Bookish and the Beast was a Beautifully Freeing and Redemptive Read!

*I received this from Netgalley in exchange for review- but the *gushy feels* is all me!*

bookish and the beastYou guys probably know by now that I love fairy retellings. Yet for some reason I rarely get locked in to Beauty and the Beast retellings- well this was the exception! I’ve been really enjoying the “Once Upon a Con” series so far, for all its wondrous geekiness and cuteness- but this took that love to a whole new level. I was hoping that it would hit the spot right now… and it did! It turned out to be *exactly* what I needed.

Starting with an extract from the series’ fictional show, Starfield, we’re given a little sampler of the sweet story to come. From the enemies-to-lovers vibes here and the quirky meet cute, I knew I was going to fall hard for this book. With masses of misunderstandings and a low-key Pride and Prejudice feel, I developed a real attachment to the romance.

Part of my love for this stemmed from admiring the main character, Rosie. Not only is her name, Rosie Thorne, basically the best, but I also liked how she handled the difficult hand she was dealt. There were some particularly moving moments about grief that gave the narrative another dimension. I also couldn’t help but relate to her as a massive reader 😉

I also liked how the love interest was both understandable as the Beast-like character- yet is also given room to grow. And the other additions to the cast were greatly appreciated (particularly the Gaston insert). And this even had a fantastic father figure- which you don’t get enough in contemporary.

Oh and of course, this had some cool concepts and detailed layers from the fandom aspect. I always enjoy how each of these books builds on the Starfield universe- I look forward to finding out more about that as much as the new love story!

Throw in some delightfully geeky references, some chuckleworthy scenes, a pang-inducing budding relationship… and you get the kind of book that left me starry eyed. This didn’t just deliver on the “aww” moments- it gave me all the *feels*! It was wonderfully adorable and surprisingly rewarding.

Above all, I could tell that the author cared deeply about this one- it came across in the emotionality and joy of the narrative. It was precisely the escapism I needed right now and my favourite of the collection so far!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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And if you’re craving more fairy tale retellings from this series, feel free to check out my reviews on Geekerella and Princess and the Fangirl

So, have you read any of the books in the “Once Upon a Con” series? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

The Princess and the Fangirl Switched Things Up!

*Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for review- though all the fangirling you’re about to see is all me*

Princess and the fangirlLast year, I read Geekerella, a *super fun* retelling of Cinderella- except transposed onto the fandom arena. Now, I’m happy to be back with a review for the sequel- a modern take on the Prince and the Pauper! And I am so excited to say that Poston didn’t rest on her laurels with this one- from the stellar opening, it was an entertaining journey of intergalactic proportions!

One of the things that stood out for me was the range of styles exhibited here. The dual perspectives works perfectly, as they’re easily distinguishable. Imogen is laugh out loud funny, while Jess is prone to out of this world descriptions and cosmic imagery. Both collide in this deftly handled narrative, successfully shifting tones and delivering a cohesive narrative. Even better, it feels like two stories for the price of one!

The characters shone through strongly. And I especially like that they reflected the idea: “She wasn’t perfect, but she didn’t try to be”- yes!! That’s the heroine we want… and the heroines we get from this book! Surprisingly, despite being a superstar, I ended up empathising with Jess more. Sure, Imogen/Monster was relatable, but I loved how this humanised a celebrity, whilst also being sweet and inspiring. It genuinely moved me to see how insecure they were- showing how they had a lot more in common than superficial things like their appearance. Personally, I thought this was one of the best parts of the book.

I also preferred Jess’ romance. While I enjoyed the hate-to-love aspect of Imogen’s relationship, Jess and Harper made my sappy heart melt. Maybe it was the incredible descriptions, maybe it was overcoming the obstacles to being together and maybe it was the genuine angst keeping them apart (I completely understood why Jess held back and kept secrets!). I simply adored the romance so much- I might have exploded with joy!

I *loved* the geeky references as well- they gave me such pleasure and made so much sense in this context. There was even a solid reference to the Yellow Wallpaper– so kudos for that! Once again, the slang was top notch. Man, I just wish this was a real show so we could all argue about it in real life 😉 (JK- seriously, please don’t @me!)

On that note, this book did open up some interesting discussions about the toxic side of fandoms… which I’ll admit I’m a little scared to venture into and demonstrates the problem (and the point the book didn’t mean to make, but kinda did: fandoms are a little intense guys). However, even if it was good that this book at least attempted to explore the issues of “us vs them” mentalities in fandoms, I did feel it fell to heavily on the “you’re either with us or against us” side, largely demonising critical voices as sexist pigs. I ultimately thought that the way it dealt with self-esteem was quite a bit better than its view of how to handle trolls (go under the bridge and hit them with a big stick… only joking- don’t do that!) Annnd now I feel like some people are gonna want to wage war on me in the comments…

So moving onto the more frothy side of fangirling, I did really like that this felt like an interconnected universe, bringing Elle’s blog back from the last book! Best. Crossover. Ever. Every appearance and mention of old characters lit me up!

In the end, if you liked how dorky the first one was (like I did), if you enjoyed it as a fresh look at a fairy tale (like I did) then you are bound to like this (like I did!).

Happily, I gave it:

4/5 bananas

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So have you read this or its predecessor? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Geekerella- You Shall Go to the Ball!

*Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

geekerellaI’m sorry, cheesy title, but I had to go there 😉 As you probably know I have a weakness for fairy tales and, above all fairy tales, I have an unhealthy habit of reading and watching *every single* Cinderella related story I can get my hands on. It’s one of those things I can’t really explain, but I’m addicted to the tale. So when I saw this book which had not only one of my favourite stories, but also involved fangirling over a space drama, which hello is very me, I just had to have it.

One of the best things about it was the world building for the in-book show Starfield that the heroine loves. I read somewhere that the author actually wrote out a plot for all the episodes and you can totally tell. The slogans are fun and realistic, the details were out of this world, and loads of it reminded me of cult classics like Firefly (incidentally one of my favourite shows). There was a spanner in the works in how it reminded me of some other shows I’m not hugely fond of, so I have to admit there was a bit of a disconnect for me there. That said, I never felt left behind by the story and I adored the virtual trail of glass slippers that led back to the classic fairy tale. All the subtle connections between the two stories were stitched together in an exquisite gown that most certainly ignited the stars.

The fandom within the story also worked well. I appreciated how the book explored the theme of finding your place in make believe, whilst tackling the issue of gatekeepers (the “you’re not a real fan” brigade) and having to deal with very real issues at the same time. It made a lot of sense that the main character, Elle, would disconnect from reality like this and acknowledged her loneliness through this topic in a way that gave the narrative plenty of heart.

I did get very emotional reading this (yes, it made me cry 😉 ) and experienced a pretty much all the *feels*. I went from chuckling to squealing to laughing at the speed of light. In terms of plot, it did take some time to reach the midpoint unfortunately, but eventually we had lift off! There weren’t really any surprises in terms of narrative, we all know the story by now, yet ultimately it took off into the stratosphere.

I won’t say that it was the most intergalactic romance I’ve ever come across, however, I did feel a spark there. Sometimes (Cinder)Elle(a) was a bit mean to her prince, but I could live with that. Plus, the side romance of Cal and Sage was so cute!! I really liked what was done with Cal’s stepsister character and that it wasn’t all textbook fairy tales.

That said, if you’re worried the mean step-relation role won’t be filled, oh boy no fear there! I always love to loathe certain characters and the stepmother is no exception. She most definitely lived up to her reputation here- though she was much more 21st century in terms of cruelty. I did get the sense that the author was trying to bring forth more modern ideas, giving Elle a bit more autonomy outside her home life, which made a certain kind of sense- sometimes it’s hardest to confront the biggest problems.

All in all, there was lots to like about this unique Cinderella adaptation!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!