Category Archives: LGBT

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue: A Review

I still have nightmares about trying to read Moby Dick for a college literature class. Seriously, that book is my great whale. Despite many (many!) attempts to read it, I still haven't been able to get through it all. Consequently, I believe it is on

By Mackenzi Lee

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Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, YA, Romance

Pages: 513 (Hardcover edition)

ISBN: 9780062382801

The Story:

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.

My Favourite Points:

Two things really stood out for me in this book: the quality of the writing and Monty.

This book was very well written. The drama was there as well as humour and intriguing plot points.

As for the characters themselves, I found them to be quite unique and they even managed to develop over the pages. Although I’d have wanted for Monty to grasp things more quickly and change more than what he did, but it was simply realistic so I can’t really talk against that aspect.

The plot was fun and interesting, though it sometimes lacked realism or high stakes.

My favourite character was Felicity (hands down!). She’s strong, independent, determined and impressive in her own way. She’s pursuing medecine in her free time despite what her father and society think of a woman having a passion (or the wits!) for it. I can’t wait for the sequel, which is all about Felicity!

My Lesser Points:
However, Monty didn’t sit well with me. At all. He’s such an idiot from beginning to end. Yes, okay, at the end he’s a bit more open-minded and kind, but since the characters were done realistically, people will often come back to behaving just like they used to so with very few differences… He’s arrogant and careless and doesn’t even put himself in Percy’s shoes for… EVERYTHING. It’s always others’ fault and he’s so oblivious. I know he has a hard past, but he’s really just blind or plain stupid. Either way, I don’t like him. It’s his personality I dislike. Reading this book wasn’t a lot of fun because he was in it, see? I don’t even know why I finished it. Probably because Felicity is awesome and Percy is so cute. But Monty? Thank God the sequel isn’t about him!

Conclusion:

But not everything is lost for there’s a special treat in this book: interracial homosexual love. Like, why don’t we see this more often? In all possible combinations: interracial love, homosexual love, and interracial homosexual love. It’s cruelly missing and this book gives it to us.

Lastly, the realism surrounding epilepsy and madhouses is heart-wrenching. But well done!

Oh, I forgot: it’s set in 18th century, so that’s pretty great.

All in all, the book and story themselves weren’t bad, but Monty ruined it for me. I hated picking up the book and having to read HIS point of view. If it had been Percy’s, now, that would have been perfect and sweet, I’m sure of it. I guess it’s 4 disappointing stars for this one. I can’t rate it less than 4 because a character didn’t sit well with me, right? Let’s say I’m judging the overall product as a 4 stars.

If you want to learn more about Mackenzi Lee and her books, head over to her Web site  or her Twitter account.

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Strawberry Summer: A Review

Strawberry Summer

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*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Margaret ‘’Maggie’’ Beringer has a troubled past with Courtney Carrington, heiress of Carrington’s retail store. The two were madly in love during their teenage years, yet they parted for a poignant reason. Now, Courtney comes back into Maggie’s little town known as Tanner Peak. Will their love survive the issues of the past or crash once again?

I picked this book on NetGalley as soon as I saw it was a lesbian romance. I had never read one and I think it’s cute; unfortunately, there are not enough of them around without being erotica. Plus, the description of a past love and now they find themselves still in love yet struggling against those past issues is just perfect to me. Of course, I had to request it and I was more than thrilled to see the publisher had granted my request.

There are so many good points about this novel that I don’t know where to start yet I’ll try to do my best! The most prominent one is how much emotional it made me in general and how much I cared about Courtney (mostly) and Maggie. I wanted them to have a happy ending and I could barely put this book down–I yearned to learn what next would happen with them! Another point worth mentioning is how I couldn’t find typos or mistakes of any kind in the writing. That got me quite pleased as many of the ARCs and even some published books are full of them. But not this one so it’s a bonus. The sarcastic and humoristic main character (Maggie) makes for a welcome touch of humour. I have found her humour to be really funny, which made it all the more interesting to read.

I swear this bittersweet romance has got me in for highs and lows (ouch, my poor heart!). I bet it will no doubt do the same to you. The romance is also playful and teasing, which is highly amusing for us. There is a good and cute evolution of Maggie and Courtney’s relationship–it is even adorable, I have to admit. I’d also like to remark that Maggie knows and accepts she’s a lesbian which I love, even though there is a funny scene of her coming out. In fact, I thought this part was plain hilarious! The MC (Maggie) is strong, and the writing is vivid–it comes to life. Some scenes in this novel made me think I was a teenager again with how Maggie was acting in certain flashback chapters. The author, Melissa Brayden, has a knack for making the teens pop and look real on the page. The feelings of high school and popularity were realistic (up to a point where most of the popular kids befriended Maggie) along with a realistic account of life and diverse people in it.

As for characterization, it is present and good but it takes a long while to take effect. I still haven’t figured out if it’s because of Maggie’s personality or the author wrote it that way. I am still struggling with that one… Nevertheless, it was there and mostly brought about by friends and family members towards the end. Do you want to learn something fun? There are some twists in this story! I enjoyed them, actually. There was even one I hadn’t seen coming, which is so rare with me (I always figure out plot twists well in advance). I had to add that the drama is well built-up, a point that I genuinely adored! I’m one for angst in stories (even my own) so I thoroughly enjoyed the drama in this one (I even cried out of sadness AND cuteness overload later on).

The timeline was impeccable and shown to us in a clear manner. I’ll forever be grateful for that. Another point I appreciated is the fun and developed insight into the MC’s thoughts. I just want to say that I loved Courtney Carrington. I know she isn’t the main character, but she is so sweet and caring! I couldn’t help but root for her during all the book. Seriously. Both characters were well-done, of course, but let’s say I prefer Courtney because of her kindness. On another note, there are many events (which reminds me of a good adventure or fantasy book thanks to the action), which is quite surprising in a romance novel (and much appreciated on my part, too). I didn’t find any long, boring parts, which is a relief. Lastly, we get to read about every important character’s life (where they are now and what is their job and relationship status) and the epilogue is a nice follow-up. It is like a neat little bow on top of a present!

Here come the bad points. There were too few descriptions and not enough insight into Maggie’s emotions–it was more telling than showing although one could guess through her humoristic and sarcastic lines. But it was not enough. I wanted to feel what she was experiencing. I could never truly connect with Maggie because of that; I always felt like a nosy neighbor knowing all about her life. It’s sad because I wanted to connect. Also, the popular kids are perhaps too nice to Maggie (most of them, that is)–it’s usually not how it works in high school with popularity (and I experienced it first-hand). Last but not least, I believe the sex scenes are not spaced enough–there were about four of them in less than 60 pages! Fortunately, they are short (just a few pages, if not a few lines sometimes) and sweet in a way. Even though I understand the focus on sex at such a young age, I’d have preferred the emphasis to be put on their feelings and emotions, mostly Maggie’s because she seems to me like lacking in that department.

I would love to tell you what types of fans this book is perfect for but this is the first lesbian romance I ever read. However, I can assure you that if you love a good emotional roller coaster ride and cute but poignant romances, Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden is for you!

I give Strawberry Summer a rating of 4 out of 5 because of how emotionally invested I became with this novel and because it made me cry (I love it when I cry because of books, that means they get to me), and the lack of emotions on Maggie’s part – or so it seems. I was delighted to win this ARC and I must say it hit home with me. I recommend it in a heartbeat!

Write, Right?

Yesterday, I found a short story just lying there on my computer. I opened it and immersed myself in it – quite a fun time I had to discover this little gem again! I can’t tell you the working title yet or I’d spoil things (*spoilers!*), but I can give you one word which it includes: Ghosts.

Yes, you’ve read me well.

In addition to this, I have started writing a LGBT short story where two young women experience love at first sight. It’s a touching story with a woman’s real struggle toward her own acceptance and her family’s acceptance of her as a lesbian.

Those two stories share one thing in common that is usually not my area of expertise in writing: love. They are romance stories first and foremost. Funny at some points and poignant at others.

I really hope you will like them.

In the meantime, I need to complete my new novel outline along with its synopsis for NaNoWriMo Prep.

I’ll keep you updated!

2Bs or Not to 2Bs: Bios and Background Stories

Hello, folks!

I’m nearly done writing my main characters’ bios. Soon, I’ll be able to write their background story!

Here are their names: Miranda Kane and Thomas Lance.

One of them is a sweetheart, and the other is… very complicated.

In my point of view, though, they’re both extremely lovable.

I should also find a title. But ideas have yet to come to my mind about it.
Moreover, I have found a LGBT short story I had started writing a while back and I intend on continuing it this week. Polishing it, preparing it in order to publish it. I’ll keep you updated about this. 🙂

Happy NaNoWriMo Prepping!

P.S.: Out of topic, but I can’t wait to Halloween!