AUDREY’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT Book Tour: Review, Excerpt and Giveaway
AUDREY’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT
By Jody Gehrman
Series: Audrey’s Guide, #1
Publisher: Magic Genie Books
Length: 295 pages
I’m not a YA reader, but when I saw this book pop up around the blogosphere, I was intrigued. The blurb sounded good (I love witchy books) and the cover is gorgeous! I’m glad I took a chance on Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft, because I really enjoyed it.
Audrey was a great character. It’s been a few years since I was 17, but I found myself realting to Audrey easily. She’s a bit socially awkward, would rather study chemistry or bake a cake than party, and she’s fiercely protective of her friends and family. Audrey’s trouble begins when her mother goes missing and a “cousin” named Sadie shows up at her door. Sadie claims she was sent to watch over Audrey and her younger sister Meg while her mom takes care of a family emergency, but Audrey’s not buying it.
When Audrey causes some unexplained events to happen, Sadie decides to let her in on a little family secret: She’s a witch, just like her missing mom, and the family emergency is magical in nature. When Audrey learns that her mom’s mission is defeating a dangerous necromancer, she insists that Sadie teaches her Witchcraft 101 so she can help.
I liked both the story and characters in this book. It was funny at times and dark in places too. The pacing was steady throughout, though it got pretty suspenseful at the end. I think I would have liked more build up of the villain earlier in the book, because we don’t learn much about his plans until the last quarter of the book or so.
There’s also a budding sweet romance between Audrey and a hot college-age guy named Julian. It’s clear that Audrey and Julian have a special connection, but we don’t know what it is – yet. This is the first book in the Audrey’s Guide series, and I’m excited to see what happens next!
(A few yummy recipes and witchy spells are included in the story. Fun!)
Excerpt from AUDREY’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT:
The perfume of scorched sugar conjured my Mom’s face again, her eyes bright, her
lips curved into a proud smile. We’d baked together a lot over the years. She was the one who taught me to use a culinary torch back when I could barely see over the counter. As I watched, the memory of her happy face morphed, her mouth opening in a scream, her eyes going wide with horror. I shivered.
“Your turn.” Bridget handed me the torch.
I took it from her. The flame sprang to life when I pushed the button; I adjusted the
intensity with the dial, turning it up just slightly. Bending over the nearest custard, I
focused my attention, letting the room disappear around me. The top layer of superfine
sugar quickly transformed as I touched the flame to it. White powder became dark,
bubbling beads. Soon the whole surface started to darken, oozing a rich satiny brown.
Mesmerized, I watched the sugar transform into something else, something molten.
From under the surface of the custard, a slow movement began. At first I thought it
was just bubbling slightly from the heat, but then I felt my stomach clench in fear and I
knew something bizarre was happening. The yellowish custard roiled under the layer of
liquefied sugar. Gradually, beneath the steady kiss of my blue flame, a face began to take form. The darkened sugar gave way as the pale features took shape. At first I could only make out a faint outline, but then it sprang out at me, eyes and nose and mouth bulging up from the custard like a swimmer emerging from the depths of an opaque sea.
“Ack!” I yanked the torch away so abruptly I almost burned Bridget, who hovered at
Bridget spoke softly, almost reverently. “What was that?”
“I don’t know!” With panicky fingers I turned off the torch and set it down. “Did
you see it?”
“I saw something.”
“Oh, god.” I darted a look at Mrs. Jackson, who thankfully had her hands full keeping
a couple pimply-faced sophomore boys from using their kitchen torches as light-sabers. “It looked like—didn’t it—wasn’t there a—?”
“A face?” Bridget said. “Yeah. What’s up with that?”
I covered my mouth with one trembling hand, afraid to answer her. The scariest part
was that I hadn’t just seen a face, I’d seen the face, the same blue-eyed man that had been haunting me all morning.
Bridget stared fixedly at the custard. “You can still kind of see it—like the Jesus face
on that tortilla.”
“What Jesus face?”
“You know, the miracle tortilla.”
A nervous, slightly hysterical laugh escaped me. I covered my mouth and studied the
custard. I had no idea what miracle she referred to, but she was right about one thing; you could still see a man’s face etched into the caramelized sugar. The singed caramel coating outlined high cheekbones and fine, angular features. I knew I’d never seen him before, yet something about that face felt hauntingly familiar.
Bridget suddenly got all excited. “Maybe he’s a being from another dimension trying
to contact you.”
I snorted. Here it was! I’d been right to keep it from her earlier. “If you say so.”
“You’re so cynical. How can magic ever find you if you won’t let it in?”
“Put that on a bumper sticker.”
About the Author:
Jody Gehrman is the author of seven novels and numerous plays. Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft is her most recent Young Adult novel. Her other Young Adult novels include Babe in Boyland, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, and Triple Shot Bettys in Love, (Penguin’s Dial Books). Babe in Boyland has recently been optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award. Her adult novels are Notes from the Backseat, Tart, and Summer in the Land of Skin (Red Dress Ink). Her plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She is a professor of English at Mendocino College.