Tag: vampires

Book Review: Fiona’s Guardians by Dan Klefstad

Fiona’s Guardians
Author: Dan Klefstad

Published: October 2, 2020
310 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 21- October 4, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

When a vampire seduces you, death is minutes away. When she hires you, you’ll soon wish you were dead.

It’s a truth known to every guardian who worked for Fiona, including Daniel. Aside from managing the day to day chores and keeping her protected, he manages an investment portfolio to buy stolen blood from hospital workers. The 250-year-old Fiona needs 10 pints of human blood every night. As a result of this, Daniel and Fiona are always on the lookout for police, but fail to notice their gradual encirclement by Mors Strigae, an ancient order of monks dedicated to the extermination of vampires. Gone for a century, the monks start a new war when they destroy Fiona’s sire. This time, her vampire family is pushed to the edge of extinction — and the humans who serve them are hunted and executed.

After 35 years, what keeps him loyal? And will he ever be allowed to leave?

Jessica’s Review:

Fiona’s Guardian’s is a vampire novel for the 21st Century!

Vampires have been around forever in legends and are the most well-known ‘monsters’ out there, and now Dan Klefstad helps to bring them into the 21st century.  This is the perfect time for a new vampire to be released as we are in the month of October when all things scary come out to play, and now we have Fiona to look out for.  (Be especially wary of her if you are of the O negative blood type, as that is her preferred drink. And she WILL find you if she finds the need).

Klefstad brings a fresh take on the vampire lore: They need 10 pints of blood NIGHTLY and because of this, Fiona hires human ‘Guardians’ to help her with acquiring her needs of her special dietary restrictions.  We meet Daniel who has been working for the 250 year old Fiona for the last 35 years and he is finally nearing retirement. He just needs to find a replacement.  But things are easier said than done.  

There is so much more to the novel than it seems.   Dealing with Fiona’s special diet and the extreme lengths that Daniel has to go to to appropriate her 10 pints of blood nightly. We do get to see a good bit of that.  But why does Daniel stay with Fiona after all this time? 

We are also dealing with the Catholic Church and some monks in a society called the Mors Strigae determined to kill all vampires and the humans who work for them.  The novel goes back and forth between both sides as the battle fights on. 

Fiona’s Guardians is composed of short chapters, which I always enjoy.  Those short chapters make it hard to put down! I just wish I had had more time to read more of it together rather than spaced out over time. And Ms. Fiona even speaks to the reader a few times herself!  Fiona is what this novel is about whether she is in the scene or not: Everything is about Fiona. As I read the novel I pictured Fiona as Angelina Jolie. I would absolutely love to see her play Fiona! 

I have worked with Dan over the past few years when Fiona’s Guardians started as short stories including The CaretakerThe Caretaker is Daniel’s letter of warning to the applicant that is chosen to replace him.  I am happy to see Klefstad’s hard work pay off as Fiona’s Guardians finally is published.  Many thanks to Dan and his publisher Burton Mayers Books for granting me an e-arc to read and review. It has been a pleasure and I hope we see more of Fiona in the future!  

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Author: Bram Stoker

First Published: May 26, 1897

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Kim’s Version of the Book:
Barnes & Noble Leather Bound Classics
Published July 1, 2011
399 pages

Book Description:

Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. The novel touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonialism. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.

Bram Stoker’s novel became one of the masterpieces of the horror genre, brilliantly evoking a world of vampires and vampire hunters whilst simultaneously exposing the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and frustrated desire.

Kim’s Review:

Wow! I FINALLY read Dracula! Over the years, I have started Dracula over and over again, physical book, audiobook, and I could never get through the first two chapters. I decided that I would be a failure as a book nerd and horror freak if I didn’t read one of the most classic horror books of all time . . . So I sat down and read the whole thing. I really enjoyed it.

I’m all about an insane asylums and I got plenty. Renfield is a fascinating character and I’ll admit that I’m still crushing on Dr. Seward. I thought that the mutual admiration society amongst all the characters got really hilarious at times, but hey, compliments are helpful in times of stress and strife. Even all the implied horror and action was satisfying. My one real issue was near the end when they were traveling back to Transylvania and literally nothing happened for over 50 pages. That got really boring, really quick. However, overall, such a great read that I would recommend to everyone.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble Kim’s Version


A Double Review of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

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
400 Pages

Book Description:

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
Kim’s Review:

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
Jessica’s Review:

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.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK