By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell: Review, Giveaway & Questell’s Top Ten Addictions

February 8, 2018 Author Top Ten Lists, Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 20 ★★★★

By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell: Review, Giveaway & Questell's Top Ten Addictions

By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell: Review, Giveaway & Questell’s Top Ten AddictionsBy a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell
Published by Entangled Teen on February 6th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 300
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
4 Stars

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.

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Who doesn’t love a book about a magical circus? A circus with both a charm and a curse? Sign me up!

What Fed My Addiction:

  • The circus atmosphere. I don’t know what it is about a traveling circus or carnival, but I just love this setting. There’s already such a sense of awe and wonder there that it works really well for a fantastical story. Plus, they’re a little creepy (I think I always think back to Something Wicked This Way Comes), which works well for this story.
  • Emmaline’s curse. The curse itself is, again, creepy in all the best ways. Emmaline is turned into something along the lines of a living puppet. She’s solid, her senses are dulled, and she’s suddenly living a sort of shadow life. There was a lot to play with here, and Questell does it well. You couldn’t help but feel sorry for Emmaline as she suffers the effects of the curse.
  • Ben. Poor Ben has been trying to escape the circus life for a long time, but he can’t seem to break ties with the people there that he loves. His mother is overprotective of him (for a reason, but still) and he can’t really live his own life. I enjoyed the romance between Emmaline and Ben, though it did perhaps move a little quickly into true love territory.

What Left Me Hungry for More:

  • Few plot holes? I had a hard time understanding why everyone seemed to act like Emmaline would be able to trick someone into taking her place almost immediately when the last person had been in her position had been there for years. And why did no one seem to know the specifics of the charm and the curse or be all that interested in them? It seemed odd to me. But the biggest lack in logic was that when things started to go wrong, people didn’t immediately figure out that it was tied to the curse—Emmaline and Ben, especially—I didn’t understand the doubt there.
  • Bullying villains. The tumbling brothers were bullies for the sake of being bullies, it seemed. The book just needed a villain, maybe?

This book was utterly unique and it was definitely entertaining.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

 

About the Author

JAIME QUESTELL grew up in Houston, Texas, where she escaped the heat and humidity by diving into stacks of Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High books. She has been a bookseller (fair warning: book lovers who become booksellers will give half their paychecks right back to their employers), a professional knitter, a semi-professional baker, and now works as a graphic designer in addition to writing.

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 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png 

Jaime Questell’s Top Ten Addictions

10. Crafting materials – And that means everything. My closet doesn’t hold clothes, it holds yarn and paper and fabric and paint and, and, and…My most recent big crafting purchase was one of those machines that lets you cut intricate paper designs and I basically feel like I’m queen of the crafting world at this point.
9. Animal Crossing Pocket Camp – I loved this game when it was on the bigger Nintendo systems and the Gameboy and now that it’s on my phone?! I can get my daily dose of cute animals saying weird things anytime I want.
8. Audiobooks from Overdrive – I love reading (obviously) but my wallet would say I love reading a little too much. But after I learned that I could get audiobooks with my library card? My TBR list is dwindling rapidly.
7. Makeup tutorials on Instagram – I might never ever recreate the look myself, but that won’t keep me from watching the videos!
6. Fluffy blankets – I just bought a new one that I have named NAPMAKER. Knights give their swords fancy names that describe what they do, and let me tell you, NAPMAKER’s name is very accurate.
5. Nail polish – let’s just, um, let’s not talk about how many bottles I have.
4. Corgis – Corgis in real life, cartoon corgis printed on various objects, videos of corgis…I will drop whatever it is that I’m doing and obsess over those little dogs for a minimum of five minutes.
3. Chocolate chip cookies – these are my kryptonite. I modify the classic Toll House recipe by adding in an extra cup of flour, and it makes them cakey and SO GOOD.
2. The Pink Lady roll at Oishii sushi in Houston – OMG, this roll. It’s asparagus, tempura shrimp, crab, and roe wrapped up in pink soy paper.
1. Coffee – this post and all other coherently strung together sentences are brought to you by my caffeine vehicle of choice, COFFEE.

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20 Responses to “By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell: Review, Giveaway & Questell’s Top Ten Addictions”

  1. Jennrenee

    I am so so excited for this book. I too love the traveling circus setting. We need more of these kinds of books. Great review can’t wait to get my hands on this book.

  2. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book with a carnival or circus setting but this one definitely sounds unique and interesting (despite the issues with plot holes). I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one, Nicole!

  3. Elena @ Book Lady's Reviews

    I’m so excited to start reading this one, even though I’m not a big fan of circus settings. Every single one I’ve picked up over the years ended up being very disappointing. But, this one sounds so different from what I’m used to and the curse part makes it even more fascinating! It has definitely piqued my interest and I sincerely hope I’ll enjoy it! Thanks for sharing your amazing review!

    Elena @ Book Lady's Reviews recently posted: Most Anticipated Book Releases - March 2018 Edition! {Part 1}
  4. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    Oooh nice review! I remember seeing this cover and being intrigued by it! So pretty! The story definitely has a creepier edge than I expected! Adding this to my wishlist asap! Great review!

  5. Daniela Ark

    I had pass this ARC because I don’t like circuses very much but you make it sound good Nicole! Someone is turned into something like living puppet sound so deliciously creepy! I think I need to go back to NetGally I saw that was still available!

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