By a Charm and a Curse – Jamie Questell


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.


I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

When was the last time you read a book with a WONDERFUL premise that just fell short in the delivery? Its so hard to see and even harder to write a review for because you want the book to be incredible. Unfortunately, this was the case with By a Charm and a Curse for me. The premise was really phenomenal – such a fantastic and magical idea for a love story.

As always, I’ll start with the things I enjoyed. This was a quick read, lighter than I was expecting with writing that really flowed well. It was well paced and hard to put down. The storyline was wonderful – I loved the entire curse as well as the development of the love story. The main character’s love story was just so sweet, it definitely hit me in the feels. Benjamin was just such a little cinnamon roll (seriously my new favorite term).

I can’t quite put my finger on what made this a 3.5 instead of a 4 star book for me. Something just didn’t click, if that makes sense. The characters, while sweet, felt a bit one dimensional to me – there was no real character growth. I feel that if the characters had been able to develop a bit more, By a Charm and a Curse had the potential to be a five star read.

My Takeaway: Overall, By a Charm and a Curse was a really light read with a premise that was so magical and inventive. With a bit more character growth, it would’ve been a five star read. As it stands, I definitely recommend it as a rainy day read. 

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