Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
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Aspiring love charm maker Hijiri Kitamura was excited to come back to Grimbaud for her sophomore year-until she learns about the upcoming charm making competition. Grimbaud has just started to recover from the tyranny of Zita’s love fortunes and it would be too easy for the winning charm maker to take Zita’s place. The only solution is for Hijiri, with the support of her friends and fellow rebels, to win the contest herself.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, especially when Love itself has decided to meddle in Hijiri’s life. Concerned that it’s favorite charm maker has given up on finding a boyfriend of her own, Love takes matters into its own hands and delivers the perfect boyfriend to her in a gift-wrapped box…literally.
Get ready to be charmed by this magical, quirky sequel to Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius.
In Love Charms & Other Catastrophes, we are welcomed back to the love infused town of Grimbaud. A town enamored with the concept of love from the town’s Tunnel of Love to its many parks, filled with heart-shaped topiary and cupid statues. This book is a follow-up to Kimberly Karalius’s 1st novel Love Fortunes & Other Disasters and her novella First Kisses & Other Misfortunes, both of which I completely loved from start to finish.
This delightful new addition to the Grimbaud book family focuses on the story of Hijiri. Hijiri is a shy but extremely talented love charm maker. She is a hard worker and dedicates her time and effort into making charms, instead of looking for a boyfriend. Hijiri has never really had much luck with boys in the past and it is only recently that she found the loyal friendships of the members of the charm theory club. I really did enjoy that we get a deeper look into Hijiri’s life, but that Karalius also managed to include snippets of the other characters from Love Fortunes and Other Disasters too. I always am curious about what happens to characters when a story ends, and I am glad to see that the old gang from the charm theory club is still together and their friendships and relationships are still blooming steady.
There are two main plot points happening in Love Charms & Other Catastrophes. The first is that Grimbaud is hosting a love charm making competition and Hijiri and friends have decided to enter and face up against the three new charm makers in town. This was all interesting in itself, but the second plot point is the one I found most interesting (at least to me). Due to Hijiri’s charm making talent, Love (personified) has taken a special interest in her. Her lack of love life and the fact that she actually admits freely that her heart is too small for falling in love, makes Love decide to deliver a gift-wrapped box to Hijiri with what seems like the perfect boy inside named Ken. Love states that Ken was specifically made for Hijiri and to love her. Hijiri is skeptical of this “charmed-boy” who looks and acts real but who is also clearly a creation of Love. Or is he? Hijiri is determined to prove that Ken is just another puzzle to be solved, but with each moment she spends with him could her heart possibly be growing and proving to her that she too is worthy of being loved?
Though Love Charms & Other Catastrophes is technically a romance, there are moments where the book touches on some very important topics like the importance of communication between lovers, friends, and family. I liked that the book wasn’t all about romantic relationships either. There are other types of relationships being shown to the reader such as the strong bond of friendship shared between the members of the charm theory club, the twin/sisterly relationship of Femke and Mirthe and their struggle to be individuals but yet still be connected to one another (maybe they will have their own story told too in the future??? ::fingers crossed::). I thought it was also very important that the familial relationship between Hijiri and her parents was addressed at some point in this story. I think it really helped to understand why Hijiri is so skeptical about love or depending on people.
I really enjoyed reading Love Charms and Other Catastrophes and I hope that Karalius does come back to this wonderfully created world again in the near future. This was a fun, enjoyable read filled with lots of cupids, glass bottles, hearts and even a robot or two. I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys romances and YA books filled with a little bit of fantasy and hi-jinx.
I would like to thank Swoon Reads and Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours for giving me the chance to read this lovely book in return for my honest review and for giving me the opportunity to participate in my first ever Xpresso Book Tour.
About the Author
KIMBERLY KARALIUS holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida, and has been sharing stories on Figment.com with a strong following of enthusiastic readers since the site’s conception. Although Kimberly lives in sunny Florida, she prefers to stay indoors and sometimes buys a scarf in the hopes of snow. She loves watching really old cartoons and silent films. Being in Florida certainly has one big perk: going to Disney World. Which she does. Frequently. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters is her debut novel.
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