Be careful what you search for…
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry-hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends-are lost forever.
First off I want to say this book had me from the first page and didn’t let go until the end. I loved everything about this book especially the Gullah history part of it. I wanted to read this book after I learned it was about the Gullah world being a Lowcountry native I love books that tell out awesome history and the author didn’t disappoint me at all. I loved the world building that she created with all the descriptions and the amazing back story she gave us about the town the story was set in. The world was so steeped in the old ways but with modern twists.
I loved the character of Emma. She was a strong and brave young kid that had to grow up really quickly. I loved that she was willing to put her trust into Ms. Delia and become her apprentice. The ride that we got taken on as Ms. Delia taught her everything she knew was amazing. The author had a way with words that made me feel like I was there in the kitchen with Emma learning with her and it didn’t just feel like a history lesson. We really a lot about the Hoodoo way of life and it was a great way to introduce others to it. I loved that even though Emma was so young she grasped things quickly and was a quick learner. She really grew into her own as the book went on. I loved that Cooper was such a good friend to her and didn’t leave her side. Cooper was such a great character and just what I would expect a Lowcountry boy to be like. He just had that Southern Charm that was so irresistible so I could tell why Emma was drawn to him. On the other hand I didn’t care much for Jack because he was so pushy and mean to Emma. There were a few times I wished she would just punch him to shut him up for awhile.
The pace of this story flowed so well and it was action packed and kept me entertained throughout. I loved all the references to the Gullah history and learning more about it. It was great to see the Gullah words thrown in here and there and hearing them took me back to listening to some of the stories my grammie told me growing up. I love how the author just wove it into the story in certain points so it didn’t feel like a history lesson. I loved all the paranormal aspects that were thrown in too. It was the little things like that which kept me drawn to the book.
Overall this book was spellbinding and I started to wonder if maybe I was under one of Emma’s spells. The characters in this book were well written and developed really well so I really felt like I got to know them all. They felt like people I would really see in my hometown living life. The author gets major props from me for all the time and research I am sure she put into this book to make it really authentic. She also created such a great world with a great mystery at the heart of it all. I highly recommend this one to readers that want a really cool mystery read with paranormal aspects and some light hearted romance thrown in.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing for providing this ARC for review.