Finding your eternal soulmate - easy. Stopping a true-love-hungry evil - not so much… After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems. Although...it's not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close.... But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan's deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma's crash course in über-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.
Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 27th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Three Stars: Freed from the lovers curse, but happily ever after is not in store for Brendan and Emma as dark enemies seek to destroy their happiness.
Spellcaster, drops back into Brendan and Emma's lives four months after the neat resolution of Spellbound. The book opens with a cryptic email to an unknown addressee at the Vince A Prep School. The anonymous emailer is bent on unleashing revenge on Brendan. Meanwhile, the lovebirds have settled back into school. Emma is working with Angelique to hone her witchcraft. The two novice witches attempt a simple spell and end up with a dire prediction. Something black and malicious is coursing toward Emma and Brendan, intent on destroying their bond. A hate so malevolent that it could possibly eclipse the true love of soul mates. Severely shaken, Emma attempts to push the dire warning out of her mind. The next day, what starts as a typical day, turns ominous as Brendan is hauled to the office under accusations of drugs. He is detained, unable to accompany Emma on the school field trip. At the end of the excursion, Emma wanders off into the park and is attacked by a masked, knife wielding assailant. The attacker wants her blood, but Emma fights back. This is just the beginning of a series of horrible events that drags danger to Emma and Brendan. Can the pair once again stand together and fend off the blackness that threatens to destroy them?
What I Liked:
- Brendan and Emma are back, and their sizzling, hot romance is just as heated. I again enjoyed the electric chemistry between the pair. Together they are passionate and deep, but yet they show restraint. I appreciate that Ms. Shultz lets the sparks fly between them, but they show maturity regarding sex. Meaning, they choose to wait until an appropriate time. So, those of you who prefer not to have sex in your YA, this has plenty of simmering scenes (kissing etc.) but no actual sex scenes.
- I appreciated that this time Angelique comes into focus and you get to know her better, in fact there are a couple of times where she takes over the narration. Angelique is full of surprises. Cisco also is more prevalent in this book, which I liked since he is one of my favorite characters.
- I liked the way the author drops little clues and small tidbits that seem inconsequential at the time, but then later they resurface and become important. I enjoyed following the trail and seeing how they all fit together. Almost everything has a place in the story.
- I mentioned in my earlier review of Spellbound, that this series has the ubiquitous mean girl. While I hate the inclusion of the tormentors, at least the main characters take a stand against the bullying. I admired the way that Emma admonished herself when she stooped to the low tactics of the mean girls. She sees the error in her actions and chooses to rise above that nasty type of behavior.
- I appreciate that this series stays away from the horrendous love triangles and the dreaded cliffhangers. Both books center around the smoking hot romance between Brendan and Emma, and they both resolve nicely. I applaud Ms. Shultz for endeavoring to refrain from my two most hated nemesis in the YA genre.
- I love Emma's voice, she is just a touch sarcastic and a bit edgy, which leads to some fun dialogue.
- I liked that the author included at the end of both books a downloadable playlist of songs on Brendan and Emma's ipods. A fun little addition to the books.
And The Not So Much:
- This book explores Emma's newfound powers as she begins to accept that she is a witch. For some reason, I just don't feel like the whole witch concept is thoroughly explored and explained. Some of the spells just don't make sense. For instance, it becomes evident that powerful spells can be performed if the caster has a personal item, so why then would the characters agree to give blood to get the attacker to back off? A sample of blood is one of the most potent ingredients, usually to perform a dark spell. The witchcraft, just didn't feel realistic to me.
- Again this book starts off slow. It takes a good while before the true plot unfolds, and the action doesn't kick in until at least half way. The book does build and build to a big dramatic finish, but you must be patient.
- This book has a darker tone in comparison to its predecessor. I found that I had a harder time staying engaged in this plot, it may have been just me, but I thought the focus on the romance in the first book was fun, this time the story revolves around a dark predator bent on breaking up Emma and Brendan. Perhaps the reason I wasn't as entertained by this book was that the plot lacked the originality that was present in Spellbound.
Fans of the Brendan and Emma, soul mates, will delight in the return of their spicy hot romance. This book delves into the paranormal world of witches and spells. Angelique steps forward and adds her unique voice to the book, a lively addition indeed. I can recommend this book to anyone who is looking to read outside of the typical triangle trios and escape the pain of the cliffhanger. This is a good read, but in my opinion not quite as unique as its predecessor.
"I thought at the time---she'd had so much Botox for the grand opening of one of her husband's hotels that her face was about as flexible as brick."
"So I could think of better ways to pass the time than discussing his past, like slamming my face into a drawer---repeatedly."
"I rolled my eyes at her. "You watch too much porny latenight TV."
"Looks like someone put on her pervy pants this morning."
"Which left me standing right next to Kristin, the Creamsicle---colored harpy. I felt like the chained-up goat from Jurassic Park, just waiting for the T-Rex to come and bite my head off."
"I sat on the rim of the bathtub in his messy bathroom, blowing my nose into a continuous roll of toilet paper like the sexy beast I am."
"You're a diamond and she's a....Twinkie wrapper."
"He thought her tan made her look like she bathed in nacho cheese."
"The empath in me was hit with such a display of he-man testosterone swagger I was worried I'd feel like trying to write my name in the snow."
"Overlooking it all like an eye in the sky was the moon, a deep rust color bleeding into its side as the lunar eclipse continued its progress."
A Copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Harlequin Teen, in exchange for an honest review.