TITLE: Of Curses and Kisses #1
AUTHOR: Sandhya Menon
RELEASED: February 18, 2020
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
FORMAT: eBook [AD – Thanks to the publisher!]
GENRE: YA Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 3.62
TRIGGERS: Emotionally abusive parent, blackmail, neglect
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 didn’t overly like When Dimple Met Rishi, and stayed clear of From Twinkle, With Love for that reason. But.. If you know me the tiniest bit, you know I can’t resist a fairytale retelling. I simply cannot. Which, of course, means I decided to give Sandhya’s writing a second shot by reading this Beauty and the Beast-retelling!
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 can’t believe I used that word but here we go! I did!] I always get intrigued by those characters stat and this time was no different. His past, the way he’s brought up, the manner in which he handles things and people. Those were all things I was interested in because they told me so much about his person.
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 even though I’m definitely no own-voices reviewer, I feel like I can say it felt genuine. [And if an own-voices reviewer ever says otherwise, I’ll definitely be adding it here!]
He was an empty hull of a wrecked ship; shattered and adrift.
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. It was as if she was stuck on repeat and it got on my nerves. Like we don’t know already how their families do not get along at all. How you dislike him so much. Does it have to be repeated two times a chapter? No!
The predictability. 8% and I already knew some 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 Of Curses and Kisses really didn’t deliver. 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. I wish there’d been more information on that key element of the story. 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. It’s a show of a writer’s ability if they can add more to their side characters than them simply being there. I was truly missing that exact thing in this book.
It was an okay read, but I had so many issues with it.. I can’t justify giving more cupcakes 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.
Have you read this book, or any of Sandhya’s previous books?
What did you think? Do you feel like I’d maybe enjoy From Twinkle, With Love?
10 thoughts on “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST RETELLING! ~ Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon”
I wasn’t a fan of When Dimple Met Rishi, but this book does sound like it’s a worth a shot for the beauty and the beast retelling! I can see myself writing off Sandhya Menon if Jaya annoys me as much as Dimple 😅. Awesome review, Kathy 🙂!
Oh, she definitely has her annoying sides. Like.. The insistend commentary on Grey got TIRING but I just started ignoring it, haha. Dimple was a character I also found way too annoying for my own good though. :’) Perhaps this story simply had me hooked more and made it easier to ignore another annoying female mc?
Thank you! 😀
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I have seen quite a few just okay or mediocre reviews on this one. While I do love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, this one just isn’t calling out to me at all. I decided to wait until I saw a few reviews from fellow readers/bloggers I trust, and this certainly seems like a book I’m not going to be picking up.
Good review, Kathy!
I honestly don’t blame you. I’m happy with having read another fairytale retelling, but on the other hand.. If I hadn’t read it, I wouldn’t have missed out on anything so.. Meh.
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To be fair though, I also haven’t read anything by Sandhya Menon, so I don’t even know if I’ll like her writing style or not. But I still think I’m going to take a pass on this book, because her other ones do sound a bit more interesting to me.
Then I’d definitely say to pick up one of her other books instead if you feel like introducing yourself to her writing. I didn’t particularly like When Dimple Met Rishi – also the reason why I skipped From Twinkle With Love. But I’ve heard the latter was better anyway to maybe that’s the way to go. After reading two of her books, I’m not sure I’ll be trying any of her other / new writing in the future but who knows.. Sometimes certain plots yell at me to read them anyway.
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I own both Dimple and Twinkle, because Twinkle was an OwlCrate book last year or whenever. So I’ll probably give them a try when I get in the mood for contemporary and all that.
I completely agree with you about side characters! It adds so much to a book when they are as well fleshed out as the main characters, the plot, the environment, etc.
Exactly! Sometimes I envision a scene with the main characters being all 3D and then 2D side characters. It’s a funny vision but also frustrating when it happens, haha.
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