Novella review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Goodreads
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Source: Preorder Incentive

In The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky, 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?

Here’s a short review of a little novella that I got for preordering The Lady’s Guide:

Monty and Percy are absolutely adorable and I love them so much. Monty is such a disaster and I just love him so much. Percy is perfect, as always, and I love him too. This novella is ridiculously cute in a very awkward way. I smiled for the entirety of this novella’s 54 pages, except maybe for when Monty references the sadder parts of his past.

I just… have nothing to say other than I LOVE MONTY AND PERCY AND I NEED TO READ EVEN MORE ABOUT THEM.

#mm18: new or old

Have you read this novella? Do you love Monty and Percy as much as I do?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Source: Purchased

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.

It seems like every book I was anticipating was released in October this year. First there was Vengeful, then there was What If It’s Us, and now there’s The Lady’s Guide. I loved The Gentleman’s Guide when I read it last year and was so excited when I heard that Felicity was getting her own book in the series. (So excited that I actually preordered it, although that was mostly just so that I could get the novella as well.)

I absolutely adored the first half of this book. I loved every character, from Felicity to Johanna to Sim. I loved getting to see Monty and Percy again. I loved how snarky Felicity could be. When she turns down a marriage proposal because she has “so much to read?” Actually me.

But the second half of the book? I’m not sure what happened. It really took a turn and I just couldn’t go for it. This is definitely spoiler territory, so…

Click to expand!

The biggest problem I had with the second half was the introduction of the sea dragons. If this had been a fantasy novel, it would be one thing. But it wasn’t. It’s historical fiction about a girl in the 18th century who wants to be a doctor. I thought that the dragons really took away from the story.

Another problem for me personally (that wouldn’t necessarily be a problem for everybody) is that toward the end of the book, Felicity starts speaking in a much more modern way than she had been at the beginning. One example is her rolling her eyes and saying, “That sounds fake” when she learns about fuzzy cacti. It just didn’t feel like her voice anymore and it pulled me out of the story.

Was The Lady’s Guide an enjoyable book? Yes. But it didn’t really live up to my expectations and I found myself putting it down all the time to go do other things. I liked the characters, I liked the representation, and a lot of the writing was funny and sassy and wonderful, but overall… I just didn’t love this one as much as I’d expected.

#mm18: new or old

Have you read The Lady’s Guide? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee

Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Based on Mackenzi Lee’s popular weekly Twitter series of the same name, Bygone Badass Broads features 52 remarkable and forgotten trailblazing women from all over the world. With tales of heroism and cunning, in-depth bios and witty storytelling, Bygone Badass Broads gives new life to these historic female pioneers. Starting in the fifth century BC and continuing to the present, the book takes a closer look at bold and inspiring women who dared to step outside the traditional gender roles of their time. Coupled with riveting illustrations and Lee’s humorous and conversational storytelling style, this book is an outright celebration of the badass women who paved the way for the rest of us.

I loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is one of my most anticipated 2018 releases, so I figured I’d pick up something else by Mackenzi Lee while I impatiently wait for October 2. I’m going to keep this review short and sweet since the book itself is only 176 pages and, let’s be honest, a lot of that is pictures.

The writing style: The book is basically just a published version of Mackenzi Lee’s Twitter feed, which is fine, but really, I could’ve just scrolled through my Twitter app with the same result. It’s also written really informally, which is also fine, but I found that I kept getting distracted from the actual learning by all of the author’s commentary.

The women: So many inspirational women are included in this book! I definitely want to thank the author for educating me on important women in world history, and I can’t believe that in all my years of school, I’d never heard a single thing about most of them.

My new hero: Ursula Nordstrom, Harper’s editor-in-chief of juvenile books from 1940-1973.

Would I recommend it: Yes, if you can borrow it. Otherwise, Twitter’s free.

Have you read Bygone Badass Broads? Are you as excited for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy as I am? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

In 18th century England, Henry “Monty” Montague, his best friend Percy, and his sister Felicity embark on their Grand Tour of the Continent, hoping to hit such destinations as France and Spain before depositing Felicity at finishing school and Percy at law school.  While Monty assumes that his Tour will be filled with drinks, parties, and romantic escapades, his dreams are dashed when his strict father hires a man to watch over the trio and make sure no shenanigans are had.  Despite the preparations, everything that could possibly go wrong does, and the trio finds themselves faced with everything from highwaymen to sinking islands.  Meanwhile, Monty is dealing with his ever-present feelings for Percy and the knowledge that a public relationship with another boy would mean the end of his inheritance and everything he’s ever known.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book since the very first early reviews started rolling in, but the reviews since then have been pretty mixed.  I’m calling this my “book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read” because of the overall silly tone of it and the mixed reviews.

To start off, I want to say that I understand the criticisms of this book.  Even as I was reading, I thought to myself, “I bet this is a section a lot of people took issue with.”  Monty is not perfect.  He’s privileged, he’s flippant, and he feeds into bisexual stereotypes.  He runs around at all hours of the day and night with boys and girls and, initially, it seems like he’s never really faced any consequences for his actions.

Certainly, sometimes he doesn’t.  Monty truly is privileged in many ways.  His family’s wealth and position mean that he can be as rude as he likes to the nobility with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.  He can be caught hooking up with a woman and not be punished.  He has never gone hungry, never been without a comfortable bed, never wanted for anything.  He has never considered the degree of his privilege.  I can absolutely see how Monty might be a frustrating character.  The thing is, it’s completely realistic.  Have you ever tried to tell someone like Monty that they’re privileged?  Yeah, good luck with that.

The thing that makes Monty a good character is that he learns from his mistakes and grows as a person.  At the beginning of the book, he can’t even comprehend other people’s struggles.  He’s never considered that his biracial best friend couldn’t get away with half of what Monty takes for granted.  He realizes that his sister, like many other females, might not be content to sit around waiting on her future husband.  He also realizes that he’s had it rather easy for much of his life and that things could most certainly be worse.

That said, I didn’t really expect this book to tackle quite so many issues!  The writing style is so lighthearted that sometimes I didn’t even notice that the author threw in a lesson until I took the time to think about it.  Through Monty’s eyes, we see racism, homophobia, ableism, anxiety, alcohol abuse, child abuse, and sexism.  When I first started this book, I wondered where Monty had found such liberal, accepting parents in the 1700s.  When we learn that Monty’s parents are actually anything but accepting and his father is actually an awful human being, I just wanted to adopt this fictional kid who lived 300 years ago.  Or at least just give him a hug.

Another big criticism of this book that I’ve seen, aside from the whole privilege piece, is Monty’s treatment of Percy.  I will agree that he does not behave in an ideal manner toward his friend.  However, I completely understand where he’s coming from.  He’s been released into the wild, so to speak, away from his abusive father and the confines of his home country.  Yes, he’s sassy and promiscuous and fancies himself an adult, but he’s just eighteen years old.  He’s the age of a high school senior and in love with his same-sex best friend.  He both desperately wants Percy to know on the off chance that something could happen, but he also absolutely doesn’t want him to know for fear of the repercussions.  How does he handle his feelings?  He jokes around.  He makes light of everything.  When asked if he likes Percy like that, he basically says, “Yes, no, maybe, I’m not sure what you want me to say.”  I get it.  I’m straight and living in the 21st century and this stuff is hard for me.  Imagine being bisexual in the 18th century!

So, all in all, the book isn’t without its faults, but it is a whole lot of fun.  It’s well-written with loveable characters and I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it so much.  At the end of 2018, Mackenzi Lee is releasing The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, and I cannot wait.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

#mmdreading: a book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read