Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Spellbound (Spellbound, #1)Title: Spellbound
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 2011
Genre/Format: Paranormal/Novel
Summary: Emma has had a rough life. She has lost her mother and her brother. She has been living with an alcoholic stepfather. So, moving in with her well-off aunt in NYC is surreal for her. She hasn't been relaxed, happy or taken care of in years. This move seems to be exactly what Emma needs, even though it doesn't seem like it at first- a preppy, private H.S. is not exactly the friendliest of the places for a new girl. But when Emma sees Brendan, none of the others matter anymore.
What I Think: In the world of paranormal romance, Spellbound is a book full of cliches, but fights them throughout and actually stands alone pretty strongly. Overall, a fun romance with action, legends and great music references!

Cliche 1: Emma moves to NYC to live with her rich aunt after a life of loss with her family and has to start school at a posh private school. At the private school she meets: 1) Kristen- A blonde *itchy girl who hates her right away; 2) Anthony- An aggressive, jerky rich jock who harasses her; 3) Brendan- A hot, rich jock who she falls in love with at first site; 4) Cisco- A gay best friend; 5) Angelique- An outcast, scholarship kid who accepts Emma for who she is.

Overcoming cliche 1: Emma is quite snarky and keeps you on your toes while reading her narrative. The rest of the characters may fit into cliches, but they are struggling to crawl out of the box. Although the snobby girl and the a-hole boy fit their niche pretty exactly, the rest don't. Cisco is essential in making Emma feel comfortable at her new school (although naming a gay guy Francisco seemed a bit too predictable) and Angelique becomes quite important when the paranormal aspect of the story enters. I was sad that Cisco faded as Emma's relationship with Brendan came into focus. And Brendan....

Cliche 2: A girl falls in love with a bad boy (who is described surprisingly like Edward...) Brendan is a misunderstood bad guy and Emma is just the person to figure him out.

Overcoming cliche 2: Brendan is so cool! He is a gentleman (most of the time...), has great taste in music, is one of the smartest boys in the school and is just, so... hot! Usually when I read a paranormal romance (ala Twilight or Hush, Hush) the man is always so overbearing, aggressive, masculine and negative. Brendan, though mysterious and protective at times, is likable. A nice touch to actually have the protagonist fall for a likable guy.

Cliche 3: They're cursed to love each other and will eventually result in one of their dooms. (Seemed very Impossible by Werlin to me.)

Overcoming cliche 3: The build up to the curse, the curse reveal and the result of the curse are quite entertaining. I found parts of it predictable, but other parts came out of nowhere and shocked me. Quite fun!

Cliche 4: Girl cannot live without boy. They are soulmates.

Overcoming cliche 4: Well, this one is not really overcome. They are soulmates, but it is less of a needy situation than other romances I've read. Yes, Emma loves Brendan and fantasizes and daydreams about him, but Emma also has her own personality. She is strong and not afraid to stand up for herself. She is not always relying on Brendan (though he does seem to be there for her a lot).

If you are looking for a fun read that may be just a bit different than the other paranormal romances you've read, you should pick this up.

Read Together: 8 - 10
Read Alone: 8 - 12
Read With: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Snatch of Text: "It overloaded my senses and felt natural at the same time- like this was where I was supposed to be." (approximately p. 175)

"Tension at home was thick like fog, how it filled your lungs until you thought you would suffocate." (approximately p. 200)

"I wasn't exactly a stranger to feeling like a princess- if you meant the princes sin the first half of the fairy tale. Cinderella as a scullery maid. Snow White with the wicked stepmother. But I wasn't used to what life was like after you meet the prince, after the slipper fits, after the kiss wakes you from your slumber. It would take some getting used to. (approximately p. 205)

Cara Lynn Shultz also wrote a beautiful legend to go with the story. It is a great mentor text for the make up of a legend and is accompanied by a curse in verse.

(I read Spellbound on my Kindle, so do not have the exact page numbers.)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Predicting, Synthesize, Looking for details, Asking questions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Narrative, Humor, Description, Characterization
Writing Prompts: Create your own legend that ends in a curse for one of the character's families.; Emma's aunt rescues her when she really needs it. Write about someone who has helped you at some point in your life.
Topics Covered: Love, Choice, Death, Abuse, Taking Risks, Fear, Trust, Happiness, Humor
Translated to Spanish: No

Thank you to Harlequin & netGalley for allowing me to review this book.

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