Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. It’s coming up to that time of year where we reflect on what we’ve read and decide which books have been our favourites. Now there is a couple of weeks left of 2017 so something could sneak in here but here’s how it stands at the moment.
In no particular order, here are my ten favourite books of 2017 – links go to my review.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
This book is a great feminist read. I sped though this book because I related to the characters so much and as I read I’d get this pain in my chest because it felt so real and was equal parts inspiring and frustrating.
Frangipani by Celestine Hitiura Vaite
This book surprised me by how much I loved it. It’s a family drama with a compelling mother/daughter relationship at its heart and it’s such a nice read. I know “nice” isn’t really seen as a positive word but that’s what it is, there’s no major drama or sudden plot twists, it’s just a comforting read.
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he has too much fun for that. Neither being kicked out of the finest boarding schools in England nor his father’s disapproval can stop him drinking, gambling or waking up in the arms of women or men. As Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, along with his best friend Percy (who he may be in love with) and his younger sister Felicity, he has one final year of fun until he must return home and to be a part of his father’s business. But things go awry when Monty’s usual recklessness turns their trip abroad into a manhunt across Europe, putting himself and those he cares about in danger.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is so much fun. It’s set in the 1700’s which allows for a different kind of travelling adventure. They can’t get money easily, there’s now quick communication to back home if things go wrong so when you encounter highway men or pirates you’re on your own with just your wits.
Monty, Percy and Felicity are a great trio of characters with interesting dynamics. Felicity was the one I loved straight away. She’s a young lady due to go to finishing school when all she really wants to do is go to the school’s her brother has been kicked out of. But due to her gender and the times that’s not possible, no matter how smart and eager she is. Percy is the nephew of a nobleman but he has never really fitted in to high society due to his Barbadian mother. Even though his childhood must’ve been difficult he is warm and kind and cares about Monty a lot. Monty took longer to grow on me as the problems he ends up facing really help him grow and learn more about himself. He’s selfish and only thinks about how other people’s issues affects him, he’s a charmer and doesn’t think before he acts – all qualities that are often simultaneously infuriating and endearing.
Monty’s voice shines through in the writing, making this 500-page novel fly by. Also, the fact that Monty ends up in almost non-stop escapades definitely helps make it a book that’s difficult to put down. From England, to France and beyond their adventures and the mystery they uncover often verges into the absurd but it’s all told with such charm and wit that it ends up being quite brilliant. Along with all the excitement and threat of danger, there’s still quieter moments between the characters that show they aren’t necessarily cut out for this kind of thing but being together makes them stronger and better.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a great historical adventure story with a bisexual main character, an engaging romance and a colourful cast of characters. 5/5.
I ordered my third ever OwlCrate when I saw that July’s theme was “Wanderlust” – a theme that is pretty perfect for me as I love travelling and books about characters going on adventures.
OwlCrate is a YA subscription box service based in America, so because of the kind of expensive shipping costs to the UK I very rarely get one (she says even though this is her second box in three months – they’ve had cool themes recently!) Even though it comes from the US I do think it arrives really quickly and everything is well packaged so nothing gets damaged in the post.
Now onto what was included in this month’s box! #Spoilers
I’m not going to lie but I kind of rummaged to the bottom of the box straight away to see what the book was because I had a small inkling/hope based on the hints given by OwlCrate. The book was what I hoped it would be and that was The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee! I’ve seen this book on the book blogosphere and it sounds like such a fun adventure and I’ve heard so many positive things about it. I wasn’t sure what I’d been seeing was ARC’s or if the book was already out as I am terrible at keeping up with books release dates. I’m really looking forward to reading it and it might even be the next book I pick up. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue came with a signed bookplate, a cute illustrated note from the author and an art print map. Also, the cover is an OwlCrate exclusive and it’s more of a blue cover than green cover of the standard hardback which is cool.
Now onto the goodies. There’s an art print featuring a quote from Francois Rabelais and is somewhat inspired by John Green’s Looking for Alaska which was designed by Shailey Ann Designs. There’s a Lord of the Rings-inspired cloth backpack which is rather cool and a Newt Scamander keychain from Funko – if there’s a character that has wanderlust it’s Newt. There’s a pocket mirror inspired by A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and was designed by Miss Phi. Then there’s a pocket journal from Ooly (one of eight different designs) and an owl luggage tag from Mudpuppy.
Once again there’s a lot of cool stuff in this OwlCrate box. Newt is going to be joining the rest of my Funko collection on my bookshelves and I’ll definitely be putting the pocket mirror in my handbag. I’m super excited about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and I think the rest of the goodies will be things I’ll use.
Next months OwlCrate theme is “Something Wicked This Way Comes” so if you like things that are magical and something evil then maybe August’s OwlCrate box is for you. If you got this months OwlCrate, do let me know what you thought. Are there any other bookish subscription boxes I should try?