Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Damned (The Beautiful #2) by Renée Ahdieh

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Paranormal + Romance
Length: 456 pages
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful.

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

Thank you to Penguin Teen for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

MAYBE I AM INTO VAMPIRES.

I have been long holding the belief that I was over vampires. This duology has given me hope that maybe I can try some of the new vampire books coming out! I love the way this was written. Vampires weren’t IN MY FACE, but I also love the way the interacted with their world and the group of friends turned family themselves.

The Damned also went in a different direction than expected. I guess I was thinking I was getting more romance (typical, I know), but instead, there was a lot more whimsy and fantasy aspects to it that brought the paranormal/urban fantasy combination together. Still wished there was more romance, and more Celine, because she didn’t even show up til over 30% of the way through!

Watching the push and pull between Bastien and Celine was the kind of will they/won’t they, that I loooooove. Every time they were in the same room together I was glued to the page wanting to know what would happen next. I wanted more of them together, yet the writing was beautiful anytime I did get them. Ah, yes. Love a good romance component in a book!

One of my issues was how open ended the last few chapters were. I didn’t feel much closure with this installment because it was abundantly clear, a new series is coming, with a spin-off following another character. While totally here for it, I wish somethings had been more solidified. I’m curious where the enemies are going to rise from, how the other realms will play into it, and if I’ll get to see some of my favorite character again.

Ahdieh creates some of my favorite duologies and I love her writing. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal + romance
  • Language: occasional strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; one love scene with minimal detail
  • Violence: murder, physical, magical; not incredibly gory

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Book Review

Book Review: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renée Ahdieh

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult historical fiction + romance + paranormal
Length: 448 pages
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

VAMPIRES?

I hesitantly picked this book up because I love Ahdieh’s books, but I heard the hypeness over the apparent vampires in this book [note: not a fan of vampire books, never really have been]. My cautionary read turned out a lot better than I thought. And I know I liked this much better than others BECAUSE there were barely any vampires in the entire book.

Ahdieh’s writing is always wonderful. I was easily invested in the story and enjoyed reading it. I love the setting, especially having traveled there, it really added to the atmosphere and vibe of old world New Orleans. The mystery and mythical combination is a tune I can love.

The romance was good, when the love triangle wasn’t in play. UGH. It didn’t need that at all to add to it (though now apparently it’ll play a big part in book two). Jury is still out and how the rest of this will unfold, but I was definitely shipping Celene and Bastien. I love the sultry banter and romantic moments they had. The ending left me all up in arms and I need a resolution.

I liked Celene for the most part. Her lack of communication skills were obvious and annoying. Celene could have had a better friendship with Pippa if she would trust her for one minute. The amount of inner dialogue she had about not telling anyone anything was running me ragged. An inability to communicate anything can really sour a character. Otherwise, I enjoyed her braveness and her courage against her situation.

Oh yes, those vampires? Well throughout the book I really couldn’t figure out who the mystery chapters were (in the vampires POV). I honestly didn’t know until they showed up on the page. That was satisfying to be on edge the entire time with who was attacking Celene and her cohorts. I definitely think they underworld of New Orleans will play a much bigger role in the second book since all of the reveals didn’t come out until the second half.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal, historical fiction romance
  • Language: a little strong
  • Romance: some kisses, an almost love scene with a little detail
  • Violence: gory murder description
  • Trigger Warning: attempted rape (never in full detail, discussed as part of Celene’s past with a few paragraphs dedicated to how he attacked her)

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

Howdy! Another week into January, and another Top 10 Tuesday before us!

This week is a beautiful topic because of it’s simplicity. Find my most recent additions below:


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal

Emergence (Shadowfire #2) by Gaja J. Kos & Boris Kos

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh

There you have it! Are you excited about any of these? Have you read some of these? Lets talk in the comments!

Book Review

Review: Smoke in the Sun (Flame in the Mist #2) by Renee Ahdieh

Smoke in the Sun

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA, very little language, torture violence, some kiss scenes [one a touch love-ish]
Length: 408 pages
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For weeks, seventeen-year-old Mariko pretended to be a boy to infiltrate the notorious Black Clan and bring her would-be murderer to justice. She didn’t expect to find a place for herself among the group of fighters—a life of usefulness—and she certainly didn’t expect to fall in love. Now she heads to the imperial castle to resume a life she never wanted to save the boy she loves.

Ōkami has been captured, and his execution is a certainty. Mariko will do what she must to ensure his survival—even marry the sovereign’s brother, saying goodbye to a life with Ōkami forever.

As Mariko settles into her days at court—making both friends and enemies—and attempting Ōkami’s rescue at night, the secrets of the royal court begin to unravel as competing agendas collide. One arrow sets into motion a series of deadly events even the most powerful magic cannot contain. Mariko and Ōkami risk everything to right past wrongs and restore the honor of a kingdom thrown into chaos by a sudden war, hoping against hope that when the dust settles, they will find a way to be together.

Set against the backdrop of feudal Japan, Smoke in the Sun is the breathless, romantic, not-to-be-missed fiery conclusion to a spell-binding adventure.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

OKAMI IS MY CINNAMON ROLL.

I love him. That little cinnamon roll is my latest book boyfriend, because he just gives you all the heart eyes. His loyalty, sass, and honor round out a great character.

But on a real note, I LOVE BAD-A WOMEN. Mariko for the win. Ahdieh brought a dynamic, thoughtful and strong character in Mariko, and Yumi. Even Kanako, while evil-esque, still awesome. It’s so great when female characters really get the spotlight.

This book excels at multiple POV. Even when it changes mid-chapter, it’s easy to tell who’s speaking and what is happening. It was great getting everyone’s views because it rounded at the story from so many angles. I felt the anguish and triumphs of each character. Ahdieh is quickly becoming one of my top favorite authors. Her duologies make me happy and are the perfect length to convey a remarkable story.

Definitely a YA novel, maybe 2 curse words. Some kissing scenes with one being a touch love-ish. Multiple characters involved with torture violence.