Reading With Star: Static Elecwitchery by Sophie Ann Hoffman

Disclaimer: None of the work in Reading With Star belongs to me. The author owns all right to the book. They have given me permission to share a bit of their work with you.

Static Blurb:

Dear Diary,

I’m not ready for this, not at all. Of course, it doesn’t matter what I’m ready for, life is throwing it at me anyway…literally. After dad vanished, mom moved Holly and me to a new town in Texas where everything is just a bit…more. I thought California was on the cutting edge, but we haven’t seen anything yet and this house is out to prove it to us. Maybe Angie—a Texan version of our fairy godmother—will be able to help us get settled with the Hellhound and the new magic we discover.

Please send help,



Author’s note: Phaedra is pronounced as Fay-druh.

A few days later, I head into the kitchen in the early afternoon. Holly lets out a deep breath, hopping over to the shelf, which now holds the cookbooks that we had brought down. Yes, we had found multiple kinds. Maybe the previous owner, Jacinda, had collected them. The cast on Holly’s lower left leg weighs her down, but she’s not using her crutches. She’s admitted to me she’s tired of them, and I keep catching her going without. Grabbing the shelf prevents her face-plant into the wall. “Gotcha!” 

Book in hand, she turns, facing the space between her and the table and obviously not having noticed me. “Here goes nothing,” she says, lowering into a crouch and preparing to make the first hop. 

“Don’t you dare!” I say firmly. My words make Holly shriek and begin to teeter over. She shrieks again as I leap forward and grasp her arm to stop her from falling sideways. 

“Phaedra, I was jus–”

“Just about to break your neck,” I interrupt her, supporting her as she makes the hops to the table. “Sit and tell me what you think you’ve found. Maybe we can surprise mom with something.” 

“I think this one has recipes for desserts and candies. With Halloween right around the corner, I thought I’d try my hand at one or two.” She flips the book open to peruse the choices. “Ooh, caramel. Should be easy enough.” 

“Mmhmm,” I sigh. The thought of caramel apples fills my mind, and I can practically taste one. But, I know Holly’s penchant for messing things up, and it affects my tone, making it sound like one of disbelief.

“Fae,” Holly mutters with a deadpan expression. 

“Fine, let’s do this. I’ll help you. You are in charge, however. We both know my cooking sucks.” It’s true. Holly may mess things up, but her cooking is still better than mine. I gather the ingredients as Holly reads the list aloud from the book. Once we have everything gathered, she shoves a chair in front of the stove and leans her left knee on it, prepared to start. 

“Sugar,” she says, holding her hand out. 

“Sugar,” I repeat, slapping the sugar into her hand, grinning as I picture her saying, ‘scalpel,’ like a surgeon. 

She laughs at my tone. “Scalpel,” she teases, knowing my thoughts. As we work, we discuss the upcoming Halloween party and the costume we still need for her. The black dress I found will work as the witch costume I decided to go with, but we’re still up in the air on what her costume should be. 

“I know! We can make a cardboard cutout, and I can be riding a Hellhound.” 

“Why not a werewolf or a centaur?” I grin at the gleam of amusement in her eyes. 

“Because Hellhounds are awesome!” She pauses as she reads, still stirring the mix with one hand. “Listen to this. It’s a note in the margin,” Holly starts. “When things are low, and you are in danger, just give this a stir and depend on the anger.” She looks up at me, her eyes full of confusion. “What do you think it means?”

I shrug. “It could be anything. Maybe someone just needed a piece of paper to write something down, and the book was all they had.” 

A shape catches my eye as it rises from the pan behind her. She turns her head, and we both watch as the caramel comes out of the pan as if invisible hands are shaping it. I grasp her waist and back away, tugging her with me as the blob grows in size. There is no way it would have all fit in the saucepan, but there’s no stopping it. Heatwaves come from the form as it reaches toward the ceiling then angles down toward us. By the time it’s fully settled on the floor, it has formed four legs, and a big tail sedately waves behind it. The head lifts and splits open, showing a mouthful of sharpened sugar spike teeth. Fire boils in place of the eyes, and there is no visible nose where a dog would normally have one. It reminds me so much of a giant mastiff dog. The head is wider than my hand by far, and the torso is rounded enough to appear muscled but not fat. 

“Ph-Phaedra,” Holly whines. I keep backing until I hit the table and can’t go any further without turning us away from the shape. We both shriek as it bounds forward and licks her face, the tail now wagging wildly. It’s almost as tall as she is at the top of its head. “Good doggy,” she says cautiously. 

“‘Doggy?’” I demand, then let out my own shriek as it licks me as well. I thought it would be burning hot, but it’s actually pleasantly warm and smells deliciously like the caramel it is made from. 

“Oh, come on. You can see the obvious dog shape and the wagging tail just like I can, Fae.” She grins up at me. “Told you Hellhounds are cool.” Looking back at the caramel dog just standing there as if in wait, Holly reaches out, patting the head. “Full name Caramel, but Mel for short. How does that sound?”

Mel wags her tail at Holly as if to say she agrees and gives her another lick.

“You’d think we would be sticky after that,” Holly says after giggling. 

“Yeah,” I agree. “How do you know it’s a girl?”

“I just do.” She then asks the question that is burning inside me. “What do we do with her?” 

Note From Star:

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of Static Elecwitchery. Please consider clicking the link above and grabbing a copy of this book.

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