Friday Face Off : How to Sell a Haunted House


Today is the second week of a new Friday Face Off  (a meme originally created by Books by Proxy) – similar in many ways to what came before but different going forward.  From 2023 I will no longer be posting prompts or themes to guide cover choices.  Instead, having noticed that many of my most recent reads have had more than one cover,  I thought instead it would be a change to highlight something that I’m keen to shine the focus on. So, if you have a book that has alternative covers, highlight them and choose your favourite.  If you’re taking part it would be great if you leave a link so I can take a look at what you’ve chosen.

My book this week is another read that I enjoyed very recently.  How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix.

Here are the covers:

My favourite this week is :


I like both covers but this one appealed to me because I hadn’t realised this was a toy house inside a house – I just like that idea for some reason!  Which cover is your favourite?

Join me next week in highlighting one of your reads with different covers.


How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

My Five Word TL:DR Review: Dysfunctional family and puppet hell

How toseela

This is only my second read by Grady Hendrix, so take what I say next with a pinch of salt, but I’m beginning to associate this author with the clear phrase ‘expect the unexpected’.  With a title such as this, yes I expected apparitions and entities, I don’t think I ever quite considered evil puppets, possession, squirrels from hell and imaginary demon dogs that invisibly stalk the house.  Sounds a bit crazy and to be honest, it is.  This is your basic modern-style horror that manages to combine horror, mystery, mayhem, dysfunctional family dynamics brimming over with sibling rivalry and secrets buried long in the past and a chaos that spills over into dark humour.

When Louise receives an unexpected call from her estranged brother to say their parents have died in a terrible car crash she immediately makes her way back to the family home.  When she arrives she’s in for a number of surprises, none of them pleasant.  The attic has been nailed shut, the car accident seems a little suspicious, things keep going bump in the night, the house is unsaleable with it’s current bad vibes and brother and sister can’t agree on anything.  And that’s only scratching the surface because things are about to get much worse.

I’m really trying not to give away too much about this book.  I really enjoyed reading it, it’s strangely fun, it’s absolutely compelling, the characterisation is great.  It’s a perfect demonstration of how there are two sides to every conversation and that memory can be a trickster.  On top of this it’s a great look at families and the strange hierarchies that we perceive that are perhaps more imaginary than real.  I also love the whole idea that we’re haunted by family both past and present.

One thing for sure I really enjoy this author’s style.  He has a sort of tongue firmly planted in cheek way of writing that makes his horror funny even if it shouldn’t be and that makes me think he enjoys the writing as much as I enjoy the reading.

On the whole a wickedly imaginative story with a good dollop of horror and quite frankly the most atrociously creepy puppet ever.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars

Can’t Wait Wednesday : How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix.


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is: How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix.

How toseela

Your past and your family can haunt you like nothing else… A hilarious and terrifying new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Final Girl Support Group.

Every childhood home is haunted, and each of us are possessed by our parents.

When their parents die at the tail end of the coronavirus pandemic, Louise and Mark Joyner are devastated but nothing can prepare them for how bad things are about to get. The two siblings are almost totally estranged, and couldn’t be more different. Now, however, they don’t have a choice but to get along. The virus has passed, and both of them are facing bank accounts ravaged by the economic meltdown. Their one asset? Their childhood home. They need to get it on the market as soon as possible because they need the money. Yet before her parents died they taped newspaper over the mirrors and nailed shut the attic door.

Sometimes we feel like puppets, controlled by our upbringing and our genes. Sometimes we feel like our parents treat us like toys, or playthings, or even dolls. The past can ground us, teach us, and keep us safe. It can also trap us, and bind us, and suffocate the life out of us. As disturbing events stack up in the house, Louise and Mark have to learn that sometimes the only way to break away from the past, sometimes the only way to sell a haunted house, is to burn it all down.

Expected publication : January 2023

Friday Face Off : Books with ‘book’ in the title


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

This week’s theme:

Books with ‘book’ in the title

Hopefully there are plenty of books out there that fit this week’s theme.  I’ve gone for a fairly recent book that I really loved.  The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix.  Here are this week’s covers:

I think in this instance I’m going to have to plump for the original:

Bookclub1The middle book (top row) did make me laugh.  The book on the left (top row) I quite like but it doesn’t seem to fit as well as the original somehow.  The cover with the cupcakes made me feel squicky (thanks Bookforager for finding me a new word that sounds exactly like it makes me feel – a combination of squeamish and icky) and, I like the final cover, it’s similar in style and colour to the first – but I prefer the layout of the first.

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground



23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one


6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller


1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground


3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Crazy as a horror flick


To be honest, The Final Girl Support Group was exactly what I expected it to be.  The title gives you a good idea what the story is about – a support group for survivors of hideous horror soaked massacres.  Of course, all the survivors here and the traumas they have been through will be well known to horror aficionados who will undoubtedly recognise the characters and the movies they relate to – because of course, the premise here, which is such a great idea – is that those movies were based on true events, and the survivors, the final girls standing at the end of those movies make up the support group from the title. 

As you might expect, all the final girls have reacted in different ways but over the years they’ve become, sort of, friends through the support group they attend together.  As the book begins, it appears that change is on the horizon. These girls, women now in fact, will always be an enigma or constant source of fascination to a certain element of society and it feels inevitable that eventually somebody will come looking for them – hoping to make their own gory statement.

The central character is Lynnette Tarkington.  Strictly speaking Lynnette isn’t a ‘final girl’ although she was the only survivor of her own personal horror story – she’s different because she didn’t kill the monster at the end of her trauma like the other girls.  Lynnette’s form of coping involves training, surveillance and living a life in hiding.  She practically lives in her own self made cage and has contingency plans for the contingency plans! just in case.  Of course, all her planning and working out crumble when it appears that somebody knows all her secrets and how to bypass all her homemade security devices.

Firstly, I will say that you need to check your overpowering desire to have everything tied up with a neat realistic bow as soon as you crack this book open. This is not a book that is realistic – no more than say Halloween or Friday the 13th were realistic.  What this is, is a great play on horror movies, a homage filled with moments that will feel strangely familiar, even if you don’t recognise all the different  ideas.  What immediately popped into my head was a particular scene from the adaptation of Interview with a Vampire, where the young girl and Louis (both vampires) are watching a stage play, where basically the actors are all vampires (pretending to be humans) and the ever tortured Louis says ‘Vampires, pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires’.  This quote is perfect here because of the strange way that Hendrix has twisted everything – so, we have a fictional horror/thriller story pretending to be a real story based on real characters who survived a body of fictional movies.  I’m not sure that I’ve described that in the clearest terms – hopefully you can see what I’m driving at.  Anyway, the main point here is that this book is crazy.  It ticks all the crazy boxes and is delightfully, unashamedly a chaotic tribute to horror.  

Oddly enough, I wouldn’t really say the horror is over the top here.  Of course there are the backstories of the girls, but they’re not particularly dwelt upon so much as briefly skimmed over.  The real story revolves around the mystery/thriller aspect – although there are some particular moments that are definitely a bit horror soaked, particularly as the drama unfolds and the tension is ramped up.  Then there’s an absolutely over the top ending that twists itself up into a delicious pretzel.

There’s also just a gloriously exaggerated feeling of helplessness.  Like as soon as the proverbial hits the fan everyone’s best intentions go to hell in a handcart and momentarily these ‘final girl’s act like countless other victims that we’ve all spent time and energy over the years shouting instructions at from the comfort of our sofas ‘don’t go in the cellar!’ ‘run!’ ‘he’s behind you’ – etc, etc.  The beauty here though is that these girls, after a momentary flap, do pull themselves together, they’re survivors after all – but they need to stick together, and something or someone is intent on pushing them apart.

In terms of characters.  Well, Lynnette is our main character and she is flawed.  Come on though, she’s had a very bad experience.  Very. Bad. She makes mistakes, quite a lot of mistakes if I’m honest.  You can’t help but be flabbergasted by some of her actions, but at the same time she’s a great character to lead the story, probably because she’s not perfect, not always likeable and doesn’t always make the greatest choices.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I guess this isn’t the strongest plot but it definitely has a tongue in cheek stab at horror flicks and it’s more designed to entertain and get your pulse racing than be an intellectual experience. 

Like the movies this takes inspiration from this is a popcorn munching, quick paced horror/thriller that had me glued to the page.  And, also like the movies – you can’t take a break in the middle of the action – and the same can be said here – I pretty much read this in one sitting. 

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

This month I’m trying to read a few horror books as part of Books Bones and Buffy’s Horror in July event.  Check it out here.



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