Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:
A spectacle to behold, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD is a darkly intense thriller that will leave you breathless – not knowing which way to turn. Kendare Blake’s words burn from the page, her writing style perfectly crafted with a darkness and odd sense of humor that made for an engrossing read. I was won over by the characters, blown away by the plot and enchanted by the progression. I did not expect this novel. To say this book is a thriller and leave it at that is like saying Romeo & Juliet is a romance. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD needs to be experienced and Ms. Blake needs to hurry up and write more because I am hooked and I need my next fix.

REVIEW:
Theseus Cassio Lowood is one of a kind. Armed with an anthame that he inherited from his murdered father, Theseus, better known as Cas, kills the dead. The dead he sends “away” aren’t your garden-variety spooks, either. These are no chain rattlers, or table shakers that he stalks. Cas goes after the killers. The ghost that haunts the highway, hitching and then killing unwary do-gooders, the girl that haunts her old house and rips anyone to shreds that sets foot inside – these are who/what Cas hunts. He moves from town to town, following, tracking and hunting. His only companions – his mother and their cat. When he gets a tip that leads him to the ghost called ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, Cas is instantly drawn to the story. Cas and his mother move to Thunderbay and almost instantly he is told the story of Anna Koslov and how she has killed and dismembered anyone that has set foot within her home. By befriending the a-typical popular girl, Carmel and pissing off Mike, the a-typical meat-head jock, Cas finds himself on Anna’s porch, being whacked over the head by a 2×4 and thrown into the house…when he comes to he sees Anna. She is a goddess of death, drenched in blood – and she spares him. She has never spared anyone…

From the character development to the smart writing style of Blake, to the gothic setting and back-story, this novel had it all. Full of thrills, blood and guts, hinted romance and quirky side characters, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD had me riveted from page one. This is not your typical young adult novel, in fact this is the most intensely portrayed ghost story that I’ve read in any age range. Cas is a larger than life character and ANNA – well, there is no describing ANNA. She is everything, feared, pitied, revered, sympathized, horrified…her character was so well depicted that she could almost come alive (even though I would run screaming like a wuss!) and walk into the room. This book scared me and comforted me and entertained me…I’m ridiculously pleased and I can’t wait for more.

Full of thrills, blood and guts, hinted romance and quirky side characters, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD had me riveted from page one.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Recommended for mature teens, there is descriptive violence and mature language. Recommended for horror and thriller fans. Fans of Koontz and King – if you are looking for a YA title this is the one for you! It also reminded me a bit of I AM NUMBER FOUR stemming from the fact that it has a strong male lead with a quirky, nerdy side kick and a hottie popular chick floating around in it.


Audiobook

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Review: Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White

Review: Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

I don’t want to start this review negatively but the first thing that pops in my mind when I think SUPERNATURALLY is “not as good as the first.” While good, entertaining and fast-paced, there was something that was something that was lacking with SUPERNATURALLY that was infused throughout PARANOMALCY. This is a must-read though if you’ve read and enjoyed PARANOMALCY and if you haven’t read the first book, what is stopping you??? Check out my review here. You will not be disappointed.

REVIEW:

Evie has everything she ever wanted. She’s in High School. She is not living in the center. She has a beautiful boyfriend who loves her, a job, an actually girlfriend…yet she is not happy. Lend only comes home from school on the weekends. High School is not exactly what she imagined it to be – especially gym class. Her roommate spends more time playing RPGs on the computer than actually being friendly and her job involves taking out the trash and not being tipped by vampires that are upset their mind-control doesn’t work on her. In one word, Evie’s life has become MUNDANE. Yet, just as she is feeling the wear and tear of mundane living Raquel comes back in her life and offers her a consultant position with the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Evie wants this. But how could she tell Lend? Or his father? Or Arianna? Easy enough, she just won’t tell them.

Lie after lie builds and Evie is slowly in deeper than she should be. There just might not be getting out of this one with her friends and her boyfriend intact.

I think my implied disappointment with the outcome of this novel stems from Evie’s behavior. I was severely disappointed in her. I thought the constant lying and covering up was ridiculous and I actually believe she deserved a little more than she got in the end. The people that took her in hated the Agency she worked for. Hated. They were staunchly against the agency and here she is, solely supported by these people and she gets all involved with the agency again. Yet, even though I was disappointed in behavior, I was highly pleased with the novel. White’s writing is superb and her character development was excellent. Out of all the people in SUPERNATURALLY I liked Jack the most. Which if you’ve read the novel, you’ll know why this also adds to my curmudgeoness (is that a real word?). I could just imagine him doing back hand-springs and jumping on beds. Hilarious. Like a hot Willy Wonka or something.

Second books are the worse. They have to make some tough decisions because you have to lead up to the third book. They are almost the in-between. I hope things get better in the third…

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Recommended for readers that have read SUPERNATURALLY. If you haven’t read it, this is not a stand-alone. Fans of paranormal romance and young adult books should enjoy the series.


Audiobook

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411 on the series

  1.  This is the second book in the TRILOGY, Paranormalcy was the first book and listed on the NY Times Best Seller List almost immedietly
  2. Ms. White did a series of vlogs and answer a lot of questions if you are interested.
  3. Endlessly, is the third book and it will be out in 2012

Review: The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

A very competent follow-up, The Fox Inheritance added a sense of anxiety and dark simmering violence that THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX lacked. The introduction of the two friends was a surprise for me, Jenna’s book could have been a stand-alone, but I was still excited to hear that the world would be explored more. In the end I wasn’t disappointed and actually thought that THE FOX INHERITANCE was a little more than the first and the characters better developed.

REVIEW:

Locke and Kara have been resurrected after 260 years of stasis – living within a black box where their mind downloads spun and spun. They were forgotten on a shelf and discovered by a scientist with dollar signs in his eyes. Crafted into perfect human beings, their minds uploaded into perfect bodies. They are expected to be grateful to their savior even when everything is so wrong. Centuries gone. Their families long deceased. The only living person they know is Jenna, who lives somewhere out of reach. Jenna, who is a long lost friend to Locke and the reason for their pain according to Kara…

THE FOX INHERITANCE was uniquely constructed. The world has changed since the time of THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX. Two hundred and sixty years is a long time and Pearson moved the setting along perfectly. Locke finds himself in an alien world and has to cope with what he has been given and the pain he went through “in the box”. The book went from being very internal to a lot going on externally. It also broadened some interesting ideas that were expanded on that I’m pretty sure we might be faced with in the future. I think some of the ideas had a good basis but was wrapped in a quick little package, so I would have liked to see a lot more, but the book worked in this form. Yet, I do believe that as a longer adult novel these ideas could have been quite epic. Pearson has quite an imagination and her world building was well thought out and implemented. Locke as a character was highly enjoyable and Kara was rather creepy. Jenna was still a little stand-off-ish, but it fit the personality. Overall, excellent follow-up and I can’t wait to read more from Mary Pearson.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Recommended for fans of psychological dystopians, books like WITHER by Lauren deStefano and MATCHED by Ally Condi. Please read the first book because while it wasn’t necessarily needed it will help you understand the world the books are based in. There wasn’t much to be worried about as far as censorship is needed, should be safe for younger to mature teens and enjoyable by adults.


Audiobook

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Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

For reasons unbeknownst to me I had put off reading this particular gem. Probably because in a world of heavy hitters that all had similar labels (dystopian, science fiction, young adult) it was eclipsed by flashier titles. And while I put it off for awhile, I did managedto finally get to it (the blame though lies solely on the the fact that I landed a Fox Inheritance ARC) and I’m so glad I did. THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX was a superb blend of mystery, intrigue and thought provoking topics. While not the best of the best of dystopian fiction, I do have to say that I’m still thinking about this one and am highly anticipating book two.

REVIEW:

Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year long coma and she can barely remember her name, much less how to put certain words together. Trying to regain her grasp on reality Jenna Fox is focused on putting together the pieces, remembering her prior life and making sense of the strange changes that her parents and grandmother have made after her accident. Jenna doesn’t know if it is because of her accident or something else more nefarious, but she is determined to find out the truth. Especially as mystery after mystery begins to surface.

The mystery behind Jenna Fox kept me stuck nose deep the entire time. I thought I might have had it figured out but then another loop was always thrown in. The book was excellently paced and drew me in word by word. The character of Jenna Fox was also solidly formed, her character went from 2D to three dimensional in a wonderful transition. What I did find confusing was that I couldn’t discern the authors meaning behind the story. I thought she was going a certain direction but then the ending threw me completely off. I guess maybe I have to wait for book two to see how the chips fall?

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Recommended for fans of dystopian and young adult books. Fans of Ally Condie, Lauren DeStefano and authors of great dystopian and science fiction should enjoy.


Audiobook

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Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

Jospehine Angelini’s debut novel, STARCROSSED was a enticing read that kept me engaged and emotionally involved from page to page. I fell in love with the characters, the setting, the plot and the mythical undertones of the storyline. Can you say, “Highly Impressed?” The whirlwind romance and emotional upheavals that resulted in Helen’s past, future and heritage was spectacular. I’m glad I don’t have a weak heart because this novel was a heart-attack inducer. I wanted to scream and cry and slap sense into the characters a few times as I read (well listened to them being read) these pages. I highly recommend STARCROSSED and am patiently waiting for DREAMLESS (2012).

REVIEW:

On the tiny island of Nantucket lives Helen Hamilton. Helen is one of the most beautiful girls that most people have had the opportunity to gaze upon, but her insecurity and penchant for shying away from the spotlight tends to make her more of an outcast than popular. Her only friend Claire is her saving grace but as Helen is wracked with nightmares that feel more real than a dream she feels like she is losing her grip on reality. To make matters worse every time she comes into contact with one of the Delos boys, the newest family to move to the island, all she can think of is that she wants to suck the life right out of them. Homicidal thoughts are very new to the usually peaceable Helen, added to her homicidal tendecies, she is also seeing images of three bloody women that appear before her every time she comes in contact with a Delos. Helen knows something is seriously wrong with her and it would seem the Delos’ know a lot more about her than she does – but she can’t get close to them without trying to murder them. What is a girl to do?

The best way I can describe STARCROSSED is a Percy Jackson series for chicks. Angelini combines the mythical story of the Greek gods, action, romance, emotional turmoil and fate into one epic tale that kept me up at night, thinking about what Helen and Lucas will do next. The mythology of this story made it just so much more, Angelini brought it to life and made it seem real even though some of the aspects were a little hard to swallow. I also really enjoyed the characters of the book, especially Claire. I liked Claire and Helen’s flawed yet supportive friendship. It really worked for me.

On top of the plot twists and turns and the characters, I really enjoyed certain aspects that Angelini wove into the story. While odd, the “kill-on-sight” craziness that happened in the beginning of the novel was well executed and it worked. Angelini brought you from one extreme to the next, from insecurity to hatred to love to fear to acceptance, all within a few pages. It was definitely a roller coaster of emotional trauma.

Some have mentioned that the romance was a little too whirlwind, but I thought it worked. Helen and Lucas went from hating each other – to really sacrificing their lives for each other. Strong emotion can go both ways, so the fact that they went from hate to love was actually quite believable. You know how quickly you can go from love to hate, why can’t it be the opposite? On top of that he is the one that knows her history, her fate and he saved her life. These types of emotionally intense aspects can be transferred very quickly into love.

The setting of the book also became a living entity to me. Angelini brought the island of Nantucket alive in her writing and I loved hearing about it. I almost want to visit. I could really go on and on with this novel… how I liked that there was an adult presence in this book that is sometimes lacking in young adult books. The fact that I felt tied into the story and found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it was a big plus for me. The emotional aspect of the novel being the most poignant and enjoyable as I listened. I did this one as an audio book and I was listening to it everywhere. I couldn’t get enough. And yet while I have crazy likes about this book, there were a few downers:
What I didn’t like about the novel was some of the plot points. Out of all the places in the world why would the Delos just happen to move to Nantucket and why wouldn’t they have killed Helen on sight? It might have been explained away slightly, but I didn’t quite grasp their holding back.

SPOILER: Another dislike is a spoiler so step back if you don’t want to read. I disliked the mom greatly and thought the fact that Helen went off with her mother ridiculous. Why would she have done this no matter what her mother said?

It didn’t make sense to me. Shame on you Helen! 🙂

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Overall a great read and something I highly recommend for fans of Young Adult, mythology and romance. If you’ve enjoyed books like the Percy Jackson series, or Romeo and Juliet type romances this is the book for you.


Audiobook

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