**We were gifted a copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts on one of my most anticipated book releases of the year, Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston. Having read and enjoyed The Princess and the Fangirl and subsequently catching up with Geekerella I was so excited to discover my favourite story Beauty and the Beast was next in line for the Once Upon A Con treatment. Thanks to Quirk Books for sending me an ARC copy and I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts on Ashley’s latest release.
About The Book
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.
Rosie doesn’t ‘do’ parties so when she decides to sneak away from the Excelsicon Ball in favour of an early night the last thing she imagines happening is spending her evening chatting to a stranger. Both masked in their con cosplay the pair talk long into the night, revealing much more of themselves than they usually would, because they know they’ll never see each other again…….or will they.
Back in her small hometown Rosie often thinks about the mystery man from that night, but as she hasn’t even told her best friends she is only able to relieve that perfect evening in her own mind. Anyway she has more important things to think about like her college application all on top of dealing with the crushing grief of her mother’s death. Her life is about to get even more complicated though when a runaway dog leads to disaster and hundreds of dollars damage to a rare Starfield novel. With no money to replace the book Rosie agrees to work off her debt rearranging the library inside the large, mysterious ‘castle’, but she will have help.
Teenage Vance is well known for his role as the villain in the Starfield movies, but his bad boy behaviour seems to land him in the headlines more often than praise for his acting skills. After the latest incident Vance’s Step-Dad decides enough is enough and sends him away to a small town, out of the spotlight whilst things cool down. Stuck in a dead end town with nothing to do Vance is feeling frustrated and more than a little grumpy so when his guardian Elias tells him he has to help the strange girl who fell into their moat to organise the library it doesn’t go down well. Forced to work together the pair soon discover there is more to each other than meets the eye, but will they be able to put their differences aside?
Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favourite stories and this retelling stays pretty close to the original with a wonderfully nerdy twist and I absolutely loved it! It’s my favourite of the Once Upon A Con series to date and is the perfect mix of con/fan fiction references alongside heaps of bookish content all topped off with a terribly sweet romance.
Unlike the previous books in this series Bookish and the Beast is set away from Excelcon and has a real small town vibe which is something I really love in a book. If you are familiar with the original story it won’t be a spoiler to say that this is an enemies to lovers tale which is yet another troupe that scores high on my favourites list and this one is executed particularly well. Our ‘villain’ Vance is equally easy to hate and love as despite his rich-kid entitlement and bad boy attitude it is clear to see from the start that he is actually a sweetie beneath the tough exterior.
The diversity in this book is also amazing with characters from the LGBTQA+ community, including a non-binary character which is amazing as it’s not something I have seen included very often in novels. A special mention is also required for the array of side characters in this book as they are all fabulous, especially Rosie’s ‘Space Dad’ who takes nerdiness to the max and it’s something I’m definitely here for!
I absolutely adored this book, it’s everything a bibliophile could wish for and Ashley’s easy writing style meant I just flew through the pages eager to devour every morsel. Although part of a ‘series’ there is no need to read the previous titles as this works perfectly well as a standalone. Highly recommended with two massive thumbs up from me!
Whilst this book is reasonably light-hearted please be aware that it does touch upon and deal with the death of Rosie’s Mother and her subsequent grieving process which may be triggering for some readers.
About The Author
Ashley Poston is the author of the Once Upon a Con series, Heart of Iron and Souls of Stars. Her fangirl heart has taken her everywhere from the houses of Hollywood screenwriters to the stages of music festivals to geeked-out conventions (in cosplay, of course). When she’s not inventing new recipes with peanut butter, having passionate dance-offs with her cat, or geeking out all over the internet, she writes books. She lives in small-town South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well.
Bookish and the Beast is available to buy now from Amazon*