"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 twenty-one-year-old witchy 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."This book was just tons of fun. I really felt like I got to know Audrey, who is a quiet-ish girl (except when it comes to protecting her best friend) and not what you would expect from a new witch. Her love and loyalty really make her stand out as a character and her passion for learning gives this book a unique feel. I also fell in love with Sadie, Audrey's very strange cousin. Sadie is everything a good witch should be: kooky, clever and just a little scary. She also happens to travel with a menagerie of interesting animals that she seems to be able to communicate with. This includes a giant snake:
"When embarking on a new, potentially dangerous adventure, never hurts to have an overly protective boa constrictor on your team." ~ SadieSadly I didn't feel this same connection with the other characters in the book. They all have great potential but I just would have liked to see it explored more. However, there is going to be another book so maybe we'll get to know them better then.
The other thing I really enjoyed about this book is relationship between Audrey and Julian. There are some signs of insta-love here but not in the way that makes you cringe. In fact, the characters seem to be surprised that they have feelings for each other so quickly and I can't help but think this is a wink to those of us who don't really care for insta-love.
Finally, I really like the idea of the guide. This is one of the things that pulled me into the book. It makes the reading experience unique. I only wish it would have been focused on a little more in the middle of the story. Overall, this was a fun, charming read and I would certainly recommend it to lovers of the paranormal!
If you would like to see my full video review, you can find it below:
And now onto the interview!!!!
First a little about our guest:
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. Her adult novels areNotes 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.
First some bookish warm-up questions:
Hardbacks or Paperbacks? Paperbacks.
Stand-alones or Series? A good series allows you to go more in-depth (both as a reader and a writer) but I've been known to walk away from many a series if the first one doesn't totally reel me in.
Favorite book/series of all time? Sorry, I just can't! I have so many, and it depends on my mood. For some reason today I'm feeling especially partial to Harry Potter. I feel nostalgic for that deliciously enchanting world. I realize that's wildly unoriginal, but there you go.
Favorite character of all time? I really admire the villain in Water for Elephants, August. He's so complex, a terrifying mixture of charming and vicious.
Best book to movie adaptation? The Hunger Games stayed faithful to the novel, the casting was ingenious, and it convinced me to read the books. I'd say that's pretty great.
Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester? Man, you're cruel! I love them both. Okay, Mr. Rochester. But in a different mood I'd totally choose Mr. Darcy. Still, Rochester's just so complicated; I'm a sucker for mysterious and troubled.
And now onto the real questions:
Your main character, Audrey, loves to cook. Are you a master chef as well and if so what is your favorite thing to make?
Confession time: I'm actually a wretched chef. Well, I have potential, but I get distracted. Just last night I totally burned the green beans while checking my email. My husband does most of the cooking in our house, but I do bake on occasion. Once in a while I make my father's Irish scones. When I'm feeling especially decadent I've been known to whip up a batch of dark chocolate espresso cookies; once you've eaten a few, you just know you have superpowers!
The witches in your book all have different types of talents, if you were a member of the Clan what would your power be?
I'm really good at killing things--plants, specifically--so I could be the anti-garden witch. Not sure that would make me terribly popular, but I'm trying to be realistic here.
Which character do you relate to most strongly in the book?
Sadie was my favorite character to create in many ways, though I don't know if that's because we're alike. Maybe we have some qualities in common; perhaps my secret self is Sadie-ish. I love her sense of style, her relationship with nature, and her willingness to mentor Audrey even if she doesn't really understand Audrey's power. I also felt a connection with Megan from the very beginning. She's a natural rock star, which has always been a fantasy of mine. Audrey was the trickiest character to understand. It took me quite a few years before I found the right protagonist to tell this story.
What made you decide to write for young adults?
When I stumbled on the idea for my first YA book (Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty) I just knew it needed a teen heroine. Once I got into the genre, I realized I loved writing for young adults. My very favorite aspect of this brave new YA world is the range of topics open to authors these days. There's such a renaissance happening in the genre; I'm so proud to be a tiny part of that. I also feel inspired by the emails I get from young readers. I love that this audience is so unpretentious and open; most of them don’t judge books based on preconceived notions about “great literature.” They’re eager to get lost in stories, and their imaginations are still vivid. That’s a demographic I enjoy working with.
Who is your biggest inspiration, either personal or literary?
My family has been incredibly supportive all along. My father and my husband are always my first readers, because they generally think I'm a genius. That's kind of important in the early stages, just to be loved and encouraged. They also keep me going when things look grim. I guess that's the more personal side of inspiration. My writing group also keeps me from getting too freaked out over rejections or bad reviews. I've had wonderful writing teachers over the years who are also great authors; working with them made my dream seem more attainable. A few of my best teachers were Gina Nahai, T.C. Boyle, David Scott Milton, and Robin Hemley.
What do you want readers to take away from Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft?
I hope it puts them in the mood to create a little magic in their own lives, and to recognize everyday magic when it happens.
Finally Jody has very graciously decided to do a giveaway there will be a Signed print copy available for a US/Canadian reader and one e-copy available for an international reader. The rafflecopters are below. I want to thank Jody again for being with us today. Make sure you check her out and especially make sure to pick up Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft.