April 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 3

April wasn’t the best reading wise, but overall it did give me more time to come up with posts that I can’t wait to share this month!! ^_^

Legendary Ladies-50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen1.Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen

Owned | Started/Finished April 6 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Legendary Ladies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Legendary Ladies is a beautifully illustrated book that chronicles the tales of goddesses from around the world! With a selection of goddesses from a variety of cultures, Shen not only shares their stories, but also a guiding sentence at the end to offer words of wisdom inspired by each heroic goddess. What I found while reading, was how goddesses tales across time and cultures seemed to weave together and connect! I just wish there were more stories, because Shen not only does an incredible job at summarizing their legends, but also accompanying them with such vibrant illustrations! This colorful and inspiring collection is a must read!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi2.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Library | Started April 3 + Finished April 8 | Rating: ★★★★★ | Emergency Contact Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Emergency Contact was a book I knew I would go into really enjoying, but did not expect to love it as much as I did! I don’t usually read contemporary books that a very romance heavy/centered, but this one was just incredible! Choi delivers such a character-driven, raw, modern-day romance that is just so unique and moving! I found myself re-reading this book twice & annotating my own copy when I bought it late last month, because I just loved it so much! Told through dual POV, it allows you to really understand the main characters Penny & Sam, how they really escape their loneliness through one another, and seeing the development of their deep friendship & connection with each other. It was so interesting to see how their text messages with each other vs. real-life interactions differed. Overall added such a unique layer to their relationship/development. It has a deep and moving story, is romantic, and has such emotional depth! If your looking for a unique,modern-day romance, Emergency Contact is definitely a book to check out! 

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi3.Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Pandava Quartet #1)

Library | Started April 11 + Finished April 24 | Rating:★★★★☆ |Aru Shah And The End Of Time {Mini Review}

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi delivers a heroic fantasy adventure weaved in with Hindu mythology and folklore! Aru Shah And The End Of Time also emphasized family and friendship throughout the entire story, which is so wonderfully explored (And I loved that!). The 3rd person POV really allowed for the mythology, characters, and world to get such an expansive view and great development! Sadly the plot did get a bit slow for me as I read nearing the middle and the end. However, Chokshi’s debut into middle grade is not a book to miss! She brilliantly blends fantasy w/ the modern day, delivers a dazzling writing style, and immerses you into an unforgettable fantasy adventure!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #10

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Cover Reveal

Top 10 Tuesday: Podcasts I’ve Recently Discovered {Freebie!}

LA Times Festival Of Books Wrap-Up {2018} + Giveaway {INTL + Open until May 15th}

Plans For May:

~ Now that finals are close, I’ll be on summer break (finally!) and catch up on so many books!!

~Planning to finally post my SFF TBR! 😍💞✨⚔🚀💫📚

~Share the posts I spent time drafting last month!

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Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi {Mini-Review}

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani ChokshiAru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Pandava Quartet #1)

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents (Disney Hyperion)

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Pages: 368

Summary: Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Aru Shah And The End Of Time is a beautifully written and magical tale! Filled with adventure, weaved in with Indian Mythology and folklore, and themes of family, and friendship, Chokshi’s middle grade novel is a must read!

Roshani Chokshi is easily one of my favorite authors! I adored her Star-Touched Queen duology and when I heard about her venture to middle grade, I put Aru Shah on my TBR right away!

This novel follows Aru Shah as she spends her break in the Museum Of Indian Art And Culture, which her mother runs.

Aru has a habit of telling tall tales, so when 3 of her classmates make an unexpected visit, she finds that the only thing she can do is prove her classmates wrong by showing them the Lamp Of Bharata.

Legend has it that if the lamp is lit, Sleeper (a demon) will be awoken and bring an end to time.

Aru’s mother has told her its to never be lit, but Aru believes that having it lit just once won’t bring any harm.

Aru then finds time itself is frozen and she’s now on a quest to reverse it, with the help of a new friend and a deity transformed as a pigeon named Boo.

Chokshi’s writing is superb! She blends fantasy and modern day in such a great way! I also loved the humor she weaved all throughout the book!

The 3rd person POV allows you to get an such expansive view at the magic, mythology, characters, and brilliant world that Chokshi has forged.

The characters are all wonderfully developed, you get so much about them from such few lines.

Aru is such a brave heroine and I loved her so much!!

Hindu mythology and folklore are at the heart of this novel and the magic finds its way into each page. There’s also a huge emphasis on friendship and family which is explored so incredibly well.

I also really loved how Chokshi explored the idea of fate and destiny through the quest Aru Shah undergoes as she tries to save the world!!

Its just so great to see diverse fantasy representation in middle grade! And through the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, its awesome there’ll be more series following various cultural mythologies!!

The novel not only features Aru Shah who is Indian-American, but also her friend Mini who is 1/2 Indian and Filipino.

Aru herself, goes through so much from the fear of what lighting the lamp has done to her world, to the tests she faces to prepare herself for the awakened Sleeper.

She is a determined, comical, and delightful character. I adored her so much and loved following her journey.

The story is just filled with action, adventure, mystery, and so much more!!

I suppose my only minor issue is that at points the plot did get a bit slow for me. 

When I reached the end of Aru Shah, I was so ready to read what happens next!! I can’t wait to read what happens next on her journey in: Aru Shah And The Song Of Death!

Aru Shah And The End Of Time takes you on a heroic fantasy  adventure that keeps you turning the page! Featuring Indian mythology, themes of fate, destiny, family, and friendship, through a dazzling writing style, Chokshi’s debut into middle grade is not one to miss!

LA Times Festival Of Books Wrap-Up {2018} + {Swag Giveaway!}

This past weekend I went to the L.A. Times Festival Of Books! Its a great festival hosted at USC every April where there are signings, celebration of art, music, and of course–tons of authors & books! 😍✨📚

If you’ve never gone, I highly recommend going if you have the chance! There’s always such great and interesting booths–and not just ones about books!

There’s entertainment, education, food, writing booths & so much more! (Especially great book swag!)

For Saturday April 21 it was a pretty easy schedule with only 4 authors on my list:

A Crown Of Wishes Cover RevealRoshani Chokshi author of The Star-Touched QueenA Crown Of Wishes, & her most recent, Aru Shah And The End Of Time (which I’m almost done with!!)

Sandhya Menon author of When Dimple Met Rishi

Sara Saedi author of Never Ever & Maurene Goo author of I Believe In A Thing Called Love 

I was able to meet all these authors & get my books signed! Throughout the festival I also checked out a lot of the booths, got some swag, and bought a book!

Shout-out to Maurene who recognized me b/c I also met her last year to get an ARC of I Believe In A Thing Called Love!😭✨❤💗

And Sara Saedi! I really loved her Peter Pan retelling Never Ever, so now that the sequel is out, it was great to be able to talk to her about it & what to  expect!

I also got to chat/see some lovely book blog friends again, such as Jordan from: The Heart Of A Book Blogger

Paige: The Paige Turner

& Allison: @AlliCrystal

On Sunday April 22, I had a few more authors on my list & was able to see almost all of them (sadly Nic Stone’s signing was too late for me & I couldn’t find my copy of American Panda in time to see Gloria Chao 😭):

The Belles by Dhonielle ClaytonFirst I met: Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and co-author of The Tiny Pretty Things duology! {We talked about writing, then she asked me about tea-cup animals {which are in The Belles} & which one I would want–I said foxes or dragons!! 😆😍✨🦊🐉 & chatting w/ her was just so much fun!}

Before I met Dhonielle Clayton, I actually attended a panel that featured her, Sabaa Tahir, Marie Lu, & Tochi Onyebuchi for: Eat. Read Sleep: Fantastical Young Adult! This panel was moderated by Sarah Enni who runs the podcast: First Draft Pod.

They discussed the fantasy worlds they create, diversity and the importance of representation, how they go about world-building, etc.! It was a great panel & they were so funny!! 😂✨

I don’t usually attend panels when I go to book events, but this one was just fantastic & I’m so glad I attended!

Next I stayed around the YA Stage to meet:

Flight Season by Marie MarquardtMarie Marquardt author of Flight Season 

Emily X.R. Pan author of The Astonishing Color Of After (Which I still have yet to read!! But will very soon! 😭✨)

& Mary H.K. Choi author of Emergency Contact!

Getting the chance to chat w/ each author was just so great! Especially Marie & Mary, who I got to fangirl with over their amazing books!!

I also met some cool bookish people in line, such as Kalie who blogs about books at: A Bit Fairy Tale!

Afterwards I decided to make my last stop at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore booth to What You Left Me by Bridget Morrisseypick up an early copy of Bridget Morrissey’s upcoming YA Contemporary novel:

What You Left Me

I’d heard about it a while back and I definitely decided to keep it on my radar b/c it sounded like a great YA Contemporary & couldn’t miss the opportunity to get an early copy and meet the author!

Out on June 5, here is a summary: Martin and Petra meet for the first time at graduation, and though they’ve shared the halls of their high school for four years without crossing paths, there’s an instant connection the moment they’re seated next to each other at the commencement ceremony.

Then a car accident puts Martin into a coma, and Petra is somehow left picking up the pieces, using friends, family, and shared dreams to keep their surprise connection going.

Together they must unlock the truth of his situation, and with time running out, their bond becomes Martin’s best shot at waking back up to the life he’s left behind.

Overall talking with each author was amazing! They were all so kind! Getting the time to ask them questions about writing and their books was incredible!

And now for the giveaway!! I was at the Mysterious Galaxy booth & found some Furyborn swag (an exclusive sampler + bookmark!)

So not only is this my first swag giveaway, but its also my first international one!
All you have to do is RT the tweet below & follow my twitter!

& I can’t share it yet, but I’ll also be having another LATFOB giveaway soon! (Stay tuned on my twitter ^_^)

So overall it was another fantastic weekend at the LA Times Festival Of Books!! It just gets better & better w/ each year!! I can’t wait to return again next year in 2019!

Book Bytes I #10

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!

As a part of my 2018 Bookish Goals, I really want to continue w/ my blog features & Book Bytes is one that I sadly hadn’t kept up with in 2017!

Also with so much Young Adult book news recently, I thought it was the perfect time to bring back this feature!

I’ve also decided to update it from previous Book Bytes, by adding categories, other than just dates to have it more organized and make it easier to jump to whichever book news you’d want to read about!

If there’s any YA Book news I may have missed, definitely let me know in the comments below!

Adaptation News

781.The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly Starring Cast Announced

Stephanie Oakes 2015 debut novel, The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly was announced to have been picked up as a TV series adaptation for a 10-episode series w/ Facebook Watch.

Announced March 2 by Deadline: “Elena Kampouris (Before I Fall), Kevin Carroll (The Leftovers), Kiana Madeira (Dark Matter), and Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary) are set as leads in Sacred Lies (working title)..”

2.Netflix picks up rights to There’s Someone Inside Your House

Announced March 15, Stranger Things Producer Shawn Levy, 21 Laps, and James Wan are teaming up to adapt Stephanie Perkins’s novel into a movie for Netflix.

No release date has been announced.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han3.To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Movie Coming to Netflix in 2018

Variety announced that Netflix acquired the rights to Jenny Han’s To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before film.

Filming had occurred in 2017 and as of March 21, 2018 the film is set for a Summer 2018 release date!

However, there hasn’t been an official release date announced yet!

4.The Darkest Minds movie Stills + Trailer

As of March 26, EW released the first look of The Darkest Minds movie and also giving some background to the upcoming film.

The Darkest Minds film is set to be released August 3 of 2018 and as of March 28, the The Darkest Minds movie trailer was released which you can check out on the movies official twitter Here!

5.The Hazel Wood picked up by Colombia Pictures

On March 27, The Wrap announced Ashleigh Powell, who wrote the screenplay for Disney’s upcoming film: The Nutcracker And The Four Realms, has signed on to adapt Melissa Albert’s debut novel The Hazel Wood.

Also picked up by Colombia Pictures, no other news has been announced.

Book Deals

1.The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Set to be released by Henry Holt pub. in 2019, The Kingdom is set in a fantasy theme park and follows “Ana, a human-android hybrid whose only purpose as a “Fantasist” is to make dreams come true, until she’s accused of murder.(announced March 13)

2. I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

Set to be released by Scholastic with June 2019 release date, I Wish You All The Best is “about a non-binary teen who is kicked out by their parents after coming out, but learns that sometimes from disaster one can build a happier new life. ” (announced March 28)

Cover + Title Reveals

1.Crown Of Thunder by Tochi Onyebuchi 

The sequel to Onyebuchi’s 2017 debut YA Fantasy novel, Beasts Made Of Night, had its cover revealed on PenguinTeen’s site March 2.

Crown Of Thunder is set to be released October 16, 2018!

2.Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Adib Khorram’s debut novel, Darius The Great Is Not Okay, had its cover reveal on PenguinTeen’s site, March 4.

The cover reveal also included an interview with the author and cover designer, Samira Iravani.

Darius The Great Is Not Okay is set to be released August 28, 2018!

3.The Wicked King by Holly Black

The sequel to Black’s The Cruel Prince, which is titled The Wicked King, had its cover revealed, which also included an excerpt, on EW on March 8.

The Wicked King is set to be released January 8, 2019!

4.Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

Revealed on March 15, Sarah Beth Durst revealed the cover to her latest YA Fantasy, Fire And Heist, on her website!

According to her website this novel is a “contemporary fantasy about a teen were-dragon who must steal her first treasure. But a dark discovery during her heist could put her family in incredible danger.”

Fire And Heist is set to released December 4, 2018!

A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma5.A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

A Room Away From The Wolves Cover + Excerpt was revealed March 15 via Bustle!

“Along with her mother, Sabina escaped her abusive father as a child. But when her mother settles down with a man and his two daughters, it pulls on the seams of their precarious relationship. Ten years after their escape, Sabina is 17 and alone, after being kicked out of her stepfather’s house. In search of refuge, she heads to New York City and secures a room at Catherine House, an all-girls boarding house in Greenwich Village. But she quickly discovers that something isn’t quite right about the house… or anyone who lives there. But is there a sinister underbelly to Catherine House — or has Sabina been lying to everyone around her?”

A Room Away From The Wolves is set to be released September 4, 2018!

6.Realm Of Ruins by Hannah West

The companion to Hannah West’s  debut YA Fantasy, Kingdom Of Ash And Briars had its cover reveal (+ giveaway) on YABooksCentral!

Realm Of Ruins is set to be released October 2, 2018!

7.Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

On March 21, the cover to Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s YA Thriller, Last Girl Lied To had its cover reveal + excerpt on Paste Magazine!

Last Girl Lied To is set to be released April 16, 2019!

8.Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

On March 23, EW revealed the cover + excerpt to the sequel/finale to Julie C. Dao’s Rise Of The Empress Series.

Kingdom Of The Blazing Phoenix is set to be released October 23!

9. Warcross #2 by Marie Lu Title Reveal

On March 26, the title for the sequel/finale to Marie Lu’s Warcross duology was revealed through Penguin Teen’s twitter!

The finale to Warcross is titled:

Wildcard

Wildcard is set to be released September 18, 2018!

10. What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera + Becky Albertalli

On March 28, EW revealed the cover + a Q&A w/ both Adam & Becky of how What If It’s Us came to be!

What If It’s Us is set to be released October 9, 2018!

Book Bytes 24hryabookblog BannerEver since I created Book Bytes, I’ve always used this feature image! But because I’ve gotten more used to newer sites for editing and creating banners since then, I don’t think I’ll be using this particular one anymore.

I feel not only will it help my blog because the newer banner will follow similar theme to my other ones, but I also feel that giving it an upgrade shows how much I’ve grown as a blogger!

Let me know your thoughts on the new image!~ 

And that’s the YA Book News for March! Lets discuss in the comments!!~😄✨📚

Thoughts on March’s YA Book News? + Do you have a favorite piece of YA Book News from the month? 📚💻📰✨

February 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton1.Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #3)

Owned | Started January 31 + Finished on February 2 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Hero At The Fall Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Rebel Of The Sands Trilogy concludes with such a character-driven and immersive finale! Amani and the remaining rebels band together to take down the sultan. There’s so much character-development and the depth to the world of Rebel, the magic system, and politics continue to develop till the very end! My issues however continue to be the time-jumps/quick pacing through locations and how they tend to rush through character development/interactions & setting description/atmosphere. However, above all Hero At The Fall really wraps up Amani’s adventure & the trilogy as a whole, to a very satisfying conclusion!

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones2.Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones (Wintersong #2)

ARC| Started February 5 + Finished on February 7|Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Shadowsong  Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Shadowsong is an enchanting and captivating finale to the Wintersong duology. I loved every moment of this book! Very much a darker continuation, this novel takes place 6 months after the events of Wintersong, focusing on Liesl as character with her internal development + growth as she comes to terms with having left the Underground + the Goblin King behind. The elegantly constructed POV continues to brings such depth and life to the many aspects from world to characters, music etc. of this phenomenal duology. The dynamic between Liesl & Josef is heavily explored in this novel & plays such a huge role in this novel. Shadowsong is a captivating, elegant, heart-wrenching, and brilliant finale to the Wintersong duology! (This novel is #OwnVoices for bipolar disorder)

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton3.The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles #1)

Owned | Started January 23 + Finished on February 9|Rating:★★★★☆ |The Belles Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Belles seamlessly weaves in political intrigue, themes and discussions of beauty, all through a descriptive and dazzling writing! Camellia Beauregard wants to secure her spot as the Favorite, but not everything is as it seems. Soon, the idea of beauty and power begin to shift as Camellia learns in her quest to prove herself as the Favorite! The descriptive, dazzling, and magical world of Orléans immediately transports you and the mythology/history of the world itself is explored in such an intriguing way! Though the pacing does slow throughout the middle, the intrigue, magic & mystery of the plot keeps you immersed! (#OwnVoices for black rep.)

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman4.Starfish by by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Library |Started February 12 + Finished On February 16 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ | Starfish Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Kiko wants nothing more than to get into her dream art school. Living with a family, who never seem to understand her, she learns what family means to her and figures out who she wants to be along the way. Kiko has anxiety and because of that, its difficult for her to speak her mind. However, throughout the novel she knows she has support from friends, both new & old, that help her find her place in the world.The writing flows so beautifully, though the heaviness of the story is there. The writing really allows you to see the characters in such a unique way and are given such depth. Starfish is a character-driven and beautifully written YA Contemporary that builds to an inspiring message of hope! (#OwnVoices for Japanese-American rep. + Social Anxiety)

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black5.The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk Of The Air #1)

Library | Started February 18 + Finished on February  22 | Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾ | The Cruel Prince Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Jude and her 2 sisters were forced to go to the land of the Fae when they were young, however 10 years later all Jude wants is to fit in. Both Jude & her twin sister Taryn are bullied by the fae royalty and this just fuels Jude’s anger to prove herself to them. The descriptions of the setting and various themes of politics, intrigue, and mystery all weave together really well. There were characters I was unsure how I felt about in the beginning, but ended up truly surprising me as I read. While there were elements I really enjoyed, sadly there was a mix of reasons why I rated the book low: I did find the pacing to slow a bit and felt the direction of the plot got a bit lost at times. Personally, I also didn’t really connect with or enjoy the twin sister relationship between Jude & Taryn. I also found that big moments nearing the middle and end really had much build up, so it felt difficult to really invest myself. I also found that the morally grey/anti-heroine aspects of Jude’s character that many had mentioned, felt more sporadic than I had hoped.However, the ending did leave me interested in seeing what happens next.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo6.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

ARC | Started February 24 + Finished on February 25 | Rating:★★★★☆ ½ | The Poet X Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The Poet X is such a powerful and unforgettable YA Contemporary. Told through poems, Xiomara goes on a journey of questioning and exploring many different aspects of her world from love to religion, and finding her voice through poetry. There were a number of topics explored and discussed such a relationships, body image/self-love, and tackling sexism. Character-driven and impactful, the poems are filled with so much heart, emotion, and depth. The power of Acevedo’s words shines with each page. I also really loved the dynamic between Xiomara & her twin brother Xavier and seeing their relationship change and grow as the book progressed. The Poet X is a must read, so definitely keep an eye out on this book in March! (#OwnVoices for Dominican rep. + there is also gay & Trinidadian rep.)

Additional Posts From This Month:

February 2018 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Literary Listens: Audio Drama Podcasts That Need Book Adaptations

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton Review

The Belles by Dhonielle ClaytonThe Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles #1)

Publisher: Disney Hyperion (Freeform Books)

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Pages: 448

Summary: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. 

*Received a finished copy through a giveaway*

*Trigger Warnings: attempted sexual assault*

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Belles is a dazzling, thought-provoking & unique tale that explores the concept of beauty! As a Belle in Orléans, Camellia Beauregard wants nothing more than to secure her spot as the Favorite, but things aren’t all that they seem as this immersive YA Fantasy explores a number of themes and topics from family to beauty, even political intrigue!

The concept of the Belles was so fascinating! They are young women born with the ability to control beauty, which means they use their power to alter not only people’s appearances, but can even heighten or lessen emotions/temperaments (which was fascinating!). There was mythology explored, but also mystery surrounding the Belles and it was presented in such an intriguing way.

From the very beginning, the descriptive and dazzling writing you are immediately transported to the world of Orléans. The detailed way the setting, food, atmosphere, and especially clothing were crafted was just described in such a way that sparkled!

What I loved so much about The Belles was Clayton’s writing-style. Through Camellia’s first-person POV, you not only get such a character-driven perspective, but also one that balances a number of differing themes and topics.

The topic of beauty is really a foundation for this novel. Not only does it play a huge part in the world as the Belles are given the ability to manipulate it, but it also explores it in depth from a number of angles. For instance, what one is willing to do to achieve beauty, the high standards one sets for it on themselves, and so much more!

Camellia, though she has her other Belle sisters by her side, wants nothing more than to be the Favorite (the one Belle chosen by the queen) and is driven to achieve her goal. Her determination to not only reach them, but also prove to herself all that she’s worked for can pay off, was so inspiring. I loved how driven she was to pursue her goals.

Though things don’t go the way she plans at first, she soon finds herself as the new Favorite and knows her dreams have finally come true.

However, the power of the Belles is complex and soon Cameilla sees a side to her world (mainly through the youngest princess Sophia) that the quest for beauty can sometimes come at a cost.

My favorite themes and topics explored was definitely the sisterhood between the Belles and the political intrigue. Clayton shows us through flashbacks of Caemilla’s past & especially through the Belles dynamics in the beginning, just how close they are. Regardless of competition, they all want the best for each other and while it is explored less throughout the middle of the novel, its a clear and present aspect of not only the history of the Belles in Orléans, but also through Cameilla’s POV.

The main characters were all really wonderfully developed and while I felt some characters could have had a bit more page time (like more of the sisters) Clayton really gave such depth to the main cast and while you can see the complexities to their character, their also given the perfect elements of mystery.

Now as to why I took off a star: While I loved the writing and felt the world was presented through such unique descriptions, I couldn’t help but feel the pacing was really slow for me personally, especially throughout the middle of the story. And while it does pick up nearing the end, it took me much longer to read this novel than I had planned.

Regardless, the ending really leaves you wanting more when more secrets are discovered and I cannot wait to read where the story is headed in the sequel!

The Belles is a magical and unique tale that immerses you from the very beginning! The various themes and discussions of beauty become such prevalent aspects of this novel and are explored with such depth. The world, characters, and plot all weave together wonderfully through the descriptive and dazzling writing!