The Damned by Renee Ahdieh – Review

Published: July 7, 2020

Publisher: G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Series: The Beautiful #2

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 456 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 1.5/5.0

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

Can I just unread this book? Because it was awful. It genuinely changed in tone so much from the first book that it’s like it wasn’t the same series anymore!

Starting off, I was hopeful. Bastien was turned into a vampire and is not coping well with his transition. Celine isn’t coping quite well either, since she gave up her memories of Bastien in order to save him. It seemed like it would be a great throwback to angsty teen romance.

And then it changed so much and it was out of nowhere and frankly, the quality instantly declined. I speculate that this is largely due to this going from an intended duology to a four book series. It needed more filler to extend the series. It turned into the cheesiest of stories – Celine becomes special due to her parentage and not just because she’s mentally tough, and then we take a trip into fairyland. Fairyland was mentioned in the first book, but honestly I could have done without exploring it in this instance. 

This was a book I probably should have DNF’d, but I continued to hope that it would end okay. I can say for certainty that this is a series I won’t be continuing. 

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh – Review

Cover- The Beautiful

Published: October 8, 2019

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Series: The Beautiful #1

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 448 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0


In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

I received this in a book box I got last year and it’s been gathering dust since then waiting on me to have time to read it. Well, I finally made time because sometimes you just need a fun vampire book! It was entirely binge-able and I read it in a single sitting! It’s been a while since I’ve actually done that and I needed a nice break from some of the hefty books I’d been reading.

Okay folks – a lovely French girl running from her past arrives in New Orleans, ready to start anew and perhaps find a beau…. And then BAM, enter the bad boy. This is just so YA and I loved it. Celine Rousseau killed a man who tried to take advantage of her and she fled Paris. She’s a strong girl, a talented dressmaker, and she’s hopelessly unfit for the convent she’s staying at.  She quickly gets involved with a group called La Cour des Lions, or the Court of Lions when she’s commissioned for a dress. All the while, someone is stalking the streets murdering people and it seems to be a vampire with a grudge against the Court.

This is an interesting and beautifully atmospheric book and has given me serious inspiration for my Fantasy Feast post series. The food descriptions are luxurious and had me bookmarking recipes. In regard to the actual plot, well, it was fun but not incredibly deep. The serial killer aspect of this book had a great deal of potential but the murderer never felt like much of a threat until the last little bit. It will most certainly be a bigger focus in the next book and I hope it turns out well!

The sequel will be released in just over a week and I do plan to pick it up, mostly in hopes of more awesome food descriptions. Oh yeah, and that irresistible YA angst. Sometimes it just really hits the spot in terms of what I’m looking for in a book and The Beautiful had plenty of it. 

Subscription Box Review: FairyLoot – October 2019

Basic Box Info

FairyLoot has only one box option, featuring a YA fantasy book and 5-6 bookish items each month for $33.90 USD or £26. International shipping is available, with the exception of Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Fiji, Guadeloupe, Costa Rica, Israel, Palestine and Haiti. Boxes ship between the 20th – 25th of each month.

October 2019 Unboxing: Love at First Bite


Vampire haul!

This month’s book is The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh – a story set in 1872 New Orleans with murder, mystery, and vampires! I’ve seen some positive reviews from trusted sources and am pretty excited to check this out, hopefully sooner rather than later! This exclusive edition is signed, has sprayed red page edges, and come with art inside the dust jacket (above).


I always get so stupidly excited when I hear that a special edition candle will be included in a box! This is a mini candle from The Melting Library  inspired by Interview with a Vampire. The scent is described as blood orange, damascus rose, and cashmere musk. I have a lovely Harry Potter themed full-size candle from Melting Library and they’re popular for good reason – nice scent blends and a pretty solid burn time!


I’m all about getting unique and best of all USEFUL items in these boxes, meaning I was thrilled to get this rather gothic coaster set designed by Blanca Design. They’re cork on the bottom, though the material on top may not survive too many condensation covered drinks.


Here we have a book baggie with art by Noverantale that claims to have waterproof lining – I didn’t get to test it out in today’s gusty, wet weather so that verdict will have to wait for another day. It feels really nice and will easily fit the standard sized YA book, though probably not a chunky adult fantasy which tend to have larger dimensions.


In the same vein as the other vampire themed items (what a terrible pun!), we have a “Bite Me” sock hat and an adorable bat pin! The sock hat with a design by KDP Letters feels SO nice and cozy and I love that it’s a nice, neutral grey. This is a simple yet well made pin designed by @taratjah.


And here we have what I’ve been thinking of as the “filler items”. We’ve got a lovely vampiress art print by Monolime Art. A Twilight quote as a sticker from Catarina Book Designs because we couldn’t not have a Twilight item in a vampire box. More tarot cards – really what am I going to do with all these things? Bookmarks? And lastly, a bookmark!