Short N’Sweet Book Review: By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

Welcome to the Short N’ Sweet Book Review! For the ten years that I’ve been reviewing books on this blog, I’ve written long, wordy reviews that, let’s be honest, not a lot of people are probably reading. I’ve recently  decided to shorten those reviews and get straight to the point – what is this book about, who wrote it, where you can find and a short review on what I loved, liked and maybe thought could be better.

Today’s review is the second in a series of adult romances, fairy tale retellings in a modern day world, with this one focused on a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast – By the Book by Jasmine Guillory!



Isabelle is completely lost. When she first began her career in publishing right out of college, she did not expect to be twenty-five, living at home, still an editorial assistant, and the only Black employee at her publishing house. Overworked and underpaid, constantly torn between speaking up or stifling herself, Izzy thinks there must be more to this publishing life. So when she overhears her boss complaining about a beastly high-profile author who has failed to deliver his long-awaited manuscript, Isabelle sees an opportunity to finally get the promotion she deserves.

All she has to do is go to the author’s Santa Barbara mansion and give him a quick pep talk or three. How hard could it be?

But Izzy quickly finds out she is in over her head. Beau Towers is not some celebrity lightweight writing a tell-all memoir. He is jaded and withdrawn and—it turns out—just as lost as Izzy. But despite his standoffishness, Izzy needs Beau to deliver, and with her encouragement, his story begins to spill onto the page. They soon discover they have more in common than either of them expected, and as their deadline nears, Izzy and Beau begin to realize there may be something there that wasn’t there before.


Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling

Pages: 313

Part of a Series?: The second in a series of retellings. They can be read independently of each other!

Release Date: May 3rd, 2022

Publisher: Hyperion Avenue

Source: Owned Ebook

Find the Author: Website / Instagram / Twitter / GoodReads


GoodReads / BookShop (support your local indie!) / IndieBound / Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Audible / Book Depository / Apple Books / Kobo / Google Play


The first book in this series, If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy, was my favorite book that I read last year so I was beyond excited to read this one. I am a total sucker for a fairy tale retelling – I absolutely love them – and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale so I knew this one was going to be great. Add in a fairy tale retelling focused around writers and books and writing and Southern California, where I was born and raised and still live, and I was absolutely sold.

I immediately loved this book and that was primarily because I fully understood Isabelle as a character. As much as YA is my one true love, I do enjoy reading books, especially lately, with characters my age, or close to it, because I really feel like I can relate to them! Isabelle has been in the same place for so long without feeling like she’s made any progress. She works her ass off for a boss that doesn’t seem to recognize anything that she does and she doesn’t think she’ll ever get a promotion and she just needs to MOVE. This seriously felt exactly where I was a year ago with my old job and so I just FELT Isabelle deep in my soul and I honestly felt so connected to her. I felt her desire to prove herself and I felt her desire to be a writer and I felt her deep imposter syndrome and I really think that’s why I kept reading, because I do love reading a character close to my soul.

I also just loved the story because I loved Isabelle and Beau’s relationship and I loved its similarities to Beauty and the Beast and I loved that they connected over writing and I loved that there were little tidbits here and there from the fairy tale. There were times when I wanted to wring Beau’s neck and just be like OMG STOP BEING SUCH A WEIRD JERK but also he’s supposed to be the Beast and he’s supposed to be irritating and stubborn and you’re just along for the journey. I also just loved everything about Beau’s house – I think Jasmine did a great job at making it feel like the castle in the story but modern. I loved the library and the pool and the orchards and the freaking snack cabinet, which I think I need in my house because I have serious writer’s block lately and I’m convinced that I would be so much better if I had a snack cabinet.

Lastly, I just love any book that takes place in a setting that I know and love and Santa Barbara is definitely one of those places. Santa Barbara is about two hours away from where I live but I’ve spent so much time there and I love being there and I also just kind of love any book that takes place in Southern California. I just love living where I live, I love my state and I love reading it as a setting because I recognize the things that I love and I love when an author shares that love by writing about it so well. It honestly made me want to take a day trip out there since its been awhile. It’s a gorgeous setting and I’m so glad she chose to show a little California love in her book. It was wonderful and any book that includes the beach and surfing is a win in my book.


4 out of 5 Stars


WHAT is your favorite fairy tale? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS!

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