Cover Image: The Beautiful

The Beautiful

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I think this is a really strong book that falls under the extremely and annoying personal category of "overwrought and too flowery writing" that I just don't love. I think this book will have PLENTY of lovers though- it's just not for me!

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I did end up really enjoying The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh. It's a fun YA read set in 1870s New Orleans with romance, vampires, and a murder mystery.

Something felt off about how the 1870s New Orleans setting was portrayed, and the vampire aspect is pretty light. There are also some paranormal aspects and the vibe overall was creepy. I really enjoyed the murder mystery aspect, as well as the main characters. And that cliffhanger! I know this is a well-beloved series, and I would definitely recommend it for younger YA readers.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-copy!

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thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy. I really enjoyed this and will be getting copies for my shop.

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Phenomenal book! Celine and Bastian are such strong characters, and are supported by a varying cast of well written counterparts. I loved the flow of the story and while the end was disappointing as far as what happened to our main characters, I am anxious to see what will happen next! I’m also confused and curious about a certain werewolf that made an appearance at the end of the book and can’t wait to learn more about what happened with that character!!! I would highly recommend this book!

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The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh is book #1 in the The Beautiful series. It took me a little bit to get into it but once I did I couldn't put it down. Celine, trying to escape her past and fresh off of the boat from Paris, falls for Sebastien. They have an instant attraction to each other they can't explain. Celine knows something supernatural is about with Sebastien friends, she just can't put her finger on it. When people start turning up dead, Celine wonders if Sebastien s the killer throughout the book.

This is not your typical vampire novel. In Book #1 vampires are not front and center but in the background. Although it is hinted at, closer to the end of the book is when we really find out they have been vampires all along. I was surprised by the ending and there are a lot of questions I have. I bought the entire series so hopefully my questions will be answered and Celine and Sebastien will find their way back to each other. On to book #2, The Damned.

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This book blew me away! I absolutely loved the world building and setting by, the characters were amazing as was the storyline. I cannot wait to continue on with this series.

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Celine Rousseau is 17 years old. She is going to NewOrleans to Athens Ursuline convent during carnival season. She is fleeing from from Paris. Why? She learned to be a dressmaker (under a famous dressmaker in Paris). At the convent she is given the task with two other girls to raise funds for the convent. Celine doesn’t know what she will raise funds. She wants to explore the city of New Orleans but the convent won’t let her. They tell her, that they will find her and the other girls she travel with must wait until they find a suitable husband for them. As she sits in front of the convent where she sells the lace handkerchiefs she has made, she sees a male figure that she saw on her ride to the convent. The next few days, she catches him watching her but doesn’t come near her. Who is that man? Will she meet him?
I found it engaging. It is mysterious and compelling. I am sure it will become a best seller.

Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book from the author/publisher from NetGalley. I wasn’t obligated to write a favorable review or any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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Let me just preface this by saying that I swore all the way back in 2015 that I would read ANYTHING Renee Ahdieh wrote. The Wrath and The Dawn duology and the Flame in the Mist duology both ranked among my favorite series in the years they came out, and I couldn't get enough of Ahdieh's richly textured worlds, striking prose, and captivating heroines.

So why didn't I pick up The Beautiful back in 2019, you ask? I had vampire fatigue.

But, 5 years later, when I saw this ARC on NetGalley, I couldn't resist...and I am SO GLAD I gave in.

The Beautiful is a sumptuous romance and a compelling mystery, filled with Ahdieh's signature fluid prose. Celine is a young French woman who finds herself, along with several other girls, staying at a convent. But Celine longs for life beyond the convent and is especially drawn to the danger of life in New Orleans, which is ruled by shadowy figures. When she encounters one of these figures while selling lace, Celine gets drawn into the darkness of the Court of Lions...and right into the path of a murderer. It doesn't help that Celine just can't stay away...because the intrigue of the Court of Lions is second only to its prince: Bastien, a devilishly handsome man who eschews propriety and his his sights set on Celine.

Celine is a strong, compelling heroine, and I loved that she didn't feel anachronistic. She's not a modern teen dropped into a 19th century setting, but a bold young woman whose life in Paris shaped the choices she now makes in New Orleans. I loved how she held her own against Bastien, and I was immediately drawn into the romance between them. I adored Odette, too, Celine's first introduction into the Court of Lions. My biggest critique, and the reason I knocked a star off, is that the middle felt a little repetitive and I couldn't stand the love triangle between Celine, Bastien, and the detective who investigates the murders, and who is low-key the worst. Team Bastien all the way. Aside from that, it unfolded gorgeously and that ending!! Oh my.

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Young Readers Group, and Renee Ahdieh for gifting me this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review! I am beyond excited to dive into the rest of the series.

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This novel is basically the outline of a vampire court set in New Orleans. You know that it's about a group of vampires from the blurb, but there's really nothing overtly vampire-y happening until the end. Sorta more a murder mystery novel with an occasional unnamed first person protagonist, the detective character and the person who's stuck in between the two.

The person stuck between is Celine, who arrives in the French Quarter at the beginning of this book, along with best friend Pippa and a handful of other girls who are headed for the convent before they find appropriate marriage partners. Except, that's not really want Celine's here to do. Back in Paris, she killed a man who attempted to rape her, then got out of the way before the law caught up with her.

Not that anyone on this side of the ocean knows about that.

Our love interest is not actually detective or vampire, but rather the last Saint Germaine heir, Bastien. He's about as friendly as a cactus and has a real attitude problem from the moment he and Celine meet. So it's inconvenient for him that Celine and one of the vampires surrounding him, Odette, become best friends.

The detective character is called Michael and actually happens to make up a surprising love triangle with these other two by the end. Which is almost funny given how hostile he is in pursuit of catching a killer who always happens to be circling around Celine and those closest to her.

While this plot goes on, most of the novel is a character study that keeps you guessing as to the motivation of most of its characters. While the word 'preternatural' is used plenty, the word 'vampire' doesn't get dropped until near to the end. It's a good set up for a new series as well as opening the path for a lot more things to happen in subsequent novels.

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As we are well into 2024 it has been made abundantly clear that vampires are making a comeback. I am all for the blood-sucking fiends finding their way back to popular fantasy literature because well, they can be done in so many exciting ways.
This book is a YA, very slow-burn romance, that has vampires, kind of. I would say an afterthought of vampires, or maybe vampires in the background. We have Celine who runs away from Paris and makes her way to New Orleans to find a husband. She has a darkness in her that is drawn to the seductive world of all that is New Orleans. The carnival, the masquerades, and the darkness that is around every corner. Celine sees Bastien one day and is instantly attracted, but their romance is the slowest of burns and never really comes to fruition, at least not in this book, there are 3 more in this series though. Celine draws the eye of a serial killer who drains the blood of his victims and leaves cryptic clues at the scenes of his crimes. Celine then decides she's going to find this guy and wants Bastien and his Court of Lions to help her. Friendships are made, dresses are also made and Celine makes a lot of ill-advised decisions.
Overall, the story is ok. Celine is French and New Orleans has that French Creole thing going on so there were many episodes of French dialogue, not always translated. Which was fine, unless you don't know French, then you just have to guess what they are saying. Most of the time the person will say something in French, then repeat it in English. Which tends to add much repetition to the story. Also Bastien. I don't get his appeal other than he is the most Beautiful man that Celine has ever seen. I believe he is just some danger that Celine is drawn to, but we don't really get to know him well enough to care that much about him. The side characters Pippa and Odette are great friends. Odette is a fine and randy young lady who has more personality than every other character in the story. This is a popular series, and I may continue to see what happens to these characters. However, this wasn't a must-devour series, more of an interesting story passing through.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this book.

Thought the book would have more about vampires, but it was deep into the paranormal.

After getting into it found myself engrossed. It is a bit gorry at points, so if you're not into that you may want to pass or skip those pages.

I thoroughly enjoyed the read and am ready for book two.


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I absolutely loved this book. I felt like its definitely one for middle YA readers. The premise is interesting and using New Orleans as a backgrounds gives life to the story. I loved how Sébastien Saint Germain is not your typical hero but also the mystery of his backstory. He leaves Celine and the reader wanting more and having you hope he jumps back onto the page. I feel like Celine is naïve but not playing dumb. This book overall is a great read and I appreciate the chance to review it! I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

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First off, I want to give a huge thanks to PenguinTeen for very generously sending me the paperback copy AND approving me for the Netgalley version.

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved vampires. More specifically, I have loved romantic vampires. I am always searching for the next Vampire Romance that I will absolutely devour. And this did it!

The writing was so lush without feeling heavy. It transported me straight into the heart of New Orleans. I truly envisioned every cloth or dress that our main character noticed, and tasted every food she did. I mean it was all SO vivid. Not to mention, everything was described in such a romantic way (if that makes sense).

The romance. Oh the immediate tension between Bastian and Celine was so intense and sultry. Truly they were magnetic to read about. I LOVED how darkly vampiric and romantic their interactions and just the atmosphere around them felt. I live for that.

The plot. The plot was really good. It felt meandering but not in a bad way. Instead, I really enjoyed getting to know all of the side characters and seeing things through Celine's eyes. But those moments when the plot hit hard...WOW. Spectacular and absolutely thrilling. It was so well done.

The characters. ALL of the characters were so unique and REAL. I mean Renee truly put in the work to make these characters feel like real people (albeit, supernatural). I loved reading about and getting to know them all.

Lastly, the religious commentary. I am a Christian/Catholic (a mix of both I guess) and so I really enjoyed seeing God and the Bible mentioned. I also liked the idea of the characters' dissecting popular misconceptions. However, I didn't see as much as I'd love to. I am hoping further down the line that we see the characters come to understand the true meanings behind some of the things they were quoting, rather that just taking the quotes out of context or misunderstanding them. Obviously, this isn't specifically a religious book but I figure if religion is playing a part in it, then it will be dissected more.

Overall. I really LOVED this book. Devoured it you could say. Again thank you so much to PenguinTeen and I hope to dive into the sequel ASAP!

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The print on this book was so small that I almost went blind trying to read the first several pages. I tried to make it bigger, but to no avail. I wish I could've read it, but I have to save my eyesight for all the other wonderful books out there. Maybe they will make an audiobook of it.

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This was a great and propulsive read. Dark and steamy, everything one would want from an historic vampire novel. Plus set it in the ultimate eerie setting: New Orleans, what more do you need?

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This story gave me Vampire Diaries Originals vibes. 1870’s in New Orleans where Celine has found herself after fleeing France. She discovers a dark world and searches to uncover all of the secrets.

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Immediately going to the store to pick up the second one!! This was so freaking great. Fire, romance, vampires??? The ending gagged me. I stared at the wall for fifteen minutes. So great!

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The Beautiful is the kind of book that grabs you and holds you in place as you try to piece together the story. It's written in an almost literary fashion. Though the characters are teens, due to the time period they read more like adults. It takes a while for the magic system to come together and the mystery serves the story. Our heroine is feisty and smart, and I look forward to seeing what she gets into in the sequel. I also appreciated how the love interest played out--not quite a love triangle, but you can see the foundation for that building in future books.

(Review shared on Amazon)

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"But if a monster takes a life, what kind of monster refuses to save one?"
When I read on the front that vampires were back, I honestly wondered when they'd ever been gone. I've been hooked on vampires since I read Bunnicula as a kid, and he was a rabbit. I read Twilight and the Anne Rice books and countless others. I have never gotten tired of vampires and don't see me ever giving up that particular area of literature. And when I started reading it, it captured my attention and didn't let go. Celine is an amazing main character. She's strong, smart, and witty. Bastien and tortured and wants nothing more than to keep her safe. He knows that t here's something evil after her but he doesn't know who or what. And, his adopted father doesn't want them anywhere near each other. The characters were incredible, even the ones that were horrible. And the setting was in New Orleans. There couldn't be a more perfect setting for a vampire series than New Orleans. The descriptions of the convent and the Court of Lions, and everywhere in New Orleans made me feel like I was there. I could feel Celine's fear and anger, and her desire to find the creature who was killing the people she loved and stop it. This story incorporates a murder mystery, the paranormal, and even included a love triangle. I loved this book so much that I bought the next two books before I even finished reading this one. I'm looking forward to seeing Celine's growth, as well as Bastien's and if he will have the strength to stand up to his surrogate father.

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-The Beautiful, Book #1 of The Beautiful Quartet

-By Renée Ahdieh -1st time author for me

-Publication date: 6-29-21 , read 1-4-24

-Rating: 4/5 ⭐

Setting: New Orleans 1872

Page Count 📖: 480

✨ paranormal creatures
✨ fantasy
✨ mystery/hidden truths
✨ secret identities
✨ historical romance/forbidden romance

⚠️: Murder, SA

Summary: Marceline "Celine" Rousseau has escaped from Paris to New Orleans as a dressmaker. She is taken in by the Ursuline sister's convent along with 6 other girls. There she meets Odette Valmont who admires her embroidery. Celine is pulled into the underworld of supernatural creatures and falls in love with the mysterious Bastien. There is a killer on the loose and Celine could be their next victim.


- 🚺 FMC Celine Rousseau (17) a dressmaker trained in Paris. Her mother was mixed race and her parents could not be seen together.

-🚹 MMC Sébastien Saint Germain (18) he commands and everyone listens. Celine is attracted to his power and he likes that she challenges him and the status quo.

🥰 What I liked:
-Celine's drive not to be a victim
-Celine and Pippa's friendship
-Celine's ability to outsmart or match men's reasoning
-Shakespeare references from Hamlet, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Sonnets
-Detective Grimaldi and his Nonna- a very sweet relationship

😞 What I didn't like:
-Such secrecy of who the big bad was. It could have been revealed a little earlier on.
-Would have liked more show of paranormal creatures gifts

🙏🏿Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group/Nancy Paulsen Books for this ARC 💖! I voluntarily give my honest review and all opinions expressed are mine alone.

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