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on 5 September 2017
Was really surprised by this book. Brilliant scene settings you can imagine yourself at the plantation, hope the next book is as good
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on 18 March 2013
As soon as I finished this book I bought the second one. Couldn't wait to read more. Would definitely recommend to anyone who likes a supernatural mystery.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 February 2014
Oh, I love books about New Orleans, especially if they somehow incorporate voodoo and history into them.

So I hoped to really enjoy "Bound," the first novella of Kira Saito's Arelia LaRue series -- it has voodoo, ghosts, snakes, a gorgeous old plantation and lots of atmosphere. Sadly, it also has a massively unattractive heroine, no real ending and some major writing flaws that badly need to be addressed.

Against the wishes of her grandmother, Arelia LaRue takes a job at Darkwood Plantation with her best friend Sabrina (who is every rich blonde slut cliche crammed into in one character). Within an hour of arriving, Arelia discovers that the Darkwood cook is her great-aunt, that she has special voodoo powers granted by the loa Erzulie, and even gets a visit from said loa.

She also encounters Lucus, the handsome and charming scion of the family. Arelia immediately hates him because he's rich (seriously, that's the main reason), but for some reason he's very interested in her. And as she learns more about Darkwood, it becomes clear that an ancient power still holds the place.

I really had high hopes for this novella. Kira Saito loads the novella up with haunting Southern atmosphere and a truckload of voodoo stuff, ranging from appearances by the loa to a gris-gris-making class. Honestly, there's a lot of potential here, and I was disappointed when the rest of the novel didn't stack up.

One of the biggest problems is pacing -- Saito rockets through the story at light speed, pelting Arelia with massive revelations about her powers, family and history in a very short time. There are no quiet moments where the characters can breathe, no foreshadowing before they learn anything. Saito really needs to learn how to stretch out her story, learn to develop the characters and setting more.

Also, too much celebrity name-dropping and labels. There are a few continuity issues -- at one point Arelia makes a promise to matchmake a couple of loa... but unless I missed something, she never did. I don't think it's safe to break that sort of promise to a loa.

However, the biggest problem is Arelia herself. She is AWFUL. She comes across as a paranoid, gullible, bipolar mess. It's hard to see why a guy as nice and pleasant as Lucus is attracted to her, because she's constantly sneering at him and telling him what a horrible, worthless person he is because... he's rich. In one fun scene, she actually throws lumps of mud at him.

The other characters are a spotty bunch. Sabrina is a vile character which has no real purpose except to be vile, and most of the guests are forgettable. But Lucus is rather charming, Ms. Mae is intriguingly ambiguous, and the neglected "poor little rich boy" Ben is rather sweet.

Kira Saito has an intriguing premise and loads of atmosphere, but the nasty main character and too-fast writing need to be fixed before it can count as "good."
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on 11 March 2012
As soon as I received this book to my kindle and started reading I was hooked. The writing is so rich and absorbing that it was difficult to put it down even for a few minutes!

Firstly the main character, Arelia, is someone I can relate to. From a poor background she and her Gran-mere have had to work hard just to keep a roof over their heads. Everything in Arelia's life is about survival so its no surprise when she decides to take the job offer of summer work at the Darkwood Estate.

Her best friend, Sabrina, comes from the other side of the fence, the rich side. While Arelia is very proud and would never accept any monetary help from Sabrina, her best friend still shows her kindness in different ways. Yes, Sabrina is spoiled beyond belief. Her work ethic is nonexistent and she has only one wish. To meet and eventually marry the heir to the Darkwood estate. The only problem is that Lucas, gorgeous and mysterious as he is only has eyes for Arelia. But why?

The characters in this story are brilliant and well developed. Ivan, the most annoying waiter, the irritating guests such as the Dumpty's, and Ms Mae and her secrets. All of them pop out of the book with such life that you feel like you're really in the house experiencing it all first hand.

And I can't not mention the food! I'm from England. I've never been to New Orleans. I have no idea what a pain perdu, buttermilk drop, shrimp gumbo, or any of the other delicious sounding foods are. I had to google them just to see pictures. The mentions of the food made even my mouth water!

The scenery of the Darkwood Estate is described exquisitely and was such an excellent backdrop for this amazing book. Arelia has a mysterious past that she has little knowledge of. Spirits talk to her as though they've known her for years, yet she doesn't understand why they come to her. Lucas singles her out and pays great attention to her. But he has a mysterious past too. And only Arelia has the ability to discover the truth and help him.

What I liked most was the fact that the author had clearly done a huge amount of research about Voodoo, the Spirits and the history that comes with it, especially that of the slave trade.

All in all, I loved Bound. I'm now reading Punished (Book 2) and I can't wait to find out what happens next! And Lucas? He can have my heart any day!! This is a must read for anyone who loves Paranormal Romance.
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on 15 June 2012
(Source: Downloaded for free from Amazon)
17-year-old Aralia LeRue lives in New Orleans. Raised by her grandmother, she has a part African-American background, and can hear and speak to spirits - which she thinks is normal-ish for New Orleans.

Arelia's grand-mere's landlord keeps putting the rent up, and Arelia's best friend Sabrina has secured both herself and Aurelia summer jobs at the LePlant family Plantation, so Arelia is off to spend the summer working in an attempt to earn some much needed cash.

What Arelia gets when she reaches the Darkwood Plantation is a lot more than she bargained for though, when it turns out that the cook is actually her Grand-mere's sister! All is revealed, and as it turns out her great-great aunt performed some ritual on Arelia when she was a baby, she was blessed by some spirit, and that is why she can communicate with spirits the way she can, not to mention that fact that she is the youngest in a long line of Voodoo Queens!

Arelia isn't sure whether she should learn more about Voodoo or not, but she has plenty of other things to keep her occupied as her best friend starts throwing herself at Lucas - the youngest of the Le Plane family, while Lucas is showering his attention on Arelia. This causes big problems between Arelia and Sabrina.

Should Arelia learn more about Voodoo and her heritage? What is Lucas' secret? Will Arelia and Sabrina's friendship survive the summer?

This book was okay. It was well written and had some promising ideas and storyline, the only problem was that I just didn't know where the story was going a lot of the time. Then, when the storyline was revealed it wasn't something that I would have guessed at, but at the same time I wasn't particularly surprised or amazed. It just fell a little flat for me, and by about half-way through I was unfortunately beginning to lose interest.

That being said, the book wasn't bad, it just didn't do it for me. What annoyed me about the book though was the non-end. The book finished, but the story didn't. I thought this was a series, but it's actually more like `Bound' is the first half of the story, and `Punished' is the second half. Unfortunately as much as I hate not knowing how a story ends, I'm not interested enough to buy and read the second book.

Overall, a well written YA book, with an interesting storyline, just missing something for me.
6 out of 10.
(Book Length: 3630 kindle locations)
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on 24 January 2012
I was once looking around Bound's Goodreads pages and found a lot of mixed reviews about this book. What I found on Goodreads made me want to read and decide for myself and well I did! The good reviews I agree with the bad ones not so much. I don't really get why they didn't like it at all.

This is something new for me, especially in the Young Adult Genre, I've only read about voodoo in a non-ya book just that one time last year but never read a book solely based on a protagonist who's gifted with the powers of voodoo.

I didn't know why, but I really connected with Arelia. I don't know if its her courage, wittiness or her will to stay away from people (especially hot boys who are off-limits) or the fact that she's bestfriends with a snob. Okay, fine! I admit, I couldn't stand Sabrina (Arelia's Bestfriend). It amuses me to actually find such a character like her in a book. She made me laugh a few times at how badly conceited she is. I know a lot of people hate this book for her especially. But for me, I found it amusing. You've gotta love these type of people. Haha. I blame my endless patience for this point. The plot had its predictable bits but aside from that it was flowing, not too complex and all together good.

Overall, Bound was an excellent read about a different aspect of paranormalcy with unique intriguing characters, a wonderful plot and juicy man-candy. Gimme more now! :D
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on 20 September 2012
I LOVED the whole voodoo part of it, it was fascinating to read about. I found the actual storyline predictable and in places a little rushed. This may be due to the size of the novel though and I am hoping this improves in book two. I found the characters interesting and engaging - even the flawed ones such as Sabrina.

Be warned that this story ends on a cliff hanger, so there is a compulsion to buy the second book. Some people may get annoyed at this since none of the conflict is tied up at the end.

However, this idea worked for me since I immediately purchased the second book just to see what would happen. Can't wait to see what happens next!
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on 28 September 2014
I like the fact that this book was written around plantations and superstitions. A working holiday, which turned out to be totally different from what was expected. Interesting read.
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on 17 December 2012
I love the fact this book is about voodoo and hoodoo, it's completely different to any of the other books I've read. Makes a nice change to vampires or werewolves. Cleverly written and easy to follow. My opinion on certain characters changed many times while reading which kept the story interesting. Unravels at a good pace so you don't get frustrated and think when does the good stuff happen. Easy way to sum up this book would be to say that there is not many people who could use the title "voodoo queen" without you thinking CRINGE! Can't wait to read the next one.
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on 12 November 2012
This is refreshingly different!! OK, so it's obviously a YA paranormal romance, but the whole voodoo angle is original!! I love how we are taught about the spirits, not just Arelia, who is unknowingly a voodoo queen!
The only problem is that this book is too short!! And it stops half way through a scene!! So I've downloaded the rest of the series that is available, and I'm off to devour more voodoo secrets!! I just have to know what happens next!!
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