AUDIENCE: Adult and Young Adult
LENGTH: 60-80k words (310 pages)
COVER DESIGN: Fena Lee
With Wiccans and fairies and spells and magick, readers might expect The Flower Bowl Spell to feel like a complete escape from reality. But the charm of this novel is its ability to keep the reader grounded in ordinary life while making the otherworldly elements feel almost natural. “It’s amazing how simple a spell is, really. A little nutmeg, some moss from the rocks on Stow Lake… I couldn’t find any hazelnuts, so I brought along a jar of Nutella from Tess’s pantry, and I smear its chocolaty goodness on some sticks…”
Memphis Zhang is likable, cool and outright funny at times as she tells her story about being a Chinese American journalist in San Francisco, attempting to live a normal life—despite her ability to see fairies, read auras and cast spells. She lets go of her Wiccan past after one of her spells fails to protect a friend. Consumed with guilt, she banishes magick from her life.
Memphis goes on tour as a reporter with the bands Arsenic Playground and Yeah Right. The same week, an old Wiccan friend of hers unexpectedly leaves her two young daughters for Memphis to watch. She’s balancing her attention between the story she needs to write, the hot rock star who’s clearly into her, and her babysitting responsibilities when she learns that a dangerous witch is attempting to cast the powerful flower bowl spell. She knows she has to do something. Reacquainting herself with the old powers she’d set aside for a couple years, Memphis dives back into the world of magick.
Filled with adventure, intrigue and a whole variety of interesting characters, The Flower Bowl Spell is definitely a page-turner. Memphis is authentic and outspoken, and her personality really comes through. “Don’t get me wrong. I like Jesus Christ. We could have rolled… But I think of all the dastardly deeds that have been done in his name through the centuries—particularly to ladies of my ilk—and I get a little itchy.” Olivia Boler tells a unique story that’s pretty action-packed. With so much going on, some details along the way can get confusing, but it’s worth overlooking those slight bumps in the road since the overall journey is really enjoyable. The story wraps up nicely and it even sets things up for a possible sequel.
This is a great read for fans of paranormal fiction. Along with fairies, Wiccans and magick, it has romance, mystery and humor. It would also be a perfect “first” paranormal read for those who haven’t yet tried out the genre. Memphis is a very realistic and engaging protagonist, interesting even outside of her supernatural escapades.
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Candi Sary, author of Black Crow White Lie, has made the finals in several writing competitions, including the William Faulkner William Wisdom Writing Competition and the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She lives in coastal Southern California with her husband (while her 2 kids are off at college), and can often be found surfing the waters of Newport Beach. You can find her at www.candisary.com.