Of Curses and Kisses

Of Curses and Kisses

by Sandhya Menon

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Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781534417540
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 02/18/2020
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 27,636
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi, Of 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 Vogue, NPR, BuzzFeed, and Seventeen. A full-time dog servant and part-time writer, she makes her home in the foggy mountains of Colorado. Visit her online at SandhyaMenon.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1
Just outside Aspen, Colorado, nestled between the sentinel mountains and an inkblot lake, lies St. Rosetta’s International Academy. Its sweeping spires, creeping ivy, and timeworn brick turrets often lead visitors to remark that it looks like a venerable castle from an old European city. The Academy would be Princess Jaya Rao’s home for the next year.

While she was there, Jaya had one mission: break an English nobleman’s heart.

But first she had to fall in love with him.

Customer Reviews

Of Curses and Kisses 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
MoonlightMoths 22 days ago
Plot (1/1) This was actually one of my favorite retellings of Beauty and the Beast, for several reasons. It stayed close enough to the original story and it’s values but the author added her own touches to the story that made it unique. With fairytale retellings, there’s the copycats a la Beastly that barely change much of the story at all and just use a modern setting but then there are others like A Court of Thorns and Roses that have some vague similarities but really just veer into their own plot. Of Curses and Kisses is that perfect middle ground because the storyline feels incredibly similar, but interactions and setting are changed just enough that the story could stand on its own as just a regular romance novel and not a retelling. Also, I loved that no kidnapping or hostage holding had to happen in order for the characters to spend time together and talk. Writing Style (0/1) This was honestly the part of the book I struggled with the most. The writing style felt awkward and the conversations occasionally felt stilted. There were descriptions and metaphors used in the book that just didn’t fit the tone of the book and threw me off. Whenever I would get absorbed in a good scene something would just pop up and break my focus because it was so out of place in the scene. Since this was my biggest criticism of the book itself, this could also just be attributed to my personal preferences in writing styles I enjoy. Setting I greatly enjoyed the private school setting. It lent a lot more intimacy for the story events and helped keep the plot and characters moving, since most story events happened during school activities. The setting was also a convenient aspect of the story because the school is small enough that the two main characters couldn’t avoid each other, so the main characters are constantly interacting for some reason or another and I LOVED it. Characters I genuinely enjoyed both characters, despite being extremely skeptical of them at the beginning. Originally I disliked Jaya’s character because she was stern and mean, I remember thinking that if she didn’t figure her stuff out, she would drag the story down. However, she shows SO much growth throughout the story, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. When Grey was introduced the writing felt awkward and his description of his outfit made me think, “Oh god this man is actually feral.” Regardless of his introduction, Grey quickly won me over with his sweet heart and brutal honesty. Also, I enjoyed that instead of having a rude love interest who treats the girl like crap, Grey was respectful and kind-hearted. The biggest change his character underwent was with his confidence in himself and that character growth was *chef kiss on hand* beautiful. Theme: Change, but for the better (1/1) My favorite part of the book is that both characters are better around each other and they recognize this and then work doubly hard to be better. I’m a sucker for couples who push each other to be the best possible version of themselves. At the beginning, both of them are technically “the beast” since they’re both self-centered, but as they spend time with each other they both become the best versions of themselves. This concept of both characters changing for the better is one reason why I think this retelling works so well. In the original tale, it’s just the Beast changing himself to be better for the princess. In this story, both characters help each other be better.
eleventhirteenpm 28 days ago
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**
eleventhirteenpm 28 days ago
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**
JillJemmett 3 months ago
This new Sandhya Menon book definitely lived up to my expectations! This story is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Jaya is a princess, who chooses to attend the same boarding school where her family’s rival goes. She thinks that he leaked some photos of her sister to the press, so she wants to make him fall in love with her so she can break his heart and get her revenge. At the same time, Grey lives with a family curse. His father ignores him because Grey’s mother died in childbirth and he is destined to be the end of their aristocratic line. When he sees Jaya’s ruby rose necklace, he suspects that it is the jewel that sparked the rivalry between their families. If it is, that means that when the last piece of the ruby falls off the necklace, his life will be over. I loved the way this story borrowed from the tale of Beauty and the Beast, but it wasn’t an exact copy of the story. The imagery of the rose really reminded me of the original tale. It was a clever way to include the rose as a necklace that slowly drops its jewels. There was also the added drama of Jaya’s and Grey’s families being rivals, which really increased the tension of the story. Another great dramatic addition to the story was that Jaya was getting revenge on Grey to protect her sister, rather than the way she wanted to protect her father in other adaptations of the tale. I really loved this book! It was a great retelling! Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
whatsbetterthanbooks 3 months ago
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.
DragonNimbus 3 months ago
Of Curses and Kisses is unique, modern re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. In Sandhya Menon's fresh perspective, Jaya Rao is Beauty. Jaya is a seventeen-year-old Indian princess, shipped off to a prestigious boarding school in Colorado with her younger sister Isha to escape a scandal in India. Apparently someone leaked a photo of Isha cavorting in a young mechanic's garage covered in oil and kissing one of the boys. Jaya is positive that Grey Emerson, a brooding young British lord is responsible for leaking the photo and causing the royal Rao family all this trouble. Her plan is to make him fall in love with her then callously dump him, gaining revenge and putting Grey in his place. Things are not at all as they seem. Isha struggles for independance, Jaya is torn between duty to her parents, her arranged marriage, and living her own life. Grey is being forced out of his self-imposed isolation and begins to enjoy life. In spite of being intrigued by Jaya's charms, Grey can't escape the shadow of a prophecy that calls for his death once he turns eighteen. All this dramat takes place against a backdrop of the beautiful Colorado mountains, high fashion and the lives of the rich and famous. But Menon also digs deeper for a great coming of age novel that deals with the conflict between duty to family and country and duty to be your own best self. I really enjoyed this book. It was a lot of fun to read and different from the typical fairy-tale redux. I can't wait to get if for our library - middle school and high school readers will love this. As an adult, I can recommend it to their parents and teachers with confidence. - this would be a great book for readers of any age. I appreciate the opportunity to read an ARC!
aharey 3 months ago
Of Curses and Kisses is a cute modern YA adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Taking place at an exclusive Colorado boarding school, Princess Jaya has hated the Emerson family her entire life. As the heiress of a royal Indian family, she is ready to do anything to keep in line with her family's wishes and traditions. Grey Emerson, the cursed heir of the Emerson clan, has lived a life of isolation. Told in alternating views, the two clash in typical fairytale fashion but with a modern twist. I'm a big fan of Sandhya Menon and was thrilled to read this first book in her new series. I can't wait to see who from St. Rosetta's Academy will be the focus of the next in this series!
BookWorm221 4 months ago
So, I loved this book!! I am a big fan of retellings and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites. Jaya and Grey were amazing characters to read and get to know, I really liked Jaya and the more I read about her the more I enjoyed it and the way Grey comes into the mix and how they start to building a friendship/relationship and all the Beauty and the Beast hints, oh it was perfect. I'm so happy this book is actually part of a series because we meet many interesting characters and I can't wait to read more about them. Also the whole setting for this book was beautiful, the School, the town, the snow, everything was perfect.
SachaRM 4 months ago
3.5 stars A modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" with diverse characters set at a boarding school?! YES! I love the concept here and am excited that this appears to be the start of a series. Having read everything else written by Menon, I came into this with the expectation that this work would contain some of the characteristics I like best in her writing: engaging ruminations, challenging dynamics between parents and children (often based on cultural expectations and a sense of duty), and a knack for romance. I found all of these areas to be particularly successful in this work (as I have in the predecessors). Overall, I wished that there were about 100 fewer pages. Some sections of the novel drag unnecessarily. The connections between Grey and his beasthood were a bit heavy-handed. I think the point is made in the first few examples; we don't necessarily need repeats of his "lupine eyes" and hands that are almost like "paws," for example. Fewer references of this kind would have been great. Also, I hoped for more relationship development between the sisters. Jaya invests so much of her time and identity into caring for Isha, but it's hard to figure out why beyond a sense of obligation. It felt odd to me that readers did not get to see more of their interactions throughout the novel (and that we had to wait until the end to really see them TALK). My favorite aspect of the entire work is the twist on the curse. I really loved how Menon modernizes what the curse is and how it is resolved. The final scenes improved my overall sentiments about the work. This is an enjoyable read for all fans of this author (and there are many of us!) as well as aficionados of fairy tale retellings.