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Thoughts on : The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Posted by on December 15, 2017 2:23 am in 4.5 stars reads | 1 comment

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Audio narration : Christian Coulson
Genre : YA, historical fiction
Series : Guide, book 1

About the Book  :

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.  

My Thoughts :

What a pleasure this book was!

Despite the hype, I went in with lowish expectations, but hoping for the best; and what I got was far better than anything I could have hoped for. In a bookish world where popular YA novels often feel too similar to one another, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue stands out in a delicious way.

I recently realized I haven’t seen many male bisexual characters in YA fiction; and I certainly haven’t seen any set in such a historical setting. Again, I was skeptical about these elements being brought together in a book that others qualified as lovely, heartwarming and cute – but it worked so well! I was quickly transported to another continent and another century, and I absolutely loved the characters and their story. Admittedly, students of history would probably find plenty to comment on, but to me it felt as though the author had taken the time to consider both factual history and storytelling in her writing.

I absolutely adored Monty. And if you wish to read this book, I would encourage you to give the audiobook a try; Christian Coulson delivers what I felt was a near perfect narration for the character of Monty. He portrayed him with energy and passion, and while I’m sure I would have enjoyed the book without him, I don’t think I would have been as enamored of it as I am now. Paired with Mackenzi Lee’s writing and humor, it made for a phenomenal audiobook.

On top of a perfectly entertaining narrator, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue offers an adventure filled with European destinations, mysteries and seafaring. And romance, of course! The romance between Monty and Percy is a huge part of the book, but, in my opinion, it builds up perfectly. There’s just enough tensions and what-ifs to keep you reading, and the chemistry between the two characters is simply magic.

I also have to at least mention Monty’s sister, Felicity. She is both lovely and inspiring in her tenacity, and I’m really glad to know the next book will be all about her (though I do hope we’ll get to see a bit of our favorite couple!)

I would have very little negative to say about the book. It just came into my life right when I needed something positive and cheerful and hopeful. Just thinking about it makes me smile! If you need a bit of romance and history in your reading life, please do give it a try 🙂

 

Filling the Shelf

Posted by on December 4, 2017 2:46 am in Book talk | 8 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Good Monday everyone!

I’ve got a blue mailbox to share with you this week!

But first, I wanted to thank all of your for your comments and thoughts two weeks ago; it was really, really appreciated. Thank you! <3 My mom has had her ups and downs since, but after a quick trip to the hospital last week, her medications were adjusted and she seems to be doing better now. She has a bit more energy and, consequently, her spirits are up too!

So I’ve been busy and a bit stressed, and I didn’t get back to blogging as much as I would have liked, but I still managed to comment here and there and start writing a couple reviews. Fingers crossed I’ll complete them soon and have them up this week.

And now, the new books! I’m really looking forward to reading them all. I’m already familiar with Gabrielle Zevin, Megan Miranda and Kate Quinn, but I heard amazing things about the others too. Where to start?

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn – Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda – Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin – The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

I’m back! & Filling the Shelf

Posted by on November 20, 2017 2:58 am in Book talk | 16 comments

Hmm, is this thing on?

Yes?

Well, hello then! Hello and welcome back!

(feel free to skip to the Mailbox below  for the books! 🙂 )

It’s been two months since I last posted here but honestly, it felt like a year. So much has happened…

We moved. It was a move we had long wished for, from our tiny condo in the city to a house out of town. I still love the city but I love having trees and quiet even more! This being said, that move was SO exhausting. I can’t remember ever feeling this tired, discouraged, just, feeling like I wanted it to be over with a.s.a.p. By the time we moved it I just felt empty. Even though I love the new place, so much energy had been spent I just needed time to pick myself up.

Meanwhile, I neglected the blog and it sort of disappeared from online. Oops! Obviously it’s back now, I only need to pull a few posts from the archives and add them back.

As we reached November I started to feel better. Slightly optimistic. Energized. I made plans to fix the blog, to participate in Nanowrimo… and then my mom had a cardiac event (infarctus). She’s home and okay now, but that was the scariest thing I’ve faced so far in my life. I’m still trying to figure how to handle this. She’s okay, but she’s not; her heart is weaker and it’s still early (not 3 weeks yet). There are risks of it happening again, and that’s scary. We won’t know much before her followup in February. My mom is my rock, my everything, and though I’m an adult, I’m not ready to be without her yet. So, I don’t know. My brain has been shuffling between anxiety and hope for the past few weeks and to be honest, I’m a bit of a mess.

So, that’s where I’m at right now. Fingers crossed and trying to stay positive! If you’ve got any comfy, heartwarming reading recommandations, send them my way!

* * *

Through all this I’ve missed reading and talking about books and blogging – so I’m back. I’m hoping bringing back a bit or normalcy to my life might help. Here are some of the books I’ve recently added to my shelves. Looking forward to all of these (though Oathbringer was more of a birthday gift for the Man, as I still have to catch up with this series!)

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli – The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand (audio) – Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson – Artemis by Andy Weir

City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker (audio) – Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (audio) – Scythe by Neal Shusterman (audio)

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam – Hunger by Roxane Gay

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Thoughts on : Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Posted by on September 22, 2017 1:51 am in 4.5 stars reads | 0 comments

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Genre : Contemporary YA
Stand alone

About the Book  :

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

My Thoughts :

This book is about so many things. It’s about grief, of all kinds, and love of all kinds too; it’s a love letter to books and words; it’s about moving on, starting anew, growing up and finding who you are.

I had never read anything by Cath Crowley before and, to be honest, I wasn’t that interested in the book at first. I feel bad saying that, to me, it sounded like every other YA contemporary novel published in the past few years, and while I adore books about books and bookshops, the hook this time felt a little flimsy. What got me to give it a chance were the rave critiques I kept seing from readers I trust – and I’m so happy I gave it a chance!

Words in Deep Blue is beautifully written but not overly so. With just a few words, Cath Crowley creates complex characters that feel complete and real, whether they are front and center or barely mentioned. I loved them all : Rachel, Henry, his sister, the friends… I tend to close myself to others when I feel sad or in pain, too, so I related to Rachel the most. I’ve never seen grief written quite like this, and I particularly loved how Rachel revealed the secret of her brother’s death. It was done simply, at the turn of a paragraph, and it illustrated the unexpected nature of such news beautifully.

I also absolutely enjoyed the romance. When Rachel comes back, Henry is still pining for his ex-girlfriend after the recent breakup. Though he is glad that his friend is back, he isn’t magically cured by Rachel’s apparition. It takes a while for him to get over it, and I felt it was quite realistic. You don’t magically stop loving the people in your life when they leave, even if they’re wrong for you; I wish this aspect of relationships was explored more in YA novels.

And I can’t conclude without mentioning the bookstore and its love letters. I think it’s impossible to read this book without wishing for a similar place! I have a few bookshops I like to visit when looking for used books, but none that I know of have such a letter corner. That would be absolutely lovely 🙂