*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Of Curses and Kisses
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
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.
Now keep in mind that contemporary books are very hit or miss for me and you could end up loving this book like I know many people have so far. After reading When Dimple Met Rishi in the summer and loving how cute it was I was definitely excited when I saw that she was doing a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I don’t usually go for many retellings but I figured this would be a cute story. Unfortunately, this story was definitely a lot heavier than I was expecting it to be.
It’s not a story filled with fluff if that’s what you’re looking for. The love interest thinks he’s cursed and is very antisocial to the point where I got frustrated with him. I love a brooding male character as much as the next person, but I wanted to smack some sense into Grey. There were too many hot-and-cold moments for me to really appreciate his and Jaya’s relationship. There also wasn’t really much of the family rivalry I was looking for either.
I did like that the secondary characters were there to lighten things up a bit with their light banter and high school drama, but everything still felt disconnected. Also, this story was not subtle at all in making sure the reader knows it’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and there were several times where I just rolled my eyes at the cheesiness.
I’m sad this story didn’t meet my own expectations, but definitely give it a shot if you love angsty contemporary books and retellings!