My dystopian dreams fullfilled


This book is AMAZING. Before I get into my babbling about how much I loved this book, first I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with an eARC for this book. Okay, back to the amazingness that is Dhonielle Clayton’s writing and this story she has managed to beautifully capture on paper. I sound incredibly cheesy, but I genuinely didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. The cover of this book suggests a girly contemporary (not my thing), but the synopsis sounded promising so I thought I’d give it a shot. We start out being introduced to the “Belles”, and our main Belle Camellia Beauregard. The normal people of this world, in our fictional city of Orléans, are born grey, with it being said that it’s a curse from a God. The Belles are born with not only coloured skin, hair and eyes, but also the ability to change the features of others from colourings to the physical shape of their bodies. This is, as you probably guessed, is coveted by the rich in this society and the Belles are therefore allocated to different “houses” which belong to the highest of the society, with the “favourite” Belle being allocated to the Royal Palace to work with the Royal Family and those they deem worthy. But there is a darker secret that lies beneath this seemingly sweet exterior, and when Camellia starts to uncover these secrets everything starts to fall away.

I absolutely loved the world building within this book, I liked the world when it was perfect and pristine, but as the darker tones come in and more about Orléans is discovered I really enjoyed learning the cities dark secrets and the issues which are present in our societies but seem greatly enhanced here. I personally feel like the message from this book can be likened to that of George Orwell’s 1984, in that if our society continues to behave in a manner which is detrimental to the majority of the population then a higher power will take over and remove freedom whilst retaining its illusion. In 1984 this is done to relationships between families and friends, whereas in The Belles this is instead done to both outer and inner appearances (as The Belles can also influence personalities, although outer beauty is focused on in this first book).

This book is definitely a brilliant addition to the dystopian genre, with me wishing that the sequel was available the second I finished the book (I’m not even lying I went to go check and it’s not even on Goodreads!! 😦 ). I will definitely be buying a physical copy of this book to support Clayton and add to my shelf and I 100% need to read the sequel as soon as I can get my hands on it! I may just be adding to the hype-train for this book, but personally, I believe it to be worth it.

Casati, hidden history


Thank you to NetGalley for an eCopy of this graphic novel in return for an unbiased review. I genuinely did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, I thought it’d be a little interesting 20-minute read that ended when I read the last page. It was a short read, and it was interesting, but it definitely did not end when I reached the last page. I had never heard of Casati before, and now I have she is definitely someone I want to learn more about. She is such an interesting character, and her life seems so surreal and ends so sadly that it is almost hard to believe this is a biography and not a work of fiction.

I really liked the artwork within the graphic novel, and the writing style was very immersive and enjoyable. I was genuinely sad when it finished. You may have never heard of Casati, or you may already be familiar with her, but either way, I definitely recommend picking this graphic novel up and giving it a read. Definitely something I’d like to own in person one day.

Second Generation, the story of a concentration camp survivor’s son


Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eCopy of this graphic novel in return for an unbiased review. This graphic novel based around the Jewish persecution in WWII is a little different from other novels on the subject, not only is the art within drawn in a more humorous manner than usual, but the perspective is from that of the victim’s son. Second Generation tells the story of how Jews who suffered at the hands of the Nazis had an impact on their family around them once the nightmare of the concentration camps was far in their past.

It was so interesting to read how Michel interpreted his fathers’ experiences and how he felt alienated from his father due to his decision to withhold and disclose certain varying aspects of his life history, depending on the situation and the timing. It also affected what he and his siblings felt they could do in their childhoods, so not to affect their father. He mentions that he feels like he never had the chance to experience teenage angst because his fathers’ opportunity was taken by the Nazis, and despite this being a small issue it really impacts an individuals childhood experience and how their personalities are shaped. There was, for someone who has no family history of being affected by the Nazis, a surprising amount of impact passed down the generations to those who weren’t even born when the Nazis were in power. This was very sad but very interesting to learn about.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel, and although I am biased as I have a fascination with anything based around WWII I genuinely think this will be a book enjoyed by a large number of people and one that should be promoted more. A five star read for me.—the-things-i-didn-t-tell-my-father

Aina, a fun, quick read


Thank you to NetGalley for an eCopy of this graphic novel in return for an unbiased review. I enjoyed this little, translated work which is based around the mystery of a girl who speaks no English seemingly wanting to escape from those she lives with, and these individuals seem to have a dark side to them. Why else would she seem so distressed? I think the drawing style is really nice and I like the way the plot develops. It did seem a little rushed at the end, but overall I did like the novel and I definitely want to look into the rest of the series. Something fun, not too heavy and quick to read.

An important message in picture form


Clara, written by Chrisophe Lemoine (originally written in French) and illustrated by Cécile, is a graphic novel intended to educate children about what happens when a loved one becomes ill and passes away. I was provided with this book in an eBook format from NetGalley in return for an unbiased review. This graphic novel was a sad, sweet little book which I can imagine being helpful for parents or guardians in a difficult and sad time to attempt to explain the situation to those who are younger. I really liked the art style used and I’d definitely be interested in seeing more from this duo.


Blackwelder 2164 – a first


Sadly, this is the first book in my life that I have ever DNF’d. This is a resolution I’m making this year as I have far too many books to get through to linger on ones which I’m really not enjoying. I did give this book 3 chapters, but I really just didn’t want to read it and the cheesiness was too much for me as the relationship was already annoying me. Not my style sadly, there isn’t much more to say about this badly portrayed relationship and poorly portrayed characters. I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley and NineStar in return for an unbiased review.