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Monday, March 12, 2012

Advanced REVIEW: Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz

Spellcaster (Spellbound #2) by Cara Lynn Shultz
Expected Pub: March 27th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Review copy: Review copy (NetGalley PDF)



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 ├╝ber-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.


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Every once in a while you come across a book that you absolutely fall in love with. Spellbound was one of those books. I’ve been challenging myself to read second books in series because I have a 2nd book phobia I need to overcome.

When I read a book, it’s the characters who make the book. I need to fall in love with them (usually platonically, sometimes, it’s a little crush). If I don’t want to be these characters or to know them, all the great storylines in the world can’t save a book for me.
I fell head over heels for Brendan and Emma. I love these two characters. Then, to top things off, all the secondary characters worked so well. I was so excited to find a book like this, one I know I’ll reread for comfort when I need to escape my everyday world.

I had the good fortune to be able to download Spellcaster from NetGalley to read in advance of its release day. But, I was a little nervous. Would I still love these characters? Would book 2 ruin my love of book 1? What if there’s a love triangle now? So many worries, but, it turned out, nothing to worry about.

To read my REVIEW of SPELLBOUND (Book 1) CLICK HERE

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Spellcaster picks up about 4 months after the end of Spellbound.  Emma and Brendan have been building their relationship and dealing with the public fallout of their big encounter with Anthony. The Salingers are a well-known family and Brendan’s good looks, combined with his last name made the “Rumble on the Rocks” as it’s become known, big news in the city.

The story starts out from an unknown and unnamed enemy’s point-of-view, and while we know someone is plotting trouble for our True Love couple, we don’t know who it is. There are some clues early on, but nothing concrete.

Spellcaster was not the sequel I was expecting. It was better. While the supernatural is drawn to the power of Emma and Brendan’s True Love, the real stress in their relationship is caused by Brendan’s very human and un-supernatural (natural?)  behavior before he and Emma met.

Brendan was, oh how to say this? Promiscuous, I guess would be this right word. Emma is his first girlfriend and the first girl he’s ever loved, but he, admittedly played the field quite a bit before he knew he had true love as his destiny. It causes Emma more than a little hurt and embarrassment to be continually running into girls who’ve hooked up with Brendan in the past.

Emma and Brendan have some really sweet and real conversations about who they were before they met. Brendan has a lot of regret and guilt over the pain he causes Emma. On the other side, Brendan confesses to Emma that he’s actually jealous of Matt, he ex-boyfriend because she actually cared about someone else before him. The conversations between these two were so well done, it only made me love both characters even more.

Brendan can’t escape his past in Spellcaster and it turns out that leaving a trail of broken hearts behind you will catch up with you in both regular life and your supernatural one.

There is some mystery as to who is attacking Brendan and Emma, but it won’t take the reader long to figure it out. With the help of Angelique, Brendan and Emma solve the mystery soon enough that you won’t get frustrated waiting for them to catch up. The details as to who’s attacking them connected back to Brendan’s past behavior and guilt, Emma’s feelings towards the Brendan she knows vs. the Brendan who was and even Angelique’s open dislike of Brendan, perfectly and tied the mystery and the whole book together nicely.

This was a book that really flowed together into a nice, neat story. It wasn’t just an extension of the first book, but it also wasn’t just a lot of set up for a future story. Two of the chapters are told from Angelique’s point of view and those were an added treat. Angelique has a heart to heart with Brendan and a flashback to their freshman year. Because Angelique’s known Brendan longer than Emma has and in a very different way, we get to see Brendan differently than how we see him through Emma’s eyes.

Spellcaster is a sequel that does not disappoint. If anything, it made me like the characters more. Getting a chance to see the world through Angelique’s eyes makes me hope we’ll get more of that. I’d like a story from her point of view (or Ashley’s - actually I’d love an Ashley romance).

So, yes this review is a little gushy, but I love these characters and this is a sequel that I will actually reread along with Spellbound because I love all these characters so much I just want to go and hang out with them.


Happy Reading!

Remember to leave a comment of link to your review of Spellbound or Spellcaster,  then click the MARCHing through book 2 badge on the side of the page to enter my MARCH giveaway!

4 comments:

  1. I'm really excited to read this one. I picked up Spellbound on a whim and really enjoyed reading it! This one sounds just as good. I love the mystery behind the story. Great review!

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  2. I also fell in love with the first book in this series! I agree with your phobia of 2nd books in series. So many times they can almost ruin the series. This one did not do that though for me either. Check out my review of the book here, along with my interview with the author: http://misclisa.blogspot.com/2012/02/spellcaster-by-cara-lynn-shultz-and.html

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  3. I am SO SO glad that you loved it! I totally have that same phobia and I was ESPECIALLY worried about it with this one because I had thought that Spellcaster really felt like as standalone. SO glad to hear it lives up to the first one!

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

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  4. I'm so excited to read this-I think it will be my next read. Spellbound caught me off guard with its enjoyability and I hope I can enjoy the world just as much again in this sequel.

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