Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy, #1)
From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.Will the princess save the beast? For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right? His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can't shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck… As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy, #1) Details

TitleOf Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 18th, 2020
PublisherSimon Pulse
Rating
GenreRomance, Young Adult, Contemporary, Retellings, Fantasy, Young Adult Contemporary, Fiction, Fairy Tales, Young Adult Romance, School Stories, Boarding School

Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy, #1) Review

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Honestly, this was such a breath of fresh air. I'm a simple girl; if you use phrases like "elite boarding school" and "contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast", I'm here for it. Of Curses and Kisses is a retelling that stays fairly true to its origin material, and the soft romantic vibes worked really well for me. I thought the way that the curse is woven into the narrative is clever, and while I know some readers have stated that this was a book that was easy to put down at times, that's Honestly, this was such a breath of fresh air. I'm a simple girl; if you use phrases like "elite boarding school" and "contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast", I'm here for it. Of Curses and Kisses is a retelling that stays fairly true to its origin material, and the soft romantic vibes worked really well for me. I thought the way that the curse is woven into the narrative is clever, and while I know some readers have stated that this was a book that was easy to put down at times, that's precisely why it worked well for me as a buffer read between some heavier material. If you enjoy books that make you feel good, this is definitely one that you want to put on your 2020 TBR. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    i had to look up "misanthrope"according to google, a misanthrope is "a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society."honestly, who here can honestly say this doesn't describe them on monday mornings before coffee| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
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  • Ashley Nuckles
    January 1, 1970
    This was pretty slow going at first and there was a lot of backstory to uncover right in the beginning, but this was soooooooo CUTE omg I love
  • Fadwa (Word Wonders)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest reviewCW: emotionally abusive parent, parental neglect, blackmail, leaking of personal information I'm not gonna lie, I went into this a bit skeptical, not because of anything the book or the author did bur I've just been let down by YA contemporary a lot recently, so I wanted to keep my hopes at low levels just in case. But I ended up genuinely LOVING it? It took me a few chapters to get into and to get used to the MC's voice (which was I received an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest reviewCW: emotionally abusive parent, parental neglect, blackmail, leaking of personal information I'm not gonna lie, I went into this a bit skeptical, not because of anything the book or the author did bur I've just been let down by YA contemporary a lot recently, so I wanted to keep my hopes at low levels just in case. But I ended up genuinely LOVING it? It took me a few chapters to get into and to get used to the MC's voice (which was insufferable at first), but things got going, it was A TREAT! It's been a while since I read a book and kept thinking about going back to it when I wasn't reading it and this did just that. It was so intense and angsty, everything you'd expect from a beauty and the beast retelling but with an Indian princess! I really loved the elements from the original story that were incorporated into this retelling, but more specifically HOW Sandhya Menon incorporated them, she put a twist on some of them, was really subtle on others, and piecing it all together was a fun game I found myself playing while reading the story. My favorite part though, was how "the beast"'s curse played out and how she used it to explore emotional parental abuse and how that can wreck a child and leave them unable to properly interact with the world for more reasons that one, one of which is fear of being hurt. And that's exactly how Grey was, he kept to himself, kept people at arms' length and refused anyone who tried to get close to him. Until Jaya shows up that is. Jaya is FRUSTRATING. She's uptight and judgmental of everything around her, especially what doesn't fit her conservative view of the world. But as you read on you realize that that's just what's expected of her and how she was brought up. As the story progresses, you -and Jaya- realize that there's a lot more to her than what meets the eye, and that she wants a lot more for herself than what was laid out for her. Her character development is incredible and so gradual that it feels like the next natural step in her growth and nothing about it is forced. Her love for her sister knows no bound and I really loved seeing how she would sacrifice her own happiness for her even though they don't always see eye to eye, their relationship dynamic was great.The relationship between Jaya and Grey is very...Very slowburn, and I liked that beyond the romance, they both helped each other to see that there's more to bother their lives than they were told. Of Curses and Kisses was able to keep that fairytale feel to it while still reading like the contemporary it is. Do I recommend? Uh. DUH! If you like retellings that are pretty faithful to the original material. This book was so so lovely, angsty but soft at the same time.
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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    I think this is a me thing? I don't think there is anything necessarily bad about Of Curses and Kisses, there just isn't anything new about it either. I think plenty of people who love retellings will enjoy this one, and I would have loved it when I was in high school, but I just didn't feel involved at all with this story as I read it. Jaya is a nice main character, I'm sure lots of bookish people will love her as our Belle character, and Grey is.... sure a brooding white boy, which isn't my I think this is a me thing? I don't think there is anything necessarily bad about Of Curses and Kisses, there just isn't anything new about it either. I think plenty of people who love retellings will enjoy this one, and I would have loved it when I was in high school, but I just didn't feel involved at all with this story as I read it. Jaya is a nice main character, I'm sure lots of bookish people will love her as our Belle character, and Grey is.... sure a brooding white boy, which isn't my type of character. He narrates about half the book which was unexpected and I think was a weakness of the overall narrative. If you're a fan of Sandhya then I'm sure you'll love this! I'm just feeling this will be a forgettable read for me this year.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Full review HEREI'm very sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I was going to. I quite liked how the theme of Beauty and the Beast was taken and woven into the storyline, you can definitely see its elements in the novel. I appreciated how the story was told from the points of view of Jaya and Grey, so that we got both of their perspectives. Grey was the character I liked The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Full review HEREI'm very sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I was going to. I quite liked how the theme of Beauty and the Beast was taken and woven into the storyline, you can definitely see its elements in the novel. I appreciated how the story was told from the points of view of Jaya and Grey, so that we got both of their perspectives. Grey was the character I liked the most, but there is no surprise there. He's a misanthropist who enjoys to read and to spend his time alone, I was bound to like him.Jaya was okay, but at times she was a bit frustrating in my opinion. She just kept reciting herself the same mantra, that is "I'm the big sister and so I must sacrifice myself", throughout the whole book and after a while it just got annoying.Also, I wish we could have seen more of the boarding school. We just got a few glimpses here and there and they weren't nearly enough to satisfy my interest for the school. I definitely needed more.In the end this was just an okay read for me, but if you're into retellings you might want to check this book out!
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  • Adi Rocks Socks (semi hiatus)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars And how amazing would it feel, to set this burden down, just for a few moments? To share it with someone else for a bit? How sweet would the relief taste, if he were able to share this shameful, dark secret that had plagued him since he was born?Of Curses And Kisses was a book that I desperately wanted to read ever since I learnt of its existence in August 2019. There were three main reasons why I wanted to read this book. A. A Beauty and The Beast retelling with an Indian MC. I’m a 4.5 stars And how amazing would it feel, to set this burden down, just for a few moments? To share it with someone else for a bit? How sweet would the relief taste, if he were able to share this shameful, dark secret that had plagued him since he was born?Of Curses And Kisses was a book that I desperately wanted to read ever since I learnt of its existence in August 2019. There were three main reasons why I wanted to read this book. A. A Beauty and The Beast retelling with an Indian MC. I’m a sucker for B&B retellings, and as an Indian myself, the very idea of being represented made me way too happy.B. Interracial romance. I’m a firm believer in the fact that people should be allowed to date whomever they want to, and that skin colour shouldn’t matter — only who you are on the inside should.C. Addressing colonisation appropriately. My country was colonised for a fairly long time, as any Indian history text book will tell you, and we still feel the repercussions of the plundering which happened then today. Come Jan 2020, I learnt that it was possible to score an ARC through NetGalley. It was an amazing surprise to be approved by the publisher, and then I had the book in my hands… And it EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS!This book delivered on all the things it promised. A cute YA romance story, with points A, B, and C discussed above making the foundation. What wasn’t there to love?Jaya Rao is the Princess of Mysuru, and the heir to the throne. (Though India doesn’t have a feudal system anymore and is a complete democracy, descendants of old royal families still wield a hell lot of respect — the Wadiyars of Mysore, whom I guess inspired Jaya’s ancestors in this story, and the Pataudis, are two such examples.) Her younger sister has seen some public disgrace recently, and thus their parents think sending them to a boarding school, far away from India, would help the media forget about the scandal and move on to a new news cycle.But Jaya doesn’t plan to sit quietly and study. She knows the person who leaked the stories to the tabloids is an Emerson, and she plans to take revenge.Grey Emerson is the heir to a British lordship, and coincidentally attends the school that Jaya joins. Back in the day when India was under the British Raj, the Emersons plundered temples in Mysore and stole a sacred ruby from one such temple. The then Rao matriarch cursed the Emersons in retaliation, and ever since, for generations, the two clans have been dragging the other through the mud.Jaya’s plan is simple. Make Grey fall in love with her (which shouldn’t be difficult since she’s a stunning beauty), and break his heart as revenge for destroying her sister’s reputation. Meanwhile, Grey lives in constant fear because all his life, his dad has told him that he’s the target of the Rao curse — that Grey is going to die at 18. Naturally, he’s a bit of a recluse, a misanthrope, and in his own eyes, a beast.This book is a very loose retelling of Beauty and The Beast. It shares some of the more basic elements, but it’s more of an original story than anything else. It’s mildly fantastical (since the rose petals falling off part, despite being given a makeover, was still exactly that), and I’d say that rather than seeing it as a retelling, we should see it as an homage to the original story.Both Jaya and Grey take turns narrating the story, and I found that I enjoyed both POVs immensely. Jaya is always obsessed with following the rules and keeping up with her duties as a princess — in another life, she’d have made a fantastic ruler for her people. Grey is brooding and so full of angst over the Emerson curse, that he doesn’t really enjoy his life due to his anxiety over the future. They were endearing in their own way, and though Jaya was often sanctimonious and neurotic (about putting your duties first, listening to your parents’ every word) and Grey, for the lack of a better term, often behaved like Edward Cullen in terms of broodiness and angst, I liked them all the more for their flaws. It made them real.The supporting characters were pretty cool, and I enjoyed all of their backstories. They didn’t exist just for the two protagonists to get together. They had independent lives of their own which sometimes intersected with Jaya’s and Grey’s.The only drawback, I’d say, was the lack of time dedicated to their falling in love. The way the writing was, they were right in that close friends zone where you are before you fall in love. There was no time devoted to the transition from that close friendship to their ILYs. I would have liked the book to be longer than what it is with this part alone included.I really hope this becomes a series where Menon bases each book on a different “fairytale”, with all the characters being from this school. *I want a story for DE!* (Putting this in bold so that in case Menon reads this review, she knows this is what one fan would like to see.)A definite read for people who adore cutesy romance YA with POC characters and good representation.Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for giving me this opportunity to read a book that I really wanted to!P.S. It was absolutely lovely to see a character who calls her mom “Amma” and her dad “Appa” — I felt so represented by Jaya. I only wish someone had written stories with amazing rep when I was younger, like what Menon is doing today.x-x Update (Feb 17, 2020): Apparently this IS a trilogy. So all I need to do now is sit and hope Menon writes a story for DE. My heart broke for her so many times! 3x-xUpdate (Jan 19, 2020): YOUR GIRL GOT APPROVED FOR THE ARC!!!Do dreams ‘manifest’ in 2020 if you just take a shot?This is the energy I want for the rest of this year.Hope you’re all having a wonderful Sunday! ⚡️And a huge thank you to Hodder Books & Netgalley for giving me this chance! 💖-x-Why I am excited about this book:- Retelling of Beauty & The Beast with an Indian MC!- interracial couple- themes of colonialism- set in a boarding school (say what)I want an ARC so badly, sigh.(Aug 23, 2019)
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  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    January 1, 1970
    One of my absolute favorite fairy tales is Beauty and the Beast and so, I might be more picky about re-tellings because, it really is such a classic. And even though I can be picky and maybe even a bit harsh sometimes in what I do and don't like when it comes to those that mess with such an amazing classical tale, I have to say, I still pick them up and read them like they are candy.Of Curses and Kisses was no exception. Combine and classic retelling of my absolute favorite fairy tale and an One of my absolute favorite fairy tales is Beauty and the Beast and so, I might be more picky about re-tellings because, it really is such a classic. And even though I can be picky and maybe even a bit harsh sometimes in what I do and don't like when it comes to those that mess with such an amazing classical tale, I have to say, I still pick them up and read them like they are candy.Of Curses and Kisses was no exception. Combine and classic retelling of my absolute favorite fairy tale and an author I already love and adore and you had one read that is pretty much irresistible to this girl. And happily, I can say that neither the author nor the retelling disappointed.I adored this book. The characters, the classic spin on an old favorite. The modernization, the diversity, the wit, the friendship, the family connections, truly, just all of it. Completely worth every single minute I spent reading it. So much fun and I am so excited it is going to be part of a series. I can't wait to see what she will do next with all of these fun loving and adorable characters. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, so when I saw that this was one that took place in a boarding school, I was definitely going to pick it up. When this book started, I was enjoying the story. I loved how Jaya was so protective of her younger sister and how she was trying to get close to Grey so that she could get revenge for what he did to her sister. The whole boarding school setting was fun and I liked how Jaya was everywhere so that Grey couldn't help but get to know her. The I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, so when I saw that this was one that took place in a boarding school, I was definitely going to pick it up. When this book started, I was enjoying the story. I loved how Jaya was so protective of her younger sister and how she was trying to get close to Grey so that she could get revenge for what he did to her sister. The whole boarding school setting was fun and I liked how Jaya was everywhere so that Grey couldn't help but get to know her. The animosity between the broke down pretty quickly and they started to really like each other despite their families' feud. Other than that, though, the plot of the story started to go downhill for me. I wasn't a big fan of the cheating subplot and how that whole thing played out. The guy was the one who cheated, but he was the one who received the least amount of blame for the situation. Then, the ending resolved itself a bit too cleanly and quickly for my taste and I did not like how things played out. Also, these kids are at this prestigious boarding school and literally NEVER do or talk about homework or tests. The whole boarding school setting was fun, but it didn't feel like a genuine school for wealthy, intelligent kids who were all held to high standards. In the end, while the idea sounded great, I didn't love this book like I wanted to. The romance was okay, but the rest of the plot didn't sit well with me and I didn't like the ending. I wish I could have enjoyed this more, but it was just an average read for me.
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  • Alexa
    January 1, 1970
    On the one hand, I enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast-inspired details woven into this story. I also enjoyed what we get of the secondary characters (who might get their own books), and I did like Grey a lot (but that’s just my usual bias towards solitary, grumpy, good-hearted guys.On the other hand, Jaya made me constantly want to shake her and give her a good talking-to all the time. Her choices and behavior throughout the story were personally frustrating, even though it fit in with her age and On the one hand, I enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast-inspired details woven into this story. I also enjoyed what we get of the secondary characters (who might get their own books), and I did like Grey a lot (but that’s just my usual bias towards solitary, grumpy, good-hearted guys.On the other hand, Jaya made me constantly want to shake her and give her a good talking-to all the time. Her choices and behavior throughout the story were personally frustrating, even though it fit in with her age and position (as a princess-heiress) to some extent. It definitely lessened my personal enjoyment by a large percentage.
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  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    I was gonna read this ARC closer to the release date or atleast till I was able to buddy read it with my friends, who are all part of Sandhya’s street team. But I found myself feeling a little sad on my birthday and decided what better way to cheer myself than picking up Sandhya’s book. And that’s exactly what happened. This is a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast and while I don’t remember much about the original except Emma Watson’s movie, this book definitely had that fairytale I was gonna read this ARC closer to the release date or atleast till I was able to buddy read it with my friends, who are all part of Sandhya’s street team. But I found myself feeling a little sad on my birthday and decided what better way to cheer myself than picking up Sandhya’s book. And that’s exactly what happened. This is a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast and while I don’t remember much about the original except Emma Watson’s movie, this book definitely had that fairytale feel all throughout. The setting of the boarding school in Aspen, the snow clad mountains surrounding it, the description of the town of St. Rosetta’s, the rich and fancy kids studying at this school and the whole idea of a generations old family curse - everything added to that whimsical fairytale effect and however unlikely the story felt at times, the author was able to thoroughly transport me into the story and feel immersed in this world. And the best part is that even if you know nothing about the OG story, you’ll miss nothing because this one stands beautifully on its own. The pacing is also very fast and the plot so engaging that once I started, I didn’t put it down for even a second until I was done. I was smiling, I was frustrated and most of the times, very very emotional and that’s exactly what I always know I’ll get from the author’s book. I’ve been trying not to read very angsty books for a while now, and maybe this one can’t exactly be called an angsty read, but it surely tugged at my heartstrings a lot. Jaya is a stereotypical heir to a Royal family who has taken everything that she has been taught about family and tradition to heart, and believes that it is her duty to do everything for the sake of the dynasty and there’s no place for her own heart’s desires. So, even though the story begins with her trying to take revenge for a perceived attack on her family, what it eventually becomes is her understanding herself better, coming into her own and realizing that she can be both her own person as well as a dutiful heir. And while her very rigid attitudes both towards herself and her little sister really infuriated me quite a few times, I was glad to see the growth as the story progressed and I loved how she handled everything towards the end. But it was definitely Grey who left the most impression on me. His backstory, the pain underneath that misanthropic attitude, his loneliness - it was all so genuinely depicted that it broke my heart and all I wanted to do was protect him. But despite his grumpy, stay away from me attitude, none of his friends really give up on him and his friendship with Jaya really opens his eyes to more possibilities and it was beautiful to see him change and hope for something better slowly. He deserves all the happiness in the world. There were a bunch of side characters and while we got to know them only a little, they were all quite fun - even the mean girl plot line was resolved quite nicely. I especially liked Jaya’s sister Isha who is passionate about robotics, wants to be an engineer and just have fun with her friends; and Rahul who is the nerdy awkward kid in the group with an almost eidetic memory and his deadpan dialogues always made me laugh. To conclude, this was exactly the kind of book I needed to make me smile and I’m so glad I decided to read it sooner than I intended to. If you’ve already enjoyed Sandhya’s previous books, I promise you’re gonna love this. Even if you are unfamiliar with the author but enjoy fairytale-esque stories in contemporary YA settings, I think you’ll really like this one. If was fun, it was emotional and it was a delight. Thank you so much Sandhya for making my day better.
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    I’m 1000% here for anything Sandhya writes and it breaks my heart that I won’t be gushing over this story. I liked Jaya and Grey. She’s a bit uptight, he’s quite stand off-ish, and they’re both good people with a lot of potential. I thought Jaya’s sister Isha was delightful and I hope we get to see more of her. There are a good amount of secondary characters and some of them did feel flat. Plot wise, it was just okay. There’s loads of inner monologue and since I thrive of dialogue, it became a I’m 1000% here for anything Sandhya writes and it breaks my heart that I won’t be gushing over this story. I liked Jaya and Grey. She’s a bit uptight, he’s quite stand off-ish, and they’re both good people with a lot of potential. I thought Jaya’s sister Isha was delightful and I hope we get to see more of her. There are a good amount of secondary characters and some of them did feel flat. Plot wise, it was just okay. There’s loads of inner monologue and since I thrive of dialogue, it became a bit of a slog to get through. For me, it felt like we were told Jaya and Grey we’re getting closer. Yes, there are scenes of them together, but everything read as superficial. I definitely didn’t see the jump from hated enemy to like to love. Also, I really loved the idea of the curse and wished we could have got more about that. Overall, this was a great idea with a lot of potential, but it didn’t spark for me. I will absolutely be reading the next book. **Huge thanks to Simon Pulse for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from Simon Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.What an absolute delight! This book was the first of many books that really gripped me, pulling me into the intricate world of Princess Jaya and Grey Emerson, two characters fated to hate each other because of a century old fight. After learning from resources that Grey was responsible for Princess Jaya’s little sister’s slander in the media, she enrolls herself into Grey’s private boarding school in hopes of making I received an ARC from Simon Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.What an absolute delight! This book was the first of many books that really gripped me, pulling me into the intricate world of Princess Jaya and Grey Emerson, two characters fated to hate each other because of a century old fight. After learning from resources that Grey was responsible for Princess Jaya’s little sister’s slander in the media, she enrolls herself into Grey’s private boarding school in hopes of making him fall in love with her, only for her to break his heart in the end. The feud isn’t just over a missing ruby and shame brought upon Jaya’s family but also an ancient curse said to have been casted on the Emerson clan. Grey has lived his entire life in fear due to his father who always told him he was doomed when he would turn eighteen years old. Due to this, Grey has never thought his life could be possible after eighteen. He hid himself away, pushing away people who wanted to be his friends, and never allowed himself to fall in love. There’s something about a book when it takes place in a remote country and in a school that is far, far, far away from civilization. It’s not a fantasy but when you add filthy rich spoiled characters into the mix, it does make you feel like you’re living in a make-believe world. I absolutely adored the hate-to-love romance between Jaya and Grey. Grey was so cold but his friendship with Jaya warmed him. It was so beautiful to read.The only issue I have with this book is that the ending was rushed. Standing at almost 400 pages, I didn’t think it would be an issue to pace out the problem that would stop them from being together but Sandhya disappointed me when everything seemed to happen all at once and be resolved all at once. It was a slow burn romance with a snap ending that left me with whip lash. I had to dock a star off. But other than that, I highly recommend for you to read this one!
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Fresh, uplifting, and magical!Of Curses and Kisses is an engaging, heartwarming tale that transports you to the international boarding school, St. Rosetta’s Academy in Aspen, Colorado and into the lives of Princess Jaya Rao, a young, Indian senior determined to seek revenge on the Emmerson heir who seems to constantly wreak havoc on her family, and Emmerson Grey, a brooding, reclusive, young man who lives his days under the shadow of a curse placed on his family generations previously.The Fresh, uplifting, and magical!Of Curses and Kisses is an engaging, heartwarming tale that transports you to the international boarding school, St. Rosetta’s Academy in Aspen, Colorado and into the lives of Princess Jaya Rao, a young, Indian senior determined to seek revenge on the Emmerson heir who seems to constantly wreak havoc on her family, and Emmerson Grey, a brooding, reclusive, young man who lives his days under the shadow of a curse placed on his family generations previously.The writing is light and creative. The characters are diverse, loyal, supportive, and endearing. And the plot told from differing perspectives is a unique, uplifting, coming-of-age tale full of familial responsibility, teenage drama, dreams, goals, traditions, curses, friendship, and first love.Overall, Of Curses and Kisses is an enjoyable, entertaining, modern retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast that’s a promising start to a new series by Menon with its amusing characters, heartfelt moments, imaginative storyline, and happy-ever-after ending.Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jaime
    January 1, 1970
    “a spin on ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and follows an Indian princess who must con her worst enemy, a misanthropic British aristocrat, into falling in love with her in order to restore honor to her family” This ticks all my boxes and is already on my most anticipated of 2020 list
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  • Joshee Kun (조수아)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest reviewShe couldn't make this boy fall in love with her. She couldn't break his heart. Because if she did, it was her, not him, who was the beast.I'm frustrated that my first review of 2020 will be a bit of a rant. I requested this book from the publisher because I hadn't read a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The boarding school setup was also appealing, so I had high expectations. Sadly, Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest reviewShe couldn't make this boy fall in love with her. She couldn't break his heart. Because if she did, it was her, not him, who was the beast.I'm frustrated that my first review of 2020 will be a bit of a rant. I requested this book from the publisher because I hadn't read a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The boarding school setup was also appealing, so I had high expectations. Sadly, my interest dwindled at the end of each chapter to the point that I wanted to give up. Still, I persevered because I didn't have the nerve to DNF an ARC. xDOf Curses and Kisses is about Princess Jaya Rao, an heiress to an Indian dynasty. When their nemesis, the British Emerson clan, create a scandal to ruin their family. Jaya and her baby sister named Isha seek refuge at St. Rosetta's Academy. There, Jaya resolves to exact revenge on Lord Grey Emerson, who strangely believes that he's cursed to die on his 18th birthday. However, when she learns about his struggles and starts to feel seen in return, her determination vanishes. Will Jaya and Grey finally end the conflict between their families? Heck no!For me, this novel has too many cliches. For instance, why does the younger sister always have to be the flirty one? I've seen this trope in popular titles such as Caraval and Wintersong. Second is the male lead who hates his dad. Oh, and let's not forget the rich girl who bullies others just to hide her soft heart! I've lost count of how many times I've encountered these formulas. Tropes aren't necessarily bad, but they do become harder to tolerate when you use several of them in one book.Besides that, I couldn't handle the cheesy conversations between the protagonists. Yes, the romance wasn't too quick to be believable, but some of the lines made my stomach churn. Here's an exchange that scarred me for eternity: "Two weeks ago, you were kissing me, Jaya. And from what I could tell, you were really into it.""She flushed and cupped her neck with a small hand, looking away."Well, weren't you?" he pressed when she didn't respond."Yes," she said quietly. "Yes, I was."Grey's cocky way of confronting Jaya turned me off. It didn't help that the author often used adjectives like "feral" and "lupine" to describe his looks and personality. It was as if Sandhya Menon wanted to force the beast metaphor even though Grey's so-called "curse" had already made it obvious.Finally, the twist at the end wasn't surprising. Figuring out the real villain required minimal effort. And when Jaya caught them, they gave up so quickly, resulting in a very convenient conclusion. A heartfelt kiss and a series of video calls solved every problem and assured me of a happily ever after.But I was anything but happy.I want to end this rant on a positive note. Of Curses and Kisses doesn't merit 1 star. Regardless of my displeasure, I think that other readers will find the story delightful, especially those who love hate-to-love romance. Perhaps I'm just jaded because I've read much better retellings of the beloved fairy tale. :3
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  • Rachel Finney
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much SimonTeen for sending me a copy Of Curses and Kisses (I won a recent giveaway). I remember distinctly reading When Dimple Met Rishi and loving every minute of it- specifically the multicultural representations. Of Curses and Kisses was no different- in fact, I loved it even more! I haven't read many books around Middle Eastern/Indian cultural and it's such a rich experience. It really knocks down misconceptions and hints at the ongoing fight for equality and modernization. I Thank you so much SimonTeen for sending me a copy Of Curses and Kisses (I won a recent giveaway). I remember distinctly reading When Dimple Met Rishi and loving every minute of it- specifically the multicultural representations. Of Curses and Kisses was no different- in fact, I loved it even more! I haven't read many books around Middle Eastern/Indian cultural and it's such a rich experience. It really knocks down misconceptions and hints at the ongoing fight for equality and modernization. I thought I had the book figured out at parts and was afraid certain narrative threads would be glossed over or become an inevitable pothole; however, Sandhya did such an excellent job at pointing out character flaws and having it become a conversation rather than just be an "this is a dealbreaker for good and we're not discussing it". I truly hope to see more stories take place in St. Rosetta Academy and hope the author continues to address diverse cultural expectations head on. Overall, 10/10 would recommend- especially as a travel-friendly read.
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.This book, I mean, was just simply amazing. As soon as I heard that Hodder would be publishing this book in the UK, I quite cheekily emailed and asked for a copy, and ended up first on the list. Waiting for the copy to arrive was a bit of a struggle, but when I got home on the Friday before Christmas, having broken up from work for the holidays and free to read as much as I wanted without feeling guilty, my I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.This book, I mean, was just simply amazing. As soon as I heard that Hodder would be publishing this book in the UK, I quite cheekily emailed and asked for a copy, and ended up first on the list. Waiting for the copy to arrive was a bit of a struggle, but when I got home on the Friday before Christmas, having broken up from work for the holidays and free to read as much as I wanted without feeling guilty, my copy was waiting for me to dive right in.Of Curses and Kisses is a new view of Beauty and the Beast with a centuries long curse going back to the time of British rule of India. The Emerson family once stole a sacred ruby from the Rao's, and the matriarch of the royal family cursed the Emerson line. Since then, a feud has been rifting between both families, and they despise each other. Jaya is the heir apparent and princess of the Rao dynasty, and when her sister Isha is targeted by someone she believes to be linked with the Emerson's, she vows revenge, and Grey Emerson, a student at St. Rosetta's, seems to be the perfect target.Grey, on the other hand, knows of the fated curse since his birth. Blamed by his father for his mother's death in child birth, he has been shunned by the family and told he was cursed from the get go. Never wanting to make any connections or unnecessary relationships with people when he believes he will die by the time he turns 18, when Jaya appears at his school, and seems to want to get close to him, and has with her items he believes vital to the curse, he can't help letting her in. What once might have been a tale of revenge, soon becomes a tale of love, but with familial expectations and the weight of reality hanging overhead, both Jaya and Grey don't know whether they can trust themselves, and each other, to truly let go, and give into their feelings.I love retellings, but sometimes you find that they're all very samey. However, that definitely was not the case here. This retelling was unlike anything I've read before, with Sandhya's signature writing style and lyrical approach coming through on every page. Both the main characters had their own PoV's, which really helped me, as the reader, to understand them even more Neither Jaya nor Grey were perfect people, rather they both had worries, flaws, and imperfections. I adored each character in their own right, though Jaya's love for her sister and willingness to give up a part of herself and her happiness to best serve her people did endear her to me slightly more. Even so, all of the characters, from Isha, and the group of friends, Rahul, Daphne, and Leo, and even some of the other secondary characters were all fleshed out properly, and weren't just there for decoration.The romance was simply phenomenal. Even from the first time they meet, when they don't fully understand who the other person was, the sparks were flying, and whenever both were on page together, you could just see the emotions flying. Yes, there are angsty moments, and times when I wanted to scream at them just to kiss, but nothing was done unnecessarily. The pain and the heartbreak was needed to fully encompass the story, and I was that hooked, that I flew through the book in less that a day.All in all, Of Curse and Kisses was everything I needed it to be. From fantastic characters, to an amazing plot, I couldn't have asked for better, and now I need everyone else to read it, and then I also need to have book 2 ASAP!
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  • Kate (GirlReading)
    January 1, 1970
    A super fun, Beauty and the Beast retelling that goes beyond the classic tale. I brilliantly explores familial pressures and expectations, stereotypes placed upon women, friendship and sisterhood, all while featuring the slowest of slow burn romances (love that for me) and weaves elements of the original story throughout in a brilliantly clever way.Whilst I didn't love this quite as much as her previous books (although, to be completely honest, I think this was more down to my reading slump than A super fun, Beauty and the Beast retelling that goes beyond the classic tale. I brilliantly explores familial pressures and expectations, stereotypes placed upon women, friendship and sisterhood, all while featuring the slowest of slow burn romances (love that for me) and weaves elements of the original story throughout in a brilliantly clever way.Whilst I didn't love this quite as much as her previous books (although, to be completely honest, I think this was more down to my reading slump than anything) Sandhya Menon has once again proved she can do no wrong and is the Queen of YA.
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  • Jen Ryland
    January 1, 1970
    Very cute retelling - I liked that it was not as fantasy-heavy as most Beauty and the Beast retellings.The sister relationship was SO sweet - by far my favorite part. The romance wasn't the swooniest and I could have used a little more plot, but overall the concept was still a lot of fun. Full review my blog. Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram! Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
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  • Nitya
    January 1, 1970
    I am a sucker for a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, so when the author announced that she was doing one with an Indian princess and the grump/sunshine trope, I was all in!This may be a twist on the actual story, but it's a story that stands on its own too. Jaya is frustrating and very judgemental at first, but her character growth by the end is *chef kiss* And Grey is a sweet soft tall boy who deserves the world Also the Caterina and Rahul part has me WAY hyped for St. Rosetta's Book Two I am a sucker for a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, so when the author announced that she was doing one with an Indian princess and the grump/sunshine trope, I was all in!This may be a twist on the actual story, but it's a story that stands on its own too. Jaya is frustrating and very judgemental at first, but her character growth by the end is *chef kiss* And Grey is a sweet soft tall boy who deserves the world 😭 Also the Caterina and Rahul part has me WAY hyped for St. Rosetta's Book Two 👀
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  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars!Okay so heres the thing — I really like these characters and the message and the themes but like...the execution fell a *little* flat for me. Like the dialogue seemed a little unrealistic and it was all very dramatic in a cheesy way Which I get bc it’s a fairytale retelling but it was a little rough for me at times.I HEAVILY related to Grey (bc obviously) and I really liked him and Jaya together but like...the poor guy really was suffering for the whole book and it was a lot But I 3.5 stars!Okay so heres the thing — I really like these characters and the message and the themes but like...the execution fell a *little* flat for me. Like the dialogue seemed a little unrealistic and it was all very dramatic in a cheesy way 😅 Which I get bc it’s a fairytale retelling but it was a little rough for me at times.I HEAVILY related to Grey (bc obviously) and I really liked him and Jaya together but like...the poor guy really was suffering for the whole book and it was a lot 🥺But I enjoyed it for what it was!! A nice lil romance novel and a pretty decent retelling!
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 starsOf Curses and Kisses is a contemporary YA retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It is the first book in the St. Rosetta's Academy series.It is set at an elite boarding school outside of Aspen, Colorado. There are alternating POVs: Princess Jaya and Grey (both 3rd person POVs).Princess Jaya is the heir to a royal family in India. Grey is from a rival family. She is 18. He is almost 18.I was so excited when I saw that this book was a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast. I think that 3.5/5 starsOf Curses and Kisses is a contemporary YA retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It is the first book in the St. Rosetta's Academy series.It is set at an elite boarding school outside of Aspen, Colorado. There are alternating POVs: Princess Jaya and Grey (both 3rd person POVs).Princess Jaya is the heir to a royal family in India. Grey is from a rival family. She is 18. He is almost 18.I was so excited when I saw that this book was a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast. I think that the author did a good job of writing a story that had the feel of BATB while also being different.I enjoyed the curse and how it was woven into the story.This story was cute. I enjoyed it while I was reading it. However, I was easily able to put it down for 2+ days. And I didn't really feel like picking it up again. Although once I got back into the story I finished it quickly. The last part of the book was the strongest for me.I was curious if this book would end with a cliffhanger since it is listed as book one of a series. It does not end with a cliffhanger. Perhaps the subsequent books will be about supporting characters from this book?Thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book.
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  • Megha Patel
    January 1, 1970
    Has there ever been a book written by Sandhya Menon that I haven't loved? The answer is always no. There's just something about her style that makes me fall in love. Her books are always so sweet and full of love. And Of Curses and Kisses was no less. I love a good fairytale retelling and I was not disappointed at all. The story line is obviously inspired from Beauty and the Beast but I really liked the royal family and the school element. The characters were all great too. Our main characters, Has there ever been a book written by Sandhya Menon that I haven't loved? The answer is always no. There's just something about her style that makes me fall in love. Her books are always so sweet and full of love. And Of Curses and Kisses was no less. I love a good fairytale retelling and I was not disappointed at all. The story line is obviously inspired from Beauty and the Beast but I really liked the royal family and the school element. The characters were all great too. Our main characters, Jaya and Grey, were pawns of the bad blood between their family. The hatred was rooted into them but being with each other slowly softened the hatred. It was so sweet seeing their growth from their first interaction to the last one. They are adorable and I love them both!! I won an ARC of this book on a goodreads giveaway. This does not influence my opinion on the book, all the opinions are honest
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  • marie ☆彡
    January 1, 1970
    giveaway win!
  • theresa
    January 1, 1970
    i feel really bad giving this book 1 star,but i have to be honest with myself.the only thing about it that i like was the setting-elite boarding school and thats about it.i had no idea that this was a Beauty & The Beast retelling,but i have bad luck with those(*cough* a curse so dark and lonely *cough*) The main character Jaya was so judgmental and honestly i have not hated a female MC that much in a long time.Our male character Grey (YES GREY come on..) was miserable all the time and “feral i feel really bad giving this book 1 star,but i have to be honest with myself.the only thing about it that i like was the setting-elite boarding school and thats about it.i had no idea that this was a Beauty & The Beast retelling,but i have bad luck with those(*cough* a curse so dark and lonely *cough*) The main character Jaya was so judgmental and honestly i have not hated a female MC that much in a long time.Our male character Grey (YES GREY come on..) was miserable all the time and “feral” ...feral???the dialogue was unrealistic and overdramatic and i couldn’t stop rolling my eyes.everything was cringy,everyone was fake and the whole “plot” was stilted and melodramatic...PHEW.i feel really disappointed,sad,angry and confused :/ i had high hopes for this one.oh well,on to the next one🤷🏻‍♀️
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  • The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
    January 1, 1970
    Full Review on The Candid Cover3.5 StarsOf Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon is an interesting take on Beauty and the Beast. It’s boarding school setting is dream-like and the characters are compelling. However, the pacing of this story was a tad off and affected my overall enjoyment. DIVERSE AND INTRIGUINGMenon has devised a unique twist to the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast that is both diverse and intriguing. It is really enjoyable to read about the curse placed upon the Emerson family Full Review on The Candid Cover3.5 StarsOf Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon is an interesting take on Beauty and the Beast. It’s boarding school setting is dream-like and the characters are compelling. However, the pacing of this story was a tad off and affected my overall enjoyment.❀ DIVERSE AND INTRIGUINGMenon has devised a unique twist to the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast that is both diverse and intriguing. It is really enjoyable to read about the curse placed upon the Emerson family by the Rao’s. When the off-spring of the two families wind up at St. Rosetta’s boarding school together, the enemies to lovers trope takes a curious spin.❀ COMPLEX CHARACTERJaya’s character is complex and her struggle to do what is right for her family and people gives her an opportunity to grow and reflect. This aspect of the book really gives a modern element to an old fairy tale, which is quite thought-provoking. Grey, however, is my favourite of the two main characters because he has a certain softness underneath his rough exterior.❀ SLOW-PACEDUnfortunately, despite the perfect setting and interesting characters, the pacing of the book is quite slow. It takes a long time for things to start happening in Of Curses and Kisses. Also, there is an abundance of fancy words that riddle almost every page of the novel. I found this to be quite distracting, as I found myself looking up many of these words to understand the context of the sentence.Of Curses and Kisses is a promising start to the Rosetta Academy series. It has an ideal setting and a captivating premise. That being said, the complicated language and slow pace make this book less entertaining to read.
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  • Taylor (Frayed Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a magical and unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast.I absolutely loved it! As with all of Menon’s books, she captures the characters in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there in the story. Full review to come release week (February 2020) on Frayed Books!
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  • Pierina
    January 1, 1970
    While this book was an enjoyable read, there was also a lot of factors thathindered me from giving it a higher rating. To focus on the positive first, this book was a quick, easy read. Perfect for some down-time reading, not too heavy and there were some humorous parts to it. Character-wise, I was more drawn to Jaya’s sister, Isha. Her story was more compelling and for the most part, I really did enjoy the sister element to the story. Protecting her sister was Jaya’s priority, and that was what While this book was an enjoyable read, there was also a lot of factors thathindered me from giving it a higher rating. To focus on the positive first, this book was a quick, easy read. Perfect for some down-time reading, not too heavy and there were some humorous parts to it. Character-wise, I was more drawn to Jaya’s sister, Isha. Her story was more compelling and for the most part, I really did enjoy the sister element to the story. Protecting her sister was Jaya’s priority, and that was what made the story more bearable. I liked the concept of St. Rosetta, a school for celebrities and VIPs. It is an interesting take on focusing on the mishaps of young elites. I look forward to reading more stories from fellow students. However, as a replica for the Beast’s castle, the school did not complement the brooding Grey. In fact, Grey’s attitude and personality was a far contrast to the world the author had built. Deeply interesting in the curse as I was, I appreciated the Indian cultural influences from Jaya’s descending royal family. Superstitions became the basis of humour in this contemporary book. I almost wished that the author had delved into magical realism if only to provide the curse some depth. Yet, the reactions to the curse brought out the worst in abusive parents and a scared teenage boy. In the end, this book was an enjoyable read. The defiance of her protagonist against a brooding love interest and the constricting weight of her duties became the element that I found most intriguing.
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  • Lauren R.
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I'm sad. Yes, it's 80% a case of "it's not you, it's me" with this book. I was overly excited and put it on too high of a pedestal, assuming it would be perfection, so I was almost bound to be disappointed. I do think the pacing was off for this one, with not much happening in the first 40% or so, but there are other issues that are more on MY end of things. I recently have been reading more royal-related books, but one thing that has always annoyed me (and is the reason I've avoided 3.5 stars. I'm sad. Yes, it's 80% a case of "it's not you, it's me" with this book. I was overly excited and put it on too high of a pedestal, assuming it would be perfection, so I was almost bound to be disappointed. I do think the pacing was off for this one, with not much happening in the first 40% or so, but there are other issues that are more on MY end of things. I recently have been reading more royal-related books, but one thing that has always annoyed me (and is the reason I've avoided them until like 2019) is that the Royal character is often too prim and proper for me to relate to or enjoy reading about. Jaya was a bit of wet blanket for those reasons, IMO. Grey was definitely well-done from the perspective of a "Beast" retelling; he was grumpy AF, barely spoke, and brooded too much for me. Again, these are probably personal preference issues when it comes to the characters. I didn't DISKLIKE Jaya and Grey necessarily and they opened up / grew on me by the end, but not enough to save the book completely. I enjoyed the last 20%-ish the most. The setting of St. Rosetta's Academy was wonderful and I am so excited/optimistic for more books set in this world. Overall, I truly think many people (who love royal books and grumpy leading males) will adore this story. It's still a promising companion-series-starter with so much upside.
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