Conjure (The Hoodoo Apprentice #1)Featured
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry--hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
But when a strange girl bent on revenge appears, demon dogs become a threat, and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before the last days of summer—and her friends--are lost forever.
Emma Guthrie stumbles on an old bottle with a message from the later 1700s. Her twin Jack only hears one part of the message: buried treasure. He goes, along with friend Cooper Beaumont, to find it with the encouragement of a mysterious girl who just happens to walk up to them. What happens next sets off an ancient curse. Now it’s up to Emma to find a cure to stop the curse.
The author sure did her homework. This paranormal tale is rich with hoodoo magic and a curse that refuses to be broken. I love the language and details that go into the spells that Emma has to make. She ends up meeting elderly Miss Delia who introduces her to such things as a tree with bottles to keep away evil.
There’s some graphic descriptions of how Jack slowly turns into a walking skeleton. I have to admit when those huge blisters explode, revealing just bone, I flinched.
I especially loved when Emma and Miss Delia conjure up a spell that takes them back to the 1700s to witness what caused one woman to put a curse on a whole family line. This is some of the strongest writing in this novel.
The romance between Emma and Cooper starts out slow and builds. I really felt as if he was serious about his feelings towards Emma.
A few problems I did have with this otherwise highly engaging tale was the climax felt a tad bit rushed. It seemed as if it happened too soon. Also Jack's snippy behavior at times was way over the top. I wanted to say, "Jeez, chill, Emma's doing all she can!" But that's just me.
There’s a hint at a sequel in which Emma continues her quest to destroy a centuries old curse.
A great fantasy with elements of the paranormal mixed with high seas adventure and a dash of romance. I couldn’t put this story down and can’t wait to read the next book!
2. Intriguing flashbacks to the 1700s
3. Great fantasy with elements of the paranormal mixed with high seas adventure and a dash of romance
What I liked: The friendship between Emma, Jack (her brother) and Cooper. The way Emma deals with her feelings is rare for someone so young but is also creative and productive. The world of "hoodoo" magic was mysterious and intriguing and I thought Lea did a good job of bringing it to life. The romance is sweet and "safe" for younger readers.
What I wasn't crazy about: Emma is only 14 and I thought that was a bit young for a YA novel. Jack grated on my nerves quite a bit and there were times I felt I wouldn't have missed him in the least if he'd succumbed to the Creep. (I know that's not the nicest thing to say, but still.) Cooper is certainly swoon worthy but he came across "soft" at times. I wanted him to have a little more "oomph" in his book boy appeal.
This series has a lot of potential and readers who enjoy sweet romance, mystery and magic will no doubt love this.
eARC received from Entangled Publishing
Release Date: Available Now
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
“Only white magic can fight black. Just like only light can defeat darkness.”
Impromptu make-out sessions.
These are just a few of the things you will run in to while reading Lea Nolan’s Conjure. Emma, Jack, and Cooper are spending the summer on the perfect island setting—beautiful beaches, crashing waves, ancient ruins. It’s the perfect vacation, especially since Emma is head over heels for her brother’s best friend, Cooper. The summer is the perfect time for her to get a little closer to him. However, their perfect summer vacation is shattered when Jack becomes obsessed with finding pirate treasure, and in the course of his search, unleashes a terrible curse upon himself.
I enjoyed the idea of this book—the pirate treasure, the curse, and the magic to reverse it. The book starts out with a bang when the three of them find a message in a bottle at the beach. From that moment, Emma keeps getting the willies. I liked how honest Emma was, and I loved how she would sketch in order to play out her hopes and frustrations. I did bother me a bit that she was so young (14), and I felt that her immaturity played into the fact that the three of them keep getting deeper and deeper into trouble.
My favorite part of this book was the minor characters, Miss Delia and Maggie. Miss Delia was strong and confident, and I liked that there was an air of mystery surrounding her. She becomes Emma’s teacher, and I felt like Emma was much more mature when she was around her. I liked that Emma much more than the Emma around Jack and Cooper. And then Maggie—I loved that you couldn’t guess what her motives were. Is she good or evil? I had absolutely no idea, and that made it so much better! I mean, you get very little information about her, and the entire book, I kept asking myself, “Who is she?” I really liked that her character was unpredictable.
As for the major characters—Emma, Jack, and Cooper; they were interesting in their own right, but there was nothing stand-out about them. Jack was the most annoying character I’ve ever read—and I know that it is supposed to be that way to show his obsession, but I got to the point where I just wanted to skip over him every time he opened his mouth. It got so bad that I actually wished the Creep would explode his entire body. Again, I believe this was intentional, it just still annoyed me. And then we have Cooper—hottie. I liked Cooper—he was sweet and endearing, and I felt like he really cared for Emma and Jack. I think lots of readers will really like him, but I wish he would have done something to make himself stand out more. However, even if Emma and Cooper didn’t blow me away, I did enjoy their romance. You want a sneak peak, don’t you? Why not…
“The only thing that keeps me from collapsing back onto the sand are his strong hands that reach to caress my back. I melt, consumed by the electric inferno building in my belly. ‘You’re amazing,’ he whispers, ‘Kissing you is better than I imagined.’”
Overall, this story was cute and unique, although slow. There were some great moments, like when Emma and Cooper must steal and important artifact, or when Emma and Cooper kiss for the first time; but I felt like the parts between lagged with unnecessary details.
I recommend this to readers who want something different (hoodoo, curses, pirates), and who don’t mind reading through slow parts to get to the action-packed and steamy moments.
Emma, Jack and Cooper are spending their summer in the South Carolinas. She has big plans for the summer. After half a year away at a boarding school with her brother Jack, Emma is finally back with Cooper (her secret crush). But things don’t work out exactly as she plans. The three discover a message in the bottle that leads them on a treasure hunt. But this is no fairy tale adventure. Soon, Jack is cursed with the Creep, a flesh eating curse and Emma must do everything in her power to save her brother and the boy she loves.
So the characters, let’s talk about the characters. Emma was a interesting enough character. I like how she constantly tried to do something in order to help her brother and Cooper. She had a lot to deal with, and while discouraged, she still tried to push through that. I have to give her serious props for that. Jack pretty much annoyed me the whole book. Instead of being the older brother, he seemed like a little kid and I, personally, didn’t care about him being plagued by the Creep. I know, that sounds awful, but seriously, this guy needed to grow up a little.
I think out of all the characters, I like Cooper the best. I just felt like there was more to his character than the others. He actually seemed like a typical teenage boy. His interactions with Emma were sweet, and his friendship with Jack was what kept me rooting for Jack to survive.
Overall, this is an interesting premise. The whole hoodoo is not something I’ve ever read before and I enjoyed finding out more about the culture. The world Lea created was believable and a little scary, which I give huge thumbs up for.
The book was a quick read for me, but it read a little more like a middle grade story. I don’t know if it was just me, but it didn’t read quite like young adult. However, I am interested to see what happens next with the characters and where Lea takes this new world. If you like a little bit of adventure, magic, and romance, this book is the one for you!