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on December 17, 2016
When I learned there was a sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood, I was a little confused. I loved the first book but at the end of the first book it felt like a lot of this story was wrapped up and finished. I might have forgotten some points though because I read it last summer. Even so, I was happy to jump back into this story and see what Cas and his friends were up to.

I was pleasantly surprised with where this book went. I was thrilled to see how much potential Blake built into this story. There was more information about the athame, Cas's family and the lore behind Cas's job. I felt like she really built up the world and expanded the supernatural elements of the book which was really awesome except this is the end of the series. In some ways I could see Cas and his friends hunting ghosts for several more books, but in the end I realized this is Cas and Anna's story which Blake does a wonderful job of wrapping up in this book. Even though I'm disappointed that this awesome story is over, I was completely happy with the ending of this duology. I thought it was appropriate and it works for the world and characters that Blake created. The ending felt complete and final which made it easier not to pine for more (even though I still am...)

I really enjoyed the characters in these two books as well. Cas and his friends have realistic struggles in this paranormal story. Obviously they are looking for Anna, but at times the three of them struggle with the weight of keeping part of their lives secret from the rest of the world. The dynamics between the three freinds is excellent. I loved how Cas is a fish out of water sometimes with his friends because he isn't used to having long lasting friendships. The conflicts and problems that this friend group had throughout the book felt right and like a natural thing that would happen which is always nice. There is some repetitiveness throughout the book and sometimes I wanted things to move forward faster because much of the first half of the book is Cas and everyone else thinking he is crazy. However, the pace really picks up after Cas decides he is going to find Anna even though it is dangerous for him and his friends.

I'll be honest and admit that part of the reason I love this book so much is because it reminds me of a teenage version of Supernatural. I love all the ghost hunting and suspenseful scenes that are built in. I really enjoyed the minimal romance in this book. Even though there are romantic elements to this story that are essential to Cas's motivation to find Anna, Cas is worried about and balances many other things than just romance in the book. He isn't just some love sick boy looking for his girlfriend and thank goodness for no love triangle!

Something about the writing I loved from the first book which carried over to this one was the balance between horror and humor. There are some very dark and gory parts to this story that the author describes vividly. Sometimes when Cas sees Anna suffering its not pretty and Blake doesn't shy away from descriptions, but we know that from the first book in this series, where several people are brutally murdered and nasty looking ghosts are a frequent occurrence. Blake keeps the dark in check with humorous lines and witty characters. This balancing act in her writing kept the pace moving and kept the tone of the story lighter throughout the book.

I really liked this ending to this series and I absolutely can't wait to pick up something else by Kendare Blake. She is quickly becoming one of my favorites even though I've only read two books by her.
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on May 11, 2015
After thoroughly enjoying Anna Dressed in Blood, I could not wait to get my hands on Girl of Nightmares, and while it did not disappoint, this second novel wasn't quite as excellent as its predecessor. I say this because we don’t get as much of Cas and Anna, or the dark comedy. There is still plenty of action and mystery, and Anna-angst to satisfy. I was also expecting a one-two punch with the climax – Anna Dressed in Blood had a double whammy towards its end, and Girl of Nightmares did not deliver this.

I wanted more of Anna. More of her interacting in the real world. It felt a lot like New Moon in the Twilight Saga, where Edward was a voice in Bella’s head for the majority of the novel. I loved how we left stereotypes behind in this installment, already deconstructed in Anna Dressed in Blood, we uncovered more about the cast of characters…

Cas was a workhorse, juggling school, relationships and the supernatural. Given the light tone of the book, and fast pace, Cas was always busy and preoccupied. I would have like to have seen him lose it a bit more over Anna, build the drama. But that’s my personal preference and not a judgement on the book.

This book felt more about the supporting cast (that I like to call the Scooby Gang). We get to see more of their strengths and weaknesses and how they are all connected. Where Anna Dressed in Blood was more ironic, Girl of Nightmares is more sympathetic.

The story however was brilliantly woven and wrapped up nicely at the conclusion; but leaving it with the hint that another novel in the Anna/Cas universe a possibility.

Kendare Blake’s writing style captures a masculine narrative expertly, and is engaging enough to read this in one sitting/weekend if you choose to do so. I spread it out a bit longer, knowing this was an end to the duology. The pacing was better than the debut and built steadily, where I didn't quite know what was going on in the first book (which ultimately meant more surprises). Again the storyline is fairly predictable, but so many unexpected twists thrown in resulting in a totally captivating novel.
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on January 4, 2014
I love a book that can give me that creepy feeling, where you don't want to turn the page but you have to because you need to know what comes next. Girl of Nightmares is that kind of book.

Girl of Nightmares follows Cas as he tries to come to terms with losing Anna, and finding a way to see if she's at peace after she sacrificed herself to save him. It's a little more emotional than Anna Dressed in Blood, but it also has those light moments to keep it from dragging. There are enough side stories to keep the secondary characters involved and real, and yet it's easy to see the main storyline.

Anna isn't in this book much, but that's okay. She doesn't need to be in order for her to have an impact. Her absence in Cas' life is felt by having her absent in the book. She only really shows up near the end, and while I'm sad there's not going to be another book to their story, the ending is perfect for them. It was exactly what I wish for in any ending of a story. It felt right and gave me that happy feeling while still making me sigh because there's nothing more.

Once again, Blake's writing style helps make this novel amazing. She doesn't skimp on anything. You get the full effect of everything creepy and morbid in this novel. If something happens, she doesn't make the book prettier and gloss over it. If a ghost is gross, you read that. If a place is creepy beyond belief, she makes you believe it. It is fantastic.

Girl of Nightmares is an amazing sequel to a wonderful book. It's a fitting conclusion to the story of Anna and Cas. Even though I wish there could be more, Blake managed to end the series on a perfect note.
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on December 21, 2013
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake is the second book in what I understand is only a duology about Anna Dressed in Blood. Incidentally, book 1, entitled Anna Dressed in Blood, was one of the first books I read when I began blogging and one of the first blogged book reviews I did. Aside from that, I loved it! (Review here.) So you can imagine my excitement to see that book 2 had come out. I decided to read it as part of Readers Imbibing Peril for this year.

This picks up not long after book 1 left off. Cas is trying to be a normal teen, going to school and hanging with his friends, Thomas and Carmel. But he can't get his mind off Anna and what she did for him. He starts seeing her in random places and, before long, he's not sure if they're just dreams or hallucinations anymore. He sets off on a journey to try and figure out what happened to Anna but, of course, gets much more than he bargained for.

I really enjoyed this book. We got a lot of answers that were missing in book 1. Cas, as always, was charming, hilarious, oh-so-teenaged-boy narrator. He kept me laughing, even in the most dire of circumstances. I thought the story was great and imaginative. I know lots of people wanted another book, while others thought it was a great ending. I can see it either way. I think there's definitely room for another book should the author choose to do so in the future. (For right now, she's saying no.) But it has a well wrapped-up ending that felt finished if there aren't any more.

Overall, I really loved this series. It does contain so gore and strong language, but I would still recommend it for anyone who's interested in YA, male narrators, ghost stories, horror, or just plain entertaining reads. :D
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on December 28, 2013
Even though I really liked this book I am finding it very to get my thoughts together for it. It is quite different from the first book since there is a lot less action and it’s nearly as scary/creepy as the first book.

Girl of Nightmares continues on about 6 months after the end of Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas just can’t get over it. He still has his friends Carmel and Thomas with him and he went through quite a bit of hassle with the death of the boys from the first book. He doesn’t let the rumors of what might have happened get to him. He actually uses the fear the kids have of him to his advantage at one point. The relationship development between Thomas and Carmel is a great side story also.

Anna is not really in this book very often. She appears every once in a while at first but then she disappears again. Cas is dead set on saving her from whatever world she is in. The parts with Anna are the creepiest part of the books. They actually lean more towards gory.

I am so glad that Blake ended this book where she did and that she doesn’t plan on continuing on the series. She could have dragged it out if she really wanted to. I love the cover of this book as well and the same red writing that is in the first book.

I definitely recommend you read this if you enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood because it is a great continuation. I enjoyed it for different reasons than I did the first one. If all else fails They look great sitting on your shelf!
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on December 18, 2014
I had been eyeing this book for months before I finally made the plunge to buy it. Please do not look at this rating and think that I did not enjoy the book, because I truly did! I loved Cas. I thought he and his mother were absolutely fantastic, and the cat... if there was ever a cat I would want, it would totally be this one! He is such a total jerk, but he was absolutely adorable.

Anna was beyond words. The scene where she was first introduced was positively epic. It was jaw dropping and wonderful. I loved this BAMF ghost who just kicks the crap out of everyone... and you know rips them apart. I loved that about her! She was awesome! Truly epic ghost. But non psychotic Anna? This is where the drop in stars goes. She felt like an 8 year old girl. When she reverts to her other, 'true self' I found Cas's attraction to her almost squeamish, like a 17 year old boy should not be having feelings for that child (even though shes his age, or was when she died) She sounded and acted like a clueless little child. I know she was raised in a different time period, but at the same time she has lived through torturous things, and I would expect to see that weigh upon her development. Either way, I found myself wanting to skip any part where she wasn't being BAMF Anna.

The book really was a great read, and I am looking forward to reading book 2, although I am afraid it may be more child Anna instead of BAMF Anna. We shall see!
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The ending of Anna Dressed in Blood meant that the sequel could really go either way for me, depending on how Blake resolved things. Because she’s awesome, I liked Girl of Nightmares just as well as Anna Dressed in Blood, though for slightly different reasons. The books are a bit different in some ways, but I think both quite good. I don’t know if this sequel was entirely necessary, but it’s good enough that that doesn’t really matter much. Girl of Nightmares probably won’t give you nightmares, but it might keep you up late reading.

Kendare Blake’s Anna duology is one of the rare times in paranormal where I think the romance is just what it should be. Most authors would come up with some magical ending, pull the HEA out of the hellmouth. I like that things aren’t that simple in Girl of Nightmares. The ending’s satisfying but it’s not perfect or magical. It’s realistic, so far as a story about going to find a ghost in hell can be. Romance is Cas’ driving force in Girl of Nightmares, but it’s not the driving force of the series.

Speaking of romance, I really appreciate Carmel’s character in a whole lot of ways. I didn’t really talk about her in book one because I wanted to finish out her character arc. She’s this perfect, popular girl on the surface. She could so easily have been a stereotypical queen bee. Instead, shes’ a loyal friend and a fiend with a bat. For the terrible circumstances she winds up in with Cas and Thomas, she hardly complains and she helps save the day a lot, despite being basically the only non-magical person to matter in the series. In no way is she ever the damsel in distress. I also LOVE that she was not in the book to be a love interest for Cas and that she goes for the less obvious guy.

If what you loved best about Anna Dressed in Blood was the scary ghost stuff, then Girl of Nightmares will probably be a bit of a let down. There are a few scary ghosts scenes, but it’s not nearly so gory or consistent. The plot’s a bit more meandering, with Thomas heading on a journey to figure out how to rescue Anna from hell. The plot works in the long run, I think, but in the middle it does feel as though it hits doldrums.

The characterization could still be better in the series, however. I still don’t really have any sense of who Cas is at all. He’s not quite flat, but he’s definitely not real. Blake excels at setting and horror, but the characters are not there yet. Of course, these are her first two published books, so I’m sure she’ll grow better at this as time goes by. Despite being a character-focused reader, there was enough to love in both of these books to keep me interested without the emotional connection.

Ultimately, what I love about this series ender is that Kendare Blake dared to go with a less traditional ending. The Anna series is good for horror fans, quick and fun.
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on February 5, 2013
Girl of Nightmares "Anna 2" is the follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood. Anna was released into hell at the end of Book 1 and GoN continues the story of Cas and his friends. Cas can't forget about Anna, the girl/ghost he loves, even though he tries to move on. He starts seeing Anna but she isn't herself and he knows that something has gone wrong. It appears that she is being tortured and he wants to save her. Carmel and Thomas are back as well.

I really liked ADiB and had such high hopes for GoN. Unfortunately, this one just didn't do it for me. The story just didn't seem to move until the last 1/3 of the novel. I kept putting it aside and reading other books. In the end, I forced myself to finish it. A lot of the magic from the first book was Anna's character. We don't really see her again until later in this book and maybe that's what I was missing. I also didn't like Carmel's treatment of Thomas. No real excuse for that.

When Jestine was introduced, I didn't like her attitude but hoped that her character would grow on me. She did (a little) but I wanted more. The trip to Europe, the secret society, the additional mythology --­mostly boring.

Overall I would give Girl of Nightmares 3/5 stars. However, many others liked this one even more than the 1st - so give it a shot!!
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on January 4, 2013
Anna Dressed in Blood will be one of my favourite reads of 2012, without a doubt. Creepy and snarky, with a whole cast of unforgettable characters, the bar was set pretty high for the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, which I relentlessly stalked for months and then didn't have time to read when it was first released. Plus it has one of the best covers ever.

Girl of Nightmares features far less of our beloved Anna, but it does delve deeper into the history of the athane and cranks the creepy factor up even higher than the first book. However, it did take me a good 50 pages or so to really get into the story, and I was starting to wonder just when it would take off and blow me away like the first book.

What I really liked about the characters in Girl of Nightmares is that although they are the same characters as in the first book, they've grown up a little and are taking this whole ghost thing pretty damn seriously. This is something that I quite often find missing in YA series - the characters who don't seem to learn from their experiences in the first book and just seem to be repeating the same mistakes. Cas, Thomas and Carmel have become closer and also more wary about their adventures into the other-world, not rushing blindly in but doing their research and preparation.

Once I got going, there was no stopping with this book - the tension built up gradually and then the rollercoaster started with a whole cast of freaky, creepy and downright scary ghosts and culminating in the ultimate battle of good versus evil, with some surprising revelations along the way.

The ending is perfect - again Kendare Blake has broken the 'normal' mold for Young Adult books and created a story that I both thoroughly enjoyed and is most definitely memorable. A perfect Halloween read!
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on May 27, 2014
I loved this book, I really did. It picked up a few months after Anna was dragged to Hell.

But that ending... It was logical, it made sense and it hurt. When I finished, I read it again 3 times. Then I yelled and cried and formed a little ball and cried some more. I was way too emotionally invested in this.

I wish we could have gotten a bit more time with Anna.

We got a lot of time with Cass and his friends, we had some character development and met new characters which is always a plus.

All in all, this was a good series, with a fitting ending.

Rest in peace Anna.
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