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Cursebusters! Paperback – May 17, 2011

13 customer reviews

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The Harvest
Don't miss "The Harvest," the conclusion to the popular Heartland trilogy. See the full series

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Julie Smith is a former journalist who began her career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and then moved on to the San Francisco Chronicle, where she remained for fifteen years, absorbing gritty realism and (hopefully) street smarts, as careful preparation for a life of crime. Crime-writing, that is.

She’s the author of 20 adult mysteries featuring three female sleuths and one neglected guy: A cop (Officer Skip Langdon, NOPD), a PI (Talba Wallis, poet and computer genius, also of New Orleans), a semi-amateur detective (Rebecca Schwartz, San Francisco lawyer), and a complete amateur (Paul McDonald, crime writer, also of San Francisco). The first book in the Skip Langdon series, New Orleans Mourning, won the Edgar Allan Poe award for Best Novel.

Cursebusters!, Smith’s first YA novel, is also her first paranormal adventure. While writing it, she met a young male editor who gave her the quote she thinks most embodies the spirit of the book and her own philosophy as a YA author. It’s this: “There’s far too much emphasis in YA on the importance of girls getting the guy (or the girl—this is Bold Strokes here!) and not nearly enough on the importance of girls kicking ass.” Smith deeply and firmly believes in the importance of girls kicking ass, an opportunity they’re seldom afforded in real life—hence, every opportunity must be taken in fiction.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602825599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602825598
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,545,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I first knew I wanted to be a writer at seven, knew it was mysteries I'd write at 12, was desperate to win the Edgar at 13, but became a journalist to...well...keep from starving till I had the courage to actually try it. I had a great time and learned more than ten colleges could have taught as a reporter for first the New Orleans Times-Picayune and later the San Francisco Chronicle. Finally, I wrote six or seven mysteries (I've lost count!) over a period of eight years, to absolutely no avail, and was about to give up when I made my first sale. DEATH TURNS A TRICK was my first published book, and the Rebecca Schwartz series was born. I later added a second San Francisco series, plus two in New Orleans, and guess what? My first New Orleans book, NEW ORLEANS MOURNING, won the Edgar for Best Novel.

So some dreams come true! Boy, it was hard, and it took forever, but mine actually did. I'm still pinching myself. After wanting something so much and finally getting it, who would have thought I'd turn to something else after twenty-one books? (That's right, twenty-one not counting a non-fiction one on writing itself. So, twenty-two, really.) My whole identity was writing. But along came ebooks! Suddenly a gigantic opportunity opened up. I realized I could be a publisher myself---I could help other people achieve their own dreams. I couldn't help it, I got the publishing bug. Bad.

In 2010, I founded, a digital publishing company that focused at first on video-enhanced ebooks, but now not so much enhanced as just great quality---and, as you might imagine, with an emphasis on mysteries. So far, we've published eight authors (including me). It's been a treat to learn to function in another whole world and it's been incredibly rewarding to be able to help other writers, to bring back people's backlists, and to discover new, exciting talent.

Check out some of our terrific authors--Patty Friedmann, Marika Christian, Tony Dunbar, Anneke Campbell, Whitney Stewart, and Lee Pryor. Coming soon: mystery authors Greg Herren, Liz Zelvin, Shelley Singer, and Mickey Friedman.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jessica N. on August 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
What would you do if you suddenly found yourself in a boarding school? Now consider that said boarding school has very strict rules, and people who are....interesting. This is the situation that our main character Reeno finds herself in, and what ensues is a hilarious and intelligent romp of a story. Julie Smith has taken a few concepts that might seem a little, advanced we'll say, and woven them into a really fun story line. Complete with fantastically written characters and a nice dose of hilarity, Cursebusters was quite the read.

Reeno is one of those characters who steals the spotlight. To say she's impulsive is a bit of an understatement, but she makes up for it in motivation. See Reeno's sister is really ill, and Reeno knows that the one thing that can save her is way out of her family's price range. So she sets off for a heist and, through an interesting turn of events, ends up in boarding school. However what I loved about Reeno is that she didn't let this phase her, instead she took it as a challenge. In fact, she does that a lot throughout the book. Reeno isn't a girl who is going to take anything lightly. If she has the power to fix or change it, she will. Awesome right?

Pair her now with my favorite character, the wise-cracking and slightly stand-offish A.B. This darling cat, and don't let him catch you saying that or he'll swipe at you, just so happens to be the key to everything that is going on with Reeno. Unfortunately for her, and fortunately for us, that means they spend a lot of time together. Their banter is hilarious and it was by far my favorite part of the book!

Story wise, Cursebusters was a little confusing at times. I understood the overall plot, and you can definitely tell that Julie Smith did her research while writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By adak baboluchi on January 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Cursebusters really captures the rebellious spirit of adolescence---that feeling of helplessness in a world where someone else rules. The heroine, Reeno deals with it not with drugs, but by becoming a burglar. That gets her into Bad Girls School where she meets with other misfits plus an older individual who thinks he can tell her waht to do---however this one is several hundred years old and not even human.
Adventures ensue--including time travel. Finally the world gets saved and there are at least 800 laughs along the way.This is a hilarious very original boook. Its on my top ten list for 2012.
Adak baboluchi
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Claire Sexton on May 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am a longtime fan of Julie Smith's mysteries and was surprised to see that she has a YA book coming out. Fortunately, I was able to find an ARC and began to read immediately. Smith's sense of humor and ability to plot a clever book are intact and made this a really fun read.
The protagonist--Reeno--is a petite, pink-haired powerhouse. Reeno is also the best burglar in California until she bungles a burglary and ends up in Bad Girl school. Things look bleak until she meets AB--cuddly cat or feline assassin? And why does AB need to recruit a cursebuster? What curse? You're going to love finding out!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marika E. Christian on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Reeno's hit a streak of really bad luck. Her sister is dying, she has a strained relationship with her mom, a cat that may or may not exist has botched her big time heist to get Michelle Zunger's diamonds, and she's packed off to "reform" school, with only a few possessions. Of course, her bad luck, turns out to be the best thing that's ever happened to her.

The mysterious cat returns, Reeno makes some real friends - all budding psychic's like her, and they begin an adventure that will save her sister's life, that is if she can save her own life first.

Cursebusters is an exciting tale of time travel, Mayan Curses and one girl's determination to save the sister she loves. More then once Reeno reminded me of a teenage time traveling Indiana Jones, strong, fierce and ready to face anything.

Reeno is a "raspberry" blond who, with the Alpha beast's help (a true delight that I will leave for other readers to discover on their own) becomes a hero. Reading her journey was a joy, one that I wanted to share with every kid I know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
In Santa Barbara, teenagers Jace, Morgan and Deborah break into the home of Michelle Zunger to steal her diamonds. However, a big orange cat, that the elderly woman denies exists, foils their attempts. Police officer Frank Dominick arrests Deb. Her parents get the Zungers to drop the charges on the condition that Deborah Reeno Dimond attends St. Joan, the "Bad Girls School" near Ojal. Her only remorse is not being there for her dying sister Haley, wasting away from an unknown disease.

Though placed in Remedial that she knows that is a euphemism for the prison wing, Reeno hooks up with other psychics at the school. She learns from her Ozone Ranger peers especially Carlos that her sister's disease is caused by an ancient Mayan curse. Their advisor A.B. (calls himself Alpha Beast) insists he knows ho save her sibling's life. Reeno would do anything for Haley even heeding the advice of an untrustworthy predatory Alpha Beast who considers her a worthless human novice by going back in time to steal an artifact from ancient Mayans.

This is a terrific young adult fantasy that grips the audience from the moment that darn cat gets in the way of the perfect teen heist and never slows down as Reeno gets into messes one after another though the timeline is not linear. Action-packed, readers will enjoy the Cursebusters as Julie Smith leaves New Orleans (see sleuths Talba Wallis and Skip Langdon) for a fabulous adventure in Mayan territory, past and present).

Harriet Klausner
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