Friday, August 7, 2020

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Review

This book The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel By Grady Hendrix kept popping up on lists of books I would like. I like reading about vampires, so I gave it a shot! It's an easy read and I think it's less about vampires and more about a late 1980s/ 1990s version of The Stepford Wives but with a satisfying ending.

***Warning Spoilers***

The book focuses on Patricia Campbell, a suburban housewife in Charleston that belongs to a book club. The club is small and they read true crime novels. Over the years, despite differing lives, they come together monthly to talk passionately about murder. 

None of them seem to work, I think it's mentioned that one of them helps out at a church. All of their husbands are the breadwinners and they just follow their wifely duties. They are very polite and reserved. Honestly, it was a little hard for me to relate. I have a business that keeps me from home more than 40 hours a week, I don't have kids, and if I don't like something I'll communicate that. These ladies are a little too reserved and passive. Not sure if it's a Southern thing? Maybe a 1980s thing? 

Then a new man moves down the street, and Patricia is involved with a violent crime. The crime is committed by his great aunt. She ends up checking in on him and he begins to ingrain himself into her life. In the meantime, kids go missing on the far side of town and she witnesses this new neighbor attacking one of them. I should mention he's not a vampire in the traditional way we know them...fangs...neck. He has a bug-like appendage that comes from his jaw that latches on to the inner thigh of his victim. That's one hell of an UNsexy vampire in my mind.

The first half of the book is the set up, we know he's a monster already. No mystery there. The second half is how is Patricia going to prove it. He's charming to everyone and has become a member of "the boys club" with all the husbands. Speaking of husbands, her's is awful. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities. He's a workaholic, takes her for granted, gaslights her, is a know-it-all, blames everything on her, and is completely useless. So useless that when his mother dies she and her book club friends organize the funeral etc. He contributes his paycheck ~ that's it. Her husband prescribes her Prozac to numb her thoughts because she questions too much. There's a lot of silencing of women in this book that I found much more disturbing than the actual violence.

Flash forward three years later. She drops trying to prove her neighbor is evil because he has brought everyone around him great wealth with an investment in real estate. Construction is booming and money is flowing. Then Patricia has a vision from her dead mother in law. It tells her that the neighbor is going to take her kids and she needs to wake up. This sparks her investigation again.

In the end the book club ladies band together and do the right thing. They are calculated and prepared because it's what they know from life and reading crime novels. Never underestimate the power of a determined group of women.

Overall the book is very timely. It involves race relations, feminism, the popularity of serial killers, and how money can make you blind to all the glaring red flags. Some things that were never cleared up... the cover of the book is misleading because there's are no fangs mentioned. It's described as more of a full-on bite. Some of the supporting characters need a resolution... Grace needs a divorce and there might be a sequel with Slick being raped and having something "growing inside her". Needless to say it should come with a trigger warning. I enjoyed it and found it suspenseful because I wanted to know the ending. I plan to check out the author's other books too. 


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

I'm Not Afraid of Commitment (The Supernatural Chronicles): Part 9

It's been a little over a year since I wrote about Supernatural, and it's finally on Netflix with season 15, and let's just say it's the beginning of the end ~ literally. They only have the beginning half of season 15 available to view and they have announced that it will be their final season. I'd say 15 years of a TV show is a pretty good run. It aired until the end of March 2020, and then there were production delays due to Covid-19, so we hope to see the finale later this year...or in my case, whenever it becomes available on Netflix.


I'm not sure if it's me or if I've just watched so much Supernatural, that I felt that these 13 episodes didn't have the passion that past seasons had, and they only brought back characters to make it interesting. Ok, I know that sounds harsh, but the story is Chuck/ God is back on earth causing trouble. Another apocalypse. Duh.


I do like some of the characters coming back, and I really hope Crowley makes an appearance in the last part of season 15 because he was always a favorite of mine, but the acting seems off and I should mention that even my cat Ginger who is in love with Sam isn't interested! She didn't watch any of these episodes with me! So let me review...

The Winchesters and Cas are left in a cemetery to fight all the spirits from hell that were released by Chuck/ God. Sam shot God, so there's a piece of Sam's soul in him and vice versa. Chuck/ God is sick of this version of this earth and essentially Chuck/ God becomes the enemy.  This is introduced in the first three episodes.



Then we are back to monster of the week, with the underlying story of God's rage. He is on a rampage and takes away Sam and Dean's "luck" and destroys all the other worlds, dimensions, and parallel universes that he's made and will soon destroy earth as we know it.

Sam has visions of the other Sam and Dean's that are out there and how they are fighting.

There were some hints at a relationship between Rowena and Ketch, but they both die and Rowena becomes queen of hell. Sam falls for Eileen another hunter but she ends of leaving to hunt on her own. It's disappointing that none of the characters get any "action" in the sexy sense of the word.

MEH S15 E1 "Back and to the Future" The evil souls look like zombies and it looks like a set from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to the point where Jack even says "it's a Hellmouth thing". Sunnydale in Buffy was on the Hellmouth. We get to see the killers from a previous season John Wayne Gacy, Bloody Mary, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper (also I'm convinced that it real life Jack the Ripper was a woman).

MEH S15 E2 "Raising Hell" Even Kevin Tran is back. We learn that The Darkness/ Amara is in Reno and God is trapped on earth. He needs her to leave.


 MEH S15 E3 "The Rupture" Jack's body dies, Ketch dies, Rowena dies, but not before we have this beautiful witch shot of her.



 MEH S15 E4 "Atomic Monsters" Chuck/ God finds his ex-girlfriend Becky. Yes, THAT Becky that also married Sam is back and she has a nice family that Chuck/ God makes disappear. This is a monster of the week episode with vampires....and Chuck/ God.


 MEH S15 E5 "Proverbs 17:3" Another monster of the week with werewolves. Lilith comes back in a new body.


MEH S15 E6 "Golden Time" Monster of the week, this time it's witches. Eileen the deaf hunter comes to Sam in ghost form and he brings her body back. His spell work is turning out to be really good and he's replacing Rowena in that skill set, so much so that Dean calls him a "Samwitch". (Ok, I might have snort laughed at this in real life.)


MEH S15 E7 "Last Call" Dean's "Eye of the Tiger" karaoke is referenced and it's more like a filler episode.

MEH S15 E8 "Our Father Who Aren't in Heaven" Donatello is back and Jody and Donna are referenced. Lilith is sent to find Michael who's in the form of Sam and Dean's brother Adam. Adam is back.



MEH S15 E9 "The Trap" Now they need a leviathon blossom for a spell, a reference to the big bad from several seasons ago. Claire and Benny are mentioned and Jody and Bobby are seen in a vision.

PLUS S15 E10 "The Heroes Journey" Garth the hunter and werewolf comes back. He was another favorite of mine. He's married with a family and is a werewolf dentist now. Black and white sequence of Garth and Dean tap dancing is fun. Sam and Dean loose their luck, but Garth tells them where they can get it back, The episode ends with Werewolves of London playing. This is a cute episode. It's funny, gory, and I think really showcases that Sam and Dean will get by with help from all the friends they've made along the way.


MEH S15 E11 "The Gamblers" Sam and Dean go to Alaska looking to get their luck back at a pool hall, meanwhile Jack is back and instructed by Death to kill angels and eat hearts to gain strength so he can fight Chuck/ God.

MEH S15 E12 "Galaxy Brain" Chuck/ God begins the destruction of worlds, Jody is in this episode and Alex is referenced. Kaia is back. Both Kaia's switch dimensions so they are back in the right place.


MEH S15 E13 "Destiny's Child" Jack's next quest puts him in the Garden of Eden where he gets his soul back. Sister Jo, Ruby, and Meg are in this episode.


And that's all we get!

Lots of blood draining this season, the music is more contemporary remakes which are terrible, but the addition of honky tonk and country is better and suits the show. All the women working with the Winchesters wear the same thing as the men... a plaid flannel over a shirt and jeans. It's like there was no imagination. I'm hopeful the ending will be epic. They really brought back a lot of characters and if you don't know the history it might be a little confusing this season.

I will always relate to Dean. I often say what he says before he says it and the fact that he was lactose intolerant (like me) for an episode just solidifies that we share the same personality. Lol.

You can see my thoughts on the other seasons 1&23&45&67&89&1011& 12 , 13, and 14.

As always thanks for reading. I know I've slowed down blogging. I'm just overwhelmed with the state of the world and I've been working full time this whole time trying to keep my business up and running, so my blogging rhythm is all thrown off. Thanks for sticking with me though. 💗

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Birthday Dress Week!

This past June I had to prepare my storefront ~ Cats Like Us ~ to reopen by appointment, so I've been busy doing just that. Sorry I've been absent. Life is exhausting and changing daily. On the upside, I had my Bday on July 1. Julie...July....my parents were trying to be whitty. ;)

Although not horror related, and only sort of cat related let me share with you my birthday week of new dresses. I own A LOT of dresses, it's my business to own them. My clothing shop sells a lot of dresses. I like that you don't have to match a top and a bottom, it's just one piece to wear. That being said, many of the ones I have are from my shop, bought on sale, given to me, or vintage. I have so many because some of them I've had for 20 years ~ I'm not joking ~ I very rarely get rid of clothing unless it's super worn out or really doesn't fit. So I thought I'd share some of the new ones I bought last year and am finally getting to wearing...

(Note: I haven't been wearing lipstick since no one sees it, or rings/ bracelets since I'm constantly washing my hands, or earrings since I lost one while wearing a mask, or doing my hair because I often wear bandanas as a mask, and they mess up my hair, so fancy dress it is!)

Mondays I work in the back office doing accounting, catching up, and stock type things. So I opted for my new Dear Yesterdays Dress. The owner Jessica had an in-store event in our shop last year and I picked this up. So easy to wear and all my favorite colors, orange, lime green, and turquoise!


(I was eating when the picture was taken.)

Tuesday is my first "real" work day when I see customers and I opted for this re-issued Lilly Pulitzer for Target Dress, I bought it last year on sale and had to wait until this summer to pull it out of hiding. If you don't know Lilly, I blogged about her for my shop Julie Ann's Vintage Closet Tour. I've always loved Lilly's bold prints, and since I'm a slob, the colors hide spills nicely. Although shorter than I would normally wear, this dress is perfect for the hot weather, AND it's lined! Necklace was blogged about before for my birthday.


Wednesday, July 1 was my actual birthday and of course I wore a cat print. This is a vintage 1970s Vested Gentress Cat Print Dress. I found it on ebay and fell in love. I've written about the brand before in this blog. They specialized in animal prints and flowers, but I like the cat prints best. This dress is practical with large pockets, it's lined, and of-the-moment with the flouncy ruffle hem.


Thursday was Isaac Mizrahi for Target day. When this dress came out years ago I really wanted it, then they re-issued it with their 20 year anniversary collection last year and I had to have it! Vintage look and pockets is a winning combination in my book.


It's now Friday and I couldn't believe this cat skirt was still hanging on our sale rack at work, so I decided to give it a home. I like the realistic cats, has pockets, and it's Made in the USA! You can shop our Cats Collection now, but be warned things sell quick. As you can imagine, cats are popular!


Saturday was the 4th of July...or as I like to say the 4th of Jul-ie, and I spent the afternoon in my inflatable kiddie pool. Oh and if you were wondering, Sunday is my day of "rest". I tend to be in my PJs most of the day.

Last but not least ~ for the grand finale ~ I want to include my new caftan...er ...cat-tan with matching headband that was made especially for me by my dear friend Coffin Kitsch. It has cats on it!!!! No you can't have it. 




Little Ginger walked over and I don't think she knows what she got herself into!



Thanks for reading and meow.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Spring 2020 Pusheen Box

Well I miss unboxing with my friend Jodee, and with everything going on in the world I'm kinda down in the dumps...but this Pusheen Box was really great. You know how I like useful things, and I plan to use all of it, probably not in the way it was intended. I don't plan to use the vinyl toy, because there is no real use for it...except being a dust collector. I really miss the plush Pusheens, I like them so much better than the vinyls.

Do you miss hearing my voice, or want to see little Ginger sit so close to me she wants to be underneath me? Watch my unboxing video!



So I guess the theme was house plants. I thought it was going to be a tropical/ tiki theme. *shrug*

1. A Wall Hanging. I don't plan to use this as a wall hanging, but I'll use it as a decorative table cloth or possibly a scarf. 

2. Glass bottle with a strainer. I plan to use this for hot and cold tea. It's small but, brews about a normal coffee mug size.



3. An incense dish. I plan to use it for holding my tea bags when I'm done seeping them or for a spoon rest. I think Pusheen's a cutie on this dish.


4. Heating Pad. But it can be used for a cold pack too. I already used it. Stays warm for about 20 minutes. It's a great size, perfect for lower back pain or cramps. Not sure I like the picture on it. Looks a little too 1980s, but I'll still use it.


5. Vinyl Figure. Meh.


6. Notepad. I love their notepads, I use them all the time to make lists. I know how I feel, I feel tired...all the time...it's never ending. I do like the little sloth on it though.


7. Wooden Tray. I plan to lacquer over this so I can use it for drinks etc. It's pretty nice and sturdy too. It will help me organize my tea.


8. Silky Summer Bathrobe. (It's actually polyester.) Super cute and comfy. Now the weather just needs to cooperate.


Thanks for reading and be well!

Past unboxings
Fall 2017 Pusheen Box
Winter 2017 Pusheen Box
Spring 2018 Pusheen Box
Summer 2018 Pusheen Box
Fall 2018 Pusheen Box
Winter Pusheen Box 2018
Spring Pusheen Box with Jodee Bowie
Summer 2019 Pusheen Box
Fall 2019 Pusheen Box
Winter 2019 Pusheen Box and Soup



Saturday, May 30, 2020

Mandy (2018)

From horror movie fans, I've heard mostly good things about the Nic Cage movie Mandy. I've been planning to watch it for a while, and I wanted to go in blind. I knew he was in it and it was gory ~ that's it. After I saw his performance in Color Out of Space, I think he's cemented his place in the horror movie genre and let me just say Mandy is a 1980s-heavy metal-fantasy-nightmare-revenge-love story, so a little bit for everyone. No really, it is!


***SPOILER ALERT***

This movie is divided into three parts, the first is The Shadow Mountains 1983, where we see Red played by Nic Cage and his girlfriend Mandy played by a haunting Andrea Riseborough and their comfortable understanding relationship. They have a big cabin the the woods that's covered in widows so you're practically outside. It feels early 1980s with Regan on the radio, the woods, nature, and the remnants of the 1970s interest in the occult floating around in the air.

Mandy is a fantasy artist. She draws things you would see on heavy metal album covers or on the side of 1970s vans. She wears metal band T shirts, reads fantasy books, and has long black straight hair that gives off witchy vibes. She also has a scar on her face that's never quite explained, but we do know that her father liked to kill defenseless animals. (She talks about it, but thank goodness it's not shown in a flash back. Yikes.) Her character is mysterious and hypnotizing. She has an unspoken history that's captivating. Her interaction with Cage makes his acting seem wooden, almost bored, but don't worry he's showcased in the second and third parts of the movie. The next segment is called Children of the New Dawn.

We are then introduced to this cult when they drive by Mandy walking down the road. The leader, Jeremiah, can't stop thinking about her. He tells one of his cult members to kidnap her and bring her to him. Brother Swan uses the Horn of Abraxas (a sort of flute type thing) to summon a demon biker gang called the Black Skulls. The cult sacrifices one of their own to the biker gang so the gang will help kidnap Mandy. A "Blood for blood" deal. When we see the bikers about to home invade the cabin it's reminiscent of the killing scene from The Lost Boys. Already this movie is invading the soft space in my heart.


Mandy (2018)


The Lost Boys (1987)

Of course they successfully kidnap Mandy and they put drops in her eye and sting her with the biggest bug I've ever seen. (Gross.) She starts hallucinating. (Really drugging her is the only way they could ever get her to stay there.) Jeremiah says that she called out to him "silently" and he plays her his album. We find out the cult leader was a musician, but he wasn't successful in the way he wanted to be so he forms this cult instead. He thinks he can take anything he wants because the voice inside his head told him he could. Mandy laughs at the music and at him, humiliating him in front of his followers.

Meanwhile Red is tied up with barbed wire outside. The cult has Mandy in a sleeping bag, they hang her up and set her on fire for Red to watch. She's burned to ash and they stab Red and leave him tied up. Eventually he frees himself and vows to seek revenge on the bikers and the cult. Now it begins. He has an emotionally charged screaming session in the bathroom in his cabin and it's AMAZING. Just look!


Using this bathroom to prep in the morning for work would def keep me awake and raring to go!
I love it.

This is the Nic Cage I want to see in movies! The over-the-top psychotic rage acted out in his underwear in a day-glo bathroom. Scenes like this give me life! Now you know something big is going to happen.

Red goes to his old friend and picks up some weapons. You don't find out how they know each other or why his friend is storing his weapons or how he knows how to forge a scythe thingy, but that isn't the point ~ you don't care! You just want to see him use the stuff! We also find out from his friend that the bikers were once people and bad LSD caused them to turn into demons that like pain. Um ok. Hellraiser much? Again this movie comes for my heart.

In the final third part of the movie called Mandy, it's the action fight sequence that's been building up. Red finds the bikers, then offs them one at a time, he even takes one down single handedly! The one is so coked out watching porn it's hard to believe they can get their shit together to be called by the Horn of Abraxas. Anyway, Red is covered in blood, and reminds me of Ash from The Evil Dead  (1981) AND there's even a chainsaw fight! Now this movie really has me hooked.


Nic Cage covered in blood and being crazy. 
(This pic is a little fuzzy because I photographed it from my TV)


Bruce Campbell covered in blood and being Bruce Campbell.

After killing all the bikers, Red snorts some cocaine and finds the "real" drugs in a jar. He takes a tiny taste and it melts his face off....figuratively and visually. Then Red goes to the LSD maker to find the cult. It's a trippy scene ~ there's even a lion!

The cult members are holed up in a church that has underground tunnels. He kills some of the members, but not all. Does this mean there will be a sequel? He dramatically kills Jeremiah and says "I'm your God now", then walks away in slow motion as the church burns. Kinda epic.

There's a lot to unpack in this phantasmagorical movie. It's interspersed with cartoon dream sequences, a cheddar goblin, and psychedelic colors. Red truly becomes one of the characters in a fantasy novel that Mandy reads about. It's a wild ride. I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 boxes of mac and cheese ~ only because I want more back story on the characters, Mandy was stupid for essentially telling the cult where she lives, and their cabin has bad feng shui with couches facing away from doors and windows. Anyho...

Here's the trailer...

Monday, May 11, 2020

#cats_the_mewvie (2020)

My curiosity got the best of me when I saw Netflix made a movie called #cats_the_mewvie. It's not my style to care about Instagram celebrities, but this movie is about celebrity cats, so of course, I'm in!

The movie ~ or should I say mewvie ~ is a documentary interviewing famous cats and their owners, but also talking to social media experts and how cats have become the "happy" part of the internet.

It shows Mike, Lil Bub's owner, who I met in real life and he's a super cool guy. He talks about how Bub is an inspiration ~ or should I say inspurration ~ with her determination and challenges. She was only supposed to live a couple of months, but ended up living seven years! She was the first cat born with her rare disease, and she was studied to help doctors learn more about how it also effects people born with it. Her meet and greets and merchandise helped raise a lot of money for disabled cats too! How great is that?! Cats can be more than just models for cute pictures, they can have a purpose too ~ or should I say purrpose? Good job Bub, R.I.P.


I cherish this picture so much, it lives on my desktop at work.

The movie spends a lot of time with the catsofinstagram creators, who are kind of annoying. They keep saying how "weird" their cat Pudge is. Yes, THAT Pudge, the famous cat. Of course, Pudge is well known because she's owned by the creators of catsofinstagram, and they are constantly promoting her, and the latest cat trends. (Which quite honestly I don't understand "cat trends", cats are cats.) I found it odd the way they talked about Pudge, I guess I just have a special bond with my cats, and I don't think they are weird at all. I get my cats and they get me. Maybe Pudge doesn't want to be in the spotlight.


Adorable Pudge.

Other experts on famous cats they spoke with were the curator from the Museum of the Moving Image and how he organized an exhibition in 2015 called How Cats Took Over the Internet. I wish I could have been there for that! The movie also recognizes the "meme librarian" from tumblr that works for the page Boys with Beards and Cats, and that literally is all that's on her page, bearded guys with cats. They quickly talk to the creator of the Infinite Cat Project, how viral cat memes took over the internet in 2004, the lol speak of cats, the editor for the Animal section on Buzzfeed, a talent agent for "pet influencers", and the kittenlady. I adore the kitten lady because she's all about educating people on cats and kittens. I've been following her for a long time ~ or should I say fur a long time? She even writes books!


The movie delves into the social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram too. YouTube was created to transcends language with videos that can be taken with your phone. In 2010 Instagram was launched and cat owners now have a time to shine and show off their cats. Cat owners are relatable, and people are excited about posting their cats. It's as simple as that. All cats are beautiful, but of course their owners think they are extra special and can breakthrough to become the world's most popular cat, but it's not that simple. It's kind of sad and what Mike says at the end of the movie makes sense. So many cat owners want to make their cats famous, but is it good for the cat? Not always. Now we are in the next generation of Instagram cats and it seems your cat has to have a quirk to make it stand out since there are so many cats online. You need to have a defined brand and it takes a ton of time to photograph cats and edit the pictures. It has become work.

They interview owners that seem almost desperate to make their cats famous, like fatcathercules (who is a cute chonky boi) and RuPaws Drag Race. I'm sure after this movie, the publicity ~ or should I say purrplicity ~ should help!


Fat Cat Hercules and his 27 lbs.

Some of the other cats featured are Nala, Oscar & Klaus, Suki the Adventure Cat, Monty Happiness, Homer the Blind Wonder Cat, benbencatcat, Atchoum, Nathan the Beach Cat and more! So if you want to watch cats, or see who own's the famous ones, it's a great movie.

I firmly believe cats connect people. They bring joy and happiness by their cuteness, purrsonality and independence. If you win over a cat, you're good people.

(I'm sorry I couldn't find a trailer for it.)


Monday, May 4, 2020

Pussweek ~ the Magazine for Cats by Cats!

I discovered Pussweek when I went for a visit to the Buckminster Cat Cafe a couple months ago. I just had to know more about this thoughtfully laid out cat magazine! A magazine written by cats for cats?! I was intrigued and ordered the Deluxe Pack that comes with seven magazines, a small poster, magnet, two stickers, holiday cards, and a bow tie. I just had to have it all!


I'll just start by saying the box came packaged beautifully. If you you've ever seen me unbox makeup or subscription boxes in my other blogs you know I really appreciate packaging.





This magazine puts a smile on my face in these uncertain times. 


It really gets in and asks the important questions...



They even featured my girl Lil Bub on one of the covers!


It's very funny and the pictures are high quality. Did I mention there's a centerfold?! Scandalous!


I tried to put the bow tie on little Ginger
but she was not about to pose, and in true cat form 
she just fell asleep.




I don't think she likes the magazine as much as I do. Oh well, so much for a cat magazine for cats.