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Peruse May 2022

If you’re looking to try a book box around $50 USD and want to know the book in advance, today’s subscription might be just the one for you. It’s called Peruse, and it’s a monthly box that delivers one new release (literary fiction or mystery/suspense — whichever stream you choose) and three to four items to complement your reading experience, plus recipes and discussion questions. Yesterday I shared April’s literary fiction box and today I’ve got May’s mystery/suspense. (Peruse sent me this one to share with you.)

Peruse offers four subscription options (all prices in USD):

· month to month — $47.99/box

· 3 months prepaid — $134.97

· 6 months prepaid — $264.96

· 12 months prepaid — $499.92

Shipping is additional and varies by destination. Peruse is based in the US and ships worldwide.

May’s box opened with a pamphlet featuring a list of the month’s contents, two recipes (a cocktail called Corpse Reviver and a recipe for Monster Cookies) and a quiz about the novel Frankenstein, which inspired May’s book. I haven’t tried a Corpse Reviver but I’ve used a similar recipe for Monster Cookies and it was a total hit. And the vast majority of product guides I see get pitched but the recipes and the quiz make this one a keeper. It also makes a great bookmark, ‘tho Peruse included one of those too.

May’s mystery/suspense pick is The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon. I hadn’t heard of it ’til now and eeeee it sounds so creepy! 😧 Plus that cover! 😧 Here’s the description from the publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Drowning Kind comes a genre-defying new novel, inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, that brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.

1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Helen Hildreth is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when she’s home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.

Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.

Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.

2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.

A haunting, vividly suspenseful page-turner from the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant), The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.

I don’t want to spoil the book for myself so I’m avoiding reviews but it sounds totally gripping. Have you read it?

Next is this cute DIY pottery kit, which includes air-dry clay and sculpting tools to make your own monster — or whatever else you choose. My bestie and I had a fun crafternoon trying a similar pottery kit and I would totally recommend. This one’s small size makes it perfect to bring on a trip for a rainy day.

The May box also included a bag of 10 gin & tonic scented bath bombs. My first thought was “who wants to smell like booze?” but the scent reminds me of dishwasher soap more than anything else. Which isn’t unpleasant, just not my favourite so I’ll probably gift them. (My mom’s visiting in a couple of weeks so she’ll get first dibs.)

And last, a drink that couldn’t tie in more perfectly to this box: The Literary Tea Collection’s Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Green Tea Blend. I don’t like green tea so I haven’t tried it but I’ll keep it in the house for a friend who’s a fan. This one includes cacao nibs and sweet blackberry leaf.

To paraphrase a quote from Forrest Gump, “life is like a subscription box, you never know what you’re going to get.” May’s Peruse box was a bit of a mixed bag for me but I’m excited to read the book and can easily think of a few people who will want to borrow it as soon as they can. I love the pottery kit and the tea and the bath bombs I can easily gift so even though this one isn’t the perfect fit for me, it’s one I can easily share.

If you’re thinking about trying Peruse, you can see June’s book picks here. (Books selections are revealed on the 15th of each month.) Orders close at the end of June.

Which box would you try first? Mystery/Suspense or Literary Fiction?

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