Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blog Tour: Conjure by Lea Nolan

Lea Nolan couldn’t read until the third grade. After a lot of hard work she finally got the hang of it and devoured any book she could find with a shiny Newberry Award sticker on the cover. Today she writes the stories she sought as a teen—smart paranormals with bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance and a sprinkle of history. She holds degrees in history and women’s studies concentrating in public policy and lives with her heroically supportive husband and three brilliant children in Maryland.

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Conjure by Lea Nolan
eARC received from Entangled Publishing
Release Date:  Available Now
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
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.

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; 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 summer—and her friends--are lost forever.
“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 w
ished 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.
Want to purchase Conjure?  Use the following sites.