Friday, April 19, 2024

New Favorite Dog Character!


TITLE: Bless Your Heart (Bless Your Heart #1)
AUTHOR: Lindy Ryan
PUBLISHER: Minotaur Books
PUBLISHING DATE: April 9, 2024
PAGES: 304   

FROM GOODREADS: Rise and shine. The Evans women have some undead to kill. 
It’s 1999 in Southeast Texas and the Evans women, owners of the only funeral parlor in town, are keeping steady with…normal business. The dead die, you bury them. End of story. That’s how Ducey Evans has done it for the last eighty years, and her progeny―Lenore the experimenter and Grace, Lenore’s soft-hearted daughter, have run Evans Funeral Parlor for the last fifteen years without drama. Ever since That Godawful Mess that left two bodies in the ground and Grace raising her infant daughter Luna, alone. 
But when town gossip Mina Jean Murphy’s body is brought in for a regular burial and she rises from the dead instead, it’s clear that the Strigoi―the original vampire―are back. And the Evans women are the ones who need to fight back to protect their town. 
As more folks in town turn up dead and Deputy Roger Taylor begins asking way too many questions, Ducey, Lenore, Grace, and now Luna, must take up their blades and figure out who is behind the Strigoi’s return. As the saying goes, what rises up, must go back down. But as unspoken secrets and revelations spill from the past into the present, the Evans family must face that sometimes, the dead aren’t the only things you want to keep buried. 
A crackling mystery-horror novel with big-hearted characters and Southern charm with a bite, Bless Your Heart is a gasp-worthy delight from start to finish.

MY THOUGHTS: I'm going to be honest here.  During the first 50 or so pages of this book, for a few reasons, including that I had a hard time keeping all the characters in the Evans family straight in my head, it was shaping up to be a 3/5 read.  However, when it finally all clicked for me and with what happened in the book, it quickly jumped in rating and enjoyment.  

For years, the Evans family have secretly guarded their town and kept it safe from the restless dead.  Generations have run the local funeral home and know the story of what happened during the "Godawful Mess" incident.  Now, for some reason, the dead are once again rising.  Ducey, Lenore and Grace fear it has something to do with Grace's daughter, Luna, who has no idea what the family is involved in.  When an odd boy named Crane arrives in town and takes an interest in Luna, the family is sure everything is related.  But can they get to the bottom of the situation before the secret is exposed and before too many people die? 

Once I got them all straight, I loved the characters.  Ducey is the eldest, her daughter Lenore is next in line and then finally there is Grace and her daughter Luna.  They are definitely Southern Texas women with southern charm and language to boot.  Luna is trying to figure her life out and once a HUGE secret is revealed, she is even more confused.  I also loved Belle, the idiot Sheriff's dog.  I thought this book was going to go there and kill off Belle, but man, the author pulled it out and SMALL SPOILER - Belle lives!  Despite it being touch and go (and let's get real, all animal lovers don't really consider this a spoiler, right?).  I also enjoyed the side characters which heavily lent to explaining the backstory of the town and its current state of affairs.

Finally, I have to mention the monsters in the book.  They are referred to as strigoi, and seem more like a cross between zombies and vampires.  They are definitely not your romantic, sparkling vamps and I couldn't be more pleased.  This blood is moderate on horror, blood and gore and high on charm and mystery.  I would best compare it to the books by Grady Hendrix and if you enjoy him, then definitely pick this up.  I had no idea until this week that apparently there is another book in the works, and I can't wait to see what happens next!



  1. Awesome review, Barb! I think you've convinced me to read this next, and I'm SO glad to hear about the dog๐Ÿ˜

  2. Glad to know this one's worth the read. And dogs always make a book better imo. :D

  3. This sounds engaging.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  4. I'm hearing some good stuff about this one. Unlike you though, based on the beginning, I might have given up. Glad you didn't though, and that it turned out so good for you! And of course the dogs are the best part in books!
    Lisa Loves Literature