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.
Lea Nolan is a USA Today bestselling author who writes witty contemporary stories filled with head-swooning, heart-throbbing, sweep-you-off your feet romance. She also pens books for young adults featuring bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history.
Born and raised on Long Island, New York, she loves the water far too much to live inland. With her heroically supportive husband and three clever children, she resides in Maryland where she cracks crabs and bakes ugly birthday cakes.
This e-arc was provided by Elana Johnson, (Entangled Publishing) thank you! One word: Fabulous. I love a good Hoodoo magic book, and Conjure by Lea Nolan did not disappoint. Nolan did an outstanding job capturing the mysterious and sometimes gross elements of Hoodoo, which made the book so much more enjoyable. Nolan created a fantastic world filled with danger and adventure that at some points left me saying out loud, “I don’t know anymore.” Needless to say, I enjoyed reading Conjure. Emma, the main character, is dealing with a mountain of trouble, after visiting her father for the summer. Thanks to her bother Jack, who was seemingly blinded by instantaneous love, they’ve unleashed something nasty. Cooper, oh, poor, poor Cooper, he’s such a nice guy, even though his family legacy is about as rotten as it gets. Missy, well, her name says it all. Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, why did you have to be such a creep from the start? The characters were unique, and I liked that. They weren’t generic, and they weren’t perfect. Even Emma had her faults, and lied to her brother and Cooper at one point. Still, that fact just enhances the story. The twist near the end…oh boy, you’re in for a real shocker. And the ending, oh, don’t even get me started. I’m so mad right now—mad that I have to wait for the next one to come out, that is. Take my advice: slow down, take your time, and don’t speed through this book. Because you’ll be wishing that you had the second one.
Talk about your bad curses. This is not one I'd want to have. Yesh! I'm all for hunting for buried treasure but these poor kids did not get what they bargained for. Love the glimpses of the past through the knife. Those peeks into history were fascinating.
First off I want to say this book had me from the first page and didn't let go until the end. I loved everything about this book especially the Gullah history part of it. I wanted to read this book after I learned it was about the Gullah world being a Lowcountry native I love books that tell out awesome history and the author didn't disappoint me at all. I loved the world building that she created with all the descriptions and the amazing back story she gave us about the town the story was set in. The world was so steeped in the old ways but with modern twists.
I loved the character of Emma. She was a strong and brave young kid that had to grow up really quickly. I loved that she was willing to put her trust into Ms. Delia and become her apprentice. The ride that we got taken on as Ms. Delia taught her everything she knew was amazing. The author had a way with words that made me feel like I was there in the kitchen with Emma learning with her and it didn't just feel like a history lesson. We really a lot about the Hoodoo way of life and it was a great way to introduce others to it. I loved that even though Emma was so young she grasped things quickly and was a quick learner. She really grew into her own as the book went on. I loved that Cooper was such a good friend to her and didn't leave her side. Cooper was such a great character and just what I would expect a Lowcountry boy to be like. He just had that Southern Charm that was so irresistible so I could tell why Emma was drawn to him. On the other hand I didn't care much for Jack because he was so pushy and mean to Emma. There were a few times I wished she would just punch him to shut him up for awhile.
The pace of this story flowed so well and it was action packed and kept me entertained throughout. I loved all the references to the Gullah history and learning more about it. It was great to see the Gullah words thrown in here and there and hearing them took me back to listening to some of the stories my grammie told me growing up. I love how the author just wove it into the story in certain points so it didn't feel like a history lesson. I loved all the paranormal aspects that were thrown in too. It was the little things like that which kept me drawn to the book.
Overall this book was spellbinding and I started to wonder if maybe I was under one of Emma's spells. The characters in this book were well written and developed really well so I really felt like I got to know them all. They felt like people I would really see in my hometown living life. The author gets major props from me for all the time and research I am sure she put into this book to make it really authentic. She also created such a great world with a great mystery at the heart of it all. I highly recommend this one to readers that want a really cool mystery read with paranormal aspects and some light hearted romance thrown in.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing for providing this book for review.
3.5 Stars With Halloween just around the corner what better way to start off the season than with a little magic and mayhem? Add in a nice story filled with creepy monsters, hoodoo, hexes and skeletons and you have one heck of a fun story perfect for the spookiest season of them all.
A small dash of romance doesn't hurt either.
This really was the perfect read to add a little mystery and creepiness into the atmosphere and totally get me in the mood for Halloween. I loved all the detail about the Hoodoo practice and of course the curse behind what starts it all was equally entertaining and somewhat terrifying.
Miss Delia was probably my favorite character. I loved how gruff and no nonsense she was and of course her knowledge about hoodoo helped set the tone for the whole book and really added that element of danger and scariness that the author needed to pull the whole story off. When I think of the old timers of the south, all the superstitions, white magic, black magic and practices, the image of Miss Delia comes to mind.
I wasn't sure if I was going to like Emma at first, not because of anything she did but simply because when the story begins, she and Jack (her twin) are only fourteen and I was afraid that the story would end up being too angsty or come across as to immature. I didn't have anything to worry about. Emma is thrown right into the life of hoodoo and takes it like a champ. And while she does have her moments, for the most part her voice is never too grade school or whiny. They are a lot of things she has to do that she never imagined doing or getting involved in but she does what she has to to save her brother and to help Cooper.
And while the romance wasn't as developed as I would have liked to see it, overall this was a fun read that I think would be perfect for any age group.
Disclaimer: the author and I are blogging buddies at Honestly YA, but don't let that stop you from believing me when I say this is a great book! I love the coastal history, the hoodoo connection, and the nonstop action. Also, I want Cooper Beaumont to be my boyfriend. If only he weren't fictional...and I weren't old enough to be his mom.
Lea Nolan's Conjure (The Hoodoo Apprentice #1) is a fun story full of mystery, intriguing supernatural elements, and cute romance.
Fourteen year old twins Emma and Jack Guthrie are spending their summer like they always do, with their father on the coast of SC, hanging out with their neighbor and best friend (and Emma's secret crush), Cooper Beaumont. But a mysterious 18th century message found inside a bottle turns their boring summer into one of life or death. Opening the treasure they find unleashes a Gullah flesh-eating curse, called The Creep, that attacks Jack. On the urgings of a mysterious beautiful stranger, the trio consult a Gullah Grannie, Miss Delia, to undo the curse and save Jack. Miss Delia takes Emma on as a hoodoo apprentice and teaches her all she knows.
Conjure took me on an exciting and fun journey into the world of hoodoo. Lea Nolan has crafted a unique story full of magical elements, sweet romance, and a likable heroine. Even though this book is 300+ pages, it was a quick read, and more importantly an enjoyable read.
The story took a few chapters to really pick up, but once it did the story moved at a great flow and I enjoyed the fast-pacing. The overall storyline is fairly predictable (I figured out the big reveal long before the climactic ending), but this didn't keep me from enjoying the journey. And Nolan does build-up the suspense and mystery well; there were plenty of twists and revelations that I never saw coming. The magical and supernatural world Nolan creates is really fresh and engrossing. I found the hoodoo elements quite captivating and very well thought out. Nolan has clearly done her research and adds a great authenticity to the story. I think readers will be riveted by Miss Delia's lessons in spells, herbs, gris-gris bags and the grotesquely fascinating curse.
For the most part, with the characters' ages and the less intense atmosphere, this story felt more MG than YA. Yes, there are darker supernatural and magical elements and life or death situations, but it just has a younger vibe to it. The teen characters who are 14 and 15 are a bit immature, but not unlikable. Emma is a realistic and smart heroine who really grew on me throughout the book. Cooper is a sweet guy, but his character development is a bit lacking; I hope we get to know him better in the next book. Jack was a bit harder to like, but I think that's because the curse made him act like a jerk. Miss Delia really shines as a great mentor character! She's funny, sassy, and irresistibly lovable.
Emma and Cooper's flirtation is definitely more cutesy and sweet than steamy. Emma's obsessive and repetitive musing about how hot/perfect/godlike Cooper can be a little annoying, but it definitely reflects her age.
The book concludes by wrapping up the storyline nicely, but setting the scene for the next installment and I will definitely be reading the sequel.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Conjure, with its fresh and fascinating hoodoo storyline, is a fun and entertaining book that will charm readers. A great first installment in what's sure to be an awesome series.
Hoodoo, South Carolina Low Country, a cute love story, pirates of a sort, a curse, what is there not to love about this book?
I was drawn in by the setting. I spent my first visit to Charleston last weekend but didn't get to do much traveling around because it was a Boy Scout visit to the USS Yorktown. That was a wonderful trip, but I must admit I was intrigued by the low country because my parents visited Charleston the year before and brought us back some spices from the market from the Gullah women. I honestly had not heard of the Gullah before that. History does not teach you about them personally (maybe SC history does). But I was intrigued by this group of people and these women that still cling to their heritage proudly. So when I saw Conjure used them as a backdrop, I jumped. And then add in hoodoo, white magic and I was more in love.
I loved the characters, they behaved as teenagers, typical 14 and 15-year-olds on summer vacation. I liked Emma and Cooper especially and Jack too, though sometimes he irritated me with his attitude but i understood the attitude and whining at the same time. Emma loves Cooper and looks forward to her summers with her father so she and Jack can spend time with Cooper who is there best friend. But when the mysterious bottle appears and the mysterious girl things take a turn for the worse and the plot begins to move along quickly. I also loved "the grannie" who takes Emma on as a hoodoo apprentice. She is everything I would expect her to be and so much more. I loved the scenes she was involved in, her language, her actions and how she loves what she does and how she can help no matter what. I also enjoyed the light romance between Cooper and Emma. Cooper is a great character. He is a privileged boy, but he doesn't act it, in fact if anything he seems to want to escape his upbringing and I really like him for that. I like Emma also for her just being who she is and not trying to be different for him. They work and I like how they work. It's just cute.
The plot moves quickly from the very first page. The characters are established, the bottle and curse are introduced and then it's a non-stop thrill ride to find a way to remove the curse and save Jack and Cooper before it's too late. As new people and things are introduced I think Ms. Nolan does a great job of weaving them into the story without being to wordy or weighing the story down wiht extraneous things. The story keeps moving at a brisk pace and kept me wondering what would happen next and how things would end up. I found the ending to be very satisfactory while leaving some things open for a second book that I will be eagerly awaiting.
Ms. Nolan has created a fresh new setting for a book that has me wanting more and anxious for the next book. Her characters feel real, the elements of the paranormal exciting and believable. Conjure really works for me as an enjoyable read and I will anxiously await book #2 in this series.
CONJURE was a nice book that took me on an interesting journey into the world of hoodoo. This story is full of magic, a cute romance that will make you smile, and a race against time to save loved ones. Nolan’s debut novel is a quick read fully of fantastical elements.
The characterization in this book, for the most part, is incredibly strong. My one problem with this novel is that the characters seem to completely disregard their intuition, specifically Emma. Her gut would be telling her the proper, logical thing, but she’d go along with what the others say because she couldn’t stand up for herself and properly assert her opinions. So much could have been avoided if she did. Despite that, she was a great heroine and a likable character that had a crush similar to the crushes I had when I was her age. The attempted understanding of the characters was a little spotty as well. In her attempt to properly portray a set of fourteen and fifteen year old characters, Nolan completely missed their dialogue, and at times, their behavior. Within the first several pages of the book, I was tempted to drop it simply because the word “bro” tended to appear at least once of every page. Eventually, I realized that this is simply how Nolan decided to have her characters talk, but it frustrated me to see something so nonsensical and unrealistic. I can’t say that any of my male friends have ever used the word “bro” as much as Connor had in the first fifty pages of the book, but I powered through and kept going, not allowing it to bug me as much as it initially did.
Aside from my own problems with misinterpretations that made way for annoyances, the plot moved along greatly. Again, the beginning was slightly slow because Nolan had to set up the adventure she was about to take us on, but once everything was good to go the novel took off and never looked back. It was easy to forget the odd mood changes and initial lack of common sense among the characters in the beginning of the novel and continue on with the journey in excitement.
All in all, this was a good story. When I received my copy for review, I didn’t realize the audience that it was going for. I was under the impression that it was for young adults, but parts of it and the style of writing hint that this is meant for the youngest of young adult readers. Because it was such an easy read, I flew through it easily and came out of it with the knowledge that someone slightly younger than me would love it much more than I did, despite my admiration for the creativity and overall enjoyment as I finished it. If anyone is looking for something unique to read, this is a read to grab from the library without any hesitation.
Shy, quiet, artist type Emmaline (Emma) Guthrie is in for one hell of a summer away from D.C on St. Helena Island in the South Carolina low country alongside her fraternal brother Jackson, and her secret crush Cooper Beaumont who she has known ever since she started coming to South Carolina to visit her father 8 years ago.
What turns out to be a fun filled summer, ends up being an intense chase towards finding a cure when Jack comes down with a 300 year old Gullah curse called the Creep after uncovering a buried pirate treasure and Emma has to quickly learn how to be a Hoodoo Apprentice under the guise of 97 year old Gullah Cordelia Whittaker in order to save him and Cooper from certain death.
First of all, congratulations to author Lea Nolan for actually taking the time to research the Gullah and actually using that research to write Conjure. I truly believe that the research she put into writing this book made it that much more interesting to read and to follow and made me want to learn more about the Gullah and their traditions of using Hoodoo instead of Voodoo as part of their lifestyles.
I have to say that I really enjoyed reading Conjure and loved the idea behind Hoodoo training, mixed with pirates, ghosts, a 300 year old family curse, and of course, a romance between two best friends that you just knew was either going to make or break this story.
Of course, silly me read Allure, the second novel in this series, first before someone timely shared Conjure with me which I absolutely appreciated. Even though Emma is 14 years of age, and a bit young for the young adult market, she doesn't act her age. In fact, she plows ahead with determination and spunk and fire that I really appreciated and found absolutely appealing and not annoying wondering if she was going to be soo emo, or too young for me to like.
Since I have already read Allure, I will be following up this review with one for that book shortly. I absolutely look forward to the third novel in this series with hope that Nolan continues her wonderful storytelling blending action, adventure, and romance along with some historical aspects of the South Carolina lowcountry and the Gullah.
Published October 23rd 2012 by Entangled Publishing, LLC
Conjure is about a group of young teen in South Carolina. Emma and her twin brother Jack, 14, spend their summers in the south with their father. One day on the beach with their best friend Copper, Emma, finds an old bottle with a note inside. The note, over 300 years old, speaks of long lost treasure and the curse that follows it. The boys are intrigued and set off to find it on the grounds of the old plantation owned by Coopers family. Emma has a bad feeling. When disaster strikes, Emma along with the help of the local Hoodoo doctor, must find a way to save her brother from The Creep and deal with her hidden feelings for Cooper.
I really like the characters of Emma and Jack. They have unbreakable bond that I really like. Cooper is the funny, handsom older boy that Emma loves. Together they are the perfect trio to solve the mystery of The Creep.
Once you throw in the hilarious wisdom of Mrs Deliah, you’ve got a cute easy read novel for all ages. I would suggest this book to young adults and those like me, who just cant get enough YA.
Cons? I kind of new where the story was going from really early on. Maybe I just read too much YA? But, I enjoyed the story regardless of knowing where it was going. I actually read the first half of the book on my phone the night I got it before I knew what was going on.
I was surprised to see that the characters were so young. Emma and Jack are 14 while Cooper is just a few months shy of 16. Their ages didn’t effect my rating of the book, but I was surprised at some of the things that they did in the book in regards to their ages.
Over all I’m pretty happy with Conjure, It’s an easy fun read for an reader of YA. I look forward to seeing where Allure (book 2) brings Emma, Jack and Cooper and what struggles they will have to deal with!
Conjure is a unique read that you won't want to miss. I'll admit the characters are a bit young for my tastes, but the leading character was not annoying. I still enjoyed this book immensely. The characters were well-developed and progressed along with the story, the plot was intriguing, and the pacing was perfect. This book will suck you in.
Emma was a terrific leading character. The book was told from first person POV, and I never got tired of hearing from Emma. She wa brave and selfless and everything a leading lady should be. I really enjoyed watching her grow over the course of the novel. Her twin Jack, however, was a jerk. I really didn't like him very much. He was extremely bratty and what I was afraid Emma would be like (with them both being 14). While Emma pleasantly surprised me, Jack pretty much fit the bill of what I expected. Luckily the book wasn't told from his POV. Cooper was a bit of a goody goody, if you ask me, but he was a decent guy. His "goodness" just got on my nerves. I know he will appeal to a lot of readers, though. The other two supporting characters, Maggie and Miss Delia, were also intriguing, and I enjoyed reading about them.
The plot was unique, and I liked the gritty details Nolan included about the Voodoo religion. I was kept guessing throughout the story, and I never got bored. The pacing was perfect, and the ending left me wanting more. There was action, adventure, and secret love. What else could a person want?
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something new in the YA genre, but doesn't mind younger leading characters. I'd say most YA readers will enjoy this one.
CONJURE was a unique story about a girl whose brother is struck by an ancient curse and their journey to cure him. The story started a tad bit slow but picked up and stayed on a nice course a few chapters in. The characters were easy to like (or dislike in some cases). You tend to forget the Main character and her brother are only 14 at some times when they are thrust into situations that a normal 14 year old wouldn't be able to handle, then you turn around and feel that they are extremely immature at other times.
There is some very light romance in CONJURE. Emma has had a huge crush on Cooper for as long as she can remember and Jack crushes on a mysterious girl they meet on the beach before all their troubles start. The Hoodoo parts of the book was interesting. Ms. Delia's character was my favorite character of the book and I looked forward to the parts she was involved in.The premise of the curse was fascinating and the location of the story fit in perfectly. For the most part the situations were pretty easy to guess and not much was a surprise when it was revealed.
CONJURE is geared pretty low on the YA spectrum in my opinion and would be a great fit for the younger, Young adults. A neat little adventurous start to The Hoodoo Apprentice Series.
Although Conjure by Lea Nolan is a YA book, it can easily be read by older MG readers because its tone felt a bit younger, particularly since the main character, Emma, was only fourteen and repeatedly thought about how dreamy her crush was. While I liked Emma, I found her twin brother Jack to be whiny and kind of selfish. To me, the most interesting and unique thing about Conjure was the incorporation of hoodoo. I’m not going to lie: before I read the book, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the difference between hoodoo and voodoo. Not only do I know the difference now, but I actually felt like I learned quite a bit about hoodoo from reading Conjure. It’s very clear that Nolan did a significant amount of research on the topic!
This review was written by Amber Hansford, staff reviewer with the Fantasy Book Addict.
There are always books that will grab you from that initial read of the blurb, and Conjure by Lea Nolan was one of them. I’m a Southern gal who happens to love YA and Fantasy, so this seemed like the perfect book to review for my debut on this site, and I wasn’t disappointed to find that while there were a couple of things that left me with some mixed feelings at the end, this was a highly enjoyable read.
Conjure intrigued me beyond my expectations. I enjoyed it. Conjure is a unique read that you won’t want to miss. It’s enchanting and entertaining with history weaving its way through the curses. The cover is beautiful and this book is fun, adventure, and magic all rolled up into one!
Conjure is the first book in The Hoodoo Apprentice series by Lea Nolan. This is a very adventurous book told from Emma’s point of view. Her, and her twin brother Jack, are staying with their dad in South Carolina for the summer. Their friend Cooper lives here, and together the 3 of them find an ancient bottle that leads to horrendous curses. Emma must learn hoodoo magic to save her brother’s life, and the soul of Cooper – her crush.
There were a lot of twists and turns and the mystery was written in a way that kept me guessing up until the end. I’m looking forward to the sequel, especially since it ended on a cliffhanger. I highly recommend it!
I found this book to be exciting, romantic, funny at times, scary at times, and well worth the lack of sleep from staying up to finish it. I've read about the Gullah people, boo hags, root doctors, and haints and find the information fascinating, so when I read the blurb for Conjure, I was hooked. The characters are great, especially the heroine, Emma. I am planning to read the next two books in this YA series even though this reader is way past being YA!
Lea Nolan's HooDoo Apprentice series is a unique treat. Set in the deep South, Emma Gutherie, her twin brother Jack and her crush, Cooper, get in over their heads with HooDoo magic. It's up to Emma to save her brother and Cooper with the help of her mentor, Miss Delia. But every time Emma seems to make headway, she encounters another road block. It's a race to save the ones she loves, and made me want to start book #2 as soon as I finished this book.
A superb blending of history, magic, and legend. Three friends battling not one curse, but two that have stood for over 300 years. It will take trust and the strength of their bond and well as the help and knowledge of new friends to battle what they're up against. Especially since not everything or everyone is what they seem.
Very good teen book about finding a treasure and releasing a curse that leaves Emma trying to figure out how to rescue her twin brother. Lots of light vs dark elements. Liked the characters. And even her jerk brother. Leaves the reader wanting to find out what happens next
Wow what a great story, imagine that you can see dead people and do magic by using spells an plants. Trying to save your twins life from a curse, this is a great story and will keep you reading to the end. A fan, Catha Watkins Reese
Overall this was pretty good. I liked Emmaline and her character growth but couldn't stand Jack and Cooper was generic. I was surprised (and delighted) over how gruesome the curse was considering the young age of the characters.