This book would definitely be a little too mature for a school library, but it was so much fun nonetheless! Nora is a white twenty-something working in a call center and has always dated douchebags. She finally finds the man of her dreams-he is funny, smart, kind, and loved to cuddle, BUT he is a bear. A real, live, American black bear. He breaks alot of her things, plays with her cat, eats alot of food, and juggles, but they make it work. Soon though, like bears do, he has to hibernate and they must be separated for all of winter. Sarah has to figure out if she can make it through the winter alone, despite her friends' and mother's protests, or let her Bear go.
Overall, this story was fun! The graphics are simple and stunning and help the reader feel how Nora is feeling. As a fellow twenty-something, I could identify with many of Nora's struggles and wanting for MORE. MY BOYFRIEND IS A BEAR is hilarious, fun, beautiful, and does not disappoint.
Mucho thanks to Margot from Oni Press for giving me access to this ARC ahead of time. <3
Shoutout to my librarian bestie, Allie Cornejo, for being featured on the Nerdy Book Club today! You can read her review of Dhonielle Clayon's The Belles below or on Nerdy Book club!
Mentally rich and decadent — this is how I would describe The Belles. I listened to The Belles on Audible with Rosie Jones (@rosiejonesactor) as the narrator. She did a wonderful job at her narration, which makes all the difference. Her English accent added such an elegant air to an exquisitely written book. However, I did find her reading pace a bit slow due to her immaculate enunciation, so I sped the audio book up to 1.25x, which was perfect. My 30 minute commute to and from work was something I Iooked forward to everyday, because I was going to listen to The Belles!
I enjoyed this book very much! The realization that I really liked it came toward the last third of the book, though. The first two thirds were good, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t become a real page turner in the last third. What requires the most applause for Dhonielle Clayton’s work was the imagery she used to create this fantasy world of Orleans. She created a world full of color, beauty, and emotion. Words and phrases like “pink and yellow macarons,” “pastel colored dresses,” “complexion of lilies and belle-rose lips,” “drizzles of honey” and the like, are heavily sprinkled throughout this book. If it was possible to read a dessert and be satisfied as if you ate it, this is the book that did just that for me! Dhonielle whisked me away to a beautiful world where the book cover model served as a baseline for the Belle beauty found in the setting of Orleans. Her words drew up a masterpiece of art in my mind. And let me just draw attention to the lovely Belle names… Camellia, Ambrosia, Padma, Edelweiss,..Wow!
The story was so unique! Belles having control over making people beautiful, but not really having any power over themselves or their lives was intriguing. The monarchy and the laws suppress their freedoms in the guise of protecting them. Camellia, our protagonist, was a great character laced with ambition, talent, originality, and a hint of rebellion. Her growing contempt for the obsession Orleans has for beauty makes her character strong and admirable. The love she has for her sisters makes her endearing, and the fact that Belles cannot experience a romantic love is heartbreaking and ironic, given their irresistible appearance. Our antagonist, Princess Sofia, is formidable and hate-worthy with the torment she bestows on hr court. Beware of those who defy her. They end up with a pig snout! Yes, she scared the living daylights out of me with her cruelty, and the tension she caused within a simple conversation with Camellia made my palms sweat. Princess Sofia’s dangerous obsession with beauty and utter dominance over the people around her makes this story very entertaining and nerve-racking.
The theme of beauty obsession had me reflect constantly on the state of affairs we find ourselves today. What I loved about Camellia, was her preference to always let her patron’s natural features shine. She encouraged curves and shapely figures, and she attempted to convince her patrons that imperfections compliment personality. She warned against unnatural beauty requests because of the harm they caused to the body. I began to research today’s real obsession with beauty and I found the following information to be deeply disturbing:
According to the National Institute on Media and Family via the University of Washington, in a survey taken by girls 9 and 10 years old, 40 percent of them have tried to lose weight and by “age thirteen, 53% of American girls are ‘unhappy with their bodies.’ This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.”
Dhonielle has done a phenomenal job of including these disturbing trends of self-disapproval into her novel. Camellia’s patrons desire dangerously small waists and breasts that are too large. She warns them of the risks, but her warnings fall on deaf ears. I am very grateful for the attention the author brings to the very important issue of beauty obsession. Young girls will find an important lesson here.
The cliffhanger was fantastic and unbelievably frustrating, as I would give my right arm for book two! I originally thought this was a stand-alone novel, but I’m elated that it will be a trilogy; I am definitely not done with The Belles and the world of Orleans.
Hosain, Anna. “Constructed Beauty and Our Obsession With Image.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Feb. 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anna-hosain/constructed-beauty-and-ou_b_4809399.html.
Alexandra Cornejo is a high school librarian at a specialty school for future health professionals in the Rio Grande Valley. Her drive is to motivate her students to be passionate readers and responsible digital citizens. She is an enthusiast for young adult literature, education technology, and instructional design, and can often be found on edtech Twitter chats. You can find her on Twitter @allie_cornejo, Instagram @YAlitenthusiast or her YA Review blog https://sites.google.com/view/yalittech/home
Despite my Spring Break being a little cray with my family being in town, having a family emergency, and then hosting my ENTIRE Hispanic family at my home, I still found some time to myself to read and enjoy myself a bit. I read three books and watched two book movies, so overall it wasn't too bad.
I started my break by being a hallway proctor for my schools' SAT and had enough time to finish TWO graphic novels: Speak the Graphic Novel and Gene Luen Yang's Secret Coders. Y'all. Speak the Graphic Novel was UH-MAZING! I didn't think it would be better than the actual novel, but I can confidently say that it holds up just as well as the original. Oh man, the graphics are freaking beautiful and do a perfect job of displaying Melinda's mood throughout the story. It really shows how she sees people and how her world feels like it is imploding. Honestly, I expect many awards for this book next year.
Secret Coders though, was a bit lame. The story felt cheesy and kind of lame, but the coding lesson that is taught within it was so much fun! It was easy for me to understand and I have very limited coding knowledge. I would definitely use this in an upper elementary or middle school library for my kids who are wanting to learn about coding or who enjoy a quick mystery. I hope to see more from this series.
Then my mom and I watched A Wrinkle In Time at the Alamo Drafthouse and I can again say that it did not dissapoint. I can't lie-I cried almost the entire time. Meg and her brother's world is even more beautiful in film, and the three Mrs. brought a new life to the book. My only complaints are that the twins were not in the film, nor was Aunt Beast. Although I read an article ahead of time preparing me for Aunt Beast's absence, I still missed her. I'm not an Oprah fan, but she did do a great job as Mrs. Which and being able to move Meg along.
Tuesday was Obsidio's book birthday and it was very warmly welcomed into my home! I woke up early, changed my name (FINALLY) and went to pick up my copy from BookPeople. OMG I could not put this book down. I'm nursing a book hangover even now because that ending was something amazing and wonderful. I'm truly grateful for Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff for creating such a great world for us to live in for a trilogy. If you haven't read the rest of the Illuminae Files, get on it. I'll have a vlog on this one up soon, promise.
And finally, I ended my week by taking myself on a matinee brunch date to watch Nick Robertson portray my favorite male protagonist, Simon Spier. The movie was PERFECT! The Spier family was just as quirky as I expected and while there were a few changes (*AHEM* Leah's crush* AHEM*) the film was great. It wasn't overdone and was a perfect portrayal of a teen coming to terms with his sexuality and navigating coming out.
How was your Spring Break? What did you read?
Riddles in Mathematics by Katie Cotugno: 3/5 stars
This story was mildly predictable but sweet. The main character is in love with her brother's best friend.
Dread South by Justina Ireland: 4/5
WOW! A super fun story with zombies during the slavery period of U.S. History.
Omega Ship by Rae Carson: 5/5 HOLY SHIT!
Two boys and a girl are the last remaining humans in existence and have inhabited a new planet. That HOLY SHIT factor is for the main character being a straight badass and not choosing between two boys, but *SPOILERS* choosing herself.
La Reyencha del Tango by Renee Ahdieh: 4/5
The main character is visiting Brazil and is (conveniently) a pro-tango dancer which leads to her finding herself in a triangle between a douchey guy and a "Tango God."
Cass, An, and Dra by Natalie C. Parker: 3/5
This story was interesting but dry. Cass can see the future of her choices when she is about to make a big decision, but still has to choose.
Lessons for Beginners by Julie Murphy: 4/5
The main character gives kissing lessons to couples where kissing is an issue, and finds herself coming between a relationship.
Triangle Solo by Garth Nix: 2/5 Meh.
This one felt very middle-grade-esque. Two boys are in a school band on another planet (where it seems like Earth has colonized) and are visited by a girl from their past.
Vim and Vigor by Veronica Roth: 5/5 YAY!
A group of girls are mourning a death of one of their friends and comes back together one more time for a movie premiere of their favorite female superheroines which leads to another "future seeing."
Work In progress by E. K. Johnston: 0/5 Nope.
I couldn't even get through the first few pages of this one, the narrator shifted without any way of referencing who it was and it was just overall confusing and not appealing. #sorrynotsorry
Hurdles by Brandy Colbert: 4/5 UGH THAT ENDING!
Mavis is a track star set who has been training to eventually go to the Olympics, but when her best friend's brother returns from rehab, she questions her life choices.
The Historian, The Garrison, and the Cantankerous Cat Woman by Lamar Giles:
5/5 HOLY SHIT!
This story is great for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but is a little confusing in the beginning. Overall it was FREAKING FANTASTIC! The main character is the "Giles" of this Universe and has to make a tough decision regarding the person who is the town guardian's life.
Waiting by Sabaa Tahir: 5/5 bc SABAA!
The main character's best friend (who she is in love with) is in jail while she prepares to leave for Stanford with a boy who is in love with her. SO GOOD!
Vega by Brenna Yovanoff: 2/5 stars
This one was a bit confusing until you understood who was speaking, but from what I understood, the love triangle was between Las Vegas (the city), Elizabeth, and Alex, who hates living in Las Vegas. It showed both the nightlife scene and how people living in Vegas live.
A Hundred Thousand Threads by Alaya Dawn: 4/5 stars
This one took some getting used to as you definitely have to figure out who is narrating or questioning or explaining, but it is worth sticking with! It takes place in the future in Mexico while a small town is being overtaken and industrialized by powerful people who are also involved in a trafficking scandal.
Before She Was Blood by Tessa Gratton: 0/5 stars
Nope. Tried. Gave up.
Unus, Duo, tres by Bethany Hagen: 5/5 stars
If you don't read any other short story in this anthology, READ THIS ONE! It is set in a private school where two vampires attend and meet a girl who has leukemia. Interesting concept as well as carry out. I loved it!
Overall, this anthology gave me all of the feels. Like all romance fan girls, I love a good love triangle, but what made this anthology special was that there was so many diverse authors that I wasn't familiar with and now can go find more from them.
Lispy Librarian Episode 25: The Adventures of John Blake: The Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman Review