AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton 

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. 

My Review: 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: YES!! A million times yes!

Disclosure: Received an ARC from a friend. Mild spoilers for problematic content.

Release Date: February 20, 2018 Disney-Hyperion 
Where do I even begin?

 Dhonielle Clayton has created a world that blurs the line between dangerous and beautiful.  The stunning prose and dedication to world building is a testament to Dhonielle’s talent as a writer. From the first page, Dhonielle creates a world so mysterious and inviting that it feels as if Dhonielle herself is a Belle. 

Along with the world building and immaculate prose, she also creates characters that stay in your mind days after reading. Camellia the heroine of this story is one of the best YA heroines I’ve seen in years. She’s resilient and unwavering in herself and her faith in others. She wants to make everyone feel beautiful inside and out but her innocence holds her back at times. Her curiosity is one of her most admirable traits and she’s never afraid to voice her opinions. 

As this review is super early I can’t say too much, but this book is stunning inside and out. Dhonielle Clayton truly made a story that is worth its weight in gold. 

UPDATE 6/05/17

It has come to my attention after reading another review and rereading my ARC that there is problematic content in The Belles.

In the review I’ve linked below it details the transphobia, fatphobia, and queerphobia that occurs in the book. There are mild spoilers for The Belles but as a reviewers it’s necessary to warn readers of harmful content that could be triggering to them. If you have any questions regarding my review you may contact me by email which is 

afroboricuareads@gmail.com

or

On Twitter at @_tatilee through DM which is always open. 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1970019332

Waiting on Wednesday: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton 

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Release Date: February 18, 2018

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Hi Everbody! 

Welcome to my first ever Waiting on Wednesday! My TBR is filled with books that release dates seem so far away and final covers to still be revealed. This is the oldest and most anticipated.

Fantasy is my favorite genre of all time and it needs to be filled with more #ownvoices, like The Belles.  I can already tell this book will be filled with Black Girl Magic. Dhonielle Clayton is an amazing author, if you haven’t read her series that she cowrote with Sona Charaipotra, Tiny Pretty Things do so right now!

If you follow me on Twitter you know it’s one of my most anticipated reads ever. Here’s why the main character Camellia is black and will be on the cover in a ball gown. A BALL GOWN. Black girls in YA fantasy are scarce and we’re never the main characters always the side character. So this book is going to be a moment for so many of us and already I know this book will mean so much to Black girls who want to be the hero. 

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads and a link to its Goodreads page. 

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.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23197837-the-belles

Also follow Dhonielle on Twitter and Instagram @brownbookworm. The Belles Instagram is @the_belles 

Why the YA Community isn’t for teens, a lot of the time 

I’m back again! 

This time not a review or a reaction, a thinkpiece at best. 

YA without a doubt is my go to genre. Whenever I go to my local library that’s my safe place. I know that they’re new things to explore and familiar things as well. I’ve been reading YA my whole life, as a teen it’s awesome to be taken seriously when so many brush us off. 

As much I was a fan of the YA genre, I was terrified to start a book blog. I didn’t think I would be taken seriously as a reviewer in the YA genre. Most of the reviewers I saw in this community where older and it was intimidating. Finally I said screw it, isn’t YA for teens anyway?

That’s what I think so many people forget: YA is for teens! Why should I be intimidated to talk about a genre written for me? Why should I be afraid to speak out in a community that’s about me? I admit I’m late to game, I just turned 18 and to most that means I’m not a kid anymore. They’re right I recognize that I’m getting older but, why aren’t teens getting recognition in a genre that’s about them?

Why should those that are clearly not teenagers anymore and don’t work with teenagers get more rep in this community than a 15 year old? 

We need to make this community safe for all teens. Give them a platform to speak out in this community, don’t speak over them. YA is for teens but so many of us forget that too often. 

As someone who’s barely out of her teens, I often feel ignored in favor of those older than me. I feel way more afraid to speak my mind than someone who is thirty years old and white. I live in constant fear that I’ll be attacked for speaking out against injustices in this community. I feel the constant need to prove myself in this community that should be about kids my age. When I hear people say this community isn’t fun anymore, I laugh because it’s hardly fun for a teen my age. 

 I’m not the most eloquent writer, nor do I know how to express myself very well but I try all the time. I’m not perfect but I’m willing to listen and learn to those I’ve hurt. But those that are older in this community very rarely listen. 

I’m rambling now, but I wrote this post because I want teens to feel safe and heard in this community. I want teens to have a voice in a genre that’s about them. 

Love, 

Tatiana

Not a Half-Breed: My reaction to The Black Witch by Laurie-Ann Forest 

Hi everyone! 

It’s been a while I’m sorry for that depression really takes it out of me. I’m back to talking about bookish things but not a review just a reaction to someone reading the book. 

First and foremost I have not read The Black Witch by Laurie-Ann Forest and I never plan to. My awesome friend Shauna @b00kstorebabe on Twitter got an ARC of it and was immediately concerned with the main character ‘s blatant racism towards the other races in the book. 

If you haven’t heard of the Black Witch look up the summary I won’t link it, I’m not promoting this book I’m warning my followers the dangerous ideas this author poised in this so-called “fantasy” novel. 

I’ll admit I was really excited for The Black Witch, I’m a sucker for fantasy especially witches in fantasy but this thread changed it all. 

A thread about The Black Witch
I encourage you to read this thread because mine will make more sense of my very raw feelings. 

My twitter thread about The Black Witch
Okay have you read them both? Good because what I’m about to say is very important. 

We as consumers hold the power over what publishing houses releases. Our money tells them what kinda books we wanna see in the world. I don’t wanna see books like The Black Witch in the world, I don’t know what the author intended but this is not her place and she has hurt so many and the book doesn’t even come out until May. 

I’m devastated about this book coming out and harming so many people. It’s not okay for something like this occur in this day and age in the publishing industry. Editors need to do better. Writers need to do better. The whole publishing industry needs to do better. 

As of this moment the author hasn’t responded to anything about the harmful aspects in her book. I hope she handles in a responsible way and change because that’s what it’s going to take change. It’s up to you and me to change because unless we take action nothing is going to change. 

So take a stand and call on the author to respond nicely, no threats or harmful words should be used. If we want to foster actual change diplomacy works better in the long run even if it’s tough like it is right now for so many. 

That’s all I wanted to say for right now I just needed to get my feelings out hopefully this inspires you to do something. 

Love, 

Tatiana

AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig 


Summary:

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear.
My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: Yes!

Disclosure: A lovely friend from the UK sent me a copy. No spoilers

I hesitated on wanting to read this book because the whole traveling on a ship and time travel didn’t appeal to me. But then I found out Nix was biracial and based on the author herself and decide to see if I would like it for myself. Spoiler alert if you couldn’t tell by the rating ^ I absolutely loved it!

This story was fresh and original right from the start. From the worldbuilding  to the characters, and plot lines it was an enchanting read. The writing was fantastic, I couldn’t believe that this was Heidi’s debut.

I love the way Nix and the crew have to time travel. Using the maps and the whole concept of learning to steer the ship is ingenious. As a whole the entire world building is so fresh and original it’s refreshing to see in YA. 

One of my favorite parts of this story is Kash. He is so swoon worthy! I’m in love with Nix and Kash’s interactions, the way he cares for is great to see as you see so many harmful relationships in YA.

All in all I adored this book. It was such a great read as it seems like every YA novel is the same. I’m excited for the sequel The Ship Beyond Time which comes out 2/28! 

Look! It’s the cover for Tristina Wright’s 27 Hours! 

I cannot tell you how excited I am for this book! 27 Hours is a diverse space opera YA novel that we have all been waiting for. Check out the synopsis, preorder links, and the cover below! 
27 Hours (The Nightside Saga #1) by Tristina Wright 

Release Date: October 3, 2017 

Book Description: 

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.
But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.
Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.
During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

Preorder Links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/27-Hours-Tristina-Wright/dp/1633758206/

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/27-Hours-Tristina-Wright/dp/1633758206/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/27-Hours-Tristina-Wright/dp/1633758206

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/27-hours-tristina-wright/1125323416?ean=9781633758209

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: 


If you would like to learn more about Tristina (I highly recommend you do!) 
Author Bio:

Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable.
Still trying to figure out the mermaid thing.

Tristina’s Media Links 

Website: http://tristinawright.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tristinawright/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TristinaMWright

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TristinaWright

Tumblr: http://authorwrightnow.tumblr.com/

Snapchat: @tristinawright

AfroBoricua Reads Book Reviews: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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Summary: When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommendation: Yes!!!

Disclosure: Received eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Publication Date: March 7, 2017  No spoilers.

I want to live in this world. PERIOD. Never have I’ve read a book so dedicated to its world and worldbuilding.  The Bone Witch is the epitome of high fantasy.  Rin Chupeco builds a wonderful world straight from the start with Tea and her family, full of ashas and monsters, and of course the raising of the dead.

Tea is an amazing heroine from the very first page as she unknowingly resurrects her beloved brother who her left her side far too soon in her opinion. Then we are whisked away to the magical city of Ankyo where we meet an amazing cast of character who help Tea in her journey to become a full-fledged asha.

I should mention that Chupeco tells this story in two POVs, the past in which Tea is just discovering her powers as a dark asha and the present where Tea talks with a young man exiled from his kingdom and tells him of her past as she sets in motion her plan to save her world from darkness.

I was amazed at how easily Chupeco was able to switch between the past and present of Tea’s life and leave little teases of how Tea fell out of favor with her makeshift family she was just learning to love and accept in the past. Tea’s growth from a girl just discovering how powerful she can be (the past), to relishing in her frighteningly awesome powers (the present).

The worldbuilding in this book was just amazing. Usually with fantasy books set in their own world it can seem confusing and off putting but as we learn more about Tea’s past we experience this breathtaking world firsthand and discover the amazing world of the asha.

This book may seem daunting and slow but in my humble opinion, Rin Chupeco spins an amazing story set in a dangerous world filled with powerful women who deserve their own series! I just loved this book and I cannot wait to see the rest of this series that will hopefully answer that amazing ending. (I was dead on the floor after reading it)

An epic high fantasy with an epic world to match, I hope you check out this wonderful book when it hits the shelves in March!