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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 ...
Be careful what you search for
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.
Posted January 8, 2013
Conjure is a unique read that you won't want to miss. I'll admit the characters are a bit young for my tastes, but the leading character was not annoying. I still enjoyed this book immensely. The characters were well-developed and progressed along with the story, the plot was intriguing, and the pacing was perfect. This book will suck you in.
Emma was a terrific leading character. The book was told from first person POV, and I never got tired of hearing from Emma. She wa brave and selfless and everything a leading lady should be. I really enjoyed watching her grow over the course of the novel. Her twin Jack, however, was a jerk. I really didn't like him very much. He was extremely bratty and what I was afraid Emma would be like (with them both being 14). While Emma pleasantly surprised me, Jack pretty much fit the bill of what I expected. Luckily the book wasn't told from his POV. Cooper was a bit of a goody goody, if you ask me, but he was a decent guy. His "goodness" just got on my nerves. I know he will appeal to a lot of readers, though. The other two supporting characters, Maggie and Miss Delia, were also intriguing, and I enjoyed reading about them.
The plot was unique, and I liked the gritty details Nolan included about the Voodoo religion. I was kept guessing throughout the story, and I never got bored. The pacing was perfect, and the ending left me wanting more. There was action, adventure, and secret love. What else could a person want?
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something new in the YA genre, but doesn't mind younger leading characters. I'd say most YA readers will enjoy this one.
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Posted February 22, 2014
Reviewed by Valerie
Book provided by the publisher for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
For anyone familiar with South Carolina’s Lowcountry, this paranormal book will be a treat. While I wasn’t familiar with the setting of the story, nor the hoodoo magic, there was plenty of background information provided and rich details to the point that I felt that I was there.
Out of the three main characters, Emma was the most interesting heroine who had a lot thrown at her right from the beginning. She shouldered the responsibility throughout the story and tried to save her twin brother’s life with the help of their summer friend, Cooper. As a female heroine, she very rarely felt sorry for herself and constantly had others in mind which I admired. The tidbits of romance between her and Cooper were nice and sweet for their ages.
The twin brother, Jack, wasn’t a character I really connected with. He was an integral part of the story and was in several important scenes but I just never felt anything for him besides sympathy.
Cooper was a character I really enjoyed. He always helped Emma and had her back regardless of what was happening. As they moved from friendship to romance, he was sweet and thoughtful. Besides the little glitch that he’ll turn into a jerk when he turns sixteen, he was perfect.
The only change I’d like to see to this story is that the beginning didn’t give much back story to the three characters and their history. The plot of the story started right at the beginning with a bang but without much to support it. While what was happening was intriguing, I hadn’t yet made a connection with the characters.
I’ll be looking forward to book two from this series!
Posted October 3, 2013
'Conjure' is the first book in a young adult fantasy/paranormal series that follows teenage main character Emma Guthrie along with her twin brother Jack and their best friend (and her secret crush) Cooper Beaumont, are convinced that this summer is going to be like all the others. They were wrong. The three of them find an old bottle in the sand with a letter inside warning about a curse and speaking of a hidden treasure on the Beaumont estate. Emma and the guys decide to try to find the treasure and are astonished when they succeed. That is, until they unleash an ancient curse that gives Jack the flesh-eating Creep and threatens to steal Cooper's very soul on his sixteenth birthday. With everything unraveling around her along with the appearance of a mysterious girl who is determined to get revenge, demon dogs, and her brother and Cooper's lives in the balance - Emma has no other option than to learn hoodoo magic in order to break the curse and save everyone she loves.
I was immediately intrigued by the description of the book - curses, hoodoo magic, hidden treasure, revenge - it sounded like something I'd definitely like. Gladly, the book lived up to any expectations I had and then some. The story was fantastic - it had lots going on without overwhelming or confusing the reader. I loved reading everything I could about the ancient Gullah curse and the culture along with the hoodoo magic. I found it really fascinating and I'm looking forward to reading about it more in the next book. The characters were well written, especially the three main characters of Emma, Jack, and Cooper. They each have their own quirks along with strengths and weaknesses - but they band together to finish what they started and set things right. There's a great blend of genres in the book - action, fantasy, adventure, paranormal aspects, some mystery, and romance - so there's definitely an appeal to fans of all types of fiction. I thought that the plot and the writing was well done with an easy flow and natural progression. I'll definitely be reading the next book in the series to see what will happen next.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Posted August 4, 2013
Reviewed by Janessa, Age 15
What a spellbinding and unique story Lea Nolan has spun in this darkly adventurous book about a summer gone awry. I was hooked from page one and couldn’t put down the book. Definitely can’t wait for the next book in this series!
“Child, I’m an old woman, and this is an evil curse. I don’t have the strength to fight it.”
Emma and Jake are teen twins spending the summer with their dad on St. Helena Island, where he is the caretaker. Emma spends her time basking in the shadow of her very popular brother and his best friend Cooper, whom Emma just happens to have the major hots for. What Emma, Jake, and Cooper think will be just another typical summer quickly turns into a matter of life and death as the three find an old message in a bottle from a pirate saying they have been cursed and the person to find them the cure will get all their treasure buried on St. Helena Island. Deciding to seek this treasure, they uncover something odd in the ruins of the original homestead, and from there, the story takes a wickedly dark turn including a strange girl, a Gulla healer who eventually makes Emma her apprentice, devil dogs, and a deadly curse that needs to be broken before Jack turns into a real skeleton. Is Emma up for the task?
*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review*
*You can view the original review at Musing with Crayolakym and San Francisco & Sacramento City Book Review
Posted January 7, 2013
Conjure wasn’t exactly the page turner I expected from other reviews and cover blurbs, especially at the beginning. It was slow to develop. I was waiting for things to happen, things to be explained. But once everything finally fell together, I was complete captivated by the story.
I have to give the author, Lea Nolan, some extra props. Just reading Conjure reveals how much research she put into the magic of hoodoo. The detail of hoodoo and spells brought realism to the novel. I felt a part of the experience, sitting in the kitchen with Emma and Miss Delia.
And the curses are just so intense! And gross! OMG! Blisters, boils, melting flesh – Ew!
Jack, Emma, and Cooper were also awesome. Individually, I would say Cooper was my favorite. He was just so sweet and gentle. Okay, sometimes he’s a little bit of a wuss, but I still loved him. Jack… Jack was hilarious at times, but there were others where I wanted to slap him upside the head. And as for Emma, I’d have to say she was pretty cool. However, it’s really the team that makes the story. Their friendship gives them strength, and through each other, they learn and grow amazing leaps.
All in all, I can’t wait to read the next book. No! Honestly! I really can’t! Can someone like send me an ARC or something? The one curse I’m waiting to see broken is still hanging in the air, and I dying to know what’s coming next.
Posted December 10, 2012
I loved this book and not just because the main characters last name is my maiden name!
Come along and feel the sand in your toes as Emma, Jack and Coop embark on an adventure that tests everything they are and all they know about each other as well!
Ms. Nolan does a fabulous job of taking us into the world of the "gullah" and their wonderous hoodoo practices.
Rich images, endearing characters and low country lore = one great story! Can't wait for the next one!
Posted November 25, 2012
There are always books that will grab you from that initial read of the blurb, and Conjure by Lea Nolan was one of them. I’m a Southern gal who happens to love YA and Fantasy, so this seemed like the perfect book to review for my debut on this site, and I wasn’t disappointed to find that while there were a couple of things that left me with some mixed feelings at the end, this was a highly enjoyable read.
Be careful what you search for…
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.
While I grew up moving from place to place thanks to the Navy, the South is always where I considered home, so it was very easy for me to drop everything and get pulled into the world that Lea Nolan has built in the South Carolina Lowcountry with Conjure. The way that she introduced the lifestyle and environment that is unique to this area was realistic and easy, using Emma and Jack as part-timers to introduce concepts that aren’t always obvious to folks that haven’t lived in the land of Gullah and Hoodoo.
Let me also say that I’m a sucker for treating hoodoo as a just-a-step-away from reality use of magic, as it’s so much easier to ingest into a fantasy world sometimes than the magicians versus the rest of the world, and Lea Nolan found that balance. Having not only Emma receive her education in both the magic of the ancestors and the magic of natural medicine from Miss Delia was a fabulous way to not only get the reader invested in the fantasy but also treating hoodoo with a bit of respect.
Caring for Emma and Cooper and their blossoming crush-to-relationship was easy as well. That first all-encompassing crush is something that can sometimes border on the extreme, and I think that she handles the characters with such love and care that you really are invested in Emma not getting her heart broken by her first crush. Cooper is just such a sweetheart you can see exactly why Emma fell for him in the first place.
Jack, her brother, on the other hand… oh, that boy. I did have a bit of a hard time caring that he had been cursed with the Creep. I would have loved to have seen just a bit more of his real personality before getting hit with the whammy for me to actually want for him to be cured. Emma and Cooper both let his boorish behavior go on a bit too long for my taste, but at least they acknowledge that his personality has been altered. I hope that with the next book we get a bit more of how Jack really is to make me feel a bit more sympathy for him.
I can let my issues with Jack go, though, simply because I really loved this story. It truly pulled me into the world, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.
Posted November 17, 2012
Before Conjure came out I was lucky enough to be a part of the cover reveal. The cover was gorgeous but more on that later.
Now is the time when a lot of YA mistake/misrepresent strong heroines for/as hard-headed and stubborn I was leery of reading a novel from a new author. It is always a bit like Russian roulette. I loved Emmaline (LINE not keen or Lynn). She was such a realistic character. Young but already a glimmer of the person she will grow into. That person will make mistakes but is more times than not, awesome. Emma has a twin brother who I wanted to kill and their best friend, Cooper. Oh what can I say about Cooper that won't have me gushing? Nothing because the boy is all a YA swoon worthy guy should be. Hot, maturing and only has eyes for Emma. I loved them. Whenever they were together even just hanging out I would squeal. Their chemistry was just hop off the page sparks. I was originally concerned about their young age. I may have groaned when I read how very young they were. I was like how can this be entertaining, and appropriate? I'm going to be bored to tears! I was not! I was enthralled and entangled (Heehee.) The age worked for the story and adds more sweet innocents and was kept very appropriate for their age and younger readers while still keeping us young at hearts on the edge of our seats.
One to the plot. This plot was very interesting and unique. It is like nothing I ever read but can't figure why nobody thought of this genius plot this far. There is a message in a bottle (though never explained why the message was put there.) There was treasure, hoodoo and a wicked curse or two. If that doesn't get you then let me continue.
It is summertime, the time of year when Emma and her twin Jack come down to visit their dad on a Gullah island of the coast of North Carolina. It is also the time of year when Cooper comes home and they can all hang out. This year Emma is harboring a raging crush on Cooper and you will quickly get why. Jack gets them into deep crude and his actions forces Emma to delve deep into the world of Gullah magic. In this strange, odd, scary and magical new world of Emma's she learns some big century long family secrets. The end is satisfying but will have you lying awake for weeks after wondering...what's going to happen to this kids next.
Posted October 18, 2012
Conjure is the first book in The Hoodoo Apprentice series by Lea Nolan. This is a very adventurous book told from Emma's point of view. Her, and her twin brother Jack, are staying with their dad in South Carolina for the summer. Their friend Cooper lives here, and together the 3 of them find an ancient bottle that leads to horrendous curses. Emma must learn hoodoo magic to save her brother's life, and the soul of Cooper – her crush.
When I started reading this book, I'll admit that I had some reservations. I realized that Emma and her brother are only 14. While I enjoy young adult books, I'm used to the characters being a little older. Honestly, you wouldn't know they were so young. Well, Jack has some issues, but Emma is very brave and mature. She shows a lot of determination and courage that most 14 year-olds wouldn't have in the awful circumstances these 3 find themselves in. She is a very likable character that many girls can look up to. Jack acts like a jerk and a baby sometimes, but he has a flesh eating curse so I would probably be whiney too. Cooper is a good guy. He is the rich, drop dead sexy type – but he is also a goodie two-shoes. Those types don't usually mix in books so I thought he was an interesting character. I really liked him.
The plot was well developed and unique. You can tell the author did a lot of work researching hoodoo magic and the Gullah culture. I really enjoyed reading about Miss Delia and seeing her take Emma under her wing. The glimpses into the past, when the curse was first set, was particularly interesting. The book was very well written.
There was even a little bit of romance in this book. The romance definitely didn't lead the storyline though. I normally like a little more romance with my books, but I still enjoyed this one. It was very exciting and fast paced. There wasn't a large cliffhanger at the end, but there were enough loose ends to make you anxious to read the next. I think that anyone who enjoys young adult paranormal books will really enjoy this one.
Posted November 3, 2012
No text was provided for this review.
Posted November 6, 2012
No text was provided for this review.