The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee #bookreview #YA #LGBT

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’ve had this book in my TBR for a while, and when I had to be in the car for an extended period, I took advantage of the audio book.  And I wonder why I waited so long to get to this fabulous novel.

Christian Coulson is an outstanding narrator and a perfect voice for Monty.  Monty himself is a mess – narcissistic, oblivious, and generally a danger to himself and others with his actions, but he does it in such a charming way, you can’t help but go along with him.  And Percy – such a sweet, gentle soul who deserves some sort of award for sticking by Monty for so long.  Their Grand Tour is one dangerous situation after another, mostly due to Monty’s poor decisions, but an exciting, nerve-wracking adventure for the reader.  He has so many quotable lines, I could fill a notebook with them.

This is an easy five stars for me, and I only regret it took me this long to read the novel.  If you’re a fan of historical fiction with a heavy dose of humor and adventure, and brash, self-destructive MCs with a good heart, here it is.  It’s a wildly entertaining ride.

 

Hood Academy by Shelley Wilson #bookreview #YA #urbanfantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

Will she follow the pack…or destroy them?

A dead mother. A violent father. A missing brother.

When Mia’s father is murdered, it’s her estranged uncle that comes to the rescue, but what he offers her in return for his help could be worse than the life she is leaving behind.

Taken to Hood Academy, a unique school deep in the forest, she discovers friendships, love, and the courage to stand on her own.

Mia takes the oath that seals her future as a werewolf hunter, but not everyone wants Mia to succeed.

Screams in the night. Secret rooms. Hidden letters. Mia becomes an important piece in a game she doesn’t want to play.

Loyalty, friendships, and family bonds are tested as Mia discovers her true identity, but will the truth set her free, or will it destroy her? 

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book featuring werewolves (Twilight maybe?), so I was excited to get into this novel.  And the cover designer did a magnificent job at capturing readers’ attention.

This novel starts out with a heart-pounding sequence when Mia witnesses a werewolf killing her father.  From there, the plot takes off at a fast pace and rarely slows down.  Mia is a strong protagonist, occasionally leaping into action before thinking things through, and she’s suffered the loss of her mother, abuse from her father, and feels abandoned by her brother.  Without giving away spoilers, the author did a fantastic job at introducing conflict to the story, and Mia’s loyalties are pulled in several directions.

The transformation of human to werewolf is described in detail with vivid imagery, including both the immense pain involved and the feeling of power and animal instincts upon completion.  Being a science nerd, Sebastian’s research fascinated me, and this is an angle I haven’t seen explored in other werewolf books.  I also enjoyed the loyal friendship between Mia and Elizabeth and, lacking a female presence in her life since the death of her mother, her relationship with her teacher, Miss Ross.

Something I missed was more interaction between Mia and a character from her past who turns up again.  In the beginning of part two of the book, part one was summarized, giving the impression of two separate books being combined.  As I read an ARC, this is something that may change in the final version.

If you’re a fan of fast-paced urban fantasy with likeable characters and strong friendships, add Hood Academy to your TBR.  It also boasts some pretty cool werewolves!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

#PennedCon2019, #HeartlandBookFestival, and #BadMoonRising

I’m back from Penned Con – and once again, behind on blog visits.  I’ll try to get there this week!  This was my second year at Penned Con (I’ve already reserved my table for next year) and it was a blast.  I met and talked with so many passionate readers, sold some books, hung out with fellow authors, and reconnected with some friends.  I was exhausted by the end of both days, but it was so much fun and well worth it.  My tablemate was unable to attend so I was able to spread out.  I really didn’t have enough for a whole table, but the extra room was nice.  The final count at the end of the weekend – over 26K raised for Action for Autism!

This Friday and Saturday, I’ll be attending Heartland Book Festival in Elizabethtown, KY.  This is a new book fest, with Friday being student day.  I love talking to kids about books, so I’m especially looking forward to this.  I’ll let you know next week how it went.

 

The info for Bad Moon Rising was due yesterday, so if you haven’t sent yours in, please get it to me in the next couple of days.  I still have one slot open!

Have a great week!

WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

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

I’m currently reading Fireborne by Rosaria Munda.  Look at these comp titles – GoT and Red Rising?  Dragons?  Your question should be why am I not reading this book?

Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen. 

I just finished Slayer by Brittney Morris.  I’m not a big gamer (unless you count the arcade games I played in high school), but I still play some Xbox.  The thought of a high school student creating a game like this, keeping it a secret from everyone she knows, then having to deal with such heavy issues – I was intrigued.  This was a fantastic read, full of creative imagery within the game.

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process? 

I started The Gate by D.L. Cross a couple of months ago, then had to put it on hold for other reading commitments.  I’m excited to get back to it and find out about these aliens.

He lost his job. He lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

 

 

 

All the Love You Write by D.G. Driver #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #RBRT

A story about young love, first love, true love, timeless love, and the power of love letters.

Mark and Bethany are two mismatched high school seniors in a new relationship.

It’s doomed to fail.

Mark has adored Bethany since middle school, and she’s finally giving him a chance. Only, he’s clumsy at romance and knows he’ll lose her because of it. Bethany thinks Mark is sweet. Only, she’s afraid to commit her whole heart to him because he’s going into the army and she’s headed off to college.

Fifty years earlier, a boy and a girl from the same high school shared an amazing but tragic love story. They have now returned as ghosts and are interfering in Mark and Bethany’s relationship.

Who are they? Why do they care what happens to Mark and Bethany?

I’ve read nearly every book D.G. Driver has written, and they’ve never disappointed me.  All the Love You Write is no different.

When I learned this story was the continuation of the author’s 2015 novella, Passing Notes, I couldn’t wait to read it.  As with the novella, this is a sweet, heartwarming tale, and I challenge anyone to read it and not have their heartstrings tugged.  The author does an excellent job at portraying the awkwardness of first relationships, especially in the case of Mark.  As the mother of sons, I saw several parallels and chuckled many times over his actions.

One of the characters frustrated me for a good portion of the book.  I wanted to tell this person they were doing it all wrong, but one of the ghosts took care of that for me.  I’m a fan of anything supernatural, so that aspect and the connection to Mark were some of my favorite things about the story.

The fact that Bethany excels academically and is on a college track, while Mark has struggled in school and chooses to serve his country in the army is a source of conflict between the couple.  It’s also an apt depiction of how college isn’t the path for everyone, while pointing out the many educational and career advancement opportunities within the military.

It’s clear the author did her research into the time period of the Vietnam War – not only historic events that took place, but also how relationships and opportunities for women were vastly different from today.

If you’re a fan of love stories – or even better, supernatural love stories, All the Love You Write is an inspiring tale with some some heartfelt messages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book Signing, #PennedCon2019, and #BadMoonRising

Vacation was fabulous!  And I’m ready to go back.  Out on the beach by 9 am under the umbrella where I stayed, book in hand, until 5 pm.  Perfection.

Yesterday I attended Victoria Schwab’s book signing at Parnassus Books in Nashville, and it was a full house.  She’s one of my favorite authors, and I’ve often said I’d love to spend a day in her head to see how her mind works.  Marcia, if you’re reading this, I told her you had cats named Rhy and Kell, and she asked why I didn’t have their pics.  But I do have the pic you requested I take with her!

This week, I’ll be leaving on Thursday for Penned Con in St. Louis.  Last year was my first time signing, and it was one of most well-organized book festivals I’ve attended – plus, the organizers donate the majority of the profits to charity.  And the fans!  Folks who have a deep passion for books, and I enjoyed talking with so many of them.  This year’s theme is Going Back to the 80s, and Thursday night is a trivia contest.  Considering I’m a child of the 80s, I’m thinking I might have an advantage.  My Save Ferris shirt is already packed.  It’s going to be an awesome weekend.

During my downtime at Penned Con, I’ll be working on the Bad Moon Rising posts.  I still have one opening for October 31st, and I always like to have extra authors on the backburner.  Seems like every year a couple of authors don’t return their info, so I always have extra slots.  If all the info is returned, I’ll schedule a few posts for the same day to make sure everyone is included.  Tell your friends!

Have a great week!

 

#AuthorInterview and #BookReview of The Gemini Connection #YA #scifi #LGBT

Time for some shameless self-promotion.  Last week (while I was lounging on the beach under an umbrella reading), blogger and author Jonathan Pongratz posted an interview with me here, and a review of The Gemini Connection that had me doing a Snoopy dance on the beach (I’m sure there’s YouTube footage somewhere) here.

Jonny’s horror novella, Reaper, will be featured here during Bad Moon Rising on October 22nd.  Don’t you love that eerie cover?  If you can’t wait until then and want to go ahead and check it out, click here for Amazon.

Have a great weekend!