Review: By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell

By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Entangled
Pages: 300
Source: book provided by the publisher for review



Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.
Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.


Review: Growing up it used to be a dream to run away from home and join the circus. Usually when things tended to get rough and you hated your parents for whatever reason at the time. But it wasn’t something that actually was feasible. Ms. Questell brought joining the circus to life in By a Charm and a Curse. She added a twist though; Emmaline was kidnapped by the circus and bore the curse while all other circus performers were protected by a charm. Ben is Emma’s love interest the one she hopes can break the curse.

I found the story to be fun. It was well written and very vivid in the description of the circus acts and actions. If you have never been to the circus you were able to actually visualize yourself there amidst all the action and if you have been there you are able to relive the adventure of the circus. I was able to see the beauty which was very appealing. I could smell the grease paint, the popcorn, the scents of the animals and everything that makes the circus well the circus. Ms. Questell brought it to life on the pages.

I found that I liked the secondary characters a little better than the main ones. For me they seemed a little one dimensional where the secondary ones seemed to have a little more life. The POV changed between Ben and Emma and without them the story wouldn’t have kept going so as story tellers they did a good job. I found that they were easy to follow which allowed me to get lost in the pages wanting to find out more about the circus and perhaps run away as I once longed to do.

Ms. Questell gave us a story that was very imaginative and entertaining. There was a slow build up that gave us just enough to process that made one want more. It always came at just the right time to keep one involved in the story.

Even without the warmth of Emma and Ben …I really liked this story that brought a bit of fantasy and a rush of what it may have been like if I had joined the circus.

This story is a fast paced read and perfect for young and old alike. So settle in for an entertaining read on a long week-end with nothing else to do. Relive the young adult you once where and the fun of the circus. Pop some popcorn and settle into that comfy chair.


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