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Books Reviews Young Adult

Lea Nolan’s “Conjure”

I was drawn to Conjure by Lea Nolan because it sounded like a girl’s girl kind of book:

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.

 

You know I love a book about a strong girl and girl power.  I don’t mind love stories so much as I need the girl to have a brain of her own even if she does like boys.  (I suppose somewhere I’m still 12.)  That’s where Emma Guthrie comes in.  She’s a young teenager with a twin brother.  Their best friend has grown into a hottie and she can’t stop her growing feelings for him.  So here’s where it gets fun; They live in South Carolina in the low country area that’s famed for its Gullah population.  The Gullahs were originally brought over as slaves and stayed in the area long after emancipation.  This culture is known for its belief in certain types of magic, called hoodoo, not to be confused with voodoo.

What’s so fun about Conjure is that she explores the Gullah and the hoodoo culture and we become experts on the subject while having fun! This book is rare because the African American characters drive the story and are not merely sidekicks.  I can already picture the stern but lovable Miss Delia in my mind’s eye.  She looks alot like Cicely Tyson from “Because of Winn Dixie.”

courtesy imdb

Miss Delia is a tough old broad and looks a little crazy but full of love.

So, not only does Nolan make Miss Delia a driving character, Maggie, who is Jack’s love interest, is also African American and none of that seems to make a bit of difference to anyone in the story.   I love it!

Another thing I love about the story is the use of the hoodoo. To be sure, I don’t like to be scared and one evil character, in particular, scared the wits out of me. It was Sabina and here’s how I pictured her to look:

courtesy The [email protected]

This nice lady here is an example of how the Gullah might have looked back in the day.  Now imagine her all angry and menacing and chanting spells.  She even scared a bunch of pirates!

Did I mention pirates? You gotta love a book that has pirates, right?

So no more blah blah blah from me.  Read the book and find out about Emma, her love interest and WHY the title is called Conjure.

And maybe sleep with one eye open.

Just in case a boo hag is coming to get you.

I give this book four paws not just because I’m scared of someone putting a curse on me but because of the full complement of African American characters in the book.

 

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Books Young Adult

Book Review: Allure by @Lea_Nolan @HeatherRiccio

Allue Lea Nolan

You many not know this, but PammyPam is part of an elite street ninja team called the Apprentices.  We are handpicked for our ingenious skills by our leader, author and head ninja, Lea Nolan.  As part of this elite squad of ninjas, we get to hear the latest news about Lea’s writings.  Lea’s first book, Conjure:

Be careful what you search for…

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.

 

I loved Conjure so much! It’s so refreshing to read a YA book that’s not too mushy and is appropriate for the younger YAs, 12-14.  Here’s my review.  You can imagine I was over the moon when, through a little hoodoo magic, I conjured up an advanced copy of Allure, the sequel to Conjure! Here’s the blurb:

Worst. Summer. Ever.

Emma Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper’s sixteenth birthday. But deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach, conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful adversaries.

Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother, Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Face with the horror of a soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it together, before it destroys them all.

 

Allure is just as good as Conjure, but maybe just a tad better. You know why?  If you were wondering what boo hags looked like after reading Conjure, you’ll find out in Allure.  And believe me, boo hags are the stuff of nightmares.  I can see why Delia didn’t want the kids to run into any. Scary stuff! Lea Nolan shares her hoodoo knowledge and makes me feel like I’m reading Delia’s book of spells myself!  There are only a few points of contention in the book, which I’ll not share for fear of spoiling, but let’s just say, that the boo hags aren’t the only things that will upset you.  Nolan introduces new characters and eliminates old ones; you’ll be conflicted.  But in a good way.

I can’t wait for the rest of the world to get their hands on Allure so they can love it like I do!

I give Allure 4 paws due to the multi ethnic portrayals and easy relationships.  Add these two titles to your collection.  Girls of all colors will appreciate it!

Unconventional Librarian 4paws

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Books

Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

Categories
Books Reviews Young Adult

Conjure by Lea Nolan

I was drawn to Conjure by Lea Nolan because it sounded like a girl’s girl kind of book:

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.

 

You know I love a book about a strong girl and girl power.  I don’t mind love stories so much as I need the girl to have a brain of her own even if she does like boys.  (I suppose somewhere I’m still 12)  That’s where Emma Guthrie comes in.  She’s a young teenager with a twin brother.  Their best friend has grown into a hottie and she can’t stop her growing feelings for him.  So here’s where it gets fun; They live in South Carolina in the lowcountry area that’s famed for its Gullah population.  The Gullahs were originally brought over as slaves and stayed in the area long after emancipation.  This culture is known for its belief in certain types of magic, called hoodoo, not to be confused with voodoo.

What’s so fun about Conjure is that she explores the Gullah and the hoodoo culture and we become experts on the subject while having fun! This book is rare because the African American characters drive the story and are not merely sidekicks.  I can already picture the stern but lovable Miss Delia in my mind’s eye.  She looks alot like Cicely Tyson from Because of Winn Dixie.

courtesy imdb

Miss Delia is a tough old broad and looks a little crazy but full of love.

So, not only does Nolan make Miss Delia a driving character, Maggie, who is Jack’s love interest, is also African American and none of that seems to make a bit of difference to anyone in the story.   I love it!

Another thing I love about the story is the use of the hoodoo. To be sure, I don’t like to be scared and one evil character in particular scared the wits out of me. It was Sabina and here’s how I pictured her to look:

courtesy The [email protected]

This nice lady here is an example of how the Gullah might have looked back in the day.  Now imagine her all angry and menacing and chanting spells.  She even scared a bunch of pirates!

Did I mention pirates? You gotta love a book that has pirates, right?

So no more blah blah blah from me.  Read the book and find out about Emma, her love interest and WHY the title is called Conjure.

And maybe sleep with one eye open.

Just in case a boo hag is coming to get you.

I give this book four paws not just because I’m scared of someone putting a curse on me but because of the full complement of African American characters in the book.