Customer Reviews: Stirring Up Trouble
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on January 12, 2012
Rarely have I enjoyed a book as much as this one. This story about a teenaged witch with a talent for brewing potions will have you chuckling all the way from beginning to end. Poor Zoe, in addition to coping with average teenage challenges, must deal with her divorced parents, a best friend who isn't always friendly, and a boy who may or may not still be attached to previously mentioned best friend. While ordinarily I don't consider young adult novels to be my cup of tea (with occasional exceptions such as The Hunger Games trilogy), I highly recommend this book for all age groups. Ms. Alexander obviously has a great sense of humor along with an admirable imagination and the ability to write an enthralling book. Kudos to Ms. Alexander!
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on January 12, 2012
Juli Alexander obviously understands teenagers because she has penned a witty, "charming" and hilarious book.
Zoe will endear herself to you from the very first page and you'll be rooting for her right to the end. I had a big smile on my face the entire time I was reading it. Even if you are not "in" to the idea of a teenage witch(and her very cool mother)Ms. Alexander's concept and presentation is fresh, modern and highly entertaining. I would recommend this book to anyone,no matter what their age.

Kerri Seaton/w/a Karen Hall
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on June 2, 2012
I LOVED this. Please write a follow up.
I was so disappointed when it ended; I wanted more.
It had perfect spelling and grammar too- what a treat.
It might be meant for younger readers, but I am a 48 yr old grandmother and I loved it too.
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Fifteen-year-old Zoe and her mother are witches living in Knoxville, Tennessee. They are descended from a lineage of alchemists who were granted the gift of making magical potions from the ancient Greek god, Zeus. Unlike her mother and grandmother, who have no particular talent or interest in making potions, Zoe is a potions prodigy. Not only can she concoct classic, time-tested potions, but she experiments and develops new twists. Her magnum opus is devising multiple, viable substitutions for toad slime, a crucial-but-disgusting ingredient in thousands of potions.

Magical potions can do almost anything imaginable, including making someone rich, slender, recover from serious illness--or turn into a lovesick fool. There's one big catch, though: witches have to use their magic selflessly for others. If they employ it for their own personal benefit, there is a dangerous price to pay. The witch sprouts facial deformities commensurate in their eyesore quotient with the size of the witch's ill-gotten gains, and her health also suffers. In short, any witch foolhardy enough to continue long term with self-serving magic will eventually end up as an abysmally ugly corpse. Fortunately, there is an escape hatch from these terrible consequences. A witch who does a potion for herself can make restitution by performing good deeds.

Zoe's father is a brilliant, nuclear physicist and non-witch who doesn't believe entirely in magic, but over the years he has enthusiastically aided Zoe with her potion experiments, with the same tight protocols he utilizes for his own research at work. But her dear, dependable dad blew up their family, and his relationship with Zoe, a year ago when he dumped her mother for another woman. Not long ago her father's girlfriend dumped Dad as well. But instead of coming back to Mom, he has started dating someone else. And to Zoe's horror, it's someone she knows--the mother of one of her tenth-grade classmates, Jake.

Zoe has been secretly in love with Jake for years, to no avail, because until very recently, he was her best friend Anya's boyfriend. Suddenly, Anya drops Jake for another boy, but before Zoe has a chance to date Jake herself, the craziness of their parents' romance gets in the way.

Zoe is an extremely sympathetic heroine. I loved the way she uses her magic for others and her goals for her future life as a witch.

This is a terrific, paranormal, chick lit novel, with a fun romance between Zoe and Jake.

This isn't a comedy that merely offers an occasional smile to the reader. In fact, there are frequent laugh-out-loud moments generated by the need for Zoe and her mother, and later their visiting witch friends, to keep their magic secret from non-magical friends. The climax occurring on Halloween is wonderful, with tons of comic, magical mayhem.

All the threads of this story are tied up in a satisfying way at the end, but there is a strong setup for a sequel, and I for one cannot wait to read it.

This book is a "clean read," appropriate for readers as young as 11 or 12, but it is a clever enough story that all ages will enjoy it.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5 stars
Subcharacters: 5 stars
Chick Lit Plot: 5 stars
Romance Plot: 5 stars
Writing: 5 stars
Overall: 5 stars
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on November 25, 2012
Zoe is a teenage witch whose power lies in making potions. However, her potions can't benefit her in any way; if they do, she'll pay for her selfishness by sprouting horns or waking up with a huge wart. Otherwise, she's a typical teenager. She has a crush on her best friend's boyfriend. She worries about all the things a normal teenager does, such as wanting her first kiss. At the same time, she's sensible, realistic, and responsible. There are some mild sexual references: "We fit like two wiggly hormone-raging puzzle pieces. Not the puzzle pieces that can get you pregnant, but the arms, hands, and mouths that can provide a remarkable amount of pleasure."

The character development is good, if somewhat stereotypical at times. Zoe's best friend is beautiful, shallow, and egotistical. The boy that Zoe likes is good-looking. The writing is humorous and has a pleasant style.

There is no vulgarity or violence and quite a bit of humor as Zoe finds herself in one predicament after another. What I really liked is the subtle message that actions have consequences, whether intentional or not, and people need to be responsible for their behaviour. This may be considered a YA novel--I think it's suitable for ages 13+--but I enjoyed it and think it is appealing for adults as well. The main characters are teens but it's still a romance novel.
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on March 1, 2012
In one word, this book is "cute." It was a fun beach worthy read. Nothing too complicated. I knew I would like this book when I read that the witches that use self-serving potions to shed a few pounds or grab the attention of the local hottie would "suffer" (i.e. turn into the hideous witches you're used to reading about). I could totally relate to the characters' desire to suffer with a hairy, green wart for thinner hips.
The characters were hard to connect with. There didn't seem to be a lot of depth with the majority of the characters in the book. Anya was super-self absorbed and pretty unlikeable, but I'm certain that was intentional. Jake seemed alright. Typical teenage boy. I would like to see him grow a bit more in the upcoming books. Zoe was unique and likable. Yes, she's a witch. But she's a self-conscious humanitarian witch. Her goal in life is to become the scientist that cures cancer. Pretty awesome.
The plot was pretty straight forward. Young teenage witch has a crush on her best friend's ex-boyfriend. Young teenage witch's parents complicate her love life. Young teenage witch has a colossal mishap and gets in trouble. It's fairly predictable, but still enjoyable. It seems like the majority of the conflict is going to occur in the next book, at least that's the impression I got from the ending. Since our poor witch got into a bit of trouble, she has to have a magic tutor. Except, her tutor isn't what she expects. You might think that a 95 year-old wizard would look like one of the California raisins from the 80s, but he doesn't. Seems he got into a tad bit of trouble himself when he traded his old self for a super hottie body. So, like I said, the plot will thicken in the next book.
As I said, this was a "cute" read. It was quick and fun, and didn't require a lot of effort on my part. I was turning the pages pretty quickly because I enjoyed the story. If you want a fun book to read while taking a break from the zombie and dystopian books currently flooding the market, then you would enjoy Stirring Up Trouble.
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on September 26, 2015
This series must be read in order. This is the first book. I can't wait to find out what happens next in Trouble's Brewing!

Zoe has been in love with Anya's boyfriend Jake forever! Too bad Anya's been her best friend since kindergarten... But things may be looking up for her now that Anya dumped Jake. If the reguar teen drama isn't enough, Zoe happens to be a witch with an incredible talent for potions. The drawback to magical talent is any self serving spell causes uglification... The bigger the spell the bigger the detrimental side effects right up to death. How is she supposed to get through her highschool career as a typical teen of divorce much less as a teen witch?

***This series is suitable for young adult through adult readers who enjoy a little magic in their young adult romantic comedies with a dash of mystical hijinks and mayhem :)
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on August 22, 2012
Just so you know (because I didn't when I read it), this is the first book in a series. I download a lot of freebies and they tend to be one of a series, so I've probably got at least 12 storylines leaving me hanging right now waiting on the next books! I was sooo not looking for another one when I started this book. I have to say though, I am not sorry I read it and yes, I am very much looking forward to the next edition.

The best way to describe this book is - GREAT FUN! Ms. Alexander creates some great characters, who, simply said, have a lot of character! I loved getting to know them and they certainly had me laughing out loud more than a few times. The cute chemistry between the h/h was wonderful and kept me smiling. It was a fun read and although I didn't pay anything for it, I certainly wouldn't have been disappointed if I had.
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on January 5, 2014
Okay, I'm not a teen (over 60!) and I'm not a girl, but I truly enjoyed this story. This was a free promotion so I decided to try it because..., well, heck, it was FREE! Finally got around to reading it and to my delight, I loved it. It wasn't until I'd finished the book that I realized I've read this author before in "My Life as the Ugly Stepsister." Another free book, but loved it as well. Guess I'll be watching for this author from now on, and may even PAY for the next one! Whoa!

As for "Stirring Up Trouble," Zoe has such a likable personality that you just can't help rooting for her through all her trials and tribulations, and being a young witch, some of those trials and tribulations can get pretty darn wild (i.e., Halloween). Zoe's teasing sarcasm when dealing with her parents and overbearing friends reminded me so much of what I used to get from my own daughters when I'd get too 'parental' with them, and I couldn't help smiling. Needless to say, I'm caught up in Zoe's life now and will be reading "Trouble's Brewing," the next installment, in just a few minutes. I highly recommend it to all ages.
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on March 18, 2013
Zoe and her mom are two witches. But, not just ordinary witches. They are witches of potions, and while her mom isn't exactly adept at making potions and using them effectively, this is what they are. Zoe is fifteen, learning about young love and how to deal with being a witch all at the same time.

Her mom sprouted a nasty wart on her chin because she used a potion on herself to get rid of a few pounds from her hips. But no self-serving spell goes unpunished. Now she'll have to do some selfless volunteer work to get rid of that thing before she begins taping her decorating show.

But Zoe has problems of her own. She likes Jake, her best friends ex-boyfriend, but not only that...her father is now dating Jake's mother...could anything worse happen?

Will Zoe have to do some "magic" to win Jake's heart? Will that magic bring about some sort of catastrophe, like hair growing where it shouldn't? Or worse? You'll have to read to find out.

I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting when I got this book, but even though it was written from a fifteen year olds perspective (in first person), I really rather enjoyed it. Modern day witches, a few misplaced spells and a sprinkling of humour made this a cute, enjoyable read.

The storyline moved along and I felt myself rooting for Jake and Zoe. And, for being a fifteen year old, Jake is definitely a keeper.

Although the book ended (which I like), there is definitely more to this story. I can't divulge what happened, but I'm sure it will test the limits of this story.

5 stars!
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