Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Monday, February 25, 2019

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.


I read the Belles with my friend Ericka who runs the YouTube series Java and the Librarians on her channel Life of a Bibliophile, and we decided that we kind of liked the book... and we were kind of indifferent to it. The Belles is about a group of woman who have the power to beautify a population that is born grey, wrinkled, and "not beautiful". Belles are coveted members of Orleans society, and the most coveted is chosen by the Queen of Orleans to be the Favorite. Camillia's mother was the Favorite during her time as a Belle, and Camillia hopes to be chosen as well. It doesn't take long before we realize that being a Belle isn't all is cracked up to be, and being the Favorite is probably the worst position of all.

I felt a lot of feeling around this book. At first I wasn't super exited to read it. I struggle to read book that center around appearance. It's just so darn exhausting to think about. When I started reading the book, I realized that it wasn't as shallow as I'd portrayed it to be in my mind, and then when I read Clayton's authors note, the book took on a whole different view. I almost wish the authors note was in the beginning to the book because I think I would have read it differently.

If you choose to sit through at least half of the hour and forty-five minute video that Erick and I recorded on Saturday, you'll learn that characters in the book are pretty one dimensional. Strangely enough, aside from the crazy princess who we watch slow boil into one of the craziest maniacs I've read about in a while, everyone basically is the same at the end as they were in the beginning, our exception might be Remy the bodyguard, but we don't see enough of him for that to have a huge impact, although I do hold out a lot of hope for him in book two.

Overall I liked this book, there are so many questions and so much intrigue that I think it would be a great read for reluctant readers. Princess Sophie, is CRAZY, and such an interesting character to read about, and the secretes that are revealed about the Belles are pretty off the wall, and clearly just the beginning

While this wasn't my favorite read, and, if you watched the video, I predict an unnecessary love triangle for book too, I do plan to read it.
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Chapter Break Bingo! January 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019


This challenge sounds like so much fun and suuuuuuuuper simple. Chapter Break Bingo is hosted by Lynn and Julie of Chapter Break Book Blog

Here's how it goes.
"Welcome to the easiest challenge you’ll find all year! Read books. Mark off squares. That’s all it takes to participate in Bookish Bingo! Play along with us!

Here are the rules:
Each month we will upload a new bingo card. You download the bingo card and mark off squares as you read books each month. At the end of the month, we will post our own bingo cards. Link up your post or post your own bingo card in the comments.
The monthly winner will be the person with the most marked squares. None of that across, diagonal, up and down, corners stuff. Just the number of squares. Be sure to include the books you’ve read for each of the squares. Only books read during the current month count. You may use the same book to fill multiple squares. We’ll announce the winner the following month to allow everyone time to link up their posts."
Here's what the bingo board looks like click here to see the January post, and download the board yourself. 
I've already finished two books this year so here we go:
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander- Siblings, Competition, Read a physical book, Diet/ Fitness, Library book,
A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney- Superhero/ Powers, YA/NA, In a Series, Read a Physical Book, Start a Series, Magic, New to You ( and everyone I think) Author, Library Book, Multi-word Title

Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno- Library Book, Not in a Series, Multi-Word Title,  Free Book,

Total squares=17 including free space
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Review: For Blood & Glory by Cassandra A. Hendricks

Sefira Carrington is no stranger to tragedy. The death of her father as well as the curious mental decline and subsequent imprisonment of her mother, have left her truly and utterly alone. Despite her misfortune, she has managed to carve out a decent life for herself. She’s found a good family, friends and at sixteen, she’s finally realizing a semblance of normalcy.

That is, until she moves to Southern California. Strange things begin to happen. Things that become increasingly difficult for her to ignore. Suddenly, she finds herself thrust into a supernatural underworld that defies human comprehension. In this new world, a war is raging and in a cruel twist of fate, Sefira is somehow at the center of it. Something’s coming, and it will force her to reevaluate everything she’s ever been told and unearth the demons she thought she’d left behind.

Once she travels down this road, there’s no turning back….

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

For Blood and Glory, was a roller coaster of a book. The story begins with a group of people finding a woman adrift in the middle of a large body of water. Shortly thereafter, our character Lyrica wakes up in the hospital and this book really begins to draw our attention. There are new born babies, secrets, deception, and displays of power normally reserved for the X-Men. Our story then flashes forward and we see a bit more into the mystery of Lyrica's life.

Our story then takes a quick turn and we no longer follow Lyrica's story, but her daughter Sefira. The switch was pretty abrupt and at first I was confused, but as we dove deeper in Sefira (love that name by the way) and her past, we were able to glean more into Lyrica's story and the journey that the first few chapters began for us. We follow Sefira as she makes new friends who were an interesting squad that I would have loved to see more of. Sefira even meets, a boy who takes her FISHING!! It's a small spoiler but it is now by dream date idea and I had to share it. While we spent a lot of time with Sefira's friends, high school enemies, and love interested Kaetano (our fisheman!), we also get to know Sefira's new family. I really love Sefira's relationship with her mom and sister, but man that brother of hers. I do wish we, as readers, could have spent a bit more time with Sefira's family, the relationship between Sefira and her mother was pretty solid, but I wish we could have had flashbacks or something to help us understand the hatred her brother had for her and how she came to bond with her sister.

One of the biggest characters that come in to play is Blythe. What a handful, and I say this knowing that I would probably act a lot like her. Like Sefira, Blythe is also going through some strange developments, but she's come to understand them better than Sefira has. It's almost a slight stretch of the imagination how well shes come to adapt to these changes with so little knowledge, but it didn't bother me too much. Sefira was definitely the protagonist of this story but I would kill for Blythe's backstory. I don't even feel like I can tell you why without revealing some truths that are better left read about in the book.  But I have a feeling we'll read more about her past in the sequel.

I liked this book. I'm a fan of urban fantasy so this was right up my alley. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that it's appropriate for younger teens, something that's been an important topic in the Teen Librarian world.

For more information on the author Cassandra A. Hendricks:
Twitter: @casstheauthor  
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