Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Characters Whose Fitness Routines We Want

Top 5 Wednesday is a group of bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers posting on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.

This week's topic is:
Characters' Fitness Routines You Want
When we started brainstorming for this topic, we realized these "fitness plans" all fell into a few broad categories so we've ranked our favorite categories and given a few examples for each one.

5. The "I'm so ripped because I have wings" workout.
Followed by Raphael and the Angels in the Guild Hunter series. Not only do they have great abs, they get to fly! We're totally jealous.

4. The "all liquid diet that grants super powers and immortality."
Followed by Eric Northman, Cat and Bones, the Salvatores.
So gross, but highly effective. Like kale.

3. The "practice martial arts with hot, half naked shifters" workout.
Followed by Mercy Thompson.
This is the only plan our list that actually requires getting sweaty, but it's probably worth it for the eye candy.

2. The "skip physical therapy by spending the day in animal form" program.
Followed by Jane Yellowrock and Adam Hauptman.
Ribs sticking out? Arm ripped off? No problem, just shift! I sprained my ankle two months ago and it still hurts when I step on a crack in the sidewalk.

1. The "Dean Winchester eat like a fifteen year old boy and never gain weight" diet plan.
Followed by Tallulah Correntine, Gin Blanco and like every werewolf ever. Yeah, we kinda hate them too.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

July Whimsify Unboxing

I've been loving my Whimsify boxes so far, as you know if you've been following these posts. But I think the July Something Wicked This Way Comes box might be the best one yet. They did a great job creating a cohesive theme, not just with the items but visually. Look how gorgeous it is! (The only way it could be better is if the book cover were red and black, but I like the purple cover so I'm not going to complain too much.)

Here's what's inside the box:

Whimsify includes a candle in every box. (Yay!) This month's is from Muggle Library Candles and was custom made for this box. It's called Gamorrah, which is the name of the festival in the book and smells like licorice and cherries. I'm not a fan of licorice but I love that this is a scent taken directly from the book.

The gorgeous tote with a quote from Caraval was designed by Miss Phi. It says, "Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything."

This box has included some great bookmarks. This month's is designed by Dreamy and Co. and features a quote from Menagerie by Rachel Vincent, which I think is an odd choice only because it is very much not a YA book. It is perfect for this theme though. The quote is "In the end it wouldn't matter. I had no intention of being broken."

This is the first time there have been edible goodies in the box and there are two: chocolate and strawberry tea from Riddle's Tea Shoppe and Curiosities inspired by Night Circus and caramel corn from Kettle Encore Popcorn. I had to fight my kid to get the picture taken before she ate the popcorn. It was a big hit! I've also heard great things about Riddle's Tea Shoppe and I like fruity tea so I'm excited to try this one.

There are lots of quotes in this month's box! The final one is an art print featuring the line from Macbeth from which the box's theme is taken. It was designed by Dorothy Reads.

The book is Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody. This was one of 2017 Most Anticipated so I was really excited to see it included in the box. There's also a signed book plate and a poster.

I'm trying to include a book review in my unboxing posts, in part to make sure I read the books, but with school about to start I didn't quite make it this time. Watch for my review later this month.

30237061Daughter of the Burning City
Amanda Foody
Release: July 25, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Read This F@!%ing Book (60)

Welcome to a feature we're going to post called:

Read This F@!%ing Book!

This is a feature for us to push our favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention!

We're also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? We'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if it's something we haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested, email us at

Read This F@!%ing Book Post 60: The Whyborne & Griffin Series by Jordan L. Hawk
(Click book cover to go to Goodreads page)

For Pride Month, I decided that I was going to read as many of my LGBTQ+ books as I could and it was glorious! I read SO many amazing books that I just kept going. My Pride Month reading extended well into August.

Who am I kidding? It's still going.

A few years ago, my friend, Meghan, read this self-published book and immediately started pushing it and the rest of the series on all of our friends online and in real life. I trust Meghan's recommendations a lot because we read and love a lot of the same things. But with this series, I was immediately sold when she told me it was "kind of like Sherlock Holmes meets The Mummy (with Brendan Fraser) if Sherlock was an introverted museum philologist with an ex-Pinkerton Watson who fall in love with each other and encounter secret societies and eldritch-type horrors". I bought Widdershins that day while it was still on sale along with the next two books. Sadly, they just sat on my kindle with my other unread books until last month.

Guys. I freaking loved these books! I binge read all nine books, the two novellas, and the three short stories in less than a week. And I wanted to immediately reread them as soon as I finished. It's magical when a series invokes that kind of reaction.

Why should you read this series? Let me give you some reasons.

The Romance
I was pretty much an insta-shipper of Whyborne and Griffin the moment Griffin was nice to Whyborne in their first meeting. They just work well as a couple and they NEED each other in so many ways. I loved them together by the end of the first book. By the end of the series, they had catapulted through the ranks and landed a spot on my Top 5 OTPs list. Griffin's humor and extroversion balances out Whyborne's seriousness and introversion. They struggle and fight and grow together and I'm just here for that kind of romantic growth.

Christine Makes This Great Series 100% More Awesome
Whyborne's best friend and museum colleague totally gets her own bullet point. I love Whyborne and Griffin but Christine made the series for me! She's a spunky, independent woman who is not going to let society push her into the box they think women should be in. She's an Egyptologist who has made one of the biggest archeological finds in decades. She needs no man to be who she wants to be and I loved that about her!

Her friendship with Whyborne is an A+ platonic relationship that should be the rest of us's friendship goals. She's always ready to back Whyborne up whether it's in a staff meeting at the museum or battling monsters and secret societies. They're each others' found family and their relationship gives me life! Also, I loved that she accepts Whyborne's sexuality without blinking an eye in a time when it meant serious trouble if people found out. And I love that the only outrage she showed about it at all was that Whyborne thought she'd dump him for it. I probably could write a whole post about why I love Christine but I'll stop there for now.

Not Your Normal Town and Not Your Normal Monsters
The worldbuilding in this series is amazing! Widdershins has the totally weird and abnormal town aesthetic down and its history adds so much to the narrative. I want to visit there so badly! One of the most used phrases in this series is that "Widdershins knows its own" and I loved how the author integrated that into the story. I won't tell you how though because spoilers, sweetie.

The magic system is intriguing as is how Whyborne stumbled upon sorcery but what I loved the most was the monsters. They're not your normal paranormal fare. There are vampires and werewolves that show up. Kind of. They aren't your garden variety supes. They've been given an eldritch upgrade and have very few characteristics with the vamps and werewolves that immediately come to mind. Plus, this series boasts some original creatures and it was refreshing to read! I kind of loved them even though one of them kind of scared the pants off me at first. This series would be worth reading for the worldbuilding alone.

The Adventure! Oh! The Adventure!
Whyborne is the reluctant adventurer I never knew I needed in my life. He doesn't like to travel and if he never had to leave Widdershins that would be just fine with him. I love that he lets himself get dragged to far off places almost against his will. He may consent to go and help but he will not be happy about it and I love that about him. The gang have adventures in so many awesome and weird places! They go to places like Egypt and the Yukon and a small town in Kansas. Kansas may not seem very exciting but it really was an interesting and kind of exciting setting. I need more homebodies having reluctant adventures ala Whyborne and Bilbo Baggins in my books and in my life.

Those are just a few of the examples I can think of off the top of my head on why you should read these books. If you're looking for a fun m/m romance series with a lot of adventure, look no further. The Whyborne and Griffin series is just what the doctor ordered! 

Random Aside: If you're a fan of K.J. Charles's m/m romance books, there's a fun crossover novella with the leads from her The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal book and it's utterly delightful! I highly recommend that one as well! Look for my review of it later this week!

Have you read this series?
Let us know in the comments below!
Did we persuade you to add these books to your TBR mountain?

Novellas and Short Stories in this Series:
(A couple of these stories are offered for free and the links will direct you to where you can read them. The rest of the links are to that book's respective Goodreads pages.) 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Release Week Blitz: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee Excerpt and Giveaway

I just started reading The Epic Crush of Genie Lo and I'm loving it. I'm excited to have the blurb and an excerpt to share today. Normally I would wait to tell you about a book until I finished it, but there's an awesome giveaway that ends the 15th. Check it out at the bottom of the page! And watch for my review on the blog next week.

F.C. Yee
Release: August 8, 2017
Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks
TBD Goodreads
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…


Now, I’d done my best to describe this guy to the police. They pressed me hard for details, as apparently this wasn’t the first group mugging in recent weeks.
But I’d let Officers Davis and Rodriguez down. Nice eyes and a winning smile weren’t much to go by. I was too frazzled to notice anything before, which meant this was my first decent look at the boy without the influence of adrenaline.
So a couple of things.
One: He was short. Like, really short for a guy. I felt bad that my brain went there first, but he wasn’t even as tall as Mrs. Nanda.
Two: He was totally okay, physically. I didn’t see how anyone could be up and about after that beating, but here he was, unbruised and unblemished. I felt relieved and disturbed at the same time to see there wasn’t a scratch on him.
And his mint condition just made Point Three even more obvious.
He was . . . yeesh.
Nothing good could come of our new classmate being that handsome. It was destructive. Twisted. Weaponized. He had the cheekbones and sharp jawline of a pop star, but his thick eyebrows and wild, unkempt hair lent him an air of natural ruggedness that some pampered singer could never achieve in a million years of makeup.
“Argh, my ovaries,” Yunie mumbled. She wasn’t alone, judging by the soft intakes of breath coming from around the room.
“Arrived from where?” said Mrs. Nanda.
Quentin looked at her in amusement. “China?”
“Yes, but where in, though?” said Mrs. Nanda, trying her best to convey that she was sensitive to the regional differences. Fujianese, Taishanese, Beijingren—she’d taught them all.
He just shrugged. “The stones,” he said.
“You mean the mountains, sweetie?” said Rachel Li, batting her eyelashes at him from the front row.
“No! I don’t misspeak.”
The class giggled at his English. But none of it was incorrect, technically speaking.
“Tell us a little about yourself,” Mrs. Nanda said.
Quentin puffed out his chest. The white button-down shirt and black pants of our school’s uniform for boys made most of them look like limo drivers. But on him, the cheap stitching just made it clearer that he was extremely well-muscled underneath.
“I am the greatest of my kind,” he said. “In this world I have no equal. I am known to thousands in faraway lands, and everyone I meet can’t help but declare me king!”
There was a moment of silence and sputtering before guffaws broke out.
“Well . . . um . . . we are all high achievers here at SF Prep,” said
Mrs. Nanda as politely as she could. “I’m sure you’ll fit right in?”
Quentin surveyed the cramped beige classroom with a cool squint. To him, the other twenty-two laughing students were merely peons on whom his important message had been lost.
“Enough wasting of time,” he snapped. “I came to these petty halls only to reclaim what is mine.”
Before anyone could stop him, he hopped onto Rachel’s desk and stepped over her to the next one, like she wasn’t even there.
“Hey! Quentin!” Mrs. Nanda said, frantically waving her hands. “Get down now!”
The new student ignored her, stalking down the column of desks. Toward mine.
Everyone in his way leaned to the side to avoid getting kicked. They were all too flabbergasted to do anything but serve as his counterweights.
He stopped on my desk and crouched down, looking me in the eye. His gaze pinned me to my seat.
I couldn’t turn away. He was so close our noses were almost touching. He smelled like wine and peaches.
“You!” he said.
“What?” I squeaked.
Quentin gave me a grin that was utterly feral. He tilted his head as if to whisper, but spoke loud enough for everyone to hear.
“You belong to me”

About F.C. Yee

F. C. Yee grew up in New Jersey and went to school in New England, but has called the San Francisco Bay Area home ever since he beat a friend at a board game and shouted “That’s how we do it in NorCal, baby!” Outside of writing, he practices capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts, and has a day job mostly involving spreadsheets.

5 winners will receive Genie Lo prize packs—complete with a finished copy of the book and a special Genie Lo horoscope (that doubles as a bookmark!)
US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

(Timekeeper #1)
Tara Sim
Release: November 8, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Have you ever read a book that you loved so much that you can't articulate why you love it when asked? Tara Sim's debut book, Timekeeper, was one of those books for me. I adore it so much! But I haven't been able to write a review for it since I first read it in November of last year no matter how hard I've tried. I've even reread it via the audiobook and I still can't coherently explain my love for it. But I can give you five reasons why you should pick it up.

1. The Mythology
I adored this world ruled by clocks and clock towers! I found the mythology that hinted at the origin of the clock towers fascinating! The story of the old gods was perfectly intertwined with the "present day" narrative of the characters. Not all of my questions were answered in this book and I need the next ones in my hands. I can't wait to learn more about the towers and the clock spirits.

2. The Romance
I'm not going to say much about the romance between Danny and Colton other than it was absolutely adorable! I was totally shipping them by their third meeting with each other. I would recommend this book for the romance alone.

3. The Representation of Grief, Loss, Trauma and PTSD
The characters in this book have not had easy times and some of them have been through multiple traumas.

"I was in an accident. I got out. I'm safe now."

From the first time Danny said his
mantra to keep himself from breaking down, I actually gasped. I knew this was something important because I *knew* what was happening here. I knew what had to have happened to him.

Sometimes you don't get out. Sometimes you do and that's only the beginning. It's going to be hard. Even years later, you might not feel safe.
Sometimes trauma means you live with the scars. Sometimes you deal with them in ways that damage yourself or others. But reading books like this, that show such trauma and healing (even slow, disjointed, and derailed) with rawness and honesty... it helps. Danny, his mother, Matthias, and his best friend, Cassie, have all been through horrible things and they all responded in different and exceedingly realistic ways. People respond to trauma differently and all of those responses are valid. It was so nice to see these topics handled so well.

4. Danny and Cassie's Friendship
One of my favorite things about this book was Danny and Cassie's friendship. Their friendship was everything! They cared for each other and you can tell that they will have each other's backs no matter what. I loved their interactions so much! It was also refreshing to see a friendship between a guy and a girl that was free from romantic pining. I seriously want to see more of these kinds of friendships in YA.

5. The Family Interactions
Danny's family isn't perfect. In fact, they are about as far from from perfect as you can get. They're drowning in grief and stressed out about finances and that colors their interactions. But I loved that so much of this book was focused on Danny's interactions with his mom, his worry about his dad, and the comfort he drew from his godfather. There was also themes of found family throughout the book and it was glorious. I love this recent trend in YA where the main character's family is actually present and accounted for in their life even if they don't know how to interact with each other like Danny and his mother.

This book blew my mind! It was a breath of fresh air in the world of YA books and I can't help but sing its praises. I loved this world of clock mechanics and clock spirits and I ship the romance so hard! Also, the audiobook narrator was absolutely fantastic if audiobooks are your thing. I seriously can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the books in this series. Tara Sim has earned herself a permanent spot on my autobuy list.

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

  5 / 5 Stars!

Recommended for fans of:
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Second Book is Best

Top 5 Wednesday is a group of bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers posting on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.

Second Book is Best
We recently posted our top 5 series that got better
This topic is about which series were best in the middle.

5. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
I'll be honest now. I adored the whole Queen's Thief series but there is something about The Queen of Attolia that makes it so much better than the rest. Maybe it's the shocking event that happens in the first ten pages or Eugenides struggles, but it was an astonishingly amazing book in a fantastic series. -Rose Red

4. The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan
I enjoyed the whole Game On series but Gray and Ivy's book was the best one I've read so far. I loved their interactions and their romance so much more than the other couples. I will put a disclaimer here that I haven't read the lastest book yet but, as of the time of this post, this is my favorite. -Rose Red

3. The Warrior Vampire by Kate Baxter
 I have a love/hate relationship with this series. I enjoyed the first book. Loved the second one. Disliked the third one. And have had no motivation to read the latest two. For me the series peaked at book two. Naya and Ronan's book was just fun, sexy, and just plain great. If all the books in the series had been like this one, I would still be reading it. -Rose Red
(For a slightly different take on this series, see our Series That Got Better post. Link at the top of the page. -Gretl)


2. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
This second book of the trilogy starts to reveal some of the town's secrets and turns up the paranormal elements. It also introduces a character I loved from the Sookie series. Book three, by comparison, was a slow starter and even though there were things I loved about it, I didn't love it as much.  -Gretl


1. Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep
I'm not saying that either of the other books in the Black Blade trilogy are bad, just that this one is my favorite. This is the one with the Tournament of Blades which is just the best thing ever. Book three wraps up all of the plot threads but doesn't achieve the same level of awesome. -Gretl

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Weres Wanna Know: Let's Talk About Kindle Unlimited

I know a lot of us have a pet peeve about books being advertised as "free with Kindle Unlimited." It should really say "included in Kindle Unlimited" since you have to pay to join, right? But other than that, do you know how KU works? Is it worth the price to sign up? I did the 30 day free trial in July to find out.

Here's the part I already knew: the books in KU are exclusive to Amazon. You can purchase them if you're not a member but not from any other site. That's why some self-pub authors choose not to enroll their books in KU. The authors also don't get paid unless you read a certain percentage of the book. The details of that have recently changed and there's some controversy about it, including some people gaming the system. Reading about that honestly made me a little uncomfortable about giving them my money.

But what I really wanted to talk about was the reading experience. As a KU member, you can check out up to ten KU books at a time. That's right, I said check out. There's no time limit, but eventually you have to return the books if you want to read anything else. So it's kind of like having a library card, which you get for free. Except that you can't get these books at the library because they're exclusive to Amazon. So, unless you live somewhere without access to a public library, for me the deciding factor here is can you find enough books you love to justify the cost?

I checked out some smutty romances because I was in a palate cleansing, brain disengaging kind of mood. But I didn't find any of them that I would actually want to pay to read. The quality just didn't cut it. I mean seriously people, it's called proofreading!

I have found some UF/PNR series I like that are included in KU, like Hailey Edwards's Black Dog series, which I've reviewed here on the blog, and its spinoffs, plus the Shifter Shield series by Margo Bond Collins, and Gwenda Bond's Cirque American books. And I've heard good things, but haven't yet read author Jasmine Walt. But it doesn't seem worth it to pay just for those and then not even keep them. You can often find the first book in these series for free or $.99. And in the case of Black Dog, you can get the series bundle for $4.99.

I'm sure not everyone would agree with me. Angela at Fiction Vixen does a monthly wrap up of what she's read with KU and she seems to find some good stuff. She's a big fan of author of K.F. Breene for example. But I have so many ARCs I don't think I could ever read as many KU books every month as she does. I definitely don't think it's worth the price for one or two books.

KU costs $9.99 a month, which is about the same as Prime ($10.99 if you pay monthly.) And there's this other thing called Prime Reading. I have it and I've found good stuff like Chuck Wendig's Atlanta Burns (that series is also in KU)  and Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep. I tried to find details on how this program actually works but the site doesn't say much. The selection seems to change monthly. The books tend to be first in a series. I have gotten some and never been told I maxed out or that I had to return one, but I'm just not sure. If anybody's figured it out, will you please explain it to me? 

Have you tried Kindle Unlimited? 

What did you think? 

What books did you love?

Friday, August 4, 2017

July Owlcrate Unboxing and Book Review

Today I'm unboxing the July Owlcrate box.
The theme is Wanderlust.

I was a little bit disappointed that the items in this box weren't as well coordinated as the ones last month. (Check out the unboxing on our Instagram - everything was green and white.) I love the map prints and would have liked to see that theme continued on some of the other items.

Here's what's in the box:

Lord of the Rings backpack designed by Owlcrate.
I would like this better as a tote, but that's just me. I do like the design though.

Owl luggage tag from Mudpuppy is a really thick felt design that would be cute on a backpack. I'd be afraid it might not stand up to baggage handlers if you put it on a suitcase though.

Newt Scamander Funko Pop keychain. You really can't go wrong with Funko Pops and I didn't have Newt yet.

A Darker Shade of Magic pocket mirror by Miss Phi. It's a little hard to tell in the picture, but it says "As Travars" with a rose on the back. This will probably find its way into some future bookstagram pics.

Pocket Journal from Ooly. There were 8 different ones. Mine's a cityscape that says "You are beautiful."

Art print by Shailey Ann designs. It features a quote from Francois Rabelais, "Go to seek a great perhaps" over a map of Alaska and was inspired by the novel Looking for Alaska.

The book is The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I actually guessed the book correctly this time and it's one I'm looking forward to. It came with a signed book plate, a letter from the author and a map. (That one will be showing up on our Instagram too!) And it has an exclusive cover. The original is below if you want to compare them.

Last month I started including a book review in my unboxing posts. We've already reviewed The Gentleman's Guide so here's a little bit of  Rose Red's 5 star review:

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Mackenzi Lee
Release: June 27, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.
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.

One of my favorite things in the world is to pick up a book and know immediately from page one that I'm going to love it and that it will soon have a spot on my favorites shelf. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was one of those books for me. I loved everything about it: the characters, the mystery, the romance, and the Grand Tour setting! But most of all, I loved the feeling of nostalgia it gave me. I'm not sure I can explain how much I absolutely adored this book without gushing but I'm going to try.

This book is pitched by the author as "the big gay road trip novel set in the 18th century you didn't know you needed!" which set the bar high and it was abso-bloody-lutely amazing! It's a coming of age story that kind of read like historical fanfiction and I mean that in the best way possible! This was the adventure novel of my heart given an actual physical form with words. There's pirates and highway men and tombs and alchemy and streaking at the palace of Versailles. The story started off fast and doesn't let up until the book is over.

I'll post more photos on Instagram if you'd like to see some of the items in the box up close.
*As always, I paid for this box and am not sponsored by the company.*

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Book Covers You'd Live In

Top 5 Wednesday is a group of bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers posting on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.

This week's topic is:
Book Covers You'd Live In

Gretl's Top 5

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5. The Midnight, Texas series by Charlaine Harris
I feel like you could walk in to these covers and magically find yourself in Midnight, though I think you'd have to read the book to be convinced that it was a good idea. They're kind of creepy.

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4. The Genie McQueen series by Sierra Dean
Do I actually want to live in the Louisiana bayou with a bunch of werewolves? Probably not, but these covers make it look like a great idea. So pretty!

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3. The Kraken King by Meljean Brook
This book was originally published as an eight part serial. Each part had its own gorgeous cover and together they transport you to gorgeous cities with dirigibles flying overhead.

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2. The Nocturne Falls series by Kristen Painter
In Nocturne Falls, every day is Halloween so of course I want to live there. I love that the covers in this series capture the kitchy theme but each also shows a different part of the town including the great antebellum homes.

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1. The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill
I actually have lived in Chicago and often wish that I still did. Some of the covers in this series really capture the feel of the city for me.

Rose Red's Top 5

5. The Bear and the Nightingale Series by Katherine Arden
I'm not sure if I'd want to live in the world Arden made long-term but I want to visit it. Those covers are straight up what I'd imagine seeing in a Russian fairy tale world.

4. The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley
 I've been kind of obsessed with these covers since I first saw them. I want to visit Staveley's world of monks, giant hawk riding ninja assassins, and death priestesses. This world is harsh and dangerous but it would be worth it to see all the sights described in this series.

3. The Ancient Magus' Bride Series by Kore Yamazaki
I just saw the first three episodes of this manga's anime adaptation and I'm kind of obsessed with it. The world of Yamazaki's Magus' Bride is full of equal parts whimsy and the mundane and dark in with the light. It's everything with its fairies and dragons and magic. I just want to go there and see everything!

2. The Witchlands Series by Susan Dennard
 I want to visit this land of witches and magic and pirates! The covers are too beautiful to not want to go there!

1. The Wayfarers Series by Becky Chambers
I've always been intrigued by space travel and have always wanted to be on a space ship seeing everything the universe has to offer. I totally blame Treasure Planet, Titan A.E., and Firefly my interstellar wanderlust. Can you imagine how happy I'd be if I could live in the gorgeous covers of Becky Chambers's books? The sights would be amazing!

Which book covers would you live in?


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