BEAUTY REBORN : A Beauty and Beast Retelling.. && THE MIMICKING OF KNOWN SUCCESSESS : A Holmesian mystery on Jupiter


Fantasy and reality collide in this retelling of Beauty and the Beast about a young woman’s heroic quest to save herself.

Yes, I went to the woods to save my father. But I also went hoping I would be eaten by the Beast. Because I didn’t think anything else could save me.

Beauty’s life is the stuff of fairy tales. The youngest in her family, Beauty isn’t trying to catch Stephan’s eye. He is the lord baron’s heir, well above her family’s modest station, but when he kisses her hand at a party, Beauty is swept away by his charm, his wit, and his passionate declarations of love.

Hearts can be untamable creatures, especially when touched by the fires of first love, and Beauty doesn’t see the truth of Stephan’s intentions until it is too late. Until he stops asking for Beauty’s love—and simply takes it from her one night despite her refusal.

Beauty locks away the secret of what happened to her, and when her father emerges from the enchanted forest with a stolen rose in his hand and the tale of a vicious beast on his breath, Beauty seizes the chance to run as far from Stephan as possible.

She has some experience with beasts, after all. Certainly the one in the forest couldn’t be any worse than the one she’s already encountered.

Breaking the Beast’s curse might be the key to discovering her own path to healing—and finding the courage to allow herself to feel reborn.

CW: mention of rape

I’m not someone who reads a lot of Beauty and the Beast retellings because it’s not a story I grew up with. But this one had a lovely looking cover, so I requested the publisher for an arc and was excited to read it. And turns out it was enjoyable.

The prose was definitely the best part of this story. There were some very beautiful lines throughout and I highlighted my copy quite a bit. However, it also felt like this was a story that was very close to the original, maybe even assumed that you know the actual story and only parts of it are changed or retold to give it a new feel. There’s an enchanted forest and castle, one faerie who grants wishes and that’s it – it’s the extent of world building here and as a huge reader of fantasy, that was a tad bit dissatisfactory for me. But the pacing itself was quick, and the way the past of Beauty is told in short bursts of flashbacks was done quite seamlessly.

This is a fairly short book, almost like a novella, which is probably why I felt that we didn’t get enough time for the characters to be developed. Beauty is suffering because of the trauma in her past and wants an escape from that, so I liked that she gets the slow healing that she deserves through the time she spends with Beast. He on the other hand doesn’t have a POV, and is a very limited conversationalist, so I felt like we only got to know Beast through Beauty’s perspective which was maybe enough to show his kindness and compassionate nature, but we never truly get to know him in depth. I liked that Beauty’s family was mostly supportive and there were only a couple of twists with the villains. But there really isn’t too much to do for the supporting characters.

In the end, I liked reading this book. It was a short and quick read, and has a charming quality to it, but I think I was expecting more yearning or romance. This might be your cup of tea if you love the original Beauty and the Beast fairytale but haven’t read too many retellings, and are ready for a shorter read.

5 star

PS: Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing for the advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.


The Mimicking of Known Successes presents a cozy Holmesian murder mystery and sapphic romance, set on Jupiter, by Malka Older, author of the critically-acclaimed Centenal Cycle.

On a remote, gas-wreathed outpost of a human colony on Jupiter, a man goes missing. The enigmatic Investigator Mossa follows his trail to Valdegeld, home to the colony’s erudite university—and Mossa’s former girlfriend, a scholar of Earth’s pre-collapse ecosystems.

Pleiti has dedicated her research and her career to aiding the larger effort towards a possible return to Earth. When Mossa unexpectedly arrives and requests Pleiti’s assistance in her latest investigation, the two of them embark on a twisting path in which the future of life on Earth is at stake—and, perhaps, their futures, together.

As soon as I read the blurb that this is gonna be a Holmesian f/f mystery, I knew I was gonna read it. And this was a quick delight.

This is a story that’s taking place in a far future on Jupiter, so the author drops a lot of information about this world and how humans came to be here from earth at various moments in the narrative, so it never felt info dumpy but we also only get little necessary information that moves the plot. The pacing was pretty quick and I really thought I was on the verge figuring it all out when the final twist came completely out of left field, which was a fun surprise.

But the beauty of this book is definitely the two main characters. Mossa and Pliete are such a contrast to each other – Mossa being an investigator, definitely a more reserved workaholic, while Pliete is a bit more impulsive and livelier Classics scholar – but theirs is a very interesting dynamic. The initial hesitation and discomfort because they are meeting after many years but then the easy camaraderie and trust that gradually seeps is very well depicted and I loved their deepening intimacy as the story goes.

Overall, this was a very fun and entertaining murder mystery in a still developing sci-fi world, and some very sweet sapphic romance in the making. I finished it in one sitting and now I’m even more excited because this is gonna be a series. I can’t wait to meet our couple again.

5 star

PS: Thank you to Tordotcompub and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.


5 thoughts on “BEAUTY REBORN : A Beauty and Beast Retelling.. && THE MIMICKING OF KNOWN SUCCESSESS : A Holmesian mystery on Jupiter

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  1. I really enjoyed The Mimicking of Known Successes too! The ending definitely came as a surprise to me too, and I agree that the relationship between Mossa and Pliete was such a treat to read. They were so different and awkward around each other, and I loved getting to see them slowly realize their feelings were still reciprocated.

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