Book Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by: Grady Hendrix

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He thinks we’re what we look like on the outside: nice Southern ladies. Let me tell you something…there’s nothing nice about Southern ladies.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by: Grady Hendrix

Initial Thoughts: I don’t read a lot of horror novels. Fun fact: I have never read a Stephen King novel (yet). The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix featured on the list of the best books of 2020, so I decided to give it a read. The premise reminded me a lot of the movie The Burbs.

Summary

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

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Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

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The Review

Patricia Campbell is stuck in a rut. Her husband never listens to her and is always more concerned with his job than his family. Her daughter doesn’t want anything to do with her. Her son only cares about WWII statistics, and her mother-in-law needs constant care. Patricia’s only reprieve from the burdens of family life is her book club where she and other southern suburban moms read true crime books.

But, when a hypnotic stranger moves into town, strange things begin happening. Patricia knows she isn’t crazy, but no one wants to listen to her. It’s up to Patricia and her book club to save their families.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was a slow read. The action takes place over a long period of time, and there are parts of the book that were as dull as Patricia’s life. With that said, I still enjoyed the uniqueness and creativity that this book had to offer.

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Book Review: The Grownup by: Gillian Flynn

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 lack formal education. So I’m left with the feeling that I’m smarter than everyone around me but that if I ever got around really smart people—people who went to universities and drank wine and spoke Latin—that they’d be bored as hell by me. It’s a lonely way to go through life.

The Grownup by: Gillian Flynn

Initial Thoughts: If you’re an avid reader, you’ve surely come across the name “Gillian Flynn” at some point, or maybe you’ve read all of her books. So far, I have only read Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, and I have yet to read Dark Places.

Summary

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A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

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The Review

Times are tough when you’re pretending to know how to read auras for a living.

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Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by: Jay Asher

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You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.

Thirteen Reasons Why by: Jay Asher

Initial Thoughts: I had known about this book for a long time, but I didn’t add it to my reading list until early 2021. The book was mostly popular when I was in high school and while I was in my first few years of university when the Netflix series came out. The subject matter of Thirteen Reasons Why is hard to deal with, especially for young adults, even thought they are the target audience. At that age, I just wasn’t ready to read such a book that dives deeply into a variety of topics that are hard for a teenager to reason with such as (trigger warning) suicide, sexual assault, sexual harassment, bullying and depression. Now that I am a bit older, I have a little more life experience to be able to deal with reading a book featuring these topics.

Summary

You can’t stop the future.

You can’t rewind the past.

The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

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Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

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The Review

I had held off for a long time before reading Thirteen Reasons Why. The book deals with subjects that are difficult to read about at any age such as: (trigger warning) suicide, sexual assault, sexual harassment, bullying, and depression. And at first glance, the premise seemed quite an odd way to approach the topic. The basic gist of the story is that a girl named Hannah Baker, who recently took her own life, had arranged for tapes to be sent out to each of the people she blames for her death. A teenage boy named Clay Jensen, a coworker of Hannah’s, receives the tapes by mail without a return address. He thinks there’s a mistake, there’s no way he could be responsible for Hannah’s death. Full of dread, he waits to hear his name be mentioned by Hannah as one of the thirteen.

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Book Review: Cobble Hill by: Cecily von Ziegesar

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Initial Thoughts: This is the first time I read anything by Cecily von Ziegesar, author of the Gossip Girl books. I was excited to get to know her writing style in case I decide to read Gossip Girl one day in the future.

Summary

Welcome to Cobble Hill.

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In this eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood, private storms brew amongst four married couples and their children. There’s ex-groupie Mandy, so underwhelmed by motherhood and her current physical state that she fakes a debilitating disease to get the attention of her skateboarding, ex-boyband member husband Stuart. There’s the unconventional new school nurse, Peaches, on whom Stuart has an unrequited crush, and her disappointing husband Greg, who wears noise-cancelling headphones—everywhere.

A few blocks away, Roy, a well-known, newly transplanted British novelist, has lost the thread of his next novel and his marriage to capable, indefatigable Wendy. Around the corner, Tupper, the nervous, introverted industrial designer with a warehouse full of prosthetic limbs struggles to pin down his elusive artist wife Elizabeth. She remains…elusive. Throw in two hormonal teenagers, a 10-year-old pyromaniac, a drug dealer pretending to be a doctor, and a lot of hidden cameras, and you’ve got a combustible mix of egos, desires, and secrets bubbling in brownstone Brooklyn.

Smart, sophisticated, yet surprisingly tender, Cobble Hill is highly entertaining portrait of contemporary family life and the colorful characters who call Brooklyn home.

The Review

The premise of Cobble Hill appeared straightforward and promising, four families who live in Cobble Hill, a part of Brooklyn, New York. The families’ lives intersect because of the small neighbourhood they live in. So, I expected that I was going to read a chick-lit book with interesting characters. Instead, I ended up reading a really weird book with characters I didn’t really care for.

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Book Review: Eternal Bond (The Cursed Series #3) by: Kara Leigh Miller

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Initial Thoughts: And… I am back with another book review from The Cursed Series, which has been an obsession for the past little while. I still cannot believe I read all three books within three days of each other. As I have mentioned before, I have a weakness for young adult vampire romance.

Summary

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Chloe is in a fight for her life. Literally. Held prisoner by the Rose Coven, they are desperate for her to break the curse and restore the magical balance, but Chloe adamantly refuses—until a nearly starved Jax Halstead is tossed in the room with her. Now, hanging on to her humanity might be next to impossible.

When one act of mercy creates an unbreakable bond that threatens to destroy everything she’s ever wanted, getting away alive—and still human—is more important than ever.

Once freed, her love and devotion to Trent is at war with the bond she shares with Jax, a bond that’s only growing more intense by the day. And now she must decide which is stronger. All while navigating her senior year of high school, college applications, and waiting for the Rose Coven to return. If that isn’t bad enough, Isach Zoya is back. He knows the truth, and he’s watching her every move. What else could possibly go wrong?

The Review

Usually, when it comes to love triangles, I tend to know which of the two I want the main character to end up with. Like Chloe, I am conflicted.

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