Boy Meets Girl, Girl Murders People

Following my discovery of Young Adult novels back in 2010, I spent the next couple of years reading and rereading Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series and whatever Holly Black and Rachel Caine book I could get my hands on.  I recall having just finished a book about a fae disguised as a human when the spine of Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood whispered to me.  Despite not being remotely about fae or vampires, I let the creepy and blood-dripping girl on the cover lure me in.  A four year dalliance had begun!

After his father’s gruesome murder a decade earlier, Cas Lowood has taken up his father’s job: killing the dead.  Armed with his father’s mysterious athame, Cas travels around the country with his kitchen’witch mother and spirit-sniffing cat.  They follow legends and local lore and destroy the murderous dead, all the while keeping pesky things like the future and friends at an arm’s length.  Catching wind of a ghost, Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects to track it down, hunt, and kill it.  So the usual.  What he discovers, however, is a girl buried in curses and rage.  She’s a ghost he’s never faced before.Wrapped in a blood-soaked dress that she wore on the day of her murder in 1958, Anna has killed everyone who has had the misfortune to step into her crumbling Victorian house.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

Unfortunately, my sanity while waiting to read the second book wasn’t.  Nevertheless, Anna Dressed in Blood and it’s sequel, Girl of Nightmares, was packed to the brim with sarcasm, wit, and epic ghost versus human battles.  From the violent beginning to the heart-wrenching end my heart was in my throat.  And the chills…  I’m still looking over my shoulder whenever I feel something running down my spine.

I rate the Anna duology a four out of five stars.

Advertisements

The Unofficial Grand Orchestra

Since I started reading manga steadily in 2012, I’ve discovered so many unique story lines and wonderful, warped, and wonderfully warped characters.  I’ve reread Kaori Yuki’s Grand Guignol Orchestra series four times since then, so I thought it was about time to write a review of the five-volume series.

Heading up the unofficial Grand Orchestra, Lucille and his companions Kohaku and Gwindel travel from town to town, entertaining the masses, making money, and facing their toughest audience.  Guignols, people infected with a deadly virus that turns them into zombie dolls, ravage the world.  Intent to stop the guignols before they destroy humanity, the Grand Orchestra roves the countryside, killing guignols as they go.  Unbeknownst to most of them, the town that they’re about to enter is full of secrets.  Deadly, tragic secrets.

I was thoroughly disturbed the first time I read Grand Guignol Orchestra but as I reread them over the years, I saw how horribly twisted and painfully human the characters were.  The series was definitely one you’d have to read a second time to fully understand because there were so many intricacies that would be difficult to appreciate the first time around.  Filled with more heartache and creepiness than I bargained for, Kaori Yuki has managed to pick my emotions apart in five volumes.  The short story at the end of the fifth volume had me biting my nails and reading through my fingers.

I rate the series as a whole four out of five stars.

Quoth the Raven…

51ttkxr78vl-_ac_ul320_sr214320_

This was one of those books where I saw the cover and cringed.  With a moody boy all in black holding onto a blonde bathed in pink, I had to fight my better judgement to read the description.  I was intrigued but unwilling to start a new trilogy.  It wasn’t until one of my favorite people, Leah, posted a promising character rant that I decided to give it a go.  After all, it was Poe-inspired.  How bad could it be?

Answer: very agonizing for my poor little heart.

Isobel Lanley and Varen Nethers couldn’t be more different.  Cheerleader and goth.  Popular and aloof.  If they hadn’t been paired for an English project, they more than likely wouldn’t have crossed paths.  They both made it clear to each other that neither of them wanted to have anything to do with the other.  But, after finding strange and grim writings and drawings in his journal, Isobel sought out different ways different ways to be with him.  Much to the frustration of her family, friends, and overly possessive boyfriend, Isobel got deeper and deeper into a dream world Varen created through the pages of his journal.  A place where Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are alive.

Filled with dangers both mundane and fantastical, Nevermore is a spine-tingling nightmarish thrill ride.  One minute I’d be basking in an adorably sexy moment and the next I’d be biting my nails, begging the characters to run and never look back.  they say not to judge a book by its cover, and I’m glad I gave it another chance.

I rate this five out of five stars.

Rooms, Rooms. Too Little Room.

13579626

In accordance to my usual ritual when reading books I know I’ll like, it took me awhile to actually sit down and read.  Since 2015, when the local library first got the book, to be exact.  After checking it out at least five times and reading the first twenty pages over and over again, I decided enough was enough.  Summoning my inner Sandra (a lead character in the book), I kicked up my feet and began devouring Lauren Oliver’s Rooms.

“Everything comes up in the end.”  That’s what Sandra, one of the two ghosts haunting Coral River, said.  Indeed, when the owner of the house, Richard Walker, died and left his alienated family to pack up his belongings, it seemed that secrets would be uncovered.  Sandra and Alice (the other ghost) pass the time bickering, watching the Walkers, and reminiscing their pasts.  While his sister, mother, and niece were busy packing and preparing for his father’s funeral, Trenton began to communicate with an new ghost, and the spirit and human worlds collide.

Filled with smart dialogue, vivid descriptions, and frighteningly relatable characters, Rooms buzzes to life, and is as painful and reassuring as it is mysterious and haunting.  From its eerie beginning and climatic middle and bittersweet ending, Ms. Oliver’s ghost story and family drama will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page.  It’s like a fine, aged wine.  It starts out tasty and gets better with every drop.

I easily rate this a five out of five stars.

Rooms

For the past several weeks, I’ve been milking Lauren Oliver’s Rooms.  In the midst of a chapter I found myself struck by the elusive muse and, following her prompting, scribbled down this poem.  I hope you enjoy it.  (On another note, I’ve changed my site’s url, so now it’s aweebiteccentric.  I’ve done this because I feel that it is more mature and matches the site’s identity.  Plus, I never really liked the original url anyways.)

Silent, silence:

The absence of the living.

Emptied, empty:

The rooms left behind.

Sharpened, sharp:

The words we spit.

Lighting, lit:

The fire in the basement.

Burning, burnt:

The empty shell of a house.

Going, gone:

The spirits are freed.

Copyright © 2017 by Nita Pan

All rights reserved.  This post or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

Nightmare Hours

All the creatures come at night,

Racing, chasing against the light.

And until the dawn comes o’er the damned,

We shall be bracing ourselves

For the nightmare that be our lives.

Copyright © 2016 by Nita Pan

All rights reserved.  This post or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review.