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Once Upon a Con #3

Bookish and the Beast

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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.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published June 16, 2020

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About the author

Ashley Poston

20 books5,805 followers
Ashley Poston’s is a part-time author and full-time fangirl. She was born in rural South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well...

Tweet her at @ashposton and read her inner-most rambles at www.ashposton.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,704 reviews
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews165k followers
November 2, 2020
The wholesomeness really jumped on the page with this one! This was a lot of fun! Albeit, I wish it would have been more focused on the con scene like the last two and it definitely felt like it had a bit of a disney channel original movie style going for it, but it still maxed me out with happiness. I reaaaally want Ashley Poston to keep creating stories in this little fandom verse she's created, because they're just such feel good books.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,178 reviews2,240 followers
February 21, 2023
***The Best in the series so far***
**Didn't like the second book
*Left the first book after a few pages

💫This book made me so freaking happy!💞

I don't care about the other books in this series but this one is just meant to be mine 😍

With all that nerdiness and book talk.

With all that friendship vibes.

With all that homecoming vibes.

With all that things can go horribly wrong.

With all that the story is just beginning at the end!

I just love the characters so much!

Rosie is so level headed even if she sounds like a romantic (I mean who doesn't when you're someone who's obsessed with a book series and it's movie adaptations; more so because they were her mom's favorites!).

And Vance. Damn this guy. Hahahahah! He's just terribly clueless and just so cute the way he is!

And the best friends?! Annie and Quinn alongwith Rosie's dad! They're a riot! ☺️☺️

And yes, author. I want more of that thing between Rosie's dad and Elais. I thought their story was going to start. Not fair 🤦

And that guy Garrett. Hahahahhah!!!! The ways he tries to ask out Rosie. Damn! 😂🤣🤣🤣

And whoa! So many book references!

I totally love this book!

Profile Image for Sophie.
458 reviews185 followers
August 6, 2020
Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This series has been a bit of a frustrating one to me. It's cute and lighthearted so reading it always sounds appealing, but at the same time it has so many pop culture references that it overpowers everything else and doesn't give any room for the actual fictional universe created in this story to shine. Think of Galaxy Quest, it created its own universe and has nods to other science fiction (without outright naming them) but it is also very much its own thing. This series should have aimed to be more like Galaxy Quest. At that point why even create your own universe? Other than to make all of the love interests stars of the world, of course.

I am also iffy on Beauty and the Beast retellings. I have read some really good ones (Heart's Blood is absolutely lovely) but so many retellings come off as lazy. It's also usually hard for people to make the Beast Beast-like without making him such a major tool that romance seems unlikely. This guy (Vance) is complaining about how he's missing out on life because he can't fly in coach and buy cheap sneakers. He's in exile because of a car accident he caused and he needs to hide out from everyone, but he's planning that as soon as he's 18 he's going to be out of his stepfather's life and out of "exile." In this super nice house in North Carolina that his stepfather's friend is letting him stay in, not caring that his dog is ruining the rose bushes. He also plays the "hot villain" in the new movies.

So "Belle" (in this book her name is Rosie) sees his dog and chases him into the house which she thinks is abandoned because it looks rundown on the outside but is super nice inside it, sees a bookshelf with a huge collection of fandom books (think those Star Wars and Star Trek novels, the main character even mentions Timothy Zahn's Thrawn books), picks up the most expensive one from the author created universe that she is super excited and touched to see because of the sentiment behind it. She gets chased, jumps in the pool with it, and it gets destroyed.

Oops, turns out the book is worth a little over a grand. Which, I have a hard time believing to begin with. Fandom books CAN be worth that much but that's unusual (a super rare Star Trek book is currently being sold for $60), and I have seen special edition books from authors worth less. Hard to believe that she'd treasure it that much, know that it's rare and special, and then just be all nonchalant and casual about ruining it. This is even funnier later on because the two characters mention that the new fandom created universe movie can't be as good as The Last Jedi but still pretty awesome. So the author sees her universe as "not as good" as a terrible movie and basically a universally hated movie that destroyed Disney's Star Wars legacy and hurt the success of future projects, but definitely good enough to have a fandom tie-in book worth a ton of money. Cool, makes sense!

Moving on, in order to make up for the cost (because who cares about the roses, but not the book!!), Rosie agrees to volunteer to organize the library and create a spreadsheet of which books are damaged, etc, and the guy watching the house and Vance, says that Vance will help out and also will pay to replace the book. Because who cares about everything the dog destroys in the garden, but not the fandom book!! Well, turns out that Vance had met Rosie before when he was in a costume at a convention and was honest about his life, so uh-uh! He wants her gone. I will end my description there since that was the basic set up and I don't want to ruin it for everyone, but let's just say that it doesn't improve.

This book was trying too hard to fit into the Beauty and the Beast story, but it just fell flat and felt so forced. I shouldn't be surprised, to many people all characters need to be are a sexy villain and everything will just magically fall into place with readers finding them sympathetic and the backstory being rich even if there isn't one. That shit doesn't work on me.

With the exception of the godfather and Rosie's dad, every character was insufferable, and the references were worse than ever. Rosie has no sense of self preservation in the most infuriating and immature way possible. She gets fired from a job early on in the book for using her phone immediately after getting warned to not use her phone, and one of the reasons listed that she was in trouble was for using TikTok and filming videos at work. This is a job she's supposed to keep because she needs it to help pay for college. The godfather is supposed to be Latino, but there were just a few forced "mijos." The diversity in general just felt incredibly forced. While the other books had their flaws, this one was just unbearable.
Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
397 reviews2,131 followers
August 29, 2020
  "With him, a little of her heart leaves, but it leaves room, too.
For new people.
For new loves.
For new impossibilities."

Awww why did reading this have to go by so fast?🥺😭

Ashley Poston creates the most beautiful contemporary retellings EVER🥰

Well......maybe I can't really say that considering how I've only read two of her books.😅😂 But it really does feel like that.

I thought Geekerella was amazing and one of the most adorable contemporaries I've ever read, but this.........

Bookish and the Beast completely surpasses its predecessors!😍 (I can't really judge the 2nd book though, since I haven't read it xD) It was such a cute and fun read!🥰

Vance Reigns is the actor for General Sond—the villain of Starfield —and now is considered a true villain in real life after a certain......incident resulting in the breakup of Hollywood's cutest couple. His stepfather decides for Vance that he should lay low for awhile and sends him off to a tiny remote town. And of course, he absolutely hates it there.

Rosie Thorne recently lost her mother and continues dealing with that grief by finding comfort in reading her books—that is until she damages a priceless edition of a book and is tasked with trying to repay it with the help of Vance. You can guess how that goes.😂

They absolutely despise each other. But eventually, something changes all that.😏

Ahhh Vance's character development was amazing.🥰 He went from not trusting anyone and being a total jerk to everyone to learning to believe in himself & others more and understanding his mistakes & fixing them. So sweet💕

Of course, I automatically loved Rosie the moment I learned that she was a bookworm. Her obsession with books is so me and everyone else here (or at least I'm pretty sure).
"I love how books are not really just books at all, but doorways.
They are portals into places I’ve never been and people I’ll never be, and in them I have lived a thousand lives and seen a thousand different worlds."

That's so true🥺💞 And she even got Vance to get into reading books!!! That is such an accomplishment.🤯 I always try getting my friends into reading & GR, but it never works for me.😢 'Tis the sad reality.

Oh and then there's.......Garrett.😒 Seeing how this is a Beauty and the Beast Retelling, Garrett just reminded me of Gaston.😤

OMG and looking at the GIF, I can even see the resemblance between the two!😂 They both look the same AND act the same. Garrett kept trying to get Rosie to agree to be his date even when she said 'no' and believed himself to be the most beautiful person ever xD. Just like Gaston.🤢

Hehe and I was trying to come up with some ship names for Vance & Rosie. Like Rance? Or Vosie? xD they're so bad.😬🤣 I don't even know why I tried after my first attempt at coming up with ship names in The Upside of Falling . Never let me come up with new ship names xD.

Aghhhh and how did Ashely Poston manage to make me fall in love with her side characters so much???🥺😍 Annie & Quinn were such awesome best friends for Rosie. I loved how their friendship was never compromised throughout the story and it stayed true the whole way.🥰 Nothing got between the trio.💞

AND NEVER FORGET SPACE DAD🔥🔥🔥 Space Dad was such an amazing figure in this book. Rosie's Dad was also dealing with the grief of losing his wife but he always acted cheerful and even though he made mistakes in front of a lot people (like burning down the kitchen😂) he still was amazing.😍

This can be read as a standalone, but there are a lot of references from the previous books which makes me wish I read the 2nd book before this.😅 BUT I did manage to read some reviews of the The Princess and the Fangirl and get some of the references in this book xD.

Now my only complaint of Bookish and the Beast is that IT WAS TOO SHORT.😭😭😭 I really wish there was more to read. I WANT MORE ROSANCE okay, okay, that was bad.🙈. BUT STILL. MORE ROSIE x VANCE.🥺 288 PAGES WAS NOT ENOUGH FOR ME😭

Ahhh well there's always re-reads.

Still. I'm just gonna be over here hoping that the author will decide to make more contemporaries in this series.🤞

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Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,473 reviews9,394 followers
Want to read
November 10, 2020
UPDATE 2/25/20:

((screams in geek))

I didn't know we had a cover for this as well!

Behold its beauty, behold its grace. I love it, there's a puppy...and bookshelves!!!


Commence stalking internet until cover reveal.
That is all.

Wake me up in June.
Profile Image for Melindam.
612 reviews268 followers
August 25, 2020


YA/Nerd/Sci-Fi-Fan-retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a Library as one of the "main characters".

This sounded really exciting in theory. However, it just did not work in practice.

I mean, the Belle / Beast / Gaston / Poor Dad counterparts are obvious and the story follows the original path while trying to translate it into "Nerdy", but honestly? I found it drawn-out and boring.

Rosie (Belle) - Vance (Beast) are both characters with valid issues, who are in serious limbo because of these, but so is the book. It's dragging its feet at a snail's pace. I already reached 50% in the story, where the only interaction between them (apart from quick meetings that ended in .. yes, nothing) was Rosie spraining her ankle because of her super-clumsiness and at their next encounter turning Vance's hair into orange colour by mistake, which I guess is supposed to be hilarious, but it's just not?! Also, chemistry between the pair is practically non-existent.

Obviously, I am too old to be the target-group of this book, but I don't think it's the only reason I could not connect to the characters at all.

ARC by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tina.
2,394 reviews1 follower
September 25, 2021
This is a YA Contemporary Retelling, and this is the third book in the Once Upon a Con series. I love the cover of this book, and I love that this book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I love Beauty and the Beast, and this book did a good job with the retelling parts. I really enjoyed this book, and the characters where fun. I love that this book took place in a library a lot of time. I won an ARC copy of this book from a goodreads giveaway, but this review is 100% my own opinion.
Profile Image for Jaye Berry.
1,344 reviews123 followers
June 12, 2020
Beauty and the Beast but make it shitty [insert 1492348 pop culture references here] This is so hard to review because this was seriously so bad it feels like a parody but no. This is a real book that a publisher spent real money on to publish. The author got paid cash money for this book and I got paid nothing to read this?? This is the worst trade deal in the history of trade deals. (Sick meme but also fuck tr*mp.)

Maybe we should make this our last once upon a con book yeah? Besides one (1) flashback, none of this takes place at a con anyway. (Not that I wanted a con but it's literally in the series name so I expect what I expect.)

Bookish and the Beast is about a girl named Rosie Thorne (why tho) who mistakenly ruins an expensive book and then has to organize the expensive library she took it from to pay back her debt. Vance is Hollywood royalty but to hide from a scandal and paparazzi, he flees to Rosie's town and ends up living in the very house that has the expensive library Rosie must organize. Quickly Rosie discovers that Vance is a jerk and the feeling is mutual. That is until they spend more time together.

The connection to making this a Beauty and the Beast retelling is so weak oh my god. None of this makes ANY sense. Rosie literally BREAKS into this guy's fucking house for no reason, looks at a book and then ??? runs away with it when he's like who tf is in my house!! and then she ??? drops it in a lake and it's ruined so to pay back the price of the book she has to *checks notes* clean up the library with him for a couple of weeks. Even her father is like lol that sounds reasonable have fun with these people bye. Bruh whAT? Make any of this make sense!!

Maybe this is an issue because of the arc but there were so many continuity errors and then just writing that was so lazy. One big one was Vance and Rosie made eyes at each other at the con in a flashback and then they see each other when she ruins the book but he doesn't recognize her? They were literally sitting across from each other and staring at each other?? After that meeting he's still moping about the mysterious girl then the next time he sees Rosie, he's like omg she's the girl from the con!! Maybe fix that though.

It literally feels like the author didn't try at ALL with this one and was just forced to do it because of a contract. I'm not bullshitting- she really gave us nothing. The queer rep this time was such a joke. Rosie's father is maybe bisexual and then Rosie has a non-binary friend who seriously talks once. That's it??

All of these characters were so annoying and Rosie is the dumbest girl in the world. In the beginning of the book she gets fired from her job that she apparently needed so much for using her phone literally 3 seconds after she was told not to use her phone. She is a complete brat, so obnoxious, and if she came within 5 feet of me I would dropkick her. She literally runs into a dark house after a random dog and for what? She did any of this for what? Also Rosie lost her mother and is still grieving and it was handled so badly. I just want to cringe and laugh at Rosie trying to have a deeper emotion that wasn't just "lol i'm a nerd rawr xD".

There was so much dumb drama about the couple from Geekerella breaking up and it was SUCH bullshit. Leave them alone, thanks. Geekerella is the only book by this author that I loved but I highly doubt I would even like it on a reread so I will keep that in the past with the good memories I had of it.

Really, the rest of the book is just dumb drama that doesn't make any sense as well. There is no plot. The epic climax is Vance has a video get leaked of him and he thinks Rosie did it and it was just ??? so ??? stupid?? The video was so unimportant and minor like why would he care. Why would anyone care PLEASE. Sex tape or fucking bust my dude. He was so edgy and emo about the sHoCkInG leaked video and it was the weakest way to make them have discourse. I almost cried because they took this so seriously.

I'm sorry did you want SO MANY FUCKING POP CULTURE REFERENCES??? Well you got them friend!! This has even more than the last book, I don't know how that was possible. Ashley has zero chill and every page is littered with meaningless references that are already dated. Characters speak in random references to communicate and there was no reason for any of this besides trying to hit a word count and to try to relate to the kids these days. (I could go into it on how all of these so called "nerd" things really aren't because those very nerd things are super mainstream and popular and have been for a long time but alas.)

Literally no one speaks like this in real life, ever. Some of the references were just complete bullshit too- like she saw them on tumblr and just threw it in without actually knowing what she's talking about. Endless pop culture references are terrible but using them wrong is even worse.

Also when books have bookish characters that just go on a tirade about how reading is beautiful and magical and shaped their very core and blah blah- I've heard this so many times and the exact same thing too. Where do you think we are right now? Who do you think you are talking to? I'm never going to see a character that likes books and references random fandom shit that I may or may not like and go "omg I love this character so muCH". It's such a cheap way to try to get the reader to relate to your basic character that has nothing else and I don't want it. Liking books and "nerd" things is not a personality trait, send tweet.

But I'm not the targeted audience and I've ranted enough, good night.
Profile Image for kate.
1,112 reviews922 followers
May 12, 2020
4.5* It’s got a library. It’s got beauty and the beast references. It’s got epic friendships. It’s got the cutest crush to enemies to lovers. It’s got so. many. books. It’s got a dog. It’s got a brooding beast and a bookish beauty. It’s got just the right amount of pop culture references. It’s got a small town romance. It’s got ‘oh no, we’re caught in the rain’ scene. It’s got an epic homecoming scene. It’s got a space dad. It’s got reading aloud to each other.


Profile Image for Jessica.
568 reviews775 followers
January 4, 2021
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books) in exchange for an honest review.

I am such a huge fan of this series so I was excited to read this, especially since Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. I ended up enjoying this a lot!

So first off, there are a lot of references to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Like on page 37 there is a reference to “the great wide somewhere” and on page 224 there is talk of “Magic spells. Daring sword fights. A prince in disguise.” As a Beauty and the Beast super fan I had a ton of fun picking up all these little Easter eggs.

As for the characters, the author always writes the most interesting and dynamic ones. Both the main and supporting characters were so lovable and fleshed out. My favorite was Rosie’s dad, aka Space Dad. He seemed like the coolest dad ever.

The writing style as usual was perfect for the genre. It was a good amount of geeky mixed in with an easy to read prose.


This books also had amazing descriptions dedicated to the love of books. For example, Rosie states, “But there is so much more in those words than just loving books. I love the smell of them. I love the way their bindings look pressed together on a shelf…They are portals into places I’ve never been and people I’ll never be, and in them I have lived a thousand lives and seen a thousand different worlds” (pg. 39). I couldn’t agree more.

I also would like to point out something the author put in the acknowledgments that I absolutely loved. She writes, “I wrote this book for me. So, if you didn’t really enjoy this book, that’s okay! You’ll find one that you love” (pg. 284). I thought this was a great reminder to readers that it is okay if you didn’t like a book and that authors can write what they want to write (on the assumption for course that it is not offensive, problematic etc.)

Lastly, I did feel like there was something missing in this book compared to the other ones in the series. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. It could be that this book is significantly shorter than the other two and I wanted a bit more.

Overall, if you are a fan of this series (or books or Beauty and the Beast), you’ll probably like this one!
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books329 followers
May 17, 2021
Confession: I love ❤❤❤ fairytale retellings, especially Beauty and the Beast. So Ashley Poston combining her cosplay/sci-fi nerdy awesome world with one of my favorite genres? Yes, please! Rosie Thorne is struggling. Daughter of the town librarian, she’s still grieving over having lost her mom, who was a huge sci-fi fan like Rosie. When she meets a masked stranger at a ball and they hit it off, she thinks it was one magical night that will never mean anything. Vance is a Hollywood star, the latest villain cast in Starfield. When Rosie wanders into the house he’s staying in months later, searching for a lost dog, she doesn’t recognize him. The romance between these two is the perfect slow burn 🔥 and I loved the storyline involving their friends as well. The writing voice is fun and quirky, like all the books in this series. Can’t wait to see whose book will be next.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
August 24, 2020
Thank u to Ashley and her publishing team for sending me this e-novella of the once upon a con series! This was so cute and I really can't wait to read book 3 now!(:

Merged review:

This was such a cute book and I'm sad that this is the last one in this series.... RTC
1) Geekerella 5/5 stars
2) The princess and the fangirl 5/5 stars
2.5) Once a princess 3/5 stars
3) Bookish and the beast 5/5 stars
Profile Image for Avani ✨.
1,539 reviews311 followers
June 7, 2021
3.5 stars
This one is the best in the series. I did not like the first two books. But yes I did read them and suffered 😅
I also picked this up because well I cannot leave a series I need to finish it #FOMO

The writing, the setting, and the characters are just so much more better than the first two books and I enjoyed reading this one.
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,485 reviews190 followers
August 24, 2021
3.5 Stars

Well that was a pretty adorable YA reimagining of Beauty and the Beast.

It was a light and fluffy story filled with fandom and the usual expected tropes for this genre. I think the lead characters were engaging and that kept me turning the pages to reach the inevitable sweet and sappy conclusion. I think this series is lovely and will be popular in the library. I have yet to read book 1 but will get there shortly.
Profile Image for sam.
362 reviews524 followers
August 9, 2020
i’m thinking maybe i liked this more than book 2? My ratings are kinda off but oh well. Yes this story is very geeky and adorable but at the same time it has a lot of representation. And it’s not just in this book, it’s the whole series. I don’t see how there can be a fourth book for this series but I really enjoyed this one. It’s not necessary to read the books before reading this because this can be read as a stand-alone. But there are a lot of references to the previous books and a lot of appearances by those characters so i recommend reading them. Plus they’re great books so why wouldn’t you?

i’ll do a full review soon ✌️
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,840 reviews627 followers
October 2, 2020

I read Geekerela long time ago. I remember I shelved it under DNF. After so many years, I decided to give it another chance with Bookish and the Beast.

Still... not working for me. Miss Poston put too many aspect of Starfield world into this book. The writing style is not working for me. I am just not into it.

2 stars
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,372 reviews1,835 followers
August 5, 2020
Unfortunately, the latest installment in this fandom-and-nerdy-love-explosion just.. really missed the mark. The third book in the series, centering around the revival and cult-following of a tv-series-turned-movie-adaptation relies heavily on the previous fairytale-esque romances set in and around the fandom and conventions and, unfortunately, fails to live up to anything that came before. Added to the mix was an attempted Beauty and the Beast retelling that didn't remotely land.

So what did work in this one's favour? It's diverse. Literally, that's it.

This was a definite miss and though book one was just a like for me, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed book two, so that adds an extra layer of sad for this one which didn't work at all.

1.5 stars

Full review to come closer to release (because wow, Hollis, why didn't you realize this was a June ARC..)

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for sage (semi-hiatus).
590 reviews77 followers
Want to read
August 6, 2020
1.) Geekerella ★★★★★
2.) The Princess and the Fangirl ★★★★★
Ashley Poston's 'Once Upon a Con' series is the fangirl/contemporary retelling equivalent to Marissa Meyer's 'Lunar Chronicles'.
Profile Image for paige.
567 reviews638 followers
September 18, 2022
"I like to read now because I imagine your voice in every word."


Oh, how I love a redemption book arc. Oh, how I love a book about loving books. As the title implies, this is very much a Beauty and the Beast retelling and a sweet one at that.

In the second book, we meet Vance, a spoiled, rich kid actor who doesn't seem to care what anybody thinks of him. Who goes through life believing he can do anything and not be punished for it. Until he is. After getting in trouble and being sentenced to spend some time with his godfather, Vance is counting down the days to when he can go back to LA and his life.

That all changes when he meets Rosie, absolute chaos and completely annoying. Until he finds out she's his mystery girl who he spilled his secrets to months earlier.

We watch him go from a spoiled actor to a sweet, understanding book lover and it's a story for a lifetime. The reason I put the quote above is because if a boy ever said that to me I'd probably marry him on the spot.

I loved this series. It's nostalgic in the way only young adult novels can make you feel. And mix it in with a Disney love story? You win every time.

I can't wait to read more Ashley Poston. I'm obsessed with her.

- Paige
Profile Image for K Whatsherface.
846 reviews5 followers
January 17, 2021
Jan 2021: finally finishing this one. I'm easily distracted. But I adored this book. I love the return characters. I hope we get more in this series but I have no idea who'd be the next lead. Overall fun.

Feb 2020: there's a cover!! When did we get a cover? That's rhetorical. Please don't actually answer. It's cute. Also a description! I had a feeling this one would be about Vance

2019: Beauty and the beast set in the nerdy world of geekerella? Sold
Profile Image for lavenderews.
476 reviews678 followers
August 6, 2020
„Zaczytana i bestia” to książka piękna w swojej prostocie. Jest to niesamowicie urocza, pełna humoru i lekka historia, która sprawi, że będzie wam cieplej na sercu. Co więcej jest to pozycja idealna na lato, przy której będziecie się po prostu świetnie bawić. Ja już od pierwszej części z tej serii polubiłam się ze stylem autorki. Ma on w sobie coś bardzo fajnego, co pozwala mi szybko wciągnąć się w fabułę i zżyć z bohaterami. Tak było również w przypadku tej książki. Kiedy tylko przeczytałam pierwszą stronę, musiałam wiedzieć co będzie dalej i nie mogłam się oderwać. Dodatkowo główni bohaterowie, czyli Rosie i Vance skradli moje serce od samego początku. Bardzo podobało mi się też to, jak autorka poprowadziła tutaj wątek miłosny. Nie był on sztuczny ani naciągany. Co więcej jedna z postaci w tej książce jest niebinarna, a dla mnie duże znaczenie ma to, aby coraz więcej czerpać z książek i po prostu czytać historie wyjątkowych ludzi. „Zaczytana i bestia” to lektura idealna dla miłośników cudownych historii, literatury i psów! Jest to moja ulubiona książka z tego uniwersum i szczerze wam ją polecam! Lepszego retellingu „Pięknej i bestii” nie mogłam sobie wymarzyć. Jest mi niezwykle miło, że miałam okazję objąć tę powieść patronatem i mam nadzieję, że zakochacie się w niej tak jak ja.
Profile Image for Steff Fox.
1,185 reviews149 followers
February 5, 2021
| Review on Reader Fox Blog |

AH! I literally screamed when I learned that Ashley Poston was coming out with a Beauty and the Beast retelling. While this particular story has often been hit or miss for me with the ones I've read, I was pretty sold on Bookish and the Beast before I even had it in my hands, let alone started reading. I think it had something to do with the title. Of everything, I fell in love with that title instantaneously. Plus, it helps that I've really enjoyed Poston's prior novels.

Despite not being a con-goer and typically finding that area of being a fan difficult to relate to, I've always been pleasantly surprised by how much I've enjoyed each and every Once Upon a Con novel so far. Retellings have always been my jam, really, so of course, I picked them up. But the truth is that I did not expect to like them as much as I have.

Bookish and the Beast is Poston's best novel to date.

Set after the ending events of ExcelsiCon, Bookish and the Beast picks up with Rosie Thorne, a young girl who has somewhat recently lost her mother as she enters her senior year of high school. She is prepping for college right alongside her family's immense financial struggles as a result of her mother's medical and funeral costs. Upon following a loose dog into what she believes is the abandoned castle home of her neighborhood, Rosie finds herself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing to pay for the damages on a priceless first edition Starflame novel.

Thus begins Rosie working for (sort-of) none other than Vance Reigns to repay her debt.

This novel was pretty phenomenal. From the central couple to each and every piece of the retelling, I loved it. I even loved the Gaston character, at least insofar as he was brilliantly written (the guy was a capital J - Jerk which Poston portrayed so well!). The pacing was fantastic, keeping me thoroughly engaged the entire time. Bonus points for diversity and inclusion re: the LGBTQ community with a non-binary and a bisexual character, none of which felt forced at all.

And I loved Rosie and Vance.

I have to be fair here, however, in admitting something about the book I could see as a potential problem. Poston skipped over a fair amount of the connection building between the two love interests. Basically, we're meant to accept that they have built up feelings for each other based on a night that they had prior to the majority of the events that take place in the book. The initial connection they have is shown as a sort of brief look into the night they met while leaving out the majority of their conversation. Then we're met with a flash-forward.

Honestly? I was okay with this.

It didn't really take from the novel for me. As far as I'm concerned, made the couple feel more real than I believe any slow build-up of excess interaction in the beginning would have. In my opinion, the decision to leave out the majority of their first night getting to know each other was the right decision. Poston instead just acknowledged that their night happened and delved deep into how it made the characters feel. And it was brilliant.

This take probably won't work for everyone.

It did work for me, though. I found myself literally on the edge of my seat as I stayed up egregiously late into the night to finish the novel the very day I started it. From fantastic characters to great commentaries, this book had so much to love. The tension between the two main characters was perfect. And while certain events were predictable--it's a retelling, that's to be expected--my only complaint comes from Vance's response to that predictability.

Still, these characters were fantastic.

Vance was not the typical cookie-cutter of bad-boy actor you usually see in the novels. Instead of having some traumatic past to justify his horrific behavior, we see a deeper side to a character who has quite literally dug his own holes and is dealing with the emotional fallout as a result. Rosie is relatable in many ways. What stood out most for me was her story, detailing the struggles women face with unwanted and unwarranted advances from a guy who just won't take no as an answer.

Garrett, our Gaston, was well written and just the right amount of privileged cringe. Quinn and Annie were the perfect best friends for Rosie, wonderful in a multitude of unique ways. While I wasn’t in love with the adult characters, they were both extremely likable. And, as with Poston's prior novels, there are a few callbacks to characters from the previous novels, so keep an eye out! Plus, it's chock full of movie and fan references from just about any fandom you can think of. There was even one poking fun at Disney buying everything!

Bookish and the Beast is set for a publication date of June 16th.

If this book hasn't been on your radar up until now, I would definitely suggest putting it on your TBR. A wonderful retelling that is definitely now on my list of favorites, Bookish and the Beast is a book that'll stick with you. Also, look out for the Tom Holland reference! I giggled so much!

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Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
618 reviews623 followers
August 4, 2020

“Every place his lips touch – my mouth, my nose, my cheek, my neck – lights up like a star in a constellation for us.”

Bookish & the Beast was a very fun and enjoyable installment in the Once Upon a Con series, that to me sadly couldn't live up to its predecessors.

I truly loved both Geekerella and The Princess & the Fangirl a lot and feel very invested in the Starfield world and storyline. I think where this book mostly fell flat for me was the element of fandom and especially spending time at a convention that I love so much about the other two books.
While this definitely tried a little bit of a new take on bringing the Starfield universe into this series, by talking about the book series and partly taking place in a library with special Collector's Editions, it just didn't give me enough of an emotional connection to the Starfield universe itself that I became so very attached to. I immensely enjoyed some of the snippets that we would get at the beginning of chapters but sadly there were only so few of them.

“Most of the time, I try not to think about it, but sometimes grief comes in waves. It laps against the sandy beach of your soul, again and again, soft and rushing and impossible to escape. She's gone, but I miss her. She no longer exists, but the words she loved still do.”

While I enjoyed the characters, the one character that stood out the most to me was probably the female main character's dad. I just found none of the characters to be very interesting or compelling. I didn't dislike reading from their perspective or about them but I felt like they just weren't all that exciting to read about either.
And again, Poston definitely tried to offer us a different take to the books before too, by introducing Vance, who is an actor for the Starfield series but currently taking a break from Hollywood. And while his character and journey was very different than anything we had seen before in this series, I just can't say I found his journey to be very believable OR captivating. I just simply didn't care. And the same goes for the female main character too. I feel like she put such emphasis on not just being “the girl with the dead mom” that she did end up being exactly that because I can't point out many traits about her.
Again, none of these characters were dislikeable or not pleasant to read about, I just found them almost replaceable.
As for representation, both main characters read as queer (stating multiple gender attraction) but they don't ever use labels. There is a non-binary side character that uses they/them pronouns and queer (one who is definitely bi) side characters. It seems like there is a Latinx side character too.. but that was never explicitly stated.

Just as the characters didn't really stand out to me, the romance very much did not either and this was another really disappointing aspect for me with how much I squealed for the previous romances. Not only did I not really think the hate-to-love trope was well done but I also just found their entire development not very convincing just because I feel like we got too little of it. I barely felt chemistry, barely felt like they truly got to know about each other. We know they spend a lot of time with each other but I feel like we just didn't really get to see that at all. Where was this entire process? There just wasn't enough there for me personally.

When it comes to the retelling element of Beauty & the Beast, you could definitely see the elements but they didn't stand out immensely. Some people might enjoy that, others not so much. As someone who is not a big fan of Beauty & the Beast I can't say if that maybe affected my enjoyment of this story too? I normally never pick up retellings of the story cause I am just not interested in them or the original story but for me this was different, as I already felt invested in this universe.
At the end of the day I just don't really think it worked all that well as the basis for a fluffy Contemporary story like this. But I also know that this was really the project of Poston's heart and that does make me happy to know.

“With him, a little of her heart leaves, but it leaves room, too. For new people. For new loves. For new impossibilities.”

So all in all, while I enjoyed reading another installment in this series, it also just didn't have the same magic as the other two for me personally. Nothing about this book set it apart from any other YA Contemporary, sadly, and that was a very different experience for me with the first two books. If you're a fan of the series, it's a fun reading experience, especially with other character's cameos too, but it is really not a must-read at all.

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I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,588 reviews1,467 followers
February 3, 2022
“Books are not really just books at all, but doorways. They are portals into places I've never been and people I'll never be.”

Beauty and the Beast is really one of my all time favorite retellings. While Vance Reigns is not remotely beastly looking he is/was/and has been mostly a jerk in his life and he is playing the Villian in the new Starfield movie. He is the proverbial bad boy. Always in trouble, always looking to up his career and not really happy in his life. When he gets in a bit of trouble he is sent to a dinky little town to live in a weirdly small castle in said provincial town and get his crap together.

Rosie Thorne (see what she did with her name already) lives in said town but has been fantasizing about the boy she met and had a magical night with at the last ExcelsiCon. He was in costume the entire night, so she doesn't know his real name or what he really looks like. She does in fact know he has a nice butt, but that is about it. Imagine her surprise when she finds out the person she connected with is 'The' Vance Reigns. Not who she expected and now she is stuck with him trying to catalogue a bunch of books in this strange mini-castle in the middle of her town.

Okay I like these books a lot. There is just something about the quirkiness of the characters and how it is a fairytale re-telling geeked up just enough. These books are full of pop culture references and quick witted conversations.
“I’m terrible at cooking.”
“And that is why we practice and say to the god of burnt food—not today.”

I really enjoy most of all of the stories. They are so fun that I blow through them in practically no time and now I'm at the end of the written books and will have to wait for the next one.

I have one small little irk about the books. Look, I get it, lets be diversity driven but does everyone in the books need to be so sexually fluid. I mean in the real world, am I just out of touch or are 40% of the people really that fluid in their sexuality? Sometimes I feel like in these genres side characters are just thrown in with that to fit a certain criteria or quota and sometimes I think it cheapens the story. We need to have a gay character or two, a bi character or two, a non-bianary character and maybe something else involving skin color too just to be hip. Like there is a magic number you have to get to for the story to be published.

But like I said I've had so much fun with all of these books that it is a small irk and maybe I'm just an old, not sexually fluid fuddy duddy, not hip to all the cool YA crowd.
Profile Image for *The Angry Reader*.
1,358 reviews294 followers
May 21, 2020
It’s generally not fun to do this - write a list just tearing into a book. I get that this is someone’s art. Their creation. And how easy for me to sit here and critique. But it isn’t easy. Sometimes I don’t mind writing a review about how terrible a book is. (On rare occasions I’m gleeful at the prospect.) But this isn’t that.

I thought for a moment about being glib. Entire review “at least it was short.” Or “you know what sucks? This book.” And that kind of felt like a shitty moment for me.

So let me tell you I saw the heart in this one. I saw the try. I didn’t see what the characters saw in one another. (I don’t think a dude being tall and handing me a book I can’t reach is a basis for admiration. But I’m almost 6’0 tall. So “reaching things” isn’t on my love list.) I didn’t see the characters staying together Bc I didn’t see them as a couple. I saw too many weird space show references and barely any dialogue (what was there was weirdly cliched.) I saw a messy, disorganized book that needs badly to be weeded through and restructured to let the heart and sweetness shine.

Oh to be seventeen again and naive enough to believe that any of this foolishness comes close to equaling love.

*as always thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to offer my unbiased review*

Profile Image for ATheReader- check my bio.
199 reviews60 followers
January 24, 2021
Bookish and the Beast was extremely enjoyable. The third book in the Once Upon a Con series (and sadly the last), I was expecting a lot out of this book and I happily really satisfied with it!

The characters were extremely interesting. I liked their backstories, one of the character's "character arc", and how obsessed one of the characters was with reading. (A baddy main character who loves books and can throw a punch? Count me in!) The side characters were also extremely interesting.

The plot was pretty enjoyable. I liked the development of the story and the way Poston wrote scenes, and how this story tied into the other two books in the series.

The subtle representation!! I love it when a book can include characters with "different" features or traits and not make that their entire personality. One of the main characters' best friends is non-binary (which you very rarely see), her dad is bisexual, the other main character is queer and so is his godfather (who is also POC). Everyone was excepted for who they were <3

The romance was extremely entertaining. It was enemies to lovers (with a twist). I loved their banter and how they realized they were falling for each other. (The drama was immaculate.)

Me when I was reading them banter:

That's it for now! I would definitely recommend this installment of the Once Upon a Con series! (Mel you better read this soon so that I can talk about spoilers.)
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