Love Charms and Other Catastrophes (Grimbaud #2)
by Kimberly Karalius
Swoon Reads | May 17th, 2016
ARC Courtesy of Goodreads
         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 giftwrapped box...literally.
I read the first book in this series a year or two ago. I don't remember much about it because it's been a while, but I think I enjoyed it. This book wasn't terrible, but it was predictable and could be chopped here and there. I don't really understand series that don't continue with the same characters. 

Anyway, Karalius revealed Ken's secret very early on. It's not that hard to piece together. It's the same schtick as always. Although it's mostly fluff, the writing is quite nice when describing the magic from the charms. I found it flowery, without being purple prose, and it flowed rather well. The romance and the setting gave me a Spirited Away vibe, but Spirited Away is wayyyyyyy better.

I pity Hijiri's characterization. The author made her so sad and awkward. It made me feel awkward reading it. There was a lot of self-loathing/deprecation/doubt. It's a human trait, but the author made it exaggerated to the point of parody. The whole Ken thing bothered me too. Love conjuring Ken reminded me of this drama called Absolute Darling, which is based off of the manga Absolute Boyfriend. The premise is basically about a girl creating the perfect boyfriend online and the boyfriend gets shipped to you. In this case, Love tailored Ken to Hijiri's liking. Ken essentially is a Ken doll/Build-A-Boyfriend. Little kids have Build-A-Bear and teens have Build-A-Boyfriend.

Since Ken is perfect/over the top romantic, the book took a turn to Shojo. You just start waiting for someone to come out saying,
Yeah... BUT, this book has a lot of diversity. It's ethnically diverse and it has LG from LGBTQ+. If you decide on reading this book, definitely read the first book first. 

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