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A Spoonful of Magic
Publisher: DAW Books, Inc.

A Spoonful of Magic is the story of a woman named Daphne "Daffy" Deschants, a wife, mother, and business entrepreneur living in Eugene, Oregon who runs a coffee shop called Magical Brews. She's a genius in the kitchen and her business partner and best friend, Gayla, often jokes that she's a "kitchen witch" due to the delicious creations she invents for the coffee shop. It's especially funny since there is a lot of "magic" in Eugene, at least it has plenty of wannabes.

While at her 13th anniversary dinner with her husband "G" (he prefers that to Gabriel), Daffy confronts him with photo proof of his cheating, pictures she got in her email, and she breaks up with him. As they are making a scene in the parking lot, some sketchy guys approach threateningly, and G reacts by brandishing a magic wand that was his pen a moment before and sends them running. Daffy doesn't know what to think, but suddenly a few things become clear - she is definitely not married to a normal guy. Still, his cheating ass is out.

Back at home, her teenage son Jason, pre-teen daughter Belle, and younger daughter Shara are all very supportive. Sure, they love their dad, but they found the pics on her PC before Daffy did. Regardless, G wants her back and has lots of excuses, most of which fall under the "need to know" category and Daffy doesn't, according to the Magicians Guild, of which G is the world's Sheriff, making sure witches and warlocks behave.

Things get out of hand when G discovers that his first wife, D'Accore, has escaped the magical prison he sent her to some 15 years ago and she is out for revenge, stolen magical power and, ummm, a piece of Jason. That's right, Jason was born while D'Accore was imprisoned and G always told Daffy and Jason that D'Accore died in childbirth because, she essentially did - well, the sane part of her did. But now she's back and she's presenting in the form of fire and smoke - at Magical Brews, in Daffy and G's house, in the area around the coffee shop, pretty much wherever she wants to make a stink. The scary part is that as G investigates and tracks her, as she murders her way across the globe gathering other people's wands, and hence, their power, G realizes that not only is his family in danger, but D'Accore has someone helping her from the inside. Like in the Magician's Guild, and pretty high up, from the looks of it.

Meanwhile, G is keeping Daffy as much in the dark as he possibly can, for her and the kids' safety, and she is trying to deal with the impending divorce, plus maybe getting her groove back. Sure, they can't all be as handsome and magnetic as G, but she realizes he bewitched her all of those years and she'd like to find some feelings that are real. Maybe they'll come in the form of Ted Tyler, a nice, normal contractor whose daughter is in the same dance troupe as Jason, or maybe they'll come from the enigmatic Coyote Blood Moon AKA John Mooney, real estate mogul by day and Native American hippie music shop owner by night. Unfortunately, Mooney is G's oldest friend and Tyler knows him as well. Awkward.

To make matters worse, it seems G and Daffy's children are magic, as well, and they've blossomed, all of a sudden, and need to find their wands. Jason's is connected to his dance, while Shara is a gifted puzzle-solver and unlocker of all locks, so naturally, hers is an old key. Belle, a gangly and plain pre-teen, is actually a siren who has started attracting boys like zombified bees to honey, ever since she got her ivory and jade chopsticks, which she wears in her hair. It looks like G will have to stay closely involved, if only to teach the kids how to harness their power, so as not to go insane like D'Accore did. Once G finally comes clean about D'Accore and the genuine danger they are all in, Daffy, G and the kids, along with a handful of G's associates from around the globe, concoct a plan to trap D'Accore and the person who has been helping her on the sly. And maybe, just maybe, Daffy will discover that she is more than just a wiz in the kitchen.

A Spoonful of Magic is a fun and quick read and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. Still, it was pretty good, I just found Daffy's excusing some of G's behavior and inability to resist him at times annoying. Also, writer Irene Radford is clearly a liberal and doesn't mind sprinkling a dash of her liberal opinions in whenever feasible. It's not offensive if those aren't your leanings, it just sort of felt shoved in and not entirely contextual at times. Still, the book is a good read.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins
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