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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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: December 2019

Oh hey, LAST READING MONTH OF THE DECADE.

And what a month it was. I tried to read as many Christmas books as I could get my hands on to really feel that Christmas spirit. It totally worked. I had a lot of fantastic reads for the end of the year.

  • Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose Pool – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Bid My Soul Farewell (Give the Dark my Love #2) by Beth Revis – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Of Rioters & Royals (Swift Shadows #1) by M.L. Greye – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Powell and Faith Erin Hicks – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper #4) by Kerri Maniscalco – (☆☆☆☆)
  • It Happened at Christmas by Christen Krumm – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Christmas Like This by Carina Taylor – (☆☆)
  • Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West – (☆☆☆)
  • Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Entwined Paths (Swift Shadows #2) by M.L. Greye – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
  • One Christmas in Winter by Bell Renshaw – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Ashlords by Scott Reintgen – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Defy the Worlds (Constellation #2) by Claudia Gray – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Defy the Fates (Constellation #3) by Claudia Gray – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Veins of Magic (The Otherworld #2) by Emma Hamm – (☆☆☆☆)
  • East (East #1) by Edith Pattou – (☆☆☆☆)

My favorite this month: Faking Under the Mistletoe

Least favorite this month: Christmas Like This

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

I broke this into two parts because not only are their some great new releases coming out, there’s also a huge stack of books I’m staring at in my house that need to be read too. Lots of books to read this fall y’all.

NEW RELEASES ON MY FALL TBR:

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones


The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh


The Toll (Arc of a Sycthe #3) by Neal Shusterman


Supernova (Renegades #3) by Marissa Meyer


Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson


The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black


Ninth House (Ninth House Series #1) by Leigh Bardugo


Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda


Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao


The Sky Weaver (Iskari #3) by Kristen Ciccarelli

BOOKS I’M DETERMINED TO READ THIS FALL:

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson


Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim


A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn


The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co. #3) by Jonathan Stroud


Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco


There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose Pool


The Vine Witch (Vine Witch #1) by Luanne G. Smith


The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar


Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova


The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

What books are on your fall TBR? Any new releases or are you trying to conquer your back list? May we not be buried by our TBR this fall! Lets talk in the comments.

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