Author: Mark Rosendorf
Narrator: Jeffery Lynn Hutchins
Length: 7 hours 9 minutes
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Released: January 21, 2021
Genre: Fantasy; YA
Where can witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted? By using their magic, the witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip - a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians, who can't possibly keep pace. Isis Rivera is the adopted 15-year-old daughter of the witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a 400-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks. But can the combined witches' powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city...and possibly the world?
Mark Rosendorf is a high school guidance counselor in the New York City Department of Education’s Special Education district. He is also a former professional magician, and a writer. Mark is credited with published novels in various genres which includes The Rasner Effect series. He eventually decided on an early retirement from writing. When asked why, Mark’s usual answer was because he lost his favorite pen. Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into his brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it. Suddenly, Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas was born and is now on these pages. This is Mark’s first young adult novel.
- Brown Forman
- Electro Voice
Q&A with Protagonist Isis Rivera
- Interviewer: Welcome. To start, why don’t you tell us your name, age and a little bit about yourself.
- Isis: Hi, my name is Isis Flores Rivera and I’m fifteen years old. This is my first time being interviewed, so please forgive me if I’m a little nervous. I’m also a member of The Witches of Vegas, the number one magic show on the Las Vegas strip. Well, I haven’t actually performed with them yet, but I get to practice on the stage when the theater is empty. They promised me that my time is coming soon. I’ve been with them since I was nine.
- Um, okay, I’m going to tell you a secret and I need you to promise not to tell anyone okay? The truth is, I really am a witch. The others are too. We use the show to practice our witchcraft. It keeps us strong, and we need to be. According to Luther—he’s the coven’s mentor, he’s also a five-hundred-year-old vampire—there’s a threat coming that we may need to fight. I don’t know what that is, but he’s been getting witches ready for it long before any of us were ever born. We’re just the latest group of witches he’s getting ready in case the threat comes.
- Interviewer: How would you describe your childhood before The Witches of Vegas took you in?
- Isis: (head drops) To be honest…it wasn’t all that great. I was born in the Bronx in New York. My mom died when I was five…I don’t really remember her that well. I never knew my dad. My grandma raised me until I was eight, but then she got sick and I was put into foster care. I was in my last foster home for a while. I really wanted them to like me, but I always had the feeling that they didn’t.
- Things got really bad when I turned nine and I realized I could do things, like make fire and move stuff with my mind. I didn’t know how I could do that, just that I could. My foster family and all their neighbors found out. When they saw it, they all thought I was possessed by the devil. They beat me, tried to drown me and kept me locked in a basement for days without food. When I escaped and tried to run, they chased me down and tried to set me on fire. That’s when Sebastian, the leader of the witches’ coven—this was all before they became The Witches of Vegas—rescued me and took me into his family. He sensed my connection and came to investigate. It was just in time, too.
- Interviewer: How do you get along with the other members of The Witches of Vegas?
- Isis: I love them all so much. Selena Quinn and Sebastian Santell are like my adopted mom and dad. They’ve been teaching me and taking care of me since I’ve been with them. I haven’t called them “mom and dad” yet. That’s because the last people I called by those names tried to set me on fire. But I do feel close enough with Selena and Sebastian that I think I can call them that. I know they see me as their daughter. I’m just waiting for the right time to try it out. Does that make sense?
- Selena’s younger sister, Sacha, is like the coolest aunt anyone could ever have. She’s a lot of fun and maybe a little bit crazy. Luther, well, he can be a bit of a jerk sometimes. He likes to tell me that I’m “too immature and unfocused to be a witch.” But he also says it to the others and they’re all adults so I shouldn’t take it personally. I guess to someone who is five hundred years old, everyone is immature, right?
- Interviewer: How did The Witches of Vegas become “The Witches of Vegas?”
- Isis: Right after they rescued me, Sebastian found out about a hotel here in Las Vegas that was looking for a new magic act for their theater. He came up with the idea of saying they were a magic team and using their powers on stage. Witches can do a lot, including levitating, teleporting and creating illusions. They put on a great show. The general manager hired them immediately. We’ve lived in a suite in The Sapphire Resort ever since. For the last six years, every show is sold out.
- Interviewer: I must say, you’ve certainly been through a lot at such a young age. What do you consider the most important event of your life so far?
- Isis: That’s easy, it was that night. I was nine years old and sitting on the street, surrounded by my foster family, their friends and neighbors. They had knives, baseball bats and other weapons. My foster dad had a gun pointed at me and my mom had rolled up newspaper she lit on fire. All I had was a broken arm and a swollen eye I couldn’t see out of. They all kept saying I had the devil in me, and they had to burn it out of me for my own good. They didn’t know that I was a witch. I didn’t know either. I thought I was going to die that night.
- That’s when a huge red dragon walked down the street and scared them all away. Now I thought my death would come from getting stepped on or eaten by this huge dragon. But then it turned into a puff of smoke and Sebastian was standing there. He explained to me about witches, healed my arm and face with his mind, then invited me to join his coven…which is also his family.
- Interviewer: How does someone become a witch? And is it easy being one?
- Isis: Hmm, let me explain it the way Sebastian explained it to me. The world is surrounded by energy. It’s in the air, it’s in the ground, it’s in the space around us all the time. It makes up everything. Some people can tap into it, like psychics who get a glimpse of the future, or mothers who lift cars off their children. But some people find out that they can tap into it on purpose. That’s what makes us witches. That was the first thing he told me that day and I never forgot it. Is being a witch easy? No. The more connected we are with the energy, the more we have to learn to control it. The Witches of Vegas tell me I’m really connected, maybe more than any other witch before. That’s why they’re always training me. I’m learning, but so far, my control isn’t great. I’m working on it, though.
- Interviewer: Last question, have you ever been in a romantic relationship? Isis: You mean with a boy? (blushes) No, not yet. I don’t really spend a lot of time with anyone my age. I don’t leave the property a lot. I don’t even go to school. They teach me during the day in our suite and in the theater. But I hope to meet someone someday, someone who understands me, someone who is bit different like me. I’m sure he’s out there somewhere and I’ll meet him someday soon. Let’s hope he doesn’t mind that I can turn him into a frog. Um, that was just a joke, witches can’t really turn people into frogs. Interviewer: Well, this was certainly an interesting story, Isis. And I see you are truly into your stage characters. I’m sure we all wish we could really be witches. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
- Isis: I know it sounds kind of crazy, but it’s my life.
- [Isis raises her right hand. The pen leaves the interviewer’s hand and floats across the room towards Isis, who plucks it from the air.]
- Interviewer: …
- Isis: Oh, one more thing, I just want to ask again, to anyone who may read this interview, please, don’t tell anyone that we’re real witches. It’s a secret. If my coven finds out I blabbed, they’ll be really upset with me. Also, check out The Witches of Vegas at the Sapphire Resort and Casino’s theater. It’s a great show, but seats sell out fast. Thank you for interviewing me.
The Witches of Vegas are the top act in Vegas and the greatest rival of all other magic shows on the Strip. Teen magician Zack Galloway is magically enticed to get to know the youngest member of the famous troupe and finds Isis Rivera intriguing and the sparks sweetly fly. However, they are truly just pawns in a magical reckoning some 400 years in the making. The two teens have to band together, using wits and magical prowess to help overcome the evil that is determined to destroy humanity.
The premise of this story is quite clever and Mark Rosendorf creates a world where both magic and supernatural powers meld, at times entertaining and at others terrorizing. The characters are fun and relatable. The emotional depth of the characters as they navigate family, acceptance, fear and loss demonstrates the skill of his writing.
The narration was solidly delivered by J.L. Hutchins. He captures the tone and tenor of the Vegas performers and managed to keep the pace and flow of the story going. At times Mr. Hutchins over performs and slips into melodrama but, heck, it's Vegas baby! Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was pleased that Rosendorf gave such a complete story conclusion for all the characters.
I give The Witches of Vegas 4 chocolate dipped strawberries. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Mark Rosendorf. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.