We’ve all been there girl! This relationship has a slow, slow burn. The character’s really only have one semi-steamy interaction, but as someone who loves the build up more than the actual relationship, I was down. 

What I didn’t like: Parts of this read more like a New Adult novel rather than a Young Adult High Fantasy, and I’m not even talking sexy, fun times stuff. Something about this just didn’t particularly gel High Fantasy for me. One, Aerity’s family was to lovey dovey. No one marries for anything other than love, yea, okay. Then there’s this whole “My mom is a Queen but used to be in the circus thing.” Again, surrre. Frankly, I just felt like there was a lot of unnecessary stuff and it was especially bad because it wasn’t genre specific. I think this would have worked better had it been set in modern-times with maybe a supernatural twist/ element.

Overall, it was okay. Good relationships but felt off for a High Fantasy. 3/5

Cover Reveal: The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins

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Lochlanach has traded the great beast for something far more terrible, a Lashed enemy veiled in beauty, deception, and a vengeance passed down through generations: Rozaria Rocato. And she’s offering the hunter Paxton Seabolt power and acceptance he could never receive in his homeland. Pax must decide how far he’s willing to go under her tutelage, knowing she is the opponent of Princess Aerity Lochson.

In a land where traditionalists dread change, the Lochlan throne must contend with mysterious foes and traitors, while attempting to keep revolt at bay. As dire circumstances strike the royal family, matters of the castle are left in Aerity’s hands. It’s time to put aside her fears and grasp the reign, taking actions that have the potential to save or destroy her people.

One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continue. In this sequel to The Great Hunt from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, political intrigue and romance intensify in another thrilling fantasy. Princess Aerity embraces a quest for identity and passion before making the ultimate sacrifice for her kingdom.

Wendy’s social media links

 THE GREAT HUNT ebook is currently on sale for $3.99

Kindle, Nook

 

 

Book Review: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

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Title: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

Publication Date: May 24, 2016

Genre: Dystopian/ Sci-Fi YA

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.


Schools out for the summer and I’m back with a review for the book that signals the end of one of my favorite series. I was damn lucky to get a whoopsie early copy (thanks Barnes and Noble for stacking these out about a week early) and have not been able to wait to write this review. I’ve got major thoughts on this one. 


What I liked: I’m not going to spoil the ending, but I will say that everything is not tied up into a nice, neat little bow. Things still mostly suck and I’m okay with that. What I enjoyed most about this series was Yancey’s willingness to play towards reality. People die in war and this was the definition of warfare. Throughout the series he has depicted some brutal deaths and if the ending had come and everything was green grass, lollipops, and cotton candy I would have been pissed. Things still suck. They just happen to suck less. My favorite character in this installment had to be Nugget/ Sam. For the first two books I felt like he was more of a tertiary character rather than a major player in his own right; he was the thing that brought Casey, Ben, and really even Evan together. In this last installment, Yancey really focuses on the effects the apocalypse has had on his development. Sam is at a crucial age and the fact that Yancey not only recognized that but also used it to his advantage speaks volumes towards my love for this series. Sure, not everything that is written can be based in reality–I mean we are talking alien apocalypse here–but the effects of war and the toll it takes is crushingly real, especially in the last book when 90% of the characters we started with are either already dead or heading that way. 

What I didn’t like: Still mega confused. Are there aliens or are these really just humans wiping out the planet. The explanation was extremely difficult for me to grasp. Not sure if I didn’t read closely enough (totally possible since I decided to read the last chapter first and screwed myself mega), if it was meant to be vague, or if I’m just dumb.

Overall, this was a great series and a great finale. Yancey shows that you can tie the story together successfully without everything having to go back to the way it was. The world is still screwed but hopefully are remaining characters will find a way to live in it successfully. 4/5

Top Ten Tuesdays: 10 Books I Picked Up on a Whim

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It has totally been a minute and a half since I have done a Top Ten Tuesday. The school year is winding down, which means, less planning, less grading, less stressing, and more time for reading. Yay! Here is what I hope to be the first of many more Top Ten Tuesdays, as hosted by The Broke and Bookish 

 

1. The Sweet Series by Wendy Higgins

2. The Ravens Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

3. Lailah by Nikki Kelly

4. The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

5. Trylle series by Amanda Hockings

6. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

7. Everneath by Ashton Brodie

8. Wait for You by Jennifer L. Armentrout

9. The Collector’s Society by Heather Lyons

10. An Ember in the Ashes Sabaa Tahir

I could literally continue this list for eternity, because 95% of the books I pick up are on a whim, aka I like their cover.

What books have you picked up on a whim recently?