Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: Spellbound, by Cara Lynn Shultz

Spellbound is an entertaining combination of romance, high school drama, and witchcraft.

Emma has had a rough life—her father left when she was young, and both her mom and brother are dead. Her stepfather was abusive, and eventually caused an accident while driving drunk that severely injured Emma. So Emma has come to New York to live with her aunt Christine. Her cousin, Ashley, who is two years younger than Emma, is excited to show Emma the ropes at their exclusive private school, where Emma will be a junior.

Emma finds a few friends, but lots of unfriendly, pretentious teens at Vincent Academy. She is uncontrollably drawn to one hot boy, though. Brendan Salinger. She has never felt this towards another boy, and doesn’t understand what it means. It seems at times that Brendan is interested in her, but other times he’s very cold, and Emma is baffled by his behavior. 

Emma’s brother had given her a unique pendant that she always wears around her neck. It’s some sort of crest that he picked up at a garage sale. Emma finds a picture of the exact same pendant in Brendan’s locker, and begins some investigating of what exactly this pendant means.

She discovers an old legend about her pendant, with the help of her friend Angelique who claims she is a witch. Along with determining how this legend affects Emma, she gets embroiled in a battle with Antony, a typical high-school bully, who has spread vicious rumors about Ashley.

Shultz adds many more details, but I don’t want to give too much away. The story is a realistic portrayal of how difficult high school life can be with different factions and the motivations of hormonal teens. At times, their behavior may go a bit over the top, but I still enjoyed the suspense and action. Then there’s the magical, fairy tale aspect, which adds just enough intrigue to keep the story exciting and still believable. The romance is simply melty – I know that’s not a word, but it made me want to be a teen falling in love all over again. I really enjoyed how Shultz described the buildup of this attraction. There’s no sex, just some hot, steamy kissing, and I found that refreshing. 

There were some formatting issues with the ebook I read. Usually when there’s a change of time or place, there’s a least an extra space between paragraphs. The book didn’t have it, so sometimes these changes were a bit jarring. There were no chapters; no breaks anywhere in the text. I’m hopeful this will be fixed in the final copy.

There’s also a bit of a continuation after the end of the story, told from Angelique’s viewpoint, which was interesting, but left me confused. I’m not sure if this was a setup for a sequel or just an added bit of a tale. Anyone?

I will recommend this to girls who like their romance with a little bit of magic.  There’s hot boys, nasty girls, and some tense, life threatening scenes to add to the mix. I think this one will be an easy sell.

Published by Harlequin Teen, June 21, 2011
eARC received for review from NetGalley and the publisher
352 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 3.5/5

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  1. I can't decide it I want to read this one or not! I'm waffling back and forth...
    Thanks for the review! Happy Reading!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  2. I was very curious if I wanted to read this book or not. I think I might, it sounds really good! Thanks for the wonderful review!

  3. Hot boys and nasty girls - haha :D
    I have this from Netgalley; I think I might read it soon.

  4. I find formatting issues a lot when I request an ebook from NetGalley. I usually just take them as proof errors and hope they will get them fixed before they publish!

  5. Melty! I can't this of a better way to describe a romance. I can imagine just what you're trying to get at. Your first love is really something special - even if you end up hating that person.

  6. The NetGalley ebooks I read often have issues with formatting-- mostly it's that the Reader skips the first page of every chapter. Very annoying.

    I definitely want to check this one out. I love witch stories, and compelling romances. Glad you enjoyed it for the most part. :)

    Kat @ A Myriad of Books

  7. Yeah, I think it's just a thing a lot of publishers are doing with NetGalley to get people to buy a finished copy when the book is out and to show that this eBook is in fact a proof.

    So yeah, it is confusing. I was also confused by Angelique's story at the end. It sounds like there will be more books, but from the direction it was going, I felt like Spellbound would thrive better as a standalone.

    Fantastic review! Tomorrow is the big day!


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