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Bookstagram Read-Along: RECEPTION by Kenzie Jennings


It had been awhile since I hosted a read-along on #bookstagram. They're actually quite the undertaking. The corner of the universe in which #bookstagram resides is populated with extreme book nerds. If you announce a read-along, you are going to get takers. My RECEPTION read-along started on Valentine's Day and by the end of the day, the group chat had 21 people in it! I was not expecting so many but I was delighted to see so many curious readers! Our chat was a lively one and after all of us finished, I invited them to submit their reviews to me so I could do a wrap up of everyone's thoughts. Here's what readers thought:


"Weddings and In-laws and Cannibals, OH MY!! 

When I saw that Mother.Horror AKA Sadie Hartman was hosting a read along of Reception by Kenzie Jennings, I needed to jump on this bandwagon! A few gore-loving bookstagrammers, partook in this read along and glad that I was part of it!  What I loved most about this book is that there is humor, light-hearted moments of sarcasm, sibling banter/rivalry but serious and terrorizing when it needs to be. The story is morbid, with touches of wit, emotion, jaw-dropping moments yet beautifully written; I am a total fan of Kenzie Jennings!  She’s turned me into a cannibalistic-horror-lover fan!! 

Keep yourselves buckled in for a very bumpy ride!  Great book and totally recommend it to all you horror freaks and cannibalistic story lovers!  So take a bite out of this book, you won’t regret it!  (see what I did there?)" @shereadswithcoffee

🌟🌟🌟 stars to Reception by Kenzie Jennings.


Kenzie finds the balance between brutal body horror, fast paced action and quiet emotional moments. This is mainly thanks to the relationship between its main character Ansley Boone and her sister, Shay, the bride to be. Their relationship is touching and realistic, particularly as they exchange dialogue going from dead serious to reading childish insults in a single sentence. You get a sense these people love and support each other, support being exactly what Ansley needs recovering from withdrawal having been overly prescribed medication only to be cut off cold turkey. To make matters worse everyone at the wedding knows. It doesn’t help that she has a contentious relationship with her own parents, two characters who are more embarrassed by their daughter than empathic making the reader want to reach into the story and shake them both. Which brings us to that balance again. The first half of this novel takes place before the wedding as Ansley deals with inter-family relations and dramas that can occur during such gatherings. The second half is outright bananas, filled with splattering blood, mutilated flesh and violence. I loved the relationship between the two sisters in this story, their banter and connection are incredibly genuine. 

My only criticism of this story is that I spent a lot of time wondering when the action was going to kick in.  The opening scene enticed me by having the two sisters trapped in a bathroom by unknown assailants then jumps back to before the reception, telling the story in a more linear format.  It absolutely brings the reader in, yet it left me with that wonderment at the back of my mind.  That being said I can’t wait to read more by this author. @jamie.stewart.33


"Crusted with blood, gristle stuck between your teeth, and giggles bubbling up your throat, this was the book I needed. Light hearted and fun, Reception starts off full gore and ends with no holds barred brutality.
Kenzie Jennings writes in such an entertaining way that every part of this book is enjoyable. Sisterly banter and dark foreshadowing keep the plot moving even when the blood isn’t flowing.
This is not for the faint of heart, but for more for those that like their books on the raw side." @pbanditp


Kenzie Jennings, the author, used the first half of the book to build the story and flesh out the characters. There was a lot of entertaining dialogue like the banter between the sisters. The first half of the book was a tad slow but once the story got going in the second half, it moved at full speed till the end. I absolutely loved the ending.  

One of my favorite parts was the genuine relationship between the sisters. Jennings took care in fleshing out these characters, which added authenticity to the story. Ansley was such a realistic, three dimensional character who also struggled to adapt.

Even though it was a story with gore, the author injected humor into the horror, which made the story truly enjoyable. It was really nice to have gory moments sprinkled with laugh out loud moments. As the horror intensifies, the jokes add a level of absurdity to the situation that makes it work. I also appreciated the humorous digs between family members in the beginning of the book.  

Tali Leonard lives in Florida with her husband, three children and dog. She enjoys reading and is a reviewer of horror fiction, as well as other genres.  Tali also cooking and needlepoint. You can find her on social media @escaereality4now on Instagram

Indie horror has had plenty of exciting debuts as of late, and Jennings’ wedding cannibals epic, Reception, is no exception. Right off the bat the introduction tells the reader exactly what they’re getting: a gift of gore and grue, wrapped by bloodthirsty butchers, and tied in a ribbon of crass and sass. 

Some readers may be miffed by the lengthy buildup to the meat of the book in which family drama and wedding fiascos are center stage. I found most of it a necessity that made the quick 180° into total madness all the more impactful. Sure, it could’ve been shorn by a couple pages, but that’s my sole complaint. The wait is worth it, because Jennings has plenty of visceral imagery and WTF moments to keep you on edge. I can’t stress enough what a rollercoaster the second half is. Black humour can whiplash into deadly serious prose then back again in the blink of an eye. The intricacies of Ansley and Shay’s sibling relationship, the effects of Ansley’s withdrawal symptoms as she tries to survive, as well as some strange side characters they encounter along the way elevates what could have easily been a flat, by-the-numbers, chop-’em-ups ditty into something a helluva lot stronger. Its characters are three-dimensional and the dialogue feels authentic. I loved the use of unconventional weaponry and some of the pros and cons that come with utilizing high heels and meat tenderizers for murder—not to mention oodles of delicious love/hate banter between Ansley and Shay. 

Kenzie Jennings lays out a plot full of surprise and intrigue—that includes the first half. Lovers of horror with a healthy dose of sardonic humour will have plenty to enjoy with this one. Reception is a stacked menu of grisly fun, and I’m hungry for Jennings’ next outstanding offering!



I bought Reception the same time as Red Station as I had recently *met* Kenzie and was intrigued to read some more extreme writing from a woman. I bloody loved RS so I was very excited to read this. It took some willpower to keep it to one side and wait for Sadie's read-along.
Once I got into it, I didn't want to put it down. I agree that it took a while to get to the gory bits, but I was enjoying the story and humour so much that I barely noticed.
Kenzie and I have been chatting about what makes extreme horror readable to us, and we both agree (our opinions only) that you need a good story to complement the gore. Without decent narrative, it is just smut. Kenzie does something I love, she mixes humour with her horror and makes her dialogue genuinely funny. That is MY type of horror. There is a reason movies like Dog Soldiers and Brain Dead are top of my list. They're hilarious! Because I don't get grossed out easily, I like the nasty stuff I read to be interspersed with lol moments. It doesn't break the tension for me, it adds to the depth of the characters.
The relationship between the sisters was very genuine and the rehab stuff and mental health issues seemed very authentic. I did enjoy the *twist* but I did see it coming. Maybe that's what happens sometimes when you are a writer, you can kind of see where it might be going because that it likely where you'd go. It didn't detract from it being a kick-ass finale though.
I have now read this, Red Station and 2 of Kenzie's shorts and have loved them all. Women can't write extreme huh? Fuck that ...


This deliciously dark morsel really hit the sweet spot and quenched my gory valentine cravings! Such a bloody good time!

Reception is a fun little cannibal horror story which takes place at the wedding of the main protagonist’s sister who has just been released from rehab and seems to be on everyone’s bad side. After a while it becomes apparent that the venue has plans for the guests to be part of the menu. Obviously this doesn’t suit the plans of the guests and a bloody battle ensues.
Expect to laugh and to be horrified at the same time. Kenzie Jennings does not hold back. Not would you want her to because Reception hits all the sweet, bloody spots.
Family rivalry and antics are also rampant, making things all the more entertaining. The entree of family feuding was perfectly paired with the gory main course.
Kenzie takes the approach of slowly building and fleshing out her characters. Don’t be alarmed though, the pace is perfect and pays off in an explosive, gruesome nightmare.

Reception will satisfy the cravings of most horror readers and if you’re morbid like me you’ll likely laugh along the way too.

Bon appétit.


I read this upon recommendation/group reading from Sadie Mother Horror at Night Worms, and I'm so happy I did.
Here we have the story of Ansley Boone, a woman recovering from a stint at rehab via prescribed painkillers having lead to drug addiction. Her little sister Shay is getting married and family tensions are taut to say the least. Turns out that's the least of their worries.
We've all heard the over-used cliche of in-laws being a pain in the ass. Well, what if they bite your ass? Literally. Cannibalistically! Yup, welcome to the rest of your life, Shay.
Reception offers a wonderfully orchestrated story, split almost perfectly in half between the horrors of family matters, and the horrors of running for your life while being pursued by flesh-hungry wedding attendants. Complete with an omnipotent chorus of sorts through Ansley's recovery coach, Leon.
Told in the first person by Ansley, who is witty and bitter from the get, Reception is a great read, from hilarity to gore and everything in between.


Well, fuck...where do you go from here?!
Can I give it MORE than 5 steaks, ummm, I mean stars?! This is a debut from Kenzie Jennings?!?!
I loved every single gruesome, gory, bloody, grisly second of this book! I loved the sisterly dynamic, the banter, the rivalry between Ansley and Shay. . It was really well written, the whole book was. I loved the setting, it took the creep factor to 9 million! A has been, rinky dink “resort” in the hills of nowhere...for a Wedding?! NO THANK YOU! No cell signal, random employees appearing from no where...
Back woods family and friends all gathered to celebrate the nuptials of Shay and Nathan...when all bloody hell breaks loose. I can absolutely see this as a Tarantino movie...
Give me MORE, Kenzie! I will read whatever you write!!
I’m off to get a steak for dinner...


Just last month I read RED STATION, Book 7 in the Splatter Western Series written by Kenzie Jennings and published by Death's Head Press. I was so blown away by her storytelling, I decided to host a read along on #bookstagram of her debut novel, RECEPTION.
The group read was scheduled to start on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2021 but before I was even able to open a group chat for discussion, I had participants saying they had already binge-read the book and were finished!
An indication of good horror! Unputdownable.
Sometimes, when a book gets too much early hype, I get anxious that it will fail my expectations. With so many rave reviews, did RECEPTION manage to live up to all the praise?
Yes. And then some! Recommended to fans who love movies like READY OR NOT, PALM SPRINGS and PARENTS. Books like, Grady Hendrix's mash-up of satire and horror, David Wong or Carlton Mellick III stuff. (full review on Goodreads)

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