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Embrace by Cherie Colyer
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Embrace

by Cherie Colyer

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Embrace by Cherie Colyer
(Book #1: The Embrace Series)
Source: Author/Omnific Publishing
Rating: 4/5 stars

Up to this point, Madison has had a pretty normal life. Sure, she lost her mom years ago but her dad and little brother are pretty awesome, her best-friend Kaylee is delightful and loves coffee as much as Madison does and, the new, totally hot guy at school has his eye on her. All in all, not a bad life as far as high school goes. But this book would totally suck if something intense and slightly awful didn’t happen and this book is far, far away from being sucky 

For the most part, Kaylee and Madison’s lives are pretty normal; Kaylee is an excellent student, Madison not so much; Kaylee has a wonderful boyfriend, Josh and Madison is excited to be newly dating, Isaac. Even though he is new to town, Isaac quickly falls into place with Kaylee, Madison and Josh and the four friends instantly become inseparable. All seems right with the world until the morning Kaylee totally snaps the tether and has to be admitted to the hospital, heavily sedated and strapped to the bed. Though all the adults suspect drugs, the doctors can’t find a trace of any substance in her body that would cause Kaylee to scream uncontrollably and hallucinate. Determined to figure out what is wrong with her best friend, Madison begins to do some research only to be totally disappointed that the only real fit to Kaylee’s symptoms is witchcraft. Yeah right, like that exists.

As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures and when Kaylee shows no signs of getting better, Madison decides to cast a spell. Inexplicably, Madison not only manages to get the spell going but she over does it and damn near burns down her house. Thankfully, Isaac appears in the nick of time and puts out the flames, with magic. Isaac, you have some splainin’ to do!! And ‘splain he does  Isaac is a very powerful witch, Josh is a witch and now, after having cast her first spell, Madison has embraced her powers and truly become a member of the group. In order to save Kaylee, the three friends (and later Kaylee too!) form a proper coven and set out to magically protect one another and save Kaylee. Through this struggle, Madison begins to learn more and more about magic, her abilities, and her feelings toward Isaac. Though the two struggle to overcome some of the obstacles that face every new couple, they are determined to be together and neither can deny how perfectly they fit together.

The fight to save Kaylee turns into much, much more than the group ever expected and the unveiling of the evil behind the drama is pretty surprising. The big bad not only wields some super serious power but also acquired that power in a most unnerving way. When the truth finally comes to light, it takes all four of the coven members, a surprise visitor from Madison’s past and, Scooby Doo-worthy plan to shut down the big bad and restore everything to its proper place and form. Seriously, the last battle is pretty spectacular!

The Bottom Line: Though Embrace was a slow starter for me (hence the 4 star rating) once it really got going, I was reminded of why I love this genre. Colyer has produced a fine YA+ read about witches and witchcraft that is quite different from a large number of other reads currently available in this genre. I particularly enjoyed reading about how witches in Colyer’s world come into their powers, how they can use their powers, how they can acquire powers and how those powers manifest. I enjoyed reading how the Fearsome Four (my name for the coven) work as a team yet are led by Isaac because of his greater powers and experience. Each of the F.F. are fully-developed characters I honestly wanted to know more about and Colyer absolutely delivered. On to book two . . . . ( )
  arthistorychick | Sep 1, 2013 |
I found the characters very refreshing in this book. Madison is the typical teen with family and life problems. I found her to be easy to connect with and I enjoyed her loyalty to her best friend. She doesn’t seem to be only completely wrapped up in herself we see how she is desperate to help Kaylee. The other part that I loved about the characters is that Madison has an ex-boyfriend. Not just an ex but one she had for two years. As much as I love the innocence in the YA genre it’s nice to have a character with a little experience. So when she falls head over heels for a new guy she’s able to point out things like maybe it’s the newness of the relationship or how fast she fell. Plus I find it hard to believe that someone is going to date one person in their lifetime, do I want to believe that, of course I do. It’s just nice that instead of the guy bringing the past relationship to the table the lead girl is instead.
I loved Kaylee and Josh and the fact that they were more than just background characters. They had importance in the book besides just being Madison’s side kick. I liked that Kaylee was the one with the issue and Madison was dedicating herself to help her best friend. I also liked Josh and his love for his girlfriend and the fact that he doesn’t interfere with Kaylee and Madison’s friendship.
Oh Isaac the dark and mysterious guy that shows up. He has an air of arrogance about him that at first I wasn’t sure if I liked him. That seems to mellow out in the book, it’s not so much arrogance as he really is the one with all the information. He knows the most about what is going on. It’s nice to see his affection for Madison develop.
Kevin the ex showing up was another great character add. It makes Madison confront her feelings for Isaac since her and Kevin didn’t break up because they didn’t love each other. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
The plot is one of my favorite topics and a bit of mystery. So it was easy to like it. The villain was somewhat unexpected. I had a guess about it probably part way through the book but I wasn't positive, there were a few possibilities of who it could be. I don’t want to give too much away about it. I never felt there was a lag, the whole thing was very fast paced and when I would read I found myself not being able to stop. I really liked how things came about and how Madison discovers what is going on with Kaylee. It’s something that I would have done and tried if it meant helping my best friend. I would have thought that maybe I was a tad bit crazy but I would have done. Which is what makes me like this so much, things don’t just fall out of thin air you see how it develops. I also really like the explanation of what makes people bad and good. (It’s another one of those reviews I’m trying to be vague to not give too much away)

I really enjoyed the characters, I really enjoyed the plot and I have to admit I really like the cover. It wouldn’t mind seeing Madison’s adventures continue in more books.
  JenWitch | Apr 4, 2013 |
I found the characters very refreshing in this book. Madison is the typical teen with family and life problems. I found her to be easy to connect with and I enjoyed her loyalty to her best friend. She doesn’t seem to be only completely wrapped up in herself we see how she is desperate to help Kaylee. The other part that I loved about the characters is that Madison has an ex-boyfriend. Not just an ex but one she had for two years. As much as I love the innocence in the YA genre it’s nice to have a character with a little experience. So when she falls head over heels for a new guy she’s able to point out things like maybe it’s the newness of the relationship or how fast she fell. Plus I find it hard to believe that someone is going to date one person in their lifetime, do I want to believe that, of course I do. It’s just nice that instead of the guy bringing the past relationship to the table the lead girl is instead.
I loved Kaylee and Josh and the fact that they were more than just background characters. They had importance in the book besides just being Madison’s side kick. I liked that Kaylee was the one with the issue and Madison was dedicating herself to help her best friend. I also liked Josh and his love for his girlfriend and the fact that he doesn’t interfere with Kaylee and Madison’s friendship.
Oh Isaac the dark and mysterious guy that shows up. He has an air of arrogance about him that at first I wasn’t sure if I liked him. That seems to mellow out in the book, it’s not so much arrogance as he really is the one with all the information. He knows the most about what is going on. It’s nice to see his affection for Madison develop.
Kevin the ex showing up was another great character add. It makes Madison confront her feelings for Isaac since her and Kevin didn’t break up because they didn’t love each other. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
The plot is one of my favorite topics and a bit of mystery. So it was easy to like it. The villain was somewhat unexpected. I had a guess about it probably part way through the book but I wasn't positive, there were a few possibilities of who it could be. I don’t want to give too much away about it. I never felt there was a lag, the whole thing was very fast paced and when I would read I found myself not being able to stop. I really liked how things came about and how Madison discovers what is going on with Kaylee. It’s something that I would have done and tried if it meant helping my best friend. I would have thought that maybe I was a tad bit crazy but I would have done. Which is what makes me like this so much, things don’t just fall out of thin air you see how it develops. I also really like the explanation of what makes people bad and good. (It’s another one of those reviews I’m trying to be vague to not give too much away)

I really enjoyed the characters, I really enjoyed the plot and I have to admit I really like the cover. It wouldn’t mind seeing Madison’s adventures continue in more books.
  JenWitch | Apr 4, 2013 |
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

After my previous bad experience with not writing a positive review and being unable to really take part in a tour, I was so relieved to be able to write a really positive review of this book!

Amazing! I really enjoyed this book for what it was - an easy teenage read with a hint of fantasy. I wasn't expecting too much, but I was given heaps in return.

I loved the concept of magic having a taste and smell and also that they were able to mask it. Every time there was a spark of static electricity though, I found myself thinking 'Magic - the immediate birth control.' It seems such a coincidence that they all share magic, but it's not really a coincidence. I would imagine that people with it would gravitate to the area and to each other. As I wrote that, there just happened to be an explanation in the text about it!

I wish Australian schools had amazing fun things like Harvest Festivals. For that matter, I wish we had an awesome history like some parts of the USA have. Every time I read a nice American novel like this one, I wonder if Australia is ever going to have that sort of history and sense of belonging... but I digress.

I can't impress on you enough how much I enjoyed this novel. I even ignored some of the other good things I had to read in favour of reading this one to it's conclusion, because I really wanted to know what Madison was going to do about the huge mess she found herself in.

I find it a little strange that these teenagers can get into killing rages over nothing, and are actually willing to kill each other. I can't say too much without giving away the suspense that fills this novel, but man, some of those kids are real nut jobs. Killing an old lady just for her powers! I really couldn't understand the motivation behind it, or reconcile it with a teenager. How many people are actually born that evil?

The dialogue is effortless, the descriptions mainly not overwhelming, and the characters endearing. I loved them all! Well, all the 'good guys' anyway. It's been a while since I connected with characters in such a way. The initial romance between Isaac and Madison, and Josh sweeping Kailey off her feet was rather transparent though, and I felt it was a little melodramatic. Another thing that wasn't convincing were the hospital scenes and their way of getting in to see their friend.

Damn Madison, why oh why did she not see that coming? This novel is filled with irony for the reader. I knew exactly what was going on most of the time, I caught all the subtle hints that Colyer threw in, and Madison was oblivious!

I dreaded the novel coming to an end. Arg! Anticipation! I almost wish there was another book after this one, but the finale is quite satisfying and I can't see another book in the future.

Although this novel initially masquerades as a romance, it builds into so much more. I wouldn't say much for this having wider implications for society like some of the other novels I have read recently, but it was still a good read. I would recommend it for teenagers who enjoy romance and fantasy. ( )
  Rosemarie.Herbert | Feb 14, 2013 |
The blurb of Embrace being as mysterious as it is, I had no clues as to what this book is about aside from it being a paranormal novel. Thus I was taken almost completely by surprise when the paranormal aspect was revealed - totally wasn't expecting that! I won't give it away, I think all readers should go into it without knowing what will happen.

Embrace follows a teenager named Madison, who treats any kind of change with deep mistrust. When her best friend introduces her to Isaac, a new boy at school, she is immediately guarded. But she has nothing to fear, not only is Isaac hot and interesting, but Madison feels a connection to him almost instantly. Since this occurs in the very first chapter, I was really worried because I hate insta-love. But somehow, in this story, the development of feelings between the two seemed to work. I was also scared that there would be a love triangle. With a long-term boyfriend who has moved away and Isaac coming into her life, there were a few moments where I saw it all going down hill and Madison not being able to be mature and be honest with both of them. However, I am happy to report that I enjoyed the romance in this book, and that while Madison is understandably confused, there isn't a love triangle in sight.

I liked Madison because she is sweet and surprisingly normal - by this I mean that she's not stunningly beautiful or incredibly plain, she's not clumsy or unhappy with her hair colour and pallor of her skin. Madison isn't a mis-understood social outcast with great grades and a 'follow the rules' attitude, and she's not the girl sitting in the back of the class with an eyebrow ring. None of these over-used stereotypes are present in the novel: Madison is happy and has healthy relationships with her family and friends and genuinely cares about those around her.

When strange things start happening to Madison's best friend Kaylee, she wants to help her but is clueless to what could be wrong. So, like all kids these days, she Googles. I feel like there is a growing trend in YA novels of using the Internet to provide important world-building details, and I wouldn't have a problem with it if it wasn't for the fact that the Internet will rarely spit any reasonable answers at you when you ask it for information. But somehow Madison manages to find the answers she is looking for in one afternoon. After this rather shaky start to the paranormal aspect of the novel, things speed up and readers are introduced to a world of magic and intrigue that I liked. The magical world opens up and readers witness all sorts of awesome as Madison explores it. That's all I can really say without spoiling it for you!

Embrace is a great read that I enjoyed a lot. Featuring both paranormal aspects, romance and mystery, this book will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic. ( )
  alcarinqa | Aug 9, 2012 |
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