Spellbinder by C.C. Hunter | Book Review

(Shadow Falls novella) 

Published: June 30th 2015

Synopsis:

When magic, romance and family secrets collide, the result is spellbinding!

Miranda Kane has always felt like a screw up–at least when it comes to her ability to wield magic. Her only sanctuary is Shadow Falls camp, where she’s learning to harness her powers as a witch. But thanks to her shapeshifter boyfriend who called it quits and ran off to Paris, both her heart and powers feel broken.

When she unexpectedly lands a top spot in a spell casting competition in France, she flies out with her best friends Kylie and Della. But her trip takes her straight into the heart of a dangerous supernatural mystery–and a heated romance. What Miranda doesn’t expect is for her investigation to unleash shocking revelations…about herself, her family, and her arch enemy. Now Miranda must step up and show everyone that she’s a witch to be reckoned with….before it’s too late.


Spellbinder_bookcover
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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Page Count: 147

Format: e-book


Hola! Or, bonjour, as this book takes place primarily in France. Anyway, point is, hello! I am still working on several other full-length novel reviews, and until I can post them I shall be entertaining you all on this interesting and intriguing novella; Spellbinder by C.C. Hunter! This is a Shadow Falls novella, told from the point-of-view of one of the side characters in both C.C. Hunter’s Shadow Falls & Shadow Falls After Dark series:Miranda Kane.

I really enjoyed both Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls After Dark, and so I had been eagerly anticipating this release! Although Miranda hadn’t been a character I cared for as much, I was intrigued to see what life from her POV is like. And so I finally read it! I really enjoyed it. I really got to understand Miranda more and liked her more too. And in the romance & action department, this book didn’t lack either. Anyway, I’m rambling way too much for an intro, so let’s get to it.

Quick Summary

Miranda has always wanted her mother’s approval on her abilities. She participates in magic competitions–but ends up feeling like a screw-up. But this time around, she has more of an incentive to work to become high priestess; tickets for her her and friends to fly to Paris for the next Wicca magic tournament. Paris also happens to be where her kind-of ex-boyfriend, Perry, was, who had studies in Paris, the reason why he had called off their relationship. But everything is tougher when secrets are revealed and blood is spilled…

My Review

A plot of romance, mystery and action, what could go wrong? And in the hands of Ms. C.C. Hunter? Pff, nothing to worry about, that’s for sure, particularly if you’re a fan of the Shadow Falls series. The story takes place after the events of the second book in the Shadow Falls: After Dark series, Eternal, and the plot was gripping! Especially near the end. I have to say I did find a few events kind of predictable, for which I deduct maybe, .5 star, but I was able to overlook that in terms of how much I enjoyed the story. What I really liked was how even though this book is a paranormal romance, C.C. Hunter managed to keep an undertone of a realistic portrayal of teenage problems and friendship. There were two major things in the storyline, and C.C. Hunter managed to keep them both in check, making sure they weren’t all scattered and everything. The plot was very well-written, I was kept on my toes in anticipation while still sympathizing and feeling for the characters at the same time, which was great.

Which brings me to the characters. Like I mentioned, Miranda hadn’t been a character I particularly cared about (although I didn’t dislike her) but this novella really got me to understand her and her problems. Miranda had always wanted her mother’s approval, and this novella really showed how much that approval meant to her. Because seeing it from the perspective from one of her friends is way different than seeing it from her perspective herself, and I love how this uncertainty, this want for approval made Miranda into a more relatable character. I mean, don’t we all want our parents’ approval? No matter what age we are, our parents’ opinions really matter, and it was interesting seeing how Miranda dealt with this. Also, this novella also shines light on the other characters that we didn’t get much of a view on in the other books in the series, like Shawn and Tabitha. It was great finding more about them. Most of all, Miranda was put in a new light for me; I saw her as more of a stronger, braver and compassionate person, and I really enjoyed seeing the ‘true’ Miranda.

Lastly, the writing style. C.C. Hunter’s writing is definitely one of my favorites; it’s very simple, yet engaging, unique and addicting. Even if this wasn’t a novella I’d probably be unable to stop reading the book, because the writing style is simply so great!

Overall…

A great addition to the Shadow Falls series, this book is great for those of you Shadow Falls fans craving for the third book in the Shadow Falls: After Dark series. This novella will provide you wil a gripping plot, realistic problems alongside a paranormal storyline, and give you a refreshing perspective on Miranda’s character. The writing style is engaging and enjoyable, overall I recommend this mostly to readers of the Shadow Falls series! I suppose this can be read alone, however it will give some spoilers on the series, of course. All in all, I really enjoyed this novella!

What do you think of this novella? Have you read it or the series? Let me know in the comments below!

Sounds tasty? Well then, eat it up! It is positively spellbinding.

Analee 10

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Teaser Tuesday #15 (July 21): Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Hello fellow bookworms! Have you guessed it yet? ‘Tis time for another Teaser Tuesday! This meme is hosted by A Daily Rhythm. All you have to do to join in is:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) (I’m doing one) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Yes Please_bookcoverToday I have a teaser from Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (Around 30%):

At thirty I felt like I had about six or seven years of feeling like a real adult before my brain and society started to make me worry about being old. There is the built-in baby stuff, plus the added fascination with the new. But here’s the thing. Getting older is awesome, and not because you don’t care as much about what people think. It’s awesome because you develop secret superpowers.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler


What do you think of this teaser? Have you read this book? Did you like it? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!

Have a great Tuesday!

Analee 10

Top 10 Tuesday #15 (July 21): Ten Books That Celebrate LGBTQIA Characters

Hello everyone! It’s time for a Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters (example: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC,  neurotypical character, LGBTQ etc etc.)

I’ve decided to go with LGBTQIA characters for my list, in honor of the US legalizing same-sex marriage. I had been meaning to make a list for books with LGTBQIA characters a while ago, soon after it happened, but better late than never, right? By the way, these are all books I haven’t read, so I apologize in advance if I get some of my facts wrong! Also, I’m going to be arranging the books in a different format this time; they’re gonna be without my commentary and instead will have the synopsis. So, in no particular order:

1. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

None of the Above_bookcoverA groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

2. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not_bookcoverIn his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda_bookcoverSixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

4. Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Fans of the Impossible Life_bookcoverThis is the story of a girl, her gay best friend, and the boy in love with both of them.

Ten months after her recurring depression landed her in the hospital, Mira is starting over as a new student at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to act like a normal, functioning human this time around, not a girl who sometimes can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with a mischievous glint in his eye.

Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him like a backlit halo. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and secret road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.

A captivating and profound debut novel, “Fans of the Impossible Life” is a story about complicated love and the friendships that change you forever.

5. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Boy Meets Boy_bookcoverThis is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.

6. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

Under the Lights_bookcoverJosh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls … opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight—on everyone’s terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the one thing she’s always loved … and the person she never imagined she could.

7. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You_bookcoverA love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author ofHold Still.

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

8. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

9780373211753_BBFrom the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves comes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love isn’t enough to conquer all.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won’t understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

9. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson Will GraysonWill Grayson meets Will Grayson. One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers are about to cross paths. From that moment on, their world will collide and lives intertwine.

It’s not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old – including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire – Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most awesome high school musical.

10. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun_bookcoverA brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Honourable mentions to: Heroes of Olympus series (specifically Blood of Olympus) for having a gay side character. I didn’t offically mention this in the list since it only appears at the very end of the last book. Also, another honourable mention to The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, for Magnus Bane and Alec. XD


These books are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to LGBTQIA books, there are so many others I missed. Make sure to let me know of other LGBTQIA books that you recommend! I’m always open to suggestions.

So what do you think of this list? Agree? Disagree? What are your lists about? Let me know below or link your post! Also, I’d love it if let me know what you think of this format; would you rather this be a one-time thing or would you prefer this format for the other TTT too?

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Analee 10