Book Review: Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston

Book Review: Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston

Header (5)
Series:
Once Upon A Con #3
Release Date: June 16th 2020
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe.

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.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T175826.598When I read Geekarella I fell completely in love with the geeky and adorable characters Ashley Poston had created. When I picked up Princess and the Fangirl I had some pretty high expectations and yet again I loved absolutely everything about it. So when Bookish and the Beast was announced it pretty much became one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairy tales so I was incredibly excited to see Poston’s take. If it’s possible I loved this one even more than the previous two books and I am pretty much obsessed with this series.

Bookish and the Beast follows Vance Reigns, a character we’ve met briefly in previous books. He’s incredibly famous and wherever he goes scandal and wrongdoing seem to follow. To get out of the spotlight Vance is shipped off to a remote town till things cool off. There he meets Rosie, a young girl struggling with everything – the death of her mother, her college applications and her future. When the two are forced to work together it’s clear they can’t stand each other but after weeks of working in a library will their feelings stay the same?

Bookish and the Beast is honestly just the perfect sweet contemporary read. This book is pure escapism, it’s sweet and cute and just the best read to get lost in for a few hours. I love going to comic con and I love all the fandom references that are littered throughout the book. Rosie and Vance are brilliant characters and it was so easy to root for them. There’s quite a few secondary characters I really liked too and it was lovely to get glimpses of characters from the previous two novels too.

This story is beautiful and addictive and I didn’t want it to end. (I also kind of want Ashley Poston to write a Starfield series because honestly it sounds like the kind of thing I would just love). I loved the way Poston incorporated the aspects of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and I cannot wait to see what story she tackles next.
5 Stars

Book Review: Of Curses and Kisses – Sandya Menon

Book Review: Of Curses and Kisses – Sandya Menon

July 23, 2019 (22)
Series:
St Rosetta’s Academy #1
Release Date: February 18th 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

The first novel in a series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133113.709This is my first time reading a book by Sandhya Menon. I know lots of people love her When Dimple Met Rishi series but I haven’t yet had the chance to pick it up. When I heard she was releasing a Beauty and the Beast retelling I jumped at the chance to read it. I love retellings and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourites, add that to the boarding school setting and I was dying to dive into this one.

The story follows Princess Jaya as she and her sister attend St Rosetta’s boarding school for the first time. They are fleeing a scandal at home and Jaya has plans to take revenge on the one she suspects is to blame – Grey Emerson. Jaya and Grey’s family have a long standing feud and Jaya plans to get revenge by making him fall in love with her, and then breaking his heart. But when Jaya meets Grey he isn’t all that he seems and is he truly behind the leaked pictures of her sister?

Of Curses and Kisses is a fun and modern take on the Beauty and the Beast tale. The characters were interesting takes on the ones we know and love. Jaya is kind and caring with an obsession with YA romance novels and Grey is dark and brooding. I really liked Jaya’s sister and I’m hoping we get to see more of her in books to come. I loved interesting ways that Menon brought in the classic tale, with Jaya’s necklace becoming the rose. It was a fun and fast paced read and one I’m sure fans of contemporary ya will adore.

The chapters alternate between Jaya and Grey which gives the reader a chance to get to know both characters really well. I loved the boarding school setting and plot was engaging and well written. Of Curses and Kisses is a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
4 Stars

Book Review: Always Here For You – Miriam Halahmy

Book Review: Always Here For You – Miriam Halahmy

July 23, 2019 (15)
Release Date:
February 11th 2020
Publisher: ZunTold Publishing
Pages: 280
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

14-year-old Holly is lonely. Her parents are never around after Gran’s Crisis and best friend Amy to Canada, loved-up with her new boyfriend, Gabe. Holly has no-one to hang out with at school apart from moody Ellen and misfit Tim.

Home alone in Brighton with no-one to talk to, Holly is at rock bottom. That is, until she finds Jay. Caring, funny and with so much in common, Jay is the perfect guy. They chat online, but Holly knows to be careful, she’s heard the horror stories. As they grow closer and closer, chatting with Jay is all that makes Holly happy. Mum and Dad’s rows get more intense and Amy’s radio silence continues; the only one who understands is Jay. As Holly lets her guard down, is Jay all he seems? Is Holly in too deep? And is it too late?

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T174939.477Always Here For You is the tense and gripping tale of a young girl named Holly who is struggling with being lonely. Only fifteen, her best friend has moved to Canada and is having the best time without her, and her parents are preoccupied with Holly’s ailing grandmother. Looking for companionship she begins talking to a stranger online. She knows not everyone is who they say they are online but as she begins to feel more and more isolated, Holly feels like she only has Jay to turn too. When they decide to meet face to face Holly begins to wonder if she’s made a mistake, and if Jay is all that he seems.

Miriam Halahmy has created a fast-paced and timely tale about how easy it is to fall victim to someone on the internet. The brilliantly depicted characters highlight the unnerving realty of how chatting to a stranger for a few minutes can change your whole life. The story is a tense one, with the tension ramping up the closer Holly gets to meeting Jay face to face. I thought Holly was a really fascinating protagonist, she’s aware of the dangers of the internet, but it doesn’t stop her from being unknowingly groomed.

Always Here For You does a fantastic job of raising awareness for something that occurs all too frequently. A well written contemporary story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s a pretty quick read too, so definitely one to recommend if you’re looking for a story to get lost in for an afternoon.
4 Stars

Blog Tour: Frozen Beauty – Lexa Hillyer

Blog Tour: Frozen Beauty – Lexa Hillyer

July 23, 2019 (7)
Release Date:
March 17th 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository
Source: I received an E-ARC of this book through the Fantastic Flying Book Club
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Everyone in Devil’s Lake knows the three golden Malloy sisters—but one of them is keeping a secret that will turn their little world inside out….

No one knows exactly what happened to Kit in the woods that night—all they have are a constellation of facts: icy blue lips and fingers cold to the touch, a lacy bra, an abandoned pick-up truck with keys still in the ignition. Still, Tessa, even in her fog of grief, is certain that her sister’s killer wasn’t Boyd, the boy next door whom they’ve all loved in their own way. There are too many details that don’t add up, too many secrets still tucked away.

But no matter how fiercely she searches for answers, at the core of that complicated night is a truth that’s heartbreakingly simple.

Told in lush, haunting prose, Frozen Beauty is a story of the intoxicating power of first love, the deep bonds of sisterhood, and a shocking death that will forever change the living.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-29T191344.814This book captured my attention because I read and really enjoyed Lexa Hillyer’s Spindle Fire duology and this sounded like such an intriguing premise. Following three sisters – the Malloy’s and their life in Devil’s Lake, a small town where they live with their Mum. When one tragically dies the story follows sisters Tessa and Lilly as they process the death of their sister, and uncover the secrets that have been surrounding the family.

Frozen Beauty is a beautifully told tale of family, friendship, love and loss. I loved the setting of Devil’s Lake, this quaint little town that has something more sinister going on underneath. Hillyer has a really gorgeous writing style and it’s so easy to just become completely wrapped up in the tale she is weaving. The story jumps around in time and perspective as we uncover the secrets in this town and I enjoyed getting to know all three Malloy sisters as well as Patrick and Boyd too. Hillyer has creating a really interesting cast of characters, each dealing with difficult issues. The characters were well fleshed out and I liked that they were flawed, made mistakes and very much felt like real people.

The mystery of Kit’s death is a really interesting story, there are plenty of twists and turns in this tale that surprised me, and it had an ending I did not see coming. The story also contains some of Kit’s poetry which was a fascinating insight into the character and a nice addition to the story. If you’re looking for a tense, atmospheric read that you definitely won’t want to put down, I highly recommend picking this one up.
4 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed Outwith My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed Outwith My Comfort Zone

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Today on Top Ten Tuesday we’re talking about books I enjoyed that were outwith my comfort zone. I’m pretty much open to reading anything except romance books so I don’t really have a strict comfort zone. I do tend to mainly read YA/Adult SFF so I’ve just gone for 10 books I’ve read this year that are not in those genres.

Copy of book cover (57)1. Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager
I finally picked up a Riley Sager book despite having had this and Final Girls on my shelf for ages. It was a dark and intense thriller and I really enjoyed reading it, it’s definitely made me want to pick up more from this author. It was a really dark and twisty read and really kept me guessing right to the end.

Copy of book cover (56)2. Night Film – Marisha Peshl 
OH MY GOD THIS BOOK. This isn’t necessarily something I would have picked up but I saw some booktubers rant about how amazing it was and put it on my wishlist for Christmas. I’m so glad I did because it’s become one of my favourite books of all time. A thriller with a touch of horror/supernatural aspects, it was a fantastic read and I can’t wait to reread it in the future.

Copy of book cover (58)3. The Princess and the Fangirl – Ashley Poston
I really loved Geekarella so I was excited to dive back into the convention world in this sequel. It’s really interesting because it is both a love letter to fandom culture and highlights some of the problems associated with trolling and social media. It was really nice to see some of the characters from book one as well!

Copy of book cover (9)4. The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson
This was a fun UKYA thriller that was getting lots of buzz at YALC and I’m so glad I decided to pick it up. I don’t really read YA thrillers, I tend to gravitate more to adult but this was excited and full of twists that I would never have guessed in a million years. I really liked the main character too, she was a brilliant protagonist.

Copy of book cover (6)5. As Far As the Stars – Virginia Macgregor
This is the heartbreaking and emotional story of two young people who meet whilst they are waiting for family members at the airport. The plane crashes and the two try to understand their feelings for each other as they battle their grief. It was definitely a tear jerker, and a book I still think about months later.

Copy of book cover (59)6. Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Now this one definitely is outside my comfort zone. I would never have picked this up, just because it wouldn’t strike me as the kind of book I would enjoy. I’d probably think it was okay, but that would be it. On a whim I picked it up and my god I loved it. I had to try and not cry on my commute home from work and everything. If you haven’t picked it up yet it’s totally worth the hype.

Copy of book cover (60)7. The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven
This was another thriller that I ended up reading and could not put down. The first in a new series, The Puppet Show is a dark and gory story, but one that definitely has you on the edge of your seat. I don’t often rate thrillers 5 stars, but this one definitely was and I can’t wait to read book two!

Copy of book cover (1)8. What Lies Around Us – Andrew Crofts
I read and loved The Secrets of the Italian Gardener by this author a while ago and really enjoyed it so I was excited to read more of his work. I loved this one even more, the story of a ghostwriter sent to write a book about a famous actress, but it turns out there’s a whole lot more going on underneath the surface.

book cover - 2019-03-17T113630.4779. Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus
This ended up being the second YA thriller that I really enjoyed. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as One Of Us Is Lying but it was still a fun and fast paced read and it has definitely solidified Karen M. McManus as one my favourite YA thriller writer. Can’t wait to see what she does with One Of Us Is Next.

Copy of book cover (10)10.  Evidence of the Affair – Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is another one that I would never have picked up in a million years, but after loving Daisy Jones so much I thought I would give this novella a shot. Told in the form of letters between two people who find their spouses having an affair, it was honestly brilliant and I’m definitely going to try The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by the end of the year.

So those are the top ten books I enjoyed that were outside my comfort zone. What are some books you enjoyed that aren’t what you typically read? And if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know what you thought!

Book Review: Done Dirt Cheap – Sarah Nicole Lemon

Book Review: Done Dirt Cheap – Sarah Nicole Lemon

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Release Date:
March 7th 2017
Publisher: Abrams & Chronicle
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.

Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

Review

Copy of book cover (46)Done Dirt Cheap was a book that really surprised me. I kind of expected a wild Son’s of Anarchy type of book full of biker gangs and crime, and while that was part of it, it was really so much more. The story of Tourmaline and Virginia and fascinating, two women sticking together despite the odds and defying the odds.

I thought the characters were really striking and they’re what kept me hooked the whole way though the story. Tourmaline dealing with her mother’s imprisonment and her father’s secretive nature, as well as the fact that he’s the president of a biker gang. Then there’s Virginia, who has no real family and has to work for the local drug dealer in order to get by. I loved that these two characters didn’t really have anything in common, but they formed a friendship and they stuck together, no matter how tough things got.

The book was fairly well paced, though I did feel it slowed down a little in the middle as Virginia and Tourmaline were trying to lie low. The ending did definitely have me on the edge of my seat, rooting for the two girls to succeed. The book has a very feminist style feel to it, with the two main protagonists taking action and going where they need to – they definitely don’t rely on the male characters to do their dirty work or save them.

I also really loved the setting, with the beautiful American summer and the gleaming motorbikes. It really came alive, and I got completely sucked into the setting from my dreary Edinburgh surroundings. It features really strong and fierce women and it has everything from crime and trickery to romance. If you’re looking for a fun fast summer read about the friendship between two fantastic female characters, Done Dirt Cheap is exactly what you’re looking for.

4 stars

Book Review: Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman

Book Review: Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-06-09T154848.862.png
Release Date:
April 4th 2019
Publisher: Ink Road
Pages: 375
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this at NYALitFest
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

Review

book cover - 2019-04-03T110806.863Last year I read Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman and completely fell in love with the characters and the beautifully written tale. When I heard Summer Bird Blue was going to be published in the UK I snapped up a copy straight away. The story follows Rumi, a young girl who loses her sister in a car crash. Her mother, consumed with grief sends her to live with her aunt in Hawaii over the summer and there Rumi has to learn to cope with her grief and find the music that was so important to her and her sister.

This is such a unique, beautifully told story about family, friendship and grief. The story very much focuses in on Rumi as she tries to figure out how to live her life without her sister. It was well executed and I enjoyed seeing Rumi make friends with next door neighbour Kai and find a way back to the music that she loves so much.

Starfish was a five star read for me and part of the reason for that was the realistic characters. The characters in Summer Bird Blue are very realistic and well fleshed out, but I didn’t connect with them in the same way I did with Starfish. I really enjoyed the story, but it didn’t take my breath away like the previous book.

The story is incredibly emotional and I love the beautiful Hawaiian setting. I also loved that Bowman could so easily have introduced a romance between Rumi and Kai and instead have them remain friends. The story touches on a lot of incredibly important issues – not just grief but finding yourself, relationships and what it means to be a family. It isn’t a particularly light book, the story is quite a heavy one, but it’s executed extremely well.

While I really enjoyed it this book just didn’t blow me away, but I know Akemi Dawn Bowman fans will be overjoyed to read another gorgeous book from her. If you’re looking for a story that will keep you turning the pages but will also give you a lump in your throat, you should definitely pick up Summer Bird Blue.

3 stars