Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. Kim enjoyed it while it wasn’t really for me. But this is exactly why we like doing double reviews: Two readers with two very different feelings on a novel!
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
Author: Grady Hendrix
Published: April 7, 2020
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.
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.
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars
I have really enjoyed every book that I’ve read by Hendrix. He speaks to the darkness in my soul and I just want to embrace it! The Book Club’s Guide is no different. My only real criticism is more personal than it is objective. I know that Hendrix loves a good metaphor and considering how literal and shallow I am, I’m actually pretty good at deciphering them. I honestly have no idea what his metaphor is in this book. I feel really stupid but it’s true. But I’m still pondering so maybe I’ll figure it out. But other than that, I couldn’t put this book down. I read through it very quickly. I felt Patricia’s frustration and anger and desperation come through from every page. I liked how Hendrix didn’t shy away from the more subtle problems that seem to plague the older male generations. They saw women as fragile creatures put on this earth to serve and nurture, not to think or significantly contribute. I personally hate to think that anyone would see me as incompetent or stupid, but I have my own sense of self to fall back on. I made very good grades in school, I have a college degree, I know I have a brain and a relatively high level of intelligence. I also have a husband who would never treat me like and idiot emotional female whose only job is to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Patricia doesn’t seem to have any of that so when even her friends turn on her … dang I felt bad!
This book was intensely written with some crazy parts that made me physically uncomfortable! It also put me in the mood to go back and read My Best Friend’s Exorcism and We Sold Our Souls all over again. This is definitely not a YA book so I’d say keep it away from the teens. But I’d absolutely recommend this book to all my reader friends. There’s something so relatable about an honest, Southern book club filled with true crime and romance novels. Throw in a vampire? Oh yeah, I do need more info on who exactly this vampire is. Where did he come from? How did he become a vampire? Who is he??? Well, I guess Hendrix will have to write another book!
Jessica’s Rating: 2.5 Stars
Dates Read: June 28- July 15, 2020
Format Read: Audiobook
This is a novel that just did not work for me. It is about a group of ladies in a book club which intrigued me and also takes place in the 1990s, so I was looking forward to seeing references to that. But I should have been leery as the book description mentions Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias and I am not really a fan of those types of films. I guess the whole typical/expected southern stereotype just doesn’t work for me.
Patricia’s book club reads all kinds of true crime novels, so her suspicions of newcomer James are a bit out there, but her expectations are proved true. This is a dark and gory novel which did not pick up for me until about 30% was left. That 30% was good, but if you are sensitive about your ears there is one part that was just painful for me to listen to in that last 30%: The author really did his job with his descriptions. I kept touching my ear as if I was in pain!
There are other themes touched on throughout the novel: classism, racism, sexism, but also the closeness of female friendship through a shared love of reading. Though it wasn’t for me, I predict that this would be a fun book to discuss at your monthly book club if you have one.
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Published: October 30, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 2.5 stars
Dates Read: October 17-29, 2019
The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn’t turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own…
When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…
At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…
My friend Devin told me about this one and that it was not for her… She warned me, but did I listen to her???? Nope, not at all and I should have! The premise of The Proposal is what made me want to read it. Can you imagine that happening to you!?!?!
I liked how there was diversity for the characters, but most of it came off as cliché to me. Fortunately diversity is growing in novels now whether the diversity is race, religion, sexual identity/preference, or even disability. Unfortunately, I was not attached to these characters as they really were not likeable for me. Once the novel starts going in a certain direction you know how this story is going to ultimately end.
There was a lot of foul language in the novel, which did not seem necessary. I do read romances from time to time and I guess I like the sweet romances a ’la Katherine Center (which hers can have some intensity to them) . I did not need all the details with the sex that occurred. We get it, Nik is having some great sex.
The reason I gave it 2.5 stars versus just 2 stars was the beginning, I loved everything about it! Nikole was not even expecting a proposal and what happened afterwards that day was the best part of the novel. From the beginning I thought I was in for a novel I was going to really enjoy. Sadly, the rest did not deliver for me.
This is one I just cannot recommend.[Top]
Author: Sarah J Naughton
336 pages in Kindle
Published: March 23, 2017
Dates Read: March 13-31, 2017
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Book Summary from Goodreads:
For fans of Disclaimer and I Let You Go, Tattletale is the debut psychological thriller you can’t miss.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who believed in fairytales. Now she is out to get your happy ending.
One day changes Jody’s life forever.
She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.
One day changes Mags’ life forever.
After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind.
But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit…
As I started Tattletale, I was pulled into it from the beginning. There is some confusion as it just takes off without explanation as to what is happening, but you figure it out as you continue reading. Once you realize who the main cast of characters is, Tattletale gets easier to follow.
The characters that you need to know are:
Abe- in the hospital
Jody- Abe’s fiancé
Mags- Abe’s sister
Mira- Abe and Jody’s neighbor
I wanted to like Tattletale. The description intrigued me but the novel just wasn’t for me. Tattletale has multiple points of view, which I enjoy and those come from Mags, Jody and Mira. Also in the chapters are flashbacks of Abe, Mags, and Jody’s lives, which are relevant to the story.
***Be warned that there are graphic scenes of child abuse and also sexual assault in this novel.
I think novels with unreliable narrators may not be for me. I have had some that I have enjoyed and others not so much. You have no idea whose side to believe in Tattletale, which I applaud Sarah J Naughton for. I sadly found myself not attached to any of the characters. Mags was not likeable at all for me, I did begin to feel some sympathy for Jody as the novel progressed, I wanted to know more about Mira and her life, but the one character I would have loved to hear about and get to know was Abe, whom unfortunately we are unable to do.
I struggled around the halfway mark but continued, but then I almost gave up with Tattletale at 82%. What kept me going was the curiosity as to what exactly happened to Abe. It was good that I decided to continue as when I reach 85% then the novel went somewhere for me. From this point on I didn’t want to put Tattletale down. It goes in a direction that I did not see coming and I had no idea what was going to happen. Things do get unbelievable and unrealistic towards the end. I can’t really say why without revealing some spoilers.
Even though Tattletale was not for me I would be willing to read another of Sarah J Naughton’s books in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley and TBConFB for my copy.[Top]