Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft
Audrey's Guides Book 1
Audrey's Guides Book 1
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Publisher: Magic Genie Books
Number of pages: 295
Word Count: 97800
Cover Artist: David Wolf
Falling in love, baking a magical cake, fighting an evil necromancer—it’s all in a day’s work for Audrey Oliver, seventeen-year-old witch-in-training. When her mother goes missing and her mysterious "cousin" shows up out of the blue, Audrey knows something’s gone horribly, dangerously wrong. Now it’s up to her to get her own magical powers up to speed before everyone she loves is destroyed by the sorcerer intricately connected to her mother’s secret past.
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 my side.
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.”
Witchy Earth Mamas Rule, But I'm Not There Yet
by Jody Gehrman
As a native of Northern California, I've known many new age mystics and earth mama types, some of whom practiced witchcraft. I've dabbled in spells and ceremonies some myself--just basic stuff--so it felt like the right topic to explore in my writing. In Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft I mixed what I know about real witches with a fictional world where their power could be even more startling. There's an amazing force running through nature, and the idea of tapping that fascinates me.
As an aspiring witch, though, I feel terrible about my total lack of skill with plants. It seems like a pretty essential part of any respectable witch's skill set, right? I want to be an earthy, witchy woman—I really do! I fantasize about dawning my floaty sundress, my moon amulet, and waltzing among the flowers, letting dragonflies and finches alight on my shoulder. The problem is, I’m a witch reject. Let’s face it: I kill things.
Seriously. Take one look at my famished houseplants and you’ll understand I’m no goddess of plants. I get distracted. I forget they need water. I’m too preoccupied spinning worlds inside my head to feed myself sometimes, let alone feed the flora around me.
I long to have a garden like a proper witch--one that is carefully tended, pleasing to all the senses. It’s just that I’m not there yet. The garden of my dreams is lush and fertile, but so far I can only grow things on the page, not in the earth. Someday, maybe my real yard will look like the one in my imagination.
But don't hold your breath.
This book grabbed me from the first page. The high school experience is horrible, as most are and I could feel Audrey's pain as she tried to cope with the resident evil queen bee. When she slung a zot her way, I cheered. Yes. Out loud. I did.
This is the reason you like a book. It resonates with something inside you. In this case the witchy aspect of the book was of course, right up my alley. The recipe for creme brulee was helpful too. Mine always comes out with eggy little lumps in it. Maybe now that I know I am supposed to wait before I add the two sets of ingredients together, there will be hope. *grin*
The plot for the book was great and hummed along. Who was the stranger on the crisped sugar coating? (love that) and where did Audrey's Mom go? Why was she obsessing about it all day at school? All of these are an awesome way to hook a reader and I was hooked.
Great read for a teen audience or above. I will be keeping this author on my watch list. Loved the voice and that is the key to my heart!
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.
Tourwide giveaway: US only of one print copy of the book.