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Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It's responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve. Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he's a guy harboring a secret, but she's willing to risk the unknown to be...
Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It's responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve. Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he's a guy harboring a secret, but she's willing to risk the unknown to be with him. Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren't there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can't find the answers, Madison seeks her own. Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover. Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.
Posted March 16, 2012
Although it’s officially a YA novel, Embrace will entice adults as well with a mix of romance and paranormal occurrences. Colyer’s heroine, Madison, is a likable high school girl who has overcome difficult changes in her life, such as the death of her mother, and her boyfriend moving away. Colyer deftly drops hints early on that some scary things are taking place in Madison’s New England town.
Isaac, a hot new student at Madison’s school, deliberately maintains an air of mystery as he’s welcomed into her circle of friends. Still, Madison finds him irresistible. The chapters in which Madison’s best friend Kaylee suddenly becomes deranged, and Madison seeks to find a supernatural remedy, are particularly tense and well-written. Colyer grips the reader’s attention as Madison delves further into a world of positive and evil powers, with some essential guidance from Isaac.
Teens in particular will relate to Madison as she strives to do what’s right, despite being confused about her feelings for Isaac, as well as how to utilize her own unusual powers. Embrace has romance and plenty of chills, but nothing too extreme for younger readers.
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Posted March 9, 2013
I enjoyed reading this book, it was easy to read and I liked the electricity between some of the main characters. I really like paranormal plots, but in this one I liked the other stuff especially. I think I would really like another book that would concentrate more on Madison´s and Isaac´s relationship after this story. I gave the book 3,5 stars. Maybe I would´ve needed an explanation for the paranormal happenings or something for it to be 4 stars. But I´m not sure what was missing from it for me. Anyway it was an easy and enjoyable read with no annoying characters!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2012
'Embrace' is an enchanting young adult paranormal novel that follows the main character, Madison, as she deals with big changes in her life - a handsome and mysterious new guy, her best friend seeing things that aren't really there, and the unexplainable things going on around her. Will she be able to figure out what's really going on before it's too late?
This is a fast paced and truly intriguing book that had me hooked from the first page. I was immediately drawn into the story and found myself easily identifying with the characters. The writing flowed effortlessly and is incredibly well done, making this an interesting and quick read that I couldn't put down until I finished it. The plot was unique and stands out from other YA paranormal books out there. I liked the build up of the events and the mystery that takes place. The story itself is a blend of several genres including mystery, action, adventure, paranormal, and romance - which will definitely appeal to all types of readers. The characters were realistic and likeable, especially Madison - even if she did have some stereotypical teenage girl moments in the story. The romance in the book was definitely steamy without being overly mushy or corny - which is always a big selling point for me. Overall, this is a great YA paranormal novel from a talented author; a book that readers will not want to miss.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Posted December 11, 2012
This book was a great high school read. It combines the YA genre with the paranormal seamlessly. There was plenty of mystery and teenage angst.
There were two sexy guys to complicate Madison's life. Her best friend and ex boyfriend was a love that she still lacked closure for. Then the new guy, Isaac moves to town. He is sexy and mysterious and turns her life upside down.
As the story is spun, the paranormal side of the story blooms. Everything shifts and the world Madison knew evaporates. She is pulled into a web of good and bad, secrets and lies.
This book deserves four glittery stars for the well built world that the author developed. She wrapped up the story nicely and successfully kept me ready for more.
Posted June 7, 2012
Brilliant. It somes up this book perfectly. It was short yet sweet and to the point.
Although we move fast through the book, we fell pulled to the end and through the pages. We also don't expect what happens in the novel. Mainly on how it becomes paranormal from what we start to think is a general YA novel. I love the way that was done! It suits both audiences, either YA readers or Paranormal readers. The one part of this that makes itpossible is through the blurb! Not many novels do this, and leave you in the dark AS WELL as making you intrigued in the novel itself, without giving away too much information. We get caught up in the story, as well as how fast Maddison and Issac's relationship is moving. At the start it bothers us, how they can move that quickly (especially Maddison), but as we continue, we realise where her feelings come from as well as why they developed so quickly. We don't understand it as much when we find out, but we are still captivated by it all.
We get propelled into the story so much that we don't stop to think and predict what is going to happen, and we start to go with Maddison. We feel like Kaylee at times, because we feel like Maddison's best friend. We understand her pain and we get to know about everything that she is going through on a different perspective as to what others would. We start to go along with Maddison's judgement and don't stop to think if it could be anyone else causing it all and just go with what she thinks. That is how much we get pulled into the story. That is how much we develop a relationship with the main character. That is it's own kind of Witchcraft.
We don't understand the title as much as we do when we finish the novel (or when we get around 3/4 of the way through). We can't help but smile at the realisation of the title and how much it suits the book's hidden tale. There's not much that I think the book missed, it included everything that it needed as well as leaving the novel on a good stone.
We get shocked when we find out the truth about everything and everyone. We don't expect it, as well as the others behind the situation. In this moment, the underlying questions are answered and everything all comes together. The only thing in this chapter was that it only took a chapter. It was very dramatic and it could have extended longer, and still hold our interest and continue to pull us through as the rest of the novel had. This would have brought the book up a little further, but that factor doesn't bring the book down or anything, it just gives us the feeling that we want a little more. Other than that there's not that much else about the novel that isn't already said. Like the book, this review is short and sweet
Posted April 29, 2012
WITCHES! WITCHES! WITCHES! I was so thrilled that this book was about witches. The witches in Embrace kind of reminded me of a mixture of the ones found in Charmed and when Willow went all dark eyed evil with in Buffy. LOVE!
The knowledge that this book was about witches doesn’t happen right away! When I first started reading Embrace, I thought that it would be another one of those insta-love, jealous friend, love triangle type books all over again. I was wrong. Reading further into the book is when the real fun happens.
It opens up with our main character, Madison, getting ready to go to a bonfire with her bestfriend Kaylee. It is at this party that we get to meet Mr. Sexy himself, Isaac Addington. Mysterious, sweet, and thoughtful Isaac. Truly swoon worthy, FYI. It is also at this party, that we get to meet the “mean girls” of the story…Paige and Emma. What is the deal with them? Perhaps they are jealous because Madison got Isaac before Paige? Or could there be an even darker underlying reason…
We watch as Madison struggles with her heart in deciding if she should really open up to Isaac and give him a chance, or would she betray everything she had with her ex, Kevin, and risk their chance of every being together again…even though they hadn’t spoken in, like, a month…
We are also treated to a magical mystery! Kaylee suddenly becomes completely delusional, causing her to be admitted into hospital. With the help of Madison and the crew, Kaylee is “escapes” the hospital, and learns of the world of witchcraft, and the role it plays in the lives of her friends. It’s now up to this new Scoobie Team (a la Buffy) to get to the bottom of this and figure out who keeps causing these downfalls!
The author, Cherie Colyer, has such an addictive writing style. Her descriptions of the magical elements in Embrace, as well as her fabulous character building is what made this story all the more enjoyable. Although there is a twinge of insta-love, you can’t help but ask whether the love is real, or perhaps it’s just all part of the magic…
Fans of witches will enjoy reading Embrace, and will fall in love with the unforgettable characters.
Posted April 26, 2012
The concept was great but the book fell short.
Did I enjoy this book: I really didn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would. I really wanted to because the synopsis I had read sounded so intriguing and exciting. I didn't read every free chance I had.
This book moved slowly and it did not hold my interest. For me, it was not developed enough. There needed to be more explanation and follow through. I wish we would have learned a bit more about Isaac's and Josh's back stories. They were good, strong male characters that cared about others' well-being. That care is evident throughout the story. To learn more about them would have made me like them even more. Also, I would have liked to learn more about Madison's sense of taste/smell when encountering emotions. That was a really interesting aspect of Madison's powers that I wish would have been explored or explained further.
Here is a SPOILER question that I had when I finished this book: Why did no one pick up on Madison's mother's necklace??? It is so obvious that the mother - who apparently knew it was the end - transferred her power to her daughter through the necklace, like Isaac's grandfather. That would have been a great revelation for Madison. Unless I am wrong about that conclusion.
I just didn't like this book. For me, the main character was hard to like and get behind. I was a bit bored reading the story. I know I am in the minority with this view of the book but it is how I felt after reading it. The concept behind the book was great but I think it could've been so much better.
Would I recommend it: No, I would not recommend this book.
Will I read it again: No, I will not read this book again. With that being said, I will read other books from this author in the future. The concept was great for Embrace, it just wasn't for me.
Posted April 26, 2012
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I have to say that I was abosultey delighted with Embrace. The story was both intriguing and entertaining. I really liked the female lead character, Madison. She is a normal teenage girl who doesn't like change, yet she finds herself thrust into the midst of it big time. Her long-term boyfriend has moved away, and her best friend Kaylee, talks her into going to a party. They meet up with Kaylee's boyfriend Josh at the party, and his super hot new neighbor Isaaac. Romance begins to bloom between Madison and Isaac, who is totally swoon worthy.
Several questionable events take place that make Madison suspicous about things, but it isn't until her BFF Kaylee becomes sick with an illness that has the doctors baffled, that she begains to inquire about the paranormal. Madison soon discovers that she has special "abilities," and that there is a lot more to Isaac than she originally thought. Isaac helps Madison as she embraces her powers and teachers her that not everyone uses their powers for good, but that some embrace the "dark side." Madison experiences this first hand as they discover that jealousy and envy have caused her former friends to plot against her. Then, to top it all off, her ex-boyfriend shows up.
I really enjoyed embrace. The characters were fun to get to know and well written. I especially like Josh and Kaylee. The romance between Isaac and Madison was great. I loved the plot and Cherie had me hooked from the very beginning. I was constantly anticipating what was going to happen next and trying to figure out who was behind things, but the author had me fooled all along and it turned out to be someone I wasn't expecting at all. Cherie Colyer has written a fun, exciting, and magical story that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you love romance with a paranormal twise, then you will like Embrace. It is a great read and I would highly recommend it
Favorite Quote: “You know, this would be a whole lot easier if you wouldn’t do that,” I said. “What?” He knew damn well what. “How am I supposed to concentrate with you looking at me like that?” “I can’t look at you now?” “Of course you can look at me, just not likethat.” I waved my hand up and down to indicate everything about him, from his sultry gaze to his close proximity.
Posted April 24, 2012
Cherie Colyer’s debut novel, Embrace, is a delightful surprise. Her rich, descriptive language paints a picture of a ‘normal’ teenage life. Madison Riley attends high school in Gloucester, MA, cares for her widowed father and six-year-old brother, and hangs with her BFF, Kaylee. Still healing from a recent breakup, Madison meets Isaac, the new boy in town, and finds herself falling fast and hard. Questioning her judgment and her sanity, Madison wonders what is happening to her and her life. Colyer answers these questions by creating a new world that engulfs the reader in both wonder and terror. Embrace is fast-paced with an ending that will catch the reader off-guard. This book left me spellbound and wanting more from this new author. A cross between the romantic, Twilight, and the mystical, Harry Potter, Embrace will enchant male and female readers of all ages.
Posted April 8, 2012
Embrace is a MUST READ!
HOLY BATMAN is what comes to mind when I think about this book. I was reading my usual blogs when I saw on YA Bound they were hosting a blog tour for Embrace. I loved the cover the minute I saw it and the minute I read the blurb I was hooked! I have to say a huge THANK YOU to YA Bound for allowing me to be a part of this tour.
Cherie Colyer has crafted this world where good and evil live side by side fighting for their cause. The question is which side will you chose?
Madison is down in the dumps because her boyfriend of two years is moving away. She hates change so she avoids it at all costs. So when her best friend Kaylee tells her change is coming she is not happy. That is until she meets the change in her life....... Isaac. Isaac is the new boy in town and he is tall, dark, and handsome. Madison is intrigued by him and wants to get to know him better. But Isaac is mysterious in all ways and she knows he is holding secrets. What are they? She knows she has to get to the bottom of the secrets but then things start to get weird and her best friend is no longer who she thought she was.
See Madison has a special gift and when using it she will see things that she never saw. That is how she knows there is something about Isaac but the pull he has on her is much stronger than she can admit to herself. What is a girl to do? Will she find out Isaac's secret? Will she chose between good or evil? What will happen in the end to her and Kaylee?
Embrace really did Embrace me in so many ways. This is a MUST read because it is fast paced and left me sitting on the bed begging Cherie for a sequel!
Posted February 29, 2012
(I was given this book for free on a read-to-review basis)
Madison is a junior in high school. Her boyfriend left her 4 months ago because he was moving to Minnesota, but they have kept in touch, and Madison has no intentions of starting a new relationship with anyone. That is until she meets Isaac.
Isaac is a senior and has just moved into the house opposite Madison’s best-friend’s boyfriend’s house (did you follow that?). Madison and Isaac begin spending time together, and Madison starts to develop feelings for him.
Strange things are happening though. First Madison falls off a ladder, breaking her wrist, but Isaac puts his hand on it and it is healed. A friend’s tyres get slashed outside a restaurant where they are eating, and Isaac manages to magically fix them. Then her friend Kaylee begins seeing men hiding in shadows, is nearly killed in a car accident, tells Madison that she saw a reaper, and then has a screaming fit in class, shouting at things that aren’t there and has to go to the hospital for tests. Madison feels like she has to do something to help Kaylee, and begins researching her symptoms on the internet. She is shocked though when she begins to realise that Kaylee’s symptoms could indicate that she has been cursed, and forms a plan to cast a spell to see if she herself personally has any magical powers.
The spell works, but unfortunately Madison has no idea how to end the spell, and is instead saved by Isaac, who in doing so reveals himself to be a witch. Madison accuses Isaac of cursing Kaylee which he denies, telling her that he is a natural witch rather than an evil witch, and that he knows about the curse and has been trying to help Kaylee.
Now they must find a way to break the curse, find the person who cast it, and try to bind them from doing further harm. If only it was that simple!
This book was good in places, and just plain strange in others. The story seemed to be going along quite nicely, when suddenly Madison was researching Kaylee’s illness on the internet, and instead of considering the possibility that her hallucinating friend maybe has a mental health problem, she suddenly jumps to the conclusion that Kaylee has been cursed! This was just bizarre to be honest, and I was really shocked at this sudden twist in the story. I can honestly say that I did not see this one coming, and then when it turned out that Madison herself had magical powers, as well as Isaac and Kaylee’s boyfriend Josh the whole thing just became a joke. I have to say I actually cringed and looked away from the book a few times. The whole thing just felt so disjointed and wrong!
If I’m being honest I think that that was the biggest issue with this book, the part about Madison and her boy troubles, friend troubles, etc. was good and well written, but the sudden addition of the whole witch thing just didn’t fit in at all – a total square peg in a round hole! If the book had continued with Madison dealing with her best friends mental illness I think it could have been great, but the whole Harry Potter thing just ruined it.
Overall I found parts of this book entertaining, but other parts just made me cringe, and the story was too disjointed. 5 out of 10
Posted February 27, 2012
I read this book for the Young Adult Reads R2R. The summary captivated me, and I decided to give the book a shot.
When I started reading it, the book was slowly paced. But it got faster and faster as I read. Madison is a respectable character. She's better than a lot of protagonists from earlier books I have read, like Luce from Fallen by Lauren Kate. The plot ran well and the book was action-packed. I liked the descriptions the author added in the book about little things. It made the story more interesting. The author added great suspense and it made me fly through the novel.Overall, I enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read more by this author!
Posted February 27, 2012
Embrace starts with another change for our teenage heroine, Madison. She and her friends Kaylee and Josh are juniors in the local high school. Josh's new neighbor, Isaac, has just started as a senior at their school, and is giving Madison tummy butterflies. And a static electric shock every time they touch. Madison is a normal teenager, with boy problems and a pesky baby brother. Embrace takes the common trope of "teenage girl turns out to be special snowflake" and makes it into an enjoyable read. This is one of those books you will want to read in one sitting - it is fast-paced, not too long, and interesting. Instead of the tired story I was hoping it wasn't, I got something cute and fun, with enough darkness in it to make it really interesting. Also, Isaac's Taylor Swift CD. Made me cackle. Really.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 26, 2012
Embrace, a contemporary paranormal YA novel, follows Madison through dramatic changes in life, school and relationships. The most cherished people disappear seem to disappear from Madison's life, leaving her scared to invest herself in any new relationships. As a new threat nearly kills her best friend Kailee, Madison must rely on Issac, a new boy in school who has powers that she can't explain, to find the help Kailee needs. And, in the process, to save herself.
The pace is appropriate, language rich and clear and the story makes a great read for anyone who likes teen romance mixed with their witchcraft.
Posted February 24, 2012
A huge thanks to the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!!
I loved this book!
The characters in this book are teenagers you will fall in love with. If you take out the "paranormal" element to this book, both the teenagers and their high school are very easy to relate to. The storyline sucks you in immediately. In fact, I didn't put the book down for the first 6 chapters and even then only because I had to.
Isaac (the main male character) is definitely "swoon-worthy" and in my mind he looks like Jake from the WB T.V. show "The Secret Circle." This book reminds me a lot of the series (Which I Love.) O.K. in my head all the boys were HOT! Madison (the main female character)was a very caring character. Coming from a sigle parent home of just her, her father, and her younger brother...I loved the way she jumped in to take care of them. You could feel the love between the three of them. This spilled over onto her friends as well. Madison's love for her best friends Kaylee and (Kaylee's boyfriend) Josh was equal to that of her family. Then obviously I felt that same love when Isaac entered the picture. I love books with a "tight" circle of friends.
I will say that this book was very predictable. The predictability DID NOT take away from the book. I still loved the book. I found myself getting angry with the teens at certain parts of this story for not being able to see what was so obvious to me. I don't know if this was Cherie's intent... but it kept me turning pages. I had to know if I was right! I would have enjoyed a big twist in the middle of the book....but without it I still think this is an excellent start for this new author!
I look forward to reading more of Cherie Colyer's books...I was hoping the last chapter would open up a new door and this would turn into a series...I'd like to continue on with these characters.
Posted February 18, 2012
Cherie Colyer's debut Young Adult novel was quite a pleasure to read. It's a page-turner that's sweet and mysterious at the same time. The reader doesn't know who to trust, and the identity of the villain surprised me.
Madison is a high school student living in Gloucester, Massachusetts. I've been to Boston a few times but don't know much about the area and I thought the setting was interesting and eerie. Madison meets a handsome newcomer: Isaac. She is longing for her ex-boyfriend Kevin, and Isaac seems like the perfect antidote. But is Isaac safe boyfriend material?
I liked how strange events keep happening at the beginning of the story, like near-death car accidents and Madison's best friend Kaylee suffering from a psychotic break. Is this simply bad luck, or is something more sinister going on? The mystery clears itself up bit by bit, keeping the reader in suspense.
Cherie uses some interesting similes:
There is only more darkness. It's like swimming in a pool of oil.
The characters' emotions come alive in this story, aided by Madison's sensory gifts. She can smell and taste emotion.
The air reeked of power---strong and pungent. Kevin's bitter jealousy and Isaac's rage mixed with Paige's sudden remorse and Emma's sweet joy. It tasted oddly delectable as it eased the burning in my lungs and the pain in my throat.
I hear Cherie is working on a sequel to Embrace and I look forward to it! I want to see what happens between Madison and her ex-friend Paige, and of course what's in store for Madison and Isaac. Great job, Cherie!
Posted February 10, 2012
Embrace was a breath of fresh air in a time when the vampire scene has been tainted with too many versions of the same story. Looking back on reading Twilight, I loved how I couldn't put the book down and ached to read more about Edward. My version of him was so incredible that Robert Pattinson just couldn't match up -- the magic of my imagination was ruined with the instant hype.
But then I read Embrace. Cherie Colyer's debut novel grabbed me from the very first sentence. What started as an interesting story of high school love quickly transitioned into a tale of new-found witch power. Before you know it, you're hooked into a whirlwind of supernatural and demonic overtake that threaten the core of love, passion, desire and loyalty the main character, Madison, struggles to control throughout the story.
And then there's Isaac. Isaac Addington became my new Edward Cullen. I never thought I'd be able to feel the same type of intrigue that I had with Edward's character, but upon reading about Isaac, the feeling came back. It's a wonderful feeling when an author is successful at keeping a character's appeal under wraps...making you want to know more about them, smiling when they do something cute, flipping chapters later just to see where he comes back into the story.
This is an excellent breakthrough for Cherie Colyer! I seriously hope there is a sequel to follow!
Posted February 1, 2012
Madison doesn't like change. It hasn't been good for her in the past. Change took her boyfriend of two years away and change took away a good friend. Change is haunting her again with a weird death and lots of strange events. Maybe the new hotty in town can bring some good change for Madison. But even as she is inexplicably drawn to Isaac, her life is falling apart. Her best friend becomes delusional on the way from one period to the next. Can that happen? Madison becomes frustrated as the doctors can't find a reason or offer any relief. While searching for what's really wrong with her friend, Madison stumbles on a dark secret that could tear her world apart. A secret that Isaac knows a lot about. Will the secret destroy Madison or save the ones she loves?
4 stars - a great read
This book started with a zap and tugged me in quickly. I was immediately drawn to Isaac, just like Madison. Mystery hangs around him like a fog that clings to him. I loved that. Isaac is the perfect compliment to Madison. I enjoyed their relationship a lot. Their feeling for each other had a tangible aspect to them that was unique and exciting.
The plot had me immediately trying to unravel the clues that were so expertly left among the pages. Where is Madison's mother? Why are animals being killed in strange ways? How can a perfectly healthy teenager leave one class and end up delusional in the next? All the clues were pointing to one person and I grabbed on to that. But alas, I was wrong. Love it when the author fools me. Even as I realized it couldn't be, I searched for another. I didn't figure it out until it was revealed. Looking back, I can see the clues were skillfully left but so were distractions that make it hard to focus on the real clues.
The other thing that I really enjoyed about this book was that it is or can be stand alone. It seems that every book I read these days is a series. While I love them, it's nice to have a conclusion that doesn't leave me wanting to throw the book or crying for the next one. I could see a second book but there doesn't have to be. Very refreshing.
If you love the paranormal reads, like I do, then for sure pick this one up because it's a great read.
Posted February 1, 2012
Embrace definitely embraced me with the most captivating, magical storyline, terrific characters, and a dreamy romance. Cherie Colyer has her own gift of magic when it comes to writing a fantastic novel. Colyer pulled me right into this world of magic and bewitching romance, and I could not put this book down.
Madison's life is about to change, and there's nothing she can do about it. The last time Madison's life changed was six months ago, when her boyfriend of two years broke up with her. So when her girlfriend, Kaylee, tells her she has a surprise that's going to change her life again, Madison wants nothing to do with it. But when she meets the hot new guy, Madison starts to feel like maybe this change is going to be good one. There's mystery around Isaac, and the magic, magnetic pull Madison feels with Isaac, is tugging her into a spellbinding world where she’s not so sure she can trust her heart.
I really do love the way Cherie Colyer created Isaac with overflowing charisma. Isaac is just classy and swoon-worthy, and he made the magic for me in this romance. Madison is one tough girl who is willing to kick anybody's butt who messes with the people she loves, especially when it’s the people she loves.
Embrace is an enthralling story of good witch, bad witch, with a magical romance. I recommend Embrace as an enchanting read.
Posted January 27, 2012
Let me start by saying, Embrace was exactly what I was looking for in a book. And this book opens with one heck of a promise:
"Your life's about to change, and there's nothing you can do about it."
Promising, yes? And with that sentence, I was hooked. I had to know what life-altering change was about to take place. Who or What was going to change main character Madison's life? If you're guessing a boy, you may be on the right track. But that's not all that's headed Madison's way.
The paranormal aspect of the book surprised me. I truly had no idea what sort of slant the story would have, and I am certainly not going to give it away in this review. Looking back at the synopsis, I see a small clue. But, honestly, I was happy to go into this one blind because Embraced is built around one of my very favorites in the paranormal field. Are you curious now? Good!
Now, onto the characters. Madison was instantly engaging and easy to cheer for. Life hasn't always been the easiest for sweet Madison. She lost her mother at a young age, her boyfriend moved away, one of her former friends has turned into a hateful twit. But Madison keeps going, never self-pitying or annoying, largely in part with the help of her best friend, Kaylee. Kaylee is a superb best friend, the type we all wish to have. She is always looking out for her girl, never hesitating to step up when Madison needs backup. Kaylee is always quick with a funny line or a wink just when Madison needs it. Kaylee's boyfriend, Josh, is exactly the kind of guy we all wish for our best friend (if not for ourselves!). He is charming, handsome, supportive and a great friend to Madison, as well. And that leaves the mysterious new guy, Isaac. Isaac...*swoons*, yeah, you could say I liked him. Isaac has that certain "new guy" mystique we all know. He is mysterious, it's clear right away there is something different about him, but he is also sweet, charming, and playful. What a treat! I was so happy that Isaac wasn't a guy that ran hot or cold.
And yeah, Isaac and Madison have a fairly instantaneous connection, something that seems to draw them together. But, for me, this wasn't a case of insta-love. They do begin hanging out together right away, and they clearly like each other, they don't try to hide that. But they weren't declaring their love and forsaking all their friends for one another, especially Madison. What a strong-willed girl! She is determined to be absolutely positive that their attraction is more that the paranormal connection that is between them. I really admire this quality, the self-awareness and identity, that the author gave her.
I have a major weakness in books, a sure-fire way for the author to bring me on board: a core group of friends who work together to solve a mystery. I don't know why that is always a huge positive for me, maybe because one of my favorite series as a kid was the Trixie Belden mysteries, which featured another "gang" of problem-solving teens. I admire when the main character is willing to work with others instead of holding all of her issues, problems, and fears inside, letting them fester until they can't be contained and it's almost too late. But I digress. Madison, Isaac, Kaylee, and Josh make quite the team, determined to bring down the evil that is plaguing their town.
The only, very small, area that was less than perfect (and it's hard for me to explain without spoiling the story) was the way the