Good morning, fellow book lovers! Today is a special day for two reasons. One, it’s my birthday, so hoorah! And two: I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell blog tour! I wanted to share my birthday with a very wonderful read, one of my favorites of 2018, so being a part of this tour is definitely the highlight of today. I also had the chance to interview Jaime, which you can check out here.
By a Charm and a Curse is a fantastic read! So, check out the information on the book and author below, an excerpt, my review, and an awesome giveaway hosted by Entangled Teen and Jaime Questell!
Thank you Entangled Teen for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour and for the chance to read By a Charm and a Curse early!
About By a Charm and a Curse:
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.
About Jaime Questell:
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 book seller (fair warning: book lovers who become book sellers 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.
Author Website: jaimequestell.com
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimequestell/
Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jaimequestell
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15396319.Jaime_Questell
Excerpt from By a Charm and a Curse:
Leslie smiles at the girl with a mixture of pride and tentative hope. “It took us a few days to get Sidney set up somewhere else, and I’m sorry about that. But this wagon belongs to the occupant of the box.” Leslie strokes the side of the ladder that leads to the door. “What you’re going through is terrible, we know it is, though we can never truly understand. It’s a small comfort, but we want you to have a place that’s just your own, a place that you can use to escape.”
A weak, wobbly smile lifts the corners of the girl’s mouth as her gaze roves over the outside of the wagon, a shadow of the smile I saw the other night, when she was with her friend. I wonder what it would take to get her to smile for real.
“What about Sidney?”
“Sidney can make do.” Leslie’s smile broadens into a grin. “Have you seen the way he’s been eating? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him waddle out of the cook shack one of these mornings like Templeton the Rat.” She dangles a small copper key from the end of a length of faded red ribbon. “It’s like I said—the carnival owes the person in the box. This is the least we can do for you in return.”
The girl’s hand shakes as she reaches for the key, and she wraps her slender fingers around it tightly, as though she’s afraid of dropping it. I lose sight of her as she steps inside, and all I can do now is hope she likes the wagon.
I turn to head home and feel the sickening lurch as my foot lands in a slick patch of mud and whips out from beneath me. I throw out my arm. A flash of white-hot pain flares through my hand, but I manage to keep my footing. I step out of the mud that had nearly sent me sprawling on my ass, unsure as to how I even missed it in the first place. Then my hand begins to throb.
A gash runs diagonally across my palm. Blood wells from the wound, filling my cupped hand. The pain sets in, a deep pulsing starting in my palm and radiating up my arm. I glance over at the trailer and see a splash of red smeared along a sharp flap of metal. I must have sliced my hand on that as I tried to grab onto something to keep from slipping.
Falling on carnival grounds doesn’t happen; the charm sees to that. But my bloodied hand begs to differ.
By a Charm and a Curse was a unique read and unlike anything I have read before. I feel like that is something very common people say a lot, but in this case, it is true. I’ve read quite a few carnival-themed books, but not once did I compare this beauty to them, and that’s because there is nothing to compare. The magical idea behind By a Charm and a Curse is wholly original and one that peaked my interest. I mean, a curse AND a charm involved in a carnival?! That’s definitely an attention grabber!
The curse, itself, is such an intriguing part of the story. I spent most of the book trying to figure out how the curse came to be and why this carnival was cursed. I was also very much captivated by the charm of the carnival. When I did find out why the curse and charm were created, I was not disappointed.
The two main characters, Emma and Ben, are what pull the story together. The dual narration gives the reader the wonderful opportunity to peek inside each character’s mind and see what it is really like to live with a cursed, yet charmed, carnival. And when things start going wrong in the carnival, the reader gets to see how Ben and Emma react to each incident.
The setting of this book was not just magical, but also captivating. I love the carnival setting and Jaime Questell does not fall short in describing the beautiful setting and landscape of each carnival night. She really goes into detail of the Girl in the Box and her role, while also giving the reader the chance to see the main attractions of the carnival. My favorite attraction was by far Gin and Whiskey’s (you’ll have to read the book to find out which attraction they performed 🙂 ). The pace of the novel was also steady and I did not get that feeling of anything being rushed.
The secondary characters—the carnival workers and performers—were fantastic and relatable and they felt so real. I felt like they were people who I would most definitely befriend. Well, I’d befriend almost all of them. There are some who are questionable and you will understand why when you read By a Charm and a Curse.
By a Charm and a Curse is a novel I am so thankful I stumbled upon. This beautiful and intoxicating read kept me up late into the night and even had me reading some chapters when I should have been working. Everything about this book pulled to me and made me feel like I was actually there with the characters. I cannot wait to read Jaime Questell’s next work.
By a Charm and a Curse can be found at your local bookstore. I highly recommend this book!