Mini reviews of books 1, 2 and 3 in the Once Upon a Con series by Ashley Poston.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
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.
Add Geekerella on: Goodreads
I read Geekerella for the first time in 2017 and fell head over heels in love with the story, the characters, the entire book! I then reread Geekerella again last year in 2020 in anticipation of the release of Bookish and the Beast and I loved it just as much as the first time. Geekerella is the cutest retelling, it’s full of fandom references and relatable and diverse characters. The plot follows the Cinderella storyline fairly closely but adds plenty of modern drama to give the story a refreshing twist. While reading Geekerella I’m always fully immersed in the Starfield fandom and wish I could watch the show in real life! If you’re in need of a fluffy, heart-warming contemporary set with a fairytale romance then Geekerella is most definitely the book for you.
The Princess and the Fangirls by Ashley Poston
The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.
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.
Add The Princess and the Fangirl on: Goodreads
When I originally read The Princess and the Fangirl for the first time, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Geekerella however I think this was due to the story being a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper which wasn’t a story I was at all familiar with, so I missed out on any references to the storyline of the fairytale in the plot. Again, I reread The Princess and the Fangirl in 2020 before the release of the third book in the series and I loved it. I would recommend reading this series one after the other as the events of each novel follow the previous one very closely. Similarly to Geekerella, this novel has two romances between four of the characters, one of which is an f/f pairing. Differently to Geekerella the two main characters of The Princess and the Fangirl, Jessica and Imogen each have different love interest who don’t have chapters from their perspectives so we focus only on the two main characters feelings. This sequel is fast paced but just as delightful as Geekerella.
Bookish and the Beast
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.
Add Bookish and the Beast on: Goodreads
Bookish and the Beast surprised me and I might now consider it my favourite of the entire series, the story was adapted as a retelling so well and it flowed perfectly. The characters were fun and relatable, the love interest had an obvious yet interesting redemption arc. I was fully on board for a Vance Reigns novel from the moment I found out about this sequel, and he fits the characterisation of the Beast brilliantly. There were also a couple of shocking twists within this story that really surprised me. One thing I love the most about this series is the cameos by favourite characters from the previous two books, as well as introducing us to some fantastic new characters! Bookish and the Beast was a very quick read, full of our favourite fandom references and nerdy moments. This series will always be one of my all time favourites that I will reread countless times. I highly recommend checking out the Once Upon A Con series.
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