ARC Review: By the Book

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory (Meant to Be #2)
Publication date: 03 May 2022

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory is the second book in the Meant to Be series. Book one, If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy, was an adorable Cinderella retelling. Now Guillory takes on my favorite Disney tale, Beauty and the Beast.

Beau is perfect as our Beast, with a rough and gruff exterior but a warm cinnamon roll underneath. Even though the story is told through Izzy’s POV, I feel that by the end of the book I knew much more about Beau. For me, Izzy was much less a direct parallel to the original Belle. Our girl likes books. But that’s about it. I was hoping for more tension on her side of things, but all I got was a seemingly mean boss and a flat, one-dimensional, sort-of villain. But I did thoroughly enjoy seeing the relationship between Izzy and Beau develop, even though the good stuff was behind a closed door (BOO Disney).

One thing that struck me in both books in this series is that the writing style tends to be a little less nuanced – almost simplistic – than I normally expect from both Murphy and Guillory. I’m guessing it has something to do with these being Disney published books.

And one thing that is definitely a ME problem and not a problem with these books in general, is that I tend to get distracted trying to find all of the Easter eggs hiding in them and get myself pulled out of the narrative. I guess that’s one of the perils of retelling classic stories.

But overall I would recommend this book to those who like sweet romance and fairy tale retellings. A solid three stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hyperion Avenue for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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