Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mini Reviews #21

Any fans here of SPELLBOUND by Cara Lynn Shultz? If you haven't read its sequel you should definitely get to it now. THE VESPERTINE by Saundra Mitchell could be a book for readers who enjoy historical YA. And the third mini review is for Anna Sheehan's A LONG, LONG SLEEP, a Sleeping Beauty re-telling of the cheerless kind.

Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz

Emma and Brendan finally broke the old curse that burdened their love, but a new enemy is coming for them, intending to use their powers for her own evil plans. SPELLCASTER is the second and last book in the SPELLBOUND series.
Emma and Brendan's romance intensifies a bit, but not as much as one could've hoped for in a sequel. They might have lost some of their original magic in consequence of too much secret-keeping and not trusting the other to be strong enough to handle any upcoming difficulties. It was still good to see them again, spending more time together, as Brendan and Emma have a natural charm as a couple that is just meant to be together.
SPELLCASTER has one last trial to test their love for each other, a mean witch. The antagonist wasn't as scary and unpredictable as the enemy Emma and Brendan had to face in SPELLBOUND. Great is that we learn more about Emma's ancient powers to cast spells. She's practicing a lot and we can be front row spectators of her magical achievements.

4/5 **** SPELLCASTER – An encore to Brendan and Emma's cute and hip New York love story, upping the paranormal power use and all that's at risk.

If you loved SPELLBOUND you definitely want to read this sequel about the last trial to test Emma and Brendan's love for each other. In the extra section of SPELLCASTER fans are supplied with playlists of songs on Emma and Brendan's iPods, very good bonus!

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: March 27th 2012
Length: 371 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, evil witch, magic, New York
Source: Netgalley
Author's Homepage

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

In the Baltimore summer of 1889 Amelia van den Broek is plagued by visions. People are asking for her advice and prophecies, but then terrible things start happening. Can Amelia find a way out of it all and trick fate?
THE VESPERTINE is told by young and adventure-seeking Amelia who is new to Baltimore and soaks up every tiny detail about the city and the people she meets, making this a very descriptive read.
Like other 19th century tales Amelia's story is very much about her relationship to her family, which has been problematic thanks to the visions she's been having. Amelia is haunted by them and fears that they turn out to be true. Those visions bring a high mystery and paranormal factor to her story.
Amelia is also supposed to find a well-respected suitor. So when she falls for Nathaniel, someone she shouldn't be seeing at all, it's clear that theirs is no easy love. Nothing in Amelia's story struck me as overly outstanding, but all in all following her new start in Baltimore made for a pleasant read. 

3/5 *** THE VESPERTINE - This historical YA read right out of the Victorian era convinces with its paranormal elements and a heroine like no other.

For those of you who enjoyed THE VESPERTINE, Saundra Mitchell wrote two  historical YA companion novels, following Amelia's cousin Zora and Kate Witherspoon. You don't come across companion novels in this genre too often, so give this series a go and get three novels to fall in love with.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: March 7th 2011
Length: 293 pages
Keywords: YA, romance, historical fiction, visions, Baltimore, 19th century
Source: Netgalley
Author's Homepage

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

It was only supposed to be a short nap in her stasis tube, but it will take sixty-two years for Rose to open her eyes again. Her parents are dead, the boy who kissed her awake is a stranger and the world she wakes up to is one that couldn't be more foreign.
The story of Sleeping Beauty has always been among my favourite fairy tales, so I gave A LONG, LONG SLEEP a go. Sadly, it wasn't at all as I'd imagined it. The futuristic world A LONG, LONG SLEEP is set in feels inconsistent and was completely unfulfilling just as its plot. I pitied Rose most of the time, none of her relationships to other characters did catch my attention and her love story (or better non-romance) with the mystery boy who kissed her awake is terribly dull.
Maybe Rose's story could've been stronger if it had been planned for two or three books instead of a standalone.

2/5 ** A LONG, LONG SLEEP - A Sleeping Beauty re-telling lacking the entrancement of its original inspiration.

This almost felt alien since it couldn't be further away from the original tale than the story that Anna Sheehan wrote. I guess she attempted a brave approach, but at no point did A LONG, LONG SLEEP feel like a story I'd want to read again.

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publishing Date: August 11th 2011
Length: 342 pages
Keywords: YA, romance, fairy tale, re-telling, Sleeping Beauty, futuristic world
Source: Netgalley
Author's Homepage


  1. I love fairytale retellings so it's too bad that you didn't enjoy A Long, Long Sleep, Sarah. I would have liked to add it to my wishlist :(

  2. Well, A Long, Long Sleep is on my tbr pile, so I'll give it a go eventually. But you lowered my expectations :-/.

  3. Great reviews :) I have yet to read Spellcaster/Spellbound, but I own both books, so hopefully soon :) I very much loved The Vespertine. <3 Think all three books in that series is pretty amazing :) Thank you for sharing!