#BookReview : Lyrics & Curses (Cursed Hearts #1) by Candace Robinson @LITERARDUST @MIDNIGHTTIDEPUBLISHING || unique paranormal YA Fantasy with ’80s setting and music
Lyrics & Curses (Cursed Hearts #1) by Candace Robinson
Publication Date : November 10th 2020
Publisher : Midnight Tide Publishing
Genre : YA / Paranormal
Pages : 350
Lark Espinoza could get lost in her music—and she’s not so sure anyone in her family would even care to find her. Her trendy, party-loving twin sister and her mother-come-lately Beth, who’s suddenly sworn off men and onto homemaking, don’t understand her love of cassette tapes, her loathing of the pop scene, or her standoffish personality. For outcast Lark, nothing feels as much like a real home as working at Bubble’s Oddities store and trying to attract the attention of the cute guy who works at the Vinyl shop next door—the same one she traded lyrical notes with in class.
Auden Ellis silences the incessant questions in his own head with a steady stream of beats. Despite the unconditional love of his aunt-turned-mother, he can’t quit thinking about the loss of his parents—or the possibility he might end up afflicted with his father’s issues. Despite his connection with lyric-loving Lark, Auden keeps her at arm’s length because letting her in might mean giving her a peek into something dangerous.
When two strangers arrive in town, one carrying a mysterious, dark object and the other playing an eerie flute tune, Lark and Auden find that their painful pasts have enmeshed them in a cursed future. Now, they must come to terms with their budding attraction while helping each other challenge the reflection they see in the mirror. If they fail, they’ll be trapped for eternity in a place beyond reality.
*Set in 1985 and full of nostalgia! Perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Pretty in Pink!
*** Note : I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author for review copy. ***
Other books I read by the same author-
- Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault
- The Bride of Glass
- Clouded By Envy
- Veiled By Desire
- Shadowed By Despair
- Hearts Are Like Balloons
- Bacon Pie
- Avocado Bliss
- Lion (Faeries of Oz, #0.5)
Lyrics & Curses was intriguing first paranormal book in Cursed Hearts duology that revolved around Auden and Lark, their shared love for music and how they try to stop the curse of another dimension. It was about troubled past and childhood, friendship, love, family and music.
Writing was easy to follow and gripping filled with 80’ setting, style and music. It was third person dual perspective narrative from Lark and Auden’s POV that gave more depth to characters. Plot was interesting filled with curses, objects from other dimension, and lot of suspense and tension.
It started with Lark finding escape in music filling the void of her uncaring family- alcoholic mother and not so friendly twin, and estranged elder sister. She worked at Bubble’s Oddities store selling paranormal historical objects which was like second home to her and another reason to work there was guy working next door at Vinyl shop- Auden. Auden too had his own troubled past. His schizophrenic father killed his mother when he was two. His aunt adopted him and raised him like her own blood but ever since he knew about his real parents the doubt was always there, he feared turning into his father. When both experienced strange things, encountered strangers- one with object and other with flute playing oddity song with horror vibes- their life turned from bad to worst. I was curious to find out who were those strangers and what they wanted, why only Auden and Lark could see them.
First half of the book was character building which was a bit slow with more character driven part, only weird things happened with character but we don’t why and what it was all about exactly. However, it created suspense so well. I was impatient to find out what was happening to Auden and Lark.
Lark was my favourite in book. She was fisty, fierce and sarcastic; strong, brave and could take care of herself. It was easy to step in her shoe, I could see why she was reluctant to accept change in her mother after reading about her past and I agreed with what she thought and felt about her sister and her friends. Even with her issues with her family, even though they wouldn’t have cared if Lark disappeared from their life, she loved and cared for them fiercely. Her development was great. Curse brought more trouble in her life but it also changed her view and made her realise how much she loved her friends and family and also thought to gave her mother another chance once she got out of the curse.
Auden had trouble in expressing his feelings, had low confidence and optimism because of his past, he couldn’t stop thinking about the loss of his parents, possibility of having his father’s disease and fear of turning into him. Only thing he loved was his music and was grateful for his family’s love and his best friend, but they were not enough to tether him to the town. I could feel his mental and emotional conflict. I loved how meeting Lark changed him, found a way to express his feelings through lyrics, and later working with her and sharing curse, gave him confidence, made him more optimistic and tethered him to her, life and the town.
I loved Imani and Darrin. They were amazing friends. Music had major role like another character in book. I loved how each chapter started with a popular song from the decade as title. Throughout the book, the songs and band names were mentioned as a part of conversation. I haven’t heard most of them but I did save them to hear later.
Second half was all about the world filled with action and paranormal things. The most unique and amazing thing was main characters’ reflection taking their place in real world- the evil doppelgangers of Auden and Lark- which gave the story amazing twist. It was fun to read why they got curse, what their evil doppelgangers wanted, what was the mirror dimension, and how they were going to break the curse and stop being stuck in mirror dimension.
Romance was cute and slow built. They had connection through music and their lyric sharing thing in school but after school they didn’t interact much. They both were shy and were unsure of other’s feeling, a lot like first real love. Once they started working together, they knew each other more than just shared lyrics and their feeling grew more as story progressed. I liked the code name they created when their evil reflections showed up- Lyrics & Curses.
Twist and turns were great in second half. Climax was sad and tense. I wasn’t sure how they will get out of the curse and what were the clues they received. I almost lost hope but was sure this wasn’t going to be bittersweet. The end was amazing. I liked how Lark and Auden found a way to get out of the curse and got rid of their doppelgangers but I also had more questions about this mirror world and was curious to know two strangers’ story after reading epilogue.
Why 4.5 stars-
My only complaint is all things I loved came in second half of the book. Even though I loved Lark and Auden’s life story, first half was slow, and it took time to get into the book.
Overall, Lyrics & Curses was interesting, mysterious, and unique paranormal YA Fantasy with ’80s setting and music. Music lovers are going to love this book.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my review, have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Which your favourite book with portals to other dimension?
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James J. Cudney IV (Jay)
Good review! I’m reading the sequel soon.
Books Teacup and Reviews
Me too but next year around publication date.
Lashaan Balasingam @ Bookidote
It’s interesting to hear how the book is split in two with one dedicated for character development and the other for world-building! Great honest review, Yesha! 😀
Books Teacup and Reviews
Yes you can say that, one part for characters and other for world, but also made one part more likable than the other. Thank you! 😀
Once more, I loved your review, Yesha. 🙂 The blurb is fascinating. Sometimes, a slow first-half is required to set the stage for the action to follow. Glad to know the second half was good.
Books Teacup and Reviews
I agree, but yet second half is so awesome it makes me feel why it isn’t the same for first half and took long to get into the book. Thank you! 🙂