Friday, June 30, 2017

Month in Review: June 2017

It's crazy to think that 2017 is already halfway over! Time flies when you're having fun and reading good books. We've kind of had a slow month blog wise but this is what the Weres have been up to in June.

What We Reviewed

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In honor of Pride Month, Rose Red caught up on a few LGBTQIA+ reads from her TBR:

And Gretl reviewed May subscription boxes from Owlcrate and Whimsify.

We Love Lists

ICYMI, we covered these topics for Top 5 Wednesday:

What We're Waiting For

July 3
Drakon's Plunder (Blood of the Drakon #3) by N. J. Walters

July 4
Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Fuel For Fire (Black Knights Inc. #10) by Julie Ann Walker

July 11
Besieged (The Iron Druid Chronicles #8.5) by Kevin Hearne
Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3) by Rachel Caine 
Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Ameriie 

July 18
The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters #1) by G. L. Carriger
The Color Project by Sierra Adams
Graveyard Shift by Michael F. Haspil
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Spellbinder (Moonshadow #2) by Thea Harrison

July 25
Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

July 28
A Dragon of a Different Color (Heartstrikers #4) by Rachel Aaron

And ICYMI, the Goldilox blog now has an official Instagram! We're going to be posting all sorts of bookish things on it. You should go give us a follow!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: The Mech Who Loved Me by Bec McMaster

31682355The Mech Who Loved Me
(London Steampunk: The Blueblood Conspiracy #2)
Bec McMaster
Release: June 27, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the author
Ava McLaren is tired of being both a virgin, and a mere laboratory assistant for the Company of Rogues. When a baffling mystery rears its head, it presents her with the opportunity to work a real case... and perhaps get a taste of the passion that eludes her.

Blue bloods are dying from a mysterious disease, which should be impossible. Ava suspects there's more to the case than meets the eye and wants a chance to prove herself. There’s just one catch—she’s ordered to partner with the sexy mech, Kincaid, who's a constant thorn in her side. Kincaid thinks the only good blue blood is a dead one. He's also the very last man she would ever give her heart to… which makes him the perfect candidate for an affair.

The only rule? It ends when the case does.

But when an attempt on her life proves that Ava might be onto something, the only one who can protect her is Kincaid. Suddenly the greatest risk is not to their hearts, but whether they can survive a diabolical plot that threatens to destroy every blue blood in London—including Ava.

I've come to expect incredible action scenes from the London Steampunk series. The Mech Who Loved Me does deliver them, tough not to the same extent as the two most recent books. It focuses more on detective work, interviewing suspects and examining forensic evidence, since Ava is a CSI. But most of all, it spends time building the relationship between Ava and Kincaid.

Their story feels very modern in some ways. Ava suffers from PTSD after the events of Forged by Desire, the book that introduced her character. Five years later she still has flashbacks at the worst possible times. And Kincaid suffers from muscular dystrophy. While I felt like his illness humanized his somewhat larger than life character, I got bit tired of him repeatedly thinking about how it doomed his relationship. (I often have that problem with a romance though whenever a character, usually the hero, thinks they're not good enough for their love interest.) I didn't love the way Kincaid's condition was ultimately dealt with either, in part because it was predictable. It also touches on a particular PNR pet peeve of mine, which is probably too spoilery to go in to. But when Ava and Kincaid are not being all angsty, their chemistry is great to watch

The book also brings back characters from the previous series, primarily Perry and Garrett who play a big role in Ava's life. And it spends some time setting up future romances, though there aren't really any surprises there. What I didn't expect, and I'm not sure I'm happy about, is for the Big Bad to be revealed. I'm starting to have a different view of how the series will play out since there are four more members of the Company of Rogues who still need to get their HEAs.

I feel like The Mech Who Loved Me is a solid edition to the London Steampunk world, but it's not my favorite in the series. I'll admit it had some high expectations to live up to though. I'm still so happy that the series is continuing and I'm excited to see what's next.

3 1/2 stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
Mission: Improper

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Top (Way More Than) 5 Wednesday: Favorite Enemies to Lovers Romances

Top 5 Wednesday is a group of bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers posting on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.

This week's topic is:
Hate-to-Love Ships
(a.k.a. the enemies-to-lovers trope)

We here at the Goldilox blog love a good enemies-to-lovers book! So, of course, we had a hard time narrowing a list down to just five books. Spoiler: We weren't able to do it. But we were able to make three lists of fiveish books divided by age category. The following books are the ones that made the cut!

Gretl's Adult List

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

The Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost

The Hidden Legacy Series by Ilona Andrews

Rose Red's Adult List

My Lady Quicksilver and Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster

The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

The Captive Prince Trilogy by C.S. Pacat

Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh

Evernight by Kristen Callihan

Our Combined YA List

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


Geekerella by Ashley Poston

What are your favorite enemies-to-lovers books?


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Mackenzi Lee
Release: June 27, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

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.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

One of my favorite things in the world is to pick up a book and know immediately from page one that I'm going to love it and that it will soon have a spot on my favorites shelf. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was one of those books for me. I loved everything about it: the characters, the mystery, the romance, and the Grand Tour setting! But most of all, I loved the feeling of nostalgia it gave me. I'm not sure I can explain how much I absolutely adored this book without gushing but I'm going to try.

This book is pitched by the author as "the big gay road trip novel set in the 18th century you didn't know you needed!" which set the bar high and it was abso-bloody-lutely amazing! It's a coming of age story that kind of read like historical fanfiction and I mean that in the best way possible! This was the adventure novel of my heart given an actual physical form with words. There's pirates and highway men and tombs and alchemy and streaking at the palace of Versailles. The story started off fast and doesn't let up until the book is over.

As much as I loved the adventure, my favorite thing about this book was, without a doubt, the characters. I quickly fell head over heels for the main trio: Monty, Percy, and Felicity. Monty was seriously everything. He was the perfect combination of insufferable, charming, and oddly vulnerable. I loved him at his most sullen and reckless as much as I did at his most bisexually rakish. Percy is Monty's best friend and the unrequited love of his life. He is absolutely adorable and I love the two of them together. I ship it so hard, guys! So hard! I spent most of the book yelling at them to get it together and kiss already.

As much as I love those two, the character who stole the show was Felicity, Monty's sister. She's described as being bookish and boring but I found her anything but. She's snarky and intelligent and is totally the Hermione of the trio. She's the reason Monty and Percy didn't die at the side of the road. The whole time I was was reading I kept thinking that I just wanted a whole book about Felicity being herself and having adventures. AND WE'RE GETTING ONE NEXT YEAR! I just really loved her and the dynamic she has with Monty was amazing and so realistic. I loved watching their relationship change throughout the course of the book.

The Gentleman's Guide, at its heart, was a coming of age story. Each of our heroes go through their own journeys as they figure out who they are and who they want to be. The people we meet at the beginning are not the people we see at the end. And that character evolution was one of the best parts about this book. I also loved how the book respectfully addresses some serious issues.  It covers so many things like LGBTQIA+ relationships and sexuality in the 18th century, being biracial in a racist society, mental health, disability, abuse, PTSD, and the privilege and power having money provides. The whole thing was exceedingly well done without the novel losing any of its lightness and humor.

I loved it and tried to read it slowly because I didn't want it to end. I grew up reading a weird mixture of fantasy, adventure, and historical fiction novels and this book was my whole childhood condensed into 528 pages. It brought back all the hours I spent devouring the adventures of characters like Sir Percy Blakeney, the Robinson family, Allan Quartermain, Professor Challenger, Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout, the March sisters and a metric ton of Sunfire Romance heroines which is the highest praise I can give a historical fiction adventure novel. 

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  5 / 5 Stars!

Recommended for fans of:
Sorcery and Cecilia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede

Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli
Release: April 7, 2015
Goodreads Amazon
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

It took me far too long to read this book but I was the human personification of the heart-eyes emoji by the time I was done. This was absolutely adorable and perfect! I loved that it was diverse and so positive. It's kind of like a YA You've Got Mail but without the whole enemies to lovers subplot. The only problem I had with it was that it ended. I just want more Simon and Blue goodness! And maybe an oreo milkshake.

I wasn't planning to read the whole thing so quickly but once I started I just couldn’t stop. And I can't begin to explain how happy I am that I read this book. It's one of those books that will make an impact on your heart and change your way of thinking. What I loved most about it was that the book was lighthearted while making that impact. Essentially the story is about a teenager that hangs out with his friends, has a crush on someone, and rehearses for the school musical. But it is also a deeply emotional book about a teenage boy and his struggle to remain himself without being stereotyped as the gay guy or having it be his whole identity.

The story follows Simon throughout his year of coming out and finding love – two things he wasn’t really planning on doing anytime soon. Through a post on the school Tumblr page, Simon finds this guy who goes by the pseudonym, Blue, who happens to be gay and not out like him. They start to talk via email without having any idea about the other person’s identity. They start to grow closer and start sharing details of their lives that they haven't shared with anyone else. They’re so adorable and they have such sweet and hilarious conversations that I couldn't help but grin like a madman the whole time I was reading.

Simon was such a lovable guy and so insightful already at his age about what he wanted and how he felt about himself. He was confident and comfortable in his own skin most of the time. Of course, he had low and high points throughout the book but how everything felt real. I can't stress enough about how well-written this book was.

He also had some amazing friends and family surrounding him. Simon's family was everything! I loved their interactions with each other. One of the things I loved about this book was how positive and supportive both Simon and Blue's families were. The Spiers have totally made my list of favorite fictional families. I about died laughing when they were doing the Facebook Scavenger Hunt. I also loved Simon's friend group. It was large and diverse and wasn't the same old cliche we see in some YA books. Each character was well fleshed out and had their own diverse personalities. It was so refreshing not to see the same old nerd vs jock storyline we see all the time. I loved seeing the anime kids, theater geeks, cheerleaders, and soccer players sitting at one table and being friends. It was more reminiscent of how my high school was than any other YA I've read in recent years. Since most of the characters are high school age, there was some drama and a few fights but everything was worked out in the end.

I seriously loved the romance in this book! Watching Simon and Blue fall in love via email was absolutely adorable! I kept trying to figure out who Blue was the whole time and I was right! From the first line, they interacted I hoped he would be Blue and I was so glad when he actually was because I didn’t want it to be anyone else. I kind of squealed when his identity was revealed and my ship was confirmed!

I came out of this reading experience with a new favorite book, a go-to Pride rec, and a persistent craving for an Oreo milkshake that did not go away until I finally got one. PSA: You'll want to have Oreos or Reese's handy while reading this because Simon's sweet tooth will get you craving all the things. I really can’t recommend this book enough. I've already started buying copies to give to friends so they can read it before the movie (which I am 100% here for!) comes out. I loved this book so much! I can't wait to read the other book Becky Albertalli has written. She has become one of my auto-buy authors after just one book.

  5 / 5 Stars!!!

Recommended for fans of:
How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Release by Patrick Ness
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Friday, June 23, 2017

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