what I’ve been reading

by Kaylah Stroup

It’s been about ten years since I consistently read and blogged about books. There were a couple of book posts here and there over the years but I was definitely on a bit of a bad reading streak. I just couldn’t concentrate on books. I’d pick something up I thought might interest me but just not be able to get past a chapter or two. I also spent a long time telling myself that if it wasn’t non-fiction, it wasn’t worth reading. What!?! I truly don’t know what that was about either.

Then, one day, my husband picked up Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw for himself while at the bookstore. On the way home, it started raining really really bad. I am a nervous nelly, especially in the passenger seat, so to distract myself I grabbed the book and started reading. I was hooked pretty quickly. It didn’t take long at all for me to remember just how good it feels to get lost in a book.

That was back in October. I’ve been engrossed in one book or another ever since.

So! Guess what though, baby!? I AM BACK, I am reading with a vengeance and I want to tell you allllll about it.

What I’ve been reading…

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. If somehow you’ve been living under a rock, like me, and have not already read this book – just buy it. Don’t look at what it’s about, the title tells you enough. Truly, I think the description of it on Amazon gives away too much. It’s a really fun, kind of stressful, lighthearted but still serious book that will make you want to pull your hair out at times but also warm your heart. It was a blast!

Grady Hendrix is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! I just picked up his latest novel, How to Sell a Haunted House. Can’t wait to dive in.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix. “Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.”

I picked this book up at the bookstore a couple of times before I finally decided to buy it. If I’m being honest, slasher is my least favorite kind of horror so I felt like it might now be a good fit for me. I was wrong. I’m sure having a real interest in slasher films would make this book even more fun but even if those don’t float your boat, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t enjoy it! As mentioned above, Grady Hendrix is a wonderful author!

Anybody Home? by Michael J. Seidlinger. Home invasion but from the perspective of the invader! It’s a super dark book that is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Leaves you feeling a bit icky, which I guess is a pretty solid compliment for a horror book!

Brother by Ania Ahlborn.Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.

But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…

This was one I just kept getting recommended based on the other books I bought. After finishing it, I see why! This feels like essential horror reading. This definitely feels like top ten of the year material (and dude, we’re only three months in!)

The Book of the Most Precious Substance by Sara Gran. “After a tragedy too painful to bear, former novelist Lily Albrecht has resigned herself to a dull, sexless life as a rare book dealer. Until she gets a lead on a book that just might turn everything around. The Book of the Most Precious Substance is a 17th century manual on sex magic, rumored to be the most powerful occult book ever written–if it really exists at all. And some of the wealthiest people in the world are willing to pay Lily a fortune to find it-if she can. Her search for the book takes her from New York to New Orleans to Munich to Paris, searching the dark corners of power where the world’s wealthiest people use black magic to fulfill their desires. Will Lily fulfill her own desires, and join them? Or will she lose it all searching for a ghost? The Book of the Most Precious Substance is an addictive erotic thriller about the lengths we’ll go to get what we need-and what we want.”

I bought this book because I really LOVED one of the author’s other books, Come Closer. I guess I was hoping for something similar and this wasn’t quite it. Don’t get me wrong, it was an entertaining book that I read through quite quickly but it didn’t necessarily feel as stressful and exciting as Come Closer. I would absolutely recommend it for folks who maybe don’t like the grittier, ickier, bad-taste-in-your-mouth horror like I do though!

One random note though, the fact it’s touted as an ‘erotic thriller’ was a bit misleading. Like a book about sex magic should be a lot sexier??? Again though, could be just me.

Keep an eye on my instagram stories if you’re looking for more recommendations!

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