Ashley Poston: Bookish and the Beast

Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con #3)
by Ashley Poston
cover art by Peter Greenwood

(YA contemporary rom-com)

Rating: 5 stars

Representation: variety of LGBTQ+ characters

I really enjoy the Once Upon a Con series, and this installment was no exception. I love the nods to all things geeky, I love the quotes from movies, I love the fairy tale retellings. This one, though, was even better than I had expected. I really loved finding different references to fandoms I enjoy, though I’m also sure that there are many more references I missed.

Some reviewers complained that the convention which the series is named after was barely in the story at all, but that was okay with me. I’m not a con-goer, so I didn’t miss that aspect of it. Also, even though the con show up at the beginning of the story and that’s all, it has a huge impact in the plot and character development, so it gets referenced a lot. I feel this story was great with the setting it had, without needing anything else.

I pull over to the side of the road and pop on my hazards before I get out of the car, my keys between my knuckles like my dad taught me. Not to defend against a dog, obviously, but from everything else.

Always be prepared for zombies and murderers.

Perhaps not in that order.

I guess I just really appreciate a good redemption story. I love the stories where a character can find internal strength she didn’t know she had. I love stories with a really good doggo. But more than that, these characters felt more real to me than the previous two books in the series. Those were enjoyable and I liked the characters well enough. But these characters—not just Rosie and Vance, but also Quinn and Annie and Space Dad and Elias—it seems like I know them.

There is a recurring reference to Rosie’s mom, who died within the past year. Rosie’s grief is something that is referenced a lot, and if you have any problems with recent grief this might not be the right time for you to read this. However, while her grief is present, she doesn’t sink into despair over it. I felt that when we started the book, she was just on the cusp of healing, ready to grow.

And Vance… who doesn’t love a good redemption story? He’s only sometimes bad enough to be considered truly beastly, though he still fits the bad boy with a heart of gold trope quite nicely. I really liked getting to read his story after meeting him in The Princess and the Fangirl, and I especially loved the cameos from Imogen and Ethan showing up as Vance’s friends.

Goodreads Summary:

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.

6 thoughts on “Ashley Poston: Bookish and the Beast

    1. I do think you could read this one without having read the rest of the series, as there’s minimal cross-over. You’d just need to be aware that there would be some character cameos from the prior two books, and I’d suggest reading the synopses of of those books to get a general idea of the plot points. But yes, I think you’d be fine.

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