Monday, November 12, 2012

Mini Reviews: Conjure by Lea Nolan and Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: 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!

Conjure was released in October 2012 by Entangled Publishing. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Entangled Publishing) for free.
From Goodreads: Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud - and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection - and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city - including herself. 

My Rating: Wavering between 3 and 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: With a plot that features a pair of starcrossed lovers, I was a little disappointed that the romance in Theo Lawrence’s Mystic City didn’t exactly make me swoon. Also, I found the story to be a bit predictable and thought the characters were okay – nothing special. Oh, and Aria was definitely not the smartest cookie around! But, for some reason that I can’t figure out, Mystic City left me interested enough that I know I’m probably going to read the sequel. 

Mystic City was released by Delacorte Books for Young Readers in October 2012. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.


  1. I've started Conjure and have since stumbled. I agree with the tone of the characters; they're not so much immature but juvenile seems to be the proper term.

    I still need to read my copy of Mystic City. It's For a Romeo and Juliet retelling, it's too bad the romance was a dud.

    Thanks for the insights!

  2. I've never heard of hoodoo so I'm kinda curious as to what that is all about. I have to admit that all the reviews that I've seen of Mystic City has focused mostly on the action and world building. I didn't know the romance was about star crossed lovers until now. The premise sounds cool so I think I might pick this one up.

  3. Conjure has an interesting premise, but I've come to discover that younger protagonists are not for me unless I am actively seeking out a MG/Childrens book. I'll probably skip it. Mystic City I have a copy of and it sounds like a good read overly. It's a shame about the romance though - you're not the first person to mention that it fell a little flat. Great reviews!

  4. I could have written your thoughts on Mystic City myself because you completely summed up exactly how I felt about this one. Bland characters and a predictable storyline. Don't think I'll read the sequel without seeing some good reviews first.

    And Conjure sounds good, the hoodoo would be interesting. Great reviews hun

  5. I've never even heard of hoodoo before! Good to know there's a difference. Personally, I don't tend to like younger narrators in YA unless I'm specifically reading a MG book and that's what I wanted. Otherwise, I tend to like my YA books to have 16/17/18 year old narrators. So I don't know, I can't say I'm terribly interested in Conjure. Or Mystic City, which is a bummer because I really had been really looking forward to that one! Pretty much ever since I saw that gorgeous cover. But I guess I don't really have time in my reading schedule to fit in a book that was just okay, you know? Which is why I always love your honest reviews - I always hear what I need to to decide whether I want to make time to read a book or not!

  6. I've read read a quite few negative reviews for Mystic City, it doesn't really seem like my type of book. Thanks for the honest reviews! ^^

  7. Awww sorry you weren't quite as big a fan of Mystic City as I was, I got sucked into that one right away:) I'm glad you at least enjoyed it enough to give the sequel a whirl, hopefully it works out a bit better for you! *fingers crossed*

  8. Anonymous11:23 pm

    Fabulous mini reviews! Conjure doesn't really appeal to me and the flaws you pinpointed turned me off from reading it completely, whilst Mystic City sounds just about like every YA dystopian book out there, even with the "This is THE next Hunger Games!!!" cop-out.
    I hope you enjoy your next reads more. :)

  9. What the heck is hoodoo? I didn't even know it was a real thing. LOL

    And you know my policy on romance, make me swoon or forget you.

    You saved me lots of time, hun. Thanks!

  10. I've never even heard of hoodoo until now. Might have to google it to find out what exactly it is. Haven't heard much about Mystic City so might have to give it a pass for or wait until the second book comes out first to read it.

  11. Mystic City never got my fullest attention. I mean, I still haven't added the book to the tbr list. I'm not sure if I want to read it.


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