The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee

N.B. this is spoiler-free!

"We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with lacquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved."

I had heard so many great things about this book, but silly old me got put off by a cover I didn't particularly like. Why do I do this to myself? Luckily, one day the eBook for The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was £1.99 for a short time, and if you bought the eBook you got the audiobook for £2.99. Of course I took that deal. For a long time I thought nothing would ever top Stephen Fry's narration of the Harry Potter books... you have some competition now, my good sir. For the first time ever, I read a book for the first time by listening to an audiobook. The audiobook was so damn good it felt like a waste reading it instead. Seriously, give it a go; it's wonderful.

"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."

Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli

N.B.  This review is spoiler-free!

“Imagine going about your day knowing someone’s carrying you in their mind. That has to be the best part of being in love - the feeling of having a home in someone else’s brain.” 

This might be the first book featuring f/f romance as a key part of the plot I have ever read and I have a lot of feelings. I avoided books with queer female main characters because I found it triggering and sure, reading Leah on the Offbeat made me a little anxious once or twice, but I'm glad I finally did it. This book is so full of love and humour and wonderful characters I read it in under twenty four hours and laughed out loud several times. I'm starting to wonder if maybe I actually liked it more than I like Simon?! Seriously, if you enjoyed Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens agenda you will definitely love this book!

"Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended."

Queer Book Recommendations

N.B. everything is spoiler-free!

So June is Pride Month so what better time to talk about my favourite queer books and graphic novels? I want to start it out with a little disclaimer; I am the first to admit that my queer reading has not been as diverse as it could be. In all honesty it's partly because I used to find some things a little triggering. So yes, the majority of the queer rep in the books I will be talking about will be cis gay men. I'm hoping that over the course of not just this month, but this year, I will expand my repertoire and have more of a diverse queer catalog. With that said, the books I'm recommending are some of my favourites and still deserve reading!