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Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Monday, June 6, 2011

5 Stars: A Spellbinding Read
Series: Spellbound #1
Hardcover: 384 Pages
Publication: June 21, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

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.

The title Spellbound accurately describes not only Brendan and Emma’s instant attraction to each other, their thousand-year relationship to each other, but also the way the book grasped my attention. I couldn’t put down my Kindle once I started reading it!

The story begins with Emma’s debut into the rich side of New York society after her drunk of a stepfather nearly kills her in a car accident. The attraction to Brendan, the tall, dark hottie with the rock-star green eyes who stands up for her obvious lies about her origins on the first day of school. Things seem to be going well between them after Cisco, a cute guy with whom Emma begins fast friends, invites the two of them to hear his boyfriend’s band play. However, Brendan treats her no differently at school the next day—and the week after—confusing Emma to no end. Note: He does have a good reason for doing so, and it has to do with him being so spellbound by her! That’s what I like about Shultz. She answers all your questions sometime during the story.

Shultz calls upon a large variety of very realistic characters. While there are some social stereotypes, Shultz makes them unique and utterly likable or detestable. I really love Ethan despite not having seen much of him. He’s always there for Emma, even in death, and warning her of danger via her dreams. He’s the one that Emma calls upon at the critical moment. Angelique is the cool girl that defies social trends and has a flair for the dramatic. Ashley is a sweet, cute cousin, the one you want to protect. Then there are Kristin and Anthony, two utterly detestable characters, but they do spice up the novel. With Brendan and Emma so attracted to each other, it’s obvious that the story needs two characters threatening to tear them apart.

Spunky and down-to-earth, Emma is a delightful heroine. She has led a hard life, but she never lets it pull her down for long. At first, I did wonder why Emma feels so down about herself and why she took so long to leave her alcoholic stepfather and move in with her kind and caring aunt until now. She doesn’t appear to have close ties with him, and he didn’t treat her well. The ones she really misses are her deceased mom and twin Ethan. Again, Shultz display her wonderful plot tying abilities and answers this nagging question.

When Emma realizes that Brendan owns a medallion with the same mark as the one found on the necklace that her brother gave her for good luck, the story takes a twist and old legends surface. Legends surface, suggesting that Emma and Brendan are former lovers sentenced to love again only to be parted through a tragic death on Emma’s part because of a selfish act on the part of Brendan’s former self. Add witchery, two snobby nemeses out to get them, and troubling dreams on Emma’s side, and Shultz gives you a unique, fresh paranormal read that leaves you hankering to turn the page.

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An ARC was provided for review purposes by the publisher.
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1 comment on "Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz"
  1. Definitely adding this one to my wishlist.


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