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Of Curses and Kisses

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The first novel in a 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 J The first novel in a 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.


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The first novel in a 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 J The first novel in a 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.

30 review for Of Curses and Kisses

  1. 4 out of 5

    Teodora

    1.5/5 ⭐ DNF-ed it at 32% because it was pointless I tried to give it a chance, I didn't want to put an end on it like that, but the whole action was not going anywhere so I had to end it. I was struggling with it like a fish struggles to find water on Mercury. I didn't want to award this the honourable 1-star because that pretty little star is reserved only for the morally-outrageous, bland-as-all-bloody-hell, terribly-unliterary-written, super-offensive books so that's why I pushed that half star 1.5/5 ⭐ DNF-ed it at 32% because it was pointless I tried to give it a chance, I didn't want to put an end on it like that, but the whole action was not going anywhere so I had to end it. I was struggling with it like a fish struggles to find water on Mercury. I didn't want to award this the honourable 1-star because that pretty little star is reserved only for the morally-outrageous, bland-as-all-bloody-hell, terribly-unliterary-written, super-offensive books so that's why I pushed that half star in there (even though I shouldn't have but oh well). I have principles that I want to follow, though this book was ugly-crying in its blandness. I thought I might get over the fact that I didn't like any of the characters but sadly I didn't. And by any I mean any. Not even a single one. They were all whiny, arrogant creatures, some rich kids going to boarding schools all over the world, all fussy and pretentious because daddy forgot to buy them their yearly luxury car limited edition with golden tyre caps and they had to go to school with the one from last year. *Ah, the shame! I could >never be seen poor like that, I would die!* I am not really a fan of the only-first-world-problems-here characters, sorry. Also, I disliked Princess Jaya Rao...wait no, pardon this stupid simple girl...is just Jaya. I could get over the fact that she was raised to be an heir to a symbolic throne and she had different visions than me, but she really really annoyed me with her 'humble' attitude. Like please, I know I am a princess and my dad is a maharajah but please, I'm being so modest and humbled and embarrassed for everyone to know that, just call me Jaya, I'm just a normal girl, I too drink water like all of you *wink wink* And the fact that it was supposed to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling was also beyond my power of understanding. My brain tends to be dumb more times than often but still did not acknowledge that information. True, I did not read enough of it to be entitled to have an opinion or whatever but in the first 32% there's nothing for me to work with. The closest> thing to that statement might be the fact that there is a curse thrown in there somewhere and that Grey (the male MC) was of course 6 feet plus and tons of pounds of pure muscle and looked 'like a feral beast' (okay, uh-huh, every beast wears sandals in its free time, duh, of course!). Oh and Jaya had a pretty little necklace gifted by her father the maharajah, in the shape of a rose with eighteen rubies on it...oops no wait, she tragically lost one ruby so only seventeen rubies now. *All of us plebeians in the background now searching the whole damn Earth for that bloody ruby* I did want to think that this book isn't bad and I did try to convince myself to believe that I'd probably enjoy it, and maybe I would've enjoyed it if I were to read it when I was younger (way younger), but for me now? No thanks, I'm not buying that, I love having my time well-spent. Sorry.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    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 prec 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    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 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

  4. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Womp....Womp.... 😬.... this was so incredibly boring to me. I just wanna say, I love YA. I’m also a sucker for these cutesy illustrated covers. Reading the synopsis, I had high hopes that this would be a great read for me. I couldn’t care less about any character. I don’t think there was enough time/effort developing these characters into someone you’d actually like and/or root for. I did like the ending, I’ll give a star for that. But honestly this is not one I’ll be recommending to my book pal Womp....Womp.... 😬.... this was so incredibly boring to me. I just wanna say, I love YA. I’m also a sucker for these cutesy illustrated covers. Reading the synopsis, I had high hopes that this would be a great read for me. I couldn’t care less about any character. I don’t think there was enough time/effort developing these characters into someone you’d actually like and/or root for. I did like the ending, I’ll give a star for that. But honestly this is not one I’ll be recommending to my book pals as a ‘must read’.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Nuckles

    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

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jananie (thisstoryaintover)

    I really wanted to love this but it honestly wasn't my favourite of Sandhya Menon's books and really struggled to finish it. While the premise was super intriguing I felt like I wanted something completely different out of the execution. Still a cute romance and recommend if you wanted a light hearted read! I really wanted to love this but it honestly wasn't my favourite of Sandhya Menon's books and really struggled to finish it. While the premise was super intriguing I felt like I wanted something completely different out of the execution. Still a cute romance and recommend if you wanted a light hearted read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    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 ty 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review CW: 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 in I received an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review CW: 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Drewthereader20

    This was really good book by Sandhya something different and I enjoyed it. This is a first book in a contemporary trilogy, and it's also a beauty and the beast retelling and even though I read a lot of those over the years I still loved it! RTC in the morning! 1) Of curses and kisses 3.5/5 stars A buddy read I did with my friend Libby!(: This was really good book by Sandhya something different and I enjoyed it. This is a first book in a contemporary trilogy, and it's also a beauty and the beast retelling and even though I read a lot of those over the years I still loved it! RTC in the morning! 1) Of curses and kisses 3.5/5 stars A buddy read I did with my friend Libby!(:

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adi Rocks Socks

    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 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! 3 x-x Update (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)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Full review HERE I'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 HERE I'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!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    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 anim 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joshee Kun (조수아)

    Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review She 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 Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review She 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. xD Of 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

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nana

    ⭐4 adorable stars ⭐ Just the romance I needed. This was so fun and I absolutely loved Grey Emerson!😍 A retelling of beauty and the beast in contemporary. I seriously needed such a reading, a book of this genre that I could not stop reading and enjoy so much.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacee

    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 b 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**

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    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 aut 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.*

  17. 5 out of 5

    theresa

    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🤷🏻‍♀️

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah Waters

    Another light-hearted, cute story from Sandhya Menon! This was a super fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with enough parallels to stick to the original fairy tale, but also enough changes that it was a unique story unlike any other I've read. I love how different Jaya and Grey are, and their development is incredible, and yet their relationship worked. They had the strangest kind of chemistry, a kind I never expected, and it was so, so sweet. There are underlying hints of a curse throughout t Another light-hearted, cute story from Sandhya Menon! This was a super fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with enough parallels to stick to the original fairy tale, but also enough changes that it was a unique story unlike any other I've read. I love how different Jaya and Grey are, and their development is incredible, and yet their relationship worked. They had the strangest kind of chemistry, a kind I never expected, and it was so, so sweet. There are underlying hints of a curse throughout the book, which added suspense and heightened the stakes. I was flying through this book, not just for the romance but because I had to know if the curse was real, and if they'd escape it. I highly recommend this book--it's a fun rom-com, a modern fairy tale that kept me smiling all day.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Khadidja

    This book started off really good but then it just,,,, went downhill. It's good but it could totally have been better. This book started off really good but then it just,,,, went downhill. It's good but it could totally have been better.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brooke — brooklynnnnereads

    There are so many "Beauty and the Beast" retellings out there. As a fan of the original story along with the various retellings, I LOVE that there are so many. However, with such a saturated market, it makes for some steep competition. There are some great retellings and there are some not so great retellings out there and for me, this novel lays somewhere in the middle. I wish that I truly got captivated and enchanted by this story but unfortunately I didn't. For the majority of the book, the s There are so many "Beauty and the Beast" retellings out there. As a fan of the original story along with the various retellings, I LOVE that there are so many. However, with such a saturated market, it makes for some steep competition. There are some great retellings and there are some not so great retellings out there and for me, this novel lays somewhere in the middle. I wish that I truly got captivated and enchanted by this story but unfortunately I didn't. For the majority of the book, the story came across as lacklustre and mediocre. For the last quarter of the novel I was very invested in the story and the outcome of these characters but not enough to make up for the rest of the novel. I will say that Sandhya Menon did make this retelling uniquely her own. It felt unlike any other "Beauty and the Beast" retelling that I've read in the past. ***Thank you to the publisher for supplying me with an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura ☾

    I don't really get how this is a beauty and the beast retelling? Beyond a curse, I didn't really get the resemblance, so that kind of ruined it for me. This is definitely aimed at a rather young (maybe 12/13) year old audience who would be primarily American - I just don't fit that profile and found this just horribly immature. The characters weren't particularly likable to me, and the writing itself left a lot to be desired. Everything was way too cheesy and melodramatic (view spoiler)[ Like Gr I don't really get how this is a beauty and the beast retelling? Beyond a curse, I didn't really get the resemblance, so that kind of ruined it for me. This is definitely aimed at a rather young (maybe 12/13) year old audience who would be primarily American - I just don't fit that profile and found this just horribly immature. The characters weren't particularly likable to me, and the writing itself left a lot to be desired. Everything was way too cheesy and melodramatic (view spoiler)[ Like Grey and Jaya sharing one kiss and then his heart is shattered immediately? (hide spoiler)]

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megha Patel

    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

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    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 fe 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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    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 writin 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    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 hi 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!

  27. 4 out of 5

    ;3

    that was 9 hrs of my life wasted

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    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!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathy - Books & Munches

    AD - eARC gifted through NetGalley by publisher Two points of view and they couldn't be more different. It's also easy to admit I didn't like one of them, at all and.. of course it has to be Jaya's. So.. I'll ignore her for a bit and dive into Grey! His darkness and broodiness were things I immediately fell for - as I always do whenever a character with those traits swaggers by. I think the biggest thing here was how he reminded me a lot of my past self. I also grew up believing what my father to AD - eARC gifted through NetGalley by publisher Two points of view and they couldn't be more different. It's also easy to admit I didn't like one of them, at all and.. of course it has to be Jaya's. So.. I'll ignore her for a bit and dive into Grey! His darkness and broodiness were things I immediately fell for - as I always do whenever a character with those traits swaggers by. I think the biggest thing here was how he reminded me a lot of my past self. I also grew up believing what my father told me and it took me quite some time to realize he was wrong. Seeing Grey struggle with the same thing hit a chord. The culture is definitely the thing I liked most about Of Curses and Kisses. There were so many things woven throughout the story, through Jaya's character that showed influences from India. Jaya's values, how she upholds those values, the way she takes care of her sister.. All those things were drenched in Indian culture. [And if an own-voices reviewer ever says otherwise, I'll definitely be adding it here!]  More about Jaya? More about Jaya! She has her good things, as I mentioned, but I could really, really dislike her a lot while reading too. The endless commentary on - especially - Grey grew so very tiring after a while. The predictability. 8% and I already knew key things for certain. Things that should've been less obvious, in my opinion. I like contemporary books with some twists you don't see coming but I predicted a lot of what happened and, even though some people like it when they're able to do that, I really didn't. At all. Other things I didn't really like are how I'm left with questions regarding Jaya's necklace. Second thing? Growth in relationships! And not even the main characters' but the side ones. I feel like small characters are so important in stories as well. 2/5 It was an okay read, but I had so many issues with it.. I can't justify giving more stars than these two. I liked the retelling itself; I simply didn't like how Jaya was and.. didn't connect with her at all. Not to mention my issue with the predictability and the questions I'm left with. It's okay, but I'm close to writing off Sandhya's writing in general, unfortunately. ------- Pre-reading: I love stories set at boarding schools, okay. I'm a sucker for them. CANNOT. WAIT. for another one! Sounds so cute and awkward too!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    “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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