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Month in review

Reviews
An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley Alienated by Melissa Landers
American Panda by Gloria Chao
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett
The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro
Cold War on Maplewood Street by Gayle Rosengren
A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
Dragons Beware! by Jorge Aguirre
A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O'Leary
Giant Days, Volume 6 by John Allison
Internet Famous by Danika Stone
The Kairos Mechanism by Kate Milford
Latte Trouble by Cleo Coyle
Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
Monsters Beware! by Jorge Aguirre
Out of Tune by Gail Nall
Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd
A Side of Sabotage by C.M. Surrisi
Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami
Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweet Tooth: Deluxe Edition, Book One by Jeff Lemire
Topsy-Turvies: Pictures to Stretch the Imagination by Mitsumasa Anno
The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh
The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

Miscellaneous
February 2018 Sources
February 2018 Summary
It's Monday, what are you reading (March 05) It's Monday, what are you reading (March 12) It's Monday, what are you reading (March 19) It's Monday, what are you reading (March 26)

Road Essays
Introduction to the road narrative project
Metaphoric language of marginalized travelers
Place Character Shibboleth: Towards an understanding of bypass stories
Rethinking Urban Fantasy: Where is Nagspeake?
Road trip to the underworld: the Nome King and Hades

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish



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The Belles: 03/17/18

The Belles

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton is the start of a new fantasy YA series. In the Kingdom of Orleans beauty is everything. Beauty is life. Beauty is law.

Controlling, defining, and shaping the trends of beauty falls in the hands of the belles — young women trained from birth from bloodlines of belles, and blessed by the Goddess. Now Camellia Beauregard and her flower named sisters are about to find out just how demanding their fated profession is.

Orleans is a series of islands separated from the rest of the world by ocean. Where Orleans sits in time and place is never fully stated but from there are clues in the world building and the language to imagine it as a flooded and reborn New Orleans — perhaps a post apocalyptic one, or an alternate universe one.

It's in the world building that The Belles comes alive. Camellia's day to day routine first in the the salon and then in the palace allows time to fill in the details through repetition and variation. It's a different but consistent world.

But throughout the story of Camellia being proud of her work and striving to surpass herself and her sisters there's an underlying feeling of wrongness. It's not just the artifice of beauty. There is more. There's a mystery surrounding the crown princess's health. There are strange screams at night. There are inconsistencies in what the Belles remember and what other's tell them about their past. There is a systematic rewriting or obfuscating of history.

As this is the first book, it does end of a cliffhanger. I'm definitely hooked. I'm eager to see what happens next.

Five stars

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