I discovered this book through another, The Girl Who Reads on the Metro, which I read last year. It was an interesting, short read. Rinko comes home after work to find her boyfriend of four years has completely cleaned out their apartment and savings. The only thing left is a pickling jar from her grandmother. She goes to her estranged mother in a small town and decides to open a restaurant that only serves one individual or family each day with a menu designed for just them. Rinko makes nearly everything from scratch which comes with some mouthwatering descriptions. Overall, the book didn’t do much for me. It didn’t really have a fleshed out plot, more just interactions. Also, not for the faint of heart. The butchering of the pig was grisly for such an even-tempered story.
What Big Teeth, by Rose Szabo
Eleanor has spent the last 8 years at a boarding school, forgetting about her strange family. When she harms another student, she runs away back to her home. Which isn’t all that welcoming. Her grandfather, father, sister, and cousin are werewolves, her grandmother a witch, and her mother is some sort of sea monster. Eleanor first thinks that she’s the sane one in her family, until she meets her other grandmother, then she finds she may be the biggest monster of them all. Not terribly scary, just uncanny. Reminded me a lot of We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
The Hideaway, by Pam Smy
The follow-up to the very terrifying middle grade book, Thornhill. This book has its moments, but is in no way as scary. Billy runs away to live in a graveyard with a secret room. There he meets an elderly man intent on cleaning up all the headstones. He helps Billy to see things differently. His mother is worried and desperately searching for him. And in working with her neighbor and the police, she finds the help to change her and Billy’s desperate situation. Smy’s storytelling combo of words and art is mesmerizing and makes this tale of domestic violence both scary and hopeful.
Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao
The prepub press for this book was exceptionally positive and it became an instant bestseller. And the hype was absolutely true. The best description of this book is Pacific Rim meets Hunger Games in a futuristic ancient China where the heroine doesn’t have to choose between her loves. I loved this book. Zetian is feisty, unforgiving, and conniving … in all the best ways. I’m not going to say anymore other than I highly recommend that you read this book.
Motorcycles & Sweetgrass, by Drew Hayden Taylor
My one audio this month. Read by the author, this story was a lovely, sweet palate cleanser from all the horror I’ve been reading. Basically a tall tale of a small Anishnawbe (indigenous Canadian) town is turned upside down by the arrival of a handsome stranger who may be the living incarnation of the trickster god, Nanabush. This was such a loving satire of the townsfolk of Otter Lake, at once both hilarious and serious. I loved it.
The Last House on Needless Street, by Catriona Ward
This book had the kudos of many favored horror writers. And they had the best preorder giveaway—an enamel pin of a black cat with a knife in its mouth. The book lived up to its hype. Although, I didn’t find it all that scary. It was really well plotted and written and I was very much invested in the characters. I don’t want to tell too much about it because it would be easy to spoil the twistiness of the story, but it’s quite good and I recommend it.