Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Friends with ARCs | Fame, Fate and the First Kiss + A Curse So Dark and Lonely

In Fame, Fate and the First Kiss, Lacey finally has a chance to pursue her dream of being an actress when she lands the leading role in a book-to-movie adaptation, sharing top billing with one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. But as Lacey tries to find her footing in the public eye amid completing her senior year requirements, developing feelings for her tutor and figuring out who is determined to sabotage her on-set, she just might find that life won’t always go according to plan.

I tend to go through moods where all I really want to read is a cute contemporary romance, and Kasie is one of the YA authors who delivers solid work on that front. Fame, Fate and the First Kiss is certainly no exception! While her latest hasn’t eclipsed Love, Life and the List or Pivot Point as my favorites of her work, it was still enjoyable. I’m a sucker for being interested in stories with premises that are evocative of a DCOM or fan fic, so to read about an aspiring teen actress and her first experience filming professionally (and what that entails) was immediately appealing. Luckily, I wound up liking Lacey a lot. She’s a study in contradictions: confident and ambitious in some ways, insecure and vulnerable in others. Because I got on with her character so well, it was all too easy to be interested in her story (including the romance, which was very cute). If you’re in the market for a lighter read or want to add a YA romcom to your list, you should check this one (and Kasie’s other work) out.

Favorite zombie movie? I don’t watch a lot of zombie movies, as zombies are not my cup of tea in general. But there is one movie that popped immediately into my head: Zombieland. It’s still not something I normally would have watched on my own (I’m pretty sure friends convinced me to see it), but I do recall it being entertaining and making me laugh.

Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West | Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: February 5, 2019 | Source: e-galley downloaded from Edelweiss (Thank you!)


A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, told from the perspective of both “Beauty” and the “Beast”. Harper is the “Beauty” from Washington DC, solely focused on protecting her terminally ill mother and beloved older brother from their diminished circumstances, and so, you can imagine that getting swept away to the enchanted world of Emberfall is not on her to do list. It’s there that she encounters the “Beast” of the tale, Prince Rhen, who is the heir to the throne and cursed by an enchantress to live his out his eighteenth year repeatedly without end unless a girl falls in love with him. As the two teens are forced to work together in order to overcome a variety of difficult circumstances, both find themselves irrevocably changed by the experience. But will it be enough to break the curse? 

As a kid who loved the Disney film and has always been interested in adaptations of the original tale, it’s no surprise that I started A Curse So Dark and Lonely with a mix of excitement and nervousness. I’m really pleased to report that this novel was unique in comparison to any other Beauty and the Beast retelling I’ve encountered! It’s fun, it’s well-paced, and I really ended up enjoying Harper and Rhen (though Grey was immediately my favorite, and I just need more of him in my life, please and thank you). While the tale unfolds with all the usual touchstone moments of the story, what makes this retelling different is the fact that Kemmerer chose to incorporate a heroine with modern-day sensibilities and juxtapose her with a people and a kingdom still set in a fantasy-medieval era. The marked differences between both made for interesting situations, and certainly served as the catalyst for the many changes that occur in Emberfall while Harper is around. I devoured this story, and while it hasn’t quite cemented itself as a new favorite, it was worth the read, and I’m looking forward to the sequel. 

What fairytale world would you want to portal into? In all transparency, I almost said Beauty and the Beast post-Belle’s return, but the real answer would be the world of The Little Mermaid. I love that fairytale so darn much, and to be able to see (and befriend) the mermaids, and to live in a kingdom by the sea… I can’t pass that opportunity up!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer | Series: A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1 | Publisher: Bloomsbury YA | Publication Date: January 29, 2019 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!) 

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