Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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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.

review

Where do I even begin to explain how great this book was? It’s one of those books that I insist you drop what you’re doing right now and go read it! Usually I am not one for historical fiction or more romance heavy plots but oh man was I glad I picked this one up!

Trigger Warnings: Parental abuse both physical, verbal, and emotional, racism, and homophobia (I understand that the last two coincide with the time period but it could have been challenged a bit more in the story)

PLOT

“The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” overall is just such a fun, light-hearted, and hilarious story that is all very reminiscent of “My Lady Jane” so if you enjoyed that book I definitely recommend checking this one out as well! It’s very fast paced, full of plenty adventures and shenanigans in which Monty gets everyone tangled up in one problem after the other. They even have run ins with highwaymen and pirates both! So yes this book is very much entertaining and never has a dull moment!

I also really enjoyed Monty’s narrative and inner monologues because of how sassy and sarcastic he was. I found that this is a majority of why I thought this story was so hilarious!

The overall setting is on the characters’ Grand Tour of the Continent so we get to have places such as Paris, Spain, and Venice as our backdrop to all of the trouble Monty seems to get himself and his friends into. We don’t see too terribly much of the cities or countries but there are a few landmarks mentioned and I just found it all to be very exciting. Venice was definitely my favorite place they visited…just saying.

Mackenzi Lee’s writing is also simply amazing, it had me hooked right from the beginning and had me turning pages all the way up until the end! I loved how she made it additive, hilarious, and touching all at once. There was also never a dull moment and we were never bogged down with pointless or boring details, we got the journey without all of the fussing!

I also really loved the ending even if it was a bit unrealistic.

There was also diversity! We got to have a bisexual narrator along with a M/M romance and Percy was also of a diverse ethnicity (I’m pretty sure he was English/African but I’m not 100% positive).

While I’d love to rate this 5 stars it just didn’t feel quite like a 5 star read for me so 4.5 it is!

characters

The characters were definitely my favorite part of this book, easily! All three of the main characters (Monty, Percy, and Felicity) were straight up amazing and adorable, they were all just so likable! I also felt that they were very realistic, had their flaws, and learned to deal with them or overcome them. So I guess you could say they developed very well over the course of the story.

Henry “Monty” Montague is our narrator and as I said earlier he is FULL of sass and sarcasm which ultimately gets him into quite a bit of trouble, well that and the fact that he loves to drink, gamble, smoke, and fool around with both men and women all the time. People that know him often refer to him as a scoundrel and it’s quite fitting. I find that most often his personality was hilarious in this way but he could be quite an ass sometimes, but his friends would call him out on it immediately and he would actually listen and learn from it. That’s right a character who actually learns from his mistakes and friends that aren’t afraid to call him out!

I also really loved Percy and Felicity since both were adorable but Felicity is a bookish badass! I’m actually really in love with Felicity’s character because she didn’t take shit from anyone and with the way the story ended with her I’m super pumped to read her spin off “The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy”.

romance

I’m usually not the biggest fan of YA romances since they’re usually so filled with tropes but this was perfect! I shipped Monty + Percy so freaking much! Honestly they were both the most adorable and you could have cut the tension with a knife, seriously. I also found it very cute that they both were head over heels for each other but were both so completely clueless they thought their love was unrequited! I also really liked how their romance had a bit of a “forbidden love” feel to it since that’s one trope I can’t get enough of!

in conclusion

What I Loved:

  • Fun, light-hearted, and hilarious story
  • Great, adorable, and likable characters
  • Diversity!
  • Tons of adventure and shenanigans!
  • Pirates!
  • The amazing and fun writing
  • The settings (France, Spain, Italy, Greece, etc.)
  • The completely adorable and ship worthy romance

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Honestly nothing I loved everything! (it just didn’t feel like a complete 5 star for me personally though)

RECOMMEND

I highly, highly recommend checking out “The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue” because there’s definitely something for everyone in here! It’s overall just such a fun and entertaining book and I want everyone to read and enjoy it as well!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

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Book Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

review

This is the wonderful kind of book that I’m going to go around recommending to everyone all the time. It’s full of diversity and fandom culture which let’s face it we need more books with either or both! I found it to be so relatable on all levels and I feel it would be the same for many other readers as well.

PLOT

Of course one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed this book was because of how well I thought it handled many issues from sexism, racism, homophobia, slut shaming, fat shaming, and girl on girl hate. The characters, when confronted with these issues in the book, handled them in a very positive way and I loved it. There were many scenes where the characters were put down by others for things such as their sexuality, weight, or mental illness but they fired back and didn’t let people judge or hate on them!

There’s also a ton of diversity as well but I’ll get into that in my “characters” section.

One of the other BEST parts about this book was all of the fandom and geek culture, this is the kind of stuff I live and breathe for you guys! I’m that person who will bust through a wall if I hear even the slightest reference to something nerdy that I love so of course a book that has tons of said references has me all moony-eyed and in love!

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So I absolutely loved all of the references from cosplayers dressed as Captain Malcolm Reynolds to Taylor and Jamie’s Supernatural love and countless movie quotes! However, being the greedy little geek that I am I would have loved to see even more fandom references throughout the story since you know…they are at a convention.

The only little problem I had with “Queens of Geek”would be that I felt there wasn’t really any story going on. It mostly consists of the characters doing panels or walking around looking at merchandise at SupaCon and the two growing relationships between the characters. There really isn’t anything else going on and between all of the convention events and things and the relationships you don’t notice too terribly but I personally would have enjoyed if there was a little something else added to the plot to make things more interesting.

The writing was also very simple and easy to read, I enjoyed it!

characters

This is also probably one of the most diverse books I’ve had the pleasure of reading and I thought the representation was also well done. We have the two main characters: Charlie who is a Chinese-Australian, bisexual vlogger and Taylor who is the “chubby” girl somewhere on the Autism spectrum who also suffers from anxiety.

I have to say what made this book so much more relatable to me was Taylor and her anxiety, I just felt a connection to her and it was so amazing to see someone with anxiety represented this well. I loved how her friends would help her through it and how she found ways, such as her love of Queen Firestone and other geeky things, to help her get through her anxiety attacks. I personally suffer from anxiety as well and I thought the way anxiety was represented in this story was very, very well done.

I can’t speak for the representation of Taylor’s autism or Charlie’s bisexuality but I do know that Jen Wilde is autistic and bisexual as well (so I discovered via Twitter) so this is an Own Voices book and I feel she probably portrayed it very well!

I loved Charlie and Taylor’s friendship and it was awesome to see a positive representation of female friendship!

As for the secondary characters I would have loved to have seen a little more development with Jamie and Alyssa but I still loved them and how adorkable they were! There were also many other side characters that were gay, POC, or also had autism and I thought they were all handled very sensitively as well.

Also just a quick side note on Reese Ryan, Charlie’s ex: I fucking hated his guts. I would have liked to have seen him learn a good, hard lesson in this story but I loved how Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie all put him in his place later on. Still, I felt they went too easy on him because he was AWFUL! I get that he was supposed to be the sort of antagonist of the story and represented the people out there that are sexist and homophobic (among other things as well) but I still hated his guts! I wanted to transport myself into the story when he would go after the characters and say hurtful things and kick his ass!

romance

This book is ALL about that romance! Usually I am not one for contemporary romances but everything in “Queens of Geek” is so ADORABLE AND FLUFFY AND CUTE!

I was completely sold on both relationships in this story: Jamie x Taylor and Charlie x Alyssa. Both couples were so dorky, adorable, and sweet! I also really loved how both relationships were very positive as well there was no mistreatment at all between all of them.

There was quite a bit of insta-love in this story but it was the kind of insta-love that I really didn’t mind, which really says something since it’s one of my most hated tropes in YA!

in conclusion

Overall very, very happy with this book and there was just so much POSITIVITY from being body positive to being mental health positive.

What I Loved:

  • Diversity to the max!
  • Issues were handled very well
  • Anxiety rep was also handled very, very well
  • Positive depiction of female friendship
  • Positivity everywhere!
  • Fandom and geek culture representation and references
  • Adorable, sweet relationships
  • Fun, amazing characters

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Reese Ryan (seriously I would destroy this guy)
  • Would have liked a little bit more of an overall story-line
  • More geeky references would have been great too
  • More development for Jamie and Alyssa

RECOMMEND

YES! I highly, highly recommend checking out this book period but especially if you’re looking for a well represented diverse and Own Voices book or if you’re just looking for a fun, geeky fandom book! This book is hands down amazing!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

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description

Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:

Goblin Fruit
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling
Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

review

 This book is beautiful, that’s really the only word to describe it. Absolutely beautiful.

A Quick Summary of Everything Awesome About This Book:

  • The writing is dark and beautifully haunting, it lingers with you throughout the entire book and even after. It definitely pulls your eyes from page to page, the way Laini writes is certainly very unique.
  • This book is full of complex and strong female protagonists and love interests.
  • They’re 100% creative, unique, and original fairy tales.
  • The mythology Laini creates for each story is mind blowing, it is so fascinating. She manages to build an entire world in less than 100 pages.
  • I actually loved the romances.
  • Gorgeous illustrations to accompany each short story.

Now I shall review each short story within “Lips Touch: Three Times”

Goblin Fruit – 4 Stars

Overall the story was very, VERY good. It captured my attention right away and didn’t let up until the story ended.

I loved the background and mythology about the goblins and their wicked fruit, it was one of the more interesting plots in this book. We learn about everything from Kizzy’s family’s weird religious beliefs, superstitions, ghosts, and of course the goblins.

The ending was pretty shocking in a way that made me frustrated and upset with our main character Kizzy. I was very disappointed in her. Although she really was a good heroine, it was just her last choice that angered me.

This story was a great way to start off a great book.


Spicy Little Curses Such As These – 3 Stars

This was very disappointing. It was the least engrossing and the most annoying.

For a book that’s all about romance and kissing, the insta love and romance is the most nauseating in this story. The main couple is bland, boring, and irritating, I did not think they were cute or enjoyable to read about at all. Anamique (the MC) wasn’t strong or complex or really anything, she was just…..there. She had a curse put on her and that’s about the only thing great about her. Her love interest is just an idiot, an absolute idiot.

Honestly, the only redeemable quality about this particular story was the Ambassador to Hell and the demon she barters with in Hell. They were the best, they were ACTUALLY interesting. What this story lacked for in a main couple it made up for with its mythology. The story of how Estella becomes Ambassador and her journeys into Hell are really what drove the plot for me.


Hatchling – 4.5 Stars

My favorite story in this book and the longest one too. Laini not only develops a GREAT background and mythology (again) but she also provides us with a really great mystery as well. It’s all very well thought out and very well detailed.

Esme wakes up on her 14th birthday with a pale, ice blue eye. Wanna know why? Well guess what? It takes the entire length of the story to explain why, and it’s captivating. The mystery only gets more complicated the more you read, but everything is revealed by the end, I promise.

Though the plot does get pretty bizarre and at one point, even a little disturbing and uncomfortable.

I also quite enjoyed the romances in this story the most because there is no insta love and they’re just more realistic. I ship all of the romances so hard!


Overall “Lips Touch: Three Times” is an extremely creative, original, and unique book. If you love fairy tales and retellings I definitely recommend this book for you. I guarantee you’ve never read anything else like it!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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description

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

review

WOW. That is the only word to describe this book, it’s absolutely amazing!

First off, the writing is beautiful and descriptive there were an abundance of adjectives constantly describing things you didn’t know could even be described so beautifully! Seriously, it’s enchanting it definitely will keep you reading and hanging on to every little word. It’s also very cultural, there are a lot of Arabic terms and phrases used to give a very authentic feel. But it also doesn’t leave you feeling confused or have you constantly looking up words while you’re reading.

The characters are so well written and developed. Believe me when I tell you, if Renee Ahdieh wants you to like a character, you like them. If she wants you to hate a character, you hate them. I developed so many feelings towards all of the characters in this book it’s unbelievable, I grew attached to every single one. I found myself constantly changing my mind about how I felt about certain people, it’s all very conflicting. You’ll love all of the characters for very different reasons, but they’re just so good!

And that romance! Now let me tell you that I am NOT a romance reader, I hate it. I prefer books with little to no romance. But “The Wrath and the Dawn” is absolutely heart-warming, I LOVE Shazi and Khalid. I LOVE THEM I TELL YOU! I was sniffling my way through parts of the book because it gave me the warm and fuzzies. There is NO insta-love, which is perfect. However, there is a sort of love triangle but you can easily disregard that notion since you really have to think about it to realize it’s there. I can’t gush enough about how much I love the romance though, I really can’t. It’s sweet, endearing, and touching.

And the plot/story is very engaging, it’s fast paced, it’s perfect. It’s a good mix of YA romance and YA fantasy, since there are subtle hints of magic throughout the book that are very intriguing. If you’re wanting answers for some of that though you’ll have to wait for the next book in the series like the rest of us! One minor complaint I have about the book is that it didn’t have as many stories within stories as I wanted. This is a sort of retelling of One Thousand and One Nights so I was expecting to read some of the stories Shazi uses to keep herself alive! There are a couple and I loved them, so I was disappointed when I wasn’t graced with more throughout the story. There are also plenty of secrets and surprises along the way to keep you guessing and entertained.

I can’t recommend this book enough! Even if you’re like me and you’re put off by the notion of a very romance driven story please consider pushing it aside and giving this book a go. It really is worth it!

I think while I wait for the sequel I will be ordering a beautiful hardcover of this book, it’s gorgeous.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy