Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale – Colored Pages Book Tours

Beauty and the Besharam cover. By Lillie Vale.

I’m so excited that I’m a part of the book tour for Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale. This is a contemporary version of Beauty and the Beast, and so much more. I read it once, and then I immediately read it again. Thanks to Colored Pages Book Tours and Penguin Teen for the finished copy. This did not influence my rating/review of the book.


Beauty and the Besharam is my new favorite contemporary novel. It’s so relatable and yes, there is romance, and I also like how there were other side plots that were well balanced with the narrative. Kavya Joshi, who is Indian American, is at the end of her junior year of high school. All year, she’s been competing with Ian Jun, who is her rival. So, Kavya’s friends decide to try to help end their rivalry by setting up competitions for Kavya and Ian throughout the summer. However, Kavya and Ian start to realize that maybe there’s more to their relationship than just being competitors.


This is a book I wish I’d had when I was starting high school. Kavya is confident and unafraid to speak her mind. She also loves reading (like me), and works as a princess for children’s birthdays during the summer and on weekends. Throughout the book, we see Kavya’s identity as a teenage girl, sister, Indian American, reader, friend – Lillie Vale’s characters jump off the page and truly come to life in what’s an immersive romance AND a coming of age. She doesn’t have to lessen herself to be seen and be loved. I felt very empowered.


I really felt like the romance was organic. When I’m reading a rivals to lovers romance, I’m looking for a romance where both characters respect each other. I also loved that Beauty and the Besharam was set during summertime – seeing Kavya and Ian’s relationship outside of school helped me get to know the characters outside of their school environment. There’s so many fun summer activities in the book: going to the library, going to a riverwalk, canoeing. Kavya and Ian start to understand that there’s more to each other than what they’ve thought of each other in school, and it felt like I was on their journey right alongside them.

Family and Friendships

The frienships in this book!! Yes! I love supportive female friendships! I wish I could be a part of Kavya’s friend group. I also enjoyed Kavya’s relationship with her sister and how they both learned from each other.

Overall Thoughts

This is my new favorite contemporary, YA romance book. I’m going to re-read it again soon because it came out quite close to when my school year ends (and includes empowering characters, messing up, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes, female friendships, and summertime fun). I highly recommend Beauty and the Besharam!

Book Recommendations based on Beauty and the Besharam

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

The Tiger at Midnight cover. Written by Swati Teerdhala.

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala is an enemies to lovers/rivals to lovers romance set in a world where the gods have disappeared and magic is banned. Esha and Kunal’s competition in a game of outwitting each other and hiding who they truly are reminds me of Kavya and Ian’s competition of learning who they really are.

The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland

The Jasmine Project cover. Written by Meredith Ireland.

The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland includes a main character who’s romantic life is also being meddled in. In this book, Jasmine’s family (her siblings, cousins, etc.) try to set her up with three boys over the summer after she breaks up with her cheating boyfriend. Another contemporary romance novel I highly recommend!

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

The Way You Make Me Feel cover. By Maurene Goo.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo stars Clara Shin, a high school junior who has to work at her dad’s food truck with her enemy after Clara’s prank at her dance goes wrong. Both Kavya and Clara are confident and unafraid to be themselves.

Beauty and the Besharam: Synopsis

Heated competition leads to even hotter romance in this YA summer rom-com for fans of Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord, and Wibbroka.

Seventeen-year-old, high-achieving Kavya Joshi has always been told she’s a little too ambitious, a little too mouthy, and overall just a little too much. In one word: besharam.

So, when her nemesis, Ian Jun, witnesses Kavya’s very public breakup with her loser boyfriend on the last day of junior year, she decides to lay low and spend the summer doing what she loves best–working part time playing princess roles for childrens’ birthday parties. But her plan is shot when she’s cast as Ariel instead of her beloved Belle, and learns that Ian will be her Prince Eric for the summer. [Cue the combative banter.]

Exhausted by Kavya and Ian’s years-long feud, their friends hatch a plan to end their rivalry by convincing them to participate in a series of challenges throughout the summer. Kavya is only too eager to finally be declared the winner. But as the competition heats up, so too does the romantic tension, until it escalates from a simmer to a full-on burn. 

Book Links

Author Information

Lillie Vale is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Decoy Girlfriend, Beauty and the Besharam, The Shaadi Set-Up, and Small Town Hearts, an American Library Association’s 2020 Rainbow Books List selection. She writes about secrets and yearning, complicated and ambitious girls who know what they want, the places we call home and people we find our way back to, and the magic we make. Born in Mumbai, she grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and North Dakota, and now lives in an Indiana college town. Find her on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine, or visit her website

Author Links

Book Tour Schedule

May 23rd

Misty Realms – Blog Interview 
Purposely Unperfect – Playlist 

May 24th 

Clouded Galaxy Reads – Playlist
Wiltedpages – Instagram Feed Post

May 25th 

Tales Of A Bookbug – Book Review
Bohemian Bibliophile – Favorite Quotes

May 26th

@bansheesbookstagram – Instagram Feed Post
Solace in Reading – Book Recommendations Based on Book

May 27th 

@bonggirlinabookworld – Instagram Feed Post
Melancholic Blithe – Blog Interview
Little Corner Reads – Book Recommendations Based On Book

May 28th 

@toffiladyreader – Instagram Feed Post
PopTheButterfly Reads – Book Review

May 29th 

Mulberryreads – Book Review
@book_with_girl – Book Review
Read in the Clouds – Book Review

Giveaway Information

I’m teaming up with ColoredPages and PenguinTeen to give away 5 (FIVE) finished copies of Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale! Follow the link in the bio to enter this US ONLY giveaway! You must be 18 years or older, or have parental permission to share your address if you win. The giveaway ends on 30th May at 11:59 EST.
Link to the giveaway (if rafflecopter is not working):

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She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan – The Journey of A Character Who Isn’t Afraid to Take It All

Wow. I don’t think I’ve been as immersed in or as satisfied by a fantasy book as I was by She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. It’s so easy to get into Zhu’s head and to understand what Zhu is thinking – in fact, while I usually tend to focus on how fast the plot is, this time, the part of the book that made me feel engaged was Zhu. NOTE: There will be spoiler-y quotes after the review, so if you don’t want to accidentally see any spoilers JUST read the review. I will mark the quotes section in bold. Also, quotes ARE TAKEN FROM THE ARC – I will edit this when I read a finished copy. The fact that I received a copy from the publisher and Netgalley did not influence my review.

Zhu, who is genderqueer, takes the place of Zhu’s dead brother. Zhu takes no prisoners, and really sets out to conquer the destiny that was originally meant for Chongba. I love seeing main characters who aren’t afraid to take what they desire/their destiny, and Parker-Chan really made me feel like I was able to see all of Zhu’s actions.

Obviously, the world building is fantastic – I love the fantasy elements as well as the fact that most of the violence takes place off page. I felt like SWBTS focused more on the political intrigue, which I always enjoy. Additionally, Zhu’s development from child to adult felt very well paced – I never felt like I was being rushed in the story to get to the next moment.

I do have to admit that I think some of the plot went over my head just because it’s summer, so my mind is pretty much devoted to my summer program right now, so I will definitely have to re-read SWBTS and will edit this review again at some point. Just know that as someone who’s just starting to get into adult fantasy (I think I’ve only read three: The Stars are Legion, The Poppy War trilogy, and The Wolf of Oren-Yaro), this book continues my streak of books that I could read over and over again. Overall, She Who Became the Sun is a beautiful and powerful story that I fell in love with, and I hope you all read it!

SPOILERS: Favorite quotes section

You may have ended this, but you haven’t ended me, she thought fiercely at him, and felt the truth of it shining inside her so brightly that it seemed capable of igniting anything it touched. Nobody will ever end me. I’ll be so great that no one will be able to touch me, or come near me, for fear of becoming nothing.

The eunuch showed no sign of having felt any of her thoughts. He turned his back on the monks and passed through the doors, the ceaseless flow of his incoming soldiers parting around him like a stream around a rock.

He said to them, “Burn it to the ground.”

““I suppose you’ll have little enough chance, whatever I do,” Chen mused. “But I find myself moved to improve your odds. I’ve instructed Commander Wu to give you five hundred men before your departure. How many will you have then, seven hundred or so?” His laugh was like a slab of meat hitting the butcher’s block. “Seven hundred men against a city! I wouldn’t try it myself. But let me do what I can for you afterward: if you do manage to win Lu, I’ll convince the Prime Minister to let you keep whatever you’ve taken from it. Then you’ll have enough funds for your new temple.” His black eyes glittered. “Or for whatever else you’d like to do.””

“All that means is we have to make this life count.” He stared at her. She saw the moment the relief kindled in him, of having found her again to follow. The shadows on his face were already breaking apart. Through the cracks she saw the boy in him again. He said, wonderingly, “Who did you become, when we were apart?” She smiled. “The person I was always supposed to be.”

“Zhu felt a stab of uncharacteristic pity. Not-wanting is a desire too; it yields suffering just as much as wanting.”

“After a long pause Ma said, low, “I cherish you.” Zhu smiled at her. “I don’t even know who I am. General Ouyang killed Zhu Chongba, but I’m not the person I was born as, either. How can you know who you’re cherishing?” Rain drummed on the thatched roof. The mushroom smell of wet straw pressed around them with the intimacy of another’s warm body under the blankets. “I might not know your name,” Ma said, taking Zhu’s hand. “But I know who you are.”

“You never realized that it wasn’t your name they were going to call, exhorting you to reign for ten thousand years.” As the Prime Minister fell facedown in the dirt, she said, “It was mine.”

“She didn’t just want greatness. She wanted the world. The breath she took felt like joy. Smiling with the thrill of it, she said, “I’m going to be the Emperor.”

“Behold me as Zhu Yuanzhang , the Radiant King.”

Have you read She Who Became the Sun?