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on 21 August 2012
Anna Dressed in Blood is an exciting and terrifying novel that will leave readers breathless and prepared for more. Looking for a frightful summer read? Then pick up this book.

Cas isn't a normal teenager. He has a job to hunt and kill the dead who still haunt at the place of their death. When Cas and his mum move to a new town, Cas has his mind set on a very famous ghost: Anna Dressed in Blood. He's only heard rumors and stories. Anna has killed every single person who has entered her home. So when Cas and his school mates visit the house Anna does something no ones expects. She spares his life.

I found this book really interesting and completely gripping. This book is told from a male's POV, which is great because YA fiction needs more of them. It's all one exciting and scary-as-hell roller-coaster. Get ready for blood, guts and a whole load of ghosts.

Cas is strong, determined and brave. I loved reading the scenes between him and Anna when they have the chance to talk to each other. His life is extremely intriguing and sad at the same time. He was not able to have a decent childhood due to the fact that he has the duty to kill ghosts.

I loved the suspense, the mystery, the action, the romance and the characters. One thing I didn't like so much was the book started pretty slow and I was waiting for something exciting to happen 60 pages in. The book did get more interesting but it felt like the plot was going round in circles a bit. I would have liked to see more talking going on between Anna and Cas but I guess I'll have to wait for the sequel.

Overall, Anna Dressed in Blood is one of the most freakiest books I've ever read! It had me biting my nails and checking behind doors after I'd read it. A definite recommend. I can not wait to read Girl of Nightmares.
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on 1 January 2013
I'm not one to gush about book and be all fan-girly - have you ever seen me do that? No. So mark down this day in history 'cos - I LOVED THIS BOOK! I read it in a day - a day I'd planned to do a lot of other things, but I just couldn't put this down. I loved the story, I loved the spookiness and I especially (brace yourself) loved Cas. Yep, I'm confessing my first EVER book boy crush.

Right - I need to justify all this gushing *takes deep, calming breaths*.

Anna Dressed in Blood is unusual in the YA-paranormal genre in that it is written in first-person perspective of a male character, Cas. And Cas is a great character - he's snarky and smart-arsey, clever and funny, brave and strong (yeah, there's the gush again) - his looks aren't really described but I did imagine him as kinda like Dean from Supernatural, it's the personality that I loved so much! And Anna, my heart broke more than a little when her story was revealed......

Although Anna Dressed in Blood is not one of the scariest books I've ever read, the creep factor is pretty high - the ghosts are scary as all get-out and any scene featuring them got my heebies jeeby-ing, it's subtly written but quite intricately detailed as well.

There's also romance (which had me all misty-eyed), magic and some surprising characters - the popular girl from the local high school Cas attends, Carmel, actually isn't the stereotypical bitchy bimbo at all, and Cas' mother is not the overbearing overprotective character I would have assumed the mother of a ghost-hunting teenage boy would be.

The writing in Anna Dressed in Blood is extremely good, the pace is maintained even when the ghosts aren't around and the action scenes had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The dialogue is great - it really cements the personalities of the characters and I could almost hear them in my head (I can't admit that I DID hear them, that sounds slightly crazy!). Of course, being a series, there is a cliffhanger - but not the kind that made me want to throw the book across the room, more the kind that had me hugging the book and beginning to stalk Ms. Blake to see when the next book is being released....

Anna Dressed in Blood is one of my favourite books of 2012 so far, if not THE favourite.
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Cas Lowood is no ordinary teenage boy. He doesn't care about sports or computers and he isn't interested in girls. He hunts ghosts.

His latest hunt takes him to Thunder Bay, Ontario, where a violent spirit known as Anna Dressed in Blood haunts the town, brutally murdering anyone who dares to stray into her home.

Everyone except Cas...

The sole reason I chose to read this book was the title. Anna Dressed in Blood has quite an old fashioned, Gothic ring to it that appealed to me. I wasn't disappointed with the novel.

I've read a number of YA supernatural romances over the last few years, which have become popular ever since the Twilight phenomenon exploded. This is one of the better ones I've come across.

Unusually for a YA supernatural romance, the central character is a teenage boy. Theseus Cassius Lowood is descended from a long line of ghost hunters, most recently his father, who died at the hands of a powerful and mysterious spirit in Baton Rouge a decade earlier. After his father's death, Cas inherited a wicked looking mystical knife known as an athame, which his father used to kill ghosts.

Cas would fit brilliantly into the TV show Supernatural; he's cut from the same cloth as the Winchester brothers and moves from town to town, job to job, the same way that they do, killing ghosts in a gung-ho, action packed style.
Everything changes for Cas when he moves to Thunder Bay and comes up against the town legend, a teenage girl who had her throat cut on the way to a high school dance in the 1950s. Ever since, she's literally been tearing her victims apart, her rage is so strong.

But Cas discovers another side to the spirit when she spares his life after he falls victim to a prank. As he discovers more about Anna's past, it becomes obvious that she was the victim of a horrific death, which casts her ghostly murders in a different light.

As such, the novel deals with the idea of good and evil in an accessible way. Anna has committed some horrendous crimes, but she was also the victim of one. Her actions can be explained, but that doesn't excuse her of them.

It seems that a recent trend in supernatural romances is for the male lead, or the love interest, to be a bad boy, with little to redeem him. I find it hard to believe in a romance when one of the characters is completely mean all the time. Here the characters are better drawn and easier to empathise with, which makes the book much more engaging.

The story is fast-moving and exciting, with plenty of brutal and bloody action. There are some genuinely chilling moments and the descriptions of the ghosts have a visceral quality.

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely keep an eye out for the sequel.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Anna Dressed in Blood is a creepy and atmospheric read

Cas is a ghost hunter taking over from the role he father had before him. Along with his mother he moves around the country to dispatch a variety of ghosts. His ultimate goal is to find the ghost responsible for killing his father and get his revenge. On his travels he hears about Anna Dressed in Blood.

Anna is a terrifying ghost. Murdered whilst wearing a white dress turned red by her own blood she has killed a variety of teenagers locally who dared to enter the house she was murdered in. Over the years her story has become urban legend which become reality when a group of teenagers Cas hangs out with decide they want to investigate.

I loved the relationship between the main teenage characters in the book. They are really funny with the tongue-in-cheek scooby doo and buffy and the scoobies reference thrown in. I love how Cas has spent his entire life avoiding making close friends but when they force their way into is life he actually finds having that support network really helpful.

I like how this book really didn't hold back like some YA read can do. The way in which some of the victims are dispatched is truly gruesome to the point where I was freaked out (and I'm not squeamish)

The last few chapters where everything kicks out is really tense and creepy - not to watch when at night alone. The scene when you realise what it is that is actually residing in the loft is absolutely terrifying as it dawns on you and then wonder how cas is actually going to deal with the latest problem.

I loved that the book in itself stands alone but if left open enough that there could be a sequel. I hope so...
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Anna Dressed in Blood, how the hell do I describe Anna Dressed in Blood? It is a book that until recently, was on my to be read list for so long I never thought it would ever jump off it, however when I saw it my local library I just knew that I had to take it home with me. Maybe it was because of how long I've been meaning to read it, maybe it's because of the cover or maybe its because I completely skipped the Halloween reads and I wanted to read something spooky to make up for it, the fact is whatever the reason it ended up in my bag and on my bookshelf, it was one book I was so pleasantly surprised by that I would have literally kicked myself for not reading it sooner if I didn't think I would look like a crazy person.

Want to know my absolutely all time favourite thing about the story? CAS!! reading a story from a male point of view was just such a breathe of fresh air. Although it was something I really loved I think that because of some of the aspects of the story, I may not have liked it as much if it was set from a females. Another thing? It reminded me so much of early season's of Supernatural and as I was proper obsessed with it when I was a teenager, it's not exactly a bad thing. There was just something so similar about Cas and I just kept thinking about Dean for most of it.

Who is Cas I hear you ask? Well Cas, or Theseus Cassio Lowood is a ghost hunter, his dad was before him and his dad dad and so on, its pretty much the family business (see what I did there.. did you? Hahah..) He only stays in one place for long enough to gather intelligence, learn what he can about the spirit he's come to send to a better place, never forming attachments and uping and leaving the minuet it's done, always with something new lined up. His next case is none other than Anna Korlov aka Anna Dressed in Blood, who was murdered in 1985. They never found her killer and as the legend goes she's still wears the white dress she was killed in, only now it's stained red and dripping with blood. Anna seems like your typical ghost, and should be easy to kill but Cas soon finds out that it's going to be more difficult than he first anticipated.

As far as the character's in the book go, they were really well written and developed perfectly. Cas was funny and clever, he had heart and was driven but never let his need for revenge or his need to make his father proud get in the way of what was right and wrong. Anna was...so wonderfully spooky, she was the perfect mix between crazy and sane and she was instantly likable, her back story was so compelling that it was impossible not to feel sorry for her. The sub characters where just as good and unique in their own way and I really feel like Kendare Blake done such a good job creating so many different characters with completely different personalities but all relatable in one way or another.

Perhaps my only dislike for this book is how quick some feelings seemed to come out of no where, I didn't dislike the relationship as such because even though at times I couldn't understand it, it was still beautiful in its own way. It just wasn't.. I want to say realistic about how fast the feelings happened, but given the circumstances not much would be realistic about it anyway.

I love how book was so unpredictable at times, and it really did a good job of keeping me on my toes, I loved the characters and the friendship that shined through, I loved loved loved how gory it was, I got exactly what I was promised in a horror book and I'm so happy I finally read it. I'm not exactly sure if I will read the next one before next year because of how much I have yet to get through, I also have heard it's not as good as this one and to me, this book was enough for me. I don't need to read the next one to get closure to feel like I've finished the series.I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for an easy book, that isn't boring but fun and exciting and scary at times. It's such a good book, so read and enjoy it.
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on 25 June 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Anna Dressed in Blood is YA paranormal fiction with a touch of romance. I generally find that books combining the words young adult and paranormal and romance are best avoided, but I did actually enjoy this book. Anna Dressed in Blood is about a teenage boy, Cas, who hunts murderous ghosts (a profession he inherited from his father who was murdered). He moves to a small town in Canada to search for Anna, a ghost who wears the blood-soaked dress she was killed in. Anna turns out to be a more intriguing ghost than any he has encountered before and he cannot bring himself to finally send her off into the afterlife. Anna is also stronger than any other ghost he has encountered and he finds himself needing help from a motley band of local kids he befriends. There is another story running through the novel relating to Cas wanting to avenge his father's killer.

I thought Anna Dressed in Blood was an enjoyable page-turner with likeable characters. Anna is an especially interesting character and it was sad to find out why she is so bitter and full of hatred. I thought the horror elements of the story were enjoyably spooky, but not particularly frightening. There is a "not for younger readers" sticker on the book, but I would be happy to give this book to a horror-loving pre-teen. Besides, whilst I certainly think all ages will enjoy this book, I felt it was aimed at younger teens. The only element of the book that did not work for me was the romance plot. It seemed tacked on as though the author felt she needed to include it to keep the teenage girls happy. Personally, I think the novel worked better as a paranormal thriller than a paranormal romance.
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VINE VOICEon 22 October 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The overview:

Our main protagonist is one Cas Lowood; he has followed in the footsteps, of his late Father's, a career/vocation, where He destroys violent poltergeists.

It's a very dangerous business for Cas Lowood, as his father was killed in the most gruesome way by a ghost he sought to kill/destroy. Cas is now armed with his father's mysterious Athamé a ceremonial dagger, and he travels the length and breadth of the country. Along the way he acquires friends that accompany him and try to help? As for the rest of the so called `normal' world, it is of no interest to him, it is the here and now that is important and of course the business at hand.

However, things change when in a new town, he is working on his latest project the elimination of a dangerous ghost called `Anna Dressed in Blood', Cas believes that this is business as usual, but things go very wrong and he fails in his mission. As he awaits his imminent death he is spared by ghost. The question is why?

My thoughts:

Well this book is clever, spooky and funny. There are interesting characters and great action sequences throughout. The premise and the narrative, I thought, were at times both beautiful and sad. As YA fiction goes this definitely one of the better reads and I am sure with such a promising and interesting start, where the characters are well rounded and interesting, I guess there is certainly an amount of `emotional investment' by the reader. I believe this book straddles both YA and main stream adult fiction. This reader recommends this book highly. Check out the author's sequel `The Girl with Nightmares'.
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on 2 November 2011
Cas Lowood has an unusual life. He lives with his kitchen witch mother and their spirit sniffing cat and spends all his free time hunting ghosts in hopes of avenging his father's death. Cas is following in his father's footsteps killing the vengeful dead before they can claim more victims. When Cas gets a tip about a particularly viscious ghost he goes off to discover more about Anna Dressed in Blood as she is known, and soon finds there is a lot he doesn't know.

I'd seen this book mentioned all over the web with loads of rave reviews. I loved all the teasers people had posted on their blogs so I decided to read this over Halloween. I'm really glad I did as it is an amazing read, managing to blend creepy with gross and sweet in a storyline packed with so many twists and turns it makes your head spin.

The plot is amazing. I was expecting the tagline to cover the plot "Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story..." but there is so much more to it than that. Cas and Anna's stories rapidly become more complex than I was expecting and all the other characters introduce so much depth to the story I could barely stop myself reading. There are also a lot of pop-culture references which are brilliant and made the book have a self-aware feel.

I don't read many books with male protagonists so I was surprised to like Cas as much as I did, though with a name like Theseus Cassio I was always going to like him. The characters on the whole are really well written, from the hero Cas to his kitchen witch mother (who isn't stereotypical or mocked) and the reluctant sidekick Thomas. Anna is incredibly well developed managing to find a balance between menacing and vulnerable, and despite her bad girl role I loved her.

The ending is well written and cleverly done, managing to conclude the story with some big twists I didn't predict. It does lead into the next book which is good in some ways, but leaves a few unanswered questions which will bug me until I get the chance to read it.

All in all, this was an incredible read and I can't wait for the sequel - Girl of Nightmares.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 49/50
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on 4 November 2014
When Cas' father is brutally murdered, it's up to him to take over the family job: killing murderous ghosts and sending them away from earth. Cas, along with his kitchen-witch mother and ghost-sniffing cat have moved from city to city carrying out his work but this book is about a job he has been given to kill Anna: a brutal ghost living in her childhood house who kills anyone who enters.

I read this book just in time for Halloween and it set the mood perfectly. With creepy, gory and downright disgusting parts, this is definitely a great spooky read for any time of the year. Anna Dressed in Blood left me with a creepy feeling but I also found myself becoming attached to Anna. Cas was my favourite character, as he was the hero of the story; the protagonist and the kind of guy I would like to have as a friend. The book wasn't just a typical ghost-hunting story, it had deeper parts and even funny parts - which is why I gave this book a 4 out of 5. I would definitely recommend reading this book and I can't wait to sink my teeth into the second one in the series.
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I was not expecting great things from "Anna Dressed in Blood." I expected another goopy teen paranormal romance, and not much more. But I received a pleasant surprise in Kendare Blake's debut novel, a genuinely thrilling horror story with a well-rounded cast, a creeping sense of horror, and a powerful writing style soaked in blood and grave dirt.

Years ago, Cas Lowood's father hunted and "killed" ghosts with a magical athame, until one of the ghosts left him dead. And partly eaten. Now Cas and his mother travel around, continuing his father's work.

A tip leads them to Thunder Bay, Ontario, where the ghost called "Anna Dressed in Blood" tears apart anyone who comes into her decrepit house. But for some reason, she doesn't hurt Cas -- and he soon realizes that Anna doesn't want to kill. She's possessed by some dark force that makes her rip her victims apart and hoard their bodies, but she refuses to tell Cas what it is.

So Cas sets out with his new friends, nerdy psychic Thomas and queen bee Carmel, to discover what trapped Anna in this house as a monstrous killing machine. But their attempts go awry when someone steals Cas's athame, and an evil far older and more horrifying returns to kill them...

"Anna Dressed in Blood" honestly reminds me of Jim Butcher -- pop culture references (mostly "Ghostbusters"), an impossible romantic attachment, and a hard-headed soft-hearted hero who frequently gets beaten to a jelly in the course of duty. In short, Kendare Blake writes sort of like Butcher, if Butcher wrote for a teen audience.

Blake has a brisk, slightly wry style that occasionally erupts with gruesome visions (the "braid" of dismembered, rotting bodies) and vivid magical battles. And she doesn't hold back on the gruesome stuff -- one of the early chapters has a boy literally ripped in half. And the scene of Anna's death is downright painful to read about, with hate, blood, loathing and desperation all wrapped up in one.

Downsides? I would have liked to have known why Anna's killer murdered her, since that person seemed to be acting with motiveless hatred.

And the cast has a lot of well-rounded, non-cliche characters -- the flaky Wiccan mom is very sweet and down-to-earth, and the blonde popular queen bee is actually brave, smart and kind. And Blake paints particularly vivid characterizations of Cas and Anna, two teens whose lives were cut short by death -- her by her murder, and he by taking up his dad's mantle.

Hopefully Kendare Blake has more adventures for Cassio Theseus Lowood, because "Anna Dressed in Blood" left me hungry for much, much more. Bring on the wendigo!
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