#MiniBookReviews featuring #TheSouthernBookClubsGuidetoSlayingVampires #RulesforVanishing #TheDinnerGuest #HarrowLake

Posted December 30, 2021 by Zoé in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Slowly catching up on my Summer reviews and I decided to bunch these ones together, main reason for 3 of these books, I could only rate them 3 stars and for 2 that was a push. One of them, the annoying thing is I didn’t write any notes and I frigging loved it! Doh!

Anyway, let us begin!

#MiniBookReviews featuring #TheSouthernBookClubsGuidetoSlayingVampires  #RulesforVanishing #TheDinnerGuest #HarrowLakeThe Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Published by Quirk Books on April 7, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Pages: 410

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.

I can’t tell you how much I was excited about this book, how much I loved hearing the rave reviews and how much I wanted to love this book. I finally got to borrow the audiobook from the library and I started to listen…then that is where it all went wrong. I haven’t got any notes from my time in this book, but I do know I was just so disappointed. Everything about this book screamed excitement and fear but then when I started it, I just felt it was all a bit flat. I wanted to punch Patricia’s husband for about 90% of the book, he was really annoying me with his ways, however, I do understand that it was meant to reflect the times and ways of the neighbourhood. However, when James enters the story, boy did I have expectations of where this might all go…..they didn’t go.

Don’t get me wrong there were some highlights to the story, the book club was fab! The introduction to the “sick” and the mother in law were pretty awesome. The scenes with the garbage and the rats stick in my mind. As much as I hate to say it, I just didn’t feel like I cared enough about the rest of it, and that actually really makes me so sad. I want to say it is me, and probably the fact that I wasn’t in the mood for the book, but I chose to listen to this book. So, I have no idea. I won’t give up on Grady I have another one of his books on my shelf that I am eager to read, I just know this book is very hit or miss and unfortunately this time it was a miss.

#MiniBookReviews featuring #TheSouthernBookClubsGuidetoSlayingVampires  #RulesforVanishing #TheDinnerGuest #HarrowLakeHarrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Published by Dial Books on August 25, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Pages: 304

The daughter of a horror film director is not afraid of anything--until she gets to Harrow Lake.
Things I know about Harrow Lake: 1.It's where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film.2.There's something not right about this town.
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker--she thinks nothing can scare her.
But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map--and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.
And there's someone--or some thing--stalking her every move.
The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola's got secrets of her own. And if she can't find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

This is another book I failed to make any blinking notes on and after reading the blurb I was so excited to listen to this one! So off we started and wow what a beginning, Lola’s Dad has just been attacked in their apartment and to keep Lola safe, he sends her away to a small tour called Harrow Lake to live with a Nan she has very little memory of. This Nan, is her Mother’s mum, her mother who is missing, the Nan who is losing her mind slowly.

Then we hit Harrow Lake, and I got bored. Yes, things started to happen but a lot of it was just a little…well weird. It didn’t make any sense and I am still not sure I ‘got’ the ending. I mean I got the obvious ending but the ambiguous one, not so sure!

This town was just blinking bizarre, Lola’s mother was a superstar and she filmed the film that made her here, it was also where she met Lola’s Dad. The whole town felt like a shrine to her, there was even a place you could go just to see everything about her mum. Then the Nan starts hiding her stuff and she makes Lola wear her mother’s clothes from the film, well it was just all a bit bonkers. There was a lot, I felt, that wasn’t explained and that for me was one of them. Although, I may have just missed it in the audiobook.

The legend of Mr Jitters would have been terrifying but because I was already confused with it everything and that includes a few eye rolls at times, it didn’t work for me. However, the thing that did scare me was the town it was truly suffocating and no one ever seemed to be able to leave. Lola was stuck. This did unnerve me.

I do wonder what experience I might have if I hadn’t listened to this book and whether it is a book I should read instead. Maybe in the future, I might give it a go and see what I missed and if I can pick anything new up but for now, I think Harrow Lake can stay right where it is!

#MiniBookReviews featuring #TheSouthernBookClubsGuidetoSlayingVampires  #RulesforVanishing #TheDinnerGuest #HarrowLakeRules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall, Jesse Vilinsky, Robbie Daymond, Rob Shapiro
Published by W.F. Howes on September 24, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Pages: 12

In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister--at all costs.
Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her--and who won't make it out of the woods?
It's been exactly one year since Sara's sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn't know whether her former friends no longer like her...or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to "play the game" and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca--before she's lost forever. And even though she's hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends--and their cameras--following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

Ok, another YA horror I wanted to love and I just couldn’t. There were too many characters and half the time I didn’t have a scooby what was going on. This is most definitely a book that needs to be read and not listened to. I feel in this case the audiobook let the book down. There is so much to learn and appreciate. When we follow Sara and her group of friends who decide to go and follow the legend of Lucy Gallows I was intrigued and excited. Finally, a book that could have the potential to unsettle me and have me gagging for more. It didn’t. As I say, a HUGE cast in the book, so many rules to remember and jeez if you are told to not wander off the path and stay connected with someone you damn well do it!!!

The story behind the legend was interesting and I do love folklore tales like this. It always adds that extra spice, is there really another world we can travel to?

In fact, reading other reviews, this is a book I am going to give another go to. A lot of reviewers have said the audiobook didn’t work so I know it’s not just me.

This book is labelled as A Blair Witch Project kinda book and that is what sang to me. With the medium of text messages, videos, interviews and of course the story, an audiobook just doesn’t work so I think it’s only fair to check this out again.

#MiniBookReviews featuring #TheSouthernBookClubsGuidetoSlayingVampires  #RulesforVanishing #TheDinnerGuest #HarrowLakeThe Dinner Guest by B.P. Walter
Published by One More Chapter on May 27, 2021
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Pages: 400

Four people walked into the dining room that night. One would never leave.
Matthew: the perfect husband.
Titus: the perfect son.
Charlie: the perfect illusion.
Rachel: the perfect stranger.
Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen.
And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand.
Agatha Christie meets Donna Tartt in this nerve-shredding domestic noir thriller that weaves a sprawling web of secrets around an opulent West London world and the dinner that ends in death.

I have to say I remember absolutely LOVING this book! This is an audiobook I was hooked on and I couldn’t let go. I just, like the others I didn’t write any notes so I am now writing this review and trying to remember 5 months ago!

The opening scenes around the dinner table were gripping and although I had an inkling to where this might go, it was frigging awesome. I thought some things might have been too obvious and so I was trying to play detective and it just didn’t work. I was bamboozled by a lot until each piece was revealed to us. Each reveal was like a slap in the face, the audacity of the characters, I felt personally unjustifiably angry with them and their actions as if it was a personal attack LOL. This is how invested I truly was with this story!

The annoying thing is I can’t quite remember the ending of the book, as a few merge together but I know I was shocked by it. It didn’t play out how I imagined it. I will be definitely reading more by Walter’s in the future!

Until the next time xxx

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2 responses to “#MiniBookReviews featuring #TheSouthernBookClubsGuidetoSlayingVampires #RulesforVanishing #TheDinnerGuest #HarrowLake

  1. Great mini reviews! I thought Harrow Lake was quite gripping although I really can’t remember any of it now! I agree with you on Southern Book Club – I DNFed it, was too slow, where was it going?! But Grady Hendrix’s more recent book The Final Girl Support Group is very good.