Happy Release Day to the third, and 🤞🏻 not the last book in the Once Upon a Con series by Ashley Poston.
Bookish and the Beast 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.
About the Author
Ashley Poston was born and raised in rural South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well.When she’s not inventing new recipes with peanut butter, having passionate dance-offs with her cat Pepper 🐈 , or geeking out all over the Internet and at comic cons, she writes books and is the author of the Once Upon a Con series and Heart of Iron Duology.
What I Thought
She’s done it again.
I could just leave my review there… but I won’t. I adore this series, it makes my geeky heart sing.
First up I want to let you know that these can be read as standalones. Each book focuses mostly on new people although, I would highly recommend reading them all to get full immersion.
We did meet Vance in book two, as the quintessential bad boy and it looks like he’s continued down that slippery slope into beastly ways since we last saw him. But like Jessica in book two, author Ashley allows us to delve beneath his Hollywood celebrity persona to see the real person underneath. He’s only really let his guard down like that once before but that’s easier when you are wearing a mask and not fearing the story getting to the press.
Rosie Thorne is a book geek like many of us, a sniffing the pages, stroking the spine, reading way past her bedtime type. In this story she gets to experience every book lover’s dream and nightmare. A huge library 😍, and a destroyed book 😭.
I loved unpicking all the little nods to Beauty and the Beast and there are a number of references to the Disney version but with much less Stockholm syndrome.
Like Elle in book one, Rosie has lost her mother but for her it is much more raw and this exploration of grief is explored sensitively.
As ever the diversity in terms of LGTBQIA+ characters is incorporated without fuss or rigmarole – best friend Quinn’s pronouns are introduced and used naturally, and before their gender identity. The challenge to get Quinn a place as Homecoming Royalty and to take it away from our Gaston type character is a welcome sub plot. The adult characters – Rosie’s father and Vance’s godfather are used well and who doesn’t love a dog named Sansa – Queen of the book!
If you are in need of mid pandemic pick me up this tale of two people ‘quarantined’ in a small town will be just the curse breaker.
Once Upon a Retelling/Fan Fiction
Retellings are my bookish jam. I love a new angle on a tale as old as time 😂. There’s something about reading a new yet familiar story.
Beauty and the Beast is one that has been explored many times before. I’ve even already written a post about its retellings (although there are more than I have listed here).
The reason I like the Once Upon a Con series so much is that they take fantasy based tales and bring them into ‘real life’. Switching the genre to contemporary really works to bring fresh life to these much loved stories.
One genre bending set of retellings I’d also highly recommend are The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. Retelling Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White in a sci-fi update. Utter bliss. Her origin story for Alice’s Queen of Hearts – Heartless is 💔😭.
Now considering how much I love a retelling – or a film/tv adaptation – it may surprise you to learn that I’ve never really got into fan fiction – neither reading nor writing it. I always feel like I should but I guess never having been in those circles I don’t really know where to start. So please do share your recommendations below. Harry Potter or YA books preferred.
If we get our wish and Ashley Poston comes back to the Once Upon a Con series what retelling would you like to see next? Personally I’d love to see a Snow Queen/Frozen one, set at a winter based con and featuring siblings – or maybe I should fan fic it?
Thanks once again to Quirk for the gifted copy and for the giveaway copy I gave out on Instagram. Once my finished copy arrives my ARC is going to the second place person in my little Quiz. You still have until the 18th to submit your pre-order receipts to get a copy of a Once Upon a Con short, ‘Once a Princess’. Mine arrived yesterday so I know what I’m reading later.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for my Starfield Special.
Welcome to my spot on the Beauty of the Wolf blog tour. Wray Delaney is a pen name for author Sally Gardner. I’ve read both Maggot Moon and Tinder – her “retellings” of the moon landing and the fairytale The Tinderbox.
In Beauty of the Wolf she tackles Beauty and the Beast with a gender twist, faeries and an Elizabethan setting. Sounds marvellous, and just feast your eyes on this beautiful hardcover 😍.
‘What some might call beauty, I find monstrous’
In the age of the Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, Lord Francis Rodermere starts to lay waste to a forest.
Furious, the sorceress who dwells there scrawls a curse into the bark of the first oak he fells:
A faerie boy will be born to you whose beauty will be your death.
Ten years later, Lord Rodermere’s son, Beau is born – and all who encounter him are struck by his great beauty.
Meanwhile, many miles away in a London alchemist’s cellar lives Randa – a beast deemed too monstrous to see the light of day.
And so begins a timeless tale of love, tragedy and revenge…
A stunning retelling of Beauty and the Beast
Beauty of the Wolf is out now, and if your appetite for Beauty and the Beast retellings has been whet, you might like to check out the following too. I appear to have a number of them – not all read yet.
The Original by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (1740)(not yet read 😱) – this edition designed by MinaLima has interactive pages and is a work of beauty.
A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) /A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) by Sarah J Maas – ACOMAF has to be one of my favourite books of all time and the first and the second books in this series are loosely inspired by B&tB with Faeries making the perfect beasts.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – a contemporary YA fantasy with a human girl sucked into a world where a Prince is cursed to relive his 18th year and turn into a beast every autumn. This is a recent release, and first in a series.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (not yet read) – our beauty in this one is betrothed to an evil ruler and has been trained to kill him. Will she?
The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross (not yet read) – this one is told from the Beast’s point of view and reviews suggest he is extremely sympathetic in this version.
2017 Film novelisation (Read)
Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly (Read) – story centred on an adventure with the magical book that appears in the 2017 film.
As Old As Time (not yet read) is part of the Twisted Tales series and has the tagline – What if Belle’s mother cursed the beast?
The Beast Within (not yet read) is part of the Villains Tales series focusing on the Beast.
Disney animation (1991) – Belle is my favourite Disney Princess and every bookworm I know just wants the Beast’s library, and a number prefer the cartoon beast to the cartoon human. Plus Chip is the cutest teacup ever.
Disney live action (2017) – I actually really enjoyed this live action remake staring Emma Watson especially the little feminist twists that were added.
Beauty and the Beast TV series (1987 – 1990) – I was in love with this series as a teen. Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame starred as Catherine who finds romance with Vincent (Ron Perlman) who lives below the city in the sewers.
Beauty and the Beast TV Series (2012-2016) – Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk is a detective who falls for an ex-soldier hiding from the government who experimented on him. I started this series and really enjoyed it. Must watch the rest.
Beastly (2011 Film) – Vapid pretty boy Pettifer gets cursed by an Olsen twin and needs Vanessa Hudgens to fall in love with him. Cheesy but fun.
Are there any other B&tB retellings I’m missing?
What strikes you most about the synopsis of Beauty of the Wolf?
I was gifted a copy of Beauty of the Wolf from HQ/HarperCollins and I think I’ll be having a Beauty and the Beast themed read/watchathon in March.