Read Spellbinding by Maya Gold Online


There's more than one way to be powerful . . .It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva--sixteen and nearly friendless--makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst inThere's more than one way to be powerful . . .It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva--sixteen and nearly friendless--makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession.Trying to harness her newfound power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush--and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there's Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on.A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history--and her heart--before she can face the powerful truth....

Title : Spellbinding
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780545433808
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Spellbinding Reviews

  • Jamie
    2019-03-10 04:29

    An easy-going, reasonably fun read. That is what this book was.The book is written in first person perspective of a teenage girl named Abby. She is just your average high school student for the most part, except lacking in friends. She only has one at a time, which I found kind of odd since she wasn't the some major introvert either. Naturally, like so many stories before this one, she likes the most popular guy in school. Likewise, his girlfriend is the nastiest piece of work in the school. A school assignment sends her to Salem to learn of her family tree. She learns she is related to one of the 'witches' that was hung. While there she meets a guy named Rem whom she finds herself drawn toward, gets a job at a New Age shop and finds herself back home with a potion/spellbook. The whole trip was uncanny, right down to her moving a cone using...magic!? So...surprise, surprise she finds some love and attraction spells and uses them on the popular boy, Travis. Soon he is trailing her like a puppy. Very cliche. Yet off to the side is the mysterious Rem who seems to breath hot and cold with her. This leaves us with a very standard love triangle.As Abby delves deeper into magic, she begins to learn she is an elemental witch and that there are other witches is Salem as well. Enough of the plot though. That is more than enough to get you started. Overall, the book was a fun read. Yet very predictable. I finished the book with a "Been there, Done that" feeling. The pace was nicely done but I would have preferred the story to slow just a tad so I could get more into the characters. One thing I was curious on is that her employer tells her that Travis likes her yet even after the spell, I was wondering if that was true and maybe she should have asserted herself naturally first. But she didn't even try. I would have like to know more about the real witches in Salem but we don't get too much besides her and Rem. There was one part of the book I thought she was going to have a 'Carrie' moment (from the Stephen King book). Alas, I was denied that. So while it was enjoyable to read, it brought nothing new to me as an older reader. This books may be perfect for someone reading their first teen witch book, however. It is appropriate enough for younger teens to read. No foul language which was nice, and while there was romance it was more chick-lit in style. Only 2 kisses in the whole book! So parents can rest assured of a good, clean book. For more experienced readers this can still be a fun read on a day off but don't expect many surprises or unique twists.

  • Elspeth
    2019-03-15 04:27

    This review has spoilers...I am just so disgusted with this book, let me count the clichés...What is it with cookie cutter tropes these days, is there a check list out there that some authors follow thinking that their book is going to be the next best thing? I seriously hope not because I am getting damned sick of all these knock off young adult stories.We first meet Abby when she is having a nightmare on the bus, dreaming about a past life where she is being drowned as a witch. This is not the first nightmare, and she also is suffering headaches ever since she turned sixteen. Big Surprise there, but well that didn't bother me too much even though “the chosen one” just make me giggle especially after reading The Midnight Mayor. So Abby gets to school hooks up with her token smarty pants best, and only friend when she runs into her major crush Travis. He is the most cutest guy in school if you haven’t guessed, he is great at sports, nice, does charity work, and is an all around saint of a guy. It's just too bad that he is dating a harpy, Megan (who I kept picturing in my mind as Megan Fox) the reining queen of mean bitches of all trades, and soon to be our leading lady's arch nemesis.Now for a dash of love triangle, and let the drama simmer. Meet Remy the guy of Abby's dreams, literally. He is also cute, nice, but also mysterious, and sends off mixed signals. He knew her name with out her telling him, speaks in her mind, and always seems to show up where she is whenever she is on lunch break from her job.Now let me rant about Abby's power, during a school project she finds out that she is a witch. Oh and not just any old witch, she is a descendant from Sarah Good, the woman the three girls accused as a witch and set off the Salem witch trials. When doing research she finds a spell book hidden behind a library book about the trials, you don’t say, like this has never been done before time and time again?In this book of spells is a love potion, a potion of attraction, a potion to make people sick, and some other ones that I can't remember cause they were just not important. So after doing the obligatory this cant be true spell, she makes a potion of attraction to give to her crush.You don't say, like this has ever happened in pretty much any witch book, or movie ever done. The Craft, Teen Witch, Practical Magic, and Love Potion #9. Now lets reflect, has it EVER worked in any of these stories, fuck no, so why does everyone try it?Also I want to add is why the fuck would you want somebody to not really be in love with you, it's just the it's not real...what it is, is a form of mind rape? It just wrong, so very wrong. The kicker here is that she is not satisfied with the attraction spell so she goes for the big guns, and casts the love spell on Travis. Oh and not because she really wants him it's more of a revenge for something Remy has done, and a moment of biting her thumb at Megan. At this point in the book, I just really didn’t like Abby anymore. She is very selfish, and isn’t really thinking about anyone but herself. Her father has a new girlfriend, Abby hates her on site. She flaunts the fact that she has the attention of another girls boyfriend, walking through the halls and in hand, wearing his sunglasses, and going for rides even before he breaks up with Megan. Abby, not cool, so very not cool.Now for the Pièce de résistance, the epic cumulation of every high school story, PROM!Oh yeah, and prom night just happens to be on the something something anniversary of the witch trials, and a full moon. Big happenings this night, but I only want to bitch about one thing. Abby goes to prom looking beautiful with the most popular guy in school that she has spelled into loving her. So there just has to be a Carrie moment here, that just goes with out saying. In the drama of the peak of the book Remy shows up to prom to warn her that very bad things are afoot, and so she runs to the bathroom upset to be captured by Megan and her side bitches. Megan sprays her down with black spray paint, and one of the things that attach themselves to Megan's ass cuts off all her hair.This does nothing for the up coming plot, its just in there to show how mean Megan and her cronies are. That is it, just a Carrie moment just because.It was all a dream ending, no not really it happened, but when she revokes her witch powers everything goes back to normal like it never happened, and she and Remy go off into the sunset. Cause Remy is her other half, her soulmate, and just isn't bothered by trivial things like Abby casting love spells on another man.I cry bullshit, which is what this book was, I wish there were half stars because the second one is just me being generous because the writing wasn’t half bad.I got this book as an ARC from Net Galley, and want to thank Scholastic for letting me read and review this title.

  • Alana ~ The Book Pimp
    2019-03-06 09:44

    *MEH* Is the word of the day for this.Look at that cover, looks intriguing, right? If you're into YA and witches (LOVED me some Secret Circle back in the day) then from the cover, the title, even the blurb... it looks like this may just be good. Magical powers, ancestral ties to the Salem witch trials, hot guys(s)... Yes Please! And then you actually read it. *Sigh* ... and not in a good way.Pretty much think of EVERY stereotype used in YA... awkward, shy girl: check. Hot popular boy that doesn't know she exists (mostly): Check. Nasty popular 'mean girl' that makes the heroine's life hell: Check. Insta-love behavior: Check. 'Wow, I suddenly have magical powers; let's make a love spell on my crush': Check. Prom from Hell: Check. It doesn't cover any new ground, it doesn't even put ideas together in a unique way. Now, I love YA in general. I eat that 'coming of age' and 'not fitting in' ... it's such a ripe time for teenagers (as book characters) to really get over-the-top emotional and be immature while trying to pose as an adult. So usually, I can live with the stereotypes if I can find something that I really love, or at least like about the story. But this... *Meh* Nothing stood out. Nothing grabbed me. It was just there. *Meh*OK... I may be really showing my age here, but does anyone remember that Wendy's commercial: "Where's the beef?" Well, my problem with this book falls into a similar thought, "Where's the drama? Where's the angst? Where's the passion?" There are probably a dozen or more questions that can be inserted here. It was just bland, unoriginal, predictable, and even approaching boring. The writing itself is not necessarily bad. I wasn't angry with the book, or even unhappy, it just didn't leave much of any emotional response or lasting impression. The characters didn't overly grab me, although I did like Rem the most. Why she even bothered chasing after Travis when Rem was there- I don't care how hot and cold Mr. Hot Older Boy is, missy! Travis was taken, and powers or not- go for the gold! Not a younger knock-off that just creates open season for his girlfriend and friends to rip you a new one.And the prom scene... I was almost getting Carrie (by Stephen King) flashbacks, but a sanitized, tamer version of Carrie. I kind of hoped, for a moment, that I would get caught up (finally) and maybe the end would redeem the book, but alas. Not to be for this reader. Ultimately, if you're a younger (I'd even go pre-teen on this) reader that like witch stories, then you may very well really like this book. For this older reader (and lover of YA), it just didn't make the cut. *Meh*I did receive an ARC from Scholastic Point via Netgalley in exchange for a review.

  • Sophie Riggsby / allthingsequilateral
    2019-03-13 10:46

    *Review posted on Page Turners on April 1, 2013*I love stories about Salem, Massachusetts maybe because I still remember my class field trips there. Sure I remember the touristy parts of it, but I also recall the museum and the history it explained. Witch trials are fascinating because, even in our modern times, they still occur. With a setting like salem, you may be expecting a dark urban fantasy story, which you won’t find here. But, if you’re in the mood for a story about an invisible (socially speaking) girl who discovers her hidden power, then settle yourself in for a few fun hours of reading.I know that Maya used a few tropes that we’re very familiar with, but it’s how she plays with them that made me enjoy the story. Abby stumbles across her link to one of Salem’s most notorious accused witches while researching a family history project for her class. And near some research materials, she discovers a very old spell book. Clues begin to click into place when she goes to visit her aunt and the aunt calls her by a different name. A name she’s read about in her historical research. See what I mean? The information came together in a way that made me read on. I just wanted to know what happened next.The best part was the romantic subplot. Yes, there was a love triangle, but it’s one that I loved reading. I’m a defender of Love Triangles, so a long time high school crush who just happens to be the hot boy in school versus a bewitching boy who works in a café across from Abby’s new job worked out believably for me. I liked the way Maya toyed with these three and the involvement of love spells, witch kisses and elemental magic. If you’re looking to spend a few hours in Salem with a high school girl who is wants to finally be noticed , then pick up Spellbinding and read Abby’s story. I’m hoping Maya continues the story because I’d like to know a little more about Abby’s mom as well as what happens to Abby and the boy she chose.

  • Jon
    2019-03-03 06:51

    Check out Scott Reads It! for reviews, giveaways, & more! Spellbinding is a quick read about a girl named Abby who discovers that she is the descendent of a witch from Salem. It's an interesting concept bogged down by a mediocre plot, uninteresting characters, and a dreadful romance. I really wanted to like Spellbinding, but it was executed terribly. Spellbinding is filled to the brim with cliches and generic, overused paranormal tropes. It's kind of ridiculous when a quarter of a book is devoted to something so painfully obvious. Even if I had not read the description for Spellbinding, I would have figured from the first chapter that Abby is descended from a Salem witch and is a witch herself. The author made it so obnoxiously obvious with so many clues and it was ridiculous that it took Abby so long to figure it out. When the fact that Abby is a witch is revealed, the author treated it like it was such an unpredictable plot twist. Too much time is devoting to Abby finding out she is a witch and my interest quickly slipped away due to the predictable nature of the novel. Truthfully this novel reads like it could be for middle-schoolers or even younger. Despite the fact that this book is about a teen in high school, this novel feels very childish. Everything is so obvious as if the author thinks that her readers are dimwitted. I really don't think I would have even liked this in elementary school because this book is truthfully very transparent and it seems to lack any proper conflict. Any conflict is treated with such disregard and it didn't feel like there was any tension at all. The writing is extremely bland to put the icing on the cake and the characters are about as interesting as cardboard. The romance feels like something out of elementary school where kids can hold hands and they are automatically "going out". I'm not sure if the characters even hold hands or kiss more than once. The protagonist Abby instantly falls in love with 2 guys creating a nonsensical love triangle, despite the fact that Abby lacks chemistry with either guy. Elementary and Middle School relationships are a lot more intimate and intense than the romance in Spellbinding. The only thing I can say that Spellbinding has going for it is it's readability. This book was such a quick read and I didn't feel like reading it was a chore. I was surprised how fast I plowed through this novel despite the fact that it didn't look so short. If the author had included some substance in this book this could have been a fun, quick read. Despite the fact that this book is plagued with cliches, it wasn't exactly a tortuous read. This is definitely one of the worst paranormal novels I've ever read, but I can't bring myself to give this book one star. One star would imply that I hated it, but my feelings for this book are more complex than a simple one star. Spellbinding is a poorly thought-out novel that was extremely unsatisfying and dull.

  • Suzanne Lilly
    2019-02-25 09:48

    Maya Gold has created a spellbinding tale for young adults with this story of a teen caught between her present life at Ipswich High School and past memories of a life in Salem, Massachusetts during the witch hunting mania. Abigail Silva thinks she is the invisible girl on campus. She has nothing special that people remember about her. But when she finds out she has special powers, and begins practicing with them, she learns that they have unintended consequences. She gains the attention of a boy she's liked since grade-school, and in the process gains the attention of his girlfriend, a classic bully. But the boy she really wants to get together with is someone she meets in a Salem, Massachusetts coffee house. For reasons unknown to Abigail, powerful entities want to keep them apart. Can their love overcome their dark history and the evil forces that threaten to change who Abigail is meant to be? This book is so well written, and so expertly paced, that I read it in one sitting.Scholastic Inc. provided the uncorrected proof of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jennette
    2019-03-25 02:48

    I know there's a ton of bad review on this book I don't know why I really did love this one alot and wanted to read it all in one sitting.the writing style was pleasant and clicked with me :) check it out some time

  • Amber Keller
    2019-03-05 10:36

    I give this book a 5 even though it is for a younger audience I was still wondering what is going to happen next. It kept me turning the pages and the ending was not what I expected! So overall I was happy with it. Wish they would of turned this into a series though.

  • Patrick
    2019-03-08 10:48

    A decent, bubble-gum, trashy summer read that uses the ancestry of Salem, Mass and possible, modern-day witch powers as a plot device for it's romance story.Abby Silva is plain, dull and boring. "Invisible," as she says herself, to her junior class at Ipswich High School. That is, until, Abby discovers that she has magic powers. This discovery comes accidentally when she really, really wishes to pass her drivers test, but becomes more pronounced when she discovers an ancient spell book while doing research on her family tree at the Salem, Massachusetts public library. But there are dark forces out there who want to exploit Abby's new-found powers to seek revenge on Salem for the tragedy of the witch hunts 300 years ago. Can the cute, adorable, half-native American boy who seems to communicate with Abby telepathically help her understand her powers and, more importantly, save her from becoming an instrument of destruction for the modern-day vengeance seekers?This story started out lame-O, with a capital "O." It had tons of cheesy contrivances to make Abby powers mysterious: How did the spellbook wind up in Abby's purse? She had put it back on the shelf at the library. Didn't she?The main character is also a little bit too self-pittying. She feels disconnected from the other kids at school and her family. The mom's dead, of course, and the rest of the family are all men:How could Abby feel at home when everyone around her was a big, strapping, Italian-looking fisherman while she was a pale, willowy, Tinkerbell-looking girl with hair that just frizzed out no matter if it was humid or not.And to top it off, there is the new girlfriend of the fatherWas she really going to sit in mom's chair at the dinner table after making us a fantastic plate of spaghetti with freshly prepared side salad and garlic bread?!? Just who does this woman think she is, and why doesn't she stop dyeing her hair since she's over 35 and all?However, once the story stopped focusing on these set-up contrivances so much and really began to focus on the story between Abby and Rem (the half-Native American boy), it became more bearable and fun. Abby feels a spark with Rem, but he runs so hot and cold. The reason being; Rem knows about the plot by some vengeance-seeking witches who need Abby to help them complete a ritual to destroy the North Shore of Massachusetts as payback for hanging their ancestors 300 plus years ago. Of course, Rem is a pawn in this plot, so, he resists being serious with Abby, though he wants to. In this part of the story, the interactions between the two characters are the believable, everyday interaction that you may expect from a summer-loving read. Rem teaches Abby how to swim; provides some more information to help Abby understand her past; shares his artwork with her; shows her his tugboat and local non-tourist places to get sandwiches in Salem. All of this, of course, makes Abby feel closer to him since she feels like she can really be herself. But if the two come together too soon, the plan set in motion by the other witches will start to come to fruition; hence the conflict with the two characters. And it wouldn't be a teen romance if this wasn't resolved in some way so they can be together at the end. That resolution happens because of Abby's eventual strong-willed resistance to taking part in the revenge plot.What I didn't like about it was the cheese as mentioned above, and the warped twist of history that the story took. The accused witches were innocent, so, how did Abby wind up getting witch powers? Turns out that some even more ancient ancestors of Salem were mad about the hangings, so, they decided to make the descendants of the accused real witches. That's how we get around that little, inconvenient whole corn cob of truth to create our main plot device. I felt that this bastardizing of history was a little too much to take. It was almost as if you were smearing the names of the innocent all over again.

  • Kelly (Belle of the Literati)
    2019-02-28 04:49

    "Or have I inherited something else from my forebears--not magic, but madness?There's a word for people who hear voices and see things,and it's scizophrenia.--Maya Gold, SpellbindingI've been looking for a good witch story for awhile now and when I saw this on NetGalley it sounded pretty good, kinda right on track with what I was looking for...and it was good. Not fantastic and drop everything right now but right in the middle. The book was fast-paced and definitely kept my attention. It was a quick read and I liked how the story moved and evolved and twisted.Abby's character was very much like any other normal teenage girl just trying to find her place in the large scheme of things. She feels awkward and insecure and it doesn't help she has a longtime crush on her childhood friend, Travis, who is the hottest boy in school. Also enter his girlfriend aka Regina George and queen of the Plastics who has it out for Abby. I'm gonna get this out of the way now because it is my only real issue with this book. First, while Abby is head over heels for Travis and she thinks he is like, the bee's knees. The kid is dating somebody who is beyond mean and vicious. I can't get behind this infatuation because of this. If he's dating the mean girl and he is too stupid and blind to see who she really is, he is NOT worth your time. Sorry not sorry. AND my blood was literally (but actually figuratively) boiling reading about the bullying in this book. Megan (the girlfriend) and her sidekicks are not only verbally mean, they get physical. And NOTHING is done about it. Abby just takes it. What the eff?! As somebody who was picked on most of her childhood and teenage years (while it NEVER got physical) I just couldn't stand this. I mean, these girls were legit insane the stuff they did. I just couldn't take this part of the story. It seemed like the physical aspect was just too much. I didn't like it. And it is not because I don't believe this kind of bullying happens, unfortunately I know it does, but it just didn't seem to fit in linearly with the rest of the story. It was too deep of an issue that was never resolved while the rest of the story was more of a lighthearted affair. BESIDES, that I really did enjoy the story. I liked that Abby was a normal girl. Wanting to fit in, using her new magic powers to get the boy she likes to like her back. That all seemed very legit and real. Her problems were honest and I liked seeing her mature and work through not only her magical issues but her non-magical ones as well. Along her journey she meets Rem, a boy she is drawn to and she thinks can hear inside her head. I liked Rem. He was a solid character and you never really knew where his intentions were until the end. I liked the easygoing dynamic he and Abby had. The magical portion of the story centered around the Salem witch trials because Abby finds out she is an ancestor of a woman accused and killed during the trials. We get some details about the history of what went on but not a lot. I would have liked a little more witch lore but the story focused mostly on Abby and her reactions to what was happening to her. I liked the story overall. It was a quick and easy read. Doesn't focus too much on magic so if you aren't into heavy paranormal this might be a good stepping stone. Fun read, I'd recommend if you're into a little more younger YA or MG mood.

  • Christal
    2019-02-25 10:54

    See this review and others like it at!Spellbinding by Maya Gold was a quick and easy read that I think would be perfect for the younger-end of the YA readers spectrum. The story was simplistic but interesting, the characters just colorful enough, and the romance present but chaste. I imagine this book could become very popular with younger girls that are just beginning to venture into the reading world of YA fantasies.Abby Silva just turned sixteen and is awkward and bit unpopular. She has a few close friends, but her secret crush, popular jock Travis Brown, has always seemed unattainable and she never feels like she fits in with her family members. Things change once Abby begins to research her family tree and finds familial ties originating during the Salem Witch Trials. Her ancestors were accused of being witches, but was that actually true? And has their power in the craft descended to Abby?Abby was fairly withdrawn at the beginning of the book, but once she visited Salem and started thinking that she might be a witch, she really came into her own. She begins to be more confident in all aspects of her life and starts realizing that she needs to take charge of it if she wants to be happy. I liked seeing her character growth, especially in such a short novel, but I never felt a real connection to Abby and I had a hard time caring about the things that were happening to her. She wasn't an irritating protagonist by any means, she was just a little bland.The two love interests in the stoy were complete opposites. Mr. Popular Travis Brown was unassuming and unthoughfully polite, but I never really understood why Abby liked him so much. He was dating a horrible girl but never seemed bothered by what she did to other people. Once Abby put the whammy on him, he became more of a puppy dog than an actual character and I was sad to see him used in that way. Rem was the other love interested and he was an older boy who lived and worked in Salem. He was a practioner like Abby but always ran so hot and cold she could never get a read on him. He acted like he was into her, but would then push her away. As annoying as the back and forth could become, I preferred Rem because he at least had some personality. The story itself flowed well and the writing was in a nice, clean style but I found the plot to be too predictable for me. I could guess what was going to happen every step of the way. I also never connected with any of the characters, nor did I ever feel they were truly in danger. The whole story was missing an element of true tension for me. Those are the main reasons that I recommend this book for younger readers. I think they will be able to enjoy this storyline in a way that I, as an old jaded reader, just could not. Spellbinding was a cute way to pass a couple of hours, but I think that younger YA readers will be the ones most satisfied with this witchy tale.Thank you to Netgalley and Scholastic Point for providing an ARC copy of this book!

  • ☕ Kimberly
    2019-02-28 03:32

    I like witchy things especially those related to Salem, Massachusetts and witch trials, so I was excited and intrigued about the premise of Spellbinding. Gold offered a sweet, well paced tale that I enjoyed but sadly will forget after writing this review.The tale begins when we meet Abby Silva a sixteen year old suffering from nightmares, who is not part of any group at school; she simply exists. Like most teens, she has a crush on the star jock, hates her hair and longs to fit in. A school project, a trip to Salem, and strange occurrences lead her to believe she is a witch. The tale that unfolded was an easy, enjoyable read but sadly it was completely predictable and lacked depth.I started out liking all the characters and we catch glimpses of who they are, but no one was fleshed out leaving me disappointed. Abby is likable, and I felt for her as she dealt with the “mean girls”. Rem was sweet, and mysterious but sadly underdeveloped. Travis had a little more depth but again I was left wanting. The characters fell into typical clichés with predictable behavior and never developed their own unique voice. What frustrated me, was that we caught glimpses of something more from all the characters. There is a love triangle, but not in the traditional sense. Abby has feelings for both boys; one is a crush and one is something new to her. Confused she was insanely immature and at other times sensible. Her behavior to me felt young and maybe that is because she is socially awkward. Her actions were more along the lines of what I would expect from a newly turned thirteen year old.The world building had potential and ironically I breezed through the tale as it had an easy readability but the premise was cookie cutter in its ideas and the author failed to make them her own. I found myself frustrated and wanted more explanation, back history and depth. Information and history presented themselves as statements and lacked any detail. At times I felt they were simply added to move from point A to B in the plot's development. The villains are vaguely touched upon and never reached their potential. I quickly consumed this and was certainly entertained but I never fully slipped into this world. I honestly think this should be marketed for middle grade readers.Overall Spellbinding was a cute coming of age tale with a witchy twist geared towards a younger audience. The author has potential and I personally felt everything should have been expanded upon and the characters given their own unique voices. As written it reads more like a MG novel. ARC provided for unbiased review. See more of my reviews @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer

  • Wenjie
    2019-03-10 02:52

    I purchased this book for a shocking amount of $8.00 ($8.00!!!) for a variety of reasons. First, the cover was decent (I know, don't judge a book by its cover, but admit it, we all do). The description on the back was pretty interesting, and, lastly, it is by a "Maya", coincidentally the namesake of one of my good friends (yeah... not a very good reason but whatever). Now, the idea behind the plot may have been a good one, but it is stuffed full of cliches and riddled with as many holes as a hunk of swiss cheese. Cliches that are a dime a dozen:1. Abby, the main character, is in love with the most popular guy in her school, who appearantly is not shown to have any fault WHATSOEVER. Of course, he is dating Megan, queen b****, who just loves to pick on nobodies like Abby. 2. Her mom is dead.. of what, we're not sure. Her dad chronically ignores her in favor of her younger , sportier brother (if I had a nickel...) Aaannndd, all his girlfriends are nasty (in Abby's opinion).3. Classic love triangle, Rem vs. Travis (the popular dude). They both seem creepy in my opinion. 4. She makes a love potion to catch Travis... out of revenge? Nuff said.These are just some examples, and they make you feel like that you've already read the story before ever finishing it.Plotholes:1. Who are the "real witches" that gave the offspring of the accused in Salem their powers?2. Why can Rem speak in Abby's mind, but Abby cannot speak in his?3. Why is the Earth witch feared? Why is there only one?4. Why were her grandparents uneasy to broach the topic of witches with Abby? Did they know something important?5. Why did her mom avoid Salem? What was she afraid of?6. Why are guys still called witches?7. What are the powers of each element witch?8. What exactly WERE they planning to do in order to "enact revenge"?So on and so forth. All in all, Abby is a sixteen-year old who acts like a twelve year old. She doesn't think about anybody besides herself, (LOVE POTION, REALLY?), is just basically BEGGING for a boyfriend at all times (who the heck hangs out with some random dude they barely know? Rapists roam the streets, people!), and doesn't seem to understand anything beyond her petty troubles.

  • Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
    2019-03-12 02:43

    I was given this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Spellbinding by Maya Gold stars Abby, who is a nerdy brainiac who is in love with the school's most popular boy. She is tormented by the trio of mean girls who rule the school. When she is given a school project to look at her geneology, she realizes that she is descended from a "witch" from Salem. Then things start getting really weird and she realizes that she may have other talents than she realized.At first, I was shocked by the low ratings. The first few pages are well written, clear, and enticing. But then after about the 5th page, I started to realize why. The thing is-- everything is so stereotypical. There is a nerdy girl who gets some powers. There are a bunch of mean girls who probably will get their comeuppance at some point. There is a cute boy who nerdy girl lusts after. There are some love potions. There are some really unimaginative witch references. The twists are completely predictable. Abby herself is kind of a problem. I found myself not liking her very much, and not learning very much as the book went on. She ends up being proud of herself for reasons I don't really agree with. The boys and romance are lackluster, and there isn't really anything new that this book brings to the witch motif. Everything in it is a revamp of old teenybopper movies. We do get a lot of history lessons about the witches from Salem-- so I guess this may entice a young girl who has never learned anything about Salem at school and has never read or watched anything about witches.Overall, a very disappointing read. Generic and uninspiring.

  • Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
    2019-03-22 08:31

    Well, I have to admit this one didn't make much of an impression on me. It had a fairly nice story to pull me along, but beyond that I wasn't feeling much. Let's start with the plot, shall we? I do love a good Salem witch story. With that said, this was an interesting twist to the age old story. There were witches, but probably not in the way you were expecting. For that, I was grateful. The stereotypes and plot elements you would expect in a YA novel about Salem were in full force. You had the evil, gorgeous cheerleader type causing havoc for the unnoticed nerd girl with a secret crush on the popular boy. Not a shocker there. Said nerd girl discovers there is something unique about her and she takes full advantage of it. Again, not earth shattering. Now, crazy possessed great aunt was a wrench in the plot. Now, the characters were just so-so. I liked Abby well enough, but I think I liked Rem more. He was mysterious and aloof, which kept me very interested. I also liked the shop owner that Abby worked for. She seemed to have an inside scoop on things that were going on, but no ties to the Salem withces. I thought that was a little too easy at times, but I went with it. So, it was ok. I enjoyed it, but it didn't make a lasting impression. Would a younger reader enjoy it? Probably.

  • Dianne
    2019-03-05 09:46

    Spellbinding, by Maya Gold seems to be designed for younger readers. I had a hard time picturing the main character, Abby as being sixteen years old.Abby does suffer from the usual teen angst, crushing on the hot guy at school, someone who would never ordinarily give her a second glance. Then, there are the usual nasty girl cliques that menace her constantly. Abby feels out of place, out of sorts and like she is going out of her mind! During a school project, Abby discovered she is a descendent of one of the first witches killed in the Salem Witch Trials and begins to dabble in witchcraft, unguided, unaided, with interesting results.Abby takes a trip to Salem and meets Rem, a boy she makes an instant connection with. There is just 'something' about him. What mysteries does Rem hold? Who is he? Why is Abby so attracted to him?For the most part, I really didn't like the way Abby acted. Sure, I'll give her an exception for being a teen, but, whoa, there are limits and I felt she was a very YOUNG teen.I failed to connect deeply with her story, but did find many of the satellite characters to be fantastic!This ARC copy was provided by NetGalley and Scholastic in exchange for my honest review.

  • Julie
    2019-02-27 03:52

    I thought the premise of this book would be quite interesting. Can’t go wrong with the history of Salem add to that a little magic and who wouldn’t want to read this book, right? Well, for one the characters where not likeable, Abby just read like a selfish, spoiled brat. She isn’t getting the necessary attention from certain someone so she decides to cast spells on others, not very nice. I almost felt like I was reading the middle school version of the Craft mixed in with Mean Girls. The guys were one dimensional; there wasn’t anything interesting about them. The rest of the characters in the book felt thrown in there as fillers. The book had the typical absent parent, brainy best friend, and annoying little brother. What was the point of Daniel?? There were just too many undeveloped threads in this book which was disappointing. Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Hanna
    2019-02-23 09:55

    The book Spellbinding by Maya Gold is one of the best books I have read. It is about a normal sixteen year old girl who faces normal problems, such as bullies, guys, friends, and family issues, but finds she has special powers. Upon getting a job in Salem, Massachusetts, the same place the famous witch trials were held in the 1600's. The main character discovers she is descended from one of the women accused of being a witch, and that she does in fact possess a witch's powers. She is hunted down by other witches who want her to help them to level Salem and raise the hung witches from the dead. Part of what interests me so much about this book is the fact that it is based off of real historical events. The author is very clever with imagery, mystery, and overlapping plots. The reader is always in a state of suspense, never knowing what is going to happen next. Maya Gold is a very gifted author. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves history, fantasy, or mystery.

  • Kay
    2019-03-13 03:30

    Spellbinding was so much fun! It felt like a shorter review would better suit my thoughts, but I really did enjoy it!It reminded me of movies like The Craft, going back to the basics of witchy stories without completely reinventing the genre. There’s been so much reinvention in the YA supernatural genre lately, it was actually refreshing to read something where I didn’t feel like the author was trying too hard! On the contrary, Spellbinding was a breeze to read. It has entertainment and a fun narrator. The tone is very light, nothing too dark or broody, with a satisfying ending to top it all.The romance was the thing that kept me from completely loving it though; it was predictable and forced, and I didn’t buy it. I think it should have been slower, and more subtle. Other than that, I enjoyed it!

  • Kate
    2019-03-05 02:52

    This book would have worked better as a middle grade novel. The main character is immature, her witchy powers too Mary Sue-ish, the secondary characters were little more than stereotypes. The writing was fine, and this book would probably have appealed to me when I was in fifth or sixth grade. I did enjoy the Salem setting and the history of the witch trials. I just can't recommend this as a good read for YA readers.

  • Ann
    2019-03-10 05:47

    Abby discovers she's a witch. Living near Salem she has resources available to research her family. Good teen read. No sex or gore.

  • Bailee
    2019-03-04 04:52

    I love the cover of this novel, it's very beautiful. I miss when a book doesn't have that sort of awe-inspiring cover that gives insight to the novel. Most of the time, I hear people say, "Don't judge a book by its cover," but let's just get this out of the way... If the cover is as awesome as the book, doesn't it negate that entire sentence? That's what I thought.Spellbinding by Maya Gold tells the story of Abby who stumbles upon something that no one seems to want her to know: her own family history. A school project inspires her to look beyond what everyone seems to say about her family's past and actually look into it herself. What she finds just might change her life and could change everything around her, especially the town of Salem. When she discovers where her family comes from and the fact that one of her ancestors was deemed a witch by the people of Salem, she finds out that blood isn't the only thing she inherited from that incident. She has magic running through her veins -- magic that could not only destroy Salem but who she is. Not to mention the fact that she is a teenager. She faces the temptation to use magic to not only solve all of her problems but to create them for other people. Will she learn to use her magic for good? Is she destined to really cause the demise of a town whose dark history the natives embrace but regret? What will happen when she has to decide between the person she once was and the person she might be? Will embracing the magic be the worse choice or the best?Abby is the main character of the story with her entrancing family history that she has no idea about. Ever since her birthday, all she seems to dream about is the past. She doesn't know who she is, where she is, or even when she is. I wasn't certain whether I would like or dislike her as a character in the beginning but she definitely grew on me throughout the story. It seems like her magical powers exploit her weaknesses and bring out the qualities that wouldn't have been as noticeable otherwise. She starts out as a girl who prefers to remain in the background, has a crush on the king of the high school, and is a smart girl who makes good choices. Once everything begins though, her selfishness surfaces and her darkness becomes inextricably mingled with the light. I think by the end of the book, she faces more growth and change than any of character I've really faced in a book. Her motives and emotions are a roller coaster ride but I didn't mind it.Rem is the love interest. He is so complicated and sends so many mixed signals throughout the course of the book. When he is first introduced, I definitely wasn't sure about him other than the fact that he made Abby come alive. You know, you hear that stories about when someone meets their true love and how it feels like everything sort of clicks, the world becomes sharper, and life essentially becomes different when this one person isn't a part of it. I think that it kind of fits the relationship between Rem and Abby. Even with all of his mixed signals, which trust me when I say it was frustrating, I couldn't help but love him. I think of all of the guy characters introduced in the story, there was no one that could fit as well with Abby as he could. It broke my heart when he pushed her away and I more than once wanted to seriously maim or injure the poor boy for his choices. Yeah, completely justified sure.... But did he have to make me question his motives? The myths and lore behind the plot are something that I know a lot about. I went to Salem a couple of years ago with my family before I started college and I actually found the town to be very beautiful. You know, you hear all of these stories about this spooky town with its dark history which is what I was prepared for and all those ideas were completely wrong. I mean the dark past is there with all of the horrors that the books and stories illustrate. The idea of witches and Salem has always been an interesting and intriguing topic and the way that the author exploited such a popular topic was awesome. What if the magic came after the witch trials? Maybe the people really did torture and kill the innocent but it led to something much darker. Magic.The writing was well done and captured my attention from the first paragraph. I think the author knew how to hook me from the get go and keep me hanging on until the end. At least the writing portrayed that. It was well done. The plot is unique because although it touches on something very popular -- witches -- it discusses it in a way that wasn't done before. I personally liked the way the Salem Witch Trials play such a huge part in the story without having too much to do with the magic. Instead of being completely about the magic the witches in Salem originally had, it shows that maybe magic really appeared after the fact. The plot twists were interesting interesting and the development of the characters, both big and small, continued throughout the process of the story. I watched the worse characters become the best and some of the best succumb to the worst. Let me bemoan the ending of this novel for a moment because it was the only thing that was worth bemoaning about. I have this intense need to have the ending be different and once you read it, you'll understand. It's a beautiful story, entwining both the old and the new. But the ending almost left off on an anti-climatic note. I wanted this story to continue because it would've made a beautiful series that I wouldn't have hesitated to keep reading. Then again, I guess I could say, never say never? Who knows. Maybe if I grovel long enough and point out that the ending just couldn't satisfy and that there is no way that the ending will ever be good enough, someone somewhere might listen. A girl can dream. I could really cover a whole lot more because I loved so much about this story but I don't have the time to type everything out. Honestly though. Despite the ending that I have determined to be anti-climatic, I really did enjoy this book. It brought to life an intriguing part of American history and the author had no issue bringing to life the beautiful town of Salem. Honestly, I think that everyone will love it because of how wonderful the story truly is. Read it!

  • Kate
    2019-03-01 02:49

    It's been awhile since I've had the time to sit and read a book. When I finally had some free time I checked what was next on my TBR pile and picked up this book. I was instantly hooked. Gold did a great job at connecting her story to traditional Salem Witch Trial lore and it was fun to read. I so wanted to love this book from start to finish, but there a few little things that let me down in the end. First the good:Gold creates a great main character in Abby. She's relate able and it was very easy to get attached to her. I think everyone can remember being in High School and feeling like the outcast. In Abby's case she just feels invisible, and not just at school, but at home too. It's just her, her brother and her father and her brother and father are thick as thieves, they even look alike. Abby is kind of adrift and is not only dealing with normal teenage stuff, but also with recurring nightmares. I very quickly was hooked on Abby's story, especially as we began to learn not only more about Abby and her family history, but also the history of Salem and the witch trials. Gold also gives us some great secondary characters. Despite often feeling alone, Abby does have a pretty decent support system. Her brother and father are maybe not interested in what she has going on, but neither are they absentee or abusive. She has two good friends in Rachel and Kate, who, despite not always agree with her actions, stay relatively firmly in Abby's corner. Of course, since we are talking YA here, there are boys. Two pretty great boys as a matter of fact, in Travis and Rem. Travis is the schools golden boy, and he's also been an acquaintance of Abby's for years. They aren't really friends, but they are friendly, and Abby has a major crush on him. Rem is the new guy, the one she feels a mysterious pull towards. In the end it all works out as it should, and I really enjoyed reading this love triangle. The best part of this story was the magic. Who doesn't want to believe in magic, to believe that they might have a little bit of power in them? I really, really enjoyed watching Abby figure out who she is and what she is capable of. I loved seeing her try to find that balance between what she can do and what she should do. I especially liked watching her as realize that she has the power to decide, to become the person she wants to be. I thought that Gold did a phenomenal job weaving the lore and magic into present day Salem. She did a great job making it believable that these things can be there, brewing just underneath the surface, and no one is the wiser. Gold has a great line in the book that I think pretty much says it all in terms of why I personally love books like this, that mesh reality with magic and tie in history. Gold says "How much goes on in the world that not written in the History books, that we can't understand" That's pretty much it for me. I love history, but part of the fun is that you know that not everything is there in black and white. That there is always the potential for new information to surface that would flip everything we know on it's head. Usually it's something small, like the person who wrote a book that was critical of the Union Soldiers during the Civil War is actually a descendant of some Confederate General, which renders everything he writes as biased (I made that example up by the way). Still, there is always the chance for something bigger. What if there are witches, not just those that practice Wicca, or dabble in spells and incantations, but actually familial lines that have been honing their craft, one that was genetically part of their makeup, for hundreds of years? What if they had a hand in some of the biggest events in history? What if they live and work with you and have an impact on seemingly mundane events everyday? I find that stuff fascinating, and I think Gold did a fantastic job in writing a story that is at once totally outrageous and completely believable. What was the bad then? Well, it really was a few little things. First, there were the mean girls and their treatment of Abby. It was ridiculous the level of bullying that went on. Not that this doesn't happen in real life, it does. What irked me was that it wasn't dealt with. Yes, Abby uses her new found power to challenge the mean girls, but at no point does anyone ever mention how not okay their behavior is. She never tells a teacher or parent and the fact that her friends don't don't mention it leads me to believe that their behavior is supposed to be a common one. It bugged me the entire time. The second thing that got me was that there was so much build up in this book. I felt like I was really invested in a lot of the characters and I was looking forward to a big showdown of some sort. There was a showdown of sorts, but, for me, it all wrapped up too quickly and too nicely. I like where everyone ended up, I just wish there was more to how they got there. To be honest I felt a little gipped. I tore through this book in about 4 hours and I was so excited for the final action and then it was just kind of over. The kicker is that I even liked how Abby made her choice and the actions she took, but it felt too neat and tidy for my liking. It was a bit of a let down after such an exciting ride. So where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me with a very good book that could have been great. I struggle for the exact words, but I can sum it up by saying that I just wanted more. Still, I wouldn't write this book off. If your like me and you love History and you love supernatural tones then I'd pick this one up and give it a test drive. You might find that it's a perfect fit!

  • Annabell
    2019-03-04 06:27

    Warning: There are some spoilers.Side Note: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Review: There aren’t many books that leave me thinking my time would have been better spent slamming my head against a wall repeatedly instead of reading that darn book, but Spellbinding sure did make me want to! If there was ever a book completely made of clichés that you’re brain hurts from the lack of originality, this book would be it.There is not ONE SINGLE ELEMENT to this book that separates it from the countless of YA, paranormal romance novels that plague the bookshelves like a nasty virus.Abigail (Abby) Silva is an average looking girl who is invisible both at school and at home and only has one real friend named Rachel (who just so happens to be good at everything). Abby has been having nightmares ever since she can remember about women being accused of witchcraft and being killed. She also has a crush on the major hunk and all-American jock in the school, Travis, who happens to be dating the mean girl, Megan. Abby’s history teacher assigns the students with the task of looking into their family tree and presenting it to the class. Abby discovers her family is related to Sarah Good, one of the women accused during the Salem Witch Trials (Did I mention Abby lives in Ohio, close to Salem?). She decides she needs to have real proof before fully accepting the possibility of being a witch, so she heads off to a library in Salem where she finds this mysterious book of spells that JUST SO HAPPENS to be in her purse when she leaves even though she placed the book back on the shelf. She decides to practice one of the spells at home where conveniently enough thunder and rain show up as soon as she pops it open and realizes all the weird things she can do is because she really is a witch! *gasps* So shocking!Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Is your brain already connecting the dots to a number of other books with the SAME EXACT PLOTLINE?Every overrated and overly used plot device was covered in this book. “The Chosen One” just so happens to be the girl who has no friends, a dead mother, a father who pays more attention to his jock son and a love triangle (er, well, a sort of love triangle). A best friend who is great at everything and a trio of mean girls who happen to be the popular girls in the school. The main “heroine” suddenly gets noticed by not only everyone in school but also by the popular, hunky jock when she gets a new makeover thanks to her new powers.By the third page, I knew where this book was going. I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen. But I was hoping beyond hope the book would offer me SOMETHING different or unique or refreshing or a new twist, even a LITTLE something to keep me from nearly going into a comatose state from reading.But there were only two elements that kept me going as long as I did: the well-written, very detailed world building and the premise of the Salem Witch Trials. Outside of that though, nothing else stood out. The characterization was nonexistent. Abby is selfish, inept, petty, shallow, and lacked common sense. Travis—the hot jock—is just that. Megan is the queenbe of mean girls and her two sidekicks are as stereotypical as her from their wardrobe right down to their dialogue. Rem is a hot witch but reads one dimensional and Abby’s dad played no real part in the story. He’s just there. I didn’t understand why Abby never demanded her father’s attention, why she was so okay with him constantly ignoring her.There’s also the moment where Abby decides to get back at Megan for embarrassing her in the bathroom at school by casting a love potion on Travis so he’ll want to be with her. Now, I get that Abby is sixteen and has just discovered she has magical powers and has spent the majority of her life feeling overlooked, so it makes sense she would relish in the attention she’s getting thanks to her little makeover. But why would she want a guy who isn’t really in love with her?? She labels Megan as the mean girl without a soul but Abby is just as bad as she is in her judgmental attitude and forcing Travis to love her.And that’s where the sort of love triangle comes in. Rem—the hot witch who talks to Abby with his mind and helps her discover who she is—Abby crushes on instantly, but can’t let go of wanting Travis, hence the love potion. So she juggles these two guys, all the while her feelings seem surface-like toward both of them. There isn’t any REAL emotion. The romance, as the characterization, falls flat. Rem also declares he's Abby's soulmate even though he knows about Abby's love potion on Travis. Apparently, he doesn't have a problem with the love of his life betraying him and using magic to get another guy until she finally figures out she belongs with Rem . . . What guy wouldn't have an issue with that??The ending was predictable and anticlimactic. It was a shrug type of ending. I did skim through the entire second half of this book and through various parts of the first half because Abby’s narrating just kept going on and on at times, but from what I gathered from the ending I wasn't surprised by any of it.I think for readers who have just started venturing into the YA Paranormal Romance world would be able to enjoy this book far more or if you're a middle schooler perhaps since this book is directed for 12 year old readers. But for seasoned readers of the genre, Spellbinding offers nothing new to the table.

  • Lisa Wolf
    2019-03-18 09:41

    Sixteen-year-old Abby is used to fading into the woodwork, lurking in shadows, never being noticed. Whether at home or at school, Abby is one of those girls who’s always in the background, not especially scorned, not surrounded by friends — just kind of there. She’s used to her lot in life and more or less knows her place, although she can’t help sighing over golden boy Travis, her life-long crush ever since he showed her kindness on the playground years ago when they were both small. Travis is dating perfect-but-mean Megan, and Abby can only watch from the sidelines and blush whenever anyone takes notice of her. Sensitive and shy, Abby is the quintessential high school wallflower:Maybe this is the flip side of being invisible: Nobody sees me, but I notice everything. Abby’s life takes a dramatic turn when a teacher assigns the class a genealogy research project: Trace your family back from the current generation to the family member who first set foot in America. Abby knew her late mother’s side of the family arrived centuries earlier, but is startled to discover a connection to Salem in the 1600s — the Salem of the witch hunts and trials, located just a short distance from Abby’s home town.As Abby digs further, she seems to awaken her own magical powers and a deep connection to the dimpled, adorable Rem, a mysterious boy who seems to know a lot more than he’s willing to admit. Will Abby embrace the power promised by her newly discovered abilities? Can she change her life by using magic? Should she?Even without her magical awakening, Abby was already facing a slew of mundane problems. Since her mother’s death years earlier, Abby feels overlooked by her father, who focuses instead on her soccer-star younger brother. As her father begins dating, Abby – the household cook - is full of resentment towards the woman she sees usurping her role in the kitchen and, not incidentally, in her father’s heart. Abby’s best friend moved away the summer before, leaving Abby without the security of a BFF. Abby is smart and has talents, but not the kind to make her admired or sought after at school. This is a girl with enough to deal with — and now she has to figure out if she’s crazy or if she’s a witch, and if she’s a witch, what should she do about it?Abby’s inner struggles are what make this book particularly interesting. She clearly has a gift, but she’s also keenly aware of a sense of right and wrong. When Abby uses a love spell to get her crush to notice her, she does it as a lark, to see if she can. But once she realizes that her magic works, she’s not so sure that she wants it. Is it satisfying to have your dream boy suddenly devoted to you, when you know that you forced it to happen? How can you be happy in a relationship if you know, deep-down, that it’s not real?A nice twist in Abby’s growing power is that it clearly doesn’t have all the answers. Abby gains greater confidence and starts letting her hair down — literally — no longer afraid to be noticed. But she quickly finds that the notice she gets isn’t what she wanted, as the school mean girls subject her to a campaign of gossip, bullying, and Internet abuse, all of which escalate as Abby gets her guy and becomes golden boy’s new girlfriend. Greater visibility is no protection against ridicule and scorn.Author Maya Gold has a way with words, using surprise twists and references in ways that made me sit up and pay attention as I read. A few prime examples:It’s as if the morning is posing for June on a calendar. There aren’t evil earth witches who look like Keith Richards with blood in their eyes.If I’m having some kind of schizophrenic breakdown, the voices inside my head sound like Gandalf the Grey.What I especially liked about Spellbinding is how real Abby’s inner life seems. Given the mean girls and their nastiness, having Abby consider using magic as revenge doesn’t seem like power gone mad — more like a reasonable response to intolerable circumstances. When you’re backed into a corner, who wouldn’t use their secret strength to get back into control?Another noteworthy aspect of Spellbinding — and one that really differentiates it from the plethora of supernatural-tinged YA novels saturating the market these days — is that “normal” life is clearly the better choice. Yes, magic exists and is tempting, but it’s made clear that if Abby journeys down the path toward embracing her witchiness, she’ll be forever giving up an everyday life of family, friends, achievements, and true connections. Despite the temptations, Abby has a good head on her shoulders, and quickly comes to realize that power is no substitute for relationships that come from the heart.Spellbinding does a great job of weaving magical elements into the broader story of a girl trying to find her way, come out of her shell, and find her place in the world. It’s not Abby’s witch heritage that really matters in the end; it’s the connections she’s made that give her strength and enable her to look forward toward a brighter and happier future. I’m very glad to have read Spellbinding. It’s a quick read, but one that should resonate with teen girls (and their moms!). The combination of romance, suspense, magic, and girl power is quite fun and full of (ahem) charm.Review copy courtesy of Scholastic via NetgalleyThis review also posted at Bookshelf Fantasies.

  • Sarah Neveau
    2019-03-05 08:35

    this book was so fantastic that i would read it again and again. I love how they talked about the salem witch trails and what happened during that time as well. the characters were also something i really enjoyed about this book especially the romance aspect.

  • Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard
    2019-02-25 09:28

    Review originally published at The Bookwyrm's Hoard.On the whole, I enjoyed Spellbinding, despite its liberal use of familiar fantasy and YA tropes – in particular, the child missing a parent, the outsider teen, the crush on the unattainable popular guy, the youngster with special gifts/destiny, and the love triangle.* Abby’s narrative has an authentic adolescent voice, and the questions in the story – why does she have these gifts, how do her dreams tie in, who is Rem and what does he want, and what’s really going on? – drew me in and propelled me along. Abby is a typical teen despite her gifts, veering between maturity and immaturity, compassion and self-interest, wisdom and impulse. Inevitably, she resents her father’s new girlfriend and despises Megan, the popular-but-mean-spirited girlfriend of Abby’s childhood friend and secret crush. These are understandable feelings, but dangerous if given rein by someone who can make things happen by merely thinking or wishing, as Abby finds out to her dismay. I could empathize with Abby’s choices even when I knew they would lead to trouble, but I liked her best in the moments when her sense of moral rightness overtakes her more selfish desires. For the most part, Abby’s relationships with other characters ring true, and there are some truly interesting characters here. Rem, the boy-witch who becomes Abby’s other love interest, intrigued me from the start, as he is intended to. I wanted to get to know him more than we actually do. Instead we get hints and little snippets of information; I sensed more back story there than actually made it into the book. That may be due to the first-person presentation, but it was a little disappointing. Abby’s friend Rachel and her intuitive, tarot-reading boss could also have used a little more page time. Abby’s father’s girlfriend starts out as a stereotype but doesn’t stay that way. And Abby’s crush, Travis, is a refreshingly nice young man. Even Megan, Travis’s bullying girlfriend, is a little more three-dimensional than she first appears. The pacing of the book is a bit uneven. The first half or even two-thirds of the book, which focuses on Abby’s discovery of her heritage and her abilities, works well. There’s a slow build-up of tension and suspense, interwoven with the complications of Abby’s actions, which speeds up as it approaches the climactic moment. The denouement, however, comes suddenly and is solved too quickly and easily; in a way, the solution also contradicts a problem laid out earlier. To be honest, I felt a little cheated at that point; given the build-up, I expected a more difficult solution, one which involved more struggle, effort, even anguish on Abby’s part.Throughout the novel, Gold weaves in Salem’s history, which has always fascinated me. But again, I wish she had done a little more more with it. Abby’s dreams of her ancestor’s death are never completely explained; are they genetic memory, reincarnation, or something else? Nor is the nature of the connection between Abby and Rem ever clarified to my satisfaction, although it’s evidently a strong one, and seems to go beyond their respective powers and current identities. Spellbinding is a promising entry in the YA paranormal field, enjoyable even though it falls a little short of its potential. It's not clear whether Spellbinding is a stand-alone novel or the beginning of a series. Gold left a loophole or two which could allow a sequel if she chooses, but the book doesn’t have the slightly unfinished feeling of the first installment in a series. Either way, I’ll be on the lookout to see what Gold writes next. Recommended if you like: witches, Salem, love triangles, and YA paranormal* Am I the only one who is getting a little tired of the last one? Triangles have become as ubiquitous in YA as alpha males are in adult romance. I admit they have their literary uses, and they can be done very well, but I’d like to see a bit more creativity in avoiding them. My apologies to fans of love triangles; it’s a personal preference on both our parts. FCC disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.You can read more of my reviews at The Bookwyrm’s Hoard.

  • Katrina Lantz
    2019-03-05 10:49

    (cross-posted to Afterglow Book Reviews, NetGalley, amazon, and B&N)THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013SPELLBINDING by Maya GoldThe afterglow:I enjoyed reading this so much. It's exactly the sort of book I would have picked up off the shelf of my middle school library and devoured in a day. This book is well-paced and very much devour-able. In preparing this review, I discovered Maya Gold is not your standard debut author cutting her teeth on a YA paranormal romance. She's written two handfuls of novels already for the younger YA crowd, and yes I plan to read all of them! Her skill in weaving a story is evident in the pages of SPELLBINDING. I finished reading this a few hours ago, so I still have that happy little buzz from reading a magical story with a great ending. Here's what I loved about SPELLBINDING:-It is so refreshing to read a book that ends well and doesn't hint at some massive franchise to come! Spellbinding appears to be a standalone novel. Huge props to the author, Maya Gold, for fitting an entire character arc and romantic arc (love triangle, even) into one book. That's no easy task, and she did it beautifully. (If there are more books to come, I welcome them. It's just nice to read a book without a cliffhanger for once.) :)-The main character is introverted, something we don't see so often anymore in YA (I recently read an article about this, using Disney princesses as an example.) Yay for personality diversity! (This doesn't mean she is shy necessarily, just that she doesn't crave popularity. Even though Abby is sweet on the popular guy in school, she's not seeking hordes of friends and admirers, and is more content with one or two close friends.)-Neither guy in the love triangle is a grade-A jerk. They are both (Travis and Remy) sweet guys (though one runs hot and cold for paranormal reasons) with individual personalities and flaws. In the end we feel one is better for our heroine than the other, but nobody is disqualified on the basis of being a horrible human being. I love this because it's truer to real life, and it requires the heroine to make an actual CHOICE, rather than having that choice made for her by one of her romantic leads doing something unforgivable. -Good old fashioned MAGIC! Ever since I was tiny, I have been head-over-heels in love with magic. All kinds, but there's a soft spot in my heart for the spell-casting kind. The classic trope of girl-discovers-she-has-inherited-magic just hit the spot for me. I noticed many reviewers knocked off a few stars for this, calling it "unoriginal," but for me it was a plus. Note: the story is original; it's the trope that's a classic. Fans of the TV show CHARMED will love it.-Solid setting and sense of place. The first thing Maya Gold did in her acknowledgements in the back was to thank her travel companions. It wasn't surprising at all to me that she'd visited Salem or talked with the locals about "local flavor." I felt I was in Salem, anchored solidly in Abby's world by details like local museums, libraries, parks, bridges, town history etc. Descriptions of these places weren't distracting or overly florid, either, as I've seen in a lot of books about real places. Maya Gold does Salem proud.-The ending. The lessons learned. The completion of the character arc. Abby begins insecure, miserable, yearning for some identity, purpose, and for close relationships after her best friend moved away. She ends secure in who she is, understanding where her power comes from, and having several close and healthy relationships (family, friends, and boyfriend). -People are calling this young YA, but all that means to me is that it's not edgy. I would read this with my niece... when she's 12 or 13. My one hang-up was actually the cover. I'm a huge marketing buff, and when I realized Abby's eye-color, elemental power, and prom dress all had something in common, I had to wonder why the cover artist didn't use that color at all! It's still a beautiful cover, but seems like quite a missed opportunity. Also, the model's hair is too tame to be Abby's wild tresses. :) Cover gripe aside, I loved this book. I look forward to more from Maya Gold, and plan to read her backlist. Fans of Ally Carter-sized romances will also enjoy Maya Gold's work.

  • Chapter by Chapter
    2019-02-23 02:38

    It’s been a while since I last read a novel about teenage witches and I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the genre (if it could be considered a genre, maybe a sub-genre?). After reading the seriously awesome, not to mention heart-stopping, prologue to Spellbinding by author Maya Gold I had a feeling that it would be a lighthearted and quick read that I would enjoy every moment of.Spellbinding follows the life of main character Abby Silva who, after turning sixteen, has been having strange dreams and has noticed even stranger “coincidences” happening all around her. After being assigned a school project to track down her family tree she discovers that she is a descendant of a woman who was accused of being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. During a trip to Salem, Abby ends up meeting Rem an attractive teenage boy who works down at the local café. However it looks like Rem may be hiding more than he seems and has taken a liking in Abby.After her first trip to Salem, she finds herself with a strange handwritten spell book that appeared literally out of nowhere. Abby is quickly caught up in a world where she can control flames, where any spell or potion that she concocts works and where she is no longer the underdog: Abby has power that she wasn’t aware she held and now that she knows how powerful she is all she wants is to learn to bend her abilities to her will. It starts with a love potion and it ends with Abby learning about a deadly plot that involves her immense power and family secrets that were left buried. Everything Abby has ever known is threatened but she will need to figure out the past to understand her future and must come to terms with what she knows in her heart.I really think that a lot of teenage girls will be able to relate to the novel’s protagonist Abby. She’s the type of character that starts off as a meek girl that is bullied by the cliché popular girl group and, after finding it inside of her, stands up for herself. Abby is the type of main character that a lot of girls will be able to place themselves into because not only does Abby have the same insecurities that a lot of girls go through, but she also has some of the same problems. Sure not every girl discovers that they’re an all-powerful witch descendant but they do go through the same drama and I think Abby will inspire a lot of girls that are in their early teens.There is a lot of romance in this novel and I liked that it was all very “first love of my life”. I didn’t expect Abby to go to the lengths she did to ruin the life of her bully Megan—she makes a love potion. Stealing another girl’s boyfriend is bad guys, even if she is the living breathing embodiment of cruelty. You don’t do that girls, you just don’t, even if the boy in question is the guy you’ve had a crush on since forever. I did enjoy that Abby and Rem do have a budding romance between the two of them however there was a concept that really grinded my gears: A witch’s kiss makes another witch… or makes a witch a witch permanently. Confusing, I know.One thing that really set me back from the novel was the way Abby’s bullies bullied her. When the clique is first introduced the girls act like they are literally in elementary school… and it really bothered me. Teenage girls don’t act like they’re nine. They spread rumors, gossip and threaten to ruin your social life at any means necessary. The way that the bullies even spoke to Abby was very clichéd and really irked me. There were still scenes where the bullies would threaten Abby physically, but considering that the characters are portrayed as girls that wouldn’t do anything that would get their hands dirty I felt that some of their actions were unrealistic towards the plot.The ending of Spellbinding is very to the point and had my heart gushing. Do I think that there will be a sequel? Not from Abby’s POV, but I do hope I get to see more in the Spellbinding universe. I’d recommend Spellbinding to fans of the supernatural, readers who are looking for a quick, fun read and for teen readers that are looking for a main character that they can relate and look up to.

  • Laurie Treacy
    2019-03-22 07:54

    (Rating: 3.5) Spellbinding was a cool book. Witches, magic, hot boys, and getting revenge on your bully? All cool. Main character and narrator Abby Silva was likable--she was beginning to discover she had magical 'powers' after her teacher assigns her class a genealogy report. While researching her ancestors, Abby reveals a family link to a woman from the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Sarah Good. I found the whole history part of the story incredibly interesting. When Abby drives to Salem (just after passing her road test--go Abby!), I liked the descriptions of the town with its alleyways and stores. I now want to take a trip to Salem.In Salem, Abby immediately locks eyes with a hot guy as he sweeps a sidewalk. She thinks she hears his voice in her head, but it's his face, his eyes, she has seen before in her dreams. Cue creepy music. This guy, Rem Anders, is a bit mysterious but friendly and kinda flirty. He talks to her and her friend Rachel as they order coffee in the shop he works at. When Abby knocks her coffee down, Rem instantly grabs it (reminding me of the scene in Twilight when Edward grabs the apple) and saves the day (and Abby from buying another drink).I know readers complain of instant love in YA, but I didn't think in this case that term applied. Not when Abby already had dreams of this guy. They seemed to share a cool supernatural connection because of their family trees. I liked the reincarnation undertones here and how people can be eternal soul mates and such. Abby finds out she hails from a woman accused of being a witch and Rem believes her. During a visit to the Salem library, she later finds a book she saw earlier inside her bag. Cue the music again. Little by little, Abby realizes she does have powers like lighting candles and moving things. She gets a job at a New Age type store in Salem and is able to spend time with Rem. But he seems to be holding back on something--like his true feelings for her.Whatever. That's Abby way of thinking. She likes Rem but he doesn't reciprocate so she decides to go after her longtime crush, football star Travis who is dating the equally hot, popular cheerleader. With her new found power and spell book, Abby casts a spell on Travis to like her. Does it work? Oh yeah. But then Abby begins to change. She used to be a regular teen, not popular, just normal and now she has Travis following her, his ex-girlfriend and her ring of cloned girlfriends hating on her, and Rachel not liking who she is becoming. Abby changes her looks, gets in trouble with her dad, Rem looks at her differently and she wonders if she's doing the right thing.As prom approaches, Abby finds out the truth about her power and more. The story turns creepy as the pacing increases to set up an explosive prom scene. I liked the story even though I did figure out much of what was going on early. The whole magical component of the story was very cool and I wished there was more of that--more of the history and of Abby really learning how to use and nurture her powers and some more scenes with her dad and brother. The story felt rushed like I was on an amusement park ride and sometimes I just wanted it to slow down and give me more information or development. I liked Abby until she became selfish and seduced by magical powers. Then I realized her reaction was realistic (deep down wouldn't many of us react the same way?) so I liked her again. I wished there was more of Rem. For a YA book, Spellbinding came across as suitable for younger readers, even upper middle grade. Witches, powers and learning the craft make Spellbinding a fun, fast and compelling paranormal read. I liked Maya Gold's writing style, the way she described things and the dialogue was good and convincing. I wouldn't mind seeing Abby and Rem again. (