Once Upon A Con Series by Ashley Poston

I’m totally a geek and not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. I mean, my blog name may just be a dead giveaway at that! This series has been on my wish list for forever as a series I wanted to read, and now I’ve finally got the chance to!

Thank you Quirk Books for my gifted copy of the series in exchange for my honest review.

I will be sharing my thoughts on all three books in the series in this post so I will break it down by each one. I’m sharing in celebration of Ashley’s latest installment in the series, “Bookish and the Beast” that was most recently released! I’ll start from the beginning…

Synopsis: Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first. Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. 

As you can tell, the first book in the series is a retelling of Cinderella, and I’m totally here for it! Even if you’ve seen or read Cinderella, this retelling captivates you just as much as if it was your first time hearing the story. Not only is it an ode to a beloved classic, but it’s a coming-of-age story for those who are just coming into their true identities. As I am now comforted in my nerdy loves, I wish I had a book like this when I was in high school. I loved it.

5/5 Stars

Synopsis: Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed. When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

The second installment in the series is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper, a story that isn’t talked about much these days. I think that may have been a flaw in my reading for this one. Since I watch Cinderella all the time with my four year old daughter, Geekerella hit home to me a little more than this one. On the other hand, I did love that this is a story that isn’t overdone so it made it really unique. I didn’t fall in love with the characters as much as I did in Geekerella, but I just fell in love with the way Ashley tells her stories even more reading this next book in the series.

4/5 Stars

Synopsis: Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills. On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read. When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual. But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

This is a retelling of, you guessed it, Beauty in the Beast. I was totally hoping that she would choose this story for one of the books in the series because, why not?! I absolutely loved the characters in this book. I think these were my favorite characters in the whole series! The romance is innocent and adorable and I almost wanted a whole series spin-off on just this book.

5/5 Stars

In all, this is an adorable series to pick up whether you are a geek, love classic fairy-tales, or just love awesome young adult writing! Ashley even has some short stories that are just as adorable and super fun to read: Once a Princess and Once at Midnight. This is a perfect series to start off your summer reading!

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