Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spellbound, by Cara Lynn Shultz

I knew it was a paranormal romance going into it, but I wish I had known it was primarily a romance with very little paranormal.  If I had, I think I would've appreciated the pace and style more.  With my incorrect preconceptions however, I ended up spending a lot of the book wondering when the foreshadowing would finally reveal itself and make this book more magical.  Thankfully the buildup and the romance were interesting and kept me engaged throughout this book.  The main character is named Emma and when unfortunate circumstances force her to move to New York City to live with her wealthy aunt, she has no idea her life is about to change forever.  Her new school, Vincent Academy, is the kind of place many would wish to attend (aside from the terrible cafeteria food anyway), but Emma is just hoping to get through it invisible and unnoticed.  It takes her just one day to realize that's going to be impossible.  She's definitely not the type to stand down when someone tries to intimidate her, so when one of the school bullies, Kristen, decides to be rude, Emma has a few choice words in return which immediately earn her the praise of the hottest guy in school, Brenden, which just pisses off Kristin the Queen Bee even more.  Clearly blending in won't be an option for her, but it never would've been possible anyway, because Emma is hiding something dangerous from everyone... even herself.  She's managed to forget some key things from her past and she chooses to ignore some important things from her present too.  Thankfully Emma befriends the one person who can actually help her uncover all these secrets.  Her name is Angelique and everyone at school thinks she is a witch, but she is the most genuine friend Emma finds at Vincent Academy and they might even be destined to cross paths.  Over the course of the book we get to know Brenden and Emma better and see their back-and-forth relationship that would frustrate anyone.  What is his problem?  Why is he so hot and cold?  You'll just have to read it yourself to find out.  I'd recommend this book to any fans of romance especially, paranormal, witchcraft, curses, high school stories, tough characters that stand up for themselves and stories about overcoming great odds.

Favorite things:  Emma was a very likable character for me and I always love reading about people who don't let their circumstances define them, the addition of the paranormal aspect was so subtle and even resisted at first which made this book more realistic and thus easier to relate to, Angelique was a wonderful character to read about and was so unique and distinctive, Emma's cousin Ashley was another wonderful character full of positive energy and warmth, the scenes with physical violence were so well-written that it was easy to "see" the conflict in my mind, Cara Lynn Shultz was able to pull my emotions from me with her writing as well and I found myself laughing and responding to this book out loud multiple times, Emma was so funny at one point when she pretended to take a shot and just poured it over her shoulder when she thought no one was looking, I loved the way the pieces of the puzzle fit together and, finally, the cover (which I didn't get a copy of since it was a NetGalley) is really eye-catching and beautiful.

Criticisms:  I found it took a long time to get going and I personally would've preferred some more magic/paranormal in the book and less of the school scenes (or perhaps if this book had been setup as a romance first it would've been okay), some of the violence made me uncomfortable and was a bit more disturbing than I had braced myself for, Emma's self-deprecating attitude about the scar on her arm annoyed me and I kept thinking of the gorgeous Padma Lakshmi who wears her scar with pride and I wished Emma would come around to thinking like that about herself too (which she never did) and then, lastly, I thought the ending was a bit rushed and there were a few too many things smooshed together there. 

Overall:  4 out of 5 stars!  And the sounds of the ending made it seem like perhaps there will be another one from Angelique's perspective next and if that's so, I am definitely reading it and I think it will be even better than this one.

Note:  I was able to read this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I did not pay for this book, however that did not affect my opinion or review in any way.


  1. Thanks for the review! I've been wanting to request this one on NetGalley, but I wasn't quite sure what it was about. I definitely hadn't realized that there was a lot of romance thrown in! I can't wait to read this one now!

  2. I have this on my TBR pile and I am looking forward to it!

    Good review and thanks for the heads up about the lack of paranormal.

  3. Thanks and I'm glad the things I had to say have helped you two know more about this one. :)

  4. Glad you liked it! I've also received this on Net Galley. Can't wait ;)

  5. Great review! Sounds like something I might want to read this summer.


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