Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson

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A must read for anyone who enjoys suspense!
Thanks to Razorbill and Bookish First for the ARC of Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson!
Gabe and Elyse alternate in telling the story. Gabe is tired of his toxic girlfriend and finally breaks off their relationship, but she vows to make him pay. Elyse surprises herself by landing the part of Juliet in the school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Gabe is reeling from Sasha’s, his ex-girlfriend’s, actions while Elyse is struggling with her home life. The two main characters both end up feeling defeated and alone. Jennifer Donaldson weaves a mysterious story with pure intensity around interesting characters! I don’t want to give anything away. I will just say this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys suspenseful young adult realistic fiction and it earns a riveting 5 stars from me!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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Wonderful and complex characters!
Thanks to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Fire and Bookish First for the opportunities to read and review Furyborn by Claire Legrand!
The prologue opens the book with Queen Rielle as she’s delivering her baby girl. Then the story goes back two years in Rielle’s point of view, before she’s queen. The next chapter takes place over one thousand years later and introduces Eliana. The story continues on, alternating between Rielle and Eliana, chapter to chapter. Rielle has many powers and potential for more and the kingdom wonders if she’s part of a prophecy. Eliana is a hired hand for the Empire, capturing rebels as requested. Rielle does not have a handle on her powers, even though she’s been training for over a decade. She’s afraid of the destruction she might cause and ashamed of the destruction she’s already caused. Eliana lives with her mother and younger brother and she’s noticed that females are disappearing, being stolen. While she’s given a new job, she discovers that her mother is gone. She leaves in search of her mother with her brother in tow. Destruction seems to follow Eliana and her wall of anger and defiance seem to be cracking and regrets start seeping in. Foreshadowing builds the suspense to intense levels. The story comes together seamlessly and is exposed throughout the length of the book. Wonderful and complex characters make Furyborn an amazing and exciting fantasy read worthy of 5 stars! I’m already anticipating the second book in the Empirium trilogy!

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for the ARC and Bookish First for the hardcover copy of The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton! I absolutely loved every moment of this book! The Belles is a confection of a book with the beautifully descriptive writing of the author, Dhonielle Clayton. Based on Orleans mythology, a creation of the author, The Belles involves the world formed after the God of the Sky fell in love with the Goddess of Beauty. Together they had children. Sky became jealous of the time that Beauty spent with their children, so he cursed them with sadness and dreariness. Beauty sent the Belles to bring beauty back into the world. This tale is told with decadence and is a joy to read. Camellia becomes the Favorite and hears and sees strange things that no one will explain. Everyone wants her to ignore her pondering and just do her job as the favorite Belle; bring beauty to Orleans. The mysteries keep growing and Camellia struggles to understand Princess Sophia, what happened to her Belle sister Amber and why everyone is exceedingly secretive. Sophia’s madness becomes clear and Camellia is bound and determined to help the Queen keep Sophia from becoming the next queen of Orleans. Intriguing and suspenseful, The Belles is delightful and dangerous with characters that are good, evil and in between, 5 stars!