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review 2018-09-20 03:55
The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp
The Atrocities - Jeremy Shipp

The spooky house and governess heroine made me think this was a historical story at first, but it's actually contemporary-set. Danna has been hired to teach Mr. and Mrs. Evers' young daughter, Isabella. The Evers' home, Stockton House, is an odd place. It used to be a church, and in order to get to it, it's necessary to walk through a labyrinth populated by the Atrocities, statues depicting horrific violence and suffering. Stockton House's interior is no better - every wall and nook and cranny has something grotesque and unsettling on/in it.

Danna has her own horrors to deal with. At times, she slides into what she calls her "hospital dreams," vivid and twisted nightmares that feel terrifyingly real. She tries to focus on the job at hand, teaching Isabella, but it soon becomes clear that there's a lot the Evers didn't tell her about themselves and their daughter.

This had a feel to it that reminded me a lot of the game Fran Bow. Danna's "hospital dreams" were about as horrifying as Fran's visions when she took her pills, and The Atrocities and Fran Bow both had startlingly sudden endings that were open to interpretation.

However, whereas Fran Bow took its time, letting players gradually get to know Fran and the horrors she and others went through prior to the game's beginning, The Atrocities felt like it barely scratched the surface where Danna was concerned. Readers knew she'd once been married, that she had a son who'd died, and that she had a cousin who tried to keep her spirits up by texting her cute pictures on a daily basis. That's pretty much it. Danna's hospital dreams were never really addressed. Did anyone other than her know about them?

The novella's ambiguous ending frustrated me. Taken at face value, it was a "good" ending. Danna's sometimes shaky grasp on reality made me wonder, however, whether her experiences at the end were real, or just something she'd cobbled together to reassure herself. Readers who like this sort of ambiguity may enjoy this, but I wanted something a little more solid.

I loved the overall atmosphere, and the mystery of the Evers family intrigued me. Unfortunately, the ending was a disappointment.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-09-17 15:22
Good YA Ghost Story
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

Honestly not a lot to say besides I enjoyed this one a lot. It was a nice break from the doom and gloom of Stephen King. This book reminds me of a hybrid of "Supernatural" with a little "Charmed" mixed in for good measure. 

"Anna Dressed in Blood" follows teen Cas who has the ability to sense ghosts and also send them away if he manages to kill them (how do you kill something already dead?) with his father's enchanted athame. Ca's father was also a ghost hunter until he met a tragic end. Cas's sole mission is to get strong enough to go back one day and put to end the ghost that killed his father. When he and his mother are on the move again for him to track down and put down another ghost, Cas starts to realize that this trip is different. 


Cas reminds me a bit of Dean and Sam from Supernatural. Cas would be the perfect hybrid of these two characters. Cas apparently is good at research, but can also protect himself when going up against ghosts. One wonders though after what is revealed in the end, was that all him though or something else?


Due to the nomadic life he has lived, Cas hasn't really thought about friends or girls. However, after coming to Thunder Bay, Ontario, he starts to develop friendships with Thomas and Carmel. Thomas has some telepathic ability and Carmel is the queen bee of the school. You don't see these friendships coming, but Blake does a good job of fleshing out this threesome. You have Cas's mom who is hoping for something more with Carmel and Thomas who is hoping for something more. I kind of wanted Carmel to pop up and say I am good and keep on keeping on. That was the only part of the book I didn't care for, Carmel was not a prize to be won by Thomas or Cas. Thank God though there is no dumb love triangle in this book. Cas sees Carmel as a really cool and strong friend and I was delighted with that. 


We get some other characters who get a bad end. We do have some gruesome scenes here and there, but nothing too scary. We do find out eventually what happened to Anna and how she became an uber ghost. I think that the book could have easily been cut in half, but we continue on and we get some more to do with Cas's father and his legacy. I was worried there was too much going on int his book, but Blake manages to walk the line. 


The flow works in this one though I did want to yell at Cas for being dumb sometimes. The action slows down a bit when Cas and Anna talk. I know why Blake set it up that way (for us and Cas to get to know her) but I had a hard time with her not being that scary really. 

The ending leaves things with a slight cliffhanger. I know there's a second book in this series, but the reviews have been mixed. I may just leave things here since I really enjoyed Cas and his ghost hunting. 


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text 2018-09-15 18:21
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

Wow. What a great story! Very good and loved the ending.  Cas, Carmel, and Thomas are an awesome trio. There are enough twists to keep you guessing. I know there’s a sequel, but I don’t think I’ll read it anytime soon.  Will have to remind myself to read it later on next year.


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text 2018-09-14 21:35
Reading progress update: I've read 35%.
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

So far so good. It's kind of gruesome at times reading about what ghosts can do to a human being. I like Cas being kind of a hybrid of Sam and Dean from Supernatural. Now I am intrigued by Anna since she doesn't seem to be like a regular ghost that Cas has dealt with.


I hope that Blake works in some more backstory for Anna since now I want to know who killed her and why. 


I do want more development with Cas's mother and hopefully the other teens he has met at the high school. I don't like Thomas very much. He's giving me a creepy vibe. 




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text 2018-09-14 14:59
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

Well I like the cover a lot.

This book also has a lot of genre tags that may fit other bingo squares, so check it out.


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