Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. I love Lovecraft’s mythology, but the racism and misogyny are hard to take.But then there are some brilliant authors who take the mythology and make it soar, like the Swedish author Anders Fager, who mixes it with Swedish mythology and a (mostly), contemporary setting. Lovecraft Countrytakes the racism, gives it a good shake, and gives it center stage. Oh, it’s full of Lovecraftian horror themes, as well as some borrowed elsewhere, but that’s not the truly frightening stuff. The really scary bits in this book is the daily life of the protagonist, a family of African Americans in USA in the 1950’s, not monsters from beyond. I liked this book a lot, after I got used to it’s format. Each chapter is a self-contained novella, each featuring a different main protagonist, from a set of characters who also play parts in the other novellas. And there is also a underlying narrative which reach it's conclusion in the last chapter, so it is a coherent novel as well. For example, the first story is about a young man, Atticus, who go looking for his father in a small and isolated town, in the company of his uncle, and friend Letitia. The next one features Letitia as she purchases a house which turns out to be haunted. The novellas are a bit uneven in quality, but overall I found the book very good, and it was a joy to read. It has a proper ending, but also an opening for a sequel, which I wouldn’t mind. Apparently it is going to become a TV series, which I think could work very well.
Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher. You may have noticed by now I like fairy tale retellings. This one if a version of The Beauty and the Beast which was always one of my favorites (long before the movie, which didn’t come until I was an adult). In this novel beauty is called Bryony, and it’s she who gets trapped by the Beast and not her father. I really enjoyed this re-telling. Both Bryony and the Beast have distinct personalities and also hobbies, which I loved! And the tale was changed enough to make the narrative fresh and interesting.
Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers. This is the first collection of Sayers short stories, and it’s pretty uneven. A couple of macabre ones, like the one about an artist who makes some very curious pieces of art, or the man who inherits his uncle’s stomach. A couple of more straightforward murder mysteries, a couple of plain mysteries, and the absurd finale; “The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba” where Lord Peter “dies” to go undercover for several years. My personal favourites are “"The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will" where Lord Peter and Lady Mary helps solving the clues to the whereabout of a testament by being frivolous, and "The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head" where we get to meet lord Saint-George for the first time.
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. The previous books I’ve read by Hardinge has been pure fantasy, this one is set before and under the Civil War in England. Makepeace’s grow up with her unmarried mother, who refuses to speak of her father. Makepeace also see ghosts. When she, eventually, learns about her father, she realises this is something she has inherited from him and his family. It’s a bit hard to say more without spoiling the book, but it’s well worth reading! It has a similar plot point with some of Bujold’s work, so I successfully guessed the big secret pretty much at once, but I enjoyed my read nevertheless.