• HR Harrison

Book Review: Cutie and the Beast by E.J. Russell

I'm not gonna lie, I picked up this book with birthday money purely because the title made me smile (I have such a soft spot for goofy puns; most of my early WIP titles are bad silly puns). I'm usually quite picky about the books I buy—I generally pick things up on recommendation. So, I didn't expect the silly pun book to be particularly good, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was as cute and fun as the name would imply.


Story 3.5/5


The book follows the adventures of temp worker David Evans, who always gets himself banned from offices for "some reason" (it's not his fault, honest). David might have a bit of a crush on his new boss, based on the voice he heard when doing transcription work before.


Said new boss is named Alun Kendrick, and he's a fantasy creature shrink—an important job when humans don't know about the existence of supernatural creatures. David's hiring was a mix-up; he was supposed to be a supe. Alun, who's been cursed with ugliness by the fae court for a long, long time, thinks it will be no problem to scare off one human.


But it's proving to be more trouble than anticipated…


I enjoyed the plot of the book. It's less of "two people trapped together falling in love" and more of a follow-along with David as he unravels Alun's secrets (and Alun unravels his) and swoons over his voice, so if you're expecting the book to really hit the Beauty and the Beast notes, it doesn't, but it's fun regardless.


The plot involved a lot more fae politics than I was initially anticipating, but I didn't hate it.

Writing 4/5


Russell has clean, easy to read prose—exactly what I like. It's nothing extraordinary, but it's not trying to be. It's trying to tell you a story, and it succeeds. There were a few points where my inner editor got out the red pen, but there weren't any major issues.

Fun 5/5


Definitely what I would call a "candy read". Sweet and sugary, seasoned with a generous pinch of classic melodrama, perfect for a rainy day. I don't think of a book as a "guilty pleasure" because we shouldn't feel guilty for liking things, any more than we should feel guilty for thinking cake tastes good.


Overall


Cutie and the Beast is a fun little m/m romance in a contemporary fantasy setting featuring a spunky protagonist , a mysterious love interest, and faeries being dicks. What's not to like?


12.5/15


Today's song is, of course, Beauty and the Beast.

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