Sunday, April 21, 2013


US & UK COVERSSPELLBOUND (Spellbound, #1)by Cara Lynn Shultz
Published June 21, 2011 by Harlequin Teen
GENRES: YA • High School • Paranormal • Urban • Magic • Mystery • Romance • Life Issues • Afterlife


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 Connor, 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.
Finally! Someone with my exact sense of humor! I must say that was THE best aspect to the book for me. (And a big reason it held onto a 4 rating.) I was holding my side the whole way through the book. The humor was witty, quirky and sounded like the jokes were coming out of my mouth. The banter had me skipping and jumping in utter joy... while holding my side.. (awkward.)

Alright, down to business. There were some aspects that left me very irritated. The main one being the lack of build up to explain the type of love Brendan and Emma were suppose to have. WARNING! WARNING! I am going to give you a mild spoiler! If you want to avoid this spoiler. STOP READING NOW and skip over this paragraph! Yes, technically I understand they were in love for a thousand years (cue Christina Perri's THOUSAND YEARS song) but there was NO WHERE NEAR enough back story to substantiate that kind of love. It wasn't realistic. (Yeah. I know. I'm talking paranormal fiction realistic here.) It could have been SO good. All the richness of the historical times, the dialogue we could have soaked up. It makes me so vexed!

Honestly, if Shultz had filled in that gaping hole with an abundance of meaty, intense back story to build up that love, I would have rated this book a five. Instead, we are like my husband who tries a futile attempt to complete a puzzle with only a quarter of the pieces. (My kids love to hide them all over the house.) You just can't get the whole picture. The other aspect that needs strengthening is the back story regarding her mother and the whole "family inheritance" from Emma's side. I have a feeling that the "inheritance" aspect will be addressed in greater detail in the next book.

 There were some aspects that were pretty creepy that I wished she played up more...(aka the street lamps and the dreams)... because I thought they were unique aspects to the storyline. There were some secondary story lines that got started and then left to hang out there. Like last Monday's wash that got forgotten in the washer and started to mold. (Not that I do that.. cough.. cough.) Again.. it's like looking at the Thanksgiving turkey being thrown into the trash bin with all that yummy meat still left on. There is some good stuff left to be developed and devoured. Frustrating! As for the "gotcha" moments... they weren't really that surprising. I was laying in bed reading and did this very same thing to my husband. He thinks my reading is hazardous to his health. (Snicker.)

Sorry. I digress. One thing that really disturbed me was this constant berating Emma gives herself over how "awful-ugly-poor-unaccomplished-unworthy" she is beside Brendan. I just can't stand this "Brendan-on-a-pedestal-worship-him-I-must" attitude. If you really love someone, does that even really matter? What I don't understand is this trend to write YA girls as completely lacking any self respect or self appreciation. This idea that the guy they like is god is really unappealing. Another unappetizing trait is the instant archenemy in the form of a mean blond girl with all the "goods". There were some other common elements included that I wish the YA writing world would bury in a deep hole and move on to new and more inventive ideas.

Emma (aside from her self-comparisons to Brendan) is extremely likable and relatable. I can't spoil the book for you I think you'll enjoy her personality and wit. Brendan was like trying to lick the icing off a cupcake but there was a glass pane in the way. It was all there but locked behind the barrier.. you just couldn't reach him. Now THAT is frustrating. 

The pacing was good except for the ending. It was rushed and too tidy. The resolution to the main problem was too simplistic and I thought the characters would have accomplished sometime before. (Sorry, can't spoil it.) It could have been another chunk of succulent meat to melt in your mouth but instead it was a microwave frozen dinner. I must give Shultz praise for her writing tone. It was well thought out and really captured the essence and character of the story idea. 

You all know I am a BIG cliffhanger fan. The bigger the cliffhanger, the better I like it. This had a cliffhanger the size of an ant hill. Sigh. So all of you out there who do NOT like cliffhangers should rejoice and run to get a copy of this book right away.

Even though it had its lumps, this book was still a tasty little read and perfect for your reading-for-the-summer list. ENJOY!