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

FFO

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

2021

July

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

August

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

October

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

December

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

Finalgirl

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.

HorrorinJuly

 

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

southernbookclubMy TL:DR Five Word Review : Southern bookclub meets supernatural horror.

I loved the idea of TSBCGtSV as soon as I read the description and decided to pick up a copy in audio – which turned out to be a great choice.  The narration was excellent and I had a really good time with this one.

Patricia Campbell is a mom and housewife in this 90s South Carolina tale.  Her life is chaotic as she rushes from one thing to the next in her busy day but at the same time she longs for a little something more, which is how she finds herself joining a book club and making friends.  Life seems to be good right up to the point where a neighbour attacks her and tries to bite off her ear, after that, well, things are never quite the same again.

A new neighbour has moved into town, James Harris.  James came to look after his elderly aunt and ends up sticking around and Patricia seems strangely drawn to him and to helping him find his feet, even inviting him to take part in the monthly book club meetings, going even further and inviting him into her home.  Things are peachy until children start to go missing and Patricia and her friends begin to join the dots and wonder whether the new arrival to town and the disappearing children are coincidental or not.

Dubbed ‘Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula’ – this was an entertaining ride, although to be clear, the only resemblance to Dracula is the inclusion of a vampire and a few other supernatural tidbits – which isn’t to say this wasn’t a good read because frankly I had a ridiculously good time with it.  Very entertaning.  Downright bloody in parts, without doubt creepy as hell on occasion, very creepy in fact, and with an ick factor ending that I never envisaged, and I am talking Ick.

Now, to be sure there are a few little things that I would point out.  Annoying things – not deal breakers for me but definite irritants.  I all but wanted to punch Patricia’s husband in his face – seriously this guy, and a few of the others annoyed the bejesus out of me.  Like I said though, it didn’t stop me being hooked.  There was also a bit of a surprising time jump at one point in the story.  I really didn’t see that coming and it was a little perplexing at first.  But, as mentioned, this book definitely kept me hooked.

In terms of characters, Patricia is the main person we get a feel for and probably the most well rounded although I had no difficulty forming a picture of the others.  James is a creepy character, not just because of the fundamental monster that he is but because he’s so self assured.  He knows how to play people, how to recognise them, their needs, desires and dreams and he is a player, a con man who basically manipulates people and makes them think he’s the good guy.

What really worked for me with this particular book was that it’s so very different from what I expected.  On top of that there is this whole element of crazy, entertaining fun.  It might not be perfect.  I had a few issues here and there but eagerness to continue with the book was never one of them.

I bought an audio copy from Audible.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars