Cover Image: Bookish and the Beast

Bookish and the Beast

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Member Reviews

The third book in a series, but each book can also stand alone.  I'll admit, I'm a sucker for fairy tale spin-offs and Beauty and the Beast is basically my fave because Belle is a READER (shocking, I know - a reading fan on NetGalley!).  I thought this book was sweet and since I teach an "empowered princess" class for freshmen, this will make a nice choice for BATB lit circle groups.
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I loved this book! I really enjoy the retelling of Beauty and the Beast in this wonderful universe that has been created by Ashley ! It was so much fun and there was a ton of fandom stuff and quotes from other books and shows ! If you love fandom stuff than this is a book for you! 

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the copy ! Looking forward to what Ashley will be writing next !
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For bibliophiles, romantic comedy suckers, fans of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Doctor Who, LOTR, Star Trek, Star Wars, Disney fairytales, and all other geeks. Because I had yet to read the first two in the series I read all three back-to-back. By the time I got to this third one I had compiled a list of Poston's favorite tropes for this ComiCon-centered fairytale-retelling series:

1) Stubborn as hell main characters
2) LGBTQA+ side characters
3) One animal character that causes one major ruckus
4) All main character love interests despise one another at first 
5) One character with unnatural hair color
6) Main character belongs to a quirky family
7) Has a pivotal scene at a dance
8) And, like in all rom-coms, has a big misunderstanding followed by a big, mushy apology

You could definitely make a bingo game out of these tropes. 

I had given Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl 5 stars each but felt I could only give Bookish and the Beast 4. I'm a book nerd like Rosie and adore Beauty and the Beast so maybe I was simply tired of reading the same formulaic book.
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This novel is a very cute retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in a more modern setting. I love how the author throws in little nods to the nuances of the fairy tale, including more modern "criticism" noticed today. It was a quick and enjoyable read, which I believe my students will love. I do wish there was a bit more character development. I liked all the characters...Vance, Rosie, Annie, and Quinn, but I want more! I also wish there was more of Garrett as Gaston...I think he could have had a bit more "screentime." The diversity in terms of LGBTQ+ representation was spot on, and it was not done garishly, which I love as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
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3.5 stars, rounded up

Rosie Thorne feels stuck—she's neither here nor there, and she just wants out of her small town life and her overwhelming grief. Until she smacks into teenage pop star Vance Reigns while saving a dog, accidentally destroys a rare book, and then is forced to work with the smug asshole (the actor, not the dog) to pay off the price of the book. Things can't get any worse, can they?

"Really? Don't like the political intrigue of the Noxian Court?" I slide up onto the stool beside him. "And the ball. I love the ball. Magic spells. Daring swordfights. A prince in disguise."
"I definitely figured him out before chapter three," he replies, amused, and puts a bookmark in before he closes the book.

Well this was super cute. Lots of queer rep (bi dad! bi male lead! nonbinary BFF!), and so many B&B Easter eggs (and, as much as I hate her, I was thrilled for the SJM Easter Egg because so many bookish books only have the character loving The Classics and honestly chuck that trope into the sun).

And the other Easter Eggs. Titanic. Howl's Moving Castle (Vance is, quite literally, Howl). And so much more.

Right from the get-go, I loved Rosie. She's a huge Starfield fan, although she's never gone to ExcelsiCon before because it always seemed to big and too loud (I hear you girl, social anxiety is a bitch) and because she and her dad are paying off the medical bills after her mother's death.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you are the daughter of a librarian who was also the president of your kindergarten's PTA, your father will volunteer to be a chaperon at the Homecoming Dance just to destroy any prospects you might have for a good time."

It's definitely a sign that I am firmly in middle age and old, because I have long since stopped thinking YA heroes (or heroines) are cute (they are 18 or under and are fucking children). But now I have reached the age where I am...really into the parental figures? Rosie's dad is a bi ex-rocker turned librarian and, well damn. Dude is super cool.

I also loved how absolutely queer it was, and how they got Rosie's BFF into Homecoming with a wonderful gender neutral title of Overlord.

However, despite the pop culture references and book love, this was definitely the weakest installation in the series. I just wasn't feeling Vance as a character or as a romantic lead—and the power differential between him and Rosie felt like it was too much. I was more interested in the off-page action of Elle and Darien than of the on-page banter between Rosie and Vance.

The ending faltered a bit, but it was definitely a fun read.

Maybe I'm just happy to see my favorite fictional fandom back in action. Maybe I'm just here for the books.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review
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I liked this addition to the Once Upon a Con series. I haven't read the 2nd book of the series. But if you are interesting in nods to the Disney beauty and beast and a slow but fast burn, this story is for you. It was cute but short.
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Rosie Thorne and Vance Reigns have almost nothing in common except for their age.  However when the two meet at the Excelsicon Ball their is an instant connection they both can't help but feel.  A long night spent sharing secrets and talking about the Starfield series however magical, comes to an end, and because the pair were wearing masks the entire night, they have no idea the identity of the other.  Rosie Thorne, still grieving the loss of her mother and the loss of her beloved collection of novels set in the Starfield universe so lovingly collected by her mother is feeling anything but excited about the future.  Vance Reigns on the other hand is a seventeen year old film star set to play the villain in the newest Starfield movie.  When the pair next meet up, it's loathing, not love at first sight and results in the destruction of a rare novel.  With no other option but to work off the debt, Rosie and Vince's path's collide once again and the only thing the pair can agree on is their mutual loathing of the situation.  However slowly but surely the pair gain a greater understanding, and in time appreciation of the other, and trust, among other things, begins to form.
Bookish and the Beast is the newest in a trilogy of books set in the Starfield universe.  While it is not necessary to read the previous two books in the series before diving into the newest release, readers will gain a greater understanding of the Starfield universe which will enhance the reading experience of Bookish and Beast.  Ashley Poston cleverly utilizes elements of the classic fairy tale Beauty in the Beast to craft a modern day retelling that is both unique and refreshing.  Bookish and the Beast, as the name suggests is full of books, libraries, and above all romance.  Love of books is central to the plot and spoke to my book loving, librarian heart on so many different levels.  The slow burn romance is expertly executed and the inclusion of characters from the previous two books in the series was an exciting bonus fans of the series will be sure to enjoy.  Overall I recommend Bookish and the Beast for fans of the Once Upon a Con series or for those who live myself love all things books and fandom.
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If there’s two things I love, it’s cute, YA romantic contemporaries and Beauty & the Beast. So, when I saw that Ashley Poston was releasing the next instalment in her Once Upon a Con series combining both of these things, I quickly added it to my TBR. However, as much as it pains me to say, Bookish & the Beast just didn’t hit the mark for me.

Who, What, Where?
B&TB revolves around Rosie & Vance who meet at a convention whilst wearing cosplay. The two hit it off but don’t get details about who the other is. While bookish Rosie is currently trying to plan for college and dealing with her mother’s death, Vance is Hollywood Royalty and one of the stars of the Starfield film series. After a bad press incident gets Vance sent to a family friend’s place in Rosie’s town, the two run into each other which results in the destruction of an expensive and rare book. In exchange, Rosie offers to help organise and catalogue the owner’s library. Ordinarily, Rosie would be excited to be working in close proximity to Vance but as luck would have it, he’s a massive jerk and wants nothing to do with her. Cue drama.

Missed Connections
One of my biggest disappointments on this one was the characters which I struggled to connect with. If I had to describe Rosie, the word would, unfortunately, be bland. All I seem to know about her is that she loves books, especially Starfield, and she’s the girl with the dead mother (something she says she doesn’t want to be defined as but won’t stop talking about). When she’s not being bland, she comes off as annoyingly immature – I mean the girl gets told off for using her phone at work and only a few minutes later does the same thing again! With Vance, I understood what the author was trying to do and probably liked/sympathised with him a bit more. Still, it didn’t click until a fair way into the book, probably because he spends the first half being a dick for very thin reasons.

Sparks Fly?
For romance stories, chemistry between the leads is everything and here I had trouble feeling the strength of the connection between Vance & Rosie. This wasn’t at all helped by the fact that they barely interact until the second half of the book (and, even then, it’s only over a couple of weeks!). Not the best approach when you’re trying to build a relationship solid enough to believe the two characters love one another by the end. Worse still, the moment real conflict affects their relationship, Vance immediately jumps to mistrusting Rosie without giving her a chance to explain. I’m sorry, but this is not what ships are made of.

Pop Culture Heavy
Something that’s damaged my enjoyment of books in the past is an overuse of pop culture references. They stick out like sore thumbs, age books much faster, and often feel forced. A few here and there is fine but when a book starts to feel cluttered, it bothers me. Particularly when it makes up a large chunk of the characters’ interactions. Did we need several references to Star Wars: The Last Jedi to legitimise the new Starfield film as being a big deal? Not really, no. And I love Star Wars.

Stuck to the Source Material
Retellings are tricky – you want to rely on the source enough that it provides a framework and satisfies reader expectations but not so much that it strangles the ability to tell a logical, creative, and enjoyable story. My issue with B&TB is there are multiple points where it feels like it’s trying desperately to cling to the Beauty and the Beast format even though it’s silly & forced in this context (Rosie chasing a “stray” dog into someone’s else’s house). But at the same time, there are others where it doesn’t feel related at all. Plus, the direct line references to the movie that should have been cute just left me cringing – “I don’t know half of the architectural jargon, but it’s pretty, and at least…it doesn’t use antlers in all of the decorating”.
On the whole, Bookish and the Beast isn’t a bad read but it’s a somewhat flat and disappointing one, especially after the highs of Geekerella. If you’re already a fan of the series, I’d recommend checking it out for yourself but as a first-time reader of Poston’s YA contemporaries, perhaps stick with the first entry.

ARC provided by Quirk Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I really loved this book? So much?? I requested this title because I enjoyed Geekerella and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite tales. As a bookworm, I could totally relate to the main character. The story is my fantasy come to life. The characters were like my friends, each of them have an interesting personality that I couldn't help but adore. And that ending? It's everything I wanted for and more. This book has become one of my favorite books of all time that I'd come back to if I need any comfort.
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The Once Upon a Con series finale that is missing the Con part, but is still just as good. Vance has been sent to hide in a small town, while the media hounds allow his bad boy ways to die down. Rosie loves her little town, but can't wait to find something more. After her mother died, she and her father needed to downsize, so they sold her mother's rare sci-fi book collection. Rosie misses her mom and after following a lost dog, she uncovers the massive library in the local castle. She finds her mom's favorite book and is scared by the guy, Vance, who is living there. He doesn't want to be found and refuses to be nice to Rosie. After damaging a precious book, Rosie begins working in the castle cataloging books and the two become closer. They also find that perhaps they have more history together than they realized. 

It was a cute addition to the series. I loved the winks and nudges at other Beauty and the Beast retells. I loved that characters from other books made appearances in this novel. It was a light-hearted good time.
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For months I have been in an absolute reading stasis, unable to focus on a single book no matter how much I wanted to sit down and read. So imagine my delight, when I started this book and could not put it down! It was a delight on many levels: as a modern update to Beauty and the Beast, as a sweet love story, as a meditation on how we come through grief, and as a snapshot of supportive and loving friendship. I loved the previous books in this series as well, but this one has become my runaway favorite.  I loved the slow burn of the main characters finding their way to understand each other, and finding ways to be vulnerable to one another. It was a wonderful story, and I am so glad I read it, and so glad it brought be back to reading again. How appropriate that a book that pays such wonderful and loving attention to the joy of reading should do the same for me as a reader!
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Cute, funny, and full geeky adorableness, Bookish and the Beast is a charming conclusion to the Once Upon a Con series.
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Super cute romance. I love the character development and Vance and Rosie are precious! I only gave 3 stars because it reads like any other YA romance. Cute, but not spectacular,
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This was the cutest book!! I really enjoyed reading and finding out the characters. I had not read any of the other books that this author has written. I now want to read them all!!!
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This book was so fun, I loved seeing the Starfield characters again. Such a fun Beauty and the Beast retelling.
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We first met Vance in The Princess and the Fangirl and I hated him! He was the exact type of guy I cannot stand but somehow Ashley got me to fall in love with him in this book. We learn there is a lot more to him than we think and that he isn’t quite like the persona he shows to the media.

Rosie was a wonderful character and a total booknerd! I loved her from the moment she spoke about her love for books and how much these fictional worlds mean to her. She was so relatable and I think all of us booknerds will immediately love her.

This story takes all the great parts of Beauty and the Beast and puts a fresh nerdy spin on it. Obviously an integral part of the story is the incredible library and we spend a lot of the story there which I loved! I liked how both Rosie and Vance slowly put their guards down and showed their vulnerable side and it all happened when they were both in the library. My nerdy heart could not take it when Rosie read the story to Vance I had a huge grin on my face! The build up of Rosie and Vance initially not liking each other at all and the tension and the angst was so good! I was literally screaming at them!

I really loved Rosie’s friends and that Vance had at least one true friend who basically told him to get it together. The Gaston of the story was the absolute worst and the way he manipulated things and doesn’t know how to take no for an answer. I was mad on Rosie’s behalf. I also loved seeing cameos of characters from the previous books and seeing what they were doing now.

Overall this was a cute nerdy story that I’m sure everyone will enjoy, especially you love beauty and the beast. It will fill your nerdy heart with joy and Rosie is all of us introverted booknerds who would rather spend the evening reading than go to party.
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A wonderful retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in the author's established Once Upon a Con world. Delightfully geeky and full of heart.
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3.5 stars

This book was part of a series which I have not read, and also a sort of tribute to the Beauty and the Beast story. I read it more as a young adult love story and it was readable and had some good elements.

Rosie is the female lead. She is still grieving after her mother's death a year ago, but hates being seen as the girl with the dead mom. Her dad is an interesting character: understanding, klutzy, possibly bi, and seen by her classmates as being impossibly cool.  Rosie is juggling a lot of issues. Her dad has financial issues and they've had to sell their home and her mother's treasured book collection in order to survive. 

Rosie and Vance kind of meet twice. The first time is magic, but they are both indulging in cosplay so there is an aura of unreality involved. Then, through an only-possible-in-fiction setup, Rosie meets Vance again (but doesn't know he's her cosplay partner) after sort of illegally entering the old castle-like home he is renting in her small home town. Vance is a quite notorious young actor, a darling of the internet with a reputation for being a bad boy. We see fairly quickly this is not who he actually is, but he does nothing to dispel the image. After his latest escapade, he is being punished by being banished to a no-publicity interim in a small town.

You can guess the rest. They meet, they clash, but then they realize they are drawn to each other. They finally come together but then there is an incident and misunderstanding which forces them apart. Pretty standard romance fare. Is there a happy ending? You figure it out. Rosie has a pretty strong sense of self and a great group of friends and family. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I really enjoyed this third installment in the Once Upon a Con series by Ashley Poston. I am always a sucker for Beauty and the Beast stories, and this one was fantastic. I really hope to see more in this series in the future. So good!
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It’s not a bad book by any means. However, if you’re going to do a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in the ExcelsiCon universe, you need to bring it, not just bc of how iconic the source material is, but also bc of how great the first 2 books of the series were. I actually liked the premise and characters that Poston came up with, but the execution just wasn’t great. I feel like more planning/editing should have gone into this, and there just wasn’t enough substance to the story. There was definitely something missing IMO.

**Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest review**
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