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Spellcaster (A Spellbound Novel) Paperback – March 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cara Lynn Shultz is a proud graduate of Fordham University and her work has appeared in Teen People, Alternative Press, Us Weekly, The Guardian UK, and countless posts on Facebook (Facebook.com/CaraLShultz) and Twitter (@CaraLynnShultz). She is currently a senior editor at People.com, and lives in her native New York City with her husband, cat, and eight million other people. Spellbound is her first novel.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"They're not looking at you. Those girls haven't noticed you, Emma. You're stealthy like a ninja. They're not looking at you." I repeated the mantra in my head as I pretended to study the beverage selection in the glass case before me, but a quick glance to the left told me I was lying to myself.

There, three girls in private-school uniforms similar to my own black, navy and green plaid one, were alternately staring at me and whispering to each other. I grabbed some iced tea out of the case and hurried to the cashier before they could say anything.

"It's fine, Emma. They're not going to say anything," I silently promised myself, nervously tapping the sole of my Mary Janes against a rack of candy as I waited in line. You really need to stop lying to yourself, Emma. They're so going to say something to you.

"Hey, are you, um… I'm not sure how to ask this," the tallest girl, with black hair extensions that seemed as long as her legs, asked as she scrutinized my face. I wished I were wearing sunglasses. And a hat. And a ski mask.

I sighed, having been through this before. Yes, I'm Emma Connor. I'm the one whose boyfriend, Brendan, risked his life to save me in an epic battle with psychopathic classmate Anthony in Central Park after the winter dance. But what you don't know is I used some of my secret magical powers to save us and you're totally making me late for my spell classes with my friend Angelique. She's a witch like me. That about cover it?

Okay, maybe I'd leave that last part out. Even I couldn't believe it, and I'd lived it. And I really didn't want to rehash the details of that night with some snooping schoolgirls.

"What she means is," interrupted the shortest girl, who shot Extensions Queen a nasty look as she toyed with the glittering platinum-and-diamond pendant around her throat, "are you that Emily person? The one from Vincent Academy that was in that big fight a while back?"

I opened my mouth to correct them—a few papers had gotten my name wrong—but then a brilliant idea came to me. Lie. Of course. Why don't I just lie?

"You know, I get that a lot." I laughed casually, darting a quick glance out of the street-facing windows. Brendan was out of sight, talking to a basketball teammate on his phone around the corner. Liam had called him with some kind of crisis, forcing Brendan to wait outside while I grabbed a drink—ice cream made me thirsty. "I think it's just that we both have long dark hair."

"But you know her, right?" Shorty pressed. "I mean, you go to the same school."

I was about to lie again, but then I remembered that Brendan had lent me his basketball team sweatshirt, since it was chilly out—and it bore the blue-and-gray Vincent Academy insignia.

"I've seen her in the halls and stuff." I shrugged, feigning indifference. "I don't know her-know her." And then a flash of inspiration came to me.

"But I've heard she's cool," I said. I briefly considered constructing some elaborate story about "Emily" saving orphans and nuns and kittens and maybe even a baby panda bear from a burning building. Instead I went with, "She's supposed to be really nice."

"She'd have to be." Shorty—clearly the ringleader of this little trio—sniffed in a knowing tone before leaning in to me conspiratorially. "That's how I knew you weren't her. I saw the pic the Post ran. You're, like, way prettier than that Emily person. Not like that's saying a whole lot."

I grimaced internally as Shorty threw her head back and laughed at her own joke, her dirty blond curls bouncing with every cackle. A few papers had run our photos along with the story—the pics from our school IDs. The horrible, slack-jawed photo made me look like a zombie who just staggered out of a George Romero movie. Brendan, of course, looked like he casually sauntered out of some carefully cast reality show about high school rock stars. And I looked like I wanted to eat his brains. Fantastic.

"She's so much cuter in person," I muttered.

"She'd have to be!" Shorty snickered and leaned closer again with a confidential whisper, as if we were best friends, all of a sudden. "I mean, that guy Brendan is hot as hell. He hooked up with my friend at a party last summer. That Emily girl was nothing special."

The trio laughed as I bit back a snort. Nothing special? How many newbie witches have you met in bodegas, Shorty?

"Yeah, I guess." I excused myself as gracefully as I could, the girls' gushing about Brendan's finer qualities mercifully silenced as the sticker-covered door to the bodega slammed shut behind me.

I took a swig of my iced tea, checking my reflection in the store window—I know someone who thinks you're special— before rounding the corner to meet him, more irritated at the reminder of Brendan's past conquests than anything.

My little storm cloud of anger dissipated as soon as I saw him leaning against the rough brick building behind him. He had just gotten a haircut, but I only knew this because he'd told me. His thick black locks were as unruly as ever, hanging into his piercing green eyes.

"There's my girl," he said, the corner of his mouth pulling up into a sly, sexy smirk. Even though there was a slight chill in the March air, thanks to a forecasted rainstorm, Brendan kept his black wool jacket hanging open, the school uniform's white button-down shirt concealing all the goodies that were underneath. I flicked his black tie away impatiently and rested my hands on the line of white buttons, trying not to think about how much more I liked this shirt when it was crumpled up in the corner of his bedroom two weeks ago. I couldn't help it: Brendan was abs-olutely pec-tacular, horrible puns intended and very accurate.

"Everything okay with Liam?" I asked, and Brendan nodded, an amused smile breaking out across his face.

"So you know how he got into a fight during last night's game?" I nodded as Brendan chuckled at the memory of how he and another player, Frank, had to hold Liam back from a mouthy player from Xavier High School. "Well, it was just some overheated shoving match, but little ol' Liam's freaking out. He thinks Coach Dunn's going to kick him off the team or suspend him or something."

"Do you really think he could get kicked off for that?" Liam was one of the few sophomores on the team, but he was still pretty impressive on the court.

"Nah, he'll be fine." Brendan shook his head dismissively. "Maybe he'll get benched for a game, that's it. He's just worried 'cause he's pretty new to the team. I mean, I got into a full-blown fistfight this year and I'm still on the team."

Brendan paused, then added smugly, "That was before you moved here. I knocked the guy out with one punch, you know."

I smiled indulgently. "Yes, I heard all about it, Braggy McBraggerson."

"Hey, that guy tripped me and then took a swing at me! I was merely acting in my own defense." Brendan pretended to be offended, holding his palms out innocently. "Liam will be fine—besides, it wasn't his fault. So after I told him to stop acting like a whiny little girl, I told him what to say to Coach Dunn, and to go right ahead and use me as an example. After all, Dunn only suspended me. It'll work out—if not, I'll go to Dunn myself and threaten to quit or something."

"You would do that for him?" My jaw dropped. Brendan was definitely one of the best players on the team—and he absolutely adored playing. It was one of the only things he liked about our school. As wealthy as his own family was, Brendan disregarded most students at Vince A, considering them all to be arrogant social-climbing snobs. And for the most part they were.

"It won't come to that, but why not? He's a good kid." He shrugged nonchalantly.

I couldn't help it, a big goofy smile spread across my face at the kind way he'd taken the sophomore under his wing. "Aw, look at you," I murmured, tugging on his black tie. "You're so cute."

"Ugh, come on, Em. Don't call me cute!" Brendan wrinkled his nose up, saying the word as if it pained him to pronounce it. "You say it the same way you talk about baby otters and those kitten videos you like. Guys don't like to be called cute."

I rolled my eyes. "Okay, you're so awesome and can bench-press a bus and do a billion push-ups," I drawled. "You're not cute or sweet at all. Better?"

"So much better." He chuckled, and I continued teasing him.

"You're the original badass. You can roundhouse kick a quarter and get five nickels." I held my fists up in the pose I'd learned from my kickboxing class, which I'd started taking after I healed from the winter dance, and pretended to kick Brendan.

"Oh, check it out, the mini-ninja has jokes," he teased, blocking my weak, halfhearted kick with his forearm. "Are you done making fun of me yet?"

"No, but I'll be nice and let you continue your story where you're not at all cute or sweet about Liam. The horror!" I stood back upright, grinning as Brendan gently tugged on the cowlick in my bangs.

"You're too much," he said, shaking his head at me and smiling. "And so what if I'm friends with Liam? He's a good kid." Brendan tilted his head, giving me one of his signature flirty smiles. "You know, you really should stop making fun of me, because it's all your fault, anyway."

"What's my fault?"

"Me, actually liking people at Vince A."

"What a tragedy," I deadpanned.

"Oh, it is," Brendan insisted, his eyes open in mock horror. "I'm losing my cred. Next I'll be voted prom king." He shuddered at the thought and I laughed at the mental image. If that crown was placed on his unruly dark head, the heavens would open up and he'd get trampled by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

"Hey, don't blame me for making you want to be nice to people." I laughed, poking him in the chest. He grinned, grabbing my hand to kiss my fingertip, before dropping his hands to my waist, and drawing me close.

"I want to be nice because I'm happy," Brendan whispered in my ear, his breath sending trembles across my skin. "And it is all your fault, because you're the reason I'm happy." He touched his lips underneath my ear, and I forgot that I was supposed to be avoiding the annoying girls in the bodega. I forgot that I had somewhere to be. I'd forget my eyeballs if they weren't stuck in my head.

Maybe it's because Brendan was smart, sweet, supportive and—let's face it—smack-yourself-in-the-face hot. Or maybe it was because he could win a gold medal in making out. But most likely, it was because he's my soul mate. My honest, true soul mate—reincarnated over a thousand years, only to be reunited and ripped apart, generation after generation, thanks to a curse set in motion by a brokenhearted ancient lord. When his beloved wife, Gloriana, was murdered, Lord Archer thought he was securing their reunion in another life. He made a deal with a witch: his and Gloriana's souls would reunite in another lifetime—one where Archer would be reborn into a rich, handsome and strong descendant.

But Archer's goals shouldn't have been so selfish, so focused on his own glory, as the witch cruelly reminded him when she granted his proud wishes. When you make a deal with evil, there's always fine print. The witch doomed our souls with a neverending curse: after we reunited, Archer would relive the loss of his soul mate as she suffered an untimely, tragic—and brutal—death. Over and over again, lifetime over lifetime, condemning me from the moment I met Brendan. But after Anthony attacked me at the winter formal, Brendan risked his life to save mine—the key to unlocking the curse started by his selfish past life.

The fight also confirmed that I had some seriously untapped witch powers—Gloriana had practiced witchcraft, and that magic stuck with her soul, magnifying as the years passed. My late twin brother, Ethan, was able to warn me of the danger, through dreams and some seriously scary signs, of the impending doom. But when I was somehow able to summon his spirit to help me pull Brendan from an almost-certain death, as he clutched on to the rocks high above Central Park's Turtle Pond after knocking me out of Anthony's path, we realized I had some major magical talent flowing through my veins. Before I moved to New York, I had no idea that I was what Angelique called a "born witch."

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Product Details

  • Series: A Spellbound Novel
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780373210503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210503
  • ASIN: 0373210507
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nikki Wang on April 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Originally on Fiction Freak
*Complimentary copy provided. This does NOT affect my review in any way.*

This is book two of the Spellbound series and no, I have not posted the review forSpellbound yet. But I decided to post a review on Spellcaster simply because I feel as if book #2 is better the #1. I received this through NetGalley (amazing site!) and was so excited! I'm still not used to receiving eARCs or ARCs in general. I can't believe my blog is already 6-7 months old!

Away from nostalgia, Spellcaster made me realize why I loved Cara Lynn's writing so much. Not only did she create a whole bunch of legends and "spells" that caught my interest. You never really read a lot of stories about witches, you know? I mean, paranormal worlds have been taken over by the one we all know and love/hate: vampires. So reading a book with witches is different because they have advantages that vamps don't have, and disadvantages that vamps don't have. It wasn't disorienting, but you could notice the change in...creature? For me, witches just seem more fun, more human, because really, they are humans. Just with a few gifts. And witches are something you can twist into a "good" or "evil" whereareas vampires, for some reason, always stay "evil".

I loved the new conflict even better than the old one, where instead of just realizing that she was a witch who had found her soulmate, she had to fight for her soul mate. She had to get used to her powers. She had to learn how to control her gifts. And she had to trick a (quite literally) bloodthirsty witch who was hell-bent on making Emma pay. And all this a new witch has to deal with! Pretty intense. But Emma deals with it, still making time to care for her cousin, to still hide her secret, and deal with Kristin.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TheReaderBee on March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Spellcaster is the much anticipated sequel to Spellbound, by Cara Lynn Shultz. I've been waiting on this sequel to be released for quite some now, and I'm thrilled to be able to read it!
After Emma and Brenden broke the curse to their eternal love in the previous book, you would think that like would be getting back to normal for them in this sequel. That's not exactly the case, however. Something dark and sinister is lying in wait, determined to destroy the loving couple. It's up to Emma, and her newfound power, to keep them both safe.

I really enjoy the main characters in this book. Emma is well on her way to becoming a really awesome witch. I love watching her become more sure of herself, and much more determined as well. Brenden is such a loving boyfriend, I love that he's willing to do anything to keep Emma safe. Their relationship is such a sweet one. As in the previous book, I really adore Emma's best friend, Angelique. She's quite the little witch herself, and I would love reading the parts of the book where she was included.

Spellcaster was very well paced, and included lots of action and suspense. The `bad guy' in the book was definitely an evil character; I kept waiting to see what would happen next. There was also a LOT of hilarious parts in the book. More than once I found myself laughing at a line I had just read. I love a book that can make me laugh.

Overall, this was a great sequel to Spellbound. The kick-butt characters, funny moments, engrossing plot all come together to make a very intense read! I loved it, and can't wait to read more from this Mrs. Shultz!

Happy Reading!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kale on March 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
After the trauma of falling into an ill-fated love, and breaking the curse that has domed them over the centuries Emma and Brendan are just trying to enjoy their well earned reprieve.

Unfortunately the couple's true love status is out and with it the key to a powerful ritual. Someone from their past is looking to collect on Emma and Brendan's romantic magic. Long ago wrongs are driving an evil hellbent on destroying Emma and her beau. Em will have to tap into her witchy ways to have any chance at defeating this new nemesis and saving her and Brendan from another deadly fate.

Spellcaster follows the mystical ordeals of Emma and Brendan once again. While Spellcaster wasn't as terribly romantic as Spellbound the sequel had some of the same romance fans fell for. Em and Brendan's relationship is maturing as are their friendships. The supporting cast really get to come out from the background and shine in this one, I loved Liam, Ashley, Angelique, and Cisco. Honestly I thought Spellbound could be a standalone, I wasn't quite sure where Shultz could take a story about cursed lovers breaking the curse, but there was a pretty good plot here completely independent from the original thread and villain. There was lots of action and magic though I would've liked more of a magical presence and world buiding.

Spellcaster is a fun follow up, with great characters and an interesting plot. It's a wonderful book to spend the weekend with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fall Into Books on March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Wow. I thought that surely Shultz outdid herself with Spellbound, but I was wrong. Spellcaster is fantastic! It picks up where Spellbound left off, with Emma and Brendan dealing with the fallout from Anthony's attack. Anthony is still MIA, and the police believe that his father is hiding him somewhere in Europe. However, no one is sure where Anthony really is. Also, someone is out to get Emma and Brendan... again. These poor kids can't get a moment's peace. Spellcaster is an extremely suspenseful read. Emma and Brendan have to battle new and old enemies, and the novel is packed full of action, romance, adventure, and mystery. This is one book you do not want to miss.

Spellcaster has everything I loved about Spellbound, but the pacing is faster. Spellbound started off kind of slow at first, but Spellcaster jumps right into the action. We find out pretty quickly that something is after Emma, but we don't know what it is. Even after we find out who is behind her attacks, there is still a mystery surrounding who is helping Emma's attacker. While I had a good idea who was helping Emma's attacker, I wasn't 100% sure until it was revealed. Shultz leaves hints along the way, but she does a good job at keeping you guessing.

Emma's character has grown so much since Spellbound, and she grows even more in Spellcaster. She still has her sarcastic sense of humor, but she is much more mature. She has a lot of difficult decisions to make in this novel, and some of her decisions really surprised me... in a good way. When I finished this book, I was very proud of the character she's become. Emma is a strong heroine who fights for those she loves without sacrificing who she is. She won't let anyone push her around, and I really admire that about her.
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