Tag Archives: Montague Siblings

Book Review: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (4/5)

11 May

I absolutely adored the first book in this series so to say I put it on a pedestal is perhaps an understatement. I was so excited to start it that I didn’t think about book club picks that might get in the way and had to stop three hours in for more than a month to squeeze in some other books before coming back to it. But when I did return, I powered through.

PetticoatsThe Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2) by Mackenzi Lee

Other books by Lee reviewed on this blog:

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky

Summary from Amazon:

A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.

In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

This book was fun and a great adventure, but I was looking for something more and unfortunately didn’t get it. Don’t get me wrong Felicity’s voice is great and Johanna and Sim were amazing companions. However, I didn’t fee like Felicity grew much during the book and Monty’s growth was part of what I loved so much in the first book. Felicity grew more in the first book than she seemed to in this one. It felt a bit more like a forced sequel than a true second plot and I was disappointed. By my rating, you can see I still enjoyed it, but I couldn’t give it the full Five Stars.

I didn’t believe Felicity and Johanna as much as I would have liked. Felicity was so single minded for much of the book that I found it hard to believe she welcomed Johanna back into her life so quickly and abandoned her worship of Platt as fast as she did. The rest of the book, her focus was much more external and it seemed like a sudden shift. Johanna was more likeable the second half of the book but I didn’t understand why she was so subservient before she ran away. She seemed so happy and content and many of the comments she and her uncle made made it seem like she wanted to get married. She never seemed to contradict this later so her decision to abscond baffled me for much of the book.

Sim was my favorite character. I thought her motivation was the strongest out of the female leads. Her relationship with her father was appropriately complicated. I also liked how Lee brought in a Muslim character and the cultural opportunities that opened the book to because of that diverse pick. Sim was a strong a powerful character and I think I’d rather a sequel about her than another Montague sibling at this point.

There wasn’t much relatable about Felicity which is part of why I didn’t engage with her. Her adventure was larger than life and very fun, but it’s not something most of us will even get a chance to experience. Her friendship with Johanna ended poorly and that could have been something I understood and related to, but their resuming of their friendship was almost too quick and they never seemed to sort out what had driven them apart. Her desire to do something society pushed back against has become (thankfully) less relatable for most people. I think this was supposed to be one thing that made her relatable to women but in this case, I think time has made her struggles less common and her drive less relatable.


Mackenzi Lee Author image via HarperCollins

I enjoyed the time the girls spent in Zurich best. After that, the book started moving so fast that I had some trouble keeping up with it. Zurich gave them time to develop as individuals and to bond as a group which was fun to watch. Felicity was able to show her knowledge and apply it well with Sim’s injury and we got to see how the three could work together for the rest of the book.

Platt’s character was the most disappointing part of the entire book to me. Felicity looked up to him so much and we know that he’s a very intelligent person from the books that he wrote and the work that he did. The way he carved a way for himself in the medical field was admirable. However, he was a wreck once he appeared. His addiction was to blame for a lot of this, but it seemed too much of an oversimplification based on how he’d been built up. I was really hoping for a bit more, for his genius to shine through in some way or for him to at least show his medical knowledge.

The audiobook was narrated by Moira Quirk. I didn’t hate her reading, but it wasn’t my favorite. She made a lot of things sounds flippant that I don’t think should have been read in such flippant tones. It was hard for me to tell if that was the writing or the narration, though. I will say that I liked her dramatic pauses when large turns happened. She had good voices for the characters, though Johanna and Felicity were a bit similar.

Felicity takes her fate into her own hands, not letting her society dictate what she can or should do. She refuses romantic relationships and pursues professional growth. She’s a very modern woman living in the 1700s. The book shows how far women have come since Felicity is very limited by her sex and the time she lives in. Many of the things she is barred from doing are much more easily obtainable by women today. Her fight it what makes this so. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the women who came before us, women like Felicity who pushed back and found their own way.

Writer’s Takeaway: Lee kept a first-person narration story moving forward at a good pace which can be hard to do! Her time jumps were well managed and she kept Felicity at the center of the excitement without it seeming forced out out of character. I’ve tried to write first person and struggled so I was so excited to see a story move so smoothly.

Overall, a fun read but nothing like the first in the series. Four out of Five Stars

This book fulfills the 1700-1799 time period of the When Are You Reading? 2021 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!

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‘The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy’ by Mackenzi Lee, 2018. A review by John Cook. | queerreaders
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (ARC): A Loveable Girl Gang on an Adventure Saving Sea Monsters | Vicky Who Reads
Book Review | The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – Mackenzi Lee | For the Love of Books


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!

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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

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

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

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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