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Hairspray and Switchblades

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  96 ratings  ·  52 reviews
When Maya and Magdalena lose their parents to a home invasion, Magdalena puts her dreams on hold and turns to exotic dancing. Cash is what the sisters need to stay together and keep Maya in an elite catholic high school that has set her on the path for an athletic and academic college scholarship.

These sisters come from a bloodline of Jaguar shifters from Mexico and have g
Kindle Edition, Rewind-or-Die #5, 130 pages
Published February 20th 2020 by Unnerving (first published February 8th 2020)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  96 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Book 5 in the Rewind or Die series, by V. Castro.

This one was a bit of a disappointing experience. It's sad, because the potential was THERE. I actually think, of the three Rewind or Die books I've read so far, this one had the best initial premise. However, the shortness of this novel did the story no favors, and I desperately wish it had been a full-length book.

Even still, there were quite a few positives. I was really into the main character, Maya. She was fierce and I rooted for her without
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
Maya’s 18th birthday brings with it the family gift and it’s not some old portrait of grandma or a cupboard full of creepy dolls, nope, it’s something so much better than that (and no, I’m not telling you what is either)!

Maya’s story picks up several years later after her dreams and her family have been shattered. She’s now providing for her younger sister by working as an exotic dancer at a time when someone seems to be stalking and murdering vulnerable women in the most brutal of ways.

This is
Sadie Hartmann
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scream-mag
I think SCREAM fans would love this book--V. Castro has a very unique brand of "Sexy Horror" and I love, love, the shapeshifter mythos infused with Mexican American heritage.
Look for my full SCREAM review, soon!
Sara Tantlinger
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved diving into the diverse mythos of Castro's world -- this sharp story shows us so much power within the bond of family, of sisters, and of a sisterhood where women are prepared to do anything they need to for survival. Maya and Magdalena are fantastic characters, and I would absolutely read more about their adventures as they learn more about their Jaguar powers and clan. I also really enjoyed the development of the Weaver in this novella -- she had an interesting backstory and purpose, w ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The outside change is not as painful as the one that happens on the inside."

I really enjoyed Hairspray and Switchblades! Sometimes I have a hard time getting into shifter stories because I feel like there's not always a lot of variety, but this one stands out to me. I liked the characters and the story. It kept my attention, and I had fun reading it.

I have to mention this because at times it was distracting - I wish this book would have gone through a few more rounds of editing. It wasn't an
Michael Hicks
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, bought
My review of HAIRSPRAY AND SWITCHBLADES can be found at High Fever Books.

V. Castro's Hairspray and Switchblades, the fifth entry in Unnerving's Rewind or Die series of standalone novellas, captures the aesthetic of B-movie horror flicks well, and the author's focus on the erotic aspects of horror makes this one more of a late-night Skinemax affair with its 'Showgirls with shapeshifters' riff.

Women of the night are turning up dead and mutilated, sections of their skin stripped away down to the bo
Tracy Robinson
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review to come
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020, horror, novella

If you like horror B-movies with strong erotic elements, you'll enjoy it. I don't so my enjoyment was moderate. That said, it's not a bad novella by any means - just for a specific reader.
Theresa Braun
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you want a fast-paced read with a kick ass female lead, you have come to the right book. Maya is the quintessential alpha female, with her independent streak, her fierce protectiveness for her younger sister, and her talent for getting what she wants, with a little help from her sexy curves. (Side note: Castro explores the trials and tribulations of being a woman—and, specifically, of being a stripper). Compound that with Maya’s ability to turn into a panther, and wowzers.

This read is all abo
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Latina werejaguar stripper

Review over. 5/5. What are you waiting for?

Seriously though, Hairspray and Switchblades was one of the most fun books I have read in a long time. It feels a lot like a good exploitation flick: gritty, grimy even, but also sexy and action packed.

Hairspray and Switchblades is a triumphant power fantasy of a horror story. A serial killer’s in town, targeting sex workers with impunity. The killer’s sights set on Maya and her sister Magdalena. Apparently, shifter skin is th
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Violet Castro writes female centric, memorable horror tales with a hefty dose of Mexican American culture swirled in. Hairspray and Switchblades is an excellent addition to her repertoire, a supernatural tale of a pair of shifter sisters, were-jaguars left alone in the world after the tragic death of their parents. Maya and Magdalena are kickass, multi faceted protagonists, unapologetically feminine and brave. They're also real, and the kind of characters you want to root for, and hang out with ...more
Audra (ouija.reads)
I have always been fascinated by the idea of werewolves and shapeshifters and this novella is no exception. I have read a fair amount of Castro's short stories, but this is the first longer piece of hers that I've read. I love that her work always includes interesting mythos and nods to her Mexican American heritage.

Maya is such a great character. She knows who she is resolutely and isn't willing to change for anyone. I also loved her devotion to her sister. Castro always mixes sex and horror we
Matt (TeamRedmon)
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
There's an upsetting lack of diversity in the werewolf subgenre of horror. Mostly they're white men, and they are always wolves instead of other animals. I get that they're wereWOLVES, but still, if vampires can have such diversity in how they're presented and throw off various tropes, so can werewolves. Right? In theory, I guess. But aside from Hairspray and Switchblades, the genre of were-creatures is dominated by white wolves. In strolls V. Castro's Latinx were-jaguars.

I really enjoyed this b
Brennan LaFaro
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Out of all the entries thus far, this one deviates the most from the theme of a B horror movie translated to prose. That's not meant to be a dig of any kind. Instead Violet Castro brings something completely new and unexpected to the table in Hairspray and Switchblades. In a month where we all strive to read and promote women in horror, this book comes through and makes that easy. It's got a strong and engaging protagonist, a unique premise, and will make for an enthralling read outside the mont ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Spoiler-free review of V. Castro's Hairspray and Switchblades
Reviewed for the #FrightGirlSummer book festival

This is the second book I've read of Unnerving's Rewind Or Die series. I literally bought a couple more from the series because so far, these books have been a lot of fun. Hairspray and Switchblades was no exception. This is the first novel I've read by V. Castro. I've read some of her short fiction, which I had enjoyed quite a bit.

Hairspray and Switchblades is a coming-of-age story that
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a lot of fun, like all of V. Castro's worlds there's this amazing mythology, an incredible pace, and a wonderful sense of urgency. All of her female characters are so brave and magical and powerful and that is something amazing to experience.

Again, this was a lot of fun, great characters, great legends, myths...and be careful with jaguars.
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What if Ed Gein was a sexy ass Witch bent on eternal life by means of black magic? And what if the only person who could stop them was a shape-shifting stripper juggling her job, taking care of her sister, and possibly falling for a handsome detective? Well, you’d have yourself a rollicking good time, wouldn’t you?

Hairspray and Switchblades is the fifth in the Rewind or Die series from Unnerving Press and the second which I’ve read (the first being the fun carnival themed slasher, Cirque Berserk
Patrick R. McDonough
A shapeshifting stripper written by a Latinx author. There's my review.

Doesn't that intrigue you enough? It did for me. But, for those pesky types that need more, here.

My bookshelf lacked in diversity. To be more specific, it was mainly filled by books written by (white) men. When I realized that, I knew I needed to diversify my collection like crazy. For one, how am I supposed to expand my mind, both as a reader and a person, if I stick to the thoughts of one race/sex?

V. Castro is a name you'
Jessica (Spooky KidLit & We Who Walk Here, Walk Alone)
Brimming with pulpy, sexy fun, Hairspray and Switchblades is a fresh and intriguing horror novella about a pair of werejaguar sisters in San Antonio, Texas. Tough and smart, Maya is a badass exotic dancer raising her sister Magdalena after their parents were murdered. She faces off against The Weaver, a terrifying (if slightly underdeveloped) villain whom I could easily see in the psycho killer pantheon alongside Leatherface and Buffalo Bill if the character were given more room to breathe.

The p
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
V. Castro’s horror novella Hairspray and Switchblades (Rewind or Die) is a quirky, fun story. Maya first turned into a jaguar on her eighteenth birthday, and it’s happened on every full moon since then. A few years later, Maya’s parents were killed in a home invasion. Luckily she and her younger sister Magdalena weren’t home at the time. Now Maya is 26 and working as a stripper/exotic dancer in a club. She earns enough to continue sending Magdalena, who’s 16, to school, and hopes Magdalena will ...more
Suz Jay
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Time for another day of hustle and coffee, maybe a shot of tequila during hair and make-up. But first, Magdalena better be done with homework because it was time for her first lesson on how to use a blade.”

Maya and her younger sister Magdalena become the targets of a serial killing witch, who murders in order to make her rejuvenating magic. The sisters have inherited the ability to shift into leopards, making them especially powerful ingredients for the witch’s spells. But the women have each o
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it

Maya is willing to do anything for her younger sister, Magdalena, after their parents are killed.
As if Maya's job as an exotic dancer isn't dangerous enough, there's also someone who knows her shape-shifter family secret.
With a crazed murderer on the loose and out for the sisters' blood, Maya will do whatever it takes to protect Magdalena.

Personal Opinion

This story was original with a classic B horror / slasher movie vibe and I loved the strong Latina MC.
I actually wish this one had be
Jennifer Soucy
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Horror with Heart

I'm so glad I finally read one of V. Castro's stories. What a vivid tale of sisters, shifters, and magic.

Maya has a secret. Thanks to a power passed down by her ancestors, she can shift into a jaguar. Super cool, right? Of course, but that doesn't necessarily make life easier. After her parents are murdered, Maya has to step up and raise her kid sister, Magdalena. She becomes a stripper, a job she doesn't really love especially as someone is out there killing strippers. The kill
Apr 27, 2021 rated it liked it
Hairspray and Switchblades was more paranormal romance/erotica than horror and for me unfortunately the weakest of the Rewind or Die series so far.
We're following Maya, who belongs to an ancient people of shapeshifters and who performs exotic dances to get her sister through college after the death of both her parents. Meanwhile a serial killer called the "San Antonio Stripper Ripper" is out there looking for exactly the kind of people like Maya and she will eventually confront this killer as we
Julia DeBarrioz
Who says it's a man's world, when you can turn into a jaguar?

I always love V. Castro's heroines in her books, and this time was no different. They're always so FULL of heart, disadvantaged because of their place in society (or rather the place society put them) but prepared to do WHATEVER it takes to survive without apology. And, they're sexy as hell, but in total control of their own sexuality.

I also adored Jackson this round, the police detective with an open mind and a soft spot for Maya.

Melissa Nowark
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
"Assholes and pussies are like switchblades and hairspray, a hustler never leaves home without either when doing this gig."

When Maya turns 18, she completes the ritual that allows her to fully embrace her family's culture: she's a shifter.

After a horrible crime that leaves their parents dead, Maya turns to exotic dancing as a way to support her younger sister, Magdalena. But in San Antonio, there's a serial killer on the loose. The San Antonio Stripper Ripper is mutilating sex workers in the are
Rebeka Bergin-Schwarz
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this sexy, fast-paced shifter novella with badass woman protagonists.

There are no damsels in distress in this story. They take care of their own and I really loved the theme of sisterhood throughout, whether blood-related or not. I love it when women are lifting each other up and taking on the world together! I’ve read a few short stories, and now this novella, by V. Castro and I love the way she writes women. They are unapologetically women- periods and all!

The creepy, gory pa
Lesley Ann Campbell
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Were-Jaguars, strip clubs and hot detectives. This little novella from the Rewind or Die series has it all.
A fast and furious ride from the get go, Maya experiencing her first change and having to grow up too fast to be a parent to her little sister who she knows has all this to come.
Hairspray and Switchblades moves through various stages including romance, coming of age, death of family, animal transformation and even a serial killer. It squeezes a lot in to a novella, but does this in style w
Hailey Piper
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A storm of visceral descriptions ground the world of this novella, but beyond that the theme of family is absolute. For all the magic, sex talk, and transformations, the unbreakable heart is that Maya will do anything for her younger sister. There's a strong sense throughout--from grandmother to mother to between sisters--of wishing you could bear all the pain the younger one is going to feel as she gets older and faces more of the world because you've already been there, you know you can take i ...more
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