Tina Connolly's Seriously Shifted is a sparkling new adventure about teen witch Camellia and her mother, wicked witch Sarmine, introduced to readers in Seriously Wicked.
Teenage witch Cam isn’t crazy about the idea of learning magic. She’d rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother’s wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them.
Now Cam’s learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don’t get him first, that is.
Can’t a good witch ever catch a break?
"Accomplished plotting teams up with a winsome narrator to give readers a bewitching story." - Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
TINA CONNOLLY lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of Ironskin, a Nebula Award finalist, and its sequels, Copperhead and Silverblind. Her stories have appeared all over, including in Strange Horizons,Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She is a frequent reader for Podcastle, and narrates the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake.
Read an Excerpt
By Tina Connolly
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2016 Tina Connolly
All rights reserved.
The Do-Badders Club
I was hanging up the snakeskins to dry when the first witch rang the doorbell.
"Coming," I called as I folded the skins on my shoulder and hurried to the door. It does not do to keep witches waiting. They get cranky.
A tall, pale blonde wearing a lot of perfume swept into the room. Ugh, Esmerelda. "I see Sarmine hasn't managed to get any good help," she said. "Are you the familiar?"
"You know perfectly well I'm her daughter," I said through gritted teeth. I'm not what you'd call happy about having a witch for a mother, but that didn't mean I was eager to be insulted, either.
"Mm," she said. "Here's my coat. It's pure unicorn; don't let that werewolf of yours sit on it."
"His name is Wulfie and he is housetrained," I said.
"He's three," she retorted. She stalked over to the coffee table in the living room of our ordinary old split-level, clutching her emerald-green purse tight. "And hurry up with the drinks. Vodka martini, no vermouth, one eye of newt."
I had no sooner dumped the coat — and the snakeskins — in the spare bedroom upstairs when the doorbell rang again. "Sarmine," I hollered down the hall. "Your witch friends are here."
My mother, Sarmine Scarabouche, the wicked witch of the neighborhood, etc., etc., appeared briefly from her bedroom. We both are tall and white but otherwise don't look particularly alike. For starters, my regular outfit is jeans and a vaguely amusing tee. Hers is a starched button-down and a pencil skirt of the most unflattering length possible. My hair is nutmeg that does whatever it feels like, and hers is a perfect silver bob. She was sorting through the herbs and powders she kept in the white leather fanny pack she always wore. "Camellia, how many times have I told you not to shout? I will be down after I replenish my packet of dried beetle wings."
"That can't wait till after they go?"
She rolled her eyes. "Would you trust any of them not to start throwing hexes?"
She had a good point. I didn't trust any of them one bit. Witches are nasty, paranoid, sarcastic creatures — and the list gets worse from there. Sarmine is maybe, perhaps, one of the ever-so-slightly better wicked witches, if such a thing can be said to exist. I mean, she frequently imposes horrible punishments on me like turning me into a windmill and making me power the house for the day, and there's that whole thing about how she wants to take over the world, but hey, nobody's perfect.
The doorbell was now screeching like a peacock in heat, and since our doorbell didn't normally do that (witches usually try to blend in), apparently the witch who was waiting was a tired-of-waiting witch. Wulfie had run up from the basement and was now howling at the door.
"Coming, coming," I shouted. I scooped Wulfie up, put him back in the basement, and hurried for the front door.
This time the November wind blew in a short, stout lady all in black, with brown skin, heavy black eyebrows, and frizzy, graying hair. I had met Esmerelda a few times at various witch functions Sarmine had dragged me to over the years. But this lady was new to me. She had a cane and she stabbed it at my feet as she walked in. I jumped backward.
"Took you long enough, girlie," she said. "In my day we jumped to when our elders asked us to do something."
"When was that?" I said politely. "Around the time of Christopher Columbus?"
She looked at me side-eyed, as if trying to figure out if I was being rude or not. "Around the time of you can get me a bourbon and soda and make it snappy," she said. "With two maraschino cherries and a newt eyeball." She tossed me her black wrap and headed for the couch, mumbling something about how back in her day, there were ashtrays everywhere and everyone kept cartons of cigarettes on hand for their guests. Now that she mentioned it, the wrap I was holding reeked. I put it on top of Esmerelda's coat.
Esmerelda inclined her head toward the stout lady while I wheeled out Sarmine's minibar. And yeah, yeah, fifteen-year-olds are not supposed to be serving drinks to their mother's friends, I'm sure, but in the grand scheme of all the things Sarmine had me do, making a martini ranked low on the leading-me-astray scale.
I poured the vodka out of the cocktail shaker for the blonde, plopped in the eye of newt with a shudder, and passed it over. It's not that I'm squeamish — it's just that the witches have this real callous disregard for human and animal life. One of the many things my mother and I disagree on. I started to look for the soda for the shorter lady when the door knocker banged three times and then the door blew open. The freezing November wind swept through the house, bringing in an eye-watering gust of crumbling leaves and chilling me to the bone.
Esmerelda and the stout lady froze, their wands at the ready. I froze with the soda siphon in my hand. Everyone froze at the apparition confronting us.
Her cheekbones were sharp. Her hair was purple. She appeared to be wearing a scarf made out of an entire snake. If this were a movie there would be a dramatic music cue right now that said that Evil Had Arrived.
Sarmine chose that moment to appear on the staircase. "Malkin," she said in a super-not-excited-to-see-you voice. It sounds a lot like her regular voice, actually, but if you've been around the witch as long as I have you can pick up on the minute changes in expression. "How nice of you to drop in."
"Bowling night was canceled," quipped Malkin.
Sarmine continued down the stairs. "I thought perhaps we'd never see you again."
"Your lucky day," said Malkin. I guessed she was Caucasian, with a surprisingly deep tan for November. Maybe she'd been at the beach. She strode casually to the living room, surveyed the other two witches — who were both staring at her with varying degrees of wariness and stink-eye — and me. Her eyes drilled through me. "This one belongs to you, doesn't it?"
Sarmine did not deign to answer the obvious.
Malkin did not move, but such was the power of her presence that it seemed as though she were an inch away, studying my brain or witch blood or whatever it was. A gust of cold wind from nowhere brought a musky, animal scent. "Bats," Malkin said at last, in a voice like imminent death. "The upside-down tree. Rivers, running." It sounded like I was a tarot card that she was reading. "Potential, unrealized."
Sarmine sniffed. "You're telling me."
"Excuse me," I managed. "I don't belong to anybody. I'm my own."
A bark of laughter. "Funny kid." Malkin's gaze let me go and she raked the rest of the room.
"Last I heard you were in Borneo," said the blonde.
"That was three years ago," said Malkin. "Sorry to disappoint you, Esmerelda."
The short witch chuckled. "She's just hoping you're not still ticked about that time in college that she hexed you with five hundred green warts right before a date."
"Please," said Malkin. "Swept under the rug." She leered. "Surely you're not afraid I've come back to get you?"
"Nonsense," the blonde said coldly.
"And you, Valda? Still worried about that time you betrayed me to Student Housing for my side business of infectious diseases customized to your professor? Gonna peel out before the festivities start?"
The short witch snorted. "You think I'd miss this? Not likely."
"Good," said Malkin. "Then I'll put my drink order in and stay a while. Whiskey, neat, one eyeball." She plopped down in Sarmine's rocking chair and propped her combat boots on the table. They appeared to be made out of a gray wrinkly leather with insets of ivory.
I set down the soda siphon and switched over to making Malkin's drink. There was silence for a minute while I poured the whiskey and all the witches stared each other down, trying to suss out everyone's real motivation, and waiting to see who would make a move first. It was like watching a poker game between tigers.
Esmerelda tried another angle. "Revenge business getting slow?"
Malkin shrugged. "Too good. Fact is, I've been so busy the last decade I haven't gotten a chance to see my dear old friends." She smiled broadly at the three other witches. Nobody smiled back.
"You mean, you decided to take a break from hunting the lindworm," said Valda. "Having had no luck."
"They're extinct, Malkin," said Esmerelda. "Give it up."
"That hunt has consumed your life," said Valda.
Sarmine said nothing, eying Malkin suspiciously. "She's never going to give that up," she said. "Not as long as the Witchlore claims the fangs of the lindworm can be used to ... what is it, Malkin? Cause pestilence, plagues, famine? Et cetera, et cetera, no doubt."
Malkin smoothed down her snake scarf. "Oh, that old thing," she said.
"That old thing?" said Valda from the couch. "You once called me at two a.m. because you heard from a friend of a friend that they'd once met a French shopkeeper whose grandmother had heard a rumor of a single lindworm scale. You were positively squealing with excitement."
"Bosh," said Malkin. "I never squeal."
"Squealing," said Valda.
"At any rate," said Malkin, "it seemed like a good time to pop in and see my old friends."
"Sounds suspicious," said Esmerelda.
"As you get older, you miss those good old college days," said Malkin, trying to look wistful. "The old gang."
"The club," said Valda.
"So what is this, a reunion?" I said.
"You could say that," said Esmerelda. She finally sat down on the edge of a wooden chair, her back stiff and straight.
I looked around the room again, realizing that these women who looked thirty (Esmerelda), forty (Malkin), sixty (Sarmine), and eighty (Valda) were all actually the same age. It was hard to imagine them all having been in college together. Harder still to imagine the poor college.
"We meet once every two years," explained Valda, "come from whatever parts of the globe we're now in for a week-long vacation, catch up. ..." "And a reenactment of our favorite old game," said Malkin. "A little bet we have between us, to see who the most skilled witch is."
"Malkin, we haven't done that in years," put in Esmerelda.
"This year was Sarmine's turn to host," continued Valda. "But it's been at least a decade since Malkin bothered to show up. I didn't think we'd ever see her again."
"Lucky you," said Malkin. She began cleaning her nails with a darling little two-inch dagger, no doubt carved out of tiger teeth or baby rabbit bones. "Shall we get started?"
I handed Valda her drink. "If you don't mind my asking ... what is the name of your club?"
Valda grinned. Esmerelda showed a tight-lipped smile.
Malkin rocked casually back in her chair, flipping her little dagger around. "The Do-Badders Club," she said.
"I suppose it would be too much to hope that the Do-Badders Club meets in order to bring peace and joy to the world?" I said.
"Yes," said Malkin. "It would."
Sarmine slapped her hand down on the coffee table. "And I keep telling you, the Do-Badders Club has outlived its purpose. It was a lark when we were nineteen —"
"Hence the silly name," put in Esmerelda tartly.
"But there are real things to focus on now," said Sarmine. "The world is going to hell in a handbasket, women. The oceans are rising, the air is burning, the sixth extinction is upon us. ..."
"I knew you'd be difficult," Malkin said. "You're all so soft without me."
"I'm not," Esmerelda said indignantly.
"Peer pressure," snorted Valda.
Sarmine rolled her eyes.
Malkin tucked the little dagger away and held up her hands. Her silver rings flashed in the lamplight. "All right, all right. Will this sweeten the pot? I've got something extra special to ante up for the bet." She pulled a small envelope from some hidden pocket and waved it at us.
"And what's in that?" said Esmerelda.
"Pony up one of your mermaid fins and you can find out."
"I only have one," protested Esmerelda. "They're terribly hard to source."
"Afraid you're losing your touch?"
"Well, I'm in," said Valda. "What is it you want from me?"
"Still have your Bigfoot claw?"
Valda sucked in breath. "Hard bargain, Malkin," she said. "Still, I'll play the game. Whatever's in that envelope better be worth it."
"It's something you all will like," promised Malkin. "Even fuddy-duddy Sarmine over there. It's related to a spell I've been putting the finishing touches on. Works along the principles of sympathetic resonance."
Sarmine looked more closely at Malkin. "Is this what you were working on in college?"
"Yes," said Malkin. "Interested now?"
"Perhaps," conceded Sarmine. "I'll offer up a vial of dragon tears to find out, anyway." She sat down on the couch next to Valda. "Straight gin, please, Camellia."
"Excellent," said Malkin, writing all the wagers down on the back of the envelope. "Now. It's my turn to pick the area of havoc for the game." She stretched out her leather-clad legs, casually considering. She appeared to be reasonably well-muscled all over — no doubt from her time spent hunting those things she was wearing — and I thought that she would be pretty darn foreboding even if it weren't obvious from the other witches' reactions that she was powerful, too. "I did have an idea on the broom ride over, but I wasn't all that fond of it. And now, I think I have a better idea."
Her eyes fell consideringly on me and I suddenly found that my fingers were trembling on the gin bottle. What was this witch going to propose?
"Don't drag it out, Malkin," Sarmine said crisply. "Where are we going to set the game?"
Malkin pointed at me, a finger like a gun going bang. "Her high school."
My knees started to go. "Now look," I said, as firmly as I could. "I just stopped a demon from eating a boy's soul, and I stopped a phoenix from exploding. And that was all in one week, so I think my school's earned a bit of a break." Resolutely I turned away and poured Sarmine her gin.
Malkin jumped up, and suddenly she was near me, actually was this time. The animal musk smell was stronger. "Soft," she said. "Untried. Full of dangerous ideas about ethics and morals."
"Correct," I said, plopping the requisite newt eyeball into Sarmine's gin. I took a deep breath. It turns out that it is hard to state your opinions to someone who not only thinks they are ridiculous, but who can turn you into a potato to boot. But I tried. "I believe that there is such a thing as a good witch, and that I can be one." I handed Sarmine her gin, pleased with the firmness of my voice.
Malkin laughed. "Oh, you've got a live one here, Sarmy," she said. To me: "And just how do you propose to do that?"
"Not plot to do bad things at my high school, obviously," I said. The first flush of temper shot through me. I didn't know what the Do-Badders Club did but I could make some educated guesses.
"Stop bothering the girl, Malkin," said Valda. "I'm delighted to revisit high school. Come tell us the rules for this year's game."
Malkin pulled a deck of cards from yet another hidden pocket and tossed them to me where I stood in the center of the room. "Cut the cards and shuffle them," she said. "While you're doing that, tell me what classes you have at school."
"Er," I said, because this obviously sounded like a trap. But witches usually work spells by combining powders and ingredients and then touching them with their wand, and so far she hadn't done either of those things. "Algebra II," I said. I thought about the day only a couple weeks ago when Jenah and I had first seen Devon in our class. And I had been failing, but Mr. Rourke and tutor Kelvin helped me get caught up. ... I realized Malkin was looking intently at me.
"Good, good," she said. "What else?"
I rattled the rest off more quickly. "French, English, American history, AP biology, and gym," I said.
I snorted. I spent all my "free" time catering to the witch's crazy demands. When would I ever do clubs or sports or things? "They exist," I said, envisioning some of the lucky kids headed off to them after school. "Drama club, football, debate. You know." The cards smelled vaguely of cinnamon. "Did you put something on these?"
"Cut the cards."
I did, placing the deck on the table.
Malkin flicked her gaze around the room. "You may all draw a card," she said. "Do not show anyone else."
Esmerelda drew the first one. Her eyebrows rose, then she smiled. "Oh, this one looks perfect," she said.
Rage and fear flashed up to my eyes. "What are you doing?" Before they could stop me, I grabbed a card myself and flipped it over. The wide, pale face of my math tutor was imprinted on it. On the top and the bottom, where the numbers and suit usually are, was his name: Kelvin. Below it ran a list of his classes and clubs: drama club, 4-H, calc I. ...
"If you're quite through with the dramatics," said Valda. She took the next card and peered at it over her plastic glasses. A snort of laughter escaped her nose. "Well, this will be entertaining."
"Stop it!" I scooped up the cards, holding them tightly. "I don't know how you did that without a wand, but you can't."
Malkin flashed her palm at me. I saw now that a small wand was fitted under several rings on her second finger, like some sort of conjuring trick. The casing must be made out of fabric or something flexible that bent with her hand. "Plucked plenty of good images of students from your memory," she said. "You can't even shield properly."
Excerpted from Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly. Copyright © 2016 Tina Connolly. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. The Do-Badders Club,
2. Who Esmerelda Had,
3. A Mystikal Spelle of Great Power,
4. A Lovelie Spell to Open You to Possibilities,
5. How to Tell a Shapeshifter,
6. A Lovelie Spell, Take Two,
7. Bikes and Boys,
8. Being a Wicked Witch Isn't All Fun & Games,
9. Who Malkin Had,
11. Things Suck,
12. Thirteen Ways ...,
13. Sparkle to the Rescue,
14. The Big (Football) Game,
15. Who Wins the Game,
16. If You Fail ...,
The Nice Little Epilogue,
Tor Books by Tina Connolly,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really love the premise of this series! In the world of Seriously Shifted, witches are not good. Not all of them are evil, but there is a defined since of superiority that allows them to live by rules of their own. But Camellia is determined to change that. Her mother is on the borderline between good and bad, mostly bad, but Cam wants more than that for herself. And she is learning that there s a fine line sometimes between good and evil. And that is the underlying message of the novel. The adventures in this book really force Cam to think about what it means to be a good witch. How far is too far to go in the name of "helping" someone? Do the ends justify the means? And then there is the whole pesky concept of free will. The book is quirky and mostly light-hearted, but it asks some important questions. Overall: I really enjoy this series. It is a lot more light-hearted than I usually read, but it's fun. It's a YA novel, but it reads more like a middle-grade.
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. 3 1/2 Stars. I had the pleasure of reading Connolly’s YA series, Seriously Wicked, last year and enjoyed it. I thought it was a fun and cute read. It reminded me a lot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch…a show I loved as a kid. Seriously Shifted, the second book in the series was just as fun as the first book! In the last book our protagonist Cam stopped The Witched Witch from wrecking havoc on her school and taking over the world. And in this sequel we found Cam taking on three evil witches determined to turn her school into a play ground. Each witch targeted a specific classmate, where misery was the goal and a mental breakdown meant winning. With the help of Jenah, Cam’s mother A.K.A. The Witched Witch and new friends Henny and Leo; Cam is on a mission to outsmart and out-witch the Do-Badder-Club Witches. Cam is learning to embrace her witchy side and is finally willing to learn the ins and outs of witchcraft. Not only does Cam not want to be like her mother, she is determined to be a good and ethical witch; which was a little harder than it seemed when she’s surrounded by evil witches hell-bent on creating mayhem and tricking Cam into using non-ethical ingredients like Pixie Bone or Goat’s Blood. All the while, Cam is still trying to balance school, friends, and romance with the endless chores and lessons Sarmine kepy stacking on Cam. I adored Cam and her friends. I loved that Cam wanted to use her magic to help and protect others. At sixteen, teenagers are usually more self absorbed and can only think of themselves. But not Cam; she went out of her way to help everyone…even people she barely knew. As for Cams friends, they were very supportive of Cam and had her back no matter the situation. They were just an all around great and unique group of people. I definitely enjoyed Seriously Shifted. It was another fun and cute addition to the series and I am looking forward to reading more of Cam’s adventures in spells and high school. If you’re looking for a light, fun or quick read, I highly recommend picking up this series, beginning with Seriously Wicked.