Worst. Summer. Ever.
Emma Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper's sixteenth birthday. But deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach, conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful adversaries.
Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother, Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Faced with the horror of a soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it together, before it destroys them all.
The Hoodoo Apprentice series is best enjoyed in order.
Book #1 Conjure
Book #2 Allure
Book #3 Illusion
About the Author
Lea Nolan is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes books for young adults featuring bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She also pens smart, witty contemporary stories for adults filled with head-swooning, heart-throbbing, sweep-you-off your feet romance.
With a master's degree in women's studies and public policy, and an undergraduate degree in history, she spent twenty years as a health policy analyst and researcher, writing hundreds of fascinating reports and articles tens of people enjoyed. Today, she teaches graduate courses in health policy, law, and financing, and takes on the occasional consulting gig.
Born and raised on Long Island, New York, she loves the water far too much to live inland. With her heroically supportive husband and three clever children, she resides in Maryland where she scarfs down crab cakes whenever she gets the chance. Contact her via her website www.LeaNolan. com, on Facebook www.facebook.com/LeaNolanAuthor or on Twitter @Lea_Nolan.
Read an Excerpt
By Lea Nolan
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Lea Nolan
All rights reserved.
A stiff, hot wind blows across the Beaufort River, carrying the scent of parched sea grass, mucky earth, and belly-up redfish through the car window. Low tide in the South Carolina Lowcountry can be a smelly proposition, especially in the summer when temperatures soar past sweltering. Stinky or not, these salt marshes with their maze of dense green reeds, and downy white egrets are some of the most beautiful places on earth. Definitely paint-worthy.
But before I can grab my canvas and oils, we've got to get Miss Delia home from the hospital in one piece, which shouldn't be a problem with Cooper Beaumont at the wheel. Fixing his eyes on the road ahead, he guides his father's beige station wagon across the Lady's Island bridge heading toward St. Helena Island, my summer home-away-from-home. I on the other hand, prefer to stare at him.
Shooting me a quick sideways glance, he smiles. "What are you looking at?" he asks, just loud enough to hear over the engine's purr.
Caught gawking, my cheeks flush. "You." Because with his square jaw, golden-brown hair, and eyes that appear blue or green to match his clothes, he's just about the most gorgeous guy I've ever seen. And by some miracle, after secretly loving him for more than an entire year, he's officially my boyfriend. It's our very own happily ever after.
Providing we find a way to break the curse that threatens to steal his soul.
Cooper lets his right hand slip from the wheel and inches it across the front seat to clutch mine. Our fingers entwine and he gives me a squeeze. A warm tingle shoots up my arm. Even after a few weeks of being a couple, the excitement of his touch hasn't grown old.
Miss Delia clears her throat. "Best keep both hands on the wheel, boy. I don't want to end up back in Beaufort Memorial. The food's awful."
Though it couldn't possibly be worse than what landed her there in the first place — being attacked by a pack of gigantic, seething, demon dogs with serrated fangs.
Glancing in the rearview mirror, Cooper flashes his devastatingly handsome grin, the one that makes my heart thump a little bit harder. "Don't worry, Miss Delia, I won't let anything happen to you." Still, he heeds her advice and returns his hand to the steering wheel.
Squelching my disappointment at his withdrawal, I twist around to face her in the backseat. The sight still makes me wince. Though most of her stitches have been removed, bright pink scars mar her oniony, brown skin. A few larger abrasions still require bandages, but thankfully most are on her body, hidden behind clothes. Images of the savage attack flash across my mind, making me shudder, but I shake them off because Miss Delia miraculously survived.
"We took care of everything while you were away. I tended the garden and the guys cleaned up the mess from Hurricane Amelia." I work to make my voice sound bright.
Miss Delia smiles. Even her milky-white eye looks a bit clearer. "Thank you, Emma. You're very kind. I knew I picked you for the right reason."
My chest swells. She did pick me. Even though I'm only fourteen, she made me her apprentice. She's the best, most powerful Gullah hoodoo root worker on St. Helena and probably the whole Lowcountry. Though if I'm being honest, she only agreed to pass her mantle to me because I begged. Earlier this summer, my twin brother, and giant pain-in-the-rear, Jack contracted The Creep, an ancient curse that dissolved his flesh, exposed his chalky bones, and made him reek like pond scum. The memory alone churns my stomach. Thanks to Miss Delia, I learned enough hoodoo magic to destroy The Creep and cure Jack, but not enough to protect her from the monsters that nearly ate her for dinner. Which is why she was in the hospital for so long and why the station wagon's rear compartment is crammed with her brand-new wheelchair. The hellhounds weren't content to just slice open her flesh. Their massive paws pounced, bruised her spinal chord, and left her unable to walk.
Cooper hangs a left at the dingy-gray tract house at the corner. The tires crunch as he starts down the unmarked dirt road that leads to Miss Delia's house. Pocked with holes and overgrown vegetation, it's a serious hazard but we've traveled it so often this summer he could probably do it blindfolded. "I hope you don't mind, Miss Delia, but Jack and I made a few changes to your house," he says.
Her snowy-white brow quirks. "What kind of changes?"
"Just a couple accommodations to make it easier to get around. I know you practiced driving that chair in the hospital, but it'll be different in your own house."
She crosses her arms over her teal housedress. "Pshaw." She shakes her head, her lips turned down in disgust. "In all my ninety-seven years, I've never needed an accommodation."
"It's not a big deal." I play down the additions, knowing how deep her pride runs and how difficult it must be to accept her new disability. "They just added a ramp to the porch." And widened the front door, rearranged some of her furniture, and hung a few guide rails, but she'll discover all that when she gets there. "Maybe we can come up with some spells to help speed your healing." Though according to her doctors, that's nearly impossible.
She narrows her lids. "Way ahead of you, child."
Rounding the bend, we approach her glistening bottle tree, an enormous live oak that drips with Spanish moss and dwarfs her ramshackle house. On a normal day it's impressive, but today, with the golden, mid-afternoon sun streaming through its thousand multicolored bottles, it's dazzling and almost seems to radiate its own light.
A sleek, silver Mercedes Benz is parked just beyond the tree, in front of Miss Delia's lush garden.
Miss Delia strains forward in her seat. "What do we have here? Your brother hasn't tried to drive again has he?"
I laugh, remembering Jack's last attempt behind the wheel. We all survived, but it's not something I'd recommend him doing any time soon. "No, he's helping our dad with the last of the storm cleanup at High Point Bluff." If it weren't for my father, the plantation's caretaker and sole employee, the place would fall apart.
Cooper pulls up next to the Mercedes and cuts the engine. Scanning the car, he whistles. "Sweet ride."
The garden's perfume floods the open car windows. I inhale the fragrant scent of hundreds of flowers and herbs, some rare, some mere weeds that have been cultivated for centuries by Miss Delia and her ancestors. These plants are the secret ingredients of hoodoo magic. But without her experience and knowledge, it's just an overgrown patch of dirt.
Three designer suitcases covered with gold initials perch on Miss Delia's porch, just steps away from the open front door.
"Were you expecting someone?" I ask.
Just then, a woman in a crisp sea-green linen pantsuit sweeps out of the house and floats across the porch. Her medium-brown skin is flawless and wrinkle-free, making her look somewhere in her midthirties, but something about the regal way she carries herself tells me she's probably a lot older than that. She grasps the railing, her lips curled at the sides, managing a smile that doesn't move past her cheeks.
"Well I'll be." Miss Delia doesn't appear the least bit excited.
A moment later a girl who looks at a couple years older than me follows, flinging the screen door wide and letting it slam behind her. Tall and lithe, she stalks toward the suitcases on the opposite side of the porch, crosses her arms, and then shifts her weight so her right hip pops to the side. Which conveniently provides us the perfect angle to admire her clingy, low-cut halter top, skintight shorts, and fuchsia-streaked bob that perfectly offsets her light brown skin and bright pink lipstick. Though considering the sweltering South Carolina heat, she might want to reconsider the black leather boots.
"That's ... interesting," Cooper utters under his breath as I stifle a laugh.
A pricking sensation works its way around my scalp, a sure sign my spirit guide wants me to take note of what's happening. Though I'm not sure who to be more cautious of — Pink or Mrs. Fancy Pants.
Miss Delia grabs at the door handle with a liver-spotted hand. "Help me out of this car, Cooper." Her voice brims with urgency.
In a flash, he's got the rear door open and yanks out the wheelchair. I slip on my flip-flops, then come around to Miss Delia's side, unlatch her seatbelt, and help swing her around so Cooper can lift her out. Through it all, the two on the porch stay put, watching us do all the work. After gently setting Miss Delia in her chair, Cooper pushes her over the uneven earth to the stone path. From there, she takes over, flicking the switch to engage the motor. We follow as she maneuvers her way through the garden and up the new ramp. The wooden structure isn't perfect and doesn't come close to what my dad would have built, but it's safe and sturdy and does the job. When we reach the top, she stops short.
The woman in the pantsuit fans herself. "Lord, I forgot how hot these Carolina summers are. I broke a sweat watching you make your way up here."
Miss Delia nods. "Heaven forbid you strain yourself, Angelica. You must keep those delicate hands safe."
Lifting a set of perfectly manicured fingers, the woman smiles. "Can't argue with you there. These hands change lives." She steps forward and bends to kiss Miss Delia's cheek.
Stiffening, Miss Delia accepts the gesture. "I'm sure they do. Emma, Cooper, say hello to my granddaughter, Dr. Branson. She's a plastic surgeon in Chicago."
"Hi. Nice to meet you." I wave, feeling way out of place at this little family reunion. Trying not to be rude, I work to keep my eyes trained on Dr. Branson, but can't resist a furtive peek at the girl. She's definitely older than me, maybe even older than Cooper, though not by much. Rather than paying attention to what's happening on the porch, she's staring at the bottle tree, her head tilted as if she's counting the pieces of glass. If so, it's going to take a while.
"Hello, ma'am." Cooper extends his hand toward Dr. Branson. She barely grazes it with her own.
"These chillun have been a great help this summer. Especially Emma." Miss Delia clasps my arm with her gnarled hand.
Dr. Branson scans me up and down. "I see. Someone's got to tend the garden." Only she says it like she means something else entirely. And that she totally disapproves.
That's probably my cue to leave. I clear my throat. "Maybe Cooper and I should go so you all can visit."
Cooper nods. "Sure. We can come back tomorrow."
Miss Delia snaps her head toward me. "Nonsense. We've got work to do. Or have you forgotten we're on a deadline?"
Nope. I'm pretty clear on the whole soul-snatching thing.
Three hundred years ago, Cooper's great-great ancestor gave Maggie, an enslaved African girl, to Bloody Bill Ransom and his band of vile pirates in exchange for not sacking High Point Bluff. But things didn't go as planned and they killed her, which enraged her grandmother, Sabina, an African queen with a brutal sense of justice who used her mystical hoodoo powers to seek revenge. She unleashed The Creep on the scurvy pirates, and cursed the Beaumont progeny forever by stealing their souls when they come into their manhood, turning them unspeakably dark and corrupt. If we don't break the Beaumont Curse before Cooper's approaching sixteenth birthday, he'll end up just as gluttonous, selfish, and arrogant as his grotesque father, Beau. With just three weeks to go, time's a-ticking.
Dr. Branson sighs. "See, this is what I feared. At your age you shouldn't be working anymore, even if you do have some sort of ... assistant." She flicks her wrist dismissively toward me. "And now this ... accident." She scans the scars on Miss Delia's face with an expert eye. "It nearly scared me to death hearing you were in a coma. We flew down just as soon as I cleared my schedule."
"That was very kind, but you ought to know better than to worry after me. You going to introduce me to my great-granddaughter?" Miss Delia nods toward the girl on the other end of the porch.
Now I see the resemblance. Despite the girl's dye job and eye-popping fashion statement, she and Dr. Branson actually have very similar features.
Dr. Branson plasters on a smile. "Of course. Say hello to your great-gran, Taneea." Her voice drips with syrup.
Taneea drags her attention away from the bottle tree, glares at her mother from beneath shaggy bangs, then glances at Miss Delia. "Hi." The diamond chip in the Monroe piercing above her lip glints in the sunlight.
Miss Delia smiles. "Hello to you, too. It's nice to finally meet you in person."
"Uh-huh." Taneea shrugs, then pivots on her thick rubber heels and plops into one of the rocking chairs. It creaks against the cracked porch floor as she rocks back and forth, staring at the tree once again.
An electric shock wave rolls over my scalp. I'm guessing she's the one my spirit guide is warning me about.
Miss Delia turns to Dr. Branson. "I may be old and frailer than you remember, but I wasn't born yesterday. Why are you really here?"
"I know you may not believe it, but I worry about you, Gran. You're getting up there, it's amazing you're able to live alone at ninety-five —"
"Ninety-seven," Miss Delia corrects her.
"Right, ninety-seven. But that's even more to my point. You're vulnerable. Things can happen to you here all by yourself. I mean, look at you, all scraped up from that fall ... or whatever you were up to. And now you're stuck in that chair. You need someone to take care of you."
Cooper and I exchange nervous glances. His baby blues reflect the same anxiety that's churning in my gut. The doctors in the hospital already broached this conversation with Miss Delia, offering to find her a nice, quiet assisted-living facility. They didn't get very far. Miss Delia made it clear she's never leaving her house and garden. And now her granddaughter's jumping into the fray, likely spurred on by the hospital doctors. This is liable to turn ugly. Curse deadline or not, maybe Cooper and I should beat it out of here. We can always come back in the morning.
I inch toward the porch steps beside the ramp. Cooper follows my lead.
Miss Delia scoffs. "You're going to take care of me, Angelica?"
Dr. Branson smiles. "I wish I could. But I have my practice to consider." She gestures toward her daughter. "I was thinking Taneea might instead. She's missed out not having you in her life. This could be a great opportunity to get to know each other."
Taneea huffs and runs her black-polished nails through her bangs, revealing a silver eyebrow ring. "That's just your excuse for dumping me in butt-crack nowhere."
"Seems your daughter has no interest in caring for her great-gran. Fine by me. Emma's all the help I need."
Dr. Branson chuffs out a laugh. "You can't be serious. Emma isn't family. And she can't keep watch over you twenty-four hours a day. What if you have another fall when you're alone? What if something worse happens? I couldn't live with myself."
Miss Delia stiffens her jaw. "You've managed to live with yourself — and my daughter — for nearly thirty years in Chicago. It didn't bother you to take her away from her home, or her legacy."
Dr. Branson raises her palm. "Please, Gran, I don't want to argue about hoodoo anymore. I know you believe in it, but I've studied science. It's a bunch of bunk. Mama's had a better life with me than if she'd stayed here."
Cooper tugs on the bottom of my T-shirt. It's definitely time to bounce. Walking backward, we climb down one step and then another.
Miss Delia stiffens. "Emma and Cooper, get back here. I thank you for your visit, Angelica, but I think it's time for you and Taneea to leave."
Gulping, I hop back on the porch and stand next to Cooper.
The whites of Dr. Branson's eyes turn misty pink. "I can't." Her voice is suddenly small.
"Sure you can. Climb into that fancy car of yours and drive off my lawn."
A tear spills down Angelica's cheek. "You don't understand. I can't. Taneea isn't welcome back at home."
Taneea's expression turns hard. "That's only because you're weak. And your new husband is a giant tool." Pushing herself out of her chair, Taneea strides across the porch, yanks open the screen, and storms into the house, letting the door slam behind her once again.
"It's not my fault. You've left me no other choice," Dr. Branson calls after her, but Taneea doesn't bother to turn around.
A high-pitched squawk echoes across the yard. Turning toward the bottle tree, I search for the sound. It comes again, this time sounding rough and raspy and almost like a strangled cat. The tiny hairs at the nape of my neck rise. A second later a glossy, blue-black crow launches off a high branch and soars across the yard into the woods beyond Miss Delia's house.
Leaning forward in her wheelchair, Miss Delia's stare bores into her granddaughter's eyes. "What is going on?"
Wiping the perspiration from her face, she replies, "Have you ever wanted something so bad you'd be willing to sacrifice everything to have it? No matter what the consequence?"
Excerpted from Allure by Lea Nolan. Copyright © 2013 Lea Nolan. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beautiful cover! But overall, Allure wasn’t half as appealing to me as the first novel, Conjure. I found the first 230 pages not only disappointing, but frustrating to the max. It was long, boring, and the characters were really starting to get on my nerves. Emma seemed more ignorant than in the previous novel, and was completely blinded by her emotions to the point where I had to wonder if she was paying attention to any of the obvious clues around her. Especially when it came to Teneea, her behavior, and the affect she had on Cooper’s judgment. Oh, and Cooper—GRRR—if I was the main character in this novel, I would have not tolerated his attitude. Typically, I don’t mind a character’s behavior changing, especially when I understand why, but I felt, in Cooper’s case, it was taken way too far. At a certain point, I finally gave up on him. I honestly didn’t care if he was under a spell, a good part of me just wanted the curse to take him and be done with it. Yes, sweet, lovable Cooper made me that mad! Actually, the only character I did like in this novel was Jack, and there wasn’t enough with him to really keep my interest. What saved Allure from a single star was the last 123 pages. That’s when it started to have the “old gang” feel to it again, despite Cooper still pining after Teneea. Also, it’s where the adventure and mystery finally started to click in. And it was interesting with its twists and turns, some of which I saw coming from the start and some that took me completely by surprise. This was where the story blossomed. But Cooper still has a lot of making up to do before I accept him back with open arms. In conclusion, I’m going to continue the series since I always loved the concept, but I really was not at all impressed with Allure.
“It’s hoodoo…Not voodoo. That’s a religion.” In case you were unclear, 14 year old Emma, apprentice to Miss Delia, the most powerful hoodoo Gullah root worker of the Lowcountry in South Carolina, will clarify the misconception and race against a deadline to save her BF, Cooper Beaumont from a 300 year old curse. When you meet this young lady, you’ll know that this sort of urgent matter — it’s all in a day’s work for this gal! Allure is book 2 in the Hoodoo Apprentice series by Lea Nolan. I loved her writing style, the flow of the story so much, not only do I clamor for book 3 (please say there’s a book 3!), but I’ll retrace my steps in the meantime and start at the beginning with the debut novel, Conjure! By the time I’m done with that, you should be ready to go…right, Ms. Nolan? ;) While Allure launches straight into a fast-approaching target date of 3 weeks (Cooper’s 16th birthday) to break the curse, we’re immediately given snippets of information detailing missing Gullah artifacts pivotal in Conjure. Overlapping mysteries including a stolen pirate’s dagger and a missing family heirloom are interwoven throughout the story, but Ms. Nolan features them all diligently. Sure, Cooper’s soul is the most important (can’t lose focus there, lol), but the suspense behind the subplots were just as intriguing. The 80-carat family heirloom ruby stolen from Cooper’s father, Beau, whose description resembles that of Jabba the Hut (minus the rotting bologna odor), detours off the main storyline, but snatches center stage when further explored by Emma, her twin brother, Jack, and Cooper, as it connects to the Beaumont curse Cooper is so desperate to avoid. Sabina, an African queen with a brutal sense of justice…used her mystical hoodoo powers to seek revenge. She…cursed the Beaumont progeny forever by stealing their souls when they come into manhood, turning them unspeakably dark and corrupt. A murder to be solved (along with identification of a tar-like substance found on the body), an unplanned stay from Miss Delia’s haughty great-granddaughter (intent on spoiling Emma and Jack’s young love), a shady investigator with a dark agenda, and all kinds of hoodoo magic, spell conjuring, and boo hags ultimately find its way back to the heart of the matter. This isn’t stereotypical teenage amusement at play, but supernatural threats that are based in deep-rooted vengeance. Before you know it, latent effects of the curse are taking root within Cooper and he begins to detach from Emma and Jack (the trio have been BFFs for years). My jaw drops as I stare at him, transfixed by the strange hue of his irises. His eyes have always appeared to change shades, but I’ve never seen this one, ever. It’s cold. Lifeless. Perhaps even soulless. A chill ripples through me. Is this proof that the Beaumont Curse has begun to set in? Will breaking the Beaumont curse rid Cooper of his sudden obsession with Miss Delia’s great-granddaughter? Just when you hoped things/emotions would settle down, Ms. Nolan ramps up the hoodoo action, with even more action, and the mother of showdowns leaves you with baited breath (and a wicked oath for interference). Quick resolutions? Where’s the fun in that?! BRING ON BOOK #3!!! I loved the care, the respect, afforded to the practice. Ms. Nolan clearly dabbles in the art or has done a marvelous job of research. The gathering of herbs and exotic ingredients to execute a spell felt as if they were being concocted in my home. I could almost smell the lemon verbena! I got such a kick out of her flare for the dynamic imagery: Referring to the first deputy on site of the murder scene, she described him as “a thick-necked, muscle-bound specimen of crime-fighting prowess”, or when explaining the impossible, she refutes, “But that’s like telling an ice cube not to melt in this heat”. When voiced by a 14 year old girl, Ms. Nolan gives you hope for the next generation! Even when Emma’s hoping justice is served, her indignation lies on the person mistreating hoodoo; for using it with malevolence. I loved this young lady! I did gasp, and gulp, when reading a kiss between Emma and Cooper that was just too “advanced” for my tastes. Tracing kisses behind her ear…yiker bikers, slow down! It didn’t go beyond that, thankfully, and we end up in love with young love…well, sort of. An unexpected change of plans keeps Emma and Jack in South Carolina. How long till Cooper and Jack notice Emma keeps looking over her shoulder from the supernatural threat that has a personal bone to pick with her? It was indeed my pleasure to meet a lovely cast of characters, each equally impressive and unique. I did end the story on an “Awww…”, so I’ll say it again: I’M READY FOR BOOK 3!!!
I love an author who can transport me into the world that I’m reading about. I feel like that is the case with Lea Nolan’s Allure. Honestly there were moments where I thought I talk with a southern accent. I felt like I was totally absorbed into the world while I was reading. That is definitely one of my favorite things about books. I think Emma grew through the book. Her hoodoo workings are definitely becoming stronger and she is learning some lessons about love of course. The thing I love about her is how she trudges on, even if things are going to crap. She will stop and say you know what I can’t deal with this right now I have more important problems. There are often times where she seems really mature and of course other times where she is a young girl who has a boyfriend who is being, well. He is being what he is being. (can’t spoil too much) Cooper I’m mad at you... There are some new characters both on the creepy and annoying side. I actually thought maybe one of them would turn out to be nice but no, that wasn’t the case. I was glad for that though because you can’t redeem everyone. Boo Hags freak me out. I mean seriously I think I’m going to have nightmares about them. I never want to meet a Boo Hag, I think I might put some brooms around my house. So this books has twist and turns and interesting plot lines. I loved how hoodoo plays such a role in the story and can picture myself in the garden and using the mortar to grind up herbs. It’s such a neat idea for a story and so interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this besides this series. It’s also one of those stories where you don’t want to elaborate too much in the review because you don’t want to give anything away. It was fast paced and easy to get lost in. You can zoom through the pages without even thinking about it. If only to get through some tough stuff. I will definitely continue on and read the next book.
I loved Conjure and was definitely excited to read Allure and with that ending of Conjure, I was anxious to find out if Emma would be able to stop the curse from happening and losing her boyfriend for good. Allure definitely was an emotional roller coaster due to everything that Emma, Jack and Cooper went through. There were times I had to hold back the tears because of what Emma had to especially endure in this book. She went through so much, but she had her twin brother, Jack there to help her even when she did not expect it. Jack definitely stepped up from the first book and I definitely felt more for him. He showed his brotherly love in this book and even managed to put his twin senses to work when Emma was in danger. Cooper on the other hand, went a different route in this book and here it is Emma is trying to cure the curse that is supposed to happen to him, and he's being a jerk to Emma. (He is a Beaumont and in Conjure, the secret comes out why the Beaumont men are the way they are.) New characters are introduced in Allure and one in particular, who I definitely hope karma bites her back eventually is definitely one of the biggest dramas/concerns in Allure. Taneea is the great granddaughter of Miss Delia, who has dropped off by her mother to stay out of trouble, but she ends up causing even more trouble and Miss Delia knows something is up. I could not stand Taneea and what she did, was definitely not forgivable. There were definitely open questions even after the incident was brought up and if Taneea will happen to show up again. Let's hope not. Emma definitely proves to be taking in the hoodoo magic very well in Allure and Miss Delia trusts her enough at the end, even after a small incident that made her judge Emma on her actions. Emma definitely proved to everyone, she is capable of the magic and maybe even more. She is such a sweet girl, who just happens to have the worst things happen to her. I feel terrible for her. Lea Nolan made sure to top Conjure when it came to drama, magic, and even death. I had a hard time putting this book down because after at the end of each chapter, I was left hanging. So many questions were answered in Allure, but definitely more came up. There is one thing that we definitely know about now and that is what exactly is a boo-hag. Yuck!!! They definitely are something not to mess with. We even get the past creeping back up and getting into things. The ending was definitely a cliffhanger and left me wanting more. I want to know if Emma, Jack, and Cooper will ever not have anything come at them and if Miss Delia will be okay, especially what happened to her in this book. Lea Nolan did a spectacular job on the sequel and I look forward to the next book. I need to find out if Emma and Cooper will have their happily ever after because I definitely am shocked at the ending. Poor Emma and poor Cooper. =( I give this book 5 full moons and highly recommend it to young adult readers out there and fans of Lea Nolan. You will definitely love this book, but be prepared to want to go through the book and slap some characters silly. ( I know I wanted to do it with Cooper and especially Taneea) I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The tables have turned in this sequel to Conjure, and though one curse was broken, another looms on the horizon, one thats potential to wreak havoc threatens not only Cooper, but Emma and Jack as well. Everything is nearly right with the world again now that Jack is finally back to his caring, loving self, however there’s another curse to break, and suddenly, Cooper isn’t acting like himself. In truth, Nolan replaced my hate for Jack with my hate for Cooper in this sequel, and it seems there truly is no break for Emma from the mental and verbal abuse she endures, first in Conjure, and now in Allure. In my opinion, Emma is too good of a person, and whereas I wanted her to leave Jack by the wayside in book one, I was even more desperate for Emma to leave Cooper by the wayside in book two. However, with a heart of gold and a love stronger than her hate, Emma works desperately to break Cooper’s curse. She’s a much better person than I, that’s for sure, but, while Cooper is a jerk, the difference between Jack’s curse and Cooper’s is that this time, it’s obviously not Cooper’s fault he’s acting this way. Unfortunately, I’m not that forgiving and, fault or not, his actions still hurt, A LOT, so I desperately wanted Emma to leave Cooper in the dust, curse and all. However, some very interesting facts come out about this curse later on in the novel, and it’s not just the Beaumont’s that it effects, but also Emma and Jack, unbeknownst to them, and this makes the race against time a fun one for the reader, especially with the revelation of the boohag… While a majority of this novel was much more predictable for me than the first one, I think it was meant to be written this way in order to add shock value for the reader later on, because all at once the reader is blindsided by some events that, I, at least, never saw coming. And, these events added an extra air of awesome for me as a reader, especially because it includes some magical forms that I’ve never thought about or read about in any other novels, which is epic. There are a number of characters in this novel that we love to hate, and with the events unfurling, it becomes obvious that there is more evil present in this novel than readers initially knew going in. While there is a resolution of sorts in this novel, an even bigger allusion to events to come is looming overhead, and I can’t wait to read the next installment!
Allure is just as good as Conjure, but maybe just a tad better. You know why? If you were wondering what boo hags looked like after reading Conjure, you’ll find out in Allure. And believe me, boo hags are the stuff of nightmares. I can see why Delia didn’t want the kids to run into any. Scary stuff! Lea Nolan shares her hoodoo knowledge and makes me feel like I’m reading Delia’s book of spells myself! There are only a few points of contention in the book, which I’ll not share for fear of spoiling, but let’s just say, that the boo hags aren’t the only things that will upset you. Nolan introduces new characters and eliminates old ones; you’ll be conflicted. But in a good way. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to get their hands on Allure so they can love it like I do! I give Allure 4 paws due to the multi ethnic portrayals and easy relationships. Add these two titles to your collection. Girls of all colors will appreciate it!
A fabulous addition to a great series! Allure has it all: murder, mystery and well of course romance. Picking up literally where Conjure left off, Emma and Miss Delia are looking for a way to break the Beaumont Curse. They have little time and the sense of urgency is real. What better way to screw up a good hunt then throwing in a mystery guest- in the form of Miss Delia’s wayward great granddaughter. Taneea is the opposite of Emma in every way. A beautiful yet mean girl who is extremely forward with Emma’s boyfriend, Cooper. There is something not right with this gal. Cooper starts off the same loving, adorable guy that he was in Conjure but midway through the book something happens. He stops working to getting the curse broken. Emma and Jack cannot find him for long periods of time. Something or someone is way more important than certain doom. Emma throughout this book keeps a level head and her eyes on the goal. She will save Cooper, even if she gets heartbroken along the way. You can tell that she truly does care for him, especially after how he treats her. Will she find a cure in time? Is Cooper's actions really a product of his heart? Or is there something more sinister at work? Will she stop referring to her spirit guide as spirit guide? (This was my only complaint about the book.) I mean seriously, she could just give her spirit guide a name something like Sally. In the previous book, Conjure, Jack was kinda mean. He was under a curse and well his flesh was falling off. So you had to give him some room for an attitude. In Allure, it is like he is a new and improved brother. It's refreshing to see him be so nice to his sister- especially when his bestie does what he does to her. All will be revealed, but with a wicked twist of fate Nolan leaves the reader waiting for the next installment. My Rating 4 out of 5 stars