Tag «Ghosts»

Series Review: Anna by Kendare Blake

Series Review: Anna by Kendare Blake

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Anna Dressed in Blood (from Goodreads):

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.

breakdown

Series: Anna, Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Supernatural, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2011 – August 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was in University when this book came out and I remember seeing some buzz for it on Goodreads (which I had just discovered) and put it on my list to read. I think it was one of the first eBooks my library had as well. Regardless, it was a popular read and even though it didn’t fit my usual genre, I wanted to give it a try.

Fast-foward nearly a decade later and I had moved the book from my TBR list to my Pass list a few times before finally opting to listen to the audiobook because I needed something new to read and I had been enjoying Blake’s Three Dark Crowns Series.

The Concept / The World:

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest ghost fan and around the time of this release, I had read a few other meh YA ghost reads and I think that contributed to my decision to not pick this up. But I thought the idea here was fresh take (reminded my of the Mediator Series by Meg Cabot a bit).

What I really loved is that the location! It’s not everyday I read a book set in Canada let alone Ontario so having this set in Thunder Bay was neat. Every town has their ghost stories and the setting here reminded me of my home town and the creepy house on the outskirts everyone swore was haunted.

The Plot:

It’s a fairly easy plot to follow in terms of the supernatural elements. Everything is explained well even with the various layers and aspects at play.

If you’re looking for straight-up horror, this isn’t it. It’s more about the backstories of Cas and Anna–why he hunts ghosts; why she is still a ghost. There are suspenseful moments and I enjoyed the mystery of their pasts.

I struggled to get into the second book though. One reason was the romance (explained below) the other was that I thought it jumped around a little too much and fell into even more cliches than the first novel did.

The Characters:

I liked Cas a lot actually. It isn’t often we get only male POVs in YA so that was rather refreshing. He’s blunt with his candour and I appreciated that. And he is rather complex.

The rest of the characters we meet though fall into cliches and stereotypes so I didn’t really form any great connections to them.

The Romance:

For the longest time I didn’t think there was a romance so it seemed rather sudden and random. It also felt like his feelings for her were of pity for her situation? I just didn’t see any chemistry between them and I think that really turned me off of the sequel.

My Audiobook Experience:

I think listening to the audiobook helped me to like Cas as our narrator. I think he would have come across as an asshole without listening to the tone of his delivery. It helped me appreciate his dry wit and candour. I also think it maybe turned me off of the idea of a romance with how the narrator does Anna’s voice.

Series Rating: 2/5

Anna Dressed in Blood 3/5 | Girl of Nightmares 2/5

overall

This one straddles that line between original yet cliche at the same time. There were aspects I liked but I really struggled to connect to any of the characters or story.

Read if You Like: ghost stories, duologies
Avoid if You: want less cliches, want a smoother story

similarreads

  • Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (Paranormalcy Series #1)
  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson (Hereafter Series #1)
  • The Hollow by Jessica Verday (The Hollow Series #1)

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Series Review: Shades of London by Maureen Johnson

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book4

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Name of the Star (from Goodreads):

Jack the Ripper is back, and he’s coming for Rory next….

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

breakdown

Series: Shades of London
Author: Maureen Johnson
# of Books: 4 (The Name of the Star, The Madness Underneath, The Shadow Cabinet, Book 4)

There is a prequel novella called The Boy in the Smoke

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 4 will be published in 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Ghosts, Supernatural, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I did not finish reading The Madness Underneath (Book 2)when I published this review. Find out why below…

The Name of The Star Review:

I read The Name of the Star for two reasons: 1) I loved the eBook cover (the one when it first came out) and 2) I hadn’t read anything about ghosts in a long time, if ever. Normally, I prefer to read romance or action novels–I don’t really enjoy ‘scary’ movies but I LOVE thrillers and this book sounded like an episode of Criminal Minds (one of my favourite TV shows) but with a supernatural twist.

Unfortunately, The Name of the Star didn’t do much for me. I didn’t really like Rory as a character and I had a hard time convincing myself to like her. I just didn’t like how she acted–I think some people might label it “quirky’; I would label it “quacky” because I thought she was very odd. I’m not sure if it is the writing style as it is a novel set in the UK and I most books I read that are set there tend to have a slower pace to them but it didn’t do much for me. But I was hooked into the mystery so I continued to read–and I’m glad I did because I liked the ending and solution to the mystery all things considered.

However: I had no interest in reading the sequel. But what happens at the very end of the novel–plus the connection I thought I saw between Rory and another character–kept my interest enough to see what the sequel was all about.

The Madness Underneath Review:

Unfortunately, The Madness Underneath fell (no pun intended) into the classic Book 2 of a Trilogy Slump. I was halfway through the book when I had to ask myself: what the hell is the plot? Honestly, halfway through the book the “mystery” (the “creepy new terror haunting modern-day London”) is never mentioned. Instead, we get to listen to an angsty Rory as she tries to navigate her teenaged life–which is not my cup of tea in any book and especially in this series where I’m not a huge fan of Rory. It would have been ok if the other characters we meet were involved but Rory pretty much flies solo for most of the book.

I was 40% of the way through The Madness Underneath when I decided to stop reading it. I read in other reviews that the ending is very exciting but in my opinion it was too little too late. I decided to sleep on it and see if I changed my mind but I decided I really didn’t care (because nothing had really started by that point) and I could live with not knowing considering I had lived without reading The Madness Underneath for two years since its release. I just didn’t want to be committed to another book if I did like the ending. I have better series to read from the library so I am officially putting this one to rest.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Name of the Star 3/5 | The Madness Underneath DNF | The Shadow Cabinet N/A | Book 4 N/A

overall

While I personally didn’t enjoy this story, I quite a few people will like the supernatural/paranormal spin of it. If you like slower series with books dedicated to personal character development then this series is for you. But if you are like me and like having multiple plotlines or faster plotlines with lots of twists and action, you won’t enjoy this series so stay away!

similarreads

  • Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
  • Hereafter by Tess Hudson (Hereafter Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: The Hollow Trilogy by Jessica Verday

Series: The Hollow Trilogy
Author: Jessica Verday
# of Books: 3 (The Hollow, The Haunted, The Hidden)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery, Supernatural, Ghosts
Heat Rating: cold

Thoughts:

My knowledge of Sleepy Hollow isn’t that much–basically I watch the movies around Halloween but only in bits and pieces. So I was interested in reading a series that is linked to the short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

The premise isn’t really anything out of the ordinary in terms of a paranormal Young Adult read, but the legend of Sleepy Hollow adds a different element to it and the mysterious death of Abbey’s BFF does to. This means that this series is a lot darker than many paranormal young adult reads out there so it can be a little solemn to read at times.

The Hollow was an alright start to the series. Because of the darker elements to it, I found it a little depressing to read at times. There wasn’t as much romance / sexual tension as I was hoping for: just little snippets here and there. I feel like the first book was mostly focusing on Abbey trying to navigate her life after her BFF’s death. Which means there is a lot of angst towards her parents and sad teenage girl thoughts. I just kept waiting for something big to happen to push the series into a more exciting ride.

Unfortunately, that big push never really came in any of the three books. They just coasted along revealing little bits and pieces of the mystery but I never got really excited about any of it.

I know a lot of reviewers don’t like the message the last book, The Hidden, sends out to readers and to an extent I agree. It isn’t the way I would have ended the series and I do agree that it can send out the wrong message to young girls but I think it is important to remember that it is fiction–it isn’t real life and that readers must separate the two.

Conclusion:

Overall, the series was just bland to me. It wasn’t exciting and I didn’t completely love any of the characters. The mystery didn’t do much for me and it really isn’t a focus of the series (which is why I continued to read despite the dull start because I wanted to solve the mystery). Cool concept; unfortunately not the best execution (though the covers are really pretty :P). I would pass on this series if I were to see it again.

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Immortal by Gillian Shields (Immortal Series #1); Hereafter by Tara Hudson (Hereafter Trilogy #1);  and Swoon by Nina Malkin (Swoon Series #1)

Synopsis for The Hollow (from Goodreads):
When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.