Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

By: Cara Lynn Shultz
E-ARC From Netgalley
b&n // amazon
Published Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Book Format: Paperback; pp 352
Age Demographic: Young Adult

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

*Summary taken from Goodreads.

❝My Thoughts❞

I was excited about this book from the moment I first heard about it. Hi, totally drawn to just about anything of the paranormal and mystical spellbound variety, add in a bit of an historical feel to it and you've definitely got my interest piqued. There's a forbidden sense of wonder in something dark and mysterious, lush and exciting, that gets my blood pulsing accompanied with a built in gravitational force pulling me to it.

Spellbound, was exciting, engaging, and entertaining from the moment I started reading. Although, I had a few qualms about how the paranormal element would fit in with the flow of the story being told, I still found myself very enthralled with the story itself and didn't mind the subtle underlying hints of paranormal elements until it really came to the forefront towards the end of the novel and left the reader (me gasping for) wanting more. I found myself searching for hidden pages, long after the last one had been turned. I was curious, I admit, and I wanted to see what was going to happen next.

I am anxiously and eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, as I have a feeling that it's going to be just as entertaining and exciting as this one was, if not more-so.

This novel combines so many elements that make it a wonderful book, like well developed strong characters that are relatable, very likeable, and have unique qualities about them that set them apart from others. There is also a great romance that will leave the reader just as just as spellbound as the novel reads itself. For Emma and Brendan, it seems as if they are doomed even before they really begin and there seemed to be this back and forth "can we be together ;; no, we can't really" dilemma going on between them.

Despite that, I was very pleased with how well Shultz was able to depict them in such a realistic way. There wasn't an epic all encompassing insta-love vibe present in the novel at all. It was just more of a natural gradual attraction on both parts, that turned out to be mutal and very realistically portrayed. All of their actions, how they related to one another, the way they acted when they were in and outside of school grounds, and in or out around social scenes were very believable. It was refreshing to see this, as there have been a number of YA novels where insta-love has happened and the reader is expected to just go along with it.

The secondary character's seemed to possess their very own special brand of flavor, which contributed to their unique attributes and gave them a vast array of characteristics. Angelique and Cisco were so much fun and Ashley (Emma's cousin) was pretty much adorable and an amazing support system for Emma as well, after everything that she'd been through and the circumstances that brought her to NYC and Vince A. I do wish we could have gotten to know Kristen a little better, because I wanted to believe there's more to her than just the fact that she hates Emma and she's the resident mean girl. I have a way of loving complicated characters like her, who are mean and I don't want to believe she's that way just for the sake of being mean.

I have really come to adore books that deal with soulmate(s), past lives, and reincarnation if handled properly and written in such a way that it all comes together seamlessly and effortless and this novel did that and so much more. It intricately wove together an ancient family curse through witchcraft, mythology, and the broken heart of a man who loved one woman so much that he would do anything for a chance to spend happiness with her.

Over-all, I truly enjoyed the hint of historical attributes combined with the paranormal, all coming together to form a novel that I will want to read and again and again and again. It's not hard at all for me to give this a full five stars. There wasn't anything that I didn't enjoy about this book or the author.

{Small Note: This book was received as an E-ARC through Harlequin Teen viaNetgalley, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided. No money exchanged hands, I review books for fun because I love to read. I am not interested in monetary gain.}


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