Tag Archives: Mackenzi Lee

WWW Wednesday, 7-April-2021

7 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


mil vecesCurrently reading: Not much on Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono this week. I was away on my Babymoon (best. idea. ever) with my husband and limiting screen time in favor of some print reading. I’m sure I’ll be back to it soon.
I’ve returned to Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green! With most of my Spanish reads, this will be a bit slow but YA seems to help a lot so I’m optimistic about making it through in a reasonable time.
Still waiting with The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. Hopefully soon.
I can’t wait to finish The Overstory by Richard Powers. I’m getting down to the end of it and it will feel so good when I’m done, but I’m just waiting for the end now.

Better

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Expecting Better by Emily Oster late last week! Felt great to finish another book so quickly and I’m really glad I read this one. My review posted yesterday if you want to check it out! It seems a lot of my friends with young kids or who are also pregnant have read this one. I might have even stumbled upon a pregnancy I didn’t know about because of a Goodreads review! I feel like a detective.

Reading next: I’m still debating this one. My reading buddy and I might pick up again soon since we’ve got a lot of momentum. I might need to pick up a book club read. Or I might need an English book to grab when my brain is too fried for Spanish. So I’ll leave this blank one more week to let my life settle and see where I need to go.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 31-March-2021 (My Birthday!)

31 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Lateral

It’s my birthday! I hope to find some time to read more today (and eat cake).

Currently reading: I got through a chapter or two of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono while waiting at my doctor’s office this week. It was great to get through a chunk of it. I think I’m getting close to the end but the page count is making me think I’m only half way done. I think there’s a lot of images toward the end that will go quickly.
Still nothing with Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green but I think I’ll be back to it soon!
I can’t wait to get back to The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. I need a fun read and I’m sure this will be one!
The Overstory by Richard Powers is starting to feel like a bit of a slough. It’s well written, but it’s a bit preachy and really long. I’ll be happy when I’m done with it, honestly.
I’ve made good progress Expecting Better by Emily Oster and really enjoying it. I love the research Oster did about conventional pregnancy rules and myths and how well she explains what she’s found. It’s helping me feel more comfortable with my pregnancy and making decisions about it.

HalfRecently finished: I flew through The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett after my last meeting with my reading buddy. We were both chomping at the bit to get through it! Great read and I was able to post my review on Monday. I gave the book a full Five out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I’m going to leave this blank one more week and give myself time to catch up on the double-duty reading I’m doing before I think about what could be next for me.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 24-March-2021

24 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Not much with Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono this week. Swimming’s been put on hold because of a pregnancy complication that will hopefully resolve soon and will let me get back in the water. Fingers crossed!
Paused with Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green. Hang on.
Regrettably also on hold with The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. I wanted to get back to this sooner but my book club audiobook is taking a lot longer than anticipated. Grumble grumble.
The aforementioned book club pick is The Overstory by Richard Powers. This book is epically long and I feel like my baby might be born before I finish this book. (Seeing as I’m only at 20 weeks, this is still a possibility.)
I’m loving and rushing throubh The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett with my reading buddy. We met over the weekend to discuss the first half and I’m already closing in on our next chunk. I had a lot of rest time this weekend to read and it helped me get ahead a bit.
I started Expecting Better by Emily Oster and it’s going faster than I thought which is a welcome surprise. Oster is very funny and clearly well researched which is making for a fun read. I’m not as nervous about trying a sip of my husband’s beers on our upcoming babymoon now!

Recently finished: With all the books I’m in the middle of, it should be no surprise I haven’t finished anything. I’d be ecstatic to finish anything this next week but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Reading next: I’ll try to finish something before I make any plans for the future. That all seems too far away at this point.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 17-March-2021

17 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I got through another chapter of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono on an unlucky Friday morning when I had to wait fifteen minutes for a lane. Oh well, there was an upside so it’s all fine.
An even longer pause on Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green is coming. Stay tuned.
Also on hold with The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee but I’m really hoping to return to it soon because I was really enjoying it.
I’m still working on The Overstory by Richard Powers and I feel like I will be forever. This is taking a long time to get into so I’m slogging a bit. I hope it turns around soon and I can push forward.
I’m focusing on The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett just now, hoping to get to the next stopping point that my Reading Buddy and I have agreed on. I’m enjoying this, though it took a turn different from what I expected. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Recently finished: I finally wrapped up Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson! The review went up yesterday so you can all see my thoughts. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars. Parts of it were amazing, Five Star territory, but there were some elements that dragged a bit and brought it down for me. You can’t win them all.

Reading next: I still think I’ll grab Expecting Better by Emily Oster before I return to Green. It’s a good time to be reading this and Green can wait until after baby arrives and still be relevant.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 10-March-2021

10 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve been lucky to not have a lot of waiting time this past week so I haven’t made progress on Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. I’m in no rush so I’ll keep on keeping on with this one.
Still nothing on Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green. I may have to start this over when I’m ready to return to it.
Since I renewed Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson I’ve slowed down on it a bit. I know I’ll finish, but I’m not as stressed about it as I was two weeks ago.
I have paused The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee to prioritize book club books. Boo! This was so fun and I can’t wait to return to it.
I’m still getting into The Overstory by Richard Powers. There are so many stories that I’m having trouble keeping everything straight. I’m getting a lot of Cloud Atlas vibes from it so far, which isn’t really a good thing for me.
Just to make this list longer, I started The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett. over the weekend. My reading buddy and I are going through the first three chapters so it’s not a lot and I’ll get a break to get back to my Dummies book once I finish the section. I’m enjoying it so far, still getting into the story a lot.

Recently finished: Nothing new this week, but I’m not surprised with all the books I’m in the middle of! I hope I can add one here next week, but that seems a long way off with how early I am in many of these books.

Reading next: I just can’t add any more here. I’d drown in books if I did. I have one idea, though. My husband bought me a book when we found out I was pregnant called Expecting Better by Emily Oster. I’d like to read it while I’m still preggo! I might pick this up after Dummies and make Mil veces wait even longer.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 3-March-2021

3 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I got through a few pages of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono so this is still moving, though at a snail’s pace.
On hold with Mil veces hasta siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green. Stand by.
I’ve been able to renew Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson so I’m not as stressed about finishing this one. I have a little bit of time that I can enjoy starting my Buddy Read soon!
I started a for-fun audiobook in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee but I had to put this on hold because I realized my next book club audio is 22 hours! I’m really enjoying this so far, just trying to meet the deadlines I have.
So I started The Overstory by Richard Powers. I hadn’t heard of this one before and all I really know going in is that it has a natural world bend and it’s super long. Here’s hoping I can finish it in time for the book club meeting!

Recently finished: I stayed up late to finish Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe before the file returned. Totally worth it. This was one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a while and I really enjoyed it. I wish I’d read this book before my husband and I visited Belfast in 2018. We decided not to do a Black Taxi tour because of our short time, opting for the Titanic Museum and the Giant’s Causeway instead. I’m wishing now we’d scheduled another day there to see more about the city’s history.

Reading next: I’ll be starting The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett soon. I think I need some fiction with so much non-fiction going on and I have a feeling I’ll fly through this one to our stopping points. It will be a nice change of pace and I’m looking forward to diving in.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee (4/5)

18 May

I heard about this little novella after I’d finished the first in the series, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I wasn’t sure if it was fully necessary to read it before the second in the series, but I thought I’d give it a try. With my long training sessions, I finished it in less than a day.

Cover Image via Goodreads

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Montague Siblings #1.5) by Mackenzi Lee

Other books by Lee reviewed on this blog:

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #1)

Summary from Goodreads:

Monty’s epic grand tour may be over, but now that he and Percy are finally a couple, he realizes there is something more nerve-wracking than being chased across Europe: getting together with the person you love.

Will the romantic allure of Santorini make his first time with Percy magical, or will all the anticipation and build-up completely spoil the mood?

I knew I was going to love this book from the dedication. “To all the fan fiction that gave me the sex education I never got in school.” That hit home for me. I started on fanfiction.net when I was about twelve and ran into things that school never talked about. School was sterile; fan fiction was like lively. I connected to Lee instantly and loved how much this novella read like a good smut fic. It was cute and talked about the things that were left out of the first novel. Monty still can’t take himself seriously and Felicity is still meddlesome and it was just lovely. Also, I forgot that they ended the last book on Santorini in Oia and I was in Oia two months ago! So I was super excited for that, too. I have a picture of the bell tower on the cover, see?!

I thought it was very realistic that Monty couldn’t get out of his own head. He’d built something up so much in his mind that he was afraid of having it finally happen because he didn’t think it could be everything he’d imagined or promised. I thought it was so sweet that he was afraid of disappointing Percy more than anything.

Monty was my favorite in this book. Percy took a bit of a backseat because the story focused on Monty getting through his own reservations which was fine by me. It was fun to get into his head and see how someone so confident can be brought to his knees with genuine love. I love how he always insists things are ‘fine’ when they’re clearly not, like when his head is bleeding and he needs stitches.

I think everyone builds something up in their head to be intimidating. Maybe not sex with a new partner, but traveling to a new city or seeing a new show or even eating at a new restaurant.  Or meeting a hero; that can be dangerous. My wedding day had me almost paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t walk down the aisle until my dad dragged me and I choked on my vows until my husband got me to focus on him and ignore the crowd in the pews. I love weddings but my own was terrifying. I finally calmed down at the reception when I got to talk to my friends and family and remembered I didn’t have to be scared of them; they loved me! It took Monty time to find this out, too.

Mackenzi Lee
Image via HarperCollins

All of Monty’s missteps were hilarious and had me giggling throughout the book. He had good intentions but kept fumbling around like he wasn’t really sure what he was doing because he wasn’t in his right mind. His narration was great because he was able to describe his frustrations really well and still make me laugh.

I didn’t like Felicity getting involved. It seemed odd to me that Monty would be so desperate to seek out her help on something so personal. Though they became closer through the first novel, it still seemed like a bit too much for her to be involved and for Monty to trust her on matters of romance when we get from the first book (not sure what’s in the second) that she’s never had a romantic inclination before. With something he’s so worried about, I wondered why he would leave it to someone else.

The audiobook was narrated by Christian Coulson who also narrated the first novel. I’m glad he came back to be the voice of Monty again because I don’t think it would have seemed right to have anyone else. Coulson does a great voice for Monty and gets his sarcasm perfectly. Especially with such a short novella, it would have been odd to have anyone else narrate.

This book makes a good point between the emotional and physical parts of a relationship and how one is not indicative of another. Monty and Percy have a strong emotional connection and their relationship is strengthened by this. Their lack of a physical relationship doesn’t diminish their emotional one. Also, just because their emotional relationship is solid doesn’t mean that either is ready for a physical relationship. It emphasized how an emotional relationship is the real basis of a strong relationship and a physical one is secondary.

Writer’s Takeaway: Lee gave us a great glimpse into her characters after we’d left them. Monty won me over quickly in his book and it was great to revisit them. I’m thankful that recent trends in epublishing have made companion novellas more common. This did feel a bit like fan fiction because of the short nature and how the plot had no effect on the overall arc of the series. Honestly, that didn’t bother me much. It was short and fun and I enjoyed it.

A great way to connect with Percy and Monty again after we’ve left them. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1700-1799 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky, Mackenzie Lee (#1.5) | The Beauty and Her Reads
Audiobook Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee | YA On My Mind
Review: “The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky” by Mackenzi Lee | Punk-Ass Book Jockey
Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky | Prose & Pancakes
The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee- A Review | Read Yourself Happy

WWW Wednesday, 13-May-2020

13 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m getting really close to finishing White Oleander by Janet Fitch! This book is taking me much longer than I would like so I’m really excited to finish it off. It’s a very sad story but very intriguing at the same time so I’m engrossed.
I made an effort to make more progress with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel. I like this one, but the mystery is still a bit too shrouded for me to be completely engaged. I’m hoping to get more into it soon, though.
I’m loving some fun YA right now so I decided to keep it going and picked up Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell on audio. It’s been a while since I read the first in this series (Carry On) so it might take me a minute to pick up on the plot and characters again. However, the parallels to Harry Potter make it a bit easier to pick up on.

Recently finished: I sped through The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. It wasn’t what I expected and it came across as a disappointment because of that. I wanted more about books and bookselling but that wasn’t the focus. It felt like a bait and switch so I ended up frustrated. I posted my review yesterday if you want to check that out. I gave it Three out of Five Stars, though I contemplated Two.
I got through Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani much faster than I expected to. It was a fun YA read and I enjoyed it well enough. It didn’t have much for me that was really a standout, though. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and I’ll have a review up tomorrow.
I had way too much fun listening to the short novella The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee. This is installment 1.5 in the Montegue Siblings series and I wanted to read it before I picked up the second which I’m sure I’ll do this summer.

I posted my review of The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David LagercrantzThanks for those who have commented about their opinion of Lagercrantz taking over the series. I’m still unsure if I think it was the best move but I’m glad I’m not the only one who has marked the difference.  I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I posted my review of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern on Monday and my final meeting with my reading buddy is tonight! I’m excited to see what she thought of the ending of the book. I finished it over a week ago so I hope my memory is sharp enough and my notes detailed enough to have a good discussion.

Reading Next: I’ll pick up Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich as a physical book very soon. I hope this can give me a little inspiration to read.
I’ll need another audiobook soon and I requested Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray but I’m not sure how quickly it will come in. Fingers crossed.
If that fails, I’ll likely start my next book club selection, Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. I don’t know anything about this one but I see that it’s pretty long so it will be a nice one to settle in with during my long training hours.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Challenge Update, December 2019

2 Jan

I’ve been trying to catch up on reviews all month. And I’m almost there! No, really, I am! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in December:

The Maximum Security Book Club // Mikita Brottman (4/5)
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue // Mackenzi Lee (5/5)
Sing, Unburied, Sing // Jesmyn Ward (3/5)
Between Shades of Grey // Ruta Sepetys (3/5)

I’m so close to catching up. I guess that’s the advantage of being in the middle of several long books right now.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

12/12
DONE! I wrapped up with Gentleman’s Guide this month and absolutely loved it. I don’t like pushing the challenge right until the end like this, but it felt so good to wrap up in December and I’m ready to go for it again starting in January.

Goodreads Challenge

62/52
I’m so awesome.

Book of the Month

No one should be shocked here. I wrote a ballad to this book in a review on Tuesday so go check that out if you’re wondering why. I absolutely adored The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I’m hoping to read the sequel soon.

Added to my TBR

Only down one to 65. December tends to be bad for the TBR with so much gift-giving.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Finish 70.3 Half Ironman: DONE!
  • Attend six weddings: DONE!
  • Finish a weather blanket: I’m caught up to Friday so I’m going to call being less than a week behind a complete success and celebrate this one as DONE!
  • Write: What a great year for this. Not only did I finish NaNo, but I SUBMITTED MY MANUSCRIPT TO AN AGENT! Yes, after editing for three years, I finally hit send. Now I plan the waiting game (and submit to more while I wait). I’m ready for 2020, bring it on!
  • See my friends more: I’ll call this a win overall. I was much more social and made a lot of new friends in 2020 that I’ll hold close for a long time to come. December was filled with lots of good friends so I ended this on a high note to be sure.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2020, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (5/5)

31 Dec

I’d seen this book around so when I needed a final book to fill in the 1700s of the When Are You Reading Challenge 2019, this seemed like an easy pick. It was even better that it was on audio. I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. I fell in love with it. The narrator was great and Monty was amazingly annoying/relatable/pitiable all at once. It was incredible and I can’t wait to read more by Lee.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #1) by Mackenzi Lee

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

I absolutely loved this book. It was everything I love about historical fiction and everything I adore in YA all at once and it was amazing. I loved the depiction of Europe and the Grand Tour. I loved how Lee addressed the portrayal of black and gay characters. I even loved Felicity as much as she was annoying in Monty’s eyes. I wanted to hate Monty with every fiber of my being but I adored him. He was so vulnerable that I felt bad for him even when he was at his worst. Lee created an amazing cast of characters and I won’t soon forget it.

These characters were amazing. Percy and Monty alone could have made a book out of their romance. Pairing it with an adventure was exactly what I love. Felicity was a strong woman when strong women weren’t appreciated. Percy had an illness no one could cure. And Monty was struggling with homosexuality in a time when it was illegal. They all had an issue to deal with on their own and together there were amazingly flawed and fun to read about.

Despite some initial revulsion, I ended up loving Monty. (I feel like I have to say immediately it’s not because of his sexuality so please keep reading before roasting me.) When I first started the book, I thought Monty narrating was going to ruin the whole thing for me. He was just so pompous! He acted like nothing could touch him and he was so much better than everyone and it got under my skin fast. It’s a credit to Lee’s storytelling that I learned to love him. I learned that his bravado was a way of trying to attract Percy and his humor a way of deflecting the pain he carried with him. As he opened up about his past and true feelings, I saw him as the true and flawed person he was and I fell in love with the character. Now I hope he narrates future novels because I’d love to learn more about him.

I think Monty’s bravado ended up being relatable. I remember being a hormonal teenager and wanting to show off to impress a boy. I remember being impressed by a boy showing off. It was one of the most natural teenage things I think Monty could have done. The only difference was the time period he was in and the level of society he embarrassed himself at. That I wouldn’t have been capable of in high school.

Mackenzi Lee
Image via HarperCollins

I liked the time the party was in Spain. Yes, it’s partially because I speak Spanish and visited Barcelona last year. But I think it was a really good plot development time as well. Felicity became much more of a team member while they were there and Monty had to learn how to stay a bit calmer than he was used to. He had to be subtle. I liked how they snuck into prison as well. That seemed really risky but also calculated at the same time and I appreciated what they were able to do.

Ther scene at Versailles was my least favorite. While it was important and had a lasting impact on the plot, it seemed a bit over the top and didn’t give me a great first impression of the characters. I didn’t like Monty yet at this point and I found myself rolling my eyes a lot.

My audiobook was narrated by Christian Coulson and he was fan-freaking-tastic. He gave Monty an amazing voice with layers of sarcasm, woe, and anger that were just perfect. I can’t imagine reading this without having Coulson’s voice in my head. He was perfect in every way I can describe.

All of the characters had to pretend to be someone they weren’t. Felicity had to pretend she was a lady when she wanted to be a doctor. Percy had to pretend he was well when he was ill. Monty pretending to be straight when he was bisexual was hard for him because he felt he could only recognize part of his affections. It took time for them all to come clean with each other about what they wanted and who they were. It’s hard to be yourself sometimes and it can be hard to accept someone for who they are. But when we do, it’s really beautiful and we can stop seeing people for their flaws and see them for their beauty.

Writer’s Takeaway: I feel like I need to try writing in first person after seeing how wonderfully Lee did it. Monty’s narration gave the book the voice it needed to tackle the internal demons that he was dealing with. The book would have fallen flat without Monty narrating. I haven’t been brave enough to try the first person yet but I’m starting to feel like it’s needed.

An amazing story with great characters. Five out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1700-1799 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge. Challenge complete!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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