Sassy, No Spoilers: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

book reviews, contemporary, funny, scary

Well, considering I’m back in the South (sorry, California), it seemed appropriate to write a review of Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. This book managed to creep onto the NYT best seller list, making me give a little cheer because books like don’t often creep onto that list. I know that was like, a whole year ago, but I’ve been busy, okay? Okay.

So let’s talk about vampires for a second.

see also: stacks of grad school reading

I grew up going to a teeny-weeny library in my teeny-weeny hometown in Alabama, where the selections were limited (to say the least). I was lucky to stumble upon Anne Rice’s vampire novels, so I gulped them up at a very early age (twelve? Thirteen?), so to me—that’s what vampires are. They do not sparkle. I repeat: vampires do not sparkle.

I used to be really into whatever vampire-driven novel I could get my gothic little hands on, stopping around the time True Blood ended its long run, for some reason. I moved on. Vampires moved on, their day in the sun kind of over (see what I did there?).

And then What We Do in the Shadows brought it all back around for me, reminding me how much I love a well-told vampire story (that is the funniest show I’ve ever seen, and the vampires remind me a lot of Rice’s vampires, but with unintentional senses of humor). While working in a teeny-weeny library in a teeny-weeny town in Northern California, I stumbled across Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and I’ve been keeping up with his books ever since (that’s what a cool book cover will do for you). And I was so eager to see what Hendrix would do with a vampire.

Turns out, Hendrix’s vampires are kind of terrifying (as they should be).

This book is essentially exactly what the title suggests: about a gaggle of women who invite (never invite!) a man (never invite a man!) into their book club, and then really weird things start happening. I won’t give it away, because that’s the whole point of it, but I will say this is a page-turner. I enjoyed it, and had a few rare laugh-out-loud moments; Hendrix is quite good with humor—and also good at spinning really weird and uncomfortable situations.

Overall, this was such a fun read (and a little creepy—but not too much, fear not, fellow chickens), and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys:

  • Southern book club chatter/scandal
  • Vampires that don’t sparkle, even a little bit
  • Strong female characters that are sick of everybody’s shit
  • Humor with a dash of scary

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sassy, No Spoilers: Finlay Donovan is Killing it

book reviews, contemporary, funny, mystery

Author turned accidental murder investigator? Sassy babysitters? Yes, please.

Whew! It’s been a minute since my last review. After a particularly fun cross-country move to Texas (where I learned, wearing a tshirt and cloth shoes, that it does snow in Amarillo), I have found myself reading a lot of “fun” books, before the “serious books” take over my life in January (MFA low-residency program, here I come). This is one of those fun books.

The closest thing I have to Finlay’s wig scarf

Finlay Donovan is Killing it by Elle Cosimano was gifted to me by the fine folks at NetGalley. I am a real sucker for any story that features a fumbling protagonist, especially one that finds herself in the middle of a mobster/hitman situation. Poor Finlay, she just wants to write Thriller-Romance novels and pay her bills. But when someone overhears her talking about her work at Panera, of all places, Finlay finds herself in a real bad situation. A bad situation that would pay her $50,000 if it went well. That money could also help her win custody of her children against her evil ex-husband, and his even-more-evil fiance.

If she made good choices, the book would be a terrific bore. But of course, dear reader, Finlay fumbles (nervously) right into the thick of it. Will she get out of it with her money—and her life?

The things I enjoyed about this book were the humorous moments, the sassy babysitter, and Finlay’s tendency to always do the wrong thing, but for an honorable reason (her children). It’s a fun story, a little sexy, and you will find yourself glued to the pages as you wonder, well how the hell is Finlay going to get out of that?

I believe this is the first in what will be a series, and I look forward to seeing how Finlay gets out of the next pickle.

Such a fun and light read, I would recommend it to anyone needing a little escape from 2020. Also those who:

  • Loved Desperate Housewives (I am guilty of this, no shade)
  • Enjoy sassy true crime podcasts
  • Wonder what would happen if someone accidentally hired a housewife as a hitman
  • Need to laugh

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.