Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ebook, 344 pages
Source: Received by NetGalley for review
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My Romancing Thoughts:
A beautifully romantic reincarnation love story!
Emma Connor hasn't lived the average teenager's life. At sixteen she's already experienced the abandonment of her father, the death of her twin brother at fourteen and her mother's passing just a year after her brother. Left in the care of her abusive stepfather, Emma is sent to live with her aunt in New York after she gets into car accident with her intoxicated stepfather that almost takes her life. Moving to New York is a huge change for her and she's just hoping to finish her two years of high school at Vincent Academy by sticking to herself and hiding in the shadows.
On her first day at Vincent Academy, Emma meets some nice and not-so-nice classmates and realizes there is no possible way of staying anonymous at her new school. Just when she thinks she'll never fit in, Emma meets Brendan, the school hunk and bad boy who steps in and defends her from the insults of the most popular girl in school, Kristin. There's an instant attraction to Brendan that startles Emma, far beyond physical, a familiarity she can't place. Soon after, Emma is plagued by disturbing dreams and events that warn her to stay away from the very guy she longs to get close to. Should she listen to her ominous dreams or listen to her heart?
This book truly surprised me. As a reader of mostly adult paranormal romance, I tend to get frustrated at all the teenage angst that is depicted in most young adult stories, but Spellbound is in a league of its own. It's a story of romance, reincarnation and star-crossed lovers with an original take that easily draws both a young adult and adult audience.
Emma is an amusing character. She's an average looking teenage girl who has experienced a lot for her age but remains untainted by it all and still sees good in the world. She's confident, smart and very witty...I had to laugh out loud at some of her thoughts while reading. Emma is quite mature for her age, isn't afraid to stand up for herself and doesn't turn into a crazy, love obsessed teen when she gets involved with Brendan; she stays true to herself and has all the makings of a strong heroine.
Brendan will have you crushing on him in no time! He's the popular bad boy who has it all but is still very down to earth. Always the gentleman, Brendan knows how to treat a lady and truly is an "old soul" (that's all I can say without giving too much away!). There is a moment where you doubt he's as good as he seems but things eventually get back to normal and Brendan redeems himself. I love the developing relationship between him and Emma, it never feels rushed and is very real, they have their differences and hardships, making their romance realistic and not some fairy tale.
The paranormal element in this story takes a backseat to the romance but adds a little magic to the story just the same. The author is a great storyteller and does a fabulous job in creating "real" characters, not picture perfect teenagers. The secondary characters are just as fun and complete the story. There's jealousy, bickering, some underage drinking and plenty of getting into trouble by these teens which makes the book stick out from the rest. A little suspense, magic and forbidden romance with some engaging characters makes Spellbound a must read for all paranormal romance junkies!