Monday 5 February 2018

By a Charm and a Curse ♥ Plus Interview & Giveaway

By a Charm and a Curse 

My Review:

Down you go little Emma into the rabbit hole. Que Cheshire Cat grin.

Roll up, roll up, come and visit the Le Grand's carnival. Daredevil stunts, performing dog, Ferris wheel, fortune tellers and all the cotton candy you can eat.

The carnival is full of mystery and magical experiences, but the Le Grand carnival has more to offer than most. Emma's time has just begun. She has just returned to town and is struggling to fit back in where she left off. Emma visits the carnival with a friend. She is drawn into the magic that surrounds kit and gets more than she bargains.

The Le Grand carnival has a secret. It has a charm that protects the carnival. No one has had an accident in years and the people perform risky stunts. They know the charm will save them from injury. It promotes good healthy lives and takes care of everything. With every good luck charm, there has to be a balance. A price to pay for their good fortune. Emma is about to find out the cost. She opens pandora box and becomes the new girl.

Benjamin and his mother have been with the carnival most of their lives. They work on the maintenance and up keeping. Ben dreams of leaving the circus and finding something he can call his own. He is trying to put a plan together to set in motion until he meets the girl in the box.

I loved this book. It's Pinocchio meets Alice in Wonderland only darker. By a Charm and a curse has mystery, suspense and romance. The story is fast paced and kept me begging for more right until the end. I couldn't put it down. I loved the magic and darkness. It is exciting and shocking. There are some really good characters in this book and they really bring the story to life. Whiskey and Gin had me laughing. Emma and Ben had me swooning. Don't even get me started on Sidney!

I could totally read this book again and that is something I almost never do.

5 stars out of 5.

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

Hardcover £13.99 or £9.56 Kindle, 300 pages

Expected publication: February 6th 2018 by Entangled Publishing 


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.


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.

"The curse changes you. It changes everyone it touches really, because I hate having a part in it, but damn if I don't love the perks that come with it."

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 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:

Interview with the Author

 ♥ Question One: By a charm and a curse is a unique idea how did you stumble across it?  

The first thing I had was the curse; I wrote what is now chapter three as a short story. When my critique partners encouraged me to expand what I'd already written, I decided to do the opposite of what I felt was expected. I didn't want the carnival to be full of jerks, and I wanted to complicate why they allowed the curse to continue to exist. The charm was born out of that.

♥ Question Two: I love the carnival theme. Do you have a special connection to the circus? Funnily enough, I've never been to the circus! But I love the idea of something that's so shimmery and bright on the inside, and incredibly complicated beneath that veneer. I found all these old photos of circus performers and roustabouts behind the scenes and knew that I wanted to tell a story that showed both sides of things. 

♥ Question Three: The book has a dark side to it, which I think worked really well. Was this tricky to write? The darker elements of the book were actually really fun to write. (I have no idea what that says about me!) But I felt that the book needed some darkness to balance out the bright outer shell. 

♥ Question Four: By a charm and a curse has a lot of side characters I came to love, which made me even more on edge. Who was your favourite character and why? That's a hard one! But I think I have to go with Gin and Whiskey. I love their dynamic and how they show just how different two sisters can be. And I love how brave they are, and how fiercely loyal.

♥ Question Five: This is a standalone story which is wrapped up pretty nicely in the end. Can we expect more from the carnival or have you got anything else in the pipeline? At the moment, I don't have any plans for other works set in this world, but never say never. If I were to expand, I think there's a lot to be said about the fortune teller family, about their magic, how they came to America and found LeGrand's, and of course, how the curse originated.

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