Word Spelunking

Cursed - Jennifer L. Armentrout 4.5/5 StarsTHREE WORDS: Can't Touch This Her *does the Hammer dance*MY REVIEW: There are very few authors that I will read ANYTHING written by them (books, poems, plays, blogs, tweets, adult sexytimes books, proper hygiene brochures, you get the point, right?!) and Jennifer Armentrout is definitely one of them! So, I had big expectations for Cursed and I'm glad to report that those expectations were awesomely met.Ember McWilliams knows what it's like to die and come back changed. After a fatal accident that kills her father, Ember's gifted little sister, Olivia, brings her back from the dead. But with life comes a curse: Ember's touch kills. For two years after the accident, Ember must take care of her little sister and out-of-it mother and is an outcast in a school where she was once popular. And most importantly, she refrains from touching any living thing. But when handsome, intriguing Hayden Cromwell shows up, everything changes. When Hayden's mysterious father brings Ember and Olivia to live with them and other gifted kids, Ember discovers that maybe the car accident wasn't an accident at all and maybe her curse can be a gift.Jennifer Armentrout's signature wit, superb world-building and character development are all present in this book, but Cursed definitely has a different vibe than her other YA works...which, is totally a good thing. I love that Armentrout was not afraid to create a darker, more macabre YA world in Cursed.Cursed offers readers a story full of intriguing mystery, thrills and chills and enticing romance. Like Armentrout's other YA works, the characters captivate and shine because they are so well developed. I really like Ember because she is such a complex, relatable and flawed character. Even with her deadly touch, extreme situation and physical scars, Ember always feels real and accessible. With her wit, intelligence, resourcefulness and fiery temper, this is a girl that I would totally hang out with and love to have in my corner. I'm a sucker for heartwarming and heartwrenching sister relationships, and Ember and Olivia have such a beautiful, yet fragile relationship that is wonderfully written.On the surface Hayden may seem like your average YA love interest-hot, smart, swoonworthy-but there's so much depth and complexity to him. Armentrout does an awesome job of creating a darkness and potentially dangerous vibe within Hayden, without making him unlikable, untrustworthy or scary. Mr. Cromwell has me so conflicted; part of me is completely intrigued by his mysterious and steely nature, while the other part of me wants to smack the smugness off his smarmy face!Ember and Hayden's complicated, yet totally steamy relationship is very addicting and surprisingly touching. The raw and honest desire, need and love between these two is so tangible and moving. I love the whole X-Men like concept of Cromwell "collecting" gifted kids and teaching them how to control their powers, especially because they aren't discouraged from using their gifts. Armentrout's exploration of these "gifts" and how they physically/mentally/psychologically affect their owners is incredibly intriguing and thought-provoking. Ember's discoveries and experiences at Cromwell's create an exciting, heart-racing story. There's plenty of mystery, twists and revelations, yet the story is somewhat predicatable in some areas. But this definitely doesn't diminish the overall enthralling story. MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Jennifer Armentrout awesomely delivers once again with this book! Readers will be enraptured by the way Cursed mixes Armentrout's expected and well-loved witty, highly entertaining and impressive storytelling with a refreshinly dark and complex story. I'm defintely hooked on this must read book!

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