June 4, 2017

Cuteness Aplenty | The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue Review| SST TOUR

 

 

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on June 27th 2017
Pages: 528
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Ah, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I have been excited about this book for a long time and I was so happy that I was privileged enough to be able to read an early copy and review for you today for one of the first stops for the Sunday Street Team. I recently saw a specific way of reviewing that I absolutely love on Hardback Horders on Youtube. She gives words that came to her when she read the book and I think that is just the perfect way to start reviewing in a way that I hope is enjoyable for you to read. So, without further ado here are the words I thought of when reading Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue:

 

Cute: One of the first words that came to mind when I was reading this book was how cute it was. I felt my heart melting like a warm piece of chocolate at every word. I loved the relationships between Monty, Percy, and Monty’s younger sister Felicity. The banter between Felicity and Monty at times made me laugh out loud many times.

Frustrating: One of the things that I found frustrating about this book is that Monty was a difficult character to like. I completely understand that I am not supposed to like every character but I guess I find this most frustrating because his perspective was the only one we were privy too. He was funny and endearing at first but then as the story went on I could not help but want to take him by the shoulders and shake the little cinnamon roll.  I wanted him to grow up and learn at the end of the story but it felt like that might not have been the case. It was all….very frustrating!

A Hidden Depth: When I first was attracted to this book I knew that it was going to be a fun romp around Europe. What I was not expecting how Lee intertwines such depth to the story that it sneaks up on you and you can’t help but love it. She covers so many diverse topics in the 18th century; bisexual representation, a character dealing with the difficulties of being biracial, disabilities, abuse, PTSD, and sexism. Oh, wow.

I recommend this book for those who want a fun and fast read that has such a hidden depth that you can’t help but love. There are frustrating parts and I wish that the ending was more solid but I think that everyone should give this one a chance!

 

About the Author:

Mackenzi Lee is a bookseller, history nerd, and the author of THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, THIS MONSTROUS THING (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins), and the forthcoming SEMPER AUGUSTUS (Flatiron Books, 2018). She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults. She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home.

6/4 Tour Blogs Stops

Character Profiles – Blame It On The Books

Review –  Bookishly Thinking

Review –  Charmingly Simple

Interview – The Hermit Librarian

6/11 Tour Blogs Stops

Review – Tween to Teen Book Reviews

Interview – Sarcasm and Lemons

Unique Post (Ships to Travel With) – Roecker Reviews

Interview –  Books Buying Beauty

Review – The Ultimate Fangirl

6/18 Tour Blogs Stops

Review – Books and Ladders

Interview –  Book Stack Amber

Review –  YA and Wine

Review – A Thousand Words A Million Books

Unique Post (Characters in Social Media) – Live Love Read YA

6/25 Tour Blog Stops

Interview – Hopeful Reads

Review – Olivia’s Catastrophe

Review – Bayy in Wonderland

Review – Curly Hair Bibliophile

Unique Post (Mood Board) – A Book and A Cup of Coffee

May 9, 2017

Bout of Books 19 Sign-Up/Progress

I just figured out that the 19th round of Bout of Books started yesterday and around 8:00 PM (CST) I decided to join. This read-a-thon is perfect because I have just finished my last few days of grad school and now am officially on summer break! I haven’t had one of these since I started my BA so I am super excited for all the reading I can get done!

I have quite a few library books that are more than likely going to show up in the next week. With that being said,  these are the books that I am going to pull from. I also have ARCS that I have to read for review so these to particular lists will be what I pull from. I don’t have to say that I am a mood reader (I think 99% of us readers are) and so these might not be the ones I read, but since I am in the mood for them all at the moment they’re all in play for this read-a-thon.


Goals:
Finish at least three books during this readathon.
Read for 2 hrs. throughout the day.
Keep track of what I read during this read-a-thon every day.

The sort of TBR
From the Library
ARCS 

 


Daily Progress Updates
Monday
Books I’ve Read Today:  The Fifth Season by N.K Jemisin & Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Number of Pages: 300 (TFS) 10 (STTC)
The total number of books I’ve finished: 1
Total pages read: 310
Basic thoughts of the day: I was so glad that even though I didn’t know about the read-a-thon that I still read and ended up finishing one off the books on my TBR.

 

Tuesday
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Wednesday
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Thursday
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Friday
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Saturday
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Sunday
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May 4, 2017

Too Beautiful to Resist | Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday:Favorite Upcoming SFF Covers

Hello everyone, long time no blog! But since this semester has ended and I am free for the summer I can finally put some much needed TLC into my poor neglected blog.

As you can tell by the title of this post, for today’s Top 5 Wednesday we’re going to talk about those covers of science-fiction and/or fantasy that make us lust after them. The one that takes us from either young adults or adults to toddlers petting their favorite soft blanket. Today I’m going to be a bit different in the respect I’m going to talk about all the covers of future releases that have me enthusiastic about reading them. In this way, I haven’t actually read any of these books (besides those that are sequels) so most of these I’m going on the cover alone.

(click each titles name for the link to their Goodreads)

SHADOWHOUSE FALL by DANIEL JOSE OLDER | SHADOWSHAPER #2 | Arthur A. Levine Books| SEPTEMBER 12TH 2017

I recently read the first book in this series SHADOWSHAPER and I absolutely loved it. The magic, the family, the heart in this book. This cover is so beautiful and does the beautiful insides of this book so much justice! This one is technically urban fantasy but they’re so beautiful that I had to include them!

THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER by K. ARSENALT RIVERA | TOR | Their Bright Ascendency #1 | OCTOBER 3RD 2017

I have been lusting after this book for a long time and the cover makes me want it even more! Look at it! It’s a beautiful painting style cover with two dashing ladies on the cover. What more could you want in a cover? It screams fantastical adventure!

WARCROSS by Marie Lu |G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young | Warcross #1 | September 12th, 2017

I will be the first to admit that when I saw this cover I was not enthusiastic as I should be about this book. But the more I look at it the more I love the colors that they used and it really intrigues me to see in what aspects these colors are used. This will be the first book of Marie Lu’s that I will get to experience and I’m so excited!

THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty | Harper Voyager | Stand Alone | November 14th 2017

I am not sure if this one technically counts as fantasy or urban fantasy. There are fantastical elements and I was instantly drawn in by this cover and this is a book for anyone who loved “The Golem and Jinni”. Djinn and foreign places are my kryptonite. Sign me up!

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi |Razerbill | ?? | October 31st, 2017

 This is another one that I found out about before the cover was revealed. I loved the premise but I also love this cover. It’s so mysterious (and slightly scary) and like the others I find myself drawn to not only the premise but also the gorgeous cover. Look at it! Doesn’t it scream “Open me, see what I’m about?”

April 16, 2017

Science, Dragons OH MY | A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan Backlist Review

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan
Published by Tor Books on February 5th 2013
Pages: 334
Goodreads

Marie Brennan begins a thrilling new fantasy series in A Natural History of Dragons, combining adventure with the inquisitive spirit of the Victorian Age.
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one's life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
"Saturated with the joy and urgency of discovery and scientific curiosity."Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on A Natural History of Dragons
An NPR Best Book of 2013

I can’t say that I am the most interested person in natural history. But what does interest me is the idea of taking an idea like dragons and spinning it on its head. With the last book in the series WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS coming out on the 25th of April I thought it would be such an excellent time to start this series. Brennan mixes our Victorian time period and turns it on its head with the introduction of dragons. This is such a different spin on dragons that I couldn’t help but be hooked from the very first chapter.

Thanks to my library, I was able to read and listen to the audiobook of A Natural History of Dragons and in which both offer something quite unique. In the physical copy, there are drawings that are Isabella’s. This allowed me to experience how both mediums helped, in their own respects, to humanize and endear the readers to Lady Trent that otherwise with the memoir style that the book was written could easily put the reader at a distance.

What was CHARMING:

A DELIGHT to the EYES & EARS: They gave something completely lovely to the story. The only book that I have ever seen do that (that I enjoyed) has been the Illuminae series. The book gave us the drawings that Lady Trent made during the expedition and the audiobook (narrated by Kate Reading) was perfect and her voice was exactly how I thought Lady Trent would sound reading her memoirs.

DADDY and HUSBAND GOALS: I won’t give who the husband is but both her father and husband do such an awesome job of fostering her love of natural history when it would be so easy for them to crush it. When it appears that her father is calluse he really is being one of the best dads I have seen in this “era” of this book (it’s not our time but was heavily influenced by it). The closest comparison to what a spectacular dad Lady Trent’s dad would be of Mr. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice and how he loves Elizabeth (but doesn’t always do it in what we would consider the right reason). Her husband does the same type of fostering but in a completely different way and I just can’t handle how cute they are.

REALISTIC and INFERATING: Lady Trent was realistic. She had prejudices that came out in full force (which are infuriating) when it comes to her reaching their expedition and how she really does not like the place. It makes sense. She isn’t comfortable and it isn’t an experience that she, at 19, is completely comfortable with. Not to mention the fact that she doesn’t see herself as being in anyway different than the other women of her time other than the fact she likes natural history and it isn’t a subject her sex is allowed to like. She doesn’t fear being married, doesn’t fight it, and can genuinely see the need for finding a match. Again, this is a part that I love about her and her father. So read it and see what that part is!

NOT so CHARMING:

My HEART my FEELINGS my EVERYTHING: If there was anything that I didn’t like about this book was the ending. Oh, sweet BABY, it was sad. I cried. I will admit that I am still not over it. Oh, boy. (I’m not saying I didn’t LIKE the ending, it just was a punch in the feels)

With this being said, I really enjoyed this world and the expeditions of Lady Trent. If you love reading about the Victorian time period with a splash of learning about the natural history of dragons this is the story for you.

January 18, 2017

The Book that almost broke me | We Are the Ants Review

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on January 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 455
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

My Review

I didn’t know what I was going to get when I started We Are the Ants. I knew what had been talked about but I did not know how much this book was going to affect me. Boy – did it. I hope that my review makes sense because I DID love this book so much.

I will say that for those who like trigger warnings this book includes: verbal/physical bullying, abuse, suicide (out of book), depression, and sexual assault.

Besides the fact that Henry was a boy and gay, his situation in the beginning of the story was one that I knew. I lost best friend growing up to suicide and I grappled a lot with that loss the same way both Henry and Audrey did in this story.

With this being said, Henry is a character that you can’t help but love – but also feel yourself hating at the same time. I feel that he is ultimately a realistic representation of the abuse and how someone who is depressed mentality is. But the parts of Henry that I hate are pieces of myself that I hated looking back at myself as a teenager suffering from depression and at some points of my life emotional/physical abuse. Henry is not a reliable narrator. One particular moment struck me in his unreliability.

“I think that most people would have pressed the button the moment they realized the stakes. Most people are motivated by their own self-interest, and pushing the button would ensure their survival. But I’m not most people. Maybe that’s why the sluggers chose me”

In this particular part two sides of me warred – my adult side and my teenage side. I remember having some of these same thoughts (not in the context of aliens but you get the point) as a teenager. But I wish that there was someone in Henry’s life that would be there to help him, talk to him, and just love him but also to smack some sense into him. Again – I understand this. I know Henry’s pain from his best friend, and boyfriend, committing suicide. His pain is mine and for that I think while reading I was a bit harsher on him then most characters.

I will say this, as the story went on the more I empathized with Henry and less wanted to throttle him. What he went through is horrible. The constant stream of abuse he suffers at the hands of pretty much everyone he is around – some of which are supposed to care for him (some even SAY they do all the while abusing him). My heart burned for him and I just wanted him to be happy.

One thing Hutchinson did was he created not only a main character you loved but secondary characters that you did as well. Audrey, Diego, and Henry’s older brother Carlie are all characters that at the end of the story I loved way more than I did at the beginning of the story.

I still believe that Henry would fall under the unreliable narrator and if you plan on reading this book you should go into the story with that in mind. This fact did not stop my enjoyment of the book in the slightest and I can see why it is the favorite of so many people.