If you’re not already aware, I am 100% in love with Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series. It’s contemporary but full of nerdy references throughout and a tie-in of sci-fi through the stories of Starfield.
The first in the series is based on Cinderella, second off the Prince and the Pauper, and the third (which will be this review’s subject) is based on one of my all-time favourite fairytales – Beauty and the Beast.
Again, I loved it but read on for my full review.
Title: Bookish and the Beast
Series: Once Upon a Con #3
Author: Ashley Poston
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: 4th August 2020
Source: Physical ARC provided by the publisher (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased)
‘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.’
The Once Upon a Con series by Ashley Poston is hands down one of my favourite series ever, and definitely my favourite contemporary series! Each book tells its own story, so could be read as standalone books, but all of them tie-in together in some way for a familiar feeling throughout.
Bookish and the Beast starts out in a familiar way to the previous one, with one of our main characters, Rosie (Belle), meeting a General Sond “cosplayer” in a very true-to-the-film costume at a convention ball… it’s true-to-film because it’s the other main character, Vance Reigns who plays him (Beast), hiding his identity. In parallel to the previous two books, this one is told from both of their points of view in alternating chapters throughout.
The general gist of the main story is that Vance has been kind of exiled to a small, quiet town for being in the press too much in Hollywood. Rosie just lost her mother the year before and, weirdly almost because of this, the ‘Gaston’ character wants to take her to homecoming. She and her father are struggling financially and had to sell a lot of their possessions to make enough money for the funeral.
In terms of supporting characters, Poston has done pretty well with making this book diverse. One of Rosie’s best friends is non-binary and though for myself this was slightly confusing at times with referring to them as they, I think that’s exactly the reason why it’s necessary for books such as this one to include it – we should have more exposure to it in media so that it stops being confusing to read or hear. Vance’s carer is Latino with hints of him being either gay or bisexual and Rosie’s father is described as bisexual too.
The romance between Rosie and Vance is done well, as always with Poston’s books, being more of an enemies-to-lovers kind of romance (my personal favourite). There are a lot of sweet scenes throughout but I won’t say too much on those because it’s far nicer to read it than be told about them!
Again, pop-culture references are mentioned throughout the text, so if you’re nerdy in general then there’s a lot within to appreciate. Personally I loved a scene close to the beginning when Rosie and her friend are waiting for a trailer to drop for the next Starfield, it felt so similar to how I’d react to a new trailer for a franchise I love.
Not surprisingly, this book gets a high rating from me. It was great to see some of the previous characters return and I’m looking forward to reading more of Ashley Poston’s work in general!
Look to the Stars. Aim. Ignite.
About the Author
Ashley Poston is a part-time author and full-time fangirl. She was born in rural South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well…
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