Book Reviews · Reading

Mini Reviews: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, The Explorer, Editing Emma & A Change is Gonna Come

I’ve read a lot of good books lately. Like A LOT. So I decided I’d do a lil blog post on a few of my absolute recent favs.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

IMG_9146Henry “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.

  • This book was 100% charming, and equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking.
  • Our narrator, Monty, is arrogant and kind and full of himself and vulnerable and full of all the contradictions of a real person. He is the definition of a lovable rogue. His journey through the book is lovely to see.
  • The plot is always exciting, I was hooked by about page 5 and all the way throughout. I adored the historical aspect of the story (I *might* have to read ALL the non-fiction on Grand Tours asap.)
  • I spent the entirety of this book in utter awe and admiration of Felicity. She is my no1 babe, sass queen and I LOVE HER. (and she’s getting her own book, YAY!)
  • Loved loved loved the diversity. (Historical YA, take note!)

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

From Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner Katherine Rundell comes an exciting IMG_8909new novel about a group of kids who must survive in the Amazon after their plane crashes.

Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England from Manaus when the plane they’re on crashes and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.


  • I would give this a billion stars if I could. It’s lushly imagined, beautifully written–an adventure that’ll make your heart sing.
  • This is a classic in the making. It’s timelessly wonderful, w/o any of the problematic elements that come with *some* of the classics.
  • Spectacular. The best book I’ve read this year.
  • When I was a kid one of my fav books was Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea. This book gave me those vibes.
  • If you like MG, you NEED to read this.
  • I may or may not have purchased ALL of the Katherine Rundell books I’ve yet to read minutes after finishing this.

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager

FullSizeRender 6When sixteen-year-old Emma Nash is ‘ghosted’ by the love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any normal teenage girl would do…
Emma spends the summer lurking in her bedroom, avoiding all human contact (and the shower), surrounded by the collection of chewit wrappers she saved from packs Leon gave her, back when he actually acknowledged her existence…

But seeing Leon suddenly ‘In a relationship’ on Facebook with the perfect Anna, spurs Emma into action and she embarks on a mission to make positive changes to her life (or ‘edits,’ if you will) and vows to use the internet for more than obsessively stalking Leon’s activities! Instead, she will use it for good and noble causes like finding someone who will actually be nice to her, and recording her findings for the rest of the world to see (i.e. BFF Steph and her mum) on her new Editing Emma blog.

But Emma soon discovers her ‘habit’ is harder to break than she first thought – turns out she’s not the only one ‘editing’ herself online (thank you Tinder for finding her mum’s profile, age 35, really?) and that life through an Instagram filter isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. But it could be worse, she could have outed her best friend, accidentally chatted up a 12 year old boy and revealed to the world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s time or virginity… oh no wait, that’s exactly what happened…

  • This is from my rambling love-fest review on Goodreads: It’s not often I read a YA contemp that I can’t bare to put down. I have owned this book for a matter of hours and already devoured it. This is fresh and funny, and Emma’s voice is so authentically teen like I’m still half convinced she’s a real-life blogger. I adored the convo’s about sex, masturbation, feminism and sexuality–because, THESE ARE THINGS TEENS TALK ABOUT! This is a bit of a rambling incoherent review, but as a tween/tween I remember reading and re-reading the Georgia Nicolson books, discussing them constantly with my BFF, and trawling bookshops to find the latest book out. I was completely and utterly captured by Georgia. Today’s teens will be captivated by Emma.
  • Yep, I still feel exactly the same way about this one. I snort-laughed my way through this book, it was fresh and funny, with a authentic voice. I’ve recommended this COUNTLESS times since I read this. Fab read.
  • This is perfect for teenagers, or for anyone that still remembers the cringy things they did as a teenager.

A Change is Gonna Come

Featuring top Young Adult authors alongside a host of exciting new talent, this FullSizeRender 7anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene. Contributors include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga and Nikesh Shukla.

Plus introducing four fresh new voices in YA fiction: Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy.

  • This is the book that was number one on my wishlist at YALC. I’d heard about it from the lovely Jim at YaYeahYeah, and I NEEDED to get my hands on it.
  • This book is supremely powerful. As a collection, it is hard hitting and compelling. Individually, the stories all shine, for very different reasons. There are authors in here that will be future bestsellers, and a a few current bestsellers that I’ve added to my ‘NEED TO READ ASAP’ list.
  • My personal favs were Marionette Girl, which depicted OCD in such a startling realistic way it made me cry,  and Fortune Favours the Bold, which gave me goosebumps.
  • It goes without saying how important it is for more BAME voices to be heard in publishing. I really really hope #ChangeBook is the first of many.

So there you have it folks, mini reviews on some of my recent fav reads, What books have you read recently that you loved? (I’m forever adding to my TBR!)

4 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, The Explorer, Editing Emma & A Change is Gonna Come

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