Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue – M. Lee

“The queer teen historical you didn’t know was missing from your life.” (Teen Vogue)

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When I started this book it was not at all what I expected it to be.

I have to thank Majelle again for leaving me yet another shiner of a book when she left from the UK and couldn’t take all her books back to Canada with her. Best believe they came to a good home that enjoyed them.

To summarise;

Monty heads off on his Europe Tour after finishing school, his sister Felicity will go to a boarding school in France en route, and he shall return to help his father run his estate and other things accordingly as a Lord should. Crushing hard on his companion Percy, things are not quite as easy as the three of them think it is going to be on this trip that’s for sure.

With endless adventure, illness, excitement, love and horror I’d say this story had me too immersed for my own good. I have a lot to say about this book.

Firstly, how well written the characters were;

How they acted and spoke really made you feel close to the three of them, Monty, Percy and Felicity on their adventures. So much so that the sequel which follows Felicity, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy’, is well and truly on my ‘to read list on Goodreads and my to buy’ list on Amazon. 

I felt like Felicity was so badass but SO looked down upon for being a woman, naturally in those days. Every time she came through in the book my mind was screaming: YES GIRL GET IT’She had sass, smarts and her wits about her. She was a great character who I thoroughly enjoyed the most.

Monty to me was a bit like a wet flannel to start and I didn’t originally like him. Written phenomenally as he was supposed to come across as the rich boy who loved to drink and fuck his life away and moaned at everything; which he totally did BUT I ADORE HIS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!! It’s absolutely wonderful coming to the end of the story.

Although Percy is one of the main characters he was the one I felt least connected too. Shy and discriminated against, his character was naturally quite quiet and incredibly self aware, the best and driest sense of humour and some common sense too! He came out with a few crackers which got me liking him more and near the end of the book had me sobbing a plenty due to this growing like for him!

Secondly, wow, some particularly good stand out points for me; 

This book was full of adventures and although slightly predictable still had me sat biting my nails as I read wanting to know what and where we going to go next! Being set in the Victorian era was a real reminder of the ways they used to travel around in those days. I’m mortified of boats so the fact these lost (but only slightly), excitable teens did all of their journeys via boat or horse and carriage would be the adventure and excitement in itself for me. 

The era it was written also shows the take on relationships back then, how difficult it must have been for young men and women to be gay which also hinders them from being themselves at heart. It really shows the hardships and strains on family relationships but also highlights how far we’ve come since then in a really heartwarming way. 

I love how a lot of the main storyline adventures are based around the 3 of them being cheeky and Monty taking something he shouldn’t have. God forbid how boring their Europe Tour would have been if not, I guess these things happened for a reason, right? DUH.

Finally it also made me realise and remember being taught about how difficult it was to treat illness back then! We are incredibly lucky. I really rate M. Lee’s absolute consistency in being able to make sure us as readers don’t forget wha era we are in, some authors really struggle to keep that maintained and I find in previous books based in these Victorian or ‘olden scale era’s’ I would tend to forget, but not this time!!! Really impressed and it wasn’t an annoying reminder either.

Thirdly, IS THIS HOW TRAVELLING EUROPE BECAME A THING? HAS IT BEEN A THING FOR THAT LONG?  ITS AWESOME.

I guess our version of A Europe tour is finishing university or school and Inter-railing Europe, travelling around Australia and New Zealand. Or America. Or Asia. The list goes on. But to have it known as a tour and be chaperoned, GOD FORBID MY PARENTS GOT SOMEONE TO CHAPERONE MY TRAVELS. I wouldn’t go (Sorry fam if you’re reading this).

Its still very much a thing to this day which is pretty cool to know that they even then when ‘on tour’ meant an old fashioned way of inter-railing. I doubt if I went it would be as action packed and wouldn’t take us 3 weeks to get from France to Venice by boat. And hopefully my parents wouldn’t send someone to breathe down the back of my neck.

All in all this book really impressed me with its adventures, the era it is based in and the romance, I highly recommend!

4/5

(Not quite up there as my standards are too high, but still pretty up there).

J x

Norway – Exploring Aurland & Flam!

That following morning we were up and ready for action! Exploring Flam and Aurland!

We walked out around Aurland for a while before we headed into Flam just 5 minutes down the road in the car around the fjord! Getting a glimpse of Aurland in the morning makes all the difference when the clouds are gone! The air is so fresh! We also went to the cutest little coffee shop as well and it was so gorgeous, all homemade cakes and pastries!

 

We then bopped into the car and headed our way to Flam! The journey was short and sweet. Just a little bit further around the fjord and even then there really were not may buildings at all in Flam! As you pull up right at the end of the fjord there is a nice small touristy area with a museum, the train that can take you up the fjord and some tourist shops to buy souvenirs.

 

The buildings are an iconic yellow and white and they really stand out between the mountains and the water. Here in Flam you can also get the ferry through and down the fjord from Flam! The sunset there was beautiful. The museum was a small train history museum of how the rail was built through the mountains and we just could not get over how quiet and peaceful the whole area was.

There was a small hotel and restaurant but when I say small I mean, small, there wasn’t a mad amount going on but there was a shop for dinner! Which was a bonus! Life would be so peaceful and eaaaaasy with beautiful sunsets to follow!

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We had a pretty chill night after this day all just in one room laughing, sleeping and reading, it was a really enjoyable experience being able to go on a holiday where we REALLY had no idea where we were or what there was to offer in the area amounted to not much!

 

Abbie and myself were not very tired this particular night which made for a lovely fresh walk at 10:30pm in Aurland in the other direction to SPAR and the shops. We hadn’t headed that way and so decided to wear ourselves out with a wander! We found elephants drawn in the snow and chatted away, we even put our toes in the fjord before we went inside just to say we had done! It was ice cold!

The next day is the road trip back to Oslo!

With even more stops than the road trip TOO Flam! Stay tuned! 

But if you don’t want it to be over just yet;

 Catch it and all the girls social media links & our Norway Videos Below! 

Majelle;

 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCttIR4FZPlhSMiGYnEBIuDw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/majellelegros

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/majelleabell/

Abbie;

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jttFXtOkTw&t=517s 

Jessie;

Youtube Video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3Lj_CvN0OA

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jessiexmills

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_itsjustjessie_

Rebecca;

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7ioBFHy4TA

Budapest – Our Introduction To Budapest & Airbnb!

Our Budapest trip was a pretty awesome one.

It was an experience in a country I never thought I would find myself in. I certainly wont forget it as it was absolutely nothing like I expected at all, it was better! I had the best time!

Over the next couple of weeks I shall be posting about our trip! Posts for Budapest will be every Monday & Friday so stay tuned if you’re interested in reading more!

I went with the wonderful lads James, Greg and Brad! 

 

We had a nice and early morning flight from Stanstead at 8:30am so we were up and had left the house by 5:30am. The flight was only just over 2 hours so it wasn’t to bad, a couple of cups of tea and a whole book later we had landed.

We were half an hour away from the airport and I had not heard good things about the IMG_20180821_142528_539Taxi’s in Budapest. You do not just jump into a taxi , they will try and get more money off you and lock the car doors. James experienced it himself on a night out. Make sure you definitely PRE BOOK on their FO Taxi App!

We arrived just outside of the AirBnB just outside the center of Budapest. The general location of the flat was amazing. We could walk to the center in half an hour and we were only a 15 minute walk away from all of the main bars we wanted to go too as well. We even had a Lidl and a Tesco in walking distance which helped massively with the cooking as we had our own kitchen so didn’t eat out every night!

The area itself where the AirBnB was, was slightly questionable. I’m not to sure the neighbors liked us being there very much. The building was really old fashioned and opened up with a courtyard into the middle. There were 4 floors and naturally, we were at the top. After Lugging our suitcases up the stairs, as there is certainly no lifts, we found our keys and headed inside. And we were very pleasantly surprised!IMG_20180821_142539_876

It was all new furniture and so modern! It was a really beautiful apartment. With 5 beds and 4 rooms there was so much space with the lounge and kitchen area all open plan. It was also all white blue and even had a little light up message board saying ‘Enjoy your Rest’, It was very welcoming. I can’t say we got much rest though.

Mine and Brad’s bedroom was REALLY nice but then so were ALL the bedrooms! 3 of the rooms came with doubles and were fully kitted out with wardrobes and shelves and another room with two singles and wardrobes too. As we were there for 10 days it was great because I could make the room super cosy. Essentially, there was a FAN in every room, EXACTLY what we needed with the heat and humidity in Budapest as well it was disgusting. The bathrooms were immaculate and even came with a couple of cosmetics! Fully equipped kitchen which was a must so we could cook as well as a washing machine and dryers to hang out clothes!

It was a really great AirBnB for the 10 days we were in Budapest, We actually really did well with it, it was a great find! Kudos to the owner because we were all very impressed. I was anyway! I would definitely stay there again.

Once we got all settled in, the games began and so did the drinks.

 

Our Flying Visit to Bath, Somerset!

Me and Brad took a trip down to Bath in Somerset! We had never been but it was on the list and especially because two of our really close friends, Ben & Milly, have just moved to Bath we thought we have to go!

So we landed from Budapest Friday and jumped in the car Saturday afternoon! It was about a two and a half hour journey with a stop on the way because sometimes I get hangry. The views on the drive were something I was not expecting. I knew it was hilly but Jesus the size of the hill we come up and then come down the other side of to get into bath was a struggle for Brads lil Seat car. We then with only 5 minutes till we arrived had no idea where we were going as BOTH of our sat navs had died, so we THEN had to find somewhere to charge our phones.

IMG_20180901_191004.jpgEVENTUALLY we made it to Bath! The guys had the cutest lil house its crazy when all your pals start adulting in some way! So from their cutest little house its only a 5-10 minute bus ride into the centre of Bath so we decided to head for some dinner.

As jumped off the bus there was a pathway into a shopping area and the entire walkway was just shrouded with flowers hanging down above us as we walked! It was so beautiful. That was also when I started to realise the architecture of this beautiful city. The buildings are all so old fashioned but all positioned so perfectly and its so CLEAN. I loved it.

IMG_20180901_191037.jpgWe went to a restaurant called ‘The Black Fox Pub‘, it had a really small food menu but a really big bar menu that the boys had to come back to the table to tell us they didn’t understand. We managed to somehow order anyway! After a wine and sausages and mash later we headed to a bar called the Cork Bar. It was the funkiest bar with records all over the walls and inside the toilet on the back of the stall doors it was just a wall of memes to amuse yourself with on the toilet! We ended up getting worse for wear, heading back to the house and carried on the party!

The next morning the aim was to get up early and go into Bath! But when the boys bedtime ended up being 6am, we left the house at 1pm with 3 hours to sight-see before we headed off! We hopped off the bus by the Bath Thermal Pools but alas we didn’t have time for it this time and headed on to Shakeaway instead. Because when you’re feeling like dirt (the boys anyway) or want something refreshing what more can you want than an ice cold milkshake yes PLEASE.IMG_20180902_135101.jpg

So we headed off on our mini Bath adventure with Milly and Benzo as out tour guides, but mainly Milly whilst Ben died a slow and painful death. It was quiet literally a walking tour of Bath. As we wondered through the streets we came across The Pump Rooms! All I could think about was when I was back in high school and we performed a piece which was based in The Pump Rooms of Bath in the Victorian Times, brought back a lot of good memories so it felt really good to be able to visit. Next time hopefully we will be able to go inside!

IMG_20180902_135324.jpgAs we kept on wondering through we passed by The Abbey! The beautiful church/cathedral in the centre literally just next to The Pump Rooms, although it was a shame as we couldn’t get a good look at it as it is under construction but it was beautiful none the less. Churches and Abbeys always are! After a little meander behind The Abbey we came across The Parade Garden, although it was only a brief walk by it looked very colorful and like you could just relax with a paper between the flowers!

Pulteney Bridge was the main thing on the agenda and it was great. The Bridge and Weir have been there for years and years so it was great to see and again such beautiful architecture for the city! The bridge was created in the 1700s and is also a Grade 1 listed building, so its pretty important and looks it as well.

Once we had wondered past Pulteney Bridge and Weir we headed into the Bartlett Quarter! But not before seeing the Walcot street art they had on display! A beautiful red ember woodland scene up on the street, it was amazing!

IMG_20180902_140918.jpgAfter we had a good nose at that we headed into the Bartlett Quarter. The Bartlett Quarter was home to The Assembly rooms! Another building that was used in our drama performance back when I was younger, so even to visit The Assembly rooms was wonderful.

IMG_20180902_141647.jpgAlthough next time we will definitely go inside, I want to go inside The Assembley rooms, The Thermal Spa’s AND the Pump Rooms! as we kept wondering the one place Milly really wanted us to see was The Kings Circus. It was pretty awesome, a circle of buildings all around a small roundabout with threes in the middle in the centre of Bath, it was a marvel for what it was. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the cost of the houses to live there.

We then headed down Gay Street and just off of Gay Street found Hall & Woodhouse! We originally thought we may be able to get something to eat here but we were considerably wrong. It was a rather fancy place and as we visited on a sunday they ONLY did Sunday dinner! Which is great when you’re not 4 broke students. 4 pints of coke and a quiet sit down after all being tired and hungover, we headed on back home!

Nachos were devoured and goodbyes were said about 2 hours after we got back, It was sad to say bye but we shall all see each other soon I have SO MUCH I want to do still, so we shall be back!

Bath, Somerset, It was a pleasure.

 

Book Review: Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris.

“The Perfect Marriage or the Perfect Lie?”

“Jack, Handsome, Dedicated Lawyer, Loving Husband.

Grace, Elegant, Consummate Housewife, Prisoner.

“Brilliant, Chilling, Scary and Unputdownable” – Lesley Pearse


Hey guys, so this is my first book review. I’ve never done one before so I will try not to give too much away whilst talking about this book!

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Name: Behind Closed Doors

Author: B. A. Paris

Pages: 344 Pages

I was given this book by my sister, It had been sat in my bedroom for ages waiting to be read so I decided why not take it away to Budapest with me? I’m here for 10 days, thats plenty of time. I hadn’t read in so long I almost forgot just how much I love reading. Here I am now on holiday bookless as I finished the book within 3 days.

9781250121004The book was totally immersive. With the story in first person narrative as told by Grace the book leads you backwards and forwards into the turmoil of her life, Past & Present they alternate so you get a real grasp for where the main stem of her unhappiness and torment comes from.

Jack isn’t your typical abusive husband. With an arousal and passion to see women in fear, Grace doesn’t realise what she has gotten herself into until after she marries the man. Literally within the first couple of chapters you can really sympathise for her. In the words of Grace herself, The man in an absolute psychopath.

The pair holiday in Thailand as their honeymoon and thats what Grace realises that Jack is always one step ahead of her. The frustration in how Jack has already informed staff that Grace is ‘Mentally Ill’ so even if she does try to flee or tell anyone of the horror of the way Jack is, its impossible. I felt so much extreme frustration for her because no matter what she does and what she tries, its helpless. You just want to scream out for her. 

The word prisoner is definitely the correct one for Grace as you indulge further into the book. Held captive to her own house, When she introduces Millie, her younger Down syndrome sister, the intense feeling that she needs to get out becomes stronger and stronger. Especially towards the end.

When you learn that although Millie is in a boarding school for now due to previous history of her being unwanted by her parents, Grace promises Millie that once she is 18 she will come live with them. Further in, you realise Jack would like Millie to move in with them so that Grace isn’t the only one held prisoner. So Jack can feed of Millie’s fear as well as Graces’.

The sense of urgency I had in the pit of my stomach was real as you never want the BOTH of them to suffer, especially with how he treats Grace already.

The use of Millie to manipulate Grace is REAL.

You really get to see a side to Jack which makes you thank the lord its not based on a true story. Although It does terrify me to think that men out there are like this. Maybe not quite so extreme, but then if you never know you never know. 

I was hooked to the book from the start, hence why it only took me 3 days to read. The suspense and want to get rid of Jack is phenomenal that once I had reached the final couple of chapters I refused to put the book down because the ending was so intense. Millie plays a very crucial role to the build up to the end, her love for Grace and awareness to her fear comes almost as a relief as she is the only one who understands her grief.

“I like you Jack, But I don’t like Jorj Koony”

I would give this book a solid 8/10 for suspense and keeping you clung onto the book and their characters. I just wish It could’ve been longer!

The Sunshine Bloggers Award!

Hey all, welcome to my post on The Sunshine Blogger award!

Just to keep you all in the loop before we get started, I travel to Budapest tomorrow! So there will be no Whatever Wednesdays until I return from Buda on August 31st! 


Its the Sunshine Blogger Award!

sunshine

Big thank you too IndefinitelyJ for nominating me! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, Don’t forget to check out her blog featuring her life, her way!

So what are the rules?

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog to this post.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by your nominator.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers
  • Ask  them 11 questions, different to the ones you’ve answered.
  • List the rules
  • Display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo above on your post and blog site! 

So here are the questions that IndefinitelyJ asked me! I’ve been looking forward to answering these!

  • What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Don’t panic. There is no need to panic, if you can sort it out in the next 10 days? why worry. If it can be sorted in the next month? why worry. It’ll only make your anxiety worse.

  • Who inspires you the most in life?

My mum. She is an amazing woman. I actually can’t express just how much I love her and how much she inspires me.

  • What is your favourite podcast currently?

I don’t listen to podcasts! Although my boyfriend does and he talked quite highly of them. So I might have to give them a go soon!

  • What is the most important thing in your life?

At the moment? University. I am SO determined to be able to pass this final year and graduate with a good grade. 

  • What language would you most like to learn instantly?

SPANISH, DEFINITELY. I live for the language, its just beautiful and sexy all at the same time. I tried to teach myself at one point but I got far too distracted with life. I am considering having proper lessons!

  • What are you watching on Netflix currently (if you don’t have Netflix what are you watching in general?)?

The new series of Orange Is The New Black is definitely on the cards as well as Suits once I get back to uni! I am also really big into my crime dramas and documentaries. I’ve been watching Drug Lords and Lock Up, they’re really good.

  • How do you remain positive?

I usually have to tell myself that everything will be fine at least once a day. I also read a lot of quotes that are motivational or make you realise its not all bad. I also write and see family and friends to stay positive. 

  • If you could be anything what would you be?

An Author or a real and official Travel Blogger. Thats the dream.

  • You’re hosting a dinner party! You can invite 5 people, dead or alive, who are you inviting and what would you cook for them?
  1. Ariana Grande 2. Dua Lipa 3. The Queen 4. Gordon Ramsey 5. Conor Maynard.

Hopefully the benefit of inviting Ramsey would be that I don’t have to cook, but If I DID. It would be my signature Spaghetti Bolognese because its the only dish I am really good at.

  • What is your favourite book?

The Noughts and Crosses books by Malore Blackman. There are 4 books in the series and they are all phenomenal, I have read them twice! I couldnt put them down. A Close second is the Maze Runner Series too.

  • Where is your happy place, what is it, is it even real or is it a state in your mind?

My happy place is very real. Its the sea. Nothing matters once I am in that water, no matter where we are in the world, rain or shine. I am the happiest girl alive and there is no question about it.

So after answering all of those wonderful questions, the dinner party one being the hardest one to answer, I will now nominate 11 bloggers of my own for the Sunshine Blogger Award!

So In no particular order:

Go Check out all of their amazing blogs and content!

Please do not feel pressured to write this blog post, you do not have to if you do not wish!

Alright so next up is my 11 questions for my 11 nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award!

MY 11 QUESTIONS;

  1. Where is your favourite travel destination?
  2. What is your fondest childhood memory?
  3. You’re ordering Chinese! What do you get?
  4. What would you rather fight, A Horse sized duck or a Duck sized horse?
  5. What do you do to relax?
  6. What has been your proudest moment?
  7. Do you have a nickname? Share it with us!
  8. What is Your moto or quote to live by?
  9. Would you prefer to live in a country or in a city and why?
  10. Tell me about yourself in 3 words?
  11. What motivates you to blog?