Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review - Beautifully Broken by Sherry Soule

Series: Spellbound #1
Author: Sherry Soule
Release Date: July 22, 2013
Pages: 369, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 3.76 stars
My Rating: 3/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-13 (Nothing more than kissing)

Summary from Goodreads: When sixteen-year-old Shiloh Trudell takes a summer job at Craven Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan, and immediately becomes enchanted by his charms. 

With cryptic messages from a pesky wraith, Shiloh will finally begin to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist and decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town...

I liked Beautifully Broken, but for some reason it was missing something for me - something that makes the difference between liking a book and really liking it or even loving it.  Still, I thought it was a good start to the series and would be interested to see where the next book takes us.

The book follows Shiloh, a teenage girl who sees spirits. She's gotten used to that, but a new big bad shows up that isn't satisfied with just stalking her - he's out to get her.  When Shiloh starts working at the haunted Craven Mansion, things just get worse and worse. The only thing making the situation tolerable is the incredibly hot Trent Donovan, who Shiloh is drawn to, even though she thinks he's way out of her league. 

The negatives:
  • A lack of connection.  For some reason, I just didn't connect with Shiloh. She struck me as a  little bit whiny sometimes and I just didn't feel her pain when it came to her strained relationship with her mother (maybe because we just didn't see her mother enough?). And I also didn't get why it was so hard for Shiloh to believe that she was a witch considering that she saw spirits. Why would she doubt the stories about her family when she had at least partial evidence that it was true?  I didn't get it.
  • The romance. The lack of connection I felt for Shiloh also bled over into the relationship between Shiloh and Trent. They were so hot and cold for seemingly no reason at all - I just never really understood what it was that was keeping them apart. I got Shiloh's insecurity and the fact that she was afraid that Trent was too much of a player - and might be playing her. But, I never completely understood Trent's hesitation (although his one explanation did give me some ideas about what might be coming in future books).
  • Abrupt ending. This book was called "Part 1" in one of the places I saw it, and that is what it felt like.  It definitely felt like half a book - absolutely nothing was resolved in any way and there was no sense of closure.
What I loved:
  • Trent.  While I wasn't sure about Shiloh, I did really love Trent.  He seemed like a great mix of arrogant bad boy and misunderstood, vulnerable guy. And, while he was sometimes full of himself, he didn't come off as a jerk. I could definitely see why Shiloh was attracted to him and why she continued to be drawn to him throughout the book.  
  • The spirits and Craven Manor.  The shadows that haunt Shiloh are incredibly spooky and creepy - I loved that they were always lurking in the corners, in the shade and the shadows around her. Shiloh couldn't ever relax because they were always there. Likewise Craven Manor was a perfect haunted house - I could really imagine it's old architecture and the spooky atmosphere. I thought that Soule did an excellent job of creating a haunted setting for us.
  • The set up for book #2.  As I mentioned before, this book felt a little bit like half of a story. I do think that this book did a good job of setting up the next book in the series and would be very curious to see where Soule goes with the story. I have a feeling that things will pick up a lot more in the next book as Shiloh starts on the path to fulfilling her destiny and we learn more about Trent's dark secrets.
Beautifully Broken was a good start to a series that has quite a bit of potential.  The spooky parts of the book were excellently done.  I would check it out if you're a fan of books about witches!  3/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author and Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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