This Month in Books: June & July 2016 #TMIB

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If you haven’t noticed, things have been a little slow around here due to IRL stuff. I went away at the beginning of July, then went to a music festival, and then I moved house. I also now work across two sites so my working week seems busier too. It’s all been fun though, well apart from moving house, but that at least has been successful! 

Anyway, seeing as I failed to do a June round-up and July was so sparse, I’ll do a quick summary for both. 

June / July 2016 Stats

Total Posts: 17 (15, 2)

Books Read: 6 (4, 2)
Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet ~ H.P Wood
Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone ~ Rachel White
Save me Kurt Cobain ~ Jenny Manzer
The Foreshadowing ~ Marcus Sedgwick
And I Darken ~ Kiersten White
Shadow & Bone ~ 
Leigh Bardugo

The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (4/6); Horror/Supernatural (2/6); Historical (2/6); Contemporary (1/6)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (3/6); Digital (3/6); Hardback (2/6); Paperback (1/6) / Owned (1/6); Borrowed (1/6); For Review (3/6)

Most Surprising: None really! 
Most Disappointing: And I Darken
Most Exciting: Shadow & Bone
Most Swoon-worthy:  Shadow & Bone
Most Beautifully Written: The Foreshadowing

Reviews: 3 (-3)

    • Save me Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer, 3/5 (View)
    • Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone by Rachel White, 3/5 (View)
    • Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet by H.P Wood, 3/5 (View)
    • The War Against the Assholes by Sam Munson, DNF (View)

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August Releases

Here’s my pick of the August Releases

Are you looking forward to any of these?

Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone #BookReview #LGBTReads

gloveTitle: Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone
Author: Rachel White
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 205 pages
Publication Details: June 8th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
Genre(s): Fantasy; LBGT
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Enne Datchery and Muriel vas Veldina, ex-lovers and witches with a shared apprentice, are tasked by the Citadel, to repair an old grimoire together, despite the fact their relationship is tense at best.

The situation is further complicated when the book is stolen, and tracking down the thief stirs even more of Muriel’s past. It swiftly becomes clear to the two that dealing with their fractured relationship is going to be the easy part of the assignment—if they can live long enough to complete it.

Review

I had it in my mind that this would be a sort of YA Sarah Waters’ with magic, but I was wrong. It’s not even YA, although to be fair it read like YA and the only thing that made me realise it wasn’t was a sex scene which sprouted the C word. 

Muriel and Enne are ex-lovers and business partners in their thirties which is considered too old to be single so you can tell what kind of era this world evokes. Their apprentice is basically their adopted child and her upbringing is just one of many things they bicker about. Constantly. 

When the High Circle (magic HQ) ask them to repair a grimoire they fail to tell them anything about it, even what kind of magic it contains. It turns out to a book of destruction (which is bad) and Muriel’s other ex-girlfriend steals it and tries to destroy the world. 

I really thought this was a great basis for a story and don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it the whole way through. But that’s all it was, a basis for a story. It was very short and very…basic. There were no sub-plots or twists; nothing going on outside Muriel and Enne’s bickering as they try to find the grimoire and stop the baddie. It felt like it should have been a short story to me. 

If you’re looking for a super quick read which has LGBT characters and magic, then give it go. It’s written well too, I just wanted more. Lots more. 

unicorn rating 3

Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet #BookReview #JuneReleases

magruderTitle: Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet
Author: H.P Wood
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 368 pages
Publication Details: June 7th 2016 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre(s): Historical Fiction; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

 

bookdepo

May 1904. Coney Island’s newest amusement park, Dreamland, has just opened. Its many spectacles are expected to attract crowds by the thousands, paying back investors many times over.

Kitty Hayward and her mother arrive by steamer from South Africa. When Kitty’s mother takes ill, the hotel doctor sends Kitty to Manhattan to fetch some special medicine. But when she returns, Kitty’s mother has vanished. The desk clerk tells Kitty she is at the wrong hotel. The doctor says he’s never seen her although, she notices, he is unable to look her in the eye.

Alone in a strange country, Kitty meets the denizens of Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet. A relic of a darker, dirtier era, Magruder’s is home to a forlorn flea circus, a handful of disgruntled Unusuals, and a mad Uzbek scientist. Magruder’s Unusuals take Kitty under their wing and resolve to find out what happened to her mother.

But as a plague spreads, Coney Island is placed under quarantine. The gang at Magruder’s finds that a missing mother is the least of their problems, as the once-glamorous resort town is abandoned to the freaks, anarchists, and madmen.

Review

Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet is a nicely written, interesting romp through the early 20th century Coney Island – a place where anything can happen!

Young Brit Kitty Hayward has lost her mother. Sent from their hotel to pick up some medicine when her mum is taken ill, Kitty returns to find that her mother has vanished, and the hotel are pretending they’ve never seen her before. How curious. 

Kitty ends up on Coney Island, with no money or belongings, but is fed and taken in by a family of ‘unusuals’ – the members of a freakshow who all live at Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet. 

I loved the setting of this book. I found the descriptions of the fun, freaky, and often fake entertainers who inhabit the resort and how Kitty quickly became a valued addition to their gang really interesting. I thought it was going to be a simple mystery, but as the story develops we realise that it’s more about a plague that is sweeping through the island than it is about a girl trying to find her mother. 

I wasn’t expecting it to be such a dark, and often depressing story, and while I initially enjoyed that surprise I felt like the middle of the book could have been more exciting – something was lacking for me. 

The star of the show was definitely the characterisation. Each character was unique (as you’d expect from Freakshow performers), and they interacted beautifully with each other. I especially fell in love with Rosalind -who today you would describe as Gender-Fluid, but back then he was seen as an abomination –  and his relationship with lovely Enzo, the ‘half-burned man’. 

It’s quite clear that the author had done her research, and I found the portrayal of side-shows, circuses and freak-shows of the time realistic and intriguing. I also enjoyed that the book makes you look at prejudice and discrimination and made me eternally thankful for how much society has changed since the 1900s.

Overall, I feel like Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet was definitely worth a read, even if it left me a little deflated. 

unicorn rating 3

This Month in Books: May 2016 #TMIB

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May was all about friends, fun times and foliage…well, by foliage I mean beer gardens as the sun started to rear its little head. Eurovision also happened which was amazingly awful as always, and I spent a weekend up north at my parents. 

May 2016 Stats

Total Posts: 13 (-1 from previous month)

Books Read: 5 (-3)
Fellside ~ M.R Carey
You Know Me Well ~ David Levithan & Nina LaCour
The Last Days of Jack Sparks ~ Jason Arnopp
Glass Sword ~ Victoria Aveyard
The War Against the Assholes ~ Sam Munson

The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (3/5); Horror/Supernatural (2/5); Dystopian (1/5); Contemporary (1/5)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (3/5); Digital (3/5); Hardback (1/5); Paperback (1/5); Owned (2/5); Borrowed (0/5); For Review (3/5)

Most Surprising: The Last Days of Jack Sparks
Most Disappointing: The War Against the Assholes
Most Exciting: The Last Days of Jack Sparks
Most Swoon-worthy:  Glass Sword
Most Beautifully Written: You Know Me Well

Reviews: 3 (-3)

    • Fellside by M.R Carey, 3/5 (View)
    • You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour, 4/5 (View)
    • The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp, 5/5 (View)

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TBR Shelf Update

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Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 82

Books Added: 2

Books Read: 2

Remaining: 82

FAIL!

June Releases

Here’s my pick of the June Releases

Are you looking forward to any of these?