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The ABCs of Spellcraft Collection, Volume 1

Written by: Jordan Castillo Price
Narrated by: Nick Hudson
Series: The ABCs of Spellcraft, Book 1-4
Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
Categories: LGBT

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Publisher's Summary

Dixon Penn’s family wasn’t terribly shocked when he announced he was gay, but they were devastated to learn he’s the only one without the gift of spellcraft. Fortunately, that doesn’t stop spellcraft from reaching out to him.

Dixon’s prospects have gone from bad to worse, but a contest at the biggest greeting card company in the tri-state area would be just the thing to turn his luck around. So what if he’s not technically a Spellcrafter - he’s been scribing pretty words and phrases all his life. How could anyone possibly write a better verse than him?

Yuri Volnikov, the taciturn Russian security guard at Precious Greetings, is determined to keep the charming contestant out. But Dixon has always been a sucker for big guys with exotic accents, and he won’t take no for an answer.

Whether or not Dixon wins the prize he hopes for, when he and Yuri work their magic together, it’s clear that luck is on their side.

The ABCs of Spellcraft is a series filled with bad jokes and good magic, where M/M romance meets paranormal cozy. A perky hero, a brooding love interest, and delightfully twisty-turny stories that never end up quite where you’d expect.

This collection contains the first five stories in The ABCs of Spellcraft series: Quill Me Now, All that Glitters, Trouble in Taco Town, Something Stinks at the Spa, and Dead Man's Quill.

©2019 Jordan Castillo Price (P)2019 Jordan Castillo Price

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  • Clau
  • 2019-11-19

Scrivener and Seers and magic, oh, my!

Quill Me Now
This first came out as a Valentine's story, although is not your usual Valentine's story, far from it. But it has it all: humour, magic, romance, and adventure, and I loved it.
Dixon is such a wonderful character, even when everything in his world is going wrong he keeps trying. And yet, when he sees someone who needs help, he won't hesitate, he would go head first straight into danger. The fact that who needs help is a handsome Russian, tattooed and muscled and a Seer on top of all that just... happens :P
And it sets the rules of this new, wonderful Universe in which we can believe that goodness and love will win, always :)

All That Glitters
Meeting the family can be... challenging. Particularly when your take on strangers is please, no! :P And Dixon's overprotective and tight-knit family doesn't help. But, let's be honest, who could resist Dixon enthusiasm and joy?
And let's not forget the mystery of the red spatula!

Trouble in Taco Town
After the events in the first book, Dixon and Yuri are decided to find Dixon's uncle, Fonso. With that in mind, they go to Taco Town... and from then on you won't be able to stop laughing. The characters they find there are eccentric and simply delightful, the plot great, and Dixon and Yuri are quickly becoming a favourite pairing. Watching how Dixon is managing to melt Yuri's rocky surface is pure joy. And the thoughts of Yuri at the end? Awwww! So, so sweet!

Something Stinks at the Spa
Uncle Fonzo must be stopped!
Well, okay, maybe they just need to find him, but c'mon! The man leaves a trail of disasters wherever he goes! And, of course, Yuri and Dixon are the ones who have to deal with the consequences.
I love this series. I love the way in which Yuri and Dixon's relationship is evolving, the way in which Yuri is opening his heart to Dixon's light. He's so worried about the whole Fonzo debacle and so protective of Dixon's feelings...
In this book we get to see how the magic works from Yuri's side, and it's such a different way to create a spell!
I love the fun! No, really, there is so much fun in this book (Yuri's treatments, anybody?) that you'll spend most of the time laughing, or, at the very least giggling.
The story ends on a sort of abrupt mini-cliffhanger, which provides the perfect set-up for the fourth book. :P

Dead Man's Quill
Filled with weird characters, crazy adventures and the cutest couple ever, this book is a joy to read.
We get to (FINALLY!) meet uncle Fonzo, and oh, he was absolutely worth the wait :P Although I must say it: I wasn't really fond of him at first, and sided with Yuri on my distrust of the man.
Dixon and Yuri's relationship keeps growing and deepening, and Yuri is getting used to being part of a big family which sometimes is not as great as he was made to believe :P
And, as if that was not enough, we also get a twisty, darkly funny plot. And curses. And twins, one of which Dixon dated as a teen *laughs*

This is a fabulous Universe, the way the magic works there and the societal views about the practitioners and their work, the whole Scrivener and Seer thing; I love its.originality and the logic in its madness, and I have enjoyed it every single bit of it. I really, really hope that having closure in this arc won't mean that we won't get more of it.
And I Iove Jordan Castillo Price's writing, she can submerge you into a story from the first paragraph, compelling you to keep reading with her characters and the worlds she imagines.
And Nick Hudson's narrative? OMG! He is simply fabulous! His range of voices, the way he manages to give individuality and personality to each of the voices is something marvellous. Yuri's accent! That's a thing of beauty =D
A new favourite narrator, no doubt about it ♥

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shelley D Chastagner
  • 2019-12-02

Dixon and Yuri

QUILL ME NOW Super cute Valentine's story. Dixon made me giggle with his ramblings when he got nervous. I liked Yuri and his attempts at protecting Dixon. Together these two undo a lot of wrongs and fit together just perfectly. I'm excited that the author intends to add more adventures for these two.

ALL THAT GLITTERS Poor Yuri! Being introduced to Dixon's parents is a bit unsettling. Dixon is his usual effervescent self the perfect counterpoint to Yuri's stoicism. The dinner with the parents is something interesting. It tickled me that Yuri's 'seeing' was scrutinized by Dixon's mom.

TROUBLE IN TACO TOWN This second book in the ABSs of Spellcraft follows Quill Me Now. We get to see Yuri and Dixon further along in their relationship. Dixon is his usual bubbly self, seeing the joy in everything. Yuri is the definition of stoic, but Dixon is managing to melt that. Chasing after Dixon's wayward Uncle Fonzo they happen to encounter all kinds of people and problems in Taco Town. The domino effect of situations bordered on the absurd. It was all great fun. I loved the sweet sentiment that Yuri added to the guest book.

SOMETHING STINKS AT THE SPA I'm so loving this series! Tons of laughs and cute moments. Dixon is his usual effervescent self; bright, sunny and always looking for the best in everything. Yuri gets a chance to open up a little as he softens from his usual stoic self. The stories are best read in order and so much fun.

DEAD MAN'S QUILL The trek to find Uncle Fanzo comes to fruition only to be fraught with more peril. Dixon remains his true chipper self, seeing only the good in everyone and every situation. Yuri is still stoic and still deeply in love with Dixon. He indulges all of Dixon's hairbrained ideas and tries his best to be gracious to Uncle Fanzo. The storyline is great with a bit of cloak and dagger, a creepy carnival owner, a bitter rival and a nasty curse. Loved every minute.

Highly recommended author and series

Audiobook: I really enjoyed the narrator. He occasionally loses Yuri's 'Russian' accent but it almost makes it more enjoyable.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Stephanie VO
  • 2019-12-01

Amazing listen!!

Now I have read all these books and I absolutely love them so much. Dixon and Yuri are so perfect for each other and I just love how funny they are together. Even when Yuri isn't trying to be. Just all the things they get into has me laughing out loud. So I am so happy that Nick Hudson has brought these stories to life. He is absolutely amazing in his narration. I love how he does the voices and all the sound effects. I also couldn't stop laughing with how he brings the characters even more to life. Just everything he did is so perfect for this story!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jacki Perrette
  • 2019-11-23

So Much Fun!

I adored this reading by Nick Hudson! His performance brought the characters to life - each with his or her unique personality shining through. There are the main characters, Yuri with his serious nature and swoon-worthy Russian accent and Dixon with his unstoppable optimism and energy. But just as memorable were a host of secondary characters who all emerged as individuals with their own quirks. One of my favorites is Liza, the jilted bride, who is on an emotional roller-coaster that careens further downhill with each subsequent scene, until finally she comes face-to-face with the unexpected. It's definitely a moment that Nick optimized, bringing out the nuances of JCP's humor. I will be looking for more narration by Nick Hudson!

I also adore this new series by JCP! It has a lighter tone and reveals Jordan's sense of humor, but its characters have no less depth for it. The Spellcraft world with its scriveners and seers is unique and I read with curiosity to find out how it works. In this volume, there is one mystery that runs through, but each episode/novella has its own puzzles to solve. Over the course of the mystery arc, the main characters get to know one another and experience growth as they navigate the events of the stories. More than once, JCP brought tears to my eyes as she portrayed the characters' inner journeys and steered them toward their happily-ever-after. I can't wait to read more as they continue to navigate a life together.

I highly recommend this series - whether you read it to yourself, or you let Nick read it to you. It's so much fun!

TO THE PERSON WHO GAVE THE RECORDING A ONE STAR RATING BECAUSE IT WOULDN'T PLAY FOR YOU:
I have had problems getting things to play on an iPod, but the Audible techs helped me. Their customer service is awesome. You can chat or call on the phone and get help. I had some challenges with Windows 10, too. They were able to actually link into my computer and fix some settings that were thrown off by Win 10 updates. That said, since I switched to using my phone and my Alexa app, I haven't had any trouble at all. I can also recommend asking for help at the library. The librarians are very happy to help with tech. I promise! I hope you get to listen to this, because it is awesome! <3

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • SassiKassi
  • 2019-11-17

Entertaining

Light and sweet cozy type paranormal mysteries. The characters are lovable and if there are future volumes, I’ll listen to those as well. I just can’t give 5 stars because I give 5 stars to the psycop books. These are good and made even better by the narration by Nick Hudson. I’ve never listened to him before and I was amazed. He gets Yuri’s accent like it’s natural to him. He does fantastic work distinguishing all the different voices. I will definitely look for more by him.

5 people found this helpful

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  • silvia
  • 2019-12-02

Loved!

I previously read the ebooks and rated the series 5*. I was delighted and thankful to be gifted the audible version by the author. This is my first fiction audible book and I loved it. Wow, Nick Hudson did a great job narrating. He gave a whole new dimension to these beloved characters and brought them to life before my very ears, lol. It amazed me how he was able to jump from from one character to the next, each one with their own distinct way of talking, without skipping a beat. I found myself literally squealing with delight as I got to hear the voices of Dixon and Yuri as they went through all sorts of trials on their madcap trek to find Uncle Fonzo. Jordan Castillo Price is one of my fave authors and I don’t know if Nick Hudson has narrated any of her other books but he’s a gem. I’m rating this series 5* for the plot, the characters, the all around uniqueness that I’ve come to expect from this author and last but not least, the superb narration.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mandi robbins
  • 2019-12-02

Wonder heartfelt stories!

This collection of stories will leave you smiling and feeling warm and happy. They are wonderfully written with Dixon and Yuri embarking on adventures together that only make their relationship stronger.

1 person found this helpful

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  • DianaP
  • 2019-12-01

Rom com romp

This is a nice meaty collection, pulling together the first five short works in the SpellCraft series. The stories themselves are highly entertaining, sort of a paranormal mystery romance mashup featuring a very fun magic system, with two great main characters. I love Dixon’s crazy energy as much as Yuri‘s jaded cynicism. And Dixon’s talent for fixing SpellCraft gone wrong creates so much potential for great stories!

The narration captures the essence of both characters very well. My only quibble is that I wish Yuri’s accent was a little thicker, and my mental image of him has a slightly deeper voice. All in all, I truly enjoyed this collection and would happily welcome further entries in the series!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jen C.
  • 2020-01-21

It was worth the wait!

I was saving this book to listen to over my holiday break and I’m glad I did as I couldn’t stop listening to it! I laughed out loud...A LOT!! As a long time listener of audiobooks I’m super picky about the narrator of a book. Their take on the character’s voices can make or break a book for me. Nick Hudson did an excellent job with Dixon’s and Yuri’s voices as well as the rest of the cast of characters. This is a “re-read” for me. I have to say I much preferred listening to The ABCs of Spellcraft Collection than reading it. I did miss the “About This Story” feature that shows up at the end of each of the ebooks. JCP’s writing has just the right amount of light heartedness to make this enjoyable to listen to while doing other tasks.

Quill Me Now-Jordan Castillo Price’s stories always make me a bit anxious even though I know in the end the main characters will come together. She is great at suspenseful prose. This story was no exception. Dixon, the main character of this Valentine’s Day story, also has a way with words and a great desire to help others with the unrealized magical power of his gift. Yuri just wants a better life and to protect Dixon from his boss. Fate or maybe it’s magic that brings them together! I can’t wait for more Spellcrafting adventures with Dixon and Yuri!

Trouble in Taco Town-I was very excited to learn that the new installment for the Spellcraft series had come out much sooner than expected. YAY! I found Trouble in Taco Town to be much sillier, lighter read than Quill Me Now. I had a subtle smile on my face the whole way through the story! Dixon is such an optimistic crack up and Yuri is well, Yuri, I just want to give him a squeeze. Once again, I was amazed by JCP’s writing in that there were multiple plot pieces to this story that she managed to pull together for one satisfying ending. “About This Story” at the end of Trouble in Taco Town gives an excellent explanation of what JCP was trying to do with the Rube Goldberg type plot she successfully pulled off. There is also a short, short story All That Glitters (1.5) out there. If you can get your hands on a copy it is worth a read too as it’s pretty hilarious and sweet!

Something Stinks at the Spa-Yuri as a massage therapist/new age guru and Dixon in his role as an esthetician...cracked me up!!! The plot pieces to this story weren’t quite as intricate as in Trouble in Taco Town but the characters, their interactions and the spa setting are what made this book. I have to say one of my favorite parts in this series of books are the “About This Story” chapters at the end. I love getting insight into how these stories came about. I can’t wait until for the next installment!!

Dead Man’s Quill-OK...I have to admit I was hoping for a scary clown at the Big Fun Traveling Carnival but instead I got Uncle Fonzo! He manages to lead Dixon and Yuri into a CRAZY adventure in an attempt to right his wrong of “borrowing” a quill from another Scrivener. Dead Man’s Quill is another exciting installment in the Spellcraft series. There is a dinner scene that takes place in which JCP’s food descriptions, once again, provoke a very visceral gut reaction in me. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes, as in the case of this dinner scene, it’s not a good thing! My favorite feature, “About This Story”, at the end of the book gives us some insight into this dinner at Strange Manor.

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  • Annika
  • 2020-01-15

I had a great time!

I didn’t quite know what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I’d seen the series a while ago and found it interesting and figured if it was ever produced in audio that would be the time to finally get to it.

This book is a collection of the entire The ABCs of Spellcraft series. We follow Dixon as he enters a greeting card contest in the hopes of using the pretty words he’d been constructing his entire life – but weren’t able to use as he failed his Spellcraft initiation. But things at Precious Greetings are more sinister than he could imagine and being who he is, he obviously couldn’t walk away from it. So he ended up with a huge Russian Seer and a Quill. The two set out to set the wrongs to right and it’s an adventure that takes them to Taco town, a spa and to old friends. All in the hopes of finding and stopping Dixon’s uncle from scribing any more bad Spellcrafts.

This book is quirky, a bit insane and fun. It’s a book that I shouldn’t have liked, one that normally would have grated on my nerves for being too much. But it didn’t! I had such a great time beginning to end. A lot of that was due to the fabulous narration by Nick Hudson. This story was over the top in every way possible, and in the best way possible. It balanced on that fine edge of being over the top but still fun and engaging without going into the ridiculous territory. A fine balance that Jordan Castillo Price crafted very well.

There were many fun adventures in this collection. I think my favourite part was the novella where Yuri met Dixon’s parents. I think it was the more emotional story and we really connected to Yuri, his wariness of family and the longing to belong. And when you add in the glitter beard it made it all that much better – and funnier – and oh so very awkward.

From the beginning you could tell Nick Hudson was a very enthusiastic narrator. He felt what he was narrating, lived with the characters and everything that happened in the book/s. It was easy to be swept along while listening and you couldn’t help but to be captivated by all the events that happened. I honestly believe Hudson was the perfect choice of narrator, the book and characters were such a perfect fit, I rarely come across that kind of fit. He was these characters with every word he spoke.

I really enjoyed the Russian accent he had for Yuri. It really added to his character and the feel of the book. Hudson could make the listener see Yuri while listening, his standoffish and quiet ways, the brute force, the frustration of having to go along with every insane idea Dixon came up with – and there were plenty of them. It wasn’t only Yuri tat Hudson perfected to a T. Dixon was too – he made the listener feel his exuberant personality, the restlessness and the need and want to help everyone he met – and rarely in the easiest or most obvious way. He crafted his own path and made due with what he found – expected or not.

I’d definitely recommend this book for anyone looking to have an (insane) fun time. The world building is interesting and puts a new twist to the paranormal. And when you add in colourful characters and an awesome narration you can’t really go wrong.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.