by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication date: September 18, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.I am a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout and was delighted to be given the opportunity to review her newest novel Cursed. Armentrout brings her own spicy twist to death and kids with supernatural powers. This tale has mystery, suspense and an oh so sweet romance. I quickly consumed this and hope it becomes a series.
Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?
But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.
The tale begins when we meet Ember McWilliams; at first glance she is a responsible daughter, taking care of her five year old sister Olivia. We quickly learn there is so much more to this story. Ember’s Dad died in a horrific car accident almost two years ago and oh yeah so did Ember. Except, Olivia her gifted sister touched her and brought her back from the dead. This would be awesome, if everything Ember touched didn't die. She has scars from the accident, and wears long sleeves and gloves all year long. She was once a cheerleader and popular girl at school, now she is just known as “the freak”. When a strange, handsome boy named Hayden Cromwell shows up at school and the library she is intrigued. When he claims her curse is a gift, she is fearful. The tale that unfolds was romantic, mysterious, and humorous.
This novel has some interesting characters. I connected with Ember, and despite the cards she has been dealt, she tries to do all the right things and keep it together for Olivia. Olivia is as cute as any five year old, and I thought the author captured her emotions and mannerism beautifully. Hayden is swoon-worthy, mysterious and carries a heavy weight on his shoulders. He is fascinated, intrigued and in awe of how Ember has handled things. I did find his tendency to shelter her from things annoying as did Ember. Hayden’s family was very mysterious and his Father's smug, "these are my rules you will obey or else", made me nervous about his intentions. The children are all special like Olivia and each was taken in and adopted. They added to the suspense and I found myself wanting to know more about Parker, Phoebe and Gabe. Hayden’s dad and the other adults gave off mixed singles, creating suspense as I debated on whether to trust them or not.
The world-building was both delightful and frustrating. I loved the idea behind Ember’s curse and the other children’s abilities. The Cromwell’s safe house and the mention of a mysterious research center where children are cruelly taught to manage their abilities had me drooling for more details. Dead animals, death threats and secrets kept me turning the pages. The romance was sweet, but at times I wavered on whether I trusted Hayden. I was delighted that their relationship developed slowly and I enjoyed watching it unfold. There were a few awe moments, that should have romantics swooning. While the tale ended on a high note, I want more.
Fans of Armentrout; for you Cursed is a must read and I am sure you will be delighted. If you haven’t read her books but enjoy paranormal romances with suspense this is a great book to pick up. I have this author on my auto-buy list and look forward to her next novel.
I want to thank Spencer Hill Press for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. *Purchases made through buy links on this post result in a small commission which is used to fund our giveaways.