Title: Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft (Audrey's Guides, #1)
Author: Jody Gehrman
Rating: 3.5 Stars
From the surface, Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft seems to be like any other run-of-the-mill paranormal romance. We have the girl in the beautiful dress on the cover, a synopsis that hints at a female protagonist realizing she has paranormal powers, our classic Missing Parent Syndrome, and, of course, a romantic interest. Yet, when you really begin to read and probe deeper, you find that Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft is so much more than just a paranormal mystery about a girl who realizes she’s a witch and tries to hone her powers to help her mother fight unspeakable evil. It’s about sibling relationships, friendships, finding yourself, and about maintaining a normal life in a world where your control seems to be slipping with every moment. Thus, I found myself to be pleasantly surprised, enchanted, and enthralled by the world Gehrman had created and I will most definitely be coming back for more.
For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I put more emphasis on well-developed characters opposed to scintillating plot lines, so I was both excited and pleased by how deep and thoughtful the characters in this novel were. Audrey, our protagonist, is a girl like any other who feels insecure in high school. In fact, Audrey is often jealous of her beautiful younger sister and feels overshadowed in her lively presence. While I don’t have a sister myself, I was able to understand Audrey’s mixed feelings toward her sibling and I thought their relationship was portrayed very realistically and with a lot of thought. It reminded me a lot of the sister relationship in “27 Dresses” and while it wasn’t resolved by the end of the novel, that only made me love it more for its realistic quality.
In addition to this wonderful relationship though, Audrey herself is such a spunky character. She isn’t easy to like at first as she is often withdrawn, cold to her mother’s supposed “cousin” who comes to take care of Audrey and her sister while her mother is missing, and she is generally morose. Yet, she stands up for her best friend, isn’t afraid to be who she is, speaks her mind, and her difference from others sets her apart. Furthermore, she is determined and perseverant, so when she learns she is a powerful witch, she takes it in her stride and makes the best of her situation which I admire about her.
Nevertheless, the one aspect of this novel that truly blew me away was the romance. It takes a lot for me to jump on the romance bandwagon in a novel, but I simply adored the way the love story in this book played out. For one, there is no triangle of love! *does happy dance* If that isn’t enough to make you pick up this book, the romance is also very normal and realistic. Julian, the older college guy who winds up becoming the manager for Audrey’s sister’s band, Cherry, meets Audrey at a party and they instantly click. Thus, their relationship blossoms through actual dates and conversation which is so refreshing and entertaining to read! Yes, their romance did have quite a few clichés that had me rolling my eyes such as the way a storm occurred when they first touched or how objects fly around when they kiss or how Julian dreams of Audrey and feels a pull towards her, but all those paranormal wonders aside, I really loved these two.
Finally, the last ingredient to making me love a novel has to be plot twists and while there weren’t too many of them in this novel, there were one or two which I totally didn’t see coming! I love when I don’t predict the outcome of a novel, as that is something that seems to happen too often these days, so I was pleasantly surprised by the twists in this story.
Alll of that being said, there are still a few flaws with this book. For one, I found the beginning to be a little slow and hard to get into, especially since the plot idea of making mysterious things happen and then being told you were a witch/wizard had been done before, plenty of times. Furthermore, I was a little disappointed by the ending when Audrey finally faces the villain. I did find him to be evil, but I thought his evil plan was rather overdone in the past and I found that Audrey managed to manipulate him far too easily. I’m looking forward to seeing more showdowns between Audrey and our villain in the future, but I hope they have a tad bit more of originality in them.
Overall though, this novel was brilliant! It kept my attention, had me laughing and sitting on the edge of my seat in worry, and I was thoroughly invested in the sparkling dialogue between Audrey, her friends, and her love interest. I can’t wait for the sequel to release and finished this book with a satisfied sigh. Thus, I’d highly recommend this to anyone looking for a new paranormal read or, at any rate, some sizzling romance because trust me, Julian is swoooon-worthy! ;)
A huge thank you to Jody Gehrman for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Jody Gehrman was kind enough to allow me to do a giveaway of her novel on my blog, so one lucky winner will receive a copy of this book! If you live in the US, Jody will mail you a paperback copy of Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft and if you are an international winner, you will receive an e-book of this novel in any format you wish – PDF, Kindle, Nook, etc.
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Must be 13 years or older
Giveaway ends August 26th, 2012