A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee | Review

Thank you so much to Harper Collins Australia for sending me a review copy of A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. The copy arrived after I had finished the book so I can promise you that receiving a copy in no way impacted my thoughts, feelings or rating of this book. 


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Release Date: October 2nd, 2018

Dates Read: October 6th 2018 to October 10th 2018

Trigger Warnings: sexism, racism, references to domestic violence, mentions of epileptic seizures, homophobia, use of ableist language, references to alcohol and drug abuse

Pages: 450

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: historical fiction, adventure, young adult, LGBT+

Goodreads blurb:

A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enrol in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.

In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.


 R E V I E W

A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was one of my most anticipated books of 2018. I was a massive fan of A Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and adored Felicity as a side character throughout. I am not sure if it was my expectations, the way I consumed this book or simply because this wasn’t as good as the first that led to my utter disappointment. Some series are just not meant to be a duology, and this was one of them. Mackenzi Lee perfectly captured the voice of Monty in her first book but Felicity felt one-dimensional and was beyond frustrating.

A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy follows Felicity as she sets herself up to attend medical school and become a doctor – something that is unfamiliar in this Victorian-era set book. So unfamiliar that she is laughed at several times. So when an opportunity comes for her to meet her medical idol, she takes it. Even if it means seeing a friend who had treated her terribly. Felicity can act. Or so she thinks. To take this journey Felicity gets help from a young Muslim female pirate, Sim, which leads to the pair impersonating a lady and maid across Europe as they travel to Germany.

There are several important conversations throughout A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, mainly about colonialism and the standards of women in this era. Felicity is an ace-aro woman but for some reason, she seems to so desperately think that she is not like anyone else that is frustrating. Not in terms of her sexuality. No, in terms of the fact that she wants a medical degree. So much of the book is focused on this so when it does a complete 180 around halfway into this book I was stunned.

I personally wouldn’t say that Felicity goes through any type of character arc throughout this book. She seems to realise that she was acting unkind towards others but does nothing to fix her behaviours. I am someone who adores unlikeable characters but Felicity was too much for me – especially since I think I was meant to like her.

Every other character felt quite bland to me, honestly. I was yawning and ready to shut down the audiobook. The only reason I powered through was that I was on the train up to Brisbane and couldn’t be bothered to find my phone. The lack of personality in each character was so clear to me, it really felt like everyone was just pushing Felicity’s story along – which is kind of useless to me, since her story wasn’t even that spectacular.

My favourite part of the book had to the inclusions with Monty and Percy – they only made small snippets but it was worth it. When they first appear Percy is recovering from a seizure and the way he was described, even though it was a few days after the fit, was incredibly real for me as someone with an epileptic mother.

Oh, this story also had dragons. Something that was incredibly random and I am still confused about but it was fabulous. So, basically, what this story lacked in piracy (because we are promised piracy in the title) it made up for with dragons.

It was also good to see female friendships, this book had a nice trio that followed throughout. I can’t say too much on it since I did mention earlier that all these characters felt bland.

Overall, A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was incredibly lacklustre. It lacked the depth and spark that the first book in the series did for me which was incredibly disappointing. I expected more, which may have been why I was not blown away by it at all. I tried not to touch on any of the diversity that is throughout this book since I don’t feel I am educated enough to do so, but Chiara @ Delicate Eternity wrote a fantastic review that talks more about these things. You can find that here.

post-divider-for-blog1Happy reading everyone!

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October Wrap Up | 2018

Wow, can you believe this year is almost done? October wasn’t super busy for me, I worked a lot, I handed in my last university assignments and I went and saw Taryn from @ Taryn Reads Books for a few days. I also started my Christmas shopping because ya girl likes to be prepared. However, I am so stuck on what to ask for my 21st in December. What did y’all get if you’re 21 or what your siblings get?

In terms of reading, I had a pretty good reading month. I read quite a few novellas but I am not mad about that – a lot of them I have been anticipating for a while.

Let’s just jump into my wrap up though. I don’t want to babble too much, mainly because I am typing this up before work because I was not prepared for this month to end. I read 4, 830 pages and 17 books in total! Let’s jump into this.

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Books I Didn’t Think I’d Love But Did (2.0) | Discussion

I enjoyed writing up the first post (click here to see it) and it was well received, so here I am doing part two. I’m pretty excited and I hope y’all like this part two as much as part one. I think after this I’m going to try “books I thought I’d love but hated” because the list of those books is ridiculously long. I may also do “books I knew I’d hate and I did” because I hate myself and have even more of those (actually probably just one post).

Enough waffle though, let us jump into these books! I’m super interested to hear your thoughts so make sure to comment below!
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Top 17 Books of 2017

Wow, 2017, what a year. So much has happened in my life. There have been so many hardships throughout this year and sometimes it was a mess. Sometimes it left me having a relapse in my room at 3am and sometimes it ended with me on top of the moon being so glad of all the progress I made.

But, you’re not all here to read about my mental health and my hardships of this year. You’re all here to read about what are my top 17 books of 2018. This was strangely an easy list to format. I tried to keep it mainly to 2017 releases, but some are just books I read this year and I adored. So, let’s get stuck into it. This list is in no particular order, so don’t assume because a book is higher up or lower it has more value.

1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | Review

This is the one that will have people screaming at me the most I think. I know so many people despise Sarah and her books, but her representation of PTSD really helps me. So, having Chaol, the main character, suffering throughout the book was something that resonated with me and left my feelings all over the place. It was also interesting to learn about his recovery, my mum had been in a car accident and told she’d never walk again (she did and does) so it was interesting to read about something that upsets her too much to talk about.

2. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesa Zappia | Review

I think this hit a lot of people’s favourite books this year. The fandom representation and anxiety throughout hit the nail on the head. It was also interesting to see a character who wrote and fanfiction to be incorporated into a novel. I used to write fanfiction (cringe) so I sincerely enjoyed this dynamic because I met one of my closest friends from writing it.

3. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | Review

Now, this had to be one of my top books of 2017. It was incredible. It was the book I needed when I was younger and not sure where I fit in the world. When I truly needed some girl power. Honestly, I’m still speechless about this book but I will continue to scream about it and shove it into anyone’s hands I can.

4. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare | Review

Okay, so obviously Lord of Shadows was my favourite book of the year. I’ve made it clear how much I adore Cassandra Clare’s books and The Dark Artifices series is no exception. Her writing has improved so much over 10 years so I’m even recommending this series who didn’t like The Mortal Instruments. I really am still speechless over this book. I will definitely be re-reading before Queen of Air and Darkness releases next year.

5. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty | Review

Now, The City of Brass is a shock favourite of the year honestly. It was such a magical read that really drew me in. The culture and just, overall, the story was so absolutely incredible. I am still unable to really grasp what happened in it and it’s another book I want to shove onto absolutely anyone who will listen.

6. The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | Review

Mackenzi Lee’s work is one book that has stuck with me since I read it months ago. It was so what I needed. A story about two young men and a girl causing mischief throughout Europe with a sense of adventure and serious tones throughout the novel. My favourite thing about this particular work was the inclusion of epilepsy. As someone who’s mum has epilepsy, it was incredible to see it represented in fiction with such a raw emotion. It truly is difficult to see someone you love suffer.

7. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Review

I absolutely loved the first book in this series and the second book was no exception. I loved it. Honestly. This book also had some PTSD representation throughout it, that in my opinion, was so well done. The storyline is just as incredible as the first, even if I guessed the killer in this one. Maniscalco is just an incredible writer who I sing the highest of praises to.

8. A List of Cages by Robin Roe | Review

I read this book before I had my blog and really had a chance to rave about it. There are a lot of triggers in this book I wasn’t aware of but I read it in one sitting and was awake until late in the night crying over what happened. I still think about this book. My best friend actually bought me a physical copy for my birthday and I’m just so in love. It was just such an emotional punch so be prepared for that.

9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | Review

This is probably the most shocking book on my list. I put this book down after starting it and wasn’t expecting to ever go back. I had bought it because it was pretty and $11. One day though I picked it up on a whim and wow. This book. I am completely in love with Lazlo. Yet another book I am recommending endlessly to my friends and family. I really think this particular one is a good fit for anyone.

10. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera | Review

I just loved this book. There are no words for me to even describe how great it was. Read it. Now.

11. Everless by Sara Holland | Review

This is a debut I just loved. The concept is just so intricate and so elaborate. I was blown away by it, not at all expecting a favourite book to come out of reading it. Sure, it doesn’t come out until next year for the US but this book is just so incredible you need to preorder now. 

12. How To Make A Wish By Ashley Herring Blake | Review

Similar to They Both Die At The End I have no words to describe this book. I am trying to shove it on my sister quite aggressively (because it needs to be shared) but she refuses to read it and it frustrates me. So, to everyone reading this you need to pick up this book. Obviously you need to pick up every book on the list, but still.

13. Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Review

I knew I was going to love Renegades. So, I wasn’t shocked when I loved Renegades. Recently its been the target of some homophobic reviews which is really annoying because this book is incredible. I absolutely love the anti-hero concept so I sincerely loved reading about it in Marissa’s beautiful writing style.

14. Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan | Review

This one kind of speaks for itself. It’s the final book in a series and makes the list because Rick Riordan is an incredible writer. His inclusion of the mythologies in his worlds are so flawless and engaging that I can’t help but fall in love with absolutely everything.

15. The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | Review

This was probably the biggest shock for my list. I picked it up on a whim because the ebook was on my phone was some reason. I thought it was a series as well, I’m not sure why? I fell in love completely. This book is so underhyped. Why haven’t more people read it? I don’t understand, honestly. It is truly a masterpiece. The writing, the storyline,  the romance. All. So. Incredible. Pick this up, please.

16. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed | Review

If you like Moxie, then you’ll love The Nowhere Girls. These two go right together with feminism movements. However, this one is a tad darker and intense. The girls fight back and a movement begins to protect others. It also made me realise some things about my own life I had to move through mentally. It was, however, such a powerful feminist read and I highly recommend it.

17. The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie | Review

Another unexpected favourite. This book got really popular on Goodreads for awhile and I decided to jump on the hype train. It’s such a beautiful f/f romance with pirates involved. Was not what I expected at all but I am glad to have it on this list!

So, there we have it! My top 17 reads of this year. Obviously, I recommend them all highly and sincerely suggest you give them as gifts to yourself (or others) this holiday season. All 17 books meant something important to me this year.

Have you read any of the books on this list? What are some of your favourite reads of 2017?

The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | Review

5/5 Stars.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: homophobia, epilepsy, racism, ableism, PTSD, alcoholism, parental abuse.

SIDE NOTE: I’m not 100% on all those triggers, I’m not a diversity blogger (despite loving when it is featured) so I will do some more research as this book continues to be reviewed and come back and edit this at a later date!

Going into this book I had little to none expectations. Why? Purely because I kept seeing this book hyped on all social media platforms. Everyone was saying it was great. I received an early copy but wasn’t able to get around to it before the books release, unfortunately. Now that I’ve read it, I wish I had made time for this book because wow. 

This story follows Monty, Percy and Felicity in a Victorian era. The trio are going through Europe on Monty’s Tour – but each of them have conditions that will be met when they return to England at the end of the year. Felicity will be at finishing school, Percy going to law school, and Monty taking over his father’s business. Sounds fantastic, right? Wrong. There are underlying problems that make each circumstance that may sound fantastic, not.

The major problem that we learn comes around about 30% into the two years. Now, I have been hunting for a book that features epilepsy for around five years. I have found nothing or simply books that don’t interest me. Epilepsy is using the brunt of jokes in books as well. However, Mackenzi Lee writes epilepsy perfectly within this book. At least for me.

My mum had her first fit when I was 10. Terrifying. She was in a coma for four days and died three. It didn’t happen again and I simply forgot. Until I was 15 and they started again. However, they didn’t go away. For five years, my sister and I have been caring for my mum and facing the repercussions that come with the stigma of epilepsy. So, seeing a fit written perfectly, in my opinion, had me sobbing in my room.

Now, I’m not a minority in any way. I’m cis, white and straight. But, seeing epilepsy represented in YA fiction is so important to me. I’ve seen people flinch when I tell them my mum has epilepsy and my sister has had friends bully her over it. So, a positive representation of epilepsy was very important to me.

I’ve read a review saying that they DNF’ed this book at the point the epilepsy was introduced because of ableism themes. The ableism themes that are featured though are accurate to what I felt when my mum received her diagnosis. How can I fix this? How is this going to affect my life? Sure, that’s wrong and I admit that but I was 15 and my family had just left a domestic violence situation. I think Monty’s reaction to discovering his best friend had epilepsy was very real.

I also want to touch on the PTSD that is featured in this book. That too was real. I suffer from PTSD and the descriptions are scenarios I have felt. There were times when a touch to my face would give me a panic attack. So seeing a character suffer from another circumstance I had faced? Amazing.

I’m not even sure how to get into the plot. I am just so in love with every event and scenario that took place. I was never bored. Not once during a single scene which is amazing. I fell so in love with the writing style, the dialogue and even the descriptions of scenes. I felt each character was fleshed out perfectly and not a single one was unnecessary to the plot.

The romance as well! I’m not a big fan of romance in books. I love plot over romance. But, around one chapter in I was already in love with the romance between Monty and Percy. They were both such beautiful characters that made me want to cry, whether they were together or not. They are simply so beautifully written.

I mean, just check out this perfect fan art of them;

source: https://twitter.com/ToriRyan90 

Felcity is also the love of my life and actual girl crush.

My only problem with this book was that Monty got a little annoying to me. I was rolling my eyes sometimes at his actions. However, the fact he had great communication skills in other scenes gave me the ability to overlook that.

I just can’t recommend this book enough. If not for its diverse cast, then for the fact this book displays PTSD and epilepsy in such realistic ways that this will stay with me for a long time.