books, reviews

Book Review: Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston

I was kindly sent this by a very nice PR person but as always all opinions are my own.

A tale as old as time is made new in Ashley Poston’s fresh, geeky retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

My thoughts:

I haven’t read the other two books in the Once Upon a Con series yet, but I will, because I am a fairy tale and folklore nerd.

When I wrote my MA dissertation it was about Neil Gaiman’s use of mythic tropes, fairy tales and folkloric elements – his Norse Mythology book didn’t exist yet, so I focused on American Gods, Anansi Boys and of course the epic Sandman series.

I own dozens of books of fairy tales, about fairy tales (like heavy academic ones) and collect retellings. My favourite is Kissing the Witch by Emma Donaghue, which is very excellent.

On to this book – there are a fair few YA retellings of Beauty & the Beast knocking about, I liked Of Curses & Kisses by Sandhya Menon last year, and I had my fingers crossed this one would be fun too.

And it is. So much fun, and silly, and thoughtful and sweet. Rosie and her friends (and Space Dad) are delightful, Vance and Elias are the Odd Couple of our times and the dog, look, I love animals, even fictional ones, and Sansa the dog is a cutie (although I kept picturing Nicole Cliffe’s Sansa who is a husky not an Alsatian).

I really loved how nerdy and genuine the characters are, and yay for Quinn living their life and running for Homecoming Overlord. Brilliant subplot.

Basically this was a joyful, fun, whimsical read and you should all go buy a copy.

Me, I’m off to read Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl.

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