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9781633750975_p0_v1_s300x  This is for an e-book ARC provided by NetGalley and Entangled Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Preston Chandler is desperate. It turns out that an old friend whose romantic advances he cruelly rejected is a witch. Not in the figurative sense, but the curse-giving literal sense. She’s cast a spell over his poor blameless younger sister Ana which has put her into a deep coma-like sleep. If Chandler doesn’t follow Raven’s cryptic clues and riddles, she will die. The first of these involve a pair of crystal slippers. He’s found one but is still searching for the other. Enter Celinda Branham, who deliberately makes herself look plain by wearing no make-up and hiding herself in baggy, shapeless clothing. She does this because she’s suffering from low self-esteem as well as other issues due to a wicked step-mother who has taken everything from her. She’s a reluctant participant at a Christmas Yankee Swap when she wins an exquisite, albeit completely useless crystal slipper. Hmm. What is she supposed to do with this? It’s not long before Chandler tracks Celinda down and a romance (sort of) begins. Can these two lost souls save not only Ana but themselves? Let me begin by saying I really wanted to like this book. Really. I love fairytale retellings and this seemed like such a great mash-up of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty set during the present day. Add to that a dishy British hero who owns a chocolate making company, and an ugly duckling heroine who’s a librarian, what’s not to like? Well, for me it was the characters. Preston is insufferable, sexist, and obnoxious and I wouldn’t have blamed Raven if she had cursed him instead of his sister. Even while he’s supposedly running around doing everything he can to save her you’re left wondering if it’s purely out of love or is it fear that without his sister who is also a shareholder that he’ll loose his company to a hostile takeover orchestrated by Raven’s father. It seems like the author tries to make him redeemable, but by the end of the book Preston still left me cold. And then there’s Celinda. She should have been a sympathetic character. Instead one moment she’s putting off Preston’s advances as nastily as possible, and the next, willingly going along with the “romance” even though it’s become clear that there wouldn’t be any if it wasn’t necessary on Preston’s part to save Ana. Arrghh. Just thinking about it is making me grind my teeth! Honestly, if it wasn’t a review book I would have stopped well before the halfway mark. I’m sorry. I really tried. I hate it when I dislike a book this much.