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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #10: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Title: Of Beast and Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: July 23 2013
Publishing House: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780385743204
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city's vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city's Banished people. second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan's enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra's sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Of Beast and Beauty is one of those fairytale retellings that I actually like, next to Unhinged by A.G. Howard. 

Isra is a princess locked in a tower, blinded at birth by a fire and sees herself a freak, a monster; counting down the days till she becomes a willing sacrifice for the roses - can I just say that I totally love what Jay did with the roses? so cool - that provide her city with a dome of protection from the harsh outside world.

Gem is a beast, a Monstrous, with scales and claws supposedly tipped with poison. He needs the roses that Isra's people depend on and sneaks into the city in the dead of the night because his people are dying and desperately need the magic the roses give. But he gets caught and is forced to interact with Isra, a smooth skin, and the more they interact the more their view on each others change making them wonder if the things they were brought up to believe were true.

Stacey Jay's writing is beautiful, it's really lyrical but it didn't come off as pretentious and holier-than-thou. Her characters were wonderful and when they were sad, so was I. Happy? Frustrated? Angry? I was as well. In short, her characters were wonderfully crafted and I loved each and every one of them. 

Of Beauty and Beast starts off a little slow but it picks up along the way and I couldn't help but wish Gem and Isra would just get on with the kissing. It's mainly romance but somehow it just still enough for me. I wanted more, more, more, more. Because Gem and Isra are the bomb and they deserve a happily ever after. 

Since Isra is a princess in a trapped tower doesn't she resemble Rapunzel more? Kept in the dark and all that.

But anyway, Of Beast and Beauty is one retelling you don't want to miss. Action, evil roses with a taste for blood and a love that could change the world? YES PLEASE. Go read it now.


"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

Guys, I am so glad to be able to paint my nails again. After slaving over my thesis and everything, this feels so great. So anyway, I have a new nail shape, they're now like tiny claws and I love them.

Nails are obviously inspired by of Beast and Beauty and I hope you guys like them!

As for the colors, here's the list of nail polish I used.
Blue: OPI Incognito in Sausalito
Cream: Zoya Jacqueline
Red: China Glaze Salsa

It's not really obvious but the gradient I made doesn't have an opaque base coat. I just layered them over Zoya Anchor.

I tried to copy the city on my nails, hence the silhouette of buildings.

Shaped them into claws because Gem has claws.

Sorry, I kind of rushed on the clean-up since I was a little busy that day. I made these using red acrylic under China Glaze Salsa to make it seem like fire or orange scales which you guys will get if you've read the book. Hint hint. This pattern is on my thumb and pinkie plus my right hand.

You like? I hope you do.



  1. Wow the nails are gorgeous! I love the outline of the city and the roses at the ends! Great review of the book too - I really enjoyed this one and I hope the author will write more fairy tale retellings!

    1. Thank you! And yes! I'm definitely looking forward to Stacey Jay's future books. :)