[Blog Tour] ARC Review: Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

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Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon is a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast set at an elite boarding school in the mountains–think Beauty and the Beast meets Gossip Girl! It’s out February 18th, 2020 and even has a *map* in the hardcover. Featuring an Indian princess and a misanthropic British aristocrat, it’s immersive, glamorous, and full of smoldering kisses! I hope you guys will order it wherever you get your books! Read on for the official description from the back of the book…

Release Date: February 18, 2020

Genre: YA Romance

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Indies

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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PS: Thank you to Sandhya Menon for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.

About the Author

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Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met RishiOf Curses and Kisses, and many other novels that also feature lots of kissing, girl power, and swoony boys. Her books have been included in several cool places, including the Today show, Teen VogueNPRBuzzFeed, and Seventeen. A full-time dog servant and part-time writer, she makes her home in the foggy mountains of Colorado.

Connect With Sandhya

Website || Twitter || Instagram

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Tour Schedule

February 4th

BookishOwl Reviews – Q&A, Playlist, Favourite Quotes

trishajennreads – Review

February 5th

The Heart of a Book Blogger – Q&A

February 6th

Star is All Booked Up – Review, Mood Board

The Book Nerd – Review/Movie Casting

February 10th

Brooke Reviews and Sweeps – Review

February 11th

Not Just Fiction – Q&A

Emma Must Read Q&A, Playlist

February 12th

Subtlebookish – Q&A

Kirsty’s Book Reviews – Review

Stagey Bookish – TBD

February 13th

A Court of Books and Magic  – Review

Books. Libraries. Also, cats. – Books to read if you liked OCAK

February 14th

Magical Reads – Playlist

Living Life the Write Way – Review

Flipping Through the Pages – Review, Mood Board

February 15th

Naija Book Bae – Review, Excerpt

February 16th

New Chicks On The Block – Review, Excerpt

Open Pages – TBD

February 17th

Quintessentially Bookish – Review

My World of Books – Review

New Chicks On The Block – Review, Excerpt

February 18th

Quintessentially Bookish – Review

Scorpio Book Dreams  – Review

Novels and Nebulas – Review

New Chicks On The Block – Review, Excerpt

February 19th

Bohemian Bibliophile – Review

Stagey Bookish – TBD

New Chicks On The Block – Review, Excerpt

February 20th

New Chicks On The Block – Review, Excerpt

BookCrushin – Feature Post

The Baroness of Books – Mood Board

Open Pages – Playlist, Review

February 23rd

Velarisreads – Review

February 24th

Emma Must Read Q&A, Playlist

February 25th

Bookish Girl Magic – Review, Reaction

Deckled Edges – TBD

Book Lover’s Book Reviews – Q&A, Review

February 26th

Brunette Bibliophile – OCAK controls what I eat for 24 hours

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