Book Review

Book Review: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA Romance / Retelling
Length: 384 pages
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 18th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

NOT FOR ME.

With a heavy heart, I have to say, this is the worst Beauty and the Beast retelling that I’ve read so far. And oh, how I wanted to love it (even had requested it on Netgalley), but it was not meant to be. I fortunately read it through the library, and sent it back as soon as I could.

My big issue that I could not get past? Jaya, the main character. I did not like her demeanor, attitude, naivete, anything. I thought she was completely wrapped up in this revenge plot idea against Grey, when from moments of meeting it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t involved. The way she treated her sister wasn’t the best, even if it came from a place of protectiveness, it did not read that way. I was hoping that all of this would change by the end, and while it did maybe a little, I was already over it at that point.

Grey was my favorite. He was broody and was beast-like as he should be. I enjoyed how he grew and adapted over the book. I liked his character most. Pretty sure he and Isha (Jaya’s sister) were the only ones I did like reading about.

And the reveal at the end about what the rose really meant? Fell completely flat. Not as high stakes as I thought it should be (and would have upped the ante).

I’m keeping this short, no need for a long review, this just did not work out for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult retelling (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: Heart of the Fae (The Otherworld #1) by Emma Hamm

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance + Retelling
Length: 350 pages
Author: Emma Hamm
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 26th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Beauty and the Beast meets Irish Mythology in this sweeping retelling of the beloved fairytale….

Once upon a time…

A plague sweeps across the emerald hills of Uí Néill, leaving a young midwife’s father with months to live. To save her people, Sorcha makes a deal with a dangerous Fae. She must travel across the sea, through merrow and kelpie lands, to find a forgotten king on a crumbling throne.

Born king of the Seelie Fae, Eamonn fought battles unnumbered to uphold honor, duty, and freedom… until his twin brother sank a blade between his shoulders. Crystals grew from the wound, splitting open skin and bone. His people banished him to a cursed isle for his disfigurement, now king of criminals and fools.

With the help of brownies, pixies, and will-o’-the-wisps, Sorcha battles to break through his crystalline shell and persuade him to take back his stolen throne.

This determined beauty could come dangerously close to stealing his beastly heart. 

A GREAT RETELLING.

I definitely think this is one of the better retellings of Beauty and the Beast that I’ve read.

This really followed the flow of B&TB. I could definitely tell what scenes were being recreated and the plot line it was going for. I enjoyed this take on it because of that fact. I liked seeing how someone else interpreted the story (and adding fae is ALWAYS good). This was full of faeries and the romance was kicked up to a much steamier vibe.

The romance felt a *tiny* bit insta-love at first. It came off as mostly lust and I was worried how that was going to affect the story. Never fear, the way that Sorcha and Eamonn built their relationship after some initial contact was fantastic. I loved the enemies to lovers type banter, the slow tender moments they had, that all led to a partnership that I ship.

Sorcha as a character was amazing. Her role as a healer gave focus to her decisions and mindset. I liked how firm she was on HER choices and that she never gave up on her original intentions for seeking out the fae. There was no wishy-washy character here. Sorcha was a lovely and strong heroine.

Eamonn was the beast. And that sentence is wholly accurate. His role was exactly how I expected it and I LOVED seeing the small things he started doing for Sorcha purely to make her happy. Ohhhhh so cute y’all.

The story itself was well put together and I thought the plot had everything it needed. There was a point and reasoning behind choices and I never had to ask why. I love the way the fae were woven into everything and I love all things faerie in general.

I’m definitely interested in continuing this duology (and the other books in this universe). This was a self-published book and I LOVE finding these kind of gems.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance + retelling
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses, make outs, one moderately detailed love scene
  • Violence: physical, magic, skirmishes with swords, a creepy blood beetle epidemic

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With

Y’all, I am on the struggle bus for today’s Top Ten Tuesday!

I had a hard time deciding on anyone I’d switch places with and consulted my entire read shelf on Goodreads to help me decide.

I finally came up with a list though!! And have made it another week. Let’s go.

As usual, in no particular order:

America || The Selection Series

Someone messed up and I feel like I missed my calling as a Princess. I clearly was in the wrong place at the wrong time to ever meet a Prince (but don’t tell my husband).

Elizabeth Bennett || Pride and Prejudice

“You have bewitched me body and soul and I love, I love, I love you.” I have a lot of book boyfriends and they are definitely motivating my choices in this line-up.

Asha || The Last Namsara

I really want a pet dragon. Asha has a pet dragon. I would like to switch places with Asha.

Feyre || A Court of Mist and Fury

Another book boyfriend, my High Lord, Rhys. Yeaaaaaah. I’d switch places with Feyre easy, he’s mine.

Lara Jean || To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Peter K. is a precious cinnamon roll who is too much of a sweet-heart for his own good. I also would love to spend a lot more time baking than I do. I can smell the cookies now…

Lira|| To Kill a Kingdom

Yes, I know she’s a siren but I am highly obsessed with mermaids and all things beach related. I was a mermaid in another life, I am sure of it.

Max || Where the Wild Things Are

Ohh, to have the imagination of a young child. I would love to feel that way again and to be Queen of the Wild Things.

Belle || Beauty and the Beast

I WANT THE LIBRARY. THAT IS ALL.

Also, now that I looked up more about the original story (the cover above) I am interested in reading where the phenomena came from.

Nova || Renegades

I’m not quite sure I would specifically want Nova’s never sleeping power, BUT I think it would me major fun to have some sort of super power. There’s so many to choose from in this series!

Anna || Anna and the French Kiss

I can’t be the only one who has had a fantasy about going off to a foreign country and meeting someone. And how absolutely precious is Etienne St. Clair?

All finished! Would you consider switching places with any of the above? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Tag

Book Tag: Beauty and the Beast

Book Tag Saturday! I saw this over on Justine’s blog (Bookish Wisps) and since Beauty and the Beast is one of my top Disney movies ever, I couldn’t resist!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator → Kirsty @ Kirsty and the Cat Read.
  • Match a book to each of the songs/characters below.
  • Tag as many people as you like.

“Tale As Old As Time” – A popular theme, trope or setting you’ll never get bored of reading

Enemies to Lovers. I will never not love the hate and angst that turns into crazy passion between characters. I LIVE FOR IT.

Belle – A book you brought for its beautiful cover that’s just as beautiful inside too. 

I LOVE watermelons and thought this cover was gorgeous and clever. And the book itself was the same way. It’s about a young girl struggling to understand her Mom with schizophrenia. The portrayal of mental health is poignant.

Find my review here!

Beast – Book you didn’t expect much from but pleasantly surprised you.

I just finished this book a few days ago and it definitely was a pleasant surprise. I was afraid it might be on the shallow side, but the darker portions really brought out the deeper meanings of the story.

Gaston – A book that everyone loves that you don’t

While this isn’t my biggest unpopular opinion, it is one that I know may seem crazy. I didn’t hate this series, but I never felt totally connected to the plot and characters. I think the slower pace kept me from falling in love with them.

Lefou – A loyal sidekick you can’t help but love more than their counterpart

SEVRO! I love Sevro so much. He is one of my favorite sidekicks ever. I do love Darrow, don’t get me wrong, but I love everything Sevro says and does.

Mrs. Pott, Chip & Cogsworth  – A book that helped you through a difficult time or that taught you something valuable

I think the reason I love this book so much (and the series) is that it helps me through difficult times every time I pick it up. It’s the first book I go to in a reading slump, when I am feeling really down and a hundred other reasons. Feyre’s emotions remind me often of my own dark places and how she finds her happy ending reminds me that I have one too.

“Something There” –  A book or a series that you weren’t into at first but picked up towards the end

I read the first book in the series and liked it, but didn’t think about looking for the second book.

Fast forward a year or two and I saw the second book at the library, thought, “why not?,” and LOVED it. Then I was able to snag book three, The Winter of the Witch, from Netgalley and fell even harder.

This is now one of my all time favorite series. If you’re looking for a fantasy book, seriously, pick these up. They won’t let you down.

“Be Our Guest” –  A fictional character you’d love to have over for dinner

Rhys, The Most Handsome High Lord. This needs no explanation. I know I’m not the only one that would want this.

Not tagging anyone, but feel free to do this!

Instagram || Goodreads