Monday, August 8, 2011

Spellbound (Spellbound #1) by Cara Lynn Shultz: review

Goodreads rating: 3.91
Paperback, 324 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Harlequin Teen

0373210302 (ISBN13: 9780373210305)

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.


Four is definitely being generous. I liked it and it had it's moments, but it was nothing that special to me. Yet, I liked it so much I just can't bring myself to give it a 3.

What I liked: I love books about soul mates lost through time that have to keep re-living their pain. There's something sick and masochistic about it, but, hey, we're not the ones living it. We simply enjoy and try to relate to their pain. Emma and Brendan were cute. Even though it was predictable, he ignored her like a good guy despite the fact that it made her think he hated her. They have this uncontrollable connection and we don't know why. All I can say is, without Angelique, they would have never figured out why they were destined to be together... and then split apart. Their romance was like that of a true fairytale. A twisted one, but a fairytale none the less. I'm really intrigued, like Angelique, to see if those other stories in the book were true.

I also liked how Emma was the one that had "powers", instead of the guy being the only one. When a girl is totally helpless in a novel because only her guy can truly defeat the bad guys, I ask myself why the author made her female protagonist so weak. Emma was not weak. She was a little girly and goofy at times, but she stood up for herself and the people she loved. That girl had some fight in her.

The story based on their love was wonderfully crafted. I never got bored; who doesn't love a tragic love story? And again, it had the element of a past love lost, hoping to be found again, which is always heartbreaking. But it's also a love that's doomed. Need I say more?

What I didn't like: I'm always interested in past lives involving romance and soul mates. A lot of times, though, these books are simply not well-done. The characters (especially the love interest) have to be likeable and ideally three-dimensional. The story has to be interesting and make sense, and grab my attention. And, as with all novels, the dialogue has to be decent. I suppose one out of three isn't so bad. The characters were developed, but unmemorable. I liked Brendan, but I didn't fall in love with him like Emma did. I also wasn't so impressed with Emma herself. Sometimes her dialogue had me asking, "really?". I say some of that stuff, but authors have to choose what would sound good in a novel and what should stay off the pages.

I don't know why, but I like a little more mystery with the guy. I guess that's why I like trilogies. A lot of times either a relationship faces more hardships than can be delved into in a single book, or their lack of relationship is spelled out better in horrible events that just bring them closer together when one or the other is trying to stay away. Brendan and Emma were too easy for me. To be fair, I LOVED the kissing scenes they had (you can tell they're good when your own stomach twists into knots) but sadly I need something more than kissing.

One last thing, I expected the villain to be more... villainous... supernatural, I guess. But no novel is perfect.

I'm left with one question: Is there a sequel to this? I want more, and it was left a little open, but I get the feeling Spellbound was a one-time thing.

*A special thank you to netGalley and Harlequin Teen for giving me the opportunity to read this and write a review.*


  1. Hey, great review!
    I've seen this book at the local store, and always wonder if i should maybe buy it, but then don't :( I might give it a go now!
    Now for something completely unrelated, how did you manage to get an ARC of A Beautiful Dark? I've been wondering if i should request it but i'm kinda worried i'll be rejected. Is it because you're a writer? (congrats on that, btw)

    Anyways, sorry about that. If you have a spare moment and care to reply i'll be super grateful, but i'm not pressuring you (seriously)
    Have an awesome week :D

  2. I got an ARC of Beautiful Dark from netGalley, where you can only get digital copies of new and upcoming releases. If you have a Kindle or Nook or any other eReader you can request it. But if you don't, don't be afraid of the rejection for a hard copy. I've sent out a couple reader's copy request e-mails and they definitely didn't grant me every book I requested but they're willing. Don't give up! And it's not because I'm a writer. It may have been because I'm a blogger, but you'd have to check out their full criteria on their netGalley page.


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